Category Archives: cosy mystery/romance

SNOWFLAKES OVER HOLLY COVE ~ by Lucy Coleman

snowlakes

Snowflakes over Holly Cove

by

Lucy Coleman

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:18 September 2018

Publisher: Aria Fiction

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan.

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped cup of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

EXTRACT

 

PROLOGUE

Mum and I link arms, faces turned upwards towards the heavens. Our eyes scan the dense and strangely opaque grey sky, as a flurry of large snowflakes rain down upon us. Like a feather pillow which has burst its seams, we are bombarded by a cascade of soft, white clusters of icy crystals. Having to constantly blink away the fluffy white particles as they hit our eyelashes, we hug each other and begin laughing, totally enthralled.

With cheeks starting to glisten as the ice melts on contact, already the heavier flakes begin to settle on our hair and thick winter coats. As carefree as children, we survey the scene in awe. The street outside our boutique hotel is being turned into a winter wonderland in front of our eyes.

The combination of a heavily-laden sky and the soft carpet beneath our feet muffles every little sound; even our footsteps no longer echo as we head off in search of the bright lights. I know that this is a memory that will be etched on our minds forever, as Mum squeezes my arm and turns to smile at me. I feel like Santa dispensing a little Christmas magic, as what I see reflected in her eyes is a moment of almost child-like happiness and joy. And to me that is priceless.

As we turn the corner, ahead of us is a cacophony of sounds softened by the backdrop that is almost a mini blizzard now – a snow globe brought to life. The traffic has slowed, but horns still toot and sirens still screech; a city that never sleeps cannot be stopped.

With last-minute shoppers and people now eager to make their way home, the sidewalks are so busy that the pitching snow is quickly trampled underfoot. Being swept along with the crowd, as if we are New Yorkers and not merely visitors, it’s easy to soak up the ambience.

Suddenly, a guy wearing a Santa outfit appears in front of us ringing a small hand bell and holding up a bucket, part-filled with coins. He’s an older man and his beard and moustache appear to be real. I’m guessing the flowing white hair is a wig, as it’s as white as the snowflakes that continue to fall. It looks like some of that padding around the middle might not actually be padding, though. He’s even wearing half-moon glasses, perched low on his nose. Everything about him embodies the Santa images I remember from my childhood.

‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, ladies. Do you have a few coins to spare to make my bucket a little fuller? Help the homeless at Christmas.’

Mum turns her head to look at me, a bemused smile on her face. We immediately dive into our handbags to pull out a handful of coins each, that clatter as we throw them into the bucket.

‘Merry Christmas and I hope it’s a truly wonderful one for you both.’

‘Thank you, Santa, and good luck filling that bucket.’

His eyes crinkle up when he smiles back at us and for some reason he reaches out to place his gloved hand on Mum’s shoulder.

‘The season’s blessings upon you, my dear. Enjoy this special holiday.’

With that he moves on past us, leaving Mum and me to stare after him as he continues to greet people and accept donations. Even when Mum and I link arms and begin moving forward again, the tinkling sound of that little bell seems to float on the air.

‘It’s like another world,’ Mum exclaims, totally captivated and more than a little overwhelmed by the skyline that towers above us.

‘So good, they named it twice – the city and the state!’

Ahead of us a Starbucks offers a chance to warm ourselves up a little and we hurry inside. There’s a table for two in the window and I settle Mum down before I head off to order our coffees.

In the background the sounds of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree add to the lively and festive atmosphere. Most of the people who are seated have a pile of carrier bags stuffed beneath their seats and there’s a real buzz in the air as the holiday season is about to begin.

‘Eggnog Latte or Chestnut Praline Latte?’

Mum looks up at me, raising her eyebrows and giving a shrug of her shoulders. ‘Surprise me!’

‘Eggnog Latte, then. Why not?’

When it’s cool enough for her to take that first sip, a little smile creeps over her face.

‘This reminds me of my father. He always made eggnog at Christmas. It was his only contribution, as my mother even carved the turkey.’ She laughs to herself, transported back to a special moment goodness knows how many years ago.

‘I’m not even sure how it’s made,’ I admit. I’m pretty sure it’s a drink I’ve never tried.

‘The secret is in the nutmeg, he always said. It’s milk, cream, a little cinnamon and vanilla mixed with eggs, sugar and bourbon. It was a luxury in those days. Even the smell of it conjures up Christmas, to me.’

It’s wonderful to sit here and hear her talking about Christmases from her own childhood. ‘This is truly magical, Tia, thank you so very much. My wonderful, darling daughter, what would I do without you in my life? Spending time with you is gift enough, so today I’m doubly blessed.’

I vowed then, that in future we’ll celebrate every Christmas Eve in style at a very special destination. I can’t think of a better way to repay her for all those wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Losing my father, and then a family row distancing my brother from us, has blighted far too many Christmases already.

Our first trip had to be New York; home of the iconic yellow taxi cab, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. And, of course, the setting for one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time: Miracle on 34th Street. But who knows where we’ll be this time next year? My only wish is that the snowflakes will begin to fall, as that’s the little bit of magic that makes Christmas special, no matter what age you are.

