Friday Five: Juanita Kees

1495Author: Juanita Kees
First published with Escape: 2013
Favourite romance trope: Second chances – because everyone deserves one
Ideal hero: Strong, sexy, compassionate
Ideal heroine: Strong, kind, independent
Latest book: Under Shadow of Doubt

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

I fell in love with romance in the seventies when my aunt introduced me to Mills & Boon. I wrote the first draft of Under Shadow of Doubt when I was sixteen. It’s had many edits since then!

I write romance because I believe in HEA and that somewhere out there is the perfect match for everyone (even if it is a book boyfriend).

How do you write? What is your process like?

I’m a pantser trying to be a better plotter. I have an idea and get the basics down on paper then I write the first chapter and go from there. The end result is never anything close to those basics I got down on paper. Scrivener is slowly training me to be a better plotter.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

How to retrieve a dismembered body from a dam and how to murder someone with the oleander plant. I really hope the AFP never look at my browsing history!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Australians have a fantastic sense of humour and our country is filled with colourful characters. I try to harness as much of my love for this land and the people in my stories as possible.

Where is your favourite place to write?

We recently put in a koi pond in our back garden. I have a bench in a lovely shady spot where I can sit and write, and enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine. The sound of running water and fish splashing about is soothing, but can be a little distracting too. Koi are like mischievous children .


30495She might be the biggest star in Australia, but she never forgot the small town she came from, or the man she left behind…

Peta Johnson may be rich, famous, and adored, but it doesn’t protect her when the man she married turns out to be a monster. With her little girl missing, Peta will do anything to get her back — including returning to the small Western Australian town she vowed never to see again.

Jaime Caruso left his heart in Williams when he left to pursue a military career, but it soon shrivelled and died when he discovered the girl he loved didn’t love him enough to wait. Back in town to help his ailing father, Jaime struggles with the memories and plans to leave — permanently — as soon as possible.

But then Peta returns and Jaime gets swept up into the nightmare she is living. Feelings long buried soon bubble to the surface, and as they race to save the life of the daughter Jaime doesn’t know is his, they must decide if life — and love — really does give second chances.

 

 

Feed Your Reader: A Romantic Mystery

31266A chance sighting leads to second chances – for hope, for family, and for love.

Five years ago, teenager Antonia disappeared. With no compelling evidence, the police eventually called her a run-away, and dropped the case. Her teacher, Jax, has always regretted not speaking up about the rumours she heard circling the school that day, but a random sighting at a train station raises the possibility that Antonia is still alive – and not too far away.

Antonia’s father, Connor has never given up hope that his daughter will be found and returned to her family. When her old teacher, Jax, calls him with a small spark of a lead, he seizes it with both hands, determined to chase it down.

But there’s more at play than simple teenage rebellion and the path Jax and Connor travel rapidly becomes more dangerous than either could have imagined, and opens up new possibilities that neither could have expected.

AK Leigh Uncovered

7386121Tell me a bit about Triple Threat. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

My ideas for stories often come out-of-the-blue, and Triple Threat was no different. A sentence popped into my head one day: “The Farris Triplets were back in business”. I knew it was going to be a romantic suspense, crime-themed trilogy because the basic plots soon followed. Even so, I was uncertain about going ahead with it. I thought it must have all been done before. If my stories weren’t going to be original, I couldn’t see the point. So, I went and bought a heap of books with identical triplet themes. I discovered that many were either overly stereotyped (e.g. they all had similar names, played tricks on people, behaved the same, AND finished each other’s sentences – I mean, come on!) or highly sexualised. That was the ‘eureka moment’. It irritated me that identical triplets were being represented that way. I knew my personal experience with being an identical triplet could be used to show people how that translated in reality.

Give us a little tease of the relationship between Gabe and Lizzie. How did that come about in your head and subsequently the book?

I knew Gabe was going to fall in ‘insta-love’ with Lizzie. I also knew that Lizzie would be hesitant about giving him a chance. The way that played out surprised me though. Gabe’s first glimpse of Lizzie occurs via a newspaper article. I LOVED that he could tell her apart from her sisters even then! Lizzie’s first impression of Gabe is not good because she mistakes him for a journalist looking for a story on the high profile, cold case murder she and her sisters are working on.

