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Feature book: Sarah and the Secret Sheikh

22 November 2017

Sarah and the Secret Sheikh by Michelle Douglas

Sarah and Majed met in a bar.

Well, actually, they met through her brother, who owns a bar, and Majed works for him. Sarah’s boyfriend broke up with her, and she spends the night with Majed, who immediately feels possessive and throws the ex out the door when he arrives the next morning. Sarah finds out she is pregnant, and needs to tell Majed.

Majed tells her about his background and that he is a prince of Keddah Jaleel and he basically left his country for safety reasons after the death of his brother. Naturally, there is more to the story of his brother’s death and all will be uncovered when Majed and Sarah go to Keddah Jaleel. Before they leave, Sarah agrees to spend one month in the country to see if she will like it and be accepted by Majed’s family (and his countrymen) as a prospective bride, although they need to arrive as though they are not a couple and they must certainly hide her pregnancy. The initial reaction assures her she has Majed’s parent’s acceptance but still is concerned about how much Majed wants her. Sarah is able to find her place in the country.

As Majed reveals the story of his brother’s death, Sarah is able to cut through the despair and guilt felt by the family, that they are able to start repairing the depth of the angst. It is one particular event that brings all the healing that all need (and no I will not tell you what it is as I think you should read how Sarah and Majed find their HEA after the attempted murder).

What I really liked about this story was that Sarah and Majed sat down and talked about how they would deal with the pregnancy and any marriage that might happen. If there was no marriage he promised her certain things and you knew that he would keep his word. Okay so Majed, the typical male, didn’t give full disclosure on some things and Sarah had to pull the information from him, but they finally get to the HEA.

I really liked Sarah’s very feminist minded mother. She really tells it like it is and has prepared Sarah, albeit subtly, throughout her life for the woman she will eventually become. Her reaction to Majed, and the fact he was a foreigner, and may take the child if Sarah was to leave Keddah Jaleel really got her going. Loved it!

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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Release day: Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command

21 November 2017

Today is the official release of Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command by Jennifer Hayward (book 1, The Powerful Di Fiore Tycoons) (ebook and paperback, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

Billionaire boss’s festive seduction!

Shy Chloe Russo is dreading her first Christmas running the family business. Working with Nico Di Fiore is the last straw! Once, Nico’s kisses promised Chloe every sensual delight, until he coldly rejected her. Now he’s her very commanding, very arrogant boss!

Control is paramount to Nico—after his father’s bankruptcy lost him everything, nothing will distract him from succeeding. He’s always kept a tight rein on his craving for Chloe, well aware she alone has the power to disarm him. But now, unable to deny their connection, Nico is determined to reclaim control and take Chloe as his own!

Jennifer dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

I am so excited to share my first Christmas book for Harlequin Presents with you! Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, full of snowflakes and magic. I also love second chance stories—there’s such a purely romantic element to them for me. So I thought I’d combine the two in a story I hope you’ll get swept away with! My heroine, Chloe Russo, is dreading her first Christmas running the family business after the loss of her parents shattered her world. Working with Nico Di Fiore, her father’s brilliant protégé, might just be the last straw. Tasked with saving her family legacy, Nico is also the man who brutally broke her heart. Chloe thought putting an ocean between them while she completed her studies would cure her of her susceptibility to him, but as the snow flurries fly and the heat builds, she’s disconcerted to find nothing can protect her against Nico’s magnetic pull. Could it just be that the one man who shattered her into pieces will also be the one to put her back together? In Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command, you’ll meet Nico’s sexy Italian brothers, Lazzero and Santo, who run a global sportswear empire. Look out next for Lazzero story in His Million-Dollar Marriage Proposal.

You can find out more about this book at Jennifer’s website or buy it from Amazon.

Release day: A Fortunes of Texas Christmas

21 November 2017

Today is the official release of A Fortunes of Texas Christmas by Helen Lacey (ebook and paperback, Harlequin Special Edition). Here’s the blurb:

OOH-LA-LA! A FRENCH FORTUNE!

The Yuletide season brings something très magnifique to Austin, Texas, in the form of sexy French entrepreneur Amersen Beaudin. The sexy but standoffish playboy has zero interest in meeting his newly discovered Fortune relatives, least of all the man who is his biological father. But when matriarch Kate Fortune dangles an all-too-attractive business proposition, he is too intrigued to stay away. And once he meets Kate’s beautiful gardener, Robin Harbin, he starts to rethink his holiday plans…

A spicy affair with the blonde, blue-eyed Texan is now at the top of Amersen’s wish list. But all Robin wants for Christmas is the flirty Parisian’s heart and soul. Can she convince him that love—and family—can lead to a joyeux Noël?

