The Temptation of Dr. Colton (Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series #1860)

The Temptation of Dr. Colton (Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series #1860)

by Karen Whiddon

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Overview

The Coltons of Oklahoma series continues…and for one Colton doctor, the prognosis is deadly…



After a hit-and-run, all the frightened victim can remember is the handsome Dr. Eric Colton, who rescued her. She has no identity and no memory, other than the flash of a gunshot and a man's name. But she knows she's in grave danger.



Eric can't explain his irresistible attraction to the mystery woman who, in hours, transforms him from workaholic surgeon to vigilant bodyguard. He can't let her out of his arms, not when danger stalks her. But why? What lies hidden in her mind? Eric doesn't know what she's forgotten, but he knows people will kill to ensure she never remembers…and it's up to him to stop them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373279302
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Series: Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series , #1860
Edition description: Original
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Karen Whiddon started weaving fanciful tales for her younger brothers at the age of eleven. Amidst the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she fueled her imagination with the natural beauty that surrounded her. Karen lives in north Texas, where she shares her life with her very own hero of a husband and five rescued Boxer dogs. She is now a full-time writer! Check out her website, www.karenwhiddon.com.

Read an Excerpt

Despite the steady, light rain, Dr. Eric Colton plowed forward, chin up, his stride brisk. After a long, hot Oklahoma summer, any rain in August was a cause for celebration, though the slate-gray sky matched his mood. Walking home had become his own form of therapy, a way to clear his head after another exhilarating, stress-filled day as a trauma surgeon at Tulsa General Hospital.

The sound of tires squealing on slick pavement made him look back. A black Lincoln Town Car came barreling around the corner, engine revving. The light had just changed and a woman carrying a purple umbrella stepped into the crosswalk. The vehicle never slowed.

With his heart in his throat, he shouted a warning. Too late. As if in slow motion, he watched the car hit the woman, sending her into the air, umbrella and all. The Town Car kept going, taillights flashing red as it disappeared into the distance.

Eric ran, pulling out his cell phone and dialing 911. The woman lay in a crumpled heap on the pavement. He knelt and checked her pulse. Good. Since he knew better than to move her, he grabbed her umbrella and held it over her while he waited with her. As a small crowd gathered, he motioned them back. The same eerie calm he always experienced when he was working had settled over him, though adrenaline still pumped through his veins. Mentally, he assessed her possible injuries, already thinking ahead to types of treatment.

Siren sounding, lights flashing, an ambulance arrived. Still holding the purple umbrella, Eric identified himself as a doctor and explained what he'd witnessed. He watched as the EMTs used the scoop stretcher to get the woman up and he informed them he would be going to the hospital with her.

Once she'd been safely secured inside the ambulance, he climbed in, too. Though careful to stay in the background and not interfere, he kept a sharp eye on them as they worked on the woman. A bruise had begun to form on one high, exotic cheekbone. Even banged up, he could tell she was pretty, maybe even beautiful.

A few minutes later, they pulled up at the ER. While the EMTs got everything ready to bring the patient in, Eric took her small, delicate hand. To his shock, she opened her eyes—they were a startling light blue.

"Walter?" she asked, her husky voice weak. Before he could respond, she drifted back into unconsciousness.

Eric strode ahead, barking out orders, as they brought the woman in. Though his shift was over and Dr. Gina Patel was now on call, he wanted to be kept fully apprised of this patient's progress. He also figured the police would be around soon to question him, since he'd witnessed the entire thing, so he might as well hang around.

He stepped back and let the staff take care of the woman. When Dr. Patel came running around the corner, she stopped short at the sight of him.

"I thought you'd left."

"I had. But I saw someone get run over, so I came back with her."

Dr. Patel raised one brow. "I see. I imagine that's the patient they're paging me on."

"It is." He dragged his hand through his wet hair, surprised to see he still held the purple umbrella. "Please keep me apprised of her status."

