Category Archives: Excerpts

ANZAC DAY excerpt from APRIL’S GLOW

AprilsGlow-Harlequin1920_1920x3022In honour of ANZAC Day here in Australia, I’m sharing a scene from my latest Tarrin’s Bay novel APRIL’S GLOW, about a reclusive ex-soldier who moves into the house next door to April, a bubbly but troubled woman who helps to bring him out of his shell, and in doing so, helps her to face her own past.

Enjoy 🙂

 

A man in an Akubra hat met her at the rocky lookout, along with a few other people who were setting up some of the displays and seating for the service. She was instructed on where to bring the candles and he gave her a rundown of the proceedings. The sun was low and glary, and the strong breeze pushed around them like an annoyingly overconfident sales person. As he spoke about a friend of a friend’s grandfather’s time in the war, the contrast to where they now stood was so strong she felt unworthy of being there. In this beautiful place, this safe town, this beautiful natural landscape.

‘We’re lucky, eh?’ he said, glancing around the horizon where the deep blue of the ocean merged with the sky.

‘Sure are.’

He eyed her leg, the ankle of her prosthesis visible under the hem of her long skirt. ‘How long’s it been?’ He gestured downwards.

‘Two and a half years.’

‘Not an ex-soldier, are you?’ He raised his eyebrows.

She chuckled. ‘Me? I wouldn’t cut it as a soldier. No, it was a car accident.’

‘Sorry to hear, love. Guess you’ve got to count your blessings.’

She’d heard that and its variations many times after that awful day, when the reality of being an amputee, among other trauma, had driven her deep into depression.

‘At least you survived.’

‘At least it was only below the knee.’

‘At least it wasn’t your right arm.’

And she knew they were thinking: ‘At least you weren’t paralysed from the neck down like Kyle.’

Kyle. He was the unlucky one. What if she had been sitting in his seat in the car? She shuddered to think of the possibility. He would have been her husband by now. But a drunk driver had changed that for them. And if she hadn’t been adjusting the volume on the car CD player and singing along, maybe she would have been able to react faster to the car coming towards their side who’d run a red light. Maybe less damage would have occurred had she been able to brake sooner, or swerve more sharply. Maybe then the impact would have been one inch further away from Kyle’s spinal cord.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

She would have stayed with him. She’d committed to being his fiancée and future wife. But his family said no, and once he was able to communicate clearly, he’d said no too. He’d wanted her as his wife, not his full-time carer. Maybe if he’d been a paraplegic, but quadriplegic? She’d known it would be incredibly difficult, especially with her own injury to recover from, but the accident hadn’t killed her love for him. Though he survived, she hadn’t only lost her leg that day, but her man. Her future. Life had dealt her a new one, and she was still figuring it out.

‘I have a lot to be thankful for,’ April said to the man, and before he could ask any more questions, she thanked him for his time and confirmed she’d arrive early to set up the candles.

* * *

The atmosphere the following morning was far removed from what it had been the day before. The sun had not yet splashed the sky with its glow, and the moon over the ocean created an eerie presence. Her candles, most held by the many attendees, and others framing the staged memorial area around the microphone and podium, glimmered in the sporadic breeze, the flames protected by their tall heatproof casing. A universal symbol of hope. Remembrance.

As names of soldiers were called out, and prayers and poems recited, she thought of Zac and wondered what sort of poetry he wrote. She’d never been into poetry, but hearing special words spoken into the dim expanse of Lookout Point, the sound of waves crashing and rolling beneath as their background music, she realised its power, its potential. It was a way to make sense of what had been, give structure to the chaos that had occurred, and immortalise the heroes who had perhaps stood here many years gone by, dreaming of a future they never got to experience.

Yes, she was lucky. She may not have got the future she’d planned, but she had a future.

