Daily Archives: November 26, 2013

[Review Tour & Giveaway] Death is but a Dream by Erin Hayes

Death is but a Dream by Erin Hayes
Publication date: Fall, 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

Synopsis:

Caught between life and death, all Callie wants is to live again.

Homicide detective Callie Saunders knows that death isn’t all pearly gates and angels. After being hit by a bus, she finds that it’s the ancient gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who are in charge of everything.

So when Hades offers her a deal, she accepts. If she wants to be brought back to life, she’ll have to figure out who is trying to kill his son. But if she fails, both her soul and the world will be destroyed.

With the odds mounting against her, it’ll take everything she has within her to wake up from death. But the rules are constantly changing. And someone wants her to stay dead

 


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18269916-death-is-but-a-dream

 

Purchase:

Amazon | B&N 

 


My Review: 
4.0 Star Review – Death Is But A Dream

I recommend this book.

If you like ancient gods and goddesses of Greek mythology you will like this story.

Callista Saunders was hit by a bus saving a little girl now she resides in-between life and death.  If she wants to live she needs to solve a case.  As she tries to solve the case she realizes someone really wants her dead.  Can she solve the case and come back to life? Or will whoever wanted her to stay dead keep her that way?

Very good read!!

 


AUTHOR BIO

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery Death is but a Dream and the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average. You can reach her at tiptoegirl87@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

 

Author Links:

 


 

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[Review] I Found My Heart In West Virginia by Chelsea Falin

I Found My Heart In West Virginia by Chelsea Falin

 ~Synopsis~
 

Cheyenne makes the huge decision to move with her four young children to the mountains of West Virginia. Despite coming from a small town in west-central Florida, she had been living in upstate New York with her ex-husband… had been, those were the key words. After finding out her ex-husband was having an affair with a childless eighteen year old girl, Shy calls it quits. West Virginia had long ago found a special place in her heart. The mountains are beautiful, the people are friendly, and you can find a piece of the old life hidden out in the hollers. Shy hopes she will find a new life for her and her children. She wants freedom, and a simpler way of life. What she doesn’t expect to find is a rough-around-the-edges backwoods boy with plenty of troubles of his own to entrap her heart so quickly after the end of her marriage… or ever, come to think of it.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18176698-i-found-my-heart-in-west-virginia?from_search=true
 
 


Buy It Links

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE


My Review: 
4.3 Star Review – I Found My Heart In West Virginia

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this story for many reasons.  I felt that the characters were believable and very down to earth.  This is not a lust filled story.  This story is about LOVE.  The characters fall in love as they go along.  They must blend their families and work out everyday issues between the two of them.  I think it give a little more to the story by throwing them into situations that are happening every day around us. Money struggles and family issues are front and center.

Cheyenne has just divorced her husband.  She moved her family (4 kids) to West Virginia.  When she is introduced to her cousin’s friend, everyone thinks they should be a couple.  They start out as friends and build upon that friendship.  As the story goes on that friendship develops into a love story.

I feel that the author pulls you into the town and introduces you around so you also get a feel for the other character in the story.

One thing I didn’t like about the story was that Cheyenne (or better known as Shy) drinks and parties while someone else watches her kids.  I was not cool with that but really this also happens every day and does not pull from the story line so no points taken off for something I personally don’t like.





About The Author:

Chelsea Falin was born on June 4th, 1990, and raised primarily in the small west-central Florida town of Dade City, although she spent some time in the surrounding areas of Zephyrhills, Webster, Brooksville, and Weeki Wachee. She has always wanted to be an author, and from the time she could write her own name, she has been creating stories and putting them to paper. She began writing her first novel at the age of sixteen, and at nineteen years old, she finally published. This followed a slew of publications, and four years later she has over ten titles out. She continues to write, and has a stand alone novel in the works at the moment, along with another cook book.

BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS AUTHOR


 

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[Cover Reveal & Giveaway] Music Box by Anya Allyn

Music Box (Dollhouse #4)
Release Date: Fall 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Final book of the series.

Cassie endures her darkest days under the rule of Balthazar. She finds a passage into the high tower, and comes face to face with the shadowy being whose presence has haunted her since her first days at the castle of La Falaise – and she makes an immense and horrifying discovery.


At the museum, the last survivors of a bleak existence are barely holding on. And the strange Order of Sister Celia make a chilling decision.


