James Kingman’s world just got complicated. The love of his life, Katherine Dale, has just given birth to their first child. His troublesome business manager, Phillipa, is sexually harassing him at work. His boss proposes a partnership which would double his workload. With so much on his plate, how will James cope?
Plagued by the unexpected exhaustion of having a baby who suffers from colic, he tries his best to hold his family together. Despite growing up without a mother and a neglectful father, James is a natural-born father. Katherine, however, is struggling. Dejected and rejected, Katherine battles with her hormones as her writing career begins to slip away from her. She not only doubts her capabilities as a writer but as a mother too. Katherine confides in James’ boss, the enigmatic and world-famous astrologer, Mark Ainsley-Thomas, and he puts her in touch with his agent.
Things start to look up for the writer, as her latest work attracts attention from several publishers, but her trips to Mark’s hotel attract attention too… Suspicion is aroused and photographs are snapped.
Is there any truth to last year’s rumours of an affair between the pair?
If not, then why is Katherine visiting Mark in secret?
Will James be able to resist the advances of his seductive colleague?
Will the tangled trio be able to avoid scandal in the stars?
The title ‘Quintessentially Yours’ sums up the ethos of this lovely story perfectly.
Katherine’s romantic bubble has burst in all aspects of her life and she is understandably shell shocked. James finds this needy Katherine, something of a challenge, although he shows his true worth by plugging all the holes in their daily life; whilst helping Katherine rediscover her sense of self-worth. James has his own demons to conquer as he adjusts to life as a new father.
Again the support characters are interesting and provide important insight into the story of our star-crossed couple. Mark’s life also loses its status quo and Katherine manages to forget her own worries, to provide him with the support he so obviously needs.
There are unexpected twists and a charming mix of humour and poignancy. Although a sequel to ‘Under the Stars’, this story is complete. An enjoyable read, even if you haven’t discovered the delights of ‘Under the Stars’ yet.
‘Quintessentially Yours’, is a tale of everyday life and people with just enough added sparkle to make it the perfect read to escape your own life for a little while.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Read my review of Under the Stars by clicking on the image below
Bristol-born Linn B. Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her husband and feline with ‘catitude’- Mr Tiggs.
Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:
“From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that’s love of life, a partner, or the things I’m passionate about.
My stories are about love, life and real relationships – but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there’s a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding in the subject has grown, it is now such a part of my life that it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it’s wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder ‘What if?’
The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that’s something rather special and for which I’m very grateful.”
Love, life and beyond… but it’s ALWAYS about the romance!
Linn is published by Choc Lit, HarperImpulse, Endeavour Press and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is also the managing editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.
Linn B. Halton
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In 898 AD she wasn’t just from another land.
Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce-obtaining Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin—a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?
She came from another time.
Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice.
One kiss is all it takes to flash between two times.
But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be? Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?
Where worlds collide, can love melt the iciest heart?
Lady Malice is not your typical Regency heroine but she is compelling and strangely likeable. A victim of an arranged marriage, she is still, woefully innocent and unfulfilled. Maybe this is why she enjoys her chosen career so much?
Destroying marriages is an unusual pursuit for a married lady but it keeps her in shoes and stops her thinking about her own disastrous nuptials. Faced with an unthinkable dilemma she seeks out her errant husband to carry out her latest commission, with life changing results.
The time slip is seamless and the shift from Regency drawing room to Saxon village under Viking attack, swift and shocking. Malice’s surprise and fear is tangible but her cynical outlook and sharp tongue remain. Both traits help her withstand the unexpected ordeal, despite the carnage surrounding her.
Sin is less than impressed with the latest slaves but he needs a bed slave to keep his fickle fiancée interested. Malice is no one’s slave but she finds Sin hard to resist. The chemistry between the courtesan and the Viking is memorable, despite the incongruity of their situation.
I loved the inconvenient time travelling and the gradual reveal of its meaning. Malice is prepared to risk all for her man and her strength and tenacity are legendary.
I purposely delayed writing this review for a few days, to see what I could remember. Malice, Sin and their compatriots’ formidable personalities, are easy to recall.
The Viking and The Courtesan by Shehanne Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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The one that got away?
