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Feature book: Blackmailed into the Marriage Bed

3 October 2018

Blackmailed into the Marriage Bed by Melanie Milburne

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 19 Mar 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: print / ebook
Length: 141 pages
RRP: A$7.99 / A$5.99

Ailsa walked out on her marriage before the first year was out, not wanting to be Vinn Gagliardi’s trophy wife. They come back together when Vinn offers Ailsa’s brother sponsorship money for a burgeoning sports career, and Ailsa returns to Italy to confront him. Yes, confront him. Then she discovers Vinn’s grandfather is faced with a life-threatening illness and operation, and Vinn asks her to pretend to be reconciled during this time to please his beloved grandfather.

While Vinn is fairly guarded emotionally, he was generous to Ailsa during their marriage, right up until he asked her to consider having children. That’s when she walked out in a panic. In fact, Ailsa’s modus operandi seems to be walking away from most things, without discussion.

I love Melanie Milburne and I love her books. However, I have issues with Ailsa, this heroine. She seems petulant and immature, and deals with any conflict by simply not talking and running away time after time, leaving Vinn clueless about whatever just happened.

Ailsa didn’t seem generous regarding most things in her marriage, apart from sex. She never told Vinn she loved him, in case he used it against her in some sort of power struggle. She never talked to him about her family’s secret. She didn’t really talk to him about her career. She never said why she didn’t want a baby.

Admittedly, she was also closed down because of a past dark secret which is totally horrible, let me assure you, but she never spoke of it to Vinn. She ran away instead. Ailsa’s massive psychological baggage is creating huge issues.

I liked Vinn. He had more than his fair share of family situations, and he seems to have loved and lost his wife again and again but is trying desperate measures ‘to have and to hold’ her. Literally. The type of hero we want to read about.

All Ailsa needed to do for her own HEA was talk to her husband. And she does, eventually. Rockier than most reads, I was pleased with the ending. Hopefully these two will now enjoy a fabulous marriage.

Reviewed by Mary D

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


Publisher pitch: Tule Publishing, Oct 2018

2 October 2018

Tule PublishingTule Publishing brings you the best in commercial fiction, from romance to chick-lit to compelling women’s fiction. Whether you’re in the mood for sexy or sweet, Tule brings you fresh, modern and exciting plots and beloved classic romance.

Tule has over 80 authors who have unique styles, terrific voices, and have helped us grow to house over 300 titles, and garner eight RITA® nominations and one win in three years.

We love our readers and acclaimed authors! Visit us at or subscribe to our newsletter here.

This October enjoy autumn with Tule Publishing’s newest releases from our Montana Born and Texas Born imprints:

  • Ranger’s Pride by Vella Munn
  • Bitter End by CJ Carmichael
  • No Ordinary Texas Billionaire by Eve Gaddy
  • Christmas Lights and Cowboy Nights by Shelli Stevens
  • The Rancher Takes a Family by Paula Altenburg
  • A Merry Mountain Christmas by Trish Milburn
  • The Christmas Window by Melissa McClone
  • Christmas Comes to Snowfall by Erika Marks
  • Cupcakes for Christmas by Kate Hewitt
  • A Small Town Christmas by Nan Reinhardt
  • Christmas at First Creek Farm by Joss Wood

Release day: Christmas with the Duke

1 October 2018

Today is the official release of Christmas with the Duke by Katrina Cudmore (ebook and paperback, Mills & Boon). Here’s the blurb:

Reunited with her first love…

For an unforgettable Christmas

Ciara Harris hoped her first Christmas working back at Loughmore Castle would mark a fresh start, but the return of Tom, now Duke of Bainsworth, threatens to uncover feelings she thought long buried. Being snowed in on Christmas Eve with Tom forces Ciara to face the truth—there’s still something magical between them. As the castle’s fires burn warm and festive, so do Tom’s and Ciara’s feelings of hope…

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

I love reading Christmas romances so when my editor gave me the green light to write one I was over the moon. It’s a modern-day Cinderella slash Romeo and Juliet story, featuring a Duke, a feisty heroine and an Irish Christmas. I had so much fun writing this book. I especially enjoyed exploring what happens when first love is reunited and how my characters could navigate family and society objections to love and trust in each other again.

