Aug 3, 2015

Destination: Wedding

Later this week I’m off to Bali and I could not be more excited. Not because I’m leaving behind the wet winter weather (although that doesn’t make me at all sad) and not because of the location because, to be honest, I’ve never wanted to visit Bali particularly (although the resort does look a bit of all right!) Nope, I’m excited because of the reason behind the trip. 

Destination: Florence
Three things I totally love:
  1. Weddings
  2. Travel
  3. Spending time with family
What could be better than a destination wedding?

Have you noticed that they’ve become something of thing lately? Or perhaps I’ve only noticed this lately because I’m at an age where all my nieces and nephews are getting married. And instead of the traditional marriage in the bride’s hometown or even the town/city where the couple now live, more are choosing a location based on the style of wedding they want. Outdoors. Rustic. Beach. Vineyard. Resort. Whatever.

Destination: Rural Australia

In this case my nephew and his bride-to-be are marrying, not quite on the beach, but with an ocean backdrop. As far as weddings go, it’s a small, relaxed event with all the guests staying on site for three days/nights. I envisage much lounging by the pool, much eating of fine food, many conversations late into the night, much laughter.

Destination: Bali
Have I mentioned how much I love a destination wedding where you don’t need to designate a driver, where you stumble home to bed in bare feet (probably sore from dancing), where you stumble out of bed the next morning and get to hang out with the same awesome folk for another day or two?

We leave Thursday. I cannot wait.

What’s the most-fun wedding you’ve been to recently? Was it held locally or did you travel to a cool destination?

Aug 1, 2015

Sunday Smooch with Rachel Bailey

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  Rachel Bailey but first,

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway will be announced soon!

And now for today's Sunday Smooch. This is a retro smooch from the 2014 book The Nanny Proposition, and is posted today to celebrate that the eBook version is on sale this week for 99c!

Two babies…one scandalous secret!

Discovering he's the father of an orphaned newborn rocks botanist Liam Hawke's world. But that's where nanny Jenna Peters fits in—a single mother herself, she immediately works her magic on his newborn daughter. Soon Liam himself can't resist being spellbound by this beauty.

Jenna tries to keep her irresistible boss at arm's length but it's a losing battle. Once Liam finds out who she really is, she'll have to say goodbye to the man she loves and their unconventional family…unless the seductive single dad makes her a proposition this undercover princess can't refuse!

Scene set-up
To give Jenna a break from looking after the two baby girls, Liam has taken her out for dinner, while the housekeeper watches the sleeping babies. They've just arrived home...

Smooch  -

As they pulled up in Liam’s Jeep in front of the house, Jenna tried to stave off her disappointment that the night was ending. It wasn’t a real date. She couldn’t let herself think that, and the sooner she was tucked up in her bed—alone—the better. Safe from fantasies that Liam had actually invited her out and that she was free to follow her attraction in whatever direction it led….

Then Liam leaned across and stroked her cheek with a feather-light caress, and all her attempts at being reasonable went up in smoke. She felt herself tremble under the touch but she didn’t dare move, hope and doubts and anticipation warring inside her.

“Thank you for a lovely evening,” he said and let his hand fall. That didn’t seem to break the connection, though—it was as if the very air in the Jeep crackled.

There was no use denying she wanted him to kiss her, had never wanted anything more. And it didn’t seem as if he was bothering with denial anymore either. His eyes darkened as he focused on her mouth. Her lips parted and she drew in a shaky breath, but he didn’t come closer. The moment felt suspended in time, neither of them moving. Then his eyes changed, became pained, and his head swung away.

“We’d better go inside and check on the babies,” he said and opened his door.

Suddenly cold, she blinked. The babies. Of course. She was the nanny, after all, not someone he was dating. But her traitorous body wasn’t as easily convinced.

She pulled herself together and went with him into the house. Katherine had left a note on the hallstand saying that everything was fine, and Bonnie was sleeping soundly with her. They crept up to check on Meg, who was also fast asleep.

Jenna gave her daughter a soft kiss on her round head, then hesitated in the hall, unsure of how to end the night. There was so much unfinished between them that she had no idea of what to do, and Liam didn’t seem to be in a rush.

Perhaps simplest was best. “Well, good night, then,” she said.

“I always walk a date to her door.” He waved an arm toward her room.

“Okay,” she said, not really sure how to take that.

