Friday Five: Jami Gray

2814First published with Escape: June 2017
Favourite romance trope: Emotionally scarred H/H, with Alpha tendencies from a military background, with paranormal elements. (Yeah, picking one isn’t easy.)
Ideal hero (in three words): Protective, complex, unexpected
Ideal heroine (in three words): Courageous, Quick-witted, kick-ass
Latest book: Lying in Ruins

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

An avid reader, when I hit high school, in-between the fantasy and murder-mysteries from my school library, I started sneaking my mom’s romance novels out of the house. Then entering the big bad world as an adult, I stumbled through life and discovered my characters suddenly became harder to hurt (emotionally and physically) while their relationships became crucial to my stories. A therapist would have a field day with this, but my stories shifted to heroines who didn’t need a hero to ride to her rescue. Sometimes it was more satisfying if she rumbled up to his rescue on her Harley.

How do you write? What is your process like?

I started out a solid pantser (one who writes with little to no planning), something I soon learned would not work long term, mainly because I’m a series writer and it’s way too easy to lose a sub-plot or a subtle piece of a character before you realise it. After eleven books I have mastered the art of a basic outline. Granted it can’t be too detailed because then I get bored (not a good thing when you’re the one telling the story), but my outline has enough major points to ward off distractions and keep me (somewhat) on point. Characters tend to come to me first, bringing their worlds along for the ride, then comes the fun part—creating conflicts of all shapes and sizes.

What was your hardest scene to write? Which kind of scenes do you find difficult to write? Which scenes do you enjoy writing the most?

Some of the more emotional scenes are difficult, only because to do justice to why a character reacts the way they do, without providing an easy emotional out, is tricky business. Anger’s a great emotion, but can be overused. Fear, even in the strongest person, can be the most corrosive. Love can cut both ways on the good/evil spectrum. But emotions are the core of who we are, and why we choose to act the way we do to any given situation. Writing such scenes aren’t just painful for my characters, they’re painful to write, but when done right they’re also the most rewarding.


What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

One of the most frustrating parts about story creation is hitting those plot pits, you know the kind that will drop your story into an endless chasm, never to come back? Yeah, those. The fun part about being a writer, nothing is ever final until it’s published, which means much like the awesome Dr. Who, I get to play with timelines, or in this case, story lines. Since the scene is stuck in my head, I’ll leave it for a day or so while I mentally rewrite it ad nauseam, changing little things with each rendition until something finally wrenches those clawing talons from my ankles.


As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Do you have one already? 

As much as I’d like to say I’m bi-symbolic because I could swing either toward wolves or leopards, going to have to admit I tend to lean more towards the canine. As a proud rescue mama of my Fur Minxes, Lola and Angel, it’s easy to guess I’m a huge dog person, and yes, I’ll admit, being highly allergic to the feline population doesn’t help. However, leopards are stealthy, cunning, majestic felines that rule their worlds with a cynical eye, but wolves have this fabulous duality of both pack animals and lone predators built on a basis of loyalty and fierce determination. An introvert by nature, something about the ability to move between social and solo appeals to me.

Fur Minxes


What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

When a two-hour span of my search history chronicles: How to set up a marijuana grow house, US Dept. of Defense’s list of current projects, most lethal FOB (Forward Operations Bases) of the US military, and how to set a Trojan virus, I’m pretty sure Homeland Security has me on a list somewhere. It was for my PSY-IV Teams series (a group of ex-military psychics) and I was impressed no men in dark suits came knocking on my door.

Where is your favourite place to write? 

I tend to write at my desk normally, but my favourite place to write is with my writing group during our retreats. As desert dwellers, we tend to head north where green things grow and the temperature tends to rest beneath broiling. We try to carve out a long weekend once or twice a year to get together. We stockpile coffee, food, and power cords and then disappear into our worlds for long, blissful uninterrupted hours. Occasionally one of us will surface, mutter a question about some fantastical element and its probable outcome, but the sounds of Mother Nature are interspersed with the click of fingers breezing over keyboards, broken by the slurp of caffeine intake. This picture was from one such jaunt, a lovely multi-room cabin where cell signals were only achieved by driving up the road, holding the phone at a 90 degree angle three feet from your body. It was lovely!



