Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

Blurb: 
The multi-million copy global bestselling Crossfire series from Sylvia Day continues with Captivated by You.
Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.
The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened up old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp; my greatest fears becoming my reality; my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.
At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream . . .
Sylvia Day is the number one Sunday Times and number one international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a number one bestselling author in twenty-three countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.
Visit Sylvia at http://www.sylviaday.comFacebook.com/AuthorSylviaDay and on Twitter @SylDay
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The biggest thanks to Juliana for sending me a copy to review 
My Thoughts; 
Ok let’s be honest, I was pacing the floor waiting for this book to arrive and after countless days of the postman playing with my emotions, I found myself jumping for joy when I finally had Gideon back in my hands! 
Being reunited with Gideon and Eva was incredible, intense, sexy and truly captivating.
I loved this story, not just because it allows us to see more into Gideons past but because it allows us to reach into the core of his emotions and be captivated by his point of view, because that’s right ladies and gentleman, Captivated by You is a dual narrative, allowing us to see both sides of every clinche, every argument and everything that life throws at them.
For me the dual narrative made this book that much more intense, I’ve always known their feelings are strong but you get the true force of emotions when you are allowed inside Gideons head.
Believe me when I say, there’s a lot happening. With troublesome exes and people set on revenge, Mr and Mrs Cross find that married life isn’t a honeymoon.
But like always, as drama attempts to pull them apart, passion forces them back together again.
Whilst it was wonderful being reunited with Gideon and Eva, I was also very pleased to have Angus back in my life.
I know he isn’t a major character but there is something special about Angus that always makes me smile, I love the way he cares for Cross and it’s evident that for Gideon he is the one person that can be trusted with everything.
I lost myself in Captivated by You and as with the others in this series, when I turned that final page, I was already waiting for more….

Magic Sonetimes Happens by Margaret James

London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.
American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s hot.
Pat and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back.
So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.
But magic sometimes happens – right?
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Thank you to Choclit for sending me a copy to review.
My Thoughts: 
Margaret James is back to embrace us in the warmth and wittiness of her words with Magic Sometimes Happens
Rosie Denham has returned back home following a year in France.
Rosie’s return is shrouded by an event that took place, something she can’t forgive herself for.
The story follows Rosie, who not only embarks on setting up her own PR firm but also meets the the lovely but slightly heartbroken Patrick Riley.
Rosie is a lovely character, she is witty and determined but on occasions does show a vulnerability that makes her wonderfully relatable.
Patrick is an immensely swoon worthy character and just like Rosie, he too has a vulnerable side.
But one of my favourite aspects of this story was the chance to be reunited with Fanny from The Wedding Diary she is a character I will never tire of.
Magic Sometimes Happens is an incredible story that offers a will they won’t they romance, secrets and a story that will grip you from the very beginning.
Thank you once again Margaret James for captivating my imagination and providing me with pure indulgent escapism.

An Irish Promise by Isabella Connor

A promise is a promise
Art historian, Rachel Ford has returned to the Irish village of Kilbrook intent on keeping her promise to take revenge on the school bullies who ruined her childhood and destroyed her family.
Australian actor Finn MacKenzie sets hearts fluttering when he turns up in sleepy Kilbrook to help his aunt with a school production. He seems to have a charmed life, yet his confident façade hides heartbreak and tragedy. Although Finn isn’t looking for love, when he meets the mysterious Rachel, there’s a definite spark between them.
Rachel is torn between her desire for revenge and this new love affair. She doesn’t want to deceive Finn, but can she trust him to keep her real identity a secret? And will he understand why she must keep her promise, no matter the cost?
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Thank you to Choclit for sending me a copy to review
My Thoughts: 
In 2013 I was left captivated by Beneath an Irish Sky the stunning debut from Isabella Connor, so it was with much excitement that I delved into the pages of An Irish Promise
As I was whisked away yet again to the Emerald Isle, I found myself pulled Into a wonderful story that was filled with romance, mystery, intrigue and issues that nearly all readers will relate to.
The story follows Rachel Ford, our main protagonist who is about to embark on a journey of revenge on the four people who made her childhood a living hell.
As Rachel sets about her quest, she finds herself bonding with the marvellous Molly, being offered help by priest Daniel and encountering the handsome Australian that is Finn.
I instantly fell in love with Finn and it warmed my heart to discover the attraction that forms between him and Rachel,
There is no doubt that Isabella Connor has done it again, this story is immensely gripping and beautifully told.
A story that captures true emotion! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

A blogging break......

You may have noticed that blog posts have been quite sparse of late and despite the fact that I am still reading, if truth be told, my mind doesn't seem to stay with a book long.

Ever since I was little I've loved reading and the escapism that books provide, the way in which a story can transport us to a different time and place is magical and whilst I'm still enjoying books I am finding that my mind is elsewhere.
So that's why I've decided that The Love of a Good Book will is going on a break, I will be honouring commitments but other than that I shall be posting as and when I can.

Without getting personal, my family need my time now and as much as I love reading and blogging, I love them more.
Books will always be in my life but they can't be my number one.

I do hope that you understand.

Be happy all.

