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 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 …
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.
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…
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.
Lee Christine was one of Escape’s launch authors with her debut novel, In Safe Hands.
So we asked Lee a few questions about it.
What is the title of your book?
A Dangerous Arrangement
What did you do when you found out you were nominated?
I received a phone call from an RWA member after dinner. I was sitting down, thank goodness. My initial thought was that something must have gone wrong with my conference registration. I was totally shocked when she told me ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ was in the final of the R*by in the romantic elements category. I remember saying something like ‘thank you so much for calling, that’s so cool. I can’t believe it’. I remember her laughing at my surprise and congratulating me. After the call ended, I told my husband and messaged my children. I had one of those 4 packs of individual bottles of champagne in the fridge so we cracked a couple of those. That was the best I could do as nothing else was cold. The excitement lasted a couple of days and I still get excited when I think about it now. It’s not every day you final in the R*by, and while I’m sure most authors don’t write novels with the aim of finaling or winning awards, it’s lovely to know there are people out there who enjoyed your work.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written five books in total. My ‘In Safe’ Sydney-set legal series is comprised of three romantic suspense novels with more to come in the future. ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ which is another romantic suspense also with more novels to come, and a small town Australian rural romance, ‘Shadows of the Heart’, which has a touch of suspense and is part of a thirteen books series written by members of my writing group.
Tell us a little more about ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’
A Dangerous Arrangement is mostly set in Italy. It has an Australian hero, a naval architect who builds super yachts for the rich and famous, and an American heroine, a classical violinist living and working in Australia. The two main characters are linked by the heroine’s flatmate, a man who works at my hero’s company headquarters. The inciting incident is a cyber-attack on my hero’s company. The files containing his latest yacht designs are frozen and a ransom is demanded. At the beginning of the book the hero has to find out if Marina is involved in bringing his company to its knees.
What is your favourite scene in the book?
Apart from the reconciliation in the final chapter, Marina’s scene with her father and sister in her home town of Boston. I love exploring sibling relationships in families, from the birth order, which can affect outcomes for children, along with the parent/child relationships. In romance novels, we often read about the disadvantaged sibling, the one who wasn’t favoured and the scars that result from those feelings of inadequacy. Often the character arc is about overcoming and rising above those inadequacies.
In ‘A Dangerous Arrangement’ I wanted to explore what happens when the hero/heroine is the talented one and how that affects their relationships with their less accomplished siblings. Also, how the burden of expectation and of being ‘the special one’ affects them personally? In Marina’s case, she feels guilty that the family’s money was siphoned into expensive lessons to further her talent often at the expense of her siblings’ sporting pursuits which didn’t rate as highly on the ‘Needs’ list as her violin lessons. She also feels the weight of having to succeed because of the sacrifices made by her parents. To fail, or not to make the most of every opportunity, would be a disservice to her parents.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
Definitely the nautical research, though I was greatly assisted by a very knowledgeable fellow in that area. The musical knowledge came naturally as I studied saxophone at the Newcastle Conservatorium for fourteen years.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
I hope the book leaves them with a feeling of optimism and a belief that no matter how insurmountable the obstacles appear to be, that they can be overcome – provided there’s a willingness on both sides and lots of open and honest communication.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing a 90,000-100,000 word mystery/thriller with romantic elements. It begins in Tokyo then moves to the mountains of Vermont. I usually write around 65,000 to 72,000 words but this is an ambitious story and it will require the extra words. After that it’s another Dangerous Arrangement novel and another In Safe novel. I also have a romantic comedy plotted and I’m dying to write that one.
What would you tell people who are looking to read your books for the first time?
The tag on my website says, A potent cocktail of love, danger and high stakes suspense. My books have been described as entertaining reads with lots of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the end. They are mostly urban set and have quite a meaty crime/mystery/suspense story that occurs along with the romance.
And finally, what are you planning on wearing to the awards ceremony?
I’m wearing a navy blue vintage style dress with beading on it. It’s quite dark, so I may need to accessorise with silver shoes and blingy earrings.
Kicking off a brand new romantic suspense series from Lee Christine is A Dangerous Arrangement: a violinist with a secret, a billionaire with a problem and a race against time set on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
by Anna Clifton
In Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest, Gwendolen quips, ‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.’
I love this line. It reminds me that real life can be an extraordinary experience. And I often need this reminder when I’m hyperventilating over whether the contemporary romance story I’m writing might be getting a little bit too ‘extraordinary’ for belief.
Writers within the contemporary romance genre know they have a narrower licence for diving into extraordinary possibilities than those in the paranormal, historical and suspense genres. But the really tricky part for contemporary authors can be knowing exactly when a plot or a character’s situation is falling beyond the parameters of possibility and toppling into awkward implausibility. One solution for keeping stories out of the realm of implausibility reflects the title of this blog series, The Story of My Book: if the story you’re writing is to feel real, it helps to have a real story behind it.
