Sep 18, 2019

Major announcement - Make over time!

Hello to all our aaamazing LoveCat blog readers out there. 


We LoveCats have been talking a lot the last months about directions, about reaching our beloved followers and the way social media sites have taken over from the humble blog and the need to adapt to the shifting winds. 


 So..the time has come for a reinvention. 



As of today, we're moving to a Facebook group. Yes, we opened a FB page a couple of years ago and we'll still be there but we wanted something exclusive and extra special just for our readers. Somewhere we can post the kind of content that we used to post here - from what we're reading to pictures of our pets to the ever popular Sunday Smooch! Somewhere we can interact with you guys in a much more organic way!


But...before we go, here are some stats!


The LoveCats first launched in the blogosphere on Jan 11th 2010 with the purpose of showcasing category romance through the eyes of some Aussie and NZ authors who were writing it! 


There were 7 inaugural members! Rachel Bailey, Zana Bell, Emily May, Sharon Archer, Nikki Logan and Tracie Sommers (Tracy O'Hara).


Since then there has been - 


1871 posts  and 631 908 page views 


The most viewed post was this one by Amy Andrews with 22304 pageviews.


The most viewed Sunday Smooch was this one by Rachel Bailey with 804 page views.


And multiple vistors have come from far and wide!



So, we're all very pleased and proud of what we've created and we hope you've enjoyed your time here at the blog. We also hope you'll join us in our new venture!



Come on on over to the FB group and join us there for fun and laughter and most importantly - category romance!!


Sep 11, 2019

What are you...?

What are you…


I have two books on the go at the moment. Annie West’s Sheikh’s Royal Baby Revelation and Ben Aaronovitch’s Moon Over Soho. They’re both absolutely wonderful. I also just finished Joanne Harris’s The Strawberry Thief, which was glorious. I’ve been reading so many fab books this year. :-)



Nothing new. But I did re-watch Ladies in Black on the weekend. Such a gorgeous movie. I love the character of Magda so much. I might watch it again just in the interests of tracking her character development. :-)

Listening to?

An earworm! And this one has been hard to shake. When I was in New York—in an elevator no less—Hall & Oates' Kiss is on My List was playing…and it went round and round and round in my head for the rest of my stay. On the plane on the way home, a Best of Hall & Oates playlist was available on the entertainment system.  I thought listening to it might shift the song. It did, but only to replace it with Say it Isn’t So. Now I don’t mind the song—and I am a teenager of the 1980s—but enough is enough. Therefore I won't link to the youtube video because I'm guessing you don't need it in your life...but just excuse me while I go and listen to it again.

What’s making you smile?

So many things are making me smile—the rain, the rosellas, my work-in-progress, and my New York Public Library Card! However, my biggest smile is being reserved for my TBR pile. Here’s a sample of what’s up next for me (in no particular order):
* Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky which is the next in the Jackson Brodie series
* A Man Called Ove which is my next book club book
* First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (I went to her workshop on humour in New York and really enjoyed it).
* The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (heard so many good things)
* And Amy Andrews’s Nothing But Trouble. This has been on my Kindle since it released, and I’m dying to get to it. :-)

Okay, your turn? What are you reading / watching /listening to, and/or what’s making you smile today?

Sep 9, 2019

Reading Dark

I love reading romance. I’m currently reading The Million Pound Marriage Deal by fellow LoveCat Michelle Douglas and love it. 

Crime is another of my favourite genres. Michael Connelly and Michael Robotham are two of my go to authors. I devour everything written by Jane Harper.

But, there are some books I just can’t bring myself to read. I love Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I’ve read it three times, but I can’t bring myself to read one of his fiction books. I’m too scared.

At the recent Byron Writers Festival, I listened to Ginger Gorman discuss the world of online trolls and her incredible journey researching this phenomenon. I immediately purchased Troll Hunting and had Ginger sign it. I’ve picked it up a number of times to read, but just wonder if I can face learning about the inside world of online hate. I teach Social Media Tactics at university, so feel it is a book I should read, but do I really want to know about this world?

What about you? Are there genres of books you can’t read or don’t want to read?

I’m heading back to Will and Sophie’s story and will leave the trolls for now.

