Hot Toddies: Nicole Flockton

NSFW content: please note that our ‘hot toddies’ series contains explicit language and (very) adult situations.

Here in Australia, the weather is getting colder. We’re dragging out the blankets and brewing up the cocoa, but it’s not doing the job. We need something hot.

Luckily, Escape artists have come to the rescue. They’ve provided some of the most scorching scenes from their books for us to enjoy. As the cold winds blow outside, we’ll be heating up with some ‘hot toddies’.

Winter is coming. And so our are heroes and heroines.


From Bound by their Love by Nicole Flockton

‘Second thoughts?’ he asked as he reached across and unclipped her seatbelt. His arm brushed her breasts, her nipples tightening in response.

Feeling brazen she reached out and ran a hand down the front of his trousers, feeling the evidence of his desire. ‘No, you?’

Jeff’s response was to growl low in his throat as he stepped away. The sound travelled down her spine, sending sparks of fire through her nerve endings. ‘You’re playing with fire, Angel.’

Greta laughed and stepped out of the car, the action bringing her flush against him. ‘Didn’t you know? I like fire. I like the heat and burn of it.’

‘Enough.’ Jeff reached past her and closed the door, then pushed her back against the warm metal. ‘I can show you all the fire you want. But I’d prefer to do it without an audience.’ He swooped in, taking her lips in a hard swift kiss. It was over before she could take it any further. He turned and walked away, leaving her panting against her car.

Giving herself a mental shake, she followed him into the depths of the resort. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the muted light of the lobby after the bright sunshine.

‘Where’s your room?’

‘This way.’ She grabbed his hand, all but dragging him through the lobby.

Her villa was close to the main building but it could’ve been ten miles away. The anticipation to have Jeff take her was overwhelming.

Finally they reached her door. Greta fumbled in her bag looking for where she’d put the key. The purse slipped when Jeff’s arm slid around her stomach, pulling her against him. Through the layers of clothes she could feel his erection. It was impossible to stop the shiver of anticipation shaking through her.

Her fingers closed over the card and she pulled it out, sliding it into the slot. The green light flared. Jeff’s hand moved from her stomach to the door handle, flinging it down and pushing the door open in one slick movement.

He propelled her forward before turning her in his arms in a blur of movement so quick she lost her breath.

‘I have to have you,’ he said as his hands moved to the zipper of her dress. ‘It’s going to be hard and fast but it will be the ride of your life.’

She bit her lip against the urge to cry out. Yes, hard and fast. Her purse dropped to the floor with a thump.

Cool air flowed across her exposed back. With a quick shimmy the dress fell from her shoulders and pooled at her feet. Greta couldn’t help but smile at the hiss of breath coming from Jeff. She was pleased she’d put on her sexy lingerie that morning.

She bent to take her shoes off.

‘Don’t.’

Greta looked up from beneath her lashes, her hand on the buckle of her sandal. ‘Don’t what?’

Jeff pulled his shirt from his pants and she caught a glimpse of a lightly tanned stomach. She wanted to see it all. ‘Don’t take your shoes off. Do you have any idea how sexy those shoes are?’

Greta straightened. His words were unexpected and a little scary. Standing there in only her shoes, bra and panties she felt exposed.

‘What?’

‘I saw you standing in the gift shop,’ Jeff paused as he divested himself of his shirt, throwing it to the ground. ‘So beautiful and confident. Your dress a powerful colour and your shoes like nothing I’d ever seen before. Delicate yet alluring.’

His explanation didn’t sound sinister, but still she wondered if this was a good idea.

‘Oh.’ What else could she say? She’d never had a guy tell her he wanted her because of her shoes.

A warm hand cupped her cheek. Jeff had moved until he was standing right in front of her. She kept her eyes firmly on his tanned chest.

Why did this encounter feel so different to all her other ones? Why did it feel like she was about to wade into uncharted waters? Why did all thoughts of work and her career seem so far away?

Heat emanated from him, warming her front and weakening her knees. He was impossible to resist and she needed to stop trying to make sense of what was happening between them. It was one afternoon.

‘Greta,’ he whispered her name. She looked up at him. ‘Fate threw you in my path. I hadn’t planned on going to the pearl farm today, but something compelled me. And that something led me to seeing you.’

