Oct 31, 2011
Oct 29, 2011
Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!
Wary of Lysander’s scandalous reputation, Alyssa tries to keep her distance, but Lysander draws her like a moth to a flame.
Lysander is fighting a battle between public duty and private desire but Lysander is determined to make Alyssa a royal offer she won’t refuse…
As she softened beneath his hands Lysander’s kiss became fiercely possessive. His hand slid to bottom, kneading it until the fabric of her robe reefed up and he made contact with her warm, yielding skin. It was a defining moment. As he released her mouth to kiss the gentle curve of her neck she gasped and braced her hands against his shoulders.
Weight of the Crown is set in the fictional country of Rosara. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
You can buy Weight of the Crown from Amazon, Amazon UK, Mills & Boon or Mills and Boon Aust. You can find Christina at: her website, twitter, Facebook, her blog or Tumbler.
Oct 28, 2011
Now as you probably all know, I live in Christchurch and recently I’ve been really quiet on the blog (and everywhere in Internetville) as we’ve been ‘between homes’ for a while and working out some issues in our shattered city. And I appreciate how fortunate my family and I have really been compared to so many others – my heart just aches for those in Turkey currently dealing with that horrendous quake there and the utter devastation.
For me, recent weeks have really been a time for stopping and appreciating the small things in our lives and city. In the face of much destruction and loss, we’ve needed to look for little bits of lovely.
|Daffodil picture by Graeme Weatherston|
And let me tell you, nothing lifted my heart more than a few weeks ago when early Spring hit and all the daffodils flowered – they’d been through earthquakes, liquefaction, snow and floods – and still they grew – en mass, tall and beautiful.
And this weekend we finally moved back into our own home. We’ve been incredibly fortunate in that our house is pretty okay. And it’s wonderful to come back to these old wooden walls – I brought four babies home from the hospital to this house. It has such amazing memories associated with it, and we’re so lucky and thrilled to be back.
We have a teeny tiny creek that crosses the front of our section. On the ‘far side’, across the stepping stones, is a mini-bushland that at the moment is completely overgrown and in the high winds the other night half a tree fell right through the middle of it! So it REALLY needs a tidy. Out the back we grow veggies – I’ve generally had a preference for ‘useful’ plants – but inspired by those little bits of lovely, I’ve been ‘pretty garden plotting’ for the front. And this is where my fancy for black and white comes in.
White gardens are nothing new – I think it was the inimitable Vita Sackville West who created one of the most famous white gardens – check out the link here – don’t you just adore the Elizabethan tower? What a wonderful writing room!
But I really am intrigued by the impossible in nature – the black flower! The idea of black flowers may be a touch Gothic – but I also think they’re wonderfully romantic and dramatic! And of course, there’s really no such thing – they’re actually very deep, deep purple. It’s the pursuit of impossible perfection! Kind of like writing itself– given we strive to make words perfect and of course that can pretty much be impossible... fortunately so much of the pleasure is in the pursuit itself…
I also like this little viola – Zorro – and I’ve some grasses and near black sweet peas. Next bulb planting time I’ll put in some tulips. I think some of my family think I’m a little crazy to want only black and white flowers in that particular part of the garden, but to me it makes perfect sense!
My second ever story for Mills & Boon (His Mistress by Arrangement) featured an artist who loved flowers and in the story she was illustrating a book about ‘floriography’ – the language of flowers – the meanings of some flowers were pretty relevant in some scenes! But I’m not sure how the Victorians would have defined black petunias!
Anyway – are you a flowers person or a growing herbs/veggies person? Do you like to keep fresh blooms in a vase or are you the type who forgets to put the old ones in the compost and ends up with a shrivelled sort of science experiment?!
What little bits of lovely are you inspired by?!
p.s. I did think there was the most gorgeous display of black on white on Sunday night when the magnificent All Blacks beat the white clad French to win the Rugby World Cup – fabulous! ;)
Oct 26, 2011
Hello Christina and welcome to Lovecats!
Let us know which heroine you'd choose to be for a week or feel free to ask Christina a question and be in to win a copy of her fabulous new book.
Oct 24, 2011
|BOCSTicketing.com.au - Davies back onstage in Aus in December|
I know..! I didn’t expect it either.