"Will do." With a brusque nod, the other doctor hurried off.

As Eric had predicted, the police arrived shortly after. Since Eric's brother Ryan was an officer for the Tulsa PD, they recognized Eric's name. After Eric relayed everything he'd seen, which unfortunately didn't include the license plate on the Town Car, they thanked him and left.

"Dr. Colton, you should go home." Dr. Patel again, leaving the woman's room and stopping directly in front of him. "You look exhausted and clearly need some rest. You've done your civic duty. I think this patient is going to live. We'll let you know her status once we finish running all the tests. I've asked the neurologist on call to stop by as well."

Standard protocol. Nodding wearily, Eric exhaled. "Okay, thanks. Keep me posted." He knew he sounded abrupt, but if anyone would understand, it'd be the ER doctor.

He turned and headed toward the front door. Suddenly the process of trudging home in the rain—even with the woman's umbrella—seemed unbearable, so he hailed a cab instead.

Once he arrived at his town house—five blocks away from the hospital—he overtipped the cab driver and dashed inside. Once there, he eyed the purple umbrella and realized he would need to return it to her.

Leaning it against the wall in his foyer, he changed out of his drenched scrubs and toweled off his short brown hair. After pouring himself a scotch—neat—he grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. Then he poured the scotch out and opted for water instead. He expected the hospital to call at any moment, telling him they were prepping the woman for surgery. He figured she probably had a traumatic brain injury, despite what Dr. Patel thought. After all, the other doctor hadn't seen the woman get hit.

Too restless to sit, he paced in front of his floor-to-ceiling windows as dusk settled over the city.

That woman. He kept seeing the moment of impact over and over, like a video recording set on repeat that he couldn't seem to turn off. While he dealt with traumatic injuries every day, from gunshot wounds and stabbings to car accidents, he was used to seeing the patient after.

Surely after being hit like that, she'd have some sort of issue. Hopefully not a brain injury, or something internal.

The physician in him itched to be the one to heal her. The man in him wanted to find out more about her. When she'd stepped out into the crosswalk, she'd moved with a jaunty stride, despite the rain. Her purple umbrella had white cupcakes printed all along the edge.

She'd had short brown hair with reddish highlights. Even soaking wet, it had still managed to retain its curl, framing her heart-shaped face nicely.

And her eyes… Something about them, maybe the unusual light blue color, intrigued him. Who was Walter? When she'd briefly regained consciousness, she'd managed to say his name, which meant he had to be someone important to her. A husband or lover?

Sipping the water, he rolled his neck and shoulders. Though his body felt exhausted, he couldn't shut off his mind. He needed to unwind, somehow.

His building had a gym, but after being on his feet for the better part of twelve hours, the last thing he felt like doing was working out. Even though intellectually he knew it would be good for him, tonight he'd take a pass.

It was Friday night. He could call one of his brothers and see if they wanted to meet up to shoot some pool or drink a few beers, even though he'd have to stick with something nonalcoholic, just in case. But—no surprise here—he'd rather be alone.

Clicking the TV off, he turned on his Bose stereo, with his iPod set to play classical music—Bach, Beethoven, Mozart—and let the music wash over him. His taste in music had been the source of much amusement growing up on the family ranch, where everyone listened to Garth Brooks, George Strait, or Willie Nelson. One or two of his brothers had secretly listened to rock, but no one, not even his sister, Greta, understood Eric's musical choices.

He didn't care. The soaring notes and perfect melodies were the polar opposite of the often violent cases he saw each day.

Tonight though, even his favorite music couldn't soothe him. He reached for his phone, tempted to call the ER and find out the mystery woman's status. But he didn't. After all, he was on call through the weekend and if anything happened with her, they'd page him. He expected this at any time. Sometimes, waiting really was the hardest part.