At some stage I must have recognised this fact as each of my books was deliberately drawn from a real story inspiring it. But it’s Sara’s story in Copping It Sweet that comes from a particularly bittersweet story in my own life.
When I was in primary school I had a close buddy. I’ll call her Sally for the purposes of this post. Sally was kind and fiercely loyal, mischievous to the point of personal foolhardiness and outrageously funny. She also seemed to cherish our friendship in a way that I see now was beyond her years. We spent countless weekends and holidays together, the original odd couple with her hyperactive ‘Rebel Wilson’ personality an unlikely match for my quieter one. But Sally had a family secret she didn’t tell anyone, not even me.
To the outside world—at parent-teacher meetings, on the sidelines of netball courts, at birthday parties—Sally’s family looked like a regular family. But behind the respectable veneer, I would later discover, Sally’s father was a criminal underworld figure—in short, an all-round thug. I have no doubt at all that Sally had a good sense of what he was up to.
As so often happens, Sally moved away at the end of primary school and we lost touch. Something tells me though that despite her father’s career choice, Sally would have risen above that situation if anyone could.
Staggeringly, as the Australian TV series Underbelly portrayed, underworld figures have always moved seamlessly in and out of the general community, adopting guises of law-abiding normality as Sally’s father did. Copping It Sweet is a story drawn directly from this extraordinary reality. At eighteen, my protagonist, Sara, unwittingly falls for and marries the charming Anthony Dennis without any clue about his underworld celebrity. By the time Sara’s path crosses with Detective Sergeant Cooper Halligan’s ten years later she’s been estranged from Anthony a long time. But Anthony has never accepted the end of his relationship with Sara and controls her from a distance the only way he can—through stalking and intimidation.
In contrast, Cooper’s family life is about as ‘normal’ as it could be—a foil for Sara’s predicament as she hides her post-marriage secrets from them as well as from her estranged husband. When Cooper is finally compelled by his boss to investigate Sara’s relationship with Anthony Dennis, the closer he approaches the truth the harder it is to keep his distance from her.
Copping It Sweet, inspired by Sally, is not only a story about the transformative powers of love and acceptance but about keeping your heart open to the possibilities offered by hope, wherever and whenever they may be found.
To find out her secrets he’s willing to risk everything — including his heart.
Continuing our series of posts by ARRA nominees: Kendall Talbot has been nominated for three ARRA Awards: Favourite Continuing Romance Series, Favourite Romantic Suspense and Strongest Heroine.
Being a finalist in three categories in the ARRA awards for my Treasured series of books is a dream come true. Treasured Secrets and Treasured Lies were a delight to write because they revolve around my three favourite passions: travel, food and romance. I’m just so grateful that my readers love my characters and this action-packed adventure as much as I do.
There were two instances that inspired my Treasured series. The first came from a friend of mine who was dating a guy who wore an unusual necklace. Whenever she asked him about its significance he refused to elaborate on it. And he never took it off…not even when she told him that it nearly knocked her teeth out when they had sex. Of course she became obsessed about it and eventually, after eight months, he told her it belonged to his previous girlfriend who had died. Not long afterwards they broke up. My character in Treasured Secrets, Archer, wears an unusual gold pendant around his neck that he too refuses to talk about or take off. The story behind the necklace is central to the entire treasure-hunt theme that drives this trilogy.
The second inspiration behind this trilogy came from my 20th-anniversary holiday to Tuscany with my husband. Florence is a treasure trove of history and architecture, bustling with tourists and little cafés eager to serve you bread and wine within seconds of you finding a table to sit at. My husband and I went on a couple of city tours and one such tour took us to the Church of St Apostoli, a small insignificant church compared to many other magnificent churches dotted throughout Florence. Inside the church, inlaid in the mosaic floor tiles, was an oval pattern. Our tour guide told us it was the trap door where they tossed the bodies during the 13th-century plague that killed 50 million people in Europe. My mind went crazy thinking about entire families being decimated by that horrible disease. Then I began to wonder what happened to all their precious things they left behind. On the plane flight home, I began plotting Treasured Secrets.
I have just put the finishing touches to book three in this series. Treasured Dreams will be released in April this year. These three books were a wonderful writing journey and it’s a delight to know that my readers are enjoying them too.
From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled series with sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.
Releasing 5 January
Elizabeth Dunk kicks off a brand-new series drawing inspiration from some of the greatest love stories in history. Opposites attract—but that doesn’t mean the road to happy-ever-after runs smooth …
Casey Cooper left her husband and the small town of Milpinyani Springs in her dust a year ago, vowing never to return. But a favour to a friend finds her back in town—and back in her husband’s garage, where he offers her a proposition too sexy to refuse. A naked Joel has always been the one thing Casey can’t resist—but can her heart handle the heat?
She dazzled with Secrets of Whitewater Creek, now Sarah Barrie kicks off a brand-new trilogy about small towns, secrets, and the love that saves lives.