Category Archives: Teaser Tuesday

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 to do the same.

Which is exactly what’s happening today. Yes, my lovelies, we have another guest and another GIVEAWAY and I know how much you love those.

But more on that in a moment.

First, news from the Hein house.

I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF SCARLETT AND THE MODEL MAN!!!!!!

Celebration gif

Eh hem.

Finishing a book is a fab feeling, even though there’s still a long way to go before it hits shelves. There’s the second draft to do, then edits and proof reading and covers and blurbs and all sorts of stuff, but the really hard work is done. Yay!

I’ll have news on its release date in the New Year. If you want to be the first to hear, make sure you join my newsletter team. It’s where all the cool people are.

Speaking of cool people…

Today’s guest is a Teaser Tuesday favourite. She’s a medical romance writing queen, a midwifery expert, fellow Outback Brides author (with the excellent Holly’s Heart), and an all-round lovely lady. Yep, we’re hosting Fiona McArthur again. Wahoo!

Now that it’s December the silly season has well and truly begun. Authors, like singers, love putting you in the mood with Christmas tales and Fiona is joining the fray with a faaaaabulous sounding Christmas story – Midwife on the Orient Express.

Gawd I love that title. So. Much. Fun.

Here’s Fiona to tell you about Midwife on the Orient Express and share an excerpt. Make sure you read all the way to the end because that’s where the giveaway details are and we wouldn’t want you to miss out.

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Fiona McArthur authorHello everyone, waving madly as we all chug into the Christmas Season. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, again, Cathryn.  I must say, I loved your latest book, Eddie and The Show Queen, and readers, if you know someone who loves a book full of smiles, I’d be looking to Cathryn’s books for great gifts. Thanks so much for the fun gallop, CH. 🙂

Today I’d like to share excitement about another fun ride, with my new release Midwife On The Orient Express – A Christmas Miracle, which came out on the 29th November in ebook and 5th December as print through my website FionaMcArthurAuthor.com.

Midwife On The Orient Express revisits a shorter, reunion story of mine from 2011, with expanded characters, more fun and of course a baby born – I know –  I can’t help myself with a good birth. Plus, I had the joy of creating my own quirky cover with the fab Glen Holman, working with the lovely Bronwyn Jameson to polish, and availing myself of Annie Seaton’s huge knowledge on e-pubbing. Now Cathryn has offered to help me get the word out to you lovely readers, so here I am.

I’m feeling particularly blessed in my friends and my first author published book.

While I love writing for publishing houses and always hope to, I’ve been very slow to begin the indie path, but recommend the experience for those writers and readers who haven’t dipped a toe in yet. Having your fingers in all the publication pies and not just the writing is another fab journey. Please watch out for my next author-pubbed book, Midwife In The Jungle –in March 2020. The cover is going to pop up soon.

If you haven’t seen my Orient Express photos I’ve had such fun on Facebook in the two weeks prior to launch. I’ve been posting a different photo each day from our trip when medical romance author Alison Roberts and I travelled on the famous train between Venice and London back in 2011. The posted photos all depict scenes in the book and you can check them out if you’d like to drop into my author Facebook page or webpage – just for fun they are in the order they appear in the book. I’m running a ‘which photo which page in the book’ competition from my website starting 29th November and drawn the 29th February (leap year) for a print or e book copy of MIDWIFE IN THE JUNGLE (yes, there is a baby theme in my books 🙂 ) prior to release in March. Details on my webpage.

Of course, there will be a prize too, for commenting on today’s blog on Cathryn’s page for a print copy of MIDWIFE ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS which I’ll post in Australia after the first week in December. Cathryn will notify the winner on Sunday night. Meanwhile enjoy Kelsie and Lucas’s trip of a lifetime. With much love and appreciation xx Fi

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Lucas Larimar watched the shoulders of the smartly dressed woman sag as she peered under her dark cap of hair with the perplexed countenance of the unseasoned traveller. Her head dipped down at what must be a horrendously heavy suitcase.

Amused, he wondered if she’d dare try and perch on top of it. He sighed and stood to offer his seat, brushing away the niggling feeling that he knew her.

He didn’t. He was in Venice. And if he didn’t offer her his seat Gran would poke him with her silver-topped cane as if he were a kid until he did. Un­fortunately, Gran knew she was his one big weakness and the only woman he loved.

He caught his gran’s glance as she nodded approvingly and bit back a grin. Despite her age she looked like a million Euros in her pink jacket and skirt with her snow-white hair fresh from her Venetian stylist.

Midwife on the Orient Express by Fiona McArthurThe pink Kimberley diamonds at her wrist and throat glit­tered under the electric lights. Lord, he would miss the old minx when she was gone. Had to be the reason he was standing here in the first place.

He had very special clients, the Wilsons, a couple he’d worked with for years, whose tenuous assisted pregnancy had been particularly challenging, and they were all on tenterhooks until Connie Wilson had this baby safely delivered.

He’d promised her influential husband, Harry, and more importantly the nervous Connie, he’d be available twenty-four seven. He was still a helicopter ride away if needed.

But, he should be somewhere closer to them, instead of sitting on a train for the next thirty-six hours play­ing nursemaid to an eighty-year-old lady who should be at home, knitting.

Even he laughed at the idea of Gran doing anything of the sort.

The original stickler for good manners was becoming impatient and inclined her head sideways towards the woman several times and he settled her with his nod. He’d better be quick about it.

If gran was going to order him around like a school boy, Lucas mused, this could prove to be a very long thirty-six hours. He stepped closer to the woman and spoke from be­hind her. ‘Excuse me, madam. Would you like my seat?’

The woman turned, their eyes met, and recogni­tion slammed into him harder than an express train pushing a suit­case twice the size of hers.

Good grief. Thick-lashed eyes. Snub nose. That mouth. The mouth it had taken him, admittedly in his callow youth, two years to banish from his mind. A face that seemed outlined with a dark crayon lines of accent in­stead of the blur every other face seemed to hold.

Fifteen years ago.

Kelsie Summers.

‘Or perhaps you’d rather stand.’ Luckily that was under his breath because his grandmother’s eagle eye had spotted his reaction.

Stunned blue eyes stared frozenly back at his. He saw the shudder in her fragile alabaster throat as she swal­lowed, and then her tongue peeped out. Yes, you damn well should lick your lips in consternation, he thought savagely, when you left me at the registry office, cool­ing my heels.

He gestured to the seat beside his grandmother with all the reluctant invitation of a toddler giving away his last lollypop. Damn if he didn’t feel like sitting down again and turning his back.

But that would be childish and he hadn’t indulged in such weakness for a long, long, time.

But to meet her here, and if he knew his grandmother it would be the perfect diver­sion for the boredom that despite her assurances, would ultimately descend on her before they reached London, they would meet again on the train.

There must be a black cat filled with bad luck standing behind him. He almost turned to see.

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Ooooooh! A lovers-reunited romance! I love these stories. They’re wonderfully emotional because there’s much conflict and past to get over, and with Fiona at the helm in Midwife on the Orient Express, you know you’re in the hands of an expert.

