Category Archive: Contemporary

  1. A sexy office romance and a new series!

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    I’m so excited to be bringing you a brand-new series about a wealthy Australian family dealing with the scandalous fallout of their father’s secret family…and we’re kicking it off with a sexy office romance!

    Book #1 – Taken by the CEO: Her first one-night stand…and her new boss.

    It was only supposed to be a little white lie. When Emmaline Greene pretends to be Sarah, the confident, sexy woman she wishes she could be, she figures no harm, no foul. Her one-night stand will never find out. Wrong. The gorgeous guy she slept with isn’t just amazing in bed…he’s also her new boss.

    Parker Wentworth has just been appointed CEO of his family’s company and is tasked with repairing its scandalous reputation. He can’t afford any distractions. So why can’t he forget the incredible night they spent together and move on?

    SL_CEO_QC9

    I LOVE writing an office romance story. Add to all that an evil Chihuahua, a rogue olive, a pair of impossibly sexy blue heels and a healthy dose of family drama, and you’ve got Taken By The CEO in a nutshell. I truly hope you enjoy the start of this new series!

    MEET THE WENTWORTHS:

    1. Parker, the CEO and eldest child. Driven, ambitious, focused on his career. Currently estranged from his father. Now the CEO of the Wentworth Group.
    2. Ian, the playboy and family joker. Loves fast cars, jet-setting and living by his own rules.
    3. Beau, the secret child. Trying to find his place in his new family, used to making it on his own. A lone wolf.
    4. Sydney, the rebel and youngest child. Used to getting what she wants. Charming, feisty and persuasive.

     

    Here are some more fun facts about the book:

    • Taken by the CEO is a cross-over with my Behind the Bar series! If you’ve read The Rules According to Gracie, you might remember the heroine’s sister, Emmaline. Well, this is her story.
    • The Wentworth company is loosely based on a real family-run retail giant in Australia. The family, however, is totally imagined.
    • The bar where Emmaline and Parker have their first date, is the same one my Behind the Bar series is based on.

     

    EXCERPT:

    While he was talking to two men from his cyber security team, a flash of white caught his attention. A woman stood across the room, facing away from him. Her long, blond hair tumbled down the back of a white lace dress.

    Sarah?

    He almost laughed out loud. Ridiculous. Clearly he’d gotten a little too worked up over the amazing sex he’d had last night. There’s no way his schoolteacher date would turn up at his work.

    But something pulled his eyes down. The bottoms of her legs were obscured by the end of a metal stool. “Excuse me,” he said to the men in front of him. He moved toward another group, switching up his position so that he’d be able to see past the furniture.

    You’re crazy. You think there’s only one blonde wearing a white dress today? Why the hell would she be here?

    He was losing his mind. But Parker was the kind of person who couldn’t shuck a thought once it burrowed into his head. Besides, a quick peek at her shoes would confirm what he already knew: that he really needed another coffee.

    Except that one look made his blood run cold. A pair of incredible, sexy, light blue shoes made his head pound as he remembered the way they’d looked on her when she wore nothing else. Leave them on…

    Either he’d stepped into a parallel universe or something about last night wasn’t as it had seemed.

    “Sarah?”

    She didn’t turn. But her hand raked through her hair as she laughed at a comment made by one of her companions. The movement sent a shot of pure arousal straight through him. In one night, he’d come to know those hands so well, to relish inviting those hands to become confident touching him. To crave the rake of her nails against his scalp while he kneeled in front of her.

    “Sarah?”

    A brunette girl turned, a nervous smile pulling up the corners of her mouth. “Hello. You’re Mr. Wentworth, right? Are you looking for someone?”

    The group’s conversation halted as they turned to him. Sarah’s smile disappeared faster than a rock thrown from the edge of a cliff. Her skin turned chalk white as her eyes blinked—once, twice, three times. Disbelief was painted in the part of her glossy pink lips. An olive speared on a toothpick hovered midair, her hand frozen on its way to her mouth.

    “This is Ariel from Operations, Kimberly from Corporate Communications, and Emmaline from Human Resources.”

    Emmaline.

