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Release day: Rules are Meant to be Broken

23 October 2020

Today is the official release of Rules are Meant to be Broken by KL Wilde (ebook, Extasy Books). Here’s the blurb:

Xavier is an Australian in New York who is dumped on the eve of his great cross-America road trip. Hope is a woman with many secrets and a longing for adventure. Together they decide to take on America – their challenge: to break every outdated sex law they can find, one erotic dare at a time. They guarantee each other there will be no complications, no commitments. But then, every rule is meant to be broken.

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

Rules are Meant to be Broken is a contemporary erotic romance road trip story for those who want to put some sizzle in their summer reading! Follow these two crazy kids as they attempt to break as many archaic sex-laws as they can (though they’ll probably skip that one about not having sex with a porcupine), all while avoiding their growing feelings for each other. If you’re itching to go on a wild ride, even though we’re still in lock-down, I hope you’ll consider this one. Happy reading 😉

You can find out more about this book, including buy links, at Extasy Books.

Release day: Xmas Dust

23 October 2020

Today is the official release of Xmas Dust by Mel A Rowe (Elsie Creek, book 4) (ebook and paperback, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

A sassy pilot. A cranky cattleman. And a storm that threatens to ruin everything…

For this dare-devil of the outback skies, emotions and Christmas are a no-fly zone for the bush pilot, Monet. Hired as a farm-sitter, she’s looking forward to her escape from the festive holiday season.

The only problem is the farmer has decided to stay home!

Humbug and heartbreak are all the Christmas cheer this cowboy can take, where Timothy wants nothing but peace and quiet to wallow in his misery.

Until Monet and her endless playlists bombard his home.

This grumpy boss had forgotten to cancel her contract and she needs to go because the longer she stays, the more layers she’s repairing of his broken heart.

But with a cyclone set to crash on Christmas Eve, the small town of Elsie Creek is in trouble and Monet will risk more than her heart to save the many.

But will Tim let her fly away for good…

Grab a handful of hope and fly away home in this friends-to-lovers romantic adventure, in the much-loved Australian Bestselling Elsie Creek Series.

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

Buckle up for one of the most requested and fun books I’ve ever written! Never have I enjoyed so many reader’s emails and DMs wanting to know more about the Northern Territory bush pilot, Monet, who we met in Caked in Dust. Paired with cattle station owner, Tim, these sugarplums share some sizzling sass between them as they try to avoid Christmas and each other! It’s a Farmer Wants a Wife with a cyclonic twist I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

You can find out more about this book, including buy links, at Mel’s website.

 

Release day: Their Royal Baby Gift

21 October 2020

Today is the official release of Their Royal Baby Gift by Kandy Shepherd (Christmas at the Harrington Park Hotel, book 2) (ebook and paperback, Harlequin Romance). Here’s the blurb:

Can two strangers …

… become one family?

Designer Sally Harrington falls—literally!—into the arms of a handsome stranger. And, after one spontaneous night, Sally’s life changes forever… She’s pregnant! But there’s another shock to come. Her mystery man turns out to be Prince Edward of Tianlipin! As their two worlds collide and family duty threatens the magic this pair share…there may be one more Christmas surprise coming their way…

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

When I was asked by my editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon in London would I like to write book 2 of a three-book mini-series with romance author royalty Liz Fielding (book 1) and Susan Meier (book 3), I jumped at the chance. Collaborating with them turned out to be one of my most enjoyable writing experiences. This kind of editor-driven continuity is a lot of fun to write. The editors come up with the overarching story and assign the characters to each author. The Christmas at the Harrington Park Hotel series centres around three siblings who take back into their hands one of London’s grand hotels that had been cheated away from them by their unscrupulous stepfather. My sibling is feisty designer Sally Harrington, twin to James. She meets gorgeous Edward quite by chance, and their attraction is instant and compelling. Little does Sally realise Edward is Crown Prince of an ancient south-east Asian kingdom. My plot takes Sally and Edward to Singapore, London and the beautiful island kingdom that is Edward’s ancestral home. I so enjoyed creating this fictional kingdom, and was very glad of my travels in Asia for inspiration. There’s passion, secrets, scandal and drama aplenty in this story of forbidden love. Gorgeous Edward is one of my favourite heroes—Sally describes him as ‘handsome, hot and honourable’. I certainly fell in love with him as I wrote him! I hope you fall in love with Edward along with Sally as they overcome seeming impossible obstacles to journey towards the happy ever after they both so richly deserve.

