Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My guest this week is the fabulous Presents author Anne McAllister I first met Anne at a Mills & Boon "Author Day" in London when I was a very new author. She was one of those characters who stood out in a room crammed with authors, editors, publishers and it was a delight to meet her again a few years later in Washington, the year she won a RITA and became a grandmother in the same night.

I just love her books. Her characters are so real. Her heroes are unforgettable and her heroines women you yearn to have as a best friend. If you haven't read her yet, read on and check out that excerpt. I can't wait to read this one.

But here's Anne to tell you more.

Fifty books! It's a lot. Understatement of the year. Especially because Liz's books are always terrific books. Quality books. Books that make you want more . . . and more . . . and more.

So if you're reading this, Liz, stop. Get back to work. Don't waste your time reading praise or anything else. Just put your nose to the grindstone and your fingers to the keyboard and WRITE!

I think it's actually very clever of Liz to ask so many of her friends to be guest bloggers. It reminds me a little of Tom Sawyer and the fence he had to whitewash -- the fence he got all his friends to pay him to be allowed to whitewash for him! (Don't think we aren't onto you, Liz -- if you're still reading this).

(Really? You've worked out that I'm getting a whole bunch of other brilliant authors to write my blog for me? Oops...)

But thank you for inviting me and for being such a great friend as well as great writer -- and thank you for sharing your blog and the Here Come The Grooms! Contest with me for the last two years.

This year, as many of you know, Liz and Kate Walker and I have turned our grooms loose to have another contest. The Here Come The Grooms! contest seems to be becoming an annual feature. It may or may not be over by the time you read this (it ends February 29th). But it was very well explained by Liz's hero, Tom, in his blog back on February 17th. He also introduced you again to my hero, Flynn, who has an unexpected second chance with the girl he left behind, Sara McMaster.

Their book, ONE-NIGHT LOVE CHILD, is a spin-off of THE GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION, a single title book I did for Silhouette six years ago. In that book sane and sensible no-nonsense eldest daughter of the heroine, Polly, is nineteen going on thirty. Sara has always been The Voice Of Duty And Responsibility in the McMaster household. Everything in Sara's life is black-and-white, and going according to plan -- until she meets Flynn.

Footloose Irish journalist, Flynn Murray, is in tiny Elmer, Montana covering a human interest story when he meets Sara. She's the right woman in the wrong place and the wrong time. And he knows it. And he's honorable enough to walk away -- or try to. Sara, though, has other ideas. She doesn't quite see how confused and messy things can become. It seems perfectly sensible to her.

Which just goes to show what Sara knows!

Six years later, Flynn is totally in her past. She's a hard-working, no-nonsense single mother who realizes that things aren't always as simple as they seem. She's been burned once. She's determined NOT to be burned again. Ever.

Since Flynn has had more than his share of attention on my blog (where he actually gets to write his own pieces occasionally) I thought I'd rather introduce you to Sara here. This is where she's coming from when the book opens:

It was Valentine's Day.

Sara knew this because last night she had helped her five year old son Liam print his name laboriously on twenty-one Valentine cards complete with cartoon art mutant creatures saying, "Be Mine" and "I'm 4 U."

She knew it because together they had covered a shoe box with white paper and red hearts to be his own "mailbox" at kindergarten and because she had baked cupcakes – chocolate ones with chocolate frosting and red and white candy hearts on them – as right before he went to bed Liam remembered he had volunteered to bring the cupcakes for the class party today.
And she knew because – for the first time since Liam was born – she actually had a date.
Adam Benally had asked her to dinner. He was the foreman out at Lyle Dunlop's place. He had come to the valley a few months ago from Arizona. A widower with a past he didn't often talk about, he was at least candid about "trying to outrun his demons." He'd brought the ranch accounting work in for Sara, and that was how they'd got to know each other.

No stranger to demons herself, Sara thought she and Adam might have a lot in common. He at least was getting past his demons. It was about time she got past hers.

"You can't be a recluse forever," her mother Polly had told her more than once. "Just because you had one bad experience . . . "

Sara let her mother talk because that's what Polly did. A lot. And her mother was probably right about the recluse part. It was the "bad experience" part that was the sticking point.

It hadn't been bad. At least not while it was going on. While it was going on it had been the most amazing three days of her life. And then . . .


That was the bad part. That was the part that made her gut clench every time she thought about it. The part that spooked her, that made her hesitant to ever open up to another man, to ever try again.

But finally she'd said yes. She'd made up her mind to try again with Adam. A dinner date. A first step.

"About time," Polly had said when Sara told her the plan. "I'm glad. You need to banish some ghosts."

No. Just one.

One Sara saw in miniature – right down to the tousled black hair and jade green eyes – every time she looked at her son.

She shoved the thought away ruthlessly. Now was not the time to be thinking about that.

About him.

