Oct 30, 2016

Sunday Smooch with Kandy Shepherd

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Kandy Shepherd but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is... LynLill Williams!

Can you please contact Melanie Milburne at

melaniemilburne (at) gmail (dot) com 

to receive your copy of Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancée

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Greek Tycoon's Mistletoe Proposal

A proposal of convenience! 

When billionaire Lukas Christophedes finds maid Ashleigh gatecrashing his mansion, he strikes a bargain: if Ashleigh acts as Lukas's girlfriend to help him close a deal, she can stay until the New Year! 

For newly single Ashleigh, agreeing to keep hearts off the table sounds easy…until the line between what's real and what's for show starts to blur! And as Christmas approaches, all Ashleigh is wishing for is a different, much more heartfelt, proposal…

Scene set-up
When Aussie runaway bride and temporary maid Ashleigh Murphy has an accommodation crisis in London at Christmas time, she decides to squat in the Chelsea townhouse of Greek billionaire Lukas Christophedes. Lukas is furious when he discovers her. Reluctantly she agrees to be his pretend girlfriend to help him close a deal, after a  Pretty Woman type makeover. But the deal doesn't close easily. Ashleigh is thrown more into Lukas's company than she bargained for - and the more time she spends with them the more attracted she is to him. Lukas is beguiled by lovely Ashleigh but he has his reasons for holding back from the enchanting intruder. Trouble is, all that fake flirting and pretend kissing means the sensual tension between them is building. Finally they face each other after a dinner party where they've been pretending to be a loving couple...

It was as if all Ashleigh’s fantasies had come to life. As soon as she and Lukas reached the pavement outside Tina’s apartment, he turned her to him, looked deep into her face. She thrilled to the intensity of his eyes, the way they narrowed as he searched her face, the sensual half curve of his mouth. Then, without a word, he pulled her close to him.

Finally, the truth—no words required. His quickened breathing told her all she needed to know. He wanted her as much as she wanted him. Her gasp of impatience, of want, no doubt sent the same message to him.

Then his mouth was on hers, hard, warm, exciting, demanding a response. She parted her lips, welcomed him, kissed him back. It felt as if she’d waited all her life for this. For him.

It hadn’t started sweet and gentle and went straight to deep and demanding—an urgent meeting of mouths and tongues, of bodies straining hard against each other. His overcoat was open. She splayed her hands on his hard chest and pushed him to the wall behind him. At last. This. Lukas. Her heart thudded loud and fast. He slid his hands inside her coat, to pull her close—as close as she could be to his body through layers of winter clothes. Her nipples tightened as desire pulsed through her in a wave that demanded more. He held her so close to his body she felt his response, hard and insistent, which further inflamed her. She wanted him.

‘Lukas,’ she moaned. ‘Why did we wait so long for this?’

He stilled. She knew immediately she’d said the wrong thing. ‘We didn’t,’ he said, his voice hoarse and strained. ‘I’ve only known you a week.’

‘That’s long enough,’ she said, her voice raspy with desire.

For what?’

‘For this,’ she said, lifting her face to his, hungry for his mouth to possess hers again.

Greek Tycoon's Mistletoe Proposal is my November release from Harlequin Romance (Cherish in the UK, Forever Romance in Australia and New Zealand).

Greek Tycoon's Mistletoe Proposal is the second in the Maids Under the Mistletoe mini series from Harlequin Romance . Four friends who have fallen on difficult times work for Maids in Chelsea, an upmarket employment agency, and find love. Each book about the Christmas Cinderellas stands alone but are linked. There's also a fifth story, written by me, Claiming His Christmas Bride which is the free, online read at harlequin.com right now! Clio Caldwell, the owner of the agency, meets up again with former fiancée, sizzling Spaniard Enrique di Costa. Will the chance meeting lead them up the aisle as a Christmas bride? 

I love writing Christmas stories and these two were particularly fun as they were set in London in winter - a different experience for folk from Down Under who have a summer  Christmas.

Do you have a Christmas tradition that you maintain no matter where you are, summer or winter, during the festive season?
Leave your comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Greek Tycoon's Mistletoe Proposal (all regions).

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Yvonne Lindsay will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Oct 28, 2016

Fangirl moments...

I really wish I was too cool for school...you know, one of those uber confident people who can just walk up to anyone and strike up a casual conversation. Who can meet a famous person and have an intelligent conversation. Who can actually manage to get words out.