They took the few steps to reach her room, then she turned to look up at him. He propped a shoulder against the doorframe, his gaze smoldering. A wave of heat rushed over her skin, and suddenly she didn’t want to do the safe thing anymore. Taking a risk was by far the more interesting option. She moistened her lips and hoped her voice sounded steady. “Isn’t a kiss at the door part of that tradition?”

Liam stilled, studying her face. “You want me to kiss you, Jenna?” His voice was low and rough.

“Oh, yes,” she said on a soft breath.

He groaned and his eyes closed for a heartbeat, and she thought she might never breathe again. Finally, his head came closer until his lips met hers in a kiss that was sweeter than any they’d shared before. Their other kisses had been stolen and had been all about attraction. This was more of an exploration, and more intense for it.

His hands found hers and their fingers entwined. When her knees wobbled, she leaned back against the door, and Liam pressed against her, not letting her fall. His body was scorching hot through her clothes and she wanted more, wanted everything.

The Nanny Proposition is on sale this week for 99c because Liam's brothers, Dylan and Adam, will have their books out in the next couple of months (Bidding on Her Boss in September, and His 24-Hour Wife in October).

You can grab a 99c copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  or iTunes.

Since this is a retro smooch for a book already released, tell me what your go-to book is. The book you re-read more than any other. I have a copy of The Nanny Proposition (or another of my backlist if you already have TNP) to give away to one person who leaves a comment!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Annie West's The Sinner's Marriage Redemption will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jul 31, 2015

Series Love and a Sale

I love connected books! Dipping back into the world where the characters I've fallen in love with are still living their lives, settling in with a town or place where I know I'll be visiting for a while, feeling like I'm part of an entire community. 

I love them so much I've written another series about a family - the Hawke brothers. The first The Nanny Proposition is already out (and now on sale!), the second Bidding on Her Boss will be out in September, and the third, His 24-Hour Wife will be out in October.

So to help celebrate my love of series, I want to share some of my favourite series with you, and ask for some of your recommendations back!

Nora Roberts, Three Sisters Island Trilogy
Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth, Face the Fire

I loved the light paranormal element (all three heroines are witches), the island community, the gorgeous heroes, and pretty much everything about these books. I read them years ago - in fact, they were my first Noras - and have reread them since. In fact, I might be due for a re-read now!

Eloisa James, The Essex Sisters
Much Ado About You, Kiss Me Annabel, The Taming of the Duke, Pleasure For Pleasure

I adored these books about the five Essex sisters who are sent to live with their guardian - a drunk duke who needs to pull himself together. My favourite hero of the books was that duke, Rafe - his story of redemption was gorgeous.

Jill Shalvis, Lucky Harbor
Too many titles to list, but the first three are great - Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing, Head Over Heels. 

These first three of the Lucky Harbor books are about three sisters who've grown up apart and are brought together by the death of their mother and their inheritance of an old inn. The heroes are amazing, and bringing the inn back to life is fun, but I especially loved the sisters element.

JK Rowling, Harry Potter

I recently watched the early movies again and they reminded me of my love for the series. Next time I have a chance, I'm reading all seven books again. Book 5 The Order of the Phoenix was always my favourite (and I've read the entire series about five times), but it's been a while since I read them through and I'm wondering if I'll have a different fave this time?

Actually, thinking about my favourite series (and believe me, there were heaps more, including Susan Elizabeth Philips's footballers, and Sylvia Day's Crossfire books) has me wondering why I ever write anything but connected stories! Now my Hawke Brothers will be out in the world, I think I need to start plotting another family series. :)

To celebrate the next two Hawke Brothers books, Liam's story The Nanny Proposition is on special for 99c for a short time, so if you've wanted to grab a copy, now is a good time!

And now I'm standing by to hear about your favourite series, and I'll send a copy of Bidding on Her Boss to one commenter. Hit me!

Jul 29, 2015

Josephine Moon's Chocolate Tourism Bucket List

Do you love your chocolate? Me too! And other than combining chocolate with a good book, I can’t think of too much better than pairing chocolate with visiting a new place of interest.

While writing my latest novel, The Chocolate Promise (also called The Chocolate Apothecary in the UK), researching and taste-testing chocolate pretty much took over my life—and my dress size! And my palette for chocolate has changed. Only the finest will do these days. So now, I’ve begun writing myself a ‘Chocolate Tourism Bucket List’, to continue my love affair with this heavenly food.

Here are my current Top 5 locations:

1. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. This is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Let’s just consider that for a moment: chocolate + Sicily. It’s a no brainer, right? Top of my list.