Liam might be a reminder, but his father was past. Ordinarily she went whole days without thinking of him at all. It was just today – because it was Valentine's Day, because she'd accepted Adam's invitation, determined to kill two memories with one night out – that he kept plaguing her thoughts.

"Don't," she told herself out loud. The past was over. She'd rehashed it often to kill it from over scrutiny. It had done no good. Now she needed to concentrate on the future – on Adam.
What would Adam expect? She paced the kitchen, made tea, thought about what to wear, how to be charming and make conversation. Dating was like speaking a foreign language she had no practice in. It was something she'd done very little of before –

No! Damn it. There she went again!

Determinedly she carried her mug of tea to the table and laid out files so she could work. If she could get the hardware store accounts finished before Liam got home from school, then she could take a break, maybe go out and build a snowman with him, have a snowball fight. Do something to distract herself.

Liam was going to spend the night at her aunt Celie's who lived up the street with her husband, Jace, and their kids.

"Why all night?" she'd demanded when Celie had offered. "We're only going to dinner. I'm not spending the night with him!"

"Well, you might want to invite him in after," Celie said innocently. "For a cup of coffee," she added with a smile. It wasn't what she meant.

Sara knew it as well as she knew that she wasn't up for anything beyond dinner. Not now. Not yet.

How on earth could she have let six years go by without a single date?

Well, really, she rationalized, when had she had time?

She'd spent the first three years after Liam's birth finishing a degree in accounting, then setting up in business. Between her son and her schooling and the jobs she'd taken to make ends meet, she'd had no time to meet eligible men.

Not that she'd wanted to.

Once burned, twice shy and all that. And while she supposed there was wisdom in the notion of getting right back on a horse once you'd been thrown, there was also wisdom in being a damn sight more caution the second time around.

She'd been too reckless the first time. This time she was taking it slow and easy and that meant dinner, perhaps a quick peck on the lips. Yes, she could do that.
But first she had to get to work.

One of the pluses of her job as an independent certified public accountant was that she could set her own hours and work from home. That made it easier to be home when Liam was. The downside, of course, was that it was easy to get distracted – like today. There was no boss to crack the whip, to make demands. o think about checking her closet to see what she wanted to wear or to put in a load of laundry, make a cup of tea and talk to Sid the cat when she really needed to focus on work.

So she started again, made herself settle down at the kitchen table, which was also her desk, and spread out the accounts from the hardware store. Adding columns of figures required that she pay close attention and didn't allow her mind to wander, to anticipate, to worry.

A sudden loud knock on the front door made her jump. She slopped tea all over her ledger sheet. "Damn!"

She went to the sink and grabbed the dish rag, mopping up the spill, cursing the delivery man who was the only one who ever came to the front door. He left her office supplies when she ordered them. But she didn't remember –

Bang, bang, bang!

Not the delivery man, then. He only knocked once, then, having awakened the dead, he always jumped back into his delivery truck and drove away. He never knocked twice.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Let alone a third time.

Hold your horses," she shouted. "I'm coming!"

She stalked to the door and jerked it open – to the ghost of Valentine's past.

Oh, God.

She was hallucinating. Panicking at the notion of dating again, she'd conjured him up out of the recesses of her mind.

And damn her mind for making him larger than life and more appealing than ever. Tall, rangy and narrow-hipped, but with shoulders even broader than she remembered. And just for reality's sake, her brain had even dusted his midnight hair with snowflakes. They should have softened his appearance, made him seem gentler. They didn't. He looked as pantherish and deadly as ever.

"Sara." His beautiful mouth tipped in a devastatingly appealing lopsided grin.
Sara knew that grin. Remembered it all too well. Had kissed the lips that wore it. Had tasted his laughter, his words, his groans, his passion.

Her face burned. Her whole body seemed suddenly consumed by a heat she'd tried to forget. She glanced at her hands knotting together, astonished that they didn't have steam coming off them, the memory of him was so powerful.

"Speechless, a stór?" His rough baritone with the light Irish inflection made the tiny hairs at the back of her neck prickle. It felt as if a ghost had run a finger down the length of her spine.

"Go away," she said fiercely, closing her eyes, resisting the hallucination, the memories – the man. It was agreeing to go out with Adam that had done this to her. It had tripped a trigger of memories she'd bottled up, stored away, refused to take out and look at every again.

She screwed up her eyes and shut them tight. Counted to ten Opened them.

And felt her stomach plummet to her toes at the sight of him still standing there.

He wore jeans, a black sweater and a dark green down jacket. He hadn't shaved in a day or two. His cheeks and jaw were stubbled. His eyes were bloodshot. But his impossibly long lashes blinked away snowflakes as he watched her with amusement. And when he grinned a little more at her befuddlement, she saw that he had chipped a tooth. She didn't think she would have hallucinated the chipped tooth.

So he was real. He was everything she remembered.

And worse.

I had a lot of fun researching Sara and Flynn - especially the part where I got to go visit a stately Irish manor house and turn it into Flynn's five hundred year old castle.

