Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where you get sneak peeks at new and past releases, and works-in-progress from me and my writing buddies.

Today I’m chuffed to host on the blog two-time romantic book of the year (Ruby) finalist Juanita Kees. You may remember Juanita from her previous visit, when we had a lovely excerpt from her Ruby finalist rural romance Home to Bindarra Creek.

Today, Juanita is back with her new release Secrets at Wongan Creek. If you follow the amazon charts, this book has been whupping some serious butt lately. And no wonder. Readers fell in love with the first of the Wongan Creek Stories with Whispers at Wongan Creek and can’t wait for more. And SECRETS! Gotta love a book with secrets.

If you’re a fan of rural romance – and who isn’t? – then these books are for you. Here’s Juanita to tell you more.

 

Juanita Kees authorHi Cathryn 😊, thanks for having me on Teaser Tuesday. Hello readers.

Today I’d like to introduce you to two very special characters, Harley and Tameka. Oh, and Loki, the Catahoula Leopard Dog, who launched his way into the story unexpectedly, and became a hero in his own right.

When I started writing this book, I knew exactly who my hero would be, but the heroine remained a bit of a mystery until she was ready to tell her story. Soon it became clear that still waters really do run deep in Wongan Creek.

Tameka is a young woman struggling to hold onto her heritage while she battles archaic farming methods and a father who rules with an iron fist. Torn from Harley’s arms following a clash between their families, she’s had to learn to love him from afar. For his safety and her own.

When spray drift from Tameka’s herbicides ruins his crop, Harley has no choice but to confront the woman he’s loved his whole life and can’t have. She’s unreachable, distant, withdrawn … until an unexpected chain of events throws everything she’s ever known into question: her past, her family, her life. She and Harley have one small chance to seize happiness … if they are able to rise from the ashes and claim it.

Secrets at Wongan Creek follows on from Whispers at Wongan Creek, but can be read as a standalone story.

 

Harley pushed through the open gate in the fence between their farms. A pang of regret nudged Tameka’s heart. She missed the days when he’d come through that gate for reasons that didn’t cause a scowl on his face. When they’d been on speaking terms—on kissing terms—except on Derby Day. Back in the years when the competition between her and Harley had been about who could climb the highest in the old gum tree down by the creek or who could sow a row faster.

Secrets at Wongan Creek by Juanita KeesThe only purpose the gate served these days was when Loki nosed it open to chase the birds out of the trees around the dam, or like today, kill and bury his rope for resurrection later.

‘I’ll come down and weld that bloody gate shut.’ He stopped with his boots inches from hers, and she could smell the remnants of his shower soap and toothpaste as he called, ‘Loki, heel!’

Loki obeyed, his ice-blue gaze full of apology as he leant against Harley’s leg and begged for an ear scratch.

A pang of regret filled her heart at the way Harley stood so close, his body heat warming her personal space. There’d been a time when she could reach out and tug at his beanie or steal his scarf. Or lean up against him and kiss the spots of colour the cold morning put in his cheeks.

‘Might be best.’ She raised her eyes from his mouth to his face and caught the grim expression there, her heart sinking at the annoyance in his eyes. ‘Who stole your sunshine and rainbows this morning? I’m the one with the churned-up field.’

He whipped off his beanie, shoved it in his jacket pocket and blew out a warm, angry breath that tickled her face.

‘That’d be you, Tameka.’ He reached inside his puffer jacket, his arm brushing across her chest, and pulled out a cutting with wilted leaves. ‘Looks like we’re even over Loki’s mess because your infernal preference for phenoxies has destroyed almost my entire crop on this side of the fence line.’

 

 

Wasn’t that fab? A must-read and with lovely dogs! Grab your copy of Secrets at Wongan Creek today from:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au | amazon.co.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | Nook

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

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to another sizzling instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally con author buddies into doing the same.

(If you get the feeling you’ve read this post before, that might be the case. Some silly person accidentally hit “publish”on it a week early. I unpublished straight away but subscribers would have still received the email.)

The countdown to Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy release is ON!