Get all the Christmas feels by grabbing your copy today from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | Apple Books | Nook

Now, as we mentioned there’s a …

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a paperback copy of Midwife on the Orient Express, we want to hear about your favourite Christmas decoration.

Are you partial to a bit of tinsel? Maybe you have a beloved heirloom decoration or handcrafted star for the top of the tree? Perhaps you make stunning gingerbread houses (in which case you are indeed a cleverclogs).

Me? I collected hand-blown glass ornaments when we lived overseas and I ADORE them. They’re very fragile and I’ve lost a few over the years in our house moves but they still make me smile whenever I get them out. I think my favourite is my Tower of London Beefeater. Although I am very partial to my Spanish Riding School bauble that I bought in Vienna. Because horses.

What about you? Share your favourite decoration and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a paperback copy of Midwife on the Orient Express.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Friday 6th December 2019. Australian postal addresses only.

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

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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 sometimes sweet-talk author buddies into doing the same.

And a sweet-talked author buddy is what we have this week!

First, news from the Hein house. I am soooo close to finishing the first draft of SCARLETT AND THE MODEL MAN. This time next week it should be done. I’ve already bought myself a celebratory pressie – a porcelain pendant featuring images from art nouveau artist Gustav Klimt‘s “Fulfilment”.

Gustav Klimt porcelain pendantIsn’t it beautiful? I couldn’t resist when I saw it, especially when I’ve been thinking so much about art and artists thanks to Scarlett, who is an artist and a very good one.

Now to find somewhere nice to wear it. Friday afternoon drinkies with some author friends sounds the ticket.

Speaking of author friends (Ha! Like that segue?), today we have a very special one on. Say hello to Teaser Tuesday regular and awesome historical romance author Anna Campbell!

You are going to luuuuurve Anna’s Teaser Tuesday this week. Not only is she sharing and excerpt from her fabulous new Christmas story The Highlander’s Christmas Quest (I love the sound of this one SO MUCH), Anna’s hosting a giveaway. Yay! Make sure you read to the end for all the details.

Now here’s Anna to tell you all about The Highlander’s Christmas Quest. Enjoy.

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Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn!

How did it get to be Christmas already? Thank you so much for having me back as your guest on Teaser Tuesday in this lead-up to the festive season!

In my world, the lead-up to the festive season means writing a Christmas story. This year, I had particular fun with the latest entry in the Lairds Most Likely series, The Highlander’s Christmas Quest. Like all the Lairds Most Likely stories, this one can be read as a stand-alone, so if you’d like some Highland magic to warm your Christmas stockings, why not give it a go?

When Dougal Drummond washes up on Kirsty Macbain’s Hebridean island a few days before Christmas in 1728, it’s love at first sight for her, but he’s got other fish to fry and plans to leave as soon as he’s repaired his boat. So Kirsty takes matters into her own hands and does some surreptitious sabotage to keep her beloved close and give him a chance to realize that she’s made for him. This scene takes place a few days after Dougal’s arrival when they’re working together on fixing the boat.

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Isle of Askaval, the Hebrides, Scotland, 23rd December 1728

“I’ll miss ye,” Dougal said, even as he told himself to button his lip. What was the point of harping on his regrets, when he had every intention of leaving in the morning?

Kirsty’s remarkable eyes darkened as she studied him. “I’ll miss ye, too.” Before he could identify the emotion thickening her voice, she went on quickly and in a more cheerful tone. “Ye fitted in so well with everyone on the island.”

Is that all? Dougal wanted to ask the question, but this time discretion won out and he returned to finishing his task. The early winter evening drew in, and the light in the hull was bad. But he had a nasty suspicion that wasn’t why he had trouble seeing what he needed to fix.

“Should I light the candles?” She was still too close behind him.

The Highlanders Christmas Quest by Anna CampbellHe set down the hammer and turned to face her. “No, I’ve finished. I want to…”

Damn it, she was even closer than he’d thought. Mere inches separated them. He sucked in a jagged breath, and his head flooded with the evocative scent of Kirsty. Crushed wildflowers. Warm female. A hint of the fresh salt air that always seem to swirl around her, so she seemed part of the wild sea and sky, here on her beautiful island.

“Ye want to…” she echoed, leaning closer.

Dougal swallowed to loosen a tight throat, as his heart leapt around in his chest like a grasshopper.

“I want to…” He sounded strangled. His hands formed fists at his sides, and his head swam with a hundred impossible longings.

I want to take ye in my arms.

I want to kiss ye.

I want to steal ye away across the waves and take you back to Bruard.

I want to…

He couldn’t speak any of those forbidden wishes aloud, but as Kirsty stared at him, her eyes widened as if she heard the words anyway.

“Aye?” she whispered. Although there was nobody but him to hear. Even the old men who sat outside the inn had packed up and returned to their own firesides an hour ago.

The day was almost done. Dougal had one more night on Askaval before he left forever.

That had been his aim since he arrived. Why now did that seem a punishment worse than death?

Kirsty’s lips parted. Those full, red lips that in his wicked dreams, kissed him over and over. He caught a glimpse of straight small teeth in the dark interior. The silvery eyes turned as soft and misty as the fog that swept in from the sea.

“Kirsty?” he forced out in a choked voice and realized he’d shifted even closer to her.

“Aye?” she said again, gazing unblinking into his eyes.

“Oh, hell,” he muttered and reached out to catch her upper arms in shaking hands. For one blazing, lost moment, he stared into that unforgettable face.

Then God help him, he kissed her.

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I told you this week’s Teaser Tuesday would be fabulous! Love, love, love this one and can’t wait to read it. Anna’s Christmas romances always put me in the spirit of the season and The Highlander’s Christmas Quest will put you in the mood too. Order your copy today from:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Want more of the Dougal and Kirsty? Check out a longer excerpt on Anna’s website.

Now, as we mentioned in the intro, Anna is hosting a lovely-jubbly giveaway. Here she is again to tell you about it.

GIVEAWAY!

Are you a fan of Christmas music? I have to say I love it. I can’t wait to hear the first “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at my local supermarket. Please don’t judge me! So what’s your favourite Christmas song or carol? I’m going to go really traditional and say “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” What about you?

I’ve got a download of The Highlander’s Christmas Quest to give away to someone who leaves a comment on this post. No geographical restrictions. Think of it as an early Christmas present!

Oh, I love Christmas music too, Anna! On the modern side, I’m very partial to Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” and “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” by The Darkness. And a couple of years ago I bought The Killers’ Christmas album Don’t Waste Your Wishes and it’s bloody brilliant, especially the song “Boots”. On the trad front, I adore “We Three Kings” and of course “Silent Night.”

What about you? What is your favourite Christmas song or carol? Share in the comments and you’ll go in the draw to win an ebook of The Highlander’s Christmas Quest.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, 29th November 2019. Open worldwide.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her wonderful novels, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.

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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 sometimes sweet-talk author buddies into doing the same.

We have another guest this week, one you’re going to luuuuurve, but first you must endure news from the Hein House.

We’re home from our Queensland trip. Rah! Which means I’m back to working hard on Scarlett and the Model Man. The End is most definitely nigh now. Well, the end of the first draft that is. There’s a lot of ground still to cover after that point but hitting The End is always a milestone worth celebrating. I cannot wait to share this book with you. Scarlett and Sam are gorgeous together. Makes me all gooey just thinking about them!

