Книга - Doctor, Mummy…Wife?


Doctor, Mummy...Wife?
Dianne Drake

The man to complete her family?Del Carson is happily single. With her new baby, and great career in paediatrics, there’s no space in her life for love. Until she meets sexy Dr Simon Michaels that is…Because Simon stirs up emotions Del thought she’d put behind her. And however much she tries, Del can’t get him out of her mind—or her heart! With Simon by her side, Del’s beginning to think the unthinkable. Maybe she doesn’t want to do this alone…

“I might drop in, depending on my parents’ plans,” Del said, and then, standing on the top step while he was two below her, she gave him a gentle kiss on the lips.

Nothing demanding, nothing deep and delving at first. Just a kiss between friends. That was the way she looked at it. Although the second kiss was more. It probed, and it was a real kiss—not just a friendly one. And it went on forever, grew in intensity until she was nearly breathless. Her face blushed and her hands trembled as she tried to bid him a nonchalant goodnight, which was nearly impossible to do given her rising feelings for him. So he didn’t want a woman with a child. But she couldn’t help the way she felt when she was around him, so what was she going to do?

“See you t-tomorrow,” she stammered as her knees trembled on her way through the door.

But before she could get inside Simon gave her a long, hard kiss. This one was deep and abiding. The kind of kiss reserved for dates and special occasions. The kind that set her heart on fire.

Dear Reader (#ulink_9937bc28-da32-5d1d-96d0-a9a8e7a9bb7e),

Years ago a friend of mine decided to have a baby on her own. Her biological clock was winding down and her doctor said her baby-making days were limited.

So she went through all the testing and finally had the baby she wanted—a fine, healthy baby girl. The joy of my friend’s life. Back then it was scandalous, making that kind of decision. People talked about her, raised their eyebrows in speculation, but my friend withstood it all because she knew exactly what she was doing. And she never regretted a second of it, or the years since then. Today her daughter is on the verge of graduating at the top of her class from nursing school and she’ll be an asset to her profession.

In my story Del finds herself in much the same spot. She wants the baby but doesn’t want the man. Until she meets my hero she pictures herself in a life without a man, and she’s quite happy there. Of course she meets the right man, and life changes for her. But in the meantime she proves that a woman can do it all and have it all these days. The old conventions no longer stand.

My friend never met the man of her dreams, but she was a strong, fantastic mother and one of the best nurses I’ll ever know. All because that was what she chose for herself. So whether or not it’s a traditional life doesn’t matter. We can do it all if we have a mind to. My heroine does, and she finds just what she wants in her life. So did my friend.

Until next time, wishing you health and happiness,


Starting in non-fiction, DIANNE DRAKE penned hundreds of articles and seven books under the name JJ Despain. In 2001 she began her romance-writing career with The Doctor Dilemma, published by Harlequin Duets. In 2005 Dianne’s first Medical Romance, Nurse in Recovery, was published, and with more than 20 novels to her credit she has enjoyed writing for Mills & Boon ever since.



Dianne Drake

www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk)

Praise for Dianne Drake (#ulink_135cb920-ddea-5f52-9eea-72f980eaa699)

‘A very emotional, heart-tugging story. A beautifully written book. This story brought tears to my eyes in several parts.’

—Goodreads on P.S. You’re a Daddy!


COVER (#udc1ad5c9-c4c0-5553-b140-1f51b3591557)

INTRODUCTION (#uf8f08a10-28ac-5381-a6b2-086526d73a1b)

Dear Reader (#u5cf7ffe4-7de6-5288-9656-e6f973aee94a)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (#u9a358a0e-9f8c-5613-9a09-72159b9484c1)

TITLE PAGE (#u02905f69-0df1-59cd-814c-458be9bb56b8)

Praise for Dianne Drake (#u4d72ea55-dd5c-5a27-89f1-a69c97629077)

CHAPTER ONE (#u06923b77-e4ce-560c-a383-dbab2d6497c9)

CHAPTER TWO (#udfdc3fb4-573e-5994-b4a0-8b3f49ec808a)

CHAPTER THREE (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER FOUR (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER FIVE (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER SIX (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER SEVEN (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER EIGHT (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER NINE (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER TEN (#litres_trial_promo)

COPYRIGHT (#litres_trial_promo)

CHAPTER ONE (#ulink_2bd890ed-4251-5310-a4a3-5eef1b0762c6)

DR. DEL CARSON stumbled out of bed and groggily dragged herself into the nursery. A blue ceiling with white clouds, yellow walls with blue and white ducks and puppies greeted her as she turned on the overhead light and sighed.

“What now, sweetie?” she asked in a typically sleep-deprived thick voice as she trudged over to the crib and looked in at the six-month-old, who looked up at her and laughed at her with glee, as if he was eager to get his day started in the middle of the night. “Is it a diaper, or is this just your way of making sure your mommy doesn’t get to sleep more than an hour at a time?”

Or maybe he just had her wrapped around his little finger; since it was just the two of them, she’d spent the first six months of his life catering to his every need.

It didn’t matter, really. This was what she’d signed on for when she’d decided to become a mom, and any chance to make her baby’s life better was welcome.

Tonight Charlie was particularly restless, all bright-eyed and ready to play, but, personally, she was played out. Even though the diaper seemed clean and dry, she changed it anyway out of habit, then sat down in the Victorian rocker, the one her mother had rocked her in, rocked little Charles Edward Carson until he was ready to go back to sleep for another hour. Two if Del was lucky.

Single motherhood was difficult, and she got all the support she could want from her family and friends. Being an only child, though, she missed the camaraderie of a sister or brother to take part in Charlie’s life. He had no aunts or uncles, no cousins. Not on her side, and the father’s side didn’t matter since he was just a matchup on paper. A statistic that had struck her fancy.

It made her wonder sometimes if she should have another baby so Charlie wouldn’t be raised in an isolated situation the way he was now. Del was a firm believer that children did better with siblings, and that was a thought she had tucked away in the back of her mind to visit in another year or two. “We’ll get it worked out, Charlie,” she said to the baby in her arms. “One way or another this will all have a happy ending.”

The issue of single motherhood to deal with took an awful lot of hours when it was just the two of them—her and Charlie. She was continually amazed how much time someone so young could take up in the span of a single day. It was as if he’d hatched a plan to run away with every free second she had. But she loved it, loved her choice to become a mother on her own. No father involved, except Donor 3045, and she was grateful for his good genes because he’d given her such a healthy, beautiful child. The perfect child, as far as she was concerned.

She loved being a mother, even with the inconveniences. Loved spending time with her son. “My one and only true love,” she would tell him. “For now it’s just the two of us against the world.”

