Author Archives: Cathryn Hein

Cathryn Hein

About Cathryn Hein

Best-selling Australian romance author, mad keen but inept golfer, and die-hard Sydney Swans supporter. For news, excerpts and more visit cathrynhein.com

My Favourite Reads of February 2019

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Welcome to My Favourite Reads for February 2019!

February was mostly taken up reading books for the Romance Writers of America Rita Award but I still managed to squeeze in four off my to-be-read pile, and they were all beauties.

My favourite though was… 

Wicked Games by MJ Scott

Wicked Games by MJ ScottWicked Games is the first in MJ Scott’s new TechWitch series and I’m hanging out for the next. This had so much to love – big conflicts, romance, friendship, action and I really enjoyed the mix of high technology and magic. Maybe this isn’t unusual in the urban fantasy genre but for me the combination felt new and fresh.

Loved the characters, the setting was interesting, and I liked the spookiness and how dark the story got. I look forward to discovering where Maggie goes to next and how her relationship with magic and sexy Damon evolves.

Fab.

The Second Cure by Margaret MorganThe Second Cure by Margaret Morgan

Ooh, where do I start with The Second Cure? This has politics, science, religion and much more. Most of all it’s scary because it is so easy to imagine a scenario like this unfolding.

Great premise, good writing and likeable characters – even the baddies had their moments – made for a fascinating, page-turning journey.

Clever. Really clever. A book to make you think, and maybe fret a bit. Check it out.

Her Forgotten Lover's Heir by Annie WestHer Forgotten Lover’s Heir by Annie West

Annie never lets me down with her fabulous romances. Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir made me cry too. I adore books that do that. It’s why we read romance – to feel!

The amnesia trope is one I’ve always been a bit sceptical about, but Molly’s situation is very believable and I felt for her enormously as she tried to deal with her memory loss and find her way forward. Pietro was great too – a nice combination of sexy alpha hero, as you’d expect for a Harlequin Presents title, and deeply caring man who’s fallen in love without realising.

A lovely story with great chemistry between the hero and heroine.

Butterface by Avery FlynnButterface by Avery Flynn

Butterface is book one in Avery Flynn’s the Hartigans series and such a fun a story I gobbled it down.

Although scarred by school bullying, Gina is a strong character who’s accepted her not-so-pretty looks and is merrily living the life she wants. She’s smart and funny and has a bod to die for. I wish I could stretch like her! Ford is a gorgeous, if totally anal, cop. When these two a thrown together, first via a wedding “kiss-cam” then by other circumstances it’s kind of like beauty and the beast in reverse.

Great dialogue and a wonderful romance, and the families were a hoot!

What did you enjoy reading in February?

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday Meme

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

Did you enjoy last week’s visit from Jennie Jones? That was fun, and we loved your wonderful airport stories. I hope you’re in another sharing mood this week because, my little darlings, we have another guest and another giveaway. Whoop!

But first, news from the Hein house.

After much tweaking and several moments of brain hurtiness caused by maths calculations (you’ll understand when you read it), I finished the second draft of Eddie and the Show Queen. Now it’s time to move on to stage three of my process: the full read-through. This is kind of scary because it’s looking at the big stuff. Things like characterisation and story flow that can lead to whole lot of rewriting or just more tweaks. As you can imagine, I’m hoping for the latter.

Enough of scary things, let’s get onto the fun stuff.

Today’s guest is a blog regular and an author I know you all adore. Fiona McArthur writes gorgeous rural romances, medical dramas and women’s fiction. You’ll also know her from Holly’s Heart which was book 4 in our hugely successful Outback Brides series (my Elsa’s Stand was book 3) and a beautiful story that really tugged those heartstrings.

Well, our brides are going from strength to strength and this month sees the launch of a second series – Outback Brides of Wirralong – and this time Fiona’s in the lead with her new release Lacey.

Here’s Fiona to tell you a little about Lacey and to share a snippet. Make sure you read until the end. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on your giveaway chance!

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Author Fiona McArthur

Thanks so much for having me, Cathryn, and it’s such a fun thing to be introducing “Series 2 of The Outback Brides Of Wirralong,” tada!! Especially after all the crazy reader love of the first series. We were all so excited that Wirralong proved to be a fun place for readers.

Last series started with Maggie, Belle, and right after your gorgeous ELSA, finished with Holly. It was at Holly’s wedding that my new book starts. LACEY and Cameron have been on opposite paths but still magnetically attracted. And fighting it.

Lacey was celebrating her freedom finally from a disastrous secret marriage and Cameron just couldn’t seem to look anywhere else than at Lacey. She seemed so different tonight…

Ahem. And that was that.

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It was just because he’d had fantasies. About her. For what felt like a year, but it had only been months.

Why was she so different to any other lovely lady he’d danced with? His hand drifted down the shimmery fabric on her back. ‘I love your dress,’ Cam murmured.

She twirled in his arms and laughed up at him. Her eyes dark pools of promise? ‘A present to myself to celebrate. Wicked, eh?’

Outback Brides of Wirralong: Lacey by Fiona McArthur

‘As sin,’ he said huskily and pulled her closer into his arms, still grappling with this new Lacey, and wondered what she was celebrating. Wondered more if he could join the celebrations.

She filled his senses like a potent wine and, while there was so much about her behaviour that baffled him, he wanted to protect this fragile bubble of make-believe because he knew she would slip through his fingers and disappear tomorrow like Cinderella.

When the wedding party left and the guests drifted toward the gate, he looked at the clock with indecision. He felt like a randy sixteen-year-old and just as unsure of himself. Not the usual Cameron. He couldn’t let her go yet.

‘I’d rather this evening didn’t end, Lacey. Will you come home with me and stay the night?’ He gazed down at her and her eyes were like blazing jewels in her face, glittering as she stared up at him.

***

Lacey looked at the ridiculously sexy man standing there with that wicked promise in his eyes, asking her home after chatting her up all night.

Long-suppressed excitement fizzed and popped in her belly and her skin felt warm and wanton with the need for a good man’s touch. No strings. They both knew it was only one night.

She glanced at the strong masculine fingers reaching out to her. The small dark mole on Cameron’s wrist looked almost like a heart. She did have it bad if she was seeing cosmic signs.

Well, hadn’t this been a night of unexpected performances.

First the breaking of the obscurity she’d hidden behind, by standing up and playing her saxophone at a wedding—and yes, it had been confronting when she’d opened her eyes, but she still buzzed from the incredible joy of revelling in her music and seeing those who watched lost in it too. Seeing Cameron James drinking in the music like an addict.

And now, flirting with the bad-boy lawman who all the girls gossiped about. Was this some sort of post-divorce rebirth strategy? Maggie had said auspicious.

Step one. Play in public.

Step two. Get back in charge of her own sexuality with a man she’d fancied and banned herself from as a married woman.

Hell.

She was divorced.

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Ooh, now this sounds sex-citing! I bet you’re now as hungry as I am to read the full story. Satisfy that hunger immediately with an ebook download from these stores:

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Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

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As we teased earlier, here’s the…

GIVEAWAY!

Here’s Fiona again to tell you about it.

I love that Lacey makes Cameron totally unsure of himself – not like the confident swooner that he normally portrays. I hope you enjoy ‘Lacey and Cameron’s story’ and I’d love to offer an ebook version (or print book for Oz readers if they prefer) for your thoughts on secret baby books. Not what Cameron and Lacey expected.

Warmest regards xx Fi

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So, my lovelies, we’re talking secret babies. Have you come across this trope before? What did you think? Can you recommend some secret baby titles for those who haven’t tried it or are looking for more?

Share your thoughts and we’ll pop you into the draw for an ebook download of Outback Brides of Wirralong: Lacey. Or, if you’re an Australian reader, you have the choice of ebook or print.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Sunday 17th March 2019, Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Ebook giveaway open worldwide. Choice of paperback giveaway available for Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday Meme

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

I hope you’re excited, my lovelies, because today we have a guest author and she’s offering a GIVEAWAY.

But first, news from the Hein house. I’ve finished the first draft of Eddie and the Show Queen. RAH! Still a long way to go but the hard work of getting the story down is finally done. My next task is to consult my list of ‘things to fix’ and set about fixing them. It’s quite long and will likely take a while, and thanks to my ongoing health dramas I’m still not confident of setting a release date yet. We’re getting closer to one though, so stay tuned!

Speaking of staying tuned, you’ll want to sit up now because it’s time to welcome our guest Jennie Jones.

I’m sure you all know Jennie from her previous visits to Teaser Tuesday and general best-seller stardom, just as I’m sure you gobble up her small-town and rural romances because they’re FABULOUS. Jennie’s books are full of what we adore – love, laughter and life. Settling down with one is like settling down with a good friend.