Love Kirsty x 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

One Hundred Christmas Proposals by Holly Martin


Blurb:
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to One Hundred Proposals.
If you thought Harry and Suzie’s life couldn’t get anymore sweepingly romantic than Harry asking her to marry him at the end of One Hundred Proposals – think again!
It’s Christmas in a snow-kissed London, and the.PerfectProposal.com have vowed to carry out one hundred proposals in December. No easy task at the best of times – made even more complicated by Harry and Suzie trying to plan their first Christmas and a visit from the dreaded in-laws. But one hundred deliciously Christmassy proposals later they find themselves asking if everything is still perfect in their own relationship….
Welcome back to the divinely warm world of One Hundred Proposals – with a sprinkling of pure, joyful, festive magic.
Have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed with Holly Martin’s Christmas novella.
Thank you to Holly Martin for sending me a copy to review.
My Thoughts:
Stop whatever you are doing…………
Harry and Suzie are back.
And along with them comes extra doses of romance, I mean big gushy swoon worthy proposals that will have you saying awww, whilst scribbling the idea in a notebook ready to hand out to Mr/Miss Right.
I’ve always thought I wouldn’t want a big proposal but with every proposal that Holly Martin describes I find myself falling for the romance of it all.
I love the idea of a flash mob proposal or a Harry Potter one, the truth is that Martin describes these events with so much love and romance that even the most cynical amongst us will start to believe in love.
As much as I loved One Hundred Proposals for bringing Harry and Suzie into my life, I find the magic of Christmas has made this novella a favourite with me.
In fact before writing this review I have read it three times and the main reason for this is, that this is a book that really does lighten your mood and warm your heart
I didn’t think it was possible but I fell even more in love with the characters
Harry is as lovable as ever and it’s clear to see that he is head over heels in love with Suzie.
The couple are blissfully happy and with their happiness comes some incredible proposals.
The only downside of their job is that nearly all their time is spent planning proposals and now Suzie is starting to wonder if they will ever get round to planning their wedding.
Then to add to the pandemonium Christmas is looming, Harry is acting strange, Badger has an announcement and Suzie’s parents are planning a visit.
I loved the fact that we got to meet Suzie’s parents, (although we were introduced to them via phonecalls in One Hundred Proposals) they certainly leave a lasting impression.
I love her dad and the closeness that he and Suzie share.
This wonderful novella shares so much with us.
We have the incredible love story that is Harry and Suzie, the drama that is the visit from her parents and to top it all off we are also reunited with Badger and Jules.
Oh I do love Badger and Jules, I hope that we will get their story. I beg you Holly to write their story, the chance to discover more about them would be a real treat.
I also think Jules has the best way of coping with stress, anyone for more cake?
The truth is I could go on and on about this story but I need to remember it’s a novella and that you all will read it, because let’s face it, you would be silly not to. For this is a story full of happiness, magic and romance.
A true winter warmer!

Friday, 31 October 2014

BOOK BREAK - the online book show series - Episode 7

Log on during your lunch hour for the latest Book Break episode where author Alexandra Heminsley is joined by M.J McGrath and Emily St. John Mandel who will be talking about their latest titles and their writing quirks, inspirations and methods.

Broadcast date: Friday 31st October
Broadcast time: 12:30pm 

 

In episode seven of BOOK BREAK, anchored by author Alexandra Heminsley (Running Like a Girl), we are joined by M.J. McGrath, an award winning writer and journalist, and Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel to discuss North American literature, dark locations and even darker plots.

M. J. McGrath joins us to discuss the location that inspired her latest title The Bone Seeker, a gripping, atmospheric thriller set in the Arctic’s long white nights; the very personal murder of a young girl will explode a decades-long tale of the very darkest betrayal.  Mel shares her experiences of writing journalistically, non-fiction and fiction, and the future for her Edie Kiglatuk Mystery series. 

While Emily St. John Mandel shares insight into her new release ‘Station Eleven’ and find out what drove her to write this post-apocalyptic narrative. Station Eleven, her fourth novel,begins with a dramatic end.  The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything - even the end of the world.

We’ll also hear from Nickolas Butler in our writer’s room segment to get an insight into his perceptions of the novel form as a debut novelist, and take a sneak peek into the celeb-filled Taking Hollywood launch party

Follow #bookbreak on Twitter, subscribe to the Pan Macmillan’s YouTube channel or watch the broadcast right here at 12:30pm on Friday 31st October. 

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Cover reveal: Appleby Farm


Today I am super excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for the Appleby Farm series by Cathy Bramley. 



Cathy shares with us how the series came about:

After I finished writing Ivy Lane earlier this year, my editor asked me if I’d consider a spin-off series, taking one character from Ivy Lane and plunging them into a new setting and a new story with perhaps a few surprise visits from some old friends from Ivy Lane. I thought this was a great idea and immediately set to work creating Appleby Farm, which I’m hoping readers of Ivy Lane will fall in love with.

It’s set in the glorious Lake District, an area I adore, and follows the story of a young woman and her fight to save the farm which has been in her family for generations. It features lots of wonderful people including a very attractive farmer on neighbouring Willow Farm, Vintage tearooms, a trip to Paris and a wedding. Appleby Farm will be published by Transworld in four monthly parts between February and May 2015 and they are all available to pre-order now!

The covers themselves have been designed by Kate Forrester, the same illustrator who drew my Ivy Lane covers and I think she has conjured up the warm and friendly farm set in the beautiful Lake District perfectly.

The link to part one on Amazon UK is http://smarturl.it/Af1

ABOUT CATHY BRAMLEY

Cathy Bramley is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, a four-part serialised novel (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and Conditional Love. Both are being published as paperbacks in 2015. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted, romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending the last eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has been always an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of that palaver.

You can contact Cathy via her website,  Facebook page or on Twitter 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Some Veil Did Fall by Kirsty Ferry

Blurb:

What if you recalled memories from a life that wasn't yours, from a life before?
When Becky steps into Jonathon Nelson's atmospheric photography studio in Whitby, she is simply a freelance journalist in search of a story. But as soon as she puts on the beautiful Victorian dress and poses for a photograph, she becomes somebody quite different...