Sep 6, 2019

Why I LOVE My Footy Team

This weekend sees the start of the AFL (Australian Football League) finals.

And my team - the Collingwood Magpies - are right there in among it. To say our household is nervous, and excited, is an understatement.

We cannot commit to any events in the next month in case it clashes with anything finals related. Seriously. Birthday parties. Sleepovers. Trips. Holidays.  On hold.

A football player and a coach have a chat.One of the reasons why this club is important to us is history.  My husband's family have long, deep connection to the club, with his great grandfather playing and working for them as accountant and piano player. My son has been a member since 2 years before he was born (that's another story ;).)

Another reason we love them so was showcased beautifully in a wonderful documentary played on the ABC this week - Collingwood: From the Inside Out - all about my teams's 2017/2018 seasons. During that time they went from being an hour away from firing their coach at the end of 2017 after six years of depleting success, and deteriorating club culture, to a turnaround rarely seen in such a big business, with the club coming withing two minutes of winning last year's Grand Final.

It was a dream year. A fairy tale. Spring from a decision. To do better. To be better. Not just as administrators, but as men.

The doco highlights what we, as fans, as believers, saw happen week by week; a football club becoming a bastion for kindness, for openness, for tears, for hugs, for opening up about struggles, for love. Yes, love.  Love is a word the coach, the players, throw around constantly.  These men. These warriors. These humans under an intense spotlight. Above and beyond any wins, losses stats - they love one another.

A coach talks to his player in a football changeroom.
The doco is a story of love, of redemption, of young men being open about anxiety, about identity, about wanting not just to be football stars but well-rounded humans.

Win or lose, we are Collingwood Magpies, and so very proud of it.


Do you have a sports team you LOVE?  A sports star who you think is a true role model? 

Watch the documentary here:

Photos courtesy ABC:

Sep 4, 2019

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...For real.

It occurs to me that there are two types of people in the world. People who deck the halls with boughs of holly come December, and people who play Christmas carols all year 'round.

I am most definitely the latter.

When it comes to Christmas, I can literally never get enough, but I feel a little (tiny bit) guilty listening to carols in the first quarter of the year, so I'm not quite as 'loud and proud'. In March, I don't blare Jingle Bells at school pick up, for example, with the sunroof open and the windows down - even though it's tempting. But guys, it's SEPTEMBER. We are officially on the downhill run to Christmas which makes every little bit of festivity completely legit from here on in.

So herewith my list of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit over the next 111 days.

1. Christmas Carols. Even the most hardcore grinch can't help but feel all festive and gooey when Christmas carols are afoot. My favourite? Diana Krall.

2. Soak your Christmas fruits ready for the cake and fruit mince pies. Buy premium Australian fruit and rum and breathe in all those spices.

3. Make a list of Christmas gifts. Being organised cuts down last-minute panic and it's so much fun to start planning! If you want to arrange bespoke gifts (custom, matching t-shirts? Hanna Andersson PJs for the fam bam? We have these ones...) now's the time to order and make sure they arrive in time.

4. Festive Reads. October is when Christmas books start to be released but if you can't wait another month, never fear. Last year's Christmas books are already out there just waiting to be enjoyed. Hurrah!

5. Get yourself a truly great Christmas candle and burn it, baby! I love this one.

6. Plan your Christmas day menu. If you're not hosting, work out what you can make to take wherever you're going. Or just to eat on your own while you watch CHRISTMAS MOVIES (point 16).

7. Grab whichever small person you can get your hands on and COVER THEM in green and red for as long as possible. (Not literally cover. They need to breathe, obviously. But give them all the festive. They're too young to object. Besides, they'll love it. Really, I promise.) This works for pets too.

8. Every year, in early December, I have a Succulent Wreath Making day for a group of girlfriends. There's prosecco and (naturally) Christmas carols and we spend a few hours around a table making wreaths. It's a lot of fun and I can't imagine a year without it.

9.  We also do gingerbread houses every year! The first time it was a bit intimidating but now we have it down to a fine art.  Persist! It's so much fun and they make great gifts.