Sipping Pimms and eating fresh strawberries at Wimbledon are the perfect start to the British summer for Rayne. Immersed in her career as a journalist in the City, she’s been too busy and distracted to give men – or other outside interests – much of a chance lately. That’s something her friend Lily thinks she should correct, coming up with the perfect ‘sex with an ex’ solution – much to the amusement of the crowd on Centre Court!
When Rayne runs into old flame Adam, former good guy who is now all grown up with a hint of bad boy about him, it’s a tempting thought. But is that such a good idea, when she knows that four years ago, she broke his heart?
Back from travelling the world and settling into running the family business, Adam never expected to see his university girlfriend again. And he definitely didn’t think he would still be angry with her for running away, or that she would still have the same stunning effect on him. But she does, so maybe the perfect way to get her out of his dreams and from under his skin, is to have a hot sex-filled night with her? The only trouble is, one night might not be enough…
First love – can you ever go back?
Congratulations on your latest release Strawberries at Wimbledon, Nikki. Can you share the highlights of your writing journey with us?
There have been loads of highlights over the last fifteen years, when I first started writing my first novel – both big and small. (Writing took a back seat for eight years in the middle while I pursued a HR qualification and had my son). The moments that stick out in my mind include:
• The first positive report I received about one of my manuscript from a reader on the Romantic Novelists Association ‘New Writers Scheme’ which said the book was of publishable standard.
• Getting an Honorable Mention for the RNA Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2010 and the phone call from Katie Fforde (one of my favourite authors, and the judge that year) that followed, congratulating me and telling me to keep writing.
• Being offered my first publishing contract for my short story ‘A Night to Remember’ published in the best selling RNA/ Mills and Boon anthology last February.
• Being offered a four book contract with HarperImpulse (the digital first romance imprint of HarperCollins) in October 2013. Thrilled doesn’t even begin to cover it!
• The day my debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was published (April 2014)
• Being contacted by readers, bloggers and reviewers to say nice things about my stories or ask if I can write an article for them/what I’m writing next/if I’m going to write a sequel.
• Crazy, Undercover, Love being shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award (for new writers).
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be doing something I love so much.
What’s the inspiration behind #LoveLondon, your current series of short stories?
The #LoveLondon series came from me pitching my second full length novel Picnics in Hyde Park (a romance wholly set in London) to my lovely editor Charlotte, and her brilliant idea to write a number of London based short romances leading up to the novel. The idea has evolved a number of times, but we eventually settled on a linked series that would start at Christmas – Skating at Somerset House – with a story to follow roughly once a month to capture key dates or events, with one character in each short related to / friends with one of the main characters, Matt or Zoe, from Picnics. And so New Year at The Ritz, Valentine’s on Primrose Hill, Cocktails in Chelsea and Strawberries at Wimbledon were created to follow my Christmas baby.
Are there specific writers, or other people, who have influenced your writing style?
I read widely over a number of genres – romance, thrillers, crime, horror, non-fiction, mainstream women’s fiction – and I get something different from every one, whether it’s entertainment, education, escapism or inspiration.
I read a lot of Mills and Boons books in my teens and I’m sure that’s had a lot of influence on the fact that I love writing about love and write up the hotter end of the scale (depending on what the story needs e.g. Skating at Somerset House is towards the sweeter end as it’s a cosy Christmas read, whereas Cocktails in Chelsea is hotter because I was aiming for a springtime, flirty read). I also read a lot of Christopher Pike in my teens (American teen / YA horror writer) and when I went back and read a few of the books recently I could see that his ‘voice’ in places had a similarity to mine, even though we write in completely different genres. Cecelia Ahern, Sue Moorcroft (award winning author who happens to be my aunt), Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and JoJo Moyes are female writers I really admire and who I think have influenced my writing style / aspirations.
Your latest release, is the fifth story in the #LoveLondon series, ”Strawberries at Wimbledon’, another iconic London event. How does Wimbledon fit into this tale about first love revisited?
When Charlotte and I were working out titles and themes for the series, we wanted a really summery story and a British event in London we could set it against, so Wimbledon was perfect. Wimbledon is where Adam and Rayne, university sweethearts, run into each other again after nearly five years apart, just after Rayne’s friend Lily has suggested in the middle of Centre Court (much to the crowd’s amusement) that Rayne should ‘have sex with an ex.’