Sarah Spicer X-Factor
Sadly, I am one of the afflicted people who has fangirl moments that make me cringe. Like (fellow Lovecats Yvonne Lindsey and Sue Mackay will remember this) the time I saw my absolute favourite All Black hero Ma'a Nonu at an RWNZ conference. He was about a hundred metres away and I, literally, chased him down screaming his name then-once he'd given me a hug and told me I looked nice in my 1920s fancy dress outfit- I could barely speak. GAH!!!!!!!

Then last night I was at a swanky awards dinner for Auckland Rugby and, in amongst the hundreds of rugby players, I heard a distinct voice I recognised. The entertainment for the evening was a woman who'd been on NZ X-Factor last year. I'd thought then she should have won. So I took her photo (and not one of any of the Blues/All Blacks players)...and she caught me doing it! She gave me a smile and a wave and I just froze. GAH!!!!!!

I need help!

What to say to your hero?
Have you ever met your idol? Were they how you expected? 

Oct 26, 2016

The joy of holding hands – Kandy Shepherd

 When revising my most recent story for Harlequin Romance, I realised how much time I spend on bringing alive the simple act of holding hands. The awareness of that first inadvertent brushing of fingers. The very first time the hero folds the heroine’s much smaller hand in his large protective one. The moment when she slips her fingers between his and they fit so perfectly. When either hero or heroine takes the other’s hand and leads them somewhere—maybe to the bedroom!

That’s the thing about writing “sweet” romance—where the bedroom door is kept firmly shut—simple things like holding hands become invested with simmering sensuality. Of course these first touches and building of awareness are really important in a sexier romance too. But in a sweet romance, those initial, innocent touches are really important in building desire and passion when more explicit physical descriptions are not available.

I asked my twenty-something daughter did she remember when she first held hands with a boy. Instantly she recalled his name, the circumstances and how she felt about it. They were thirteen and fourteen respectively—and each felt both nervous and joyous. But I believe the romance of holding hands isn’t just limited to adolescence. Even in an adult relationship it can be that first, significant step towards intimacy.

Do you remember the first time you held hands with a significant other? Was it awkward, embarrassing or sweetly memorable?  I’d love to read your comment!

Oct 24, 2016

Reality TV by Amy Andrews

My name is Amy Andrews and I am a reality TV addict. Specifically talent show TV.

Keep your Masterchefs and your Survivors and your Great Races. Give me people who can - even the ones who think they can!!! - sing and I am one happy camper. The Idol franchise, the XFactor franchise, the xyx country Has Talent franchise. LOVE THEM ALL - although I do prefer the ones where its just singing, I have to admit. I don't really care if you can juggle flaming swords or bend yourself into a box the size of a rubics cube. I mean, its clearly talented, just not my catnip.

I love everything about singing shows. I loved the snippets of peoples lives. I love the utter confidence some people have in themselves despite often times no real reason for it. I love listening to judge critique/feedback. I love it when people surprise the judges. I love when they can make a judge cry. I love it when they make me cry but hey....that's not hard to do!

Here are some of the ones I have loved over the years -

Who can forget this amazing audition for Britian's Got Talent that went viral around the world and made this woman a superstar!

And here in Australia, Dahmi Im knocked us all for 6 with her incredible talent in X-Factor a few years back.

Another thing I love about these shows is how they put new spins on classic songs. This guy - Taylor Henderson - was also on Australian X-Factor a few years back. He has this little rough note in his voice that used to make my 15 year old daughter whimper. I was not far behind! I absoutely loved this version of Cindi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

And, I've kept the best to last. Anthony Callea was on Australian Idol about ten years ago now. I was watching the night he performed The Prayer and I will never forget the goosebumps and the tears that spurted immediately to my eyes when he hit the chorus. I knew I was watching magic happen!

What about you? What's your reality TV catnip?

Oct 23, 2016

Sunday Smooch - Melanie Milburne

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Melanie Milburne but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Jan VanEngen!

Can you please contact amy(at)amyandrews(dot)com(dot)au to receive your copy of Swept Away by the Seductive Stranger.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancée.

The perfect lie… 

Violet Drummond can't face another office Christmas party as a singleton, but charismatic family friend Cameron McKinnon seems like the perfectly platonic "plus one" for the festive season. Until he reveals his plan to make Violet his convenient fiancée!

Wealthy architect Cameron sees this charade as the perfect escape hatch from the unwelcome attention of an important client's wife, but soon fake feelings shift to real attraction…

There's only one thing Cameron wants to unwrap on Christmas morning—the staid suit from Violet's lush body—and he's willing to push the boundaries of their agreement to accommodate his growing desire…


Thanks so much for inviting me to blog about my next release. So lovely to be with you again!  