These are teeny, tiny gingerbread houses which you can make with the leftover cookie dough. These ones fit tea light candles and when they're burning they smell divine. Just make sure they're not too small or they'll catch fire and turn your bread into toast ;)

10. More on point 7. Little people are great victims errr models for hand-made outfits! I used to make overalls for my kids - shopping for the Christmas fabrics was always a highlight. FYI the seasonal fabrics usually start to get released in September so that further validates my early-Christmas fever.

11. Paperboat Press! This is one of my most treasured traditions. The gorgeous, artisanal store in Queensland makes the most beautiful ceramics, including gorgeous custom Christmas stars (and even doggy bones - I'm looking at you, Rachel Dr Love Bailey!).

12. Okay. I'll willingly admit this next one might be a bit OTT but now that I've started the tradition I can't stop! We have a cutout picture board and each year the kids and I paint something new on it. Then we make (errr invite) all the family to pose for piccies. Pro tip, we re-use the board for Easter so it's really the gift that keeps on giving. Always add the year so you can montage the pics for later enjoyment. ;)

13. Paint all your stemware, all your ceramics! Okay, not *all*. But this is so much fun. Ceramic paints are available at any good craft store and you can decorate them however you want, set them in the oven and enjoy. In my experience, the paint doesn't last long so you'll more than likely get your glasses back eventually (but why would you want boring transparency when you can have the pleasure of drinking through a wreath-decorated glass all year 'round?).

14. Bake, bake, bake! This one's best saved until the week before Christmas. ;) Pudding. Cake. Fruit mince pies. Custard. All the things! Ideally in a Christmas themed apron.

15. And the big one. The tree. I used to put the tree up at the end of September (don't knock it until you've tried it - it's way too much effort for just a few weeks). But over the years we've acquired new family members and one of them has his birthday on the 31st of October so we wait until his birthday's been and gone before putting up the tree. But every year on November 1 it is officially tree day in our family! If you're one of those people who waits until the week before to get decorating, allow me to challenge you to try it my way this year. I really don't think you'll regret it.

16. Christmas movies!! There are so many amazing ones to enjoy but my top four, the movies I can't miss or it doesn't feel like Christmas, are: Die Hard (the first one). Love Actually. Arthur Christmas and Home Alone. 

What about you? Tell me you're a Christmas-a-holic like I am? How do you celebrate the season? What are your favourite traditions!? 

This is Clare Connelly signing off and wishing you a very Merry Christmas (for the first, but definitely not last, time for 2019!). xx

Sep 1, 2019

Winner of Last Sunday's Smooch Giveaway from Annie West

Hi everyone! Annie West here with the results of the draw from last week's SUNDAY SMOOCH GIVEAWAY.  The WINNER of a signed copy of 'Sheikh's Royal Baby Revelation' is BLUEBELLINA! Congratulations.

Bluebellina, if you could contact me at annie(at) with your postal details I'll post your prize.

To everyone else, thank you for your interest. Look out for more Sunday Smooches and chances to win in future.

Aug 25, 2019

Sunday Smooch - Sheikh's Royal Baby Revelation by Annie West

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch! Today we have a smooch from Annie West.

But first, the WINNER  of last week's Sunday Smooch giveaway is JM BARTON! Congratulations. To claim your prize, please contact Clare at

Desert captives for one night

Bound forever by their unexpected baby

When desert prince Ashraf was kidnapped alongside geologist Tori, their desperation to escape their life-threatening situation led to a moment of passionate oblivion. Rescued the next day, Ash was never able to discover Tori’s fate. He’s finally found her… But in their time apart, Tori has had his son! And now Ash will stop at nothing to claim them both!

Scene set-up
One night stranded with a stranger in fear for their lives, drove Tori and Ash together, only to be parted the next morning. Now, more than a year later, Ash has found her again and discovered she's had his child. Determined to acknowledge his son and provide for the feisty yet sometimes fragile woman who attracts him as no other, Ash, now Sheikh Ashraf, suggests a marriage of convenience and invites her to his homeland. Tori, determined her son with know both his parents, reluctantly agrees, but is determined to resist capitulating and entering a loveless marriage.

