Return to Lone Oak*
*Previously published as Doctor in Her House
Check back for a link to purchase in paperback format on April 1, 2013.
Living in the moment takes courage. So does love.
Katie Salinger has spent most of her adult life looking for the next big adrenaline rush. But the extreme sports journalist faces her greatest challenge when she returns to Lone Oak, Kansas...and meets the attractive, secretive doctor who's intent on buying her beloved family home.
Ever since he returned from Africa, Dr. Noah Fletcher has been haunted by a tragic loss. His hometown thinks he's a hero, including Katie, the risk-taker, who's determined to uncover all his secrets. Noah can't deny their mutual attraction. But he also can't let her close. Because last time he fell in love, it almost killed him.
(of previous edition)
"Amy Knupp's Doctor in Her House (4) has irresistible characters and heart-tugging emotion. Readers won't want to put it down."
--4 stars, Alexandra Kay, Romantic Times Magazine
"DOCTOR IN HER HOUSE by talented Amy Knupp is an absorbing tale of two tragic people hurt by loss and coping in completely different ways....Knupp’s DOCTOR IN HER HOUSE is a profound sighing read that leaves questions for the reader which must be answered in the next installment of the Salinger Sisters series."
--4 stars, Donna Zapf, cataromance
"Amy Knupp will amaze you with this intriguing tale of two unlikely lovers who have to find their own way past the fears that drive them to their destiny. Their journey is also superbly set within the context of how one deals with loss..."
--Audrey Lawrence, Fresh Fiction
(from original version; final edited edition may differ slightly)
The woman in Room Four should be numb by now. Katie Salinger, the daredevil. Beautiful and reckless. A dangerous combination, as far as he was concerned.
He braced himself for trouble as he rounded the corner toward her room and ran right into it. Into her. He caught one of her arms to steady her, and did his best to avoid looking straight into those intense blue eyes.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
“No. I just don’t like small rooms. I’ve been getting some doctor-approved exercise.”
“Walking. I assume that’s okay?”
Was she giving him a hard time? Everyone here tiptoed around him, but apparently Katie hadn’t gotten the message—or maybe she just chose to ignore it.
Interesting. But not for him to worry about.
“How’s the chin? Can you feel anything?” He held the door open for her. As she passed him, her light berry scent snuck past his defenses and challenged his general tendency not to notice such personal details. He turned away and increased the distance between them, annoyed with himself.
“It’s dead. I think I’m drooling.”
He nodded, satisfied, and automatically steadied her as she climbed onto the table. Then he set to work sewing her stitches, finishing quickly.
“Before you go, I think we need to discuss what’s allowed in a little more detail.” Call him overcautious, but he didn’t trust her for a second.
Katie had been ready to leave but sat back again, clearly less than thrilled.
“Kayaking and rollerblading are out, at least until your stitches are gone. It’d be best if you didn’t do either of them until your wrist heals, as well. Are there any other dangerous activities you like to participate in?”
“I work for a magazine called Rush, as in adrenaline. What do you think?”
The mischief in her eyes was alluring—and familiar. So he looked away. “What do you do for them?”
“Whatever they ask. I write a lot of firsthand-experience reports. You know, hang-glide off a mountain, then write about what it was like… I also cover extreme sports competitions, but I usually don’t get to participate in them. Not in an official capacity, but as a reporter.”
He could tell she didn’t like being just a spectator. In anything. He knew the type well. She had to flirt with danger, taunt death. Just like Leah. The ache in his neck—which never fully disappeared—climbed higher, blossoming into a full-blown headache.
“Last month I went kite-surfing and swam with sharks.”
“How was that?” he asked, thinking surely she was certifiable. Possibly even more so than Leah had been.
“The sharks were terrifying. Can’t wait to do it again. Surfing? Awesome. Ever try it?”
“I’m afraid not.”
He’d had his share of adventure over the past two years as a volunteer for Medical Missions, and he wasn’t afraid of taking certain risks. Or at least he hadn’t been when he started out. But now he’d come back to Lone Oak for a calmer existence, to build a low-key focused life, where setting bones was as exciting as it got. Kite-surfing was not on his to-do list.
“You should give it a try sometime. There’s a great spot in south Texas.”
“Your loss.” She shrugged and got off the exam table. “Is the lecture over?”
“For now. I’ll see you in a week to remove those stitches. If you haven’t taken matters into your own hands again before then.”
She bent to pick up the rollerblades in a corner of the room and then it dawned on him that she must have skated here to have her stitches repaired. She had a screw loose. She was tall, golden brown-haired trouble with a scary dose of invincibility.
When she saw him watching her, she looked almost guilty for a flash. “I wasn’t going to skate. I got the message.”
“I’m just making sure you took it seriously.”
“Of course.” She stuffed her socks into the skates, along with knee pads and elbow pads, then picked up her bright yellow helmet. As she straightened, she met his eyes. “I can tell you’re the type to take everything seriously.”
She said it as if it were an insult, but Noah didn’t defend himself. From what he’d seen, she could use a large measure of serious.
“Nice to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand.
She shoved her helmet under the cast encasing her left arm and took his hand, her shake much softer than he expected. Then she smiled, her blue eyes sparkling with a zest for life that rocked him with a bone-chilling familiarity.
Trouble, he thought again, as he watched her leave.