Jan 31, 2016

Sunday Smooch with Michelle Douglas

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  A DEAL TO MEND THEIR MARRIAGE but first 

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

Can you please contact Louise: mail (at) louisecusack  (dot) com to receive your copy of HUSBAND SIT

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Michelle Douglas

Antiques dealer Caroline Fielding is married more to her job than to dashing Jack Pearce. After five years apart their relationship should be over--only when Jack shows up asking for a divorce, the chemistry is as strong as ever...

Caro tries to ignore her heart and sign the papers that will let go of Jack. But now her professional reputation is on the line and only her private investigator husband can help her! Working together 24/7 may be emotionally heart-wrenching, but it could also save her job...and their marriage.

Scene set-up: It can be hard to set up a scene without giving too much away... Suffice it to say that Caro and Jack have just had an interesting experience...and the adrenaline is still pumping.

  She reached up on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. He bit back a groan.

  Her voice trailed off at whatever she saw in his face. Her eyes met his and darkened. Her gaze lowered to his lips and her own lips parted ever so slightly—as if she were parched, or as if she couldn’t quite catch her breath. Wind roared in his ears. She wanted him. With the same desperate hunger that ravaged him. He’d promised not to kiss her, but…

  He moved in closer, traced a finger down the soft flesh of her cheek. Her breath hitched. Her eyes never left his.

  ‘You…’ She hiccupped again as his finger moved down the line of her throat. ‘You promised,’ she whispered.

  ‘I promised not to kiss you,’ he murmured. ‘I don’t recall promising not to touch you. You can tell me to stop any time you want to and I will.’

  Her lips parted, but no words emerged.

  A surge of something hot and primal pulsed through him. ‘And I don’t recall you promising not to kiss me.’

  Her breath hitched again. Maintaining eye contact, he took her hand and raised it to his lips, nibbled on the end of her ring finger and then her middle finger, drawing it ever so slightly into the warmth of his mouth.

  ‘You didn’t promise you wouldn’t kiss me,’ he whispered again. ‘And I want you to kiss me, Caro. I want that more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.’

  A shiver shook through her. He went hard in an instant.

  ‘I didn’t promise that I wouldn’t put my arms around you…’

  Very slowly she shook her head. ‘No, you didn’t promise that.’

  He backed up until he was leaning against the car. He drew her towards him to stand between his legs—not quite touching, but their heat swirled and merged and another shiver shook through her.

  He kissed the tips of each of the fingers of the hand he still held. ‘I didn’t promise not to place your arm around my neck…’

  He put her hand on his shoulder, snaking an arm about her waist and pulling her closer. The feel of her in his arms was familiar and strange both at the same time. Her other hand slid about his neck too.

  ‘Jack…’ she whispered.

  He moved his face to within millimetres of hers. ‘I didn’t promise not to ask you to kiss me…’


  The word was nothing more than a breath and it whispered across his lips, drawing everything inside of him tight. Her hands tightened about his neck.

  ‘I’m not asking, Caro,’ he groaned. ‘I’m begging. Please kiss me. I—’

  She leant forward and pressed her lips to his.


A Deal To Mend Their Marriage is set in London...because I love London. :-) If you could choose the setting for a romance, what would you pick?

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jan 29, 2016

Comfort Read Suggestions Needed!

Yesterday I had a tooth extracted, and, I have to admit, I'm a complete baby about things happening in my mouth / head. It just all seems too... close to home. 

Now I'm in the process of self-medicating with comfort food (of the soft variety) and comfort reading. But I've probably re-read my favourite comfort books too many times and am in desperate need of something new.

So, please, help a girl out and hit me with your recommendations! 

Nothing challenging, nothing that will scare me, nothing edgy. Today, I'm all about the feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy reads. Your go-to books that always make you feel better.

In return for your suggestions, I'll give one commenter a copy of either The Finn Factor or The Summer of Jake (winner's choice).

Okay, I have my clicking finger ready. TIA. Go! 