The woman opened her eyes, fighting back panic. Where was she? What had happened? Machines beeped, and she realized she had an IV in her arm. A hospital? She tried to remember. Had there been an accident? Had she been ill? Her head hurt. No, more than hurt. Throbbed. Pressing against her forehead with her hand, she wondered if she could make it stop.

As she struggled to sit up, she set off some kind of an alarm. A nurse came running. "You're awake," she said, as if being awake was something special.

The woman nodded, then winced. "My head hurts," she said. "Actually, my entire body is in pain."

"That's to be expected. You were in a pretty serious accident, though you were lucky. Nothing is broken."

Processing this, she squinted at the other woman.

"Where am I?"

"Tulsa General." The nurse bustled around her, silencing the screeching machine, checking various things. "How are you feeling?"

She had to think about that for a second. "I'm…not sure. Dizzy? Hungry? Thirsty, maybe?"

The nurse smiled. "We can fix that. But first, can you tell me your name? We couldn't find any ID on you."

Her name. She tried to recall, to think, battling through the pain, hating that her head felt so muzzy. Finally, with a grimace, she admitted defeat. "I don't know. I can't seem to remember. I just don't remember anything!''

"That's okay," the nurse soothed. "Don't worry about that right now. I'm sure it will come to you. Meanwhile, how about I see what I can do for you in the food department."

As it turned out, not much. The attending doctor had ordered a liquid-only diet until all the test results were in. She was given some tasteless broth, and unsweetened tea. Which turned out to be okay, since an attempt to drink the broth had her gagging.

What on earth had happened to her, and why couldn't she remember even her own name? After racking her brain, the woman closed her eyes and went to sleep.

Despite Eric's certainty, a call didn't come that night. He fought the urge to phone the hospital himself, well aware that he needed to force himself to have a little separation from work. His colleagues had been telling him that for months now. Heck, even the nursing staff had taken to asking him when he'd take a vacation.

Time off. Such a concept was for other people, not him. He'd worked too hard to perform his life's work just to chuck it for a week or two. There probably existed a healthy balance between work and personal life, but for him such a thing was an abstract concept. A couple of guys he knew from back when they'd done their residencies had all complained about the eighty-and ninety-hour workweeks, but Eric never had. The more time he worked, the more he thrived.

Being a trauma surgeon was all he'd ever wanted to do. If not for his siblings' insistence that he spend the occasional time hanging out with them, he figured he'd probably devote every waking hour to the hospital.

His three brothers, one sister and one half brother had made it their mission to ensure he saw his family. Even if Eric never found time to visit the Lucky C—the Colton family ranch—they all drove in to Tulsa to spend time with him. He appreciated this more than they knew. He valued his family connection and loved his siblings.

Their closeness helped Eric live with his parents' distance. His mother and father never came to see him. Despite Eric's oldest brother, Jack's, dedication to the family business, Big J—as they called their father, John—had never gotten over his second son's defection to another line of work. At least the man had an excuse, unlike Abra, his mother.

All through his youth, Eric's mother had always been too self-involved, too busy with her travel and her shopping to care about her children. Only once her friends had begun commenting on how fortunate she was to have a doctor in the family did she begin to make noises of approval about his career. By then, it had been too little, too late.

Eric told himself he'd gotten used to the fact that neither of his parents had even seen his town house. He even wondered what it said about him that his parents' lack of interest in his life rarely bothered him anymore.

And then the unthinkable had happened. A few months ago someone had attacked Abra and she'd been transferred to Tulsa General. Eric had been on call, and seeing his mother's beaten, comatose body had made him realize how foolish their stubborn feud had been.

Her condition had been stabilized and there'd been nothing to do but wait. The neurologist had said in cases like hers, there was a fifty-fifty chance.

Months had gone by and Abra remained in a coma. Big J had hired a private nursing firm and had her moved to the Lucky C. Though the waiting seemed agonizing, Eric knew only time could heal her. She'd wake when she was ready, or not at all.