Love that research. Tell me where you'd go if you could go anywhere in the world. Inspire me for upcoming books.

I'll let Flynn pick the winner from those who participate. I'll send her (or him) a copy of my last book (which took place in the tropical paradise of Fiji)!

* * *

Thanks so much for sharing that excerpt, Anne, and some of the background to the Sara and Flynn's story. (What, you thought I wouldn't take time out to read it?) I can't wait to get past my own RITA reading pile so that I can read this one! There is just something about an Irish hero...

Also, having read the Fiji book, THE BOSS'S WIFE FOR A WEEK, I'm urging everyone to leave a comment telling us all about their own fantasy dream retreat before Monday morning, UK time, so that they have a chance to win.

And for three other chances to win this book, plus Kate Walker's SPANISH BILLIONAIRE, INNOCENT WIFE and my THE BRIDE'S BABY, there's also one more day to enter the HERE COME THE GROOMS! competition that Anne already mentioned.

And if you can't wait, you can buy ONE-NIGHT LOVE CHILD here at Amazon, US.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Last year, the north-west libary region ran a wonderful promotion for romance books of all genres. Fantasy, historical, gay, category, romcom. I listed all the books and authors here if you want to check out all the books and authors and was thrilled to have been chosen to represent the category section with Reunited: Marriage in a Million.

The library asked readers to vote for their favourite and at a ceremony in the impressive Manchester Town Hall last week, Christina Jones -- of whom I've been a long-time fan and once described as having a real H. E Bates(wearing his Darling Buds of May hat) touch to her writing -- was named the winner with her book, LOVE POTIONS.

Christina writes the most joyous books, full of wonderful characters. It's a brilliant choice.

... and the RITA

Every year a get a parcel of books from Romance Writers of America to judge for the RITA. I can't judge in my own category (and I can't tell you the books I'm reading) but I welcome this annual opportunity to step outside my own "comfort" reading box to try new authors, new genres.

I'd never read a vampire book, until this month. Well, obviously Dracula, but that's a classic so it doesn't really count (duh !) Interestingly there was a play on the Beeb yesterday afternoon (ironing time) recounting D's voyage to Whitby and what happened to the crew. Fascinating stuff.

Now for other competition news -- you still have until 29th February to enter the HERE COMES THE GROOMS! competition. Click on the link for all the details.

And as a little extra, something just for UK readers, I'm afraid. I have a book of money-off coupons for all kinds of Mills & Boon series (only redeemable in the UK), together with a brass bookmark commemorating Mills & Boon's Centenary and a calender with some fabulous old covers.

To win, tell me what books you've read lately that have taken you out of your comfort zone. Or any great new authors you've found.

Since everyone wants to know about great books, leave your comments on the blog, but send me an email at liz @lizfielding.com with Coupons in the subject line and your name and address in the body so that I can send it off straight away to the winner.

I'll make the draw on St David's Day -- 1st March.

And on Thursday I'll have Jenny Haddon's prize winner and a new guest -- Anne McAllister.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Lilian Darcy has now picked the winner of last week's competition, Carol from New Jersey, and her prize is whizzing on it's way across the Pacific even as I write. Many thanks to everyone who made her so welcome last week and a huge thanks to Lilian for being such a star!

I can't believe so many fabulous writers have taken time out of their busy lives, suspending the rush towards tight deadlines, to help me have so much fun this year. Already the line up has been stellar, but I cannot tell you what pleasure it gives me to welcome my next guest.

Jenny Haddon -- who has also written more than forty wonderful romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon as Sophie Weston -- knows more about books, authors, writing, than just about anyone I know. Add to that her generosity, her hospitality, her organisational ability (she was Chairperson of the Romantic Novelists' Association) and the sheer fun of being in her company (just think of impetuous trips to the Ritz for tea) and you begin to get a flavour of this extraordinary woman.

Welcome, Jenny!

Happy Golden Anniversary, dear, dear Liz, and thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate your half century. Imagine me jumping about and clapping the flippers here. Here’s to the next 50.

I’ve always gobbled up books and I enjoy a lot of skilful and stimulating writers - in category romance and other genres too. But finding a writer you really love is rare. Actually, I think it’s chemistry. You need all the left brain stuff to be satisfied but it’s that right brain instinctive non-analytical stuff that says, ‘This one’s for me’. So it’s rather like a coup de foudre or knowing when you’ve come home. And that’s exactly what I felt when I read my first Liz Fielding.

Her books are total joy for me – except for one single, teeny tiny hiccup. Recently I was writing a book whose heroine was Gabriella. Yes, that’s right, Gabriella. As in The Secret life of Lady Gabriella. (Great minds, and all that . . . ) I bought Liz’s book – and laughed and sighed and beamed my way through it. And thought, ‘No problem. Lots of people have the same names. My book will come out ages after Liz’s. Everyone will have forgotten.’ Except – I didn’t forget. I had a Gabriella in my head now. I knew her. I loved her. And she wasn’t my heroine. It would be like trying to call one of my own heroes Hamlet.