Enough of me and my gooeys. We’re here to enjoy a teaser, brought to you this week by Jenn J. McLeod. Yay!

Although she’s had a few guest appearances on (now archived) blog series Friday Feast, this is Jenn’s first time on Teaser Tuesday. I’m so glad to have her on, too, because I adore the sound of her new release House of Wishes. I know you will too, when you read the excerpt.

Here’s Jenn to tell you more about House of Wishes and share her teaser.

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Author Jenn J McLeodHi Cathryn! Hi all!

So great to be here on Teaser Tuesday—and WHAT a Tuesday it is. Woot!

This is release day for my 6th small-town novel and possibly the most exciting launch day ever because of all it took to get here.

As Australia’s nomadic novelist, I’ve been caravanning my way through bucket list locations since hitting the road fulltime in 2014. That was the year Simmering Season came out—my second novel set in Calingarry Crossing (with House for all Seasons being the first). And guess what? On both those bookish occasions I was here, on Cath’s Friday Feast. I even gave away my very yummy and oh-so-easy homemade muesli recipe. (If only it was as simple to set up a publishing biz, eh?)

Being an author-publisher is another bucket list item and with a hankering to return to Calingarry Crossing for some time, the perfect book to begin this journey had to be House of Wishes. Thanks to a coffee catchup with awesome reader fans, Sharyn Rees and Janine Kimberly, I’m back in Calingarry Crossing with the Dandelion House ready to reveal its secrets. (Don’t worry if you are new to my novels. All my stories are standalone reads, although House of Wishes does have a sprinkling of character cameos. I really had fun with that aspect.)

In a nutshell, House of Wishes is a family relationship story about the choices we make, the connections that matter, the secrets we keep, and the power of a wish. With two story threads (current day and 1974) there are also two love stories. Even though the novel begins with a grieving daughter discovering her mother’s last wish, I promise the story is not all sad. As with all my books, you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll cry, but what I really hope is that you’ll love Tom and Don, because I do have fun writing a male point of view.

Please, let me know. I love to hear from readers.

House of Wishes is available in print and ebook through all online retailers. If you prefer supporting your local bookshop, ask them to order a copy in.  Or you can buy direct from me via my web shop and I’ll send a signed copy with a snazzy bookmark.  Don’t forget, you can also choose to ask your library to order in a copy.

I hope you enjoy this House of Wishes excerpt.

If you have a wish you’d like to share, leave it in the comments below. I reckon the power of a wish is so much stronger when it’s shared. I’ll start: “I wish for an e-reader that magically fills with endless Aussie fiction.”

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‘I’m so very, very sorry for the confusion,’ a voice says.

Beth hears words reminiscent of her mother—a chronic apologiser raised by religious parents—but when she stands, she sees a woman whose voice is as ethereal as her appearance: skin ivory, hair ebony, eyes cerulean, but with lips blood red.

‘Hello, I’m Jesamiah Huckenstead. This should’ve been with your mother’s ashes.’ The stranger, dressed entirely in mauve and smelling like a life-size lavender bag, holds out an envelope. ‘As you’ll see, her wishes are very specific.’ The woman is talking while walking a bewildered Beth back through the reception area, opening the front door wide to let her pass. ‘Should you need to contact me, however …’

Beth glances at the proffered business card:

Madgick & AssociatesTrust Managers

In Madgick we trust.

‘Take care of yourself, dear,’ the woman says, letting the stationery and the envelope fall into the gift bag with the ashes. ‘Have a good and safe trip.’

‘Trip?’ Beth repeats.

House of Wishes by Jenn J McLeodWith her head spinning from the somewhat rushed exit, both her hands busy with bags, and her gaze intent on the contents, it takes her a few seconds to look up. When she does, the woman is gone, the door sign flipped to CLOSED, and Beth is on the footpath outside Forget-Me-Knot Funerals alone—utterly and desperately alone.

*

Back in her car, Beth eases the envelope open as if whatever is inside needs to stay contained until she’s ready. The truth is, Beth is nowhere near ready for more surprises—good or bad. She’s already said goodbye to her mother too many times: at both the hospital and the funeral service. Beth’s not sure she can manage another farewell. Not yet.

A tear lands on the two notepad pages she’s slipped from the envelope but, with barely a few lines above the scrawled signature, there’s little ink to smudge. The page is headed: MY WISH, while the other sheet is reminiscent of a treasure map, a childlike diagram with squiggles and symbols surrounding a circle at the centre. The envelope’s contents pose two simple questions in Beth’s mind: When had her mother prepared for her death? And why is she wanting half her ashes placed with her partner in a lawn cemetery of his family’s choosing, but insisting her grieving daughter spread the rest in a country town Beth has never heard of before now?

‘Why, Mum?’ She slumps in the car seat, slaps the letter on her knees, and opens the Maps app on her mobile phone. ‘And where the hell is Calingarry Crossing?’

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Wow. What a teaser. Loved it. And I bet you did too which means you want to get your hot little hands on this book right now. Oh, yes you do!

Houses of Wishes is available now in print and ebook from these retailers:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

Remember, you can also order signed copies direct through Jenn’s website, where you’ll also score a cool bookmark.

Now, as Jenn said, sharing can make wishes stronger. So here’s mine. My apologies for it being not very light-hearted but it’s heartfelt. I wish this rotten illness I have would disappear right now so I can stop taking all these horrible drugs and get my life back to normal.

What’s yours? I rather like Jenn’s of an e-reader full of Aussie reads – but I think we’d all like that. Join in the fun and share away in the comments. You never know, it might help make your wish come true!

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

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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.

What’s news from the Hein house? Well, not a lot because I’m currently in outback Queensland where we’re helping out my parents-in-law for a few days. As you’d expect when you’re north of the Tropic of Capricorn in November, it’s hot.

Speaking of hot (oh, I luuuuurve a good segue), have you snapped up your hot-priced copy of The Country Girl from Amazon’s Australian store yet? There are only days left to run on this promotion so make sure you do before it returns to normal price.

I mentioned this on my Facebook page, but I’ll mention it here too because I’m about to give you your first sneak-peek of Scarlett and the Model Man and with Facebook only showing a teensy percentage of page posts to followers, you probably missed it.

At the end of October, I travelled up to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery to see the Nightingale and the Rose exhibition, featuring artworks by two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton. When I originally came up with Scarlett’s character while writing Eddie and the Show Queen, I used Barton’s style as the inspiration for Scarlett’s, although Scarlett’s works are a bit more… erm… risqué. Those who have read Eddie and the Show Queen will know what I mean.

The Nightingale and the Rose is a collaboration between Barton and filmmaker Brendan Fletcher, and brings to life Oscar Wilde’s fairytale in an animated work. It was gobsmacking. The colours were incredible, the intricacy of the works and their animation mesmerising, and Wilde’s short story tugs hard at your emotions. I could so easily imagine Scarlett being involved in a project like this. Perhaps if she gets a mention in another Levenham Love Story, she will.

This video gives a taste of the film Barton and Fletcher created.

