The Romance Reader’s Survival Guide to the Apocalypse

by Annabelle McInnes

Congratulations! While you were tucked up in bed reading, you managed to survived the apocalypse. Nuclear war has wiped out humanity or maybe it was a resurgence of the bubonic plague. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population has been wiped out, infrastructure has collapsed, as well as any capable and cohesive government. Somewhere, somebody is trying to resurrect the world, but right now, that’s not your concern. Survival is.

You’re a romance reader, you know the deal, your dashing hero or heroine are on their way. But you’re also a woman of the modern age, so you don’t need anyone to save you. But your survivalist skills are a little rusty. How are you going to survive? Or more importantly, what are you going require from day one? I’ve provided a list of the top ten requirements for romance readers to survive the apocalypse.

  1. Water

Water is your number one priority; you won’t live long without it. It’s a nuclear wasteland out there and luckily for you, you’re immune to the radiation poisoning. You can’t drink the water and you’re thirsty from wandering degraded highways. You want a filtration system that is easy to use and lasts a long, long time. There are “straws” on the market that filter waterborne bacteria and protozoa from liquid. You might have to deal with skin irritation from the radiation burn, but at least you won’t have parasites.

  1. Keeping warm

Next you’re going to need to keep warm, until you can snuggle with your honey to share body heat. A tent is good, but heavy to carry and time consuming to put up. Staying warm is key, no matter what time of year it is. An emergency bivy, otherwise known as an ultra-light sleeping bag, reflects your body heat back towards you and will keep you toasty and warm. They can be rolled up into a compact bag, are waterproof, windproof and made to completely protect you from the elements.

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Image source: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/sol-escape-lite-bivvy

  1. Food

So you have water, you’re warm, now you’re hungry. A gun might seem like the go-to weapon, but once ammunition begins to run dry with all the outlaw gangs hoarding it, you are going to need to think outside the box. But you don’t have the upper body strength to lug around a crowbar or an enormous cross bow like Daryl from the Walking Dead. A strategic scavenger hunt can get you a Sling Bow that is compact enough to fit into a hip bag. That’s right, a quick-fire Sling Bow that is small, mean and able to take out local wildlife for your dinner. You might be a hard-core mean survivalist of the apocalypse, but that does not mean you need to fall into clichés.

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Image Source: http://slingbow.com/product/slingbow-hunting-package/

  1. Fire

You have caught a rabbit. You’re also a badass, so you have gutted and skinned it too. Now how are you going to cook it? You need a fire starter. The best thing about fire starters is that you don’t need to break the bank (as money is no longer required). All you will need to find is a rod and striker made from flint and you can have up to 25,000 strikes. That’s a lot of fire, and a lot of cooked rabbits.

  1. Protection

Just when you thought you had yourself sorted, everyone begins to rise from the dead. And you’ve only just cooked your rabbit! You don’t want to waste those precious rubber bands and “deathballs” that came with your Sling Bow to kill them. The solution needs to be lightweight, durable, easy to use in confined spaces, and effective. What about a multifunctional hatchet blade? Sounds impressive? It is. This baby can chop wood to keep you warm and has several other functions including a can opener, folding saw, glass breaker, strap cutter, pry bar, hammer, hex wrench, spanner and wire twist. Plus, it’s great at killing zombies. This thing is so handsome and versatile, who needs a lover in combat boots and dark fatigues when you can do it all yourself? In fact, you should probably get one for the home right now!

  1. Medical Kit

You have beaten off the zombie. High five! But you’re sprained your ankle from that Karate move you haven’t performed since primary school (it was really cool though). You need a first aid kit. There are a plethora of options out there, but what you want to look for when you’re raiding that pharmacy is a wound management module. These kits are ideal for high risk environments (zombie apocalypse anyone?) and focus on wounds and breaks. They’re compact, lightweight and relevant to your current circumstances.