Actually, Hamlet might be easier, come to think of it. Hamlet Twistleton Twerp would surely be a guy with his Life Issues all bright and shining before the novel began, justified resentment of his parents among them. As another of my favourite authors would say, ‘By Jove, Jeeves, rum work done at the font.’

So there followed a short hiatus for rechristening of my heroine. Of course, that meant that I had to think again about the overall landscape of names in the wip. All I can say is, thank God for Search and Replace.

Anyway, my Not Gabriella has now recovered and is just dancing her way through to the end of her book. It is a new venture for me, longer than category, and bulging with minor characters, including a ramshackle stately home. Can’t wait to see what other people think of NG and her mates.

Another new venture for me has been writing GETTING THE POINT, a guide to punctuation, with fellow novelist Elizabeth Hawksley. We set out to help people who regularly asked us for help – authors, readers, colleagues, godchildren, the man who came to read the meter, saw my laptop on the dining room table and sat down for a chat on the apostrophe . . . But we ended up giggling like lunatics over the exploits of the characters in our examples. Casanova gives advice on curing spots; aspiring writer, Belinda Bubblewit tries her hand at Diana in the Dessert; the dragon authoress of Egg-Laying is a Feminist Issue goes head to head with the patriarchy. The book was fascinating to research and a blast to write – and now that it’s done, I can use it to check my own punctuation. A real bonus, that!

But, as we say in GETTING THE POINT, the best way of learning to write good style is reading good writers. Which is yet another great reason for hoping that Liz Fielding will spit on her hands and get writing the next 50.

Many congratulations, Liz. Party on!


Oh, Jenny, I’m so sorry about your Gabriella’s forced name change, but I can’t wait to read her, whatever you’ve called her. It’s been too long since the last Sophie Weston. And I’m sure I’m not going to be alone in rushing to Amazon to buy Getting the Point just for the joy of reading all about Bubblewit’s trouble with spelling and getting to know the dragon authoress of Egg-Laying is a Feminist Issue. Punctuation as fun. Brilliant.

But before I do that I have to tell everyone about the very generous prize you’ve offered. A set of the Sophie Weston cousins trilogy: The Independent Bride/ The Accidental Mistress/The Duke's Proposal.

Here's the bit where you have to do the work if you want a chance to win. Here's Jenny's challenge:

Which hero or heroine has the most unforgettable name for you? (Lady Gabriella doesn't count because, as you will know, it's more of a nom de plume!)

I think we’ll do this one on the comments page, Jenny, so that we can all enjoy the answers. Tell us your unforgettables and Jenny will pick a winner after the weekend and, in the meantime if, like me, you can't wait to check out Belinda Bubblewit, you'll find her here at Amazon, UK

Monday, February 18, 2008


Hi, my name’s Tom McFarlane and Liz has asked me to drop by her blog and remind you that the HERE COME THE GROOMS competition she’s running with Anne Mcallister and Kate Walker this month. In case you hadn’t already worked it out for yourself, I’m one of the grooms.


I don’t – didn’t – have much time for all that love-in-a-mist nonsense. I knew exactly what kind of a nightmare “love” could become and wanted none of it. I started life with nothing except the ability to work hard and the determination to be someone and having succeeded in that ambition the final gloss was going to be a wife who would provide me with a touch of class in return for the freedom of my credit cards. I thought I’d found her, but there’s the thing about hubris. It will come back and bite you.

I thought I’d found my perfect woman. Flynn knew he had, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and life (in the form of a letter from Sara) took five years to catch up with him. Raul, well, he’s Spanish so arrogance goes with the territory. He chose his bride, but Alannah turned him down flat. Didn’t someone once say that the path of true love never did run smooth? Fortunately, like Flynn, like me, he gets a second chance to do it right.

If you’d like to read our stories, find out how we woo’d and won our lovely brides, then you’ve three chances to win all three books this month. Each of us has asked a question and you’ve until 29th February to send all three answers to Anne, Kate and Liz.

Here’s Raul’s question: What are the full names of the hero and heroine of Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife (Note from Raul - his real name, not the one mistakenly given him on the back of the book!)

Here’s Flynn’s question:

Flynn's Question: What story did he come to Montana to cover when he met Sara in the first place?

And finally mine:

What colour silk did I become intimately acquaint with?

Don’t forget, all three answers to Anne, Kate and Liz will give you three chances to win all three books. Answers are on websites, along with email links. Closing date 29 February.

Okay, here's Liz...

