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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Teaser Tuesday!

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

Did you pick up any Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargains? I didn’t, but I can’t say I looked that hard. We have too much stuff for our little house as it is. I did get presents, though! Friend and fellow author D. B. Tait (Cold Deception, Desperate Deception, Festive Deception) came to visit and bought me some beautifully scented thyme, which I’ve now planted out. The orange thyme in particular smells divine. I’m thinking I could try that with fish, chicken or duck, or maybe add a few leaves to an orange and polenta syrup cake for a bit of extra zing.

What better lead-in for The Country Girl than recipe talk? Its heroine Tash is not only a fabulous cook and famous food blogger, she’s also a gorgeous person. She’s big-hearted, brave, enormous fun to be with and as irresistible as her cooking. No wonder The Country Girl’s hero Patrick falls for her. I would!

Here’s a snippet where Patrick is feeling a bit low and decides to call on Tash.

 

He drove up Castlereagh Road with his fists tight around the wheel and his mood spoiled. The sight of Tash’s flat with its cheerily smoking chimney was like a siren call to his longing. If anyone could restore his humour, it’d be Tash.

She didn’t fail him. Patrick found her in her kitchen, dressed in a baggy pink-and-white rabbit onesie complete with floppy ears and paws. For an unsexy outfit, it was The Country Girl by Cathryn Heinstrangely arousing. Not that that was unusual. His hormones were so out of control these days Tash could have worn a hessian sack and he’d probably be turned on.

‘Interesting,’ he said.

She presented her bum and wiggled, showing off a large fluffy tail. ‘Like it?’

‘Very cute.’

‘I bought it for a party ages ago. I didn’t feel like writing so I thought I’d make Italian Easter bread and film it instead.’

‘In a rabbit onesie?’

‘Why not a rabbit onesie? It’s Easter Bunny time!’

 

To celebrate this scene, I created a video of me wearing a pink rabbit onesie and cooking one of Tash’s recipes. Not the Easter bread – far too hard! – but delicious Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes with Currants Soaked in Sherry. You’ll find the video and the full recipe on Cooking The Country Girl.

Cooking The Country Girl!

The Country Girl is available for purchase in paperback and ebook from your favourite stores. Or try these retailers:

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

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson Bookworld

If you’d like to learn more about The Country Girl, please visit its Book page on this website. Hankering for news on my next release? Newsletter subscribers get all the news and other goodies first. Join the cool readers here.

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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 occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.

Newcastle is in rev-head mode. The V8 Supercars Championship hits town this week and with an anticipated 150,000 visitors arriving the place will be rocking. Not my thing but even I have to admit the track makes for some spectacular images of Newcastle. The circuit runs through historic Newcastle East, and includes slides past Newcastle and Nobbys Beaches and a pit straight that runs parallel to the harbour.

Spectacular indeed but also where we walk each morning and, come Wednesday, won’t be so easy to access. That’s okay. We’ll simply swap our trundle to further down the coast. As they say, a change is as good as a holiday and I’ll get to swap hellos with new morning walkers and joggers. Fingers crossed for dolphins, seals and whales too. Spotting any one of those makes my day.

Which leads me to… um… nothing book-related at all!

So lets have a snippet from my romantic adventure The French Prize in which its hero, the very staid and stoic Raimund, surprises the heroine Olivia with a moment of levity.

In a car.

Well, lookie at that. I managed to relate it back to the Supercars after all. *claps self on back*

Enjoy!

 

Aix-en-Provence was bustling with produce-laden locals. Thursday was one of the main market days and Olivia knew finding a park would be nigh on impossible.

The French Prize by Cathryn HeinRaimund crawled around the périphérique, his eyes sweeping the side streets for a parking place. After two unproductive laps, one appeared near the end of Rue d’Italie, a short walk from the museum. Olivia watched in envy as he manoeuvred the car into a park into which she would have had to have been lifted by crane.

The day before, with the assistance of a retired Legionnaire who owed him several favours, he had returned the Clio to the gîte and retrieved another car from a property near Narbonne. The car, he had explained on the drive into Aix, was registered under the name of yet another indebted ex-soldier, which he hoped would prove difficult to link to him.