And now for a taste of Scarlett and the Model Man. This is first draft stuff, so please forgive any awkwardness.

In this snippet, Sam goes snooping in Scarlett’s artworks and gets more than he bargained for.

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He wandered over to the wall of propped canvases. The colours were incredible, vivid and almost glittery, as if a series of jewellers’ trays had been upended and swirled about. Sam glanced at Scarlett and found her watching him as she poured water.

He gestured at the paintings. ‘May I?’

‘Sure. Knock yourself out.’

He crouched to flick through a layer. The first was painting of a woman standing in a whirlpool of colour that made him think of the oily rainbows that sometimes appeared in spilled fuel. The woman was strangely proportioned – her head overlarge, her body thin but with dramatically defined muscles. She had a sheet draped over one shoulder, her neck long and stretched as she stared at something behind her.

The next painting was of a green-eyed, dark-haired woman, her body pale and arched and surrounded by alien plant life that was creeping hungrily toward her. One arm was lifted as though beckoning the viewer to join her in her fantasy world.

Sam swallowed and flicked quickly to the next painting, and wished he hadn’t. The scene was similar but this time the green-eyed woman’s eyes were closed and her lips open, as though on a sigh. If that wasn’t disturbing enough, her thighs had been eased apart by plant tendrils that had wrapped around her ankles. In the swirly green and browns of the surrounding forest, hooded eyes glowed.

Sam jerked upright and shoved his hands deep into his jeans’ pockets. Now was not a good time to be thinking about naked women, and especially not naked Scarletts.

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He he. I love that scene and can’t wait to share more of Sam and Scarlett with you.

Scarlett and the Model Man will release in 2020. If you want to be the first to hear about it, join my newsletter team. It’s where all the cool people are!

You can also meet Scarlett in Eddie and the Show Queen. Check out its book page on this website for the cover, blurb, links and an excerpt.

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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 wrangle author buddies into doing the same.

Today is one of those days, but more on our delightful guest in a moment.

What has been happening in the Hein house? Well, other than me living up to my dad’s “Us Heins weren’t meant to play golf” lament, it’s been writing, writing, writing here. The light at the end of the Scarlett and the Model Man first draft tunnel is getting brighter, and I’m so keen to reach it. Alas, life has a habit of getting in the way which means it’ll be a while away yet. More on that next week because this week I want to talk about our guest, Nicki Edwards.

You probably know Nicki from her gorgeous medical rural romances. Books like Intensive Care, Emergency Response, Life Support and the wonderful The Peppercorn Project. This month she has a new title out and it’s the silly season all the way with Second Chance Christmas.

Ooh, I love seasonal romances, don’t you? They’re usually a lot of fun and very cute. Second Chance Christmas sounds like it fits this brief to perfection.

Here’s Nicki to tell you more about it. Remember, it always pays to read Teaser Tuesday posts in their entirety because sometimes we hold special giveaways. Will there be one today? Read on and find out!

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Nicki Edwards authorHi Cathryn,

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today. I’m thrilled to share my latest book, Second Chance Christmas with you. The story is set in Canada although it features an Aussie hero and all the language and spelling is Australian. My family and I spent last Christmas in Canada (a trip of a lifetime for our family) and we visited Niagara on the Lake, Lakefield and Huntsville which is why these towns feature in the story. For those who don’t know me, Canada stole my heart 30 years ago when I lived there as an exchange student.

I had a long break from writing during 2018 and most of 2019 and while deciding whether I wanted to continue telling stories, my muse showed up unexpectedly. The writing mojo returned in a rush in August and I started penning another Christmas novella (I’ve written two others, also set in Canada). Well, the book practically wrote itself and what started out as a novella ended up a full-length Christmas story!

Second Chance Christmas features Jack and Olivia and their daughter Scarlett. Their marriage is all but over when Olivia extends an olive branch and invites Jack to spend Christmas in Canada where she has returned home after the breakdown of their relationship. Jack has done some soul searching during the separation and sees the invitation as his opportunity to have a second chance with Olivia.

I hope you enjoy the story which features one of my favourite scenes ever – a dog sledding incident. I won’t give too much away, but let’s say I wrote it from genuine ‘lived’ experience. Lucky for my hubby, he didn’t end up in hospital though!

I hope you enjoy the story.

Much love, Nicki

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As the plane touched down on the tarmac with a shudder and lurch, Jack tipped his head back, closed his eyes and let out his breath.

The window-seat passenger nudged him with an elbow. Jack removed his headphones and glanced over at him. ‘Not a fan of flying?’ the guy asked with a grin.

‘Just glad to be here,’ Jack replied.

The flight had been delayed leaving Vancouver and he was now two hours behind schedule. Olivia hated his ability to be perpetually late. Not that he had any control over time, but if he did, he’d turn back the clock eighteen months. And he’d never be late again.

Second Chance Christmas by Nicki Edwards‘Where are you from?’

‘Australia.’

The man’s eyes widened. ‘That’s a long way, eh?’

‘Sure is.’

He’d taken off from Brisbane twenty-eight hours earlier, excited but nervous. Twelve months was too long. He wasn’t worried about whether Scarlett would remember him, but he was anxious about seeing Olivia. Last year was a disaster and he didn’t want a repeat of that.

‘Hope you like the cold.’

Jack glanced past him through the tiny oval window at blue, cloudless skies. ‘Looks okay out there. I expected snow to be honest.’

‘Still two days. Plenty of time for it to snow before Christmas.’

‘That’s good.’

A white Christmas would be nice, but that wasn’t why he’d flown halfway around the world. He’d come all this way to see his wife and daughter, and they were his priority. His stomach re-knotted itself, as it had done since Olivia’s invitation. A lack of snow was the least of his worries.

The guy was still making small talk, going on about the weather. Jack tuned back in.

‘It’s summer in Australia, isn’t it?’

Yeah.’

The guy shook his head. ‘Dunno why you’d come all this way in the middle of winter. Must be mad, eh? Where’re you headed?’

‘Niagara-on-the-Lake.’

‘Nice one,’ he drawled. ‘Got friends there? Family?’

The knot tightened. ‘Family.’ My wife. My daughter.

Missing Scarlett was a constant hum in the background, no matter how busy or chaotic his life was. And no amount of Facetime would ever compensate for holding her in his arms.

‘Nothing better than spending Christmas with family,’ the guy said, putting a hand to his heart and tapping his chest with a closed fist. A wedding ring shone. ‘Home. The best place on earth.’

‘Yeah, nothing better.’ Jack tried to smile but his face felt stiff and heavy.

When the flight attendant announced they could disembark, Jack quickly stood and retrieved his carry-on case from the overhead locker to avoid further conversation.

‘Merry Christmas.’

‘Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too, mate.’

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Merry Christmas indeed, and in Second Chance Christmas we even have a white one. You’ve got to love that. Well, you will, when you grab your own copy. Purchase Second Chance Christmas right now from:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Bookdepository | Angus & Robertson

Now, aren’t you lovely for reading all the way down to here! That means you get to hear about Nicki’s…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to be in the draw for a paperback copy of Second Chance Christmas, simply share where you’d like to spend a dream white Christmas and you’re in!

