Dec 10, 2018

Help! Christmas

Image courtesy pixabay.com
Okay. This is shameless. I’m admitting that right up front. But I need help. Lots of help. But it is Christmas…a time for giving.

My dilemma is what to buy my husband for Christmas. He loves books, but preorders them as soon as he reads a good review. He loves music, but likes to buy his own the moment it comes out. He loves surfing but I don’t know anything about it, so he looks after himself. He plays guitar but has enough of them. He’s not that interested in clothes and really has enough anyway. He doesn’t garden, or cook. He doesn’t drink. 

Image courtesy pixabay.com
He does love chocolate and receives quite a bit at Christmas as everyone is in the same boat as me with present buying for him. He loves coffee, but that's not really present-worthy.

I'm thinking of trying to find an 'experience' present. Any ideas? Just not hot air ballooning as he'd want me to come with him and I'm terrified of heights.

So, what on earth do I buy this man? I have had a few successes over the years, but probably more misses.

Do you have someone who is difficult to buy for in your life? What do you buy for them? Do you have any ideas to help me?

Dec 9, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Clare Connelly

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from Clare Connelly's The Season to Sin (yes! more festive reading, Lovecats, merry meow!). 


But first, the winner of last weeks smooch is mod2011. Mod, please contant Amy Andrews on amy (at) amyandrews (dot) com (dot) au to claim your prize!





Bad boys are her weakness... Is he too magnetic to resist?
Storming into psychologist Holly Scott-Leigh’s life, bad boy billionaire Noah Moore is so hot he leaves Holly breathless with just a glance. He’s her potential client and she’s never crossed that line before, but delicious Noah tempts her to sin. This festive season, from his hip London loft to a luxurious Paris hotel, Noah will show Holly how good it feels to be on the naughty list!

Hi Lovecats!

So I absolutely love this tortured romance. Noah and Holly are star-crossed from the start. The book begins with Noah, a self-made tech billionaire with a troubled past, unable to sleep after a sudden death has brought back traumas of his youth. His business partner and best friend (Gabe Arantini, from my Harlequin Presents BOUND BY THEIR CHRISTMAS BABY) insists he goes into therapy to sort his head out. The only problem is his therapist turns out to be Holly, and she gets under his skin like nothing else...

This scene takes place in her office, on their third appointment. Holly's already decided she definitely can't take Noah on as a patient - their chemistry is too insanely hot and she'd never cross that ethical boundary. But she's still captivated by him, and thinks she can help him. As a friend, or a lover, or something...

Language warning! This book is written for Harlequin/Mills & Boon's super sexy Dare line, and features some expletives. 

