Hi Susan and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Redeeming the Rebel Doc!
Hey. Thanks for having me.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Doc Rex’s reputation needs redeeming after a medical malpractice suite. PR professional Tiffani is hired to try to make that happen. Rex rebels against the idea and sparks fly. These two opposites find they make a perfect one.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
“We’ll be ready in just a minute,” Maggie said as she hurried away. Over her shoulder she added, “I’m glad you’re wearing your scrubs. I like a touch of authenticity”.
“I’m in scrubs because I am an authentic surgeon,” he muttered through gritted teeth, watching her go.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Tiffani is attracted to Rex’s looks at first. (Who wouldn’t be? Check out the cover!) She soon learns that he’s a dedicated doctor not only at the hospital but at the neighborhood clinic he started. He is a person to be admired and that the media just might have had it wrong about him.
All Rex wants is to be left alone to do his job, at which he is very good. Having to deal with bureaucracy makes him irritable. He enjoys riding his motorcycle and cooking.He finds Tiffani a challenge and he likes those. All she needs is a little loosing up and he is just the guy to do it.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
I loved the hero so much that I had to remind myself that I had a heroine to write about also. When I realized how different these characters were from each other and how much material that gave me to work with I became very excited and the story flew.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
The Cover! Isn’t the guy gorgeous? He is the perfect Rex.
I also loved the story. Beating to his own drum, Rex is the perfect foil to Tiffani’s uptight business woman. Bad boys are super fun to write.
The First Kiss…
Believe it or not Rex and Tiffani’s first kiss takes places in a hospital parking lot. They have spent the day working at a under privilege clinic and Rex is dropping her off at her car. They both have been thinking about a kiss so when Rex asks Tiffani what she would do if he kissed her, she is more than glad to have him finally do it. It turns out to be hotter then either of them expected.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The one where they go to Elvis’s home for the afternoon. They tour the museum, the house and his plane. The nice thing about this scene is that it shows Rex and Tiffani getting to know each other better, really enjoying one another, teasing and laughing.
Taking a seat, Tiffani asked Rex, as if she were conducting an interview and he was Elvis, “So, what was your favorite movie part?”
“I liked Girls, Girls, Girls. Mostly because of the girls.” Rex gave her a wolfish grin.
Tiffani laughed. “And your favorite song?”
“Oh, there were so many.” Rex did a poor imitation of Elvis’s voice. “‘Blue Suede Shoes’.”
“Your favorite place in the world?”
“Graceland, of course.”
They both giggled like kids.
Rex took her hand and helped her down the steps. “I heard that they have a café here that serves Elvis’s favorite sandwich. Want to try it?”
“What is it?”
Rex rubbed his stomach. “A grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.”
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
Any smooth jazz song. He might be unconventional on the outside and look like a rock-and-roller but his music is mellow.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want them to enjoy the happily ever after ending and close the book feeling entertained and good about life. Love is possible – for everyone!
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
I’ve been working on a Christmas book. It takes place in rural Oklahoma. The heroine is a local girl.A new doctor arrives to fill in for a month. He’s from Boston and a fish out of water. There’s snow, a Christmas parade and a kiss under the mistletoe in this story.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I will be giving a print copy of Redeeming the Rebel Doc to someone who comments.
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Excerpt from Redeeming the Rebel Doc:
“RETRACTOR!” SNAPPED DR. REX MAXWELL.
His surgical nurse quickly placed it in his palm.
“We need to find this bleeder. Suction.” With a gentle movement, Rex lifted the liver as his assistant, standing across the OR table from him at Metropolitan Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, obeyed his command.
Rex watched intently for any sign of red liquid. This patient had come through the emergency department the night before and one of his colleagues had patched the man up but the patient wasn’t recovering as he should. His midsection had swelled. There was internal bleeding. Rex was known as the “go-to man” who handled hard-to-find problems like this. He didn’t disappoint. Confident in his skills as a surgeon, his success rate had proved him more than competent. Except in one case.
His heart jumped as he spotted the problem. “Found it. Sutures.”
“That figures. You find them when no one else can,” the anesthesiologist said, admiration in his tone.
Rex looked over his mask at the man. “Thanks.”
Over the next few minutes Rex repaired the leak. He was almost finished when the phone on the wall rang. A nurse answered. Seconds later she hung up. “Rex, you’re wanted in Administration as soon as you’re done here.”
He muttered a word that his mother would scold him for using. Polite people didn’t use words like that. But, then, to her, life was about always making the right impression.
An hour later he trudged down the wide tiled hallway toward the hospital administration offices. With a patient in surgery prep who had been pushed back hours because of the bleeder, Rex should be back in surgery, not on his way to a meeting he wasn’t interested in being a part of. Hadn’t he spent enough time in the last twelve months with Dr. Nelson, the hospital administrator? Being arbitrarily summoned to Nelson’s office should have stopped when the unpleasant malpractice suit had been settled.
Rex had endlessly replayed that the details of that night and that surgery in his mind and had told lawyers the tale of what had occurred more than once.
He’d been called in late on a Saturday night after having been to a club on a date. Since he had been on call he hadn’t been drinking and when he’d arrived at the hospital the patient had already been prepped for surgery. It hadn’t been until after he was in the OR that he’d learned his patient was Mr. Royster, the man who had been both his father’s best friend and chairman of the board of the country club when his father had filed for bankruptcy. Royster was also the father of Rex’s ex-girlfriend, who had dumped him because she’d been ashamed of being seen on Rex’s arm after his family’s financial downfall had become public knowledge.
The situation with Mr. Royster’s perforated stomach had by now deteriorated to the point that he’d had little chance of surviving even with surgery. The repair hadn’t been difficult but the chance of serious infection had been high. Less than twenty-four hours post-op Mr. Royster had steadily been going downhill. In another forty-eight, he was gone.
Devastated and grief-stricken to the point that they couldn’t accept what had happened, Royster’s family had lashed out by filing a malpractice suit against Rex, accusing him of not taking the necessary medical steps to save Royster’s life in retaliation for how he and his family had been ostracized all those years ago. Powered by the family’s money and influence, the case had gone further than it should have. The most damage had been done by the Roysters’ manipulation of the media, which had dragged the hospital into the nastiness.
The relationship between Rex and Dr. Nelson had been contentious at best while the hospital had been faced with the possibility of paying millions in damages. Rex’s career, as well as his and the hospital’s reputation, would still take years to repair. Thankfully, though, both he and the hospital had come through the experience bruised and battered, and both were still in business. So what could Dr. Nelson possibly want now?
Opening the glass door of the administrative suite, Rex went straight to the assistant’s desk. “Marsha, please let Dr. Nelson know I’m here.”
She nodded toward a closed door. “Go on in. He’s waiting on you.”
Relief washed through him. At least he didn’t have to waste time waiting. He checked his watch as he entered Nelson’s office. He was determined to get to his patient sooner rather than later. As Nelson looked up from his chair behind the desk, Rex closed the door.
Dr. Nelson waved him towards a chair. “I’m glad you could make it on such short notice.”
Rex dropped into the seat, elbows resting on his knees, and looked squarely at Dr. Nelson. “I have a patient waiting.”
“I won’t keep you long. After the unpleasantness of the last year, the hospital’s reputation has taken a hit. The community is left with the impression the hospital doesn’t provide quality service.”
Without thinking, Rex uttered that foul oath again. Dr. Nelson’s eyes narrowed. In turn, Rex straightened in his chair. “Everything about my service is high quality. Was and will be in the future. I’ll put my skills up against any surgeon’s.”
“The question is, does the public believe that?” Nelson countered. “This is a serious situation. I’m sure you’ve noticed the downward turn in your workload.”
“Yes, but I’m still very busy.” Rex was confident people would soon forget about the long-drawn-out court case. Especially since it was no longer nightly news. Time was the secret. After all, he’d lived through scandal before and survived.
Dr. Nelson’s face sobered. He leaned forward, placing his arms on his desk and clasping his hands. Maybe there was more to this meeting than Rex had originally thought. He gave Mr. Nelson his full attention.
“Because of the situation, the board of directors has decided to bring in a public relations firm to help minimize the fallout. With the hospital accreditation committee planning a visit at the end of the month, we need to bolster public opinion as much as possible. Since you were involved in the lawsuit they want your co-operation in the matter. The idea is that if the public perception of you improves then so will the hospital’s and vice versa.”
Rex held back a frustrated groan. Nelson must be joking. There wasn’t time in his day for PR stuff. Instead of voicing his real opinion, he said, “Do you really think that’s necessary?”
“It’s not what I think but what the board has decided. However, I agree with them. I expect your full co-operation.”
Rex started to open his mouth.
Dr. Nelson raised his hand. “The board knows you’re a talented, dedicated doctor. They want to keep you but the hospital’s reputation must improve. If you plan to continue working here, I highly recommend you go along with this.”
Rex was invested in Metropolitan Hospital. With his surgical skills he could work anywhere, but that wouldn’t be enough to get him the promotions he craved and if he were to leave it was highly likely that any hospital he applied to would take a dim view of him, given the malpractice lawsuit, even though he had been legally cleared.
He’d been able to start work at Metropolitan as his own person without the worry of the negative connotations of his family name. He’d been exceptionally successful, despite being what some would call a free spirit. There had been no issues until this recent incident and he didn’t anticipate any more problems in his future. His intention was to achieve the position of departmental head in this hospital.
Now he was being pressured into unnecessary PR nonsense with no say in the matter.
Just like when he had been a teen and his family had become the subject of too much outside attention.
After his family’s fall from their high-society status, he’d vowed he would never be forced into putting on a façade to impress people. However, it seemed that that was what it was going to take if he wanted to achieve his goals in medicine. Even though experience had taught him that putting a pretty face on an ugly reality could backfire badly.
His mother and father had lived that way. The best clothes, nice cars, private school for their children, big house and membership to an exclusive country club. The problem was that they couldn’t afford it. Everything had been outward appearance and no substance. When Rex had been seventeen it had all came crashing down. His parents had been exposed and the family had gone bankrupt.
Reality was a too-small apartment on the other side of town, a ten-year-old car, cheap clothes and no more country club.
Most of Rex’s friends had turned their backs on him because they’d no longer had anything in common. What had really hurt, though, had been the girl he’d been in love with ending their relationship. When he’d been snubbed by country club snobs, she’d declared they had no future. He wasn’t enough for her. So much for love.
Rex had promised himself then that he’d never judge someone by where they lived or what they drove, neither would he ever put on pretensions of wealth and social status to impress again. He was who he was. People could like him or not. That was one of the reasons he wore a T-shirt, jeans and boots to work. He might be a well-paid physician, but his open, honest lifestyle had nothing to do with his salary, his brain, or his skills in the OR. He would not tolerate pretense in his life.
Forcing his attention back to the dilemma Dr. Nelson had just created for him, he decided that during this new PR push he’d just lie low and concentrate on his patients. Refuse to get any more involved than he absolutely had to. He had nothing to prove to anyone and nothing to hide.
The moment Rex sighed, satisfied with his decision, Nelson punched a button and told his assistant to send in Ms. Romano.
Tiffani Romano waited apprehensively in the outer office of the administrator. She’d already seen Dr. Nelson but he’d asked her to wait while he spoke to Dr. Maxwell in private, then he would introduce them.
When her boss at Whitlock Public Relations had asked her into his office and explained that Metropolitan Hospital wanted to hire the firm to improve their image she had been excited that he was putting her in charge of the job. Tiffani saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance in the company. Success in the campaign would give her the two things she desperately wanted—a promotion that would move her to the corporate office in another city and the chance to no longer encounter Lou, her ex-boyfriend, daily.
The only glitch was that she had no respect for the medical community. She knew from personal experience that doctors were only interested in themselves and cared little about the patients whose lives they ruined instead of healed.