Jan 27, 2016

Rainy Days Binge - Kandy Shepherd

Rainy Day Binge

Yesterday, January 26, was Australia Day and I really wanted to go to the beach. There are many wonderful things about living in Australia, and I count our beaches among them.

However in my part of Down Under, summer has been erratic to say the least—sweltering days followed by torrential rain (hurray, dampening the bushfires!) followed by hot, sticky weather then more drizzly weather, then more violent storms.

Australia Day dawned bright and sunny and perfect. My husband and I had decided to spend the day together and go for lunch at a wonderful beachside café and then a swim at a Sydney beach.

This is what we found as we walked down to the sand.

Rough seas made the water too dangerous for swimming

And another sign...

These nasty marine stingers were everywhere - you couldn't even walk safely on the sand without encountering them

So no swimming. The week before at another beach we’d been stymied by excess seaweed brought in by storms and huge seas.

Who wants to swim with so much seaweed!

 I worked all the way through Christmas and New Year to meet a book deadline. When I’m writing I never watch television, as there’s simply no time. So I decided the erratic summer weather with all the storms called for some binge TV watching.

I recently subscribed to an Australian streaming service. First up use was the Christmas special of Sherlock, “The Abominable Bride” which I loved.

Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, is an addiction in this family, we have all the series on DVD. On our visit to London last year, when I was meeting with my Harlequin Mills & Boon editors, my husband was making a pilgrimage to Speedy’s café which is important in the series. Then he went to the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221 Baker Street. One of the things I enjoy about the modern day Sherlock Holmes is the way they adapt the original Arthur Conan Doyle books.

I’m a big Benedict Cumberbatch fan so then caught up with The Imitation Game (I don’t get to see many movies at deadline times either) which was incredibly good. Now I want to read the book on which the movie was made.

It wasn’t until the Golden Globe nominations that I realised Mozart in the Jungle was not about bringing classical music to tribes-people in the Amazon or Africa but about the lives and loves of classical musicians in the urban jungle of New York.

One episode and I was totally hooked and watched the entire two series. It’s full of romance and drama and of course the music is wonderful. I was so entranced by the series, I downloaded the book upon which it is based to discover it was nothing like the show.

I’ve just discovered British crime drama Vera and am loving the gritty, superbly acted stories about a middle aged, grumpy female detective chief inspector played by Brenda Blethyn. Her offsider Joe is played by the very handsome David Leon (definitely romance novel hero inspiration!) The series is based on novels by author Ann Cleeves. Of course now I’ve ordered the first book in the series and hoping to have discovered a new author.

It seems it’s easier to get a TV series based on a crime novel than on a
romance novel. The notable exceptions being Highlander and Poldark both of which I adore.

What about you? Do you have a favourite TV show based on a book—or vice versa? Any surprises or disappointments? Any to recommend?

Leave a comment to be put in the draw for an advance copy of my March 2016 release from Harlequin Romance Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride.

Jan 25, 2016

Another Kind of Writing.

I've been thinking about songs a lot lately with the recent, sad deaths of some of the music industry's most iconic figures. Particularly with the passing of Glenn Frey from one of my favourite bands - The Eagles. Probably their most iconic song is Hotel California. A long, rambling song which has been dissected adnauseam over the years to unearth its "true" meaning.

Depending on who or what you read or watch on the tele it's anything from a coming of age song to something out of the Twilight Zone.

Whatever the meaning behind it, it's clearly an enigma. This brings to mind two other songs which also happen to be long and rambling and the focus of intense debate amongst punters and musuc scholars alike about their meaning.

American Pie by Don McLean

And Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

As far as I'm concerned these are three of the greatest songs in existence and I'm not sure knowing their true meaning matters. Different songs speak to different people in different ways. A bit like books I guess.....

Anyone got a theory about the genesis of any of these songs? Do you have to know the meaning of lyrics to enjoy a song? Are there any other songs you like that have nonsensical lyrics but you like anyway?

Jan 24, 2016

Sunday Smooch with Louise Cusack.....

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Louise Cusack ___ but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch is Sharlene!