He hoped she woke. The two of them had a few fences to mend. Never again would he let his hurt pride get in the way of what mattered.

Thinking about his family finally lulled him to sleep.

The next morning, even though it was a Saturday, he woke at five, his usual time. Once he slugged back a glass of water, he dressed and hurried downstairs to the building's gym. He pounded out ten minutes of cardio, worked his upper body with free weights and then did another ten on the treadmill.

Satisfied and sweaty, he returned to his town house, downed a protein shake and showered. He'd promised to meet his sister, Greta, for lunch later since she was in town, but he still had enough time to run up to the hospital and check on the mystery woman. Surely by now they'd moved her to a regular room.

When he arrived, the nurse on call, an older woman who always seemed disgruntled, frowned at him. "Dr. Colton? Are you doing rounds today, too? I show you're off for the weekend."

With a shrug, he slipped behind the counter and checked the computer. "I witnessed a woman hit by a car and brought her into the ER last night. What's her status? Sorry, I don't know her name."

"Jane Doe?"

"That's her name?" He crossed his arms. "Or is that what you're calling her until you learn her real name?"

"The latter. She's been admitted for observation."

"Observation?" Which explained why he hadn't gotten a phone call.

"Yes." She handed him the chart. "Take a look yourself."

Flipping through the pages, he barely noticed when the nurse bustled off. Unbelievably, all Jane Doe appeared to have suffered was a concussion and some bruised ribs. No broken bones or internal injuries. Wow. As far as he could tell, she was the luckiest woman in Tulsa.

He might as well take a look at her while he was here. Chart in hand, he hurried down the hall toward her room.

After tapping briskly twice, he pushed open the door and called out a quiet "Good morning." Apparently, he'd woken her. She blinked groggily up at him, her amazing pale blue eyes slow to focus on him. He couldn't help but notice her long and thick lashes.

"Doctor?" Pushing herself up on her elbows, she shoved her light brown curls away from her face. "You look so familiar."

"That's because I rode with you in the ambulance last night."

"Ambulance?" She tilted her head, giving him an uncertain smile. "I'm afraid I don't know anything about that."

Amnesia? He frowned. "How much do you remember?" he asked.

"Nothing." Her husky voice broke and her full lips quivered, just the slightest bit. "Not even my name or what happened to me."

He took a seat in the chair next to the bed, suppressing the urge to take her hand. "Give it time. You've suffered a traumatic accident. I'm quite confident you'll start to remember bits and pieces as time goes on."

"I hope so." Her sleepy smile transformed her face, lighting her up, changing her from pretty to absolutely gorgeous.

Unbelievably, he felt his body stir in response. Shocked, he nearly pushed to his feet. This kind of thing had never happened to him, ever. He'd learned to maintain a professional detachment.

Yet something about this woman was different. She seemed more…helpless, or something. And cute. Despite her bruises and the road rash on her cheek and neck, she reminded him of a flower, delicate and fresh.

Again, not appropriate. But, he reminded himself, he was not her doctor. He'd only witnessed her accident after his shift.

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The Temptation of Dr. Colton (Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series #1860) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: The Temptation of Dr. Colton - The Coltons of Oklahoma Book 3 Author: Karen Whiddon Published: 8-4-2015 Publisher: Harlequin US & Canada Pages: 288 Genre: Mysteries, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Romance; Contemporary; Crime; Series ISBN: 13-978-0373279302 ASIN: B00TE3TF1E Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.25 Stars . I received a copy of The Temptation of Dr. Colton from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for my honest review. Eric, a trauma surgeon for Tulsa General, witnesses a hit run when he walks home following his shift. He goes with her to the hospital and visits her the following day only to find that she has no memory of who she is or what happened to her. When she is released with no where to go Eric takes her in. When someone continues to target her he surprises both co-workers and family by taking her to the family ranch, the Luck C, where the family rallies together to help protect her. Fighting their attraction to one another until she remembers more of her past than a man's name and a flash of a gun, they look for a killer before he succeeds. Abra Colton is also at the ranch in a coma. Although there are a few slow parts in the story line, but it still moves steadily for the most. The characters are still multidimensional individuals with well-rounded personalities. The main characters still work through their roadblocks as the investigation into the assault on Abra continues. Will she continue in a coma or will she finally awaken? Who is behind all the strange happenings? Can they al survive unharmed? While there is a HEA, but the are a few unanswered questions to continue into the next story. My rating is 4.25 out of 5 stars, mostly because of the slow spots. This group of writers is very talented and work well together to keep continuity in the story line and the characters the same as they reappear throughout the books. This is a great series for mystery buffs, romance lovers and series that carries characters from book to book. Check it out for yourself today.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
Good romantic suspense. A couple of love scenes. Lots of action, danger& drama. I like the Coltons of Oklahoma. They are a big ranching family. Dr. Eric Colton has left the ranch. He is a trauma surgeon. He is walking back home after work and he sees a woman hit by a car and take off. Eric is always at work . He takes a personal interest in the woman he saw hurt. MW can't remember anything. Surprising she was not hurt except for bruises. The hospital after keeping her over nigh had to release her. Eric decides he can't just let her be homeless so brings her home. He names her MW for mystery woman. She finds that she likes to cook when she is stressed. While out shopping with Eric's sister to get some clothes a van pulls up and tries to force her into the vehicle. It could be random but it worries them. Every time it starts to settle down something else happens. Makes you want to know what will happen next, I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give a honest review of The Temptation of Dr. Colt.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
Dr Eric Colton is acting out of character: he sees a Mystery Woman been hit by a car, intentionally, and his life is changed forever. The attraction between MW (Mystery Woman) and Eric is so strong, it is like a magnet pulling them together. Eric opens up his heart, his wallet, and his home to take care of her, without knowing anything about her or her past, only that someone is repeatedly trying to kill her. For Eric to risk everything, to protect and safeguard MW, shows how deeply he is attracted to her. I enjoyed the Colton family, I read the first book in the series, and they are a great bunch of people, the siblings are fun, the family dynamics a bit dysfunctional, and there's always a lot of drama around them. It was nice to catch up with the family again. There's a great insight into Eric, his personality, and why he has always felt an outsider with his own family, the resentment he feels for his parents, and how he built his own life and future despite the lack of support from his family. Even with amnesia, MW's true personality comes forward. Her kindness, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, and her love for cooking and baking. Together MW and Eric makes a great team, they seem to compliment each other in many ways, and the chemistry between them is unique, passionate, and appealing. When the details of MW's past start to reveal, the intensity and danger increase in the story. Every time there's a moment of peace, something else happens, a new twist into the plot, that kept the story going and interesting. After all the built up, the solution to all the action and suspense was a little flat, if not predictable. Overall a fascinating, enjoyable, and at times a thrilling story. You really can't miss the target, when mixing medical drama with a cowboy and romantic suspense together! ~ Four Spoons
Pure_Jonel More than 1 year ago
What a unique and suspenseful story. Whiddon has taken the Coltons of Oklahoma and given them a twist. She builds up the suspense and danger throughout. The combination of the known events of the story and trying to guess what it is that MW has forgotten truly had me guessing. Every time I thought that I had it figured out, Whiddon would throw a new twist at me. Not only does the world of the series become more developed, but the mystery within this story itself is unforgettable. I love how the characters really took off in this series. The hidden depths of Eric’s character clash with yet also enhance MW’s missing memories. Their instant attraction added even more twists to the already intriguing storyline. Not only were the main characters unforgettable, but the rest of the family really comes to life as well. I’d really like to know why the Coltons seem familiar to MW. I hope it comes out later in the series. This novel is definitely a great addition to the Colton’s of Oklahoma series. Whiddon kept me on my toes while also telling me a story that captured my heart. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.