She melted against him, laying her head on his chest. The thumping of his heart beneath her ears reassured her all would be okay.

Words weren’t needed between them. As if by an unspoken consent, they’d reached an agreement to take things slow. Savour each other and the joy they could bring to one another.

Jeff’s hands smoothed slow circles on her exposed skin. With each movement the tension within her dissipated, giving her the confidence to take charge.

Greta turned her head a fraction and kissed his warm flesh. She trailed her lips over his chest, her hands reaching down to the waistband of his trousers. In seconds she had the belt undone and was tackling the button and zipper of his pants. Slowly she lowered the metal tab, her fingers brushing his hard length, her lips now caressing his rough jaw.

‘You’re killing me here, Angel,’ he muttered, before grasping her chin and lifting it, bringing their lips colliding together. Desire went from a small smoulder to a fully-fledged five-alarm fire in seconds.


bound

From Nicole Flockton comes the intense, emotional conclusion of her bestselling Bound trilogy…

Feed your reader: Get some revenge!

shanahan

What happens when you fall in love with your worst enemy?

When the CEO of one of New Zealand’s biggest companies steps down, heir apparent Kate McPherson and Australian outsider Sam Shanahan are left fighting for control of McPherson & Co.

But Sam hasn’t just travelled to New Zealand for business. He’s there to avenge the wrongs done to his mother three decades ago, and he’s determined that no one—especially not his beautiful arch rival—will get in his way.

Poised to take over the company from her father, Kate has fought hard for her success and will do anything to defeat the stranger who’s after her job—no matter how strong the chemistry between them.

Sam and Kate are driven apart by ambition and drawn together by fiery attraction. And between them sizzles a family secret that threatens to blow Kate’s world apart.

Hot Toddies: Louise Forster

NSFW content: please note that our ‘hot toddies’ series contains explicit language and (very) adult situations.

Here in Australia, the weather is getting colder. We’re dragging out the blankets and brewing up the cocoa, but it’s not doing the job. We need something hot.

Luckily, Escape artists have come to the rescue. They’ve provided some of the most scorching scenes from their books for us to enjoy. As the cold winds blow outside, we’ll be heating up with some ‘hot toddies’.

Winter is coming. And so our are heroes and heroines.


from Tumble Creek by Louise Forster

Sofie couldn’t wait any longer and started to pull at Brock’s T-shirt. Exposing his ripped abs she nipped, licked and kissed his skin all the way to his nipples, sucking one then the other. Hands flat, she slipped them under his shirt, feeling his satin skin over hard muscles. He groaned as he reached over his shoulders, grabbed the back of his shirt and hauled it off. Then Brock hunkered down and slid his hands up her thighs, taking the skirt to her hips and exposing her black lacy-topped stockings. He sucked in a breath as his fingers lightly stroked the strip of exposed skin between her stockings and undies. Then his soft mouth kissed the sensitive area above the lace, and slowly moved to her inner thighs. Sofie held her breath, the sweet sensation almost too much.

She started to gather her dress but in one fluid movement Brock stood and took over, swooping her dress up and off. She stood facing him in her black lace bra, matching undies and stockings. Brock’s gaze slid to her feet, then slowly trailed up her body. Eyes on hers, his hands went to her ribcage then slowly moved around to her back. He undid her bra, slid the straps off her arms and tossed it aside. He cupped her breasts and gazed at them as if in awe, then bent down to tenderly lick and kiss her nipples. Sofie whimpered and slid her hand into her undies to clutch her aching sex.

‘Jesus Babe,’ he growled, sliding his hand over hers inside her undies. ‘Wait for me?’

Kissing his way up to her throat, Brock pulled his jeans zipper down with his other hand while simultaneously kicking off his boots, then using his feet, shoved his jeans down his legs and kicked them aside. Sofie’s eyes darted to the impressive bulge in his jocks. In a blink the jocks were gone too, freeing his erection. At the sight of him fully erect, wetness gathered at her entrance.

‘Oh my.’ She whipped her hands out of her undies and went straight for his shaft, her fingers clasping around him, squeezing, stroking. ‘I want you … every glorious inch of you.’ She licked her lips.