Thanks, Tom! I know you’ve got a lot to do if this wedding is going to happen, so I really appreciate you dropping by. The good news is that Romantic Times loved your story. Here’s what they have to say:

“Liz Fielding begins A Bride for all Seasons with THE BRIDE’S BABY. This story has everything – sparkling dialogue, multifaceted characterizations, sizzling chemistry and a powerful emotional core. A keeper.” ****½

And here’s a little excerpt, just to be going on with.

Sylvie fought it, fought the need for his touch, her yearning for the soft whisper of words that she heard only in her dreams, knowing just how easy it would be to give in to the moment. Easy to say, but he was as close now as he had been then. Close enough so that the scent of his wind-blown hair, newly laundered clothes, the faint musk of warm skin overrode the smell of camphor and hot dust.

Much too close.

Even in this dim light she knew her face would betray her thoughts, everything she was feeling and he needed no more than the tiny betraying whimper of remembered joy, shatteringly loud, in the silence -- an open invitation to repeat the experience, just in case his memory needed jogging -- for his expression to change from thoughtful to something very different.

‘Is that right?’ Tom tightened his hold, bringing her round to face him so that his mouth was just inches from her own. ‘Maybe we should try that again. So that you can explain it to me.’

Not in this world, she thought, but there was no time to object before his lips touched hers, sending a thrill of pleasure – the heat that haunted her dreams -- spiralling through her.

‘Step...' he said, his hand sliding beneath her long, loose top, cool against her warm skin as he leaned into her, deepening the kiss and she shivered, but not with cold.


This was wrong.



Inevitable from the first moment he’d walked into her office. She’d known it. He’d known it. Like iron filings to a magnet. Why else would he, would she, have gone to such lengths to avoid each other? It was the only wedding she’d ever co-ordinated where the groom had been totally absent.

But inevitable didn’t make it --

His tongue stroked her lower lip and every cell in her body responded as if to some unheard command, as if standing on tiptoe, reaching out for more.


-- right.


Oh... Confetti...

Her knees were water. Another minute and she’d be sprawled over one of the trunks in a re-run of that moment when that instant attraction had overcome every particle of common sense, every lesson that she'd ever learned about the fickleness of the human heart. When the heat had overcome the ice and turned it to steam.

To be overwhelmed, to forget yourself so completely might be excusable once.


Her head felt like lead, she didn’t have the strength to move it, break contact, but then his hand slid forward on its inevitable journey towards her breast and instead encountered the mound of her belly and, as if drawn to him, her baby girl turned as if reaching out to him. And he was the one whose head went back as if struck.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I can't send you all flowers, so this is the next best thing -- a Valentine for all my lovely readers.

Not just the ones who write and tell me when a book as touched them, put lovely reviews on Amazon, but those of you who just go out three or four times and year and, with your hard-earned pounds, dollars and euros, keep the sales high so that my publisher keeps buying the books.

Bless you all.

And, because it's Valentine's Day, Harlequin have put The Cinderella Valentine online at their website.

Just click the title and read. For free!

But it's time for another guest, and this week a romantic novelist who was born on St Valentine's Day had dropped by to help me celebrate 50 books. How perfect is that?

I first met the delightful Lilian Darcy at an RWA conference in Denver. We had tea with Jane Porter in Brown's Hotel and danced up a storm at the Harlequin party -- it was an Elvis theme that year -- and she was my guest last year when her first mainstream novel, Cafe du Jour was published by Mira.

Here's what she has to say on the subject of writing. Listen up, she's written more than 75 books...


When experienced writers are teaching beginners, we often tell them, “Start your novel at the point of change.” It’s true for any kind of fiction, but it’s particularly true in romance. Our characters’ lives undergo profound changes during the course of a book, and when you think about it, the process of courtship and marriage is about major change in real life, too.

Look at your own most important relationship. What changed because of it? In you? In your circumstances? Sometimes, you’ll find the answer is “Everything.” That was certainly true for me. It didn’t happen all at once, but thanks to my happy marriage I went from being a rather insecure and lonely single to a fulfilled wife with four children, confident of my own worth and desirability. There were other changes, too. I lived in the USA for some years, learned about living in a different culture, and embraced the more emotional and family-oriented attitude of my in-laws. I learned how it felt to make shared life decisions and willing compromises with someone you love, and things have been humming along in much the same vein ever since.

This year feels a little different, though. I think things are changing again. Nothing so earth-shattering as finding my life partner, but just a sense that some new things are happening and mostly they’re good. My husband really loves the new job he started just over a year ago, and has recently heard about a very interesting project he’ll be working on soon. I’m trying a fairly major new direction in my writing – bigger novels that won’t always involve romance. My current project is set in the 1930’s in Germany, and is proving both dauntingly ambitious and very satisfying. I hit Page 55 of a first draft today, so there’s still a long way to go and no guarantee of publication, but I’m not worrying about that right now. My daughter has just fulfilled the dream she’s had for at least five years – she’s joined a local Pony Club, riding a beautiful ex-racehorse that we’ve been lucky enough to lease for a very modest fee, so I’m getting to immerse myself in the world of horses, and a new world is always a thrill for a writer.