Do you have a tried and tested writing process you can tell us about?
My stories spend a lot of time percolating in my head before I get any words on paper. I think of ideas while I’m washing up, or in the shower, or driving to work and try to jot brief notes down on paper ASAP if it’s practical. I usually do a handwritten spider diagram to set out the main characters, their backgrounds and personalities, the setting and themes too. By the time I start writing I have a very good idea of how the story is going to be structured and will unfold, but apart from that I kind of write into the wind i.e. it’s organic! The characters often do things I wasn’t expecting, but I’ve found that tends to make the story better. If it’s unpredictable it makes it more fun for me, and if I’m having fun I figure my readers are too. I often don’t write in order; I go back and forth and write scenes when they are most vivid in my head. After finishing the first ‘dirty draft,’ I put it away for a few weeks and then go back to it to redraft. I revise each story at least four times and then again after I’ve had my editor’s notes. I am a horrible perfectionist so it always takes me longer than planned to finish a story to the point I’m happy with it.
The final book in the #LoveLondon series is ‘Picnics in Hyde Park’ when is this released and what’s next for you?
It’s due out on 25th June. I can hardly believe it; the last six months have flown by and I’m feeling a bit sad that the initial publication journey for this series is almost over. But of course I’m hoping the series itself will have a long and happy life. As for what’s next, I’m planning on taking a break from writing for a month or two to focus on doing some local media press – I would love to go on the radio – and perhaps organise a few book signings with my two paperbacks. After that I’m going to spend a few months working on a commercial women’s fiction book and may start looking for an agent. Of course, at some point I’m planning to do more with HarperImpulse given how fab they are.
What comes first when you’re crafting a story; setting, characters or plot? Why do you think this is?
With the romances, for me, it’s usually the characters that come first, and the plot grows from them; their personalities, backgrounds, conflicts and dreams. I think it’s that way for me because if I thought of the plot first I’d be afraid I’d then be trying to shoehorn the characters into it, which could make it feel forced. Saying that, for the commercial women’s fiction book I’m working on next, the plot and main character came to me at the same time.
Are you a social media addict or phobe? Do you have a favourite social media platform?
I’m a bit of a social media addict. I love Twitter, and Facebook follows closely behind. In one way that’s great because it means I’m not afraid of using the platforms and can be very visible to my readers; talking and sharing things with them, as well as thanking them regularly (bloggers and reviewers too) and chatting with other authors / aspiring writers in the community. On the other hand it’s not so great because I end up on Twitter far too often when I should be writing!
Where do you do most of your writing? Why is this your favourite place to write?
I do most of my writing either in my front room, which I have as my writing room with my bookcase, laptops, filing cabinet and book covers stuck up on the wall. I like writing in there because it’s very light and airy. Sometimes I write on the sofa or in bed when I want to be comfy and warm (really bad for the neck, back and shoulders though). To be honest I can write pretty much anywhere, as long as I have my laptop and there’s a plug handy!
Thanks for having me on your blog Jane.
My review of Strawberries at Wimbledon will be posted later today.
The temperature’s rising in the Sweet Delights Bakery…
Entering the most popular baking competition on TV wasn’t shy bakery owner Vanessa Trent’s idea. Especially as she prefers to steer clear of the media attention her famous family constantly attracts. But she desperately needs the prize money.
With his future on the line, Jake Walker vows to avoid trouble, which is difficult to do when it lands in his lap…literally. Vanessa Trent is out of bounds. He knows that. But if he can’t resist her delicious cakes, how’s he supposed to resist her?
Vanessa and Jake both have secrets to hide. Combine that with a vengeful ex-husband, sabotage, and throw in a little blackmail, and soon the spotlight falls on both of them. Temperatures rise, and it’s chaos in the kitchen. Can they take the heat, or are they both about to get burned?
Content Warning: contains sensual sex and occasional strong language
Sweetest Temptation is book 2 in the Sweet Delights Series and is now only £0.99 for a limited time. Have some fun in the Sweet Delights Bakery with Vanessa and Jake!
Sensual romance, believable characters and a well paced plot makes ‘Sweetest Temptation’, the perfect naughty extravagance for all lovers of romantic comedy.