A few months ago I was asked by my editor to write a Christmas story. After writing over 70 books I can’t believe I hadn’t done one until now, especially when I love everything about Christmas. Sorry for mentioning the C word in October! But I have already seen Christmas decorations in the shops and I am in the process of making my pudding and cake. I know, I know, I know. Way too organised. Don’t hate me too much. J

I decided on a friends-to-lovers plot and Violet and Cameron were the perfect candidates. Violet is dreading attending her office Christmas party because of an incident at a party when she was a student in her first year of university. Cameron is desperate to shake off the unwelcome attention of an important client’s wife so offers to be Violet’s ‘date’. But a mischievous tweet about them being ‘engaged’ on Twitter goes viral and Violet and Cam have to pretend to their families (just so everyone’s Christmas isn’t spoilt) that they are officially a couple.
Here’s their first kiss just after Cam offers to take her to the office party…

Smooch  -

Violet took a step backwards to enter the building but stumbled over the first step and would have fallen if it wasn’t for Cam’s hand shooting out to steady her.  

‘You okay?’ he asked with a concerned frown.

 Violet looked at his stubble-surrounded mouth that just moments ago had been against the smooth skin of her cheek. Had he felt that same sensation ricochet through his body? Had he wondered in that infinitesimal moment what it would feel like to press his lips to hers? Not in a brotherly kiss, but a proper man-wants-a-woman kiss? She sent the point of her tongue over the surface of her lips, her breath hitching when he tracked every millimetre of movement. Keep it light. ‘For a moment there I thought you were going to kiss me,’ Violet said with a little laugh.

The navy-blue of his gaze turned three shades darker before glancing at her mouth and back again. But then his hand dropped from her arm as if her skin had scorched him. ‘Let’s not go there.’

 But I want to go there. I want to. I want to. I want to. Violet kept her smile in place even though it felt like it was stitched to her mouth. ‘Yes, that would be taking things too far. I mean, not that I don’t find you attractive or anything, but us kissing? Not such a great idea.’

  There was the sound of heels click-clacking behind her and Violet turned to see Lorna coming back. ‘Silly me. I forgot my phone,’ Lorna said and with a sly smile at Cam added, ‘Aren’t you going to kiss her and let her get back to work?’

  Violet sneaked a glance at Cam but instead of looking annoyed at Lorna’s comment he smiled an easy smile and reached for Violet’s hand and drew her against his side. ‘I was just getting to that,’ he said.

  Violet assumed he would wait until Lorna had gone back into the building before releasing her but Lorna didn’t go back into the building. She stood three steps up from them with that annoying smirk on her mouth as if daring Cam to follow through. Cam turned his back to Lorna and slipped a hand under Violet’s hair, cupping the nape of her neck, making every nerve beneath her skin pirouette.

  ‘You don’t have to do this…’ Violet whispered.

  Cam brought his mouth down to within a whisker of hers. ‘Yes, I do.’

  And then he did.

   Cam pressed his lips to Violet’s mouth and a bomb went off in his head, scattering his common sense like flying shrapnel. What are you doing? But he didn’t want to listen to his conscience. He had wanted to kiss her from the moment he’d walked into that café earlier and now her annoying workmate had given him the perfect excuse to do so. Violet’s mouth tasted like a combination of milk and honey, her lips soft and pliable beneath his. He drew her ballerina-like body even closer, his body responding with a fierce rush of blood to his groin. Her small breasts were pressed against his chest, her slim hips against his, her hands gripping the front of his jacket as if she couldn’t stand upright without his support. Hell, he was having trouble keeping upright himself, apart from one part of his anatomy.

  It’s time to stop. You should stop. You need to stop.


I hope you enjoy my first Christmas story. I have a signed copy (all regions) for a reader who answers the following question: Apart from world peace, what do you want most for Christmas this year?

 Happy reading,

Melanie xx

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Kandy Shepherd will be posted!

In the meantime, if you'd like to order a copy of Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancée, you can do so here.

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Oct 19, 2016

Shopping, Sales and Bargains! Annie West

Sadly none of the contents are for me.
I recently went shopping. Ho, hum, I hear you say. But by shopping I don't mean grocery shopping. I mean SHOPPING! Browsing shopping. Shopping with time to think ahead about gifts for other people (yes, Christmas is coming) and about all those things I've been putting off looking for for myself. 

I've been very busy lately with writing and family stuff and my daughter is living elsewhere so I have no excuse to take a morning off to suss out what's new in stores. No market research. No buying up for birthdays and Christmas ahead of time. No checking out sales.

