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Release day: Home from the Hill

31 March 2020

Today is the official release of Home from the Hill by Susanne Bellamy (Home to Lark Creek, book 4) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

To manage his PSTD, ex-soldier Graham Peyton lives in lonely isolation on the mountain above Lark Creek. The appearance of surveyor’s markers threatens his peace and this special place he calls home. When local teacher, Janice Lehman all but faints in his arms, time spent caring for her threatens his peace of mind.

Janice has filled her life with teaching and community projects. She’s the driving force behind the new pioneer museum, but when her ex-husband reappears seeking a reconciliation, she’s torn between the damaged former soldier and the man she married.

While the development threatens to steal Graham’s home and change the face of Lark Creek, the biggest challenge may be the most personal of all. Can Graham face down his demons? Can two lonely people accept that love can be sweet the second time around?

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

Relationships, families, and characters struggling against the challenges life throws at them—these are elements you’ve come to expect in my series. As the community of Lark Creek works on creating places and attractions that will bring tourists off the regular tourist trail to their town, there are some folks who are struggling with personal issues. This is a seasoned romance of second chances, with older protagonists who have endured heartache and loss. Graham is a loner, a returned soldier who suffers from PTSD and claustrophobia. He’s made some questionable choices as he struggles to survive. ‘Unloved and unlovable, a broken man’. That’s how he sees himself. His sanctuary is the high ridge that dominates Lark Creek, and it’s being violated by some faceless developer. With his home, livelihood and way of life threatened, how far can one man go to protect the special place in which he lives? Over the years we’ve lived in our little slice of heaven on the edge of bushland, we’ve seen a great deal of development pushing out from the city and nudging our boundaries. Like many others, we dislike such change and intrusion on the way of life we’ve enjoyed. But change is a fundamental principle of living, and we adapt as best we can. And sometimes, change can bring unexpected positives. I hope you enjoy getting to know these characters much better, as well as the return of other well-loved residents of Lark Creek in this new book.

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

Release day: Read Between the Lines

30 March 2020

Today is the official release of Read Between the Lines by Belinda Williams (Freshwater, book 1) (ebook, self-published BWrite). Here’s the blurb:

Are Some Secrets Too Good To Keep?

Kat Chalmers is a high achiever. As the co-host of a leading current affairs program, she’s earned nationwide acclaim for her interview skills. And now she plans to use those skills to find out more about her mysterious neighbour, Matt Goodridge.

Matt works long hours as an obstetrician and doesn’t like talking about his past. He’s also intrigued by his famous neighbour, although getting to know her is difficult when she prefers to be the one asking the questions.

But Kat can’t seem to stay away. Matt’s like no one she’s ever met and she finds herself letting her guard down. Meanwhile, Matt is discovering that the woman behind the carefully crafted television persona is entirely different to who he thought she was.

When Matt learns Kat has secrets of her own to hide, he begins to wonder if some secrets are too good to keep . . . even if it means risking your heart and your professional reputation.

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

Read Between The Lines is the first book in a new romantic comedy series set in beachside settings featuring high-achieving women and men who aren’t afraid to be challenged. It was so much fun to write a book set in my own backyard, and I loved combining the beachside setting with high-profile characters that strive for a lot out of life but aren’t afraid to laugh either. It’s not all blue skies though—this contemporary romance touches on darker issues that my leading lady, Kat, and her hero, Matt, will need to overcome if they’re to achieve their happily ever after.

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

Release day: The Highlander’s English Bride

30 March 2020

Today is the official release of The Highlander’s English Bride by Anna Campbell (The Lairds Most Likely, book 6) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

An impossible pairing…

Hamish Douglas, the mercurial Laird of Glen Lyon, has never got along with independent, smart-mouthed Emily Baylor. Which wouldn’t matter if this brilliant Scottish astronomer didn’t move in the same scientific circles as Emily and if her famous father wasn’t his mentor. But when Emily looks likely to derail the event which will make Hamish’s career, he loses his temper with the pretty miss and his recklessness leaves her reputation in ruins.

