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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Exclusive Excerpt: Devoted by JC Harroway

31644

Some choices are easy. Some choices are hard. And some choices will break our hearts…


’I didn’t expect to see you here so early this morning—isn’t there someone else who could fetch Bobbie’s coffee?’ It irked him she would forgo her own caffeine hit for Bobbie. If he had to fetch his own coffee, his pampered starlet surely could too.

Her lips tightened, and she pushed her glasses to the bridge of her nose. ‘I don’t mind. She’s my sister.’ There it was—fiercely protective with the ferocity of a mama bear protecting a cub. Putting herself second.

‘Well, she’s lucky to have your … devotion.’ He had his reservations about Bobbie Lawrence. He’d been forced to work with her, accepting the studio’s assurances that her drug and alcohol problems were in the past.

Mallory glanced at him. ‘We’re very close and it’s my job to smooth the way for her on this movie in any way I can.’

His gut tightened. He rarely second-guessed his gut these days, experience proving he never got it wrong. Apart from that one time. And the price had been devastating. ‘Is that right?’ Perhaps he was wrong about the alluring Mallory Hughes. Perhaps she acted better than her famous sister. Perhaps that tentative kiss last night was part of the act. ‘Any way?’

‘Of course.’ A confused crinkle formed between her brows and he had the insane urge to reach out a touch it, to smooth the crease from her porcelain skin.

They’d reached the back of the trailer housing wardrobe and make-up. Mallory looked up at him, her eyes wary. Her lips parted, releasing rapid breaths that whitened the air between them.

His groin stirred, tempering the black turn of his thoughts. ‘Does that include kissing the director so he won’t notice when she falls off the wagon?’ He allowed his stare to linger on the fine bones of her face, her high cheekbones, her pert nose, her delicate jaw, finishing back at her eyes, which were now sparking with indignation.

‘No.’ Her feet spread, a fighting stance. ‘My sister is firmly on the wagon, and I did that all for myself.’ She squared up to him, her chin jutting forward and her shoulders back.

Lust flared, a kick in the gut, and he dropped his gaze to the lush curve of her full mouth, his memory of it pressed to his last night too fleeting. ‘Why?’ He wanted another taste of her but he’d never allow himself to be played again. No matter how intriguing, how alluring or how ingenious this woman was.

Her half laugh was as bitter as his suspicious mind. ‘Let’s just say I was living out an ancient crush.’

She didn’t look happy about it. ‘You have a crush on me?’ Well that smacked him between the eyes—a riveting conundrum indeed. Heat raced down his spine, pooling in his groin.

Colour rushed up her neck from the fur collar of her coat. ‘Had. Long ago. And I’m over it.’

Leaning above her, he reached one hand behind her shoulder to the door handle of the trailer. She held her footing, arching her back so her upper body maintained distance from his and their eye contact held—a challenge.

Wide eyes and panting breaths. Diminutive and defensive all in one delicious package. Something primal and urgent shifted inside him.

His hand closed around the icy metal door handle, and he glanced down at her full mouth once more, recalling her hesitant kiss. ‘Shame.’ 

Pre-order now

Secret Confessions: Meet Camilla

Beautiful and youthful, the purity of this housewife’s soul shines through. She doesn’t invest in gossip and spite and instead focuses on the good in the people around her, and in spending time with the people she loves. Still, she can be easily hurt – and has been in the past. But the man of her dreams has helped heal old wounds and helped her confidence soar, and taught her a thing or two about herself as well.

Meet Camilla. She’s available today.

SLAH_Camilla_FinalCan’t get enough?

The Housewives Lounge – excerpts, behind the scenes details, chatter.

Which Housewife Are You? – take the quiz and find out!

Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives – meet the other housewives, pre-order, links.

And don’t miss out on the amazing competition AusRomToday is running – five copies of each Housewife Title to win, and a fantastic, Sydney-focused major prize!

 

Inspiration Behind the Story – Georgie Tyler

Our Common Humanity

by Georgie Tyler

I watched a short film many moons ago and it got me thinking. Now when I say short, I mean very short. I think it was attached to a popular movie, Love Actually and rolled after the final credits.

Picture this. Two African women sauntering across a dry, cracked earth, each carrying a stack of sticks strapped securely to their backs. You get the idea that this isn’t the first or last time they’ll be taking this journey. In fact it’s a daily routine for them. They’re chatting in their own language and it’s subtitled for the English speakers of this world. While listening to their banter, I was captured and a little stunned, I’m embarrassed to say, because their discussion surprised me, and at the same time connected me to them. Why? Because they were commenting on their life, husbands, children, neighbours, community not much differently to what I do when enjoying a coffee or meal with friends.