Until last weekend when I was in the big smoke (Sydney) and found I had several hours free to spend in the shops! It turned into an absolutely joyous excursion - possibly because I spent most of the time by far in some fantastic book stores. But there were also the makeup and lingerie sections, kitchenware, stationery (I defy anyone to find an author who doesn't love stationery) and lots more.

Silver servers from a previous sale
I now have some beaut presents lined up for Christmas - all of them things I'd love myself. I even managed to get a few items on sale (always a good feeling) but I won't post pics here as they're being given to friends. There's something about sales, isn't there? That wonderful feeling of getting a great deal, or perhaps being able to afford that extra special something as a gift which you normally wouldn't be able to buy. 
And more goodies from a previous sale - a set of 8
In fact, it's made me eager to visit the post Christmas sales to check out the china and glassware. That's something I always used to do with my mother and it still feels special.

Now I've started on the Christmas planning, I'm enthusiastic to keep going. I might even write a list - something I usually do before I head out to buy. In addition I've been buying wedding gifts for two separate weddings this week. All such fun!

And for those out for a great bargain, let me just say that Harlequin is having a massive, MASSIVE sale right now. From 18-25 October you'll find thousands of ebooks on sale for just $1.99! And if you're wondering where to start, I'm not too shy to give you a suggestion. Every single one of my backlist books with Harlequin is available this week for $1.99. Time to stock up on backlist books you've missed and maybe buy gifts for friends!

How about you? Do you love or loathe shopping? Do you enjoy a day in the city, or maybe a morning on the computer, organising all your upcoming gifts? Do you only buy in sales? Do you buy ages in advance? Are you a planner or do you buy on impulse?

Oct 16, 2016

Sunday Smooch with Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Amy Andrews but first ... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is  Katrina W!

Can you please contact stefanie (at) stefanie-london (dot) com to receive your copy of A Dangerously Sexy Secret........

Also recapping the winners from our party to celebrate Melanie and Ally joining the Cats. have drawn the prizes and 

Prize A, courtesy of the LoveCats DownUnder, are:
Terry Traveler and

The winners of prize B, courtesy of Mills and Boon Australia, and Jennifer St George, are:
Lucy Waterhouse and
Laura Russell

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Hanky Spanky Christmas.


T'was the night before Christmas....

With a sudden hankering to be spanked, Darcy Henderson figures Mitch Callaghan is the man for the job. But is she woman enough to take it?

A fun, sexy Christmas novella with a sprinkling of kink from Amy Andrews.

The previous night, under the influence of one too many of Mitch's lethal's cocktails, Darcy propositioned him over some kinky action. Not really believing she wants what she thinks she wants, he tells her to come back when she's sober. 

Now its the next day, she's sober and she hasn't changed her mind....

She threw a quick look over her shoulder again before pressing her ear to the wooden surface thankful that Mitch’s unadorned door gave her easy access. His was the only one in the complex not boasting some kind of giant, mine’s-bigger-than-yours Christmas decoration. 

She listened hard but couldn’t hear any movement. The television wasn’t on. The stereo she often heard in the afternoons pumping out hard rock wasn’t playing. Maybe he’d gone out for a surf?  

Damn it

Darcy sighed, resigned to trying again. She was just about to unglue her ear from the door when it opened abruptly. She squeaked as she lost her balance and pitched forward, nose first, into a solid wall of warm man.


Firm hands slid onto her hips as soft cotton, washing powder and some amazingly sexy cologne filled her nostrils. “Sorry,” she said, grasping his muscular forearms as she righted herself. 

Embarrassed at being caught listening at his door, she unhanded him immediately. He followed suit.

His air-con drifted around her and Darcy realized how hot it was. Or maybe that was because he was only in a t-shirt and underwear that clung to hard, tanned thighs and left nothing to the imagination.

He had a very impressive-looking bulge going on down there. She could only imagine how much more impressive it would be pitching a tent in his expensive Calvin Kleins.

A pair of hands appeared in her line of sight, long fingers spreading out over narrow hips. “Finished?”

His low, amused rumble dragged her gaze up to his face. His shaggy hair was bed-messy and he had a mark on his face she presumed was from his sheets. A smile played on his wicked-sexy mouth.

“Sorry...” she said, cheeks pinking up at being sprung perving at his cock. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I thought you were usually up—” she swallowed, Christ...do not think of up! “—by now.”

He ran a hand over his jaw, his t-shirt lifting slightly, his whiskers rasping sinfully. Muscles in her belly pulled taut as the sound slid between her thighs. “Did you want something?”