A marriage made in scandal…

Emily has always thought her father’s spectacular protégé was far too arrogant for his own good. But what is she to do when the only way she can save her good name in society is to wed the unruly laird? Reluctantly she accepts Hamish’s proposal, but only on the condition that their union remains chaste. That shouldn’t be a problem; they’ve never been friends, let alone potential lovers – except that after they marry, Hamish reveals unexpected depths and a host of admirable qualities, and he’s so awfully handsome, and now the swaggering rogue admits that he desires her…

From the ballrooms of London to the grandeur of the western Highlands, a battle royal rages between these two strong-willed combatants. Neither plans to yield an inch – but are these smart people smart enough to see that sometimes the greatest victory lies in mutual surrender?

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

Do you like marriage of convenience stories? I must say right from when I started reading romance knee high to a grasshopper, this was one of my favourite tropes. All that delicious sexual tension when a couple who don’t necessarily get along (in fact, they often don’t) are forced to find a way to go on together because they’re, you know, married! The MOC trope works particularly well in historical romance because back then, divorce was so difficult as to be effectively impossible for most people. So the hero and heroine really are together until death does them part. Lifts the stakes to the sky! My new story, The Highlander’s English Bride is, you guessed it, a marriage of convenience story. Hamish Douglas, Laird of Glen Lyon, and Emily Baylor, his scientific mentor’s daughter, have always had a rocky relationship, partly because they’ve both refused to acknowledge the attraction flaring between them. When Hamish’s impulsiveness lands them in a scandal, their only way forward is marriage. And then things get REALLY interesting…

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

Guest blogger: Sally Brandle

29 March 2020

Aspects of being a culturally sensitive writer recently garnered media attention in America. I choose to craft fictional characters ‘out of my own lane’ of a Caucasian, mature female of Irish and German descent. A knowledgeable critique partner read The Targeted Pawn manuscript, in the final edits stage, and alerted me to issues requiring experts to authenticate portrayals in the book.

I needed Native American sensitivity readers and luckily, via a horse owner at my barn, was introduced to Thomas Smittle, who is a counsellor and spiritual advisor at Native Horseman in South Dakota. He’s proud to be an adopted member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. My hero in Pawn, Rane Calderon, defends the Blackfeet Nation legacy of his grandmother. Tom helped correct terms in the manuscript, but more importantly lightened the stoic portrayal of Rane. He explained the teasing banter used among his friends and offered suggestions that enriched the story.

Tom’s horsemanship expertise added other perfect details, especially meaningful after I learned the fascinating story of how he realised his gift of working with equines. As an inmate, he completed the Mustang Inmate Training Program and after his release was asked to portray a main secondary character in the 2019 movie The Mustang, directed by Robert Redford. This (R rated) movie is a gritty, accurate portrayal of prison and worth watching. The real-life rate of recidivism is extremely low.

I’m very fortunate to be in contact with Tom, as my next book in the series features Rane’s brother, Chayton, and his story of working with a female game warden to stop a bald eagle poacher. This work-in-progress is currently titled The Romantic Mule Thriller. If you’d like to be appraised of a publication date, contact me via my website.

Happy trails, and I hope you enjoy a scene below from my hot-off-the press release from Soul Mate Publishing, The Targeted Pawn. Tom helped me rework this section, where Elon faces the challenge of serving her first dinner to the ranch crew on short notice.

Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories motivating readers to trust their instincts. Her rescue Aussie is her companion during long spells of writing or afternoons spent riding on the wind with her nearly thirty-year-old Quarter Horse. Sign up for her newsletter on her website for freebies. The Hitman’s Mistake opens her Love Thrives in Emma Springs series of stories (without intimate scenes). Torn By Vengeance, book 2, continues showcasing friendship, courageous women, and the men who deserve their love. The Targeted Pawn, book 3, features a second chance for a life filled with love for humans and their furry friends.

You can find Sally here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Excerpt from The Targeted Pawn

Eight pair of eyes stared at the steam rolling off the heavenly scented biscuits she carried. She walked to the closest end of the table and lowered the basket.

Before it landed on the table, Rane grabbed one side of the container, and the black-haired man to his right grabbed the other side.

