Lady Honor’s Debt by Maggi Andersen
Lady Honor Baxendale doesn’t want to marry. She would be happy to just have an independent life. Honor’s stepfather is pressuring her to marry the Duke of Morven as he wants to have a least one of his daughters, step or not, move up within society. Honor discovers that her father is in significant debt due to being cheated out of his money. Edward Winborne does catch Honor’s eye but for something she wants him to do rather than being her husband.
Honor goes to see Edward, who is a solicitor and a family friend, so that he can find the man who cheated her father. Once she has this information, she wants to sell her mother’s rubies so that she can use the money to gamble and win back her father’s money. Well, it will be a one-time thing to gamble with the man who cheated her father. Edward is wary, of course, and sits on the periphery to protect Honor.
Edward also tends to appear at the most inopportune time, including interrupting the Duke of Morven when he is courting Honor, but Edward wants to keep an eye on her. It is then that Honor’s instinct about the duke proves to be correct. Honor is then ‘banished’ to her aunt’s place in the country. Her father, in a sly move, sets the situation for Edward to find Honor and claim her hand.
This story is a nice introduction to the Baxendale girls, and although Honor is only a half-sister, she has the same determination and wants to marry for love. The relationship between Honor and Edward slowly grows. Both are seemingly unaware until the moment of their realisation that they want to be together, forever. I love this feature in a story as it is the slow burn for the couple.
Reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.
Insecure by Ainslie Paton
Jacinta (Cinta) is a CEO in waiting in a bank pulled into the big time by her stepfather. She works long hours, has a complete grasp of her company and the business environment, and has long-term plans to change the social consciousness of the bank. She drives a fast, expensive car, lives in a vast, completely luxurious apartment and wears a seemingly uptight corporate uniform of severe business suits. She has also ruthlessly cast aside her artistic skills and not painted for years, something she has previously enjoyed. Her stepfather is the current CEO of the bank, a thoroughly unpleasant man, poor father and genuinely unlikeable human.
Mace is an incredibly gifted, self-taught code writer. He works an easy-to-him tech support job to make a living while developing with his best friend, Dillon, some software that will revolutionise online personal data security. Mace also looks after his grandmother, Buster, who brought him up after the death of his mother. She is now in care and he visits her each day, bringing her favourite foods, washing her clothes the way she likes and spending time with her because he enjoys her company. He doesn’t see it as a burden; he loves her. Mace doesn’t get on well with his boss at the bank and is a bit of a maverick, but he is always requested for tech work because he quickly and easily fixes any level of computer problem.
The opening pages of the book paint Jacinta as a direct, powerful woman, asking a man to have sex with her. Mace appears to be a tongue-tied but physically good-looking junior tech whiz, who is out to have a good time. Once they get past their differences in communication, they are scorching together. They both view their initial encounter as short term, but with outside elements forcing them into close proximity, they find a mutual attraction. Their life goals, insecurities and external pressures pull them apart, but they reconnect and form a solid relationship. Their dynamic ends up more as a partnership than the power imbalance initially seen by the reader. Mace is a solid, well-rounded alpha as is Cinta, which makes for good reading.
Putting off reading this book because of the blurb about a female high flyer and a computer geek was a huge mistake! This story about timing, opportunities and dreams was gripping. Mace is almost an antihero. He is inarticulate, except in eloquent heartfelt emotional bites and when explaining his software. He’s also a maverick, and at times, hot-headed to his own detriment. Cinta is an interesting mix of ball busting, female, almost CEO and achingly sweet woman who needs comfort and someone she can trust. She is emotionally stable (apart from a spectacular tantrum), not high maintenance and understanding of the requirements for a startup tech company. Altogether the story is engrossing, the pace swift, the romance epic and a page turning read. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Gina
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.
While you have all been patiently waiting, we have been very busy behind the scenes with plans for ARRC2017. We are thrilled to announce that we have now signed a contract with our venue, and can reveal the details to you!
The fifth biennial Australian Romance Readers Convention will be held at Rydges Melbourne from Friday 24 February to Sunday 26 February 2017.
We have moved the date back into February as March is an extremely busy month in Melbourne and it was impossible to find a date where we could secure good accommodation rates.
Rydges Melbourne is a 4-star hotel, located on Exhibition Street on the eastern edge of the CBD in what is called the ‘theatre district’. It is also right around the corner from Chinatown.
We have secured a great accommodation rate for our delegates with Rydges, and it includes a full buffet breakfast. A queen room will be $230 per night (with one breakfast), and a twin room will be $250 per night (with two breakfasts). Best of all they have 65 twin rooms available, which means plenty of rooms for those who want to share to keep costs down. (But better grab one while you can!)
To book you will need to call Rydges on 03 9662 0511 and press 1 for reservations. Be sure to quote the code H-ARR2017 to receive the discounted rate.
Our next step is inviting keynotes; the invitations will go out this week. We hope to have our first keynote speaker locked in so that we can announce them at the awards dinner on 19 March. We are excited to start work on the program for ARRC2017; we plan to keep all the very best ideas from previous conventions and we have a few new ideas to incorporate as well.
We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne for ARRC2017!
This month brings the release of Hiding in Plain Sight by Ethan Stone, the prequel to his first What’s his Passion? novel, Vegas Hustle. Set ten years later, Hiding in Plain Sight revisits Adam Brand, comic book fanatic and his now former flame, Javi Campos. Now a personal escort, Javi is terrified when his companion for the evening is killed in the bed they shared. Adam is the only person Javi can trust in Portland, so he calls on him for help. What follows is a story packed with twists and turns, that will no doubt keep you guessing until the very end! And of course, things heat up pretty quickly when the pair realise their chemistry is still red-hot. A thrilling, gripping and incredibly steamy read.