Sharlene contact Amy at amy (at) amyandrews (dot) com (dot) au (without the spaces) to receive your prize.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Louise Cusack........


Paid by wives to sleep with their husbands. Love is not in the contract...

Jill Wilson is fresh out of a ten-year relationship so boring she slept through half of it. Thirty-
something, no children, no house, blah. The glamorous potential she and her three best friends shared as starry-eyed schoolgirls feels very far away, until an unlikely job appears – Husband Sitting – being paid by rich wives to keep their cheating husbands ‘happy’ at home while they skip off on vacation.

Not the sort of job a nice girl would do, but the ten grand a week paycheck is exactly what Jill needs to stop her little sister ending up in a Bangkok jail. And maybe, just maybe, the sex sounds exciting too. Unfortunately, there’s one complication: gorgeous Finn with his sexy green eyes and his gigantor… you know.

Love was definitely not in the contract, so in desperation to wipe Finn from her memory banks, Jill embarks on a bed-hopping frenzy. After all, the best way to get over one man is to sleep with another. But will Finn let her go? And as her emotional baggage arrives with an over-weight tag, can she believe in the fairytale of imperfect people ending up perfect together?

Crazy meets desperate in this erotic romp that nails the highs and licks the lows of one woman’s struggle to reach sexily-ever-after with the man of her dreams.

WARNING: This book has some serious raunchiness, and not all of it with the hero (who’s understandably pissed about that). So if you’re uncomfortable with adult women exploring their sexuality and having messed up hot sex before they fall in love, you might want to put your hands up and step away from the erotica…

Scene set-up

[Jill has ignored texts from Finn (her first husband sit) because she likes him too much, and despite the attraction between them, he’s not leaving his wife. Unfortunately, her next ‘husband’ is into bdsm and goes too far. Jill can’t ring her girlfriends for help because they’d have an intervention if they knew what she was doing! So in desperation to escape, she phones Finn who flies into Sydney to rescue her. Jill meets him at the airport and their attraction flares again, but Jill is cranky about the fact that he won’t leave his cheating wife, and Finn is upset that she loved the whipping, and had only rung him for help when the husband had locked her into his apartment. He starts quizzing her about specific elements of the bdsm sex, clearly jealous.]

“Was it good?” Finn demanded.

It was spectacular, but I wasn’t telling him that. Unfortunately, the delay between his question and my response was too long, and by the time I was stammering, “Well it was quick, and—”

“Good? It was really good? And you loved that as well? Along with the whipping which you adored?”

 He looked angry now, but there was a resignation with it that didn’t bode well. Then he shook his head. “What was I thinking?” Before I could answer, he went on with, “You don’t want hot sex with me. I’m the charity case—”

You don’t want any sex with me!” I shot back. “So don’t get on your high horse and—”

He grabbed my shoulders and pulled me into a hard kiss that instantly woke my girl bits into happy little clutches of joy. I dropped my handbag and wound my arms around his neck, grinding my abraded breasts against his chest as I kissed him back, wet and needy, my tongue laving his, wanting to push him over the edge.

Wanting him to take me where I stood, actually.

But I knew that wouldn’t happen in an airport bar. So we kissed on and on, and my face felt hot, my ears buzzing so much I thought I’d faint. And then I heard a repetitive beeping, and was completely disoriented when he pulled away from me. Cold air swept down my front and I watched on helplessly as he pulled a phone out of his jeans, swiped the screen and put it up to his ear.

His gaze returned to me. “Hello?” He sounded husky and impossibly sexy.

A shrill voice came through the speaker and a sense of inevitability washed over me. It was Katinka. She was pulling on the leash, and he would go home. He’d kissed me like he meant it but that didn’t matter. What Katinka wanted, she got. She wanted Finn. She’d get him. If he’d stuck with her this long while she’d cheated on him, he was hardly likely to give her up for a girl who slept with husbands.

“I’m at the airport,” he said. “Picking up an old client. I won’t be long. I just have to get them to a hotel and make sure they don’t need anything.”