Elon released her grip and stepped back as they began a tug of war.

“Hey. Easy.” Rane grimaced. “That basket was sacred to my grandma,” he scolded.

The other man dropped his hand, his eyes wide. “Oh, ah … sorry.”

Elon froze. How dumb, of course it was an antique.

“Ah, just kidding.” Rane tipped his chin up and laughed.

The group of men chuckled. The chastised guy grabbed two biscuits and held one to his nose. “Smells delicious.” He turned his head and grinned at Elon. “This old hide cleaned up’ purty good.” He passed the container to the man next to him.

Any humor beat no humor. She smiled and then rested her arm on the sideboard. “I admire the painted diamond pattern on the leather. Deerskin?”

“No. Parfleche.” Rane quit buttering his biscuit and watched her. “My great-great-grandmother made it from buffalo hide. There are larger ones up in the attic.”

“How wonderful to have special heirlooms,” she said. “Someone had untied the lid. If I always line it carefully, may I use it occasionally for rolls?”

“Yes.” He scanned the dining room. “When you’re done, place it on top of the sideboard.”

“A treasured keepsake deserves to be seen. I cherish a beaded angel wall hanging my grandmother created.”

“Nice.” Rane said and chatted with the men while she carried in the bowl of roasted potatoes and the platters of meat. He sat back, one elbow on the armrest, his focus centered on the food.

Her knees quavered. “Red toothpicks denote rare meat, blue for medium.” No one acknowledged her comment. “If you need one cooked longer, I can flip it back on the grill.” She centered the tray of glistening steaks on the table in front of Rane.

He speared a medium one and sliced into it, rosy pink showing between knife cuts. “This is very well done in these parts. I need a Montana rare one.” He thrust his plate toward Elon, the cuts showing a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak.

She rotated the platter and pointed to red toothpicks. Her heart pounded. “The red indicates rare, Mr. Calderon. They’re red in the middle.”

“Montana rare, Ms. Hardy.” Predator eyes, recognizing the smell of fear, leveled at hers. “If you please.” His challenge arced in the air—a whiplash just before it snapped flesh from its victim’s bones.

You can buy The Targeted Pawn from Amazon.

Release day: Love and Other Addictions

27 March 2020

Today is the official release of Love and Other Addictions by Isabella Hargreaves (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

Can love overcome addiction to wealth or duty?

Australia, 1873: Wealthy pastoralist and member of parliament, Robert Dysart, migrated to Australia to make his fortune. He craves his estranged father’s respect and believes he can earn it only through financial success and power…until he meets Edith Glendinning.

Edith, as an eldest daughter, is duty-bound to care for her widowed father and her siblings. Following her brother’s rescue from a London opium den, her father tasks Edith with accompanying Harry to an isolated pastoral property in Australia and to keep him drug-free. She longs for a husband and family, but instead must fulfil her duty.

Soon after arriving in Australia, Edith’s life is saved by the charming and attractive Robert and she dreams of a future with him; until she learns of his ruthless ambition to own her brother’s property. For their love to bloom, they must overcome their addictions—Robert must prove he cares more for Edith than for wealth and power, while Edith must choose Robert over her duty to her family.

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

While researching two theses about women and families in colonial Queensland, I read many fascinating diaries and letters written by Victorian women, most of whom had migrated to Australia for a new life. Inspired by The Diary of Rachel Henning, which revealed the life of a young Englishwoman on her brother’s sheep station, this second book in the Stations of the Heart series is set in central Queensland in the early 1870s. Love and Other Addictions tells the story of opportunistic pastoralist Robert Dysart, who wants control of the river-front property he was cheated out of by a claim-jumper ten years ago. To create a new life in Australia, Edith’s brother buys a pastoral property—the one Robert has coveted for years. Distrust and bitter conflict develop between Edith and Robert, souring their early attraction, until Robert finds a way to prove to Edith that he loves her more than land, wealth and power. Love and Other Addictions is a 30,000-word novella, which can be read as a standalone story or the second book in the Stations of the Heart series.