Her parents lived in Costa Rica. They were supportive but not close by, which was one of the reasons she’d chosen to do this now. Her parents would have spoiled little Charlie rotten, and that was fine up to a point, but not to the extent she feared they might have gone. After all, five years in a horrible relationship had made them spoil her rotten when she’d finally found the courage to end it. That was just who they were, but she didn’t want to raise a spoiled-rotten or privileged child. So they’d made their plans and, accordingly, she’d made hers. And she didn’t regret it one little bit.

“Well, Charlie,” she said as she put the baby back into his crib. “Are you going to let your momma sleep the rest of the night?” She was so tired she gave some thought to simply curling up in the rocker and pulling up a comforter. But little Charlie was fast asleep, so she held out some hope for three hours of sleep before he woke up and wanted to be fed, changed or just cuddled some more.

The life of a single mom. It wasn’t easy, but she was taking advantage of it because in another two weeks’ time she was trading in her maternity leave and returning to her medical practice with some on call and nighttime exclusions. Charlie was going to the hospital day care so she’d have easy access to him whenever she needed her baby fix. Sure, she was going to miss him. But she missed her old life, too, and she happened to be a staunch advocate of women who wanted it all. She certainly did. Every last speck of it except the part where there was a man included, and she wasn’t ready to go there again. Not for a very long time to come. If ever again. And if she ever did that again he was going to have to be awfully special. Someone who’d love Charlie as much as she did.

Del, short for Delphine, sighed. She loved her work as a pediatrician in a private practice attached to Chicago Lakeside Hospital. In fact she had a passion for her work that couldn’t be quelled by anything but work. Yet somehow, now that she was a mom, she knew her sensibilities had changed. To a doctor who now had a child, those little coughs and colds meant so much more. And when a mother’s instinct dictated something wasn’t right, the mother’s instinct won. Being a mother-pediatrician rather than a plain old pediatrician was going to be a big advantage and, as much as she hated thinking about leaving Charlie behind for her work hours, she was looking forward to getting back to her normal life and trying to make all things fit together. It wasn’t going to be easy, but if there was one thing Del was, it was determined, and she was determined to make sure all things worked together in her life.

“Good night again, love,” she said quietly as she tiptoed from the room, turned on the night-light and lumbered down the hall back into her own bed. Unfortunately, sleep didn’t happen as quickly as she’d hoped, and she lay awake staring off into the dark for about half an hour before her eyelids finally drooped. “I’m a lucky woman,” she whispered into the dark as she was drifting. “I have everything.” A beautiful child, a strong, supportive family, a good job. Best of all, no man to interfere.

She’d given away five long years to a man, always holding out the hope that he was the one who would complete her life. Problem was, he was completing the lives of several other women while she and Eric were going nowhere. So when she finally opened her eyes at the five-year point and took a good, hard look at the situation, she kicked him to the curb and decided she was in charge of creating and fulfilling her own dreams. No one else except one anonymous sperm donor needed.

It was a good choice, and as she drifted off to sleep, she did so with a smile on her lips.

* * *

Dr. Simon Michaels took a look out over the receptionist’s shoulder at all the mothers and fathers waiting with sick children. It was cold and flu season, and if he didn’t pick up the bug from one of these kids it would be a miracle. “How many more do I have to see?” he asked Rochelle, the girl at the desk. Rochelle was a tiny little thing who looked like one of the patients, and by comparison Simon felt he overshadowed her by a good foot. He, with his broad shoulders and longish brown hair, had to make sure he didn’t treat Rochelle as a kid because, after all, she was well over twenty-one, and very efficient in her job.

She looked over the top of her glasses then laughed. “That’s just what’s left of the morning appointment block. You’re going to have at least that many this afternoon, and tonight’s your night for on call, so look out. Around here we look at Halloween as scary but not for the same reason most people do. We’d much rather see a goblin than a flu bug.”

“Any word on when the mysterious Del Carson will be back?” He’d been hired to replace Del during her leave, then asked to stay on as a permanent member of the pediatrics clinic team. He’d heard of Del, but never met her. In fact, what he’d been told was that she was an excellent doctor, if not an overprotective mother who didn’t want to come in for fear that she might contract some disease and take it home to her baby. He didn’t know if that was true or not, but the only truth he knew was that she was merely a name in passing. Someone who would be his boss when she returned.

“Be patient,” Rochelle warned. “She’ll get here when she’s ready. That new baby of hers is taking up a fierce amount of her time right now, but I expect she’ll be back in a couple weeks or so, if she doesn’t change her mind and stay home another half year.” Rochelle smiled. “She loves being a mother.”

“And there’s no father?”

Rochelle shook her head. “Her choice. And she’s proud of it, not shy in the least to talk about it.”

“Well, that’s something you’ve got to admire—a woman who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it.” It couldn’t be easy, and it would get a whole lot more difficult once she was back at work. He wondered if she fully realized what she was letting herself in for. “Can’t wait to meet her. It will be nice having more help,” he said, even though it wasn’t his intention to complain. And he wouldn’t. After all, he had a job in the location of his dreams. He was finally back home in Chicago after all those years in Boston and, as they said, “There’s no place like home.”

In fact, he lived only a few blocks from where he was raised. All within sight of the Navy Pier and the lakeshore. It was good. Pediatrics was such a full field here, though, that when he’d got the call to come and interview, he couldn’t believe his good luck. No place at County Hospital, no place at Lakeside. Just no place. Then this spot came open—the pediatric clinic attached to Lakeside—and it was a godsend at a time that couldn’t have suited him any better. Divorced from Yvette, who hadn’t turned out to be the woman he’d thought she was, working in a practice where he was clearly never going to advance, cynical about life in general, feeling as if the whole world were closing in around his bad choices... Coming home was better, even if his workload was crazy big right now.

What the hell did that matter, though? It wasn’t as if he had anything else going on in his life other than his work—a situation that suited him just fine. In fact, to avoid some of the long lonely nights he even took call for his colleagues just to give him something to do. Some might call it crazy, but he called it picking up the pieces of his broken life.

“So the plan is for her to be back in two weeks?” He grimaced. There were two weeks of work waiting to see him right now, and he was the only general pediatrician in the house today. The other two had succumbed to the virus that was being spread like wildfire. Leaving him to roll up his sleeves and just pitch in, keeping his fingers crossed that he stayed healthy so he could handle the workload.

Pulling up his surgical mask and snapping on a fresh pair of gloves, he sighed. “Send in the next one.”

Rochelle chuckled. “Wouldn’t it just be quicker to go out there, sit them in a circle and look at them as a group?”