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


Release day: Sheikh’s Princess of Convenience

1 October 2018

Today is the official release of Sheikh’s Princess of Convenience by Dani Collins (ebook and paperback, Mills & Boon). Here’s the blurb:

He’ll do anything to protect his kingdom

Even blackmail her into marriage!

Sheikh Karim is as ruthless as the harsh desert that forged him. Entertaining bubbly Princess Galila at a royal wedding seems frivolous…until she reveals his family’s darkest secret. To protect their honor, Karim must seduce Galila into silence! The raw heat of their encounter stuns him…and inspires a more permanent solution. To prevent a scandal, Karim will make impetuous Galila his convenient bride!

Opposites attract in this sensational royal romance.

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

I’m thrilled that Sheikh’s Princess of Convenience is part of a collaboration with my friends and (fabulous!) fellow writers, Tara Pammi, Maya Blake and Caitlin Crews. A royal affair sparks this quartet. My heroine’s mother, the Queen of Khalia fell in love with my hero’s father, King Jamil of Zyria. They’re both dead when, in Book One, Sheikh’s Baby of Revenge, Tara’s hero Adir is revealed to be the secret baby of this affair. The news topples the current King of Khalia, thrusting Maya’s hero, Zufar, onto the throne for Book Two, Sheikh’s Pregnant Cinderella. His bride gets kidnapped by Adir, so he marries the maid—who later turns out to have a secret past of her own. My story, Sheikh’s Princess of Convenience, opens at Zufar’s wedding where my heroine, Galila, reveals these shocking events to a stranger—who turns out to be Jamil’s son, Karim. He’ll do anything to keep his father’s long-ago infidelity a secret, including compromising Galila so she is forced to marry him! I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers, but in the final book, Caitlin’s Sheikh’s Secret Love Child, Galila’s other brother, Malak, the black sheep of the family, is forced to wear a crown. I hope you’ll check out all the stories in this scandalous, sexy, sheikh quartet.

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

Release day: Bound by a One-Night Vow

1 October 2018

Today is the official release of Bound by a One-Night Vow by Melanie Milburne (Conveniently Wed!) (ebook and paperback, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

“Marry me or lose everything.”

The Italian’s outrageous proposal

Heiress Isabella Byrne is on a deadline. She has twenty-four hours to wed or she’ll lose her inheritance! Her father’s protégé, hotel magnate Andrea Vaccaro, knows she can’t refuse his arrogant proposition for a temporary union. They’ll seal the deal at the altar that very night. But with their ever-smoldering attraction bursting into flames, can Izzy risk surrendering to the temptation that awaits her between Andrea’s sheets?

Indulge in this passionate marriage of convenience!

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

I’ve written quite a few books now with bad boy heroes, so I decided to switch things around and have a heroine with a bad reputation she can’t erase no matter how hard she tries. And try Isabella Byrne must, as she needs a husband in a hurry otherwise she will lose her entire inheritance. Marriage of convenience stories are always great fun to write and this one was no different. My hero Andrea Vaccaro is alpha without being asinine. I could have used another ‘a’ word but I decided to stay PG! Many of you know from talks or blog posts I’ve done that I am not keen on writing heroes who demonstrate toxic masculinity. It is a delicate balance delivering readers the romance promise of an alpha male being tamed by the heroine without having readers questioning the heroine’s sanity in actually taking on the hero! I hope you enjoy Bound by a One-Night Vow.

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

Guest blogger: Vina Arno

30 September 2018

Top four romantic things to do in Hawaii’s Big Island

Mark Twain once said that no other place but Hawaii could ‘so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me’. I pine just as much for Hawaii, especially the Big Island. My contemporary, new adult romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, begins and ends on the Big Island. The story is as much about two people finding each other as it is about the island’s power to transform them.

The recent volcanic eruption on the island shows just how unpredictable nature can be; it made the choice of the Big Island as a setting take on a new significance for me.

In honour of my favourite Hawaiian destination, I’d like to share with you some of the most romantic activities you can do while visiting the Big Island.