It’s a strange kind of mix between a cognitive appreciation for his skill as a comedian and his low-key smarts, and visceral responsiveness to his crack-a-beer-with-the-front-row mateyness and his adorable self-deprecating tendencies.
The triple- (quadruple-) threat: intelligence, proficiency, accessibility, modesty.
Oct 22, 2011
Today we have a retro smooch from His Christmas Angel by Michelle Douglas, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is:
Congratulations, Kaelee! Can you please contact Zana at:
zana (at) zanabell (dot) com, and she'll send you a copy of A Risk Worth Taking.
And now for today's Retro Sunday Smooch from His Christmas Angel by Michelle Douglas ...
Home For Christmas…
Once Sol Adams and Cassie Campbell had been inseparable, drawn to each other when times were tough. Cassie has spent the last ten years trying to move on from her life back then, but now Sol is home for Christmas, more gorgeous than ever, and she can’t avoid him—or her memories…
His Bride For New Year?
Sol can see Cassie’s changed—she’s now a widow, a woman who tirelessly cares for others. But he knows her too well—he can see the hurt and yearning behind her cheerful smile. Can he get to the bottom of her troubled heart and make this Christmas angel his much-loved wife?
He reached across and laid a finger against her lips. ‘You’ve already given me more than enough, Cassie. You’ve helped ease the way between Alec and I. You’ve brought us more than trifle and fruitcake today. You’ve brought us Christmas.’
‘That’s nothing more than being a friend.’
He eyed her for a moment then grinned that crooked half-grin. ‘Then I guess you could give me a Christmas kiss, as one friend to another, and we’ll call it even.’
As one friend to another? His eyes held hers and she knew she couldn’t refuse. Bracing her hands on his knees, she leant across and pressed her lips to his. A sigh breathed out of her as his scent engulfed her. Her lips clung to his for a fraction longer than they should have, then she pulled back and sat, hands demurely folded in her lap. ‘Merry Christmas, Sol.’
‘You just kissed me, Cassie.’
The obviousness of that made her grin. ‘Yes, I did.’
She gasped when he picked her up and set her in his lap. One of his arms went around her shoulders; his other hand gripped her chin. ‘I can kiss you now.’
Her throat closed over at the look in his eyes.
‘I told you I wouldn’t kiss you until you kissed me first.’
But she hadn’t kissed him like that! Not romantically. Not—
‘And I’m going to kiss you, Cassie. Like I should’ve kissed you ten years ago.’
His lips descended to hers—not quickly, not slowly, but with determination. She watched, frozen, seconds stretching into something beyond time. Struggling didn’t enter her head. All her limbs turned to liquid in that half-second before contact then his lips claimed hers.
They weren’t tentative and they weren’t tender. They were forceful and demanding. They didn’t hurt her, but they drank from her deeply, as if they needed whatever she could give. And as if they had no intention of ever stopping.
Cassie didn’t have the strength to pull back. She didn’t even have the thought as sensation pounded through her. He demanded and she gave. She could only do as his lips, his hands, his tongue bade her.
She was putty, she was helpless, and she gave and gave. Opening her lips as his tongue demanded, opening herself as he demanded, and he drank and drank until he reached her very soul, and there was nothing but her and her soul to give, and he kept drinking until a moan wrenched out of her, dredged up from some place so deep she thought she’d drown.
Only then did he lift his lips, and she dragged in great gulps of air. The darkness, the fierceness of his eyes held her still.
‘I’m not going to apologise for that,’ he growled, hoisting her in his arms so she sat rather than lay in his lap. ‘And I’m going to kiss you again, Cassie Campbell.’
He didn’t give her time to respond. Clasping her face in both his hands his pulled her lips against his in a hard kiss that had the blood stampeding through her veins. It spoke of the frustration of a long wait and the exhilaration now. Again Cassie felt powerless against it, swept along by his hunger.
Then in the blink of an eye it changed. Lips and hands gentled and teased as kisses were pressed to the corners of her mouth, to her eyelids. Fingers raised gooseflesh on her arms as they trailed a path down her throat and along her collarbone. Kisses that played and asked her to play, kisses that slowly created a heat and need deep inside of her until she’d thought she’d die if they didn’t deepen and give her what she needed.
But they evaded all her attempts until, with a groan, she straddled Sol’s lap and with both of her hands held his head still and met his lips fully with her hunger. For one electrified minute he stilled beneath her, then his arms crushed her to him as he matched her hunger. Her last rational thought before her mind fogged over was—I am home.
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Weight of the Crown by Christina Hollis will be posted!
Oct 20, 2011
Reading: all the free Naughty Nooners on my new Kindle.
Watching: The rain clouds coming over.
Listening to: My daughters DVD (the Saddle Club)
Making me Smile: upcoming release day for Red-Hot Lover.
Well it’s been a great run with the wonderful lovecat girls, but it’s time for me to say goodbye to this leg of my journey since my career is (for the moment at least) veering away from harlequin and category books to my erotica works with the wonderful Ellora’s Cave.
I’ve met some truly inspirational authors with the ‘cats’ as well as some wonderful people through their commenting on the blog and/or following us. And to them I say a heartfelt ‘thank you’.
I’m not lying when I say romance authors are the most amazing, sharing and caring people in the world! And yes, I’m going to miss being here *but* obviously family is my priority, especially with my eldest daughter needing a little extra attention and care right now =)
I will still be writing, that’s almost as important to me as breathing at times *g* and I’ll still be posting on my own blog: melteshco.blogspot.com as often as I can—and of course visiting the lovecats blog!
I won't be gotten rid of that easily lol!!! And I really do think any new author invited to be on the lovecats blog will feel honored to be here. I know I did. =))
Oct 17, 2011
Oct 16, 2011
Today we have a smooch from A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell, but first ...
the winners of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaways are --
Xandra, Catherine and Elle!
Congratulations, Xandra James, who has won of copy of The Return of the Stranger, as well as Catherine and Elle Fynllay, who have each won a book from Kate's backlist. Please contact Kate Walker at Kate (at) kate-walker (dot) com with your address to arrange delivery of your books. Catherine and Elle, visit Kate's website here first to select your backlist book.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell ...
Any red-blooded American male would be all over Cressa Curtis. She's gorgeous, she's wild and clearly she's open for a no-strings-attached adventure. But Adam Walker's been there, done that. And now he wants more for himself. Even with his history, Adam still believes in love and family and marriage and the whole white picket fence—hardly what Cressa is offering.
Besides, everything about the crazy Kiwi spells danger and distraction—two things Adam can't afford to risk with his sights set on medical school. He's only in New Zealand for a month. Surely he can resist Cressa's advances that long…
[Set up: Adam has just arrived in New Zealand from Texas to give his sister, Sass, away at her garden wedding. Though desperately jetlagged, he immediately attracted to the groom’s feisty cousin, Cressa.]
“Will you dance with me?”
Adam put his camera down on one of the tables and swept Cressa into his arms. The band was playing Moon River and it felt good to drift like this on the grass, under the trees and stars, a pliant woman pressed against him. He hadn’t had a chance to catch up with Cressa again before now. He’d only seen her from afar, chatting animatedly to different people. At one stage he saw her in deep conversation with Jake and Sass. They’d glanced several times in his direction and he’d wondered what they’d talked about. Nothing bad, clearly, for here she was, in his arms.
Adam closed his eyes, letting his tired mind relax and his senses take over. He liked her perfume and the softness of her hair. Dreamily he wound it round and between his fingers. It had been a long while since he’d felt such a strong attraction to a woman. He loved the contrast of the cold night air and the warmth of her body which fitted so well against his, and he moved his hand down her back and up under the hem of her jacket, feeling her curves in all the right places. It would be so sweet to melt into the shadows with her and make out. Slow and easy.
Almost trancelike, he danced them to the edge of the dancers, towards the sheltering darkness of trees. He’d been so serious for so long and Cressa reminded him of what he used to be like.
Tonight he was in a foreign land, among strangers. Tomorrow she’d be gone and he’d refocus, get back to his studies. With only his mother around and nothing to distract him, he could ace the exam given the empty weeks stretching ahead.
