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Feature book: Wild Horse Springs

29 March 2017

Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas

As always, Ms Thomas intertwines in her stories three tales of love and in this book it is new love, lust to love, and unrequited love.

Thatcher Jones is the common aspect to these stories. He seems to be the hapless young man who is always in trouble. The whole town is behind him and wants him to do well. In this story, he is in jail and everyone tries to makes sure he doesn’t have a record so he can continue studying. Thatcher has had a difficult life but he always wins through with his street smarts. In the long run, I cannot wait until Thatcher finds his match. But I digress.

The first thread involves the sheriff. To the town of Crossroads, Dan Brigman is their solid and no-frills sheriff. He is reliable and good to have around in a crisis.

Dan Brigman has found his Cinderella. Well, he finds her boot on the road and manages to trace the owner to a local bar where Brandi is the new, and popular, singer. Dan is very attracted to Brandi and plans to woo her the old-fashioned way. Brandi is prepared to be wooed by the ‘sheriff with the honest eyes’, as she calls him. It has been a long time since he has felt attracted to any woman, as his job keeps him busy, and it also keeps him away from Brandi when they try to get together.

The second thread is the two rangers. Cody Winslow had to fall down a canyon to meet his love. Cody, a Texas Ranger, was riding the range when his horse stopped suddenly and he tumbled down the canyon. At the bottom was Tess Adams, a park ranger, who was out camping with a small group of girls. Tess makes sure he is fine but Cody makes sure she stays by his side, even telling a nurse that she is his wife. Tess then begins to organise Cody’s life while he is in hospital, and while there is some initial discomfort (what is wrong with a messy place?) from Cody, he comes to accept that this is Tess.

The third thread involves Lauren, the sheriff’s daughter. She has loved Lucas Reyes since she was fifteen but with all the mistiming over the years for them to get together, she finally decides it is best to just ignore him. Tim O’Grady says he is in love with Lauren but she says they are friends only. As the story progresses there is more fleshing out to this thread of the story and it will be interesting to follow to find out what happens between these three.

I always enjoy Ms Thomas’s small town stories and the threads that wind through the story. The characters seem likeable and so real. These characters are the type that make you want to cheer for them (but not the bad guys). Another great story by Ms Thomas.

Reviewed by Heather

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

Release day: Her Mother’s Secret

28 March 2017

Today is the official release of Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester (ebook and paperback, Hachette Australia). Here’s the blurb:

Her Mother’s Secret is the story of a brave young woman chasing a dream in the face of society’s disapproval, a sweeping story of love and ambition that moves from England to the Manhattan of the 1920s and 1940s by the author of A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald.

1918, England. Armistice Day should bring peace into Leonora’s life. Rather than secretly making cosmetics in her father’s chemist shop to sell to army nurses such as Joan, her adventurous Australian friend, Leo hopes to now display her wares openly. Instead, Spanish flu arrives in the village, claiming her father’s life. Determined to start over, she boards a ship to New York City. On the way she meets debonair department store heir Everett Forsyth … In Manhattan, Leo works hard to make her cosmetics dream come true, but she’s a woman alone with a small salary and a society that deems make-up scandalous.

1939, New York City. Everett’s daughter, Alice, a promising ballerina, receives a mysterious letter inviting her to star in a series of advertisements for a cosmetics line. If she accepts she will be immortalized like dancers such as Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Ginger Rogers. Why, then, are her parents so quick to forbid it?

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

I was inspired to write Her Mother’s Secret, which is a story about one woman’s dream to make cosmetics that women are able to buy and wear openly, by my own experience of working for cosmetics company L’Oreal Paris. I was the Marketing Manager for Maybelline and one of the oft-repeated tales around the company was about a girl called Mabel who wanted darker lashes to impress her date and whose brother mixed her up a concoction of lampblack and Vaseline, thus creating the first Maybelline mascara. It was, of course, only available to buy via mail order as mascara was considered far too scandalous to sell in department stores. I wanted to write about that time of change for women, and I wanted to write about a woman who was at the forefront of that change, a woman who had the courage to push back against a society that saw fit to tell women what they could and could not do.

