"...so give up on him and get on with your life. He will only break your heart, My conclusion as to his ability to commit is...Diagnosis Terminal!"
The Love Doctor
Daffodil "Daffy" Landry stared at her words of advice to the lovelorn and pressed her hand against her breast. Was she writing about this unknownCasanova...or about herself?
Broken Hearts Mended Here
Diagnosis Terminal! Charming, sexy, and self-made Hunter James isn't one to back away from a challenge. Slapping his copy of the New Orleans Crescent against his thigh, he approached the newspaper's outer office. How dare that anonymous, autocratic, and insufferable Love Doctor label him as incapable of commitment? Did she ever consider that he simply hasn't met the right woman? He'll uncover the author's identity and give her a piece of his mind. But first, appreciating an opportunity when it presents itself, he's got to meet the beckoning blonde behind the reception desk.
Who knows? Maybe the Love Doctor has led him to the woman of his dreams after all...
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Hailey North is a USA Today bestselling author who began writing while employed as a “game show lawyer” for NBC Studios. Tired of hearing that lawyers aren’t creative, she quit her job and typed “Chapter One” (not the chapter, just the heading!).
Since that day, Hailey has authored eight romantic comedies set in her adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in her favorite imaginary town, Doolittle, Arkansas.
Read an Excerpt
Daffodil Landry stared at the semicircle of letters spread on her desk. She had exactly thirty-seven minutes to make the deadline on her column and she'd yet to write the first word.
"Eeny-meenie-minie-mo," she murmured, fingering the only letter postmarked from outside New Orleans.
"Not done yet?" A flash of red hair whipped by the cubicle, then reversed as a slip of a woman hovered just close enough to distract. "Losing your touch, Daffy Doc?"
Daffy summoned her sweetest smile for The Crescent's managing editor. Marguerite had vehemently opposed the idea of Daffy authoring the Love Doctor column, yet when it became a hit, the editor remembered only that it was something she'd said that had sparked the concept.
"I always make my deadlines," Daffy said, slitting open the letter with the Ponchatoula postmark. Perhaps country people had more interesting love dilemmas than the city-bred. After six months of secretly penning the column, Daffy was getting restless. From the bags of mail she'd waded through, she'd learned that lovers tended to make the same mistakes over and over; something she'd certainly found to be true in her own life.
Marguerite continued to fill the doorway, drumming her bright red nails on the metal frame of the cubicle wall. Daffy unfolded the single sheet of pink-and-white stationery and forced her attention to the somewhat childishly formed lettering. From the time she'd spent at The Crescent, Daffy had learned that if ignored, Marguerite would flit away to alight elsewhere.
Outside the brick walls of the paper's offices, of course, the Love Doctor's identity remained a secret. As Marguerite, in one strategy session, had put it, the paper would be laughed out of circulation if the citizens of New Orleans discovered they were lapping up love advice from Daffodil Landry! Unless, of course, a socialite's string of broken engagements, mashed hearts, and public displays of misdirected affection could be considered prime qualifications.
But The Crescent had been struggling in its efforts to unseat its rival tabloid, The Gambit. A year ago Daffy's aunt Wisteria had bequeathed Daffy a ten percent interest, which gave Daffy some say in operations. So Marguerite had given in.
To avoid any conflicts of interest, Daffy had her editor over at the city's "real newspaper" (where she reigned as society columnist and photographer) sign off on her participation and The Crescent ran a trial column introducing Dear Love Doctor.
And now hundreds of women -- and men, though they weren't quite so open about it -- rushed out for the latest edition of The Crescent, eager to see just whom the Dear, but rather acid-tongued, Love Doctor would diagnose next. As Daffy often said to her twin, Jonquil, her own life might be a mess, but she was awfully good with other people's problems. But even Jonquil -- or Jonni, as everyone called her -- didn't know the identity of the Love Doctor.
The tapping had stopped. Alone again, Daffy blinked and realized she'd read not a word of the letter. A glance at her pavé diamond evening watch reminded her of her next obligation.
We've been dating six months; a dream come true. I've known H for years but never really dated him before. He was always popular in high school and now, well, now everyone's after him. I'm head over heels, but he's starting to make excuses about not being available, due to his work, he says. He's in New Orleans a lot and I've been told he goes out with other women there, but when he comes to see me and tells me I'm his country princess, one look at his big, brown eyes and his sexy smile and I start to melt. I can't bring myself to ask him about those other women. Should I?
Loyal But Lonesome in Ponchatoula
Daffy groaned and crumpled the letter. What a nitwit! Well, this letter would do just fine. Her readers seemed to enjoy it when she skewered someone. And with this letter, not only the writer but also its subject, H, made perfect targets.
Six months and he's restless. Daffy poised her hands above the keyboard. Six months was pretty much her limit, too. After that, a guy started to expect you to be there for him, and the men Daffy dated assumed she was as interested in marriage as they were. Mistake. Six months was about the point Daffy found some clever way to sabotage any relationship that threatened to become too comfortable. Otherwise, she'd be forced to overcome her demons and take a risk with one of them.
But that was something Daffy had never been able to bring herself to do.
She was willing to bet this H never had, either. Mr. Popular, eh? Daffy bent her fingers to the keys. She knew all about being the most popular one and how others wanted to cluster around you but never really wanted to know who you were beneath the pretty surface, and soon you got so used to protecting the image you never even looked beneath it, either. No, the nitwit in Ponchatoula was better off without this guy.
Should you ask him [she typed hastily, her own emotions interfering somewhat with her editorial judgment] about those other women? No, my dear, sweet country mouse, you should not. And why not? Because you should never speak to him again. If he calls, you're not in. If he drops by, the doorbell is broken. This man isn't ready, willing, or able to settle down -- with you or anyone...Dear Love Doctor. Copyright © by Hailey North. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.