None of it was a lie, but his wife would imagine he was still at Surfers Paradise, driving some old man to the Hilton and making sure he had the room service number.

“Are you coming home?” he asked her, still staring at me. “We have to talk.”

I closed my eyes and wanted to be anywhere but standing in front of him listening to this. It was embarrassing. Which was odd. I slept with husbands for a living. But the idea that the couple beside us would think I was a mistress about to be abandoned was humiliating.

I had to get away before his I need to save my marriage speech started, so I reached down and picked up my handbag.

Finn caught my arm.
Leave a comment to the following question and go into the draw to receive an eCopy of Husband Sit.

Have you ever hidden something from your girlfriends because you thought they wouldn’t approve? What was it?

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Jan 22, 2016

You never stop learning....

2015 was the year I learned that .....

Boy Wonder on his 1st day at Uni

1. When a child leaves home it leaves a little hole in your heart that can never, ever be filled

2. Reaching 50 isn't something to be scared of, but to be celebrated- LOTS!
My mad friends crocheted me a bikini & hat for my 50th

3. I really, really need to get the hell off Facebook

4. New York is just as amazing as I thought it would be
Me at the top of the Rock

5. It doesn't matter how long it is between catching up, true friends are people you can just pick up with again and laugh and laugh and laugh

6. I do have an obsession with diaries/planners/pretty stationery and I should just embrace it!

7. After being married to someone for 22 years they can still surprise you (a motorbike? Really?)
The Doc- Born to be Mild!!

8. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new is exhilarating and exciting, and a little bit ever so scary. It's also heaps of fun, especially if you do it with friends!  (Self- publishing, I'm talking about you!!)

9. Middle age spread really does exist

10. There isn't much that can't be made better with a good cry, a belly laugh, a hug and a glass of cold pinot gris!

What did you learn last year?

Jan 20, 2016

When you read this...

When you read this my husband and I will be on our way to sunny Rarotonga (as opposed to being in sunny Auckland) which is our belated treat to ourselves for our 30th wedding anniversary which we celebrated in November last year.

Now, not a great fan of high humidity and great heat, I have to wonder what I was thinking when I
agreed to this (I hear Antartica is lovely at this time of year, but then there is the matter of the trip by ship which I'm not a fan of either), but I guess the opportunity to get away was too good to miss and hubby has been wanting to go to Rarotonga for a very long time. Everyone we know who has been there has loved it, plus we have the added advantage of everything being in New Zealand dollars as well--yippee!

So, I've been sorting out what I want to pack--swimsuit (and we wont discuss the Great-Swimsuit-Hunt and how many suits I had to try on before settling on one), clothes, books, etc.--and the little black cat is already not talking to me. I defleaed her in anticipation of her visit to her kitty hotel and I'm pretty sure she's figured out what's happening. Can we say, sulking? And in my bed, too! (Yes, she put herself there with no help whatsoever.)

Lately, whenever I'm heading anywhere, I become rather obsessed by weather reports and, given it's cyclone season in the islands, things are looking like being a mixed bag during our vacation. Still, I figure it'll be warm and we wont be working, right? And who cares if its raining while you're in the pool?

What are your must-pack items when heading for a tropical vacation? Sunblock (note to self: buy some more!)? Swimwear? books? I'd love to know.

Regrettably, I don't think I'll be able to comment on your comments while I'm away but rest assured I will read every one on my return. So, while this cat's away, feel free to play! :-)

Jan 18, 2016

European Adventures

First off, I'd like to say that I hope you all had a fabulous start to 2016. I love being part of the Lovecats pride and reading all the comments from the people who take the time to read our posts - you are all wonderful! I wish you all the best for this year and hope that all your dreams come true xx

One of my goals for 2015 was to fit as much travel in as possible, given my husband and I moved overseas to enable us to see more of the world. So it was fitting that the very last thing we did in 2015 was to take off on a European adventure. As we don’t like to do things by halves and we fit A LOT into our three weeks of travel.