Smooch  -
Ashraf scooped her closer, his hard frame solid muscle against her wet body. Tori clung tight, one hand clutching his robe, the other slipping from his grasp to slide up the back of his neck.
She heard a muffled grunt of approval as her fingers channelled through thick hair to splay possessively over the back of his head.
Tori’s tongue danced with his, hunger cresting as she went up on her toes, trying to meld herself to him. His taste, his scent, his mouth were achingly familiar, as if it was just a few days since they’d made love.
Had they kissed like this in the desert? Surely not. Then they’d been strangers. Ashraf didn’t feel like a stranger now. Remarkable to think they’d been together for such a short time, for it seemed they knew each other at some deep level beyond words. He was the man who filled her thoughts and dreams. Who had done so since that night together. He was the one man who’d woken her dormant libido after the rigours and exhaustion of pregnancy and motherhood.
The man she needed as she’d never before needed anyone. The realisation made her freeze in his embrace.
Instantly he lifted his head, eyes glinting like black gems as they searched her face.
Tori heard the stertorous rasp of heavy breathing, felt her lungs heave and the push of his chest against her breasts as he too hauled in oxygen. Reaction juddered down her backbone and quivered across her skin. Being so close to him, touching him, undid her carefully cultivated caution. It allowed something wild inside her to take hold.
The air was smoky with desire, thick and scented with arousal. Yet the unspoken question was clear in Ashraf’s expression.
Did she want to stop?
Emotion swelled. As strong even as the desire emblazoned in her bones. Tenderness for this man who put her needs before his own.
Tori shivered at the enormity of her feelings. Yet she shied from investigating them too closely.
Ashraf straightened and pulled away. He’d misread her.
‘No!’ She fastened both hands on his shoulders, fingers digging into fine cotton, pads of muscle and beneath that, implacable bone. ‘Don’t.’
‘Don’t kiss you, or—?’
‘Don’t stop.’
Yet instead of closing the gap Ashraf surveyed her as if he felt none of her urgency. Only the flare of his nostrils betrayed he’d been affected too.
‘So there’s at least one thing about me you approve of.’
He wanted to talk? Frustration surged and suspicion.
‘Are you fishing for compliments?’
She spied a flicker of movement at the corner of his mouth and a tingle of delight teased her.
     ‘No. But I’ll take any you want to throw my way.’ His lips firmed. ‘You’re not a woman easily swept off her feet, Victoria Miranda Nilsson.’

I do hope you enjoy SHEIKH'S ROYAL BABY REVELATION! Leave a comment on this post to go in the draw to win a an autographed copy (no geographic restrictions).

In this story Tori is a geologist who'd been to the desert doing a survey for a mining company. It's a profession that's still male dominated and I enjoyed writing about a competent woman in that field. What occupation would you like to see for a romance heroine, or hero for that matter?

By the way, this is book 1 in my 'Royal Brides for Desert Brothers' miniseries. It's a standalone story, but if you'd like to find out what happens to Ashraf's brother, Karim, look out for DEMANDING HIS DESERT QUEEN. 

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

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Aug 21, 2019

Writer Conferences, Why I Love Them. Annie West

Every year I attend the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. This year was my twentieth year! So to mark the occasion, and while I’m still buoyant with energy and enthusiasm after attending the 2019 Melbourne Conference, let me share just a few of the reasons I love this event. This isn’t a complete list! (Note, rather than post from this year’s event I’ve gone back to the vaults to find photos from previous years).

Sunny Queensland in winter
1.       Travelling away from home. There’s nothing like actually getting away from the day to day routine to make you feel rejuvenated. And in winter especially, there’s something about the lure of a beach, or a vibrant city, that appeals. Because of RWA I finally got to Western Australia – somewhere I’d been meaning to visit for ages.

With the wonderful Helen Bianchin
2.       The warm welcome. I have fond memories of the year I’d sold my first book to Harlequin Mills and Boon and attended a lunch put on by the company for its writers. That was a thrill, but most especially there was the joy of receiving an ‘award’ (a comic item I still treasure) from the established authors. It was presented to me by the lovely Helen Bianchin and I couldn’t quite believe I was in such exalted company.