Sooooo many possibilities. Hmm. I think somewhere in Germany for me, perhaps Nuremberg or Cologne which hold spectacular Christmas markets. I loved Christmas markets when we lived in Europe. They were glittery and lovely and so very Christmassy! And even though it was freezing, visiting them gave us a great excuse to sip gluhwein while wandering the chalets and sampling all the naughty things on offer.

What about you? Where would your dream white Christmas be? Hunting for Santa at the North Pole? Strolling Charles Bridge in magical Prague? Or maybe skiing or adventuring in Canada? So many choices! Share and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a print copy of Nicki’s Second Chance Christmas.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Friday 8th November 2019. Australian postal addresses only.

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

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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 con author buddies into doing the same.

A much quieter week in the Hein house, although some golf was played. Bad golf. I even had an airy (air swing, no ball touched). So embarrassing. But let’s not talk about that. It makes me feel sooky.

Let’s talk briefly about Scarlett and the Model Man. Things are moving steadily along with this next instalment in the Levenham Love Story series. I’m well past the half-way point and just seeing the first few glimmers of light that signal ‘The End’. The end of the first draft, that is. Even when that’s reached and celebrated, there’s still a lot to do.

I had thoughts of sharing a teensy snippet from Scarlett and the Model Man but have decided to wait a bit longer. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of snippets later, I promise. Instead, I’m going to share an except from The Country Girl, the Kindle version of which is on sale right now in Amazon’s Australian store for only $1-99. So cheap!

Now, I know many of you have read this book already (thank you, darling people) but if you haven’t or have been umming and ahhing over whether to give it a whirl, then here’s your chance to pick it at a bargain price.

There aren’t many things you can get for $1-99 that will give you hours of laughs, smiles and mushy sighs as Tash and Patrick work their way to love and Pa delivers his old farmer’s wisdom. The Country Girl will.

This offer runs out in November. Don’t miss out. Grab your Kindle copy today.

Here’s a taste to help convince you that you need this book. In this scene, Patrick has called in on Tash, thinking he can boss her around. Silly, misguided man!

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‘Are you planning on opening a restaurant or something?’

She slid out a plate holding half a dozen small pies. ‘It’s a by-product of having a cooking show.’ Without asking, she folded the pies into piece of lunch wrap and added them to the container. Screwing her nose up, Tash contemplated the fridge door then opened it and rummaged once more inside.

‘I think that’s enough,’ said Patrick, amused.

She held up a clear plastic box. ‘Chocolate-coated honeycomb. Your dad will enjoy that.’

Tash.’

‘I have to get rid of it somewhere.’ She added the container to the pile. ‘It was easy in Melbourne. I had people practically queuing up for stuff. Here …’ She shook her head. ‘No one needs food. They’re all well fed already.’

The Country Girl by Cathryn HeinShe added another box of something and layered the lot into a large blue plastic bag. A bag, he noticed, that carried the logo of a local saddlery store.

Which brought Patrick thumping back to earth and the reason he was at Castlereagh in the first place.

‘Finished?’ he asked.

‘For now.’

‘Good. Because you and I have things to discuss. You’re not to ride Khan.’

Immediately Tash’s arms folded across her chest. Patrick tried not to notice how the movement pushed her breasts up. He needed to get a grip. This was Tash and, more importantly, she had Khan and, worse, had been riding him. Without a frigging helmet. Just because Patrick hadn’t had sex in … His face compressed into a scowl. What did it matter how long? Sex wasn’t everything.

He missed it though. A lot.

The thought resurrected his temper. ‘Don’t look at me like that. You know what that animal is capable of and, let’s face it, you were never in the same league as Maddy when it came to riding, and look what happened to her.’

‘Maddy was galloping helmetless over makeshift jumps in thick scrub when Khan fell. All I plan on doing is pottering around Castlereagh. They are hardly the same circumstances. Besides,’ she said, her chin lifting, ‘you can’t stop me.’

‘I can and I will.’

Unafraid, she came to stand in front of him and looked up. The top of Tash’s head just reached the line of his shoulders and gave him a bird’s-eye view of her cleavage, along with the urge to bury his face between those soft, swollen mounds. An urge that only heightened his anger.

Tash’s smirk was as provocative as her voice. ‘I’d like to see you try.’

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The Country Girl is available in ebook and paperback from these stores:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson

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!

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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 wheedle author buddies into doing the same.

Did you catch last Friday’s This Writing Life post, where I shared a stack of photos from our visit to Sculpture on the Farm? Check it out here, if you missed it. It’s a blast!

As for Teaser Tuesday, it’s been guest central here lately. Wasn’t last week’s post with Cheryl Adnams great? The Bushranger’s Wife sounds like such a fun read, as does today’s featured book. But more on our most excellent guest in a moment. There is news from the Hein house to be had.

What a week! The first few days were spent writing and getting prepared for a big Rocking Horse Hill ebook promotion. If you’re suuuuuper quick, you might still be able to grab a copy at the bargain basement price of 99 cents. But like I said, you’ll need to be quick because this will end very soon. Find all the store links here.

Then we spent three days in Sydney where we attended the amazing spectacle that is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and on Saturday I caught up with Pamela Cook at local Newcastle bookshop Secret Book Stuff, where she talked about her new release Cross My Heart (catch up on her Teaser Tuesday for that book here). Then on Sunday, I spent a delightful (and laughter-filled) afternoon with writer buddies Annie West, Michelle Douglas and Anna Campbell.

Phew!

As you can probably guess, writing took a back seat last week but I’m back in the chair now. If I get excited, I might even share a few lines from Scarlett and the Model Man on Teaser Tuesday next week. We shall see.

Ooh, you are going to LOVE our guest today.

Here to show off her faaaaabulous new read is none other than rural romance and life-lit queen …

Rachael Johns. Whoop!

Rachael’s new book is called Just One Wish and with a tag of “Three women, three secrets, one life-changing journey” you know it’s going to be page-turner. Here she is to tell you a little more about Just One Wish and to share a delicious snippet.

Take it away, Rach!

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Author Rachael JohnsHiya Cathryn and all her lovely readers – thanks for having me on your AWESOME blog.  I’m super excited today because my new book JUST ONE WISH has been out officially for ONE day!!

This book was so much fun to write and has some of my favourite characters I’ve ever created in it. Ged, the main character, is stuck between the opposing views, values and personalities of her mother and grandmother, both strong and domineering in their own ways.

Today I’m giving you glimpse into these three characters as well as Ged’s long-suffering dad. In the snippet below you’ll meet Ged, her dad and her feminist grandmother, Alice – better known as Gralice. I hope you enjoy the taster! And if you want to read more, JUST ONE WISH is available now from your favourite bookshop or online.

Happy reading, Rach!

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Less than ten minutes later I was dressed, no longer looked like an assault victim and, with the help of Gralice and her umbrella, was making my way outside to meet my father who had parked his Holden Commodore (still his pride and joy) on the street.

‘You look swish tonight, Dad,’ I said trying to sound chirpy as he pulled away from the kerb. He was wearing an honest-to-God suit, making him look like a fancy chauffeur. The last time I’d seen him wear it was to his mother’s funeral two years ago. Or was it Will’s wedding? They were around the same time.