2. Puyricard. This French chocolate artisan store is located just outside of Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, which is where the main character of The Chocolate Promise spends time with a master chocolatier, roams the beautiful countryside and encounters unexpected romance. I soaked up the research for this part of the novel and am positively salivating to go there in person and enjoy the delights of Provence, including this chocolate store.

3. Chocolate Walking Tour of Melbourne. A little closer to home for me, this would be a delightful weekend treat. Melbourne is known by many to be the food capital of Australia and I’ve no doubt the chocolate on this tour would leave a lasting impression. I only hear good things about this one. Definitely a To-Do, sooner, rather than later, I think. (At least the plane flight would be a quick one!)

4. Rococo. I certainly couldn’t comprise this list without including a visit to Rococo in London. You’ll find an acknowledgement to Chantal Coady (founder of Rococo) for her inspiration that influenced The Chocolate Promise and for good reason. I pored over her book, Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate, as research for my novel. I even imported some of her creations. (The milk rose is my favourite.) I think I’d like to rent a flat just around the corner and simply hang out there every day, breathing it all in.

5. Cailler. I’ve been to Switzerland but only once and I would love to go back there. (I’ve even been trying to work in some sort of Swiss plot into a novel so I can have a tax-deductible reason to go.) And this factory has some pretty great architecture to go with the experience.

So there’s my shortlist to get me (and maybe you) started. I’m sure there are dozens of amazing places around the world that would keep me entertained on my chocolate tours. I’d love to hear your recommendations if you have any?


p.s. Here’s a recipe from Chantal Coady for Chocolate Ganache Teacups, which fortuitously combines two of my favourite foods: chocolate and tea!

About Josephine

Josephine Moon is the author of The Tea Chest and The Chocolate Promise. She lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with her husband, young son and far too many animals. She thinks about food pretty much all the time.

Jul 27, 2015

Postcards from New York

I'm still in New York so I thought you might like to see what I've been up to.....

I found a great little diner just down the road!

I saw quite a few Love Cats at the big Literacy signing.
Yvonne Lindsay.

Stefanie London
 Kandy Shepherd

 Louisa George

 My very first Cosmo ever!

Caught between the moon and New York City

The Harlequin black and White party at The Waldorf gave good dessert.

The RITA Awards were a very glittery affair. Our Louisa was robbed but a good night was had by all!

The chocolate RITA's were a winner and also delicious!

Until next time goodbye from New York xxxx

Jul 26, 2015

RITAday Smooch with Louisa George

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we bring you an extra-special Classic Smooch from LoveCats's RITA Finalist, Louisa George. Louisa's Enemies With Benefits is one of ten finalists in the Contemporary Romance: Short category.  The RITAs, hosted by Romance Writers of America, celebrate the very best romance novels published the previous year.  The 2015 winners will be announced during Sunday Smooch time DownUnder.  Best of luck, Louisa!

Before we revisit this classic smooch, the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Devika. Can you please contact Rachel (at) RachelBailey  (dot) com to receive your copy of Bidding on Her Boss.

And now for today's smooch ….

The last man on earth she should hook up with!

Poppy Spencer has discovered that there’s one thing worse than Christmas alone in her flat, and that’s spending it with Isaac Blair, her sworn-enemy-turned-reluctant-flatmate! And that’s not just because he knows all her secrets…but because his sexy-as-sin smile and taut physique are making her all hot and flustered -- despite the icy cold outside!

Unless a casual hook-up is just the thing she needs…? It’ll certainly break the simmering tension between them. The trouble is, with their history, this is going to be anything but casual…!

 #   #   #   #   #

US - Harlequin
Lead-up to the kiss...

Poppy’s experience with sex and relationships has been very limited and not very pleasant…she’s struggling with her feelings for her flatmate who she finds irritating in the extreme…she’s trying to prove to this disbeliever that snowflakes and Christmas can be magical and they find themselves having a snowball fight…

#   #   #   #   #

She screamed. Shivered. Turned. ‘Aww! What the…? You are the most irritating, stupid, insensitive…’ Chasing after him, scooping snow as she ran she threw a hard ball at his back, the smile finding its way back onto her mouth. ‘One more time, Isaac and I swear…’

He threw one back at her. Missed by a mile. On purpose. ‘What? You love snowball fights? What you going to do? Go on. I dare you.’

She threw another one. It lamely hit his leg. He ran and caught her up, reached out for her arm, grabbed it.