Someone very close to Ethan once told him, “When we can fight, we will fight, and when we can no longer fight, we will endure.”


With time running out, it is time to fight.



About the Author
Anya Allyn was born unexpectedly and without proper instructions.
A dreamy girl betwixt the clouds and space, she was given the thing she desired most for her tenth birthday–a microscope–and subsequently developed a penchant for small things: frogs and ants and microbes, and the earth (when viewed from other planets).
She considers a mind and body that do not roam free are the living dead.
Anya lives in a cottage by the sea–and slips in and out of forests and through a day, where the wild things are ….

She has four adventure-seeking boys and a bookcase filled with adventures. One day soon, she plans to head off on adventures of her own…

Author Links:
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[Book Blitz & Giveaway] Submerged by Nicole Sobon

Submerged (Outbreak #1)
Release Date: 02/14/13
Summary from Goodreads:
After a mysterious virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of what they’ve been told is true.

When Troum took control of the state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.

Troum kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving – into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen isn’t one to give in that easily.

Eager to rescue her sister, Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.

SUBMERGED is the first book in a YA dystopian duology.

Available from: (only $.99!)

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About the Author
Nicole Sobon is the author of the Emile Reed Chronicles, Capture, No Place Like Home, and various short stories.
***Author Links***

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Excerpt:

Tears began to pool at the corners of my eyes. It took everything I had to retain my composure. I wasn’t going to break down. I couldn’t. I dropped my gaze to the floor, refusing to acknowledge Troum.

But he wasn’t having it. “What’s the matter, dear? Are you ashamed of your actions?”

Was I ashamed of my actions? Yes. In the beginning, I never thought things would end up like this. All I wanted was to remember what life was like before – to try to reclaim part of what had been taken from me. I never meant for anyone to get hurt, especially not Penelope.

The problem was that I underestimated Troum early on.

He put on a friendly front to the Sectors, doing everything that he could to force their loyalty, but underneath all of that, there was a man desperate for control – more control than he already had. And we were a state full of people in need of stability.

It was a match made in Hell.

He became our stability, and we became his own personal army.
***GIVEAWAY***
2 signed copies of Submerged in paperback plus swag (Program 13 and Deprogrammed bookmarks) (INT)

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[Cover Reveal & Giveaway] Their Merry Little Christmas by Jessica Ingro

Their Merry Little Xmas Front Cover
Title: Their Merry Little Christmas (Love Square #2.5)
Author: Jessica Ingro
Tentative Release Date: December 2013
Cover Designer: Cover It! Designs

 

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Add to Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18480109-their-merry-little-christmas

 

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Synopsis

With the past behind them and all their skeletons out of the closet, the couples have just begun to settle into their relationships when they find things shaken up yet again. Will Sam and Aiden’s marriage be able to survive the demands of work, shopping, decorating, and of course… baby Tessa? Will Jacob make a good first impression with his future in-laws and secure Kara’s position by his side until death do them part? Join your favorite Love Square couples as they deck the halls and have themselves a Merry Little Christmas!

 

