With: Fiona Lowe
Book 1 in the new Medicine River series, published by Berkley Sensation.
Book 1 in the new Medicine River series, published by Berkley Sensation.
Small town Contemporary Romance with a Twist.
Shhh, don't tell anyone but I've got a thing for TV medical dramas. Yup! I love them. Grey's Anatomy, Royal Pains, House, ER, Chicago Hope, Nurse Jackie, the short-lived Mercy; I was addicted to them all. I love watching the shows and I really love trying to diagnose the patient before the TV doctor. I also adore the interpersonal relationships that simmer in highly charged, emotional environments. So often people who 'care' for a living are not so great at caring for themselves.
Of course, all of these shows I've mentioned are set in big, city hospitals pulsing with trauma and drama. I've worked in such places but I've also worked in much smaller hospitals in much smaller towns. In small towns there's a very fine line between work-life and home-life so it seemed logical to write a book set in a small town and centering it on the medical clinic and the hospital.
Why did I choose Montana? Well, with those spectacular Rocky Mountains, its never-ending blue sky and its relative isolation in comparison with some of the smaller and more densely populated, eastern states, it seemed the logical place. Plus, Montana has a Medicine River so how could I let that pass by? It virtually demanded I set a book there!
Did you know the average student debt for a graduating doctor is around $200,000? That's a big chunk of change and it got me thinking about how someone starts their career saddled with that level of debt. It impacts on all sorts of things like getting married, buying a house, starting a family and it can influence where you work. At the start of Montana Actually, the very urban Dr. Josh Stanton is stepping right out of his comfort zone and 'going rural' to write down some of his student loans. Three years in the country so he can return to the city and buy a house—how hard could it be? When he arrives in Bear Paw, Montana, he realizes that moving to Mars may have been more familiar. He has a lot to learn about being a doctor in a small community and I had a lot of fun with that aspect of the novel as the residents of Bear Paw and its environs don't let him get away with anything.
Like all my books, family plays a bit part and Montana Actually is no different. Katrina McCade is Montana born and raised and although she's lived out-of-state, she knows all about being connected to community. Right now she's living back at her family's ranch, which isn't easy after years away because family have that frustrating thing of relegating you to the role you've always played even when you've changed. Katrina's determined to break bad habits such as falling for guys who break her heart. Josh's arrival in town puts her new-found determination to the test.
Beau McCade is a strong, silent cowboy with more reasons than most to be taciturn and a man of few words. All his life he's struggled to speak and he's convinced himself that life on the ranch with the animals is where he's happiest. Cows and dogs are a lot less bewildering than women but his life is about to be turned on its head from both inside of the family and out.
I loved writing this book and blending family drama with some medical drama and overlaying it all with the humor that comes from everyday events. Publishers Weekly gave Montana Actually a starred review saying, "… The plot twists around medical emergencies, a second romance line involving Katrina’s brother, the troubles of a local youth, relationships between parents and children, and former lovers learning to be friends. All these elements contribute to the comfortable feeling of small town life. The witty conversations, family drama, and accurate (but never maudlin) descriptions of loss and grief will have the reader laughing out loud, wiping away tears, and eagerly awaiting future books. "
Does that tempt you? You can read an excerpt here.
I hope you pick up a copy of Montana Actually and give it a shot. I promise you a happy ending.
A big-city doctor in a small-town Montana practice....A former nurse who has sworn off doctors forever....The scene is set for passions to ignite in Big Sky Country. For readers of Robyn Carr and Sherryl Woods.
City doctor Josh Stanton and his sports car don’t suit the country, but with his medical school debt about to bury him, Josh has to make the best out of a bad situation. Adjusting to his new job and life in the middle of nowhere isn’t easy, but at least the views of the mountains—and one distractingly attractive local—are stunning...
After eight years away, Katrina McCade is back in Bear Paw for a break from her life, bad choices—and men. But when a broad-shouldered stranger bursts into town, she finds herself unexpectedly saddled with the town’s sexy new doctor as a tenant. Katrina doesn’t need a man to make her happy, especially a disgruntled physician. But try telling her body that…
Excerpt From Montana Actually, Book 1 Medicine River Series.
The thirty cows blocking the road was a good indication to Dr. Josh Stanton that he was no longer in Chicago. That and the inordinate number of bloated roadkill with their legs in the air that he’d passed in the last few hours along Highway 2 as he traversed the north of Montana. Sure, Chicago had its fair share of flattened cats on its busy inner-city streets, but he’d stake his life no one living between North Halsted and North Wells streets had ever had to step over a deer.