Writers Retreat View
Besides writing, what is something else that you’re really good at?

Organisation. While I ride the line between plotter and pantser (writing without a plan), in every other aspect of my life, I must plan and things must be in their place. Trips have an itinerary, I have a list of tasks to accomplish for almost everything, and I can’t sit down to write unless everything’s done. In fact, I share an office with my husband (see photos). Can you tell who owns which desk?

31476 (3)In a world gone to hell, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…

The world didn’t end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.

Charity uses lethal survival skills learned too early in her work as a ‘Hound, sniffing out pivotal secrets for one of the most powerful people on the west coast. Her work is deceptive, deadly, and best performed solo, which means when she has a run-in with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures, she has no intention of joining forces in some mockery of teamwork. The man might be sexy as hell, but she travels alone. She will accomplish her mission and she will settle a score – hopefully with the edge of her blade. But fate has other plans.

As one of Fate’s Vultures, a nomadic band of arbitrators known for their ruthless verdicts, Ruin witnesses the carnage of corruption and greed battering the remnants of humanity, and he bears the scars to prove it. Now he has a damn ‘Hound showing up in suspicious circumstances, leaving every cell of his body sceptical – and painfully aroused. The woman is trouble, and Ruin has every intention of steering clear. But when they realise they have a common enemy, Charity and Ruin will have to set aside their distrust if they want to achieve their mutual goal – justice and revenge.

Sometimes, when the world’s gone to hell, it’s better to stick with the devil you know…

Lying in Ruins is available now


That’s a Wrap! GenreCon 2017

by Jacquie Underdown

As the attendees streamed from the State Library of Queensland at the close of the 2017 GenreCon held from Friday to Sunday last week in Brisbane, the overarching take-home message was that in Australia, there is a thriving, supportive community of genre writers who are passionate about writing, live and breathe inclusivity, and really know their craft.

In not-so typical Brisvegas fashion, the weather welcomed this numerous cohort of genre-fiction writers and readers by lowering the average temperature seven degrees. This made the simple act of wearing clothes and participating in activities like standing and sitting possible.

But the agreeable weather can’t take home all the accolades. Many of the weekend’s big moments were associated with the attending big names like best-selling Australian author Garth Nix who, during Friday night’s opening address, gave his writing advice ‘tell a story’ to an eager audience in a manner expected from a prolific writer, which was by telling a bloody good story.


Garth Nix – Opening Night speech

The teary-eyed crowd may have, at first, felt shocked when after hearing Nix’s heartfelt story about meeting his 95-year-old writing hero days before he died, he then admitted that this story was, in fact, fictional. But who better to give a masterclass on the art of ‘show don’t tell’ than one of Australia’s top genre authors.

Nix continued with his stellar advice to attendees throughout the weekend.

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And provided his blanket solution to nearly every problem a writer will encounter no matter where they are in their career.

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International guest author Delilah S. Dawson took the floor among an audience dressed to the mods and monster’s costume theme at the Saturday night Speakeasy to give a rousing speech on how to ‘not give up’.


Delilah S. Dawson – Speakeasy speech

Dawson spoke about the trajectory of her career from her unsellable first story—which had all the rookie mistakes including an opening line from hell (that mentioned white Capri pants, Greek street food and the unmentionable side effect of said street food while wearing white Capri pants)—to her eventual, hard-earned successes.

But where the real gems of wisdom were uncovered was during the weekend’s workshops, panels and morning plenary sessions that took place in packed auditoriums and rooms throughout the State Library of Queensland.