“What would be easier would be flu shots. But people don’t think about getting vaccinated until they’re already sick with the flu.”

She pointed to her upper arm. “Got mine. Hope you got yours.”

“I’ve been a pediatrician too long not to.” But that didn’t mean he wasn’t susceptible. Because vaccinations weren’t foolproof, as his colleagues had discovered.

Two more weeks and Del Carson might reappear. Admittedly, after six months of hearing glowing reports about her, he was anxious to meet her. “You don’t suppose we could convince Dr. Carson to come back early, do you?” he asked as he grabbed up the next patient chart. Five years old, fever, runny nose, cough, generally out of sorts.

“She values her baby time. She’ll be back when she’s back.”

Of all the bad timing to be on leave... He signaled for his nurse, Ellie Blanchard, and off they went, back to work. Vaccinating children and parents alike, dispensing antinausea medicine, and generally just trying to make it through the day. “Next,” he said as he stepped into Exam Four. “And get me two more ready to go. We’ve got a lot of patients to see in the next hour.” Glancing up at the clock on the wall, he shook his head. Not enough time. Not nearly enough time even if he worked through his lunch hour.

* * *

No trying to hide it, she had tears streaming down her cheeks as she handed Charlie to the day-care director then headed down the winding walkway to the clinic. It wasn’t as if she didn’t trust the center to take good care of him. They had an excellent reputation and the staff in general spoke very highly of them—but this was her baby she was handing over and being only a building away didn’t make any difference. She hated doing it. Considered at the very last minute whether or not she was ready to go back to work or if another six months’ maternity leave might be called for.

But one look at the swamped clinic told her she was doing the right thing. Other children needed her, too. And admittedly, she did feel that tingle of excitement the moment she stepped through the front door—a tingle that told her she was back where she belonged.

There were lots of single moms just like her who left their children and went to work every day. She didn’t have someone to support the two of them. It was up to her. Besides, she loved her work. Still, she was sniffling as she approached her office door and went inside. Leaving Charlie behind made her feel so empty, so alone. “Suck it up,” she told herself as she pulled on her lab coat, the one with her name embroidered onto the pocket. “You knew this was how it was going to be when you did this.”

Still, she hadn’t counted on it being so difficult. “But you’re lucky,” she said as she looked in the bathroom mirror and touched up her streaky eyes. “You’ve got excellent day care and you’re only a few steps away.” A few steps that seemed like miles. Damn it! She wanted to be home with her baby even though she knew she was needed here. Torn in half—that was how she felt. Completely ripped down the center.

Taking in a deep breath, she exited her office and stepped almost directly into the path of a doctor she didn’t recognize. The new hire? “Sorry,” she said, trying to find a smile for him even though it simply wasn’t in her to be found.

“You must be Dr. Carson,” he said, extending his hand to her.

She gripped it weakly. “And you are... Was that Dr. Michaels?”

“Call me Simon.”

“And I’m Del,” she said, appraising the hunk of man standing right in front of her. OK, so she’d vowed off involvement, but she could still look, and what caught her attention first, outside his very soft hands, were his stunning green eyes. They were serious, but she could almost picture them smiling and sexy.

“Well, Del, I’m glad you’re finally back. We’ve been too busy to make much sense of our patient load for a while, and we’ve needed you.”

“My baby needed me more than the clinic did.”

“I imagine he did,” Simon said, “but you haven’t been here and the pace has been crazy.”

She looked over his shoulder to a normal waiting room. “Looks like things are under control to me.”

“Want to know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to take a lunch break?”

She laughed. “No guesses from me. We all have to make sacrifices, Dr. Michaels. Some bigger than others.”

“You’re referring to leaving your baby in day care?”

“That, and other things.” But mostly that.

“Well, at least it’s a good day care and nearby. That’s an advantage for you.”

“But I don’t have to like it.”

“All I said was I’m glad you’re finally back. You were needed.”

“And I appreciate that, but I was also needed at home.” Where she wished she could have stayed. “But it’s nice to be missed. I take it you don’t have any children?”

He paused for a moment, then winced. “No children. Divorced. No future plans for anything except working.”

“And yet you complain about too much work.”

“Not complain so much as remark. We’re busy here. We needed you. Simple as that.” He chuckled. “Almost as much as you need me.”

“Well, you’ve got me there. We do need you, especially right now.”

Simon nodded. “During the flu outbreak the average wait time was an hour per patient. Which is too long for a sick kid to have to sit there and wait.”

“See, you could have told me that right off.”

“Pent-up frustrations,” he said. “I’ve been working hard.”

“I can see that.” She smiled at him. “Well, you’re right. An hour is too long. We like to guarantee no more than twenty minutes. Shorter if we can get away with it.”

“Sorry about my attitude, but all I could picture in my mind was you sitting at home playing with your baby when we had patients lined up in the hallways.”

“Trust me, it wasn’t all play. Babies require a lot of work.”

“I know, I know. I’m think I’m just tired... I know it must have been hard work, especially on your own,” he said.

“So how about we get off to a fresh start? Hello, I’m Del Carson and you’re...”

“Simon Michaels.” He held out his hand to shake hers and they both smiled. “So how was your maternity leave?”

“Great. I hated for it to be over with but all good things must end. So, how many patients do we have to see this morning?”

“About twenty, barring emergencies.”

She nodded. “I’ll grab some charts and get started.”

“And after I get my foot out of my mouth, I’ll do the same.”

Del laughed. “You were right up to a point. I was entitled to my maternity leave and I don’t regret taking it. But things shouldn’t have gotten so out of control here at the clinic. Someone should have called me and I might have been able to get a couple of our specialists out here to help with the overflow.”

“I tried,” Simon confessed, “but I’ll admit my attitude might have been better.”

“I didn’t read anything about a bad attitude in your application or your letters of recommendation. And even though I never met you until just a few minutes ago, I called your superiors in Boston and they gave you glowing reviews.”

“Probably anxious to get me out of there. I’m a pretty fair doctor but I do let things get to me too easily, I suppose. You know, take it all too personally.”

“We all do at times. And I suppose especially the newcomer who’s being the logical target.” For a moment, a softness flashed through his eyes.

“Six months is a long time to be away.”

“Not long enough,” she replied. “I was actually thinking about another six, but I love my work as much as you seem to love yours. So I came back.”

“Straight into the arms of a disgruntled employee.”

“Nice, sturdy arms, though. And I’m willing to bet they hold no grudges.”

“Me? Hold a grudge?” He laughed outright. “Grudge is my middle name. Ask my ex-wife.”

“Think I’ll stay out of the family problems.”

