Today I have the privilege of hosting Demelza Carlton on our first day of the Indie Author Event!! Make sure you check out the excerpt of Water and Fire as well as the YouTube video! And, before you ask (since I did already) that is Demelza speaking in the video!
A steamy contemporary medical romance involving a sexy doctor, a naughty nurse, a midwife on a mission and a mysterious predator in Albany, Western Australia.
Working as a student midwife in an Australian country hospital is never easy, but Belinda finds more trouble than most.
There's the intern doctor who follows her around like an overgrown puppy, the dangerous local wildlife and her own secrets she must keep.
When she finds herself without a place to live, what else can possibly go wrong?
Or is it time for something to go right?
Meet Belinda- Excerpt
A screech and a thump were my only whisper of warning.
I sighed. Another suicide.
I rounded the corner. The humped body of the big buck kangaroo sprawled like a sleeping seal by the side of the road. No other animal has a death-wish quite like a kamikaze kangaroo. The bitumen glittered in my headlights, as if frosted over in preparation for the dawn. The crunch beneath my tyres belied the thought of ice. I knew the sound of crushed glass.
The tail-lights of the tiny Toyota bled their glow onto the gravel beneath. The tree toppled between those two red eyes had folded the roof into a pair of ominous knitted eyebrows.
I slowed to a stop in the gravel behind it, hoping my help wouldn't be necessary. I left my headlights on to illuminate the wrecked hatchback. "Hello?" I called.
The answering groan was deep and came from the car. I peered through the back window, but the inflated airbags inside made it hard to see. I approached the driver's door.
"Are you okay?" I asked, knowing the answer already as I surveyed the damage done by both the kangaroo and the tree the driver had blindly swerved into.
"No," whimpered a female voice. "I…I can't get out."
Her door had popped partly open, so it wasn't difficult to pull on the handle to widen the gap. The airbag sprouting from her steering wheel pinned her to the seat. Under the weight of the fallen tree, both the roof and the console tightened into a cage around the airbag, making her car a padded cell in which she started to panic. She struggled to twist out of her seat, but she couldn't.
I waited a moment, before asking, "Can you undo your seat belt, or is it stuck?"
She looked at me in wonder and began fumbling for the seat belt buckle. I clearly heard the click that released her, before her scream shattered the air.
When she ran out of breath, she panted for a moment before she spoke. "I'm sorry," she said hoarsely.
I gritted my teeth into a smile. "Nothing to be sorry about. Let's get you out of there."
I helped her out of the driver's seat and onto her shaky legs. Only as she straightened beside me did I see the swollen belly that the airbag had hidden. I had barely a second to recognise her pregnancy before another contraction seized her. My arms were strong enough to support her, but her scream was longer this time. I saw the blood and fluid staining the driver's seat and felt a frisson of fear.
No. Can't hesitate. I'll do whatever it takes to save her. I won't lose this patient.
When the sound had died away, I said quickly, "Let's get you to my car, where you can lie down."
I helped her hobble to my car in time for her to topple into the back seat as her next contraction hit. Her scream rang in my ears, but I pulled out my phone, ready to ring for help as soon as she was silent.
I looked down. No signal. I held her life in my hands and mine alone. No, not just hers.Her unborn child, too.
So be it.
"I'm sorry," she whimpered, "but I think I'm having my baby, too."
For the first time, I smiled properly. "Then you're in luck. I'm Belinda, one of Albany Regional Hospital's best midwives and I'm on my way to work. I guess I'm starting early today, with you as my first patient. What's your name?"
"Miranda Nelson," she groaned over the next contraction. A gout of blood soaked the seat beneath her.
"I'll buckle you up and then we'd best get going," I said brightly, hoping there were no police up yet to catch me speeding. If I didn't get her to hospital soon, Miranda might bleed to death.
Not on my shift she won't.
"I'm sorry," Miranda sobbed, before another scream sounded her next contraction.
"No need," I replied cheerfully. I found myself singing under my breath. I lifted my voice a little so she might hear the soothing song, too. After all, it can't hurt. She's in enough pain already.
A wail heralded another contraction, Miranda's panicked panting punctuating the time between. I glanced at my watch. Five minutes. With the contractions so close, the next one should hit just as we get there.
I braked carefully as we reached the ambulance entrance, the sound drowned in Miranda's deep groan. I threw myself out of my door and pelted to hers.
"EMERGENCY. I NEED A WHEELCHAIR!" I bellowed as a stricken-looking ward clerk appeared at the door.
"Yes, Belinda," Helen replied smartly, vanishing back inside. She returned in a moment with the small hospital's only wheelchair, angling it perfectly to catch Miranda as I levered her out of the car.
Helen pursed her lips at the sight of blood in the back seat of my car, but she said nothing. I passed her my keys as I took hold of the wheelchair. "Can you take care of my car, Helen?" I asked brightly, already rolling Miranda inside.
With the help of a sleepy orderly named Rob, I quickly ensconced Miranda in a birthing suite, her wail rising as another contraction hit her.
"Where's Jill?" I asked Rob, before he left the room.
"In with Mrs Barker. She went into labour and won't let Jill leave. Jill and the anaesthetist are trying to persuade her to have an epidural, but she swears she won't."
Two difficult births in one night – Mrs Barker and now Miranda. This was going to be harder than I'd thought. I sucked in a breath, wondering who else would be able to help me. "Where's Dr Henderson?"
Rob shrugged. "He's not on duty – he's on the afternoon shift. We got a new intern for the morning shift – he's shaking in his office. I swear he goes whiter every time Mrs Barker bellows. Not like you – everyone knows you're the ice queen. Cool, calm and collected – no matter what."
The last thing I needed was a terrified intern for this birth. Alone, then. "Can you send the anaesthetist to me, after he's done with Mrs Barker? Miranda Nelson was in a car accident, and it looks like she's gone into premature labour."
Miranda let out another hoarse scream.
"And get someone to call her husband. He's up in Perth this week, I believe – tell him we'll have her flown up to King Edward Memorial Hospital as soon as we can. Call the Flying Doctors for transport, too." I looked at Miranda, straining through another contraction.
Rob hurried out, leaving us alone.
"Just you and me, Miranda," I said softly.
"No," Miranda gasped out. "She's coming. She's coming…urngh!"
Not wanting to believe her, I examined her as quickly as I could. She was almost fully dilated. There would be two patients for transport, not one.
And it's up to me to make sure they survive.
"So she is," I replied, keeping my voice calm. "It's time to push, Miranda. I hope you have a name picked out."
Character Profile: http://youtu.be/nGam2cdYbwA
Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/water-and-fire-demelza-carlton/1116335879?ean=2940045192323
Water and Fire is on sale for $.99 at most outlets for the weekend!!!