Top four romantic activities

Finder Keeper’s romantic heroine, Emma Munroe, is an aspiring Broadway actress who believes in destiny. The romantic hero, Avery Bell, is a tech whiz who doesn’t believe in fate. When Emma got lost in a jungle on the Big Island, it was Avery who kept her safe. Their chance encounter changed their lives forever.

The following activities helped develop the romance in the novel. If you’re going to Hawaii, you might want to try them.

#1 Take a walk on the wild side. On the Big Island, the expression could mean taking a walk literally in the wilderness. Hiking, mountain climbing, and camping are popular pastimes on the island. In Finder Keeper, Emma was so taken by the forest that she got terribly lost. Lucky for her, Avery was there. If you go hiking or camping, don’t be like Emma. Plan your trip!

#2 Swim with the giant green sea turtles. The Big Island has some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches, such as the Anaehoomalu Bay Beach and the Hapuna Beach. Both are featured in my novel. The giant green sea turtles are a big plus factor. You’re likely to find them swimming with you in the water or napping on the beach. The sea turtle, or honu, is native to Hawaii. It’s a symbol of wisdom, longevity, and good luck.

#3 Enjoy a sea escapade. If you’re the athletic type, don’t miss the chance to launch a sea escapade in the form of sailing, kayaking, paddling or canoeing. Avery is a competitive triathlete who loves the outdoors. In one scene, he realised just how much he cared for Emma while he was kayaking. Don’t know the difference between a kayak and a canoe? No worries. Take a romantic sunset cruise instead and just relax.

#4 Do the luau. Back in the old days, the luau was held as a feast that everybody could attend and enjoy as opposed to the practice of separating men and women at meal times. In Finder Keeper, Emma celebrated her twenty-first birthday with Avery and her best friends at a luau. She got to drink a mai-tai for the first time. If you’ve never attended a luau before, you can expect a memorable event that includes abundant food and great entertainment. Try the local delicacies such as kalua pork and poi, just like Emma did in the novel.

Happy travels and happy reading!

Vina Arno is the pen name of Cindy Fazzi, a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Finder Keeper of My Heart, published by Painted Hearts Publishing, is her second romance book. Her romance debut, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015. Her first literary novel, My MacArthur, will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press in 2018.

You can find Vina here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Google+

Finder Keeper of My Heart by Vina Arno

Emma Munroe, a Juilliard senior, snags a plum role on Broadway a few weeks before her twenty-first birthday. She travels to Hawaii with her best friends to celebrate. When she gets lost in a jungle during an impromptu hike, she happens upon a waterfall—and a naked hunk bathing underneath it.

When she finds out his name is Avery Bell, she’s dumbstruck. She believes she’s meant to love someone named Avery. It all goes back to a message in a bottle she found when she was nine, a letter written by a soldier called Avery to his sweetheart named Emma. He’d written it in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. Since then, Emma has been searching (and saving her virginity) for her own Avery.

But Avery Bell is as mysterious as he is irresistible. Emma learns about his family secrets. In the course of this vacation, an accident and a tragic death will shake both of them to the core. Her singular faith in him—her unwavering belief in love and destiny—proves to be his saving grace.

Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | iTunes | Kobo


Publisher pitch: Escape Publishing, Oct 2018

29 September 2018

Escape logo_200x150

Spring is finally here, and we know the best way to celebrate—a fling with a new favourite book!

As always, we’d love to know what you think. Check in with us in all the usual places! Facebook, Twitter and on our website.

Happy reading!

Kate and the Escape Team

Here’s what we have coming up in October …

Releasing 4 October

A Whole New Ball Game by Lauren K McKellar (contemporary romance, sports romance). Our Women of W.A.R. are back with a brand new story about a nurse with a dream, a man with a goal, and a little girl who will change everything.

Releasing 12 October

Tinsel in a Tangle by Ainslie Paton (contemporary holiday romance). Our first Christmas romance of the year is warm, funny, and irresistible. A slow burn workplace crush takes an unexpected turn at the office Christmas party and nothing will ever be the same.

Releasing 20 October

The Heart of a Bluestocking by Renee Dahlia (historical romance). The privileged daughter of one of England’s richest families, she is following her dream and breaking ground by opening her own medical practice. His family is noble, but he has his own barriers to break down. Both are used to being outsiders, until they meet each other and realise that two misfits might just fit together perfectly.