“So, I understand you’re raising your baby all on your own.”

“Yes, it’s just Charlie and me but that’s the way I planned it.”

“Well, I suppose that’s the way to do it if you want to keep your autonomy.”

“More like my sanity.” They meandered down the hall to the clinic’s nursing hub and she picked up the first chart off the stack. “And contrary to popular belief, I am sane.”

“Reasonable, too, dealing with me as diplomatically as you have this morning. I must confess that when I heard you were coming back I put together some mighty well-chosen words for you.”

“So I noticed,” she said as she opened the chart and looked at the info contained inside. “But they could have been worse.” The first patient was a child named Sam with some sort of rash. Her first fear was a communicable rash and her next fear was that she might transfer something to Charlie. Truth was, if she didn’t get over her irrational fears, she wasn’t going to be any good as a pediatrician anymore. Most kids that came in were communicable and if she worried about carrying something home to her baby every time she came into contact with a sick kid, she’d drive herself crazy. Plus there was also the possibility that she might be too cautious to make a proper diagnosis. Obsession. That was what it was called. She had an obsession, and she wondered for a moment if she should seek professional help for it. But the instant she stepped in Sam’s exam room and saw the rash she knew the poor kid was miserable. He was obviously allergic to something with which he was coming into contact.

“Does it hurt or itch?” she asked him.

“He scratches it like crazy,” Sam’s mother answered as Sam’s eyes filled with big, fat tears.

“When did it start?”

“Three days ago?”

“What happened three days ago that changed his routine?”

“Nothing except...we went picking pumpkins in the pumpkin patch for Halloween. He’s not allergic to pumpkins, is he?”

“You’ve had pumpkins in your house before?”

“Every year,” the mother replied.

“And what about the pumpkin patch?”

“This was our first year to go.”

“I’m betting the rash is connected to the pumpkin plant.”

“He’s allergic to the plant?”

“Has there been anything else new introduced in his life since the rash popped up?”

“Not that I can think of,” the mother answered, a frown on her face indicating she was thinking. “No new food, no new clothes, my laundry detergent hasn’t changed.”

“Then for now, let’s go on the assumption that he has an allergy to the actual pumpkin plant and if the rash doesn’t clear up in a few days or it comes back we’ll investigate other possibilities and take some tests. For now, I’d rather save him the trouble, though. So, any of the over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams will help with the rash, and I’m going to give him a shot today that should speed things along.”

She looked down at Sam, who looked back at her with big, sad eyes. “Will it hurt?” he asked.

“A little bit, but you’re a big boy and you can take it.” In reality Sam was only five and at an age where needles really scared kids. Some people never outgrew the phobia and she didn’t want to make this too traumatic on this poor child. “Anyway, let me go get you some ointment samples, and have the shot prepared, and I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”

True to her word, Del appeared back in Sam’s room a few minutes later with a syringe full of antihistamine and a bag full of samples. Once she’d convinced Sam the needle wouldn’t hurt that much, she gave him the injection, and wrote down instructions for his mother to follow, including the antihistamine to be taken three times a day in small doses. “This should clear up in about three days,” she told Sam’s mother on the way out. “If it doesn’t, call me. In fact, call me either way because I’m curious if he is allergic to pumpkin vines. That’s kind of an odd allergy...”

Actually, nothing in the allergy world was odd. People had reactions to everything—to the expected as well as the unexpected, as in Sam’s case.

* * *

Her first day back dragged. She couldn’t get herself into the rhythm to save her soul. And between her hourly calls to check on Charlie and her work she was ready to go home by noon. But she’d just have to understand that this was the way it was. She loved her baby and she worried. Although, by the time her fourth call rolled around, she was sure the child center over at Lakeside was probably sick of her calling. So she vowed to not call after she took her lunch hour with Charlie. Which turned out to be around one o’clock.

“Momma missed you,” she said, picking him up and kissing him, then walking around the room with him.

“Am I being a nuisance?” she asked Mrs. Rogers, the director.

“Pretty much, yes,” she answered, smiling. “But the first few weeks aren’t easy. So we’re pretty forgiving.”

“I miss him, and it’s all I can do to keep from coming over here, getting him and taking him home.”

“You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last,” Mrs. Rogers replied. She was an older woman, short gray hair, and a registered nurse, retired.

No one could have better credentials or more experience with children, and Del considered herself lucky that they’d had an opening for Charlie, as the child center was usually booked months in advance. As it turned out, she’d reserved a spot even before he was born in the anticipation of returning to work and the timeline had worked out perfectly.

Del sighed heavily as Charlie snuggled into her and dozed off. “It’s amazing the way they can change a life so drastically, isn’t it?”

Mrs. Rogers laughed. “Too bad we can’t keep them all young and innocent, the way he is now. But if we did we wouldn’t get grandbabies, and I’ve got to tell you there’s a certain sense of satisfaction in being a grandmother.”

“How many grandkids do you have?” Del asked her as she laid Charlie back down in the crib.

“Five, so far. One on the way.”

“That’s awesome,” Del replied.

“What about your parents?”

“Grandparents in absentia. They live in Costa Rica and travel back every couple of months to spoil Charlie.”

“No husband?”

Del shook her head. “By design it’s just the two of us.”

“I admire a woman who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it.”

“And I admire you for taking such good care of all these children.”

“My assistants and I love children, and, since we’re all retired pediatric nurses, it’s a good way to still stay involved.”

Del smiled as she kissed her sleeping Prince Charming goodbye and returned to her clinic, feeling much more relieved than she had only an hour ago. In fact, this was the first time she thought it might actually work out, working full-time instead of part-time as well as being a full-time mom. At least, there was room for optimism in the scenario now. For which she was glad because she loved her work with a passion.

* * *

“Little Tommy Whitsett is here,” Rochelle said to Simon as he left an exam room where the child had a blueberry stuck up his nose. “I think it’s another case of nursemaid’s elbow.” Where a quick tug of a toddler’s arm oftentimes resulted in partial dislocation of an elbow ligament. In Tommy’s case it was a chronic condition, one caused when his older brother tugged a little too hard on Tommy’s arm, causing the ligament to snap out like a rubber band and not reset properly. It was typical of toddlers and Tommy would most likely outgrow the tendency in another year or two, but until then there was nothing really fixable as it wasn’t a serious injury. And the fix was easy. One gentle pop usually set the ligament right back where it belonged. Tommy got his lollipop and went home to have other wrestling matches with his brother.

“Have him shown to Room Three,” Simon said, and joined Tommy there a moment later. This was the third time he’d seen the child for the same injury in the past couple of months.