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

Release day: Innocent in the Sheikh’s Palace

21 October 2020

Today is the official release of Innocent in the Sheikh’s Palace by Dani Collins (ebook and paperback, Harlequin Presents). Here’s the blurb:

His desert vow … to crown the virgin’s baby!

Having failed to find Mr. Right, plain librarian Hannah Meeks decided to start the family she’s desperately wanted on her own. Only to discover that her miracle baby is actually the heir to the throne of Baaqi…

Sheikh Akin Sarraf was the unwanted spare. Now, finding out his late brother had unknowingly fathered a child, Akin’s duty is to bring Hannah to his palace and make her his wife! Marrying for love was always out of the question. But Hannah’s independent spirit is exasperating…until it’s intoxicating…

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

I knew I wanted to do an ‘ugly duckling’ story, but I don’t love anyone being called ugly. While Hannah considers herself plain, she’s more of an odd duck. She’s never had much luck with dating, so she decides to have a baby alone and visits a sperm bank. All goes well until the baby turns out to be a prince! Akin is a long-suffering ‘spare’ who is about to become the heir to the crown when he learns his brother gave samples to a clinic before he died—and one of those samples has made Hannah’s baby. He’s forced to marry her. They will raise his next ruler together, but he has *no* idea how to deal with his new wife. She’s cheeky and sweet and has a Happiness List. He’s on it, but can he make her happy? I hope you enjoy Hannah and Akin’s journey to discovering they are made for one another.

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

Feature book: Beauty and Her One-Night Baby

21 October 2020

Beauty and Her One-Night Baby by Dani Collins

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Jun 2020
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: ebook and print
Length: 177 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $8.99 (print)

It was a madly passionate night they shared … and then Scarlett was gone. Unforgiveable then that when she next enters Javiero’s life is when she is giving birth to the baby that resulted from that night.

At war with his father, a manipulative and immoral man, Javiero refused to see his father as he was dying. His father had kept his mistress right up until his wedding to Javiero’s mother and she’d also given him another son. Scarlett went to visit to try to make him change his mind about seeing his father before he died and (unknown to him) disinherited him. He didn’t but they did end up in bed.

After Scarlett left him, he was still so stunned that sometime later he got mauled by a jaguar when not paying attention. She didn’t do anything but call once, earning his scorn and, almost, hate. The incredible scarring of his once-handsome face added to his fierceness when they met again. Then his father died and left the fortune that would have been his to his, as yet, unborn child.

Javiero decides that his child is not going to be the product of a broken home and now he is not letting either of them go. He is much more supportive than Scarlett expects at the hospital. She refuses to marry him, his mother is a harridan, the baby cries all the time and she feels like a failure.

The book deals sensitively with post-partum depression as Scarlett struggles with that along with the situation she finds herself in. Her family is as difficult and demanding and mean as his. Neither of them had a good childhood, or even adult life, and they both want the best for their son.

Through ups and downs, mistrust, mischief and a quite a lot of in-fighting between the brothers, these two strong people find their passion burns bright. Love is eventually admitted to and that brand promise—a happily ever after—is delivered.

reviewed by Sharon

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

Feature book: Sorcery and Stardust

21 October 2020

Sorcery and Stardust by Samantha Marshall

Series: The Weaver’s War #1
Subgenre: speculative fiction
Release date: 31 May 2019
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 1114 pages
RRP: $3.50 (ebook); $38.96 (print)

A sorceress. A warrior. A space deer. (Okay, I stole that from the book blurb.)

I didn’t realise that this was over 1000 pages and it was the gift that kept on giving. Just when you thought ‘this is it, the cliffhanger is coming’ … we were taken on another mini adventure.

