May 1, 2016

Sunday smooch with Louisa George

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Louisa George, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Pam Swain!

Pam, can you please email Barbara DeLeo -  barb (at) barbaradeleo (dot) com (dot) to receive your copy of The Bouquet List!

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Louisa George's new medical romance, Tempted By Hollywood’s Top Doc

Back cover blurb:
Behind the scenes… 
Top-of-his-game neurosurgeon Dr. Jake Lewis has thrown himself into work in a bid to forget the past. Now, used to high-octane medical emergencies, he's furious to be temporarily assigned to pander to LA's biggest diva! 
Yet when he meets headstrong assistant-to-the-stars Lola Bennett, their instant chemistry makes his new job much more tempting! He's working with her on set in the sultry Bahamas, and it's just a matter of time before that chemistry reaches boiling point…

Kiss Scene:-  Set up: Lola Bennett is the PA to one of the most famous and beautiful actresses in the world. Consequently, she’s a little suspicious of people wanting to get close to little old Lola instead of her amazing boss.

Jake caught her up and pulled her to a complete halt. ‘What…? You think…? Me? With Cameron? Are you for real?’
‘It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened to me.’
‘Hell, no. You’ve totally got this upside down. Not at all. Not at all…Has that happened before? A guy has taken you out so you could introduce him to Cameron?’
‘Yep. One too many times.’ Lola closed her eyes briefly at the memory, the sharp sting of betrayal. How gullible she’d been…and was continuing to be. Would she never learn? ‘But she is very beautiful and rich and famous and on another level. Why wouldn’t anyone be attracted to her?’
Conversely, then, why would anyone be interested in Lola?
Jake’s jaw stiffened, his eyes blazing in the streetlight, his grip on her arm firm. ‘I am not attracted to Cameron Fontaine.’
‘Then you must be blind.’
Strangely, out of nowhere a smile formed on his lips. ‘Oh, no, my vision is perfect.’
‘Then you must be gay.’ Please, for the love of all women, including Cameron Fontaine if absolutely necessary, do not be gay.
‘No way.’ He stepped closer, so she could see his chest rising and falling, could feel the warmth of his breath on her skin. Could smell the most exquisite scent of man and medicine and spice.
‘Then what…?’
‘Then this.’ And he was suddenly too close. Not close enough. He pulled her to face him and his fingertips lifted her chin. ‘This, Lola.’
His mouth pressed against hers, gently at first, and her body responded in a flush of heat that pooled deep in her core. Every part of her craved him, craved to touch him, to kiss him, to feel him against her.
Initial instinct told her that she shouldn’t kiss him back, but something deeper, something intense had her opening her mouth and tasting him. And he tasted good. So good. She felt as inquisitive as the doomed teenagers stepping into the dark basement, and as filled with adrenalin. Knowing, like them, she was headed to disaster but doing it anyway.
She wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer as his tongue slid past her lips, stoking the furnace that had lit inside her. She moaned at the pleasure of him filling her mouth, of the curling clench in her gut, at the sensations that ran up and down her spine, just being in his arms.
Leaning her against her car door, his hands cupped her face and he pressed harder against her, kissing her open-mouthed and wet and hungry. She could feel how much he wanted her. How much he wanted something from her.
And like listening to an old-fashioned vinyl record scratching to a stop, she felt a visceral catch as her body stiffened. She put her hands on his chest and pushed a little away from him. ‘Stop. No. This…this isn’t…’
‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ But he didn’t let her go as he hauled in deep ragged breaths, kissed the top of her head and stayed close.
‘I can’t stop thinking about Cameron and there are too many questions racing in my head. Too many reasons not to do this. Please, I think you should just go.’
‘Lola, believe me, this is not about Cameron. She is the furthest thing from my mind. I don’t want to go. I want to stay right here, doing this.’

Louisa is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter!  So her question to you is:

Who would play you in the movie of your life- and why?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Kate Hardy's Holiday With The Best Man will be posted!

Apr 29, 2016

Pooch Bling!

Last night I ordered a new "going out" collar for Princess Ava. I feel it's important to have an around the house collar for everyday use, plus something pretty for special occasions. Billie already has one - as she's modelling in the picture below, but she has a lovely black coat that goes with just about anything. 

Ava has red fawn fur, which is more difficult to match, but I've eventually decided on a pretty blue feathers design (which also means both girls will have blue going out collars, which is kind of cute). 

Both collars from the awesome Collars By Christine:

But there were so many other pretty collars that I think I'll need to let the girls have a few each. Which got me to thinking about other pooch accessories. Both girls have winter coats:

And I may have been tempted to put scarves on them in the past. They just have such lovely long necks!

And Ava had painted nails when she first arrived, courtesy of her foster mother. I've bought more pink for her, and a lovely bottle of purple for Billie, but haven't got around to putting them on yet. In fact, I even have a scene in The Finn Factor where the characters paint the nails of the border collie, Harvey.

But this all makes me think about how much I'm paying attention to their accessories, when I hadn't given it much thought with all of my previous pooches. Perhaps the girls have a touch of glamour that lends itself to accessorizing? Or maybe the world is changing - pretty collars like the ones at the top of the post were hard to find 10 or 15 years ago.

