Monday, November 28, 2011


I’ve had the most fun following the run-up to the publication of Nicola Marsh’s single title BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD and, as a member of her street team, I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC.

BUSTED begins with a big fat lie – always a great place for a romcom to begin. Shari Jones — in a very dark place and jobless after splitting with her cheating ex — goes to Mumbai in place of her best friend who wants nothing to do with the man her parents have arranged for her to marry.

Her mission - and she's already regretting accepting it - is to make the man back off. Say "no thanks". Be the one to pull out of the arrangement.

This is clearly not a great plan and, as you’d expect, doesn’t go well. On the up side Shari falls in love with the food and culture of India. And she meets a very sexy Englishman.

Back in New York and beginning to get her life together, Shari gets a bit part in a Bollywood extravaganza, meets up with Mr Sexy and things should be great. Falling in love with a guy who lives on the other side of the world is never going to end well, though, especially when his mother is a witch.

Fabulous food, exotic scenery, hot sex and a heap of emotion makes this a fun read.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Being British I was unfamiliar with the term Black Friday, but this year it's been everywhere and suddenly the meaning clicked.

Never one to miss out on a fun idea, I'm pitching in with a giveaway to celebrate the day.

WILD JUSTICE is already a free download on Kindle, but I'm offering a free download of WILD LADY and WILD FIRE - the second and third books in the trilogy as a prize.

To be included in the draw, follow my blog or, if you've already done that, then leave a comment (or both!) telling me what you'll be hunting down in the sale today. Or the best bargain you ever found.

Here's a snippet from Wild Fire to keep you warm -

His touch was like summer lightning, wild fire that ran between them and as he continued to hold onto her hand, his eyes too seemed to heat from within.
They were not, as she had first thought, a steely grey, but were flecked with warm gold lights that seemed to bore into her very soul and for a moment she was certain that he felt the same charge of excitement. Then steeply hooded lids came down, cloaking his feelings.
'Guard it with your life, Melanie.'
The key was warm from his body, but his hands were cool. Long, slender fingers wrapped around her warm hand and the warmer key. Hidden layers of heat, like the hidden layers of meaning she sensed behind everything he said. 

I'll draw the winner on Monday morning, UK time.

Oh, and if you're in the UK, Mills and Boon are having a Pink Friday sale today and you can buy TEMPTED BY TROUBLE for a really skinny £1.99 here

Saturday, November 19, 2011


And for this week's Six Sentence Sunday we return to Isola del Serrone with Sarah Gratton and Matteo di Serrone, who are spending the weekend at the vineyard at the start of harvest.

'I’ve been wanting to do this,’ he said as he backed her into a bay housing one of the barrels and kissed her, sliding his hands inside her t-shirt to unclasp her bra.

She leaned back over the gentle curve, sighing with pleasure as he took possession of her breasts. ‘Is this what is known as being had “over a barrel”?’

He shook his head, clearly not familiar with the expression.

‘At your mercy, my lord,’ she explained.

‘On the contrary, cara, I rather think that I am at yours.’

For more details about Six Sentence Sunday click here

For the first chapter of FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN click the Browse button if you're in the UK -

Or if you're in the States - click HARLEQUIN

Monday, November 14, 2011


A gift arrived unexpectedly in the post this week from my lovely cousin, Lucinda Ganderton (the incredibly talented lady who designed and made all the lovely things in the Liberty Sewing Book that I featured a week or two ago).

It’s a handbag dangly and was designed by Livia Firth (yes, Colin’s wife) for the Helping Handbags charity founded to support vulnerable children in Bulgarian care homes.  The two lovely handbags on the website were designed by Lucinda’s sister, Emma.

The whole point of this blog though, is that enclosed with the gift was a note from Lucinda written on a postcard reproduction of Sir Stanley Spencer’s painting of Cookham Moor.

I know Cookham Moor well, have walked across it many times as a child and teen, wheeled the first born across it in his buggy (and my Dad used to see Stanley Spencer working in the village in his own youth).

Cookham provided the inspiration for my imaginary village of Longbourne, setting for Tempted By Trouble, where Elle Amery lives with her sisters and grandmother. This painting is the site of the annual fair, where Elle, every year, hopes to see someone who might be her father.

She blinked. ‘June?’ For a moment her brain freewheeled, before she managed to get grip, engage the cogs, start thinking. ‘The first week is the highlight of the Longbourne calendar.  The only highlight,’ she added, wryly.
‘The fair?’
‘I never go myself. I just stand on the sidelines looking at the men putting up the rides, erecting the stalls.’
‘Searching for a likeness?’
No doubt about it, he was good at mental arithmetic. Give him two and two and he came up with a neat four, no problem.
‘I know it’s stupid. I mean what would I say? You don’t know me but I think you might have met my mother twenty-four years ago?’
‘Actually,’ he replied, ‘I think it’s far more likely that some man would look up, see you with the sun shining on your hair and remember a long ago summer. Wish he was still young.’

Just love coincidences like that.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Welcome back to Six Sentence Sunday!

Today I'm snipping my six sentences from WILD FIRE, the third in my Beaumont Brides trilogy.

TV soap queen and West End star, Melanie Beaumont has accepted a bet from an old friend that she can't do an ordinary job for a month - take the Cinderella role and work as a cleaner.

She's just mad enough at everyone to give it a go. Her first job, cleaning up after a party that's got out of hand, goes pretty well - until the owner of the apartment arrives home earlier than expected...

Jack Wolfe's steel grey eyes flickered about the apartment and came back to rest upon Melanie as she wriggled out of Tom's grasp and got to her feet. She fielded the look, held it, refusing to be intimidated, but the man was not a bit like his brother.