Below is a short teaser from Triple Threat, showing their first meeting 

Can I help you?’

The man standing to the side of her doorway hesitated, then took a step inside the room. She saw him swallow. Then he mumbled, ‘Hi, um, you’re Elizabeth Farris.’

He said it in a way that showed he already knew the answer.

Jesus Christ. Not another one. Looked like the six-month hiatus from being harassed had given her a false sense of security. She had to force herself not to roll her eyes. Sure, they were only doing their job, but that didn’t mean they could barge into her personal life whenever they wanted. This was her workplace for goodness sake.

She made herself sound calm when she replied, ‘I’m not interested in doing an interview.’

Oh. I’m not a reporter … although I am a journalism teacher here … but I’m not here for a story.’

How can I help you?’

His expression turned serious, ‘It’s something of a sensitive nature. Would you be free for a coffee?’

You mean now?’

If you’re not too busy.’

She glanced at the pile of assessments on her desk then back at him. ‘I’m not too busy.’

What came first: the plot or the characters?

With the Farris Triplets series, it was the plot that came first (that’s not always the case). The characters were more difficult to write because I’d put so much pressure on myself to write something different when it came to identical triplet characters!

I understand you are one part of a similar set of triplets. Are your characters based on your sisters? Are there any other real life influences in either the characters or plot of Triple Threat?

Ha ha. I’ve been asked this question a couple of times! The characters are not based on my sisters and I, but they do share a MINOR personality trait with one of us. Other than that, the only thing Lizzie, Nina, and Carrie have in common with us is the fact that they are vegetarians. Unfortunately, we do not solve cold cases or work in law enforcement either 😀

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What draws you to Lizzie’s qualities as a heroine?

I love how forthright she is. She knows what she wants in a relationship and doesn’t see the point in wasting time or settling. Her romantic side also endears her to me.

And Gabe’s as a hero?

Gabe is just adorable! Such a sweet heart and old-fashioned romantic. The fact that he shares the same traumatic history as Lizzie also drew me to him. He can understand her in ways that other men would struggle with.

How did you begin your romance writing career? What drew you to contemporary/suspense romance? Is it the genre you enjoy reading in?

The funny thing about that is, for years I believed I wrote “mysteries” or “thrillers”. In my twenties, I was reading an article about genres in fiction and was shocked to discover that I’d actually been writing romance all those years! After the initial cognitive dissonance, I embraced the stories that came. To paraphrase Stephen King, I wasn’t drawn to contemporary/suspense romance, it was drawn to me. My reading choices are fairly open. I’ll read just about anything.

Jilted bookpageWhat’s your favourite romance trope? And favourite portrayal of that trope?

I have two: friends to lovers and second chance lovers! My favourite portrayals of the latter are Persuasion by Jane Austen, Be Mine, Cowboy by Jane Porter (what is it with the Jane’s?!), and Jilted by Rachael Johns. One of my friends to lovers favourites is Small Town Storm by Elise K. Ackers.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there? What is some of the best writing advice you have received?

Advice: attend as many writing workshops as you can, network, keep going, believe in yourself.

Best advice I received: writers write.

persuasion-cover-vintageWhat are your favourite books/authors to read?

I know it’s clichéd to say this, but Jane Austen is my all-time favourite writer! For someone who was middle class, she had remarkable insight into the lives (and loves) of the upper classes. Her stories are multi-faceted, with more than one plot going on most times. The love stories are sweet and timeless. What’s not to admire? 

I also love Mary Higgins Clark. She writes in multiple view points like me and her plots are often intricate and detailed.

Rachael Johns is my favourite Australian author. I was only introduced to her books, via a happy ‘coincidence’, a few years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Love her characters. They are always memorable.

Where do you like to write? How do you write?