When the service had ended and the early sun warmed the air and started waking up the town, April glanced down towards the harbour on her left, and saw him. Zac. In the distance, standing alone on one of the piers. Why had he not come up to take part in the service? She walked down the hill. Maybe they’d cross paths on her way back home. But by the time she got to the bottom he was already walking further ahead, going the long way around, towards the beach instead of the town.

Probably best. She would go home and make use of her rare day off while the shop was closed for Anzac Day. He’d go to his place and do his own thing, and they need never be more than courteous but distant neighbours. Later on she’d join some of the locals at the pub for dinner. Her mum wouldn’t be there though, she boycotted pubs. She would catch up with her for lunch tomorrow instead.

After chatting to some locals in Miracle Park on the way home, April arrived back in her street and found Zac planting a small tree in his front garden.

‘Poet and a gardener, huh?’ she said, stopping in front of his house. So much for leaving him to his own devices, her mouth didn’t like to cooperate with her brain. ‘I’ll leave you to it,’ she added, about to walk off.

‘Wait,’ he said.

She looked at his face, his eyes tight and squinting in the morning glare.

‘I’ve got something for you.’

‘Another cloud candle?’ April glanced upwards.

‘No. Something you can actually take with you. Into your house, I mean, not when you die.’

She tilted her head. She didn’t know how to respond to that.

‘Sorry. I’m sure you’ll live a long healthy life. I’m just saying. You know, after our conversation a couple of weeks ago.’

‘That we can’t take material possessions with us when we die, yes. I remember.’

‘It’s inside.’ He brushed soil from his bare hands and walked towards the front door. April followed, but hung about on the porch. A subtle glow caught her eye and she peered into his house, noticing the fireplace. But it wasn’t lit, the candle on the mantle above was. The cinnamon candle.

‘I’m glad the candle is getting put to good use,’ she said. ‘But they look nicer when lit at night.’

Zac wandered to the mantle. ‘I know. But I thought today would be good.’

‘Because of Anzac Day?’

He nodded, and before she knew what she was doing she had stepped into his house without asking permission. ‘Is that you?’ She pointed to a photo of two kids. She recognised the shape of his jaw, even in the youthful roundness of the child’s face. She looked back to the door she’d stepped through. ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t barge in. My legs and my mouth have a mind of their own.’

He chuckled. ‘It’s okay. Yes, that’s me and my friend.’

April’s gaze wandered to the photo next to it. ‘And all grown up. Same friend?’

He nodded. ‘Yep.’

‘You’re a soldier?’ It made sense. His commanding presence and posture. His tattoos, the intensity and seriousness he sometimes had. When he wasn’t chuckling or commenting on how she was ‘amusing to watch’.

Was.’

‘How long have you been off duty?’

Zac glanced up to the roof. ‘Almost three years now.’

‘Wow. You must have seen a lot. I mean, I don’t need to know, but … is that why my prosthesis didn’t shock you?’

‘I’ve seen much worse.’

‘I can imagine. Although I can’t. Not really. I won’t begin to even … I should stop talking. I’ll stop talking.’ She turned away from his gaze and brushed her hair from her face.

‘It’s okay, April.’

She narrowed her eyes a little. ‘I saw you, at the harbour. You weren’t at the dawn service?’

He shook his head and slid his hands into his pockets. ‘Prefer to honour the men in my own way. And also, it’s …’ He ran his hand across his short hair. ‘Doesn’t matter. Oh, your gift.’ He went to the kitchen.

April furrowed her brow. ‘What is this gift you speak of?’

He held out his hand, a small seashell resting on his palm. ‘Found it when I was walking over the sand dunes. Made me think of you for some reason. I think because it has these little speckles on it, like cinnamon.’

April took the shell and studied it with a smile. Golden brown specks were scattered across it like freckles. And one edge of the shell was broken off. There was also a larger patch of golden brown near the centre, like a birthmark. ‘It’s unique,’ she said. ‘I like it. Thanks.’

‘Don’t thank me, thank Mother Nature.’

‘Okay then. Thanks Mother Nature,’ she spoke loudly in case Mother Nature couldn’t hear her from within the confines of this man-made enclosure.