Jennie has a new book out this month: Lone Star Protector, book two in the fun and romantic Calamity Valley series. She’s here today to tell you a little about it and to tease you with a snippet. Think larger than life characters, humour and a gorgeous happy ever after. Plus, for the eagle-eyed, there’s a chance to win a paperback copy of Lone Star Protector.

Read on!

Author Jennie Jones

It’s always a pleasure to be on Teaser Tuesday with Cathryn! I’d like to introduce my latest Texas-set romance Lone Star Protector (just released) which is book #2 in the Calamity Valley series – fun and romantic tales of three cousins returning home to their country towns in order to find some solace and each getting more than they bargained for.

In this little excerpt, Mark and Lauren have just met for the first time at LAX airport where they’ve been delayed. Lauren is keeping her identity secret and intends to remain incognito, but Mark knows who she is and since he’s being blackmailed into keeping an eye on her, is not about to tell her who he is! So, for different reasons, they enter into what they both think is a playful, flirtatious banter – pretending to be someone else until their grounded flights take off. But when the sun rises on the next day they’ll meet again, under very different circumstances…

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Mark turned on his seat. “Since we’ve got so much time on our hands, why don’t we pretend we’re heading somewhere else? Where would you like to go, Miss—” He let the question hang in the air.

“Scarlet Juliette Barrett-Bernard.”

He managed to hold on to his laugh. “How do you do, Miss Barrett-Bernard? Pleasure to meet you. Danton Alexandre Dubois.”

“French?” she asked, eyes wide.

“On my grandmother’s side.” Not strictly true, but close enough for his use. Granny Dubois had been an Idaho backcountry logger. Came from Quebec pioneer stock and followed in her granddaddy Dubois’s footsteps, running the family firm until she was forced to retire at the age of eighty-three due to arthritis and an inability to swing the axe or type out an invoice. And he wasn’t making that up. He had fond memories of visiting her as a kid.

Lone Star Protector by Jennie Jones

“You’re not nobility in disguise, are you?” Lauren—Scarlet—asked, with a wry lift of her eyebrow.

Her eyes were mesmerizing. Moss green; dark and inviting. She made him feel like he was sitting in the lobby of some grand old hotel, surrounded by the peace and coolness of potted palms and the water music of a courtyard fountain.

She wasn’t his type at all. He loathed potted palms and teacups with dainty handles a guy couldn’t get his thumb around.

“Shall we pretend we are chic aristocrats from Europe?” he suggested. She’d find out soon enough that he wasn’t Danton Alexandre Dubois.

She gave a little shrug. “Why not.”

He could use this opportunity and gain more intel on what the Mackillop women had in mind to deter Donaldson’s salesmen who wanted to buy the valley land. As soon as he had that information, this whole business would be finished and he could get back to doing what he did best—living life his way. The casual, take-it-as-it-happens way instead of the constant looking-over-his-shoulder-due-to-being-blackmailed-by-Donaldson way.

“Nice to meet you.” He swiveled on the chair and held out his hand.

As she slid hers into his, her skin soft and cool, something fizzed, deep in his gut. 

“Let’s pretend we’re off to Paris,” he said, needing to keep the camaraderie going. “What’s the first thing you want to do when you get there?”

“Stroll down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.” There was a wave of warmth in her voice and she’d answered without hesitation.

“Sounds good.” He settled further into the hard seat. “Can I join you? I’ll buy the coffee when we get to the Arc de Triomphe.” It earned him a glance, and a smile, and small though it was, he was rewarded by its value. He had a feeling she hadn’t cracked a grin in a long time, and her response pierced him in his most vulnerable part—the heart.

Want to go someplace more comfortable?” he said. “One of the lounges?”

“They’re VIP.”

“I pre-purchased a priority pass. I’m pretty sure I can take a guest, or persuade them…”

 “Thank you, Mr. Dubois. A decent place to sit and relax would be welcome.”

He smiled, and stood. “It’s Danton. Let’s go, Scarlet. We’ve got memories to share from our trip to Paris and only three hours in which to make them.”

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Ooh, I’m intrigued, and I bet you are too, but we’ll have to grab the book if we want to know how these two fare the morning after, and you can do that right here:

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Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

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Now, as mentioned, there just happens to be a…

GIVEAWAY!