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Excerpt

**Disclaimer: This content is unedited and subject to change** Copyright © Jessica Ingro “Fine. Bring me the damn suit,” I grumble begrudgingly. “You’re the best! You know that?” Kara kisses me chastely. Her father is still there after all. Bill laughs once Kara bolts up the stairs. “Laugh now. Next thing you know she’ll make you be my elf!” I threaten good naturedly. “I’d love to see that,” he says in between chuckles. “Ah crap!” I pull my hands through my hair, seriously wanting to throw a child-sized temper tantrum at this turn of events. “Think of it this way, son. It will be good practice for when you have kids. And you’re making those girls’ night.” “Yeah… alright. I guess I can try to look on the bright side of things,” I concede. The last thing I need is for my soon to be father-in-law to think I’m a big baby. Kara returns twenty minutes later with a giant red bag. I drag it into the bathroom and take my time changing. Part of me hopes that if I take too long the girls will fall asleep or something. Stranger things have happened. “It’s Christmas Eve, Jacob. The girls won’t want to fall asleep regardless, so don’t think you can get out of this,” Kara calls through door. How the hell does she do that? It’s worse than the eyes in the back of her head. “I’ll be out in a minute,” I yell through the door. After I velcro the giant pillow onto my belly, I turn to the side and stick my stomach out further, poking at my now enlarged gut. I roll my abdominal muscles making the pillow bounce and ripple. Chuckling at my nonsense, I step into the red, velvet pants. I pull the black suspenders over my shoulder and do a little jig watching as my stomach bounces around. Apparently this suit sucks the seriousness out of you. Maybe it’s a magic suit… I stop my musings and proceed to put the jacket on and button it up. I look damn good in red. Even with a giant stomach. Next comes the wig and beard, followed by the hat. Now I have absolutely no reason to walk out of this bathroom. Damn. Opening the door, Kara is the first thing I see. Her face lights up and she graces me with a wide smile. She lifts her arm, and then she does the unthinkable when she snaps a picture with her cell phone. “Lump of coal for you!” I shout and make like I’m going to attack her. When I lunge for her, she screeches and runs across the room. Once I catch up with her, she reaches out and rubs red shit on my cheeks. “Really?” I ask not wanting to deal with this shit. “You are so going to get lucky later,” she mumbles so only I can hear her. “Damn straight. You owe me one creative session, Sunshine.” “There is this new position I heard about that I’ve been curious to try.” “It’s a good thing this suit is big, otherwise my sister would think Santa was a giant perv. What do you think you’re doing telling me that now?” I gripe, knowing my nieces can’t sit on my lap while I’m turned on. “Sorry. I forget,” she says like that explains it all. “You’re lucky I love you.” I kiss her forehead and start towards the stairs. “Let’s get this over with.”

 

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About the Author

Jessica is the author of the Love Square series. She grew up in Central New York, where she spends her days as a Security Analyst at an IT consulting company. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and developing ideas for her own stories. Writing is her secret passion that she’s been fostering since elementary school, when she wrote her first book about a puppy. It has always been a dream of hers to be able to share her stories with the world. Jessica currently lives in New York with her husband and three dogs.  

Connect with the Author

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Email

 

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Love Square (Book #1) Information

Love Sqaure
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17662870-love-square
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E0N09ZO
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-square-jessica-ingro/1116093468?ean=2940045154345
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/love-square
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/337746  

His Ever After (Book #2) Information

HEA Cover
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18217626-his-ever-after
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9JHP5E
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/his-ever-after-jessica-ingro/1117255623?ean=2940148561255
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/his-ever-after-love-square-2
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371929  

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5 ARC’s of Their Merry Little Christmas

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[Cover Reveal] Tousle Me: A New Adult Parody by Lucy V. Morgan

Tousle Me: A New Adult Parody by Lucy V. Morgan
Publication date: December 13th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
designed by Kenny Wright

Synopsis:


He’s exquisitely hot. Exquisitely tousled. Exquisitely screwed in the head.

Cammibelle Hicks just wants to survive her first year of college. Desperate to forget her troubled past, she throws herself into her degree and book review blog. So what if her life is one long tumblr page of grumpy cat GIFs? She doesn’t need to get out more, and she definitely doesn’t need a man.

Hunter von Styles approaches life like he’s spoiling for a fight: with a tempting scowl. A cage-fighting, ex-rocker billionaire, it’s unclear why Hunter’s at college. Frankly, it makes no sense. Then Cammie falls into him—literally—at a party, and he’s obsessed. He needs her more than a moist towelette at a barbecue.

Though Cammie’s friends warn her against Hunter, she can’t resist his charms; especially not when he buys her shoes. And GoodReads. And a unicorn. But when her handsome best friend, medieval reenactor Archer Riddick, makes a play for her heart—and challenges Hunter to a jousting match—it turns out that Hunter has demons of his own. Demons that aren’t real ones, but metaphorical ones—which are MUCH WORSE, when you think about it…

Join Hunter and Cammie on an emotionally exhausting journey into love.

And co-dependence.

And probably therapy.

 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18723826-tousle-me

 
 

AUTHOR BIO

Lucy writes sharp contemporary fiction, usually with a liberal splatter of filth. She is a Lyrical Press author, an editor and a screenwriter.

Her new adult novel, TWISTED SUMMER, is a gutsy take on forbidden love starring an even gutsier heroine.

Her contemporary series, encompassing CHAIRMAN OF THE WHORED and THE WHORED’S PRAYER, features slick London lawyers with a penchant for sensual violence. BEAUTIFUL MESS, her romantic comedy novella, is a snarky, sexy friends-to-lovers romp.

In TOUSLE ME: A New Adult Parody, Lucy pays homage to the books she loves in the best way she knows how…by mocking them mercilessly.

Lucy lives amid a graveyard of scented candles and half-read books. She’s still trying to kick her dirty Pepsi habit.

 
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[Release Day & Giveaway] Lussuria by SJ Molloy

Lussuria Release Day Event Banner

Release Day Event

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Book: Lussuria – The Luminara Series
Author: S.J. Molloy
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

~Synopsis~

Lussuria (Lust) An emotional erotic heart-wrenching story of lust, love and light. Alexis Evangeline Robertson is a beautiful insecure woman who is daunted with painful memories from her past. She has rules, and she has boundaries. She never lets anyone too close. An internal Mental Filing System allows her to sustain order in her complex life and help her cope. What she didn’t expect was her past coming back to haunt her, and she must stay strong. Lucca Caruso has the most mesmerizing crystal azure blue eyes and a heart of gold. When Lexi meets this Italian God, she doesn’t expect to see him again. But fate intervenes. While on vacation at a Villa in Val D’Orcia, near the Chianti hills outside of Florence, she is more than surprised to see Lucca arrive at the very same villa. Lexi begins a journey of self-discovery, helplessly folding, melting and crumbling to the temptation of her heart’s desire. He is a gentle lover and he is a wild lover, he’s the man that we all want and can’t get enough of. After the desires of lust … And the sweetness of love … Lexi will spread her wings towards the light … This is the story of one woman’s destiny to find her light from her sinister, dark, harrowing past and the one man who can take her there. An intriguing hot, sexy expressive story of learning to accept, trust and believe Welcome to the Luminara Series


Meet the Author

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SJ Molloy, first time British Author of ‘The Luminara Series’ was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a young child, her family moved and raised her in Lanarkshire, Scotland where she currently resides with her husband, two daughters and her energetic, hyperactive loving gun dog who is utterly spoiled. SJ is a qualified Fitness Instructor and Health & Fitness Motivator of various fitness styles and disciplines. Music and dance aerobics have always been a pleasure and passion for her. SJ will sporadically make up dance style routines at any hour of the day when a move comes to her or piece of music moves or inspires her. Currently not teaching classes she is focusing her time into nurturing her yearning passion for creative writing, exchanging one visualization for another. As a child, SJ loved to write in journals and make up short stories and has a flare for all things creative. With an overactive imagination at times, SJ adores to make notes, visualize scenes and settings to create characterizations. While on holiday with her family one summer reading book after book, she had a flash of inspiration and has had various ideas whirling around in her mind ever since. It was not until she pulled back on teaching classes that she found the courage, time and insight into actually bringing these ideas to life. In February 2013 she decided to bring that imagination to light by beginning her writing journey with ‘Lussuria’ the first installment in ‘The Luminara Series’ available from late October 2013. Being a self-confessed book junkie, she loves nothing better than to get lost in an emotional and moving book. A true romantic at heart, her guilty pleasure is reading heart-warming, passionate stories and falling in love with her favorite fictional characters. With five books already mapped out in ‘The Luminara Series’, SJ’s busy creative mind has already planned two more fictitious novels, both stand-alone romance books and very different in their own right. When she is not writing or reading, spending time with family and friends or exercising and walking her dog, SJ loves all things practical and creative. Dancing, music, cooking, travelling, good food and wine and painting are her favorite past times along with laughter, lots and lots of laughter.

Excerpt

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When I saw your eyes filled with dread and fear, my heart nearly stopped, I thought I would lose you, I need you and want nothing more, please trust me Doc, I ….I love you, I love you Dolcezza”. He claims my mouth with profound longing and as soon as our lips meet the chemistry and energy ignites a burning desire deep in my soul and heart. My body submits to him with his sensitive words. I’ve folded yet again! Another tidal wave of water is flooding from my eyes cascading down my cheeks, he has me… “You love me?” my voice is breaking, my eyes weeping. “Yes, I love you; I’m very much in love with you. You are mine forever and my something special baby” My body and mind become weak. I stare into his wide wet azure blue eyes, “Lucca I…….I don’t know what to say”. “Then don’t, write it in your journal”. With these words we melt into each other, passionately kissing in a tight embrace filled with love and traces of uncertain fear. Lussuria – Book 1 of The Luminara Series

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[Review] The High Price Of Secrets by Yvonne Lindsay

The High Price Of Secrets    


by Yvonne Lindsay

Publication date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Desire

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Series: The Master Vintners # 4
Pages: 192

Back of the book

In this Master Vintners novel by USA TODAY bestselling author Yvonne Lindsay, surprising secrets bring two people to the brink….

Protecting his foster parents means everything to Finn Gallagher. So when stunning Tamsyn Masters appears on his doorstep, looking for her mother, he does what he has to do—he lies to her. It’s not as if Tamsyn hasn’t done worse. And if a harmless seduction will keep her where he wants her, why not?

Now Finn has another secret…he’s falling for Tamsyn. She’s not what he thought, and time is running out. The choice is clear—Tamsyn or the truth. Because he can’t have both.   


Buy Links

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | HARLEQUIN | BAM! 


The Master Vintners series reading order

The Wayward Son

A Forbidden Affair

One Secret Night

The High Price of Secrets

    

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18050870-the-high-price-of-secrets?from_search=true


My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – The High Price Of Secrets (The Master Vintners # 4)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Yvonne.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, secrets, and betrayal.

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first from “The Master Vintners” series.

The Wayward Son

A Forbidden Affair

One Secret Night

The High Price of Secrets

 

Tamsyn has just found out everyone has been keeping secrets from her.  Her mother (Ellen) that she was told was dead is in fact alive. So she travels to the last town her mother was known to be in to find her. 
 
Finn wants to protect Ellen at all costs.  Where was Tamsyn when her mother needed her and why did it take so long for her to come find her mother.
 
When Finn finds out Tamsyn thought she was dead he is torn in two as her is starting to like her but made a promise not to reveal her mother’s location.
 
When Tamsyn finds out Finn has been lying to her will it rip them apart?  Will she ever be able to forgive and trust him?  Will she find her mother?
Seems that everyone puts Finn in a tough spot.  Tamsyn has been lied to by those closest to her all her life.  Makes it very hard to trust anyone.  You can feel the chemistry pull these two together. Very good read.   


 
Look forward to the next book by Yvonne.

Contact Info for Yvonne Lindsay

  


About Yvonne:

Always an avid reader, I was introduced to the joy of reading romance at the age of 13 by an elderly neighbour. Each week I’d visit her and we’d sort through bags and boxes of books – she didn’t know it then but she’d unleashed a monster! A wannabe romance writer monster. At the age of 15 and totally inspired by the books I’d read, I tried my hand at my first romance novel (an abysmal attempt which still remains shrouded in dust somewhere!) 
Many scribblings, many years, a slew of secretarial and sales repping jobs, marriage and two kids later I heard the wonderful Harlequin Mills & Boon author, Susan Napier, speak at a local writer’s group. She mentioned Romance Writers of New Zealand and its contact details. At first I couldn’t believe there was a group for people like me but after about a year I plucked up the courage to join RWNZ and spent several years working on their committee. The sheer bliss of meeting with other people with the same dreams and aspirations, was indescribable.

Eventually I learned that to really be a writer you had to actually finish a book, so I did and won a few awards along the way including Romance Writers of Australia’s 1999 Emma Darcy Award and Romance Writers of New Zealand’s 2004 Clendon Award. In 2005 I changed my target market from Mills & Boon in London and sold to Silhouette Desire, a line I’ve always loved to read and one I’m thrilled to be a part of. 
The morning I got The Call I was in the bathroom, getting ready for work, and just finishing putting on my make up. When my husband called me to the phone I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Silhouette wanted to buy my book. My first thought was, “OMG, this is really happening!” I’d always read other people’s call stories and thought about how I’d handle The Call (I had thirteen good long years to think about it ) I swore to myself I wouldn’t go all gushy. Guess what? I gushed. I cried. I told my editor it was the happiest day of my life. Once my family realized that I wasn’t crying because someone had died, they all lay on the bed watching me talk to my new editor, frantically taking notes on everything she said. The makeup, by the way, was a total wreck by the end of the call. After we finished talking, I quickly rang two of my best writing friends in Australia (they are two and two-and-a-half hours, respectively, behind me time-zone-wise). I woke both of them up but hey, it meant they could celebrate with me all day long. Then I had to head off to work (a half hour late but I wasn’t in any state to care – or work for that matter :-)).

