Dubbed “The Child Whisperer” by his peers, twenty-nine-year-old Jake Harris is a lollipop-sucking, video game-playing pediatrician, who moves to Seashore Cove, Long Island to start a family. What develops is an immediate attraction to his new nurse, Kate, and a list of reasons why he must keep his distance.
Kate Henderson is a grieving widow with two teenage boys, struggling to keep her head above water. Her growing desire for the new doctor must be ignored. But Kate’s sons think they’d make the perfect match. The duo comes up with crazy little schemes intended to ignite a spark and succeed in throwing them together.
But is that enough to make Kate and Jake take a chance on love?
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.55(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Kate Henderson stood in the emergency room cubicle adjusting her favorite tortoiseshell clip she'd shoved into the frizzy mass that was her hair. Her bloody, threadbare shirt barely covered her bra, and the Daisy Duke cut-offs she only wore to clean her bathtub pinched her backside.
This was not how she envisioned meeting her new boss.
"I'm sorry," she said to Lynette, the ER nurse preparing a solution of soap and water. "Did you say the on-call doctor is Dr. Jake Harris?"
"Yup." Lynette arched a brow, her garish blue eye shadow sparring with her bright red lips for attention. "Wait. You haven't met him?"
Kate glanced at her son Andrew — Drew since he'd turned thirteen a few months ago — hoping to latch onto some sense of normalcy. "Not yet."
"If he took over Dr. Stern's old practice, doesn't that mean you work for him?"
"Yes, but I've been upstate the last two weeks."
"Ah." Lynette removed the piece of Kate's torn shirt Drew had been holding over his shin. "Well, trust me when I say you're going to fall in love with him."
As Lynette cleaned out Drew's wound, questions scattered Kate's thoughts. Why was a private practice pediatrician stitching up kids in the emergency room? Seashore Cove Medical Center was a small-town hospital, but that was the ER doctor's job. She'd have to call Gladys later and get the details on their new boss. Her dear friend and coworker had been uncharacteristically silent about him, with the exception of one word.
Whatever that meant.
Lynette finished cleaning out Drew's wound, then covered it with a stark white cloth. "Dr. Harris will be right in."
Kate chewed on her nails, a habit she'd developed in the last four years. Since William died. "This should be interesting."
"Aw, Ma, look at the bright side."
"I don't know." He buried his fingers into his thick, dark blond hair. "You're the mom here. Shouldn't you provide one?"
Kate let out a huff. "Sure, make me do all the work."
He grinned, but it was forced. "Sorry, I just hate hospitals. You know that."
Yes, she did. She hated them too, which was why she refused to go back to work as an ICU nurse. The sickeningly sweet smell, bright walls, and never-ending mayhem brought her back to when she practically lived at the hospital with William.
Nurses scrambled from room to room. Occasionally, the intercom system drowned out the quiet moans. The summer burst with activity compared to the winter months. She hoped Alex was okay sitting alone in the waiting room. He was older than Drew by three years and remembered all too well visiting the hospital while his father slowly died.
"Hey there, Andrew!"
Snatching her index finger away from her greedy teeth, Kate studied the younger man who'd entered the room. Wearing a baseball cap, faded jeans, and a T-shirt, he fit into the stark hospital cubicle about as well as a spike-collared kitten in a doghouse.
Whoever he was, she'd never seen him around town before. Kate had lived in Seashore Cove, Long Island, all her life, and, except for the summer months when it seemed to burst at the seams with vacationers, it remained a fairly small town. With his height and those looks, he would've stood out.
"What happened, buddy?" The newcomer hopped onto the bed beside her son. What was this? Some new peer group thing the hospital implemented to connect with teens?
"I fell on a broken beer bottle." Drew pulled his face into a sulk.
The guy jumped off and propped his hands on his hips. "Andrew, were you drinking beer?"
To Kate's disbelief, her son laughed. "No! It was already on the ground."
Their guest stroked his chin — his fingers making a rasping sound as they slid over the stubble — then gave an affirmative nod. "Okay, then." He snatched a pair of gloves from the box sitting on the counter and pulled them on before gently peeling the cloth aside to study Drew's wound.
Okay, new peer thing or not, no way in hell was some youth-group volunteer poking around on her son. "Um, excuse me, young man. We're waiting for Dr. Harris."
"I am Dr. Harris."
Kate's stomach dropped to her Skechers. So that's what Gladys meant. Doogie. As in Doogie Howser M.D., the vintage television show. Child prodigy. Genius. Ridiculously young to be a doctor. Gladys had a way of over-exaggerating everything — and this case was no exception. Dr. Harris wasn't as young as the famous teenage doctor.
He didn't look that much older, either.
The nervous smile he gave was reticent and boyish, as was the deep flush creeping from his neck into his cheeks. If it weren't for Lynette returning at that moment to have him sign a prescription, Kate never would've believed him.
He had an air of fresh-faced innocence, but his sensual, masculine scent proclaimed, I am a manly-man.
Then Dr. Harris's gaze met hers and she caught her breath. Bright gray eyes that reminded her of polished silver stared back at her. They traveled over her face, then lowered slightly to her lips before shifting away altogether.
Those were not the eyes of a kid.
The female part of her that hadn't fluttered in the almost four years since William died eagerly sprang to life, and she could only focus on one thing.
This guy was her boss.
"Holy sh — I mean, oh gosh — I'm so sorry!" She was sure her blush rivaled his.
Dr. Harris's mouth twitched at her less-than-professional response. "I get it all the time. I apologize for not introducing myself, but when I see a bummed out kid, I gotta make him laugh."
Drew turned to her. "Seriously, Mom, how cool is your new boss?"
"New boss?" Dr. Harris arched an eyebrow. "Is that what the kids call pediatricians these days? I kinda like it."
Kate gulped, unaware she dug what was left of her nails into her son's shirt until he gawked at her in alarm. "Uh, no. Only those I work for."
Dr. Harris inched away from her — then glanced at Drew's file on the cabinet beside the bed. His face changed from apprehension to surprise in a heartbeat. "You're Kate Henderson?"
With a self-conscious wave, she said, "Guilty."
"You work for me." Even though he offered a kind smile, his face paled and his deep baritone voice held a slight crack. "Dr. Stern promised you were the best. I'm optimistic we'll be good together. I mean — work well together."
Much to her horror, her skin grew hotter, and her stomach had since climbed out of her sneakers to perform weird flip-flops. At least it had crawled back to where it belonged.
He cleared his throat. "Having a nice vacation?"
"I was until my child got hurt and I proceeded to embarrass myself in front of the man who will — please, God — still sign my paychecks."
Dr. Harris glanced at Drew. "Do you think your mom embarrassed herself?"
"Well, don't pick on her too much." He took a deep breath. "Buddy, I hate to tell you this, but you need stitches."
"Aw, man." Drew buried his face in his hands.
Kate rubbed his back. "Sweetie, look at the bright side. Now you have an awesome new story to tell your friends."
He raised his head and glared at her. "That's your idea of a bright side?"
She twisted her mouth in annoyance and muttered, "At least I had one."
"How about 'chicks dig scars?'" Dr. Harris offered.
Drew pointed a finger at him. "Now that's a bright side." He turned to the doctor. "Is it gonna hurt?"
"Depends. How old are you?"
"Oh, well, in that case, you should be fine. It's no worse than getting tackled in football."
Boy, this guy was good.
At the mention of his favorite sport, her son lit up. "You're damn — er — daggone right."
Dr. Harris rolled the instrument cart next to Drew and removed the protective covering. He picked up the syringe and filled it with anesthetic.
Drew grabbed onto her. So much for being a fearless teenager.
Kate grasped her son's hand, holding it against her stomach. His cold clammy skin on hers made her jump. Her shirt. Damn. She'd ripped a huge chunk off in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Could her indignity get any worse?
"Okay, pal." The doctor sat on a stool, then rolled it to the side of the bed. "I'm going to give you a shot to numb the pain. It'll sting with a little burn, but it won't hurt long, okay?"
Drew gulped. "Yeah."
"It'll be over before ya know it. Right, Kate?"
She'd been Kate for forty years, so why did her name suddenly sound like a seduction coming from his lips? She could only nod in response, fearing her voice would tremble if she spoke. What the devil was wrong with her? What happened to the calm and poised woman her wouldbe suitors called Ms. Not-Interested Henderson?
Dr. Harris squirted some of the medication into Drew's wound before inserting the needle.
"Just a few more seconds, bud."
Kate studied his hands. Strong and able, yet gentle, holding the syringe as if it were part of him.
Dr. Harris extracted the needle. "There. You did great."