She had pointed out that the make was disguise enough. No sane person would expect a man of his height to drive a tiny Peugeot coupé-convertible. With the roof up, Raimund had to hunch over to drive.

But it is sexy, non?’ he had said, his French accent deliberately emphasised.

 

Grab your copy of The French Prize today, available in print and ebook from your favourite retailers, including:

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

KoboiBooks | Google Play

If you’d like to learn more about The French Prize or read how I came to write the novel, please visit its book page on this website.

Remember to join my newsletter to keep up to date with new releases and have access to other goodies.

 

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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 occasionally con unsuspecting author friends into doing the same. Like today.

Read on

It’s been hot!

I’ve actually had to break out shorts from my wardrobe. Nice for me, not so nice for the unsuspecting populace of Newcastle who’ve been blinded by my lily-whites. We Heins don’t really do tans. We’re too fair and freckly and prone to painful sunburn, and I usually don’t venture outside without first slathering on sunscreen and donning a hat. Which gives me the excuse to buy hats. Lots of hats.

But enough about hats. We’re here to talk dresses!

Well, one dress in particular. And it’s a very special dress with a story. A story by none other than Rachael Johns so you know it’s going to be a cracker.

Four women, one dress, and the secret that binds them all

That’s the tag for Rachael’s brand-new release Lost Without You, and she’s here today to share a little about the book and treat you to a peek inside.

Please give Rachael a warm Teaser Tuesday welcome!

 

Author Rachael JohnsARGH – it’s always so hard to choose an extract for Cathryn’s fab Teaser Tuesday because all the juicy ones contain spoilers… but I did my best. LOST WITHOUT YOU is at its core a story about family and how keeping secrets from those close to you can have an impact on your relationships and so I’ve decided to give you an insight into Rebecca’s secret.

Rebecca is one of four main characters and in many ways, she is the link between them all…

Happy reading! X Rach

 

As Molly twirled three times like she always did before a snooze and then settled herself down in her favourite spot in front of the bed , Rebecca glanced at the closed door, praying Hugh would respect her request for privacy. Then, taking a deep breath, her hands shaking ridiculously, she went into their walk-in robe, stretched up high on her tippy-toes and pulled down a box she’d labeled ‘Old Music Notebooks.’ Neither Hugh nor Paige shared her love of music and so they would never think to pry into this box. Besides, it wasn’t a lie – the box did contain her old journals, but, right at the bottom, it also housed a whole load of mix-tapes leftover from her teenage years, letters, and something even more precious to her than them.

She took the box over to the bed and her breath caught in her throat as she lifted the lid. What if the photo was gone? There was no reason why it should be but suddenly the fear felt real. Without care, she lifted the notebooks that were at the top and flung them on the bed beside her, then rifled through the rest of the box, resisting the urge to look at the tapes from her high Lost Without You by Rachael Johnsschool boyfriend – she should have thrown them away years ago. Finally, she found what she was looking for, the old journal filled with the angst-ridden songs she’d written as a teenager. They were all dismal – singing was her skill, not song-writing – but she’d put her heart and soul into them anyway. Ignoring the R&R Forever scratched into the front cover in her flowery adolescent handwriting, she flicked straight to the end.

And there it was.

There he was – tiny and perfect, a bald-headed angel looking up at her with big blue innocent eyes. Well, not at her, she’d never got that close to him; he’d been looking up at whoever took the photograph and she didn’t know who that was. Maybe a nurse. She certainly couldn’t imagine her mother would have done so.

Tears prickled Rebecca’s eyes as she touched a finger to the photo. She let out a long slow breath., one she felt like she’d been holding since she’d thought of this photo in the hospital two weeks ago. This little boy had never been far from her mind these last thirty-five years, but she’d kept him in a box and kept that box buried deep in her heart. Yet now, having come face-to-face with her own mortality, everything felt like it had changed. Now it was like her long-lost son was actually in that box and that he was knocking on the lid, trying to push it open and get her attention.