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

Feature book: The Greek’s Billion-Dollar Baby

25 March 2020

The Greek’s Billion-Dollar Baby by Clare Connelly

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Oct 2019
Publisher: Mills & Boon Modern
Format: ebook and print
Length: 218 pages
RRP: $4.99 (ebook); $7.99 (print)

Hannah flees to Greece after finding out her fiancé is having an affair. On New Year’s Eve she shares a night of passion with Greek Billionaire Leonidas (Leo) Stathakis. Leo is still grieving the deaths of his wife and toddler son when he allows desire to overrule his head. Guilt soon surfaces and he regrets his decision, leaving before the morning-after-the-night-before can occur. Yet, he can’t forget her or the way she made him feel.

Hannah tries to move on with her life but soon discovers she is pregnant. She is surprised by Leo’s reaction to the news. He insists they marry, and she soon finds herself living among a world of overwhelming security. Despite this, the physical attraction they shared is still there with an emotional connection beginning to develop also. Could they have a real marriage?

Hannah falls in love but chafes at the restrictions on her life because of the security detail. She also struggles knowing that Leo doesn’t share her feelings. After an argument she leaves the safety of the villa to go home and move on alone.

Leo is bombarded by an assortment of emotions that leave him confused and frustrated. His guilt for failing his wife and son still plagues him while his feelings for Hannah bloomed also. Did he deserve a second chance at love? A second chance at a happy family? He doesn’t think so and buries himself in his work.

When Leo is informed that Hannah has gone into premature labour, he rushes to be by her side, but she refuses him. He waits outside hoping there is still time for him to have a happy family with Hannah.

This is another of Connelly’s well written Modern stories with a gorgeous but tortured Greek Billionaire hero and a heroine who over the course of the story not only acquires self-confidence but also challenges the hero. Leo’s loss of his family is well written, and you will want him to realise Hannah and the baby can heal his heart. Find a quiet space where you can curl up undisturbed for a couple of hours and enjoy this charming read where love heals. The news gets better too because Leo’s brother, Thanos, has his own story (‘Bride Behind the Billion-Dollar Veil’) out in November so you can check in on Hannah and Leo. Enjoy.

Reviewed by Tracey

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

Release day: Scarlett and the Model Man

24 March 2020

Today is the official release of Scarlett and the Model Man by Cathryn Hein (ebook and print, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

He might be the perfect model, but is he the right man for Scarlett?

When up-and-coming artist Scarlett Ash discovers the perfect model in small-town Levenham, she can’t believe her luck. Her creativity abandoned her months ago and with her move to London to take up a prestigious residency fast approaching, she’s desperate for a muse to bring it back.

Surfing dairy farmer Sam Greenwood is delivering milk when a gorgeous girl accosts him. Charmed by her invitation to model for a painting, Sam wants to say no. While Scarlett might be stunning, she’s arty-farty weird, and he’s flat out with his growing dairy business. Somehow, though, he can’t resist.

As Scarlett struggles to find her way with her new work, Sam becomes determined to help. Scarlett is smart, talented and sympathetic to the unremitting toil of dairy farming, and they’re both healing from failed relationships. Soon burgeoning friendship blossoms into so much more.

Knowing that London beckons and her time in Levenham is short, Scarlett resists the lure of love. She has no plans to return to Levenham, and big-hearted Sam deserves more than a brief fling followed by a quick goodbye. Except as their affair deepens, how can she leave the man who’s not only given her back her passion but her heart?

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

I can’t believe I’m up to book six in the Levenham Love Story series! But perhaps it’s not that much of a surprise. These stories are a blast to write. Scarlett and the Model Man sees us back in small-town Levenham with a friends-to-lovers romance that will fill your heart. Our heroine, Scarlett, first appeared in Eddie and the Show Queen and intrigued a lot of readers, which isn’t a surprise. She’s a clever, sassy girl with an amazing life ahead of her, and definitely no room for a relationship with a surfing dairy farmer, no matter how gorgeous. Except love always messes things up, doesn’t it? A contemporary romance to make you sigh, smile and maybe even sniffle a bit. All the feels.

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