    Not Sarah, the sweet, slightly inexperienced woman who’d crashed into his life and his head. Not Sarah, who’d been coy and shy and delightfully awkward. Not Sarah, the schoolteacher who’d teased him about not wearing any panties to work.

    “Emmaline.” The name sounded strange on his tongue.

    The other women stuck their hands out to shake his. One by one he responded, until it was her turn. His heart hammered against his rib cage, anger filling his head like a fog. He’d been duped by this pretty face, tricked into believing a false name and false story. Taken for a fool.

    What in the hell had he done? More importantly, why on earth would one of his employees have lied to him to get him into bed?

  2. Sleighs Bells in the Sand – first sneak peek!

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    There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a story finally come to fruition. When I’ve finally gotten the characters out of your head and given them wings, when they find a satisfying Happy Ever After, I can’t help but feel like a proud mamma.

    I’ve recently had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with 6 other amazing Aussie and NZ romance authors (whom you might recognise from the LoveCats DownUnder blog) to pull together this fun and sexy box set. Hot Christmas Nights features seven holiday stories set in Australia and New Zealand (so no snow and warm cocoa in these Christmas stories!)

    We’ve got second chances stories, summer storms, friends falling in love, cowboys, millionaires and more!

    My story, Sleighs Bells in the Sand, is part of my Kite Harbor series even though it takes place in Sorrento, Victoria. For those who read A Kiss in Kite Harbor, you might remember a reference to the hero’s travelling sister. Well, this is her story…now we get to find out what happened while she was off globe-trotting while her family was left behind.

    Read on for a sneak peek at chapter one…


    Hot Christmas Nights - lovecats box set FINAL 500px

    Pre-Orders are available now! Amazon US | CA | UK | Aus

    American Neve Ritter has traveled all the way to Australia to avoid her family for the holidays. But her plans did not include accidentally breaking into the house of a hunky lawyer who’s looking for a little solitude of his own. When a summer storm traps them together, Neve realizes that maybe Santa has been listening to her wishes all along.

    Chapter One

    Neve Ritter turned her face up to the sun and breathed in deep. She was finally here, in the picturesque coastal town of Sorrento, way down at the bottom of Australia. Miles and miles away from home—a whole hemisphere, in fact.

    Ready to spend Christmas all by herself.

    It was more than a little daunting. She’d never spent Christmas alone, ever. Even last year when she’d packed her bags and left her family, she’d spent the holidays in an English hostel surrounded by people and warmth and cheer. But now she needed to think, to reflect. And that wasn’t exactly a group activity.

    Her muscles protested as she stretched her arms above her head and forced her blood to get moving. The nine-and-a-half-hour flight from Thailand followed by a two-hour drive from Tullamarine airport had made her as stiff as over starched sheets. And the air had been hot and dry like the blast from an open oven when she’d stepped out of her rental car.

    It was weird to think that so many people celebrated the Christmas in the summer. Did their greeting cards have snow on them? Did they still drink mulled cider and have turkey for lunch? It was hard to believe anyone would want to roast a bird in this heat. Maybe that’s why all those Aussies were always throwing shrimps on the barbie.

    No, not shrimps. Prawns. Better get the lingo right while she was here.

    The scent of ocean salt and eucalyptus danced along the warm breeze as she took in her surroundings. The tourist beach wasn’t far from the house she’d been told, but here—among the looming trees and shrubbery in every shade of green and brown—she felt far away from everything, especially civilization.

    Popping the trunk on her rental car, she set her bag on the gravel driveway. The wheelie bag—which converted into a backpack—contained the not-so-worldly possessions she’d left home with twelve months ago, her sights set on adventure and truth. And she’d gotten both of those things, but the truth hadn’t set her free as the old saying suggested.

    Maybe skeletons were kept in closets for a reason. More fool her, she’d not only let them out but she’d chased them around the world…and for what?

    A lump lodged in her throat but she swallowed it down. She wasn’t going to feel sorry for herself. Pity was for chumps. Besides, she had a beautiful beach house all to herself. She could laze around for the next week doing nothing but swimming in the ocean, catching some sun and reading. Who wouldn’t want that?

    A voice niggled in the back of her mind, telling her she’d be lonely. It had been a long time since Neve had chosen to be alone. But this was different. Peace and quiet would help her figure out how to come clean with her family.