Pain throbbed in her forehead and she forced deep breaths in and out, unsure whether her sudden breathlessness was because she was having a panic attack or if it was a symptom of her blasted kidney disease. Either way, this photo couldn’t stay here, in the house, where it could so easily be found by someone looking for something else.

But what could she do with it? She didn’t trust her parents not to ‘lose’ it and besides, her dad hadn’t been in the best of health lately either; she didn’t want to put anything else on them.

Did banks still rent out safe boxes? Rebecca wasn’t sure if they were actually a thing or if it was just something used in the movies. She could ask Hugh – he always knew stuff like that – but of course then he’d want to know why she needed one. Google! The answer landed in her head and she went to grab her mobile only to realise her handbag was still out in the hallway where she’d dumped it when she’d dropped down to hug Molly.

Bugger. Why did everything have to be so hard?

 

Lost Without You is gathering brilliant reviews everywhere and making a lot of readers very happy. Which means you deserve a copy of your own, oh yes you do, and thanks to the internet instant gratification can be yours.

Purchase Lost Without You in paperback and ebook from these stores now.

Booktopia | Dymocks

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

By the way, those good folk at Booktopia have signed copies of Lost Without You available for purchase but they won’t last long. If you’d prefer one of those, grab it today!

If you’d like to learn more about Rachael and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter using @RachaelJohns, Goodreads and Instagram.

Read a longer excerpt of Lost Without You here.

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My Favourite Reads of October 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads for October.

An eclectic list of reads this month, ranging from horror to murder-mystery, time-travel and historical fiction.

Once again I found myself stumped over my favourite book for the month. Usually I do my best to choose but today I’m going to sit on the fence. They were all enjoyable reads. Whether they’ll be as enjoyable for you remains to be seen!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi TaylorJust One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

What a blast of a book! Number 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and totally bonkers but oh so much fun.

While not quite the same, Just One Damned Thing After Another reminded me a lot of The Extracted Trilogy by RR Haywood, which I also adored (and wrote about here). It has that same wonderfully madcap feel.

Expect adventure, history, infighting, outfighting, a touch of romance, eccentric characters, double-crossing, nutty situations and huge doses of humour.

Book 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and if you love this one, there are plenty more to keep you going.

Darkbound by Michaelbrent CollingsDarkbound by Michaelbrent Collings

Darkbound is horror with a capital H. Six people get on a New York subway train but it soon becomes clear this isn’t any normal train and these sure aren’t normal people.

I really enjoyed Collings book The Deep (which I talked about here). It was fast-paced and fun, a fab combination of horror and humour, and excellent characterisation. Darkbound had its darkly humorous moments and great characters but focused more on the violence and gore. Not scary as such but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The Word is Murder by Anthony HorowitzThe Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Gah! I’m still on the fence with this one, which surprises me because I’ve loved Horowitz’s previous novels, especially his Sherlock Holmes books House of Silk and Moriarty.

Horowitz writes intriguing murders, as you’d expect from someone who created Foyle’s War and has written for Midsummer Murders, and he’s created another beauty here with the She planned her own funeral, but did she arrange her murder? premise. But The Word is Murder was strange in that Horowitz inserts himself as the main character and narrator. I found that aspect both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because I was intrigued by the idea and process from an author-y point of view, and frustrating because I didn’t like either the Horowitz character or Hawthorne, the detective he was following. Not liking the detective was fine but to not like Horowitz felt completely wrong!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate MortonThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Morton has been an auto-buy author for me since her debut title The Shifting Fog (aka The House at Riverton). Naturally I snapped up The Clockmaker’s Daughter on release.

It’s another lovely fat book full of history, romance, intrigue and gorgeous writing. Morton is a master at creating atmosphere, especially the slightly creepy gothic feel I adore. There’s a lot going on in The Clockmaker’s Daughter, with multiple points of view told across multiple time settings, and several times I was left wondering how she would pull all the threads together. I knew she would, though. She’s Kate Morton!

Fab read but The Shifting Fog and The Distant Hours remain my favourites.

