Category Archives: contemporary romance

Launching today ~ A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval! #contemporary #romance

Thank you so much, Melanie, for welcoming me on your blog on the day my latest contemporary romance, A PARIS FAIRY TALE, is published by Choc Lit.

A Paris Fairy Tale

Blurb for A PARIS FAIRY TALE

Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

Extract

Aurora glanced up, and met the amber gaze of a tall, dark-haired man who stood in front of her, blocking her view of the rest of the room.

He had high, sharp cheekbones, his mouth was set in a cynical smile, but it was his eyes that held her attention. They were the most fascinating colour, warm brandy with flecks of green. Immediately, the names of pigments she would need to paint them flashed into her mind – Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Verona Gold Ochre, with a touch of Cobalt Green or Malachite.

‘Castel,’ Nenachko snarled.

The newcomer ignored him and looked at Aurora, holding her captive in his intense, mesmerising scrutiny. ‘I see Nenachko lost no time in securing your services, Mademoiselle Black. I guess he needs people like you to help him plunder the museums and art galleries of Europe.’

Aurora drew in a shocked breath and snapped out of her trance. Straightening her back to make her five foot two appear taller, she pushed her glasses up and gave him the frosty look that caused her colleagues to call her ‘Black Ice’ – those who liked her, that is.

‘It’s Doctor Black, actually,’ she corrected, ‘and I do not help anyone plunder museums, nor do I condone those who do it.’ Never mind the colour of his eyes. Who was this man and how did he dare question her integrity?

He arched his dark eyebrows as if he didn’t believe her and turned to Nenachko again. ‘I hope you’re enjoying the party. There must be plenty of rich people you can swindle here tonight.’

Nenachko’s face flushed harder. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘Letting you know that I was back from my trip in the Mediterranean.’

The Russian’s blue eyes narrowed to slits. ‘Ah yes. I heard you were still on a crusade to rescue refugees. What a shame you didn’t drown… By the way, I didn’t see your name on the guest list.’

Castel shrugged. ‘That’s because it’s not.’

‘Then how did you get past security?’

‘I have my ways.’

It was like watching a verbal tennis match, Aurora thought as she glanced from one to the other. The Russian looked like a man it was dangerous to cross, but Castel, whoever he was, didn’t seem to care. Worse, he seemed to enjoy goading him into a dark rage.

Author bio

A Paris Fairy Tale

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes.

She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

Her latest romantic novel  A PARIS FAIRY TALE is released on July 23rd and is available as a ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms.

You can find out more about Marie on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/)

or Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1).

You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/laval0232/)

SALE ENDS SOON! Oct 1st the price goes up ~ It Happened on Dufferin Terrace #Christmas #sweetromance

sale ends soon

The sale ends soon! The 99¢/99p price of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace goes up on Monday, Oct 1st.

Pick your copy of this #Christmas, #sweetromance novella brimming with that “feel good” up this weekend for the bargain price.

She’s married to her career… He’s a widowed father…

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle in

It Happened on Dufferin Terrace

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Married to her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles.

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

BUY LINKS

 kindle

Kobo Canada

Kobo US

 

IT HAPPENED ON DUFFERIN TERRACE #sweet #contemporary #romance #ChristmasinJuly

She’s married to her job… He’s a widowed father…

Dufferin Terrace

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Busy with her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador Retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

Watch this space!

Cover reveal and pre-order links are coming.

Check out my other novels here.

AFTER THE SUN by Katherine E. Smith #contemporary #romance

Katherine E. Smith

 

After the Sun

by

Katherine E. Smith

 

Katherine E. Smith

Release Date: 28th May 2018

Series: Coming Back to Cornwall #2 (can be read as a standalone)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

When things seem too good to be true, they usually are. 

Alice is finding her feet managing the Sail Loft Hotel when Sam is presented with an offer he can’t refuse. The bad news is, if he says yes, he will have to leave Cornwall.

Sam’s visits home see him split in his loyalties between his daughter Sophie, and spending time with Alice. Sophie’s mother, Kate, seems to be doing her best to make things difficult.

Meanwhile, Alice’s friend Julie is also facing a long-distance relationship as her new partner, and Sam’s best friend, Luke, is working in London. With no children to think of, and plenty of disposable income (on Luke’s part at least), life should be more simple but Julie has yet to find a long-term job and Luke is still getting over the recent death of his mother.

Can these fledgling relationships pass the long-distance test, and can Julie and Alice make life in Cornwall work for them now that the summer sun has gone?