My youngest child is soon turning nine, which means he’s growing more independent and capable. The two big boys are starting to find out who they are and thinking about what they want. We have guitar and piano and scout camp preparations going on at our place on a regular basis.

Valentine’s Day is my birthday (ooh, but must buy chocolate for hubby, too J) and these are the things I’ll be celebrating far more than any gifts or cards or snuffed out candles – the good changes, the new experiences on the horizon, the developing passions in my kids.

Liz, you’re celebrating too – your fiftieth book. Hard to believe, isn’t it? You’ve brought fifty couples together, taking them from your trademark delicious and magical first meetings through the ups and downs of their romance to the life-changing commitment they make to each other in the final pages. Congratulations, and may the next fifty be just as much fun and adventure.

Meanwhile, here’s the first life changing moment for the hero and heroine in my February Silhouette Special Edition, A MOTHER IN THE MAKING. The hero, Jack Davey, has just put down the phone and entered his kitchen first thing in the morning after a tense conversation with his ex-wife and he’s hurting – physically as well as emotionally, as you’ll soon see…

But there was a strange woman standing there with a dilapidated tool-box open on his equally dilapidated kitchen table, and the sight of each other brought both of them up short.

She dropped something back in the tool-box with a metallic clatter, gave a loud, startled squeak and clamped a fist over her heart. “Oh. Didn’t hear you!”

Jack gulped back the jagged rock in his throat, dropped the phone onto the kitchen bench and said, “Uh, hi.”

Why was there a woman in his kitchen? She had goose bumps on her bare arms and an aura of energy in every limb, and he was confused.

This should be Cormack O’Brien, here to begin work on the kitchen and bathroom remodelling, not this curvy little thing, under-dressed for early April in a red cotton T-shirt and blue denim shorts. She had dangling red earrings which swung back and forth when she moved her head, dark curly hair, brown eyes, and tanned skin. She also had an alarmed look getting stronger on her face, and he did not want her here to witness… to witness…

With a heroic effort, he tightened every muscle in his body, shook out his T-shirt ready to put it on, and managed to look… just… as if he was okay.

“You’re Jack,” Carmen said, taking a large step backward, for safety’s sake, her heart beating a little too fast as she looked at the new arrival in the kitchen.

She really, really hoped this man was Jack, shirtless owner of the house, because she wasn’t convinced she could tackle him to the ground and put a knee in his back if he was an unwanted intruder. He was tall and strong, and with that bare chest, knotted arm muscles and a crumpled garment dangling from a tight fist, he looked wound up and ready to snap.

“I’m Carmen O’Brien, Cormack’s sister,” she continued quickly. “The other C, in C & C Renovations. Cormack is sick and can’t work today.”

Although she was the one making explanations, Jack Davey looked like the one who thought he didn’t belong. “Right,” he said. “Right.”

“And you’re Jack.” She managed to avoid making it a question.

“Yes, that’s right.” He lowered the T-shirt, or rag, or whatever it was. He was only half-dressed. His feet were bare, and the snap on his ancient jeans was undone. His dark hair was rumpled and he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. He had cool gray eyes with little crinkles at the corners that she wanted to trust. The crinkles had to say something good about his smile. But he looked so far from smiling, right at this moment, he scared her.

Ah. Okay.

With the T-shirt out of the way, she saw the red slash of a barely healed wound slicing across his tanned rib-cage, which maybe explained the scary vibes. She wondered what on earth he’d done to himself. Heart surgery? Was that why he looked so serious and struggling and grim?

“I’m sorry about this,” he said through a tight jaw. She saw his throat work and his body spasmed. “Side’s hurting a bit.”

“Oh, of course, it looks nasty.”

“I’m sorry,” he said again.

“No, no, it’s fine. I’m not who you were expecting. I mean, I guess we startled each other.” She trailed off, not wanting to say it. She hadn’t been expecting a half-naked, freshly-scarred, well-built, thirty-some-year-old man who looked like a bomb about to go off, here to greet her this morning.

“You need to get to work. I’ll… uh…”

“No rush. Although it would help me to warm up a bit.” She tried a grin as she rubbed the goose bumps on her arms. “I’m dressed for working hard in the middle of the day, not standing around doing nothing early in the morning.”

He nodded vaguely, and looked past her, toward the sink. What was wrong with him?

“Um, are you okay?” she tried.

“Fine. I’m fine.”

It was such a lie, he could barely get the words out, poor guy. His face was so tight, and his gray eyes were like slits, he’d narrowed them so much. She gentled her voice and told him, “No, you’re not.”

And then it happened. His stomach began to heave. He pressed the shirt to his face. His shoulders shook. Sounds broke from his mouth.

He was crying.

Crying, with great, deep, scratchy, painful and achingly poignant sounds, and fifteen years of family grief and struggle had taught Carmen an instinctive response that came without her even thinking about it. She stepped close to him, took a hold of his big, warm body and let him sob his heart out in her arms.