From that moment on, Becky is overcome with visions and flashbacks from a life that isn't her own - some disturbing and filled with fear.

As she and Jon begin to unravel the tragic mystery behind her strange experiences, the natural affinity that they have for each other continues to grow and leads them to question - have they met somewhere before? Perhaps not just in this life but in another?

Thank you to Choc lit for sending me a copy to review.

My Thoughts:

Kirsty Ferry has created a wonderful time slip paranormal romance, that will have you gripped as you travel through era's and explore the possibly of a past life.

This is an incredible debut that follows Becky, our protagonist from the present era, as she embarks on a goth weekend in Whitby.
It is here that she bumps into Jonathon Nelson someone she has known since childhood, but this meeting seems to bring about a shift in their relationship for soon they are both having flashbacks to a different era, what is it they are destined to learn?

Ferry has created a world that isn't just enveloped in mystery, it is also full of caring and intuitive people, like Becky and Lissy (Jon's sister)
There is a strong sense of love amongst certain characters and it flows through the pages as the characters prove that they will do anything to help each other.
All with the exception of Seb!

With such intricately woven era's and characters to take to heart, there is no doubt that Ferry has created a story that will stay with you long after you've finished it.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cover reveal: After the Storm by Jane Lythell

Having loved her thoroughly gripping debut The Lie of You I am extremely excited to read After the Storm by Jane Lythell (Twitter: @janelythell)
So it is with great delight that today I can reveal the cover for this eagerly anticipated novel.

AFTER THE STORM

A man who had no voice. A woman who helped him find it.
Rob and Anna have just met Owen and Kim. Now they've chartered their handsome old boat to take them to a far off island in the Caribbean.
With only the four of them on board, Rob dreams of lazy afternoons snorkelling. Anna looks forward to the silence and solitude of the sea.
But why does Owen suffer acute insomnia and seem so secretive about his past? Why does Kim keep a knife zipped into her money-belt? Anna, a speech therapist, can usually get people to tell her the truth... but does she want to this time?


If you would like a review copy please contact: becci@headofzeus.com

Monday, 27 October 2014

Feeling spooked with Kirsty Ferry


Today I am pleased to welcome Kirsty Ferry to The Love of a Good Book!
                    
It’s lovely to be invited to guest blog so near to Halloween. I love all things paranormal, I love writing about all things paranormal and of course Halloween is traditionally the time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest. This is the one night of the year where most people seem open to the idea of seeing ghosts and experiencing spooky goings on.
My debut Choc Lit novel, Some Veil Did Fall, takes place around Halloween – in Whitby, North Yorkshire, which is perhaps most famous for its associations with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and which is home of the world famous Goth Weekend. Part of Goth Weekend involves people converging on the town, many of them dressed in all sorts of wonderful costumes to celebrate the undead.
I had the title for Some Veil Did Fall before I actually decided to set it in Whitby at this time of year, but the title seemed to be really appropriate once I started writing the book properly. “Some veil did fall” is a line from Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem Sudden Light, a poem dealing with the idea of reincarnation and of finding your soulmate.
Becky and Jon, the main characters in the novel, have known each other since childhood – but their relationship is anything but a slow burner. By that, I mean it’s not as if they’ve harboured a longing for each other over the years. To Jon, Becky, now a freelance journalist, was always his little sister’s irritating best friend; and to Becky, Jon, now a photographer, was always Lissy’sannoying older brother.
But it is during Becky’s visit to Gothic Whitby, several years after they last spoke, that she literally bumps into Jon again. At first, they reconnect on the level they’ve always had and it’s only natural that they fall into their easy friendship again – but a series of strange occurrences makes them both wonder if there is more to their relationship than they ever thought about before. And it soon becomes apparent that the metaphorical veil does indeed fall for them both and they realise what they maybe should have known all along – the fact that they have a lot more in common with the Victorian couple who appear to be haunting them than they thought at first!
In that vein (if you’ll pardon the Halloween pun), one of the most interesting things for me, as an author, was creating the parallel storylines between now and 1865. But I shall leave it to you to see if you can work out which modern day character mirrors which historical character. I just hope that, in the intervening time of almost one hundred and fifty years, that they have all learned something…

                     
Blurb:
What if you recalled memories from a life that wasn't yours, from a life before?
When Becky steps into Jonathon Nelson's atmospheric photography studio in Whitby, she is simply a freelance journalist in search of a story. But as soon as she puts on the beautiful Victorian dress and poses for a photograph, she becomes somebody quite different...
From that moment on, Becky is overcome with visions and flashbacks from a life that isn't her own - some disturbing and filled with fear.

As she and Jon begin to unravel the tragic mystery behind her strange experiences, the natural affinity that they have for each other continues to grow and leads them to question - have they met somewhere before? Perhaps not just in this life but in another?

About the author:
Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in Peoples Friend, The Weekly News, It’s Fate, Vintage Script, Ghost Voices and First Edition. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.
Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.
Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.
Some Veil Did Fall set in Whitby is Kirsty’s debut novel with Choc Lit.
     

A big thank you to Kirsty for stopping by.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cover reveal: One Hundred CHRISTMAS Proposals

I am so excited to share with you this fantastic cover because not only is it beautiful but it means that we are going to be reunited with Harry and Suzie, because 

Drumroll please ...... 

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to One Hundred Proposals.
If you thought Harry & Suzie’s life couldn't get anymore sweepingly romantic than Harry asking her to marry him at the end of One Hundred Proposals – think again! 