  1. Entertainment

Look at you go! Only a few months ago you were spending your free time reading romance novels, now you’re hunting and killing your own food and fighting off zombies off like a pro. You’re so competent that you now have a bit of free time, and the lover of your story still hasn’t shown up yet (but will!). So what do you do to while away the time? You’ve hoarded a few paperbacks, but they’ve become repetitive. You will need a pack of cards. Snap might not be an option, but solitaire? Remember the hours you wasted in the early days of Microsoft? You can have that again! In physical form! You’re welcome.

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Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/514747432386045473/?lp=true

  1. Hygiene

Your true love is going to turn up any day now, you can feel it. You’re going to impress with your new skill set, naturally, and together, you’re going to be an awesome pair of survivalist. But, you still want your hair to be brushed, and maybe have clean teeth. Personal hygiene is an important element of staying alive. If you get an abscess in your mouth, it won’t matter how good you are at killing rabbits if you can’t eat them because of the pain. A toothbrush and comb set is an easy and light option to carry around.

The-Hotel-Disposable-Toothbrush-Wash-Sterilizer-Bacteria-Residue-Teeth-For-Adult-Hotel-Washing-Toothbrush-Comb-Set

  1. Backpack

You have all this stuff now, and you’re only going to have more. On your next food raid, you will find that elusive can of peaches, you just know it. You’ll need something to put it all in so a backpack will be essential. It needs to be water resistant with multiple compartments for keeping all your belongings separate in case of an emergency. You don’t want to mistake your hairbrush for your bladed hatchet when that zombie surprises you. It will also need an internal frame, a padded hip belt, shoulder straps and lumber support. Don’t be fooled by the big ones either (pun intended), loot a bag that is proportional to your body.

  1. Love

Your true love is here! And just as handsome as you imagined. Though you don’t need help (because you’re awesome) it’s nice to have company. Unsurprisingly, their intentions turn heated, and you have the same ideas. But before jump in your makeshift bed together, remember, don’t just fall for rugged good looks, chiselled abs and strong biceps. Your love interest has to respect you, care for you when you need it and be suitably awed at all of your amazing new skills. Don’t let them talk you down or push you around. That attitude was pre-plague.

You might be the last people on Earth, but doesn’t mean you have to settle.

That’s it! Remember to keep smiling and look after yourself out there!

Sources

  1. Lifestraw
    http://lifestraw.com
  2. SOL Emergency Bivy
    https://www.rei.com/product/813511/sol-emergency-bivy
  3. Chief AJs Survival Fanny Pack
    http://www.chiefaj.com/product-page/chief-ajs-survival-fanny-pack
  4. Fire Starter
    http://www.survivalcampingstore.com/Aurora-Fire-Starter
  5. Liltucker
    http://liltrucker.com
  6. Major Wound Management Module
    https://www.seton.net.au/work-wear-ppe-first-aid/first-aid/first-aid-kits/major-wound-management-module.html
  7. Hygiene Kit
    http://www.prepperssurvive.com/diy-hygiene-kits/
  8. How to Choose a Backpack: Expert Tips for Finding the Right Size, Fit, and Features
    http://www.ems.com/f/ea-how-to-choose-a-backpack.html

32434 (1)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 releases 12 November: iBooks, Booktopia, Google, Nook, Kobo, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US

True Refuge is available now: iBooksBooktopiaGoogleNookKoboAmazon AUAmazon UKAmazon US

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Exclusive Excerpt 2: By the Currawong’s Call

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

‘You kissed her.’ Matthew was surprised to let the words out. They’d been searing little troughs of ugliness into his mind for at least the past hour, as time ticked longer into the evening, but he hadn’t planned on giving actual voice to them.

Jonah looked up at him as he removed his shirt and flung it on top of his jacket. ‘Well, technically,’ he said, ‘she kissed me.’ For a moment, it looked like he was about to grin, but the expression died before any of his features could commit to it.

Matthew swallowed and tried to keep his breathing calm. His memory flashed back to the kerfuffle in the main road that afternoon, how firmly Jonah took control of the situation, soothing the giant horse and catching Miss McMillan in his arms as she swooned. How obviously and understandably impressed she must have been with the gallant policeman who’d come to her aid. Of course she kissed him.