Yes, only two weeks remain until Nick’s and Chrissy’s cute and funny romance hits shelves, and I’m so damn excited I keep squeaking. I also keep shoving my print proof of Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy in Jim’s face and saying, “Look… LOOK!” while he calmly (if wearily) replies, “Yes, I’ve seen it.”

That poor man, he suffers so for my art. Maybe we should get a dog so I have someone new to harass with my book releases.

Anywayyy…

This week is also conference week. I’ll be winging my way to Brisbane tomorrow for five days of hanging with my tribe at the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. I can’t wait. The RWA conference is one of my favourite events and this year it’s even more special because Santa and the Saddler is up for a Romantic Book of the Year Award (Ruby). Winners will be announced at the conference dinner on Saturday night. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Right. On to today’s teaser from Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy in which Nick is about to embarrass himself in front of Chrissy, her friends and the entire back bar of Levenham’s Australian Arms Hotel.

 

Nick stood in the shadows of the hall leading to the rear exit, watching Chrissy with her friends and wishing his stomach would stop reacting to the smell of chips that kept wafting from the pub’s kitchen. He’d been late out at the farm and it’d been hours since afternoon tea, but he’d been too nervous to eat more than a couple of dry biscuits since arriving home.

Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy by Cathryn HeinChrissy was perched on one of the vinyl-covered stools the publican kept scattered in front of the fire, along with a couple of low tables, to make the area more relaxed and lounge-like. Her body was angled towards the door leading to the front bar, and every now and then she’d glance at it before looking quickly away. Nick prayed it was him she was searching for and not some other bloke. That’d really ruin his plan.

Whatever she and her friends were talking about, it was making them animated, with waving hands and laughter and plenty of drinking. From the almost empty bottle of red wine on the coffee table, they’d been at it for a while, too. Wine had stained Chrissy’s lips a kissable red and her face was deeply flushed. She bent forward to say something and leaned back with a grin and a wink that shot straight to Nick’s stomach and made him forget all about food.

This stunt was going to make him look like a peanut, but what the hell, Chrissy was worth it. Besides, looking like a peanut was the whole point.

 

Want to know what stunt Nick pulls to impress Chrissy? You’ll have to read the book!

Secure your copy of Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy today with a pre-order from:

amazon.com | amazon.com.au |amazon.co.uk

Kobo | iBooks  | NookGoogle Play

 

Signed print copies will be available for purchase direct from me after August 22nd. Details on how to order will be in the release day newsletter. Normal print copies will be available in online stores soon.

STOP PRESS!

Print copies are available for pre-order right now from:

Booktopia

Angus and Robertson Bookworld

Bookdepository

Go get ’em!

 

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THE COUNTRY GIRL Cover Reveal

I’m thrilled to bits to show off the GORGEOUS new cover and blurb for The Country Girl, hitting stores December 18th.

I’d love to hear what you think. I adore it. It’s so bright and happy, just like the book’s heroine Tash.

The Country Girl by Cathryn Hein

 

After landing a major cookbook deal, star food blogger Tash Ranger swaps city life for the family farm. But Tash’s homecoming is bittersweet, for now she can no longer avoid seeing her best friend Maddie, who was severely injured in a riding accident and unable to communicate. No one knows that Maddie and Tash had a deep falling out and with every visit Tash must pretend to be the friend everyone believes her to be.

Patrick Lawson, Maddie’s fiancé, battles despair and hope daily as Maddie lies imprisoned in her body, gradually losing his faith in her recovery. When Tash returns to Castlereagh Road with her joy and boundless appetite for life, he realises finally what his loved ones have been trying to tell him for months – that Maddie wouldn’t want him to throw his life away. It’s time to move on. But letting go is no easy feat, especially if moving on means Tash. He’s a country boy and she is a star on the rise with ambitions that could propel her out of reach.

Can these two friends step out of the shadow of Maddie’s tragic life and accept love, or is the past forever destined to dictate their future?

 

Pre-order your copy today from:

amazon.com

amazon.com.au

amazon.co.uk

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson Bookworld

 

I can’t wait to tell you more about it. You are going to LOVE this book!

 

Favourite Reads of July 2017

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to the July instalment of My Favourite Reads.

