Nate Ramsey is a physician's assistant and the only medical professional in his small Idaho town, but he has always felt a little inferior with a PA after his name instead of an MD. He had recently seen a young girl who was bitten by a venomous spider, and even though Nate advised her family to take her to Boise for treatment, they elected to use the alternative medicine of a local Native American healer instead. The girl had miraculously recovered, but when Dr. Kim Matsui breezes into Nate's clinic saying that she is investigating the case, he thinks she is from the supervisory board and looking to shut down his practice.
Kim is a medical doctor specializing in venom research and on the verge of discovering a universal antivenin, but she needs to move quickly before her research grant runs out. Her initial brusk manner with Nate gets them off on the wrong foot, and ends with Nate refusing to give her the spider or his patient's records. Not one to give up easily, Kim decides to stay in town for a while in hopes that she can win him over. After she volunteers at Nate's clinic for a week, they're definitely back on track with a strong attraction starting to build between them. Now that Nate knows Kim isn't out to get him, he's been thinking about turning over the spider information, but he figures as soon as he does, Kim will leave town. In the meantime, Kim decides to continue her research without Nate's help, but her ambition may end up costing her life.
Nate's Anatomy is the second read from Roz Denny Fox that I have enjoyed in the past month. After finishing her newly released Harlequin SuperRomance, The Baby Album, I was surfing the e-Harlequin website and was surprised to find that one of their featured free online e-books in the SuperRomance line was also written by her. Since the synopsis sounded good and I had really enjoyed The Baby Album, I couldn't resist checking it out, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Nate's Anatomy was a short little novella that only took me about an hour and a half to read (I'm slow though, so I'm sure a faster reader could have knocked it out in under an hour), but it told a fun and interesting story about a medical doctor/scientist who is searching for a universal antivenin and the small town physician's assistant who may hold the key.
I liked both the hero and the heroine so much I wouldn't have minded reading a full-length novel about them. Nate is a really nice guy who seemed more like a beta hero to me. Although he did get a little jealous a couple of times, he didn't seem to feel the need to beat his chest and exert his masculinity when some lonely cowboys from the area came calling on the pretty Kim. Nate is fairly self-conscious of the fact that he is only a physician's assistant rather than a full-fledged doctor, but it is readily apparent that he is talented and dedicated enough to be a doctor. Life just dealt him a bad hand. I liked that Nate had devoted himself to being the only practicing medical professional in his one-horse town, and he was also a very gentle healer with a great bedside manner when Kim needed medical attention. I thought that Kim had an adventurous spirit to have been traveling the world, collecting information in hopes of formulating a universal antivenin. She is an incredibly intelligent scientist, but she didn't think it beneath her to help out in Nate's humble little clinic. Admittedly, Kim had ulterior motives for doing so at first, but she quickly realized that she enjoyed both the work and being around Nate, as well as the sense of peace she got from the small-town atmosphere. Although race is never a factor in the story, Kim is a seemingly rare Asian American heroine which I thought was a nice change. Overall, Nate and Kim were two characters who seemed perfectly suited for one another and who I thoroughly enjoyed reading about.
Nate's Anatomy got off to a slightly slow start, but by about the fifth chapter I was hooked. Also, because of the short story format, there isn't a lot of room for character and relationship development, but once again Ms. Fox showed her talent for writing a tight narrative that told just enough to make me care about the characters and believe that they could be falling for one another. I liked that the story had Native American secondary characters and that their culture and alternative medical treatments played a strong role. This was also a sweet, non-explicit story that would be suitable, in my opinion, for all romance readers. Anyone who enjoys a kind, caring hero paired with a super-smart, big-city heroine who is surprised to find herself at home in Smalltown, USA, with a little medical drama thrown in for good measure, should like Nate's Anatomy. I certainly found it to be a pleasant diversion, and since it's currently free there's really nothing to loose except the time it takes to read it. After two good reads in a row from Roz Denny Fox, I'm now quite anxious to dive into her back-list.
Update: I didn't find out until after reading Nate's Anatomy that it is a sequel to Roz Denny Fox's full-length Harlequin SuperRomance, Real Cowboys, which featured the story of the spider bite. Of course, Nate appeared in Real Cowboys, as did Ben and Kate, who were the hero and heroine of that book, and Bobbalou, the Native American healer.
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