As usual, we’re going to make you work for your chance. To be in the draw to win a paperback copy of Lone Star Protector simply share in the comments your favourite airport. It doesn’t have to be one you’ve visited – not everyone’s a frequent flyer or even a flyer at all. It could be the one you’d most love to land at or transit through.

Lone Star Protector by Jennie Jones

Airports aren’t usually favourite places, are they? Mostly they’re messy, noisy and full of overpriced shops and food stalls. So I’m going to choose Newcastle Airport as my favourite, because it’s clean and quiet, and being there means I’m either off on an adventure or I’m coming home. Both nice things.

So cough up. What’s your favourite? Share and we’ll pop you into the draw for a paperback copy of Lone Star Protector.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Sunday 10th March 2019, Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Jennie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @JennieJRomance.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday Meme

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do this same.

Ha! You thought TT wasn’t returning, didn’t you? Well it is, although more on an ad hoc basis than weekly, but with the same news and juicy teasers from myself and guests.

Last year was a difficult year for me personally and the beginning of 2019 isn’t being much kinder. The things I’m going through continue to have a major effect on my productivity, which is stressing me out, quite frankly, and stress is a demon none of us need. I have a LOT of writing to catch up on and that means I need to prioritise. Books must come first. The blog will be a lagging second.

I’ll do my best to keep it rollicking along though. I like blogging and I know a lot of you enjoy the posts but if I’m not making my word count, then it’s blog that will miss out until they’re done. I’m sure, like me, you’d much rather a new book than a new blog post!

Speaking of writing, I’ve finally come to the last chapters of Eddie and the Show Queen. Rah! Once I get those done, I’ll settle in for a full read. I’m looking forward to that. This book has taken a long time to write and revisiting Eddie’s and Alice’s romance will be fun. I love this couple. They’re ridiculously cute and Eddie is a sweetheart, and the Levenham gang are great to hang with.

Here’s a little sample of what you can expect from Eddie and the Show Queen. Please note that this is from an unedited manuscript, so you’ll have to forgive any wobbly bits.

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Eddie might have sauntered up to the microphone like a seasoned rock star but the truth was he was crapping himself.

What if Alice hated his poem? Or the footy boys laughed and made him look like a numpty in front of her? Dressing up as Elvis and belting out “It’s Now or Never” to a bunch of shoppers was just a bit of stupid fun, as was modelling jocks and socks in McAdams front window, but this was serious. He’d watched Alice’s face as she’d listened rapt to emo fringe-kid and the urge to create that same reaction ached like hunger.

He glanced at his poem. Sheep. He wrote about frigging sheep. Great way to impress a girl.

Not.

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Stay tuned for news on Eddie and the Show Queen’s release date, cover reveal and pre-order links. Newsletter subscribers always get the exciting bits first. Join the cool kids here and be smug little Vegemites, just like them. Plus you’ll receive a couple of free short stories to enjoy over a cuppa. All the wins!

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My Favourite Reads of January 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to the first My Favourite Reads for 2019!

I read some fabulous books in January. Only four for myself as late in the month my allocation of Romance Writers of America Rita Award books arrived, and I wanted to get started on them straight away.

No question as to what my favourite read was, and it’s…

December Park by Ronald Malfi

December Park by Robert Malfi

I read The Night Parade back in October 2017 (read my thoughts on that here) and meant to read December Park soon after, but like so many of my best laid book-plans that didn’t happen and it ended up taking me over a year to get there.

Usual thing – too many books, not enough reading time.

December Park was excellent. I love the way Malfi writes, he has a style that draws me deep into a story and unable to stop turning those pages. This is a long book – 700+ pages in paperback I believe – yet it flowed beautifully and never felt too long. Having a bunch of engaging and funny teenage boys enjoying summer adventures in a sleepy outer suburb the early 90s helps. He captures those hazy days and the emotions and dramas of adolescence perfectly. Except Harting Farms isn’t really a sleepy suburb and the days certainly aren’t all hazy. Children are going missing and when one turns up dead, the boys put themselves into the thick of the danger.

I’ve already bought Bone White, Malfi’s latest release, and I won’t be waiting a year before I read it either. The blurb sounds fab and Malfi is awesome.

Pay Me in Flesh by James Scott Bell

Pay Me in Flesh by James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell is a well-known name in the writing world thanks to his workshops and books on writing. I own a few of his craft titles and find them both enlightening and entertaining, but it wasn’t until I read How to Write Pulp Fiction that I became interested in reading his fiction. In it, Bell uses a short story to demonstrate what he means by pulp fiction and it was so clever I wanted more.

Pay Me in Flesh is book one of a series with a fantastic premise: Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law, defends the creatures no other lawyer will touch… and longs to reclaim her real life. Yep, a zombie lawyer with, er, appetites.

It sounds bonkers and is, and I loved it. Fast, hugely entertaining, great characters and, yeah, he knows how to write pulp fiction. I had a ball with it. A word of warning: Pay Me in Flesh does have a few gross-out moments that made even me go ewwwww, but it’s a zombie story, some grossness is a given!

The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson

The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson

I adored Anthea’s debit novel The Drifter (which I raved about here) and have had The Cowgirl in my sights since. It was a gorgeous read with beautiful writing, an emotional storyline, a subtle but enjoyable romance and a strong message about moving on and living life.

I liked the dual timeline and how Deirdre’s backstory unfolded as we came to understand her more in the present, and I really like the metaphor of Barnaby the cockatoo. That was clever.

A great New Year read and a must for lovers of rural romance.

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash

I’ve wanted to read Breaking Good since 2017, when it was a finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America Rita Award then went on to win a Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award for best short romance. The idea of a hero with ADHD is an intriguing one and I was curious as to how that would work for a romance. Perfectly in the hands of Ash, as it turns out.

Breaking Good is a gorgeously written story that will reach deep into your heart and tug hard on your emotions. The characters are fabulous and it’s hard to resist a Byron Bay setting.

What were your favourite reads of January?

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My Favourite Reads of December 2018

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The Palace of Lost Memories and The Echo of Broken Dreams by CJ Archer

The Palace of Lost Memories by CJ Archer

I’ve been looking forward to CJ Archer’s new After the Rift series ever since she announced it and to my delight it exceeded expectations. I expected The Palace of Lost Memories to be good but this was in another class again. I think because it’s a bit darker. This is a world where even those you trust may not be who they seem.

There are so many questions about the King’s new palace and even more questions about those who staff it. Where did they come from? And where are their memories? These are puzzles that I’m sure will be slowly solved as the series progresses. In the meantime, we’re treated to smaller mysteries that are just as enjoyable. In The Palace of Lost Memories, it’s who poisoned the king’s favourite, while in The Echo of Broken Dreams it’s who is attacking palace maids, among other questions.

Love the heroine Josie, love the hero Hammer, and the minor characters are interesting and well crafted. As with all CJ Archer books the pacing was spot on.

I gobbled these down and now cannot wait for book 3.

A Baby In His In-Tray by Michelle Douglas

A Baby In His In-Tray by Michelle Douglas

This was hilarious, and I defy anyone not to at least smile at the early scenes with the baby. The poor heroine. The poor hero!

The premise of A Baby In His In-Tray is a beauty too. To help her twin sister Eliza, Liv agrees to impersonate her at work while Eliza sorts out a personal issue (I hope Michelle writes her story). With the boss Lord Sebastian Tyrell away, no one should be the wiser. Then Liv returns to her desk post-lunch and finds a baby on it with a note requesting that Sebastian sort it out. Liv has no choice but to call him and act as nanny while he returns. This does not make for a happy Liv!

The relationship between these two is wonderful, but as you’d expect from an excellent romance it’s not without its complications. For her sister’s sake, Liv must keep her true identity hidden, while Sebastian has his own issues thanks to an awful upbringing. Then there’s the question of who the baby’s mother is…

Huge fun.

The Million Pound Marriage Deal by Michelle Douglas

The Million Pound Marriage Deal by Michelle Douglas

The Million Pound Marriage Deal made me cry more than once, then smile at the end and feel a bit soppy, which is exactly what I want from a romance.

I really liked Sophie, she was a great heroine. That perfect combination of sass, smarts and vulnerability that she keeps well hidden. She’s the sort of capable, organised person you’d want on your side in a crisis, and I loved the way she handled the hero Will’s crotchety grandfather.

If you’re partial to a marriage of convenience story, you’ll love this one. I certainly did.

The Laird’s Christmas Kiss by Anna Campbell

The Laird’s Christmas Kiss by Anna Campbell

Ah, I do love me an Anna Campbell Christmas story. They are so much fun.

