Leonie Knight

Romance Writer

Suddenly Single Sophie

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Suddenly Single Sophie.

Chapter one

'SHE'S here. Come and have a look.' Caitlyn called from the tea room.

Dr William Brent didn't share his young receptionist's excitement at what he presumed was the arrival of the new doctor. It was barely twenty minutes since the last patient had left. Saturday morning clinics were supposed to finish at midday and today he'd particularly wanted to run to schedule. But it was already after two o'clock, the time he'd planned to meet Dr Sophie Carmichael.

She was late. Not an ideal start.

He was a busy man and didn't have spare time to waste on waiting. He had a house call after the interview and a meeting with a builder scheduled for mid-afternoon.

He dismissed his annoyance in the name of an urgent need for an assistant and hoped Caitlyn was right.

Sophie Carmichael's phone call, just over a month ago, had come at the right time and he'd invested a considerable amount of energy in getting the well-qualified Sydney doctor to relocate, even if it turned out to be for only a couple of months.

'Quick, you've got to see this, Dr Brent.' Caitlyn stood in the doorway to his office with a broad grin on her face and Will couldn't help but feel a sense of foreboding.

Why was Caitlyn so excited and worse, why was she grinning?

He followed her down the short corridor to the tea room and peered through the small, grubby window.

'Oh my God!' The words escaped before Will had time to check them and now he understood why his young receptionist was so insistent he had an advanced viewing.

Will glanced at Caitlyn who was still grinning, but couldn't stop his eyes returning to the new arrival. His heart dropped. She was driving a nippy little sports car. He didn't usually trust first impressions but had the gut feeling this stern-faced young woman, whom he could see clearly in the open topped vehicle, would be as at home in his practice as caviar at a sausage sizzle.

But he was truly desperate.

Working twelve hour days, being on call weekends and after hours, as well as trying to find time to get his plans for the community centre off the ground was wearing him down to near breaking point. There just weren't enough hours in the day.

He had to keep an open mind.

'If that's the new doc, I hope she's better at fixing sick people than she is at parking her car.' Caitlyn said.

Will squinted though the dirty glass, watching the wine-red cabriolet being manoeuvred into a space which was way too small.

'Ouch.' He felt the scrape of metal on metal as the front-end, passenger side didn't quite clear the carport post. If she was the new doctor, and Will had no reason to think otherwise, it was definitely not a good star to their working relationship.

But the show wasn't over.

The woman seemed to be having problems unfolding the roof the secure the vehicle. She huddled over the dash and first the windscreen wipers activated, then the hazard lights flashed before the roof finally jerked into place. She abandoned the car and squeezed her petite frame into the gap between her fancy sports car and Will's elderly, slightly battered station wagon. She was in shadow so Will could no longer see her face, but her body language clearly conveyed frustration and anger. He was fascinated. Mesmerised, even.

'Look what she's wearing.' Caitlyn was obviously enjoying the spectacle but her statement was unnecessary. How could anyone not notice the woman's outfit? It was so out of place for a meeting, no matter how informal, with her new employer. She wouldn't last five minutes in this neighbourhood decked out in low-slung, skin-tight black jeans with lolly-pink high heeled sandals and a top that was body-hugging, and exposing more skin than...

'Whoops. She's seen us.' The young girl's attempt to duck away from the window wasn't quick enough, but at least she'd tried to look discreet. Will suddenly realised his jaw was gaping and he snapped his mouth shut the moment the woman's blazing eyes met his. But he couldn't take his eyes off her. He could see her more clearly now and there was something about the determined thrust of her jaw and the resolute expression on her fine-featured face that captivated him.

It didn't take her long to compose herself though. She smiled and waved as she hoisted a large bag over her shoulder and headed towards the back staff entrance.

'I'll put the kettle on then?' At least Caitlyn was thinking sensibly. He needed a coffee.

'Good idea. I'll go and meet her.'

He took a couple of deep breaths, ran his fingers through his too-long hair and smiled as he opened the back door.

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