- Series: Celebrations, Inc. (Book 2416)
- Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin (June 16, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373658982
- ISBN-13: 978-0373658985
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,928,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Marry a Doctor (Celebrations, Inc.) Mass Market Paperback – June 16, 2015
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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About the Author
National best-selling author Nancy Robards Thompson holds a degree in journalism. She worked as a newspaper reporter until she realized reporting "just the facts" bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Nancy has found Nirvana writing contemporary and historical women's fiction and romance full-time. Critics have deemed her work, "...funny, smart and observant." She resides in Florida with her husband and daughter. For more details, please visit her website at NancyRobardsThompson.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Anna Adams parked her yellow VW Beetle in Jake Lennox's driveway, grabbed her MP3 player and took a moment to make sure it was loaded and ready to go.
She was about to hold an intervention and musicjust the right songwas the key component of this quirky job.
Today, she was going to save Jake, her lifelong best friend, from himself. Or at least from drowning in the quicksand of his own sorrow.
This morning, Celebration Memorial Hospital had been abuzz with rumors that Jake's girlfriend, Dorenda, had dumped him. Anna might've been a little miffed that she'd had to hear about his breakup through the nursing staff grapevine, but the sister of one of Doren-da's friends was an LPN who worked the seven-to-three shift at the hospital and she'd come in positively brimming over with the gossip.
Jake had been scarce today. He hadn't been around for lunch. Another doctor had done rounds today. When she'd tried to phone Jake after work, the call had gone to voice mail.
The radio silence was what made Anna worry. She hadn't realized that he'd been so hung up on Miss Texas. That's what everyone called Dorenda, even though no one was sure if she'd actually held the title or if she'd gotten the nickname simply because she was tall and beautiful and looked like she should've worn a crown to her day job. Poor schlubs like Anna did well to make it to their shifts at the hospital wearing mascara and lipstick.
Anna wasn't sure what the real story was. When Jake had a girlfriend, he tended to disappear into the tunnel of love. Or at least he never seemed to bring his girlfriends around her. And Dr. Jake Lennox usually had a girlfriend.
Anna didn't celebrate Jake's breakups, but she had to admit she did relish the intervals between his relationships, because, for as long as she'd known him, that was when she'd gotten her friend back. Sure, they usually saw each other daily at the hospital. It was not as if he completely disappeared. But in those times between relationships, he always gravitated to her.
She would take the spaces in between any day. Because those spaces ran deeper than the superficial stretches of time he spent with the Miss Texases of the world.
Anna rapped their special knockknock, knock-knock, knock, knockon Jake's front door, then let herself in.
He never locked the door, but then again, they never waited to be invited into each other's homes. "Jake? Are you here?"
Really, she wasn't surprised when he didn't answer. In fact, she had a pretty good idea of where he was. So, she closed the door and let herself in the backyard gate and followed the mulch path down to the lake, the crowning jewel of his property.
Yep, if he was back here brooding, it clearly called for an intervention or, as they'd come to call it over the years, the Sadness Intervention Dance.
It was their private ritual. Whenever one of them was blue about something, the other performed the dumbest dance he or she could come up with for the sole reason of making the other person smile. The dance was always different, but the song was always the same: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.
Jake had invented it way back in elementary school. Gosh, it was so long agoback when the song had just hit the airwavesshe couldn't even remember what she'd been upset about that had compelled him to make a fool of himself to jolt her out of it. But it stuck and stayed with them over the years and now, even though they were both in their thirties, it was still their ritual. The SID was as much a part of them as all those New Year's Eves their families had rung in together or all those Fourths of July at the lake they'd shared. Back in the day, the mere gesture was always enough to push the recipient out of his or her funk. Or, on the rare occasion that it didn't, the SID was the kickoff of the pity party and the guest of honor was officially put on notice that he or she had exactly twenty-four hours to get over whatever was bringing him or her down. Because whatever it was, it wasn't worth the wasted emotion.
Nowadays, it was usually performed at the end of a love affair, as was the case today and the time that Jake had basically saved her life when her marriage had endedmetaphorically speaking, of course. But then again, he was a doctor. Saving lives was second nature to him.
Love was no longer second nature to Anna.
Sure, once upon a time, she'd believed in true love.
She'd believed in the big white dress and the happily-ever-after. She'd believed in spending Saturday nights snuggling on the couch, watching a movie with her husband. She'd believed in her wedding vows, especially the part where they'd said 'til death do us part and forsaking all others. From that day forward, the promises she and Hal had made were etched on her soul.
Then it all exploded right in front of her face.
After nearly four years of marriage, she discovered Hal, who had also looked her in the eyes and made the same vows on their wedding day, had been sleeping with his office manager.
That was when Anna had stopped believing in just about everything. Well, everything except for the one person in the world who had ever been true to her: Jake Lennox.
Jake had been her first friend, her first kiss, and the first guy to stick around after they realized they were much better friends than anything more.
