High Stakes

by Nina Hamilton

Giveaway details found at the bottom of this post!

Giveaway details found at the bottom of this post!

Whether our characters are saving the world or surviving the elements, Action & Adventure tends to be a high stakes game. The moment that leaves both the character and reader breathless as we await the outcome of a rope (and character) slipping off a cliff is why I write about the rescue heroes of the emergency services.

My romances, set in Far North Queensland, tend to be grounded in the real world because I continue to be genuinely amazed by the courage that the emergency rescue teams show in their work. When saving lives comes in the job description of men and women, the sexiness isn’t just in the uniform.

Out of respect for the real life protagonists involved in rescues in the area I definitely shy away from depicting real life incidents on the page, However, I do also try to make sure that the scenarios that I create are both plausible and interesting. I regularly read the rescue helicopter updates available through their website and with my mother as part of the volunteer emergency rescue community I often get the behind the scenes stories.

To that end, my brother, a doctor, and my friend Rob, a former lifesaver, often get a call or email late into the night. A few times they’ve laughed and I’ve known I had a little more research to do. Apparently one of the lifesaving techniques I had considered for a scene really, really couldn’t have happened and what I thought was the protocol for cracking a chest wouldn’t have worked out well for anyone… so we work towards the moment where they say,”Yeah that’s cool.”

The best romance is one where both parties are changed by the moment of falling in love and I can’t imagine a more powerful time to do that than in the action of saving a life or in saving each other. The Action & Adventure romance genre is a long established one and millions around the world love a bit of suspense mixed with a love story. Favourites of mine are Nora Roberts Chasing Fire and Linda Howard’s Cover of Night. Looking up Linda’s title just added three more of her backlist to my Kindle’s to be read (again) list. Getting addicted to those thrills is a danger of being a fan of the genre.

What is your favourite romance where the stakes are that much higher?


8869Hanging, strapped together, ten metres above a sea platform forces a quick intimacy between workmates. For Dr Brigid Adair, dangling from a helicopter wire is an everyday occurrence in her job working for the helicopter rescue crew in North Queensland, Australia.

For former US Army medic Matt Roberts, Australia means a new future; a place to escape from the war zones of his past. Despite his significant wealth, he’s taken a job as an elite helicopter paramedic, wanting to make a positive contribution to his new community.

Matt Roberts knows very well the destruction that romance can reap on a unit, so when he first arrives and sees the gorgeous single doctor, Brigid, assigned to his rescue crew, he’s nervous. Very nervous.

Dr Brigid Adair is going to need more than just her medical training to lead Matt back from his self-imposed isolation. High-pressure situations hovering over some of Australia’s deadliest land and sea and the ignition of a passionate flame might just do the trick.


20381Opposites attract in this medical romantic suspense set in the high adrenalin world of the Cairns Rescue Helicopter team.

English surgeon Andrew Wentworth left behind a successful career and a failed engagement to join the Cairns Rescue Helicopter team, but it’s not shaping up to be the rejuvenating working holiday he expected.

Rescue paramedic Kate Spears is used to proving herself in a man’s world, so informing the handsome surgeon that all his orders now come from her is deliciously satisfying. But she soon finds that Andrew cannot only take everything she throws at him, he keeps coming back for more.

They couldn’t be more different, from their histories to their personalities to their plans for the future, but the flames between them can’t be ignored. And, in the close quarters of chopper rescue, they’re about to find that there’s no place to hide from love.

We’re giving away one bundle featuring both of Nina’s fabulous Rescue stories. To be in the running, leave a comment, including your email address, telling us your favourite high stakes romance: it could be physical, emotional, or psychological high stakes!

Ready, Set – Action!

Action! Adventure! We see it in movies, we enjoy it in games, now we can experience it in books. Set your heart racing, feel the breathlessness, and savour the adrenalin rush as you ride the emotional rollercoaster in our action/adventure novels.