The world Samantha Marshall has built in this first of the series is colourful and full of different worlds, space travel, lots of different beings, magic, sorcery, power and mystery. The spaceship Arcana and Caelum own is particularly awesome.

The soul-merge between Arcana and Caelum happened 50 years before the book begins but is a marvellous device, I have never read in any other fantasy book. They are on a mission to find out what the deerkin’s dreams mean in relation to how they came to be created and flit about the galaxy. Arcana’s reputation is that of the greatest sorceress, greatly respected and envied. She has enormous power. She loves Caelum and her brother, Flare, and not too many other people. They rescue a man at a portal they also happen to visit on the same night he comes through it.

Enter Fenris. Tall, gorgeous, unknown, and not yet to be trusted. A warrior on a mission that clashes with what Arcana wants but she and Caelum find themselves trio-ing (well there are 3 of them!) up with him to try and save the galaxy and The Weaver in her Timeless Kingdom. Fenris is a Guardian of the Timeless Kingdom. There are awful guardians, and stalwart, faithful guardians, there are space pirates, sorcerers and warg (led by a very awful guardian). There is a hidebound Council on Arcana’s home world that really should be given a Darwin Award for their rank stupidity at times.

Arcana and Fenris fight their attraction—some not so cool things might happen if they get together—but we all know about sexual tension and how it rises…what happens once it turns into reality? You will have to read to find out if they get there in the first book or the second, but it is a heck of a ride and a meaty read.

reviewed by Sharon

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

Guest blogger: Valerie Parv AM

18 October 2020

Touching moments

Thank you for having me as your guest blogger. I feel as if I’m visiting friends, except we don’t have to socially distance, so please consider yourself virtually hugged.

I’ve been thinking about how touching has become off-limits and what that might mean for relationships, both in everyday life and in our stories. In my new book, 34 Million Books—part memoir and part writing guide—I confess I didn’t learn to hug until my teens. My late husband was a wonderful hugger, sweeping my sisters into brotherly hugs whenever we visited. Like our British-born parents, they were uncomfortable with such open displays of affection. One day he didn’t hug my older sister and she asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to attack me?’ Evidently she had learned to enjoy being hugged, as I had.

In my romance novels, touch is as essential to a relationship as it is in real life. There’s even a name for being deprived of touching—skin hunger. We now know that orphaned babies whose basic needs are met but who aren’t held, can go on to develop anxiety, depression and mental health problems. This is because gentle touching releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone, with benefits from reduced heart rate to lower blood pressure. By contrast, lack of being touched produces cortisol, the hormone making us feel stressed and anxious.

I like the love scenes in my romance novels to focus on sensations like touch as much as on sexual intimacy. As the song says, you can’t have one without the other.

She sat down beside him, careful to keep a safe distance. He unclipped a water bottle from his belt and handed it to her. She drank, aware that his lips would soon touch the same spot as hers, almost like a kiss.

And she knew exactly how that felt, an inner voice whispered. The hard contours of his mouth, the rasp of stubble against her cheek, the wine-rich taste of his breath were all burned into her memory.

With a Little Help, Valerie Parv

While nothing beats being touched and held by a person who matters to us, we can reduce skin hunger with activities like visiting the hairdresser, where a shampoo and head massage feel so blissful, or by relaxing in a long, hot bath. My agent swears by regular mani-pedis, another form of pleasurable touching.

What’s needed is the feel of deep-contact pressure; this is why weighted blankets have become so popular lately. Sleeping under one can feel a lot like being hugged. Cuddling a pet has a similar effect, perhaps explaining the surge in pet adoptions during the last few months.

You can also try crossing your arms over your chest and pressing a hand firmly to each shoulder. Stay like this for a short time, close your eyes and imagine being held by someone you love.

While being filmed by a television crew in my home, I mentioned how I sometimes test-drive scenes from my books in a similar way. Of course they wanted me to demonstrate for national TV, surprised when I politely declined.