    Regardless, she had a flight booked for New Year’s Day. Her return to her hometown of Kite Harbor was inevitable, and while it wasn’t set in stone it was set in non-refundable plane tickets. And that was kind of the same thing.

    She jabbed the passcode into the house’s pin pad a little harder than she needed to. When a soft click confirmed her access, she entered. The air was surprisingly cool considering the house had been apparently unoccupied for some months.

    All the shades were drawn, and the house was clean and tidy. A puffy green sofa sat in the middle of the open living area, flanked by two small side tables. There was a flat screen TV, shelves heaving with well-loved books and board games, and a rug that looked soft and cozy as though it had been designed for bare feet.

    Tempting as it was to start with the grand tour, Neve was desperate for a coffee. Leaving her bag in the main room, she wandered over to the kitchen and within minutes the air was filled with a delicious aroma. Cradling the coffee cup between her hands, she leaned back against the kitchen counter and sighed.

    Guilt was already winding its suffocating arms around her. It would take a while to come to terms with what had happened this past year. Of what it meant to close the door on a relationship she’d always hoped to rekindle. But the words ‘I don’t want anything to do with you’ were forever etched into her brain.

    And then there was her family, aka the people she’d ditched after promising she’d be home for the holidays. She hadn’t even been able to break the news via Skype or over the phone. A quick email—barely two lines—had informed them she wouldn’t be returning home as planned.

    You’re a freaking coward. They deserve better than that.

    Perhaps her inner critic was right. She was a coward, but the thought of facing them—of coming home a failure—seemed even harder to bear at such a special time of year. The New Year would give her a fresh start. An opportunity to make things right, she just had to work up the courage to tell the truth.

    The sound of something clicking against the floorboards startled her. The hairs on her arm stood on end. She wasn’t alone in the house.

    “Hello?”

    A low rumbling growl sent a tremor through her as a hulking, black dog blocked the entrance to the kitchen. Its fur was dark as ink and the beast stood almost to waist-height. As it bared its teeth, another low growl rumbled from the back of its throat.

    Holy hell, its teeth looked sharp as knives. Long and pointed and perfectly shaped to pierce through flesh.

    Shit, shit, shit!

    “Easy,” she said, flattening her back to the counter and setting her coffee down. Her stomach clenched as she forced herself to breath slow and steady. She’d be fine against anything—bugs, spiders, snakes…but not a dog.

    Don’t just stand there, do something!

    Her eyes darted around the kitchen. The counters were bare, but a frying pan sat on the stovetop just out of reach. She didn’t like the idea of hitting an animal but if it tried to bite her she was going to need something to defend herself with. She reached out but the dog took a step forward and let out a sharp, warning bark.

    Neve flinched, her heart hammering against her ribcage. How the hell had it gotten inside the house? She was sure she’d closed the front door behind her.

    “Be calm,” she muttered under her breath. “Don’t let it know you’re scared.”

    Terrified was a more accurate descriptor. All she could focus on was the way the dog’s eyes were locked onto her. Like it was hungry and she was a big, tasty bag of bones.

    Think, dammit. What would The Dog Whisperer do?

  3. A Dangerously Sexy Christmas | Sneak Peek

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    Writing every book is a unique experience. Sometimes the words flow and the characters speak loudly, other times it can be like pulling teeth. Writing A Dangerously Sexy Christmas was one of those flowing books, a huge welcome after I’d spent a few months working on another book that was giving my trouble. I was thrilled when I got the news that Harlequin Blaze wanted Rose and Max’s story and I could not be more excited about joining the Blaze line. Even better, the love the security company featured in this book so much that I got the go-ahead to write more stories in this world!

    So here’s a first look at A Dangerously Sexy Christmas, out in November 2015. Pre-order links are available here.

    Assignment:9780373798742 (2) A Hot Holiday Affair! 

    Aspiring jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn’t want a bodyguard. Especially the hot, muscle-y one her father hires after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. It’s only when her home is also ransacked that Rose realizes the sexy (but infuriating) bodyguard might come in handy…especially on a cold winter’s night.