"Can I go home now?"
That conjured a smile. "We're not quite done yet. I have to sew you up."
"Can't Mom do it?"
"She can help if she wants."
On instinct, Kate released her son and went to the sink just outside the cubicle to wash and dry her hands, ignoring their slight tremble, and then pulled on a pair of gloves.
The doctor strolled to her and whispered in her ear, "Don't say anything or the hospital admin will flip."
The soft timbre of his voice mixed with the sensual touch of his breath on her cheek. Kate paused, dazed by the erotic warmth it created. She absorbed the feeling for a moment before snapping herself out of the trance.
With her focus on the sutures, she prepared them and then handed them to the doctor as he worked. By the time he was done, Drew chatted as if he spoke to a buddy he'd known for years.
Dr. Harris stripped off the gloves and gave Drew a high five. "Your dad is going to be so proud you didn't wuss out."
Kate swallowed past the instant lump in her throat. Even now, she found it so hard to accept her beloved William was gone.
"My dad died." Drew bit his lip.
The doctor glanced at Kate and then back to her son. "Then I guess he already knows."
Drew was silent for a moment, playing with the edge of his bandage. "Can people sign this?"
"I would advise against it." Walking to the sink, Dr. Harris washed his hands. After he dried them and made a note in the file, he stood beside Kate. "I'm sorry. I didn't know about your husband."
She offered a weak smile. "You mean you've been in Seashore Cove for a week and you don't know everything there is to know about me?"
He chuckled deep in his throat, an infectious, genuine sound. "I haven't had much time to get to know anyone yet." He held out his hand. "I wish we could've met under better circumstances."
His skin was smooth, grip firm, but she'd bet her favorite, Walmart special kitchen towels they'd be gentle. Lover's hands.
She pulled away when she realized where her thoughts were headed. To cover her abrupt behavior, she attacked a non-existent scratch on her arm.
He studied her a moment then, as if he realized he was staring, cleared his throat, and turned to Drew. "Okay, buddy. I'll remove those in about a week. In the meantime, no fooling around."
"Aw, man. I can't play football?"
Drew folded his arms across his chest, his face contorting into a pout worthy of a four-year-old. "Now I'll never make the team."
"Yeah, you will."
"How do you know?"
"Because I was a coach. I can tell dedication when I see it."
Her son's face lit up like he'd been offered keys to MetLife Stadium. "Really? That's so cool."
The doctor playfully swatted the top of Drew's head with the manila folder. "Do as I say and you'll make the team."
"Okay, Coach." He dangled his legs over the side of the exam table and gingerly got to his feet. "Mom?"
Kate rushed to her son's side, then turned to Dr. Harris, hoping her voice sounded light and cheerful. "I'll see you Monday."
When they entered the waiting room, she searched out her oldest son. She found him sitting in a corner staring vacuously at the TV. As soon as Alex saw them, he jumped to his feet. "Is he okay?"
At the fear on his face, she hurried to reassure him. He had been through so much in his sixteen years. "He's fine."
Alex's shoulders relaxed. "Of course he is. He practically lives in the emergency room."
"Yeah, but I never had stitches before." Drew showed off his bandage.
"Great. While you're in there getting stitches, I'm out here watching soap operas.
"Oh, wow, sorry, dude. I'm not sure which is worse."
Drew took great delight in retelling the story of Kate's humiliation on the drive from the hospital. Hearing Alex's hysterical laughter didn't do much to ease the tension in her jaw.
"Really, Mom? You called your boss 'young man?'"
"Oh, hush. I could've called him worse."
"True, you could have called him 'Hon' like you call everyone else."
With her hands white-knuckling the wheel, she ignored her son's heckling and turned into the parking lot of the local strip mall, settling for a spot a fair distance from the Bayview Pharmacy. Summer was both a blessing and a curse for her small town. The Hamptons crowd dumped a lot of business into their economy, but it was a madhouse from Memorial Day until after Labor Day.
"Why'd you stop here?" Alex asked.
She grabbed her purse, but left the keys in the ignition with the car on. "I have to fill a prescription for Drew. You stay with him. I'll be right back."
Drew grabbed her shoulder. "You can't go in there dressed like that!"
"You need a prescription. I need to go in there to get it." She pushed open the car door. "Remember this the next time I ask you to empty the dishwasher."