Extract

“Oh.” I feel like my stomach has dropped to the floor. I try to look happy. “But that is brilliant, isn’t it? It’s an amazing opportunity, it’s perfect for you.”

“Alice,” Sam says quietly and I look at him. “It’s not perfect, is it? Because it would mean being away from you.”

He’s been offered sponsorship through university, including a year’s practical experience partway through the course, and guaranteed employment afterwards. His exam results were some of the best in the country for his chosen course, Applied Marine Biology, and he’s actually been head-hunted by a brilliant conservation society. It’s more wonderful news, on top of everything else. Only the course they want him to do isn’t at Plymouth, it’s at Bangor, in North Wales.

414 miles away via the quickest route (seven hours, ten minutes). 389 miles via the A30 (seven hours, thirty-two minutes), five changes on the train (eight hours, fifty-eight minutes).

“You have to do it,” I say, “you have to. It’s too good an opportunity to turn down.”

I am saying the right words but I am willing him to say no, he won’t, he doesn’t want to. We have been apart for ten years, and back together again for a matter of weeks. I can’t bear the thought that we will be separated again. But I know that this decision needs to be his. He looks at me, his blue eyes serious and holding my gaze. I look away first, scared that I might cry.

“I don’t know,” he says. “I don’t know.”

“Number fifty-three!” The lady behind the counter calls out cheerfully.

“This is us,” I say, “I’ll go and get it.” I am grateful for the opportunity to break this moment. “Do you want any sauce?” I ask, trying to match the cafe lady’s tone.

“Alice…” Sam says but I am on my feet, walking towards the counter with a smile on my face while inside my heart is breaking. I know that he has to go.

Buy Links

AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/neeV9A

AMAZON US – https://goo.gl/9YkSC8

About the Author

 

Katherine E. Smith

Katharine E. Smith is a writer, editor and publisher. An avid reader of contemporary writers such as Kate Atkinson, David Nicholls and Anne Tyler, Katharine’s aim is to write books she would like to read herself. She has three novels to her name, and one non-fiction guide, written with fellow indie authors in mind.

Katharine runs Heddon Publishing from her home in Shropshire, which she shares with her husband and their two children.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/smithkatharinee

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/KatharineESmtih

Website: www.katharineesmith.com

LOVE THIRTY by Jill Barry #contemporary #romance #giveaway

love thirty

Love Thirty

by

Jill Barry

love thirty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 15 February 2018

Publisher: Endeavour Media

Georgia Lyle is an ambitious journalist when she interviews hopeful British tennis player Nick Pereira. It’s game, set and match, and soon wedding bells chime. At first the couple try to balance their careers, but eventually Georgia quits her job to tour with her husband. When she finds it impossible to continue being a tennis wife, the two split, but remain in touch as Nick moves to Australia to coach and Georgia begins a new career as a lifestyle and food writer. Soon she’s jetting off to Paris to film a series with some very famous chefs, including Frenchman Jean Luc, who is quite smitten with her. But Yasmin, his right hand woman, has other ideas on that score. Everyone thinks Nick and Georgia regret giving up on their marriage. But how does Georgia learn to love reaching thirty and how do two stubborn people admit they were wrong and reunite?

With all the back and forth of a Wimbledon final, Love Thirty is a lively romance set among the gentle green of England and the quirky restaurants of France.

Extract

“Is there a window for romance in your hectic schedule?”

The ticking of the silver carriage clock on the mantelpiece sounded like a conductor tapping his baton on the music stand. Georgia forgot to breathe.

Nick relaxed against the cushions. “I’ve no particular wish to play mixed doubles.”  His eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Humour me. I want to connect with both female and male readers.” She released her most beguiling smile, determined to win the point.

A muscle twitched in his cheek. “The answer to your question is, not at the moment. Certainly not until I’m a top ten player.”

It was as if tiny fingers tapped their way down Georgia’s spine. His eyes told her his own comment had surprised him. Maybe it was the first time he’d confided his ambition. This made her heartbeat quicken though she realised there was no way Nick Pereira was media-savvy. By the end of this interview her squiggles would cover several pages and he probably prayed her article wouldn’t earn him too much flak from the guys in the locker room. He was a relatively minor British athlete, aiming to prove himself by actions not words.

Ignoring those amazing eyelashes and trying not to wonder what he was like with his shirt off, she challenged him with a drop shot. “How will you cope with the tabloids? They pounce on home grown players. Can you deal with that pressure-cooker situation as well as Andy Murray does?”

