She might be the biggest star in Australia, but she never forgot the small town she came from, or the man she left behind…
A collection of full-length novels about what happens after business hours…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
To show their love, Google Play Books has chosen four of our titles to promote. So if you’re looking for a romantic read, may we suggest the following titles, at promotional prices?
The journey from friends to lovers starts with a very brave first step. Or a catalytic event. Sometimes both.
“delivered a fresh friendship to lover’s trope with a mix of personal growth, humor and self-discovery” (Kimberley, Goodreads)
What happens when fairytales get the romantic suspense treatment? A cross-genre mash-up with enchanting results!
“a short and quirky novella that mixes up the fairytale and crime genre and honestly its just a lot of fun to read” (Jess, Goodreads)
They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.
“a quick, light, airy read that I would recommend to any rock star readers” (Miranda, Goodreads)
From one of Australia’s hottest new authors comes a story about an international scandal, a billionaire, and a fearless reporter who might just save the day…
“high energy, intense, suspenseful, incredibly romantic (like bone melting romantic)” (Brooke, Goodreads)
(please note: Detained is also available at this promotional price on Amazon and iBooks as part of promotional events with those e-tailers!)
by Ainslie Paton
It was the night before we closed for Christmas and all through the cube farm, there was near chaos and threats of bodily harm.
Because despite everything we’d ever been taught, head office had demanded a seasonal report.
They dropped it on us at the last merry moment, when our brains were out the door and our hopes ill-equipped for a festivities postponement.
Instead of drinking egg-nog, and trying to score a nod from the girls at reception, we had our eyes down, tails up and sadly altered perception.
Singing jingle bells one minute and saying bloody hell the next. Bah humbug, I say, to this state of being thoroughly perplexed.
All we could hope for was that accounts got it together and it wasn’t looking good for sunshiny weather.
No one had ever been asked for a seasonal report and it wasn’t something we could ignore as a last resort.
There were rumours that Rudolf wouldn’t stop forehead-slapping and Carol was blitzed that the server kept crashing.
The spreadsheets corrupted and spat out the wrong numbers and all anyone wanted was to nosh till we slumbered.
I sat at my desk, scared to move, concerned to breathe. Best to look busy, while messaging friends as I seethe.
Then suddenly a voice said, “They can’t keep us here like this,” and up popped our heads with a chair swivelling hiss. It was Nicholas from customer service and he wouldn’t be dismissed.
Brave words, bold. There were murmurs of rebellion and it wasn’t only from the back-office hellions.
“What’s a seasonal report got to do with us?” said Blixen from marketing, adding to the fuss.
“I’ve got plans,” said Dasher from product development.
“Special snowflake,” replied Comet, always so eloquent.
“This qualifies as overtime,” said Cupid with a frown. He’d never completely live that nickname down.
“I’m hungry,” said Donner and everyone laughed, looks like we weren’t getting out of here without a patience overdraft.
And then a shout rang out, “Nobody leaves”. That just about brought us all to our knees.
It was Rudolf and his forehead glowed; that had to be against the office health code.
But Nicholas, good old Nick had other notions. He climbed on his desk and made a commotion.
“Let’s see what the union has to say about this.” I despair, not yet Christmas and everyone is harshing my bliss.
They faced off, across desktops and it wasn’t terribly pretty. Tempers were frayed and no one was witty.
No glitter or fairy lights, no tinsel or bows. Just two angry men denied mini plum pudding and a chance to go home.
Until Rudolf with his pulsing red forehead side-eyed us all, Instantly causing a Scrooge-like pall.
“Get back to work, Donna and Dasher and Vixen. Sit down, Comet and Cupid and Blixen.
And you, St Nick,” Rudolf raised his arm and pointed, “My office now, before we’re all disappointed.”
As I drew in my head glad to escape a mention, an ominous sound cut through that horrible tension.
Scrap, thump, drag, click, click. Thump, scrap, drag, flick, snick.
It was Dancer from reception in high heels and fur, a welcome interruption I most certainly concur.
She strained and she grunted and she dragged a big sack. “What?” she said, annoyed, when everyone stared back.