    Max Ridgeway is a former Aussie cop who’s got something to prove in New York. He’s convinced that someone dangerous is behind the robberies and that Rose needs protection. His protection. But what’s even more dangerous is the sexy tension between them—because a hot little fling could compromise their lives…and his heart

     

    Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter! I hope you enjoy it <3


    CHAPTER ONE

    PERSONAL SECURITY DETAIL was a lot like baby-sitting. All Max Ridgeway had to determine was whether the person under his protection would be the model child or the toddler from hell.

    “Do you always disregard your personal safety, Miss Lawson?” he asked.

    Two cat-like eyes glowered at him. But if he was going to protect her, he needed to know if she would throw herself into harm’s way. Or run. Or walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night.

    “You say you don’t want my protection. Tell me if I’ve misunderstood you.” He leaned back in his chair and laced his hands behind his head.

    She squared her shoulders against his visitor’s chair and displayed what he imagined was her most dazzling smile. Rose Lawson’s eyes were almond-shaped and a most unusual shade of yellow-green. She had thick curling lashes, a heart-shaped face and glossy pouted lips made for sin. The whole sexy package probably turned other men to goo. But her appearance—while thoroughly enjoyable—would not distract him.

    “You’ll have to excuse the mix-up,” she said in a smooth voice that sent a shot of heat through him. Her accent was strange. Definitely American, but the gentle lilt of her words suggested extensive time overseas. London, according to his research. “My father hired you, but he can be a little…overprotective. I won’t be needing your services.”

    Her insistence on refusing his protection meant she would be a royal pain in the butt to have as a client. Only she wasn’t the client; her father was. She stood up and raked a hand through her chin-length brown hair, the artfully curled lengths falling back into place as she released them. Her eyes flicked over him, lingering on his face before she checked her phone.

    “Sorry to waste your time,” she said in a tone that didn’t sound sorry at all.
    The wall clock of his office ticked loudly in the silence. Each second was another he couldn’t have back.

    Rose walked toward the door, her heels clicking against the office floor. Skin-tight black jeans accentuated her legs, and a loose top in black silk acted as a canvas to the ornate red, gold and yellow necklace that hung down to her navel. Her file indicated she was a jewelry designer. Perhaps she’d made the necklace herself.
    He let her get to the door of his office before stopping her. “I didn’t say you could leave.”

    Her shoulders stiffened and she spun to face him. The charming smile slipped and she regarded him coolly. “I wasn’t aware I required your permission.”
    She pulled on a heavy black coat. Jewel-studded gold bracelets clinked, making her movements seem musical.

    “As of now you’re in my charge.” Max stood, walked over to her and leaned his back against the wall. “Your father hired me to look after you until we can figure out who broke into your store.”

    At the mention of her father Rose became wary, distant. “Probably a bunch of kids. I work in a jewelry store. It’s not hard to believe it was a crime of opportunity. Besides, it’s not even my store. The owner doesn’t seem to think she needs protection, so why should I?”

    “Your father obviously thinks you need it.” Max tossed the comment out to see what reaction he’d get.

    “He doesn’t know what’s best for me.” She gritted her teeth. “Besides, this happened two whole days ago. If someone was after me, wouldn’t they have done something about it by now?”

    “Not necessarily. And as for your ‘kids’ theory, the store was broken into, but the perp didn’t take anything.” He cocked his brow. “That doesn’t sound much like a crime of opportunity to me.”

    “All the jewelry is locked in a safe, as are the stones in the workshop.” She tilted up her face to his, exasperation clear in her eyes. “They’re high-grade safes, not something that can be pried open with a crowbar. And I lock the safes whenever I close up. We also have a security system, cameras and a duress button.”

    Max couldn’t help but notice the way the colored beads around her neck sparkled like fire…the same fire that lit up her eyes. She was feisty, all right. He’d have his hands full keeping her safe, especially if her father’s suspicions turned out to be true.

    “The security system was disarmed and the cameras turned off. And yet they left without touching the safe or stealing anything. You don’t find that strange?”

    “No, I don’t. Perhaps they were interrupted, or it was just a random act of vandalism.” She stepped toward the door. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

    If it had been the act of a bunch of kids trying to vandalize the neighborhood, then why had they stopped at her store in particular? A store with a high degree of security. Why not bust up a few windows of the shops next door?

    Rose Lawson was definitely in danger. Max pressed a palm to the door frame next to her head, blocking her exit.
    “We haven’t finished.”

    Her cheeks flushed deep pink, making her fair skin seem even lighter and her yellow-green eyes even more vivid. “Who do you think you are?”

    “I’m the guy who’s going to protect you, Rose.” For some reason his heart was beating a little too fast, his blood pumping a little too hard. “And I take that seriously.”

    “Look,” she said, jabbing a finger into his chest. “I don’t need anyone to protect me, least of all some beefed-up GI Joe wannabe.”

    Ouch. The lady had an acid tongue. That shouldn’t have surprised him. Women as beautiful as she was often had the world at their feet and they didn’t appreciate it one bit. He resisted the urge to tell her just how wrong her assessment of him was, how totally off base and ignorant and narrow-minded—

    “Hit a nerve, did I?” She smirked, the pale pink shine of her lip gloss catching the light.

    “Sticks and stones.” Max leaned forward, bringing his face closer to hers. “I’ve endured a lot worse in my life. So you can throw those petty little insults around as much as you like, because they won’t change the fact that from now on I’m going to be your shadow.”

    In the silence that followed the raggedness of her breath amplified. Her fingers danced at the edge of her necklace, tracing the beads and counting them as if it were a rosary.

    “Now,” he said, stepping back and dropping his arm. “I’m taking you home.”

    “The hell you are.” Rose glared up at him. “I don’t want a bodyguard, or whatever you’re called.”

    “Security consultant,” Max corrected, inwardly laughing as she rolled her eyes.

    “I don’t need one of those, either. I’m fine. It was just a one-off incident.” She pushed a stray tendril of hair from her face.

    “I’ll see you home anyway, just to be sure.”

    He’d been hired to protect Rose, and he’d do just that. Max’s gig with Cobalt & Dane Security might not be the career he’d dreamed of as a young lad in Australia, but the job had come when he’d needed it most. It was all he had. His old career was in tatters, his fiancée was a distant memory and his best friend…

    Max swallowed. He would succeed at this, and if that meant following Rose home against her wishes, then so be it.

  4. Update: Box Set & YouTube

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    Box Set 1One of the things I had on my list of writing goals for 2015 was to try branch out. Namely in the form of self publishing. I knew I wanted to be a hybrid author (meaning an author who does both indie and traditional publishing) as soon as I started writing but last year was all about getting some stories out into the world via the two publishers I’m signed with.

    This month I’m making good on my goal. The Small Town Summer box set is now out *happy dance* Working with these eight amazing author was an absolute dream and the final product is something I am truly proud of. My story, A Kiss in Kite Harbor, is the kick-off to my new small town contemporary romance series which will have all of the hallmarks from my Harlequin & Entangled books, in addition to a fun and diverse cast of small town characters.

    For a very limited time we’ve got the box set at 99c! You can find out more about my story where to find the box set here.

    For the writers who follow this blog, I’ve also done a discussion video on my thoughts around the pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing. Hopefully it might help some of you who have a manuscript near complete and are wondering which direction to take! As always, these are just my thoughts and experiences…it’s no gospel by any means ;)

    Phew! That was a long post. Next week I’ll be away at the Romance Writers of America conference, which is very exciting! But I always look forward to coming back home and getting stuck into some more writing and, of course, chatting with my lovely readers <3

  5. Small Town Summer is almost here!

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    Just in time for the warm weather (or, for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, just in time to be in denial about winter) – the Small Town Summer box set is available for pre-order!! *happy dance*

    Here’s our glorious cover:

     photo Box20Set201.jpg

     

    Doesn’t it just scream summer? I absolutely love it. A huge thanks to Talina from Bookin’ It Designs for working her cover magic. Now, what’s inside the box set?

    From warm sunny days to long sultry nights, spend your summer falling in love in a small town! These nine contemporary romance novellas featuring sassy heroines, sexy heroes, and lots of heartwarming romance make the perfect beach read. Whether your pleasure is sweet small town romance or smolderingly sexy love stories, there’s something in the Small Town Summer box set for everyone!

