Sep 21, 2014

Sunday Smooch: Anna Campbell's WHAT A DUKE DARES

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from  Anna Campbell but first 


... the two winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Christina R!


Can you please contact Annie West on annie (at) annie-west  (dot) com to receive your book giveaway! 


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from WHAT A DUKE DARES


A reputation at risk!
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children - and she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he'd finally gotten over.

The only way they'll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed - until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins...


Scene set-up

Camden Rothermere, Duke of Sedgemoor, is escorting his childhood friend Penelope Thorne back from Italy where she’s been stranded after the death of her aunt. Gossip about Pen’s wild behavior on the Continent has entertained London society for years. If they’re discovered travelling together, there will be a massive scandal and a shotgun wedding which both want to avoid: Cam because he plans a glittering society marriage with a woman of spotless reputation, and Pen because she’s always loved Cam, but long ago recognized that he’ll never love her back. The final leg of the journey takes place on Cam’s yacht The Windhover. The kiss occurs in Penelope’s cabin during a violent storm just off the English coast.

Smooch  -

As the ship plunged like a wild thing, Cam’s mouth ravaged hers. Astonishment held Pen captive as a fierce mixture of sensations struck her harder than the waves against the hull.

Since she was a girl, she’d imagined Cam’s kisses. The reality was earthier, more intimate, more passionate, more…exciting than anything she’d conjured in fantasy, no matter how lurid. His mouth was hot and commanding. His hands were ruthless and inescapable. The storm beat around her until she wasn’t sure whether the chaos was outside or within her.

Pen was no longer the nineteen-year-old innocent who had turned down his proposal. She knew how a man behaved toward a woman he respected. In Cam’s kisses, there was neither caution nor care.

Some distant corner of her mind urged her to protest. He treated her the way he’d treat a strumpet from the docks. But how could she demur when she basked in endless heat? All her life, she’d felt so cold, so cold.

His tongue plunged between her lips, demanding a response. Helpless to resist, bewildered and giddy with arousal, she gave it to him. Her senses flooded with his rich flavor, his salty scent of storm and ocean and clean male sweat.

She moaned and arched into his damp clothes, frantically seeking the searing heat beneath. She’d set him alight and the flames of his desire lashed her. The breath scraped from her throat and she closed her eyes, reveling in incandescent sensation. Never had she felt like this.

Still his mouth explored hers as if he claimed a private kingdom. She could hardly breathe, sinking into untamed delight. She clung to his shoulders as her knees threatened to collapse. He was shaking, too. If he wasn’t braced so firmly against the window frame, they’d tumble to the floor.

Still he wasn’t tender. She was past caring. She’d permit him anything, as long as he kept kissing her, touching her, panting his appreciation into her neck. She burned to touch him. Return this bliss. Conquer him in turn.

“Damn it, Pen,” he groaned into her bare shoulder and nipped her sharply.
Shock sizzled through her with the sting.  His savagery appalled her, scared her, but spiked her excitement to a level where she threatened to combust. She tugged at his shirt until her lips skimmed hard pectorals, kissed the mat of soft hair.

With a stagger, he swung her from the window. Away from the embrasure, the ship’s pitching was dizzying. Or perhaps Pen was dizzy with passion. Cam tumbled her toward the luxurious bed where she’d slept alone for two weeks, tormented to know he lay just across the corridor.

Breathless with excitement, she toppled back onto the mattress. Then she was doubly breathless when Cam flung himself on top of her. His weight was unfamiliar, thrilling. The boat’s tossing rolled them together so they wrestled like puppies. Inside her, a great emptiness yearned. She grabbed his shirt and ripped it off, desperate to feel his bare skin. She was as fierce as he was. Even now when it was clear that he was mad for her, she still feared that this glory might end before she’d drunk it to the dregs.





Question:

Pen has had a crush on Cam since she was a little girl (a crush that ripens into a really excruciating case of unrequited love as she grows up). Who, real or fictional, was your first crush?
 