“I’m sorry this keeps happening, Doctor,” his poor, red-faced mother said. “But when they get to playing...” She shrugged.

“No big deal. He’ll outgrow this eventually, and that will be that.”

“But I feel so foolish coming in here so often. I’m afraid it might look to some like I’m an abusive parent.”

Admittedly, at one time Simon had wondered if Tommy’s handling at home was too rough, but he had a different attitude now that he’d met the cause face-to-face—a much bigger, sturdier brother—and witnessed the worry in Tommy’s mother’s face. “Boys will be boys. You just happen to have one who’s a little more elastic than the other one ever was. No big deal. Maybe have a word with his big brother to try and persuade him pulling his brother’s arm isn’t such a great idea.”

“I have tried, Doctor. It always scares me.”

“A lot of mothers get petrified if their child coughs or sneezes. That’s the proof of parenthood, I guess.”

“You’re not a parent, are you, Doctor?” she asked him.

He hesitated for a minute, then shook his head. “Haven’t had that opportunity yet.” If ever again.

“Well, it’s not easy.”

He thought back to Del and recalled the strain on her face at simply leaving her baby behind in a safe environment. Maybe he should have more empathy for her, going through separation anxiety as she was. But he found that difficult as he didn’t know how to show it for someone who’d made deliberate choices. Like Yvette, who’d pulled Amy out of his life altogether. He’d been the only father the child had known, albeit he was the stepfather. Then when his ex-wife met someone else, his feelings for Amy didn’t matter. So he was understandably still bitter and some of his personal reactions still reflected that. “You’re right. It’s not easy,” he said to Tommy’s mother.

“I guess,” Tommy’s mother said. “But I wish it was sometimes.”

“Parenting is never easy. It makes us realize just how powerless we are in so many situations. And I know you hate that vulnerability, but in your case you’ve got two fine, healthy sons and at the end of the day that’s quite an accomplishment.”

“Let me tell you a secret, Doctor. There’s never an end to the day. Parenting is so hard, and it never stops.”

“And you love it, don’t you?”

“Except for when I have to bring Tommy in for another case of nursemaid’s elbow.” She smiled. “But I wouldn’t change a thing.”

* * *

“Challenging case, Dr. Carson?” Simon asked after he walked Tommy and his mother back to the waiting room.

“If I thought you were interested because you were really interested, I might answer that question, but somehow I think you’ll snipe at me for taking the easy cases today since you’re so distracted, so all I’ll tell you is that we divide them as they come in and leave it at that.”

“That’s right. I’m not a partner. Just a lowly employee. I’m not privy to the inner workings of what goes on around here.”

“You’re causing a scene over a case of pinkeye?”

“You’re treating pinkeye, I’m treating a kid with possible asthma. Are you going to tell me it all evens out?”

“I’m sorry for your diagnosis,” she said sympathetically. “And if you’d rather not...”

“It’s not that I’d rather not. But what I was wondering is if we get to pick and choose our cases or if we just get them according to what’s up next, and who our established patients are.”

“If you’re trying to insult me, I have thick skin, Doctor.”

“Not trying to insult you, Doctor. Just trying to figure things out now that you’re back.”

“Well, figure this out. It’s a fair system. I don’t take all the easy cases and assign the tougher cases to my colleagues. You were treating an easy case of nursemaid’s elbow when I was treating a little girl with Erb’s palsy. Unless a patient requests a specific doctor we take whoever’s up next, regardless of the easiness or severity of their condition.” She bit her tongue to hold the rest in but didn’t do a very good job of it because the rest slipped out. She knew this had to be tough on Simon, working in basically a new situation, especially with his credentials. “Trust me—it’s fair.”

“It’s always good to know my standing.”

“Sure it is. You got stuck in a jammed-up clinic when I was gone and you’re blaming me for it. So now you want some answers. Can’t say that I blame you. Reverse the situation and I’d be asking the same questions.”

* * *

Simon kicked off his shoes and set his mug of coffee next to the sofa. Sighing, he popped an old classic movie into his DVD player then dropped down on the couch with his bowl of cold cereal, contented to spend the evening vegetating.

He’d gotten off to a rough start with Del and, to be honest, was surprised she hadn’t fired him on the spot. There really was no excuse for his questions, especially when he knew the answers. But he’d been in the mood to antagonize someone and Del had seemed to be it.

The thing was, he’d called to talk to Amy this morning and was told by her latest stepfather that he had no rights to the girl any longer, to please not call back or he’d be served with a restraining order. Damn! He missed her. Red hair and freckles, with a little gap between her front teeth—sometimes he swore he’d stayed married to her mother just because Amy was so endearing. But that was obviously over and now he wasn’t even allowed to talk to her any more. It hurt. It stung to the bone because he missed Amy with all his heart. Didn’t know how he was going to get along without her. And Del, well...she’d just caught some of his fallout. Wrong place, wrong time and with a child who was making her so happy—happy the way he’d used to be.

Well, one thing was for sure. He’d never, ever get involved with a woman who already had a child. It just opened him up to getting hurt again.

In the meantime, he owed Del a big apology for being so confrontational over everything today. She didn’t deserve it just because she’d had a child.

He owed her an apology and it wouldn’t keep until tomorrow. He opened his clinic information packet and found her cell-phone number. On impulse, he dialed.

“Hello,” she answered, almost in a whisper.

“Del, this is Simon Michaels.”


“I may have been a little harsh with you today.”

“Not so I noticed,” she lied. “It was a tough day for everybody.”

“Still, I wasn’t myself and I’m calling to apologize.”

“No need. I wasn’t at my best, either, this being my first day back and all. Look, you woke up my baby. I’ve got to go. Can I call you back?”

“No need for that. I just wanted to apologize.”

“Thanks, Simon,” she said, and with that she hung up on him. And he actually chuckled. She was interesting, to say the least. Definitely her own woman marching to her own beat.

CHAPTER TWO (#ulink_c4f77ac5-2da4-5c73-a6bb-d01143b6eae5)

“HE’S NOT VERY pleasant at times,” Del said to Charlie as she gave him his nightly bath. “On the verge of rude and insulting. Then he calls and apologizes. Like what’s that all about?” Although he did exude a general sexiness about him, which was nothing she was going to admit out loud. Even when brooding he was sexy and she wondered, for a moment, what kind of social life he had going for himself. “It’s none of my business,” she told Charlie. “And I want you to point that out to me every time I have a straying thought about the man. OK? He’s handsome and has the ability to be charming, but that’s as much as I want to notice.”

The baby’s response was to splash around in the water and giggle.