Nick hitched one long leg over the other and gazed up at the crystal chandelier. Georgia focused on the silky dark tuft at the open V of his shirt. Prayed the photos would prove finger-licking enough to make readers rush to buy the weekend paper.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2oZBLV3

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2oZIyyd

From initial idea to finished book – The journey of Love Thirty

 

I fell in love with tennis when I first picked up a mini racquet at around age seven and I can probably bore for Britain on the subject! Writing and tennis are my two great pleasures, as recognised by my long-suffering loved ones.

I began writing short stories and graduated to novellas and novels some years before I decided to use the theme of tennis in one of my books, even though I knew Nick Pereira would be a nightmare hero to write. Athletes are totally driven, aren’t they? So how could I prevent a focussed career sportsman, trying to chase the British Number One player up the rankings, from being one-dimensional? Nick’s basically a nice guy and he falls deeply in love with Georgia. But that ambition thing is a hard one to tame. I needed to make Georgia a strong-willed woman, so much so that she would never tolerate taking a back seat throughout the whole of her husband’s playing career. She too, has to find her own way in the world.

I’d like to explain that the title Love Thirty is not totally inspired by that game played with racquets and balls. However, the sport has gained much more popular interest since national hero Sir Andy Murray won Wimbledon not just once but twice! Georgia, who starts listening to her biological clock ticking as she heads for her 30th birthday, has more than one object on her personal agenda. Nick, who doesn’t see things totally her way, needs to step back from the limelight although he does remain a positive background figure in the story.

I spent years living in Wiltshire and also knew more than one local journalist so I knew the background and a bit about my heroine’s career. Georgia needed a sidekick, someone to banter with, go for a beer with, and to moan to, primarily about Baz, the pair’s ever so slightly misogynist boss. Enter Andy, who tried to tell me he was secretly in love with Georgia, but would I listen? No. She was always destined to marry Nick Pereira.

Although my novel isn’t tennis obsessed, the reader samples the flavour as the story progresses. As an author who writes character-led fiction, I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Georgia and Nick’s families, friends and colleagues. I needed a device to trigger a new beginning for my heroine after she quits roaming round the world’s tennis hot spots and I found that means within a short story of mine that was published in 2002. So I blame an ancient cookbook for the startling life change Georgia experiences.

Food is a great leveller, and it’s often used in fiction in exciting ways. I’m thinking of the novel by Henry Fielding that inspired the movie Tom Jones (no, not Jones the Voice!) although my book doesn’t include such a provocative supper scene. But Georgia and her recipes steal the heart of the British public, and possibly the heart of a sexy French chef who she finds tempting and with whom she ends up working. This takes the action to Paris.

As part of Georgia’s journey, I take readers from a small Wiltshire town beside a canal, to Nick’s parents’ extravagant property and to Georgia’s folks’ cottage on a large estate that her father manages. After a perfect winter wedding, the brief honeymoon is spent in Edinburgh so keep your thermals at the ready. Of course you get a ticket to Wimbledon later in the story so you might need your sun hat. Nothing but the best for Jill Barry’s readers! That section was one of my favourites to write, especially as I’ve attended the championships and loved celebrity spotting as much as I enjoyed the matches.

The consequence of Georgia’s visit to London SW19 proves to be another huge life-changer. Afterwards, she spends a brief but eventful period in Paris – cue more colourful characters – and by the time the novel ends, I hope you’ll sit back and think, wow!

ABOUT JILL BARRY

LOVE THIRTY

Jill Barry enjoys drawing upon some of her favourite job and holiday experiences for her books. Her romantic novels and novellas have been published digitally and in paperback as well as large print and pocket novel format. Currently, she’s working on the first book of a trilogy highlighting the lives and loves of three women. She critiques for other romantic novelists and runs creative writing sessions for students at an online high school.

 Facebook:

              https://www.facebook.com/JillBarryBooks/

Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/barry_jill 

Tweet Jill @barry_jill

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276803.Jill_Barry

Amazon Author Page:

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jill-Barry/e/B00FE0GQJ0

GIVEAWAY

An Amazon Gift Card!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A STRANGER IN THE COVE by Rachel Brimble #Harlequin #superromance

strangerA Stranger in the Cove

by

Rachel Brimble

strangerSeries: Templeton Cove

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: Jan 1st 2018

Publisher: Harlequin

Mac Orman is on a mission. When he discovers his recently deceased father had been searching for his birth mother, Mac aims to finish the job by finding the grandmother he never knew. His quest leads him to Templeton Cove—and a firecracker of a woman who instantly jump-starts his tortured heart.

For Mac, Kate Harrington is the most tempting kind of distraction. But their sizzling connection comes with a side of suspicion for Kate, who doesn’t trust this brooding stranger in her town. Mac arrived with no plans to stay, but as he falls for Kate, he wonders how he could ever possibly leave.

EXCERPT

Oh, for the love of God. The man’s smile was slow, soft and as sexy as hell. It was like an invisible aphrodisiac on her newly ignited libido. She took another sip of her drink, her heart racing and her body on fire. He looked at her as though he had X-ray vision…or the ability to make her want to strip without the request even passing his lips. Every inch of her body was intensely aware of him and she didn’t like it. Not one tiny bit. Good looks and even better bodies were not to be trusted. This guy could be just as much of a cheater as her ex. Even more so, if his killer smile was anything to go by. She couldn’t imagine a woman not being affected by it. So why did she want to keep looking at him?

He leaned his elbow on the bar and faced her. “So…” He took a sip of his drink. “Do you

live around here?”

Feigning nonchalance, she sat straighter on her stool and drew forth as much of a welcome attitude as she could. It wasn’t this stranger’s fault he’d attracted and intrigued her in one very dangerous blow. “Yes.”

He smiled. “That’s all I get?”

“That’s all you get.” She returned his smile, her body relaxing a little. His voice was rich

and deep and had the same warming effect on her as a shot of whiskey on a cold night. “That is, until I know a little more about you.”

“Shoot.” He drank. “Ask me anything you want.”

“Okay…” Her gaze dropped frustratingly to his mouth, most likely quashing her

nonchalance in a heartbeat. She shifted on her seat and lifted her gaze to his…although his eyes were by no means a safer option. She cleared her throat. “What brings you to the Cove?”

His gaze locked on hers and the seconds ticked by. His blue eyes darkened as his smile

faltered. Kate raised her eyebrows, curiosity whispering through her. “Was that not a good

question to start with?”

He flitted his focus to the band once more. “I’m looking for work.”

She frowned. “In Templeton?”

“It’s as good a place as any, isn’t it?”

She hazarded a guess that the shift in his tone was meant to induce a throw away question, to make her believe it was no big deal why he was in Templeton. Little did Mr. Bad Boy know, she was blessed—or sometimes cursed—with the innate ability to read between the lines, to sense when something wasn’t quite right with people or situations. Her senses pinged to high alert with this guy at the sudden stiffness in his body, the way his jaw had set. His easy demeanour of a moment before had been replaced with clear defensiveness.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK – https://goo.gl/vG267K

Amazon US – https://goo.gl/eBeJzG

Barnes & Noble – https://goo.gl/ejrXnF

ABOUT RACHEL BRIMBLE

STRANGER

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Jan 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelBrimble?lang=en

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelbrimbleauthor/?hl=en

Blog: http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/

Website: http://rachelbrimble.com/

GIVEAWAY

£20/$20 Amazon Gift Certificate

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A CHRISTMAS WISH by Erin Green #contemporary #romance #giveaway

Erin Green

A Christmas Wish

by

Erin Green

 

Erin GreenGenre: Romance Contemporary

Release Date: 1st August 2017

Publisher: Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus

Flora Phillips has an excuse for every disaster in her life; she was abandoned as a new-born on a doorstep one cold autumn night, wrapped in nothing but a towel. Her philosophy is simple: if your mother doesn’t want you – who will?

Now a thirty-year-old, without a boyfriend, a career or home she figures she might as well tackle the biggest question of them all – who is she? So, whilst everyone else enjoys their Christmas Eve traditions, Flora escapes the masses and drives to the village of Pooley to seek a specific doorstep. Her doorstep.

But in Pooley she finds more than her life story. She finds friends, laughter, and perhaps even a love to last a lifetime. Because once you know where you come from, it’s so much easier to know where you’re going.

A story of redemption and love, romance and Christmas dreams-come-true, the perfect novel to snuggle up with this festive season.