It’s taken me a good many years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, but it’s been worth the wait and the support from my peers has been fantastic. If I can impart any wisdom about my journey so far it’s this – never give up. Ever! Keep your self-talk positive. Dream a big dream and be open to continually learning more about the craft of writing. Take ownership of what you do. Be proud of your writing. Tell people about it. If you hide your biggest passion from everyone how can you ever expect them to take you seriously. This last one is a really major soapbox issue of mine – I have had the snarky comments and putdowns about romance writing, the offers to help me with a chapter of my book, the sly winks and too loud laughter. But I’ve held firm. I believe in romance, I believe in what I’m doing and I firmly believe in the power of love in all walks of life and at all ages. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in that. Be involved in your organization. You’ll never regret the friendships and the wonderful contacts you make. And never give up! Ever!
 

Connect with Yvonne:

Read an Excerpt

“What do you mean you quit? It’s only four and a half weeks to Christmas! We’re so busy with guests and functions that we can barely move. Look, let’s talk about it. If you’re not happy, we can work around that. Find you something else to do.”

Tamsyn sighed inwardly. Find her something else to do. Sure, that would solve how she felt right now—not. She couldn’t blame her brother, Ethan, for wanting to make things right for her. He’d done it all her life, after all. But this situation was beyond his fixing. That was why she’d needed to get away.

A holiday was something she’d been thinking about for a while. Working at The Masters, which in addition to being their family home was a vineyard and winery with luxury cottage accommodation on the outskirts of Adelaide in South Australia, hadn’t given her any satisfaction for a very long time. She’d been restless, feeling as if she didn’t really fit in anymore—at work, at home, in her family, even in her engagement.

The debacle of the night before had only proven just how right she was.

“Ethan, I can’t talk about it. I’m in New Zealand.”

“You’re in New Zealand? I thought you were staying here in Adelaide with Trent last night,” Ethan’s incredulity was clear as it transmitted through the hands-free kit in her rental car.

Tamsyn counted slowly to ten, letting her brother continue to let off steam before replying.

“I’ve ended our engagement.”

There was the briefest of silences as her words sunk in.

“You what?” Ethan sounded as if he wasn’t certain he’d heard her correctly.

“Long story.” She swallowed against the pain that had lessened to a persistent dull throb deep in her chest.

“I have ears.”

“Not now, Ethan. I c-can’t.” Her voice broke and tears spilled uncontrolled down her cheeks.

“I’m going to hurt him,” Ethan growled from far across the Tasman Sea with his characteristic brotherly protec-tiveness.

“No, don’t. He’s not worth it.”

Her brother sighed and she could feel his concern and frustration in that single huff of air. “When are you coming back?”

“I…I don’t know. It’s kind of up in the air at the moment.” She didn’t think that now was a good time to tell him she’d only bought a one-way ticket.

“Well, at least you trained your assistant to take over when needed. Is Zac up to date with everything?”

Even though she knew he couldn’t see her, Tamsyn shook her head and bit her lip.

“Tam?”

“Um, no. I fired him.”

“You wh—?” Ethan fell silent as he started to put two and two together, coming up with his usual four. Even so, he couldn’t keep the incredulity from his voice. “Zac and Trent?”

“Yup,” she said, her throat almost paralyzed and strangling the single word.

“Will you be okay? I’ll come over. Just tell me where you are.”

“No, don’t. I’ll be fine—eventually. I just need…” She drew in a shuddering breath. She couldn’t even find the words to say what she really needed—she had to simply tell him something he’d understand. “I just need some time alone. Some space so I can think things out. I’m sorry about leaving like this. Everything is in my computer, you know the password, and the bookings are all duplicated on the wall planner as well. Worse comes to worst, they can phone me if they need to.”

“We’ll take care of it, don’t worry.”

Her big brother’s firm conviction wasn’t as good as being right there with him, but in terms of comfort it came close.

“Thanks, Ethan.”

“No problem, but Tam? Who’s going to take care of you?”

“I will,” she said firmly.

“I really think you should come home.”

“No, I know what I need to do. It’s important to me, now more than ever.” This part, she had to share with him—even though she knew he wouldn’t like it. “I’m going to find her, Ethan.”