All I can say is that if you’ve never been to Iceland before, YOU MUST GO! It was an incredible place. We happened to be there for the Winter Solstice (aka the shortest day of the year) where the sun rose at 11:45am and set around 3pm. Sadly, the three days we were there were very cloudy so we missed out on the Northern Lights…but that’s just an excuse for us to go back.

 Highlight: Feeding bread to a beautiful Icelandic horses on the side of the road

Our trip to England was actually more about seeing friends than it was about sightseeing, although we still managed to fit a few things in. Our travels took us to Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Liberty London, Museum of London, the Tower of London and the Borough Market.

Highlight: Christmas lunch with our beautiful friends and their extended families, roommates and other random guests.

We did two stops in Germany: Berlin and Nuremberg. Berlin was amazing; incredible food, so much history and we caught the very last two days of the Christmas Markets. Walking around the market in the winter chill, drinking hot chocolates and soaking in the atmosphere was a memory I’ll treasure forever. 

Highlight: New Years Eve party in Nuremberg where we were setting off fireworks from an apartment balcony.

We hadn’t initially planned to go to Austria, but our friends in Nuremberg suggested it and they have a car. So we drove the four hours to Vienna and it was such a treat! Although VERY cold, we got to see some of the most amazing, opulent buildings I’ve ever come across in my life. We also ate a ton of schnitzel and strudel…because Austria.

Highlight: morning tea at the Sacher Hotel where we ate the famous sacher torte and felt like royalty in the incredibly opulent dining room.

After three weeks of travel I was definitely happy to come home to my own bed, although I have photos and memories that I’ll cherish forever. It certainly made me want to do a stint in Europe…perhaps that could be a goal for a future year!

Have you been to any of these places? What’s the best holiday you’ve ever had?

Jan 17, 2016

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 Devika Fernando....

Can you please contact mail (at) helenlacey (dot) com to receive your signed copy of Three Reasons to Wed

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Some Girls Lie....


Local pub owner Jemima Jane Ericson is living a lie. She’s been in love with her best friend Ethan since forever. But he fell in love with another woman, married her, and despite their tempestuous relationship and decade old divorce, JJ knows Ethan’s heart is still down for the count. And friendship is better than nothing, right?

Single dad and Jumbuck Springs chief of police, Ethan Weston, hits the pub the night his ex-wife remarries and announces she wants custody of their daughter. When he wakes the next morning to find himself in JJ’s bed he’s mortified that they’d crossed a line they should never have crossed. Until JJ’s abusive ex, Shane, shows up at her door and Ethan claims he and JJ are engaged to protect her.

Both are stunned by the unravelling of their normally sane lives but suddenly it makes sense – JJ gets a deterrent and Ethan gets the respectability of a wife for any custody claims. But when JJ’s life is threatened, Ethan is forced to confront feelings that may just run much deeper than convenience…

Scene set-up

JJ has put her drunken best-friend and secret crush to bed in her apartment over the pub she runs to sleep it off. Later in the evening she goes up to check on him. Unfortunately for her, Ethan gets a little flirty after he's downed half a bottle of booze and he no longer sees his best friend through his whiskey goggles - just the desirable woman she really is.