Another excellent reading month with every book keeping me enthralled. I had a lovely Anna Campbell binge, catching up on her Dashing Widows series, and caved in to my young adult fantasy series obsession which made me very happy and wanting more. But there was also crime, horror and a terrific rural romance.

As to my favourite read… sooooo hard! Kylie Scott’s new release Trust was brilliant and I really enjoyed book 2 in Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands series, but I just LOVED…

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill by Rachel CaineBook 3 in the Great Library series.

I thought the first two books in this series were awesome (find my thoughts on those two here) but this one… wow. I devoured this story.

I love how Rachel manages to make everything go from bad to diabolical but still hooks me with a glimmer of hope that things might work out. That hope comes from the characters, who are compelling, clever, brave and, in the case of Jess, totally swoonworthy. It might be cradle-snatching on my behalf but I don’t care. He is my bookboyfriend. I love him.

This series makes me want to read everything Rachel Caine has written but if I did that I’d never have the time to catch up with my other bookloves, like…

 

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn HamiltonTraitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Ah, this series, I do adore it so. Magic and myth, vivid landscapes, monsters (both human and fantastical), trickery and warcraft, and a brave band of friends fighting for freedom.

There’s action a-plenty, along with a lovely dose of romance. But now I’ve succumbed and read book 2 instead of waiting like I’d planned, I must wait MONTHS until book 3 hits shelves. Gah!

If you’re interested in this young adult fantasy series, you’ll find what I said about book one, Rebel of the Sands, here.

Pursuing Lord Pascal by Anna CampbellPursuing Lord Pascal, Charming Sir Charles and Catching Captain Nash by Anna Campbell

Somehow I managed to get behind in my Anna Campbell reading (nothing to do with my YA fantasy obsession… much) but last month I made up for it by catching up on books 4-6 in her terrific Dashing Widows series.

Anna’s wonderfully romantic historicals always leave me feeling warm-hearted (and occasionally teary, but in a nice way) and it was great to catch up on how other characters from previous books are faring, too. Lovely reads and only 99 cents each.

Actually, if you’re quick, you can grab The Seduction of Lord Stone, Dashing Widows Book 1, for FREE at amazon.com, Kobo, iBooks and Barnes and Noble. Hurry though, limited time only.

The Horseman by Charlotte NashThe Horseman by Charlotte Nash

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book at the Australian Romance Readers Convention back in February and I’m so pleased I did. This was a wonderful, wonderful story. Beautiful setting, great characters and a suspenseful and romantic plot that will keep you riveted.

As for the horseman of the title, Craig Monroe … oh yeah!

Highly recommended.

Webcam by Jack KilbornWebcam by Jack Kilborn (JA Konrath)

Another superfast-paced techno-thriller horror from Kilborn, featuring Tom Mankowski who I first encountered in The List (which I talked about in this My Favourite Reads) and Haunted House (more in this My Favourite Reads).

I think I’ve already mentioned how brilliantly bonkers these books are. Yeah, they may not be everyone’s idea of fun – they’re pretty gory – but they’re sure mine!

Trust by Kylie ScottTrust by Kylie Scott

My second favourite read of the month. I dare you start this young adult romance and not get hooked.

The opening is tense, frightening and had me whizzing through the pages, but it’s the aftermath and how the characters deal with it, along with the friendships and family relationships, that stays with me.

The heroine and voice of the story is Edie and I fell in love with her from the beginning. She’s smart, attractive and plagued with not only the usual teenage hangups, but by the trauma she experienced in the book’s opening. It’s how she handles that which makes her special.

Loved it.

Crimson Lake by Candice FoxCrimson Lake by Candice Fox

Regular readers will know how much I raved about Fox’s Hades series (find my thoughts on Fall here) so picking up Crimson Lake was a no-brainer.

Talk about an interesting hero. Detective Ted Conkaffey is accused of the rape of a young girl, spends months in prison on remand, but is ultimately never convicted. His career and marriage over, his existence in Sydney untenable, Ted escapes to the tropics and Crimson Lake where falls into working with private investigator, and equally damaged soul, Amanda Pharrell.

A claustrophobic setting, with excellent characters, plenty of intrigue and the kind of menace that I’ve come to expect from a Candice Fox book, and what looks like an ongoing mystery to be solved. Hopefully the start of a new series!