Did she want something? Fucking A she did. She wanted him to paddle her ass. And then she wanted whisker burn—everywhere.

“Yes,” she said, raising herself on her tiptoes, her hand spearing into the hair at his nape as she stepped into his space. “And I’m one-hundred-percent sober.”

Then she yanked his head down.
The thing with kissing Mitch Callaghan that wasn’t like kissing any other man was how he seized command. She may have initiated every one of their kisses but he had wrested control immediately, owning the kiss and her in less than a glimmer of a heartbeat. 

It wasn’t any different this time.

From the moment his mouth opened under hers, Darcy’s brain short-circuited as her body flared to life and he had the con. All she could do was moan, tangle her hand in his hair and try and keep up.

She barely registered him walking her backward. She vaguely heard the noise of the door being kicked shut. Felt the cool, solid press of the wall at her back on only a peripheral level. 

But the warm, solid press of him at her front was an entirely different matter.

His long, lean body trapped her there, a bare thigh thrust between her legs as he rained sex and heat and want down on her. Need, rough and desperate, sluiced through her body like quicksilver. It was in the trip of her pulse and the ragged tempo of her breathing. In the tremble of her thighs, the weakness of her knees, the clench of her belly. 

It tingled in her breasts and crept between her legs right at the spot where his thigh jammed and rocked all hard and urgent and so damn good Darcy cried out, her mouth wrenching from his.

His breath sawed in and out, his lips were wet and swollen and his whiskey eyes glowed like flame viewed through the prism of heavy crystal and fine malt.

“Have you thought about my proposal?” she panted.

For a chance to win an e-copy of Hanky Spanky Christmas, tell me whats the most outrageous thing you've ever asked someone to do for you? 

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and another smooch will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Oct 15, 2016

Love Cats Welcome Party - Winners Announced!

Well, the time has arrived to announce the winners from our massive giveaway, run as part of our big party to welcome Ally Blake and Melanie Milburne to the Lovecats Downunder!

Just to recap, here are the prizes:

A) 2 winners will each receive:
·         Amy Andrew’s ‘Holiday Swap’ duo with Emily Forbes
·         Rachel Bailey’s ‘ The Finn Factor’ (ebook)
·         Michelle Douglas’s ‘An Unlikely Bride for the Billionaire’
·         Louisa George’s ‘Something Borrowed’ (ebook)
·         A note book and bookmark from Bronwyn Jameson
·         Helen Lacey’s ‘The Cowgirl’s Forever Family’
·         Yvonne Lindsay’s ‘One Heir…Or Two?’ (in advance of its November release)
·         Stefanie London’s ‘A Dangerously Sexy Christmas’
·         Sue MacKay’s ‘Dr White’s Baby Wish’
·         Kandy Shepherd’s ‘The Bridesmaid’s Baby Bump’
·         Annie West’s ‘The Desert King’s Secret Heir’ (in advance of its December release)

B) 2 other winners (located in Australia) will each receive:
·         A $50 book bundle from Mills and Boon Australia and
·         Jennifer St George’s ‘Wild for You’ (ebook).

Melanie and Ally have drawn the prizes and we're thrilled to announce that the winners of prize A, courtesy of the LoveCats DownUnder, are:
Terry Traveler and

The winners of prize B, courtesy of Mills and Boon Australia, and Jennifer St George, are:
Lucy Waterhouse and
Laura Russell

CONGRATULATIONS ladies and thank you to everyone who dropped in to our party and helped make it a special occasion!

Winners, could you please email annie(at)annie-west(dot)com as soon as possible with your postal and preferred email addresses so we can start sending your prizes? 

Oct 14, 2016

Love my neighbours

Great neighbours are good for Friday wines, saying hi to as you put the trash out, and complaining with a about the not so good, play loud music all night neighbours.
Living out here in the Sounds they are even more important. We check up on someone who hasn't been seen for a little while, feed pets while owners are away, collect eggs and mail, mow lawns - if absolutely have to, keep an eye out whenever one of the guys goes out in their dinghy to bring in a net, haul out tractors stuck in the mud. And often tourist's cars in the same predicament.

I have access to a number of homes in our bay, same as those people can get into our house any time it's necessary, especially when home owners are away and we've had a storm or one of the shake, rattle and roll events.
Even better, in summer neighbours are great for sitting on someone's deck with and enjoying a wine and homemade pizzas.
We rely on these people to have our backs as we do them.

Do you have good neighbours you can rely on in good times and bad?