She spun around in the snow, dark eyes flashing with anger, heat, frustration.

Heat. It slammed through him like a thousand volts as he touched her.

Her body shook and she glanced down, surprised, at her trembling hands. Looked up at him for answers. He didn’t have any. He didn’t know what the hell was happening here either.

Her voice was thick and hoarse. ‘No. No. You’re not worth it.’

‘Oh, really?’ The electric force that had shimmied between them all evening spiked, stole his breath. He pulled her to him, slamming his body against hers. He needed to kiss her. To taste her again. Because one tiny kiss had been in no way enough last night.

If she had given him any indication that she did not want this as much as he did then he would have walked. But she kept staring at him, searching his face. Confused. Hungry.

Kiss / Larger Print
‘Really. You are so not worth it. Not worth it all.’ But this time her voice was hushed and thick and told him exactly what he needed to know.

He watched the movement of her throat as she swallowed, brushed a snowflake from her cheek. ‘Poppy…’

‘Yes?’ She stuck her tongue out again and caught another one, smiled in a way that shot hot spikes of need through him. Ran her tongue along her top lip leaving a wet trail that he ached to taste, and half drove him mad with desire. Her eyes widened and he was sure she didn’t realize the effect she was having on him. Either she had to stop or he had to… ‘You have got to stop doing that with your tongue.’

‘Why?’ Her breathing sped up, her lips parted just a little.

He tipped his head closer to her mouth, unable to do anything else but stand here, with her, holding her. ‘Because I have other ideas for it.’

Poppy heard the catch in her throat and felt the shiver run the length of her body as he pulled her to him by her coat lapels, pushed away her scarf and slid his mouth over hers. Felt her body ease against his. Felt the thick outlines of his heavy coat against hers- frustrated by the barriers. Grateful for the barriers.

Because she knew they were on different planets of experience, of expectation. She didn't want to kiss him. Didn't want to want him.

But she did. Wanted him to run his hands over her body. Wanted to see what it felt like to feel desirable, to be desirable; to Isaac.

And hell, she needed to stop hiding, stop processing. Start living. Start feeling- but she didn't know how. Wanted him to show her the way, but was afraid of what he'd think of her. And she sure as hell couldn't ask.

As he slowly licked across her bottom lip, any further thought fled her brain. Her body stopped processing anything beyond its innate feral response; the flashes of light and heat in her belly, the tingle in her breasts, the wet of her mouth.

She opened her mouth unable to resist the pull of him any more, wound her arms around his neck. Felt a strip of bare skin against her arm- that one inch enough to fire more light. More heat. Lost herself in touch, smell. Taste.
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You can find Enemies with Benefits by Louisa George at Amazon | B&N | Book DepositoryMills and Boon | Harlequin and other digital bookstores.

Louisa is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter! To be in the draw, all you need do is comment.  Covers to Enemies with Benefits as published in various countries and imprints are included above: which is your favourite?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a brand new smooch will be posted!

Jul 24, 2015

A Mid-West Adventure....

I'm moving!

Well, not really....but I'm writing a brand new series for Harlequin Special Edition and it's set in a small town in South Dakota. For the past few years my books for Special Edition have all been set a tiny beach side town that sits at the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef (where I live in real life). But I had a hankering to write about mid-western cowboys and ranches and I've always been intrigued by the Dakota's. So, The Cedar River Cowboy's were born.

And that's meant of my least favorite things to do. I'm an instant gratification kind of person and have always found researching a chore. Writing my previous books required very little research because I live in a place exactly like where the books were set - beachside town, small community and so on. I know my town...I know every road and beach and landmark. I knew very little about South Dakota other than a vague interpretation I'd gleaned from TV. Oh, I knew about places like Deadwood or the Black Hills, and of course Mount Rushmore - but not much else.

So I started Googling. And surprisingly ( to my pantser, non-organized, right brain thinking self), it's been interesting researching things about another country - such as geography, weather, the political landscape, agriculture, commerce etc. I've learned about copper and silver mining, Honky Tonk restaurants and cattle rustling. Readers expect, and deserve authenticity in the books they buy and can sniff out a mistake at a hundred paces. I'm not sure if I'll get everything right, but now that book one is handed in to my editor and I'm deep into book two, I can feel a kind of rhythm happening. And it's so much fun.

Three Reasons to Wed will be available in January 2016 from harlequin Special Edition with a second and third book to follow.

I love reading books set in places I've never visited, do you?