The thought made him smile as he leaned down to rub his cheek then his lips on the top of her head. That felt so good. She raised her face to his but just as he was about to let his mouth sink down onto her beautiful lips, he saw Cressa’s mother, Deidre, only a few feet away, watching the dancers. The way she wasn’t looking at them as she sipped her wine, let him know she knew exactly what was going on. He swung around with the music so his back was to her but already Deidre had knocked some of that delicious, drugged dreaminess out of him.
Cressa smiled up at him. She looked so full of mischief and wicked promise, he couldn’t help smiling back. One night with her would be amazing.
“I’ve a surprise for you.”
“Yeah?” He could hear the husky, lustful hope in his voice and wondered if she did.
“I hope you won’t mind. Sass said you’d be delighted. Your mum knows about it and she says that it’ll be wonderful.”
Suspicion replaced lust. “Really?”
His instincts had spotted danger but his mind couldn’t seem to keep up. “What?”
“Sass has invited me to stay here. Now I’ll be around to show you the country. Won’t that be fun?”
Alarm bells going off in his head, Adam jerked backwards, tripped over the root of a tree and stumbled, knocking the glass of red wine out of Deidre’s hand and all down her cream suit.
Zana is giving away a copy of the Australian edition 2-in-1 with Abby Gaines Her Best Friend's Wedding to two lucky commenters today!
Come back next Sunday, when the winners of today's giveaways will be announced -- and a smooch from Dragon Heat by Mel Teshco will be posted!
Oct 14, 2011
One of the reasons I love romance fiction is the fact that there seems to be a story for everyone! Harlequin offers a wide range of tones, with various levels of sensuality (from sweet to scorching!) as well as lines that provide pure fantasy to real life grit and anywhere in between.
I love fantasy. There seems to be endless variations on the Cinderella theme. The movie Enchanted literally takes the fairytale and drops it dead centre of the realities of New York. An old hobo steals the princess’s tiara. A divorcing couple get nasty at the lawyer’s office. But the flavour is still deliciously light.
Then there’s Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook (yes, I know he writes ‘love stories’ but the romance in this tale is monumental.) While there are lighter moments, the deeper subject matter propelling this story is dark: unfaithfulness, debilitating illness, treachery on a level that turns your stomach even while you sympathise with the reasoning. The close of the book is poignant – we feel hope and gut-wrenching sadness as well as a frightening sense of: ‘This could happen to anyone. This could happen to me’.
I like light. I love the escape! But I think I like heavy more. Not ‘hand to the brow’ over-the-top drama but fiction reflecting real life issues, particularly in romance where a happy ending is guaranteed no matter how tough the battle to get there.
My latest Presents - Fearless Maverick - is part of an editorial-driven continuity (that is the editors create the characters and general story arcs). Early in the story we discover that the heroine was in an accident and wears a lower-leg prosthesis. Some readers/reviewers loved the story! Romantic Times awarded it four and a half stars and said,
‘This fast-paced romance will grab readers from the start and not let go, with unforgettable characters, excellent witty and descriptive dialogue and a plot that gives us incredible in-depth detail -- it reads like a much longer novel.'
But other readers felt – well, the term I’d use is betrayed. They weren’t happy that a story, which is meant to be filled with high-stakes, should get this close to reality.
I puzzled over the responses to this book being so polarised. They loved it or, well, they didn't. Which leaves me with an interesting question about how to approach future works. But I have to say that I’d much rather have a strong response to my characters and their stories than mediocre ones.
Do you have any examples of what’s too far in romance for your tastes? Or what’s just right!
Oct 10, 2011
Watching: Rugby World Cup
Listening to: Elmo songs
Making me smile: My little boy swimming in the pool
For the last few weeks my husband’s been hogging the TV to watch the Rugby World Cup. I don’t mind watching the odd game of football (of any type) but game after endless game gets a bit much! Hubby is an English American living in Australia…that means he has to watch the USA, England and the Australia games.
To survive the World Cup, I decided to put my romance writer hat on! I’ve been busy studying the players for potential heroes (to hubby’s horror, I found some potentials on the French team!) I’ve been noting down names that would work for future heroes -- how do you like Leonardo Senatore (Argentina) or Delon Armitage (England)? And I love watching teams that do a haka to start their games…it makes me wonder how I could get that into the plot of a story.