    AWAKENING ANNA, by Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Terri Osburn
    ANYWHERE WITH YOU, by Heatherly Bell
    MOONSHINE & MAGNOLIAS, by National Bestselling author Jamie Farrell
    SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER, by Liz Flaherty
    SUMMER STOCK, by Regina Kyle
    SERENA’S SOLDIER, by Amy Lamont
    A KISS IN KITE HARBOR, by Stefanie London
    HER LAST SHOT, by Megan Ryder
    SWEET HOME ALASKA, by Rebecca Thomas

    Sound like the Small Town Summer box set might be your cup of tea? Why not pre-order so you can have it the second it goes live?

    Did I mention it’s on sale for 99c until just after release day? Get it now if you want to take advantage of the special price before it goes up to $3.99.

    A Kiss in Kite Harbor is the first in my new small town romance series.

    Twelve years ago they shared a life-changing kiss…

    Now she’s coming back for more…

    When successful plus size model, Shelby Jenkins, is forced to return to her hometown of Kite Harbor, Maine, she must face her past demons. But asking for help doesn’t come naturally and it’s doubly hard when she needs it from the boy who broke her heart. Now he’s all grown up and is more tempting than a double fudge sundae with a cherry on top.

    Nate Ritter loves being a teacher in the small town where he grew up. When the woman who stole his teenage heart returns, he’ll do anything to prove he’s no longer the insecure boy who betrayed her.  As long as he makes sure he doesn’t fall for Shelby since she has a big, exciting life waiting for her back in the city.

    Can his shot at redemption be enough to convince her to stay?

    Read the first scene here.

    Read on for the short blurbs of each story in the set!

     

    AWAKENING ANNA (Terri Osburn) – Librarian Anna Robinson is fascinated by Max Marshall, the hot young writer occupying the bestseller lists, and the apartment above hers. In one night, Max awakens Anna to true sexual pleasure, but the new lovers quickly learn that one night is never enough.

    ANYWHERE WITH YOU (Heatherly Bell) – Welcome to Starlight Hill, California, where the wine flows freely and so does the gossip.
    Celebrity stylist Kailey Robbins wants a second chance with ex-military pilot Joe Hannigan, but can she convince him that this time she’ll settle down into small town life?

    MOONSHINE & MAGNOLIAS (Jamie Farrell) – Shelby’s a newly single mother learning how to be herself again. Zack’s the hot military man next door who loves a good adventure. And a chance encounter at a steamy summer softball game will challenge what they both thought they knew about their hearts, their lives, and their forevers.

    SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER (Liz Flaherty) – Banker Molly Linden never expected to be alone and unemployed at fifty. Buying hunky carpenter Joe Rahilly’s saloon takes care of the employment situation, but she’s still alone. Or is she?

    SUMMMER STOCK (Regina Kyle) – Jax Donovan left his hometown—and high school sweetheart Georgi Petersen—for the bright lights of Broadway. Now he’s back, but can he convince the lovely librarian that their romance is worth rekindling, on stage and off?

    SERENA’S SOLDIER (Amy Lamont) – Young nurse Serena Adessi can’t wait to be reunited with the soldier she’s loved for as long as she can remember. But when Mace Palmer sustains a career-ending injury while deployed, can she convince him he still has a future worth fighting for?

    A KISS IN KITE HARBOR (Stefanie London) – When plus size model, Shelby Jenkins, returns to her hometown she must face up to the bullies from her past, but the only person who can help her is the one who broke her heart. Small town advocate Nate Ritter is ready for redemption, but will he lose the woman of his dreams to the big city again?

    HER LAST SHOT (Megan Ryder) – Girl next door Rachel Darling has been in love with local baseball hero, Bastien LeBeau, for her whole life. Now that he’s back in town, can she convince him that she’s the right woman for him or will he lose the best thing that might ever happen to him?

    SWEET HOME ALASKA (Rebecca Thomas) – When Lauren Kinkade abandons her Hollywood dreams to run the family business back in Alaska, she reaches out to a former schoolmate to help get things off the ground. Trey Briggs has his reasons for turning her down, but can he really resist the girl he’s always wanted?

