By: Susan Carlisle
Genre: Contemporary Medical Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Medical Romances/Mills & Boon
From matchmaker...to perfect match?
Whitney Thomason prides herself on being able to find the perfect partner for anyone, but heart surgeon Tanner Locke is a real challenge! He wants to settle down, but he's adamant there'll be no falling in love...
When Whitney's candidate falls through, it's up to her to be the girlfriend Tanner needs for his weekend business getaway, but two days in close proximity proves torturous. They know giving in to temptation is a bad idea, but desire is more powerful than reason…
When Whitney Thomason had spoken to Dr. Tanner Locke to set up a meeting she’d been shocked. Why would someone like Tanner need a matchmaker?
As ‘big man on campus’ when they were at Berkeley all the girls had a crush on him, including her. But she hadn’t been his type. He was into thin, blond, preppy sorority girls while she was the heavy, dark haired, mousey nobody.
In the past couple of years, she’d seen Tanner’s name in the news a few times. He was an up and coming surgeon in the heart transplant field. So why did someone as handsome as Tanner, in such a prestigious profession and with plenty of money need her help in finding a mate?
Whitney chuckled dryly. For the same reasons her other clients needed her. They didn’t have the time or energy to weed out the undesirables. She handled the nitty-gritty work so they only connected with the people best suited for them.
An hour earlier he’d texted her that he need to change their meeting spot asking her to join him at a small airport outside of San Francisco. As the owner of Professional Matchmaking, Whitney had made concessions for clients on more than one occasion but this was the first time she’d been asked to meet one at an airport at dusk.
Tanner had stated something had come up and he couldn’t come to her office. He would appreciate her meeting him at the airport. If she hadn’t known who he was she wouldn’t have considered such an arrangement. She wasn’t familiar with the small airport but had agreed to do so anyway.
Having the Dr. Tanner Locke’s name on her client list would be good for business. It would be unethical to publicize his name but she could say an eminent doctor in the city had used her services. Who knew, Tanner might even send her referrals. Either of those would make it worth her drive to meet him.
She rolled through the gate of the airfield minutes before she was to meet Tanner. Would he recognize her? Why should he? She’d just been one of those girls who were filler in a couple of his classes. Plus she’d changed a great deal since then. At least on the outside. She’d lost fifty pounds.
Pulling into a parking spot in the lot next to a building, she turned off the engine. A white jet sat on the tarmac in front of the terminal beside her. There were a couple of men working around it. Was Tanner going somewhere? Probably off to Hawaii for the weekend.
Normally Whitney liked to have her initial interview in a neutral and laid back place. Out of the person’s high pressure work world so that they were more relaxed, less distracted. She found that even though people’s favorite subject was themselves when it came to their personal life they weren’t as forthcoming. Men tended toward telling about half of what she needed to know. The more successful they were the more insecure or demanding or both they were about their choices for mates.
At the sound of an ambulance siren, she glanced into the rearview mirror. The vehicle came through the gate at a normal speed and continued on to stop close to the plane. A group of people dressed in green scrubs exited the back of the ambulance.
What was going on?
One of the men in the party broke away from the group and started toward her. Tanner. She should have recognized his broad shoulders right off. His wide stride spoke of a man who controlled his realm and was confident in do so. As he approached Whitney stepped out of the car, closed the door and waited beside the car.
He didn’t remember her. She really hadn’t expect he would but it still stung. She extended her hand. “Yes, I’m Whitney Thomason with Professional Matchmaking.”
His eyes widened and he glanced over his shoulder. “First names, please. No titles.”
She looked around him to see the others in his party watching them. Was this some big secret or something? “Okay.”
“I’m Tanner. I would prefer we keep my request between the two of us.”
“I understand. I assure you I am discreet.” Most professionals she worked with wanted their interactions with her to remain low key. Either they didn’t want others to know they needed help in their personal life or were just embarrassed they couldn’t find someone on their own. Whatever it was, she respected their desires.
So why was Tanner meeting her in front of his colleagues? “Then why here?” She nodded her head toward the group at the plane.
“I didn’t know I was going to have to go after a heart but I wanted you to get started on this right away.”
“After a heart?” Her voice rose.
“I’m a heart surgeon. I’m in the process of retrieving a heart.”
“Oh.” She had stepped in the middle of something.
“So what do you need from me?”
He wants to do this right now, right here? “It usually takes an hour or so for me to get enough information from a client to form a good idea of the type of woman they are best suited to.”