Maybe the reason why Zac had been distant the past two weeks was because of what today represented, and it triggered memories for him. Painful memories, just like the month of September did for her. ‘Sorry if I’ve been a nosy neighbour, pestering you about what you do and how you pay your bills. I’ll mind my own business now and try to be normal. So, if you need to borrow a cup of sugar anytime, let me know.’ She laughed.

‘I don’t use sugar,’ Zac replied.

‘Oh. Then if you need to borrow a cup of … Sugar substitute? Chia seeds? Or … coffee?’

‘I’ll be sure to remember your offer.’ He grinned, then walked April to the door.

Before stepping off the porch she turned to face him, his eyes grey and tired-looking, like he hadn’t had enough sleep. Which if he’d been up since before dawn like she’d been, he hadn’t. ‘Hey, a few of us will be at the pub tonight for dinner, if you’d like to come?’

Zac took a step back. ‘Um. Thanks. But I’ll pass.’

‘Okay, but if you change your mind, let me know.’

He scratched his head, and his mouth opened like he wanted to say something, but no sound came out.

‘Well, I’ll be off.’

‘April.’ He lightly touched her arm and she glanced down at his hand. He had nice hands.

‘Yeah?’

‘Thanks for the offer. It’s nice of you. But the reason I can’t is, well …’ He nibbled one corner of his lip. ‘It’s a bit embarrassing, really.’ He rubbed the back of his neck.

‘What is?’ she asked. ‘That you don’t want to be seen in such a state of obvious self neglect with your unimpressive physique and unshaven face? And those tattoos, I mean, you look like a badass. People might get scared.’ She nudged him with a wink.

Zac smiled. ‘Yeah, I’ve let myself go. Too many meat pies.’ He patted his belly that clearly received no less than a couple of hundred or more crunches per day. ‘Nah, the thing is, and I haven’t told anyone this, except for … anyway, the thing is, I have a mild case of agoraphobia.’ A slight hint of pink coloured his cheeks. ‘Crowds. I just can’t do them. It’s hard to explain. I need quiet. Not too many people around. A pub, or any similar place, it’s … I’m not quite there yet.’ He lowered his gaze and lifted the edge of his doormat with his foot.

April felt a surge of pity for the guy. Well, not pity so much as sadness. A man like him, in his prime, clearly traumatised by things in his past … of course it was understandable that the war would have affected him in some way. He didn’t appear to have any physical injuries, but maybe he had post-traumatic stress disorder, or maybe the crowds and open spaces just triggered anxiety for some reason.

April touched his arm as he had hers. Somehow, it felt both rough and smooth at the same time. ‘I understand. No problem.’ She offered a small smile. ‘Thanks for telling me.’

She gave a small wave and stepped off the porch, but as per usual, she thought of another thing to say and had to turn around again. ‘You know what? I feel like eating in tonight.’ April put her hands on her hips and surveyed Zac’s front garden. ‘Care to join me?’

Zac’s eyebrows shot up. ‘You’re inviting me over for dinner?’

‘Looks that way. I can pick something up, or find something to whip up.’

He rubbed his chin. ‘The thing is, I’ve already defrosted some chicken for tonight. How about you join me here instead?’

Now April’s eyebrows rose. ‘You’re going to cook for me?’

‘No, you can cook. I’ll just provide the ingredients and kitchen facilities.’

She eyed his unchanged facial expression.

‘I’m kidding,’ he chuckled. ‘You can clean up instead.’

April laughed and warmth spread throughout her cheeks.

‘Seriously, I’ve got it covered.’ He held up his hands. ‘Just come over when the sun goes down.’

‘You’ve got yourself a deal.’ She gave a nod. ‘Would Juliet like Romeo to join her for some gourmet cat pellets?’

Zac laughed, and his Adam’s apple bobbed. ‘I think the cats can sort themselves out for tonight. See you later on.’ He smiled and closed the door.

