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Mills & Boon presents the complete Betty Neels collection. Timeless tales of heart-warming romance by one of the world’s best-loved romance authors. Falling in love wasn’t in the job description.Tiny Paul van Eysink was a very special case to Nurse Hannah Lang, and she had become very fond of his young parents, Corinna and Paul. When they invited her to go back with them to Holland until the baby was completely recovered, Hannah was only too happy to oblige.The problem was Corinna’s unbending uncle, Doctor Valentijn van Bertes! He could find no fault with Hannah’s nursing skills—but she was only too well aware that she meant little to him as a person. Why should she? He had a very lovely fiancée in Nerissa…

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“I’m sorry I’ve been so silly about this. It’s strange that I should be telling you of all people.”

He was staring hard at her. “Why do you say that, Hannah?”

“Well—you and I—I mean, we’re miles apart, aren’t we? In different worlds. Hank hinted that it was because of me that he didn’t get a better table and we had to wait to be served—I must be a failure as a dinner companion. I wasn’t exactly a success with you, was I?”

Valentijn muttered something forceful under his breath, then got up and walked over to where she was sitting and stood looking down at her. He seemed enormous, looming over her, and strangely reassuring, too. He said slowly, “You look pretty in that dress, Hannah.”

She looked up at him shyly—she wasn’t used to compliments, especially from elegant, self-assured gentlemen. She wiped away the last of the tears with the back of her hand and smiled at him. “It’s new. I bought it just in case I got asked somewhere.” She smoothed the soft folds of the skirt with a careful hand. “Well, at least I’ve had a chance to wear it.”

She got to her feet and, as Valentijn didn’t budge an inch, she found herself within inches of his waistcoat. He very gently drew her close and kissed her just as gently. “Good night, Hannah.”

Romance readers around the world were sad to note the passing of Betty Neels in June 2001. Her career spanned thirty years, and she continued to write into her ninetieth year. To her millions of fans, Betty epitomized the romance writer, and yet she began writing almost by accident. She had retired from nursing, but her inquiring mind still sought stimulation. Her new career was born when she heard a lady in her local library bemoaning the lack of good romance novels. Betty’s first book, Sister Peters in Amsterdam, was published in 1969, and she eventually completed 134 books. Her novels offer a reassuring warmth that was very much a part of her own personality. She was a wonderful writer, and she will be greatly missed. Her spirit and genuine talent will live on in all her stories.


Betty Neels












BABY VAN EYSINK had made up his tiny mind not to take his feed; all four and a half pounds of him was protesting, doll-like arms and legs waving and his small face puce with manly rage. The puce deepened alarmingly as his blue eyes, squinting with temper, stared up into the face above him. Not much of it was visible above the mask, only a pair of wide grey eyes thickly fringed with dark lashes, and a few strands of fine straight light brown hair which had escaped from under the starched cap, but the eyes had laughter lines at their corners and the voice, urging him to be a good boy and do his best, was soft and gentle, so that he allowed himself to be soothed, and his loud bawling became a series of protesting squeaks and snuffles until he squeezed his eyes tight shut and began to feed, reluctantly at first and then with growing enthusiasm.

His performance had been watched anxiously by the girl sitting up in bed in the small hospital room. Now she spoke quietly, her English fluent but heavily accented.

‘Hannah, you are a marvellous person, this is now three times that my little baby has fed from his bottle, and that after so many weeks with that drip thing. I am so very happy, I shall telephone his papa this evening and tell him and he will be happy too. Now we shall soon go home, is it not?’

‘Not,’ said Hannah. ‘Well, what I mean is not for a little while longer—little Paul has to gain another pound and feed normally for at least three days. Besides, you’re not quite up to looking after him yet, are you, Mevrouw van Eysink?’

‘But there will be a nurse and when we are both quite well again, there will be a nanny.’ The girl pulled herself up on her monkey rope and altered her position. ‘I cannot wait for the moment when they will take this horrid thing from me!’

‘Not long now.’ Hannah’s voice was as soothing as when she had coaxed the tiny scrap on her lap, now feeding noisily. ‘You’ll be as good as new once it’s off; a few months’ exercise and therapy and you’ll be fit to dance at anyone’s wedding.’


‘Heavens, no! Is your husband coming this weekend?’

‘Yes, of course. Dear Paul!’ The girl in the bed tweaked a lace frill straight and smiled to herself. ‘I must not grumble, must I? I could have been killed, and worse, I could have lost my baby. It is a miracle that he was born, is it not?’

‘It is. It’s worth lying still in bed and then wearing a hip spica for a bit, isn’t it?’

‘Yes, oh, yes! Dear Hannah, you are always so sensible and reassuring just like Oom Valentijn…’

Hannah made a face under her mask; Oom Valentijn was quoted, praised and admired at least three times a day. He must be an uncle in a million, she decided and she was heartily sick of him. And a lot of good that did, for Mevrouw van Eysink had launched herself into a lengthy eulogy once more.

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