Jonah swore softly at his boots as he fumbled with them. He unbuckled his holster and laid the gun and baton on the table. Onto his trousers next, he swiftly unbuttoned them and slid them down his legs and off, letting them fall over the back of the chair with the rest of his uniform. He steadied himself against the table and lifted first one foot and then the other, removing his thick woollen socks and haphazardly stuffing them into the tops of his empty boots.

‘You were her dashing hero today,’ Matthew said softly, his words coming out on a shallow sigh. ‘Just like you were my dashing hero during the fire.’ He looked at Jonah standing before him in nothing but his union suit. ‘I of course understand her compulsion in wanting to kiss you for it.’ He tried to say it as dispassionately as he could muster.

Jonah squared his shoulders, standing his ground there beside the table as he took in Matthew’s words. ‘I hope you remember,’ he said, ‘when you kissed me in yer sacristy that day, how when you went to pull away, I grabbed at ya and dragged ya back in for more?’ Matthew stayed silent, so Jonah went on. ‘Just want you to know, alright? When she pulled away? I let her.’ And with that, Jonah turned his back and walked over to the washstand.

Beneath his crossed arms, Matthew’s heart banged a tremulous staccato, letting Jonah’s quietly defiant statement sink in. He watched, in the dim light, as Jonah bent at his washstand, brushing his teeth. Such a mundane act, yet it was an action Matthew had never before seen him perform. The casual intimacy of the moment, of the fact Matthew was sitting here in Jonah’s cottage, on Jonah’s bed, the knowledge that the two of them were actually about to sleep in the same room together for the entire night, even wake up in one another’s company – it all suddenly felt momentous.

‘I thought you might’ve slept with her,’ he said toward the fire.

‘I might’ve done,’ came the gruff response. ‘Hell, six months ago, I would’ve done. But with the way things are now…’

Marsland’s pen is playful but there are some serious questions asked. What is a hero? What does courage really look like? What are the shapes of true love? It’s refreshing, too, to read an erotically charged romance that’s not all about the sex.”
– Kim Kelly, Historical Fiction Author

 

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

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Feed Your Reader: Gallantry, Mistaken Identity, and Beautiful Gowns…

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All’s Faire in love and war…

Connie leads a double life. During the week, she is an up-and-coming designer and dressmaker, creating sleek, elegant gowns for the wealthy elite. But come the weekend, Connie becomes Lady Constance, a member of the House Felicitous at the local Renaissance Faire, creating beautiful historical garments for herself and her friends and teaching dancing to fair attendees. Fearing loss of business should her stylish clientèle discover her extracurricular activities, Connie keeps her professional life and her faire life carefully separate. However, everything changes when she’s saved from certain death by Sir Justin: a rising star in the joust and an actual knight in shining armour.

Behind his mask as Sir Justin, Dominic is confident and charismatic, but out of his armour, his courage fails him, and to his own horror he finds himself accidentally pretending to be his own best friend. Suddenly, he is in Connie’s life as two different men: the elusive Sir Justin who courts her over the internet and from behind a suit of armour and Justin’s ‘best friend’ Dominic who hangs out at her apartment and helps her move. The lie only grows bigger and Sir Justin finds himself faced with the most frightening challenge he can imagine: extricating himself from his lie and winning Connie’s heart as his true self.

But there’s something rotten afoot at the Faire, something that threatens its future, the community that has grown there, and even Sir Justin’s life. Will Lady Constance find the courage to step up and risk everything to defend her friends, save the Faire, and rescue her knight?

“I loved every minute of this fun story!” – Leah, Goodreads

“The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight was a creative and hilarious romance taking place in an incredibly unique setting.” – Nicki, Goodreads

“A very sweet and original romance set in the faux medieval landscape of a renaissance fair.” – Laura, Goodreads

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available now!

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Exclusive Excerpt: The Magician’s Keeper

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

Dora watched the inmate, Mr Gordon, trying to keep her features carefully schooled and follow the instructions given during the induction. She was to always be on the lookout for possible shifts in mood that may precede an attack on the prison guards, other inmates but especially visiting legal representatives. This particular inmate was showing all the signs of suppressed aggression – and in her opinion quite justly. The lawyer was revolting and did not appear at all sympathetic to his client’s cause.