It was time for secret Santa and no one could object, since we’d all drawn names from a hat and it would be criminal neglect not to go through with this ritual of offices worldwide, despite the fact this was Christmas spirit misapplied.
We all stood about as the presents came out. Budget shop items the starring attraction, especially given the low dollar transaction.
There were colouring books and glow in the dark goo, a farting wallet and a smiling plush emoji poo.
There was a giant pencil and a musical straw, a pen that whistled and a keychain rabbit’s paw.
The best gift given was a tiny tea pot, and nothing was more unusual than sparkly unicorn snot.
I gazed at my present unaccountably afraid. How could one little wrapped item be such a grenade?
But last year a secret someone bought me to a rude pair of shorts and now I’m worried I should find a way to abort.
Then I rationalised it could all be so much worse, this awkward gift giving is a seasonal curse.
I tore at the paper and let go a relieved sigh as inside the wrapper was nothing too sly.
Not a toy you could wind or one you could squeeze, nothing too sexy or edging towards sleaze.
Not a whoopee cushion or an inflatable walking stick. Not a dad joke book or a sad conjuring trick.
My present was bright yellow and when you pressed hard, it quacked. Nothing likely to give me an anxiety attack.
Just a small rubber duck to float in my bath, a cheerier version than the one fashioned famously like Darth.
With the presents distributed and Nicholas still missing, there was naught for the rest of us to do except gift-giving dissing.
But I have to admit I’m happy with my duck, if you could see some of the other gifts—who gives a fire truck?
And in the delay there was one tiny blessing, I got to chat with Dancer without fear of messing things up like I might’ve done if we’d all been half-sloshed as she’d have been sure to have suitably squashed any suggestion of a mistletoe kiss, and that would’ve made my end of year truly hit and miss.
Breakthrough happened as we’d combed our social feeds, posted updates and selfies and hashtagged our particular needs (#officehostagesendhelp).
Nicholas and Rudolf returned arm in arm, joking and laughing, the picture of smarm.
The servers were stable, the numbers lined up, the seasonal report was submitted and champagne poured in red plastic cups.
At last it was Christmas and we set our out-of-office messages with glee, in the hope that the holiday would be worry-free.
As we bolted for the exits before head office decided they needed something else, I switched off the lights, the first to confess.
A good break from work was the real seasonal blessing and all the rubber ducks in the world wouldn’t stop me professing,
Happy holiday to all and to all a good night. May your time off be splendid and the start of your new year a rip-roaring delight.
Four years ago, Escape launched with a gala party on the beautiful Sydney Harbour, attended by authors, readers, booksellers, friends, and family.
Since that time, our family has grown exponentially, and we’re so proud to have more than 100 Escape Artists writing across 14 subgenres, but all adhering to that so important happy-ever-after ending.
To celebrate, I revisited the five books that kicked it all off for us:
A romance about changing the game, finding the truth, and fancy footwork.
“Their journey is a really sweet and romantic one with a lot of depth and a great supporting cast, too” – USA Today – Happily Ever After Blog
“Keeper. New auto-buy author. Need I say more?” – BookThingo
“There’s a lot of great stuff in the book about the female/male dynamic; about the double standard; and about men respecting women. I appreciated seeing that addressed in a contemporary romance. To complete the role reversal, the mates ask Alex what her intentions are toward Dan. Mostly I loved watching Dan and Alex truly fall for each other. No insta lust. No wondering why these two belong together. By the end of the book, you know.” – Dear Author
Ainslie has since written seven novels for Escape, as well as self-publishing. Her latest novel is Incapable.
A dark, violent, and devastatingly sensual erotic fantasy about the binding force of love.
“Erotic romance readers who are weary of porny positions and situations may find this book a refreshing change. Hill writes some hot scenes without trying to do to much. The focus is always on Lissa and Devadas rather than which body parts are participating in the action.” – Bookthingo
“The chain harness was a nice erotic touch, but one of the things that stood out for me was how much I liked Lissa. She grew and matured and changed quite a bit, rising to a new challenge and coming to realise that, much like in a democratic system, a leader is nothing without healthy, happy people to lead…” – Giraffe Days
“I love this sort of story and it was great in novella form.” – Sahara Hoshi
Keziah Hill also writes as DB Tait and has been focused on her crime novels since Escape’s launch.