You can find out more about this book at Natasha’s website or buy it from Hachette Australia.

The publisher has three copies to give away to ARRA members. To go in the draw, simply comment on this post. The giveaway will close on 11 April.

Publisher pitch: Crimson Romance, Apr 2017

27 March 2017

Crimson Romance_200Crimson Romance is proud to announce we’ve joined Simon & Schuster publishing, as we continue to bring you brand-new strong, smart and satisfying romance reads each month!

Visit us at for info on our new single titles, value-priced digital collections, submission guidelines, audio releases, and more.

Follow us on twitter at @Crimson_Romance or like us on Facebook, and let us know what you love to read!

Here’s what’s new in April:

Romance heroes shouldn’t get to have all the fun. So here’s four larger-than-life ladies who’ll capture your heart with their strength and courage! Super Women: 4 Extraordinary Heroines features tales from Daco, Cecilia Johanna, Kristine Overbrook, and Mary K Norris and hits e retailers on 3 April. Two superheroines, a street fighter, and a succubus star in this value-priced bundle that will give you plenty of bam, boom, and pow for your buck!

Get your gothic on with the eerie and atmospheric historical romance by RC Matthews, Blackburn Castle, available 10 April. An ancient curse violently claims the life of each Blackburn male on his twenty-seventh birthday and Victor’s is nearly here. Mercy Seymour eagerly counts down the days—she watched Victor murder her mother, and his death can’t come fast enough. When fate throws them together in Devil’s Cove, desire simmers instantly between the handsome pirate and the spirited barkeeper’s niece until they learn each other’s identity. Desperate for her cooperation, Victor spirits her away to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where forces of magic and mists from beyond the grave open their eyes to the truth of the past. Only together can they reverse the curse …

Two beloved series are available this month for a total steal! On 10 April, USA Today best-selling author Alicia Hunter Pace’s Crossroads: The Complete Series, unites three new couples and revisits a host of familiar friends from Pace’s Love Gone South and Beauford Bend sagas in quirky Merritt, Alabama. Then JM Stewart’s sexy Italian siblings join forces in The Rossi Brothers available 24 April. This emotional duology has the restauranteur brothers awash in romance and red sauce (or, ‘gravy’, as the true Italians call it!)

For more great value-priced bundles, don’t miss the smouldering soldiers of Love in Wartime: 4 Historical Romances by Becky Lower, Marie Patrick, Pema Donyo, Jenny Jacobs on 17 April; the love-like-the-movies appeal of Hollywood Kisses: 6 Reel-Life Romances by USA Today bestseller Anne Bourne, Shelley K Wall, Evan Purcell, Juliet McCarthy, Stephanie Cage and J Arlene Culiner on 17 April; or the heartstring-tugging And Baby Makes Three: 5 Instant-Family Love Stories by USA Today bestselling author Alicia Hunter Pace, Jennifer DeCuir, Kristina Knight, Casey Dawes and Iris Leach on 24 April.

For more information, visit our website, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


A Kiss in the Morning Mist by Marie Patrick

The second book in the MacDermott Brothers western series follows the fallout of the Logan Gang’s crime spree from A Kiss in the Shadows. Wracked by guilt, former US Marshal Eamon MacDermott has hung up his guns until he meets the plucky Theodosia Danforth. Widowed and running Morning Mist horse farm, Theo tries to convince Eamon to be kind to himself. When the outlaw gang resurfaces with an intent to destroy Morning Mist, Eamon must choose between vengeance and a new future with Theo.
Due out 3 April.

Crimson Romance are offering ARRA members the chance to win a copy of this book. To go into the draw leave a comment below. The giveaway will close on 10 April.

Guest blogger: Elizabeth Squire

26 March 2017

Women in the spy game

As a kid I never understood why blokes had all the fun—the best adventures, the best jobs … you get what I’m saying. That said, it’s little wonder that my own career choices have been less than conventional or that I’ve always been drawn to stories of strong women who have defied convention.