“Are you close to her?’
I shake my head. ‘It’s my turn, remember.’
A look of panic colours her spectacular eyes. She moves away to grab a glass of water from her desk. I follow her automatically and my eyes drop to the picture to the right of her. A little child, so exactly like Holly that it must surely be a relation, sits in a frame. ‘Who’s that?’
She looks at me and catches me looking at the frame. For a second I think she’s not going to answer, or that she might lie, but then she shrugs. ‘My daughter.’ Her hand lifts betrayingly to a necklace she wears. A locket?
‘Are you close to your mother?’
I was expecting this question. ‘No.’
‘You don’t like her?’
I move my body closer—she braces her hands on the desk and looks up at me, and the air cracks like a whip as tension tightens between us.
‘No.’ Her expression flickers as she analyses this. ‘Have you thought about me, other than professionally?’
Once more her eyes dart away from me. Such a giveaway gesture for a woman as smart as she is. I would have expected her to have a better poker face. ‘I...’ A very faint peach colour spreads over her cheeks.
‘It’s a yes or no question, Doc.’ I brace my hands on the outside of hers, bending my body forward so that I’ve effectively caged her on her desk. She closes her eyes and inhales deeply, drawing in a breath like she wants to draw me with it. When she speaks, it’s with a courage I admire. A strength and determination—a fearlessness.
‘Yes.’
I tighten all over and it takes every ounce of my willpower not to push her back on the desk and rip that leather skirt off, to make her mine.
‘You weren’t raised by your parents, were you?’
She’s still got her eyes closed, but the question is no less cutting or incisive for that.
If she were looking at me, she might have seen how off-kilter it momentarily knocks me. But I recover quickly. She has asked the right question but phrased it wrong. Who raised you? might have been better. That would have forced me to document the myriad foster homes I was passed through, or to explain that no one really took the time to raise me—that I was left to raise myself.
‘No.’ She looks at me now and, with her eyes fixed on mine, I move so close that my lips are almost brushing hers. ‘Do you want to fuck me?’
She gasps and, before she answers, I do it. I do what I’ve wanted to do since I first saw that perfect Cupid’s bow. I put my mouth to hers, lift my hand to the back of her head, wrap my fingers in her hair and invade her with my tongue. She makes a moaning noise and then she’s kissing me back, her tongue clashing with mine; one leg lifts and hooks around my waist, holding me locked to her, my cock pressed hard against her. She tilts her head back to give me all the access I want and I plunder her. I kiss her to punish her for making me talk about my Goddamned mother. I kiss her because I can’t not.
And she kisses me back.
But she hasn’t answered my question and I want her to. It’s not enough to feel her wants—I want her to own them. For her to confess them to me. I have seen her courage, her spirit—but still I want more. I want to hear her be brave for me.
So I pull away but, before she can pretend she wasn’t affected by what we shared, I thrust my cock against her, grinding my hips, and she moans, lifts her fingers to my chest and digs them in. She tilts her head back again.
Hell, if she hasn’t been screwed in five years, I could probably make her come right now. To test my theory, I push against her again and she says my name, low and soft, huskily, a beg, a plea.
‘Noah...’ Just a whisper, but so heavy with need and desire. ‘God, Noah...’
I laugh low in my throat and she looks at me with abject confusion, but then I drop my hand to her breast, finding her nipple and flicking it.
She shakes all over, her body trembling near mine. I can’t tell you how much I want to finish this. To make her beg for me right here, right now. She’s so close. I don’t think she knows what day of the week it is.
Yeah, I want to fuck her, but here would be too rushed. Such a waste of an opportunity to really make her ache for me...
‘Do.’ I pull her earlobe between my teeth and roll my tongue over it. She whimpers.
‘You.’ I scrunch her sweater in my fist and lift it out of her skirt, feeling its softness in my palm before running my hands over her naked side. She makes a guttural noise of pleasure.
‘Want.’ I push it higher still, until my fingertips touch the lace sides of her bra and then nudge beneath it so the ball of my thumb is on the underside of her sweet, rounded breast.
“Me.’ Her leg that’s wrapped around my waist jerks me closer, telling me not to keep her waiting. I laugh again, a sound of appreciation for a woman who knows what she wants.
‘To.’ I grip her ankle behind my back then run my hand along her calf. Holy shit, she feels so much better than I’d imagined. So soft and smooth and feminine. I pause in the hollow of her knee, watching her fevered face as her eyes darken and her cheeks glow. I run my fingers higher then, slowly, until I reach her inner thigh and she moans, once again digging her fingers into my shoulder and arching her back.
‘Fuck...’ I shove the elastic edge of her underpants aside and, with my eyes holding hers, mocking her for the fact she tried to pretend this wasn’t happening between us, I nudge a finger inside her warm, throbbing heart. She’s so goddamned wet I feel a drop of my own cum spill out, but I don’t stop. I push deeper inside her and she whimpers, her fingers now scratching into me.
‘You?’
She blinks, glaring at me for a second, and then she nods, just a simple tiny movement that is the confirmation I crave…



OKAY! So there's just a little more than two weeks until Christmas and I an nowhere near organised! I have so much Christmas shopping to do and Christmas baking to do... I feel like my lists are growing lists. How about you? Are you organised? Or are you as hectic as I am?