A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.
“Fast-paced and imaginative I really enjoyed this novel, I am already looking forward to the next installment and I urge fans of the paranormal fantasy genre to give Chaos Born a try.” – Book’d Out
“Chaos Born was one of those books that, when finished, I was really happy I found it and read it.” – Vampire Book Club
“A fast-paced, well-written urban fantasy with a flawed but charming heroine. There isn’t much romance in this book, but if you like a lot of action and aren’t put off by a high body count—usually by decapitation—then it’s a promising start to a new series.” – BookThingo
This Christmas, Santa is granting wishes these two friends never knew they had.
“A quick Christmas read that pushes all the right buttons and won’t leave you looking puffy and red-eyed on the train.” – BookThingo
“Talli and Dean are fun characters with plenty of chemistry and I enjoyed how the sexual tension amplified throughout their day working together.” – Australian Bookshelf
“This one made me laugh out loud and sigh with happiness.” – The Smutty Kitty
Rhian has published several holiday themed romances with Escape, as well as participating in two Escape continuity series and pursuing other publishing opportunities.
She thinks she needs him, but she doesn’t know the secrets he keeps…
“This is a fabulous debut novel, expertly thought out and skilfully written with a passionate pair of main characters that both have hidden depths.” – 1 Girl 2 Many Books
“This is a great suspense romance with intelligent characters.” – Novels On The Run
“A seamless read and as close to a keeper as I’ve got with romantic suspense in the last few years.” – BookThingo
To celebrate, we’ve compiled as many spring idioms as we could think of, and paired them with a book that embodies their spirit. It’s like wine and food, but with spring and books.
…we’ll do wine and books later 🙂
A spring in (one’s) step
Nothing says a spring-y step like a good dance. Like, say, the one that Dan and Alex dance together in Ainslie Paton’s Grease Monkey Jive.
Spring into action
Neither Merry or Jack can afford any hesitations in their life-or-death pursuit of priceless jewels across the world, in Tory Hayward’s breathtaking adventure romance.
She’s a spring chicken – until she isn’t. Explore both ends of the hen with the hilarious time-travel novel from Juliet Madison.
Spring to attention
“Fever – I’m afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.”…Shakespeare knew it was true, and so do Ben and Trix in this light-hearted, re-envisioned twist on Much Ado About Nothing.
Spring to life
Nothing springs quite like a newly minted vampire – or, maybe, say, twin vampires?
Spring to mind
Unfortunately, what with his temporary retrograde amnesia, not much is springing to Connor’s mind – and his best friend Emma is desperate to keep it that way.
Hope springs eternal
All that Sherise has is hope in the spin-off novel of SE Gilchrist’s Darkon Warrior SF series – hope that they’ll survive, hope they can find a way home, and hope that humanity’s future is secure.
Do you like big books and you cannot lie?
So do we.
So. Do. We.
So we put together some bundles, just for readers who won’t deny…
Australian Historical Bundle!
Two thrilling stories about Australia’s convict past and the path to true love.
From the passionate, pacy pen of Alyssa J Montgomery comes a trilogy about powerful men, and the women who own their hearts.
A Bundle to Treasure!
For the first time in one place, award-winning Kendall Talbot’s fresh new Treasured series is available in one convenient box-set!
The Next Season of Outlander is still months away Bundle!
May we humbly suggest Allison Butler’s Sexy Scots as a more than suitable stand-in?
The I Really Only Read For The Heroes Bundle!
From the critically acclaimed Ainslie Paton comes three men you’ll never forget – in one convenient package.
We Want More Billionaires Bundle!
Look, we get it. We can’t get enough of the high stakes romance of billionaires either. So we put together three of our top authors for a billionaire sample pack – satisfaction guaranteed.
The romance in my reading life is of the twisted type. There was no HEA in my house. There was a good deal of misappropriation.
