Love on Call

Author: Shirley Hailstock

Publisher: Silhouette Special Edition

Release Date: February 2004

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Dr. Bradley Clayton is in the midst of assisting a patient in the overwhelmed emergency room when a noise outside the examining room alerts him to a problem. Finishing with his patient, he steps out to find Dr. Mallory Russell being held at knifepoint by a wounded, drug-crazed patient. As Bradley, the emergency room staff, and two police officers look on in horror, Mallory manages to disable the patient and free herself. To Mallory's dismay, Bradley orders another doctor to look after the patient, and insists on examining Mallory, after which he sends her home.

Later that night, Bradley finds himself placed under arrest while he is trying to help a street kid. The police thought he was trying to kidnap the young girl, and after finally getting the misunderstanding straightened out, Bradley finds himself stuck at the police station with no transportation home. He calls Mallory for help, and she unhesitatingly comes to his assistance. Once they are away from the station, she coaxes Bradley to talk about what happened, and learns of his dedication to helping kids get off the streets. Abandoned by their mother at a young age, Bradley and his brother took to living on the streets until they were finally placed in a loving foster home. An intensely private individual, Bradley is impressed with the fact that Mallory does not let his secret out to any of the staff at the hospital.


Mallory is good at keeping secrets, especially since she has one of her own to keep. The secret of the ghost of the coma ward, a mysterious woman who visits coma patients who have no family or friends to care for them. She is never seen, but patients unexpectedly regain consciousness and speak of a woman who had come to talk to them while they were in their comas. The staff members have not been able to determine the woman's identity, so they refer to her as the ghost. Bradley sees these visits as a major breach of hospital security, and firmly believes that the ghost's identity needs to be discovered. The ghost, of course, is Mallory, who for reasons of her own is committed to these visits. It is imperative to her that no one know that she is the ghost, and that her visits are permitted to continue undisturbed.



As time goes on, Bradley and Mallory find themselves being drawn more closely together. Bradley tells himself that he is drawn to Mallory because of her ability to act as a sort of therapist, and her willingness to keep what he tells her to herself. He certainly has no interest in any kind of romantic involvement, with Mallory or anyone else. Mallory is also avoiding romantic entanglements, but the more she and Bradley are thrown together, the more she realizes that she wants this sexy doctor to be a part of her life.


As Bradley struggles with his past and his fears of being abandoned by women, he must face his growing attraction to Mallory. Mallory wants Bradley in her life, but fears that he will never let go of the hurts from his past and open up to a relationship with her. Can she help him to heal and move on, and can he accept that the growing passion between them is indeed the love that he needs in his life?



In LOVE ON CALL, Shirley Hailstock takes us on a journey with Bradley and Mallory. A journey of self-discovery, letting go of the past, and learning to trust and love. I found this to be a wonderfully poignant tale, and thoroughly enjoyed watching Bradley and Mallory work through their personal traumas to grow both together and as individuals. The characters are strong, complex individuals, who have risen above past tragedies to not only better their own lives, but to enrich the lives of others. LOVE ON CALL is a truly moving story, and I recommend this book with no hesitation.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Pam Sacknea

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