Jul 5, 2015

Sunday Smooch with Jennifer St George

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Jennifer St George but first 

                           ... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Lyn

Can you please contact jennifer (at) jenniferhaywardromance (dot) com (dot) au to receive your copy of Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon...


Three strikes and you're out…

A series of strange accidents are occurring at Sirona, a luxury spa resort in the picturesque English countryside. Billionaire owner Nic Capitini wants the person responsible sacked. But the law requires he give three official warnings. Nic checks in undercover to gather the evidence he needs, and when he arrives to find his general manager enjoying the spa's facilities, he doesn't think it will prove very challenging.

Despite first impressions, it isn't long before Nic realises that not only is Poppy Bradford beautiful, she's a brilliant manager who runs the resort superbly. And the chemistry between them is undeniable. When Poppy herself is threatened, it seems clear the incidents are part of a systematic campaign of sabotage. Even though he believes she's innocent, Nic knows Poppy is hiding something. But will learning her secret mean losing her forever? 

Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon is the second story in Jennifer’s Billionaire series.

Scene set-up:

Poppy has just been the victim of one of the terrible sabotage attacks occuring at Nic’s luxury spa resort. Nic is accompanying Poppy home to ensure she is okay.

The Smooch:

Her small hand fitted so perfectly in his. Her soft skin danced a trail of fire across his palm. She slipped her hand from his, but it felt more like a wrench.
‘I’ll be okay from here.’ She took a few steps towards her cottage and paused. She turned and retraced her steps.
‘Thank you for staying with me,’ she whispered. Standing on her toes, she kissed him on the cheek, her perfect body briefly and tantalisingly flush with his own.
He didn’t breathe or move. Didn’t want to break the spell. He grasped her with his arms and held her close. The movement was involuntary. This was a bad idea, but he couldn’t quite remember why.
His body screamed for more time with hers. Her eyes flared with surprise. He waited a moment. Two. Three. She didn’t leave his grip.
‘You call that a thank-you kiss?’ His voice sounded rougher than the bark on the surrounding trees. He bent his head slowly, giving her time to run. Time to decide that this shouldn’t happen. But her body moulded with his and she raised her lips to meet his.
All the reasons to resist hammered to be heard, but nothing rational penetrated.
He kissed her gently. She tasted sweet. So sweet. A sweetness that could become an obsession. Running his hand up her back into her hair, he anchored her to him, deepening the kiss.
Her body moved against him, making his blood run hot and riotous, pumping desire to every cell in his body.
A sharp crack whipped out from the forest. A stick snapping. Poppy slid from his arms, her eyes darting in the direction of the noise. Sense and reason flooded into Nic’s mind. Was he insane? Poppy had suffered a terrible shock and here he was kissing her in the woods like they were on a romantic date. The doctor had ordered rest and he delivered seduction.
‘Poppy, I’m . . .’ An apology battled with his desire for more, so he said nothing.
He took her arm and walked her silently to the cottage. She unlocked the door and stepped into a dim, small room. The house had only one room, with a door leading to a bathroom. A double bed dominated the space. This wasn’t a home, it was a hutch.
The faint smell of coconut and lime tinged the air; the exotic scent such a contrast to the basic surroundings.
The bed, that kiss, the heady scent . . . He needed to get out of there before his body directed him to take action. Action that demanded their clothes off and that bed breaking under the strain of sweet spring sex.

Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon is available at: Amazon | iTunes Google 

Connect with Jennifer on: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

My hero Nic runs a luxury health retreat. Think massages, facials, hot rock treatments and the like. A completely indulgence holiday experience.   To be in the draw to win an e-copy of Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, I’d love you to share your favourite indulgent holiday experience.

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

Jul 3, 2015

The Great DeLeo Makeover - Part One!

I've always loved a good makeover story, in fact my latest book The Bouquet List is about a girl who completely changes her looks and her life. And now I have a makeover of my own going on.

When we bought our house ten years ago it was because it had so much "potential". It had half an acre for our four little kids to run around on, five bedrooms so they could eventually have their own rooms, and electric blue walls with salmon coloured trim and frilly london blinds......

Needless to say, the wall colours and blinds have changed, but there's still so much that needs to be done and this week I signed away my life and the GDP of a small country for stage one in our "renovations". Shall I talk you through them???!!!

Below is the very attractive and completely useless half wall between the dining and lounge rooms. Oh, that's not our dining table, by the way, that's just the table that gets all the junk left on it. With joy in my heart, I'm ecstatic to say that this is all going, as is the yellow brick to the left, and an enormous cavity slider is going in. 

Also going is the very ugly fireplace below which has never worked. This will be a big wall with the cavity slider behind it and a TV on the front. This will finally mean that I can banish the boys and their Friday night football games down here while the girls and I can watch Coro in peace!