To win a set of my recent releases, email me at lilian@liliandarcy.com and tell me the name of the gorgeous heroine who changes the hero’s life in A MOTHER IN THE MAKING” (honestly, too easy!)

And if, after that heart-rending excerpt, you can't wait to read A Mother in Making, you'll find them here at Amazon, UK and Amazon, US

Saturday, February 09, 2008


It was quite a party...

Flaming torches and "flamingoes" on stilts greeted us at the entrance to the Walker Collection in Manchester Square, London on Thursday night.

This wonderful art gallery was the most beautiful setting for Mills & Boon Centenary party, at which editors -- past and present -- guests from Harlequin in the US, and the truly yummy Alan Titchmarsh were present to celebrate this amazing anniversary. Alan made a charming speech in which he said very nice things about Mills & Boon.

Then there were the "Butlers in the Buff"... Not stripped to the waist as they are for less refined parties, but looking for all the world like those sexy guys on the covers of our books. Bow ties pulled loose, shirts unbuttoned. And this one was handing out roses to the authors.

There was an opera singer to serenade us, delicious canapes, chocolate dipped strawberries, ice cream cones -- and after an hour or so, we needed them! -- and Bellinis, pink champagne.

So what did we do?

We talked, of course.

Here is Carol Townend, Donna Hayes (President and Publisher of Harlequin) and Michelle Styles.

Here is Natasha Oakley and Fiona Harper.

Here is one of the very hot "butlers".

Here I am with Jessica Hart.

And here I am with both hands full of more of those gorgeous guys.

Whew! (Pause to fan myself...)

Oh, and before I forget, Jackie won the signed copy of ENGLISH LORD, ORDINARY LADY from Fiona Harper.

And you've still time to enter the HERE COME THE GROOMS competition and win copies of books from Kate Walker, Anne McAllister and my own The Bride's Baby.


For full details you'll have to scroll down the page, but here are all three questions again -- you'll find the answers on our websites and if you send all three answers to each of us, you'll have three chances to win all three books.

My addy is liz @ lizfielding.com (no gaps); you'll find contact details of Kate and Anne's blogs.

The books are:


Flynn's Question: What story did he come to Montana to cover when he met Sara in the first place?


Raul's Question: What are the full names of the hero and heroine of Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife

And my own THE BRIDE'S BABY.

Tom's Question: What colour silk did he become intimately acquainted with?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


This week, I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Nicola Marsh author of both "Romance" and "Modern Heat/Presents" books to help me celebrate 50 books.

Nic is another Melbourne author and she particularly loves writing about the hip, vibrant, cosmopolitan vibe of her home city. The call from Harlequin Mills & Boon came in May 2003 and she hasn't looked back and has recently sold her fifteenth book.

Here's Nicola to tell you a little about herself and her books.

I have a thing about heroes.

No great surprise, really, considering I write romance for a living!

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore writing strong, modern heroines, women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go out there and grab it with both hands but the real fun stuff comes when I cast my heroes.

This month, I have 2 releases, different in many ways but similar in the fact I fell in love just a little-okay, a lot-with both heroes.

Nathan Boyd, the entrepreneur in Executive Mother-To-Be (Harlequin Romance), is a man with a past. Emotionally wounded, reserved but oh-so-gallant, he’s the type of guy you’d notice for his steely resolve, the type of guy you’d want to be there when the going gets tough and that’s just what the heroine, Kristen Lewis discovers when she’s pregnant…with Nate’s baby.

He’s appealing in a ‘strong, silent and sexy’ way.

And can the guy dance!

Tyler James, on the other hand, is a hero you sit up and take notice of the second he struts onto the pages of Purchased for Pleasure (Harlequin Presents).

A Navy SEAL, he’s used to taking charge and can handle anything, anywhere, anytime. He’s gorgeous, impressive and larger than life, the type of hero you’d love to get swept off your feet by…and that’s exactly what happens to Kate Hayden.

With 6 ft 4 of prime Navy SEAL at her beck and call for a week, can you blame her?

Here’s a little taste of Nate and Ty:

Nate stared at her, his dark, intense gaze trying to send her a message she couldn’t fathom. Once again his sad mask had slipped into place and for a split second she wondered if their impending goodbye had anything to do with it.

Yeah, like he’d be heartbroken over a woman he barely knew.

“I wish things were different.”

For one, heart-stopping moment she felt the same zing, the same spark she had back in the bar when they’d first met, the same tenuous connection that this was right, was meant to be, and she almost ran back to the bed and flung herself into his arms.

But that wasn’t the sensible thing to do and right now logic was about all she had left.

I do too,” she finally said, opting for honesty yet knowing it wouldn’t make a difference as she slipped into the bathroom to get dressed and head back to her well-organised life and out of his.

