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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Heidi Cullinan to Stories That Make You Smile! Heidi is here today celebrating the recent release of her fabulous new novel, The Doctor’s Orders, the third installment in her popular Copper Point Medical series. Heidi’s brought along a nice excerpt for you to enjoy. Read on and join the conversation as Heidi discusses the background drama in The Doctor’s Orders in an exclusive guest post! 🌟
The Doctor’s Orders by Heidi Cullinan
The elevator at St. Ann’s is out of order…but the chemistry between the doctor and CEO is working just fine.
Series: Copper Point Medical (book #3)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Length: Novel / 98k words / 250 pages
Pairing / Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
The elevator at St. Ann’s is out of order…but the chemistry between the doctor and CEO is working just fine.
Once upon a time Nicholas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers, but now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. Everything changes, however, when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away in five hours of close contact, and old passions rekindle into hot flames.
Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. It’s clear he’s desperate for someone to give him space to let go of the reins, and Jared is happy to oblige. But Jared wants Nick as a lover in a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go. They’ve traded kisses under the bleachers for liaisons in the boardroom… and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might do the same thing now.
Jared’s determined not to let that happen this time around. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listento what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.
Did the firefighter make you laugh like that?
Nick cleared his throat. “So. You dated a firefighter. Anyone else? Paramedics? Other doctors?”
He wanted Jared to flip him a smart answer about how he wasn’t going to wait for him forever, but once again Jared made everything serious too fast. “Where are these questions coming from? Why do you want to know?”
Funny, normally he’d backpedal. Of course, normally he wouldn’t have come to this moment. The safety of the darkness was powerful. “From when the damn elevator was falling and I thought it might be too late to ever tell you the things I wanted to tell you.”
“You have things you want to tell me that involve running your hands over my hair and down my arms?”
“You’re damn right I do.”
He desperately wanted to know how Jared was going to reply, but before he got a chance, his phone rang again. Possibly he answered the unknown number a touch more gruffly than necessary. “Beckert.”
It was the fire chief, calling en route. “A crew is arriving and assessing the scene as we speak. You’ll hear them scraping and banging above you, but don’t be alarmed. The first thing we’re doing is setting up lights and reinforcing the cables. You’re unfortunately in the worst possible spot, just below the third floor but tilted with the access door away from us and trapped by the cables. I don’t know what fool designed this, but I want to give him a piece of my mind. You’re high enough I don’t want you falling farther, but you’re far enough out of reach we can’t get to you in the way we want. I guess the bright side is at least it didn’t damage the other elevator shaft. That said, it’s going to be some time before we can access the car and get you supplies. I understand Dr. Kumpel is with you as well?”
Nick had put the phone on speaker immediately, so Jared spoke for himself. “Yes. Both of us are fine, though I’ve taken Mr. Beckert’s word for it and haven’t formally examined him. It’s difficult in the dark.”
“I’m fine,” Nick said, a little annoyed.
“So long as no one’s hurt or in shock, I’m happy for now. I won’t lie, it’s a relief to have a doctor on the scene. Sorry to make you work your own emergency, Kumpel.”
“I’m sure you have worse stories, Tim.”
The fire chief laughed. “We’ll get you out of there, and I’ll take you for a drink and fill your head full of tales, how’s that?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Tim said he’d keep them updated when he had more information. Nick was in the process of tucking his phone away when the banging started above them, accompanied by male voices shouting to one another.
“Not promising, that bit about the access door,” Nick said.
“No.” Jared stiffened as the cables creaked and the banging became louder. “I hope Owen is keeping the nurses away from the scene so they don’t hear any of this, but I bet it’ll be all over Copper Point People before the chief gets here.”
Nick seriously hated that Facebook group. “Well, we’ll deal with the fallout, whatever it is. Or rather, I will. You don’t have to bother, you know.”
“What, you think I’m going to leave you to—”
There was no warning, just a snap and scream of metal as the elevator pitched and fell. For one terrible second they lifted off the floor, then crashed into each other, Jared’s terrified gasp cutting the air like a knife.
Jared grabbed Nick half a second before the car stopped, slamming them much harder into the wall than the last time. Jared’s cry told Nick he’d been hurt, and Nick hadn’t escaped this time either. He hissed through clenched teeth against the pain in his right shoulder.
It was a primal response, something inside Nick moving his body, shifting to pull Jared closer, to cradle his face in his hands. Jared didn’t fight him, didn’t ask him why he was doing this or what it was for. He only melted into Nick’s touch, trembling, and when their foreheads bumped together, a soft sob escaped him.
“Nick,” he whispered.
