TCO is happy to have Heidi Cullinan back, in celebration of The Doctor’s Orders, Copper Point Medical, Book Three. She has a very relevant, and slightly revealing, guest post, all about local social media…love the point where she calls someone close to her a gossip. lol Anyway, check it all out then pick up The Doctor’s Orders!
Once upon a time Nicolas 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.
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.
Today I’m going to talk a little bit about small town gossip, which has been a feature in all the Copper Point: Medical stories, but is especially prominent in The Doctor’s Orders.
Mentioned several times in the story, and in the series, is a fictitious Facebook group called Copper Point People. I based this on the very real Ames People, a local group I refuse to join but hear a lot about because my husband is addicted to it.
“So, Mr. I-Know-All-the-Gossip. How’s Copper Point’s elite handling yet another physician who isn’t a white male evangelical Christian?”
“Oh my God. Where do I start?” Jared rolled his eyes and picked up his drink, sipping it as he moved closer to Owen so they wouldn’t be overheard. “The retired college president’s wife was in a private chat group pitching a fit because the new cardiologist isn’t only from India, she’s Muslim. Someone pointed out there was nothing wrong with that, and the end result was the country club scrambling to find someone they could send into the women’s locker room to break up a fight when the online spat went abruptly offline. Then on Copper Point People someone else—no one of note, some random MAGA—complained about how it was obvious St. Ann’s had an antiwhite hiring policy.”
Owen buried his face in his hands. “That Facebook group is trash.”
“Wait until you hear how it got resolved. People argued back and forth for two days, but when everyone was starting to cool off, someone came in as the ‘mediating’ voice and pointed out at least she was straight this time.”
Owen sat up slowly, drawing his fingers down his face and staring sightlessly at the table decorations in front of them. “Tell me again why we live here?”
You can actually find People groups for just about any city on Facebook, and a lot of them are doozies. Check out the description for The People of Des Moines. I’m biased because I have a Facebook aversion in general, but wow.
In The Doctor’s Orders, and in the whole series, really, Jared is a known lover of gossip and is always in the know. He’s constantly checking in with Copper Point People, and the nurse’s station, and pretty much everyone in town. But as he tries to start seeing Nick in private, the gossip mill starts to bite him from behind.
“How do you know all this? I thought you two were estranged?”
Jared waved a hand airily. “People talk. I listen.”
“Anyway. I think things have been more stable for a long time, with the Beckert family, but they’re so close. Maybe he moved in with them when he came back to Copper Point to save up for his own place, or maybe he just wanted the comfort of people who loved him while he had to deal with those dogs on the board. Maybe he’s just a homebody. All I know is his place is out of the question, and so is mine. People see his car parked in my drive overnight, and it’ll be all over Copper Point People before we’re under the sheets.”
My husband is a huge gossip, or at least a huge listener. Once when we were dating I went with him to his family’s house and the first thing he did was go through every cupboard in the kitchen! “What are you looking for?” I asked him. “Oh, just looking,” he said. He insists he isn’t a snoop, though. “I’m interested,” he always professes. He also keeps tabs on my daughter and I whenever we leave the house, checking on Find My Friends to make sure we’re okay. So Jared was not born in a vacuum. I already know all about snoopy (or interested) men!
I hope if you have a gossipy community—or person—in your life, you’re able to view it with humor and love, and I hope you enjoy The Doctor’s Orders.
Jared started to let go of Nick’s arm, then seemed to think better of it, clinging loosely.
Neither one of them wanted to let go of the other. Nick only wished he knew if this were because of the shock, panic, or…
Or what, exactly, he didn’t know.
Well, he had nothing else to do right now but find out.
Definitely he should stop touching the man quite so intimately. He withdrew his hand from Jared’s hair.
Jared clamped it down, trapping it on his own neck. “Please don’t let go.” His breath tickled Nick’s face.
“Are youall right? You were so focused on me. Are you hurt?”
“No.” His voice had a tremor in it, though, and he slid a hand to Nick’s shoulder, holding on. “I… I’m fine.”
Translation: he was a quiet wreck but didn’t want to talk about it. No problem. Nick could work with that, but he wanted some boundaries. “Do you want to lean on me, or…?”
“I felt better when you were petting my hair.”
Was it wrong to feel a rush of lust during an administration crisis? Yes. Except there wasn’t much administration Nick could manage from here. Erin had to handle that part.
The only person he could take care of was the man in his arms.
It’s okay. No one is here but the two of us. It’s okay to let go right now.
“So.” Nick ran his thumb along the thick, tense muscle on the side of Jared’s neck, testing out the touch. He liked how Jared’s breath hitched, how his own blood tingled. They were in a strange cocoon away from the world. “Why am I not surprised you knew about the custodian and the elevator? But it does make me wonder why you let us get on.”
“I was flustered. Besides, Kevin said the company swore it would be fine, that it was just a glitch.”
“I’m going to have Rebecca sue the company within an inch of its life.”
“Funny, Kevin mentioned Rebecca too.” His grip on Nick’s arm tightened. “I know I asked you to do it, but… why are you touching me so much?”
Because my life flashed before my eyes, and when I got a second chance, you were in my arms.He wasn’t ready to say that. Which meant he shouldn’t be doing it.
Except he wanted to keep touching Jared. It was like every time he’d been at a convention and seen the right guy at a bar after too many drinks. Like when in college he couldn’t take it anymore and had gone to those barseven while telling himself he couldn’t, he shouldn’t. This moment was the same except louder, sharper, deeper. Because it was the man who had cracked open the door to this part of himself. The man who had become his friend again after all these years. The man who had just confessed he’d been thinking of Nick all this time.
This moment was more because it was with Jared.
Total mixed review from me on this one. There were parts I liked, parts I loved and parts that had me rolling my eyes.
I really enjoyed books 1 and 2 and I recommend them. And if you read those, you will want to read this one as well. And it is definitely readable, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first two.
We’ve known for a while (if you read the first 2) that Nick and Jared had some kind of past. Now we find out what it was. They were boyfriends in high school. But Nick, being from a religious, fairly conservative family, wasn’t willing to come out. And so ended their relationship.
Twenty years later they mostly growl at each other when they pass at work. Until the elevator they are in breaks and quite nearly kills them. Then all of a sudden they are not only hot and heavy, but they are totally schmoopy with each other. Yes! Let’s get back together! I totally love you! But….I’m still in the closet.
They think they can sneak around, but they live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and gossip is king. So, good luck with that.
There is also the small matter of the elevator almost killing them. So that needs to be investigated as well as if they should fix the hospital as it stands or start fresh with a new building.
Nick and Jared continue to keep their relationship a secret because Nick doesn’t want to come out of the closet. He thinks his family will disown him. He has a strong loyalty to be the man of the family since his father died when Nick was in his teens. But seriously, how long can that go on?
*Mild spoiler alert?*
My favorite scene was when Jared’s racist parents come to see him at the hospital after their relationship is made public. His rant to them was EPIC. Bravo.
A lot of the story was spent on the hospital, who wants to buy it, who wants to invest, public support, was their sabotage, etc, etc. It got a little boring. And then it was wrapped up in 4 sentences. Oy.
So, yes, you’ll want to read this if you read the first two. But it is definitely my least favorite.
3 pieces of eye candy
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.