Exclusive Excerpt 1: Exposed

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

Look, Eden—’

Eden masked a sigh and pointed to the surname embroidered above the pocket of her sweatshirt. ‘I prefer Archer.’ She kept her gaze averted as she located the earphone jack and fumbled it into her phone, a tricky manoeuver hindered by her left hand being concealed within the sleeve of her sweater.

Dan shifted in his seat, turning to face her. ‘Since I’m not going to be your doctor, I thought we could get to know each other.’

She made eye contact, refusing to blink away the burn from the sincerity that shone from his open face.

His smile widened. ‘You know, as we live near each other and will be spending quite a bit of time together over the next month.’ He shrugged, a move that made him seem boyish for a split second. ‘We could train together, support each other …’

At last her silence infected him, halting his pleasant and reasonable speech, every word of which scored her eardrums until she contemplated hurling herself from the moving bus. She was tempted. After all, what he offered made sense, and the army had taught her team building played a massive part in the success of challenges such as the one they’d undertaken. If Dan had been less appealing, perhaps she’d have jumped at the chance. But the stirring of her attraction to him meant she couldn’t go there.

 ‘Thank you. But I’m happy to train alone. I’m afraid I’m not really good company these days.’ The words tasted poisonous. The familiar rush of shame washed through her, purging any residual chemistry she felt towards this man. It was for the best.

She wasn’t strong enough to make new friends. Didn’t dare contemplate anything beyond friends. And Dan, she could tell, embodied exactly the kind of man she’d once coveted. She ignored the slight droop of his warm friendly smile and the dulling of his eyes.

Okay.’ His gaze flitted to the window of the now moving minibus, and he took another sip of coffee. She’d just reached for the second earbud when he said, ‘So what prompted you to volunteer for the challenge?’

Clearly she’d have to be more direct. ‘I’m on sick leave from my post. I hate being idle, and this is a great way to rebuild my fitness. Look, I’m not great with superficial conversation. I’m really only doing this to complete the challenge and resume my career.’ A moment’s hesitation gripped her, paralysing her vocal cords. He was simply being polite, friendly.

But she was determined to keep her objective simple. Complete the challenge, take her certificate from Scale and resume active service as soon as possible.

No distractions.

No complications.

No sexy doctor friends.

Exposed is available for pre-order and releases October 4.

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Bi-Visibility: Highlighting Some Favourite Bi-Characters

by Welton B Marsland

(Editor’s Note: September 23, Bi-visibility Day, has been marked each year since 1999 to highlight biphobia and to help people find the bisexual community)

Writing my novel, By the Currawong’s Call, it was important to me that I show the character of Jonah Parks as quite obviously bisexual. Even after falling in love with a man, he continues to admire women and female sexuality – I was determined to avoid the bi-erasure that’s all too prevalent in popular culture. Often, the fluidity of human sexuality is ignored in favour of absolutes (television, in particular, seems most fearful of the simple little word “bi” and rarely brings itself to acknowledge it).

As September is Bi Visibility Month (with September 23rd Bi Visibility Day), I’d like to celebrate four unabashed bisexual characters from screens large and small.

Alec Scudder

Appears in: Merchant-Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic novel Maurice

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Played by: Rupert Graves

In both book and movie, Alec Scudder, a working class gamekeeper, is there long before we or Maurice notice him. He emerges from the narrative slowly and naturally, making us blink and wonder how we could possibly have missed him – Maurice must have felt the same way. Scudder is truly one of my favourite characters in all of literature, so brave and determined and self-accepting. The sacrifice he makes for love, for the possibility of “a happier year” is awe inspiring. D.H. Lawrence may have created a more famous gamekeeper over a decade later, but Forster’s is the one that makes my breath catch.

“First time I see’d you, I thought, I wish I had that one. And it is so.”


Saxa

Appears in: Spartacus TV series

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Played by: Ellen Hollman

Many TV shows over the years have used a bisexual female character to quickly and cleanly tick a diversity box. They just seem so much more palatable and non-threatening, don’t they? Wonderfully, there is nothing in the least bit “non-threatening” about Saxa, a slave from Germania freed by Spartacus’ growing army to become one of its most formidable warriors. Saxa approaches her love life with the same fearlessness she approaches a battlefield, and yet still retains her capacity for tender moments. She lives large, like most of the Germanic characters in Spartacus, never shrinking from anything.