Shutting his eyes, Nick did what he’d kept himself from doing for twenty years: he drew Jared Kumpel’s mouth to his own.
☆ Guest Post ☆
Hi, and thanks for having me here today. I’m going to share a little information about my latest release, The Doctor’s Orders, available August 20 from Dreamspinner Press and wherever books are sold.
The Doctor’s Orders is book three in the Copper Point: Medical series, the final book in that trilogy. In this installment, we get to know Jared, an openly gay pediatrician, and Nick, the very closeted CEO of the hospital. Though Nick and Jared secretly dated in high school, it was clear nothing was ever going to happen between them again…until Jared and Nick are trapped in an elevator together, where sparks fly.
In The Doctor’s Orders, Nick has only recently gotten out from under the domineering hand of a corrupt board, but before he can truly implement change at his hospital, he’s facing a new threat: corporate takeover.
“Mr. Peterson. What can I do for you?”
Peterson waved Nick over like he was calling for a waiter. “C’mere. I was telling a story to these guys, and I know you’d love to hear it.”
Oh, Nick was quite certain he’d not enjoy it at all. Nevertheless, it was his job to stand next to boors such as this and pretend he didn’t mind.
“I was telling the story,” Peterson began as soon as it was clear Nick was obeying him, “about the Iowa hospital we bought last week. Such a wreck. Damn place is in the middle of nowhere, and over half the town is on welfare.” He held up his hand as a shield that hid absolutely nothing and whispered, not at all sotto voce, “Indian reservation.”
The rich white men tittered knowingly. Nick moved his face into a more neutral position and called on his patience.
Enjoying his audience, Peterson continued. “Anyway. They wouldn’t budge for years. Mismanaged everything, then refused help until they were so far underwater they almost had to close. They’re just lucky we came in and bought them out.”
Nick considered saying nothing. It would have been his preference, since clearly Peterson’s whole goal was to bait him. Even a year ago, Nick would have hesitated to wade in no matter what. However, it wasn’t a year ago, and it was obvious the other donors listening to Peterson’s nonsense took him seriously.
Packing away his patience, Nick quietly drew the sword he was starting to get comfortable waving around.
“I’m not sure what part of that I was meant to enjoy.” Nick tucked his hands behind his jacket and regarded Peterson carefully. “However, I do know the hospital to which you’re referring. Iowa privatized its Medicaid system, causing unending issues for rural hospitals and anywhere with an aging population. I can see how it’s of concern in their state, where population growth is declining, especially among the younger generations. As for the mismanagement, I’m afraid it’s all on the state level. I completely disagree about the rescue, however. I happen to know Smithstown did everything they could locally. They retained as many services as they could, because they’re so remote they knew going without a hospital was the one thing their community couldn’t handle. Ah, but that’s the first thing your corporation does when it swoops in, doesn’t it, cut services?” He smiled. “I’m afraid such an arrangement isn’t an opportunity for Copper Point.”
Peterson’s audience became alarmed, clearly not understanding the story in quite that light, and Peterson himself sputtered in quiet fury. “You’re deliberately misrepresenting things, Beckert. Mark my words, you’re going to need us, and sooner than you think.”
This is actually a very real phenomenon which is close to my heart, as my husband is a clinical pharmacist working in a city-owned hospital. Just in the past few months, corporate hospital ventures have not only consumed more locally run clinics and medical centers, but they’ve also begun to merge themselves, making for monster conglomerates that are impossible for city and county run operations to compete with. It’s concerning because bigger is rarely better; while some things are initially cheaper, what quickly happens is that services and access go down or are moved so far away residents are deserted. The fictitious town of Smithstown in the above excerpt details, exactly, a real plight of a small city hospital forty miles from me.
One of the things I hoped would happen as people read the Copper Point: Medical series was to have a little more awareness of how powerful their local hospitals have on people’s daily lives, how important hospital board elections are. I won’t tell you how things work out for Nick and Copper Point, but I hope you read the novel to find out! Please enjoy your stay in this final installment of Copper Point: Medical, and support your local hospital!
Meet the Author
Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.
Praise for Heidi Cullinan
Heartwarming and achingly beautiful —USA Today
Emotionally heartwrenching…with self-deprecating humor. — Romantic Times
Cullinan balances … love-conquers-all romance in a context full of real contemporary challenges. — Publisher’s Weekly
I fell in love with the sheer beauty of the writing. — Dear Author
Cullinan reached inside and pulled out ALL the feelings: fear, guilt, sadness, anticipation, happiness, love, lust, bitterness, loneliness, togetherness, and coming of age. — The Book Pushers