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


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Sep 19, 2014

Back to The Bay


by Bronwyn Jameson

As kids our summer holiday “place” was Bateman’s Bay on the New South Wales south coast.  Mostly for expedience, since it was the closest piece of ocean to our inland home.  But this also meant it was the summer holiday place for many other country families and we’d see them on the beach, the fathers sporting the farmers' signature tan and towelling sun-hat.  Catching up with other regulars, most of whom we wouldn’t see between Januarys, was part of the summer holiday.  We loved that almost as much as we loved the beach and the easygoing caravan park lifestyle.

Then came the year of The Breakdown.  Heading home at the end of the holiday, along with every other end-of-school-holidays family, towing the caravan up Clyde Mountain, our car broke down.  It was stressful, harrowing – I imagine a thousand times more for the parents – stopped beside a long drop down the mountainside, in heavy traffic, waiting for roadside assistance.  Eventually we were towed to Braidwood where we waited days for the necessary parts to get us home.

The caravan was sold.  We spent the next six or seven summers at the local swimming pool, until eventually my parents built a holiday house.  By this time I was at university and The Bay lost its appeal for a decade, until I had a young family and we started the trek down the mountain each year along with my sisters and their kids.  Then that next generation grew up and found livelier places to spend their holidays and my parents sold the house and that was that.

Except we all still have such fond memories of the place, of the summers, of the family togetherness, and so earlier this month we – my three sisters, my mum and I – went back to The Bay.  We rented a house by the beach.  It was too cold to swim but we paddled and walked the sand, ate seafood by the truckload, talked and laughed and remembered.  And made new memories.








Bateman’s Bay will always be that special family place for us.  Do you have such a place, your special place packed to the gills with the best memories?


Sep 18, 2014

Whoops, a day late and a dollar short!

Seems to be the story of my life at the moment. Do you have days, weeks or months like that? I'm glad I have October to look forward to and, with it, my next release with Harlequin Desire's Billionaires and Babies series--THE CHILD THEY DIDN'T EXPECT.

Here's the blurb:

SURPRISE--IT'S A BABY!
After their steamy vacation fling, Alison Carter knows Ronin Marshall is a skilled lover and a billionaire businessman. But a father...who hires her New Zealand baby-planning service? This divorcee has already been deceived once; Ronin's now the last man she wants to see.
But he must have Ali. Only she can rescue Ronin from the upheaval of caring for his orphaned nephew...and give Ronin more of what he shared with her during the best night of his life. But something is holding her back. And Ronin will stop at nothing to find out what secrets she's keeping!


Holiday romance is an enticing theme to work with. So many of us identify with it, don't you think? Have you ever had a holiday fling? Was it short and sweet, or did it develop into something more. I'd love to know! Me, I met my hubby when I was still in my teens so holiday flings, unless they were with him, weren't a happening thing. I was too busy falling in love with the future father of my children! LOL!

Sep 16, 2014

Welcome Party Winners!

Thank you to everyone who came out to help us welcome our new Cat, Stefanie London! It's been a great party.

Now, onto the winners of the prize packs:

Prize Pack 1
A pack of 10 Mills & Boon category romances, donated by Mills & Boon Australia. Thank you, M&B!

Winner: Courtney Bridge

Prize Pack 2
A pack of 6 MIRA books (single title books) donated by Mills & Boons Australia. Thank you, M&B!

Winner: Lucy Waterhouse

Prize Pack 3
Only The Brave Try Ballet, Stefanie London
Damaso Claims His Heir, Annie West 

Down Among The Dead Men, Claire Baxter (ebook)
Holding Out For A Hero, Amy Andrews (print)
Once Upon A Bride, Helen Lacey
The Rebel and the Heiress, Michelle Douglas
Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, Jennifer St George (eBook)
The Shameless Maverick, Louisa George
The Summer of Jake, Rachel Bailey (eBook)
Wanting What She Can’t Have, Yvonne Lindsay 

A backlist book from Sharon Archer
Cute cat from Bronwyn Jameson (not a real one!)