So much for not bothering to get to know him anymore. The pages of his book of life were starting to open, and she was sure tonight would provide many more answers to the questions that had been forming in her mind. It was time to get to know Zac, for real. Not just chatting over the fence, not the odd, random conversations at his door, but real, proper, dignified conversation over the dinner table. A sense of anticipation fluttered inside. She had been looking forward to dinner at the pub, but this … this she was looking forward to way more than that.

~*~

APRIL’S GLOW is available from all online ebook retailers. 

AmazonUS / AmazonAUS / AmazonUK / iTunes/iBooks

Others via the buy now button at Escape Publishing

 

 

lest_we_forget

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Ever been starstruck? Enjoy this excerpt from STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE

1013 Starstruck In Seattle_1400My novella STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE is currently an Amazon Kindle Monthly Deal which means it’s on special and you can get it for about a dollar! Bargain 😉

Buy from Amazon.com HERE.

Buy from Amazon Australia HERE

Please enjoy this excerpt below, where the main character Anna writes a letter to intuitive love coach Lulu The Love Angel…

From: anna.h86@smail.com
To: lulu@lulutheloveangel.com
Subject: I need your help
Dear Lulu,
I can’t believe I’m actually writing this letter, but your advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ve heard you’re the go-to person to help bring soulmates together and I hope you’ll be able to help me connect with mine.
A psychic once told me my soulmate’s name begins with K, and I think I’ve found him. We’ve been working together as actors for six months, but his role’s more important and we hardly get a chance to speak together privately. Every time we pass each other at work, every time he smiles at me, every time we chat about the upcoming twists in the script, I feel so alive. I’ve never felt this strongly about anyone before, it’s like there’s an invisible cord connecting us. Should I wait for him to make the first move or take a risk and ask him out?
The thing is; I don’t have much time. My contract will be up in a few weeks. I’ll have to find another job and I don’t want to waste the time I have left. How can I show my interest without looking desperate and blending in with the other women falling at his feet? And do you agree with the psychic – does my soulmate’s name begin with a K?

Many thanks,
Star Struck in Seattle

From: lulu@lulutheloveangel.com
To: anna.h86@smail.com
Subject: Re: I need your help
Dear Star Struck in Seattle,
Thank you for having the courage to write your letter and faith in me to guide you toward the love you deserve.
Firstly, you must believe yourself worthy of true love, and treat yourself with the respect you would want another to treat you with. Don’t settle for second best, don’t put yourself down, and don’t sacrifice your deepest desires to please another. All happy relationships come from a happy relationship with oneself.
In answer to your question about whether to ask K out, I feel if you choose to do so you would be met with a ‘yes’, but I also feel it is best to hold off. I believe a proposition is coming your way very soon, and you need to remain open and aware of ALL possibilities.
My advice is to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of judgment or rejection. Be proactive about seeking other work and trust that in good time all things will conspire in your favor. True love is on its way, but you need to listen to and trust your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction. Also remember: you will know you are with your soulmate when you can simply be yourself. Your soulmate will bring the best out in you. They will enhance the beauty and uniqueness already there. True love will make you feel like the best version of yourself is shining bright.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with a Love Quote chosen especially for you:
“The eyes see only in front, the heart sees all around. Use your ‘heart-vision’ to guide you.”
Love,
Lulu
P.S. Your psychic was right. Your soulmate’s name does begin with the letter K.

Lulu clicked ‘send’ and smiled. She opened a new message window, filled in the details of her mission, and sent it to New Angel HQ on Cloud Eight and Three Quarters. If this and subsequent missions went well, she’d be upgraded to Cloud Nine in no time.

Lulu rubbed her hands together as her red laptop hummed softly. Bringing soulmates together would be so rewarding and she was excited about her first day on the job. Even more excited knowing that one day, if she proved herself capable; she’d join the graduates on Cloud Nine and be responsible for saving people’s lives when death tried to take them before their time. For now, though, she needed to practice her skills and do her best to help destiny get things right in the love department.