I can write anywhere, but at this stage, it’s usually with my computer on my lap! I am in the process of building a writing nook though, so that will change soon. I already have my writing desk 😀

My process usually starts with a one sentence quote, character, or plot. From there, it morphs to a basic outline. After that, I work on four different drafts. My motto is to get the first draft down as quickly as possible, hence it is more like a glorified outline. The meat comes onto the bones, so to speak, with the subsequent two drafts. The fourth draft is a final once over to pick up anything I may have forgotten etc. Then, it’s off to the publisher or editor … and the edits begin!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any quirky hobbies (like the sisters of Triple Threat)?

In my spare time, I like to read, watch movies, go for hikes, spend time in nature, and hang out with my kids. Is any of that quirky?


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They’re beautiful, accomplished, and they have identical interests…

In their spare time, identical triplets the Farris sisters work together to solve cold cases. Lizzie uses her skills as a Criminal Profiler, Nina her Scenes of Crime Officer experience, and Carrie assists through her work as a both a Forensic Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist.

Romantic and idealistic, Lizzie is picky about men. But despite the good-natured teasing of her sisters, she refuses to settle for anything less than ‘The One’. She loves her life, her job as both a profiler and a university lecturer, and her sisters, and won’t make changes for anything less. If that makes her unrealistic, then so be it.

Gabe Montcoeur has just moved across Australia from Perth to Cairns and starts a job as a journalism teacher at Cairns University: the same university where Elizabeth Farris works. On the surface, the move seems innocent, but he has an ulterior motive. Gabe wants to elicit the aid of the Farris sisters in solving the murder of his family members, and the only way to circumvent their notorious ‘no contact’ policy is to reach out to them in person.

But when Gabe meets Lizzie for the first time, the attraction is instantaneous — and mutual. The deeper they fall into each other, however, the more guilty Gabe feels about his real motivation for getting close. Lizzie wants the real deal, the one, true love — can Gabe ever offer her the future she deserves if he keeps holding on so tightly to the past?

Buy Now!

Feed Your Reader: Triplets Looking for Trouble

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They’re beautiful, accomplished, and they have identical interests…

In their spare time, identical triplets the Farris sisters work together to solve cold cases. Lizzie uses her skills as a Criminal Profiler, Nina her Scenes of Crime Officer experience, and Carrie assists through her work as a both a Forensic Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist.

Romantic and idealistic, Lizzie is picky about men. But despite the good-natured teasing of her sisters, she refuses to settle for anything less than ‘The One’. She loves her life, her job as both a profiler and a university lecturer, and her sisters, and won’t make changes for anything less. If that makes her unrealistic, then so be it.

Gabe Montcoeur has just moved across Australia from Perth to Cairns and starts a job as a journalism teacher at Cairns University: the same university where Elizabeth Farris works. On the surface, the move seems innocent, but he has an ulterior motive. Gabe wants to elicit the aid of the Farris sisters in solving the murder of his family members, and the only way to circumvent their notorious ‘no contact’ policy is to reach out to them in person.

But when Gabe meets Lizzie for the first time, the attraction is instantaneous — and mutual. The deeper they fall into each other, however, the more guilty Gabe feels about his real motivation for getting close. Lizzie wants the real deal, the one, true love — can Gabe ever offer her the future she deserves if he keeps holding on so tightly to the past?

Feed Your Reader: Military RomSus for Dog Lovers

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A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are,  Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

Buy now!

Amanda Knight – Uncovered

Tell us a bit about Situation Critical: How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

I’ve always been involved with supporting our uniformed communities in one way or another – whether paramedics, police, military or other service organisations, and I read many related stories, often. This story came into being when I came across Finnegan’s inspiration, Sarbi, an Australian Special Forces explosion detection dog who went missing in Afghanistan for 14 months and was found! Her story planted a seed for a book, that wouldn’t stay quiet. My canine hero character in Situation Critical, Finnegan, the bomb detection dog (although he had a different name!) started out at the centre of a very short story, one I entered into a competition and finalled! I loved Finnegan, and the idea of a human who was ‘his’ so much, that I wanted to know more, see what happened next, way past the details that were in my short story.