Winner: Clare Scott

Prize Pack 4
Only The Brave Try Ballet, Stefanie London
A Father for her Baby & The Midwife's Son, Sue Mackay
The Bouquet List, Barbara DeLeo (eBook)
Damaso Claims His Heir, Annie West 

Once Upon A Bride, Helen Lacey
The Summer of Jake, Rachel Bailey (eBook)
Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, Jennifer St George (eBook)
Wanting What She Can’t Have, Yvonne Lindsay 

A backlist book from Sharon Archer
A backlist book from Bronwyn Jameson
Cute pen set from Michelle Douglas


Winner: Lyn

Also, a bonus prize announcement: the winner of a copy of The Summer of Jake from my blog post a couple of weeks ago!

Winner: Laney

If you've won a prize, please drop me an email at rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com with your postal address and I'll arrange the prizes for you!

And, once again, welcome, Stefanie! :)

Sep 15, 2014

Welcome Party for Stefanie London!



We have very exciting news! A brand new LoveCat has joined the pride here at LoveCats Downunder. And even more exciting is that it's the fabulous Stefanie London! Paws in the air!

And we want to share the fun, so we're giving away FOUR prize packs of books. Yes, four, including two packs from M&B Australia! But first, let's get to know Stefanie a little better. 

LC: Hi Stefanie! We love to hear about animals here at the LoveCats. Can you tell us about a furry friend who's made their way into your heart?
 
I have to mention two furry friends here. Firstly, there's Romance Llama who an adorable stuffed Llama that travels around with me and sits at my writing desk. He was a gift from my husband on the sale of my first book, and since we're travelling a lot and have been living in an apartment for the last few years he's my substitute pet.

The other furry friend who's stolen my heart is my mum's dog, Cici (pronounced chi-chi). She's a gorgeous chihuahua-fox terrier cross that my mum and sister found at an animal shelter. She's got a few quirks because the shelter believe she was mistreated as a puppy, but she's the most loving, playful dog. She loves nothing more than curling up on on a lap or playing with her favourite squeaky chew toy. I love her to bits!

LC: Aw, look at that photo - Cici is gorgeous! If you could be any mythical animal, what would it be?

A Llamacorn. Half Llama, half unicorn. 100% magic.

LC: Very cool answer! Do you remember the first category book you read?

Unfortunately I don't. All I remember was that it was a Mills and Boon book that I 'borrowed' it from my mum's shelf and read it in secret. The hero and heroine got stuck in a storm and then were stranded together in a remote cabin. Cue sexy times! I would love to know what book it was so I could read it again, but sadly all my mum's old Mills and Boon books are long gone. 

LC: What about the last good category book you read?

I've read quite a few good category books so far this year. I really loved The Divorce Party by Jennifer Hayward, which was the winning book from Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write competition last year. It had everything I look for in a Presents book - drama, a dark and powerful hero, lots of conflict, glamour and angst. I also really loved Uncovered by Love by Madeline Ash, an Australian romance writer. She has such a way with words, her books have this lovely, dreamy quality and yet the conflicts are so deep and real. Her characters really leap off the page. She's definitely one to watch!

LC: What's one category book on your TBR pile that you're looking forward to?

There are SO MANY to choose from! Honestly, my TBR pile is out of control. If I had to pick one I'd say Triple Threat by Regina Kyle which is coming out with Harlequin Blaze next month. This is Regina's debut and I know her from when we were both unpublished authors chatting on the Harlequin forums, she got 'the call' not long after me and I'm so thrilled to be able to read her book. Best of all, like me she loved the arts world and has set her book around a Broadway play.

Thanks for chatting, Stefanie! And welcome aboard. We're all looking forward to getting to know you more. For the moment, however... onto the giveaways!

Prize Pack 1
A pack of 10 Mills & Boon category romances, donated by Mills & Boon Australia. Thank you, M&B!


Prize Pack 2
A pack of 6 MIRA books (single title books) donated by Mills & Boons Australia.
Thank you, M&B!