Greenlight by Benjamin StevensonGreenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

Regular My Favourite Reads readers know I’m partial to an Aussie crime novel or two. Even better, Greenlight is set in Hunter Valley wine country. How could a girl possibly resist? News has it that Greenlight has also sold into the US and UK, and is attracting a lot of attention from film and producers. I can understand why. This has hookiness written into its DNA and would make a cracking film or TV series.

Think thriller/crime with lots of plot twists and featuring a flawed hero who has an interesting personal story of his own. With its true-crime podcast/tv show hook, Greenlight’s premise is smack in the moment.

Playing By Her Rules by Amy AndrewsPlaying By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Like every other Amy Andrews book I’ve read, this was a blast. Playing By Her Rules is a lovers reunited story featuring two very sexy, sassy and smart lead characters who spark off each other from the get-go. And the hero is a professional rugby player with a body that the heroine wants to lick harder than the world’s best icecream. We’re talking swoonland, my darlings. Swoonland.

The dialogue is fabulous, the sizzling slow-burn of Tanner and Matilda’s relationship delicious. Romance, fun and with plenty of awesomely written action and it’s not all on field. Oh, and the opening scene with the panties is brilliant.

The first in the six-book Sydney Smoke Rugby series. You’ll want them all.

What reads did you enjoy in October?

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

Have Christmas decorations popped up where you are? They’re certainly starting to colonise Newcastle. There are lights galore and the shops are a-glitter with tinsel, reindeer, snow and bearded Santas in heavy costumes. Poor things. Even in the air-con they must be sweating.

You know what else Christmas means?

Another gorgeous story from historical romance author Anna Campbell!

I so look forward to Anna’s Christmas tales. They’re heart-warming and lovely and her latest – The Laird’s Christmas Kiss which landed on my Kindle last week thanks to a nifty pre-order – sounds absolutely gorgeous. Just the thing to get into the Christmas spirit.

Here’s Anna to tell you more about The Laird’s Christmas Kiss. Make sure you read to the end because there could be a GIVEAWAY!

 

Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn and all the Teaser Tuesday aficionados!

Thank you for having me back again as a guest. Today I’m going to talk about The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, which is book 2 in my The Lairds Most Likely series.

Did you have a teenage crush? Shy, bookish Elspeth Douglas, my heroine in The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, has been mad about dashing Brody Girvan, Laird of Invermackie, since she was 15. Now she’s 20 and smart enough to know that Brody is never going to notice her, so she makes a solemn vow that she’s not going to love him anymore.

The irony is that her decision makes her much more outspoken and inclined to step out of the shadows, and Brody, who is tired of being the life of the party, realizes that his friend Hamish’s sister is pretty and funny and sweet. Everything gets even more complicated when the rake develops honorable intentions and the innocent miss decides that a brief no-strings flirtation at a house party will be fun. There’s a makeover, plenty of Christmas cheer, interfering relatives, a scandal, and a crate of imported mistletoe to launch the high jinks in fine style. I hope you enjoy this Christmas comedy of crossed wires and sigh with satisfaction when Brody and Elspeth finally discover that they’re talking the same language – and it’s the language of love!

So here’s my teaser. The Douglas and Mackinnon families and their various connections have gathered at Fergus’s castle in the Western Highlands to celebrate Christmas. This scene takes place early in the story when Elspeth and Brody waltz together for the first time.

 

Achnasheen, Scottish Highlands, December 1818

Elspeth sent him a repressive glance. “Brody, don’t waste your time flirting with me. I’m frightfully dull.”

He laughed, and she saw Diarmid shoot them a disapproving look. Then she caught Marina’s eye. Marina didn’t look disapproving at all.

The Laird's Christmas Kiss by Anna CampbellBrody’s sensual lips lifted in a sardonic curl. “I’m not wasting my time, you strange and enchanting lassie.”

For a moment, the room vanished, and all she saw was that dark, striking face with its brilliant green eyes and commanding blade of a nose. Then she remembered that she’d vowed to be sensible when it came to this man. “You’re trying to turn my head.”

He arched one black eyebrow. “Am I succeeding?”

“No,” she said, although even now, she wasn’t sure about that. “There must be better targets for all this charm.”