Claire G. Coleman, black&write 2016 Indigenous writing fellow, gave an inspirational speech on how she wrote through her fear.

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Anne Gracie, Australian romance writing royalty, thrilled her workshop audience with tried and true writing advice along with practical methods on how to dig deeper into character.

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Fellow Escape Publishing multi-award-winning author Amy Andrews gave a truthful account of author earnings by providing her writing income from her last fifteen tax returns. And, on top of this, read a sex scene from her novel Numbered in front of a large audience at the Author Salon on opening night. One word that could describe Andrews: COURAGEOUS!


Amy Andrews talks author earnings

In one panel, attendees were able to pull back the curtain and look into the world of the publishing houses. Escape Publishing’s Managing Editor, Kate Cuthbert, joined a panel of industry experts who offered insight into the process at their end once they received an author’s submission.


Panel of industry professionals

To accept or reject an author’s work for publication isn’t a simple case of ‘this book isn’t good enough’. Meetings are had, discussions are entered into, and many factors are taken into account before the final decision is made.

And those writers in the audience dealing with idea-hopping were able to hear international best-selling author Nalini Singh not only give permission to pursue those ‘squirrel’ ideas but also a practical way to manage those ‘squirrels’.

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So many fabulous panellists appeared at this year’s GenreCon. They wrestled with messy questions on the writing craft, spoke about the real-world implications of writing imaginary worlds and characters, and offered advice on how to deal with introversion, failure, fear, success, and many of the gritty nuances of being an author.

Over the course of the weekend, the attendees were schooled, reassured and inspired. GenreCon was a celebration of genre fiction but not once did it ask its audience to believe that being an author is easy or that a writing career should be perfect, and that’s what made the event an enjoyable, relatable success.

Top 3 highlights

  1. GenreCon convenor Peter Ball’s T-Shirt


Peter Ball – 2017 GenreCon Convenor

  1. So many incredible authors and industry experts in the one place, unafraid to drop the F* bomb, unapologetic about what they write and who they are, and willing to share their expertise.

all panelists

Last chance Q & A panel of authors

  1. So many amazing authors and readers in the one place, each unashamedly in love with writing, reading and talking about genre fiction.


2017 GenreCon attendees

Top 3 take-away messages

  1. Readers, your reading future is in incredibly safe hands. Australia has many dedicated, helpful, and passionate writers producing fantastic titles each and every year.
  1. Writers, no one writing career is the same. You don’t know the bigger picture yet or what the future holds, so you may be exactly where you need to be in your career, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
  1. Persistence is key. Write the next book. And as Emma Viskic, award-winning Australian crime writer would say, fill those blank pages with ‘words of liquid gold’ even if it takes many redrafts to achieve it.

Final note

Don’t underestimate the cathartic consequences of stepping away from the keyboard, talking with fellow authors, readers and editors, and donning a good costume.


Liz McKewin, Jacquie Underdown (me), and Meg Vann

32702A vineyard, a family in pain, and the healing magic of cupcakes…

Amy Jenkins, a talented and ambitious chef, is left humiliated and debt-ridden, after her city restaurant fails. When her best friend calls asking for help in her small town cupcake shop, Amy jumps at the chance to hide out in the small town of Alpine Ridge while her shattered ego mends.

The youngest Mathews brother, Tom feels over-looked and under-appreciated. His brothers remember every mistake, but never give him the responsibility or opportunity to take his place in the family business. So, he spends three weeks out of every month working at a mine in the back-end of nowhere. But then Amy moves to town to help run his pregnant sister-in-law’s bakery, and suddenly home seems to be where his heart is.

Amy’s move was only ever meant to be temporary, but when tragedy strikes the Mathews family, Amy finds herself unable to move on. As she and Tom get closer, Amy finds every excuse to stay: first, she claims it’s for the family, then she claims it’s for the shop. But maybe, it’s for her own heart…

Bittersweet, the first book in the Brothers of the Vine trilogy, is available for pre-order now!