He'd never stopped believing in her.
After finding out about Hal's infidelity, the only thing Anna had wanted to do was to numb the pain with pints of Ben and Jerry's and curl up into the fetal position in between feedings. Jake, however, was having none of that. He'd arrived on her doorstep in San Antonio and pulled her out of her emotional sinkhole and set her back on her feet. Then one month ago, after the divorce was final, he'd come back to San Antonio, single-handedly packed Anna's belongings and moved her to Celebration. He'd even helped her find a house and had gotten her a nursing job at Celebration Memorial Hospital.
But before he'd done any of this, he'd done the SID.
There he stood: a tall, handsome thirty-four-year-old man doing the most ridiculous dance you could ever imagine to "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
Was it any wonder that Anna felt duty-bound to be there for him on a day like today?
It was her turn to perform the SID. As humiliating as it waswell, that was the point. Anna was fully prepared to make a colossal fool of herself.
The gardenia bushes were in full bloom. Their heady scent mixed with the earthy smell of the lake perfuming the humid evening air. She swatted away a mosquito who had decided she was dinner.
Instinct told her she'd find Jake on the dock, most likely sitting on the ground with his feet in the water and a beer in his hand. Her intuition didn't let her down.
There he sat, with his back to her, exactly as she had imagined. His lanky body was silhouetted by the setting sun. She could just make out his too-long brown hair that looked a little mussed, as if he'd recently raked his fingers through it. He was clad in blue jeans and a mint-green polo shirt. A symphony of cicadas supplied the sound track to the sunset, which had painted the western sky into an Impressionistic masterpiece in shades of orange, pink and blue.
A gentle wind stirred, rippling the lake water and providing welcome relief to the oppressive heat.
Obviously, Jake hadn't heard her coming.
Good. The element of surprise always helped with the SID.
She took advantage of the moment to ready herself, drawing in a couple of deep breaths and doing some shoulder rolls. With one last check of the volume on her MP3 player, she pushed Play and Bobby McFer-rin's whistling reggae strains preempted the cicadas' night song.
Jake's head whipped around the minute he heard the music. Then he turned the rest of his body toward her, giving her his full attention.
Anna sprang into action attempting to do something she hoped resembled the moonwalk. Thank goodness she didn't have to watch herself and the shameless lengths she was going to tonight.
Once she'd maneuvered off the grass and was dancing next to him on the dock, she broke into alternate moves that were part robot and part Charleston and part something er original.
As she danced, trying her best to coax a full-on smile from him, she tried to ignore the sinking feeling that maybe he'd been more serious about Dorenda than the others. That his most current ex had sent him into a Texas-sized bad humor.
She reminded herself that was exactly why she was here today. For some quality time with her best bud. To bring him out of his post-breakup funk. She knew she looked ridiculous in her pink nurse's scrubs that were slightly too big and clunky white lace-up shoes, but Jake's initial scowl was beginning to morph into a lopsided smile, despite himself. She could actually see him trying to fight it.
Oh, yeah, he was fighting it, but he couldn't fool her. She knew him much too well.
In fact, it only made her unleash the most ridiculous of her dance moves: the sprinkler, the cotton-swab, and the Running Man. Dignity drew the line at dropping down onto her stomach and doing the worm. Although that move hadn't been below Jake a month ago when he'd been there after she'd signed her divorce papers.
That intervention had been a doozy and a true testament to the depth of their friendship.
But he wouldn't have to perform another intervention for her anytime soon.
After losing herself and getting burned so badly, Anna wasn't in any hurry to get involved again.
For now, she was happy to serve as Jake's intervener.
Sprinkler-two-three-four, cotton-swa^-two-three-four, Running Man-two-three She was just getting into a groove, ready to transition from the Running Man back to the robot when, in the middle of possibly the best sequence yet, her foot hit an uneven plank on the dock, causing her to lose her balance.
She saw the fall coming in slow motion and she would have face-planted if not for Jake's quick reflexes. Instead of kissing the dock, she found herself safe in the strength of his strong arms, looking up into his gorgeous blue eyes.
Anna smelled good.
The kind of natural good that made him want to pull her closer, bury his face in her neck and breathe in deeply.
But this was Anna, for God's sake.
He couldn't do that.
He respected her too much and owed her so much more than that.
Especially after she'd gone to such crazy lengths to cheer him up. Did he dare tell her that he really didn't need cheering up? Not in the way she thought he did. Sure, Dorenda had ended things, but the breakup had come as more of a relief than anything.
Before he did something stupid that would be awkward for both Anna and him, he set her upright and took a step back, allowing both of them to reclaim their personal space.
"That was graceful," he said, hoping humor would help him regain his equilibrium.
"You know me," Anna said. "Grace is my middle name." Actually, it really was. "I aim to please. How are you doing, Jake? You okay?"