Sometimes we forget the common humanity we all share, whether you live in a war torn, famine ravaged country or safely nestled away in a suburb of Sydney. It was one of the many factors that led me to write my debut romance Doctors Beyond Borders released in January, 2014. Ariadne Tate, a doctor with Medecins Sans Frontieres is eager to escape the world of work based gossip having been a prime target in Sydney and discovers that the same observations, elucidations and interpretations are made amongst the Sudanese medical staff about certain employees in Sudan as they are in temperate, laid back and flourishing Sydney.

Ariadne and Ford, the heroine and hero of my story and both doctors represent the many people in the world that dedicate months or years of their lives using their skills to help the afflicted and less fortunate. My ex-pat characters chose this path for many different reasons but the common thread is the desire to offer up their skills in active charity. I admire them. I applaud them. I wish in my younger years I had been more proactive like them. I’m so glad I penned a story around them that’s now available for others to read.

Kids and family are my priority at the moment, but maybe in my twilight years when my brood have flown the coup my passive assistance may transform into something more active. I’d like to think so as these people have the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us; the eradication of poverty, improvement in health and a better world for themselves and their children.


 

19910She’s about to find out that nothing is fair when it comes to war, except, the healing power of love.

When Ariadne Tate takes a deployment to Sudan with a medical aid organisation, romance is the last thing on her mind…but Dr Ford Gosden puts a glitch in her plans. Too damn attractive for his own good and a thoroughly nice guy, Ford slowly seeps under Ariadne’s skin.

But Sudan is not a stable place to form a relationship, and as political tension escalates in the region, Ariadne has no choice but to focus on her job and her safety. Under the protection of a UN convoy, she heads out into the war-torn countryside — and the unthinkable happens. Captured and held hostage by a renegade with no chance of escape, Ariadne’s hope for a new life with the man she loves begins to fade and the fight for her life begins.

Lost but not Forgotten – How Fromelles Inspired my Story

by Jacquie Underdown

To look at the pretty village of Fromelles, France, you wouldn’t be able see its devastating past hiding behind the abundance of ripe greenery and charm. You wouldn’t be able to tell that this village was once a torn-up wasteland littered with the murderous fragments of war and soaked in the blood of 5553 Australian soldiers either killed or wounded in a single day. And for nearly a century as the small community of Fromelles went about its daily life, they couldn’t see that buried within the fertile soil were 250 remnants of this gruesome past waiting to resurface. History wasn’t going to be laid to rest just yet.

On July 19-20, 1916, Fromelles was host to one of the bloodiest battles in Australian history. A battle, despite its gore and immense number of casualties, has stood in the shadows of its more famous World War I brothers, maybe because some have called this battle a disaster for the Allies, or because it goes down as the worst 24 hours in Australian military history.

250 Allied soldiers (173 were Australian) killed on that fateful day were buried by the Germans shortly after the battle in mass graves. These pits remained untouched, their whereabouts unknown, and their content lost to all until nearly a century later.

Guided by an amateur Australian historian, the Australian Government instigated geological surveys in 2007 to find the lost soldiers. By 2009 exhumations were taking place to recover the bodies and DNA samples were extracted from their bones in an attempt to identify each. The soldiers were then finally laid to rest, with full honours, in a new memorial cemetery located 120 metres from the original mass grave site.

So why did I want to write about this tragic slice of history? Reflecting on it now, I don’t believe I had a choice. When I first heard the reports about the discovery of the mass graves, I realised that despite the decades the soldiers were lost, their voices were still strong enough to demand we acknowledge them and demand we remember them. No author hearing these whispers from the past would be able to ignore them — myself included.

Though I anticipated many tears during the research of this aptly titled novel (and I’ll admit, I cried a river for these brave men and their families), I didn’t anticipate the coincidences that would occur.

My fictional character, Fredrick, reappears as a ghost 90 years after his death on the battlefield of Fromelles. He wants a name on his headstone so he will not be forgotten, and he needs Lucy to help him achieve this final wish by searching for his descendants.

I’ve never had to find descendants before, so some of my research for this novel was in this area. At first I didn’t even know where to start. So I began where most of my searches do and that was with Google. I entered the name of my soldier (whose name I plucked from thin air, a complete fabrication) and didn’t anticipate that the name I chose was the exact name of an actual Australian soldier of the Great War (though the real soldier was fortunate enough to make it home and live to a ripe old age). Through him alone, I learned the exact path to trace descendants of soldiers.

This was the first of many coincidences that occurred while writing Beyond Coincidence and it may merely be that — a coincidence. But I like to think it’s more. I like to think that if we listen closely enough, we just may hear whispers from the past, in our present, guiding us, teaching us, and making sure we remember those who should not be forgotten.

He … was numbered amongst those who, at the call of the King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that his name not be forgotten.  (King George V)

He … was numbered amongst those who, at the call of the King and Country,
left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally
passed out of sight of men by path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up
their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after
see to it that his name not be forgotten. (King George V)


22036Mixing romance, history, and a touch of the unexplained in a new novel from Jacquie Underdown about love that needs to cross oceans and time before finding a place to come true.