And see that greyish carpet with stains where the dog has tramped in unmentionables and kids have dropped every known food variety on it?? It's all going to be replaced!!

And finally for stage one I'm getting a new laundry area and new lighting everywhere.
I can't tell you how excited I am. I'm really hoping I can check back in a couple of months with all the work finished. What I need now is all your best tips on what worked and didn't work for you in your makeover.

Jul 1, 2015

Anna Campbell talks about Best Laid Plans!

I'm so thrilled to have lovely Anna Campbell to visit to talk about her latest novella!

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley.

Robert Burns, To a Mouse

Hiya LoveCats! Lovely to be back here. Thank you. 

Isn’t that a classy way to start a blog? Except I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention mice here on a love cats blog. It might (mice?) cause trouble. 

Today I’d like to talk about my new Sons of Sin novella, THREE PROPOSALS AND A SCANDAL, and how it wasn’t part of my best-laid plans at all. 

As many of you know, since 2011, I’ve been writing a series based around three men who were friends at Eton and who all suffered in various ways because of the scandals shadowing their births. 

The Sons of Sin series started with a proposal for a stand-alone book, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, Jonas’s story (2012). 

My editor at Grand Central Forever liked it so much, she wanted more in a similar vein. So my best-laid plan of writing another stand-alone historical romance (until then, I hadn’t attempted a series) became a trilogy. Cue A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (2013) and WHAT A DUKE DARES (2014). Oh, and a novella called DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES (2013) which was a prequel. 

You can already see those plans for a trilogy were going a bit wonky. 

They went even wonkier when the trilogy turned into a quartet with the release this year of A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT, the Marquess of Leath’s story. 

Leath wasn’t part of the original trio of sons of sin, but he was a dynamic character in WHAT A DUKE DARES and was screaming out for his own love story. By this stage, too, I was hooked on going back to see how my characters were managing. So when I had the chance to write another full-length book, I leaped at it like a cane toad after a blowfly.

But still, the series didn’t feel finished to me. In WHAT A DUKE DARES, Cam the hero is courting the perfect wife when he falls madly in love with Penelope Thorne, who is anything BUT the perfect wife. Which means Lady Marianne Seaton, Cam’s first choice, was left to keep a stiff upper lip through all the gossip about the duke jilting her. I felt then that she got the raw end of the prawn – after all, she’d done nothing wrong – and that feeling continued right through writing Scoundrel. So I decided that she needed her own happy ending.

And what do you know? I had a lovely hero just waiting in the wings for her. Odd how the subconscious works. Penelope’s brother Elias was another intriguing character and it turned out he was just right for Marianne. 

So the story for THREE PROPOSALS AND A SCANDAL was born. The original plan of a trilogy had definitely gone a-gley. We’re now up to four full lengthers and two longish novellas. And I’ve got ideas for more stories set in this world that has such a grip on my imagination. 

In 3 Proposals, Marianne faces a choice between three very different suitors – and on paper, Elias Thorne is the least eligible of all of them. Then everybody goes to the country, as happens! Marianne, her autocratic father, her suitors, plus a fair assortment of characters from the earlier SoS books converge on the year’s most glamorous house party. Dramatic events and revelations, not to mention forbidden passion, ensure that everything is sorted out in the wash. 

Actually there is literally a wash – bad weather traps all the players in Jonas and Sidonie’s luxurious country house. In such close quarters, the characters can’t escape the consequences of their actions. 

You could say Marianne’s best-laid plans gang a-gley too. Which is where the fun comes in! 

*          *          *

Anna's got two downloads of THREE PROPOSALS AND A SCANDAL up for grabs today (international)!

Just tell her the last time your best-laid plans went awry – and whether the results were good or bad. 

Good luck!

Whose hot kisses will melt the ice princess? All London is agog to know!

As the season reaches its brilliant climax, three very different men pursue beautiful Lady Marianne Seaton. She’s the marriage mart’s greatest prize – even if cruel and unjust gossip paints her as a woman cold and glittering as any diamond.

Lord Desborough is her father’s choice – rich, powerful, safe. Lord Tranter is society’s darling – handsome, dashing, charming.
Then there’s the dangerous, compelling man nobody in their right mind calls eligible. Elias Thorne, son of scandal, reputed deceiver, possessing a rakish fascination no woman can resist. A lady might choose Elias as a lover, but as a husband, he’s too risky a bet. Even if Marianne’s forbidden yearning for him threatens her future and her reputation.

When Marianne’s suitors pursue her to the year’s most glamorous house party, there will be proposals and passion, rivals and revelations, secrets and scandals.

Let battle commence – but will the best man win?

You can read an excerpt from THREE PROPOSALS AND A SCANDAL:  here


You can get your very own copy on:

And you can find Anna:
on Facebook
on Twitter - @AnnaCampbellOz
and on her website!

Jun 29, 2015

Book Brothers

Photo: Gage Skidmore
I've been thinking about sets of brothers lately. 

In September and October this year, the last two Hawke brothers will have their stories out in the world, so it's particularly topical for me. The first Hawke brother had his story last year. 

For those interested, the series goes:

Liam Hawke (middle brother): 
The Nanny Proposition - out now

Dylan Hawke (youngest brother): 
Bidding on Her Boss - September

Adam Hawke (oldest brother): 
His 24-Hour Wife - October

I think my favourite set of famous brothers at the moment is the Hemsworth brothers, Chris and Liam. Though, this may be influenced by my love of Thor and The Hunger Games!

But there's also:

  • Ralph and Joseph Fienes, 
  • the many Baldwin brothers, 
  • Owen and Luke Wilson, 
  • Benji and Joel Madden,
  • Beau and Jeff Bridges,
  • Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen,
  • Prince William and Prince Harry,
  • Ben and Casey Affleck.

What about you - do you have a favourite duo or trio of brothers? 

Jun 28, 2015

Sunday Smooch with Jennifer Hayward

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we welcome Jennifer Hayward to LoveCats DownUnder but first... 

The winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Tammy.  Can you please contact melaniemilburne (at) gmail (dot) com to receive your copy of Italian Surgeon to the Stars.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Jennifer Hayward's Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss.

The ultimate forbidden attraction

Francesca Masseria is mortified. On her first day working for renowned tycoon Harrison Grant, she accidentally hits the panic button and watches in horror as security puts her boss in handcuffs! Normally poised and efficient, Harrison's enigmatic presence leaves Francesca flustered. 

Harrison is furious. He can't afford any distractions with a high-stakes deal on the table, and his new assistant is as diverting for her beauty as her incompetence! He should fire her, but she's determined to make up for their disastrous meeting by anticipating his every need. Except, what Harrison's beginning to want from Francesca isn't part of her job description!

Jennifer's scene set-up:

Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss is the first of my Tenacious Tycoons duo for Harlequin Presents. The Tenacious Tycoons is the story of two brothers who must carry the family legacy after their father commits suicide over a deal gone bad. Harrison, my hero in Tempted is the dark to his brother Courn’s light, bent on avenging his father’s death. Frankie my clear-souled heroine might be the only thing to save him from self-destruction.

This kiss follows Harrison and Frankie’s break up after Harrison pushes Frankie away, worried she’s getting too close. At the annual Grant summer party – the social event of the season in Long Island - Coburn decides to make his brother admit his feelings for Frankie with an intimate display on the dance floor. All bets are off as to how this is going to end!

The Smooch:

            “You don’t want me, Frankie.” He kept going as if he hadn’t heard her. “Tell yourself that. You want a tidy little relationship with a nice guy who will treat you well, give you the requisite two-point-one kids and take you to church on Sunday.” He shook his head. “That’s not me.”    
            “I never said that.” A funny feeling unfurled inside of her. “Why don’t you tell me what these feelings are you’re having before I make a decision like that?”    
            He shook his head, a wary look in his eyes. “It won’t accomplish anything. I have nothing to offer you.”    
            Frustration burned through her. “I swear I will turn around, go back up there and find one of those eligible men and flirt like crazy if you don’t start talking.”                 
            His throat convulsed. For a minute she thought he was going to walk away. Then he took the last step toward her, his gaze dark and tormented. “You make me want things I can’t have.”   
            “Like what?” She was hypnotized by the confusion in his gaze. The honesty.
            He cupped her jaw in his hands. “You make me want you. Need you. Crave to be with you. I don’t do relationships. That’s why I walked away. Not because I don’t have feelings for you.”   
            Having his hands on her again felt so good. She wanted to purr into him like a cat. Her gaze held on to his. “Maybe you don’t know what you’re capable of.”                
            “Even if I was,” he said harshly, “you are goodness, Frankie. I am the darkness. I would only drag you down there with me.”   
            She moved closer because she was melting inside. “I can handle myself quite nicely, Harrison. I did the other night.”    
            He looked down, as if he was studying the heat drawing them together. “You can’t handle my life as it is. With Leonid. Siberius. I could be walking into a whole other playground in a few weeks, one I’m sure you couldn’t handle.”    
            A presidential campaign. Rumors had been swirling all night about it. Everyone expected him to do it. But she didn’t care about that. She cared about the man.    
            She swallowed hard. “That night at your penthouse...I’ve never felt like that about anyone. I’ve never had that kind of a connection with anyone. It was—” She shook her head, stumbling over the words. “My feelings are scaring the heck out of me, too, Harrison. I don’t know how to handle them. But I won’t deny them.” Her gaze clung to his. “You said I make you feel alive...you make me feel alive.”   
            His gaze darkened. He was silent for a long moment, long enough for her to hear her heart beating in her ears. “You’d be smart to walk away. If I don’t break your heart now, I will later.”    
            “You don’t know that.” She stepped closer until the heat of their bodies melded into one another. “There are no sure things in life. You can’t insulate yourself against pain. It’s impossible.”    
            She thought she might see a flicker of awareness in his eyes. That she was right. That he’d been locking his feelings away for far too long. Her heart thrummed in her chest as he brought his mouth down to brush against the corner of hers.    
            “There are far better bets than to take a chance on me. I’m not going to lie.”
            “I don’t think so.” Her soul reached out for his. “Let yourself go. Follow your instincts. I’ll jump if you will.”    
            He murmured something unintelligible against her mouth. Sparks flew between them, their bodies too close, too aware of their wanting not to seize it. Take it. His mouth shifted to cover hers more fully. She moved into him, like water finding a path again. After the uncertainty of this past week, she wanted comfort. She wanted to know she was right.    
            He kissed her hard, his mouth hungry, lacking in finesse. She had pushed him out of his comfort zone. His hands moved restlessly down to shape her breasts, the curve of her thighs through the silky material of her dress. “You look so good in this,” he muttered when they came up for air. “I almost knocked Coburn senseless.”              
            She smiled against his mouth. “He was provoking a reaction.”    
            “He succeeded.” The hand that shaped her hips pulled her hard against him. His arousal lay between them, potent and ready. Frankie gasped. “Harrison.”    
            He grabbed her hand and walked toward the boathouse. She tugged on his fingers in a halfhearted protest. “Not here.”    