Escape is Five Today!


First, we have to congratulate our launch authors, our first authors, the ones who kicked it all off:


Ainslie Paton


Lee Christine


Rebekah Turner


Rhian Cahill


Keziah Hill

and of course to the many authors who have joined us since: Congratulations!

Escape is nothing without you, and we love working with you!

Here are some stats about our first five years:

  • Over 650 000 books sold
  • Almost 400 distinct titles (that’s nearly 400 happy endings!), across 14 subgenres
  • 143 authors, 71 of which published their very first book with Escape. Most are still with us, either exclusively, within the greater Harlequin family, or as hybrid authors
  • The authors who have published the most titles with us are Juliet Madison (11), followed closely by Rhian Cahill (10) and Jenny Schwartz (10)
  • Our three best-selling genres are Rural Romance, Scottish Romance, and Paranormal Romance
  • We have been nominated for six, and won TWO Romantic Books of the Year Awards (R*BY) from the Romance Writers of Australia
  • We have been nominated for more than 90 Australian Romance Readers Awards (but won one):
    • Cathleen Ross, Base, Favourite paranormal, 2016
  • We have been nominated for a RITA Award (Romance Writers of America)
  • 54 titles have also had print runs, whether as a single title, or as part of a bundle
  • Finally, the traditional five-year gifts for anniversaries are wood and silverware. So may we please suggest:
    • For wood: Tea Cooper’s The Cedar Cutteran Australian historical rural romance about a seamstress with a past, and a cedar cutter looking for a future, set in the majestic cedar forests of the Hunter Valley


  • And for silverware, Unrestrained from Rhyll Biest, which isn’t strictly about silverware, but does involve a scene around dishwashing that will leave you breathless…22577


Once again, from all of us at Escape, thank you for five years of reading, writing, and storytelling, and here’s to many, many more!

Feed Your Reader: Fractured…

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They thought they’d found a refuge, but the battle for survival has only just begun…

Surrounded by the destruction of the human race, Euan, Nick, and Kira find solace in one another, making their underground bunker a haven and a home. Sheltered under layers of steel and cement, they should be safe, but danger isn’t always kept outside — sometimes the enemy is within.

When their electronic warning system detects intruders, Euan and Nick must investigate. Outside, they discover the true terror that is approaching, and Euan must make a terrible decision: stay or go. To stay is to watch the only people he loves perish under the weight of pure evil. To leave is to face his certain death to protect them and potentially save humankind.

Despite all his preparation, skills, and strength, Euan knows that each decision carries the risk that he could destroy them all.

The second book in the Refuge Trilogy.

Fractured Refuge, Book Two, The Refuge Trilogy is available now!
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Exclusive Excerpt 2: The Magician’s Keeper


A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

You’re meant to guard him, not talk. Not fantasize about him either! She reminded herself.

After a time, Bear’s expression grew serious again, and she missed the cheeky dimple when he laughed.

I saw how your colleague Rajid looked at you, does that happen often?” he asked his voice softer this time.

Dora’s frown deepened. “I…” she began not certain how to respond. Especially since her colleagues might be listening.

They look at me the same way, you know,” he said. “They always have.”

Dora felt her breath catch in her throat.

We’re similar, you and I,” he added and paused. “I’m locked away from society for just being a magician, and you are locked out just for being what you are… I just wish, really wish we could have met somewhere else, anywhere but here.” He gestured with his cuffed hands to the van around them.

Dora stared at him, unable to respond, but the sudden and sweet intense bolt of connection she felt towards him rocked her to her very core. Her throat instantly dried and she could see the deep unwavering compassion in his eyes.

He felt it too.

The relief was exquisite.

She’d finally found a man who understood her.

A man she felt connected too.

A man she was deeply attracted too.

Here. In this prison van.

Heading towards a trial he could never win.

And she could never have him.