Helen dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

Welcome to Texas! And to my first continuity book for Harlequin Special Edition, A Fortune’s of Texas Christmas. I had such fun writing this book, about a hometown Texan girl called Robin and the sexy Amersen Beaudin, a twenty-five-year-old Frenchman who is actually one of the secret Fortune children. Of course, I also got to write about things I love—like cowboys and horses. I hope you enjoy reading about their fun, passionate and rocky road to love!

You can find out more about this book at Helen’s website or buy it from Amazon.

 

Guest blogger: TM Clark

19 November 2017

A new buzz-word in my repertoire at the moment and something that is close to my heart: companion books.

I have been extremely fortunate that after a ‘lull’ in 2016, I have had three books released in five weeks in 2017. Slowly! Slowly! (a children’s picture book, published by Wombat Books), illustrated by the amazing Helene Magisson. Tears of the Cheetah (Mira, Harlequin), has been reissued in B format, and my adult book, Child of Africa (Mira, Harlequin, out 20 November 2017).

So, why are these close publications significant and so important to me?

Slowly! Slowly! Is a companion book to Child of Africa. The story within the picture book is referred to in the adult book, and the hero in both is Bongani. One when he’s a young child, the other when he has grown up, and the world and adult life are now pressing down on his shoulders. There is a second companion ebook, The Avoidable Orphan, which I released at the end of 2015, which is about a young Joss (the other hero in Child of Africa) and a baby Ndhlovy.

Companion books—they share a connection to each other but are not a series.

So how do these all fit together in the jigsaw?

The Avoidable Orphan came first, the story of Ndhlovy, a baby elephant, who is a real baby jumbo in the 1970s and who I knew about, and wanted to rewrite her story to give her a happier ending. It meant playing with the timeline a little and having her come into the world a lot later, so conservation methods and expectations were on the cusp of change, but for me, it was worth it. In this book, you meet Joss, Peta, Bongani and Ndhlovy.

In Child of Africa, we continue the lives of Joss, Peta, Bongani and Ndhlovy, and many others, and we see what has happened to a cast of characters when a certain elephant didn’t think her story was told and was incomplete, and wanted more.

In Slowly! Slowly! Bongani is my little hero of the book.

You don’t need to read one to know what’s happening in the others; they are all independent. However, if you want more story, then you can read all three, to complete the whole picture.

But I didn’t stop there …

I love writing my longer novels, the fact that I have so many words to play with and share with readers. I hid an Easter egg in Child of Africa: revisiting with some old friends. I wanted to check up on them, see how they were going a few years later. Why? Because in the bigger real scheme of real life, there are not lots of people involved in the specialist type of work that they do in South Africa, so realistically speaking, the lives of these characters could have crossed paths. But that is just a cameo, it doesn’t make them companion books, or a series, as they don’t actually carry on that story from the first book. But it made me happy to see them again, and wave to the familiar faces and it served the purpose of the story. So for me, seeing Tears of the Cheetah reissued so close to Child of Africa was awesome, and the ‘world’ in which I write, begins to slowly ‘connect’ and ‘touch hearts’ across the books and all age groups.

Thank you to ARRA for having me blogging today, it’s always so awesome!

You can find TM here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

There is a giveaway of an ebook copy of The Avoidable Orphan to celebrate the releases of Child of Africa and Slowly! Slowly! Leave a comment below to go in the draw.

Slowly! Slowly!

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.

Slowly, slowly, he must go.

Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

Adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts.

 

Child of Africa

After returning from Afghanistan, ex-British marine Joss Brennan embraces living as a double amputee, but he finds life at his safari lodge near Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, not quite as idyllic as when he left.

Peta de Longe is a big game veterinarian and no stranger to hard decisions. Working in the messy political society of Zimbabwe, she’s engaged in a constant struggle to save the national parks. When she nearly drives over Joss, the reunion isn’t joyous – Joss let down her dying sister eighteen months before, after all. But once she uncovers the terrible ordeal that Joss has gone through, can she learn to forgive and move forward?

When a corrupt and dangerous businessman with close ties to government threatens all he holds dear, Joss realises he doesn’t need to save strangers in a faraway land. But will he fight to save his own country and the people he considers his family?

 

The Avoidable Orphan (e-book published 2015)

Recently widowed Rodger de Longe is losing his bond with his daughters. He’s a man of the African bush, and coping with ‘girlie feelings’ was always Helene’s department, not his. When an orphaned baby elephant is found, Rodger sees an opportunity that might help him reconnect with his children. But interfering with the orphan goes against his usual conservation methods. It will require a new approach to save both the baby and his family.

Release day: Nothing to Fear

18 November 2017

Today is the official release of Nothing to Fear by Claire Boston (book 1, Blackbridge) (ebook and print, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

The gifts are innocent… at first.