“I’m not sure why my partners would have chosen him, except for the fact that he’s a good doctor, but that was their decision, not mine. And his credentials are good. At least he’s licensed here in Chicago, which saved a little bit of hassle. But that attitude...I’ve got to tell you, Charlie, you’re not going to grow up to be a man like he is, who goes back and forth. I’ll swear by all that I know as a doctor and what I’m learning as a mother that you’re going to have manners and respect.” Yeah, until he was an adult; then he could do anything he wanted, which scared her because somewhere there was probably a mother who’d said the same thing to her baby Simon. And look at the way he’d turned out. “I suppose a mother can only do so much,” she said as she pulled Charlie out of the baby bath and wrapped him in a towel. “But I’m going to teach you anyway and keep my fingers crossed I don’t go wrong somewhere.” Not to imply that Simon’s mother had gone wrong. Because Simon did have manners and just a touch of arrogance to offset them.

“Now, let’s get you dressed and I’ll read you a story. How about the one with the giraffe, tonight?” Sure, it was all in her mind but she thought that was Charlie’s favorite story. Of course, any story might have been his favorite, as he seemed delighted by everything she read him, including pages from a medical journal she’d read aloud to him one evening when she was trying to catch up on her own reading. It was the mother-child bond that mattered, the one she’d missed all day today while she’d been at work.

But on the other hand, work had had its number of fulfilling moments, too, and it was good getting back. She was still plagued with guilty feelings, though. Those weren’t going to go away, and she could foresee the time when the conflicts would become even greater, such as when Charlie learned to walk, or started talking. She didn’t want to miss those things, but it was conceivable he might say his first word to Mrs. Rogers or take his first step when she wasn’t around to see it. Sacrifices. Yes, there were definite sacrifices to be made, and she could feel them tugging at her heart. But she was still drawn to being a pediatrician, and while she felt guilty about working she felt no guilt at all about the work she did. It would have been nice, though, to have that proverbial cake and eat it, too.

Well, that wasn’t going to happen. She had a child to support now and her savings, while sufficient, weren’t enough to carry her through until he went to college. So off to work, get over the guilt. She supposed in time it would lessen, but her preference would always be to be there for her son.

“Once upon a time, there was a giraffe named George, who was shorter than all the other giraffes in the jungle. ‘Why can’t I be tall like my mother?’ he asked.” This is where Del tickled Charlie’s tummy with a stuffed giraffe. “‘Why can’t I be tall like my daddy?’” She tickled Charlie’s tummy again and took such delight in watching him laugh and reach out to hold his giraffe. “‘Why can’t I be tall like my brother...?’” And so the story went, until Charlie usually wore himself out and went to sleep. Which was the case tonight. He dozed off before the end of the story, clinging to his stuffed giraffe, and she tucked him into his crib, crept out and made sure the night-light was on for when he woke up later as she hated the idea of her child waking up in total darkness and being afraid.

Afterward, Del fixed herself a cup of hot tea and settled down on the couch to catch up on some reading, but she was distracted by her cellphone, which she’d set to vibrate now that Charlie was down. She’d been awfully rude to Simon and for no reason other than Charlie couldn’t wait a minute or two—which he could have since he hadn’t been crying for her. She’d set a bad example for Charlie even if he was too young to understand that. But there would come a time when he would and she dreaded that day. So in the end, she picked up her phone and made that call.

“Simon,” she said when he answered. “This is Del.”

“Let me guess. You want me to go in tonight.”

“You caught me at a bad time earlier,” she said.


“Look, I had just got my baby to calm down and go to sleep after his first day away from me, and you disturbed him. You’re not a parent, so you wouldn’t understand,” she said.

“No, I’m not a parent,” he answered, then sighed so loud into the phone she heard it.

“Well, you couldn’t understand what I’m talking about, but I like my evenings undisturbed.”

“Which is why you’ve begged off call for the next six months.”

“It was a compromise. Originally I was going to take off a whole year to stay home with Charlie, but that didn’t work out so I decided to come back during the days so long as I have my evenings and nights to myself.”

“Not that it’s any of my business.”

“Look, Simon. I called to apologize for being so rude. We got off to a bad start and when you called to apologize I wasn’t in the frame of mind to deal with it.”

“Guilty-mother syndrome?”

“Something like that.”

“I understand children, Del, but I don’t even pretend to understand their parents.”

“You would if you were a parent.”

“Well, thank God I’m not. My marriage was hell and it makes me queasy thinking we could have easily brought a child into it.”

“So you’re divorced.”

“Blessedly so.”

“Sorry it didn’t work out. Is that why you hate women?”

“Who says I hate women?”

“Your scowl, every time I looked at you today.”

“Well, I don’t hate women. I’m just...wary.”

“Sorry you feel that way. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I’m sorry I was abrupt with you on the phone earlier. Normally I silence my phone so I won’t be disturbed, and people who know me know when to call and when not to call.”

“I didn’t get the memo,” he said.

“Then I’ll make it simple. Evenings are my time unless it’s an emergency. That’s the memo.” He was impossible and she was already dreading working with him. But what was done was done. He was hired, the partners were happy with him and he was a hard worker. Everyone in the office shouted his praises, so it had to be her. He rubbed her the wrong way, or the other way around. Anyway, her feelings for the man were no reason to give him grief, so before she hung up the phone she made a silent vow to tolerate him in the office. If he did his job and she did hers there’d hardly be any time to socialize anyway.

“So, as I was saying, I’m sorry for being so abrupt and it won’t happen again.”

“Let’s call it a professional standoff and leave it at that.”

“Professional, yes, of course. But that’s all. And just so you’ll know, you don’t even have to acknowledge me in passing if you don’t want to.”

“Wouldn’t that look unfriendly?” he asked.

“Maybe. But who’s going to notice.”

“Everybody.” He laughed. “Are you afraid of me?”

“No, not really. I’m just not in the mood to have a man in my life—especially one I’ll be working closely with.”

“You formed that opinion of me after one day?”

“I form fast opinions.”

“You must. But just so you know, I don’t hate you and I don’t even dislike you. I got off to a bad start this morning because of some personal matters and it carried over. But it has nothing to do with you.” He smiled gently. “In fact, I’ve felt bad all day for the way we got started.”

“You did?” she asked.

“I’m not usually quite so abrupt.”

“Neither am I.”

They both laughed.

“So tomorrow maybe we get off on a better foot?” she asked.

“Well, now that that’s settled, let me be the one to hang up this time.” With that he clicked off.