There was no certainly Mills & Boon. I went from Black Beauty to what I could sneak off my mum’s shelf, all age inappropriate sexy stories: Jackie Collins, Taylor Caldwell, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, Susan Howatch and Colleen McCullough.
They were read under cover by torch and snuck back into place. She’d have been horrified. Shhh, because she could still hurt me over that.
People did dreadful things to other people in those novels. They cheated, slept around, stole things, plotted and connived, wrecked their families and died, sometimes in vaguely historically accurate ways. They didn’t fall in love and stay that way.
I gobbled them up.
Later, Mum got into crime and murder mysteries and I got a library card and spent everything I earned from part time jobs on books. None of them were traditional romances. I didn’t know there was such a thing, and the Austen and friend’s classics were just hard work I associated with school, not reading for pleasure.
I stole a copy of Gone With the Wind from a holiday house one summer. It rained the entire week we were away and I’d run out of books from my own stash. It would have to do. I’d just read through James Clavell: Tai-pan, Shogun and Noble House.
I was very bored and it was very wet and there was no bookstore in town. Gone With The Wind would have to do.
Controversial I know. Not the part where I stole the book from the holiday house, where someone else had obviously abandoned it, but for the whole is it a romance if it doesn’t have an HEA question.
Bookthingo is now shouting at her screen and will likely never read another of my books again.
Scarlett and Rhett crash and burn, but I fell for the sweeping, epic nature of the story, the heroine’s perspective and the kissing bits that were more of a conversation than an act of masculine power.
GWTW was a far more feminine read than the Clavells, Micheners, Irvings and Uris’ that were in my TBR. In that way it was a subversive read like the first Jackie Collins had been an eye-opening wild ride for a twelve year old. It stuck with me. It didn’t necessarily change my reading habits, but it made me want to create my own romances.
Took a while before I tried, but somewhere between GWTW, a long list of literary fiction with unsatisfactory conclusions, and my first novel, I learned to appreciate the value of a happy ending, because what a way to go.
Ainslie Paton might write twisty romances, but it’s not her fault, it’s the way she was brought up. Luckily, despite a host of bad influences and running with the wrong literary library crowd, she saw sense and all of her novels are HEA assured. Her latest release features a voice artist and a sound engineer.
Love can be a great healer, except when it hurts…
As voice actor royalty, Damon Donovan is trouble. He’s professionally intimidating. He’s confident. He’s charming, funny and genuinely talented. And he triggers the nurturing instincts newly separated Georgia Fairweather has sworn to ignore.
Damon Donovan is used to three types of women: those who fawn, those who mother and those who want to fix him. So a reticent, prickly engineer he can neither awe nor charm triggers his interest.
A recording engineer and a voice actor should be a match to sing about, but the thrilling rhythm they create is soon drowned out by static. Georgia doesn’t know who she is, and Damon doesn’t know who he’ll become.
Can a man facing his insecurities and a woman afraid of her own instincts harmonise, or are they destined to sound good in theory, but be out of sync in life and love?
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.
Love can be a great healer, except when it hurts…
Our very own Ainslie Paton has written a great piece over at Bookthingo, describing her frustration with the way some romance writers (and publishers) blur the lines between ‘alpha male’ and ‘entitled doucheturnip’. Here’s an extract:
Romance is a lot of things. It’s a place to explore fantasies and live vicariously, a place to find comfort, be thrilled, chilled or soothed. It’s also a genre where social constraints between people are explored in historical, modern and future contexts.
In 2016, inside contemporary romance, it shouldn’t be a place where misogyny stands unexamined. We have enough of that in our real lives.
It shouldn’t be a place where we let our heroines be inadvertent victims of superior men. (Or our male lead characters for that matter). Where we write heroes who would trample on a woman’s will, because they can, and heroines who accept that behavior too easily as if they deserve it and it’s a thing of wonder.
That’s not loving our heroines or creating the kinds of heroes worth reading about.
Head over to Bookthingo to read the whole thing, and join the conversation in the comments, which is already looking very interesting!