Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally sucker writing buddies into doing the same.
My apologies for missing last week’s edition. Easter was all going nicely until Sunday night when I was smacked flat by a nasty lurgy that left me barely able to get out of bed let alone capable of doing up a blog post. A week later and I’m still a tad wobbly, so please excuse any errors.
But enough of horrible illnesses. We’re here for some teasing and today I have a beeeooooty for you.
Fiona McArthur is a much-loved Australian author of over 30 Mills and Boon medical romances, along with rural romance, contemporary women’s fiction and non-fiction. You probably know Fiona from recent releases like The Homestead Girls, Red Sand Sunrise, Heart of the Sky and The Baby Doctor.
Last week, a new story hit shelves – Mother’s Day. Here’s Fiona to tell you about it and share an extra juicy excerpt.
Make sure you read right to the end, because there could be a GIVEAWAY!
Hello there Cathryn and thanks so much for having me on Tuesday Teaser.
I’m pretty darn excited about this book, aptly called Mother’s Day, and the book holds so many of the things I love – like babies, pregnancy, feisty small town midwife and a hunky city doctor who had no idea he had a teenage daughter or what she was capable of. And there’s some sparks left right and centre with her midwife too. There was a lot of fun to be had in this book, mostly because Jacinta’s dad was about to be surrounded by women, not just his new daughter, and he was outgunned.
I hope readers love MOTHER’S DAY as much as I do.
This excerpt comes after Jacinta meets her father for the first time and he offers her a safer place than the dodgy drug-traffickers apartment in Kings Cross to wait for her baby to be born.
…Thirty minutes later Jacinta stood in the centre of a formal lounge room overlooking Sydney Harbour, while her brain scrambled for a frame of reference.
She had a father.
Unable to stand still, she walked with agitation across to the huge windows to grip the windowsill.
She stared blindly out at the Harbour Bridge from a vantage point so close it felt like she could reach out and touch the metal of the structure. But what she wanted to touch was the folded letter in her pocket.
Her eyes blurred until the green Sydney ferries and even the tall ship with waves creaming off its sides passed unnoticed.
The letter. She could recite what her mother had written, the words burned into her brain.
Jacinta is your child. For the last sixteen years, I’ve managed without you – but it’s different now. I’m not well and I’m worried about her care if anything happens to me.
Her mother had suspected she’d die. And she hadn’t told Jacinta.
Jacinta turned back to Iain McCloud. He’d been watching her, but when she returned the scrutiny he shifted his gaze to the envelope that had carried the missive. It lay on the coffee table between them crossed with address changes.
It wasn’t his fault that he hadn’t received it right away. It was nobody’s fault. Except now, he knew about her and he’d come. Too late to save her mum.
‘I wish your mother had told me. I would have been there for you both,’ he said, his voice a quieter version now.
She didn’t trust him. She didn’t trust anybody.
Jacinta scoffed. ‘Sure you would. You probably don’t even remember her.’ She watched him wince with some satisfaction.
‘I remember Adele,’ he said almost fiercely.
With no small degree of shock, Jacinta realised that her voice changed like that when she felt strongly about something. It was weird to hear it come from someone else.
‘I remember the summer it must have happened,’ he went on.
Then he looked at her and again she could see how much he wanted her to believe him. Maybe deep down she did, but she wasn’t telling him that. No way.
‘Adele was older than me,’ he said. ‘I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.’
Jacinta flinched, but he didn’t see it. She suspected he didn’t see anything in this room as he lost himself in the past.
‘Not at the end she wasn’t,’ Jacinta muttered. Her mother’s years of hard work and illness had been etched on her face.
His gaze shifted to hers. ‘And I want to know that, too. But we have a little time.’
She saw him look at the swell of her belly.
He didn’t say, ‘before the baby’, but she knew he was thinking it. The pregnancy had been a shock for him when the door had opened.
It had been a shock for Jacinta when she’d first found out, too.
Nick the Nasty had pushed her backwards by her little bulge when he’d realised it was there. ‘You’re pregnant!’
As if she’d done it all by herself to spite him. And she’d looked down and realised it was true.
Then he’d said scornfully, ‘Get yourself fixed before it gets any bigger. Or get out.’ And she’d cupped her stomach and run away.
She pulled herself back to the present. Back to the posh room with its expensive harbour view and the man who was supposed to be dead. She watched him run his hand through his tousled hair. Not so immaculate now, are you, buddy?
He was watching her again. ‘Let me support you, at least until your baby’s born. I’m offering a safe place for both of you at a time when you’re vulnerable. Your baby is vulnerable.’
And that was the heart of it.
She couldn’t afford to turn him down. Pedro had been skirting the back door of a paddy wagon for a while now and he could go any time. Then she definitely wouldn’t be safe. Not with his friends. Not with the other drug dealers.
Her baby wouldn’t be safe.
‘You look like her,’ he said softly as his eyes stared through her again.
Jacinta turned her head and dispassionately studied her face in the big gold-framed mirror hanging over the marble fireplace. She looked crumpled, her hair dull and her cheeks prominent in her thin face. Maybe she had her mother’s nose. What she couldn’t dispute was she had this guy’s eyes and eyebrows.
Her hair was light brown, almost blonde like her mother’s, but her eyebrows were two dark slashes across her forehead. She’d always wondered where her dark brows had come from. She guessed she should be glad he didn’t have a monobrow.
This was all too much to take in.
Then he said something that made her stare. ‘What’s ironic is that I was the same age as you are now. But I lied to her and told her I was twenty.’
He laughed bitterly. ‘I would have told her anything to make her see me as a man and not a boy. I was so infatuated with her.’
He went on and she turned back to look at this man who evidently did know her mother. Someone who had memories of her when she was young – times Jacinta knew nothing about.
‘Until the day she changed.’ His voice altered. Flattened. ‘When she sent me away.’ He looked at her. ‘Apparently to hide you.’
Jacinta shrugged. ‘Why would she do that? Unless she was scared of you?’ Maybe he was meaner than he looked.
He laughed, but it was an odd, humourless noise. ‘I was the puppy and she was the mistress. I would have done anything for her. But she always said she was too old for me, that I had my life ahead of me. And she chose to exclude me from your life. I wish I knew why.’
He didn’t look like a puppy now. More like a big, square- shouldered guard dog, staring her down. Pretty sure of himself, all decked out in his silk tie. It did put her at a disadvantage to be smelling like Kings Cross and dressed in a grubby man’s shirt, with a pair of old bike pants stretched over her belly.
Survival kicked in. If he was her dad, he owed her – and she’d make him pay. ‘You got a shirt I can wear? I need a shower.’
‘A shirt, please.’ He raised one of those dark brows.
She raised her left brow to mimic him. ‘Spare me,’ she said. She didn’t do submissive.
To her surprise he laughed. Like Pedro had.
Doesn’t that sound brilliant? As Fiona said in her intro, lots of sparks.
You can purchase Mother’s Day right now from you favourite book retailer, or online in ebook and print from:
Booktopia | Dymocks | Bookdepository
Amazon.com | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.uk
iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
And now, as hinted, here’s a lovely…
To be in the draw to win a copy of Mother’s Day, share a special mothering figure in your life.
I’m going to nominate my late grandmother, who very patiently taught me to cook and sew, and told me a few facts of womanly life when I asked (poor Mum was very upset that I’d asked Nanny and not her, but it was just a timing thing). I’ll never forget those afternoons. They were lovely.
So who is your special mothering figure? Share and you could win a paperback copy of Fiona’s beautiful new release, Mother’s Day.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Saturday. 14th April 2018. Open internationally. Rah!
If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her stories, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook.