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.

A WOMAN’S LOT by Carolyn Hughes #historical #fiction #giveaway

woman's lot

A Woman’s Lot

by

Carolyn Hughes

 

woman's lot

Release Date: 4th June 2018

Genre: Historical fiction

Series: Book 2 of The Meonbridge Chronicles

Publisher: SilverWood Books

 

How can mere women resist the misogyny of men?

When a resentful peasant rages against a woman’s efforts to build up her flock of sheep.

…or a husband, grown melancholy and ill-tempered, succumbs to idle talk that his wife’s a scold.

…or a priest, fearful of women’s “unnatural” power, determines to keep them in their place.

The devastation wrought two years ago by the Black Death changed the balance of society, and gave women a chance to break free from the yoke of chatteldom, to learn a trade, build a business, be more than just men’s wives.

But many men still hold fast to the teachings of the Church, and fear the havoc the daughters of Eve might wreak if they’re allowed to usurp men’s roles, and gain control over their own lives.

Not all men resist women’s quest for change – indeed, they want change for themselves.

Yet it takes only one or two misogynists to unleash the hounds of hostility and hatred…

 

A Woman’s Lot is the second Meonbridge Chronicle, the sequel to Fortune’s Wheel.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2L5v0uv

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2xBCm6S

 

EXTRACT

At that moment, the constable knocked on Emma’s door. ‘Is Mistress Titherige with you, Mistress Ward?’

Emma invited him inside and he bowed to Eleanor. ‘Your sheep are found, mistress.’

She blanched at the gloomy expression on the constable’s face. ‘Are they dead?’ she asked, in a whisper.

He shuffled his feet and, when he spoke, his voice was quiet too. ‘Two dead, mistress. The third, nearly so––’

Eleanor cried out. ‘Dead! My lovely ewes. And their unborn lambs.’

Emma put her arm around Eleanor’s shoulders. ‘It’s wicked, that’s what it is. Those poor innocent creatures…’

Eleanor got to her feet. ‘Take me to them, master constable.’

But Geoffrey demurred. ‘No, no, Mistress Titherige, there’s no need—’

She tossed her head. ‘Yes, there is. I want to see them. Please lead me, master constable.’ And she swept from Emma’s house and strode down the lane behind Geoffrey, who was still trying, but failing, to dissuade her from her mission.

But if Eleanor had been determined to see what had happened to her sheep, when she did so, she wished she had not come after all.

The derelict barn was cold and damp, its roof partly fallen in, and the ancient hay piled up in the stall where her sheep were penned was giving off a foul and musty stink. As Geoffrey had already said, two of the sheep were dead, lying close together in the rotten hay, their tongues lolling from their mouths, their lovely fleeces all filthy and reeking. One had dried blood around her tail and, when she saw it, Eleanor’s hand flew to her mouth.

‘Had she already birthed?’ she said, a choke rising in her throat. She cast about her, looking for a lamb. Then Geoffrey hurried forward and scrabbled in the hay, one of his men holding a lantern high.

Shortly, Geoffrey stood up. ‘It’s here, mistress. Don’t look––’

But, refusing his advice, Eleanor went forward too. He pointed, and she pressed both hands to her face, as she stared down on the pitiful little body, dark and bloodied, nestled in the foul hay a short distance from its dam.

‘Where’s the third?’ she said, her voice a whisper.

‘Over ’ere, missus,’ said the constable’s man.

The third sheep lay apart from the others, on its side, panting, its eyes sunken.

‘She’s been deprived of water,’ said Eleanor, kneeling by the animal’s side. ‘How cruel…’

‘Or mebbe just ignorant?’ said the constable. He bent down and picked up some hay. ‘The hay’s all rotten, mistress. It’s been here years. Won’t ’ave done them no good.’

She looked up at him. ‘Bad hay and no water?’ She stroked the sheep’s muzzle, and tears filled her eyes. ‘The poor, poor creatures.’

Eleanor wiped away the tears on the sleeve of her kirtle. ‘Anyway, she’s past saving. So please, master constable, arrange for her to be freed from her suffering.’

Geoffrey bowed his head. ‘Will Cole’ll do it.’

ABOUT CAROLYN HUGHES

woman's lot

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After a first degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. It was fun for a few years, but she left to become a school careers officer in Dorset. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the Government. She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest, several years ago, that creative writing and, especially, writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

A Woman’s Lot is the second of the Meonbridge Chronicles, her series of historical novels set in fourteenth century England. The first, Fortune’s Wheel, was published in 2016. The third in the series is well under way.

Facebook: CarolynHughesAuthor

Twitter: @writingcalliope

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2hs2rrX

Blog: https://carolynhughesauthor.com/blog/

Also at: http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com (20th of every month)

Website: https://carolynhughesauthor.com

Win an Ebook copy of Book 1 – Fortune’s Wheel

woman's lot

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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

WONDROUS WORLD OF WITCHCRAFT AND MISERY by Sophia Cobbs

witchcraft

Wondrous World of Witchcraft and Misery

by

Sophia Cobbs

witchcraft

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 5 December 2017

Publisher: Silverwood Books

Have you ever tried to conjure up the perfect man? It’s not as easy as it might seem, even if you are a powerful and intelligent witch.

Petulia and Miss Level find out that there is more to finding Mr Right than just a flick of the wand, and poof…there he is! Their latest attempt is gorgeous – as long as you don’t mind the horns and the singing, which of course they do. But when they try to fix him they run into some serious problems. To make things even more complicated, a mysterious and handsome stranger appears. But there is something not quite right about him either…

Will Petulia and Miss Level be able to fix everything and can they use their witchcraft to overcome misery?

 

EXTRACT

A muffled conversation between Petulia and Miss Level was a distraction for all the people in the audience, but they didn’t care. They were talking about important things. Like the weather. For some people this might have been a good indication of how badly the actors were performing. I mean, if the weather appeared to be more tantalising than the arts, there could only be something wrong with the arts. Unless the weather was actually extraordinary. I can understand that a hurricane would be very interesting, but the question is: who would go to the theatre in a hurricane?

Clearly Petulia and Miss Level. It makes you wonder if there actually were people around for them to distract. In any case, a performance during a hurricane has a valid reason for being below average. The actors were probably wondering how long the roof would hold up, and they had to shout to be heard over the howling wind.

When one of them finally noticed that the two audience members weren’t even paying attention, he signalled to his colleagues and one by one they left the stage to find safety in the basement of the theatre.

The last one shouted, “Switch off the lights before you leave,” which made Petulia raise her hand in affirmative response.

And then they were alone.

“Finally! It took them long enough.” Petulia grabbed her canvas bag from the seat next to her and stood up.

“Well, you know how daft actors are.” Miss Level waited for Petulia to squeeze past her between the rows of chairs, then picked up her own bag and followed. Instead of going to the exit, they crossed the room and walked up to the stage. Petulia fished a piece of chalk out of her bag and started to draw a pentagram on the floor of the stage. “It’s almost ten o’clock. We’ll never get this done in time.” Three points were already drawn.

“Nonsense. We’ve got all the time in the world.” Miss Level stopped at the first point and put a bowl filled with herbs on the tip. She rummaged through her bag again and found another bowl for the next tip and so on. When the entire thing was drawn and supplied with the right herbs at the right points, Petulia put her hand in her bag again and found two boxes of matches. She threw one to Miss Level on the other side of the pentagram, who, by some miracle, caught it perfectly. Then she checked her watch: 9:59. She glanced up.

“Are you ready?”

Miss Level had a match in her hand, ready to light it on the box. “Ready.”

Petulia kept her eyes on her watch while pulling a match out of her own box. “Now!”

Both women lit their matches, waited a full second with their eyes closed and then blew them out. At the same time as the flames died, the herbs in the bowls caught fire. The women spread their arms and started chanting indiscernible words. The smoke began to whirl around between them, creating a sort of vortex. This went on for ten minutes. Just when Petulia was about to ask if they were doing it right, a shadow appeared in the smoke. First it seemed like the smoke just got darker, heavier. But then it started to dissipate and they could clearly make out the form of a man. The smoke cleared completely and the chanting stopped.

Petulia put her hands on her hips. “Damn it. We did something wrong.”

Miss Level, who had a clear view of the man’s naked backside and was very distracted by it, asked, “What?”

“He’s not supposed to have horns.”

Miss Level’s eyes slowly roamed up the man’s body until she could see the unmistakable horns. She grinned. “Well, at least he doesn’t have a tail this time.”

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/6MdEvF

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/Go91h3

KOBO: https://goo.gl/Br8wnb

SILVERWOOD BOOKS: https://goo.gl/g74xgr

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

witchcraft

Sophia Cobbs was born in 1982 in Dendermonde, Belgium. She has always had a fondness for writing. In high school she wrote poems and short stories but mostly kept them to herself. This is her first novel.

When she isn’t writing or directing, she is doing one of two things: her day job as Office Manager for an IT company, or scouring wine tastings with her long-term boyfriend.

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

Website: http://www.sophiacobbs.com/

 

MURDER MOST WELCOME by Nicola Slade #cosy #mystery #GIVEAWAY

welcome

Murder Most Welcome

by

Nicola Slade

 

welcome

Series: The Charlotte Richmond Mysteries Book 1

Genre: Historical cosy mystery

Release Date: This edition Feb 2018 First Ed:2008

Publisher: Williams & Whiting Publishing

Outwardly a grieving young Victorian widow, Charlotte Richmond is concealing some scandalous secrets when she arrives at Finchbourne Manor to start a new life with her husband’s family. The wealthy Richmonds must never discover that her husband’s recent death in the Indian Mutiny came as a great relief. Nor must they hear about the rumors circulating in the army regarding his scandalous behavior. His death has also been the subject of speculation and Charlotte must take care not to spill any secrets. Above all she must make certain that nobody in her new life hears of her own adventurous upbringing in Australia. When the past catches up with Charlotte, she begins to fear for her own life.

Extract: MURDER   MOST   WELCOME

LATE SPRING 1858 – in the South of England

Chapter 1

As she laid out the body, Charlotte Richmond made two surprising discoveries.

     The first of these led her to suspect that the man on the bed had been murdered.  By whom, she had not the slightest notion. To whom she was profoundly grateful.

     The second discovery confirmed what she had known all along, that the deceased – late and far from lamented – had not possessed the habits of a gentleman.

     As this was the second time in less than a year that he had apparently been murdered Charlotte felt she might be forgiven for not falling into a paroxysm of grief; indeed, strong hysterics might, she considered, be a more appropriate reaction.

     Hysterics not being in her nature she merely veiled his face decently with a linen cloth and wondered what to do with the object she had so surprisingly encountered. ‘Well, well, 

well,’ she murmured. ‘Here you are, dead again, I see. I wonder what is to become of me now?’

A few short weeks previously, Charlotte, who was waiting with some trepidation in the entrance hall at Finchbourne Manor and trying to overcome her anxiety by observing the

ancient, dark oak of the panelling, the extreme chill of the flagstone floor, and the picturesquely leaded windows that let in so little light, had overheard her mother-in-law express a similar sentiment.

‘Oh, that dreadful Mutiny, what will become of that unfortunate child, poor, dear Charlotte?’ she had enquired, allowing an artistic sob to colour her voice.

‘Well, Mama,’ answered a prosaic female voice. ‘I understand that Charlotte is even now on her way home from India to Finchbourne. If you recollect it was your own suggestion, when we heard of dear Frampton’s sad death, that she should make her home here with us. And after all there is no reason to believe that Charlotte is a child; remember, dearest Frampton was thirty-seven and his letters made no mention that his bride was much younger than he was himself.’

‘Oh do hush, Agnes dear!’

In spite of the nervous tension that had her sitting ramrod straight on an uncomfortable oak settle, blackened by age, Charlotte listened, with wry amusement, to this conversation. Shifting very slightly in her seat she felt a twinge of guilt as she recollected how differently Frampton Richmond’s ‘sad’ death had been viewed by her military acquaintances in India.

I must say nothing, she thought, shaking her head.  I have seen the damage caused by a stray shell fired into the midst of the market place, who am I to lob a shell of my own and destroy their illusions about their lost hero – and for what?   Rumour?   Speculation?

No, not I, my part is to play the grieving widow and ingratiate myself into their home and into their affections, to make a settled home for myself at last.  Besides, she reminded herself, I dare not raise any spectres from the past, what if they found out about me?

Buy link to Murder Most Welcome

http://amzn.to/2HDLVlZ

Check out the other books in the series…

https://goo.gl/333Mj4

Nicola Slade

Nicola Slade

ABOUT NICOLA SLADE

murder

Nicola Slade has been a Brown Owl, an antiques dealer, and once lived in Cairo for a year. Her published novels include a romantic comedy, Scuba Dancing, three Victorian mysteries featuring a young widow, The Charlotte Richmond Mysteries, and three contemporary mysteries featuring recently-retired headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her clergyman cousin, the Reverend Sam Hathaway. The Harriet Quigley Mysteries. Her eighth novel, a mystery romance, The House at Ladywell, was published in late 2017.

Nicola’s family is now grown up and she and her husband live near Winchester.

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

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17100459.Nicola_Slade

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com

GIVEAWAY

An ecopy of THE HOUSE AT LADYWELL (open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Z is for Zagreb ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

Zagreb
Z is for Zagreb
2018 #AtoZ Challenge

The #AtoZ Challenge for 2018 has drawn to an end. For the final stop in this year’s tour, we’re in Croatia in the city of Zagreb. Bet you didn’t think I could cover every letter of alphabet with this subject.

What can I tell you about Zagreb? In addition to being the capital of Croatia, it’s also the country’s largest city. It dates from the Roman times to today, so there’s lots of history there.

Z is for Zagreb
By Nick Savchenko from Kiev, Ukraine (Zagreb) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Zagreb is an important tourist destination but it quite often overlooked by people going to vacation on the Adriatic.

The city numerous shops, boutiques, and shopping centres. Offerings include crystal, china and ceramics as well as wicker and straw baskets. Let’s not forget the Croation wines and food products.

 

Even though this has only been a ‘virtual’ world tour, I’m ready to rest and relax and get over the ‘jet lag.’ I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

See you next year!

Y is for Yakima ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

Yakima

Y is for Yakima

2018 #AtoZ Challenge


We’re back the US today in the state of Washington for Y is for Yakima day on the #AtoZ Challenge.

Located southeast of Mount Rainier, the city, lies in a fertile valley known for its apple, wine and hop production.

Y is for Yakima
© Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

The largest employer in the area is the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital followed by the Yakima School District and Walmart.

Sadly, downtown Yakima has undergone many changes since the late 1990s. Three department stores and an entire mall, now closed, have been replaced by a Whirlpool Corporation facility, an Adaptis call center, and several hotels.

X is for Xiamen ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

Xiamen

X is for Xiamen

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re in China today for our only stop in the country. We’re visiting the city of Xiamen.

Beginning at the top of the montage – Xiamen’s CBD, Xiamen University, Gulangyu Island, South Putuo Temple, beach on Gulangyu Island, and Haicang Bridge

X is for Xiamen
By Jonipoon [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Xiamen is known for its mild climate and low pollution levels.

In 2006, it was ranked 2nd in “most suitable city for living” and in 2011,  China’s “most romantic leisure city.”

The centre of the Chinese tea trade, Xiamen ships hundreds of thousands of tons, yes tons, of tea to the Americas and Europe.

 

W is for Westcombe ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

Westcombe

W is for Westcombe

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back in England today in the tiny village of Westcombe in Somerset on W is for Westcombe day of the #AtoZChallenge.

W is for Westcombe

While difficult to read, the text in the arch of the fountain reads “To commemorate the coronation of H.M. King George V and H.M. Queen Mary.”

W is for Westcombe

Westcombe Dairy, a cooperative, makes cheeses using milk from the member farmers’ cows. When we visited this area in 2005, we stopped in the village at the dairy’s shop and bought a small piece of their cheddar cheese which we enjoyed on the rest of our journey.

The cenotaph, information point and quintessential British telephone box in the village is pictured below.

W is for Westcombe
Barbara Voules / Westcombe

V is for Vancouver ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

V is for Vancouver

V is for Vancouver

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re on the west coast of Canada today in the Province of British Columbia for V is for Vancouver on the 2018 #AtoZ Challenge.

Surrounded by mountains, Vancouver is is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities.

The downtown neighbourhood of Gastown is home to the Steam Clock pictured below.

V is for Vancouver
By Kelam [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Vancouver has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Its Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.

 

 

 

 

My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King