Christmas is a time for family and friends, miracles and magic, falling snow and roaring fires, fun, laughter and festive feasts. In Snowflake Cove, it’s also a time for secrets to be revealed…
Evie Starr is hoping for more than a sprinkling of magic this Christmas. The family-run Snowflake Inn is virtually empty and the Starr’s financial future isn’t looking bright. But Evie’s gran, Jessie has a secret that might help.
Enigmatic, Zachary Thorn is every woman’s dream. He’s also ex-SAS, so his secrets are classified. The Christmas Special of his feel-good, TV show is set in Michaelmas Bay – until a phone call means he’s spending Christmas in nearby Snowflake Cove.
Evie’s best friend, Juniper thinks boyfriend Darren has a secret. Evie knows he does. And Evie’s niece, Raven is hiding feelings for Juniper’s brother – who has a secret crush of his own.
But the biggest secret in Snowflake Cove is the identity of Raven’s dad.
With snow falling thick and fast and secrets being revealed one after another, will everyone be snuggling up by the fire on Christmas Eve, or are some secrets best kept hidden…?
Extract No. 1
Here’s an extract from Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove. To give you an idea of what’s going on, this is Evie Starr, the heroine of the book, dealing with a guest she really doesn’t like, who is part of a group staying at the family-run inn. I can’t say too much without giving away some of the story, but Evie has a bit of a sarcastic streak. Enjoy the extract.
The menu was limited – as the harpy with two names was quick to point out – but Snowflake Inn was an inn, not a restaurant or posh hotel. Evie politely suggested that there were several good restaurants in Michaelmas Bay if Felicia would like to try them, but meals at the inn were included in the price during the festive season – whether eaten or not.
Felicia gasped when she saw the wine list. ‘This is a wine list?’
Evie smiled. ‘Yes. I’m sure you’ll be able to find at least one wine to your liking.’
‘If I were looking for wine vinegar, perhaps. Is there really no champagne?’
Evie maintained her smile in spite of the considerable effort required. ‘No. We do have a rather pleasant English sparkling wine from a local vineyard. I can highly recommend that.’
Felicia looked her up and down. ‘I’ll have a G&T. A large one. And so will Peter. He’ll be here shortly. And water. Bottled water. You do have bottled water, don’t you?’
‘Yes. I’ll go and fill a bottle for you right now.’
Zachary, who had come into the dining room with his family a few seconds before, gave a burst of laughter. ‘Evie’s teasing you, Felicia. There’s no need to look so horrified.’ He smiled at Evie.
‘I think there’s every need,’ Felicia replied. ‘Have you seen this list?’ She waved the wine list in the air.
‘No. But I’m looking forward to trying the local sparkling wine.’
Evie could almost feel the daggers in her back as she walked away from Felicia’s table, but Zachary continued:
‘There’ll be champagne for you tomorrow. John has very kindly put in an order with a local wine merchant who can deliver it in the morning, along with some other of our favourite wines. We’ve even managed to get a few bottles of Pop’s favourite, so everyone’s happy. There’ll be plenty to last for the duration of our stay.’
The Thorn party may be happy but Evie wasn’t.
About the Author:
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happy endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.
Thank you to Emily Harvale for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!
Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!
For more information on Emily Harvale follow her on the following:
A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?
She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.
Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares.
He can’t wait for it to be over.
When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again.
Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete’s demise.
Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?
A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.
And Now Kiltie Jackson with:
I’m Feline Good!
In my novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, one of the main characters – Sukie McClaren – has two black rescue cats called Tony and Adam. They are not really central to the overall storyline but, being a huge cat lover myself, I didn’t feel I could write a book without some cats being in there somewhere.
How I came to be a cat lover, and a cat slave, is quite interesting. I didn’t grow up with cats. My mum had been badly scratched by one when she was a child and so held a deep fear of them. When on holiday once, a cat from a neighbouring cottage jumped in through the open window near to where my mum was standing ironing. That was the first time I actually saw someone freeze in total fear. It was also the first time I saw my mother display her amazing ventriloquist skills as she managed to scream at me to get it out without moving her lips, head or any other part of her body!
When I left home and moved into my first flat, I had absolutely no intentions of getting myself a pet – be that a cat, dog or even a hamster! The Masters of the Feline World however, had other ideas on that one as I soon found out.
I was dating a young chap and had been invited to his parents for dinner. Upon our arrival, we discovered that his dad had rescued some kittens from a farmer who was planning to dispose of them. I quickly dumped my handbag and scooped up about three kittens for cuddles. One in particular seemed to take a shine to me and promptly fell asleep in my arms. She stayed there until dinner was ready. When I placed her on the floor, she curled up on my feet and didn’t move until I had finished eating and picked her back up again.
When the time came for me to go home, this little lady was left locked in the lounge to ensure she didn’t escape out of the house. My boyfriend’s kid sister didn’t realise this however and, upon hearing scratching at the lounge door, opened it and released a certain tiny ball of tabby fur to come haring down the hallway at full pelt before skidding to a halt at my feet. She looked up at me with expectation, almost as though she was saying “I go where you go. I’m keeping you.”
My boyfriend’s mother laughed and said “I think you’ve just gotten yourself a kitten!” Ten minutes later I was walking to the bus-stop with kitten in a box, a bag of cat food and litter and absolutely no idea on how one took care of a cat!
Well, I must have done something right because she lived to the ripe old age of seventeen. And her name? She was called Sukie.
Since then, I have had a number of cats. Sadly, they don’t live as long as we do and it is always heart-breaking when they leave and move on. I try to be pragmatic and think that their departure allows me to give a home to a new cat that may not, otherwise, be so fortunate to be loved and cared for. The majority of my cats have been directly from rescues or via someone who has contacted a rescue due to having strays in their gardens.
At this time, Moggy Towers is owned by five cats. Four came from rescues, and one was re-homed. I will confess that keeping only five is very difficult as I have a good friend who runs a home rescue. She has so many poor, unfortunate, creatures come in to her almost daily and I want to give them all a home. Mr Mogs has had to be the voice of reason on more than one occasion.
Our eldest is Princess Moo Moo and she is eleven. She was re-homed with us approximately five years ago and she came with the name! Sadly, she doesn’t get on very well with other cats and so she has taken over the upstairs area of Moggy Towers. She is very beautiful, very regal and very feisty! Truly deserving of her HRH title. Moo Moo is also my little helper when I am writing. My study is upstairs and she will come in with me when I’m working. Her idea of ‘helping’, I should add, is walking across my desk, standing on the keyboard and swiping her big fluffy tail in my face!
Next in line is Abby and McGee. These are my two black rescue babies. They’re not in any way related although, they are so identical to look at, you would be forgiven for thinking they were. They are both seven years old. We had Abby first and decided to get her a chum to play with. We went back to the rescue we’d gotten her from and said “We’ll have the youngest cat you have that has been here the longest.” We were not surprised to find ourselves with another black cat as sadly, they are always overlooked when people take in rescue animals. I really don’t understand why as they are the most loving and affectionate creatures. Both of ours crave cuddles and affection and really are adorable.
The two Moggy babies are Donald, three years old, and Tony, two years old. Both of these came from my friend Sally who runs the home rescue. Donald was recused from a school playground when he was five weeks old. Tony’s mummy arrived at the rescue heavily pregnant and gave birth a few days later.
While they all have their own personalities, the boys seem to have cornered the market for being little characters. McGee gives high-fives and fist bumps, Donald will sit and hold a conversation with you while Tony likes to lie across my shoulders as I walk around the house.
For me, my home would feel very empty without my little feline companions. They’re loving, affectionate, funny and entertaining. I cannot ever see a day when I don’t have a cat in my life. They are truly awesome creatures and, for that reason, there will always be at least one cat in all of my books.
About the Author:
Kiltie grew up in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. A very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life. When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences – which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.
She currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one husband. The cats kindly allow her and her husband to share their house on the condition they keeps paying the mortgage!
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!
She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym!
Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.
Kiltie first began writing ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ over ten years ago. The project was shelved on Chapter Seventeen as she felt the story wasn’t flowing as she would like it to.
In her own words “The images in my head would not come out of my fingers!” Fast forward to November 2016 when, having finished reading Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, she read more about the author and was inspired with how Christie herself came to be a best-selling author.
In that thunderbolt moment, Kiltie knew – with a deep certainty – that she needed to reacquaint herself with ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and begin writing again. She did this in January 2017 and found the words flowed faster than she could type them. Finally, the time was right for her to write her novel.
Her determination to finish what she had started all those years ago was absolute and the first draft was completed on Sunday 16th April 2017.
Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. She has begun typing up her second book, ‘Of All the Unlikely Places’, and book three (not yet titled) has been worked out and is waiting in the wings for its turn in the spotlight.
She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming.
She now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!” “Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?” “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”
Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.
Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.
Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.
Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.
Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.
As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.