Brock groaned and pulled her in against his hard body, Sofie gasped and her arms flew around his neck. His thick shaft pressing into her belly made her want him inside her now; she was about to say so when his mouth went down on hers for a deep, hungry, tongue-wrestling kiss. And then his mouth was everywhere, nibbling her earlobe, grazing his teeth down her neck then tongue-kissing to her collar bone. He cupped her breasts again and sucked on her nipples, sending an electrifying pulse straight between her thighs. Moving further down with his mouth, he slipped his fingers in the band of her undies and pushed them down to her ankles. Breathing fast with anticipation, Sofie stepped out of them. His dark eyes, a heady mix of heat and need, locked on hers, and Sofie’s heart swelled. His beautiful hands pressed in massaging as they moved over to her belly, then further down to her pelvis and in between her thighs. ‘Open for me, Babe,’ he whispered hungrily as his lips brushed the corner of her mouth.

Sofie immediately did as he asked. His hand slid down to cup her sex, then he gently slipped two fingers into her wet folds and slid them over her swollen clit.

‘Oh my God,’ she said on a gasp, her fingers going up into his hair to hang on.

His fingers teased at her entrance. Sofie rocked forward trying to thrust them in deeper, as he edged back to play over her wet, swollen clit. ‘I need more,’ Sofie moaned and began to buck her hips over his hand. Brock trailed kisses to her breasts, then using his tongue he sucked and laved her nipples, then sucked a little harder. Sofie arched back, and Brock eased a finger in, slowly going deeper.

‘Hmm, warm, wet, silk,’ Brock moaned hungrily against her mouth, easing in another finger, pumping, opening Sofie wider.

‘Oh God! Brock! I’m going to …’ She grabbed his hair and pulled his hand away from her sex. ‘Stop—stop—stop! Oh dear God, not in a million years did I ever think I would say that. But if you don’t stop right now I’ll come, and I want you inside me when I do.’

‘Not stopping, you first. Then I’ll make you come again … me inside,’ he murmured, a naughty grin playing across his mouth.

‘You will?’ She’d never done anything of the sort. If Brock’s love-making were to continue like this, and there was no reason why not, then surely she’d be completely sated. ‘I can’t.’ Fingers in his scalp she clutched handfuls of his hair.

‘Trust me, you can.’

‘Oh …’ Sofie whimpered, her body about to collapse with so much pleasure.

His mouth was back on hers, his slick fingers inside her pumping faster, faster. Sofie climaxed. A star-blazing orgasm that rolled on and on. Her body jerked, her limbs shook. Luckily Brock’s forearm was under her bottom, holding her up, because her legs went and without his arm she would have slumped to the floor.

Suddenly his hands were around her waist and she was up and flying onto the bed. He’d pulled back the covers—when he’d managed that she had no idea—and now she was on her back and Brock was covering her with his powerful body, and yes, his weight, and his warm skin on hers—heaven! Using his knees he spread her legs wide and the tip of his shaft nudged her entrance, then little by little he eased himself inside.

‘Oh my God.’ She arched her back and neck, thrusting her breasts up.

‘Babe, wet, silk, tight, wrapped around me. Fuck that feels good.’ His hands were on the mattress on either side of her, taking his weight off her body now, shoulders, biceps and forearm muscles bulging; she ran her hands up, fingers rippling over his skin, loving the feel of him, the power of him.

He kissed along her jaw and, voice rough, he whispered, ‘Let me see your beautiful eyes. I want to see how turned on you are.’

She did as he asked, and all that she gave him reflected in his face, his eyes. Sofie was sure she interpreted Brock’s expression correctly. His open, honest face showed that what he was experiencing, with her, was blowing his mind.

‘Fuck, you’re amazing, giving me everything.’ He lowered his mouth to her lips, his tongue toying with hers.

Her legs went around his back, digging her heels into his butt, pulling him inside her. ‘Stop playing and give me fast, give more.’ Brock upped the pace. ‘Oh yes … yes.’ Sofie bucked her hips to meet his rhythm.