It’s Christmas in a snow-kissed London, and the.PerfectProposal.com have vowed to carry out one hundred proposals in December. No easy task at the best of times - made even more complicated by Harry & Suzie trying to plan their first Christmas and a visit from the dreaded in-laws. But one hundred deliciously Christmassy proposals later they find themselves asking if everything is still perfect in their own relationship….

Welcome back to the divinely warm world of One Hundred Proposals – with a sprinkling of pure, joyful, festive magic.

Have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed with Holly Martin’s Christmas novella. 

                                          


Monday's just got magical!

As part of #TeamBea I am delighted to share with you news of Miranda Mondays!

                              

Pre order your copy of I'll Take New York http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ill-Take-York-Miranda-Dickinson/dp/1847562345/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1413629128&sr=8-3&keywords=I%27ll+are+New+York

Blurb:

The author of the Sunday Times bestselling Take a Look at Me Now, returns to New York with her most heart-warming, romantic story yet.
Have you ever given up on love?
When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.
Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll just be one love in his life: New York.
At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships.
But the city has other plans . . .




Cover reveal: We've Always Got New York

Today we have the first glimpse at the cover art of HarperImpulse author, Jill Knapp's next book, "We've Always Got New York", coming out November 20th! This novel is book #2 in the "What Happens To Men..?" series, which is now available in paperback in Great Britain. The first book has gotten rave reviews, and has divided its readers into two groups. Are you on Team Michael? Or are you on Team Hayden?



        
        

You can get a copy of book #1 here -

 "We've Always Got New York" picks up after Amalia Hastings returns to Manhattan from her trip to Brazil to find that life has in fact gone on without her. Fresh off the plane, she is left feeling anxious and unresolved, left alone to pick up the pieces, and deal with the repercussions of choosing her own path over Michael. Amalia finds herself without an apartment, without a job, and starting to wonder if she's even without a best friend!

Jill can be reached on Twitter at @JL_Knapp and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jill-Knapp/1488935691330000?ref=hl

Now here's a sneak peak at the first chapter of "We've Always Got New York"!!


                                         
  
Chapter 1- Amalia
I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting something from me. She was expecting something to be different. For me to be, in some way, changed. 
I’m Amalia Hastings, and on August 20th at 9:17 pm, I was home. 
Home. The word seemed funny to me because I didn’t have a home to go back to. I moved out of my apartment right before leaving for Brazil and after my friend-with-benefits, Michael, showed up at my apartment, asking me to stay. I hadn’t thought it through properly; I just knew I didn’t want to live in that apartment anymore. Before my trip to Brazil I packed up what little stuff I owned and put it in storage for when I returned, assuming I would deal with it then. Well, “then” has become “now”. So for tonight I was staying with my best friend Cassandra. Who was currently waving at me. 
I knew what she wanted. She wanted stories. Juicy ones that involved hot hookups on the sand. She wanted to see pictures. Pictures of the places I went, the food I ate, and the hot guys I met. She wanted me to run up to her in a sun dress, hair braided and skin tanned, and explain, no, to pontificate, to her how life-changing my trip was. She wanted me to playfully link her arm around mine and gush about how amazing it all was. How I was changed forever. That I had a new appreciation for life, food, and music. She wanted me to tell her that I would never be the same.
But this isn’t the movies and I’m not Julia Roberts. 
The florescent lights above me flickered, making the airport look dark and ominous. I looked down at my hand as I pulled my rolling suitcase across the sticky, tiled floor. Not even my hand had acquired a tan. Three months in the Brazilian sun and my skin remained as pale as ever. 
Cassandra was looking right at me with wide, unblinking eyes. I walked a little slower.
For some reason I couldn’t pinpoint, coming off the plane felt like a surreal experience to me. Although I was relieved to have landed, and I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in Brazil any longer, I still wasn’t utterly happy with being back. I wondered if it merely had to do with the fact that I had no apartment to go back to and was feeling pretty untethered from not having a proper home. 
There’s an old saying. I’m not really sure where it’s from or who said it first. Kind of the proverb equivalent of The House of the Rising Sun. It proffers, “Wherever you go, there you are”, and up until about one month ago I had no idea what it meant. But now it means everything. It rings in my ears like a scolding mother, repeating itself over and over again until I submit. 
I finally stood face to face with Cassandra, who was grinning like a fool at this point. She was dressed down for the night, wearing a purple racer-back tank top that showed off her summer glow, jeans, and gold flip-flops. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loose, messy bun and her make-up was minimal, apart from the extra-shiny, coral lip-gloss she was wearing. She reeked of summer.
“Hey,” I offered, looking down at my sneakers. I wished I had more energy for her, but after ten hours on a plane it was all I could muster up. 
Cassandra cocked her head to the side and smiled. Her hair swung back and forth and she popped her hip out like a model in training. She looked as fierce as ever, even dressed-down in comfortable summer clothes.
“That’s all I get? Get over here!” she said, pulling me in for a hug.
I hugged her back for a moment and then pulled away, overcome with exhaustion and jet-lag. I smiled at Cassandra. She smelled like a salty coconut and I realized she had probably come straight from Fire Island, a beach not too far from Long Island and just outside of the city. That explained the dressed-down attire, but not the lip-gloss. Unless, of course, we were going straight back there from JFK airport.
I looked back at the gate. Most people I knew hated airports, but I liked them. They offered a chance to escape. Get on a plane and in six hours from now you could be across the country. You could be in a different town, in a different house, with a different group of people. I think we all took that for granted.
 I could go back to Brazil right now. Or I could go somewhere else. I’ve never been to Cincinnati; I wonder what it’s like there. Or maybe Savannah. I could definitely live in Savannah! I took a step backwards, away from Cassie. Back toward the inside of the airport. She just smiled.
“Very funny, Amalia!” she said through perfectly white teeth. “Don’t sneak away from me now. I’m so glad you’re back, I really missed you.”
Cassie threw her arm over me and smushed our faces together. She whipped out her iPhone and flipped the camera application around so the front lens could be used and snapped a picture of the two of us. Before I knew it, she uploaded the picture to Facebook with the caption “So excited, Amalia is officially home!”
Without glancing back, she walked a few feet in front of me and remained glued to her phone. The back of her Havaianas smacking onto her heels echoed throughout the now nearly empty hallway. I let out a long sigh that Cassandra didn’t hear and pulled my suitcase toward the exit. Yep, it was official. I was home. 