BUY LINKS

https://www.amazon.ca/Christmas-Wish-Erin-Green-ebook/dp/B071YNFZGQ

https://www.amazon.com.au/Christmas-Wish-Erin-Green-ebook/dp/B071YNFZGQ

https://www.amazon.com/CHRISTMAS-WISH-Erin-Green/dp/1786697955

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Wish-Erin-Green-ebook/dp/B071YNFZGQ

ABOUT ERIN GREEN

 

Erin Green
Actor headshot photography

Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education. She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!

Erin’s writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ErinGreenAuthor/about/?tab=page_info

Twitter: @ErinGreenAuthor

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16881009.Erin_Green

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/erin_green_author/

Website: www.ErinGreenAuthor.co.uk

GIVEAWAY

A signed copy of the book for 5 lucky winners! (UK only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE HOUSE AT LADYWELL by Nicola Slade #CrookedCat #extract

Nicola Slade

THE HOUSE AT LADYWELL

by

NICOLA SLADE

 

Nicola Slade

Genre: Contemporary romance with historical interludes

Release Date: 14th November 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

A hare carved in stone and the scent of flowers in a house full of echoes – can Freya’s inheritance help her to leave the past behind?

Had I gone completely crazy that first day? To open the door, take one astonished look round, and decide on the spot that I would live there?

To fall in love with a house?’

When Freya Gibson inherits an old, run-down property she has no idea she is the last in a long line of redoubtable women, including the Tudor nun who built the house. Unknown to Freya these women, over centuries, fought with whatever weapons came to hand – deception, endurance, even murder – to preserve their home and family.

Freya falls in love with the house but her inheritance includes an enigmatic letter telling her to ‘restore the balance’ of the Lady’s Well. Besides this, the house seems to be haunted by the scent of flowers.

In the past the Lady’s Well was a place of healing and Freya soon feels safe and at home, but she has demons of her own to conquer before she can accept the happiness that beckons.

**********

EXTRACT

 

‘Something I’d failed to mention to anyone: not to Louise, not when I was enthusing to Patrick, and certainly not to the helpful solicitor, was the letter that had been waiting for me on that first day.

Beside the front door stood a small table on which sat an old walkabout phone in a base station, and two envelopes, one large and the other letter-sized. The smaller envelope was addressed to me.

The handwriting straggled shakily across the page and the contents of the letter startled me.

When you were born I knew you were the one. Before anything else you must go into the garden and pick some flowers. It doesn’t matter what you pick: in winter look for leaves, rosemary or winter jasmine, but if it’s summer pick simple flowers – a rose, a sprig of yellow broom, nothing fancy. Pick what you can and weave them into a wreath made from the rowan tree – you’ll know it by the wooden bench underneath. Hang it on the hook inside the front door.

When that’s done, say the words written below, making sure you’re alone. My grandmother had the verse from her own grandmother and so on. I expect the words have altered over time but the spirit remains the same. Show reverence when you do these things but do this first of all. You must not delay.

You must restore the balance.’

 

It had been a sleety February day, with flowers few and far between but I persevered, driven by the sense of urgency in the letter. I found secateurs in the kitchen. The rosemary was easy, a great, straggling bush standing sentinel by the path, with yellow winter jasmine spread against the wall. In a sheltered spot I found a clump of snowdrops and, to my delight, a primrose or two.

I had to stand on the bench to snip a couple of pliable twigs from the rowan, and back in the house I bent them into a makeshift circle and threaded in the flowers and leaves. Still under the compulsion I’d felt on reading the letter I stood on a chair to hang my creation on the waiting hook.

Saying the words Violet had written made me pause.

‘It sounds like a spell,’ I half-whispered, hushed by the strangeness of it all. Was Violet a witch? Wasn’t this all complete nonsense? I read the words again and summoned up my rusty Latin vocabulary, almost forgotten since ‘A’ Level. ‘Domina means lady; something about water? And leporum – rabbit? No,’ I corrected myself. ‘Lepus is a hare, and benedic – any kind of blessing can’t be bad.’

There was something about the place that I couldn’t explain. I felt safe and – odd as it sounds – wrapped in loving arms. The house was filled with a friendly silence and I felt comforted for the first time in ages. What harm could it do to obey Violet’s last instructions when she given me this precious gift?

I took a deep breath and bowed my head before the ring of twigs and flowers, not in prayer but in a kind of grateful submission, as I quietly murmured the Latin words, stumbling over a rough translation in my head…’

 

BUY LINKS

 

AMAZON UK – http://amzn.to/2iprcIs

AMAZON US – http://amzn.to/2j2t3Cz

**********

ABOUT NICOLA SLADE

 

Nicola Slade

Nicola Slade had her first short stories published in her early twenties and wrote for children and for women’s magazines while her three children were growing up.