Tom was young, still soft, with an eager puppy-like charm that ensured quick forgiveness of his doubtless many sins. She knew the type and kept firmly on a training lead he would be amusing company.

Jack Wolfe was darker, leaner, harder. A Doberman to Tom's Labrador.

For more details about Six Sentence Sunday click here

Friday, November 11, 2011


I promised you food to go with my Italian book and here Sarah and Matteo share lunch, starting with one of my favourites - antipasto.
Most cuisines have this lovely pick and mix starter - I had some wonderful mezza when I lived in the Middle East.
But wonderful spicy meats, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and creamy cheese served with fresh ciabatta on a shady terrace - perfect bliss.

There was a pause while Graziella brought antipasto for them to graze on and Matteo opened a bottle of the golden sparkling wine that was the pride of the Serrone vineyard.
‘You must taste this,’ he said, pouring a little into a second glass before she could refuse. ‘The grape variety was bred by my grandfather. It was his lifetime’s work.’ He swirled the wine around his own glass to release the aromas, encouraging her to do the same. ‘There is a scent of herbs…’ — he took a mouthful, taking his time to allow the flavours to develop — ‘… and a honeyed aftertaste, enriching the peach and melon flavours of the classic Frascati. It reflects everything that is Isola del Serrone.’
‘You a clearly passionate about it.’
‘A man must be passionate about something. My grandfather produced the flavour, my task is to improve yield and disease resistance for the next generation.’ If only on a part-time basis. ‘The Serrone vines have always been grown organically.’
She took a sip – how could she possibly refuse after that? – and her smile was unforced. 
‘It’s delicious. Like drinking a summer’s day.’
She couldn’t have said anything more calculated to charm him. He would need to be very careful.
‘I’d have to pay an advertising agency a fortune to come up with something that good.’  He picked up the servers and piling cold meat, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, olives onto her plate.  ‘How much will it cost me to quote you?’  
‘A piece of that bread?’  Then, as he cut into the freshly baked ciabatta, ‘I thought the vineyard was run by a co-operative.  I looked up Isola del Serrone on the internet,’ she explained, as she picked up a fork.  ‘Maybe I misunderstood?  I clicked on the translation device but the language was a bit mangled.  Or perhaps there’s more than one vineyard?’
‘You didn’t misunderstand.’ He filled his own plate. ‘My great-grandfather set up the co-operative after the war.  He wanted to rebuild the community. Give the villagers a share in what it produced after all they had suffered. Give the young men a reason to stay on the land rather than join the stampede to the factories in the north.’
‘Was he here?  During the war,’ she asked.
Again, not the kind of question he expected...

Next time it will be the pasta.

So what is your favourite Italian food? Spicy sauces, fabulous ices?  Do you have a favourite recipe? Do share!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011


I've been so busy the last couple of weeks, mentoring my New Voices finalist, putting the final finishing touches to THE LAST WOMAN HE'D EVER DATE and getting stuck into a non-fic project I'm working on.  More of that later.

But I have new book on the blocks. FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN is now available online from Mills and Boon (you can read the first chapter here) and from Harlequin in paper and eBook format.

You'll probably have to wait a couple of weeks for delivery from any of the other online outlets, or retail, but I thought it was time to make you better acquainted with the setting. Well, there's Rome. Hard to say anything about the city that's new. It is just, amazing.

The secondary location in the book, Isola del Serrone, a large village in a wine-producing area south east of Rome, is a figment of my imagination based on my own visits to the area.

I love this picture, which seems to encapsulate those large villages and small towns I visited when I was in Italy. Narrow alleys, beautiful golden squares, so much unimaginable age.

In Italy, history is not so much a tourist destination as part of life.  And the Romans, in many places, are just Johnny-come-lately types.  Where I stayed with friends, they speak a dialect which is an older language than Latin.

It's a new world for Sarah Gratton who, newly single, is picking up the threads of the life she had abandoned for the "perfect job" the "perfect man".  Travelling, teaching abroad. And her much loved great-grandfather, knowing how much she is hurting, tells her not to look back but forward, and gives her a little advice:

Sarah started as Lex took her hand. 
            ‘It’s not far,’ she told him. ‘I’ll be home for visits so often you’ll be sick of me.  Half term.  The holidays.’
     ‘      What for?  To see an old man?’ His gesture was dismissive. ‘Don’t waste your time or your money.  Enjoy Italy while you have the chance.’
‘I’ll have plenty of time to see everything.’ And could travel with the money she’d been saving for her wedding, for the big dress.  Her share of the deposit they had been saving for a house. One with a garden for the children they would have one day.    
‘There’s never enough time,’ he warned her. ‘Your life goes by in a flash. Enjoy every minute of it.’
‘Of course,’ she said, on automatic.
‘No, I mean really enjoy it.’ He regarded her with that thoughtful gaze that his patients would have recognised when he had still been in practice. The one that saw through the “headaches” to the real problem. 'I prescribe an affair. No falling in love, breaking your heart stuff, mind.  Nothing serious,’ he warned. ‘A just-for-fun romance with some dark-eyed Italian. A memory to make you smile rather than weep. To keep you warm at night when you’re old.’

He's speaking from the heart and when she goes in search of his own memory, she finds Matteo di Serrone.
What do you think? Does he fit the bill?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011



Voting for the final four "pivotal moments" of the New Voices 2011 competition begins on 1st November at 9 am. You have three days to make your choice; here's the lovely Charlotte Phillip's moment of change for Anna and Jack in her entry, Honeymoon With a Stranger.

Do go and support her and the other three writers who have worked so hard over the past week.

And if you entered a chapter - or two - I hope you're already polishing up your first three chapters to submit in the usual way. There were lots of really great entries and Mills and Boon are still looking for writers with that little extra sparkle. Go for it!