We’re also pleased to announce the release of Pretty Human by Kayleigh Sky, a sexy M/M sci-fi novel. Follow the intriguing, explosive relationship of Ellis Ligoria, King of Planet Xol, and the genetically submissive Xolani, Jem. Having been rescued by Ellis, Jem wants nothing more than to live a quiet life by his side. Things aren’t that simple though, as Jem is running from a powerful monster bent on revenge.
Fans of F/F romance titles will find themselves hooked on Tanith Davenport’s I Wish I’d Never Met You. This contemporary short story surrounds Flick Lindenwood and the girl who broke her heart four years ago, Elodie. Unable to come out to her family, Elodie had destroyed her relationship with Flick. Now that Flick is back from college, it’s Elodie’s change to make things right. A fantastic, sexy coming out story.
Keep track of what else we have coming up by visiting us at www.pride-publishing.com.
Coming up in February:
- Counterfeit Conscience by Helena Maeve
- Comfort Zone by Alexa Milne
- Blood of the Land by Adrik Kemp
- Rattrap by LM Somerton
- Hiding in Plain Sight by Ethan Stone
- Peace by TA Chase
- Blue Moon Rising by Bailey Bradford
- Bondage Rescue by Morticia Knight
- Neat Trick by Jaime Samms
- Leading Me Home by Megan Linden
- The Captain’s Beloved by Scarlet Blackwell
- Pride Under Fire by Elizabeth Coldwell
- Pretty Human by Kayleigh Sky
- I Wish I’d Never Met You by Tanith Davenport
- Stroke Rate by LM Somerton
Today is the official release of Heart of Gold by Lilliana Rose (The Clockwork Mysteries, book 2) (ebook and print, Infinity Dreaming). Here’s the blurb:
Vickie’s husband, George, insists she undertakes self defence lessons before starting her private eye business. George worries about her safety but doesn’t want to stop her from developing her newly found skill of solving mysteries. The training sessions are difficult and Vickie is exhausted. Now that her and George have rekindled their love, Vickie is determined to find the time to keep the sparks flying between them as much as possible. When her trainer is injured, Vickie discovers he isn’t entirely human, and has mechanical parts. But George doesn’t believe her. Vickie insists something untoward happening and she must investigate. Can she solve another mystery while maintaining the renewed spice between her and George?
Lilliana dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:
Before Vickie can start her private eye business, George insists she undertakes self defence lessons. When her trainer, Julio is injured, a mystery is brought to her attention which she can’t ignore. George thinks she is on a wild goose chase and her friend Ruby is in love with Julio, leaving Vickie to solve the mystery by herself. This leads Vickie into a situation where she needs more than just her self defence training to help her escape.
When I was a kid I’d study the world map and dream about adventures in exotic lands. I’d immerse myself in books—fiction and non-fiction—and discover destinations that ignited my imagination and spoke to my heart. As I grew older I sought books that combined foreign destinations and romance and, thankfully, there are many out there to choose from.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced some amazing places—Argentina, Peru, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, Belize, Guatemala, Ecuador … the list goes on—and I love to use my knowledge of a particular destination when choosing a setting for my stories. My first book, Luna Tango, was set in romantic Argentina and my short story ‘Song of the Sea’ (Hot Stuff: Surfing Love surf anthology) was set on the sun-drenched beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. My recently released book, Under the Spanish Stars, and the prequel Dreaming of Spain, are set in one of the most gorgeous regions of Spain—Granada.
Nestled at the feet of the picturesque mountains of Sierra Nevada, Granada is rich with cultural heritage and has been heavily influenced by the Romans, Moors and gypsies (originally from India). With centuries old buildings, intricately carved window frames and doorways, flamenco caves on the hillside and aromatic spices wafting along narrow cobblestoned streets, it’s impossible not to be taken by the romance of this city. Add in the Alhambra, a magnificent palace that sits high on a hill and contains magical gardens full of orange blossoms, Cyprus trees and hidden fountains and ponds, and you have the perfect location to set a romance. What’s not to love about a city that has as many secrets as the characters I write about?
By choosing the right destination for a story, it can add complex layers and take on human attributes—places can have flaws; shady pasts; evoke love and longing as well as influence the actions and feelings of the human characters. Whether it’s a beach, ancient city, or far-off exotic land with a fascinating culture, the perfect destination can transport readers to an unforgettable world that enhances the romance of the story.
With so many amazing places and cultures all over the world, I doubt I’ll ever run out of destinations to write or read about. What about you? Have you ever been to, or read about, a place that has captured your heart? Where would you like to go to next—even if it’s between the covers of a book?
Under the Spanish Stars
An Australian woman’s life-changing journey, a secret from the past, a passionate encounter …
Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in Andalucía to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees. Taking leave from her soul-destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada’s ancient cobble-stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost.
But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war-torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo’s connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte?
Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.
Published by Harlequin MIRA (Australia). Under the Spanish Stars is available in-store and online in print and ebook.
Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author of books that combine travel, mystery, and romance. An adventurer at heart, Alli has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and immersed herself in an array of exotic destinations, cultures, and languages. Published in Australia and overseas, Alli writes stories that capture the romance and thrill of discovering new destinations and people. Luna Tango was Alli’s debut novel and Under the Spanish Stars will be released in February, 2016. Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young Australians.