(from EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE, Harlequin Romance, Feb 2008)

She’d been staring at him, her luscious mouth a perfect little pout and he’d had difficulty breathing. In fact, his first glimpse of Kate after six long years had been worse than a case of the bends, though no amount of hyperbaric chamber treatment would fix what he had for her.

Uh-uh. Lust, pure and simple, had slammed through his body, making him want to leap over tables, grab her and lock his mouth to hers, tasting her, possessing her, reminding her of how damn good they’d been together in the bedroom.

He stumbled and she cast a pitying glance over her shoulder while he sent her a cocky grin.

Staring at his sassy ex strutting in front of him had him remembering exactly how great they’d been together and perhaps spending seven days trying to resurrect old times before facing the life-changing appointment next week wouldn’t be such a bad thing?

Yeah, that sounded like a plan.

And like any good SEAL, he always stuck to the plan.

(from PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE, Harlequin Presents, Feb 2008)

I couldn’t decide which book to give away so I’m giving away a signed copy of both!

To win Executive Mother-To-Be, answer this question:
What type of show has Kristen been producing in Singapore?
(answer here)

To win Purchased for Pleasure, answer this question:
How much is Kate’s winning bid for Tyler?
(answer here)

Thanks for having me, Liz.

Now, I’m off to surf the Net for more hot heroes…

Happy hero hunting!

Thanks, Nic! Okay, you know the form – send your answers to liz @ lizfielding.com with “Nicola Marsh” in the subject line and your answers with your name and street address in the body of the email.

And if you haven't already taken at look at the HERE COME THE GROOMS competition, scroll down past the party stuff to see all the details.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


As some of you may know, I was shortlisted for the RNA Romance Prize this year, along with a handful of other fabulous Mills & Boon authors – Lucy Gordon, Julie Cohen, Kate Hardy and Fiona Harper and so, on Monday I left my sleepy little village, boarded a train and set off for London.

The train was a little bit late. The taxi driver discovered the road to my daughter’s office – she was coming with me – was blocked and we arrived at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, barely in time for the official photographs and a glass of champagne before we were summoned to lunch.

We were all very bad and didn’t go and sit down, but stood about taking photographs of each other and talking like mad and the very forceful lady Toastmaster had to get quite firm with us, but even when we were sitting down the noise level didn’t subside. My ears are still ringing slightly…

Here are some moments from my day. First a hug from my daughter. Then a glimpse of the table and me with the red rose that was waiting for me there.

Kate Hardy and Karin Stoecker (Mills & Boon) chat over lunch.

Julie Cohen and Anna Lucia, me with Fiona Harper and although I’m sure you know this already, the winner of the Romance Prize was


There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I've already introduced you to Tom McFarlane, the hero of THE BRIDE'S BABY, so now I'm introducing you to his bride, Sylvie Smith.

Sylvie was born to privilege, but that is all long gone and she's had to build her life from the bottom up. But although the "noblesse" is no longer part of her life, she can't escape the "oblige" and, as the Hon Pres of a charity founded by her mother -- and the favoured wedding planner to the rich and famous -- she has been cornered into providing a gossip magazine Wedding Fayre feature laying out her own "fantasy" wedding at her old ancestral home.

Six months pregnant, this is no joke. And things are about to get worse. Longbourne Court's new owner is Tom McFarlane, the father of her baby.

A man who doesn't want to know her or her baby...

Next up, is Anne McAllister's groom, the hero of ONE-NIGHT LOVE CHILD, released in March.

Six years ago Flynn Murray turned Sara McMaster's life upside down. He swept her off her feet and into his bed. Then he left -- and sane, sensible Sara had never been the same.

Flynn, former footloose Irish journalist, is now the Earl of Dunmorey met and fell for Sara in Montana but the timing was not right. Now he gets a letter out of the blue that has been chasing him around the world for five years -- with the news that he has a son. But Sara is in for a shock. Her carefree Irishman is now the scarily powerful Earl of Dunmorey -- and he wants his son.

The third groom is Raul, hero of Kate Walker's Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife.

Two years ago, Alannah turned down Raul's cold-blooded proposal of marriage and walked away without one word of regret. Now tragedy has thrown them together once more, and this time the proud Spanish aristocrat will see that she doesn't get away from him again.

He had always wanted Alannah from the first moment he saw her. Her unique combination of purity and passion intrigued, then intoxicated him. And Raul is a man used to getting everything he wants. She got away from him once - This time, he intends to keep her.

Okay, here are all three questions -- and you need to send all three answers to each of us in order to be put in the draw for one of three prizes of all three books.

My addy is liz @ lizfielding.com (no gaps); you'll find the answers and contact details of Kate and Anne's logs.

Flynn's Question: What story did he come to Montana to cover when he met Sara in the first place?

Raul's Question: What are the full names of the hero and heroine of Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife

Tom's Question: What colour silk did he become intimately acquainted with?