Tanner looked back at the plane where the others were loading. “I don’t have an hour. I have a man who needs a new heart.”
“Then I suggest we postpone this meeting.” Whitney stepped back and reached for her car door handle.
“I’d like to get the process started. I don’t know when I’ll be able to sit down and talk anytime soon.” His voice had a note of desperation that she was confident didn’t appear often. “What I’m looking for is someone who takes care of herself, is good in social situations, wants to be a mother and would be more interested in my career than her own.”
Really? That’s all he wanted? He hadn’t said anything about love. This would be a tough order to fill. “Those are pretty broad requirements. I like to know my clients well enough that I don’t waste their or their potential partner’s time.”
“Hey, Tanner,” one of the men standing by the plane called. “We gotta go.”
He looked back to her. “I’ve heard you’re the best in town. I’m sure you can find some women for me to consider. Here’s my contact information.” He handed her a business card. “Call when you have something for me.” With that he jogged toward the plane.
Minutes later Whitney watched as the plane flew off into the darkening sky. If she did manage to find Tanner a match would he take the time to get to know the woman or just expect her to cow to his list of requirements?
Was this the same man she’d had such a crush on?
Tanner looked down from his window seat of the plane at the woman still standing beside her small practical compact car. She looked like a matchmaker. Simply dressed. Nothing sexy or appealing about her clothing. Hair was fashioned into a short no fuss cut. She was nothing like the women he was attracted yet he found her no-nonsense, straight to the point personality interesting.
But there was something familiar. Maybe it was her smile. It was one of the nicest he’d ever seen. Reached her eyes. Maybe she’d been his patient at some point. But she’d said nothing about knowing him.
He hoped he’d made the right decision in calling her. There had been noises made by the powers-that-be at the hospital that he might be in line to head the department when Dr. Kurosawa retired. A subtle implication had also been made that being a settled married man looked better on the Vita than bachelor.
For a moment he’d thought about doing the online dating thing but couldn’t bring himself to enter his name. He didn’t have the time or inclination to wade through all the possible dates. Being thought pathetic because he used a dating service also disturbed him. The fewer people who knew what he was doing the better. Truthfully, he was uncomfortable having others know he needed hired help to find a partner.
He’d had no problem finding dates, but had never found someone who met his requirements for a lifelong commitment. Tanner wasn’t interested in a love match but in a relationship based on mutual life goals. Maybe with the help of an outsider, an impartial one, he could find someone who wanted the same things he did. The search would be handled like a business, a study of pros and cons.
One thing he did know was that love wouldn’t be the deciding factor. He’d already seen what that did to a person. His father had loved his mother but she’d not felt the same. In fact, more than once she had a lover behind his back. Tanner had watched his strong, doting father slowly die of heartache as he tried to make Tanner’s mother happy. It never happened. She only thought of herself and never his father. He’d loved her and because of that allowed her to walk all over him.
Tanner refused to let any woman have that kind of control over his life.
If an executive matchmaker could help him find what he needed in a woman and the woman was happy with what he could offer outside of his heart then that would suit him.
“Hey Tanner,” the kidney team surgeon said after a tap to his arm, “who was the woman you were talking to? Did you have to break a date?”
He shrugged. “Just a woman I met.”
“You know that one day you’re going to have to settle down. Hospital boards like to have their department heads going home to family at night. I’ve got a friend of a friend with a sister. Pretty, I heard.”
“I’m good, Charlie.”
He grinned. “I’m just sayin…”
Tanner was tired of being fixed up by friends and family. Everyone wanted their daughter or friend to marry a doctor.
He looked over at the nurse sitting beside Charlie and talking to a member of the liver team. They been out a number of times but nothing really clicked. Tanner was tired of dating out of the nursing pool. He wanted to go home to someone who wasn’t caught up in the high adrenaline rush of medical work. A woman who gave him a peaceful haven where he could unwind.
He expected Whitney Thomason to find that person for him.
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Susan Carlisle’s love affair with books began when she made a bad grade in math in the sixth grade. Not allowed to watch TV until she brought the grade up, Susan filled her time with books. She turned her love of reading into a passion for writing. With over ten books published with Harlequin Mills and Boon’s medical line, she is still writing hot romances with sexy docs and the strong women that captivate them.
Susan loves castles, traveling, sewing, afternoon tea and reads voraciously.
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