His hand slid in between them straight to her sex. He pulled his shaft out to the tip and his fingers went in, making them wet, he brought them out to slip around her inner folds and clit. Sofie cried out her pleasure and Brock drove deep inside her. Staying there he rotated his hips, again and again, relentlessly driving her to the edge. His mouth went to a nipple, and he sucked, nipped and sucked again, all the while driving in deeper, fingers swirling over her clit.

‘Come for me, Babe. I want to feel you clutch my cock.’ His head went to her neck. ‘Come for me,’ he softly growled in her ear, adding goosebumps to all the delicious sensations, making her body sing.

Sofie moaned with every outward breath, coming faster now as she headed towards another sensational orgasm. ‘I’m … I’m there. Brock … Brock!’ Her breath shallow as the tingling, beautiful waves washed through her, making her body convulse around his shaft. Brock slammed in deep and stayed planted. Grunting, his mouth came down on hers. Claiming. Masculine. Wild.


tumble

In the sequel to Home Truths, Louise Forster returns to the sleepy country town of Tumble Creek with the story of a cop, a teacher and a mystery that will bring them together—or tear them apart.

Hot Toddies: Kendall Talbot

NSFW content: please note that our ‘hot toddies’ series contains explicit language and (very) adult situations.

Here in Australia, the weather is getting colder. We’re dragging out the blankets and brewing up the cocoa, but it’s not doing the job. We need something hot.

Luckily, Escape artists have come to the rescue. They’ve provided some of the most scorching scenes from their books for us to enjoy. As the cold winds blow outside, we’ll be heating up with some ‘hot toddies’.

Winter is coming. And so our are heroes and heroines.


from Treasured Lies by Kendall Talbot

Scanning over the antipasto selection, Rosalina wondered what she should use next. The little chocolate cups caught her eye. For what she was planning, she hoped they were filled with liqueur.

She carried her glass back to the table and allowed Archer to fill it. After another quick sip, she resumed her position between his knees. She couldn’t help but smile at the glorious view before her. Archer had an Adonis body, abs as solid as any fighter, sun-kissed skin and a tantalising line of hair that said ‘follow me’ as it ran from his belly button to his dark nest of curls. His erection burst from those curls large, proud and ready for action. And he certainly had her attention.

With the chocolate cup between her fingers, she nibbled off a tiny corner, but instead of just dribbling out, the entire cup crumbled and the liquid and chocolate fell all over Archer’s groin. ‘Woops.’ She laughed and he laughed with her.

‘I hope you’re planning on cleaning that up.’ His eyes were full of suggestion.

‘Of course.’ She leant forward and with long, slow, seductive strokes, she licked every drop of that delicious, sweet liqueur from his body.

Archer ran his hands through her hair. ‘Oh, Rosa.’

The way he said her name was like a soft caress and the throb between her legs had her close to imploding. As she helped herself to dessert, his moans of pleasure sent the sweetest of sensations rippling through her body.

She wanted him inside her. Now. She eased back, stepped off the sun lounge, slipped out of her lacy knickers and went to climb back on top.

‘Hang on, baby.’ Archer pushed himself further up the chair. ‘It’s my turn.’

She stared, open-mouthed. He had to be joking. How could he wait? She was practically bursting at the seams. He must have seen her indecision, because he quickly slipped off the lounge and with his hands on her waist, guided her to lie down.

‘You stay right there.’ As he walked to the table she watched his perfectly round butt cheeks rise and fall as his muscles flexed.

The warmth of the sun on her skin was as heavenly as the champagne enchanting her insides. She reached for Archer’s glass and drained the bubbles from it. Rosalina had never sunbaked naked before and she couldn’t decide if it was the alcohol, the golden sun or the anticipation of red hot sex that was driving the tingles through her body, inside and out.

‘As you didn’t share the last one, I helped myself to a chocolate. Delicious.’

She grinned at him. ‘So was mine.’

The heat between her legs became a smoking hot furnace as he walked towards her with a handful of strawberries, the bowl of whipped cream and a full-blown erection. He knelt at her side, placed the strawberries on her stomach and when he ran his tongue over his lips he stole the breath from her throat. She wanted him to stay right there, basking in all his sun-drenched nakedness for all eternity.

‘So, my lovely, I’m going to show you how strawberries and cream should be done.’