So, all-in-all I’ve been coping just fine watching the rugby with hubby. Next up will be a game that might divide the LoveCats – the Wallabies vs. the All Blacks! I might not love the rugby, but I’m still patriotic -- Go Wallabies!! And my little boy agrees (-:
Anyone else watching the World Cup? Are you a sports fan or someone who has their own tips for surviving watching sports with your other half?
Oct 9, 2011
Today we have a smooch from The Return of the Stranger by Kate Walker, but first ...
The winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is --
Congratulations, Kylie! Please contact Rachel at
Rachel (at) RachelBailey (dot) com, and she'll send you a copy of Return of the Secret Heir.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Return of the Stranger by Kate Walker ...
Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...
Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer.
When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...
Revenge -- and Kat -- will be his!
[The set up...] Return of the Stranger was written as part of a special mini-series using classics of romantic fiction for inspiration and as a springboard to create a new, modern story. So it is the story of Heath Montanha and Katherine (Kat) Charlton.
When they were young, Katherine was the daughter of a local land owner and Heath, the orphaned foundling that her father found in Liverpool and gave home to where they both grew up. But when Kat’s father died, her brother Joe treated Heath appallingly and when Katherine became more involved with Arthur, the son of Lord Charlton, Heath walked out and left to make his fortune.
Now, ten years later he is back, looking for revenge on the man who treated him so cruelly and to see again the woman who had taken his heart and broken it into tiny pieces. He plans to take one look and the walk away, but finds he just can’t do that. As this extract reveals, he kisses her three times in the early part of the story – once in hungry demand, once deliberately seductive. . . . and now this kiss which changes everything.
She should back away, get out of his reach. She told herself that she wanted to back away, but her body refused to obey her, Instead she stayed exactly where she was, feet firmly rooted to the ground, her breathing fast and shallow, her heart thudding heavily inside her chest.
‘Now how shall we do this, namorada.’
‘We . . ? '
We won’t be doing it at all, she meant to say, but the single syllable was all she could manage. It seemed that as she spoke she took in the scent of him on the air, her mouth remembered the taste of him and wanted more.
‘We . . .’ she said again and it was just a sigh.
‘We . . .’ Heath agreed, nodding his dark head. ‘Because it is ‘we’, isn’t it, my lovely? It is the two of us. Not just you or me – but the two of us together , making more than ever apart. We.’
The last word was spoken as his head lowered to hers, his mouth taking hers so that she swayed against him, hunger weakening every limb so that she needed his strength to hold and support her as she melted into him.
Three kisses. They had shared only three kisses in all the time she had known him, and yet each kiss had been so very different, so unique, so totally unlike each other that Kat felt as if she had experienced a lifetime of caresses from this man.
The first, here in this hallway one the day he had come back into her life, his kiss had been like being in the eye of a burning storm. The flaring passion had taken her and dropped her right into the heart of an inferno where she had thought that she would be burned up to ashes before her heart could even take another beat. Then the slow, seduction of that second had melted her senses, leaving her half out of her mind with the sort of sensual awakening that had filled her whole body with hunger and yearning.
But this kiss was another new experience. And even as his mouth touched hers she knew that this was the kiss that had the potential to break her heart. It was the kiss she had dreamed of, longed for. The kiss she had been waiting for all her life.
Kissing Arthur - and being kissed by him – had been like kissing an enthusiastic boy, clumsy, endearing, excited, but somehow lacking in finesse. She had thought it was just the start of things. That it was bound to get better, but instead it had come to lack even more - but lacking what she had never known until now. She had taken the blame for it because she hadn’t known any better. Until that first kiss from Heath had shown her how it could be between a man and a woman.
How a man should kiss a woman.
This was a man’s kiss. And she received it as a woman, knowing that the feelings it stirred in her were the richest, deepest, most feminine emotions possible. It was a kiss that opened her mind and her senses to new sensations to heat of skin, the scent of his body, the strength of taut muscle, and the taste of his mouth on her, hard and soft in the same moment, moist and warm and totally personal.
The Return of the Stranger is available now in Australia and New Zealand as a Sexy and NA as a Presents Extra. To be in the draw to win a signed copy as well as two books from Kate Walker's backlist, just tell us which are your favourite classic romances?
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Tempting the Negotiator by Zana Bell will be posted!