 

What were your favourite reads of July?

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally invite author buddies to do the same.

It’s August 1st and that means two wonderful things. One, it’s only 21 days until Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy releases. Rah! Have you pre-ordered your copy? If not, secure one today by visiting amazon.com, amazon.com.au, amazon.co.uk, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble or Google Play. If you’re waiting on the print version, signed copies will be available to purchase direct from me after August 22nd (details in the release day newsletter – sign up here), or available to order from online book stores soon.

The second wonderful thing is that it’s the official birthday of the horse, at least in the southern hemisphere. If you’re out and about and spot a one of these lovely creatures, give it a pat or a carrot or blow it a kiss.

I’m going to celebrate by sharing a snippet from The Horseman’s Promise (formerly known as Promises). I love this book and am delighted that the rereleased edition is finding new readers in Australia and around the world. From the moment I started writing this book I knew it had something different, and I was right because it went on to become my first published novel.

Sophie and Aaron’s story is loaded with family drama, intense emotions and romance. But with Sophie riding event horses and Aaron being a racehorse trainer, it also has horses. Lots of them. Which is why it’s being featured on today’s Teaser Tuesday.

Here’s a snippet from Aaron’s point of view. He’s trying his hardest to not let it happen, but Sophie is getting under his skin…

 

It wasn’t only him Sophie was spoiling. Every day, the horses were favoured with a treat. Sometimes it was a bucket of carrots she’d share out before leaving for home. Other mornings she brought he Horsemans Promise by Cathryn Heinapples. The week before, Aaron had caught her feeding the horses peppermints.

The horses’ reactions to this unusual treat had her laughing so hard she’d had to grab at a rail to hold herself upright. Psycho kept raising his head in the air and curling his top lip like a randy ram that had just sniffed a ewe. Costa Mozta was leaning so far over the top rail of his yard, his rubbery lips extended and wiggling like an elephant’s nose as he tried to reach for the packet, that he was in danger of falling over. Rowdy had cocked his head to either side like a connoisseur thinking up superlatives to describe the taste, before flopping out his tongue and waggling it as if it needed airing.

Aaron had shaken his head and walked away grumbling about rotten teeth and dentist bills, but the sight of her laughing so joyously made his heart feel too big for his chest.

 

The Horseman’s Promise is available right now in ebook and print from amazon.com, amazon.com.au, amazon.co.uk, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes and Noble, Bookdepository, Booktopia, and Angus and Robertson Bookworld. Grab your copy today and be charmed!

 

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This Writing Life: Taronga Zoo

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Welcome to the latest instalment in my This Writing Life adventures. I seem to be having a few this year, and looking at my calendar there are more to come with the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Brisbane next month, along with the New South Wales Rural Women’s Gathering in Narranderra at the end of October and Scone Literary Festival in November.

A few weeks ago, Jim and I booked ourselves in for a weekend in Sydney and a trip to Taronga Zoo, and what a wonderful time we had!

It had been 23 years since we first visited the zoo. We were living in Newcastle back then, and drove down especially. No driving this time. It was buses and trains and a ferry – a far more sensible and less stressful way to get around, and ferry rides are a great way to enjoy the harbour and public transport is excellent for people watching.

Ferry ride to the zoo

Catching the ferry to the zoo.

The zoo has changed quite a bit in the intervening years. There’s now a cable car to take you from the bottom to the top and give you an aerial view of some of the enclosures. There are also new habitats that must be so much better for the animals, but are brilliant for us humans too. My absolute favourite was the squirrel monkey enclosure where you can get up close and personal with the animals. Small groups are led through the enclosure by guides while the monkeys do their monkey thing, darting around feet, gobbling fruit, and climbing all over the place. It was magical!

We were also lucky enough to see a platypus swimming around its pond, which was very cool because they’re notoriously shy and hard to spot. All it took was a bit of patience, something a lot of people didn’t have. We lost count of the number of people who walked through that enclosure, took one glance, declared it empty and moved on. If they’d stayed for a few minutes and watched carefully, they’d have seen the platypus snorkelling around too. Sadly, none of our platypus photos turned out. It was a speedy little thing and the truth is we were too enchanted watching it to bother with much happy-snapping.