As Kate hurried through the parking lot, the late-June heat melting the strips of tar on the asphalt, she tried to keep her thoughts on her son and not the fiasco she'd just endured.
She entered the pharmacy, maneuvered around out-of-towners hovering toward the suntan lotion and beach toys, and headed for the back of the store. She smiled at the tall, brunette man behind the counter and slapped the prescription on the gleaming wood surface.
Eddie Hunter picked up the slip of paper, but his deep brown eyes peered over the rim of his glasses, studying her attire. "So what did Andrew do this time to have you running around in that ensemble?"
"Fell on a beer bottle. Sixteen stitches in his shin."
"Always getting hurt. Just like his dad when we were in high school."
"If I remember correctly, you were the cause of a couple of those injuries."
"All's fair in love and hockey." Pushing his glasses up his long nose, he read the prescription. "Ah, this is from the doctor who took over Dr. Stern's practice, isn't it? I've heard good things about him. Graduated a few years early. Top of his class. They call him 'The Child Whisperer.'"
That was a creepy epithet to have. "Meaning, he establishes dominance over kids?"
Eddie snorted. "My guess is he understands them."
Well, he'd certainly whispered to Drew.
While Eddie filled the prescription, Kate strolled to the grocery store, stopping twice to explain her odd state of dress to a few locals. She didn't feel nearly as self-conscious amongst her friends and neighbors as with her boss.
Which didn't make her nerves any less pinched.
As she paced the aisles, throwing items into her cart, she thought back to how worried she'd been about losing her job with Dr. Stern's sudden retirement. Eastern Long Island had a small population of year-round residents; jobs would not be easy to find. When her former boss reassured the staff no one would lose their positions, Kate nearly collapsed in relief.
Until she met his replacement. His young replacement.
Just what she needed, another kid to babysit. Well, okay, he wasn't a kid and his silver-gray eyes weren't those of a youngster.
Kate shook the thoughts away. The last thing she wanted to do was screw up her already complicated life by hankering after her boss.
Monday was going to be very interesting.CHAPTER 2
Jake Harris entered the doctor's lounge just off the ER glad to find it empty. He poured a cup of coffee and sat on the dark brown couch facing the flat screen TV. Three kids who needed stitches, one broken arm, and a case of swimmer's ear had kept him busy since he'd met his new employee.
Too busy to ponder Kate Henderson.
"Oh boy, are you in trouble, dude," he said to the empty room.
He'd almost dropped to his knees when he realized the gorgeous, sexy woman was his head nurse. Instant attraction. Instant erection. That hadn't happened since high school.
When he arrived at the striking Victorian house that held his offices a week ago, lovely, middle-aged women surrounded him. He assumed Kate Henderson would be similar.
Boy, was he wrong.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Crazy Little Thing Called Matchmaking"
Copyright © 2018 Maggie Van Well.
Excerpted by permission of The Wild Rose Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Crazy Little Thing Called Matchmaking is a wonderful romance story about second chances. Author Maggie Van Well weaves an entertaining tale set in Seashore Cove, Long Island, that follows the May-December romance between Kate Henderson, a forty year old widow, mom of two teenage sons, and a pediatric nurse, and Dr. Jake Harris, a twenty-nine year old pediatrician, who recently relocated from Brooklyn Heights to Seashore Cove to take over a retiring doctor's practice. Written with a nice balance of humor, emotion, and romance, the reader is easily drawn into Kate and Jake's story. Kate is a grieving widow, her husband William passed away from cancer four years ago, and she is still having a hard time moving forward. Kate unexpectedly meets Jake at the local hospital ER, when her thirteen year old son Drew needed stitches to his shin. Kate can't believe that this sexy younger man is her new boss, and as for Jake, he has an instant attraction to the beautiful woman before him. With an undeniable attraction growing between Kate and Jake, a work-romance relationship slowly builds thanks to Kate's two teenage sons, who try everything under the sun to get them together! Crazy Little Thing Called Matchmaking is an enjoyable and lighthearted second chance romance tale that will keep the reader thoroughly entertained. You can't help but really like Kate, Jake, and Kate's teenage sons Drew and Alex. I found myself laughing, smiling, and cheering Kate and Jake on as their May-December romance blossomed, and as they tried to find a way to merge their two worlds together. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved the two boys' antics, I found myself snickering as I turned the pages, bless their little hearts. I can't wait to read the next book in the series! Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.