Silence, then another sigh. “Are you sure now is the best time to go searching for our mother?”

It had already been a few months now, but the shock of discovering their mother—who they’d long been told was dead—was alive and living in New Zealand still reverberated through her mind almost every moment of every day. Learning after his death that their father had lied to them all this time was one thing, discovering the rest of their family had supported him in the lie was another—but realizing that their mother had chosen to remain apart from them, to never even try to make contact, well, that had raised so many questions in Tamsyn’s mind they’d begun to define everything about the way she saw herself.

Tamsyn grimaced and shook her head slightly. “Can’t think of a better time than now, can you?”

“Yeah, actually, I can. You’re hurt, you’re vulnerable. I don’t want you to get let down again. Come home. Let me put an investigator on to it so that you know what you’re going into when they find her.”

She could picture him right now, the frown on his forehead, the thinned line of his lips as he worried from afar.

“I want to do this myself. I need to. Look, I’m not far from that address you gave me a couple of months ago. I’d better go,” she said, checking the distance on the screen of her GPS.

“You’re just going to show up, no warning?”

“Why not?”

“Tam, be sensible. You can’t just arrive on someone’s doorstep claiming to be their long-lost child.”

“Except I’m not lost, am I? She knew where we were all along. She’s the one who left and didn’t come back.”

She couldn’t hide the hurt in the words. A hurt that warred with resentment and anger and sorrow and so many unanswered questions that Tamsyn had hardly had a full night’s sleep since she’d heard the news that her mother still lived. That the woman she’d quietly fantasized about, a mother who’d loved her and cared for her too much to ever leave her behind, didn’t exist. She had so many questions and she had convinced herself that she was strong enough now to face the answers. She needed to so she could move forward with her life, because what she’d believed up until now had been based on lies and fabrication. Trent’s betrayal was the final straw. She didn’t even know who she was anymore. But she was ready to find out. Ethan’s voice broke into her thoughts.

“Do me a favor, find a motel or somewhere and sleep on it before you do anything you might regret. We can talk in the morning.”

“I’ll let you know how it goes,” Tamsyn replied, ignoring her brother’s plea. “I’ll call you in a few days.”

She disconnected the phone before Ethan could say another word and listened carefully as the disembodied voice on the GPS carefully enunciated that her turn was coming up in five hundred meters. Tamsyn’s gut clenched tight. She had to do this. As irrational and out of character as it was for her, the woman who usually planned everything out to the finest degree, she needed to do this.

Carefully, Tamsyn turned in at the imposing stone-wall-lined entrance to a long driveway. She drew the car to a halt and closed her eyes for a moment. This was it—soon she could be face-to-face with her mother for the first time since she was three years old. A shudder passed through her body as her adrenaline levels kicked up a notch.

The past twenty-four hours had been a roller-coaster ride. One that had alternately left her giddy with anticipation or sick to her stomach. Tamsyn opened her eyes and took her foot off the brake. The car began inching forward, rumbling loudly over the cattle guard beneath the tires and along the long straight stretch of driveway that gently inclined up the hill.

To the left and the right of her, regimented lines of grapevines grew, their foliage lush and green and the early signs of fruit could be seen hanging on the vines. Considering it was only late November, Tamsyn’s experienced eye could see that this vineyard was in for a bumper crop.

She continued along the long driveway. It snaked up a steep incline until finally, after a particularly tight hairpin turn, she saw the house ahead of her. The sprawling two-story building, crafted in stone and cedar, dominated the crest of the hill. Her lips set in a firm line of disapproval. So it clearly hadn’t been a lack of money that had kept her mother from staying in touch, she thought cynically. Was this how Ellen Masters had used the money her husband had sent her for the past twenty-odd years?

Tamsyn used that cynicism to propel her out of her car and toward the front door. It was now or never. Taking a deep breath, she reached for the iron door knocker and lifted it, only to let it drop with a solid clang. A short time later she heard footsteps echo from inside. Her stomach tied in knots as every last ounce of her resolve suddenly fled. What the hell was she doing here?

Finn Gallagher opened his front door and had to force himself not to take a step back. He recognized the woman standing in front of him with a surety that went soul deep. Ellen’s daughter.

So the little princess from Australia had finally decided to visit. Too little, too late, as far as he was concerned. Far too late.

