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Authors: Amy Ruttan

Taming Her Navy Doc

BOOK: Taming Her Navy Doc
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The one woman to tame him…

Finally the injured navy SEAL who had once been brought to surgeon Erica Griffin in the dead of night has a name: Captain Thorne Wilder—her new commanding officer! Five years later he’s just as gorgeous as Erica remembers… but now he’s totally off-limits!

Thorne has been left damaged, brooding and untamable after the loss of his dreams—and beautiful Erica is an unwanted complication! She might be as wary of relationships as he is, but fighting temptation will be the biggest battle of all…


“Commander Erica Griffin reporting for duty, sir.” She stood at attention and saluted.

“At ease, Commander.”

Dr. Thorne Wilder turned around slowly, his body stiff, and she tried not to let out the gasp of surprise threatening to erupt from her.

Brilliant blue eyes gazed at her.

Eyes she’d seen countless times in her mind. Eyes she’d seen that night before he’d disappeared. They were hauntingly beautiful, and they brought back the memory of what he’d said before she’d had to put him under for surgery...and changed his life forever.

“You’re so beautiful. Beautiful. Like an angel.”

No man had ever said that to her before.

As Erica stared into Captain Wilder’s blue eyes a warmth spread through her. She’d always wondered what had happened to him. Since he’d been moved against her wishes, she’d assumed he hadn’t made it.

She had been wrong. The man who had begged her not to take his leg was here, in Okinawa of all places, and he was a commanding officer.

commanding officer.

And that meant he was totally off-limits.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for picking up a copy of
Taming Her Navy Doc.

I have a huge admiration for the men and women who serve in the armed forces. I recently met a naval officer who said that, “To give the ultimate sacrifice to your country is why men and women
their country.”

His words touched me so deeply. My family has a military history, dating back to when Canada was not a country but a colony of Great Britain. My admiration for those who serve runs deep.

Thorne made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He loved being a SEAL, and in one tragic circumstance, that was all taken away from him—by the woman who has now come to the naval base he’s stationed at. He’s conflicted by the promise he made to his dying brother and his desire for Commander Erica Griffin. He’s not sure he deserves happiness.

I hope you enjoy reading Thorne and Erica’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I love hearing from readers, so please drop by my website,
, or give me a shout on

With warmest wishes,

Amy Ruttan


Amy Ruttan

Born and raised on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario, Amy Ruttan fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. When she’s not furiously typing away at her computer, she’s mom to three wonderful children, who have given her another job as a taxi driver.

A voracious reader, she was given her first romance novel by her grandmother, who shared her penchant for a hot romance. From that moment Amy was hooked by the magical worlds, handsome heroes and sigh-worthy romances contained in the pages, and she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Life got in the way, but after the birth of her second child she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a romance author.

Amy loves to hear from readers. It makes her day, in fact. You can find out more about Amy at her website,






This book is dedicated to all of those
men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice.
Thank you.


Books by Amy Ruttan

Harlequin Medical Romance

Safe in His Hands

Melting the Ice Queen’s Heart

Pregnant with the Soldier’s Son

Dare She Date Again?

It Happened in Vegas

Visit the Author Profile page at
for more titles.

Midwives On-Call

Midwives, mothers and babies—lives changing forever…!

Over the next four months enter the magical world of the Melbourne Maternity Unit and the exceptional midwives there, delivering tiny bundles of joy on a daily basis. Now it’s time to find a happy-ever-after of their own…

, gorgeous Greek doctor Alessi Manos is determined to charm the beautiful yet frosty Isla Delamere…but can he melt this ice queen’s heart?
Just One Night?
by Carol Marinelli

And when Dr. Oliver Evans’s estranged wife, Emily, crashes back into his life, old passions are reignited. But brilliant Dr. Evans is in for a surprise…Emily has two foster children!
Meant-to-Be Family
by Marion Lennox

, midwife Sophia Toulson and hardworking paramedic Aiden Harrison share an explosive attraction…but will they overcome their tragic pasts and take a chance on love?
Always the Midwife
by Alison Roberts

And hotshot surgeon Tristan Hamilton’s passionate night with pretty student midwife Flick has unexpected consequences!
Midwife’s Baby Bump
by Susanne Hampton

, free-spirited locum midwife Ally Parker meets top GP and gorgeous single dad Flynn Reynolds. Is she finally ready to settle down with a family of her own?
Midwife…to Mum!
by Sue MacKay

And when beautiful redhead Phoebe Taylor turns up on former army medic Ryan Matthews’s doorstep, there’s only one thing keeping them apart: she’s his best friend’s widow…and eight months pregnant!
His Best Friend’s Baby
by Susan Carlisle

Finally, join us in
, when brooding city surgeon Noah Jackson meets compassionate Outback midwife Lilia Cartwright. Could Lilia be the key to Noah’s locked-away heart?
Unlocking Her Surgeon’s Heart
by Fiona Lowe

And renowned English obstetrician Darcie Green might think playboy Lucas Elliot is nothing but trouble—but is there more to this gorgeous doc than meets the eye?
Her Playboy’s Secret
by Tina Beckett

Experience heartwarming emotion and pulse-racing drama in Midwives On-Call this sensational eight-book continuity from Harlequin Medical Romance.

These books are also available in ebook format from


Praise for
Amy Ruttan

“I highly recommend this read for all fans of romance reads with amazing, absolutely breathtaking scenes, to-die-for dialogue and everything else that is needed to make this a beyond awesome and WOW read!”

Melting the Ice Queen’s Heart

“A sensational romance, filled with astounding medical drama. Author Amy Ruttan makes us visualize the story with her flawless storytelling. The emotional and sensory details are exquisitely done and the sensuality in the love scenes just sizzles. Highly recommended for all lovers of medical romance.”

Contemporary Romance Reviews
Safe in His Hands



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen



and she couldn’t figure out why the lights were off at first. Erica moved quickly, trying to shake the last remnants of sleep from her brain. Not that she’d got much sleep. She’d come off a twenty-four-hour shift and had got maybe two, possibly three, hours of sleep. She wasn’t sure when the banging on her berth door roused her, telling her they needed her on deck.

What struck her as odd was why had the hospital ship gone into silent running.

She’d been woken up and told nothing. Only that some injured officers were inbound. She hadn’t even been told the nature of their injuries. When she came out on deck, there was only a handful of staff and a chopper primed and waiting.

Covert operation.

That was what her gut told her and the ten
sion shared by those waiting said the same thing.

Top secret.

Then it all made sense. She’d been trained and gone through many simulations of such a situation, but in her two years on the USNV
she’d never encountered one.

Adrenaline now fueled her body. She had no idea what was coming in, or what to expect, but she knew she had to be on her A-game.

Not that she ever wasn’t on her A-game. Her two years on the
had been her best yet and she’d risen in the ranks finally to get to this moment, being trusted with a covert operation. She had no doubt that was what it was because it must be important if their mission to aid a volcanic eruption disaster zone in Indonesia was being stalled. As she glanced around at the staff standing at attention and waiting, she saw it was all senior officers on deck, except for a couple of on-duty petty officers.

“How many minutes did they say they were out, Petty Officer?” Erica had to shout over the sound of waves. It was unusually choppy on the Arabian Sea, but it was probably due to the fact that the ship was on silent running. Only the stabilizers on the sides kept USNV
from tipping over. She couldn’t see Captain Dayton anywhere, but then she suspected
her commanding officer was at the helm. Silent running in the middle of the Indian Ocean at night was no easy feat.

“Pardon me, Commander?” the petty officer asked.

“I asked, how many minutes out?”

“Five at the most, Commander. We’re just waiting for the signal.”

And as if on cue a flare went off the port side and, in the brief explosion of light, Erica could make out the faint outline of a submarine. The chopper lifted from the helipad and headed out in the direction of the flare.

“Two minutes out!” someone shouted. “Silent running, people, and need-to-know basis.”

Erica’s heart raced.

This was why she’d got into the Navy. This was why she wanted to serve her country. She had fought for this moment, even when she had been tormented at Annapolis about not having what it took.

Dad would’ve been proud.

And a lump formed in her throat as she thought of her father. Her dad, a forgotten hero. She was serving, and giving it her all helping wounded warriors, and being on the USNV
gave her that. She had earned the right to be here.

The taunts that she’d slept her way to the top,
telling her she couldn’t make it, hadn’t deterred her. The nay-saying had strengthened her more. Even when her dad suffered with his PTSD and his wounds silently, he would still wear his uniform with pride, his head held high. He was her hero. Now she was a highly decorated commander and surgeon and it gave her pride. So she held her head up high.

The better she did, the more she achieved the shame of her one mistake being washed away. At least, that was what she liked to think, even if others thought she’d end up with PTSD like her father: unable to handle the pressures, her memory disgraced. Well, they had another think coming. She was stronger than they thought she was.