Suspense is about the build-up, rocketing the reader toward a massive finish. Action/adventure on the other hand, is about fascinating characters who experience an exciting, danger-fuelled journey. Theres plenty of cliff hanger moments in action/adventure and just when you think it can’t get any more exciting, it often does.

Today we meet three Escape Publishing authors who write action/adventure: Kendall Talbot, Sarah Barrie and Nina Hamilton. Here are a couple of short snippets from their recent releases:

9780857990648Lost In Kakadu – by Kendall Talbot

When a small plane crashes into Australia’s harsh Kakadu National Park the survivors think they’re lucky to be alive, until rescuers never come. The plane crash isn’t the only action. It was important for me to keep the survival aspect very real. From wild animals, to wild weather and near starvation, every day my characters have a new aspect of living hell to get through. Fate brought them together but they need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive.

The snake began to move. It slithered with deathly silence toward the tree trunk. Abi knew she had to get the axe, but the thought of going anywhere near that thing made her cringe.

As it slithered down the trunk, she unzipped the backpack trying to be as quiet as possible. Can snakes hear? Something about them hearing through vibration ran through her mind, another useless piece of trivia from Spencer. But was it so useless now?

With the axe now in her hand, she felt a bit more confident. But can I really kill it?

She spied Mackenzie out the corner of her eye and resisted the urge to look in his direction. I have to do this. He needs me now. The snake moved fast, slithering down the trunk as if being sucked down by gravity. She stood frozen, axe poised over her shoulder, her heart pounding out like drums of war.

The snake reached her head height, her waist, knees, it was at her feet. It was faster than she thought and most of it was on the ground when Abi squealed and brought the axe down.

9780857990624Getting Wild – by Sarah Barrie

Getting Wild takes a look at what happens when a born and bred city girl is forced into the wilds with an adventure-toughened alpha hero. The storyline combines romance and adventure with a good dose of humour thrown in, though for the character, the dangers are very real. In order to survive her ordeal, the heroine must challenge herself daily, battling not only the elements, but her own innate fears and limitations.

Adrenaline coursed through Ellas body as she prepared herself for whatever was about to happen, but her smile was calm and threatening, her tone cold. “How about you just try that?”

He looked at his mate, shrugged and smirked. “Hear that? Shes asking for it.” As soon as he stood up, Lexi pushed past him to stand behind Ella.

Lexi, Explorer Lounge. Go.


The blonde man made a grab for Ella and she delivered a fast-flying elbow to his jaw, sending him stumbling back into his chair. “Go,” she repeated, and heard Lexi take off.

Blonde idiot was stunned enough to eye her warily for a few seconds, before coming in again. “Oh seriously?” Ella asked in disbelief, “Youre almost too drunk to stand up as it is. I could blow you over.”

What about both of us?” the shorter of the pair piped up, looking less confident than he made out as he got to his feet.

Ella just smiled. “Sure, what would you like broken?”

20381Rescue Nights by Nina Hamilton

Rescue Nights is a romance with an adventure/medical twist up in Australia’s Far North. Kate and Andrew are a paramedic and doctor working in Cairns’ helicopter rescue teams. The heat between them is palpable as they struggle for both dominance in the workplace and securing the best outcomes for their patients. Cairns’ location on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef means they are always on the cusp of pushing the limits of what a rescue team can do.

Im here, Im fine,said Kate, finally getting enough energy to brace herself upright.

Everyone seemed to ignore her statement as Andrew continued talking. ‘I don’t think shes taken enough water to be an immediate risk of secondary drowning. Ill put her on oxygen and we can wait.”

Andrew didn’t seem to be worried about her consent as he looped the oxygen mask onto her face. She could hear him curse as he stripped off the top of his own, still-dripping flight suit. He certainly hadnt been appropriately attired to enter the water today.

Hold this over your eye,he said, giving her a wad of gauze. It was only then that Kate realised that some of the moisture running down her face was blood.