First sale celebrations with Elisabeth Rose, Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell and Fiona Lowe
3.       The way everyone celebrates when a writer finally achieves their dream of publication. Here I am with some authors celebrating their first sale. It was a while ago now but you may recognise some of the faces.

1920s themed cocktail party
4.       There are plenty of chances to have fun and to dress up, including at the themed cocktail parties.

Living the good life
5.       Conference time means no cooking or cleaning. Sometimes it even means room service with your feet up, listening to the waves rolling in on the beach!

Booksigning with the lovely Helene Young
6.       You get to sit with terrific writers, whether at a booksigning or participating in a workshop or listening to a panel discussion. It’s a great way to pick up information and make friends. I always come away from conferences feeling like I’ve learned something new or learned to look at something I do/or don’t do from a new perspective.

Winning the Romantic Book of the Year!
7.    Saturday Awards Night! I’ve included a photo of me here where the grin says it all. But whether you’re in the running for an award or not, it’s wonderful seeing the many writers who’ve made the effort to enter writing contests, to see the names of finalists and share their excitement, and of course, share the buzz of a win with all those winners.

LoveCats rule - Rachel Bailey, Amy Andrews and Bronwyn Jameson

It's also a fabulous chance to catch up with other LoveCats! It's often the only chance we have to meet as we live so far away. The smiles and laughter are infectious. 

I have to add the conference provides great inspiration. Anyone picking up my new book (Sheikh’s Royal Baby Revelation) will see a dedication to a number of women who were at last year’s RWAustralia conference. I was in the middle of writing that book and had come to a crossroads, not quite sure what direction to take. Thanks to a late night discussion with a number of wonderful authors (including some LoveCats) I went away brimming with ideas.

8.    For me this writers’ conference is an essential part of my year. I get to catch up with people who understand my love of story telling and of romance in particular. I get to commiserate and celebrate with them, to learn new things and feel like I’m part of a strong, vibrant community of talented women.

Do you have an event or group that you’d never miss? Something that makes you feel good and connected to people with similar interests?

Aug 14, 2019

New York adventures

If you follow my author page on Facebook then you’d have seen ALL the pictures I posted of my recent jaunt to Singapore and New York, and have heard some of the silly stories I told of our travels.

Like the time the New York Subway played a practical joke on Mr Douglas and me—it let him on, but not me. He stood on the train while I stood on the platform, and we waved forlornly to each other as the train pulled out. [We caught up with each other 15 mins later so don’t feel bad for me. It was, actually, hilarious.]

But I thought I’d share another “funny” story today.

St Francis Assisi Church--sweet, right?
For our first week in New York we stayed in a hotel called The Stewart. It’s across the road from Madison Square Gardens—so…pretty central. ;-) We had a view onto 31st Street and a very sweet little church, but also a view onto the building behind us. I took a peek out of this back window not long after we arrived, and the rooms in this neighbouring building were dark, with no movement, but there were figures in beds. I thought: Oh, it’s a nursing home. How deserted it looks…and lonely.

Next to the church was a building with a tree! And look up...there's a water tower.
In the wee small hours of the night—when it felt like it should’ve been day…and I was really hungry because it should’ve been day (there’s a 12 hour time difference between Singapore and New York, so the good news is you don’t have to change the time on your watch), I couldn’t help thinking about those lonely figures in those dark little rooms.

When we finally allowed ourselves to play wake ups in the morning, I said to Mr Douglas, “Do you know we’re overlooking a scene of human misery?” I told him about the scene that would greet him from our back window. I wondered aloud if we could go visit because…you know, we’re on holiday and had the time etc.

Of course, he then had to go and peek out the window too (I’m the window peeker in our relationship, him not so much). And he started to laugh!

Dear reader, he’s not a callous man. But I was shocked, I tell you—shocked! Until he revealed all. They weren’t incapacitated people in lonely beds in dark rooms but mannequins. We were looking into a medical training facility!

There's probably a moral to that story, but I have no idea what it is. ;-)

But if you do ever find yourself in New York I highly recommend the Brooklyn Lager--it was very refreshing after a day spent trudging through a city in 37C temps.