Rosalina had pretty much combined these two ingredients every which way possible and yet she was certain Archer was about to show her something new.

‘Want to try one?’ His voice was so husky she barely recognised it.

She swallowed. ‘Sure.’

He selected one of the strawberries and held it towards her. She opened her mouth, and half expecting some kind of trick she quickly sunk her teeth into the juicy fruit, biting it right in half.

Archer laughed. ‘Hungry, are we?’ The remaining half of the ripe red fruit he brought to her breast. He touched the cool fruit from one nipple to the next, circling her now almost bursting buds and then dabbing the very tip. Despite his delicate touch, the sensation drove pulses that started at her nipples and ended with a delightful shiver between her legs.

Archer leant forward and licked each breast clean. When he finished he sat back. ‘And?’ His eyes shone.

She shrugged and it took all her might to keep a straight face. ‘That was nice.’

Archer muffled a deep, throaty laugh. ‘Nice! Righty ho, then.’

Rosalina chewed on her bottom lip as she watched Archer. She could almost see his mind working in overdrive. He grabbed another strawberry and this time he dipped it into the cream.

Using the strawberry as a brush and her body as the canvas, he spread the cream over her nipples, and when he was done, he ate the strawberry and then proceeded to lick the cream off. He started with the breast closest to him, capturing the nipple in his mouth and sucking until her bud was completely clean. When he leant over to sample her other breast, she gasped as his hand slipped between her legs and entered her hot zone.

Rosalina curled beneath him, sending the strawberries on her belly scattering as he plunged into her with agonising tenderness. She rode the explosive orgasm that had been building within her for what seemed like a decade.

When she opened her eyes, Archer was smiling at her, his eyes ablaze with satisfaction.

‘That was much better,’ she said through gasping breath.

Archer stood up and with purpose he moved to the end of the lounge. He stared at her naked body for a long delicious moment. She wanted him now and he could take every little piece of her; her mind, her body, her soul.

She spread her legs further apart and it was the only invitation he needed. Archer climbed on top and as his erection nudged her opening, he kissed her like they’d never kissed before. Their tongues probed each other’s mouth, tasting, licking, exploring. He pulled back and wriggled onto his knees and with his eyes lingering on hers, he slid his fingers into her and once again took her over the edge of explosive bliss.

He lay back on top of her, pushed up on his hands so his chest hovered above her and his gold pendant toyed with her nipples. When he entered her, he filled her so perfectly that her breath hitched in her throat. Archer rode her, gently at first, thrusting in and out with measured control as she scratched her fingernails down his back. His eyes had glazed, slipping into a world of bliss, and she squeezed his nipples until he gasped and his eyes returned to her.

His mouth found hers and she sucked on his tongue. Soon measured control was gone, replaced instead with hard, rapid thrusting. When her hot juices released, he cried out as he too released. She ran her fingers up and down his back until he couldn’t thrust any more.

He fell onto her chest and they stayed as one for a very long time.

She ran her fingers through his head of unruly curls. ‘You know I’m never going to look at an antipasto platter the same again.’

He chuckled. ‘Me neither.’


lies

From award-winning author Kendall Talbot comes a new romantic adventure to dive into…

Hot Toddies: Ainslie Paton

NSFW content: please note that our ‘hot toddies’ series contains explicit language and (very) adult situations.

Here in Australia, the weather is getting colder. We’re dragging out the blankets and brewing up the cocoa, but it’s not doing the job. We need something hot.

Luckily, Escape artists have come to the rescue. They’ve provided some of the most scorching scenes from their books for us to enjoy. As the cold winds blow outside, we’ll be heating up with some ‘hot toddies’.

Winter is coming. And so our are heroes and heroines.


From Incapable, by Ainslie Paton

They came together with all the fire and fury of a star being made. She was the elemental one, the atom of light. She’d learned his body and knew its secrets, knew to keep her hands on him, move them in a pattern that soothed, that to touch him suddenly outside that anticipated flow could surprise, madden, delight. She fused those approaches with hands that stroked then stopped to change position; a sneak attack, to squeeze or pinch; lips that dragged then wet, then stung. She was everywhere and nowhere, absence and pressure, gasp and twist and compressed desire so intense he was flattened by it, unable to do anything but receive her hands, her mouth, the sucking slide of her heat, the ache to have, have more, have all.

