THE DOCTOR’S HOMECOMING

The Doctor's HomecomingChosen as a study novel at Niagara College

Coming home was hard. But Emma Sinclair feared leaving again would be even harder. Returning had resurrected all the joy and pain of her girlhood when she’d loved – and lost – rancher Wyatt Barlow. Was their renewed acquaintance a second chance at happiness – or just a heartbreaking game of capricious fate?

Sixteen years ago he’d driven her away for her own good. Now she was Dr. Emma Sinclair, who’d readily helped Wyatt’s pregnant daughter and seemed determined to reunite their feuding families. But a future together was impossible, for there was still no way that a hardworking rancher could ever give Emma the life she deserved…!

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“Dual romances, disarming characters and a lush landscape make first-time author Bridges’s late 19th-century romance a delightful read.” Publishers Weekly

“The great Montana setting and exciting Western action highlight a story that moves quickly toward a top-notch romantic ending.” RT Book Reviews

“Kate Bridges has penned an entertaining, heartwarming story that will live in your heart long after you turn the last page. I highly recommend THE DOCTOR’S HOMECOMING!” Romance Reviews Today


Excerpt from THE DOCTOR’S HOMECOMING

Copyright © Kate Bridges. All rights reserved.

Taken from their first meeting:

Montana Territory, 1882

It took a moment for Wyatt to register what he was seeing. They were his Arabians, and he could make out Tommy. Wyatt squinted through the shimmering waves of heat, cupping a hand over his eyes. He tensed. Where was the doctor’s head of white hair? And what was that? A skirt blowing in the wind? A woman?

Something about the rider seemed familiar. The angle of her head, the way she held her shoulders tight and leaned into the horse. As she turned the final border of trees, his breath caught.

Emma.”

His senses spun. Reeling back, his heart lurched and his gut slammed, as surely as if he’d been punched. Trying to right his balance, he rubbed his bristly cheek with his palm. Hell, he would have preferred a punch…a little blood, a few cuts, but at least he’d know in a day or two, he’d recover.

Emma. He hadn’t talked to her in sixteen years. What the hell was she doing here? Coming to help his daughter, Melissa? Emma sure as hell wasn’t coming for him, not after how he’d treated her. He pushed aside his guilt as anger overtook him.

Now what? Was he supposed to let her help? After what her brother did? Dammit, was Wyatt supposed to quietly step aside and let Cole’s sister deal with Melissa? Was that supposed to somehow clear the goddamn slate?

He rubbed a hand over his mouth and swore. He watched her, hypnotized, as she galloped straight toward him. He’d heard rumors she was visiting and that she’d finally graduated from the Women’s College, a brand-new doctor. He’d always believed she’d make a good one. Was she?

They thundered in. The mutts barked. He dashed out, reaching for the mare’s reins before Emma could dismount.

“Pa,” Tommy shouted, jumping off his horse.

Wyatt’s gut wrenched as he gazed up into her eyes. Her cheeks were flushed and she was out of breath.

His heart hammered against his chest with concern for Melissa. “Where’s Doc Brady?”

“In Levi Valley buying supplies. How’s Melissa? Is she still bleeding?”

He softened, letting the reins slacken between his fingers. “She’s sleeping. Her bleeding stopped forty-five minutes ago.”

Her shoulders dipped with relief. Sliding off the saddle, she touched the ground on tiptoe, standing a head below his large frame. “Any more labor contractions?”

“No.”

Her cheeks grew pinker. “And the baby? Can you see movement in Melissa’s belly?”

“Yeah, I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the baby wiggling, clean through the sheet.”

Her whole face brightened. Her eyes sparkled. “That’s reassuring. Those are good signs. The best thing for Melissa is to let her sleep. There’s nothing better we can do.”

Maybe the worst was over. His daughter might be fine.

Emma’s confidence made the clamp around his heart loosen. His hopes soared to the endless blue sky.

Tommy took the horses and led them to the watering trough. Wyatt couldn’t help but beam at Emma. A smile trembled over her mouth, the pretty sight catching him off guard, causing his stomach to roll. He didn’t want to be caught off guard. He suddenly realized their proximity, not two feet between them. Close enough to notice the clean scent of her sweat, the tiny drops of dew glistening above her upper lip.

She seemed to be affected, too, either by him or the hard ride. Face flushed, she pulled in a deep breath, her chest heaving and her pink lips quivering. Looking like she’d just been made love to.

Watching her was torture. He took a step back, tried to regain his composure, then his eyes found hers again.

“How are you, Emma?”

“Fine.” She thrust out her chin. So she was still mad at him. Yet she’d come to help. And those big, greenish-brown eyes… Did they still flash more green than brown when she was angry? Yes, they did. He swallowed hard. Staring at her felt like an aching wound…

(…continued…)

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