About Jill Knapp:

I’m currently a blogger for The Huffington Post, and a former college professor. What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan? is my debut novel, and the first in a series of books I am writing about being young, single, and living in New York City. I am a native New Yorker, but currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.



                               
     

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Beneath the Moon and the Stars COMPETITION

    









Beneath the Moon and the Stars by Amelia Thorne is out now.  Here’s the blurb.
Home, sweet home…
Joy Cartier has been to some of the most beautiful places in the world – but none of them have ever felt like home. So moving into a tiny cottage in the idyllic village of Bramble Hill, walking distance from her childhood home, seems like the perfect plan.

That is, until she gets there. The surly inhabitants of Britain’s Friendliest Village are anything but welcoming. Even her neighbour, reclusive Hollywood star Finn Mackenzie, takes one look at her and walks in the other direction.

But when the village animosity steps up a gear, it is the infuriatingly brooding Finn who keeps coming to her rescue. Slowly Joy begins to realise that maybe a happy home isn’t about where you live, but who you’re with…

To celebrate the launch Amelia has a fab prize bundle to giveaway.  You could win these gorgeous hand carved wooden necklaces, a £15 iTunes voucher and a £50 theatre ticket voucher.

       







All you have to do is copy one of the pre-prepared tweets below, tweet it and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win this prize bundle.  The more you tweet, the more times you’ll be entered.
You can even make up your own tweet about the book, just as long as it has the book link to amazon, (http://amzn.to/1sdZ0rw) the hashtag #BeneathTheMoon and Amelia’s Twitter name @Amelia_Writes in the tweet you’ll be entered into the draw.  
The competition will run until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 26th October and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 28th October so plenty of time for tweeting.  Every time you tweet, you’ll be entered into the draw.
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Tweets
Beneath The Moon and the Stars by @Amelia_Writes is out now, a gorgeous story of love, friendship and secrets 
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Beneath the Moon and the Stars by @Amelia_Writes is a gorgeous story of love, secrets and misguided revenge
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Beneath the Moon and the Stars, chapter three exclusive