Just One Wish by Rachael Johns‘I think I look like a right tosspot. Who wears a suit to have dinner in their own house?’ he said. ‘How’s your foot?’

‘Sore. Thanks for coming and getting us.’

‘It’s my pleasure—gave me an excuse to get away.’

‘Oh Dad, is it that bad?’

‘It’s getting worse by the second. It used to be I couldn’t eat my dinner before she took a photo for that Insta-thing, but now I have to dress like I’m dining with the Queen for a meal in my own house.’ He scratched his near-white, receding hairline. ‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’

‘You could always learn to cook yourself, then you can eat whenever the hell you like,’ Gralice suggested.

Dad chuckled as if such a thing was as unlikely as humans establishing a settlement on Mars.

Now’s probably a good time to mention that my mother is what can only be described as an Instagram and YouTube sensation. You may have heard of her. Her handle is @thehappyhappyhousewife, and no one is more surprised than me by the fact she has over a hundred thousand followers on all her social media platforms and her YouTube channel (yes, she has her own) has been trending for months. She’s an advocate for the social movement ‘new domesticity’—a crusade that promotes the revival of the lost domestic arts of cooking, cleaning and taking care of one’s husband and children at the expense of all else.

If you ask her, it’s all about being proud to be a homemaker, not needing, wanting or looking for satisfaction and self-fulfilment outside the home. If you ask Gralice, it’s a terrifying step back in time, a slap in the face to all the hardworking women like herself who fought for gender equality and women’s liberation in terms of their bodies, children, work and relationships. Gralice does not approve of Mum’s new ‘hobby’ any more than my mother approves of Gralice’s lifelong activism.

‘Have you told Mum how you’re feeling?’

‘I’ve tried, but she tells me to stop being a grumpy old man.’

‘Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, Tony,’ Gralice said. ‘It’s all the things you’ve enjoyed all your married life that she’s now promoting to the masses. Why should you be the only man to benefit from her archaic ideas?’

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PS. @thehappyhappyhousewife IS a real account on Instagram. Feel free to follow Sappho and get tips about how to live your best housewife life!

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Ooh, I can’t wait to follow The Happy Happy Housewife. I bet that’ll be a hoot of a feed. As Just One Wish sounds a hoot of a read!

And it’s out now. Satisfy your need for this excellent read immediately thanks to these bookstores:

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson

Amazon.com | Amazon.au

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play

Order from Booktopia and you could not only score a signed copy (limited stocks) of Just One Wish, but do it before October 31st and you’ll go into the draw to win a year’s worth of books!

If you’d like to learn more about Rachael and her books, please visit her websiteYou can also connect on FacebookTwitter using @RachaelJohnsGoodreads and Instagram.

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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 do my best con author buddies into doing the same.

Which I have for this week’s Teaser Tuesday. Yes, my lovelies, we have another guest. Rah!

Before I pass you over to our visitor, news from the Hein house.

Umm

Not a lot, to be honest. Except I bought a new KitchenAid mixmaster and have been going a bit potty with it. So potty I’ve been temporarily banned from making any more cakes. Which is fine. I’ll just switch to bread and test out its dough hook instead. Or the bonus pasta roller and cutter set that came with it. Got to run my new toy through its paces!

Enough of that. Time for our guest.

I’m delighted to welcome back Cheryl Adnams to Teaser Tuesday. It’s been a long time since her last visit but Cheryl has been a very busy lady. Not only with writing but travelling too. The Instagram feed of her recent journeys left me green with envy. Oh, the places she went! Check it out when you get a moment. The photos and videos are fantastic.

Also fantastic is Cheryl’s foray into historical romance and women’s fiction. You may be familiar with her highly rated Muller’s of McLaren Vale rural romance series, which included Handpicked, Chasing the Flames and Bet On It. Although still Australian-set, Cheryl’s most recent books have moved back in time to turning points in Australian history. The first was The Girl From Eureka (ebook available now with print coming out in 2020) and now Cheryl’s newest title, The Bushranger’s Wife has hit shelves, and I know you are going to love it.

Here’s Cheryl to tell you more and share an excerpt.

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Cheryl Adnams authorHi Cathryn!

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’m thrilled to be able to tell you and your readers about my latest release, “The Bushranger’s Wife”.

This book is a follow on from my first Australian Historical romance “The Girl from Eureka” which introduced readers to amateur bushranger Jack the Devil. Jack was a fun side character and friend to my heroine Indy.

The Bushranger’s Wife” takes up Jack’s life six years after the famous Eureka Stockade rebellion and he is now a fully-fledged bushranger who is also running a semi-legitimate transport business. The story begins with him robbing our heroine, Pru and her grandmother, and he is instantly captivated. A series of encounters throws the two together until finally an event forces Pru into marriage with Jack. But this is not your usual marriage and some fun scenes as well as challenging moments test the love that they find within what started out as a marriage of convenience.

This scene is one of the fun pre-marriage scenes that Jack and Pru have. I hope you enjoy enough to want to read the rest. Cheryl xxx

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Pru spent a fitful night and was up earlier than usual. She’d tossed and turned in her bed, having worked herself up to a state she knew would only be sated by Jack’s kisses and hands. Hands that he still refused to lay on her, damn him. It was romantic really and she admired him for his patience and his strength, but didn’t he know how much she wanted him to make love to her?

Having dressed and made breakfast, she went to the little spare room to see if Jack was awake. He must have returned very late from town, as she hadn’t heard him come home. The door was slightly ajar and she pushed it a little to see if he was there. No Jack. The bed was made, just as she had left it the day before.

The Bushranger's Wife by Cheryl AdnamsFollowing her instincts out to the barn, Persephone and Misha stood chomping on their morning feed. They lifted their heads to look at her momentarily before digging back into their chaff. He must have come back at some point in the night, or early this morning, and had taken the time to feed to horses. But why had he gone out again?

‘He’s run away again, has he?’ she asked Misha, giving her a good scratch.

A few hours later, Pru heard a horse and wagon coming up the driveway and opening the front door she stepped out onto the wide wooden porch to see Jack just pulling a small dray to a halt at the bottom of the steps. When he grinned at her before jumping down off the wagon, she smiled and placed a hand over her belly. It never failed to amaze her how the sight of him caused butterflies to wake in her stomach.

‘Where have you been?’ she asked. ‘And where did you get the dray?’

‘I’m sorry I was gone so long,’ Jack responded. ‘I needed to go a little further afield for this particular delivery, and required something larger to carry it in.’

‘Another present? For me?’ she asked, clapping her hands in delight.

Taking a step forward to help him unload the dray of whatever he’d bought, she stopped dead when instead he unloaded a man, bound and gagged.

Jack walked his prisoner towards the house and her eyes widened as she saw the man’s distinctive clothing.

‘What’s this?’

‘It’s a priest.’

‘I can see that,’ she said. ‘Why is he bound and gagged and standing on our doorstep?’

‘He wouldn’t come of his own accord.’

‘So … you kidnapped him?! You kidnapped a priest?’

‘He said we had to come to church on Sunday,’ Jack said, as though it ought to make sense to her. ‘But I needed him to marry us today. He refused. So I talked him into it.’