I love high concept historical romances, and I have to confess—the spy trope is one of my favourites. So it should have been no surprise, to those who know me, that I decided to set Closer to Sin in 1805 Napoliconic France. And of course, my heroine Liliane was destined to find herself masquerading as a French Agent.

History is littered with remarkable women who have spied for their country, or at least spied for a cause they felt passionately about. There is even a suggestion that Lord Horatio Nelson’s mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton, while living in Naples, leveraged off her Queen Maria Carolina to provide information to the British Government.

Perhaps some of the most notorious women spies were those of the 16th century French Queen Mother Catherine de’ Medici. Her ‘Flying Squadron’ included prominent women whose job it was to seduce the men of the French court to obtain information on behalf of the Queen Mother. You only need to watch a James Bond movie to see the ‘honey-trap’ is an age-old tactic with its roots steeped in history.

In researching Closer to Sin, I read an interesting article by Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University who writes that women spies were prevalent in 17th century espionage and highly adept at sending messages written in invisible artichoke ink or hidden inside eggshells. (Note to self—must try this when I get a spare ten minutes …)

In latter years we see tales of women such as Nancy Wake who, although New Zealand born, chose to join the French Resistance while working as a reporter in WWII Europe. She is renowned for having killed an SS sentry with a karate chop to the throat.

I think the most fascinating tale to emerge from Napoleonic times is not so much a story of espionage, but the story of Sophie Blanchard, a French aeronaut. Sophie was a favourite of Napoleon and many believe she was appointed as his Chief Air Minister of Ballooning and that she may have worked on a plan for an aerial invasion of England by French soldiers.

We shouldn’t be surprised that there has been a place for women in the spy game throughout the centuries, women after all were not widely considered to be politically motivated. Perhaps because of those assumptions, women are widely accepted everywhere and potentially make the best spies.

I would love to know what you think, do you enjoy reading historical spy tropes, or do you prefer your Regencies a little more traditional?

Best wishes,
Elizabeth Squire

Elizabeth Squire’s love of writing romance couldn’t be further from the life she originally carved out for herself as naval officer and inveterate traveller.

After a nomadic lifestyle, Elizabeth has now settled into her own home with her own hero, two beautiful daughters and two delinquent miniature long-haired dachshunds. Closer to Sin, published by Escape Publishing, is Elizabeth’s debut novel.

You can find Elizabeth here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Closer to Sin

Liliane Desailly travels to Napoleonic France after receiving a plea for help from her French cousin. She learns she is the key to fulfilling her grandfather’s legacy, but to do so she must masquerade as a spy and courier secrets on behalf of the British Admiralty.

Sinclair Charlcroft is the British Admiralty’s last hope. Napoleon’s Grande Armée is poised to invade Britain, an English spy is missing and a traitor has infiltrated the Admiralty’s intelligence network.

Pursued by Napoleon’s agents, Liliane and Sinclair cannot reveal their true identities until they unlock the secrets of the legacy — and only then can they unlock the secrets in their hearts.

Release day: London Bound

26 March 2017

Today is the official release of London Bound by CJ Duggan (book 3, Hearts of the City) (ebook available internationally and paperback Australia only, Hachette Australia). Here’s the blurb:

Like so many of her university friends, Kate Brown is London bound, but unlike her friends – who had the chance to enjoy the beer, sights and attractions of the UK – Kate is instead visiting her grandmother (who may or may not be the devil).

Wanting nothing more than to be a normal, independent twenty-something living it up in ol’ London town, Kate finds herself a prisoner in her grandmother’s Kensington terrace, daydreaming about the holiday that could have been. But when Kate is almost run over by the ridiculously good looking Jack Baker, it leaves her wondering if being out and about is such a good idea after all, especially when she catches herself laughing at his jokes.