The inmate’s heavy brow had grown thunderous, his dark eyes flashed and his broad chest heaved with irritation. She really couldn’t blame him, she was starting to feel a little annoyed herself.

Her eyes lingered on the v- of his orange overalls. His skin was smooth with only a hint of chest hair. She looked away as her pulse raced a little.

Lord.

It was impossible not to notice the man’s frustration, but it was equally impossible to ignore fact he was a very attractive man.

In a delicious, big, bad wolf kind of way.

She shook the feeling away, knowing just how very inappropriate it was, as another equally as absorbing sensation took its place. A very real righteous indignation on Gordon’s behalf flared hotly in her gut.

Here was a vital, strong Magician, imprisoned in an unfair justice system simply for trying to get people to believe in their cause. He was the very kind of man her mother had died trying to help through her work in the UMC.

Her heart thumped loudly and she took a breath to steady herself.

The Magician’s Keeper is available for pre-order now!

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Friday Five: Carla Caruso

Carla Caruso (2)Author: Carla Caruso
First published with Escape: May 25, 2017
Favourite romance trope: Opposites attract
Ideal hero: Tall/dark/handsome (that counts as one word, right?), brooding, kind
Ideal heroine: Imperfect, spirited, funny
Latest book: Run for the Hills! A runaway bride scarpers to the Adelaide Hills … and meets a handsome triplet, who also happens to be a wedding photographer. 

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?
I was actually more of a chick-lit writer (and reader) originally, devouring books by Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding and co. But when I went to write in that genre, chick-lit was deemed ‘dead’.

However, I’d sent a chick-lit style manuscript to a publisher and they asked if I could increase the romance component and they’d consider taking it on for a new digital imprint of theirs. I did and scored my first publishing contract. Now I can’t write a story without a strong romance focus. I’m hooked on the genre, and can’t go back!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?
I’m currently writing a novel surrounding a heroine who’s a witch for something different! I’m so glad my local library now has self-serve and I can just duck to the reserve shelf to grab weird and wonderful titles like A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Food (among the picture books I’m borrowing for my kids!) Who knows what the librarians think I’m cooking up? I also hate to think what my online search history must look like to the staff at Google; I’m always looking up something strange!

Which book written by someone else do you wish you had written?
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta was a fave as a teen—as a fellow Italian-Australian (à la the heroine), caught between two worlds, the book really spoke to me. Oh, and I also have a special spot for The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Maybe because I’m also quite the un-Italian wife (coincidentally, I also have a foodie blog by that name, www.theunitalianwife.com – plug, plug!)

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?
I don’t know if it’s cute, per se, but I am one of those writers who carries around a mini notepad and jots down story ideas and notes whenever I’m ‘on the go’. (Okay, sometimes I use OneNote on my phone for future story ideas too to be a bit with the technological times!)

When I sit down at my PC, I always have to type up these notes first or apply the story tweaks I’ve dreamt up before I can get down to the business of writing anything new. It can be a good way to waste an hour of writing time, argh! But it does save on editing later.

Besides writing, what is something else that you’re really good at?
I’ve recently got into renovating vintage furniture! I’m a runner and would habitually spot quirky roadside finds while out pounding the pavement. Now I also scroll Gumtree for such items.

Carla Caruso (3)

The poor hubby is quite handy and helps with all the painting, staining etc. (in between whinging about it, haha). I put all my nerdy home and garden stuff on my Instagram page, ‘adelaidepickers’, to separate it from my authorly gear.

Recently, I’ve also got back into making costume jewellery, which is something I used to do (and sell) many moons ago as a young fashion-junkie. 


Carla Caruso (1)The Belshaw brothers are back in Balkissoch…

Bridie Porter is wearing her Vera Wang gown and veil in the back of her wedding limo when she receives a compromising text about her hotelier groom. Panicked, she tells the driver to keep going and she flees from Melbourne to the small town of Balkissoch in the Adelaide Hills.