Chapter Three

Finn was standing at the bottom of his garden, staring at the heather covered hills that swept up from his back fence. It was early morning and the sun, if it had bothered to come out at all, was currently hiding behind heavy rain clouds. He had never minded the rain. In fact he loved it, it was always so peaceful. The only noise he could hear was the soft thud of raindrops hitting his hood. That was until he heard a wailing behind him.
He turned quickly, wondering if someone had been hurt, and immediately saw Joy dancing around in her bedroom window, seemingly singing or rather shrieking her version of ‘It’s Raining Men’. She was wrapped only in a towel, a tangle of red wet hair hanging down her back. She spun around and as she did the towel fell away. His eyes drank her in. In a flash, his hands were caressing her pale, milky skin, feeling the fire of her hair between his fingers, pulling her warm body against his.
Unashamed, she carried on dancing. If it could be called that. Every part of her seemed to be wiggling as if she was attached to strings and controlled by a very drunk puppeteer. Her arms were punching up and down, her hips going side to side and her knees knocking together. But none of this detracted from the incredibly beautiful body. The innocent enthusiasm was incredibly endearing. After the night before, he expected her to be moping around, but it seemed nothing could keep Joy in a bad mood. He couldn’t help but smile at her.
The music obviously changed, because the next thing she was screaming along to ‘Lady Marmalade’ by All Saints. He didn’t need to be fluent in French to know the lyrics meant ‘Do you want to sleep with me tonight.’ Every teenage boy on his university trip to France made sure they knew those words if nothing else. The terrible dancing had changed too. It was still terrible but was now what could only be classed as provocative, as she ground her hips round in slow circles.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her. What an absolute creep he was. But no matter how much he despised himself, he could do nothing to stop it.
Suddenly anger flooded through him. She knew he was out here, that’s why she was dancing like this. How could she not see him? He was wearing a bright yellow hoodie; it’d be pretty hard to miss. She was either trying to turn him on, or she was just teasing him to wind him up.
Either option was not pleasing in his book.
He stormed back into the house, out onto the street and hammered on her front door.
It took a few moments for her to answer, when she did she was thankfully wrapped in a white robe. Her face was flushed with happiness, which immediately vanished as soon as she saw him.
‘Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t like you, and I certainly don’t fancy you. That little show you’ve just put on for my benefit only made you look ridiculous.’
Her mouth fell open, her face going a bright shade of red. She’d clearly had no idea he was out there. But he’d started now, so he was damned sure he was going to finish.
‘I suggest if you want to dance, badly may I just point out, that you put some bloody clothes on or draw the curtains. That way I won’t see something I really don’t want to see.’
With that he marched back to his house.
But she was hot on his heels.
‘You arrogant, conceited, jumped up little shit. I was not dancing for you. I didn’t even know you were there. And you know what, if I want to dance naked in the privacy of my own home, I will. I suggest if you are offended by my nudity, you look away, instead of perving on me like the disgusting creep that you are.’
She flounced away.
He caught her arm and span her round.
‘Hey!’ came Zach’s voice, protectively, though he was wise enough not to come any closer.
Finn stared down at Joy, his jaw clenched. Her eyes, currently filled with hatred, were an intense olive green, tiny freckles covered her nose and shoulders. Her lips…
He let her go, taking a step back before he closed the gap between them and kissed her. What was wrong with him? She infuriated him; he certainly didn’t like her in that way.
He flashed Zach an obligatory filthy look, looked back to Joy, at her wet hair dripping down her neck, at the swell of her breast that was peeping out the top of her robe, and then stormed back into his own house.
*
Joy watched him go, her heart pounding.
‘You ok?’ Zach stepped up to her a fraction too late.
She nodded, aware that her hands were shaking.
‘What was that about?’
‘Er…’ she tore her eyes away from Finn’s front door and looked at Zach instead. ‘Just Finn making it very clear he doesn’t like me.’
‘Oh that. Don’t take it personally, he doesn’t like anyone.’
She noticed Zach’s eyes travelling down her body, his pupils widening with lust. She looked down to see that her wet hair was making the robe damp and see-through. Folding her arms across her chest she moved back towards the house.
‘I’ll see you later.’
His face fell slightly as she closed the door.
How strange to be so desired and so hated within a matter of seconds. Her heart was still pounding furiously. In part it was down to anger at Finn’s arrogance and comments, but she knew mainly it was down to a wave of desire and need that had crashed over her when he had grabbed her and spun her around. If he had thrown her over his shoulder and carried her back to his cave right then, she would have only protested out of principle.
Suddenly a disgusting smell hit her nose. She looked around to find the source and saw a piece of paper, with what could only be dog poo on it. Scrawled across the paper in large angry capital letters was the word BITCH. It had clearly been posted through her letterbox that morning, but because she had opened the door, she had dislodged half the poo and it had mushed into the carpet and underneath the door.
Retribution for Mrs Kemblewick was swift indeed. She stomped into the kitchen to get a bowl of hot soapy water to clean up the mess and knew she would have to come up with a plan and quick.
*
Casey let himself through Finn’s back door and helped himself to a bottle of beer from the fridge before moving through to the front room. Finn was sprawled out on his sofa, reading a book and he looked at Casey over the top of it when he walked in.
‘Could have got one for me while you’re raiding my fridge,’ Finn said, marking his place in his book and throwing it onto the coffee table. He stood up and stretched, showing the toned muscles in his stomach for a brief second. If Casey didn’t know better, he’d think Finn was deliberately torturing him.
Casey sat down, picking up the book as Finn went to get a beer for himself.
‘Any good?’ he waved the book in the air as Finn returned.
‘I have no idea,’ Finn sighed.
Casey smiled. ‘Yeah, I thought you might say that. Are you doing ok?’
‘Not really.’
‘Joy’s incredibly beautiful.’
‘She’s not my type.’
‘Oh come on, are you saying that to convince me or yourself?’
Finn sat down. ‘Me, obviously. If I say it enough, I might start to believe it.’
Casey stroked the head of Billy, Finn’s straggly dog. His heart went out to Finn. For him to have his heart broken twice by the same woman must have been horrendous. Finn’s child would have been a year old now and Casey wondered how often Finn must think about that.
‘Admittedly Joy has red hair like Pippa but that’s where the similarities end. She’s lovely. You’d really like her if you gave her a chance.’
Finn stared at Casey as if he’d just suggested he should chop off his own head.
‘I can’t do a relationship again, I just can’t. Pippa hurt me spectacularly and I never want to be hurt like that again.’