Prize Pack 3
Only The Brave Try Ballet, Stefanie London
Damaso Claims His Heir, Annie West 

Down Among The Dead Men, Claire Baxter (ebook)
Holding Out For A Hero, Amy Andrews (print)
Once Upon A Bride, Helen Lacey
The Rebel and the Heiress, Michelle Douglas
Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, Jennifer St George (eBook)
The Shameless Maverick, Louisa George
The Summer of Jake, Rachel Bailey (eBook)
Wanting What She Can’t Have, Yvonne Lindsay 

A backlist book from Sharon Archer
Cute cat from Bronwyn Jameson (not a real one!)



Prize Pack 4
Only The Brave Try Ballet, Stefanie London
A Father for her Baby & The Midwife's Son, Sue Mackay
The Bouquet List, Barbara DeLeo (eBook)
Damaso Claims His Heir, Annie West 

Once Upon A Bride, Helen Lacey
The Summer of Jake, Rachel Bailey (eBook)
Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, Jennifer St George (eBook)
Wanting What She Can’t Have, Yvonne Lindsay 

A backlist book from Sharon Archer
A backlist book from Bronwyn Jameson
Cute pen set from Michelle Douglas



So, I'll pass around the catnip treats, and to help us get into the party mood, tell us about the most memorable party you've been to (whether it was memorable because it was good, bad or the most recent). Everyone who leaves a comment will go into the draw to win one of the prize packs, so dive on in and help us welcome Stefanie!

Sep 14, 2014

Sunday Smooch - Annie West's 'Damaso Claims His Heir'

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from  DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR by Annie West but first 


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


Can you please contact helen(at)helenlacey(d0t)com to receive your copy of Once Upon a Bride.


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR.


Damaso Pires should have known better than to get involved with Marisa—the scandalous princess of Bengaria! Yet soon he sees her true beauty and flawless virtue, which touches a place in him he thought ruthlessly destroyed by his childhood on the streets of Brazil.
But their brief affair becomes permanent when Marisa reveals she’s pregnant.
Damaso knows the sting of illegitimacy and, having fought tooth and nail to claw his way up to the dizzying heights of international success and financial infamy, he won’t let his child slip from his grasp. There’s only one way to claim his heir, and that’s marriage!
                                                                                      Links to buy: Book Depository, Amazon, Harlequin.


Scene set-up
Marisa and Damaso are thrown together after they discover their single night of passion has led to pregnancy. Damaso, determined to play a role in his child's life, wants her to marry him and in the meantime has invited her to stay in his Sao Paolo home. Marisa is wary of marriage. She's learned to distrust men, having too much experience of men who tried to use her royal status for their own ends. She insists Damaso keep his distance while she makes her decision, but after weeks of living together platonically, they discover they both want more.

Smooch  -




‘I mean it, Marisa. I want you. I’ve wanted you from the moment I saw you.’ His chest rose as he drew in a shuddering breath. ‘This is about more than the baby, or what the world thinks. I don’t give a damn for the world. This is about me and you. Right now all I care about is how you make me feel, and how I make you feel.’


Despite everything she wanted to believe him. How she wanted to!

He plucked one of her hands from his chest and planted a kiss at the centre of her palm. Her knees buckled as he sucked at her flesh, sending waves of weakness through her.

‘Can’t we forget tonight and start again?’ His voice was dark, liquid temptation.

‘Why?’ Marisa clung to his shoulder for support, trying to shore up the distrust that would keep her and her child safe. ‘What is it you want?’

‘I want us to be just Damaso and Marisa. Simply that.’

Did he have any idea how perfect that sounded? How real and uncomplicated? How tempting?

Damaso’s head swooped low and with a sigh, Marisa gave up the battle she’d been losing so long.

This time when Damaso bent to kiss her, Marisa lifted her mouth to him, desire filling her. For the first time she didn’t turn aside so his lips brushed her face or her throat or the sensitive point behind her ear.