“Ethan!” she hissed and gave his leg a good hard shove.
“Wha—?” He woke with a start, half raising himself up on his elbows as he peered at her like he was trying to ascertain what language she was speaking. When he realised it was English he smiled at her and fell back against the couch.
“JJ,” he muttered. “Has anybody ever told you, you’re a goddess?”
She rolled her eyes, ignoring the drunken compliment. “Drink,” she said holding the glass in front of his face. “Two glasses. And,” she held out her hand, “two tablets.”
His eyes fluttered closed. “I’m fine,” he murmured.
JJ gave him another sharp dig with her kneecap. “Drink.”
Ethan grumbled as he hauled himself into a semi-upright position, supporting his weight on his elbow, but he took the proffered glass and drank it down, swallowing the tablets also.
“I’m good,” he said as she pushed the second glass towards him.
JJ didn’t blink as she stubbornly held the glass where it was. “How many times have I heard you lecturing the kids at the high school before they go off for schoolies week about hydrating properly after a big night on the booze? How ‘bout practising what you preach?”
It was Ethan’s turn to roll his eyes. “I should have known that was going to come back to bite me on the ass,” he said as he reached for the glass and downed it in five long swallows. “Satisfied?” he griped as he pushed the empty glass against her belly.
JJ’s stomach muscles contracted at the brief contact and she suppressed the urge to say hell no, a little lower please.
“Thank you,” she said as she took it from his fingers. Ethan fell back against the couch, shutting his eyes. “I have to get back to the pub. You going to be alright here?”
His eyes fluttered open and JJ found herself falling into the dark abyss, wishing she could be the oil on his troubled waters. Their gazes locked and for a moment she fancied that some of the angst in his eyes dissipated.
He reached for her hand lying loosely by her side and she let him take it. Let him toy with her fingers for a bit, run his thumb back and forth over her ring finger, bare now of the wedding band that had only sat there for one lousy year a full decade ago. 
“Why didn’t I fall for someone like you?” he asked, his gaze shifting from her hand to her face and the seriousness there trapped her breath in her lungs.
JJ shrugged with as much nonchalance as she could muster. “Not blonde enough?”
He laughed and it reached out and wrapped around her in a cloud of pheromones and possibility. She sucked in a breath, feeling momentarily disorientated, only to have Ethan compound it more by tugging on her hand, bringing her sprawling on top of him.
The softness of her chest hit the hardness of his and she let out a guttural oomph as the trapped air escaped. Their noses bumped together. Her hands landed on the arm of the couch bracketing his head, her knee jammed up close and personal to his crotch. Her crotch balanced on the hard ridge of his thigh like she was riding the slippery log at a carnival.
“Ethan,” she protested, trying to push herself up and away from the temptation of whisky and liquorice that was dazzling her senses.
But his hands clamped down on her ass causing a delicious friction, as the seam of her jeans taunted the aching flesh between her legs. She closed her eyes, fighting the urge to rub herself against him shamelessly.
“Sorry,” he muttered, not looking one iota contrite. “I just love how you make me laugh,” he said and while she was wrapping her head around the L word he lifted his, smacking his mouth onto hers.
JJ felt the pull deep and low in a flash as her senses filled with overproof alcohol and oversexed Ethan. Even three sheets to the wind, Ethan kissed like no man she had ever known. Hard and hungry and sure and, for the briefest of moments, JJ allowed herself to lean into it, to savour his taste and the feel of his mouth and the rush of desire that tingled on her tongue.
And for two ticks she wished she were the kind of woman who could just throw caution to the wind. Who could conveniently forget that Ethan was under the influence—and his heart belonged to Delia—and just kiss him back.
Rock her parted thighs against his full hard one.
Reach down for his zipper.
Finally know what it felt like to have him sliding into her, hard and hot and ready.
But she wasn’t.
And she’d survived several of his drunken come-ons in the past—she would survive this one too.
“No … stop,” she muttered, dragging her mouth off his, pushing against him, scrambling to her feet, pulling in oxygen at a frantic pace, while her lungs screamed for more. 
“Hey,” he protested with another of his goofy grins. “I was enjoying that.”
JJ felt the casual remark hit her like a barb to the chest. He was enjoying himself. She was declaring herself.
The difference was striking.
“I’m sure you’ll live,” she said dryly, her pulse still skipping madly inside her ribcage. “I have to get back to the patrons.”
And she turned away instantly before her libido — getting antsier by the day during what was shaping up as the longest dry spell of her life — could talk her pride off the high ground.
Despite being determined to not look back she turned for one last glance as she opened the door. 
He was already fast asleep.

I hope you enjoyed this smooch! For a chance to win a digital copy (must have an Amazon account) leave me an answer to this question in the comments - ever done something you regretted under the influence of a little too much booze? I know I have! Please tell me I'm not the only one....

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver