The Woman He's Been Waiting For

The Woman He's Been Waiting For

by Jennifer Taylor

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460358931
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 10/17/2016
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 436 KB

About the Author

Jennifer Taylor has been writing Mills&Boon Tender Romances for some time but only recently "discovered" Medical Romances. She was so captivated by these heart-warming stories that she immediately set out to write them herself!

Having worked in scientific research, Jennifer enjoys the research involved with the writing of each book, as well as the chance it gives her to create a cast of wonderful new characters. When not writing or doing research for her latest book, Jennifer's hobbies include reading, travel and walking her dog.

She lives in the north-west of England with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

"What do you mean Harry Shaw has offered to work here?"

Dr Grace Kennedy couldn't conceal her astonishment as she rounded on her partner, Miles Farrington. It was the end of a particularly stressful week at Ferndale Surgery and she and Miles had been trying to come up with a solution to their latest crisis when he had dropped his bombshell. Not only had their locum upped and left on New Year's Eve without giving them notice but yesterday their practice nurse had tripped and broken her ankle.

It would be some while before Alison was fit to return to work. In the meantime, they would have to manage without a nurse because they would never be able to find a replacement at this time of the year. There were a lot of reasons, in fact, why Grace was in no mood to play silly games.

"The same Harry Shaw who once said that only people without ambition went into general practice? Oh, this has to be a joke, Miles, please."

"I don't recall Harry saying that about general practice." Miles broke off when Grace glared at him. "Harry was probably winding you up. You know what he's like. Anyway, he phoned me last night to say that he was in the area so I invited him round for a drink and just happened to mention the problems we were having during the course of the conversation. I was as surprised as you are when he offered his services, but you have to admit it would be the ideal solution. Oh, I know that you and Harry didn't exactly hit it off at med school"

"And whose fault was that?" Grace paced across the room then swung round and scowled at her partner. "Harry Shaw was a complete waste of space, in my opinion. The only thing he was interested in was seeing how many women he could sweet-talk into his bed."

"Mmm, he did have rather an effect on the ladies,"Miles observed admiringly. He cleared his throat when he saw Grace's expression darken. "But, all that aside, you have to admit that Harry was one of the brightest students in our year. It was the same during our pre-reg training when we were at Leeds together. It was Harry who was tipped for great things and he's achieved them, too. You must have followed his progress over the years, surely?"

Grace ignored the question. She had no intention of admitting that she'd been keeping tabs on Harry. To be frank, she wasn't sure why she'd bothered when she disliked the wretched man so much. Maybe it had been a way to prove to herself that she didn't care about professional glory and only wanted to do her job to the very best of her ability, but she could have recited Harry's CV from memory: the youngest consultant ever appointed to a post; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; member of the new government health service advisory committee.

"Then why does he want to work here?" Grace blanked out the rest of Harry's glittering résumé because it really wasn't relevant. She fixed Miles with a look that made him squirm but she refused to feel guilty. Once Miles got an idea into his head, it was difficult to make him see sense, but there was no way that she was going to agree to his latest proposal.

"Just look at the facts, Miles. We run a very busy rural practice here. We don't take private patients and we certainly don't have any VIPs on our list. We're just your average, run-of-the-mill GPs' surgery and I find it hard to understand why Harry would offer to work here. So you tell me, what's in it for Harry?"

"The pleasure of your company?"

Grace spun round when a familiar voice cut into the conversation. Her mouth thinned when she spotted Harry lounging in the doorway. It had been some time since she'd seen him but he'd changed very little from what she could tell. As her eyes skimmed over the coal-black hair, the marine-blue eyes, the clean-cut jaw, she couldn't stop the appreciative flutter her nerves gave, a warning that she was as susceptible as any woman to Harry Shaw's undoubted charms. The difference was that she knew what he was really like and she wasn't about to be taken in by good looks and a nice line in chat.

"I'm flattered, Harry. Or I would be if I was fool enough to believe you." She treated him to a chilly smile which wavered when she saw the expression that crossed his face. Good heavens, surely Harry's feelings hadn't been hurt by that remark.

"Harry, good to see you again. I was beginning to wonder if you'd got lost. I'm hopeless at giving people directions, I'm afraid." Miles leapt to his feet and rushed across the room to greet him.