The pictures he’d seen of her over the years, hadn’t done her justice, though he had the sense he wasn’t seeing her at her best. His sweeping gaze took in the mussed long dark brown hair that cascaded over her shoulders and the dark bruises of tiredness that stained porcelain skin under wide-spaced brown eyes. Eyes that reminded him so much of her mother. The woman who, together with her partner, Lorenzo, had mothered him when his own family had disintegrated.

Her clothes were creased but still stylish, and clung to her curves in a way that drew his eye to the opening of her blouse and especially to the tempting swell of creamy skin exposed there. Her skirt skimmed her hips and down her slender thighs to end just above the knee. Not long enough to be dowdy and not so short as to be inappropriate, but somehow still enticing.

It all spoke to the privileged upbringing she’d enjoyed. He found it difficult not to feel bitter when he knew how hard her mother had scraped and worked for a decent life. Clearly the Masters family had looked after their own—they just didn’t look after those who walked away from them. Those who didn’t conform.

His gaze drifted back to her face where he noticed her full lips tremble slightly before pulling into a nervous smile.

“H-hello, I was wondering if Ellen Masters lives here?” she said.

Her voice was tight, as if her throat was constricted and in the late-afternoon sun that slanted across her face he could see telltale signs of tear tracks. Natural curiosity rose from inside him but he quelled it with his usual determination.

“And you are…?” he asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” She held out a delicate hand. “I’m Tamsyn Masters. I’m looking for my mother, Ellen.”

He took her hand in his, noting instantly the coolness of her touch, the fragility in the bones of her fingers as his larger, stronger ones closed around hers. He struggled against the instinct to go into protection mode. There was something very not right in Tamsyn Masters’s world right now, but, he reminded himself, that wasn’t his problem.

Keeping her away from Ellen was.

Two here’s no Ellen Masters here,” he replied, letting go of her hand. “Was your mother expecting you?”

She had the grace to look shamefaced. “No, I kind of hoped to surprise her.”

Surprise her? Yeah, he just bet she did. Without sparing a thought to whether or not her mother would, or could, see her. How typical of her type, he thought angrily. Pampered, spoiled and thinking the world spun for her delectation. He knew the type well—unfortunately. Too well. They were the kind who’d always expect more, no matter how much you gave. People like Briana, his ex. Beautiful, seemingly compassionate, born into a life of opportunity—but in the cold light of day as grasping and as single-minded as Fagin in Oliver Twist.

“Are you sure you have the right address?” he asked, tamping his fury down.

“Well.I thought.” She reached into her handbag and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper and read off the address. “That’s right, isn’t it? I’m at the right place.”

“That is my address, but there’s no Ellen Masters here. I’m sorry. It looks like you’ve had a wasted trip.”

Before his eyes, every particle in her body slumped. Her eyes suddenly brimmed with unshed tears and a stricken look froze her delicate features into a mask of sadness. Again that urge to protect her welled within him—along with the compulsion to tell her of the well-concealed and unsealed driveway she’d have passed on the road here. The one that led to the cottage where Ellen and Lorenzo had lived for the past twenty-five years or so—but he just as determinedly pushed the impulse back.

He knew for a fact Tamsyn Masters had legally been an adult for ten years. What whim had finally driven her to seek out Ellen now? And, more important, why hadn’t she reached out to her mother sooner, when it could possibly still have made a difference to the other woman’s happiness?

“I—oh, well, I’m sorry to have bothered you. My information can’t have been correct.”

She reached into her handbag for an oversize pair of sunglasses and shoved them none too elegantly onto her face, hiding her tortured gaze from view. As she did so, he caught sight of the white band of skin on the ring finger of her left hand. Had the engagement he’d read of over a year ago come to an end? Had that been the catalyst to send her searching for her mother?

Whatever it was, it was none of his business.

“No problem,” he answered and watched as she walked back to her car and turned it around to drive back down the driveway.

Finn didn’t waste another second before reaching for his cell phone and punching in a number. It went straight to voice mail and he uttered a short sharp epithet in frustration while listening to the disembodied voice asking him to leave a message.

“Lorenzo, call me. There’s been a complication here at home.”

He slid his phone back in his pocket and closed the front door of his house. Somehow, though, he had the feeling he hadn’t completely closed the door on Tamsyn Masters.

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