“I rival any fucking man.”


the Earl of Rochester

Appears in: the movie Plunkett & Macleane

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Played by: Alan Cumming

The real Earl of Rochester wrote bawdy verse and outraged Georgian society with his hedonistic lifestyle. This Rochester doesn’t pen any poetry, but quips and puns his way through this rollicking romp, holding his own amongst highwaymen and villains, and wishing he was holding someone else’s. With an eloquent smirk and an eye as sharp as his dress sense, this Rochester believes in justice and friendship and is prepared to draw his sword on a bad guy in order to save the day.

“I swing EVERY way.”


Crowley

Appears in: long-running TV series Supernatural

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Played by: Mark A. Sheppard

King of the crossroads, the Demon King of Hell, Crowley is a slippery character. What his true sexuality is might be anyone’s guess (do demons truly even have one?), but he’s certainly an equal-opportunity flirt and takes great delight in procuring those seal-the-deal kisses from desperate souls. One of the few Supernatural characters who seems to see everything that’s going on, even the unspoken and unacknowledged, and isn’t afraid to make a pointed remark about it. Friend? Foe? Fuckbuddy? Only Crowley himself could ever know for sure.

“Your choice. You can cling to six decades of deep-seated homophobia or, just give it up.”


32275A 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?

“Told with an old-fashioned, authentically Australian wink and a smile – including even a couple of laugh-out-loud japes – By the Currawong’s Call is also a tale with a very timely message: people in love will marry whether it’s legal or not.” – Kim Kelly

“By the Currawong’s Call is warm and sweet and sympathetic and respectful, with skilled and lovingly descriptive prose. A really satisfying read for a rainy day when you want to feel like there is love and hope even through trying times.” – Plain B, NetGalley

“Stars: five, Its a story to savour, a book to re-read later and had an epilogue I loved.” – Jeannie Z, Reviewer

“This was beautifully written and full of love and hope.” – Ashley B, NetGalley

By the Currawong’s Call is available for pre-order now.

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Exclusive Excerpt 2: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight

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All’s Faire in Love and War…

Sir Justin rode onto the field, his armour managing to gleam even in the overcast light. Connie applauded thunderously, pride and possessiveness welling up inside her.

Ouch, Foxingwood, I think thou hast ruptured mine ear drum, I can but hope that Sir Justin is not stunned after that boisterous welcome,’ the Maestro said. ‘Mayhap he is, he seems to be going the wrong way—wait a moment, what’s this? It seems our knight is stopping for a meet and greet!’

The Maestro was right. Sir Justin rode up to the barrier instead of trotting alongside it; he was walking his horse purposefully, scanning the crowd, as if he were …

It seems Sir Justin is looking for someone! Is that a rose in his hand?’

Connie’s heart skipped a beat.

Then, suddenly, Justin was in front of Connie, the smell of horse and leather and steel filling her nose. Her heart pounded as she looked up.

Lady Constance,’ Sir Justin said, his voice once again muffled behind the locked visor of his closed face helm. ‘I give you this rose as a token of my affection.’

Connie found herself grinning madly as she accepted the rose. ‘I thank my most valiant lord. But wait, sir, one moment before you go—’ Connie fumbled with the knot that held the specially made handkerchief onto her belt.

Speak up!’ someone behind her shouted.

Sir Justin, will you accept this token of my favour to carry with you today?’ Connie asked. Was the entire crowd looking at them?

I would be honoured, Lady Constance,’ Sir Justin replied as he took the handkerchief, which looked little more than a scrap in his large gauntlets. She could not see his face, but she felt like he might be grinning too. Thunderous applause and cheers broke out as he gently twitched the reins and Cleopatra moved off to take their place at the top of the lists. Maestro Contarini burst into rhapsodic commentary.

… never have we seen such gallantry, such chivalry, such perfect pageantry! Sir Justin rides like the knights of old with the token of his lady! Nowhere in the twenty-first century is there such romance as this!’

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available for pre-order now, and will release 20 October 2017. One-click now!

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A Bullet and a Family Legend

by Renee Dahlia

Inspirations for stories come from many places, seemingly random connections between two unrelated events. In Pursuit of a Bluestocking is the second book in the series, and all through the first (To Charm a Bluestocking), Marie was engaged to Bertrand, boring, bland Bertrand. A story about him is uninspiring, and therefore the challenge was laid down. How could I craft a story that makes him not boring?

I delved into the family legends and plucked out the story of the bullet, gave the bullet to a much more illustrious person, the Duke of Nemour (who has the unfortunate place in history as the first general killed by a bullet). Throw in a few curve balls, a boxing champion hero, and a villain who manipulates everything, and Marie’s tale, In Pursuit of a Bluestocking, was born.