Grace dismissed that fanciful notion when she realised what her partner had said. She looked accusingly at him as he led Harry over to the desk. "You never mentioned that you'd invited Harry here tonight."

"Didn't I? Purely an oversight, I assure you." Miles fussed around, fetching a chair and taking Harry's overcoat. He hung it on the peg behind the door then looked pleadingly at Grace. "I know we haven't had time to discuss this, but you know as well as I do that we desperately need help. I've been onto the agency every single day this week about hiring another locum but they simply haven't got anyone on their books willing to relocate at this time of the year. Nobody wants to spend the winter months in such a remote part of the country, apparently."

"So what you're saying is that it's Harry or nothing," Grace said sweetly.

"Well, I wouldn't put it quite like that," Miles blustered in embarrassment, although Harry didn't seem the least perturbed by her bluntness.

"Why not, if it's true?"He clapped Miles on the shoulder then smiled at Grace. "A bit of a dilemma for you, isn't it? It's a choice between letting me loose on your patients or going under. I'd find it very difficult to choose in your shoes, too, Gracie."

"Don't call me that." She sat down behind her desk and glared at him. "You know how I hate stupid nicknames."

"Sorry."

He didn't sound sorry but short of making a fuss and thereby letting him think he'd scored a point, there was nothing she could do about it. She smiled up at him, her grey eyes colder than the January sky outside the consulting-room window. "Apology accepted. So shall we start from the beginning? Why have you offered to work here when you made it abundantly clear in the past what you thought about general practice?"

"Because you and Miles need a helping hand."

Harry sat down and crossed one long leg over the other as he waited for her next sally. Grace wasn't fool enough to go rushing in unprepared, however. She took the time to study him instead.

He was as impeccably dressed as ever, she noted sourly, the black suit he was wearing obviously not something he'd picked up off the peg. He'd teamed it with a pale blue shirt and a jaunty red and blue silk tie that must have cost a small fortune, but, then, money had never been a problem for Harry because his family was loaded. Harry was used to having the best of everything and it showed.

By contrast, poor Miles looked even more dishevelled than usual. Miles had been struggling to cope since his wife, Penny, had found out last month that she was pregnant. Penny had lost a baby only the previous year and they were both desperate that she didn't lose this one, so Miles had insisted that Penny must do as little as possible during the first trimester. However, it had put him under even more pressure and it was starting to show.

Grace knew that Miles had been doing far too much, but there was little she could do to help when her own workload seemed to be increasing on an almost daily basis. The truth was that the practice was getting far too big for the two of them to manage. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, having Harry here, if it gave them a respite, she conceded grudgingly.

"How about a cup of coffee?"Miles suggested, jumping up. He rubbed his chest and grimaced. "That'll teach me to bolt my lunch. I've had indigestion all afternoon. I'd better take some antacids while I'm at it."

"Don't go to any trouble on my account," Harry said easily. "I'll be having dinner when I get back to the hotel."

"Oh, it's no trouble. Anyway, it will give you and Grace a chance to talk and see if you can reach a compromise." Miles turned to her and Grace could see the beseeching look in his eyes. "Just don't say no before you've had time to think about the idea."

Grace didn't say anything. She didn't want to upset Miles but neither was she prepared to be pushed into a decision she might come to regret. She waited until the door had closed before she turned to Harry again.

"All right, I'm willing to admit that having you here would be a big help at the moment, but how come you happen to have so much free time on your hands? The last I heard you'd been appointed to some new government health committee. I'd have thought you would have had enough to do with that on top of your job at St Theresa's."

"St Theresa's has been undergoing a major refurbishment programme for the past two years. Obviously, we couldn't close the whole hospital while the work was being done so we've had to shut each department in turn." He shrugged. "It's our turn at the moment, so it seemed like the ideal opportunity to take some of the time I had owing to me."

"It won't be much of a holiday if you end up working here," she pointed out.

"Oh, I don't know. They say that a change is as good as a rest, don't they?" he quipped, tipping back his chair and grinning at her.

It was the sort of smile that Grace had seen him bestow dozens of times before on some poor unsuspecting woman or other, but if Harry thought he could turn on the charm and get her to agree to his proposal, he was mistaken. Harry never did anything unless it furthered his own interests and she wasn't about to let him fob her off with any nonsense.