Pru struggled against the smile that threatened. ‘How romantic?

Jack removed the gag from the old priest’s mouth. The man coughed and spluttered. ‘He dragged me out of my bed before dawn. Made me get dressed. Dragged me all the way here from Daylesford.’

‘Daylesford?’ Pru shot another angry look at Jack.

‘Well, I couldn’t use a priest from Ballarat. They all know me.’

‘Really?’ Pru raised an eyebrow. ‘Priests know you?’

Jack rolled his eyes. ‘Fine, so I’ve never stepped foot inside a church in my life. But I couldn’t risk anyone recognising me from town. This was the only way.’

‘Untie his hands too,’ Pru ordered.

But …’ Jack started, rubbing his chin as he hesitated. ‘He already hit me once.’

‘I’d say you deserved at least one, wouldn’t you?’

‘What happened to “how romantic”?’ Jack huffed.

She stepped down the wooden steps and kissed him. Then she slapped him across the back of the head.

‘Ow!’

‘I was being sarcastic, you madman.’ Pru shook her head and turned to the priest.

‘Father, I apologise for my wayward, romantic, husband to be. You are free to go.’

‘Now hold on,’ Jack complained. ‘I brought him here to marry us and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.’

‘I’ll not be married by a man of God who is being held against his will.’

‘I do not know why you agreed to marry this reprobate, child,’ the priest said, rubbing his rope-burned wrists.

‘She proposed to me,’ Jack grumbled.

Pru ignored him. ‘Can I at least offer you a cup of tea before you go, Father?’

The priest looked from Jack to Prudence with some remaining suspicion before he yielded. ‘The name is Father Flaherty. Your friend here did not even bother to ask.’

‘You were too busy taking swings at me,’ Jack threw in.

‘You were dragging me out of my bed!’

‘Jack, enough!’ Pru ordered.

‘A cup of tea, you say?’ the priest said, ignoring Jack and stepping up onto the porch. ‘Don’t mind if I do.’

Both of them turned their backs on Jack and walked into the house.

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Hooly-dooly, how much fun does The Bushranger’s Wife sound!! You want a copy, oh yes you do, so satisfy that want with an instant purchase via any of these links.

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Happy reading!

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

Make sure you tune in this coming Friday when I’ll be sharing a stack of photos from our recent trip to Sculpture on the Farm. Not to be missed!

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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 to do the same.

Did you enjoy the last few weeks of guests and giveaways? It was great fun, wasn’t it? There were some wonderful answers to Pamela Cook’s question on friendship and Anna Campbell’s celebration of swashbuckling was also a blast.

Today you have me again but keep your eyes peeled for more guests over coming weeks, some of whom write in the best genre of all – rural romance!

What’s been happening in the Hein house? Golf, that’s what. Well, calling the thing I’ve been doing golf is probably not entirely accurate, but I have been hauling a set of clubs around a golf course while hitting and chasing a little white ball.

Those who’ve been following this blog for a long time and remember Friday Feast, may also remember a little segment called “Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf”, which is saying of my dad’s. And, in his case, it’s true. The poor man is even more untalented than me.

Cathryn ready to golfAnyway, in that segment I used to talk about my golfing adventures. Like the time I gave myself a black eye or hit three balls into the water off the first tee on round three of the club championships. None of these things stopped me from playing, though. I loved the silly sport. When you spend a lot of your day parked in front of a computer it’s good to head out in the open air and get some exercise. I haven’t been able to do much of that this year but now my health is on the improve I’m making the effort to get out again.

And it’s good. The getting out, not the golf, and you have to start somewhere, don’t you?

I suppose it’s a bit like writing in that way. I’m still making careful progress on Scarlett and the Model Man but careful progress is still progress. I want this book to be the best it can be. Can’t let you lovely readers down!

As the title suggests, the heroine of Scarlett and the Model Man is Scarlett Ash. She’s an up-and-coming artist who’s gaining attention for her, er, unusual take on femininity.

Those of you who’ve read Eddie and the Show Queen will already know what I mean. For those who haven’t, here’s a small taste of Scarlett when we first meet her.

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Scarlett was as eye-popping as her artwork. Her clothes were simple – khaki camouflage-patterned cargo pants, heavy lace-up work boots, and a black, paint-splattered fine-wool jumper. But it was her hair, eyes and skin that made her spectacular. Everything seemed overdone, from the cascading dark curls to the greenness of her eyes and the porcelain beauty of her face. Dramatic and finely drawn, like her art, and probably just as complicated.

Eddie & the Show Queen coverAlice also suspected she was more than a little drunk. A cosy-covered teapot sat on a bench, along with a sugar bowl and a half-empty bottle of gin. Having greeted Mrs Wallace with undisguised mistrust and Alice with strange interest, Scarlett now paced the studio, sipping from a delicate teacup and sliding narrow glances at Mrs Wallace as the older lady flicked through canvases.

‘I don’t do free, as you well know, Audrey.’

Alice had no idea what the relationship between these two was, but the use of Mrs Wallace’s first name suggested a long association. She hoped that was a good sign.

‘This would be a favour.’ Mrs Wallace smiled in a way that reminded Alice of a politician. ‘To me.’

Scarlett’s gaze sharpened even further. ‘Calling one in, are you?’

Mrs Wallace’s expression remained benign.

Scarlett’s attention switched to Alice. She gave her the same up and down that she had on arrival. It didn’t seem critical, more curious. ‘Are you expecting to model for it?’

‘Model?’ Alice couldn’t help her glance at one of the more revealing canvases. ‘No. Not at all.’ Not those bits anyway.

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Watch out for more of Scarlett in the future as I start to share snippets from Scarlett and the Model Man to whet your appetite!

Eddie and the Show Queen is available now in ebook and print from these retailers:

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson | Bookdepository

I have a limited number of Eddie and the Show Queen paperbacks available for direct purchase. If you’d like one of these personally signed editions, order now using this form. Orders also include a special Eddie and the Show Queen bookmark.

If you’d like to know more about Eddie and the Show Queen and how I came to write the story in Country Shows and Title Woes, the story behind Eddie and the Show Queen. You can also discover Five Secret Things about Eddie and the Show Queen in its release day blog post.

Never want to miss out on a new release? Join my newsletter team. It’s where all the cool people are!

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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 cajole author buddies into doing the same.

Like last week, we have another guest on Teaser Tuesday. A much-loved and highly entertaining guest too, but more on this special author in a minute.

First, news from the Hein house.

I’ve had more lovely feedback on Eddie and the Show Queen, which is incredibly heart-warming. If you’re after a personally signed copy, I have a few copies left in stock. They’re only $22AUD and that includes delivery to your Australian postal address and a super sparkly bookmark. Simply fill out this form and I’ll shoot you an invoice.

Scarlett and the Model Man is moving steadily along. Not as fast as I’d like but we’re getting there. I think I mentioned last week that I was considering changing the hero’s name because it clashed with a previous minor character’s. Well, I’ve decided it’s too embedded in my idea of him and I’m going to keep it. For now, anyway. These things are never set in concrete!

Now to our guest.

