Top surgeon Mitch Baker is a catch. Just not for a woman like Jacqui Handy, who wants a real home, a place to belong. Sexy workaholics like Mitch have never been her type. Then she and Mitch become temporary housemates...and the spark between them blazes into a full-on inferno.
Despite his strong roots in his Little Rock community, Mitch isn't looking to settle down. Until he becomes captivated by the intriguing beauty who keeps his sister's house running like clockwork. He knows Jacqui's just as attracted to him. So why's she keeping him at arm's length? Mitch will just have to use his most persuasive bedside manner to convince her that home is wherever she is.
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from A Home for the M.D. by Gina Wilkins
Dr. Mitchell Baker arrived at his rented duplex just as the firefighters extinguished the last flickers of flame. Glumly, he stood in the rain, surveying what remained of his home for the past six years, now a smoldering, blackened shell. Heavy clouds obscured what little natural light remained at 9:00 p.m., so the firefighters had set up portable lighting to assist them as they wrapped up their work. Normally, street lamps and security pole lights would glow at this hour, but the power was out on this whole street.
One of Arkansas's infamous summer storms had crashed through earlier, bringing high winds, booming thunder and dangerous lightning strikes. Somewhere on this tumultuous Thursday night in July, a tree had fallen over a power line, knocking out the electricity to this part of Little Rock almost two hours ago. Mitch's neighbor in the other half of the duplex--the woman he referred to as "the ditz next door"--had lit candles all through her rooms for light and then left to buy fast food for a late dinner. When she returned, the duplex was fully engulfed in flames.
Water trickled down his face and dripped off his chin. He reached up to swipe at his eyes with the back of one hand, clearing raindrops from his lashes. The rain was little more than a trickle now, but without a hat or raincoat, he was soaked. He made no effort to find shelter. Instead, he watched the firefighters gather their equipment and listened to the ditz next door as she told her tale to a woman who appeared to be a newspaper reporter. She wasn't even smart enough to make up an excuse for the fire, he thought with a shake of his wet head. She freely admitted that maybe the dozen or so candles she'd left burning had caught something on fire.
Maybe? He'd always believed the forty-something bottle-redhead was short a few watts in her mental chandelier, but now he figured most of the bulbs were permanently dimmed, to carry the metaphor further.
He thought regretfully of a few valued possessions he'd lost in that fire. A quilt his late grandmother had made that he'd used as a bedspread. Electronics equipment. Souvenir T-shirts from college and medical school activities and from his few travels. Pictures.
Fortunately, his laptop had been in his office at the hospital, and he kept files backed up online, so he hadn't lost the music and digital photos stored in his desktop computer. Most of his truly precious treasures--things that had belonged to his father and grandfather--were safely stowed in plastic bins in his mother's attic because the duplex had been too small to provide much storage. But still he regretted the things he'd lost. All his clothes, for example. The only clothing he owned now was a couple of shirts and two pairs of jeans stashed in his office and the sneakers he wore with the blue surgical scrubs in which he'd left the hospital.
"Dr. Baker? Are you all right?" The woman who lived in the nearest half of the matching duplex next door approached beneath a big, green-and-white golf umbrella. She and Mitch had met not long after he'd moved in, when he'd helped her retrieve her new kitten from a tree that stood between the two rental properties. That kitten was now a fat, lazy cat who liked to come visit him on Sunday mornings and beg for treats. Both Mitch and Snowball would miss those visits.
"I'm fine, Mrs. Gillis. Thank you."
She looked mournfully at the steaming remains of the house, then distastefully at the ditz, who was dramatically wringing her hands for the benefit of a television camera. "I figured that woman would cause a tragedy in this neighborhood, but I thought it would be because of her reckless driving. The way...