Her throat felt unbearably swollen and she had to concentrate on getting the breath to her lungs. That was probably why she didn’t see Andrew taking the scissors to her wetsuit until it was too late.

She moved her oxygen mask to one side. ‘Margo will get you for this. Do you know how much this wetsuit costs?”

Why do we each write action/adventure?

Quite simply, because its fun. Everyone likes romance, at least, if theyre reading this blog we imagine they do.

But what puts that constant coil of tension in the pit of your stomach? How about that little kick from a touch of danger in every chapter, that extra ripple of excitement at a risk that reaches much further than that basic – yet dangerous – dive into love?

Whether it’s good vs evil or survival of the fittest, our characters challenge the elements, or each other, and in the course of the story could battle everything from wild animals to drug-runners, experiencing explosions, fights, chases, and impossible situations only limited by the imagination. Action/adventure adds another level of tension, makes heroes and heroines vulnerable from more quarters than their emotions toward each other. Because no matter how tense, how risqué the relationship, romance is just that bit more dangerous, more thrilling, against a backdrop of risk and physical danger.

And who doesn’t like a strong, brave hero/heroine? Sure, they have to have their faults, their weaknesses – that makes them human, but to read along while that very human character overcomes their flaws and insecurities, their vulnerabilities, to battle the bad guys and kick-ass against seemingly insurmountable odds? That’s a page turner. That’s a memorable, uplifting story.

Strong men tick all our boxes. Call us old fashioned but we love the Indiana Jones stereotype. Sure, Indys not perfect, but he’s sexy as hell. He defeats the bad guys in style and gets the girl – all in a days work.

We like strong women too. Women that dont necessarily need rescuing – women that pull themselves out of tricky situations and keep a certain style about them while doing it.

Its sometimes said that romances built in stressful situations cant last. Its fun to oppose the theory. Lots of fun. Because really, why cant they?

What inspired of you to write such fast paced stories in unique Australian settings?

Sarah: What better place to set an adventure? Australia has some of the most deadly animals in the world and enough dangerous terrain to keep the characters in a state of constant peril for even the longest of stories. And thats without any bad guys!

Nina: One of the reasons that I have set both my action/adventure stories in Cairns is simply that I think it is one of most interesting and physically beautiful places in Australia. There aren’t many places on earth where just a helicopter ride away are rainforest, reef and farmland.

I like writing fast paced stories because that’s what I am interested in reading. I love that ordinary Australians do heroic things in their day to day lives and I think a couple who shares a professional world of both danger and bravery are probably forging a relationship that we’d all enjoy watching develop.

Kendall: I grew up watching Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Die Hard, all great action/adventure movies. I still love them. They’re the type of books I love to read too and that’s where my writing passion lies too. Kakadu National Park is 20,000 acres of pure Australian bush, with an abundance of wild animals and exotic settings. It was the perfect place for a survival story with a difference. Lost In Kakadu is the only romance book ever to be set in Kakadu National Park.

If you were stranded in the Australian outback what is the one survival technique you would want to know?  

Sarah: How to find water. Nah, who am I kidding? Id want to make sure I knew how to find a gorgeous, adventure-toughened hero to come and rescue me. Whether I needed rescuing or not!

Nina: I feel like I have to break a myth from the 80’s romances I know I loved to read. I gained a lot of great knowledge from books over the years, but on this one the information has changed. DON’T suck the snakebite. You know that great scene where the heroine will bravely score the snakebite with a knife and suck the poison into her mouth. DON’T do that. Keep them quiet, stick on a pressure bandage, add a splint and call for help. Then you can hope that the hospital has a doctor as smoking as Andrew and know he will admire your bandaging technique.

Kendall: I’d definitely want to know how to make a fire. Not only because I couldn’t imagine eating raw snails or lizards, but after that scrumptious meal cuddling up to my man and staring into the dancing flames is a great way to while away the hours.