He was still smiling down at her as if he really was enchanted. “You think I’m charming?”

This onslaught of masculine interest was all too heady for her. And unfair. Not to mention a little cruel. Because while Elspeth might have banished her ludicrous adolescent tendre for him, she wasn’t immune to his appeal. And every minute proved that she’d aimed way above her touch when she’d set her sights on him.

Resentment sneaked out to color her response. “Does it matter what I think, when you’re so convinced yourself?”

He looked startled and for a moment, she caught a hint of what might be injured feelings. Then his eyes sharpened in a way that sent a chill of disquiet rushing down her spine. “There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there, Elspeth?”

“I hope so,” she retorted.

 

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

Purchase your copy today of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss from these stores:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

The Lairds Most Likely series banner - Nov 2018

GIVEAWAY!

David Bowie Heroes album coverSo did you have a teenage crush? I had a million – mainly movie and TV stars and singers – although there was also a bit of a crush on my godmother’s grandson Geoff and the boy next door (neither of whom knew I was alive – so I know just how Elspeth feels in my new story!). There was Fonzie and David Bowie and Neil Diamond and Freddie Mercury and Anthony Andrews and Timothy Dalton and… Happy Days television show third season DVD coverBut I won’t go on. I want YOU to go on. Tell me about your teenage crush!

I’ve got a Kindle download of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss: The Likely Lairds Book 2 for someone who comments. No geographical restrictions.

Good luck in the draw!

Thanks, Anna. You are so generous with your giveaways.

As for crushes

Like us all, I had lots but the one that sticks in my mind is the one I had on Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan. I thought him ridiculously handsome, and he was captain and don’t get me started on that accent. Swoon. I was sure he would hear my mental plea and gallop into Mount Gambier on a white Arab horse, sweep me out of my primary school and whisk me, his new princess, off to his desert kingdom for a happily-ever-after of dreamy eyes and LOTS of horses. Yes, yes, I know. I may have had my countries a tad confused and erroneously equated cricket captaincy with kingship, but it was the fantasy that counted. And daydreaming that one in class was a bucketload more fun than maths.

What about your first crush? Anna and I would love to hear. Share and you could win!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday 9th November 2018, Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Open internationally. Prize is a Kindle copy of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books – and she has plenty available for your reading pleasure – please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome 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. And today is such a day!

I’m absolutely delighted to introduce you to fellow Hunter Valley writer Ann B Harrison. I’m sure many of you are already family with Ann and her books. She writes fabulous Australian rural romances and Montana, USA-set cowboy romances and loves writing about about the ups and downs of small communities. If strong, sassy heroines, hot sexy heroes and plenty of passion are your thing – and of course they are – then Ann has books for you. Lots of books!

This is Ann’s first visit to Teaser Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be the last. So buckle up for a delicious taste of Christmas Glitter, currently free on Amazon and other major ebook platforms. Yes FREE! Download today and you’ll not only stoke that Christmas spirit (oh shush, it’s never too early for some Christmas spirit, especially when it has cowboys) but score a great story for nicks, which means lots of lovely spare change to spend on fruit mince tarts.

Please give Ann a big welcome!

 

Ann B Harrison authorAfter a rough year involving a serious car accident, painful recovery and broken engagement, Dakota Moore moves to Cherry Lake to rebuild her life. To embrace her new community, she volunteers to coordinate the annual Christmas tree gala.

Adam Clements has come home to help his mother run the family business while his father recovers from a heart attack. For the last decade, he’s been a high-flying soccer player, enjoying the life that comes with his popularity. But something is missing and he can’t put his finger on it… until he returns to Cherry Lake and remembers the feeling of home.

Adam tries to keep his distance because he knows he’ll be leaving, but he can’t deny his attraction to Dakota. With the countdown to Christmas on, can Dakota convince Adam that his home is right there in Cherry Lake, with her?

 

Dakota stood in the middle of the great room and turned full circle. The heels of her boots clicked on the dusty wooden floor boards, echoing in the otherwise silent space. The emotions rolling over her face warmed Adam. Wonder mixed with a growing sense of excitement shimmered from her very expressive blue eyes. Ms. Moore would not be the person to hide something from you. She would never be able to pull the shutters down on her thoughts. He sneezed as years of decay and neglect teased his nose.