The Magician’s Keeper is available now!

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Feed Your Reader: A Giant Romance and A Book Full of Bad Boys


A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

One-click now!

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Three full-length novels about heroes who are mad, bad, and dangerous to love…

Getting Wild — Sarah Barrie

The Devil Wears Prada meets Man vs Wild in this fast-paced romantic comedy set in the no-holds-barred world of travel journalism.

When Ella Jameson, editor-in-chief of Australia’s top travel magazine, steps into a room, people scramble to attention. She’s ruthless, terrifying, and untouchable.

But when Ryan Edwards walks into her office with a job proposal, Ella just knows he’s going to be trouble. In the tropical beauty of Australia’s Top End, it’s not just the weather that’s going to sizzle…

Hot Chocolate — Charlotte De Pace

She’s always been the good girl, but this trip to Italy will show Annabella that love and chocolate can both be sweet, tempting — and dangerously addictive.

When infamous playboy Alessandro De Costa entices Annabella Beaumont to be his master chocolatier and faux fiancée, neither anticipate the deception — or passionate seduction — that will follow.

As she slowly succumbs to the playboy’s charms, Annabella struggles with sweet temptation — as well as secrets that could ruin everything.

Tell Me No Lies – Shirley Wine

For single mum Victoria Scanlan, a visit to the luxurious country house of Darkhaven is a rare chance to combine work with pleasure. Securing the commission for The Wedding Of The Year will guarantee the ongoing success of her floral boutique and secure her the stability she needs for both herself and her son.

But Darkhaven comes with a shocking guest – the groom, Keir Donovan, is the man she once knew as Seth Donahue. Her young son’s father. The man who has no idea he has a child. The man she can’t forget.

One-click now!

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Friday Five: Welton B Marsland

2836First Published with Escape: November 2017
Favourite Romance Trope: friends-to-lovers
Ideal Hero: smart, quick-witted, brave
Ideal Heroine: smart, quick-witted, brave
Latest Book: By the Currawong’s Call

1. What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

I set out just to tell the sort of stories I’d like to read, but it happens that I’ve always been fascinated with human relationships and how different people interact with and respond to one another, so those tend to be a focus in my stories. I spent important formative time (from a writing point of view) in slash fandoms and learned a lot – about writing, but also about drilling down into what my areas of focus are and what things push my buttons.

2. What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

Generally, I’ll take a break from it and write a different one for a while. Also, I can’t underestimate how effective it can be, just sitting or lying somewhere quiet and “daydreaming” the scene to try and get into the guts of it.

3. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

On “Currawong” I lost an afternoon to the surprisingly interesting history of petroleum jelly.


But the strangest research jaunt ever was for a short, niche fandom fic I wrote called “The Novikov Self-Consistency Principle“. Just for the first ten pages alone I had to research electromagnetism, heavy hardcover books on electromagnetism, strong German liquor, ethnic histories of two different surnames, alcohol laws in Massachusetts and Illinois, the Episcopalians, the chemical makeup of Ecstasy, entactogens and neurotransmitters, the Balkan states, time travel, time dilation, Stephen Hawking, Einstein’s theory of relativity, the Heckler & Koch MP5 rifle, and the statistical occurrence of supernumerary nipples (oh and the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle itself, naturally).

4. Out of all your protagonists, who do you relate to the most?

I relate pretty strongly to my two main characters in Currawong, Matthew and Jonah, even though their personalities are quite different. Weirdly, while writing, even though the whole book is from Matthew’s point of view and it was important I stuck with that, whenever I tried “daydreaming” scenes, I’d always find myself slipping into Jonah’s point of view. My brain, apparently, just found his voice easier to slide into, even while my intellect was trying to tell it “No, no, the other guy!”.

5. Snacks while writing, yes or no? What kind of snacks?

When I’m writing at home (where most of my work is done), no. Lots of tea though. And I mean LOTS OF TEA.