After a traumatic assault, Hannah Novak returns to her home-town hoping for a fresh start. However, when strange gifts turn up on her doorstep, and a stalker fixates on her, she discovers that Blackbridge isn’t the safe haven it once was. With no family left to turn to, she’s forced to seek help from the brooding new cop in town.

Ryan Kilpatrick has travelled across the country to create a stable home for his young son, but being a police officer makes that hard. He doesn’t need Hannah’s problems added to his own, yet her courage and vulnerability awakens the protector in him.

With time running out, can Hannah learn to trust again before it’s too late?

Because this time, there are no second chances.

Claire dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

Nothing to Fear is my first romantic suspense and the first novel I’ve written that is completely set in Australia. In fact, it’s set in an area of Western Australia where I used to spend my summer holidays. It was so exciting to return to the area on a research trip and explore the beaches, the forests and the food! The novel is a standalone story, but is part of a series of four childhood friends, one coastal town and a whole lot of trouble. I hope you enjoy!

You can find out more about this book at Claire’s website or buy it from books2read.

 

Release day: The Christmas Stranger

16 November 2017

Today is the official release of The Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune…

When Josiah Hale, society’s favorite aristocratic architect, stumbles upon an isolated manor house in the middle of a snowstorm, he feels like he’s entered a fairytale world. And Sleeping Beauty in this secret corner of Yorkshire is lovely, vulnerable Maggie Carr, surely a princess disguised as a humble housekeeper. Is Josiah her prince – or the man who will break her heart and leave her life in ruins?

But is the stranger’s arrival lucky for the girl Christmas forgot?

Maggie Carr has worked as a housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall since her beloved mother died five years ago. No matter how often she tells herself she’s accustomed to being poor and alone, Christmas always stirs poignant memories of a time when she had a place in the world and a family to love. But this Christmas, a handsome stranger bursts into her solitary world and makes her feel like a desirable woman. Maggie has already lost so much to cruel fate. Now as the season advances and she finds herself in thrall to the man who challenges her loneliness and turns winter nights to sultry summer, what price will this irresistible passion demand of her?

Will the Yuletide enchantment vanish with the season’s decorations? Or have Maggie and her Christmas stranger discovered a magic to sustain them through a lifetime of happiness?

Anna dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

As those of you who follow me on social media know, last April I spent an idyllic month on the remote Scottish isle of Eigg in the Hebrides. While there, I wrote like a demon, completing Catching Captain Nash, the most recent Dashing Widows instalment, and half of another novella, which has since turned into The Christmas Stranger. I think the magical atmosphere of the island touched this story about two lovers fated to be together, even if they don’t realise it when they meet. Joss Hale falls into one of my favourite hero categories, the outwardly gruff man who has a heart of gold, and Maggie Carr, his heroine, is a gutsy Cinderella in search of her Prince Charming. Hmm, Joss might have to dig a bit deep to unearth his hidden charms, but I think he might manage it! I hope you enjoy this poignant, romantic story of two people finding a home in each other in the midst of a Christmas snowstorm in Yorkshire.

You can find out more about this book at Anna’s website or buy it from Amazon.

 

Feature book: Wedding Night with Her Enemy

15 November 2017

Wedding Night with Her Enemy by Melanie Milburne

Can a marriage of convenience really work for two determined people?

Allegra Kallas is not sure how she feels about being used as a business tool. Her father’s business is failing badly and there are men who are lining up to marry her to save her father’s business. Draco Papandreau has decided he will be the one to marry her. Allegra is actually a self-sufficient business owner and is shocked that her father would use her in that way, but then she is not really surprised. She decides she will go through with the marriage as she feels sorry for Elena, her father’s new wife, and baby Nico. Ultimately Allegra is hoping that her father has changed his adulterous ways, and that marriage to Elena will settle him.

Allegra had a dysfunctional childhood. Her brother died and then her mother. Allegra takes some of the blame that she was born a girl instead of a boy to take on the family business. But she then realises that it is what it is and she should get on with her life.

Draco proposes a marriage of convenience. There is some part of him that likes the fact that Allegra had a crush on him when they were younger and he plays on that when he convinces her the marriage is for the best. He doesn’t want to fall in love as a disastrous relationship damaged his heart (but we do find out it was more his ego and pride that was damaged) but he was able to have his revenge on the woman.

Once Allegra and Draco marry, they go on a honeymoon and the chemistry is obviously there. When they are trying to sort the future living arrangements and Elena comes to seek Allegra’s help, Allegra realises what she really wants in life, love and children. This is not what Draco wants … yet. Naturally the couple have their HEA.

While this is a story of a marriage of convenience, Allegra and Draco have known each other previously when they were younger and Allegra had her dream crush destroyed. The chemistry is still there for this couple, and as with many other couples, they need to work through the issues in their lives before they can find their way to each other. This was an enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. ARRA members who leave a comment by 29 November 2017 will go into the draw to win a copy of the book.