Elspeth is a smart as a whip wallflower who’s harboured a secret crush on rakish Brody for years. Deciding she’s had enough of this nonsense, Elspeth forces herself out of this hopeless and silly love, only for Brody to suddenly notice her in a major way. What follows is a gorgeous struggle between a young woman determined to keep her promise to herself and a man who, for once in his life, has only honourable intentions and can’t understand why the object of his affections won’t swoon at his feet. Then the family get involved…

An absolute delight and perfect for any season. And highlanders!

Read an excerpt from The Laird’s Christmas Kiss and more on Anna’s recent Teaser Tuesday.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

My second favourite read of December (or should that be third given CJ Archer took the top spot with two books?).

I’ve wanted to read Apple Tree Yard since its release back in 2013. In fact, I still have clippings of its newspaper reviews on my “want to read” pile so I wouldn’t forget about it. Which reminds me, I can chuck those now.

I adore books that make you feel anxious for the heroine (or hero) and Apple Tree Yard kept me in a state of constant worry. This is a combination of courtroom drama and the secret retelling of an affair. For some reason it reminded me a lot of Killing Me Softly by Nicci French even though they’re quite different stories. It’s that opening blast of attraction between strangers followed by out-of-character behaviour I suspect. That and the unsettling storylines.

Highly recommended and I hear the recently released TV series is excellent too.

Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder

Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder

This came highly recommended by writing buddy Amy Andrews, who praised Snyder’s great voice and fresh story. I was a tad sceptical – bad boy bikers really aren’t my thing – but having read Tikka Chance on Me I can only agree. This was a whole lot of sexy fun, with a fantastic heroine and great banter. It’s also short and whizzes along. Perfect for an afternoon of fun. And you can pick it up for around a dollar on most ebook platforms.

What were your favourite reads of December?

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Bargain Alert!

THE COUNTRY GIRL is part of Kindle’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion which means you can score this heart-warming tale of friendship, food and falling in love for only $1-99. What a bargain!

Link: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B072ZY8XZD/

THE COUNTRY GIRL Kindle Sale

This deal is for a limited time only, so get in quick before it goes back to full price.

PS. While you’re there, why not grab SANTA AND THE SADDLER for only 99 cents and double your bargain? Go on, you know you deserve books.

My Favourite Reads of November 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads of November 2018.

Another mixed bag of fantasy, crime and, of course, romance. A girl needs her feels!

No question this month which was my favourite. Actually, let’s make that favourites because the honour goes to …

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoBardugo’s Grisha trilogy of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising was my favourite read of 2014 and when Six of Crows first released I meant to jump on it. For some reason I didn’t and I’m not sure why. I have a feeling I read a preview of Six of Crows and was expecting one thing and got another. I had no problem this time round. I couldn’t put either Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom down. They were amazing.

The plotting of these stories is extraordinary. Twist follows twist follows twist, and almost every one of them left me in a state of anxiety over the characters. So many challenges, most of them impossible, and yet the Six of Crows gang manage to fight and overcome them.

Then there are the characters, all so wonderfully done, with compelling backstories and motivations, and individual voices. If I weren’t so caught up in the story I would have taken notes on how Bardugo made them unique, sympathetic and admirable, even the ones that shouldn’t have been.

Loved these books. Just loved them. Can’t wait for more.

 

Elevation by Stephen KingElevation by Stephen King

Hmm. The first thought that springs to mind when I think about this book? It was short. Really short. By my guess, Elevation would be lucky to be 25,000 words (maybe even closer to 20,000 but as I said I’m guessing here) and most novels are around 90,000 or so, depending on genre, which means we’re talking short story/novella length.

Now I love a shorty, but I had no idea that Elevation was one when I went to grab it from my local discount store and was even more brain-fuddled when I couldn’t spot it on the shelves. We’re talking the new Stephen King here. It was in the catalogue. How could Elevation not be smack in my face? I can only guess it was something to do with its size versus its unappealing full-length price.

I still bought it because… Stephen King.

Anyway, it was a sweet book, reminding me a little bit of Insomnia, which is a favourite King of mine. A pleasant way to spend a weekend afternoon.

 

The Ash Doll by James HazelThe Ash Doll by James Hazel

I really enjoyed Hazel’s debut release The Mayfly (I talked about it here). It was a cracking read and left me eager for his next. The Ash Doll didn’t disappoint, with the same great pace and tension and a juicy dark plot. The Ash Doll’s lawyer hero Charlie Priest seems to find himself in messy cases, that’s for sure.