Nicola’s books are all set in Hampshire and include the romantic comedy, ‘Scuba Dancing’, and two cosy mystery series. The Charlotte Richmond books set in 1858 feature a young widow with a shady past and a habit of stumbling over the occasional corpse and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries, featuring a retired headmistress and her cousin and sidekick, the Rev. Sam Hathaway.

Nicola lives in Hampshire with her husband, and as well as writing she belongs to a local art workshop; among other things she has been a Brown Owl and an antiques dealer.

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

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com

Website: www.nicolaslade.com

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GIVEAWAY

 

AN ECOPY OF THE ART OF MURDER X 2

Nicola Slade

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CHRISTMAS AT BAY TREE COTTAGE by Linn B Halton #Christmas #giveaway

bay tree cottageChristmas at Bay Tree Cottage

by

Linn B. Halton

bay tree cottageGenre: Romance/women’s contemporary/holidays

Release Date: 3 Nov 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.

Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?

The perfect read to curl up by the fire with … for fans of Rebecca Boxall.

EXTRACT

‘Mum, can we light the log fire tonight?’ Maya looks up at me with eager eyes.

‘I think we should wait until the weekend, darling. There isn’t really time to appreciate it on a school night, is there? Besides, I’m not even sure whether there are any logs left in the store. I promise to get it sorted as soon as I can.’

It was Niall’s job, sorting the fire. He would have booked the chimney sweep in early autumn and had the logs all ready and waiting, stacked neatly against the back wall of the garage. Ironically, last year I was much more organised. I suppose it was one of my coping mechanisms during those raw, early weeks and months. Keep going; keep doing something – anything, so I didn’t have to listen to what was in my head. But I feel bad. Maya will remember that this time last year we spent every evening huddled together on the sofa in front of the fire, reading. Hour upon hour we escaped into alternative worlds inspired by some wonderful authors. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Maya’s favourite, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, a story of tenderness and triumph.

It was the very worst of times, but I focused on getting us through it one day at a time. My gut instinct, immediately after the accident, had been to sell the cottage just to escape that prevailing sense that something was missing. Niall was no longer here and it would never, ever be the same again. But soon realisation dawned that Maya needed a sense of continuity; the memories trapped within these walls were a lifeline for her, although a cruelly painful reminder for me. In a way she feels her dad is still here and I can’t take that away from her.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

ABOUT LINN B HALTON

bay tree cottage

Bristol-born Linn lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her lovely husband and cat, Ziggy. She has been writing novels since 2009 and has written short stories for a number of magazines. She is also known for her series of ‘Home by Design’ articles wearing her former interior designer hat.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, and writing. 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 also became a best-selling novel in November 2016. 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, romantic comedy, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance. Publishers include 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

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bay tree cottage

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#excerpt ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS

#EXCERPT

#EXCERPT from Chapter 1

While Katherine fumbled with her key, the handsome man’s steely blue eyes bored through her. A bead of sweat formed at the base of her skull and slowly trickled down her back. She became cotton-mouthed. No longer a silly teenager, why did he still have this effect on her after all this time?

When she finally managed to keep her hand steady enough to insert the key and turn it, he spun her around and mashed his mouth on hers. His tongue teased her lips open and he pulled her to him. Her pulse quickened and she let herself melt into his strong arms, those years apart, non-existent.

“If we don’t soon go for that drink, I won’t be responsible for my actions.” His voice was husky.

At that particular moment, Katherine wanted time to stand still. Pressed against him was a place she could spend the rest of her life. She nuzzled her head into the hollow at the crook of his neck and hugged him tighter. He caressed her forehead before disentangling himself from her grip and wrapped his arm around her.

The tang of the salty North Sea and fumes from the ships in the harbour lingered in the heavy air. Those smells, while powerful, couldn’t mask the seductive aroma of men’s cologne. When they dated before, he wore Hugo. Was he wearing that now? Held next to his muscular body and inhaling his scent, Katherine lost her balance and toppled into him when one of her stiletto heels slipped into a crack between the cobbles. Despite the streetlights, shadows formed. The gaps between fixtures were dark. No wonder she twisted her ankle.

“Are you all right?”

“Just a bit clumsy. You would never know I walk this street every day in these boots. I feel like an arse.” Her cheeks burned from the heat of her blush.

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amazon

Books a Million

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#excerpt