We did take lots of other photos. Here’s a few for you to enjoy.

Asian elephant

Male Asian elephant. His keeper was doing log rolling and other exercises with him to keep him entertained.

Giraffe

The giraffes at Taronga have a great view

Barbary sheep

Barbary sheep

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon. Creepy things!

Snake - I think an inland taipan

I think this is an inland taipan or fierce snake, which is also the most venomous in the world. Also scarily big and not something I’d like to tread on.

Lizard resting

Snake

I wouldn’t like to tread on this one either.

Meerkats

Meerkats are cool.

Squirrel monkey

Squirrel monkey. They were adorable.

Lemurs

The lemurs were all huddled under their heat lamps, keeping warm and bonding.

Pretty duck

The mandarin ducks were stunningly coloured.

Electus parrots

Eclectus parrots. Loved how close you could get to some of the animals. This little girl could nearly touch them.

Seal talk

The seal talk was great fun.

Jumping seal

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil. We caught the last of the keeper talk and it was wonderful to learn that they’re making progress on conserving these animals after being so badly hit by Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill

Sydney view

As you can see from the view, it was a cracking winter’s day for visiting the zoo.

For more information about Taronga Zoo, check out the website. Or better still, go visit!

Hmm. This makes me think we should trip out Dubbo way and visit Western Plains Zoo again. We’ve been a few times before and it’s brilliant. Maybe on the way back from Narranderra. Ooh, now there’s a plan…

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and love to host author buddies.

You’re in for a treat today, with rural and small-town romance author Jennie Jones visiting the blog and sharing a lovely excerpt from her new release, The House on Jindalee Lane.

Many of you will already be Jennie Jones fans thanks to her hugely popular Swallow’s Fall series, which began with The House on Burra Burra Lane and continued through four more titles. Well, Jennie now has a new series: Daughters of Swallow’s Fall.

Set in a fictional small town in the Australian Snowy Mountains, Daughters of Swallow’s Fall follows the lives and loves of not only some of Swallow’s Fall much-loved characters, but those of the daughters of the main protagonists in the first series.

The House on Jindalee Lane is the first book in this new series and you are going to love it!

Here’s Jennie to tell you more about it and let you sample some the fun you’ll have with this story.

 

Author Jennie JonesHi Cathryn! It’s lovely to be back on Teaser Tuesday. The House on Jindalee Lane was released yesterday, which is hugely exciting for me. It’s the first book in a second series of small-town stories (with romance, of course) set in my fictional town in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

“Swallow’s Fall. Where anything can happen, and usually does!”.

This story features Edie Granger, theatre actress forced to return home due to some trouble from a big-time producer, and Ryan Munroe, ex-commando and Edie’s childhood friend—but that friendship was ruined three years ago when they had a try-out kiss that went disastrously wrong. While she’s home, Edie opens a small theatre in the barn at the back of her house. But suddenly, the comedy elements in her play start happening for real—and they’re not funny.

Will Edie and Ryan make it to the curtain call? And will the actress and the soldier ever learn to understand each other?

 

Ryan didn’t flinch when Edie tossed her head back. Much as he was loath to acknowledge it, he was bewitched when she did the hair-fling thing. She reminded him of an old movie actress in some black-and-white film he’d watched with her one time. Rita somebody. Sitting at her dressing table. Camera zooms in just as she’s throwing back a head of long, glossy hair. Edie Granger—total pain in his heart and Rita Somebody lookalike.

The House on Jindalee Lane‘So will you be the stage manager?’ she asked again. ‘Please, Ryan.’

He ought to phase her out of his life and the best way to do that was to pack up and move on. But he’d made a promise to Ethan.

‘All right. What’s the scope of the job?’

Her smile of thanks made his heart swell.

‘You’d have to take—’ She paused. ‘Directions from me.’

He raised an eyebrow. ‘You mean orders.’

She sucked in her cheeks to halt her grin.

He held his ground and kept his gaze steady. Christ, he’d do anything for her. Good job she didn’t know that.