I'm giving away a paperback copy of this duet (two books), so leave a comment to go into the draw.

Clare Connelly writes romance that will set your soul on fire. She is the best-selling author of more than fifty indie romance novels and in August 2017 published her debut novel for Harlequin Presents, and also writes for Harlequin Dare. She reads and writes romance voraciously, and lives in a small bungalow by the sea with her lovely husband, two small children and a hard-working team of MacBooks.

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


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Dec 7, 2018

Mantras and Quotes that Tickle Your Wonder Bone




In between the manic, busy days and weeks of this final month of the year, December is often a great time for reflection.  And from there, a renewed sense of purpose.

What loveliness abounded this year?

What did I learn?  What opportunities slid right on by?

How can we best eke out every bit of sparkle from every day?

Over the years I've become a bit of a mantra addict. An adorer of a great quote.  For this I blame Pinterest and Instagram.  Stick a fab quote inside a circle of glitter and you've got me!

Here are a few mantras that particularly tickle my happy bone, so I hope they tickle yours:









 

If you love these, check out my Words to Love By page on Pinterest for more.

Do you have any mantras or quotes that truly speak to you, and get you up and at 'em?

Dec 5, 2018

Five Best Ever Christmas Movies

Christmas is less than three weeks away and that means there is *so* much to do to get organised. Instead, I'm working my way through all the schmaltzy netflix Christmas specials I can get my hands on, and pondering what I'd best pair them with.

So, herewith, a procastilist of my top five Christmas movies of all time - and that was hard, believe me, to whittle it down!

5. The Christmas Chronicles


Okay, it's a big call, because it's brand-new, just released in 2018, so new you can still hear the tinsle crinkling around the box, but I absolutely loved this Netflix offering. Starring Kurt Russell as a slim-and-he-knows-it St Nick, with carjacking, muggings, elves who do The Floss and a brother and sister duo trying to get through their first Christmas since their fire-fighter dad died, a single mum struggling to hold it all together, and this is a movie just bursting with heart. I cried at the end - like a baby. Recommend it a billionty times over.

Pair it with: choc chip cookies and a big box of kleenex

4. Last Holiday



This is a bit of an obscure one, so bear with me. This movie about a woman who's misdiagnosed with terminal cancer and therefore decides to live out all her fantasies while she still can... only to discover she's actually in fine health but is now broke is just made by the awesome Queen Latifah (and the schmaltzy, wrapped-in-a-bow happier than happy ending). Lots of stunning snowy settings and philosophical lessons about living life to the max, this will put a smile on your dial.

Pair it with: pumpkin spiced lattes and cinnamon buns.

3. Die Hard



It might be the quintessential holiday movie, but for me, Die Hard is a movie for all seasons. I love it any time of the year, but never more so than a few weeks before Christmas, when the festive spirit is in full swing, and I want to shout Yippee Kay Yay from snow-covered rooftops.

Pair it with: Bourbon and cigarettes (not real ones, obviously - those 'fads' from when we were kids).

2. Mickey's A Christmas Carol.



My favourite of all the Christmas Carol adaptations, this was one of my Christmas traditions growing up. We had it on VHS and my sisters and I would sit around and devour it - funny, I thought it was feature film length, but recently I watched it with my kids and it's far shorter than that. It fills me with all the same emotions now, as an adult, as it did then. When Tiny Tim cuts his pea in half... Sob!

Pair it with: A roast dinner and all the trimmings

1. Love Actually

It can't be anything else, right? I mean, there are so many more I want to throw into this list, but of all the Christmas movies ever made, i think Love Actually would still top this list. For a start, there's that ensemble cast - full to the brim of celebrity names, all so, so well-cast. Then, there's the tangled lives we get to see implode, and the lovely way we discover they all intersect. There's humour and heart, so much heart. From Sam's mum's funeral to Sarah's brother - and her devoted love for him


To Colin Firth's naughty cheating wife and his amazing love affair with Aurelia - just in cases.