He gave up trying to predict her movements; gave over to the pulse of his blood, the gravity of her, drawing him into a place where his thoughts dissolved like scattered space dust, and only his body remained, a housing for energy so concentrated, so brilliant he was unbalanced, unearthed and fused to her.

She used her mouth, her tongue, her excited breath to stun him, take him higher, make his back arch off the bed. He fisted her hair, the sheet, to try and ground himself, prolong the moment.

He didn’t want to finish in her mouth, but she wasn’t giving him a choice. “Come with me.”

Here he could have what he couldn’t have in life. He curled off the bed, his abs bunching, his legs shaking, and caught her under the arms, raised her over him. She would be wide-eyed and wild, her hair all over the place, her lips red and plumped up. There was a sheen of moisture on her skin and she tasted salty, tangy from her feast on him. She pressed him down and centred over him, her heat, her juices shockingly beautiful, loosening his tongue.

“Slide hard, baby. Take us there. Show me the sun.”

She picked a new pattern, a new rhythm, this one punctuated by rolling hips and clutching thighs, her hands on his chest, her song a string of verbal tics and moans, high pitched hitches and low exhales.

She raked her short nails down his sides and dripped sweat on his stomach. “I hate you for shutting me out.” Her voice shook and her body trembled.

He took her hands and dragged her torso to his, grunting as the hot silk of her covered him, easing inside her, mouths open on each other’s, gone deaf, gone insensible from the need to thrust, knowing only the crash of their energies, the force of their joining until the cloud burst, the white blasts and the star was made.


incapable

Love can be a great healer, except when it hurts…

The inspiration behind my book: Portofino (and Beyoncé)

by Lee Christine

My husband and I celebrated my 50th birthday with a trip to Europe. We travelled for ten days around Switzerland by train, spent some time poking around Vienna, then flew to Venice to pick up a cruise ship. For sixteen days we visited some of the most picturesque parts of the world including Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Malta, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre villages along the Italian Riviera.

When we docked in Portofino, the locals were buzzing with news. Beyoncé was in town. Queen Bey had recently purchased a super-yacht for her music producer/rapper husband, Jay Z. The yacht was anchored in the bay.

lee2As we wandered through the historic village and caught a local bus to Santa Marguerita, I began thinking of the naval architects and engineers who design and construct not only multi-million-dollar leisure vessels like the one ‘Bey’ had purchased, but battle ships, aircraft carriers and submarines. My imagination kicked into gear.

My heroine in A Dangerous Arrangement is a violinist. What better setting could I have than the original home of classical music—Italy? By the end of our holiday, I’d settled on my hero’s occupation as well. Dean Logan is naval architect to the stars, captain of Australia’s America’s Cup team and a hero of the ill-fated Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Yes, the beautiful Amalfi Coast had certainly worked its magic.

With a little help from Beyoncé.


dang

Kicking off a brand new romantic suspense series from Lee Christine is A Dangerous Arrangement: a violinist with a secret, a billionaire with a problem and a race against time set on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

My book setting: Vermont in the fall

by Rebecca Morean

I grew up in the California desert and moved to Vermont as a young bride and lived there for nearly twenty years. I want to move back.

Desperately.

vermont1I hiked beautiful trails down dirt roads, I lived through ice storms and power outages, cooked on a wood stove during those times and lit candles. Raised our children to ski and sled, and drink hot chocolate out of a thermos, and ice skate down frozen creeks. Talked incessantly with friends over the burn of woodstoves. Saw the sky flicker magically with green and purple with the aurora borealis while we all shivered in bathrobes. Watched the snow melt, smelled lilacs, planted seeds. Witnessed the tender duality of new leaves sprouting from trees in the colours of their previous fall before turning green. Eating fiddleheads, tiny baby ferns, curled tight like leafy fists, tasting strong and pungent, with lots of garlic and butter. In summer, we swam in gorgeous rivers tossed with granite of all colours, had picnics in our own backyard along the Connecticut River, made ice cream, had cookouts with friends and talked about the wood we would stack for those woodstoves, had stacking parties, found frogs.