Her long auburn hair hung at her shoulders in loose waves. Her clear, ivory skin was virtually makeup-free. She had this look in her blue eyes that warmed him from the inside out.
He tried not to think about the strange impulse he'd had just a minute ago, an impulse that lingered even if he was trying not to acknowledge it.
"I'm great," he said. "Want a beer? I'd like to toast your latest choreography. You're getting really good at it. I'll give your Running Man a nine-point-five. I have to take off a half point since you didn't stick the landing."
She swatted him and quickly crossed her arms in front of her.
"Yes, I'd love a beer. Thank you. I need one after that."
He smiled. "Come on. Let's go back up to the house. I have five of a six-pack in the fridge."
She was eyeing him again. "Well, good. I was afraid that maybe you'd been at home all day drowning your sorrows."
"I was seeing patients all day. In case you haven't noticed, I usually don't take off midweek to go on a bender."
He and Anna both worked at Celebration Memorial Hospital, but she was an OB nurse on the third-floor maternity ward and he was a hospitalist on the general medical-surgical floors. Unless they sought each other out, their paths usually didn't cross at work.
"I must say, you're taking this awfully well," she said.
"The breakup. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that you were fine."
"Do I act like I'm not fine?"
"Well, no. That's what I just said. You seem remarkably unfazed by Miss Texas's departure. Sorry, by Dorenda's breaking up with you."
He pulled open the back door for her and stepped aside so she could enter the house first.
"Dorenda was a great woman, but our relationship had run its course. I'll miss her, but it was time to move on."
He shrugged and stepped inside behind her.
"Are you telling me that you broke up with her?"
Throwing her a glance over his shoulder as he walked toward the kitchen, he said, "No, she's the one who dropped the bomb. Actually, it was more of an exploding ultimatum. I saw it coming a mile away."
He reached into the fridge, grabbed a beer and twisted off the bottle cap.
"She gave you an ultimatum? Really? Well, but then again, how long were the two of you together?"
"Four or five months or so. Do you want a mug? I have some in the freezer."
"Yes, please. Had it really been five months? I mean, I've only been back a month."
He nodded as he poured the beer down the inside of the mug, careful to create just the right amount of foam on top. "She reminded me of that more than a few times last night. She was talking five-year plans that involved marriage and kids and bigger houses. She kept saying she needed some assurance about our future, needed to know where we were going. I'm not going to lie to her. I enjoyed her company, but I wasn't going to marry her."
He handed the beer to Anna.
"Why not?" Anna asked. "She was beautiful. You seemed like you were really into her."
Jake nodded. "She was nice. Pretty. But I couldn't see myself spending the rest of my life with her. That's the bottom line."
Anna squinted at him, her brows drawn together, as she sipped her beer.
"What's wrong? Is the beer not good? You don't have to drink it if you don't like it."
She set down the mug on the kitchen counter. "No, I like it. But I have two questions for you."
"First question. If you're fine with everything, how come you let me keep dancing and make a fool of myself?"
Her voice was stern.
He laughed out loud. He couldn't help it. "Are you kidding? Watching you was the most fun I've had in months. No way was I going to stop you. For the record, you didn't make a fool of yourself. You're adorable. In fact, you'd been away so long down there in San Antonio, I'd almost forgotten how adorable you are."
She rolled her eyes, but then smiled.
"So happy to have cheered you up," she said.
"What's the second question?" he asked.
She looked at him thoughtfully for a long moment.
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Top customer reviews
This is such a great series, with unique & engaging characters and "fall in love' romance. And with each book, I add a few more best friends.
Have to agree with Shakespeare - "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
"You know I can't date Jake. He's my friend. He's always been my friend and that's all we will ever be."
Jake is okay with not getting serious with any woman. He lets them know up front that he's not interested in marriage. Jake's opinion of marriage is colored by the example set by his parents and he wants no part of it. On the other hand, Anna, in spite of her failed marriage, still wants a husband and children. Each of them is certain they can find the right person for the other.
It was fun to watch these two try to fix up the other while attempting to deny their own feelings. They are so comfortable with each other, yet at the beginning they don't see that they belong together. I loved seeing how everyone around them sees them as a couple, yet they deny it. Things start to change as they start noticing each other as more than friends. There's an attraction that flares up between them that surprises them both. When they act on it, things change between them. Anna is afraid that it has ruined their friendship. She's finally realized that she loves him, but knows his views on marriage. She feels that their friendship is all she can salvage and doesn't want to lose it. Jake also realizes that he loves Anna, but feels that he's no good for her because of his views. It takes an unexpected loss to open his eyes to what he is throwing away.
I loved the interactions between Jake and Anna. Their friendship was longstanding and their relationship showed it. I really had to laugh at their tradition of the SID (Sadness Intervention Dance). It was fun but also somewhat painful to see them go on their dates, wondering why they just weren't working out. I loved Jake's big moment at the end, and how he pulled it off.