He watched the cows lurch from decisiveness in their chosen direction to utter chaos as two border collies raced at their heels, barking frantically and driving them determinedly toward an open gate on the other side of the road. Josh’s fingers tapped on the top of the steering wheel as they always did when he was stuck in traffic in Chicago’s clogged streets. What was the collective noun for a group of cows? Bunch? Herd? He’d once seen a documentary on ranching in Australia and they’d said “mob” in their flat accent.
He guessed he’d find out the name soon enough, as he was close to finishing his 1,458-mile journey across Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and three-quarters of Montana.
When he’d left home three very long days ago, he’d thought the north woods of Wisconsin were as isolated as things got, but now, as he gazed around him and felt the howling west wind buffeting the car, he knew Menomonie was positively urban in comparison to the endless grass plains that surrounded him. Where the hell were the trees?
An older man on a horse, whose weather-beaten face told of a life lived outdoors, stopped next to Josh’s low-slung sports car. Josh wound down the window, his gaze meeting jean-clad legs and horse flesh. He craned his neck.
“Taking a trip?” the cowboy asked conversationally, as if they had all the time in the world to chat.
I wish. “Relocating.”
“Yeah?” His gaze took in Josh’s Henley shirt and the computer bag on the seat next to him. “You’re a bit far north for Seattle. Don’t reckon you should risk the mountain roads driving that vehicle.”
Josh automatically patted the dash as if the car’s feelings needed soothing. Granted, his sports car wasn’t the latest model this side of five years, but it was in great condition and he loved it. The buzz it gave him when he drove it more than made up for the extra money it had added to his outstanding loans.
“I’m not going over the mountains,” he said, his mouth twisting wryly as he checked his triptik.. “I’m going to Medicine River County and a town called Bear Paw.”
A town that was wrenching him from his home and staking a claim on his life that went straight through his heart. A town that Ashley had refused point-blank to even consider visiting, let alone living in.
The cowboy called out an instruction to his dogs, who immediately raced behind a recalcitrant calf, and then he lifted his hat and scratched his head. “Bear Paw. Okay.”
Josh wasn’t certain what to read into the statement. Sure, he’d seen a photo on the Internet of the small hospital, but short of that, he didn’t know much else. “My cell’s out of range so I’ve lost my location on the map, but I think it’s about twenty miles away. Do you know it?”
“Oh yeah. I know it. What takes you there?”
Debt half the size of Montana. “Work. I’m the new physician.”
The man nodded slowly. “Ah.”
Unease skittered through Josh’s belly. What did the cowboy know that he didn’t? “What the hell does ‘ah’ mean?”
He laughed. “Relax, son. Your trip’s over.”
As the last cow finally conceded the grass was indeed greener on the pasture side of the fence and had moved through the gate, Josh looked down the now clear road and saw nothing. Nothing if he discounted some sort of a crop and a hell of a lot of sky. He squinted and just made out what looked like a communications tower. “So where’s the town?”
The older man pointed down the dead-straight road. “Three miles gets you to the outskirts and another mile to the traffic signal. Two miles past that, you’re done with the town and heading to the mountains.”
That distance in Chicago wouldn’t even get him from his apartment to his favorite deli. How small was this place? “What if I turn at the traffic signal?”
“Right? Now that will take you straight to Canada, eh.” He grinned at his own joke.
The town couldn’t possibly be so small. “According to Wikipedia,” Josh said, “it’s got a population of three thousand people.”
The cowboy scratched his head again. “I guess if you include the ranches, it does. It’s surely bigger than Bow. Mind, just about everywhere’s bigger’n Bow.”
Disbelief flooded Josh as he remembered passing a rusty town sign. “That place with the tavern and nothing else?”
“Yup, that’d be Bow.” He shoved his hand through the open window. “The name’s Kirk McCade. Welcome to Bear Paw, Doctor.”
Josh gripped his hand. “Josh Stanton.”
Kirk slapped his hand on the roof of the car. “No doubt this baby is a sweet ride, but once you’ve settled in, best buy yourself an outfit ”
“A what?” Surely the cowboy wasn’t talking about clothes.
“A truck, a pickup. Winter here’s tough on vehicles.”
A slither of indignation ran up Josh’s spine. He might not be used to wide-open spaces, but he knew weather. “I’ve just spent two years in Chicago, so I know all about winter.”
Kirk laughed so hard Josh worried he’d fall off the horse.
To celebrate the launch of Montana Actually, I’m giving away a gift pack of Huckleberry products (USA residents only. Sorry! The postage out of the US kills.) Huckleberries grow wild near Glacier National Park where the book is set. So if you’d like a chance to win some huckleberry lotion, pancake mix, syrup, Glacier County honey, Montana coffee, a great souvenir bag, as well as a copy of Montana writing mate, Kari Lynn Dell’s debut novel, The Long Ride Home, then head on over to my Facebook page to enter!