A Nurse and a Pup to Heal Him

By: Kate Hardy

A nurse, her puppy...

And the family he never thought he’d have?

After losing his wife and baby to his best friend, guarded GP Ben Mitchell’s sworn off love. But nurse Toni Butler and her adorable therapy dog, Archie, are drawing him out of his shell. When a romantic weekend in Vienna leads to an unexpected pregnancy, Ben’s painfully reminded of the family he lost. What will it take for Ben to believe this family’s for keeps?

The next thing Ben knew, their coffees were ignored and she was in his arms, swaying with him to the soft, slow song.

And this time, when he pulled back and saw the glitter in her eyes, he gave in to the temptation that had been tugging at him all evening and let his mouth brush against hers. Once, very lightly, skimming across her skin.

He felt as if he were going up in flames.

And then her arms tightened around him and she let him deepen the kiss.

He had no idea how long they stayed locked together in the middle of her kitchen, just kissing.

But then reality seeped in.

He hadn’t been enough for Karen.

There was no reason why he would be enough for Toni, either.

What was he doing? If this carried on, they were both going to get hurt. Much as he wanted to scoop her up and carry her to her bed, it would be a really reckless, stupid thing to do.

They needed to stop this.


 Dear Reader,

I live about half an hour away from my favorite bit of the world—the North Norfolk coast. Think wide, flat sandy beaches and being able to walk for miles by the sea. Every so often it calls me to write about it, and I merged several of my favorite places to make up “Great Crowmell” (readers of Reunited at the Altar will be familiar with it!).

As I live with a much-loved spaniel (who adores going to the beach and galloping around and making a gazillion new friends), it struck me that a dog could be the key to healing someone’s heart. So I persuaded my editor to let me include a PAT dog (who is a slightly more sensible version of my own Archie).

Ben comes to Norfolk for a fresh start and Toni’s come back to be with her family. Both have been badly hurt and are adamant that they don’t want to let their heart get involved again—and both discover that this is the place for second chances...

I hope you enjoy Ben and Toni’s story.

With love,

Kate Hardy


GREAT CROWMELL SURGERY. More than a hundred miles away from his old life in London. Right on the Norfolk coast, a place of wide sands and big skies. Peace. Quiet. No complications. No lies. Just him and his new job.

A fresh start.

Ben Mitchell took a deep breath, then pushed the door open.

The receptionist looked up. ‘Good morning, Dr Mitchell.’

‘Ben, please,’ he said with a smile.

‘Ben. Welcome to the surgery. The kettle’s hot and I made choc-chip cookies yesterday. They’re in the staff kitchen. Do help yourself.’

‘Thank you, Mrs Hartley.’

‘Do call me Moira.’ She smiled at him. ‘You look like a schoolboy on your first day. Just remember, Ranjit gave you the job because he thought you were the right one for it. You’ll be fine.’

Did his nerves really show that much? ‘Thank you.’ It was ridiculous to feel this nervous. For pity’s sake, he’d worked as a GP trainer in London. He was thirty-five. Experienced. He’d done this job for years and years and he knew he was good with patients.

But the first day in a new place would make adrenalin pump through everyone’s veins. Having to fit in with an established team; getting to know new people and learn their quirks, their strengths and their weaknesses. Getting to know your patients and working out what they weren’t telling you during the consultation so you could help them with their real problem.

Of course he’d be fine. He’d do the job he’d trained to do. The job he loved. Only this time he’d be coming home to a house with no memories and no misery, which made everything a lot easier.

He opened the door with his name on it—Dr B Mitchell, in neat capitals—dropped his bag next to his desk and went in search of the staff kitchen to grab a cup of tea and maybe one of Moira’s cookies.

But as he turned round the corner he stumbled over a brown and white dog, who yelped and looked sorrowfully up at him with huge amber eyes calculated to extract as much guilt as possible.

‘Archie?’ The kitchen door opened abruptly. From the dark blue uniform she wore, Ben realised that this must be one of the practice nurses, probably the one the senior partner had mentioned being on leave when Ben had come for his interview and met the rest of the team. What was her name? Terry?

She frowned at him and bent down to stroke the dog, who whined softly. ‘What happened?’

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