The sensation of his mouth on hers, sure and hard, demanding the response she could no longer stop, blasted her into another world.

Wave upon wave of pleasure crashed through her. She clung to broad shoulders as his marauding mouth demanded more, ever more. Her surrender elicited a growl of satisfaction from Damaso she felt right through her core as he gathered her close.

She needed this, him, filling her senses, as she couldn’t remember needing anything in her life.

Even the night they’d shared in the rainforest, giving in to instinct and reaching out to Damaso in the hope he was different from the rest, Marisa had shied from this particular intimacy. She’d shared her body but kissing on the mouth had been a step too far. It was a boundary she hadn’t crossed since her teens when Andreas had seduced and betrayed her. In her mind it had become a symbol of gullibility and defeat.

Yet now she revelled in Damaso’s hot, delving kiss, the tangle of tongues and hot breath, the flagrant openness and hunger.

There was no trace of bitterness on her tongue. Only the spicy, addictive taste of Damaso, spinning her senses out of control and a thrill, almost of triumph, in her effervescent blood.

There was something else she couldn’t name, something strong and pure, that filled her with elation and wonder.

This felt right. More than right.

She gave up trying to put a name to it as her mind fogged.

Marisa clamped her hands to the back of Damaso’s skull, revelling in the tangle of his thick, soft hair between her fingers. She angled her head to give him better access as he devoured her. His big hands held her close, his body anchoring her.

If this was defeat it was glorious.
 
Marisa and Damaso meet in a rainforest eco-resort. What's the most exotic place you've met a lover? Or if that's too personal to share, where would you like to meet one?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Anna Campbell's 'What a Duke Dares' will be posted!


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Sep 12, 2014

Sue MacKay's letter to her 16 year old self.


Dear Me,

Have you told the family you don't want to be called Susan yet? Go on, I dare you.
 
First thing I’d say is you’ve been born in a time of so much opportunity. Probably more than any generation before you. Which brings me to - be true to yourself and stop trying to please everyone else otherwise it’s going to  cost you big time. You want to study horticulture so go do it. Don’t let mum tell you you can’t. Dad will back you all the way because he’d love nothing more than for you join him in the family flower growing business and maybe take over some day. By the way, that laboratory technician training you’ve interviewed for? You will be good in the lab and even enjoy it, but it isn’t your first choice of career. And a hint on the side – this job will change so much over the years because of technology growing rapidly leaving techs less involved in diagnosis.

About dad: go with him to as many as possible of those concerts you both love. Sadly he won’t be with you for much longer and you’ll be devastated.

It’s cool that you’re playing badminton and the best bit is you’re going to improve so much you’ll play as a rep for Counties. Remember the first time you held a racket and couldn't hit the shuttle to save yourself? Your sport is your safety valve so always, always participate in some form of it. DON'T take up snake training.

 



That pesky brother? He’ll finally grow up and you’ll become best friends. Your two closest friends are going to be there forever and though you’ll move away from them, you’ll always be in touch and picking up where you last left off.

 If only you wouldn’t marry the first man to ask you but there’ll be no stopping you, because of your desire to please others. You’ll need to be strong. Remember the tough lessons you learned when you went away to boarding school at ten. They’ll get you through a lot.
Eventually you’ll hear what I’m telling you and take charge of your life. Then you’re going to fly – literally. Up into the sky, same as dad and your brother before you, though you won’t become a professional pilot like them. And the best thing? There is a hero out there for you and you will recognize him as such the moment you hear him laugh. Go for him, girl. He’s worth asking out on that first date.

 As for family – you’re going to gain a step daughter you’ll adore beyond belief. There’s also a surrogate daughter, surrogate niece, a god daughter and a self-appointed godson lining up for you later on.

 And those stories you’re always writing? Don’t stop. Remember all the encouragement dad gives you? Your hero will be just as supportive.

By the way, those legs, make the most of them. They won’t always look so good.
Whether you listen to your older self or not, you are going to have some awesome experiences, love some wonderful people, and achieve your dreams. Go grab life, Sue.