            “You wanted me to go with my instincts. Live with it.”
*   *   *   *   *   *   *
Excerpt from Tempted by her Billionaire Boss, Harlequin Presents June 2015, by Jennifer Hayward. Available now from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Connect with Jennifer on the web:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Tempted by Her Billionaire Boss, share what's been tempting you this weekend.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from the amazing Amy Andrews will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jun 26, 2015

Creative relaxation...?

A year or so ago a friend of mine invited me to go to a class for 'art journalling' at a local art studio. It involved making a journal from scratch, then decorating the pages ready for any creative idea that came to mind - collaging, drawing, painting etc... I toddled along because I thought it might make me use a different part of my brain (even though I am the world's most useless artist) - and that might in turn help with my creative thinking for stories.

I enjoyed the class and met some lovely people all of whom were far, far better artists than me- but that apparently wasn't the point. The idea was to lose my inner critic and just 'be'. (Which is all fine and mighty when you have a smidgeon of talent, but when you spend the whole class drooling over other people's artwork and hating your own because you could never create anything remotely as good at that then you might have to rethink why you're actually there!) We learnt a few different techniques and got our hands dirty smearing acrylics and I did overall enjoy the whole process and found that it was quite relaxing and yet stimulating to be doing something that didn't have a 'reason'...ie I wasn't intent on selling this, or making a masterpiece, it didn't have to be 'good'. The idea was that what we created each week was a reflection of how we felt that day, or how we wanted to feel, or just to do something different to our usual routine.

The class finished and I was left wondering what to do with the supplies I'd bought. I couldn't find it in me to do the art journalling at home- I couldn't find a reasonable 'excuse' to spend 4 hours on a project...but I did invest in some 'zentangle books' (the art of creative doodling) and now do a bit of doodling when I'm lost for plot ideas and it does take my mind along a different track of thinking. Apparently it's good for us due to the meditative effect it has on the brain.

So I was intrigued by the huge explosion of adult colouring books that have hit the bestseller lists over the last year. And would colouring-in have the same effect as zentangle or journalling? Flushed with enthusiasm I rushed out and bought myself a copy of one of the books. It has gorgeous pictures for us to colour in.
But...well... I just can't bring myself to use it. I can see how creating something might be good for the brain, but I'm not sure how just colouring already created pictures would help. Plus- I'm stuck in a judgey mindset; I can't justify colouring-in. I don't know...It seems...it seems like a step backwards or something. (And I just know what kind of reaction I'd get from dh and my boys). I know it's hugely popular and many women use them for relaxation, but I haven't had the nerve to do anything with it yet.

Maybe I should just start a picture and see where
it takes me? (I also have a fear of ruining what could be a good picture by my amateur colour choices!!!) I think I'm going to need to do some relaxation once I've done a supposedly relaxing pastime!!

Anyone else tried this? Does it help relax you? Do you do any 'creative relaxation? Or do you just prefer a glass of white and a good book?