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Release day: Highest Bid

26 August 2019

Today is the official release of Highest Bid by Mel Teshco (ebook, Tule Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

An unapologetic player and a reserved wallflower … one night would never be enough

Galan Black carries a burden he can’t share with anyone, least of all his two brothers. Not even after the blood, sweat and tears it took for them to open and make the Black Pearl Nightclub a raging success. He’s just glad his secret doesn’t haunt him half as much in the arms of the eager women he takes to bed.

Yet he can’t stop thinking about the plain Jane bartender and waitress, who he impulsively hired against his better judgement. Then she steps half-naked onto the stage for the club’s once-yearly charity auction, and he can’t keep his bidding paddle down, or his eyes off her. He’ll have her for the night, and get her out of his system once and for all.

Layla doesn’t trust men, yet her infatuation with the eldest Black brother is getting beyond a joke. She needs to experience a night in his bedroom, and get over her silly fixation. But then one night becomes two, with the heat between them showing no signs of cooling. Until Layla’s trust is put to the ultimate test and dirty little secrets are exposed.

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

Galan and Layla’s story came together when my editor suggested a few different story scenarios. One that stuck with me was brothers running/owning a nightclub. I also decided I wanted to incorporate an auction into the mix and Highest Bid was born. It’s a Cinderella-type story with tones of the Ugly Duckling. Having said that, my heroine is far from unattractive, she just likes to blend into the background and get on with her job without gaining attention. The trouble is she does it too well and the eldest brother seems to take no notice of her at all. Then the yearly auction swings around and Layla knows this might be her one chance to get noticed by Galan once and for all.

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


Guest blogger: Kat Martin

25 August 2019

Why I love writing romance

From birth to death, romance is part of everyone’s lives, a mother’s love for her newborn baby, a son or daughter’s love for a parent, or love for the person who shares your life.

Falling in love is the part that intrigues me. I love giving my characters obstacles that reveal their strengths and weaknesses, everything from murder and mayhem to running for their lives. The obstacles they face form the plots of my stories. The way the characters overcome them shows their strengths and weaknesses and eventually is what draws the two of them together.

In my latest romantic thriller, The Deception, book 2 in my Maximum Security series, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns her of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.

The best part of writing a romantic thriller is that the reader can be sure the perils the couple faces will be worth it. By the last page of the book, the hero and heroine are going to find the forever kind of love and get the happy ending they deserve.

I hope you will watch for The Deception, and that if you haven’t read The Conspiracy, you’ll look for it, too.

Till then very best wishes and happy reading, Kat

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in anthropology and also studied history. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana, with her Western-author husband, LJ Martin, Kat has written sixty-five historical and contemporary romantic suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next romantic suspense.

You can find Kat here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

The Deception

When missing turns to murdered, one woman’s search for answers will take her to a place she never wanted to go…

After searching for her sister for two long years, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she’s called to the morgue to identify Chrissy’s body, the runaway teen the victim of a brutal attack. Guilt and grief send Kate into a tailspin. She failed Chrissy once…she won’t do it again. Even if finding her sister’s killer means following a lethal bounty hunter into the heart of darkness, placing both their lives in danger.

Working at Maximum Security has taken Jason Maddox down some dangerous paths, but never for a client he’s so drawn to, or for a case so monstrous. As clues lead them deeper into the city’s underbelly, connections to human trafficking draw them closer and closer to peril, but even Jase’s warnings can’t convince Kate to walk away. As the deadly operation puts a target on their backs, they’ll have to decide what matters most: the truth…or their lives.

You can order The Deception here:

Hardcover: Booktopia | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
Ebook: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google | iTunes


Release day: Zapata

21 August 2019

Today is the official release of Zapata by Harper McDavid (ebook and paperback, Soul Mate Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

When engineer Avery McAndrews is offered the Zapata project, she readily accepts. Despite the fact the Texas border town has a dubious reputation, she’s used to pushing past all kinds of stereotypes. The assignment is a career maker.

Avery’s work is disrupted when a battle for control of the oil production facility puts her in the crossfire between warring drug cartels. All hope for a promotion is forgotten. Kidnapped and imprisoned in a Mexican brothel, Avery discovers that her captor, Javier Ramos, son of a cartel boss, is more than just a power-hungry drug lord. He’s crazy.

As lead attorney for the Ramos Cartel, Alejandro DeLeon’s unofficial responsibilities include managing Javier. Cartel operations are threatened by Javier’s kidnapping of Avery, presenting a nearly impossible situation for Alejandro. But it is Javier’s cruelty toward Avery that leads Alejandro to risk everything to save her.

With Mexico’s underworld at their heels, Avery and Alejandro run. Danger escalates in every new town as Javier offers a reward for her capture. Though for Avery, the greatest struggle is not the perilous escape, but trusting Alejandro, a man of many secrets…

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

Zapata is my debut novel. It is a romantic suspense inspired by an assignment I had as a geologist working in south Texas. Though I was not kidnapped, the cartels were very much a real thing. Stolen crude oil and the disappearance of a site supervisor were actual events. Unfortunately, the character of Alejandro DeLeon is entirely fictional. Zapata is the first book in the Border series. I hope Australian readers enjoy it!