Ooh, this is going to be fun!

She closed her laptop and slid it inside its protective satchel, placing it next to her ‘ready-to-go-at-a-moment’s-notice’ suitcase. With a quick breath she snuffed the flames on the dining table candles and picked up Spark, her snow-colored Maltese terrier, from his curled-up position on the sofa. He moaned at the intrusion, but promptly fell back to sleep after Lulu guided him inside the doggie carry-case. “Time for a little trip, Spark.” Lulu crouched, her long brown curls coiling on the floor as she secured the clasp on the carry case. “You and I are off to Seattle.”

Buy from Amazon.com HERE.

Buy from Amazon Australia HERE

Buy from other retailers HERE

COVER REVEAL! 12 Daves of Christmas (plus excerpt)

Ta-Da! Here it is, the sparkling cover for my first ever Christmas story, 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS. 🙂

12DavesXmas_Final1920

What is the book about? Here’s the blurb:

A beautiful, uplifting holiday story from best-selling author Juliet Madison about a lonely writer, her grandmother’s ghost, a road trip, and 12 different Daves.

Abby Solomon may write happy-ever-afters for a living, but doesn’t believe she’ll have her own. But then a surprise visit from her grandmother’s ghost sets her off on a journey she’ll never forget.

Grandma Charlotte wants to find her first love, Dave, who she mistakenly thought had died in World War II. A quick search yields a list of twelve possibilities, and Abby and Charlotte set off on a Christmas road trip – twelve Daves over twelve days along the sun-drenched East coast of Australia.

With just over a week to make the meeting happen, Abby has to meet a dozen Daves – some sweet, some quirky, some downright dangerous, while trying to honour her book deadline and enduring the awkward challenges of having a ghost as a travelling companion. But when she comes across a young doctor who looks like one of the heroes in her novels, Abby has the chance to discover that true love transcends time and space and that happy endings aren’t only to be found between the pages of a book.

 

12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS is a 30,000 word novella and fits into the Romagic Comedy genre – it has romance, comedy, and magical elements, like some of my other books; FAST FORWARD, I DREAM OF JOHNNY, & HAUNTED EVER AFTER.

Release date: 8th December 2014

Publisher: Escape Publishing

>> Be notified when it is released by subscribing to my newsletter HERE.

 

Here is an excerpt…

 

‘What about Grandpa?’ I said. ‘Is he, ah…’

‘On the other side? Yes. I’ve touched base with him, and it was good to see him again, it really was, but I’m afraid to say he’s moved on. We loved each other of course and had a great life, but the truth is…’ she took another of those redundant breaths, ‘…we weren’t soulmates.’

‘What do you mean he’s moved on?’

‘He’s spending the afterlife with Lorna. And I’m not angry. I don’t blame him, because when all the obligations and responsibilities of physical life are down the pooper, all that matters is being true to your heart and soul.’

I frowned, from disappointment at Grandpa’s choice of afterlife companion or confusion as to how this all worked, I didn’t know.

‘Sorry, darling, it must be hard to comprehend all this. But the fact is, Harry and Lorna had a…what do you call it? A rendezvous or a fling, if you like, many years ago. I knew about it and of course I was furious, but after a while I forgave him. Because in reality, I knew I still loved and longed for Dave, so who was I to judge?’

‘But Grandma, who is Dave and why didn’t you stay with him back then?’

‘It’s a long story, muffin. But the gist of it is, we were together before the war, well, during the war. But then he went off to fight when he was eighteen and I never saw him again.’ She dropped her gaze to the floor. ‘We promised that when the war was over we’d meet again at our favourite place, and I was to turn up there every Saturday at noon until we were reunited. Months and months passed and I was there every week without fail, but he never showed.’

‘But the letter…he wrote to you, obviously.’