It’s the perfect pit-stop to hide from her ex and the press and to earn enough cash to stay out of sight. Unfortunately, the admin job she gets is for a wedding photography business and she’s had her fill of weddings lately. But it’s slim pickings on the work front in a town so teeny. And her new boss is strangely compelling…

After the rush and adrenaline of his job as an LA paparazzo, the last place Cody Belshaw wants to be is back in the small town where he grew up. But thanks to a clause in his father’s will that amounts to blackmail, Cody and his two brothers are stuck running a wedding business for at least a month. If there’s one thing that he’s learned in LA, however, it’s to keep business and pleasure very, very separate. Which makes his new admin employee the definition of temptation.

Bridie is desperate to stay anonymous. Cody seeks out secrets for a living. As they delve into the world of brides, boutonnières and dogs-as-best-men, both Cody and Bridie will have to decide if this is a fling…or forever.

One-click for wedding fun!

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Feed Your Reader: A Bluestocking on the Run

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When he goes hunting a thief, he never expects to catch a bluestocking…

Marie had the perfect life plan: she would satisfy her father’s ambition by graduating as one of the first female doctors in Europe, and she would satisfy her mother’s ambition by marrying a very suitable fiancé in a grandiose society ceremony. Only weeks away from completing the former, Marie is mere days away from achieving the latter. But her whole life is thrown into chaos when her fiancé dies, mysteriously returns, and then is shot and killed, and Marie risks her own reputation to save the life of the man falsely accused of the murder.

Gordon, Lord Stanmore, finally tracks down the conman who stole from his estate, only to find himself embroiled in a murder plot. The woman he rescues offers to rescue him in return, by marrying him and providing an alibi. Gordon’s ready agreement to the scheme grows the more time he spends with his new wife. Her wit, her intelligence, her calm, her charm: Gordon finds himself more and more enchanted with this woman he met by mistake. But as the clues to the identity of the murderer start to align with the clues to the thief, they reveal a more elaborate scheme than he could have imagined, and though he might desire Marie, Gordon is unsure if he can trust her.

As their chase leads them out of Amsterdam and into the UK, both Gordon and Marie must adjust to the life that has been thrust upon them and decide if marriage came first, can love come after?

In Pursuit of a Bluestocking is available now!

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He’s a Magic Man…

by Nicola E. Sheridan

I write about magicians – but forget old guys pulling rabbits out of their hats, or macabrely dismembering pretty girls in boxes. Seriously, forget about those.

The magicians I’m talking about aren’t charlatan tricksters with brainless sidekicks. I’m taking about magicians with real magic, real power and real hearts. The kind of magicians who’ve inspired my latest book, The Magician’s Keeper – coming out in November.

Here are my top five.

Allanon_ManuBennett&me

Allanon –Terry Brooks, Shannara Chronicals

Allanon is the frankly delectable last Druidic Magician, who has just woken from a 400 hundred year sleep. He’s powerful, good and loyal. His love is enduring. He is also portrayed by the utterly gorgeous Manu Bennett in the television series.


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Pug Rift War series, Raymond E. Feist

Oh, Pug, for all his ugly name, he is a character I absolutely adored through my teen years, when I hungrily devoured Feist’s super awesome series. Pug starts the series as an unloved youngster hoping to become a Magician, who’s humiliatingly rejected by all who cannot see his potential. To cut a long, long, story short [spoiler alert] Pug becomes one of the most powerful magicians of all time.


Merlin_variousportrayals

Merlin – Arthurian Legend.

Merlin, he’s either portrayed as an old bearded man, or as a uniquely featured young man in the TV series ‘Merlin’. Both of these depictions do not meet with my expectations. The Merlin of myth is a pretty interesting character, he was the son of a princess, fathered by an Incubus (nocturnal sex demon). So he’s got some funky DNA right there. He was baptised right after birth, casting out his inherent evil, but retains the powers of his father *insert waggling eyebrows here*.


dragonlance
Raitslin Majere – in the Dragon Lance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Raitslin is an interesting Magician, he inherited his skills at magic from his mother and passed gruelling Test of High Sorcery. As a result, he acquired white hair and golden skin, and was cursed with hourglass eyes which saw the effects of time on all things. So he is pretty handsome too.