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


Feature book: Alien Captured

21 August 2019

Alien Captured by Marie Dry

Subgenre: science fiction romance
Release date: 9 Jun 2018
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Format: ebook and print
Length: 227 pages
RRP: $3.99 (ebook); $32.99 (print)

This is instalment five in the series, but the reader does not have to read the previous four as it stands alone as a single story quite well.

The story is set in a dystopian-type future, where the world has gone to hell and women are again subjugated and abused. This story starts off interestingly with a young woman, Susannah, who has caught a Zyrgin alien (Azagor) who she intends to sell to the resistance to pay to get her son back. She’s in for a surprise though.

The alien she has captured had chosen her months before as a ‘breeder’. He allowed himself to be caught and goes through all manner of scenarios with her. His race has come to earth and the weapon of the soldiers is sex—long and, apparently, good sex. This breeder term turned me off the story early on. Then you catch the cadence of speech and dialogue and realise that it kind of fits.

There are bright moments when she stands up to him, protects a tiny teacup Yorkshire Terrier (‘your rat’) from death at the hands of the barbarian, and when her son is returned. Her simple awe and joy at some of the improvements in her life once he takes her to his place are quite sweet.

There is attraction and, eventually, respect and love here. Friendships too—between the soldiers themselves and between Susannah and the other human female ‘breeders’ who are to be cosseted and protected and never put in harm’s way. Add in a man whose role it is to make sure his breeder enjoys many, many hours of sex and well, you get to a story with heart.

You cheer when the baddies get their comeuppance—and in an embarrassing way for the worst of them. I enjoyed the book and the ending was very sweet.

reviewed by Sharon S

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

Feature book: Undaunted

21 August 2019

Undaunted by Leah Ashton

Subgenre: romantic suspense
Release date: 20 Mar 2019
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 186 pages
RRP: $4.99 (ebook); $23.70 (print)

Ms Ashton is known for her sweet romances, published by Mills and Boon. Her latest book, ‘Undaunted’ sees her shift genres to very sexy romantic suspense, as she begins her WASP series. Luella (Lou) Brayshaw is a Senior Constable in the Western Australian Police, who made a mistake and she’s reassigned to WASP (Western Australian Specialist Police). Supposed to be desk bound, her first day immediately transforms. She fills in for an actress during a surveillance exercise, which ends with her on a train with not only her ex-boyfriend (and WASP colleague) but an armed gunman with his ex-wife.

Nate Rivers is shocked to encounter Lou and follows her onto the train, so they can talk. When their plans are changed by an angry man, he forms an uneasy alliance with Lou to get everyone off the train alive. Ms Ashton has you turning pages as you travel along with them and arrive at Fremantle station for the showdown. The story doesn’t slow down with a bullet soon coming close to causing serious injury to Lou.

As they both face the possibility an outlaw motorcycle gang is seeking to kill Lou as revenge for the death of one of their members, they are forced to spend time in close quarters. The strong physical attraction between them soon sparks into life, and as emotions are heightened, can they resolve their past issues to find love and survive long enough to close the case?

This isn’t a story where the hero rides in on his charger and rescues the damsel in distress. Lou is a strong woman and she knows how to fight for herself. Nate chose his career in the past, but he’s not walking away from Lou again. With two such strong willed people, there are always going to be sparks but with the addition of the need to keep safe long enough to close the case, this story burns bright. When you pick up this book, be prepared to spend time with it. Once you start reading you won’t want to put it down. The other good news is that Ms Ashton will be releasing her second book in the series on 19 April, ‘Defiant’, so you don’t have long to wait for another WASP case, complete with strong heroines and the tough men who fall in love with them.

reviewed by Tracey

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

Guest blogger: Barbara Strickland

18 August 2019

Promoting your own work, talking about yourself—most confronting. I run a blog from my website called Amorina Rose’s blog and am currently writing a series of posts on imposter syndrome. The blog posts are very close to home because that is exactly how I am feeling right now—an imposter.

Writing has been a dream. Real life has been a priority. So, I did what any self-respecting dreamer does and read, and read and then read some more, and lived vicariously through the magic books provided while raising three children. Books soothed my restless soul. When they were of an age, I gave in to the travel bug. I had done some travelling with my parents and wanted to indulge in more. As an Italian, Italy is my first love and always will be, but my heart and brain have plenty of room for other places in the world, most especially in Europe.

Books however didn’t soothe the working part of me, as my work history can testify. It has varied so much that friends have often asked how I managed to stand still long enough to get a teaching degree, but I did even though it took a while (I graduated at 40). I really don’t know how I did manage it, but I like different things and I think everything I did was leading to the one place where all things could be combined—writing.

Being of a certain age means much of my early reading experience, especially at school, was in the classics. Books like Pride and Prejudice and of course my all-time favourite Wuthering Heights paved the way to my love of romance. Bronte’s presentation of the tense, sensual, often cruel and tormenting relationship Heathcliff and Cathy share breaks the heart while fascinating us at the same time. Austen’s Mr Darcy on the other hand, hides a tender heart behind an air of arrogance; Austen’s Elizabeth uses haughtiness to hide a desire to love and be loved.

When we can’t find romance for ourselves, romance writers do it for us. It’s a gift I have always admired and coveted. I don’t care what genre; writers inspire. Emotions fuel and all that emotion connects the reader to the page, to the characters and to the plot. It’s real despite the fiction and we need that in our lives.

Luckily for me I discovered self-publishing. Starting late might mean time is precious, but nothing is impossible. Three poetry books and one contemporary romance later I find myself with a whole new career. Financial restraints have hampered me at times, and I am aware there may be editing issues in my work, but the wonderful thing about self-publishing is that I can go back and make changes with reader input. And I promise, I am learning all the time, but I could use some help.

With Unexpected Obsession, I wanted to collect emotion and spread it on the page. Nico is hard to like but then people can be hard to like. He is sure of himself, and yet can behave like a spoiled child. I wanted to look at all those little things that make us different from each other and I wanted to use my varied professional background as well as all that travelling to build a world for my characters that allowed for diversity not just of culture, or skin, but of human nature.

You can find Barbara here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Unexpected Obsession

Two cultures will clash when a young Italo-Australian woman finds herself at the mercy of a blazing sensuality under the heat of a Sicilian sun and the dominant force of a Sicilian male.

Nico likes order, but Lia undermines his carefully constructed world. He can’t deal with that much emotion, so he does the one thing guaranteed to drive her away, not realising he would hurt himself in the process.

“For fuck’s sake,” he whispered to himself. “It’s been nearly two years. When does it stop?”

Everything in the room reminded him of her. The unyielding pressure in his head told him he could not survive like this. Crashing sounds made as he knocked every item on the top of the dresser to the floor didn’t assuage his anger. The sweetness of a forgotten, now shattered perfume bottle permeating every corner of the bedroom, making his head spin. Frustrated, hurting, he didn’t blink at the hole or at the blood smeared across his knuckles and the pristine white of the bedroom wall.

You can find Unexpected Obsession here: Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Bookbub

ARR2020: ticketpalooza

16 August 2019


ARR2020 will feature Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan at five events:

  • Brisbane—Friday 6 March
  • Sydney—Sunday 8 March
  • Melbourne—Saturday 14 March
  • Perth—Sunday 15 March
  • Adelaide—Tuesday 17 March

Each event will be a 3- or 4-hour signing and will include local romance authors (see list below).

Tickets for these events will go on sale in October, but today we are announcing our Ticketpaloosa Competition with the opportunity for readers to win a general entry ticket for the Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide events (tickets for the Brisbane event will be free). There are five tickets for each city up for grabs.

Enter via this Rafflecopter form.

The competition will close on 30 September.

Here’s the list of authors who will be signing:

Ally Blake
Amy Andrews
Becca Seymour
Catherine Bilson/Caitlyn Lynch
Charlotte Nash
Dakota Harrison
Darynda Jones
Ebony Olson
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Fiona Marsden
J Mary Masters
Jenn J McLeod
Jessica Gleave
JO Mantel
Kylie Scott
Leesa Bow
Michelle Dalton
PL Harris
Sarah Williams
Susan Donovan
Suzi Love
Stella Quinn
Tania Joyce
TM Clark

Anne Gracie
AnneMarie Brear
Bronwyn Parry
Cathryn Hein
Darynda Jones
Donna Maree Hanson/Dani Kristoff
Ebony Olson
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Erin Grace
Fiona McArthur
Heather Boyd
Kate Bonham
Kelly Hunter
Keri Arthur
Kylie Scott
Lexxie Couper
Louisa Masters
Maggie Nash
Megan Mayfair
Michelle Dalton
Michelle Montebello
Monique McDonell
Penelope Janu
Renee Dahlia
Sarah Williams
Shannon Curtis
Susan Donovan
TM Clark
Tracey Pedersen/Lola Jamieson

Anne Gracie
Darynda Jones
Donna Maree Hanson/Dani Kristoff
Ebony Olson
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Jennie Kew
Kaye Dobbie/Sara Bennett
Keri Arthur
Lilliana Anderson
Louisa Masters
Megan Lowe
Megan Mayfair
Melanie Scott/MJ Scott/Emma Douglas
Michelle Somers
ML Tompsett
Monique McDonell
Nicola Marsh
PL Harris
Samantha Marshall
Susan Donovan
Tracey Pedersen/Lola Jamieson

Athena Daniels
Claire Boston
Darynda Jones
Demelza Carlton
Juanita Kees
Leah Ashton
Lily Malone
Monique Mulligan
Rachael Johns
Shona Husk/TJ Nichols
Susan Donovan
Susan Hoddy
Susanna Rogers
Tee Smith
Teena Raffa
Tracey Pedersen/Lola Jamieson
Wanika Fazekas

Darynda Jones
Eleni Konstantine
Jane Hinchey
Laney Kaye
Leesa Bow
Lilliana Rose
Louisa Masters
Maggie Mundy
PL Harris
Susan Donovan
Tracey Pedersen/Lola Jamieson
Trish Morey

[Listed updated 22 August 2019]