“Oh bless you. I can’t believe this place, it’s so beautiful. Or at least it will be once it gets a makeover.” She lifted her head and her gaze locked onto the chandeliers. One hung precariously lop sided, one of the support chains broken. The dusty cobweb covered crystals failed to give off the stunning rainbows even with the sun drifting in through the tall windows. Strands of spider web hung like strings of pearls from crystal to crystal, coating the chandeliers with a fine net of dust.

Christmas Glitter by Ann B Harrison“That’s the hope, anyway. My father remembers coming to dances here when he was at school. I don’t know why everyone stopped using it and let it fall into disrepair but there’s still plenty of life in the old building. Dances became passé or something, from what my mother said. The drive in movie theatre seemed to be more popular and sadly this is the result. Be a shame to see if go completely to ruin.”

She tossed her wayward curls over her shoulder and grinned at him, the faint waft of strawberry shampoo fighting with the smell of dust. “I can imagine all sorts of activities being held here. It has such a nice welcoming vibe to it.”

Adam roared with laughter. “A welcoming vibe. I guess that kind of sums it up.” She was such a breath of fresh air. Why hadn’t he met anyone like her in the city before? He might have settled down by now if he had.

Dakota grabbed his hand and pulled him into a faint beam of sunlight forcing its way through a dirty windowpane. “Close your eyes and let your imagination take over.”

He did as she asked, happy to be spending time doing something so calming after the stress of the last few weeks. It felt right to be with her, letting his imagination drift away from the stress of the last couple of weeks. Funny how much he’d looked forward to spending time with alone with her.

Her voice filled his head. “Listen to the hushed chatter of the dancers as they wait for the orchestra to take their positions on stage. The red velvet curtains flutter and the patter of footsteps build the anticipation of a fabulous night. Your mother and father stand with their friends, excited to be allowed to attend this year’s Christmas Ball.” Her breath wafted over his neck as she spun the story.

“Even the watchful eye of their parents from the side cannot take away the new found thrill they’ve found being together. The curtain opens, a tap of baton against wood signals the start of the music. Your father grips your mother’s hand, slides another behind her back, gives her a gentle smile and is poised ready to take her away in the opening waltz.”

Dakota moved to the front of him and leant into his body, the touch of her sending his pulse racing. “The music starts, soft melodic strains reach into his soul and they begin to move together, all too soon oblivious of those around them. They become their own island, their own world where no one can interrupt or steal away the joy they feel being here together.”

She’d slipped her hand into his, began to move and together they danced to the music in their heads. His hands felt right as they held her close. It was as though she belonged there. Adam opened his eyes and looked into the smiling face turned up to him. “How do you do it, Dakota? You had me there with them. Kind of creepy to be in my parent’s heads but also very cool. Your imagination is awesome.” He continued to lead her around the dusty floor, loath to let her go. It would seem that coming home had become more important than he’d first thought. Now he had more to think about than playing another season. His parents had started their future in this town. Could he find something to keep him here too besides the house he owned? It was beginning to seem like anything was possible.

“Joys of being a crafty person, I guess. I can imagine almost anything if I put my mind to it. Probably the reason why my jewelry sells so well. My customers can feel what I can when I’m designing it.”

Your jewelry?”

“That’s right. Glimmerz is my business.” She gave him a saucy wink. “But you knew that, right?”

 

You want this, oh yes you do! Download your free copy of Christmas Glitter today from these ebook stores. This offer won’t last so don’t file it away for later. Do it now!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes&Noble

If you’d like to learn more about Ann and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @AnnBHarrison. And don’t forget to follow her on Bookbub to get notifications of more deals and news.

 

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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 occasionally nag author buddies into doing the same.

Have you heard of Bookbub? I’m sure you have, super-savvy booklovers that you are. It’s a free service that pops hand-picked ebook deals and updates from your favourite authors straight into your inbox. You can score some serious bargains with it. Books that are heavily discounted and free. You can also get alerts on new releases and recommend reads and authors you’ve loved. It’s brilliant.