In 2008, 250 Australian and British soldiers are uncovered in a mass grave in Fromelles, France, lost since the Great War. One soldier, bearing wounds of war so deep it scarred his soul, cannot be laid to rest just yet.

When Lucy bumps into the achingly sad soldier during a trip to France, she doesn’t, at first glance, realise what he is – a ghost who desperately needs her help. Lucy can’t turn away from someone who needs her, even someone non-corporeal, and they travel back together to Australia in search of answers and, hopefully, some peace.

This chance meeting and unexplainable relationship sets into motion a chain-reaction of delicate coincidences that affect the intertwined lives of family, friends, and lovers in unexpected, beautiful ways.

Beyond Coincidence is available for pre-order now.

Inspiration Behind the Story: Robyn Rychards

She may not need a knight in shining armour to save her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to look a gift knight in the visor…

20378I love reading romance, whether contemporary or historical, and if I can have it with suspense and intrigue, all the better. My number one fave for years has been the Harlequin Cherish/Romance line and my dream has long been to write for that line. When I read Melissa James’ The Sheikh’s Destiny, Her Knight in Shining Armour flickered to life. It had the suspense/adventure aspect that I longed for and was from my favourite line. Then my basic writing motivator switched on. Since a Harlequin Romance with suspense was hard to come by, I’ll write one. I have always wanted suspense in the Romance line and thanks to Melissa, I knew it was doable.

Enter my first hurdle. Did I have the writing skills for suspense? I have a heck of a time figuring out mysteries when I read them or watch them, how was I going to write one?

The next hurdle followed closely behind: Melissa’s story was set in a part of the world where there’s a lot of strife. Perfect setting for a suspense story. However, I know nothing about such places and was already taking on enough trying my hand at writing more than romance. What situation would have two people on the run from an enemy in the United States?

This led me to hurdle number three. I know nothing about law enforcement or military, so the type of heroes I’m familiar with in the Harlequin Intrigue line wouldn’t work. What scenario puts the heroine on the run and how would she be rescued by a hero who isn’t a professional rescuer? Then I saw Sleeping With the Enemy. Now I had an idea of what might work.

Lots of thinking, lots of rejected ideas, but I kept coming back to a heroine on the run from an abusive husband. However, going with this idea gave me another hurdle. I didn’t want the heroine to still be married. It complicated the relationship with the hero as well, as to how to get her out of the marriage. Once I resolved that in my head—which included changing some of what I had already started writing—I had yet another hurdle. I know nothing about abusive relationships.

BUT that was something I could handle. I know people and I have a library card. I educated myself as best I could and faced the first hurdle again which was now my last hurdle. Could I write suspense?

Having read a lot of suspense, I decided to just go with my gut—I am a pantser after all. The story wouldn’t leave me alone. It had to be written and if I sucked at writing suspense, well, at least I’d know for sure, the story would be out of my head, and I could move on. Now it’s up to you to decide if I can do romantic suspense. If so, I may just take on a Gothic—a la Victoria Holt of course—next.


 

When Robyn was young she always enjoyed reading, but it wasn’t until her Grandmother gave her her first Harlequin Romance that she fell in love with it. At the age of fourteen Robyn didn’t have the funds to feed her romance addiction, so she started writing them. Writing romance is in Robyn’s blood and she’s happy to be able to share her stories with the world, as well as be part of the Harlequin family. Robyn was raised in Boulder, Colorado, USA and lives in a neighbouring town not far from where Her Man From Shilo takes place. Though four kids have kept her too busy to write for a long time, she is thrilled to be able to dive back into it, now that they are all in school. She hopes you enjoy reading her story as much as she enjoyed writing it!

April Showers New Books on the World!

…and we’re not foolin’.

You can also now buy Escape titles directly from the Harlequin Mills & Boon web page, so if you prefer to shop direct from the source, then get cracking!

 20614 From Ros Baxter: A paranormal novel that explores what exactly goes on under the sea.

The sequel to Fish Out of Water is a sexy, funny mystery about strength, love, and French fries.


20618From Ainslie Paton:  a contemporary romance with suspense elements and one heck of a road trip.

They’re a car crash waiting to happen…so why do they keep crashing into each other?


20616From Cathleen Ross, a sexy, funny, delicious treat that sets a country mouse deep into city territory: Sydney’s Kings Cross. 

A naughty-but-nice story about the fun one can have playing dress-up.


20615From Alyssa J Montgomery: an emotional, indulgent, shivers-inducing story about an alpha hero who wants the one woman he can’t have.

She betrayed him and left him to be with another. Now that she’s alone again, nothing is going to stop him from coming for her.


20613From Eliza Redgold comes a lovely, contemporary, David vs. Goliath coastal romance that’s sure to boost Broome tourism.
He thought he knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees, but he’s about to get schooled.

20617From Wendy Godding: a fantastic new voice in YA, with a time twist – a main character who has to solve her own murder.

She has died countless times before, and she is not going to let it happen again.