* * *

Her second and third days at work went a little better than her first, but she still missed Charlie so badly. Her situation with Simon didn’t improve, though. She tried being friendlier, and he reciprocated, not in an out-and-out way but at least in a friendlier manner. Still, to Del their relationship felt distanced. Cordial but not particularly friendly. And somehow she had the impression it didn’t have anything to do with her. At least she hoped it didn’t because she wanted them to be just a touch more than cordial.

It was the fifth day when he actually greeted her with some hospitality. “Would you mind taking over a case for me?”


“First, he’s four years and his mother admitted to some pretty heavy drinking during pregnancy.”

“So let me list some symptoms for you. Poor impulse control, poor personal boundaries, poor anger management, stubbornness, intrusive behavior, too friendly with strangers, poor daily living skills, developmental delays—attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, confusion under pressure, poor abstract skills, difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, slower cognitive processing. Stop me when I hit five of these.”

“You hit five of the symptoms a long time ago.”

“So you know what it is?”

He nodded. “But you’re the expert in treatment for FAS.”

“I’ll be glad to take a look and get started with a plan, but you do realize that most treatments respond best to behavioral therapy. Poor thing’s going to be saddled with a disability for his entire life.”

“Well, you’re the best one for the job,” he admitted.

That took her by surprise. “Thank you. I appreciate the compliment,” she said, almost stumbling over her words.

“Look, is there any chance we could start over...again?”

“Maybe,” she said, hiding a smile. She liked this side of him and she was glad she was finally going to coax it out of him, if for no other reason than a better working relationship. “Is the mother or father more responsive now?”

“Child’s under protective service. He has a foster family who really cares.”

“That’s a step in the right direction.”

“Anyway, I told them we have an expert on staff so I’m leaving it up to you to schedule them in. I slid the note with his file reference under your office door.”

“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” she said.

“When you’ve got the best on staff you’d be crazy not to.”

She didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or a disparaging remark in disguise. For a moment or two she’d been flattered, but now...she didn’t know. It seemed more like a professional request and not something that spoke to his opinion of her abilities. Oh, well, she decided. It was what it was, whatever that might be. “I’ll read the file and call the foster parents to see what we’ll be addressing.”

“I appreciate it,” he said as he walked away.

“Do you really?” she whispered. “I wonder.”

* * *

It was hard getting a beat on the good Dr. Del. One minute she seemed friendly enough and the next she was glacial. So, what was her game? Simon wondered as he watched her stride through the hall without so much as a glance in his direction. Did she hate men? Or did she feel that he jeopardized her position at the clinic? Whatever the case, they were barely any further along than they’d been two weeks ago when she’d first come back to work, and now it was becoming frustrating. While he didn’t expect a friendship out of the deal, he did expect a civil work environment, which she barely gave him but only because it was required. And, it was getting to him. Maybe it was the whole social conquest of the deal but he did have to admit the more she stayed away, the more he wanted to get close. With her long, nearly black hair and her dark brown eyes, she had a drop-dead-gorgeous body that begged to be looked at and he enjoyed the looking.

Was she becoming a habit or an obsession? Maybe a little of both. But he wasn’t the only man doing the looking. He was, though, the only one she treated with woeful disregard. Except in the professional capacity and there she was cordial.

Well, never let it be said he was the one who gave up the fight. “How’s little Curtis doing?” he asked.

“It’s like you thought. Fetal alcohol syndrome. He’s got a tough life ahead of him but I got him in a program that has some luck treating kids with his disorder. I’ll be following him medically. He’s a cute little boy.”

“I’d be interested in learning more,” he said, out of the blue. “Maybe we could get together sometime and you could give me some pointers.”

She looked almost taken aback. “Um...sure. Why not?”

“You name the time and place,” he said, “and I’ll be there.”

“Friday night, if I can get a sitter? Or do you have plans?”

He chuckled. “Plans? Me have plans? Not for a long, long time.”

“Good, then, Friday it is...” She paused. Frowned.

“Anxiety over leaving the baby behind?”

“Other than my work days it’s the first time I’ll have left him.”

“Well, you need a night away from the kiddies—all of them. Some good old-fashioned adult company. So how about we grab a pizza and you can give me the basic crash course on FAS? I understand you’ve done some writing on it and presented some lectures.”

She shrugged. “I used to, but I’m not inclined to take up my time that way, now. Oh, and we’ll have to make it an early evening because I don’t want to disrupt Charlie’s schedule. In fact, instead of going out for pizza, how about we order in? Then I won’t have to get a sitter or disrupt anything.”

“A night in with you and...?”

“Charlie. Named after my dad.”

“A night in with you and Charlie. Sounds doable.”

“Great, come over early, around six. He’s usually tired out from day care and ready to go down for a nap for an hour or so. We can have the pizza then. Then after bedtime we’ll talk about FAS, if that’s OK with your schedule.”

She almost sounded excited. It was as if she was starved of adult interaction. She must have been to invite him over. Of course, she still wasn’t going to get too far away from her baby. There’d been a time when he was like that with Amy. He’d been married to Yvette for six months before knowing of her existence. When Amy’s dad had dropped a small child at their door, Simon had immediately stepped into the role of protective father. He’d been the one to feed her, and put her to bed and spend evenings at home with her while Yvette was out running around. He’d been the one to take care of her when she was sick, and take her off to her first day of school. He’d gone to “meet the teachers” night and to the play her first-grade class had put on. Never Yvette. And with that kind of relationship he’d never expected Yvette to simply yank Amy out of his life the way she had. But it was done now, and there was nothing he could say or do to change that. His parenting days were over and, yes, he could understand Del’s overprotectiveness because he’d been much the same way.

She reminded him of him, back in happier days. Which was why he resented her. She had what he wanted. But he didn’t want it from another one like Yvette, who came equipped with a child already. He wanted his own child next time, one that couldn’t be ripped away from him the way Amy had been. “It sounds fine since I don’t have anything else to do.”

She jotted down her address and gave it to him. “Good. I’ll see you then.”

“Do you drink wine, or are you...?”

“Nursing? No, I’m not. You can’t put your child in the day-care center if he or she’s still nursing. So it’s strictly the bottle and baby food all the way. And yes, I drink wine. Not much, though, since I work with FAS and I’ve seen what alcohol can do to a child.”

“Then you wouldn’t be offended if I bring over a bottle?”

“If you’re not offended that I’ll have only one glass.”

He nodded. “One glass it is.” It sounded more like a business transaction than arranging a date, even if it was a working date. So maybe in Del’s mind it was a business transaction. Who knew? Admittedly, he was a little disappointed by her attitude, but what had he expected? A real date? They were hardly friends, barely cordial colleagues, and all of a sudden he’d asked her out. Of course, she had a child, which made her safe and he supposed that was part of it. He felt safe with Del because of his personal resolution. So, it wasn’t such a bad situation at all. And it would save him from spending another long, dreary night at home alone, looking at pictures of Amy or mulling over how much he missed her.