Check out the Trailer for Ours is Winter Here:
About the Author:
Laurie Ellingham lives on the Suffolk/Essex border with her two children, husband, and cockerpoo Rodney. She has a First Class honours degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, but her main love is writing and disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.
Thank you to Laurie Ellingham for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!
Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!
When she was young, Serena Lewis was uprooted from the life she knew. Her parents took her from everything and everyone she loved, including her best friends… her cousins. Rebelling against the change, Serena became a young woman she knew her family wouldn’t like. Now that she’s moving back home, she hopes to keep that part of herself in the past and become the woman she’s meant to be.
Jed Monroe is a self-made man. Forced to grow up at a young age, he’s always taken care of himself and worked to get what he needed. Working construction has given him stability, but working with wood is where his passion truly lies.
On the outside, petite and perfect Serena and rough and hardworking Jed have nothing in common. When Serena moves into the house next door, Jed is determined to ignore the sexy art gallery manager, who he just knows will be a pain in his ass.
But their shared loved of creating beauty from pain, along with the intangible chemistry that fires whenever they’re in the same space, forces them to dig beneath the surface to find their vulnerability. Jed will soon see that whether he likes Serena or not, she’s Too Enchanting to ignore.
Too Enchanting is the fourth in an all-new small town romance series by Bethany Lopez. Follow the Lewis cousins of Cherry Springs, the kind of place where there are festivals for every occasion and everyone knows your business, as they learn about love and loss.
Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.
I am so thrilled to bring you the cover from New York Times bestseller Kendall Ryan
xo, Zach is a steamy new forbidden romance full of heat, heart & humor releasing January 23, 2018!
The first time we met was at a party.
Your ex arrived to show off the person he’d left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.
I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty–and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.
The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.
The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.
I know I’m crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that’s the only reaction I can get out of you, I’ll gladly take it.
You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.
I think I’m falling for you, and I know it’s wrong. I know that I’m only supposed to be your adviser and nothing more, but here’s the thing. I think you’re falling for me too.
Audible: Live release, narrated by Andi Arndt & Sebastian York!
About the Author:
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.
They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman, and behind London’s most powerful leaders, there stands only one — Alex Hyde, Business Coach par excellence. She’s the woman they turn to for advice and strategy when the pressure gets too much.
So when she gets a call from an esteemed whisky company in Scotland asking for her services it’s business as usual. Only, she’s never met anyone like Lochlan Burr before. CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, he’s also the son and heir of the company’s founder. He’s a maverick, an enigma, a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees. But as she tasks herself with finding a way in, she finds she’s the one being maneuvered; for once, she isn’t in control. And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that changes everything, she’s suddenly not so sure she should be.
Book Rating: 10/10
Absorbing, enthralling, and positively addictive!
In this latest novel by Swan she sweeps us away to Isle of Islay where the people are the salt of the earth, the terrain is rugged, the peat is unique, and the whisky is smoky, smooth, and plentiful!
The prose is remarkably well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, eccentric, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally compelling tale about life, loss, grief, war, familial dynamics, friendship, forgiveness, courage, community, happiness, love, and good Scotch.
Alternating between the past and the present, The Christmas Secret has it all. It’s humorous and lighthearted, emotional and heartbreaking, mysterious and sweet. It grabs you from the very first page and with its wonderfully blended storyline of historical facts, snappy fiction, and delightful romance it’s truly the perfect holiday treat!
If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for some of Karen Swan’s previous titles be sure to check them out here:
And now a little Q&A with Karen Swan:
The Christmas Secret is set mainly in Islay, Scotland. Prior to writing the novel did this locale have any personal significance for you?
Yes, my father is Scottish so I have spent much of my life in the Highlands and I love it: I was married there, my first born was christened there; it’s very much a part of me and I identify strongly as being of Scottish blood; ‘Swan’ is actually a shortening of my maiden name MacSwan MacLeod. Also, my father knows the Robertson family, whose grandfather, Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill, had the grim task of identifying the bodies of the soldiers washed ashore after the American troopship Tuscania sank. It was a devastating incident for such a tiny, rural community to have the war literally wash up on their sands like that, and tragically it was compounded just a few months later when another American troop carrier, the Otranto, sank in a collision with its own convoy just off Islay’s shores. The Tuscania tragedy was the single largest loss of American lives in one day since the Civil War and was met with national dismay back home. The centenary anniversary is coming up for both events so it felt like an opportunity to remember those who perished.
In the Christmas Secret, as well as some of your other novels, you interweave a historical event, in this case the tragic sinking of the SS Tuscania, with contemporary fiction. Do you find this harder or easier to write than your novels that are purely fictional?
I’m increasingly interested in incorporating a historical element in my stories, for it adds weight but also pathos too. It does make it more complicated though, in this case ridiculously so, as I chose to reveal the backstory through a variety of different sources and characters all of which involved different research and tones of voice. Partly I did this because I wanted the impact of what happened to be spelled out in three-hundred and sixty degrees; it also fractured the telling of the event for the reader, giving a haunting, dream-like quality to the story. I asked myself several times over the course of writing it, whether it was strictly necessary to devote some much time and energy to this thread and those characters, but I think the closing sentences of the epilogue rather sum up why it had to be done. They brought me to tears.
The Christmas Secret is a beautiful story about small-island life, love, forgiveness, community, and whisky, but Is there any sub-plot or chapter that you had to edit out because of the flow that you really wish you could have kept in?
Funnily enough, it wasn’t a matter of cutting anything out but rather, having to refrain from putting too much in. I would have liked to go in closer with some of the characters in the back-story but I had to write very lightly, taking care not to make anything too obvious or heavy-handed. The historical story could easily have overshadowed the present day story if I wasn’t careful and I had to constantly remind myself that it was there to underpin and explain the main action, not overwhelm it.
In The Christmas Secret and all your previous novels you have a strong, independent female protagonist that is often fashion savvy. Do you do this consciously or unconsciously based on your own success as a fashion editor?
Yes, I think I do really. Although I’ve moved on from that world, I still believe that fashion and how we present ourselves is an incredibly – and increasingly – important tool in how we navigate our lives. I tend to use a good sense of style as evidence of an ordered, urban, sophisticated life.
In The Christmas Secret and your previous novels you always have incredible, memorable secondary characters, such as Callum and Louise. Would you ever consider writing a novel featuring one of these characters in the lead?
I would love to, not least because sometimes – not always – I even prefer them to the main characters. There’s a little more freedom that comes with the support cast – they don’t need to be as well-behaved, or even as likeable. I think if I were to do that, it would be with Kitty in The Perfect Present. I took her very much to my heart.
In the past you have written one sequel that I know of, Summer at Tiffany’s which was the sequel to Christmas at Tiffany’s. Do you think we might see more sequels in the future or do you prefer to create new characters and fresh storylines?
It was an interesting exercise writing a sequel to Christmas At Tiffanys, not least because those characters really became very beloved to my readers and it was lovely to revisit them again. The tricky thing for my genre, however, is that the core of my stories is not the actual plot mystery but the romantic element between the characters; I really care about whether their love story feels genuine and authentic and that’s the rub: for a reader to want to turn the pages, a story must be compelling, which means creating tension and conflict; no-one wants to spend 300 pages reading about other peoples’ perfect happiness. But in order to create that necessary tension, I would have to dismantle the very relationship I had spent the previous book building up, and to me, that risks falling into ‘soap opera’ territory. If my books could be based around my characters’ jobs, rather than their love lives, it would be an enticing prospect, not least because I find most of their jobs fascinating: Flora Sykes, the fine art agent for example? She could be my equivalent to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon! Why not? I can see it!
About the Author:
Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. Her Globe and Mail bestselling books include Christmas at Tiffany’s, Summer at Tiffany’s, The Perfect Present, Christmas in the Snow, The Summer Without You, Christmas on Primrose Hill, The Paris Secret, and Christmas Under the Stars (set in Banff for her legion of Canadian fans!) and The Rome Affair. She lives in Sussex, England.
As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Karen Swan and it’s an enormous honour to have her participate in a Q&A for this blog. I also must thank PGC for their continued support and for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
For more information on Karen Swan, follow her on Facebook at:Karen-Swan
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?
Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and step-dad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.
But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.
So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned on New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?
The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.
Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?”
About the Author:
Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT – she’s written it all!
She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe – London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.
For more information on Sylvia Ashby, visit her at the following:
Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love. A great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.
At least, that’s what Lily Lucas tells the perfume counter customers. Personally, Lily is tired of perfumes with a sickly sweet top note that make her dizzy. She definitely does not want to stick her nose in another scent with a base note of stinky old socks.
After leaving her home in Sydney, Lily moves to Melbourne and a new job as a perfume counter manager in a major department store. One day she wants to own a Parisian-style perfumerie, but at the moment she’s spritzing perfume on unsuspecting customers and ringing up purchases until she falls off her high heels at the end of a long day.
The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, the ex-cop senior security guard, who happens to look like a Greek god. She’d happily stare at him all day, but keeps falling at his feet like a klutz. It’s kind of embarrassing. No other man has ever had this effect on her. He smells so good up close, she gets a little woozy. But in a good way.