Aug 12, 2019

Carousing with the Cats

Melbourne may have been freezing with lashing rain and polar blasts, but it was warm and fabulous at the 2019 RWA conference this past weekend. I had such a brilliant time catching up with the LoveCats family who all flew into Melbourne from across the country.

Highlights included:
Clare, Jennifer and Amy
  • Watching the stunning and statuesque Annie West sweep into the Gala dinner in the most beautiful green dress
  • Hearing about Michelle Douglas’s amazing trip to New York for the RWA America conference and her being a finalist in the US Rita Awards (the highest award for distinction in romance fiction) for her book The Million Pound Marriage Deal
  • Learning more about Clare Connelly incredible ongoing success and knowing it is happening to such a beautiful person
  • Laughing at Shannon Curtis’s wit. She kept me laughing all weekend. Hilarious doesn’t come close to how funny this woman is
  • Listening to Rachel Bailey’s awesome ideas for making future conferences more fabulous and watching with awe as she works behind the RWA scenes to get things done
  • And there were so many more...

Amy Andrew's keynote speech
The weekend’s shining star was Amy Andrews. We leapt to our feet for a standing ovation when Amy became a RWA Life Member for her incredible contribution to organisation. Such a deserved honour as Amy has worked so hard for RWA including being President (twice wasn’t it, Amy?).  But, it also recognised Amy for all the incredible gifts of kindness she shows people such as mentoring aspiring writers, helping authors network and generally being an amazing, inspiring person.

Amy received not one, but two standing ovations. Her keynote speech has us falling off our chairs laughing then quickly scrambling back up to scribble down all her words of wisdom. It was the amazing Amy Andrews (along with a few other Cats!) who gave me the confidence to take writing seriously and go for it.

I’m now flying back to work (aarrrhhh) truly inspired but also sad we won’t be doing that again for another year.  Something to look forward to.

How about you? What did you get up to over the weekend?

Aug 4, 2019

Sunday Smooch with Clare Connelly (Whoops, it's late!)

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Clare Connelly but first......the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is .... Laurie!   

Please contact Amy Andrews to receive your prize!

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from REGRET ME NOT!

One sexy night with consequences...

It was one single night of passion with a mysterious stranger, but when Elodie Gardiner realises she’s pregnant, she naturally intends to tell her billionaire lover – only before she can do so, she discovers a very pressing reason to keep their baby a secret! 

Three years later, ruthless tycoon Fiero Montebello receives a shocking call from a London hospital. The woman he slept with three years ago is in a serious condition in ICU – and the son he never knew he had is in the crèche!  

Family is everything to Fiero and there’s no way he’s going to let his son be raised anywhere than under his roof – even if that means his one-time lover is a part of that. He can never forgive her for keeping their child a secret, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still want her. This seduction is a dangerous game laced with resentment and hurt… 

Scene set-up

This is a secret love-child romance (one of my favourite tropes) and the baby daddy in question, Italian Billionaire Fiero Montebello is, understandably, furious to discover he has a two year old he never knew about. The result of a passionate one-night-stand, this scene is the immediate aftermath of his discovery and shows how he's processing the news and trying to work out how to fit all the pieces together. I absolutely love this book but I'd have to say Fiero's fiery nature (see what I did there?) has made him my most polarising hero to date! He's a big tough alpha but don't worry, he's got a heart of gold in there and you do get to see it by the end of the book ;)  I'm giving away an e-book copy of the book (sorry, it's only in digital because NYC with fellow love-cats Amy Andrews and Michelle Douglas has meant no time for boring things like checking the formatting of print files, WHOOPS!). 