‘Just the once. As you can see in his letter, he promised to keep writing whenever he could, but something must have happened to prevent him from fulfilling that promise.’ She puffed up her short fluffy hair with an upturned palm like she always used to do, and pointed to the watch. ‘He gave that to me before he left, said it was to remind me that in time we’d be together again. I maintained it and kept it working.’

‘But he didn’t die in the war?’

‘Apparently not. I thought he had, everyone did. They said he was missing in action, presumed dead. And then when the war ended and he failed to return after several months, well, after a while I had to decide whether to keep hoping or let go and start living my life.’

‘So what happened to him?’

‘That’s the thing, I don’t know. I’ve tried to find out where he is and what happened, but the wretched administration up there,’ she pointed to the heavens, ‘leaves a bit to be desired.’ She crossed her arms. ‘All they could tell me was that my Dave Smith had not passed through the pearly gates. But to find out more information requires more manpower and paperwork, and they put me on a three month waiting list. Three months! While Harry and Lorna have their happily ever after, I’m left to twiddle my thumbs and wait it out. I’ll be putting in a complaint when I get back, you mark my words.’ She gave a curt nod. ‘But that will probably take another three months to process! They’re utterly swamped up there, what with all the deaths. And the queues, there are more crowds than a Buddy Holly concert, let me tell you.’

I didn’t know whether to laugh at what I was hearing or be frustrated along with her. Grandma wasn’t known for being shy, and if she had something to say about something that was bothering her, she’d say it.

‘How do we know where to look? I mean, do you have any idea where he might be?’

‘I met him when we were living in Berrinda. He was passing through with his soldier friends for a camping trip to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. When he told me he was going off to war, he said that if he returned safe and sound he’d want nothing more than to settle down in a place like Berrinda, or one of the other small towns on the south coast. That’s all I’ve got to go on.’

‘That’s a start, I guess. He might be in the phone book. What did you say his last name was?’

‘Smith.’

I sighed. She had to go fall in love with someone who had an extremely common first and last name!

As if reading my thoughts, Grandma said, ‘Shame his name wasn’t Reginald Liktenblacht or something easier to find.’ She shrugged and grinned.

 

>> Be notified when 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS is released by subscribing to my newsletter HERE. You can also follow me on twitter and Facebook

1 Week To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Here is the last excerpt pic in the countdown to the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed FAST FORWARD, be sure to check out this cheeky, chaotic, fun, and heartwarming read on September 1st.

1WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘Keep thinking of something funny,’ the photographer said. ‘It’ll make the smile more natural and won’t ache as much.’

Funny, funny…what on earth could I possibly find funny about this situation?

I glanced at Red. She pulled her top lip inside out and made her eyes bulge.

Nice try, ghostie.

Okay, funny stuff…um, that Friends episode when Ross gets a fake tan on one side of his body. That was quite funny. I smiled, but not enough to make me laugh.

‘Getting there, now relax and flash us a great big laughing smile.’ The photographer snapped photos while I kept adjusting my facial expressions and pose, and Red kept pulling faces, none of which triggered a burst of laughter. Until she gave up directing them at me and pulled them at the photographer instead. She stood right next to him, shoved her face next to his and grunted, looking like a deformed monkey. A bubble of laughter tickled my throat. She then sat in front of me on the floor and squished her face together with her hands till she resembled a chubby baby crossed with an alien, and that did it. My stomach heaved and laughter burst forth, and click, click, click went the camera.

‘Bravo! That’s what I’m talking about,’ said the photographer. ‘Now I’ll just check some of these before we change location.’ He fiddled with his camera and frowned. ‘That’s odd.’

The assistant approached him and peered at the screen. ‘Hmm.’

‘Hmm what?’ Lorena asked.

‘It’s okay, but we might have to shoot a couple more to replace a few of these. There’s a strange light imbalance in a few pictures.’

‘Can I have a look?’ I asked, launching from the couch and up to the camera.

‘Ah, sure,’ he said, holding the camera in front of me.