And the biggest, most heart-pulling plot of all - Harry cheating on Karen (did he or didn't he?) and her stoic, reasonable, raw, completely understandable reaction.


That scene where she's listening to Jonie Mitchell, so heart-wrenching. I loved Karen so much for her restraint and maturity, and her beautiful broken heart, and I loved Harry too - silly Harry and his foolish choices, and the way you can see his face crumple as he realises the magnitude of what he's done, the way his life will never be the same.


How can one movie have so many different emotions, so many hardships and still leave you with a huge smile on your face!? Love it to bits - can't wait to watch it with my kids (but those porn scenes might mean we have to wait a few more years...)

Pair it with: Fruit mince pies, mulled wine and London dreams.

Okay, that's my top five (who thought five was a good idea?). What's your favourite Christmas movie? Have you got something new I can try out?

Dec 2, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from Amy Andrews but first ... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Pammie!








Pammie, can you please contact Fiona on fiona (at) fionalowe (dot) come to receive your prize!


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Hanky Spanky Christmas.... 

Amy says - this is a Xmas novella that came out a couple of years ago now but, it is the festive season, right? Click on the cover and it'll take you to the Amazon page!


https://www.amazon.com/Hanky-Spanky-Christmas-Amy-Andrews-ebook/dp/B077S2NHJ1


T'was the night before Christmas....

With a sudden hankering to be spanked, Darcy Henderson figures Mitch Callaghan is the man for the job. But is she woman enough to take it?



Scene set-up

Darcy has just discovered which bar her sexy neighour (they're the only 2 young people living in a Melrose Place-esque retirement complex for seniors) Mitch Callaghan, works at when he goes off to work every night. And it's a kink club! Her and her friends have gone for a little voyueristic fun and games but Darcy has liked what she's seen - she's liked it a lot. So much so that she stayed on after the others have left accepting Mitch's offer of a drive home. Which is just as well becasue she's imbibed one too many Callaghans (his families secret cocktail recipe)....The scene picks up after they've arrived home and they're both just out of the car.

Smooch  -


Tonight was the first night he’d seen Darcy in anything other than baggy clothes or her black one-piece and she hadn’t disappointed. She was wearing some kind of leopard-print wrap dress that clung to her hips, thighs and ass, crisscrossed her cleavage and seemed to only be held together by a bow tied at the side.

It made him want to pull it to find out.

Her normally straight hair was a mass of long, loose curls that fell down her back and swung in time with her hips. And then there were those heels, lifting her somewhere closer to his own height, although he still had her by a couple of inches.

“You know what?” She was walking again, although not quite in a straight line. “We should go out dancing somewhere.” She performed a sudden pirouette which would have landed her on her ass had he not been there to catch her.

“Okay.” He laughed and tucked her into his side as he walked with her. ‘You’ve got to be at work in four hours, remember?”

“Ugh.” She shuddered. “Should never have agreed to take Stacy’s shift.”

“Too late now,” Mitch said as they walked under the arch.

The aroma of hibiscus from the multiple planters situated around the pool and between apartments, tickled his nostrils. The twelve foot Christmas tree Mrs T had insisted he secure right in the centre of the courtyard, rose like a giant bloody phallus. It was as out of place in the December heat as Darcy had been drinking Callaghan’s at a fetish club.

“I’m going to come back to Fine Lines.” She poked him in the chest as they turned towards their apartments.

“You liked it, huh?”

“Oh my God.” She looked at him with huge eyes. “I had no idea.”

He chuckled. “Most people don’t.”

They passed his apartment as he walked her another ten paces to her door, festooned with a lush green wreath. “Here we are.” He dropped his hand from her waist lest he be tempted to crowd her back and do the kissing this time. Darcy may be cute as hell when she was tipsy but there was no way he was taking advantage of her liquored-up state.