* * *

“Well, he’s down for a nap, and the pizza’s hot so what say we dig in?” Simon said, pouring himself a glass of wine and leaving the bottle on the table so Del wouldn’t feel pressured into drinking if she didn’t want to. As it turned out, she poured half a glass and sipped it almost cautiously as they ate their pizza and talked about the clinic. “He’s a cute kid,” Simon said. “Your Charlie.”

“Thank you. I think so, but then I’m a little partial.”

“Better that than some of what we see come into the clinic.”

“Why did you choose pediatrics?” she asked.

“Liked it when I rotated through when I was an intern. Liked the kids, like the way they’re braver than many adults. And they show so much heart and trust. I think it’s the vulnerability and trust that got to me. Most adults don’t have that. They’re cynical, or mistrustful. I remember one patient who told me right off the bat he had the right to sue me if he didn’t like the way I treated him and the hell of it was, he had his choices but as an intern I didn’t have those same choices, as in not treating him. Luckily his diagnosis turned out to be something simple, but you know the guy never even said thank you. He simply accused me of overcharging his insurance company. Which is one of the reasons I went with children. They’re not so vindictive.”

“Most adults aren’t, either. You just happened to have a bad one at a time in your early career where you were open to influence.”

“I gave some thought to going into a straight family practice but I just didn’t like treating adults the way I enjoyed taking care of the kids.”

“Which is a good reason to go into pediatrics. Family practice’s loss.”

“Not really a loss so much as I never gave it a fair trial. I’d already decided I wanted to treat children.”

“Because you like kids that well?”

“Generally, yes. Says the man who isn’t a father.”

“You don’t have to be a father to be a good pediatrician. All it takes is a passion for what you’re doing.”

He looked away for a minute, turned deadly serious. “I had this one little guy who was born with cerebral palsy. He wasn’t too severe but he had some limitations in walking and coordination, and the way he took to his physical therapy just made me so proud of him. He worked hard, never complained, never questioned. Just did what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it and I suppose he was my turning point. I’d always thought I’d be a surgeon, or something a little more showy, but with the kids I found that I liked the courage I saw every day. So I stuck with children and I have no regrets. Now you tell me yours.”

“There was never a choice for me. I never had any grand delusions of going into one of the higher profile types of medicine. I liked children, liked working with them, and I think a lot of that stems from my childhood pediatrician, Dr. Dassett. He was a kind man and I was never afraid of going to see him. So even when I was a kid myself I always told my parents I was going to grow up and be just like Dr. Dassett. And here I am.”

“But FAS? How did you get interested in that?”

She shrugged. “One of my earliest patients was born with FAS and it interested me that a mother could do that to her child. So, I studied it, and eventually specialized in it.” She took a bite of pizza and washed it down with a sip of wine. “I still can’t explain the mind that thinks it’s OK to do that to your child, but my job is to coordinate care when I get the opportunity. Admittedly, we don’t see a lot of that at Lakeside, but I do get called out on referrals to other local hospitals from time to time.”

“Isn’t it discouraging?” he asked her as he grabbed up his second piece of pizza.

“Very. But somebody has to do it, so why not me? I see all the expectant mothers who drink—it’s all just selfishness, or that ‘bury your head in the sand’ attitude where you think it can’t happen to you. And odds are it won’t. But occasionally...” She shrugged. “It’s one of the ugly sides of medicine, but I can do it and make a difference, which makes me glad I’ve chosen FAS as my specialty because when you see one of these kids succeed...” She smiled. “If you want pretty you become a beautician. If you want to make a difference you become a doctor. And personally, I’ve always wondered what’s up with someone who wants to practice proctology. Now to me, that’s a field of medicine I’d rather not think about.”

Simon laughed. “When you put it in those terms, I can kind of agree with you. But for me it’s radiology where you don’t get much patient contact. I like patients. Like working with them, like curing them or making them feel better, and viewing film and images just isn’t what I care to do. Although the world certainly does have need of great radiologists, especially in so many of the specific treatments and tests that get referred to them. Most everything starts with an X-ray of some sort, I suppose, but I can’t see myself in that role.”

“So do you like Chicago?” she asked. “Is that why you applied here? Or were you just looking to get away from Boston and Chicago is where you were accepted?”

“I’m from Chicago originally and I wanted to get back here. Had that little hiccup called marriage back in Boston when I was finishing my residency, which didn’t make moving home too practical since my wife was born and raised in Boston and wouldn’t leave there for me, even though I begged her. So I had to be the flexible one. And then she moved to Chicago anyway, so I did, too. It’s nice to come home to the big city. Not that Boston is small, but I love the lakeshore here, which is where I grew up, love the Navy Pier and all the park along the river.” He smiled. “It’s nice to be back where I belong. So are you from here?”

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The man to complete her family?Del Carson is happily single. With her new baby, and great career in paediatrics, there’s no space in her life for love. Until she meets sexy Dr Simon Michaels that is…Because Simon stirs up emotions Del thought she’d put behind her. And however much she tries, Del can’t get him out of her mind—or her heart! With Simon by her side, Del’s beginning to think the unthinkable. Maybe she doesn’t want to do this alone…

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  4. В правом верхнем углу сайта нажмите «Мои книги» и перейдите в подраздел «Мои».
  5. Нажмите на обложку книги -"Doctor, Mummy…Wife?", чтобы скачать книгу для телефона или на ПК.
    Аудиокнига - «Doctor, Mummy…Wife?»
  6. В разделе «Скачать в виде файла» нажмите на нужный вам формат файла:

    Для чтения на телефоне подойдут следующие форматы (при клике на формат вы можете сразу скачать бесплатно фрагмент книги "Doctor, Mummy…Wife?" для ознакомления):

    • FB2 - Для телефонов, планшетов на Android, электронных книг (кроме Kindle) и других программ
    • EPUB - подходит для устройств на ios (iPhone, iPad, Mac) и большинства приложений для чтения

    Для чтения на компьютере подходят форматы:

    • TXT - можно открыть на любом компьютере в текстовом редакторе
    • RTF - также можно открыть на любом ПК
    • A4 PDF - открывается в программе Adobe Reader

    Другие форматы:

    • MOBI - подходит для электронных книг Kindle и Android-приложений
    • IOS.EPUB - идеально подойдет для iPhone и iPad
    • A6 PDF - оптимизирован и подойдет для смартфонов
    • FB3 - более развитый формат FB2

  7. Сохраните файл на свой компьютер или телефоне.

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