Oh my God. Right where Red had been sitting in front of me was a warped stretch of light, like a smear of something on glass. He flipped through the images and each photo where Red was in the shot had a ‘light imbalance’ or whatever they called it. I gulped.

‘I don’t know where that came from. Look, the one before is perfect, and then an instant later the shot is disrupted.’ He fiddled with the settings on his camera and I looked towards my friends and shrugged. But inside my heart flip-flopped. This was evidence. Proof that Red wasn’t just in my imagination or a manifestation of some disease, she was really here. A ghost. In this house, with me.

‘C’mon, you sexy housewife you,’ said Lorena. ‘Let’s touch up your lipstick while they adjust the equipment.’ She led me towards the bathroom, and Red followed alongside us making The Twilight Zone sound effects and wriggling her fingers.

Oh dear. I may not be sick or mad, and I wasn’t too sure about the sexy part, but I was definitely one very haunted housewife.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

2 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 2 weeks to go, here is the next excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

2WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘What…what are you doing?’ I stiffened.

He ignored my question and put my bare foot against his bare chest, rubbing and massaging it with his firm hands. ‘I could get you back for the trolley incident, but I’m not one to hold a grudge.’ He winked.

I wasn’t going to let a petty incident ruin my evening but I couldn’t quite get rid of the embarrassing sensation crawling up my spine. A complete stranger is rubbing my foot! Barring a professional masseuse, this shouldn’t happen to an engaged woman, should it? What would Greg be doing right now? Probably enjoying a super-expensive bottle of wine at the golf retreat and chatting business.

No, he shouldn’t be getting this personal with me, I should put a stop to it. I’ll just politely remove my foot from his hold and… Oh God…oh wow…how on earth is he doing that? My foot was practically having an orgasm. A footgasm. Was that even possible?

Ty smiled as he rubbed and pressed, probably knowing too well the magic his hands were casting. He must be using some kind of acupressure technique. Fancy a stripper knowing that. Strangely, my body softened a little and I let him do his thing, even though I felt like a terrible wife-to-be.

When he’d had his way with my foot he placed it gently back in the shoe, then stood and ripped off his pants for the second time that night. His body moved with the music as though his muscles were controlling the tempo. There was no doubt about it, this guy could dance. Whoever said dancing was a girly pursuit for guys hadn’t seen Ty. He oozed masculinity, confidence, and — gulp — sexiness, and his performance was in no way cheesy. It was classy. And professional. And…I think I’ve had too much to drink. I shook away the hint of desire creeping throughout my body like a pack of stealthy field agents. Greg. Think of Greg. He’s my man, he’s my fiancé, and Ty is just some light entertainment to satisfy Lorena’s urge to create the ideal hen’s party.

‘Wipe that drool from your face, girlfriend!’ My body stiffened as Red sat next to me.

‘Go away,’ I hissed through pursed lips.

‘What, and miss this show? I’ve been practically comatose back there in the corner from the shock of all this beauty.’ She eyed Ty with intense eyes of desire. ‘Mmm… Now I really miss being alive.’ She floated towards him and moulded her body to his as he swayed.

Red, please don’t. I tried to send her an instant message via ESP.

‘I can almost feel his heat,’ she said, leaning in close to his face. ‘I wish I could smell him.’ She breathed in violently through her nose like she was trying to unclog her sinuses with nasal spray.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

3 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 3 weeks to go, here is the next excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

3WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘What’s your favourite colour?’ I asked Ty.

‘Cobalt. Why?’

‘Just making conversation to pass the time. Cobalt? Not blue, or green, or red, but cobalt?’

‘Colours vary, it’s good to be specific.’

‘I guess. Then why aren’t you wearing cobalt? And why is your car black?’

‘I didn’t say it was my favourite colour to wear or anything, it’s just my favourite colour to look at, generally.’

‘Fair enough. That makes sense.’

‘What’s yours? Wait…light purple?’

‘Mauve. How did you know?’