Konstantin Yuryevich_as Anton

Anton GorodetskyNight Watch, by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko

Anton, is a reluctant Magician, preferring to live his life quietly, but finds his powers are growing and with them, his problems. Anton is also a bit of bad-ass, carrying not only his magic but also a pistol and silver bullets to put down any Vamps or Werewolves that come his way. He’s cynical, and despite his oddities, more than a little cool.

So, there you have it, five totally awesome Magicians. If you want to read about one more, you’ll find him in novel A Warlord’s Lady, which is out now.


32437A 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?

The Magician’s Keeper is available for pre-order now!

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Exclusive Excerpt: By the Currawong’s Call

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

‘Who would you say my friends are in Dinbratten?’

Matthew was momentarily stumped by the apparent change of subject and it took him a second or two to dredge up a name. ‘Um. George, I suppose? Or Albie at the pub?’

‘I’m a trooper,’ Parks said, as though that fact had been somehow forgotten. ‘My presence tends to make people uncomfortable. Like they’re immediately looking for what the trouble or the danger is as soon as I walk in a room. I think I make them feel a bit guilty, even if they’ve never done a bad thing in their whole life. And I can’t help thinking,’ his voice dropped slightly, ‘that men in your line of work must have it something similar.’

For a moment, Matthew couldn’t think what to say in response. He’d never before encountered such an attempt at solidarity. ‘I think I understand you, Sergeant,’ he said evenly. He glanced down at the bottle in his hand and smiled. ‘Though I must say, I’ve never had anyone offer me a gift of, well, sex before.’

‘Eh.’ Parks took the bottle back. ‘People see the cassock and the collar and they forget there’s a man underneath ’em, I s’pose.’

‘But not you?’

At the question, Parks paused with the bottle partway to his mouth and gave Matthew a penetrating look. ‘I see ya.’

On the receiving end of that look, Matthew felt a little hot under the aforementioned collar and realised belatedly that he had managed to get slightly tipsy. He cleared his throat. ‘It’s Sunday tomorrow…’

‘Don’t be offended if half the town are too hungover to turn up.’

Matthew smiled at that. His face was still feeling warm. ‘I think I’ll be bidding you goodnight now, Sergeant.’

Parks crossed his arms over his chest, liquor bottle nestled in the crook of his left elbow. ‘You called me Jonah earlier.’

Had he? Yes, Matthew remembered, he had. ‘You still call me Father,’ he pointed out.

‘So I do.’ One side of Parks’ mouth pulled up in his quirky grin. When it didn’t seem likely that he was going to say anything else, Matthew took a shuffling step back toward the door.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘goodnight, then.’

‘Goodnight,’ Parks returned. ‘Matthew.’

Matthew fumbled the doorknob and took his leave.

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

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How to Tell if You’re Dating a Knight in Six Easy Questions

by Anna Klein

How does your significant other dress?

  1. Padded gambeson, metal armour, surcoat appliqued with appropriate heraldry
  2. Nice jeans, clean top, a jacket if it’s cold.
  3. A Victorian tuxedo or gown and a cape with a red lining
  4. T-shirts with offensive slogans, or pond scum.

When someone upsets you, how do they react?

  1. Swear vengeance on your behalf, then challenges them to a duel at dawn.
  2. Listens, and is supportive. Lets you take the lead on how to handle it.
  3. Their eyes go red briefly. The person that upset you is found mysteriously exsanguinated the next morning.
  4. Says it was probably your fault and then goes back to talking about themselves

What’s his face like?

  1. Rugged, strong, grown hardy by lack of modern comforts.
  2. Hair and/or facial hair is tidy, a little light moisturiser
  3. Pale, paler than you could have imagined, untouched by the rays of the sun for centuries,
  4. Green, scaly, a little moist.

Which description is most like your dates?

  1. Riding on horseback to a jousting tournament followed by a spectacular feast of eight courses, complete with mead, merry musicians and a roaring fire.
  2. A romantic dinner, a movie and then drinks with mutual friends.
  3. You are shown the magic of the night
  4. Whatever they feel like doing, really, such as catching flies with their tongue and croaking with their friends.

What is home?