The chopper was returning, a stretcher dangling as it hovered. Erica raced forward, crouching low to keep her balance so the wind from the chopper’s blades wouldn’t knock her on her backside.

With help the stretcher unhooked and was lifted onto a gurney. Once they had the patient stabilized they wheeled the gurney off the deck and into triage.

It was then, in the light, she could see the officer was severely injured and, as she glanced down at him, he opened his eyes and gazed at
her. His eyes were the most brilliant blue she’d ever seen.

“We’re here to get you help,” she said, trying to reassure him as they wheeled him into a trauma pod. He seemed to understand what she was saying, but his gaze was locked on her, his breath labored, panting through obvious pain.

There was a file, instead of a commanding officer, and she opened it; there was no name, no rank of the patient.

Nothing. Only that he’d had gunshot wounds to the leg three days ago and now an extensive infection.

Where had they been that they couldn’t get medical attention right away? That several gunshot wounds could lead to such an infection?

Dirty water. Maybe they were camped out in the ­sewers.

“What’s your name?” she asked as she shone a light into his eyes, checking his pupillary reaction. Gauging the ABCs was the first protocol in trauma assessment.

“Classified,” he said through gritted teeth. “Leg.”

Erica nodded. “We’ll take care of it.”

As another medic hooked up a central line, Erica moved to his left leg and, as she peeled away the crude dressings, he let out a string of
curses. As she looked at the mangled leg, she knew this man’s days serving were over.

“We’ll have to amputate; prep an OR,” Erica said to a nurse.

“Yes, Commander.” The nurse ran out of the trauma pod.

“What?” the man demanded. “What did you say?”

“I’m very sorry.” She leaned over to meet his gaze. “Your leg is full of necrotic tissue and the infection is spreading. We have to amputate.”

“Don’t amputate.”

“I’m sorry, but I have no choice.”

“Don’t you take my leg. Don’t you dare amputate.” The threat was clear, it was meant to scare her, but she wasn’t so easily swayed. Being an officer in the Navy, a predominantly male organization, had taught her quickly that she wasn’t going to let any man have power over her. No man would intimidate her. Something she’d almost forgotten at her first post in Rhode Island.

“Don’t ever let a man intimidate you, Erica. Chances are they’re more scared of you and your abilities.”

She’d forgotten those words her father had told her.

Never again.

“I’m sorry.” She motioned to the anesthesiol
ogist to sedate him and, as she did, he reached out and grabbed her arm, squeezing her tight. His eyes had a wild light.

“Don’t you touch me! I won’t let you.”

“Stand down!” she yelled back at him.

“Don’t take my leg.” This time he was begging; the grip on her arm eased, but he didn’t let go. “Don’t take it. Let me serve my…” His words trailed off as the sedative took effect, his eyes rolling before he was unconscious.

His passionate plea tugged at her heart. She understood him, this stranger. She’d amputated limbs before and never thought twice. She had compassion, but this was something more. In the small fragment she’d shared with the unnamed SEAL, she had understood his fear and his vulnerability. It touched her deeply and she didn’t want to have to take his leg and end his career.

If there’d been another way, she’d have done it. There wasn’t.

The damage had been done.

If he’d gotten to her sooner, the infection would have been minor, the gunshot properly cared for.

It was the hazard of covert operations.

And her patient, whoever he was, was paying the price.

“Let’s get him intubated and into the OR
Stat.” The words were hard for her to say, but she shook her sympathy for him from her mind and focused on the task at hand.

At least he’d have his life.

* * *

“Petty Officer, where is my patient’s commanding officer?” Erica asked as she came out of the scrub room.

“Over there, Commander. He’s waiting for your report.” The petty officer pointed over her shoulder and Erica saw a group of uniformed men waiting.

“Thank you,” Erica said as she walked toward them.

Navy SEALs.

She knew exactly what they were, though they had no insignia to identify themselves. They were obviously highly trained because when she was in surgery she’d been able to see that someone had some basic surgical skills as they’d tried to repair the damage caused by the bullets. Also, the bullets had been removed beforehand.

If it hadn’t been for the bacteria which had gotten in the wound, the repair would’ve sufficed.

At her approach, they saluted her and she returned it.

“How’s my man?” The commanding officer asked as he stepped forward.

“He made it through surgery, but the damage caused by the infection was too extensive. The muscle tissue was necrotic and I had to amputate the left leg below the knee.”

The man cursed under his breath and the others bowed their heads. “What caused the infection? Couldn’t it be cleared up with antibiotics?”

“It was a vicious form of bacteria,” Erica offered. “I don’t know much about your mission.”

“It’s classified,” the commanding officer said.

Erica nodded. “Well, you obviously have a good medic. The repair was crude, but stable.”

“He was our medic,” someone mumbled from the back, but was silenced when the commanding officer shot him a look which would make any young officer go running for the hills.

“If it hadn’t been for the bacteria getting in there… Depending on whatever your situation was, it could’ve been caused by many factors,” Erica said, trying to take the heat off the SEAL who’d stepped out of line.

“Like?” the commanding officer asked, impatience in his voice.

“Dirty water?” Erica ventured a guess, but when she got no response from the SEALs she shook her head. “I’m sorry, unless I know the
details of your mission I can’t help you determine the exact cause of how your man picked up the bacteria.”

The commanding officer nodded. “Understood. How soon can we move him?”

“He’s in ICU. He has a high temperature and will require a long course of antibiotics as well as monitoring of his surgical wound.”

“Unacceptable,” the commanding officer snapped. “He needs to be moved. He can’t stay here.”

Erica crossed her arms. “You move him and he develops a post-op fever, he could die.”

“I’m sorry, Commander. We have a mission to fulfill.”

“Not with my patient, you don’t.”

“I’m sorry, Commander. We’re under strict orders. I can give him eight hours before our transport comes.” The commanding officer nodded and moved back to his group of men as they filed out of the surgical bay.

Erica shook her head.

She understood the protocols. It was a covert operation, but she didn’t agree with all the regulations.

Their medic was useless. He needed medical care for quite some time and as a physician she wanted to see it through.

When that young SEAL had blurted out that
the man she’d operated on was their medic, her admiration for her patient grew. He’d operated on himself, most likely without anesthetic, and probably after he’d removed the bullets from the other man they’d brought on board after him. That man didn’t have the same extent of infection but, from what she’d gleaned from a scrub nurse, the gunshot wound had been a through-and-through. It hadn’t even nicked an artery.

The man was being watched for a post-op fever and signs of the bacterial infection but would make a full recovery.

Her patient on the other hand had months of rehabilitation and, yes, pain.

I wish I knew his name

It was a strange thought which crept into her head, but it was there all the same, and she wished she knew who he really was, where he was from. Was he married? And, if he was, wouldn’t his wife want to know what she was in for as well?

Her patient was a mystery to her and she didn’t really like mysteries.

She headed into the ICU. He was extubated, but still sedated and now cleaned up. There were several cuts and scratches on his face, but they hadn’t been infiltrated by the bacteria.

Erica sighed; she hated ending the career of
a fellow serviceman. She grabbed a chair and sat down by his bedside.

She had eight hours to monitor him, unless she appealed to someone higher up about keeping him here for his own good. At least until he was more stable to withstand a medical transport to the nearest base.

was a floating hospital. It was not as big as USNV
, but just as capable of taking care of his needs while he recovered. And it wasn’t only the physical wounds Erica was worried about, but also the emotional ones he’d have when he recovered.

She knew about that. There were scars she still carried.

Her patient had begged for his leg because he wanted to serve. It was admirable. Hopefully, he’d get the help he needed. The help her father hadn’t had.

She reached out and squeezed his hand. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

He squeezed back and moaned. “Liam?”

Erica didn’t know who Liam was but she stood so he could see her. “You’re okay.”

His eyes opened—those brilliant blue eyes. “What happened?”

“You had a bacterial infection. Your leg couldn’t be saved.”

He frowned, visibly upset, and tried to get up, but Erica held him down.

“Let me go!” He cursed a few choice words. “I told you not to take it. You lied to me. You lied to me, Liam! Why the heck did you do that? I’m not worth it. Damn it, let me out of here.”

Erica reached over and hit a buzzer as she threw as much of her weight on him as possible, trying to keep him calm as a nurse ran over with a sedative.

It was then he began to cry softly and her heart wrenched.

“I’m so sorry.”

“It was your life, Liam. My life… I have nothing else. You left me. We promised to stay together. I need my leg to do that.”

Erica didn’t know who Liam was, but she got off of him as he stopped fighting back. “I’m sorry.” She took his hand once more. “I’m so very sorry.”

BOOK: Taming Her Navy Doc
6.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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