I do also enjoy writing in pubs and salty snacks might well make an appearance on those occasions.


A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful…

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

“Such a beautifully written, powerful love story” – Cupcakes and Bookshelves

By the Currawong’s Call is available for pre-order now and releases 20 November.

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Breaking News: Announcing Women of W.A.R.

Women of WAR 1

Escape Publishing is pleased to announce three stand-alone titles in a fun, flirty, footy series featuring the strong athletic heroines of the Women of AFL.

Set in the fictional Women’s Aussie Rules (W.A.R.) League, Women of W.A.R. follows three female footy players as they break down barriers, learning to live and love in the big leagues.

All three books will be released simultaneously on 20/2/18, and are available for pre-order now.

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Are they playing to win…or playing for keeps?

Angelica Bryant has a dream. The only child of a soccer legend, she pays her bills by working at her father’s bar while pursuing her goals: a role in sports management and a place in the newly established Women’s Aussie Rules league. Football is her passion, and she won’t let anything get in her way: including an ill-advised one-night-stand with one of Australia’s most successful agents.

Jaxon Flint thrives on success. His workaholic lifestyle keeps his agency and the athletes he represents at the top of their game – and all of his emotions at bay. Until he meets Angie, W.A.R.’s newest star, who undermines his carefully laid plans and gets under his skin. Is he willing to relinquish his careful control both in and out of the bedroom?

When Angie and Jaxon end up working together, it’s game on!

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Get more information about this title on Nicola’s blog!


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Does she dare pursue all her dreams?

Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie

Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.

Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.

But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…

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Get more information about this title on Cath’s blog!

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How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over her heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

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For more information on this title, check out Amy’s website!


Exclusive Excerpt: Fractured Refuge

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They thought they’d found a refuge, but the battle for survival has only just begun…

You don’t need to think,’ a female voice whispered.

Euan pulled from Nick’s embrace and looked up.

His attention latched onto an apparition who stood in the doorframe. A female prodigy of indefinable value. A look of disquiet and concern was etched in her features. Kira’s eyes were serious, a reflection of the moment and the feelings that swirled around the room.

She seemed to float towards him. A fantasy in truth. An illusion made real. In her eyes he saw the beginning and end of all things. In her eyes he saw their future. Not his future, because that was over, but the future of the human race. This tenacious, driven, little platinum-blonde spitfire was going to drag humanity back into civility. Kicking and screaming.

Euan’s only job now was clear the path for her.

She stood alongside Nick. Her concentration didn’t waver. She studied him. She comprehended the character of the small, indistinguishable creatures he thought he’d hidden deep within his soul.

Euan had stood before men with weapons of steel and wood that were held comfortably in their fists. He’d taken the lives of men to save them from destruction. He’d stood on the cliff of humanity’s destruction and watched as it imploded. And yet, when he met the crystal-blue eyes of the tiny woman before him, he was naked, childlike, vulnerable.

Trust us,’ Nick beseeched.

Euan’s gaze flicked between Kira and Nick. He swallowed. Trust them? Could he? His stomach tightened.

Kira’s hands were now on his head. But this time, there was a sensual element. They explored his broad shoulders, his neck. They gently pried under his fingers so she could hold his hands in hers.

Then she knelt so they were eye to eye.

He was going to implode. He was. He knew it. As much as he knew that his heart was filled with the love for both of them, in this moment, his body and mind couldn’t manage the dichotomy of the love for them, and the hate for himself.

Her gaze was all encompassing. ‘We’re going to love you.’

No.’ His voice broke on the single word.

Her voice consumed his world. ‘You’re going to let us.’

You can’t—’

Delicate fingers were placed over his lips. ‘I can. We can. We do.’

No,’ Euan mumbled as his heart shattered.

She whispered, ‘Yes.’

Fractured Refuge, Book Two, The Refuge Trilogy is available for pre-order now:
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