‘Mate, I’m not suggesting you marry her or even jump into bed with her, I’m just saying be nice. Don’t treat her like scum just because she has the same hair colour as your ex-wife. She’s had a bit of a rough life…’ He hesitated in telling Finn about Joy’s parents, but there was a vulnerability in Joy that he wanted to protect. ‘Her parents were killed when she was a kid. I feel like she’s come here for a fresh start and now the villagers are all giving her grief over this stupid Mrs Kemblewick fiasco – which has nothing to do with her, by the way. Her landlord is Joe Carter, the man that kicked Mrs Kemblewick out, she just has a similar name.’
‘You’re kidding?’
‘No, she has no idea who Mrs Kemblewick is. Look, she needs a friend and if you can’t manage that, then at least be civil to her.’
Casey put the empty bottle of beer on the table. ‘I’m going next door to see if she’s ok after last night. Anything you want me to say to her?’
Finn shook his head as he stared at the floor. Casey smiled sympathetically at him. Finn had gone through a rough time too, but Casey was damned sure he wasn’t going to let Finn take his anger out on Joy just because he was still messed up over his own heartbreak.
*
Finn watched Casey go and groaned. Joy’s parents were dead. That made things so much worse. He had this innate need to protect, to comfort. That was how he had met Pippa. She had driven her car into a ditch at the side of the road and although she was unhurt, she was very shaken and tearful when he had pulled over to see if he could help. Her tears, her clinging to him as he held her, was what had done it. He had been lost, beyond redemption from that point on.
Now he wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms round Joy and hold her.
An orphan. She could only be about thirty and she had lost both parents. He would be distraught if he lost his, he couldn’t even begin to think what that would feel like. And she had moved here and the welcome party was well and truly out.
He would have to try to be civil to her from now on. He wouldn’t be friends with her, that would lead to trouble, but at least he could be polite.
*
There was a knock on her door as Joy was knee deep in tissue paper and pretty lilac notelets. The kitchen smelt delicious and Darcy had moved downstairs in the hope of scrounging some morsels. She should have taken poor Darcy for a walk ages ago, though she seemed happy to sleep on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor at the moment.
She hurried to the door; Casey was standing there, looking lovely and dishevelled.
‘Hi, how you feeling today?’
‘I’m good, come in, you can help me.’ She turned back down towards the kitchen and Casey followed her.
She watched him look at the chaos and mess across the breakfast table and then at her with amusement. She tried to look at it through his eyes; the desperation of a mad woman.
‘What are you doing?’
‘These are my friendship cakes. I’ve made one for each house in the village. I’m wrapping them in tissue paper and putting a note in with each one explaining who I am and inviting them all to a housewarming barbeque this Sunday. Here, read the note and tell me what you think.’
He picked up one of the lilac notelets and read it. It explained that she was Joy Cartier and was renting from Joe Carter, that though their names were similar she was not related to him or the previous owner. It said she was very sorry for what had happened to Mrs Kemblewick, but it really had nothing to do with her. It was brief, friendly but to the point, and had taken her hours to construct those few little lines.
‘It’s fine,’ Casey said. ‘But I don’t know if it will work. They seemed to be quite irate when I was in the village shop this morning. I tried to explain to them who you were, but they practically shooed me out of the shop, telling me it was village business and as such was none of mine.’
She stopped in the middle of wrapping up another cake in red tissue paper. ‘You don’t live here?’
‘No, I live in Ashton Woods, the next village.’
‘Oh.’ This bothered her more than it should. She thought that she had at least two friends in the village, now it was down to only one – and Zach was only friends with her because he wanted to sleep with her. ‘Well, it’s clear they’re never going to be my best friends but maybe I can persuade them not to push me in the pond again or post dog poo through my letterbox.’
‘What?’ Casey’s eyes widened as he picked up one of the cakes and artfully arranged the tissue paper around it in a way that she could never achieve.
‘Found it this morning, with a note telling me I’m a bitch.’
He shook his head. ‘Well then, you certainly can’t make it any worse. I’ll give you a hand.’
They worked diligently between them for a while until all the cakes were wrapped.
She sat down, her back aching a bit, and looked out the window at the rain that hadn’t stopped all morning. The hills looked dramatic, silhouetted against the grey sky.
‘It needs to stop raining by tonight, I really need to go out to work,’ she said, then wished she hadn’t as that was bound to lead to questions.
‘A lady of the night are you?’ Casey’s eyes gleamed with excitement. ‘A prostitute? A spy?’
‘Yes to both. Spying doesn’t pay well, so I supplement it with a bit of prostitution.’
‘Noble.’
‘I thought so. Oh that’s what I meant to ask you,’ she quickly changed the subject. ‘When Chloe was threatening me to keep away from Zach, she also said that I couldn’t have you because you were with one of her friends.’
Casey picked up a crumb of cake from the baking tray. ‘Umm… yes, Arielle.’
She waited for more details but clearly none were forthcoming. ‘You’re dating a girl?’
‘Yeah, well not really dating, sort of…’
There was another knock on the door, interrupting what Casey was clearly finding embarrassing to tell her. She presumed it was Finn or Zach and found herself straightening her hair as she moved to answer it, then cursed herself for doing it.
Opening the door, Joy came face to face with a spaghetti thin blonde, her hair scraped back in a very severe looking French roll. She was dressed in a very expensive, very short dress with matching jacket and her face had that look of someone who had sucked a lemon. She was pretty, Joy supposed, and would be even prettier without the excessive makeup and angry pursed lips. She was holding an umbrella over her that matched the colour of her dress suit exactly.
‘Is my fiancé in there with you?’
Joy felt like she’d just received a smack to the face with that news, but quickly collected herself. Clearly this woman had come to the wrong house.
‘Arielle, hi,’ came Casey’s voice behind her.
There was a silence as Joy processed this information and Arielle cast her beady eye over her.
‘This is Joy, she’s just moved in next to Zach,’ Casey said.
‘Evidently,’ said Arielle, icily.
‘Er…’ Casey fumbled for something to say. Gone was the happy, relaxed Casey – he had rapidly been replaced by someone who was clumsy, awkward and clearly petrified of his fiancé. ‘Joy is my cousin. Remember me telling you about Uncle Raymond, well this is his daughter.’
Arielle stared at Joy vacantly for a moment as well she might. Joy was feeling equally confused. Finally Arielle nodded and stretched out her hand for a delicate and formal handshake. ‘Of course, Cousin Joy, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. You’ll be coming to the wedding next week?’
‘Yes, we invited her ages ago, she RSVP’d straightaway. We were quite close growing up.’ Casey squeezed past Joy who seemed to be frozen in the hallway.
Arielle cast her eyes over her again. ‘Of course, well if I don’t see you before, we’ll see you then. Casey do come along, we must meet with Jules to discuss the flowers. Apparently I can’t change the roses to daffodils as they aren’t in season. You need to talk to her.’