‘You’re looking at me weirdly,’ she said. ‘What’s happened to you?’

‘I’ve been living with you for eleven days,’ he said in a neutral tone. ‘What did you expect would happen to me?’

‘Oh, ha ha,’ she said with a light in her eyes. ‘Has anyone ever told you how unamusing you are?’

‘Only you and a few Afghanistan insurgents, Glam-puss.’

 

See? Told you this story would be fun and you need a copy right now, oh yes you do!

For instant gratification, download the ebook of The House on Jindalee Lane from amazon.com, amazon.com.au, Kobo, iBooks or Google Play. For the print version, try your beloved local bookseller or chain store, Booktopia, or Angus and Robertson Bookworld.

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

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to the tasty titbit that is Teaser Tuesday! (I nearly typed Friday Feast there, a series that long-term followers will recognise, but which finished up a few years ago and was VERY COOL). Anyway, TT is where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally sucker writing buddies into doing the same.

Today I delighted to host Alli Sinclair on the blog. Alli and I share the same publisher, which is why she has amaaaaazeballs covers (and excellent books). As a very well-travelled lady, it makes sense that her stories are filled with adventure, excitement and, of course, romance. She loves sexy guys with sexy accents (don’t we all… sigh), exploring the world’s amazing cultures, and dancing.

Alli’s latest release is Beneath the Parisian Skies, a sweeping saga about love, truth, grief and passion–and what it takes to fulfil a dream, and it looks and sounds beautiful. And today you have the great fortune of reading a special scene from the book.

Make sure you read to the bottom because you could discover a way to get your hands on a FREE prequel to Beneath the Parisian Skies!

Here’s Alli.

 

Author Alli SinclairThis excerpt takes place in the present-day story, between Yves and Lily. They’ve already met twice and even though she doesn’t believe in muses, Yves is convinced her presence inspires him and will help him finish the ballet score he’s writing. She’s been trying to distance herself from ballet since quitting two years prior. Yves opens up the scene:

 

‘I understand. Not everyone is like me and will talk about their life to strangers. Although, we have met more than twice so that makes us acquaintances now.’ He grinned and dabbed his mouth with a serviette. ‘Do you mind if I have one more thing to say about Natalie? Then we change the subject.’

‘Sure,’ she said, figuring Yves wouldn’t let up. And even though Lily hardly knew him, she enjoyed his warmth and friendliness.

‘I overheard Natalie say you are wasting your life and she does not want you in hers.’

Her fingers turned ice cold. ‘You heard that?’

‘I am sorry but it is impossible to switch off ears, yes? Plus, you two were yelling.’

‘Was it really loud?’

That chunk of hair fell over his eye again and she resisted the urge to lean over and gently brush it away. ‘You were not too loud but using my ears is part of my job and I can hear even the softest sound.’

Beneath the Parisian Skies by Alli Sinclair‘Your neighbours must hate you.’

His laugh spurred her to join in. ‘Luckily, they travel a lot. Back to you and your sister, though; why does she think you are wasting your time?’

‘Long story.’ Such a long, long story.

‘You are hard to get to know, Lily Johansson.’

‘Sorry. It’s just I’ve spent a lot of time alone recently and I’m not used to deep conversations.’ She placed her elbows on the table and placed her forehead on her hands. ‘God, that sounds pathetic. I’m not a social leper, I promise.’

‘You are having some troubles, that is all.’

‘Wish it was only some,’ she mumbled.

‘Do you want to be out of Natalie’s life?’

‘She’s always been melodramatic.’ Once more, Lily didn’t properly answer.

‘I understand your sister well enough to know that what is normal for most people is a big drama for Natalie.’ He drummed his fingers on the tablecloth. ‘I believe I can help you.’

‘How?’ She leaned forward, trying to suppress the rising hope.

‘I am one of the few people Natalie will listen to. I don’t know why but it is so.’

Lily knew exactly why her sister would pay attention to what Yves said—his charm, openness, and ridiculously good looks for starters.

‘She is dancing as understudy in the current ballet for Bohème but will be auditioning for Turning Pointe. This means my score must be completely finished very, very soon.’ She nodded for him to continue, not sure where he was headed. ‘So I have a proposal for you.’