  6. Cover reveal! Kite Harbor is getting closer…

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    Working on a new series is always so exciting; there’s so much possibility, so much open space ahead of you. It’s easy to get carried away (if my planning notebook for this series is anything to go by) and sometimes I have to reign myself in. I’m the kind of person who loves to jump in with two feet and I can easily get lost in my work, forgetting that it’s not a good idea not to sit at my computer for ten hours a day!

    Anyway, I wanted to share one of my favourite parts of the process of creating a book with you: the cover! Yep, I’m totally a visual person and the cover is super important to me. (It’s also why I can easily spend hours creating boards for my stories on Pinterest…not to mention mentally spending all of my savings on a new wardrobe!) I’m the kind of writer who needs to ‘see’ their characters before they can start writing. If I don’t know how they look the words won’t come.

    Now, without further adieu, here’s the gorgeousness that is my new cover:

    11149622_1623724804507648_2650143372955850311_o

    Click the image to see this bad boy in all its full size glory

    I’m so in love with it. The colours, the sexy couple…everything! Hopefully you love it to.

    Last month I shared a little snippet from this story (you can read it here). As I mentioned last month, this story will be coming out in July in a box set with eight other amazing authors who are all contributing small town stories set during summer. There’s everything from sweet to sexy in the mix, but they all have a satisfying HEA that will give you the warm and fuzzies.

    I’m curious, if you’re a reader or writer, does the cover of a book matter to you? What kind of covers do you like? If you have a favourite cover be sure to give it a shout out in the comments below.

  7. Guess where I’m going next?

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    No, I’m not moving again. I’m talking about travel of another kind…within my stories!

    If you’ve read any of my stories you know I favour big Australian cities, mainly my home town Melbourne. I love the bright lights, the waterfront scenery, the hustle and bustle. The shopping (oh, the shopping). I’m a city girl in real life.

    But I’ll let you in on a little secret…I want to live in the country too. I’ll never give my big cities away for good, but the idea of a small idyllic place away from the constant noise of a city is deeply appealing. That’s why I’m excited to announce I’m working on my first small town romance!

    Honestly, I’m so excited about it I’ve been laying in bed at night thinking about the town and the characters, unable to get to sleep because I want to leap out of bed and keep writing. Here’s a few important details:

    • My first small town book will be a novella set in the fictional town of Kite Harbor, Maine
    • I’ve got plans to set several books in this town, and possibly turn it into a series
    • You won’t have to wait too long to find out more! The novella will be coming out in a boxed set with eight other amazing authors in the next few months

     

    I feel like I’m about to take a leap and do something really exciting. I’m pushing the boundaries of my writing and I hope you’ll all come on this journey with me. For now, here’s a super early teaser between the hero, Nate, and the heroine, Shelby.

    “So you thought you’d be able to play hermit for two weeks, did you?” he asked as they pulled into an empty space in White Tail’s parking lot.

    Judging by the number of cars circling the lot, the chances of bumping into someone she knew would be high. Shelby fished around in her bag and pulled out a pair of over-sized Prada sunglasses. Not exactly a master disguise, but better than nothing.

    “I prefer devoted daughter to hermit.” She hopped down from the SUV and tilted her face up to the sunshine. “I wasn’t planning on throwing rocks at anyone who came to visit the house if that’s what you mean.”

    “But you’d hoped that no one would stop by.”

    Busted. “Well, I certainly hadn’t bargained on anyone catching me butt naked.”

    Nate had the good sense to look embarrassed. “You had a pair of panties on if memory serves me correctly.”

     

    Small Town Summer Intro Graphic edited-2

     

     

  8. Best books of 2014

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    As I mentioned in my 2014/15 Reading Goals Wrap Up I read a total of 61 books this year. I’m pretty darn happy with that! Because I really enjoy sharing the books I adore with you I wanted to do a “Best Books of the year” post where hopefully you’ll find a new book or a new author to love out of this list! (I also did one of these in 2013.)

    Note: These are books I READ in 2014 but they were not necessarily published in 2014.