  1. A castle. It’s a little draughty, but with pleasant roaring fires, paintings and a vibrant household.
  2. A modern apartment or home, cosy, handy to public transport and with a nice yard for summer parties.
  3. A castle. It’s very draughty. And dark. Lots of bats. Does anyone even live here?
  4. A pond. It’s your job to clean it.

How do you get on with the family?

  1. You haven’t met many of them. Father died in battle, siblings have been married off abroad and Mother spends all her time making tapestries of battles they have won.
  2. They make an effort to include you and are supportive of the relationship.
  3. The statues in the family mausoleum are impressive but not very good conversationalists
  4. They haven’t bothered to introduce you.

Time to tally the results!

Mostly 1 – Your lover is a knight! Handy with a sword, and always up for rescuing you, your lover may be a little stuck in the past and often away on questing business.

Mostly B – Your lover is a regular, modern day human being, and a knight-on-the-inside. The best of both worlds!

Mostly C – Your lover is a vampire! Which is pretty cool too. Time to invest in fun scarves, and who knows, maybe they used to be a knight in days past?

Mostly D – Your lover is a toad! Whether a literal green amphibian or just a jerk, you’ve probably spent enough time kissing them and waiting for royalty to show up. Time to go.


32237All’s Faire in love and war…

Connie leads a double life. During the week, she is an up-and-coming designer and dressmaker, creating sleek, elegant gowns for the wealthy elite. But come the weekend, Connie becomes Lady Constance, a member of the House Felicitous at the local Renaissance Faire, creating beautiful historical garments for herself and her friends and teaching dancing to fair attendees. Fearing loss of business should her stylish clientèle discover her extracurricular activities, Connie keeps her professional life and her faire life carefully separate. However, everything changes when she’s saved from certain death by Sir Justin: a rising star in the joust and an actual knight in shining armour.

Behind his mask as Sir Justin, Dominic is confident and charismatic, but out of his armour, his courage fails him, and to his own horror he finds himself accidentally pretending to be his own best friend. Suddenly, he is in Connie’s life as two different men: the elusive Sir Justin who courts her over the internet and from behind a suit of armour and Justin’s ‘best friend’ Dominic who hangs out at her apartment and helps her move. The lie only grows bigger and Sir Justin finds himself faced with the most frightening challenge he can imagine: extricating himself from his lie and winning Connie’s heart as his true self.

But there’s something rotten afoot at the Faire, something that threatens its future, the community that has grown there, and even Sir Justin’s life. Will Lady Constance find the courage to step up and risk everything to defend her friends, save the Faire, and rescue her knight?

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available now.

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Feed Your Reader: Sexy, Affirming Contemporary Romance

32235

Before you can heal, you must accept that you’ve been broken…

When an accident leaves her with severe burns, Captain Eden Archer has one goal — to get back to full fitness and her duties at her United Nations job. Eden is not a joiner, but the Ruby Challenge — a four-day hike across Nevada’s Ruby Mountains — seems like a great way to boost her rehabilitation, and to prove herself ready and able to move on. She just has to get through the pre-challenge medical.

As a doctor in Accident and Emergency, Dan Barbour is used to dealing with people in pain, people in denial, and people who don’t much like doctors, but the prickly servicewoman who dismisses his medical skills awakens an interest that has long been dormant.

The Ruby Mountain hike is as much about the emotional challenge as the physical, and as Eden and Dan find themselves getting closer and closer, they both face enormous obstacles. Eden protects her heart with distance and reserve; Dan keeps everyone at bay by being wholly unavailable. But if they stay true to their old course, they will lose the one chance at a real connection, the one chance to really find someone to love.

A broken-hearted doctor and a reluctant patient should be a match made in heaven, but are Eden and Dan strong enough to find courage outside of their respective battlefields and expose their hearts?

“An emotionally unique novel that was a delight to read” – Wit & Wonder Books

“This book was full of such amazing people and the way that the author made such a connection was beautiful.”- Laurie, Goodreads

“I loved this book! It’s a great story of healing and love.” – Gina B, NetGalley

Exposed is now available from your favourite e-tailer!

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