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 listen to what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.
Buy the Book
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.
3 of 5 Stars
Book two in this series touched me on such a deep, personal level I knew this book wouldn’t hold a candle, but I was still disappointed in this story. I typically love second chance romances, especially when the couple stays in love for 20 years, but I just didn’t feel Nick and Jared’s connection. I think the book focused too much on the hospital debacle and Nick’s sense of duty than rekindling and repairing their relationship. I did love the elevator scene though.
I’m also usually a big fan of heavy feels but this one had too many tears even for me.
The flow of the book was off as well. There were odd/abrupt scene changes:
- The about face of Nick’s family
- Several interactions between Nick and Jared or the characters from previous books with these characters going to the next chapter suddenly
- The very end of the book
I do recommend this series, I just wish it had ended on a higher note.
Read the Series
About he 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.
Author 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 story, Nick’s grandmother, Grandma Emerson, is famous for her baked goods, and Nick’s personal favorite is her pineapple upside down cake.
He’d wanted to go home and rest in his bed, but he didn’t attempt to fight Jack on his admission, especially since he could barely lift his arm to sign with the electronic pen.
His mother sat beside him, stroking his hair over and over. “Baby, we’re not going to stay too long, because we want you to rest. Emmanuella’s going to sit with you overnight, and Mom and I will be back in the morning, first thing.”
“I’m going to bake you the pineapple upside-down cake,” Grandma Emerson declared, leaning on her cane beside the foot of his bed.
It was his favorite cake, a lush Bundt treat she made for his birthday and during the summer when they were having fancy company. When he was little, he’d eat it at the high counter with his feet swinging, and he’d close his eyes, the sugar and fruit making his whole body tingle. He’d sigh and shut his eyes and say, “It tastes like Hawaii, Grandma!”
She’d tease him then, asking him how would he know, since he’d never been. He always insisted he was sure it did, and someday he’d take her there so they could find out together. He hadn’t come through on his promise, but she always made him that cake when she wanted to show him love.
Writing Nick interacting with his grandmother made my heart ache for my own grandmother, who passed away a few years ago and who also was known for her baking. Every year on my birthday she’d make me a red velvet cake because she knew I loved it, except for the year she laid down for a nap while it was baking and cooked it into a brick. She talked about it every time she made me one after that.
Though Nick loved pineapple upside down cake, I hadn’t had it too much and needed firsthand experience to fully appreciate it. I even bought a bundt pan to do the job up right, even though my own grandmother’s recipe was for a flat pan. I decided Grandma Emerson would go for the fancy look, so I did too.
Here’s the scene of Nick enjoying a little too much of the cake, along with his coworker Erin who is visiting him at home.
Erin’s gaze darted to the plate beside Nick. “Speaking of slice. Is that the remnants of your grandmother’s pineapple upside-down cake I see there? I heard there was one floating around the hospital. I can’t believe I missed out.”
Nick perked up. “Oh, yeah, it is. She made another one, and it’s still warm, or she’ll make it that way if it isn’t. Let’s go get you some.”
“I won’t say no.”
Erin looked like a little kid as he sat at the table and waited for a slice of cake, fidgeting and tapping his feet as Nick’s grandmother brought two plates over. “Grandma Emerson, your kitchen always smells amazing.”
She waved a dish towel at him, but she smiled. “You want coffee with your cake?”
“Oh, no. Water is fine. I need to be able to sleep tonight.”
“I’m more worried about you staying awake long enough to drive home.” She set a piece of cake in front of Erin and another in front of Nick.
Nick held up his hands. “Grandma, I’m so full I’ll burst.”
“If you don’t eat the cake, I’ll put it away after Erin leaves.”
Sighing, Nick pulled the plate toward him as his grandmother walked away. “I’m going to need a week in the gym to make up for today alone.”
I hope you aren’t too hungry after hearing about so much delicious cake, and I hope you give The Doctor’s Orders a try!