"I can't see any point in trying to have a sensible discussion if that's your attitude." She went to stand up then stopped when Harry leant across the desk. Her heart jolted when she saw how serious he looked. Normally, Harry treated life as a huge joke just there for his enjoyment and it was unsettling to see this other side of him for once.

"I'm sorry. I know how you feel about me, Grace. I should do because you've always made it perfectly clear that you doubted my motives. So to answer your question properly, I happened to be in the area on business rather than on holiday. Working here for a couple of weeks won't spoil my plans one little bit."

He didn't explain what sort of business had brought him all the way to Cumbria and Grace didn't ask. What Harry did was of little interest to her, except where it impinged on her own life, of course.

"I see. Now that your business has been concluded, you have some free time on your hands."Her brows rose steeply when he nodded. "That's very altruistic of you, Harry. Not many people would offer to give up their time off like this."

"I just want to help. Miles told me about your locum leaving and what had happened to your practice nurse. You might feel that you can cope, Grace, but Miles obviously doesn't share your confidence. Quite frankly, he sounded as though he'd reached the end of his tether last night. It's obvious the two of you are under a tremendous amount of pressure and I think you need to take that into account before you turn me down."

"I don't need you to remind me about the pressure we're under," she snapped, because Harry had touched a nerve. Although she and Miles shared the responsibility of running the practice, she couldn't ignore the fact that Miles had the added worry of Penny to contend with. Not for the first time Grace found herself thinking how fortunate she was not to have to worry about anyone else. She was single out of choice and happy with her life.

Or she was most of the time.

She wasn't sure where that qualification had sprung from and quickly dismissed it. Thoughts like that would only clutter up her mind and that could prove disastrous when dealing with Harry. She sat down again and treated him to a look that was meant to prove she was in control of the situation. The problem was that Harry looked so worried that she couldn't help feeling alarmed, too.

"I'm not trying to start an argument with you, Grace. It might surprise you to learn that I didn't come here tonight for a fight. I came because I was worried about Miles. Have you looked at him recently?"

"Of course I have. I see him nearly every day of the week. What kind of a stupid question is that?"

"I mean really looked at him."Harry sat back in his chair and regarded her thoughtfully. His blue eyes were so intent that Grace found it impossible to look away.

"I didn't realise there were different ways of looking at people," she snapped, because he was making her feel really uncomfortable now.

She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear then realised what she was doing. She wasn't going to start worrying about how she looked because of Harry. No way, not in a million years. So what if she was wearing her oldest sweater"the one with the worn patches on the elbows" and a skirt that should have been sent to the charity shop months ago? And what did it matter if her nose was shiny and her hair needed brushing? She'd worked non-stop from the moment she'd arrived that morning and she'd been far too busy to worry about her appearance. Maybe Harry had the time to choose the perfect tie to go with his perfect shirt and perfect suit, but lesser mortals didn't.

She opened her mouth to tell Harry that only he'd carried on speaking. Grace felt a tremor work its way from the tips of her toes to her knees when she heard what he was saying. She wanted to stop him but some perverse little imp inside her refused to coperate.

"There's dozens of ways of looking at people. It just depends who they are and what they mean to you. It also makes a difference how long it's been since you saw them, too." Harry made a steeple with his fingers and studied her over the top of the spire. "Take you, for instance, Grace. It must be almost a year since we last saw each other and you look very different now from what you did then. Your hair is shorter for starters and although it suits you, I have to say that I think it's a shame you've had it cut because that caramel-brown colour is so unusual. You've also lost weight. Not a lot, granted, but you're definitely slimmer."

"Thank you, Harry. I think you've made your point now."

Grace brusquely cut him off. She couldn't explain it, but the fact that Harry had noticed the changes in her appearance made her feel very odd indeed. It was as though he was seeing her as a woman for the first time and she couldn't pretend that it didn't make her feel extremely conscious of her own femininity all of a sudden.

"Then you understand what I'm getting at, don't you?" Mercifully, Harry seemed unaware of her dilemma as he continued. "You see Miles every day so you probably haven't noticed the change in him, but I was shocked when I saw him last night. To be honest, I almost didn't recognise him at first. He looks like he's aged five years in the past twelve months."

"It's been tough for Miles this past year," Grace conceded. She sighed when Harry's brows rose. She could hardly refuse to explain that comment. Anyway, it might divert his interest away from her and that would be a blessing.

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