Rumours about Christos swirl around the department store staff. There’s a scent of scandal. The reason he quit the police force wasn’t a happy one. But he’s the strong, silent type. A mystery box. Lily hopes she can get close enough to unwrap him. When he asks for her help, it seems like the perfect opportunity to get to know him better…if she can trust him. It’s almost Christmas and the whole store is bedecked with decorations, and Lily has to gift wrap and sell eleventy billion gift sets assisted by a team of glamorous spritzer chicks. Meanwhile sneaky guys are trying to get into the store room at night and stock is going missing. It could be an inside job. Lily helps Christos setup a sting. They are a team, sort of. But why won’t he confide in her?
She’d like to be kissed by Christos (and more) preferably not while wearing the hideous red velvet onesie and reindeer antlers all the spritzer chicks are supposed to wear. But can they solve a crime, and get it together to go on an actual date before Christmas?
About the Author:
**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**
Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.
In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.
Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.
For more information on Cassandra O’Leary, visit her at the following:
Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.
When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.
Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.
Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!
Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.
As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:
How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?
And is Zenka really who she says she is?
7 July, 2011
My dearest Alina,
Olga Savchukis is a lying bitch. She say I vill be taken care of. I vill get good job in London. Good job?! She sells me to Romanians. I kick man in balls. I bite. But I cannot get out. Even vindows locked. I know if I am injected I can never escape, NEVER.
Suddenly doors crash open and there is much shooting of guns. After is silence. A man with a face like crumpled McDonald bag takes us outside. The other girls are like sleepvalkers. We have to step over dead Romanians.
The man who saves us is Jack Murray – I am not allowed to tell who he is, but I can tell YOU because you are in Hungary and cannot sneak. He is top gang boss in London.
He hates Romanians. He says it’s very bad thing they do to girls. The girls who escaped that night get jobs in bakery and supermarket. Me? I vill not leave Jack.
Remember the puppy, Yuki? I am like that. I follow Jack all around. He says I am nuisance. I offer myself to him. I am virgin but he deserves me. But he doesn’t vant me! He says he is too old. I say he is not too old. He tries to ignore me. But nobody can ignore Zenka Valentina Varga if she does not vant to be ignored. Ha!
You saved my life, I tell him, now I am your guardian angel. He rolls his eyes to heaven as if seeking patience from God, and says: How can you be guardian angel ven you are only five foot two? I say I am small but a grenade is also small.
I get job in Jack’s club, The Men’s Room. I tell manager I do pole dancing. (That is ven girl climbs up and down pole – I don’t make it sound sexy – but it is ven it is done right). Me? I try to turn upside down, and fall into a heap. Now I am STAR performer!
I ver vigs, blonde, black, orange, pink, depending on my mood. Job pays good vage and the customers throw money on the stage – not like other places ver the man puts money in girl’s panties with fingers – urgh! If man touches me, I slap his face. He is shocked but his friends laugh.
Jack tells me not to attack customers – it is not good for business, he say. Yesterday I scratch customer because he hurts new girl. Jack is angry with me, but then he goes outside and punches the customer. So JACK can punch but I cannot scratch? Ver is the justice in THAT?
Jack has bodyguards. Lockjaw looks like Frankenstein. Vince is tall but he never talk. Billy is short and square and he talk too much. He teaches me Cockney:
“Bollocks” is a man’s balls. But if you say “Don’t drop a bollock” it means don’t make a mistake. “I’m the dog’s bollocks” is ven man thinks he is the best. Jack says this all the time.
I have to tell you. Ven Jack is angry, it makes me laugh. He can be tough with men, but he cannot be tough with vomen. He is like the father I never had. He tells me to find good husband and I say, yes, yes, Jack, to shut his mouth.
My dearest friend. Do you know ver Olga Savchukis can be found? If you know this, tell me. Then I can kill her.
Your loving friend,
How is the family?
Fifty miles away, at exactly the same time…
Early Praise for Zenka:
“A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy” -Midwest Book Review
5* “To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement” –Bloggers from Down Under
5* “Will warm your heart and chill your bones” –Tome Tender Blogspot
5* “Top of my list for best fiction this year” – Lauren Sapala, WriteCity
5* “You won’t be able to put this book down” –Laura Reading
5* “Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing” –Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered.
About the Author:
Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:
BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review
THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.
Thank you to Alison Brodie for providing me with an excerpt for my blog today! It was truly an honour!
Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!
No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.
Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.
Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.
Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.
Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.
Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.