I would LOVE if you could follow me on there. Simply visit my Bookbub page and join in the fun and bargains.

By the way, did any of you try the Portugese Custard Tart recipe I shared on last week’s Teaser Tuesday? Seriously, you need to make it. It’s super easy and very, very moreish.

Right. Snippet time!

Ah, Heart of the Valley… I do adore this book so. I think Lachie is still my biggest and longest lasting hero-crush, although Tristan from April’s Rainbow is right up there, as is Jack from Elsa’s Stand.

Hero-crushes are one of things that no one warns you about romance writing but it can be an issue. Honest! It’s not the crush itself that’s the problem. It’s the moving on. How are we meant to fall in love with and write a new hero if we’re still in love with the old one? See? Issue!

Lachie did me in for aaaaages.

Here’s a sample to demonstrate why. Such compassion. Sigh. And then there’s that giant rugby player’s body and hazel eyes and muscles and delicious mouth and and and…

*pats fluttering heart*

 

He held her as she let loose her despair. Finally, the tightness in her chest eased and her breath slowed to shuddery heaves. She raised her head from his chest and stared at the gold lettering on his jumper. His hold on her relaxed and she sat back on her heels, wiping at her wet cheeks. Lachlan remained on his knees, watching her closely.

Heart of the Valley by Cathryn Hein‘Better?’

She nodded, cheeks blooming with heat. She couldn’t remember ever experiencing a more embarrassing day.

He smiled. ‘I thought you said you looked really unattractive when you cried.’

‘I do.’

‘A bit tear-stained maybe, but I don’t think you could ever look unattractive.’

She stared at him. ‘Why are you being so nice?’

He shrugged. ‘Perhaps I just want to keep my job. It’s never smart to get on the wrong side of the boss’s sister.’

But Brooke didn’t believe him. This wasn’t about currying favour. Lachlan had gone out of his way and, she suspected, against his better judgement to help her. Strange behaviour for a man whose best interests lay in not helping.

 

Heart of the Valley is available in ebook and paperback from these retailers. Get your own Lachie today!

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook

Bookdepository | Booktopia

If you’d like to discover more about Heart of the Valley, including the background to the story, please visit its book page on this website.

And remember to follow me on Bookbub!

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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 occasionally nag author buddies into doing the same.

It’s been a bit quiet in the Hein house this past week. Lots of rain will do that but the dullness made it great reading and baking weather. I made muffins and scones for the freezer, and also tried out this Portuguese custard tart recipe from the AWW Food magazine. It was delicious! Dead easy too, which is always a bonus, so no excuses not to give it a go.

I wish writing was as easy. It’s funny how some books just pour out onto the page while others require painful extraction. Eddie and the Show Queen is one of the latter, bless its wordy socks. I adore this story and the characters but right now the buggers aren’t co-operating. Not to worry. We’re getting there. I know I’ve been saying this for a while, but I really do hope to have news on a release date soon, and I cannot wait to share the cover. It’s a beauty!

Which leads me to this week’s teaser. Time for a few lines from The Horseman’s Promise (first published under the title Promises). Gird yourselves. Aaron and Sophie are about to get sexy.

 

he Horsemans Promise by Cathryn HeinShe pressed her mouth against his ear and he felt her smile against his cheek. Electricity jolted down his spine.

‘Kiss me.’ Her voice sounded husky, full of need, like him.

She pressed against him, and he groaned at the pressure on his erection. He cupped her face, studying those wonderful grey eyes, searching for reservations. There were none. Only pure desire for him.

‘Sophie.’ It was all he could say. Just her name. Just her beautiful, perfect name.

 

He he. I bet that made you sit up!

Purchase your copy of The Horseman’s Promise in ebook and print from these stores today.

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | iBooks  | Google PlayNook

Bookdepository

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Print copies of the original Promises are available for purchase direct from me for $AUD15, including postage. Email me via the Contact form on this website for details. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about the book, sample a longer excerpt or read how I came to write the story, please visit its book page.

 

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