‘Dare I ask?’ Heat flushed across her face.

‘I will smooth the way for Natalie to listen to you.’

‘Good luck on that.’

‘I do not make a promise unless I can keep it. I will get your sister to listen but I cannot guarantee her reaction.’ He leaned back against the chair. ‘In return, I will have the pleasure of your company while I put the finishing touches on Turning Pointe.’

Lily’s mouth dropped open then she quickly closed it. Of course Yves Rousseau was too good to be true. For a moment he’d convinced her he wasn’t the peculiar composer she’d met in the park yet here he was, spouting ridiculous proposals once again.

‘I’m not your muse.’

‘Maybe we should not use that word.’

‘You were happy to call me that when you grabbed me the other day.’ She scraped her chair against the stone, ready to make a hasty exit.

‘And I apologise.’ He held his hand over his heart. ‘I get carried away at times, just like your sister.’

‘Hmmm.’

‘I’ll be honest and tell you I am desperate. The ballet company hired me in good faith to deliver this ballet but I am stuck. It is written but it is not to the point where I am fully happy. It does not have …’ He waved his hand in the air as if trying to grasp the right word. ‘Zest. Passion. Je ne sais quoi. But the two times I have seen you in the park the spark returned. And now that I have seen you today …’ he pushed out a long, low whistle, ‘I am inspired again.’

‘Muses don’t exist. They’re just used by artists as an excuse not to work.’

‘Are you always this cynical?’

‘No.’ At least, she hadn’t always been like this. She used to be a glass is half full kinda gal but since Aiden’s death her demeanour and view on life had changed. She’d struggled with it every day but just couldn’t be the person she once was.

Yves said, ‘I shall call you my inspirationist.’

‘Your what?’

‘Inspirationist.’ His lips twitched then broke into a wide smile. ‘Deal?’

‘I don’t know.’ Although, she couldn’t see another way to achieve her goal. She had to get to the bottom of Natalie’s behaviour and if she had to sacrifice a few hours with an odd composer then so be it.

‘Fine.’ She crossed her arms.

‘Are you saying yes?’ His wide eyes sparkled.

‘Yes.’

‘Excellent! And so we begin Project Inspiration.’

 

Beneath the Parisian Skies is available now from your favourite bookstore, in print and ebook. Try Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, amazon.com, amazon.com.au, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play or your preferred retailer.

Parisian Dreams by Alli SinclairNow, as mentioned at the start, there’s a freebie. And don’t we adore those! Grab your ebook copy of Parisian Dreams, the prequel to Beneath the Parisian Skies, for free from amazon.com, amazon.com.auiBooks, Kobo, Google Play. The perfect way to try one of Alli’s books and ease you into Beneath the Parisian Skies.

Go get ‘em!

If you’d like to learn more about Alli and her stories, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @allisinclair and Instagram using alli_sinclair.

not easy to abandon dreams - meme

 

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Favourite Reads of June 2017

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to another edition of My Favourite Reads, a bit late this month thanks to Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy excitement.

My reads for June were the usual eclectic mix, ranging from crime to fantasy and horror to pure romance. After previous failures, I again tried to read books that had been languishing on my to-be-read list for a while, and it sort of worked. I managed to get through three until some lovely new releases caught my eye and had me hitting the ‘buy’ button.

What was my favourite? This one!

Origin by JA Konrath

Origin by JA KonrathAbsolutely nuts but HUGE fun. I adore books like this. They’re completely over the top in terms of plot but the pacing is so fast and the characters so cool, that I can’t put them down. Entertainment by the bucketload.

Okay, I admit Origin might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s horror. Well, horror combined with techno-thrills but it also came with lots of laughs and even a smidgen of romance.

A linguist is sent to a secret military compound buried under the desert where a hibernating demon that may or may not be Satan has been kept secure for years. Now, the demon has woken up and Andrew Dennison is coerced into acting as its translator. As with all good horror-thrillers, things soon go very, very wrong.

I enjoyed this so much that I immediately bought and read another Konrath book – see below.