Although, hell, if she wanted to lay one of those messy-hot, liquored-up kisses on him then he wasn’t going to stop her.

“Where’s your key?”

She leaned back against the white stucco wall beside her door, her breasts thrust out nicely. “In my bag.”

When she made no attempt to retrieve it, he took her bag out of her fingers, zipped it open, found her keys and shoved them in the lock. Then he reached for her phone. “What’s your code?”

“Why?”

“I’m going to set your alarm in case you forget to.”

“Good idea.” She nodded and prodded him in the chest again.

“The code?” he prompted as her finger took to stroking instead of poking, brushing against his nipple.

She shot him a grin. “Six nine, six nine.”

He shot her a sceptical look. “Bullshit.”

“Nope. I swear. Sixty-nine, sixty-nine. The year both my parents were born. Easy to remember.”

For more reasons than one. After all, what was more memorable than one sixty-nine but two?

Mitch keyed the code in and tried not to put Darcy and sixty-nine together in his head, a feat that was near impossible while she was drawing maddening circles around his nipple. He shook his head when it worked then quickly navigated to her alarm and set it for quarter past seven.

Rather her than him. He planned to be tucked up in bed dreaming about sixty-niners at that time.

“Okay - ” He handed the phone back to her. “You’re all set.”

She dropped her hand from his chest and slid it onto the phone but didn’t take it off him. “I want to do that.”

“What?”

“Be spanked.”

Her words slammed into his groin with all the heat and intensity of a fireball. He’d seen plenty of people getting spanked (amongst other things) at Fine Lines. Clearly it worked for some, and Mitch was all for a bit of choose your own adventure when it came to sex, but he preferred it where everyone involved got off and no one was hurt in the process.

“Right.” He slid his hand on her hip and urged her off the wall. “I think you had one too many Callaghan’s. They kinda sneak up on you.”

She draped one arm around his neck and fisted her other hand in the front of his t-shirt as she settled against his body. Her breasts smooshed nicely against his chest as the sugary sweet smell of butterscotch took over from the heavy perfume of hibiscus.

His cock appreciated her move, even if it wasn’t what he’d been going for.

“I want you to spank me.”

His cock appreciated that even more. “Oh you do, huh?” It was hard to keep the amusement out of his voice with a serious frown crinkling her brow.

“Yup.”

“Because I work at Fine Lines?”

“Yup.” She gave an exaggerated nod. “And because of this.”

She yanked on his shirt and rose on her tiptoes, pulling his head down, going straight for the kill, sucking him in to a kiss that was hot, deep and wet right from the first touch of their lips. Her tongue boldly sought his and Mitch groaned.

She tasted like booze and maraschino cherries.

His hands slid from her hips to her ass, tucking her in closer, her corresponding moan shooting like wildfire through his veins, setting fire to everything in its path.

She moved restlessly, hungrily, tantalisingly, against him and blood from every vital organ rerouted to his cock. If he didn’t pull away he was going to ruck her skirt up and fuck her against the stucco and that’d really give their neighbours something to talk about at the monthly unusual disturbances meeting.

There was a damn committee and meeting for everything around here.

Mitch gathered every skerrick of his rapidly diminishing self-control and wrenched his mouth away, 
taking a step back.Neither of them said anything as they stared at each other, chests heaving. It was all he could do to breathe and remain upright.

“You need to get to bed,” he said eventually.

She nodded, her tongue running over her lips as if she was still trying to taste him, and he nearly reached for her hip again. “What about the...spanking?” Her voice was still breathy, her interest clearly still piqued.

Mitch doubted she was really serious. A lot of things that seemed like a good idea at booze o’clock soon lost their shine when all that was left was the hangover and a huge dose of what the hell was I thinking. A little light BDSM was one thing, but wanting her ass tanned red like the sub on all fours at the club was another.