Without waiting for an answer, Arielle marched down the path to a little red convertible that was gleaming on the street. Casey glanced at Joy as he followed.
‘I can explain, I promise,’ he said and hurried after Arielle.
‘I can’t wait,’ Joy shouted after him.
But whether he heard or not, she didn’t know because her voice was lost in the noise of the engine as the car roared up the road.
*
Joy delivered the cakes to each doorstep in the village, though she hadn’t quite been brave enough to knock on the doors. Then it was time to take Darcy for a walk.
She intended to trek along the hill range past Menton Hall. She had a job to do there that night, if the rain stopped, and she wanted to get an idea of the lay of the land.
That’s what she was telling herself, it wasn’t at all because the hills held sentimental attachment to her.
When one of Alex’s friends had mentioned that his cousin was doing up a place in the country with a view to renting, Joy had taken it as a sign that it was time to move on from the busy town of Milton Keynes. She had been a face in the crowd there and had no more than a nodding acquaintance with her neighbours of three months.
It was only as she had driven round to see the house that the village names started to sound familiar. She had rounded a corner and was suddenly met with the striking hills that bordered the cluster of villages, the same hills that she had trekked over every weekend with her dad, right up until the weekend before he died.
Even before she saw the house, she knew she was going to say yes. Maybe she could never go back home, but maybe walking these hills with Darcy, as she had done many years before with her dad, would be all she needed to feel at home.
Joy sighed as Darcy left her side and went galloping up to greet Finn’s straggly dog. Seemingly, in the dog world, you just had to shove your nose up the other dog’s bum and you were best friends for life. She wondered what Finn’s reaction to that would be if she tried it. She hung back a little, hoping Finn would try to avoid her, but he was obviously on his way home now, so their paths had to cross if she intended taking Darcy on the walk she had planned. Finn called his dog away from Darcy, but Billy, tongue hanging out, stupid grin in place, was very interested in her. He had that demented look about him when a dog smells a bitch in heat. Damn it. Darcy had been a bit listless the day before, but Joy had put it down to the move. Still they wouldn’t be here long enough for Billy to get lucky. Hopefully Finn would pass without a single word.
He drew closer. He always looked so cool, even today tramping over the rain sodden fields with his dog, he looked like he’d just stepped out of a clothes commercial. He was wearing a simple baseball cap and a waterproof hoodie, but he still looked sexy. And also, as he drew closer, she saw he was wearing a sneer just for her. Her heart sank. Well attack was sometimes the best form of defence.
She marched up to him. ‘Why is it you hate me so much? It can’t possibly be about the ice cream, that would be unbelievably petty. And as you don’t get involved with village matters it can’t be about Mrs Kemblewick either, which by the way had nothing to do with me. So it’s either like Casey said, you hate me because I have red hair, which would be very shallow and small minded or it’s just that you’re a bastard for no other reason than you like to make people’s lives a misery. So tell me, which is it?’
He glared at her but when there was clearly no answer forthcoming, she turned away from him. ‘I’ll take that as the latter then. Darcy, heel!’
She walked away from him, her hands clenched into fists in her pockets, and refused to look back.
*
Damn it. Finn watched her go, his hand on Billy’s collar, who seemed very keen to follow them. Just like his owner. She was right, he was a bastard. He felt beyond guilty for shouting at her that morning just for singing and dancing – and then as she walked towards him, he had been appalled by how turned on he was after seeing Joy dressed in her waxed jacket and cap. It was a waxed jacket and cap, how could it be sexy? The black dress she had worn the day before was sexy. Not a waxed jacket and a pair of battered walking boots. He was determined to be polite, regardless of these insane feelings for her slamming through him. He was going to say hello, that was as good a start as any but as his emotions clawed away inside him his face must have been a picture as he battled with a sudden fear of redheads, a fear of intimacy and a fear of what might happen if they got too close. And whatever she had seen in his face had not been good, going on the defence before he attacked her again.
So now not only did he have to be polite to a woman, a redhead none the less, but he was going to have to work on his facial expressions too. He practiced a smile, the feeling of his mouth turning upwards felt alien to him. He looked down at Billy with the rictus grin stuck on his face, Billy glanced up at him and whined with something akin to fear. Finn sighed and headed for home.
*
The sun finally decided to make an appearance late afternoon as Joy came back home from her walk.
Though would it ever be the place she could finally call home? She would give Bramble Hill a chance, just like all the other places she had tried over the years. Joe, her landlord, had said if she wanted to stay, permanently, he would sell the place to her, but he was quite happy to rent in the meantime. She could easily afford the asking price if she decided to buy it; her job paid her ridiculously well. But as with the other places, she rented first, in a “try before you buy” type way. So far, she’d not found anywhere that she had wanted to buy.
As she drew close to her house, she noticed a collection of flies and wasps around her front door. More dog poo? But then the wasps wouldn’t be interested in that.
She moved closer and realised, with a crashing wave of disappointment, that many, if not all, of her lovingly made friendship cakes had been deposited on her doorstep. Some had seemingly been stamped on and some had even been forcibly shoved through her letterbox. They either hadn’t bothered to read the notes once they spotted it was from her, or hadn’t believed the declaration that she’d had nothing to do with the ousting of Mrs Kemblewick. It did seem slightly implausible that she was Joy Cartier and her landlord was Joe Carter; she and Joe had laughed about it when they had first met. It was much more believable that she was lying about who she was.
She couldn’t even get through the front door, there were so many wasps. She had legal access to her back garden through Finn’s garden. There was a side gate that allowed her to walk through his garden and into hers. She hadn’t used it yet, though she had every right to do so. She thought that it would be the polite thing to do to check with Finn before she strolled across his land. But since the man was an arse, she certainly wasn’t going to extend that courtesy to him.
She opened his back gate, which legally had to be kept unlocked, and walked purposefully towards her own gate, biting her lip as she hoped she could get past unnoticed. She would just walk across his garden as if she had every right to do so, which of course she did. Five metres away, four, three… and if he had noticed her he hadn’t come out and yelled at her yet. Suddenly something in Finn’s downstairs window caught her eye, and despite her best intentions to be in and out in mere seconds, she couldn’t help but look.
There was Finn, stark naked, drying his wet hair with a towel.

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