What about you? Have you ever put a particularly nice collar on your pooch or kitty? Bought them accessories? Maybe a lovely coat? What about painting their nails? Please tell me I'm not alone in this!

Apr 27, 2016

Celebrating with ghosts

“Were you scared?”

That’s the first thing people asked me when I told them where my husband and I spent our wedding anniversary night last week. (Twenty-seven years!)

At the last minute, we booked to stay the night at the hotel on the site of the old Quarantine Station North Head near Manly in Sydney. It’s a magnificent setting, right on the harbour in the middle of a National Park.

What was once a Quarantine Station is now a quirky, lovely hotel in Sydney

 The Quarantine Station was established in the 1830s to prevent diseases such as typhus, plague and smallpox from reaching the main settlement of Sydney. Immigrant ships were stopped and passengers kept in strict quarantine in what, in effect, was a prison. The idyllic setting would have been cold comfort to the internees, many of whom never left there as they died from the disease they had contracted on the long journey from the Northern Hemisphere.

Fabulous views from the old Quarantine Station - the Manly ferries
pass each other on their way between Sydney and Manly 
Over the years the Quarantine Station became like a town in itself—divided into first, second and third class accommodation to reflect the status of the ship’s passengers. It operated right up until the 1980s.

There are three cemeteries on the grounds. The buildings are reputed to be haunted by the ghosts of the poor souls who never left there to start their new lives in Sydney. Ghost tours have operated there for years.

Victorian splendour in the former First Class Passengers lounge - now a guest lounge

So were we scared? Not at all. The place has a sad history but is a beautiful part of Sydney’s heritage. The Q Station Hotel has taken over the historic buildings and everything has been done within strict heritage guidelines. Quirky and interesting it was a fabulous place to stay.

You don’t have to stay at the hotel to visit as it’s all part of a National Park. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney. You can get there by road or by ferry.

In my March release Harlequin Romance Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride, Gemma and Tristan approach the area by boat and swim on the adjoining beach. It really is a gorgeous part of Sydney.

Have you ever stayed or visited anywhere with a creepy history? Or felt something scary in a historical place? Or like me, didn’t sense a thing! Please comment—I’d love to hear about it!

Apr 26, 2016

London Calling

Whoever said when a man is tired of London he is tired of life sure knew what he was talking about! It's a city I just keep coming back to. And I'm here again. So what does one do in London when all the major tourist spots have been ticked off? 

Have lunch at The Shard with fabulous editor.  

Eat a Chelsea bun (in fact consume a butt load - literally - of carbs)  Stop at every pub you can find! 

And indulge in some High Tea with fabulous English authors. The lovely Kate Hardy corralled us all and nine of us had tea at a posh hotel. RITA nominee Heidi Rice, Fiona Harper, Annie Claydon, Annie O'Neill, Caroline Anderson, Jennifer Taylor, Lucy King and, of course, Kate and I. It was particularly fabulous to meet up with Caroline and Jennifer who were my go-to medical authors when I was exploring the genre. And I'm still loving their books over a decade later! 


Tomorrow we head to Rome but I'll be back London. I'll always be back! xxxx

Apr 24, 2016

Sunday Smooch from The Bouquet List - Barbara DeLeo

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from The Bouquet List by Barbara DeLeo, but first ... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Diana Tidlund.

Diana, can you please contact Donna Alward - Donna (at) donnaalward(dot) com to receive your copy of The Cowboy's Convenient Bride

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Bouquet List by Barbara DeLeo

He's #5 on her Bouquet List. Tall, dark...and completely forbidden.

After a too-close call with death, Yasmin Katsalos is checking some things off her Bouquet List—things to do after you thought you were going to die. Fun fashion choices? Check. Purple hair and a cute diamond nose stud? Check, check. Now she's on to item #5: a flirty fling with a man who's tall, dark, rich...and totally out of her league.
And restaurateur Lane Griffiths definitely fits the bill.

Lane isn't just out of Yasmin's league. He's also her brother's best friend and therefore off-limits. Now that they're working together on renovations for her family's wedding hall, however, Yasmin has plenty of opportunities to bewitch, bother, and boldly seduce. He's reserved. She's relaxed. The only thing they share is a spark of attraction that's too strong to resist. But is Lane just another item on her bouquet list... or has Yasmin found something on her list that will last?

Scene set-up

Lane and Yasmin are visiting a fabric warehouse to choose curtain fabric for the renovation of the restaurant. Yasmin has her sights firmly set on Lane fulfilling one of her dreams on her bouquet list while Lane has been fighting the urge to get closer to his best friends little sister.


For the next fifteen minutes, they walked through the maze of towering fabric bolts, stopping every time Yasmin saw something that took her fancy—a canary yellow and magenta stripe, a dizzying pattern of French botanicals with a blue background. At each one she’d stop and stroke it, turning puppy-dog eyes to Lane. Finally they came to an area surrounded by every shade of gold imaginable.