Great to see Priest’s work colleague Georgie Someday play such a starring role too. And the fish. Mustn’t forget the fish.

 

Circus Hearts - All the little Bones by Ellie MarneyCircus Hearts: All the little Bones by Ellie Marney

Now this was cool. Kinda like a running away to join the circus book but in this case the runaways are already performers – Sorsha is a trapeze artist while Colm is a strongman, and both are very good at their art.

Circus Hearts is a friends-to-lovers story as well as a coming of age tale and one I enjoyed a lot. The romance was lovely and I especially liked Marney’s portrayal of circus life.

I have plans to read book two in this three-book series over the Christmas break. I’m keen to see what happens to Fleur in Circus Hearts: All Fall Down.

 

Manhunting by Jennifer CrusieManhunting by Jennifer Crusie

This was a hoot of a book, with super-snappy dialogue and some very funny moments. I was glad I picked it up because it was perfect for my mood. I was after something easy and fun and feel-good, and Manhunting was all that and more.

This is only my second Jennifer Crusie – the first was Faking It – and I really should read more. I’ve lost count of the number of fellow authors who’ve recommended Welcome to Temptation, Bet Me and other much-adored titles in the Crusie backlist. Makes me feel left out.

 

What reads did you enjoy in November?

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasion con author buddies into doing the same.

Woah, hasn’t the year flown! Here we are in December with Christmas sparkling around the corner and a shiny new year poking its head over the horizon. I hope it’s been a brilliant year for you and your families.

This will be the final Teaser Tuesday of the year. I’m off to visit family in north Queensland and to enjoy some outback heat and dust, and to relax with a bunch of books I’ve saved for the break. A couple I’m really looking forward to are Anna Campbell’s The Laird’s Christmas Kiss and Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but there are plenty more on my pile.

I’ll also be sending out a newsletter very soon with an exclusive present inside. If you’re not already a subscriber, join the cool people now so you don’t miss out.

It probably comes as no surprise that my final teaser for the year is from my 2017 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year finalist Santa and the Saddler. It’s a Christmas book after all, but it’s also a gorgeous read for any time.

What you may not have seen is that it’s temporarily discounted to only 99 cents on Kindle, in the iBooks store, and on Kobo the US and Canada. Bargain!

Here are those links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo

Now for a lovely snippet. Dressed in an unflattering Santa suit for his shift at a local pub, Danny makes a quick call into the local saddlery to order a present for his little sister and encounters Beth.

 

Four others waited, and from their pissed-off expressions and the way they were glancing at their watches, they’d been doing so for a while. An extremely pretty brown-haired girl was at the register, ringing up a purchase. Her lightly freckled cheeks were flushed and tendrils of hair had escaped her bun to fall around her face. She was wearing a bright red top with a cartoon reindeer on the front, the singlet’s cut revealing tanned, muscled arms and very straight shoulders.

Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinShe was his age, mid-twenties maybe. A quick glance at her hands revealed no rings. Pretty, possibly single, and here was Danny looking like a dick in a Santa suit. He could kill his boss, he really could. There was such a thing as taking the Christmas spirit too far, and Jase had done it.

‘Oh,’ said the woman Saddlery Girl was serving, holding up a finger. ‘Just one more thing.’ She dashed off, leaving the girl to smile a brittle apology at the other customers.

‘I won’t be long.’

Danny’s eyebrows lifted at the English accent, so incongruous to her freckled, summery Australianness.

‘You said that five minutes ago,’ muttered the bloke in front of Danny, throwing another look at his watch. He clocked Danny’s stupid costume. ‘Nice suit.’

Like he hadn’t been hearing that all week. But Danny never saw the point in being cranky, and it was Christmas. Season to be jolly and all that.

‘Thanks. Just spreading the cheer.’

He glanced back at Saddlery Girl and found her looking him up and down. Realising she’d been caught, she raised a single eyebrow. Danny smiled and winked, delighted when she grinned broadly in return, showing off perfect white teeth and laughter-filled golden hazel eyes.

The entire room somersaulted.

Oh man, she was pretty.

 

These two are so gorgeous together. Just the read to make you feel warm and gooey this Christmas.

Those bargain-buy links again:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo

See you Friday for My Favourite Reads!

 

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