 

BUY LINKS

http://smarturl.it/SnowflkOverHollyCove

snowflakes

ABOUT LUCY COLEMAN

snowflakes

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

 https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Website:  http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION

A Christmas Book-reading Bag (a signed copy of A Cottage in the Country + treats) – UK ONLY

snowflakes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE FRENCH ADVENTURE by Lucy Coleman #sweet #romance #cosy #mystery

French

The French Adventure

by

Lucy Coleman

 

FrenchGenre: Sweet romance/cosy mystery

Release Date: 1 February 2018

Publisher: Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus)

Packed full of French flavour and idyllic settings this is a romantic, heart-warming and unputdownable new novel about life and love, perfect for anyone who loves Milly Johnson, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson.

Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…

EXTRACT

The L Word

Two weeks today will be the first anniversary of our first real date. Being wined and dined in a chic little French restaurant was a gigantic step forward; it signalled the beginning of a new era in my relationship with Karl. Even though at least half of the meal was spent talking about work, his intentions were clear – we were no longer simply colleagues and romance was in the air.

Since then, Karl must have told me that he loves me more than a thousand times. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I can assure you that’s not the case. He usually manages to slip it into the conversation at least three times a day. The first time he said the L word to me, it slid off his tongue so easily I could almost have missed it. It wasn’t a staring into each other’s eyes moment of discovery, just a casual ‘love you, babe’.

As the months rolled by, I pushed aside my growing fear that it was only a word to him. Because it means so much more to me, I freeze whenever he tacks it onto a sentence.

And, yes, I’m very aware that my air of disapproval does make me sound ungrateful and undeserving. But it’s all about self-preservation, you see. I’ll never utter that word again until I’m one hundred per cent certain that the man I’m saying it to believes I’m their soul mate too – the perfect fit.

The last time I uttered the L word, was six years ago. It was to a guy I’d known since childhood and the man I genuinely believed I would marry when the time was right. He was handsome in a rugged way, fired up with ambition and exciting to be around. Sadly, everyone we knew thought we were the perfect couple too, except the guy in question, as it turned out…

BUY LINK

http://smarturl.it/TheFrenchAdventure

GOODREADS

https://goo.gl/k3hEkq

ABOUT LUCY COLEMAN

French

Lucy Coleman always knew that one day she would write, but first life took her on a wonderful journey of self-discovery for which she is very grateful.

Family life and two very diverse careers later she now spends most days glued to a keyboard, which she refers to as her personal quality time.

‘It’s only when you know who you are that you truly understand what makes you happy – and writing about love, life and relationships makes me leap out of bed every morning!’

If she isn’t online she’s either playing with the kids, whose imaginations seem to know no bounds, or painting something. As a serial house mover together with her lovely husband, there is always a new challenge to keep her occupied!

Lucy also writes under the name Linn B. Halton.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanauthnn

Goodreads Author Page: http://ow.ly/mk3H30atV5h

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION!

fRENCHFrench coffee set. No purchase necessary.

UK only.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE SECRETS OF VILLA ROSSO by Linn B Halton #guestpost #giveaway

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso

by

Linn B Halton

 

Villa Rosso

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:21 July 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Secrets of Villa Rosso:

Escape to Italy for a summer romance to remember

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.

BUY LINKS

Amazon:

http://smarturl.it/SecretsofVillaRosso

KOBO:

http://ow.ly/2ANQ30bbpBZ

EXTRACT

It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso – how does a story begin?

Every time I begin a new novel I have, if I’m lucky, a paragraph hastily jotted down when I’m out walking, or in bed at night. Usually, though, it’s one single line – the idea that I know will spark an entire story.

So how do I grow that single thought into a plotline? Quite simply I let the words unfold. Usually I have one character who will have inspired that initial idea and as I expand that one-liner I begin to get a feel for who they are. Because I don’t know them, and neither does my reader, I need the character to show me who they are through their thoughts, words and emotions.

Of course, it’s never long before another person pops onto the scene and another, then another … and that’s how it begins to grow. Suddenly they are all clamouring to give me lines to take the story forward and it becomes necessary to rein them in, becoming selective. And yes, side characters do sometimes become such good friends that I want to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ of their personal stories. But there comes a point, usually around fifty thousand words when I start to panic. I rarely know that far ahead how a story is going to end, although just occasionally I have written the end chapter before I’m very many words into the story. But I know there’s still a lot of story to be told and it’s necessary to focus, rather than amble towards the ending.

And that was the case with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. The challenge all along was never how it was going to end, it was how this story would unfold and what would be the twists and turns? That had only happened to me once before and I had to trust that the characters would steer me in the right direction.

Many writers do a lot of detailed planning, even to chapter level and they have the bare bones of the story from the start. Maybe the characters that jump into my head are just an unruly bunch who don’t like rules, or maybe it’s the bizarre way my brain works. However, I prefer to think of it as being a reader who happens to type and the characters are the real authors of the story.

I love it when I get to write from the male perspective, too, as it’s exciting being inside a male character’s head. Oh, the power to see both perspectives and it’s heady stuff. It makes my days full of surprises and a day at work is never, ever boring!

The downside for me is always when I type ‘The End’ – and, of course, editors always take that out. But for me it signifies saying goodbye to the friends who have been with me through a very personal journey and I miss them afterwards.

Writing full-time is my job, but to me writing is also my guilty pleasure. Bar of chocolate, or sit down and write another chapter? Sorry chocolate, as tempting as you are you come second!

ABOUT LINN B HALTON

Villa Rosso

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing … and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Goodreads Author Page: http://ow.ly/mk3H30atV5h

Website:  http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION (no purchase necessary)

A pamper kit (UK ONLY)

Villa Rosso

a Rafflecopter giveaway