My family legend occurred one hundred and forty years ago, in 1877, at the Battle of Shipka Pass between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. One of the soldiers for the Russians was my great-great-great uncle Pavel who was a member of the Russian Imperial Guard. By 1863, aged 22, he was commander of a rifle battalion, and took part in the suppression of the Polish Uprising in 1863. This photo was taken in that year.

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Concerned about the atrocities that the Turks were committing against Christians living in the regions of what is now Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Tsar Alexander II declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 24 April 1877. Pavel’s unit fought in the attack led by the Russian General Radetsky on 27 December, but unfortunately, he was shot in the leg during the battle. After the bullet was removed in an army hospital, Pavel returned home to St. Petersburg in January 1878. He recovered well enough to walk with a crutch, but in March, Pavel succumbed to infection and died aged 37. In a rather gothic decision, the bullet was made into a keepsake with a gold cage placed around it. The details of the battle were inscribed into the gold, and on the base, the family crest was engraved. Or at least, that’s what the family legend said.

Last year, when my father was researching the story, he rang his cousin, and asked, “should I include the story of the bullet? Is it real?” 

Of course, it is real. It is sitting on my desk in front of me.”

pavels bullet

The newspaper reports at the time are full of overt racism that many modern day readers ought to feel uncomfortable with, such as these excerpt from The Times on 19 July 1877:

There lay men who had been wounded or unwounded prisoners in the hands of the Turkish ‘gentlemen,’ who had foully murdered and mutilated them, showing thus that they are savages as cruel as any in Africa or India.

On the one side [Russia] civilization, rough if you will, but still civilization, based on the precepts of Christianity; on the other side [Turks] barbarism and the worse than bestial ferocity of cruel men.”

It is no wonder that when the British Empire fought the Ottoman Empire at Gallipoli less than 40 years later, during WWI, that they severely underestimated the ‘savage Turks’. The ANZAC tradition came from that battle, while the 1877 battle at Shipka Pass created a new country. The Ottoman Empire lost badly to the Russians, which enabled Bulgaria to be liberated and form their own country.

You can learn more about the battle here.


32236When 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?

Pre-order In Pursuit of a Bluestocking now!

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Not caught up on the series? Grab book 1To Charm a Bluestocking!

 

Feed Your Reader: Love Brings Light to the Darkest Places

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Book one in an emotional, erotic, dramatic trilogy about a world gone to hell, and the hell we hold inside…

The human race has been all but wiped out, along with our best traits: compassion, empathy, and generosity.

Euan is a survivor. In a dystopian wasteland infused with violence and cruelty, he protects something invaluable. His love for Nick and the solace that comes with the connection keeps him from destruction, and offers him that most elusive and dangerous emotion of all —
hope.

But happiness comes at a price and a hunting trip leaves Nick vulnerable to the evil that still infects the world. When Euan returns, he finds Nick broken and bloody, irrevocably damaged in both body and soul.

Now Euan’s only goal is to find a place for Nick to heal, a safe place, a refuge where they can rest, recover and repair their love. When they risk a raid on an abandoned house, they discover the unthinkable, the rarest treasure of all. A woman.

“an amazing dystopian read” – Deborah, Goodreads

Read Annabelle’s moving story about her inspiration behind this trilogy.

True Refuge is available now!
Fractured Refuge, Book 2 of the trilogy, is available for pre-order.

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These shoes were made for walking…

by JC Harroway

Five Of The World’s Best Hiking Trails

My newest book, Exposed, features an endurance hike for injured servicemen and women in Nevada’s stunning Ruby Mountains. While researching a suitable location for the hike Dan and Eden undertake, I came across some of the world’s most stunning places to roam. It was difficult, but here are my favourite five.

  1. Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand.

 photo credit: all-free-download.com

Living in New Zealand, a country abundant with exquisite scenery and off-the-beaten-track hiking spots, number one had to be Marlborough’s Queen Charlotte Track, which spans 45 miles of historic sites, secluded bays and coastal bush.

  1. Pacific Crest Trail, USA.

Photo Dangerous-dan on Flickr

This trail stretches from Mexico to Canada and hosts it all—deserts, mountains, lakes and forests—and spans over 2,600 miles.

  1. Lake Louise Tea House Challenge, Albert, Canada.

Photo Andrew Bowden on Flickr

A 14km loop that visits both Canadian Pacific Railway historic Tea Houses, that offers stunning views of the mountains and glaciers surrounding Lake Louise.

  1. Blue Mountains, Australia.

Photo Pascal Vuylsteker on Flickr.

Stunning rock formations, native wildlife and ancient rain forests, this hike has it all—waterfalls, a Grand Canyon and the impressive rocky Ruined Castle.

  1. Snowdon, Wales, UK.

Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdon sports many tracks to the peak, Yr Wyddfa in the native language. Glorious views on a clear day, sometimeas all the way to Ireland.

If you had to choose a stunning backdrop to not only push yourself, physically, but perhaps find love, where would it be?


32235Before 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?

Exposed is available for pre-order now!

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Friday Five: Marilyn Forsyth

2585Author: Marilyn Forsyth
First Published with Escape: April 2017
Favourite Romance Trope: Lovers Reunited
Ideal Hero: Tall, red-headed, Scot
Ideal Heroine: outwardly strong, inwardly vulnerable (4 words, I know. Hope that’s ok.)
Latest Book: Falling In Love Again

What began your romance writing career?
Having had over a dozen short stories published in magazines, I wanted to try my hand at writing a full-length novel and, because I love to read romance, it seemed a natural progression to try to write it. I joined RWAus and a writing group (Breathless in the Bush), and from there everything fell into place. I won The First Kiss competition in 2012 and that entry became The Farmer’s Perfect Match, published by Harlequin MIRA Australia in 2016.

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Why do you write romance?
As a reader of romance, I want to experience every emotion, every high and low, every fascinating sensation that comes with falling in love. As a writer of romance, that is exactly what I want to bring to my readers. All that, and a happy ending, of course!

How did your latest book come to life? What was your eureka moment?
The starting point for Falling in Love Again came with reading an article on Eric, the opalised pliosaur, one of the exhibits at the Australian Museum in Sydney. My vivid imagination went crazy at the thought of discovering such a unique find, but I was quickly brought back to Earth upon learning that such discoveries are often not disclosed because the opal is worth more than the fossil. What a great external conflict—two characters fighting over the future of a buried treasure! From there, Gemma and Jamie emerged, with all the emotional inner conflict that reunited lovers face.

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What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?
Scream, swear, tear my hair out. Just kidding! Although there are times…

Mostly, I resort to writing what I want from the scene by hand; there’s something about pen and paper that helps me to focus and get my ideas down quickly. From those notes, I choose a couple of scenarios, list the pros and cons of each, and make a decision of which idea to go with.

If I’m having real difficulty, I seek advice from my fabulous crit partners. They know me and my writing almost as well as I do and their advice is always invaluable.

If you could cast anyone as the main characters for the movie/stage adaptation of your book, who would they be (and why are they perfect for the role)?

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My perfect Jamie would be Aussie actor James Stewart. He has that larrikin adventurer look about him that I envisaged for Jamie as I was writing him, plus a sadness to his eyes that Jamie has. I find that very appealing.

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My perfect Gemma would be Aussie actress, Teresa Palmer. Though beautiful, she doesn’t believe it herself, and she has the right combination of strength and vulnerability to portray a woman recovering from an abusive relationship.

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

I love drawing and painting. Always have. I’m not sure that I’m really good at it, but I do get compliments (and not just from the family!). I’ve worked in both oils and watercolours, and they both have their own particular appeal. I love the immense depth of colour that oils can bring to a traditional still life, but I also love the crazy unpredictability of creating in watercolour. I guess that reflects the two sides to my personality—basically logical with a bit of the frivolous thrown in.


31095 (3)A charming adventurer. A pragmatic paleontologist. A hundred-million-year-old treasure buried in the Australian outback.

The last person Gemma Stephens expects to meet in the tiny, remote, opal-mining town of Rainbow Cliffs is Jamie Coltrane, her university boyfriend who chose his past over their potential future. Now, seven years later, he is the only obstacle between her and the goal she has been pursuing tirelessly since he left. The goal that means everything for her future and that of her six-year-old son, the son Jamie doesn’t know is his.

Jamie has long outgrown the wanderlust that caused him to leave Gemma, and he and his father have settled into Rainbow Cliffs, making a living out of opal mining and running the only accommodation in town. But now a big find — a once-in-a-lifetime find — has opened up opportunities that Jamie never thought possible. Opportunities that mean everything for his father and himself.

Fate may have thrown them back together, but this is no happy reunion. There is only one fossil, and there can be only one winner in this battle between preservation and prosperity. Gemma and Jamie may have the chance to find true love — or be torn apart, this time forever.

Exclusive Excerpt 1: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight

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All’s Faire in love and war…

I’m all right,’ she tried to reassure him, wishing her voice would stop sounding so tremulous. ‘You saved my life.’

I think I might have done. Thank god I decided to take Cleopatra out before the tourney.’ With his free hand, he tried to unclasp the visor that covered his face. ‘Dammit, it’s stuck again,’ he muttered, sounding slightly muffled through the visor of his full-face helmet.

They both looked downhill—the empty horse float’s rapid descent had come to a stop at the bottom of the hill with an enormous crash, but with no one in the way. Faire officials were running from the far side of the jousting lists to look at the horse float. Another group had run down from the top of the hill. Several of them were shouting and pointing at Connie and her rescuer. The knight waved and flashed them a thumb-up sign to indicate they were all right.

I probably better go,’ he said, jerking his gauntleted fist towards the understandably panicked faire staff. ‘They’ll need some help sorting this out. Some rank amateur must have been trying to park in the wrong place.’

Thank you so much,’ Connie said, barely taking in what was going on around her. Her heart was still hammering from the fright. ‘I looked up, and that thing was falling, and I couldn’t even think. I tripped over this bloody dress—too many damn petticoats—my boots caught. I feel like a total twit.’

The knight shook his head, as much as he was able to in the restrictive enclosed helmet. ‘Don’t. You aren’t. I don’t think that dress was made for making quick escapes from runaway vehicles in, lovely though it is.’

Seeing as I made it, I can tell you for a fact ‘quick escapes’ weren’t anything I thought about having to do while wearing this dress.’

You made it? That’s awesome—I mean,’ he amended, ‘my lady is most talented. And I’ve gone and ripped it like an uncouth knave.’

You saved my life, sir. I can fix the dress. My pride, however, is pretty badly bruised. Us damsels are expected to be self-rescuing these days.’

A laugh echoed inside the knight’s helm. ‘Don’t feel bad, my lady, we have a yearly quota of damsel saving we must meet, else they revoke our right to ride in the joust, and also our right to say ‘forsooth’ and ‘verily’. In truth, it is you who have helped me.’

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available for pre-order now, and will release 20 October 2017. One-click now!

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Feed Your Reader: Workplace romance featuring a unique conflict

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From one-night-stand to new boss…

Ambitious management consultant Ellen Kennedy is going places. But when last year’s one-night-stand shows up in her office as her new manager, it threatens everything she’s worked so hard for. Even worse, she’s not quite sure that one night was enough.

Alex Broadhurst has private reasons for moving to Melbourne, and he has no intention of sharing them with anyone, including the woman he never forgot. But business and pleasure can’t mix, not ever, no matter the temptation.

Workplace romances always end in disaster, so Ellen and Alex strike a deal: one night in the past won’t affect their present or influence their future. But sometimes even the best deals are made to be broken…

“This story might have the most original obstacle to the couple’s HEA that I’ve ever read in romance novels” – Maria, NetGalley

“How much I enjoyed it: 5/5” – Coral, Goodreads

 

Deal Breaker is available from your favourite e-tailer now!

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Exclusive Excerpt: In Pursuit of a Bluestocking

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

Spring 1888

Marie sat, head bowed, in the tiny red-brick church on the edge of the small village of Kleindorp. Her carefully constructed life plan lay in ruins. In only two days, the grandiose wedding ceremony that she’d spent two years helping her mother plan should have taken place. Instead, she sat at her fiancé’s funeral, unable to believe that Bertrand was dead. How could a simple accident take away all her dreams? Light shone at an angle through the side windows in the church, sending scattered streams across the aisle, creating shadows on the wooden pews. Dust motes danced in the light breeze that swirled in the empty space, much like the vacancy inside her. The Aanspreker droned on, and his voice echoed around the empty room. His words muffled in Marie’s ears against the clamour inside.

The final preparations for her extravagant wedding had been well underway when that fateful note had arrived from his sister, Loretta. Her dear Bertrand had been crushed by a wagon carrying fruit to market two days prior, and the funeral would be today. Guilt rose in her throat, and she rubbed her palm against her neck as she thought about how she’d spent more time with her mother on the wedding preparations than with him in the last week. Now the news of his demise seemed to appear out of nowhere. She’d left her mother and her two best friends—Josephine, now Lady St. George, and Claire—at her parent’s house in Amsterdam, surrounded by happy wedding clutter. Flowers and gowns and the like filled the room with the happy scent of love.

In Pursuit of a Bluestocking is available for pre-order now!

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