Title: The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2)
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Page Count: 448
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?
Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.
Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.
With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.
This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.
Anaesthetist Owen Gagnon is the enfant terrible of St Ann Hospital. Rude and rough, he’s feared by most of the staff, who’ve dubbed him “the Ogre”. Only with his friends, mainly Jared, Simon, and Jack, is he willing to show how vulnerable, fiercely loyal and overtly protective he really is. For the past months, however, his favourite pastime has consisted of picking up fights with Erin Andreas, the stiff new HR director and son of the hospital board president. Yes, he’s the very same Erin who’s just recently stepped up to his father for the first time by rescinding the board’s ridiculous non-dating policy for staff members. And his innovative ideas don’t stop there. Together with his old friend Nick Brewster, the hospital’s CEO, he’s come up with a new idea to raise funds for the much-needed cardiac wing: to organize a bachelor auction. Somehow Erin even succeeds in convincing an extremely reluctant Owen to participate in the auction. And then, to the latter’s utter surprise, not only does Erin bid for him, but also manages to stun the whole of Copper Point by bidding the breath-taking sum of 25,000 dollars. And to sorely piss off his father, the mighty John Jean Andreas, in the process. When Owen notices the old man physically threatening the guy who has just paid a fortune in order to get a date with him, he steps in, poses as Erin’s boyfriend… and asks him to move out of his father’s museum-like mansion and in with him and Jared.
That’s how all the trouble starts. Because Erin, too stunned to react differently, accepts. And finds himself living in a room next to the one man he’s been fantasizing about for almost all his life. Heidi Cullinan starts to fill us in on the details of the past of both men right from the first chapter. And she keeps doing it throughout the book, feeding us little bits and bites and touches. It’s all very cleverly done, and as far as I’m concerned, it kept me going (because gagging for more). Yep, both Erin and Owen have a shady past—”shady” as in painful. I won’t tell you where the pain comes from, for that’s one of the main reasons the book was such a pleasant and thrilling read for me, and one of the main reasons I don’t see it as a mere number in the Copper Point Medical series. There are similarities to the first book, “The Doctor’s Secret”—duh, we get the same characters, only the focus changes. The story’s told alternatingly from Owen’s and Erin’s POV. But a whole lot of different things are different, too, so you never get the impression you only hold a pale copy-paste-thing of book #1 in your hands. The main plot (romance between two guys nothing should have brought together) circles around the men’s secret wounds and their slowly opening up to each other while their feelings evolve. It’s like watching two wild and shy animals trying to tame each other, and it’s cute and sweet, but never sugary. The secondary plot, if I dare call it that, offers suspense as it handles an embezzlement-story the whole team of main and secondary characters have to figure out (Simon and Jack, Erin and Owen, Jared and Nick). That tightens up the story-line and makes the book take a different direction from book #1.
I think I’ve already gushed over Cullinan’s writing and pace when reviewing “The Doctor’s Secret”. She hasn’t lost any of her talent, making me wonder how she manages to publish a whole new novel only a few months after the first one in the series… The characters are endearing, I could easily relate to their histories, their emotions, their thoughts, their actions and reactions. We get little in terms of “hot scenes”—given Erin’s past, that wouldn’t have been very credible, anyway. But the few vanilla scenes are really sweet, well written, and they prove that anal sex on first sight is really not the norm between two guys as you could believe when reading most M/M books (good point, Heidi!). There are more than subtle hints about how book #3 will turn out (Jared and Nick, if I’m not mistaken), and I’m really looking forward to learning their story.