The setting in the Sweet Delights bakery is atmospheric and provides the perfect backdrop for Vanessa’s journey of self realisation. Jake may not be what he seems but he is a much needed ingredient, in Vanessa’s lack lustre life. The sensual attraction and diversity between Jake and Vanessa is compelling. The characters are imaginable and easy to like, you want, what they want and it’s hard to put this book down because of this.
The imagery in this romantic tale is vivid, especially of Jake; what is it about a man and physical labour that’s so absorbing … Whatever it is the author captures it in ‘Sweetest Temptation’ and makes Jake, as iconic, as the man in the diet coke ad.
There is realistic detail about the bakery and Vanessa’s culinary creations, give this story its authenticity. The secondary characters add the feel good ambience and help demonstrate, Jake and Vanessa’s motivations perfectly.
So treat yourself for a couple of hours and sample, the sweet delights of this lovely story.
Gripping the woman’s wrist, Jake managed to restrain her before the weapon made impact with his head again. He shoved his upper body forward and flipped them both over.
Now this was much better. Or it would be if she’d quit squirming. Not that it was a bad sensation or anything, but he was starting to enjoy this more than the situation should allow.
With one hand free, her fingers scrabbled at the side of her. When her fingers wrapped around the torch he snatched it out of reach. He grasped her wrist and yanked both of her arms over her head, holding her captive with one much larger hand than her daintier ones.
Picking up the torch, he pointed it at the large, temple-throb causing weapon. As he read the first line on the bag he snorted in disbelief. Clearly she was a novice in the weapon department.
“A confectionery product? What the hell was that meant to be—death by chocolate?”
“God no,” said the muffled, completely aghast voice from beneath her mound of hair. “I would never hit someone with chocolate.”
Okay, so maybe she wasn’t a threat to anyone at all. Jake released his grip a little.
“Chocolate is way too expensive to waste,” she continued. “I hit you with a catering pack of marzipan.”
He tightened his hold again. With her still wrestling beneath him, he decided out of fear for his man parts, it was time for some answers. Reaching out with his free hand, he brushed the silky strands from her face. She bucked beneath him like a stray cat fighting for freedom. At first he thought she was furious, but then he gazed into her green eyes and saw fear.
Although he took his work seriously—hell, sometimes caution had kept him alive—no way was he a monster. Waiting for her movements to abate he lifted his chest. In one smooth movement he traded position and surrounded her hips with his legs, trying to take away the intimate contact steering him from sound judgement, yet still stifling her leg movements with the grip of his thighs. Resting more on his knees than pressing his full weight into her, the increased gap between them gave him the perfect opportunity for another perusal of her small frame.
With her arms upstretched, her small breasts raised higher with each dragged in breath. Her shirt, trapped beneath his knees, pulled taut and had lifted to reveal her scarlet knickers and a hint of smooth, pale skin peeking above. He blinked. Maybe the glorious sight was a figment of his imagination due to his recent lack of female companionship? His gaze drew to her parted lips, open to allow the release of expended energy from her lungs. The fullness of her bottom lip was so damned tempting.
“Anytime you want to get the hell off me—please feel free.”
Her sarcasm cut through his momentary lapse. One more second and he’d have been tasting her mouth.
“Tell me who you are, and why the hell you think you have a right to be on private property, and maybe I will.” Just maybe.
With her fingers clenching beneath his palm, he felt the spike of her pulse at the pad of his thumb.
“Me tell you?” She blinked several times before glaring at him as though he’d just sprouted bunny ears. “I live here!”
Usually found with a pen in my hand, or my head in a book, I’m a contemporary romance author who also thinks fangs and wings are a very attractive accessory.
A devourer of books from an early age, imagination was my best discovery. I spent much of my childhood stepping into wardrobes, searching for that magical snowy world where conversing with animals would be expected. When I wasn’t searching for those worlds, I wrote about them instead. My first step into the world of romance was when I stole sneak peeks into my nana’s books. I’m still in that world and I refuse to leave.
I live in Staffordshire, UK, with my husband and three wonderful children. An avid reader and writer of romance, I strongly believe that words make the world go around. I like nothing more than to be swept away by the words on a page. I hope I can sweep you away too.
Sweetest Temptation by Tracey Rogers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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