Smooch  - 

“I made a mistake.” 
Christosi, you made a mistake. And now you’re asking me to forgive and forget.” 
She swept her eyes shut, knowing what a monumental task that would be for him. “For Jack.” 
“Yes, for Jack.” He ground his teeth together, and she was conscious, out of nowhere, of how close they were to one another. His long fingers were curled around her wrists, and every time he sucked in a breath his chest moved forward to brush against her nipples. 
The last thing she’d expected to feel for this man ever again, and especially in that moment, was desire, but there it was, turning her blood to lava and her knees to jelly. 
Something in the air around them shifted, changing so that she was conscious of him in a way that was all-consuming and definitely not one-sided. She saw the way his eyes changed, his pupils flexing, his lids lowering; she saw his lips part and felt his warm breath fan her temples and her own lips mirrored his, separating and pushing a soft breath from her lungs.
“You should have told me about him.” And despite the anger he’d thrown at her, the fury, the threats, her stomach looped because she felt what was at the root of everything he’d said and done: devastation. 
He was devastated. 
She sobbed, but he lifted a finger to her lips, and she gasped in surprise, the touch totally unexpected. 
“Stop crying.” 
She shook her head a little. “I can’t.” 
His hands cupped her face then, holding her completely still, and her hands, now free, dropped to her side. “I will never forgive you for keeping my son away from me.” 
His words were like acid and his touch was like silk. She couldn’t fathom how she felt. 
“But it appears I cannot make the same decision you did. I will not push you out of his life.” Her heart turned over in her chest. 
His thumb padded over her lower lip and her heart rabbited against her ribs for another reason now. Despite the seriousness of this conversation, she could barely concentrate. 
“You and Jack will move into my house.” The words were devoid of emotion. “For six months, you will live with me, to see if we can do it your way – and raise him together.” 
It was more than she’d expected. Different to what she’d hoped and yet it made a strange kind of sense. “We’ll live together?”
His eyes flashed. “For Jack’s sake, yes, but you and I will remember the truth, Elodie. We will know what we think and feel, no matter how much effort we go to for the happiness of our son.” 
His head dropped a little lower, his eyes scanning hers. “You will know that when I smile, it means nothing. That my anger and hatred for your decisions are still inside of me, weighing down on me with the pressure of every single day of Jack’s life I have missed.” 
Salty tears clogged her eyes. 
“You will know, when we look at Jack and laugh, like normal parents, that it’s a lie.” 
Her lips parted on a gasp, or perhaps the start of a plea, a desire to make him stop talking like this. “And you will know that if I kiss you, Elodie, it is because of the same chemistry that drove us together that night, and nothing more. You will know that I will never like you as a person, that I will never forgive you for your decisions.” 
She didn’t get a chance to speak. His lips claimed hers and she moaned, knees that had been jelly for long, aching minutes giving way so she would have collapsed to the ground if it weren’t for his arm clamped vice-like around her back, holding her to his body, binding them together. 
And they were bound together. By their son, and by something else, something that lodged inside Elodie and refused to let go. 
“Don't.” She shook her head but didn’t pull back. She didn’t want to. 
Her brain was screaming at her to put some distance between them but her body…oh, her traitorous, treacherous body. Everything shook and trembled inside of her, and her hands were lifting and tangling in his hair of their own accord. She remembered this so well – the feeling of her body pressed to his. The height difference meant she had to push right up to be able to reach, but his hands curved around her waist and lifted her the rest of the way, holding her to him, her feet off the floor, as though it was the only way they could exist. 
His words were still hammering inside of her, the disdain he felt for her evident in every single one, but her body was desperate, hungry, and for a moment, she willingly pushed away common sense and simply existed. She felt rather than thought.
His kiss dominated her. 
It was only afterwards that she realised it was a punishing kiss, designed to draw submission from her, to show her his pain, even when it was a pain she already understood. But punishing or not, the kiss swirled the waters of her soul so she was whimpering into his mouth before she realised it, and only just stopped herself from moaning, ‘please’, into the room. 
Her intense need was a wake up call. 
With a fierce burst of reason, she pushed at his chest, separating them now, her feet finding the floor physically and metaphorically, shock at what had just happened causing her to lift trembling fingers to her lips as though she could wipe his kiss away. 
It was some very small consolation that he looked as shocked as she felt. 
“Don’t,” she said again, but this time, she meant it. “Don’t you dare kiss me.” 

F0r a chance to win a digital copy of REGRET ME NOT leave a comment below. Bonus points, tell me if you love alpha heroes or not? They're 100% my jam, I love them. Michelle Reid wrote some of my all-time favourites, but pretty much any Harlequin Presents hero floats my boat. What about you?! Alpha or Beta or Cinnamon Roll!? 'Til next time, LoveCats, meowy mwahs. x