When she’d been a child her father had been crippled in a motorcycle accident and he had lost one leg completely and part of another, condemning him to a wheelchair. The situation had made him a very bitter man. To this day, he insisted the doctors had done nothing to save his lower limbs. With his lack of mobility had gone his desire for life—his only joy to be found at the bottom of a bottle or in the comfort of prescription drugs. These tragedies had been underscored by his sullenness, all making it impossible for him to hold down a job.
Her mother had supported her father’s vendetta. Suffering through her father’s recovery and attitude about his life, the lawsuit he’d pursued against the physicians and hospital, and having little money, she had been almost as unpleasant as her husband. She’d soon divorced Tiffani’s father and the once happy household had changed to one of permanent misery. Nothing had been the same after that fateful day.
Her father still complained about how he had been mistreated. Today he was wasting away at an assisted living home, spending more of his time in bed than out. It made Tiffani miserable to visit him and see him like that, but he was her father and she loved him.
Would Dr. Maxwell, with whom she’d have to work closely, be any different than the doctors who had destroyed her father? From what she had read and seen on the news about the malpractice case, she’d believed Maxwell guilty. Nevertheless, he’d been cleared of all charges. She wasn’t surprised. Like all physicians, she was sure he’d played God with someone’s life with no thought to what would happen to the patient afterwards, or the effects on the family. Her father lived in pain daily because of hasty decisions and half-efforts his doctors had made. Though her father had survived, unlike Maxwell’s victim, his life and the lives of his family had been destroyed.
Regardless of Dr. Maxwell’s devil-may-care attitude, his surgical success rate was above average. That could be used to her advantage if she could keep him in check long enough to achieve the “you-can-trust-me” crusade she envisioned. Her intense month-long strategy was to boldly make him the face people associated with the hospital. It was an ambitious plan and she had no time for indecisiveness or uncertainty.
She would keep her opinions on the medical field to herself and convince him that it was in his best interest, and the hospital’s, to co-operate with her plans. The board expected positive results and she intended to deliver. Doing so was too important to both her career goals and her sanity.
She gripped the business satchel lying on her lap tighter. The merest hope of never again seeing Lou’s smug face fueled her determination. Unfortunately, fate had chosen Dr. Maxwell as the key to making that flickering hope her reality.
A young doctor walked past without glancing at Tiffani and sidled up to Dr. Nelson’s assistant’s desk. With a warm smile, he asked for permission to see Dr. Nelson.
Tiffani surmised the tall, tan man wearing the green scrubs with cheerfully bright headwear over long dark hair bound at the nap of his neck was her soon-to-be PR project, Dr. Maxwell. Despite her distaste for his profession she couldn’t deny that he was attractive. In fact, he might be the most interesting man she had ever seen. She couldn’t let herself be distracted by that, though, he was still a doctor.
Ten minutes later, Dr. Nelson’s assistant caught her attention and said he was ready to see her. Entering the office with confidence, Tiffani saw Dr. Nelson still seated behind his desk and the doctor in scrubs slumped in a chair with his hands in his lap. She could feel defiance radiating from him even though his expression was professionally polite.
Dr. Nelson stood, arms wide and palms up. “Come in, come in, Ms. Romano. I’d like you to meet Dr. Rex Maxwell.”
The doctor had the good manners to stand and extend his hand. His long fingers circled hers. The clasp was firm, warm. His dark brown eyes searched hers intently for a moment before he released her hand.
“Please, both of you, sit down,” Dr. Nelson said, taking his seat again.
Tiffany took the chair beside the doctor. He glanced at her before turning those sharp eyes on Dr. Nelson, who said, “I’ve explained the situation to Dr. Maxwell and he’s willing to give you his full support.”
Dr. Maxwell shifted in his seat. She glanced at him. His attention seemed focused on a small statue on the shelf behind Dr. Nelson’s desk. He didn’t look pleased.
The older man continued as if he hadn’t noticed. “Both of you are professionals. I know you’ll handle this project discreetly. With great aplomb. I expect a report in a week that I can give the board.” He paused to look at each of them. “I’m here to help and I look forward to this being a meaningful, productive and very successful project. Please, call on me if there are any issues.”