My Eureka moment came when I sat down to craft Nate, and he just jumped off the page. I couldn’t type fast enough to catch all of who he was—his life, his story—onto the page at the pace it was hurtling out of my head. It was the first time I’d had this happen for a character, at that level of intensity—and I wondered if perhaps, just maybe, this story might be special… I couldn’t wait to write it!

Give us a little tease of the relationship between Sergeant Nate Calloway and Captain Beth Harper:

A bit of a different take, I’ll share what I love most about Nate and Beth’s relationship:

  • They’re each other’s protectors: from the moment he realises Beth’s life is in danger, Nate vows to keep her from harm – as she has done, and continues to do for him. She saved him once, and if he falls ill again, he could die – his life is in her hands.
  • Their battles of wit and will: they’re equals, and whether it’s when they’re verbally sparring or in a fight for their lives, each is a match for the other in different ways. They both develop a grudging appreciation for the fact that they challenge each other, and have different strengths, and that when combined they really are something else!
  • They respect each other: They each have a job to do—and the balance of power between them can and must shift, depending on their circumstances. This leads them to trust each other, share and discover sides of themselves they’d not shown to another soul.
  • Their love conquers all: When it seems all is lost, their hearts will find their way back to each other (not a spoiler alert – we know this is a romance, and must have an HEA, right?!).

What drew you to Beth’s qualities as a heroine?

I love to listen to and be among strong, smart women who also have a vulnerable side that isn’t evident at first, but there’s something about them that allows others to feel safe – Beth is that person! I love that she isn’t perfect, but can hold her own amongst her peers (mostly male), but doesn’t see it as a male/female thing, simply a ‘person’ thing to be the best she can be. That she doesn’t let Nate (or anyone) treat her any less than she deserves, no matter how bad things get. She holds Nate accountable for his actions, and also allows him to redeem his mistakes, with his dignity still intact. She’s gutsy without being reckless, and has the courage, the tenacity to do what needs to be done, even when she is terrified. She can say she’s sorry, and admit to her mistakes… I admire her!

What are the qualities of your ideal hero? How does Nate fit into those ideals?

Ideal hero qualities for me… a man strong of mind and body, and who displays honour, integrity and loyalty in action and thoughts – he is a man of his word, knows what he will and won’t stand for, and doesn’t waver, unless it is to protect someone he loves. He has well developed EQ and IQ, and has a non-arrogant self-confidence. He is fiercely protective of those he loves, intensely passionate and if ever he can give his heart (I do love a bit of a tortured hero!) it will be deeply and a one time only thing! My perfect hero also loves a strong, smart woman who makes him want to be the best man he can (even if it talks him a while to realise it!) someone who can push his buttons, make him ask the hard questions of himself, and have him always want to get back to her when they’re apart… above and beyond anyone, and anywhere else.

Nate embodies all of these elements: some we don’t see until near the end of the book! He is deeply committed to what he sees as right and just and will take action, always. He’s somewhat unpredictable, but his moral compass and loyalty to those closest to him is unshakeable. He can be hotheaded, and rude when his emotions are pushed outside his comfort zone, but when Beth’s life is under threat, in part, because of his decisions/actions, he won’t stop until she’s safe. A protector and a warrior – he can soothe her soul when she’s wrapped in his arms. AND the big one, he loves his dog! I am a serious sucker for a fella who loves animals!

How did you begin your romance writing career?

I’ve always written—whether it be poems, blogs, journals or workplace newsletters… I’ve tried to stop—but I can’t NOT write! My romance writing career started when I’d finished a short story, and wanted to ‘learn’ how to craft a page turner, and whether my manuscript had any potential. After googling books, courses and everything in between, I stumbled on Romance Writers of Australia.