But it was fall that made my heart sing. Actually sing. Fall in Vermont is the stuff of dreams. Cool breezes, indescribable colors shifting in the sky at dawn and dusk, and during the day with leaving swaying. The smell of early smoke in the air. Crisp air and crisp sounds. Heavier clothes that could be shucked away in a moment and you were still warm. This was fall.

vermont2So when I wrote We’ve Got This I set it in one of my favourite places. Now that I am living in Ohio, it was glorious to return to Vermont in my mind and paint the picture of Harvey, the fictional town with all the regulars. The push and pull Vermonters have between old and new results in comedy and practicality. You could step into a store that was built in 1850, get fresh-churned ice cream, and you would remain oblivious to the camera in the corner….a nice mix of the romantic with practical and a perfect metaphor for Kate and Ryan. She’s the practical school teacher turned screenwriter, focused on hiding herself away. He’s the Emmy-winning television doctor just looking for honesty in his work again. Subterfuge and blinding truth; that friction felt real until they both let their defences down and found romance.

Vermont and the Eastern Maritimes, where they go to look for whales, provided the kind of gorgeous, quiet backdrop these two characters needed to find each other. A city would not work. The glamour and rush, the congestion and digital time-keeping would make it nearly impossible to create what they needed to recreate themselves. And there are too many resources in a city. Too many ways out and excuses. Vermonters help each other. Resources are scarce. A mall may be a two-hour trip. There are no Walmart stores in Vermont. If you drive off the road in winter, you might freeze if someone doesn’t stop to help. That relying on each other, realising ‘this is it, it’s up to us’ was the kind of world I had to build to get these two together and keep them together.

vermont3Vermont is cold, brilliant, tender and green, and in the fall it is filled with red, orange, purple, yellow, brown and the soulful smear of every colour in between. For two people at a crossroads in their life, small-town life, with its characters and idiosyncrasies, its scrubbed beauty and aura of hope and community, fit not only the story I wanted to tell, but allowed me to move back there….if only in my mind.


got-this

A Cinderella story about mothers and movie stars, mud boots and Manolo Blahniks, and dreams that do come true.

My book setting: Black Mountain

by Kate Loveday

A few years ago my husband Peter I took an extended caravan holiday. We began by exploring the east coast, working our way up from the south to the north. When we reached far north Queensland we fell in love with the area, and spent much time there.

bm1We based ourselves at a little place called Flying Fish Point, a few kilometres east of Innisfail, bounded by the mouth of the Johnstone River on one side and the ocean on the other. It’s a glorious place, where the forest is lush and deep green, the beach is long, and the azure sea and the sky seem almost to merge.

bm2From here we visited the unique Daintree rainforest, beautiful in its wildness, hot and humid, criss-crossed with trails made by the (usually!) unseen wildlife, and home to many primitive plants found nowhere else.

We visited the huge plateau of the Tablelands, went up to Cairns, Port Douglas and as far north as Cooktown. It was while we were returning from a visit to Cooktown via the Bloomfield track that we stumbled across Black Mountain. We planned to stop at the Lion’s Den, an old Australian pub, for lunch.

But before we reached it we were startled by the appearance of a colossal, blackened mountain, strewn around with a jumble of enormous boulders that looked more like something that was dumped there by a giant, rather than a natural formation. Rising up from the wilderness, it was an eerie sight and stood in stark contrast to the green sea of forest around it.

We left the vehicle and walked gingerly over the smaller boulders that fringe the side of the road. It is a spooky place, and I felt sinister vibes all around as I stood gazing in awe.

bm4I saw it would be a marvellous setting for a story.

My research has revealed many tales of people who have ventured into its depths and never been seen again. Even a herd of cattle once strayed into its awesome depths and disappeared! I knew then it was where Elly and Mitchell would be forced to go in their search for the rare plant they needed for Elly to fulfil her late father’s dream to produce the ‘fountain of youth’, the skin care every woman wants.

As they search together in the tropical heat of the rainforest, an attraction grows between them. But Elly is pining for her missing friend, Jackson – isn’t she? And Mitchell still loves his schooldays sweetheart – doesn’t he?


black

An adventure set in the Australian rainforest, where the race is on to discover a precious plant — and an even rarer kind of attraction.