Instantly Markaz was there, sweeping her into his arms, setting off a fresh explosion of need inside her. She wrapped her arms around his neck, sensations racing through her like wildfire … making her ache to tear away the robes and connect with him skin-to-skin, flesh joining with flesh.

Desert Justice, Valerie Parv

Is the sense of touch important to you in everyday life? In the romance novels you read? Please share your thoughts below.

34 Million Books

From the drama of Parvgate to being made a Member of the Order of Australia, Valerie shares how writing has shaped her life, with the Australian Women’s Weekly publishing her first article when she was fourteen.

Each chapter includes a ‘writing takeaway’ for those curious about how she works her story magic or would like to follow in her footsteps.

34 Million Books: Australia’s Queen of Romance shares her life and writing tips is available now in print and ebooks here.

You can find Valerie here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Release day: The Christmas Swap

16 October 2020

Today is the official release of The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker (ebook; print available 26 Nov, HarperCollins). Here’s the blurb:

Will all three women have their Christmas wishes come true?

Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three!

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

This was such a fun book to write. I am an Aussie with an English dad and an American mum and I’ve enjoyed Christmases across the world, so I wanted to bring together three very different Christmases into one story. Melbourne is my current hometown and I wanted to show readers in the UK and US what it’s like to have a hot Chrissie. I really hope you enjoy this read.

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

ARRA newsletter #135

15 October 2020

Purple news

The October issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on what you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • an opportunity on the committee
  • early results from the annual survey
  • AUTHORS – want to run a Christmas giveaway?
  • an update on Rachel Caine
  • some Bridgerton photos
  • an update on Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column looks at what was happening in September
  • win a $10 gift card if you can Find the Heart!

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, self-publishing highlights, reviews, freebies and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact us at arra.editor@gmail.com.

Happy reading everyone!

Feature book: Innocent’s Nine Month Scandal

14 October 2020

Innocent’s Nine Month Scandal by Dani Collins

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Apr 2019
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: ebook and print
Length: 272 pages
RRP: $4.99 (ebook); $7.99 (print)

Rozalia (Roz) Toth travels from New York to Budapest in pursuit of one from a pair of earrings which were an engagement present to their grandmother from her fiancé who died before they could marry. Roz is met by anger and suspicion when she meets Count Viktor Rohan, the current owner of the earring. He tells her that his family believes that her (then-pregnant) grandmother stole it from them. They thought it was Roz’s grandmother’s influence that led to his great uncle’s death. As a result, Roz makes no headway towards acquiring the earring, but he does agree to let her see it.

Roz and her cousin, Gisella Drummond, have been looking for the earring for a decade and she refuses to believe anything but the romantic story she’s been told. Mutual physical attraction, between Viktor and Roz, leads to them having dinner together and making love. Roz’s afterglow is shattered when Viktor realises she was a virgin and he didn’t use contraception. Suspicions born from his past cause an argument between them, and Roz storms off, promising to take the morning after pill. On return to her hotel it is too late to get the pill, so she goes to sleep, intending to do it in the morning.

The next morning, Roz is woken by police, who are looking for the earring which was supposedly stolen last night. She is questioned, has her possessions searched and is then charged and taken to prison. That night, Viktor discovers Roz has been arrested, and the woman who his mother wants him to marry, had moved the earring. He ensures the charges are dropped and she is allowed to go free. With paparazzi staking out the hotel, Viktor takes her to his home in the mountains until the publicity dies down. After a day in prison Roz sleeps until midday. Over lunch, she remembers she never took the pill, and Viktor says she must stay with him until they know if she is pregnant.

As a result, Roz is forced to spend time with him. Then she learns she is pregnant and they both have to decide what it means for them as a couple, or as two single adults.

This story is the second book in Ms Collins’ duet of books which begins with A Virgin to Redeem the Billionaire, which I reviewed earlier this year. The beginning of this book is fast paced, and you will soon be cheering on Roz. Viktor does take a little longer to warm up to, but he does redeem himself. I highly recommend reading this book along with its companion to fully enjoy the experience.

reviewed by Tracey

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