This week, we’re treating our lucky readers to an exclusive extract of His Surgeon Under the Southern Lights by Robin Gianna, the first book in the new Doctors Under the Stars duet. Read on for a cosy winter read…
The lone-wolf doc… meets his match!
Only when exploring the Antarctic’s freezing waters can marine biologist Dr. Zeke Edwards forget the heartache of losing his family. Until an unexpected, passionate kiss with new colleague Dr. Jordan Flynn starts to break through the barriers around his heart. Having both sworn off relationships they agree to a temporary fling. Then danger strikes…and they’re forced to realize their feelings are anything but temporary!
“Go ahead and get inside, so you can warm up. I just have a couple little things to finish.”
“Not fair for you to be out here doing the work alone. What’s left?”
Zeke glanced at Jordan’s pinched face, her nose and cheeks the color of a scarlet sea star, and had to admire the hell out of her. He’d worked with countless people during his many Antarctic expeditions, and plenty—both men and women—had been happy to duck out of cold wind when given the chance.
“I appreciate the offer. But—”
“Zeke!” She pointed behind him and her face lit with wonder. “Is that…? Oh, my gosh, that has to be the aurora australis!”
He turned and, sure enough, the night sky was lit with ribbons of green light, curling to meet luminous, salmon-pink waves, rising like a shimmering wall from the horizon to the stars. “Well, damn. You get to see it, after all, and that one’s a beauty. You must have brought some serious good luck,” he said, so glad she was getting to see this incredible phenomenon that everyone coming down here wanted to experience, but rarely did after September. “Last two times I came in the summer I didn’t get to see it at all. Nothing like it, is there?”
“It’s…unbelievable,” she breathed, her expression rapt as she stared. “I hardly dared to hope I’d get to see it, since it’s going to be twenty-four hours of sun in, what? Three or four days?”
“Something like that.” He finished the last tent tie, then switched off his headlamp. The darkness fell around them as the green and pink ribbons undulated across the sky. He moved to stand behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders. “I always feel like the luckiest guy on Earth when this happens. It’s like being in another universe, don’t you think? Or acting in a movie with special effects, but this is real. Electrons, atoms and molecules colliding with the Earth’s magnetic core. Wonders all around us, creating a spectacle like none other.”
“The photos I’ve seen are beautiful, but this? Actually seeing it? More stunning than I could even imagine.”
The heavenly display seemed to envelop them, wrap around them, making Zeke feel as though they were strangely cocooned together, alone in the universe, and he held her with her back close against his chest. His arms moved to circle her waist, trying to shield her from the biting wind as they watched the colors swirl across the sky, both of them silent for a long time.
Problem was, neither of them were as bundled as they needed to be, since they’d only planned to be out here as long as it took to set up the tent. As minutes passed, the raw, frigid air began to seep through his gloves and layers of clothes, and he knew she had to be feeling it, too.
It struck him that standing beneath this celestial wonder, sharing it with Jordan, was something he’d never forget. He hated for the moment to end, but knew staying out here any longer wasn’t a good idea. Regret weighed in his chest, knowing he’d never experience anything like this again. He lowered his head and pressed his cheek to her temple, and even through the layers felt her warmth.
“I hate to say it, but probably we should go inside and warm up away from this wind. Our bodies will put off more heat than you’d think, and fill the tent space pretty well, but if we get too cold, it’ll be hard to get comfortable again.”
She turned in his arms, and the look of wonder and awe and joy on her face had him holding her a little tighter, feeling beyond blessed that they’d seen the wonder of the lights together. “I appreciate you staying out here with me. For keeping me as warm as you could, so I could soak in that incredible sight. It’s something I’ll never forget. Thank you.”
“No thanks necessary.” The words came out gruff, his throat a little tight that she would thank him for holding her close in the cold Antarctic air. God knew he’d done it both to keep her warm, and because folding her into his arms was something he’d wanted for days, and now had experienced for real. “I feel lucky every time I get to see it. And getting to share it with someone seeing the lights for the first time? That feels…good.”
“The word good is not even close to what I’m feeling right now.”
Something about the way she said it, combined with the way she was looking at him, sent his heart beating a little harder, his breath a little short. He couldn’t help but let his gaze lower to her lips, pink from the cold, wanting to kiss her even more than he’d wanted to earlier, which seemed impossible. Then she leaned into him, grasped his shoulders in her hands, moved them to his cheeks. Tipped her face up to his and had a look in her eyes that told him she was thinking about that first night they met. How it had felt when he’d held her in his arms. All the times since that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it, either.