I went along to my first conference that same year, and pitched my work to a well-known editor, who’d asked for the first 5000 words of my manuscript prior to the pitch. The book I pitched was loosely in the genre of thriller with romantic elements. The editor told me that they felt I was stifling something in my ‘voice’ and perhaps it was the romance, to let it ‘flow’ in my work and then send it… I went away, and stopped pushing the romance aside (which I’d previously done when those characters screamed at me to include it!) and indeed let it flow… and then I was hooked! Can’t go past a good love story, and now its a part of almost everything I’ve written!

never-give-up (Amanda Knight)

What’s your favourite romance trope?

I do love the redemption trope… can’t go past a good military/protector one either!

What is your process like?

I am a part plotter, part pantser. I used to be an all-out plotter, but found it ended up stifling me creatively. So now, once I have my core idea,and an inkling of my black moment/and or story ending, I spend quite a bit of time ‘listening’ to who my characters are as the initial step, filling in a character bio of sorts (mine is a bit of a combo of the detail in Cherry Adair’s character bible and KM Wieland’s character interview with elements of my own thrown in) and then learning all I can about my characters. I research the specific or unique elements of each of their worlds, so I can see life through their eyes and experiences. Often, I will also write the first couple of chapters when I’m still in this phase, but usually, by the time I’m at chapter four to five-ish, I am fairly well acquainted with my primary characters, and the essential elements of their goals, motivation and conflict.

I work an almost full-time job outside of my writing life, and am mum to three children, so I have to be pretty regimented in committing to my writing time, or it just doesn’t happen. At the very least, no matter what kind of day I’ve had, or how tired I am, I force myself to write 500 words a day, and have one day dedicated to reaching at least a 2k word count, and I aim for 5k per week, at the very least. I find if I miss a few daily sessions, I lose my mojo, and can then go a number of weeks without writing a thing – super dangerous! So have learned I must make that 500 words happen EVERY day!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any quirky hobbies?

My day job and family stuff takes up a very good portion of my non-writing time – however, I do dabble in a couple of different ‘other’ interests when I can! I am a lover of new vintage clothing, and shoes (especially the shoes!) and do spend *ahem, cough* a little bit of time searching new looks, and new spaces and places to check out looks, and purchase said items!

1940s shoes - faves (Amanda Knight)

I am partial to the late 1940s/early 1950s era, and my go-to websites at the moment are ModCloth, Elise Design, Kitten D’Amour and Royal Vintage Shoes. I’m also a bit of a crafter (mostly card making) – although, that’s a bit adhoc these days, and as needed, given the time challenges!

Craft Cupboard (Amanda Knight)

Of course, reading is an absolute on my daily ‘hobby’ list, as are a number of shows that I tend to binge watch when I can (thank goodness for Netflix!) I especially do this when I am stuck in my writing… I find dissecting the characters, and analysing the rhythm of the story in TV shows helps! A few of my more recent faves – Outlander (actually, this is long-time staple go-to for me!), Stranger Things and This Is Us top the list!

So I read in your bio that you have some adorable pets… do they hinder or help you when you write?

My darling, gorgeous Golden Retriever (Bonnie) true to her name has the most joyful spirit, and brings such warmth and calm whenever she’s in the room.

Bonnie blissed out in the sun (Amanda Knight)

When I’m writing, she’ll often curl up (then stretch out!) right beside me. She’s hilarious when I am testing out character dialogue out loud. She’ll raise her head and watch me, with her very expressive eyebrows jiggling in response to my chatter, and an expectant look on her face. It’s like I’m telling her something amazing and wonderful, and she hangs off every word! It usually takes her a moment or two before she realises I’m not actually addressing her, and resumes her relaxed pose, and goes back to snoozing.

Bonnie and Vincent together (Amanda Knight)

 

When I’ve been deep in research mode, discovering the most heart-breaking (or heart-warming) stories, or writing scenes that’ve resulted in a bit of a teary moment (alright, an out loud sob fest!) she’s quick with a nudge to my leg, or her head resting in my lap, calmly letting the tears fall on her head till I make it back to some semblance of normal! There’s lots of her in Nate’s beautiful dog, Finnegan!


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Amanda’s debut novel, Situation Critical, releases on the 5th of April. You can preorder the title from your favourite e-tailer site, and we would love you to leave an honest review either at point-of-sale or Goodreads.

Early reviews:

“Really well developed story …well balanced when it came to the suspense and romance” – Jeri’s Book Attic

“I really liked the storyline and felt the characters were so real and interesting.” – Laurel, Goodreads

“A great romantic suspense” – Tracie, Goodreads


A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are,  Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

Feed Your Readers: Workplace Romance and Rural Suspense

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She might be the biggest star in Australia, but she never forgot the small town she came from, or the man she left behind…


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A collection of full-length novels about what happens after business hours…

Valentine’s Day Sale!

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?

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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)

Yes, please!


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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)

Buy me now!


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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)

Get on my e-reader!


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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)

Gimme gimme gimme!

(please note: Detained is also available at this promotional price on Amazon and iBooks as part of promotional events with those e-tailers!)

Feed Your Reader: A Rural Romance and some Hot Lawyers

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The final book in the stunning Darkhaven trilogy about secrets, lies, and love conquering all.


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From critically acclaimed author Lee Christine comes three tense, taut stories where top lawyers and bad boys clash, but the one thing they can’t dispute is attraction…

The Story of my Book: Blue Steal

by Marnie St Clair

I came to write Blue Steal because it was the kind of book I wanted to read.

First and foremost, I’m a romance reader, but I do love mystery. I spent one summer as a teenager on a three-month Agatha Christie binge. I swear I literally barely raised my head from the pages all summer long. But I do remember thinking, if only there were more kissing …

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And I am not alone. Romance readers tend to read widely, and one of their favourite other genres is mystery.1 Two fantastic genres – so why choose? Let’s throw them both in the pot. Hence, romantic mystery (or mystery romance) Blue Steal.

Romantic mystery is like romantic suspense’s older, quieter sister. They’re similar, but distinct genres. I read somewhere2 that suspense appeals to the heart, while mystery appeals to the head—in suspense, the bad guy is often a known quantity, and people read it for the heart-pumping constant threat of danger; on the other hand, people read mysteries to pit their wits against the investigator (or the author!), trying to solve the mystery before the big reveal. Of course, there’s overlap—protagonists in suspense novels often have some figuring out to do, while those in mysteries are often in danger at some point or another.

The hero of Blue Steal is private investigator Jack Tierney. I love books with private detectives – they’re halfway between the grittier, dutiful police procedurals and the more home-spun feel of the unwitting amateur detective cozies. PIs are fun to work with – they’ve got training and skills, some connections and experience, but not all the red tape and bureaucracy associated with the police force. Blue Steal is the first in a series of books featuring the detectives of de Crespigny Investigations. I had stacks of fun thinking up all the different personalities and detective styles. Jack is a loose cannon, wild card of a detective, who operates mostly by seeing patterns and trusting his gut. It works for him—he has a 100% success rate he has no intention of compromising.

But he hasn’t met my heroine Selina yet!

I hope you enjoy Blue Steal. I wanted it to be fun and fast-paced. I wanted it to have an atmospheric trapped-in-a-crumbling-hotel setting. I wanted it to have a fast-thinking, fast-talking heroine and a delicious, unorthodox hero. I hope I succeeded!

1 There are statistics somewhere to support this claim.

2 Oh yes, here comes another unsubstantiated claim.


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A witty, sexy and suspenseful story about a stolen necklace, a doomed hotel, and two people determined to get their hands on the jewels—at any cost.

Selina Migliore is smart and streetwise—with an ill sister and an elderly grandmother relying on her, she has to be. When fate hands her a chance to change her life, she’s determined to seize it. All she has to do is retrieve a long-lost sapphire necklace before the Empire Hotel is blown to smithereens. Nothing’s going to get in her way…

…except Jack Tierney, PI, who’s also on the hunt for the stolen jewellery. Jack is amused by his clashes with the pushy brunette, but as he continues to bump into Selina at strange times and in odd places, he starts to question who she is and what she’s doing at the Empire.

The pressure cooker really heats up when a new player enters the scene and it becomes apparent that Jack’s not the only one keeping an eye on Selina…