“Ohhhhhh.” That noise of pleasure at the back of her throat again. “Lane, this is beautiful,” she said and she picked up the corner of fabric. “Look how rich it is. It’s textured and a little bit shimmery.” She played with the weight of it in her hand. “And I think it would fall beautifully.” She lifted it to her face and breathed. “And it smells all fresh and linen-y.”

“Let’s hope that’s the closest it gets to anyone’s nose.” He stepped closer and rubbed a piece between his fingers. “Feels good. Let’s take a look at the price tag.”

Beside him, she stretched up on tiptoe as he brought the tag closer.“Thirty dollars per yard. Not too bad. I think we might have found what we’re looking for.”

“Oh my God, you’re a genius!” She reached an arm around his shoulders and when he turned back to look at her, they both froze.

He gazed down into her warm brown eyes and was sucker punched by the excitement and joy he found there. This was about so much more than fabric and decorating to her. This was about self-expression and wearing her heart on her sleeve, exactly the things that made him feel as though he was in unchartered territory. He was so logical and sensible and Yasmin was...not. But he didn’t care. In this instant he wanted to get as close to her as he could; he wanted some part of her zest for life and her crazy, naive excitement to brush off on him.

From somewhere in her handbag came the sound of her mindfulness bell. It was a call to the moment, a signal to forget about the past, to not worry about the future. Maybe it was even a call for him to let go of everything and lose himself in her.

Before he could decide, she pulled his head down to hers and kissed him. Her lips were cool and moist, her breathing rapid, and when she made that noise at the back of her throat again, he knew he couldn’t pull away. He backed her into the stack of fabric rolls opposite, all the while kissing her mouth.

A tide of sensations overpowered him. The clean, freshly laundered scent of the fabrics surrounding them, the sound of her body brushing up against the silk roll behind her, and the dazed look on her face when he finally pulled his lips from hers was priceless.

“Lane,” she whispered. “I don’t want you to get in trouble.” Her brown eyes were wide, her breathing rapid. 

“I’m living in the moment,” he said and brushed his hand down the soft skin of her cheek. He didn’t want to talk or think, he just wanted to taste those dusky lips, so he leaned in and kissed her again. This time she hooked both hands around his neck and kissed him deeper, and a shudder ripped through his body. Cupping her face in his hands, he savored the sweet taste of her, wanting more—

“I do hope you realize that any damage to the fabrics
will be charged in full.” They sprang apart, and the shop assistant was looking at them disapprovingly over the top of her glasses. “Body oils can leave permanent stains on such fine material.” 

For a chance to win a copy of The Bouquet List, tell us what would be top of your "Bouquet List" - a list of things to do to celebrate being alive!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Tempted by Hollywood's Top Doc by Louisa George will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Apr 22, 2016

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened...

2016 has been a sad year for those of us who love British comedy with the deaths of Ronnie Corbett and Victoria Wood ...these people framed for me what 'funny' was as I grew up; they helped me through some dark times and made my world a better place.

You always knew they would make you feel better, so I want salute their memories and remind us of their's a few laughs and a thank you to them for making my life a whole lot better with them in it.

Victoria Wood and Alan Rickman (who also died this year....*sigh*) It's 8 minutes long so sit back and enjoy.... some fun at the romance world's expense...

My most favourite Victoria Wood song...ever!

The Two sketch ever...

Any other funny sketches or series/books you turn to when you're feeling down? Who makes you laugh? Who are the best comedians at the moment?

Apr 20, 2016

Foreign Language Challenges - Annie West

Well, guess where I am as you're reading this? It's the first day of the inaugural Festival du Roman Feminin in Paris - a two day festival designed especially for readers of romance!
That means I may be a bit tardy dropping by the LoveCats blog. By the look of the marvellous program, I'm going to be very busy for the next couple of days, before moving on to Berlin for the LoveLetter Convention, again just for romance readers. Talk about a thrilling week! To share the thrill I'm including a couple of location shots you might enjoy - not from this year's Festival but from a previous visit to Paris (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have more than one visit here).
These festivals also mean I'm going to be very, very challenged. You see, I'm not one of the world's better linguists and I didn't learn a second language at school. They say if you start learning early it stays with you longer, don't they? Well, I was a late starter, which means I'm going to be struggling. You see, I have no French. I can say hello and thank you. I can order a glass of wine or a bottle of water but apart from that? Sigh.
Now, fortunately these festivals are beautifully organised so that even linguistically challenged authors like me can speak in English and be understood, but it does make me feel guilty that I can't say far more in the local language. I had the best intentions to do a crash course in French and to brush up my very little amount of German before leaving. Sadly some family issues took up my time and I'll be lucky to arrive with a properly packed bag.
I'll be trying to learn a little on the plane but given my ability to make terrible mistakes, it's a worry that I've left it so late. I've embarrassed myself many times trying to speak another language. Like the time I walked into a shop and asked, quite confidently I might add, to buy a kiss instead of a cushion. You can imagine how that went down!
So now I'm girding my loins to utter a few words of French and then German and keeping my fingers crossed I don't say anything too appalling.
How about you? Are you great with second, third or even fourth languages? Is there one you love or one you'd love to master? Or are you like me, struggling with a smile and lots of sign language?