Dr. Maxwell stood, passing behind her chair on his way out. He was already in the hallway before Tiffani could gather her purse and bag. She looked at Nelson but he merely watched as she raced after the most important element to her plan. Her timetable required transforming her ideas into reality right away. That meant immediately getting better acquainted with Dr. Maxwell. He, however, was a good way down the long hall and using a stride she found difficult to match.
She called his name but he didn’t slow or even look back as he briskly continued. The rapid tap, tap, tap of her heels echoed off the walls so he had to know she was behind him. As he slowed in front of a closed elevator door she finally caught up and grabbed his arm. To her amazement, he looked surprised to see her and glanced at where her hand rested.
Tiffani released him and said breathlessly, “I’ve been trying to get your attention since we left Dr. Nelson’s office.”
“I have a patient waiting.” He pushed the button for the elevator again. The doors opened.
“We need to talk. I have plans to implement.”
He stepped into the elevator, his gaze meeting hers.
She pursed her lips, hitched her bag strap more securely on her shoulder, and stepped aboard just as the door was closing.
His eyes widened. “This is a staff-only elevator.”
“Then I’ll get off when you do. Right now, I am going to talk to you.” She was determined to pin him down to a time they could meet. Timing was everything in this campaign.
He gave her a pointed look. “Ms. Romeo, I don’t have time to waste right now.”
They faced each other like two bulls in a box. She had no intention of letting this man dismiss her. Meeting his obstinate expression with one of her own, she said tightly, “It is Ms. Romano. How soon can you meet with me?”
“I don’t know how long this surgery will take. You handle things without me.”
The elevator stopped. There was a ding before the doors opened. He almost jumped in his haste to get out. Tiffani didn’t hesitate to follow. “So I’m to make the decisions and give you the details?”
He kept walking. “Works for me.”
She stayed with him, saying in a stern voice, “This project will only be successful if you play a significant part.”
They soon faced closed double doors.
Eyes locked on those doors, he removed his badge and swiped it over an ID pad as he announced, “Look, I have patients to see. I have neither the time nor the interest in being a part of your PR campaign.”
The doors opened. He went through.
She did too. “Dr. Maxwell, Dr. Nelson told me you’re willing to give this campaign your full support. Did you lie to him or was he lying to me?”
He stopped so suddenly she almost bumped into his backside. “You can’t be in here.”
“What?” She didn’t understand the abrupt change in the conversation.
“This is the surgery suite. Didn’t you read any of the signs?” he asked, as if she were a four-year-old.
“Uh, no, I didn’t.”
“Are you planning to follow me into the OR?”
“No.” She certainly had zero interest in doing that. She’d seen enough gore to last her a lifetime, having had to help care for her father. She had started cleaning and bandaging his wounds while she’d been in middle school.
“It was nice to meet you, Ms. Romano,” he said stiffly, before he turned and walked away, dismissing her.
Furious, Tiffani backtracked her way to Dr. Nelson’s office. The return trip calmed her and she sighed. Somehow, she had to gain Dr. Maxwell’s co-operation. Without Dr. Maxwell there was no successful PR crusade, no promotion and no escaping her past.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She was hired to rebuild his reputation…
But will this doc be too hot to handle?
After successfully fighting a year-long lawsuit, handsome, rebellious surgeon Rex Maxwell is ready to get back on top of his game! So when buttoned-up but beautiful PR exec Tiffani Romano insists on making him the center of his hospital’s campaign, he reluctantly agrees. And though she tries hard not to let him, Rex is determined to get under her skin…
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Meet the Author:
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 love of writing romance. If the hero is a smart, sexy alpha male, he can be found in her books along with a strong heroine that captures the hero’s heart.
She leads workshops on a number of writing subjects. In her past life she has been a full time mother to four children, a high school substitute teacher and now when Susan isn’t writing she is busy being a fun grandmother. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband of over thirty years. Susan loves castles, traveling, cross-stitching and reads voraciously. Visit her at www.SusanCarlisle.com
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