One thing Kate knows for sure is that she has to avoid Jack at all costs. But with her balcony facing his, you can pretty much guarantee Kate’s London adventure is going to be anything but boring …

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

I left my heart in London. Maybe because the sun chose to shine every day we were there or that every single day started with a full English breakfast before a new adventure. Maybe it was the culture, the history, or the fact it is my very own mother’s place of birth that afforded me such a deep connection? All I know is I had to write about it; had to relive my footsteps if only in my imagination until the next time I visit, and there will definitely be a next time.

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

The publisher is giving away three copies of London Bound and one full set of the Heart of the City series (Paris Lights, New York Nights, and London Bound). To go in the draw, simply comment on this post. The giveaway will close on 9 April.

ARRC2017: Thea Harrison Q&A

23 March 2017

Wyr, Djinn, dragons, magic, witches, alpha males, independent feisty women, romance and sex. Lots of tremendous, mind-blowing, screaming, utterly fantastic, wildly pleasurable sex—as described in her latest book, Moonshadow.

Thea Harrison is no stranger to romance writing. She wrote her first book, a romance, when she was nineteen, and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter, all of which have been re-issued.

But why did Thea turn to the paranormal and where did the idea of her highly successful series, Elder Races—now extended to the Moonshadow series—come from? That and many other questions were on the agenda for the Q&A session at ARRC2017.

Thea came to us via the wonders of technology from her home in Colorado. (Just as well we weren’t in the Other Lands where such things don’t work.)

The room was full of Thea Harrison fans and we found out the answers to such questions as the kind of research she does to write fantasy, how she constructs the political world of the Elder Races and the couple she found toughest to write.

There were a few things, though, that Thea kept close to her chest, such as why she chose to set the new series in the UK. The answer to that question will be revealed in time. However, she did tell us that the poor little abused dog that Sophie rescues at the beginning of Moonshadow was indeed based on a dog Thea rescued many years ago.

The session was a great success. Thea was generous with her time and her insights into her writing life and the world of the Elder Races.

A special thanks to CAV for ensuring that any technical issues with the Skype session were ironed out the day before, allowing the Q&A to proceed seamlessly.

If you weren’t able to make it to ARRC2017, we have a video recording of the session. (Thea will appear after a brief introduction.) Enjoy!


Feature book: Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancee

22 March 2017

unwrapping-his-convenient-fianceeUnwrapping His Convenient Fiancée by Melanie Milburne

Will the sham love relationship make or break their long term ties?

Violet Drummond wants to take a date to the office party. She doesn’t want to go alone again. Then she finds she should be careful what she wishes for as she suddenly finds that she has a date for her office party, and will be the date for Cam’s father’s wedding, his fifth. This situation arose as Cam (Cameron McKinnon) had his client’s wife constantly on the phone and flirting with him and he needed to find a way to have her back off. Cam and Violet decide that being in a fake relationship may be the way until the disgruntled woman puts a picture on social media about how Violet and Cam are engaged. It is then that the situation gets out of control for both of them. Violet finds her flat has been broken into and she stays with Cam, which means more contact between the pair.

Violet and Cam struggle with their attraction to each other as Cam is a family friend and best friends with her brother. The tension and struggle is palpable throughout the story, and when they have the disagreement, Violet goes to her family for comfort and admits the whole relationship was a sham. Her family becomes her comfort until Cam shows up and gives her what she has dreamt of all her life.

Both Cam and Violet are approaching the relationship from different perspectives. Violet’s parents are still together and in love after all of these years. Cam’s father is on his fifth wedding, only because he likes to be the centre of attention. Cam’s father and his new bride are flirting with others at their own wedding and Cam is disgusted and becomes more resolute in his opinion about marriage. As we know well, it takes the special woman to peel back the layers to find the depth and for Cam to understand that not all men are like his father.

This book is a story of friends to lovers. It is particularly poignant at Christmas time due to all the Christmas flurry and activity in the story. Violet is the only woman who can change Cam’s mind about marriage, and this pair are very suited for each other. Another great read from Ms Milburne.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author’s publicist. ARRA members who leave a comment by 5 April 2017 will go into the draw to win a copy.