 

Haunted House by Jack KilbornHaunted House by Jack Kilborn

Jack Kilborn is one of JA Konrath’s aliases. Some of you might recall that I read Konrath’s The List a few months ago. Well, Haunted House has some of the characters from that as well as one of the characters from Origin, so this was like playing with old friends.

Haunted House was as brilliantly bonkers as Origin and The List. Fast, funny, gory and weirdly hopeful. I’ll be reading more.

 

Last Breath by Robert BryndzaLast Breath by Robert Brydnza

I’m really enjoying this Detective Erica Foster series. I’ve read all of them so far and the characters and mystery never let me down. Last Breath proved no different and was another excellent crime novel from Bryndza, who is pretty much auto-buy for me now.

Am very curious to see how Erica fares in the next book. Is she softening a little? Can’t wait to find out!

 

Reckless by Amanda QuickReckless by Amanda Quick

Impulsive but clever Phoebe Layton is convinced Gabriel Banner is a latter-day Lancelot, and seeks his help to discover the killer of a man whose death she carries on her shoulders. But Phoebe has no idea that Gabriel plans to take revenge on her family for ruining him years before.

A gorgeous historical romance. I really need to read more Amanda Quick. Her books are lovely.

 

The Apothecary’s Poison by CJ ArcherThe Apothecary’s Poison by CJ Archer

The Glass and Steels series continues to get better and better. Loaded with intrigue, magic and romance, these are great comfort reads.

This one ended on a terrific hook that has me itching for the next. Fortunately, there’s not a long wait with The Magician’s Diary releasing in September. Yay!

 

Foxglove Summer by Ben AaronovitchFoxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

This was a nice return to form for Aaronovitch after Broken Homes, which I thought was okay but nowhere near as good as the previous books in the series.

Foxglove Summer was fun though, with Peter Grant being sent to the English countryside to investigate the disappearance of some children. Great characters in this one.

 

The Queen and the Cure by Amy HarmonThe Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

This is the follow-on book to The Bird and the Sword which I adored (read what I thought of it here) and The Queen and the Cure didn’t disappoint. It was nice to see Kjell fall in love – I liked him so much in first book – but finding happiness was never going to be easy. Mind you, I never expected it to be this hard for him either. The poor man!

Wonderful read. I still have Harmon’s From Sand and Ash and A Different Blue on my to-be-read pile and probably should have read one of those, but I could resist re-entering the world of Jeru again. I hope there’ll be more of these. Harmon’s writing is beautiful and the romance, characters and world-building are outstanding.

 

What were your favourite reads of June?

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday 2017 logoWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress.

Ooh, last week was exciting. Seeing Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy up for pre-order in ebookstores was such a thrill. I can’t wait for you to read this book. Nick and Chrissy’s story was a delight to write and I had a ball coming up with ways for Nick to embarrass himself as he did all he could to win Chrissy’s heart.

Review copies are making their way out and already Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy has scored a fabulous five-star review on Goodreads from Talking Books Blog who says:

“The family, mateship and friendships depicted between the characters were outstanding reading. So too, the noteable quick one liners and the friendly banter along with the actions that went with said banter by each of the characters, was completely attention grabbing… From the start I could not put this book down. Chrissy And The Burroughs Boy by Cathryn Hein is a story to look out for in a series not to be missed.”

Rah!

An excellent excuse to share a teaser from the book. This is from an early scene after Nick has seen off the drunk who was harassing Chrissy.

 

Nick followed as she stepped out, casting an appreciative gaze over her bum as he Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy by Cathryn Heinprobed his soupy brain for who she could be. She wasn’t the kind of girl he’d forget in a hurry, yet he was stuffed if he could place her. It was clear she knew him though.

‘How did you know my name?’

‘Everyone knows the Burroughs boys.’

Nick blinked. This was news. Sure, he’d had his photo in the paper a few times for footy, but that didn’t mean anything.

‘They do?’

‘Of course.’

‘Huh. How ’bout that.’

Suddenly the girl whirled around, causing Nick, who’d been admiring her bum again, to almost crash into her. ‘You haven’t got a clue who I am, have you?’

 

Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy releases on August 22nd. Secure your copy today!

amazon.comamazon.com.au |amazon.co.uk

Kobo | iBooks  | Nook| Google Play

 

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