Neonatal specialist Nathan Steele thought he'd found happiness--until tragedy struck. A widower, he wasn't looking for a fairy-tale romance. Then he met a mysteriously familiar woman at a fundraiser who raced away, leaving behind a broken high-heeled shoe--and leaving him determined to know everything about her.
Hospital housekeeper Cindy Elliott refused to fall in love--especially with a wealthy doctor who seemed too charming to be true. But one kiss awakened a passion neither of them expected...and now Cindy was expecting the doctor's baby! Earning her trust sure wouldn't be easy, but Nathan was ready to do whatever it took to sweep Cindy off her feet--and carry her into happily ever after.
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February 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Cindy's Doctor Charming by Teresa Southwick
She was a fake and a fraud.
Cindy Elliott was walking, talking, breathing proof that not only was it possible to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but you also could take her out in public. So far no one had pointed and laughed at her pretending to be one of the exalted affluent. But the night was young and she was the queen of getting dumped on.
Famous-rich and anonymous-wealthy people were crammed into this ballroom. She was pretty sure that, unlike herself, none of them had won their seat at this thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraiser with a raffle ticket. Any second she expected the riffraff police to see through her disguise and throw her out.
It wouldn't be the worst thing that ever happened to her, but it was not high on her list of things to do. Her plan was to enjoy every moment of this night. Take in every detail and let the memories brighten the daily grind as she dug herself out of the deep financial hole she'd ended up in after trusting a man.
Cindy grew up in Las Vegas but this was the first time she'd ever been to a shindig at Caesar's Palace. Crystal chandeliers glittered overhead and silver light trickled down on white tablecloths and somehow made the fragrant arrangements of fresh, vibrantly colored flowers smell even better. Candles flickered but paled in comparison to the views visible from floor-to-ceiling windows of the neon skyline outside on the Strip.
She wished more people were looking at it instead of her, more specifically male people. A lot of the dapper men in dark suits and tuxedos were staring at her as she snaked her way through the crush of bodies. She felt conspicuous and self-conscious in her strapless, champagne-colored cocktail dress. It was knee length, and now was not a good time to wish for more material.
Finally she reached the perimeter of the room and found the table number that corresponded to the one on her invitation. There were eight chairs and all of them were empty. She decided to sit down and take the strain off her borrowed shoes, minding her friend's warning not to test the limits of a Super Glue repair on a four-inch heel.
Moments later someone appeared in her peripheral vision and a familiar deep voice said, "Is this seat taken?"
Cindy looked up. The face matched the voice as she'd feared it would. Nathan Steele, MD. Dr. Charming himself, she thought sarcastically. He always made her think of Hugh Jackman--tall and broad-shouldered, with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. It pained her to admit, even to herself, that his traditional black tuxedo made him look very handsome--for a bad-tempered, arrogant, egotistical physician.
After a couple seconds of him standing there expectantly, the message translated from her eyes to her brain that he was waiting for an answer. Glancing at the seven empty seats, she briefly thought about saying that her date was sitting there, then abandoned the idea. She might be a pathetic loser who was a really bad judge of men, but she wasn't a liar.
"No," she finally said. "That seat isn't taken."
He smiled, then lowered his excellent butt into the chair beside hers. "Isn't that lucky?"
"You have no idea." She looked at him, waiting for the inevitable moment when he recognized her as the incompetent from Mercy Medical Center's housekeeping department. The same employee he'd chastised earlier that day for something that wasn't her fault. The indignity and unfairness still smarted.
"Would you like a drink?" The tone was pleasant, deep and sexy. Definitely not his icy-cold, all-business hospital voice.
"Yes." It was the least he could do. "A glass of red wine would be lovely."
He stood. "Don't let anyone take this seat."
"I wouldn't dream of...