And, frankly, he didn’t think she was the type. Not that there was a type— his work at the club had taught him members of the BDSM community came from all walks of life—but he’d developed a bit of a sixth sense since working there, and nothing about Darcy said tie me up and spank me with a riding crop.

He doubted she’d even remember this conversation in the morning.

“Ask me when you’re sober some time.”

He turned away then before her leopard-print dress brought out the animal in him.





For a chance to win a digital copy of Hanky Spanky Christmas, tell me what's something a little bit thrilling and different you'd like to indulge in one day? 

Leave your comment here or on the LoveCats Facebook page and then come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a new smooch will be posted!


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Nov 28, 2018

On a writer’s retreat – Kandy Shepherd


Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a wonderful romance writer’s retreat in the beautiful countryside near Berry, on the New South Wales south coast. There were seven of us—sadly no other LoveCats—all members of Romance Writers of Australia, all multi-published authors, all female. (Oh, and a dog!) We shared a particularly lovely house, beautifully furnished and set in acres of lush farmland.

A retreat is even more fun with a dog!
A retreat is meant to be a withdrawal from everyday life, to rest and rejuvenate. Our retreat focused—of course—on writing. The aim was to discuss our current works in progress, brainstorm new plots, discuss ways to fix problems, and share information about the publishing industry. Non-stop talk was interspersed with quiet reflection and frantic bursts of writing—especially from those of us on deadline!

Inspiration all round for rural romance writers!

We managed to fit in time for walking—so important for writers who spend so much time sitting. There were also opportunities to simply admire the beautiful views across rolling hills to the sea. The Shoalhaven area is, I believe, one of the loveliest parts of NSW.


What a place to contemplate new ideas - that's the sea in the distance!

We shared the cooking and the tidying up—and between us ate very well indeed!


Did I feel inspired and refreshed? I most certainly did! In fact I dreamed the entire plot of a story as if I were living it. And, yes, I actually remembered in the morning and wrote it down. Proof that my “muse” had kicked into gear. When I’ll get the chance to actually write that story, heaven knows!

When it rained it was cosy inside - just the spot for brainstorming.
When writers talk writing, we also talk reading. Recommendations for favourite new books were rapidly scribbled down; promises to loan a must-read book made. A few of us mentioned that with our lives so busy, we didn’t have time to persevere with a book that for one reason or another didn’t engage our attention. I used to find it difficult to give up on a book, these days I’m more ruthless. Although of course there’s always that book where perseverance pays off and you’re so glad you pushed through.

What about you? When do you give up on a book? Or do you persevere? Have you ever enjoyed a retreat to follow a special interest? Is there a retreat you’d love to go to? We’d love to read your comments!

Nov 26, 2018

Expectations by Amy Andrews

I've recently back from a trip to Western Australia. I was a signing author at the West Coast Fiction Festival which was super fun!



And then my hubby and I met up with friends and did some exploring north of Perth. It was an absolutely spectacular five days - the WA coastline is really wild and windswept with gorgeous beaches and clear water.





Also, we came across this pink lake that I still can't even begin to describe. 
It was simply WOW!






On our way back south to Perth we passed a sign for the Pinncales. We hadn't had this natural formation on our list of things to see but we were passing the turn off and after being mostly ambivalent about seeing it, we decided, what the heck. We had the time and if it was naff then we could just leave. So we took the turn off and WOW WOW WOW! It was amazing. I expected to see a few pointy rocks in the middle of some scrub but it was acres and acres of these weird stones just sitting in this desert - big, small and every size in between. 









No one really knows how they formed but shells (its not far to the coast from where they're situated) had a lot to do with it and they're about 30 000 years old! 

It was truly fabulous and I am so pleased we decided to take that turn because it exceeded all my expectations and was one of the highlights of our trip!


Which begs the question, is there anything you've ever seen whilst touring that has exceeded (or not!) your expectations?