Please give a very warm welcome back to Teaser Tuesday favourite, historical romance author Anna Campbell. Rah! We love having Anna on. Her posts are always fun and interesting and her snippets super tantalising, and she usually generously offers a giveaway. Will she this time? You’ll have to read to the end to find out.

Here’s Anna to tell you about her new release and share a juicy excerpt of her sparkling new release, The Highlander’s Defiant Captive.

Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn!

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’m so excited to be here to tell you and your readers all about my latest release, The Highlander’s Defiant Captive, Book 4 in my Lairds Most Likely series.

I’m playing in a different era with this romance set in the late 17th century. No Regency polish on this one, but a full-blooded tale of feuding clans and abducted maidens and a gallant, if arrogant hero who finds a spirited lassie has put a spanner in the works when it comes to his plans for establishing peace in the glens. As you read the excerpt, which takes place just after Callum Mackinnon, the Laird of Achnasheen, snatches Bonny Mhairi Drummond away from her home, imagine Maureen O’Hara and Jason Momoa as my two protagonists. It’s such a pity that there’s no time travel – those two would really strike sparks off each other. Sparks that promise to turn into a might conflagration of passion before my story is over!

And make sure you read to the end because there’s a great giveaway and a chance to talk old-time Hollywood swashbucklers!

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The door to the tower room opened silently, and Callum stepped inside. From the corner of his vision, something large and dark swung toward him. He had a second to release a grunt of shock, as he staggered under the blow to his head.

Pain shuddered through him. He’d barely registered what happened when another blow struck his temple. Seeing stars, he slumped back against the door.

“What the devil?” he grated out, instinctively reaching for his assailant.

Through reeling confusion, his hands closed on soft female flesh. Over the ringing in his ears, he heard a furious exhalation. When the girl wriggled to escape him, it was too much for his precarious balance. He tumbled to the floor, dragging his captive with him.

Something thudded to the ground near his pounding head as a slender body collapsed on top of him with another oof of furious breath.

The Highlander’s Defiant Captive by Anna CampbellHis grip tightened as he forced his eyes open. “Lie still, plague take ye.”

She wrenched far enough away for him to see brilliant blue eyes promising him injury. “Let me go.”

Even in his extremity, Callum noticed how perfectly Mhairi Drummond’s body fitted against his. Without thinking, he ran his hand down her back. For one vibrant second, she remained still under his touch. Then she gave a disgusted exclamation and twisted to bring her knee up.

He gave a surprised exhalation and wrenched out from under her before she made his hopes of children an impossibility.

“My God, you’re a wildcat.” Admiration rang in his voice.

“Ye patronizing pig,” she snarled, scrambling out of his hold.

She was panting for breath. His clearing vision settled on that heaving bosom. By heaven, Mhairi Drummond was a lot of woman, and his stirring interest firmed into a determination to win her and keep her and turn all that passion and spirit to his causes.

Callum lay where he was on the priceless carpet as he took stock of what had just happened. A careful turn of his aching head revealed the assault weapon. The metal bucket that had held peat to feed the fire blazing behind her.

Another careful turn of his head, and he encountered Mhairi’s glower. She’d staggered to her feet and stood glaring at him with an expression that told him his admiration wasn’t reciprocated. In fact, she looked like she wanted to carve out his gizzards and feed them to the crows.

The last thing he noticed – sign enough of how this extraordinary lassie turned his brain to porridge – was the small dirk clutched in her hand. It was familiar. He didn’t need to check that his knife was missing from his belt.

“The devil, that was quick.” She had clever hands. He hadn’t even felt her steal it. He forced his imagination away from just what such clever hands could to do to his body. “Give me back my dirk before ye do someone a mischief.”

“I ken how to use this.”

Watching her confidence burgeon, he sat up slowly. “I’m sure ye do.”

As he worked out how best to deal with her insurrection, he studied her. He should have expected something like this. He’d allowed his optimism to lull him into a false sense of security when she responded so calmly, if negatively, to his plans for her. And Jean had told him she’d accepted the servants’ help with cold politeness, but without causing trouble.

When he knew trouble was the very blood that flowed through her veins.

“Get up.”

Callum didn’t obey, but continued to regard her steadily from where he sat with his back against the door. When he’d brought her to Achnasheen, she’d look tired and worn, despite her best efforts with his comb. Tired and worn, but unbowed.

A bath, a few hours of rest, and some hot food had restored her fire. She was dressed as befitted the lady of his lands, too, in a blue silk gown that belonged to his sister who was around her size. The vivid color made her skin look like rich cream.

He took in that imperious pointed chin. Great Jehovah, she was indomitable. The rich red hair was arranged away from her face and neck, revealing the pure line of her jaw. A jaw set with stalwart determination.

“I said get up.” Her voice was hard and steady.

He arched his eyebrows. “Or what?”

“I am armed.”

“Och, Blind Freddy can see that.”

“You’re going to come downstairs with me and escort me to the stables. You’ll give me the swiftest horse ye have, and you’ll tell your foul minions to open the gates to let me out.”

“Will I indeed?”

When he didn’t immediately leap to obey her, uncertainty flashed in her eyes. “Aye.”

“That’s a gey powerful influence ye lend to yon wee bodkin, mistress.”

“It might be wee, but it’s sharp enough to do ye damage, Black Callum.”

“Nae doubt.”

She took a step closer. “Move.”

Callum raised one knee and rested his good arm on it. All the bumping and battling made the arm she’d already cut ache like hell. If this wooing went on too long, he’d be a physical wreck by the time he got this lass into bed.

He let himself smile, although his head still rang like a peal of bells. “Och, Mhairi, you’re going to make a braw lady for Achnasheen.”

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What a hoot!!! I bet that has whetted your appetite. It certainly has mine. Don’t let this Scot get away. Order your copy of The Highlander’s Defiant Captive today from any of these retailers.

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

Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Want more of the Laird of Achnasheen and his bonny lass? You’ll find a longer excerpt on Anna’s website.

Has Anna come through with a giveaway for you? Indeedy, she has! Here’s Anna again to tell you about it.

GIVEAWAY!

As you can probably tell, I’ve taken every opportunity for my hero to buckle The Highlander’s Defiant Captive by Anna Campbellhis swash. I’m a huge fan of old-style Hollywood historical adventures like The Adventures of Robin Hood or Ben-Hur. Are you an Errol Flynn fan? Or is Charlton Heston at his steely-jawed best your pick? Do you have a favourite historical movie? Both of those would be among mine!

I’ve got a Kindle download of The Highlander’s Defiant Captive for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions.

Good luck in the draw!

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Ooh (or should that be och?), I do love a bit of swashbuckling! My favourite is “The Musketeers” television series starring Tom Burke and others. Not old-style Hollywood and, I admit, silly sometimes, but highly watchable. All that metal and leather

What about you? What’s your favourite bit of swashbuckling? Is it “The Musketeers” like me or maybe your darling hubby, when he playfights in his pyjamas? Swashbuckling can have many forms!

Share your favourite in the comments and you’ll go into the draw to win a Kindle ebook of The Highlander’s Defiant Captive.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday, Australian Eastern Standard Time, 4th October 2019. Open internationally.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her wonderful novels, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.

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