    Gone Girl (2012) & Sharp Objects (2005) by Gillian Flynn – While Gone Girl is by far the better known of these two books, Sharp Objects is what started my love for Gillian Flynn. It was also her debut novel, which is pretty damn amazing considering it’s a hell of a book. If you like twisted people doing twisted things to one another, then this is just what you need to read.

    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (2011) – An unconventional, charming romance. I’d heard great things about Rainbow’s writing and I devoured this book in two days while on a trip to Sydney right before the RWA conference. Told totally from the male POV, this book is funny and focuses mostly on the growth of the protagonist. But there is a hefty sprinkling of romance. I loved it.8909152

    Lick by Kylie Scott (2013) – This was one of the books in my RWA goodie bag. I had major ear problems through the conference and I started reading this because I was trying to distract myself from the pain. I hadn’t intended on it being anything but a distraction, but Kylie’s writing drew me in and this passionate rockstar romance totally captured me. Funny, a little angst-y and a whole lotta sexy.

    Tampa by Alissa Nutting (2011) – This was a tough book to read and yet I also couldn’t drag myself away. It’s a taboo topic, which definitely won’t be for everyone, and I can’t say I ‘liked’ the story given the subject matter. But it was utterly gripping, very well written and totally unique.

    Uncovered by Love by Madeline Ash (2012) – This book was nominated for a RBY the first year I attended the RWA conference in 2013. It’s a brilliant book. The writing is beautiful, the characters real and emotional, it’s clever and utterly romantic. The very best of what a category romance should be.

    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011) – This book SLAYED me. I was sobbing at the end and it is easily one of the best books I’ve read. EVER. It’s sad but so beautiful at the same time. A work of art.

    Not Until You by Roni Loren (2014) – This had everything that I look for in an erotic romance. High emotion, playfulness, hot sex, well-motivated characters, great writing. This was the latest in a series, so now I’m going back to the start.

    Honorable mentions go to:

    What were your best books of 2014? Let me know so I can add them to my list of books to read this year <3

  9. Things you don’t expect to see in a romance novel

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    There are many things which can throw you out of a book; a strange word, a misspelled name, an incorrect piece of information etc. Other things which might jolt you from the magical world your book has created are things you don’t expect to see, particularly when the effect is comical in a a way the author did not intend (or perhaps they did, and then kudos for the creativity).

    I recently read Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr after hearing many a great thing about her Virgin River series. Now, the hero had a moustache, which was referenced a few times. Moustaches are not my thing, but I used mental creative license to erase said moustache when I imagined him as I was reading. That’s my prerogative as a reader.

    That was, however, until he asked the heroine if she wanted a moustache ride…

    I’m not kidding.

    After nearly falling out of my bed with laughter, racing into the lounge room to show my husband, LOL-ing on Facebook and finally getting back into bed, I could not get that phrase out of my head. Namely, it was because I envisaged this scene from Super Troopers:

     

    My love of this movie is somewhat unbalanced, but still…moustache rides are not in the least bit sexy IMHO

    Aside from that I quite enjoyed Hidden Summit, I haven’t really strayed too far from Category Romance for some time so it was nice to read a Single Title for something different. I’m enjoying the ‘small town romance’ theme at the moment – so if you have any recommendations please share them in the comments below.

    What have you read recently that threw you out of a story? Have you seen moustache rides referenced in any other romance novels? I’m hoping this isn’t the start of a trend…

  10. Favourite Romance Sub-Genre?

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    What is your favourite romance sub-genre? Are you a historical romance lover? A romantic suspense junkie? Something else?

    As with most things in life I like a little of everything, however I most often gravitate towards historical romance (or any era) and contemporary romance. That said, I am no history buff by any means and wouldn’t be able to spot a historical inaccuracy in anything I read!

    However, there’s just something about the gorgeous covers, the old-fashioned words and images plus the strangeness of historical norms that captivates me with historical romance. On the contrary, contemporary romance appeals to me  because it feels real and I can often relate to the angst, passion and confusion felt by the characters.

    Sub-genres I’m becoming more and more curious about:

    • Paranormal romance
    • Fantasy romance
    • Romantic suspense

    Leave your answer in the comments below and tell me what your favourite romance sub-genre is.