‘You were wearing it that night you got stuck in the toilet. Just a guess.’

And I thought the only thing he’d noticed was the fact that I’d gotten stuck in the toilet.

‘Favourite TV show?’ he asked.

I was having déjà vu. It reminded me of the twenty questions Red had fired at me during dinner at the guest house when Ty was with us. As long as he didn’t ask me my favourite sexual position like she had, I’d be fine.

Doctor Who, or Midsomer Murders.’

He smiled. Was he silently making fun of my entertainment choices?

‘Oh, and Friends,’ I added, to seem reasonably normal and hip, and to honour last Saturday night’s laughter prescription. ‘You?’

Friends, too, of course, and Seinfeld. And Game of Thrones.’

‘Oh, I don’t think I could watch that. Looks too explicit and gory.’

‘Exactly! I love it. Try it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.’

‘Hmm.’ I wasn’t convinced.

‘Okay, next question: If you could go back in time, when would you go?’

‘The fifties. They seemed cute and fun. You?’

‘Hmm, maybe the Palaeolithic period? You know, grow a beard and long hair, wear nothing but a loincloth, and hunt for food. Perfect.’

‘Caveman, huh? Well, you’ve got the loincloth bit all sorted, in a modern sort of way.’

‘True. Maybe I’ll have to mix up my performances a little. Instead of Doctor Ty, I could be Caveman Ty.’

An image of him swinging shirtless from tree to tree flashed through my mind. ‘Or Tarzan’s naughty cousin.’

‘Good idea. Tyzan, perhaps?’

I chuckled.

‘How about we play I Spy next instead of Twenty Questions? It’s a perfect game for road trips, Cody loves playing it.’

Being around Ty was never boring. And I appreciated the way he was taking my mind off the inevitable challenge of going back to Chris’ house.

‘I’ll start,’ he said. ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…I.’

‘Umm… Incredibly infuriating guy indifferent to public displays of partial nudity?’ I joked.

‘Nope! And yes, sort of.’

‘Impossibly irritating imbecilic Neanderthal?’

A laugh shot from his mouth. ‘I didn’t know you had such a witty way with words, Sexy Sally.’

‘I’m full of surprises this long weekend.’

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

4 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 4 weeks to go, here is an excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

4WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

‘I want you to call Ty and ask him to come over for a game of Twister.’

‘Twister? But that’s a game for flexible young kids who don’t mind clambering over each other.’

‘Ty is flexible.’

‘I’m not! And I’m engaged, it wouldn’t be right to get that close to another guy. You’ll have to give me another dare.’

‘Okay, I dare you to walk down the main street and sing Tomorrow from Annie at the top of your lungs, and hug random people as you go by.’

I had visions of being captured on video and going viral on YouTube. ‘No, no way.’ I shook my head vigorously.

‘Then call Ty.’ Mel handed me back my phone. ‘Twister or Tomorrow. What’ll it be?’

I ran a hand over my head. No way could I sing in public, especially after my dance incident. Singing was a completely different thing, and my voice could barely crank out a simple Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in tune.

‘So I just have to call him and ask, it doesn’t matter if he says no, right?’

‘If he says yes, you have to play Twister with him, but if he says no, well, I guess there’s nothing you can do about that. But you have to at least ask him.’ She shoved the phone into my hand and it shook in my grasp. It was only a simple phone call, but something about being around him made me nervous. Maybe it was his superhuman physique, or the fact that he seemed like some super-caring, kind, too-good-to-be-true angel from heaven sent down to earth to make women swoon and look after those who needed a little extra support. He came from a completely different world to mine, and it felt like I was about to call my teenage celebrity crush.

‘Here’s his number,’ Lorena said, showing me her phone.

I added him as a contact and my finger hovered over his number.

‘Press it, Sally! I want to see this!’ Red was back to her usual self at the prospect of another embarrassing moment for me.

I pressed it.

‘Hello? Ty speaking,’ he answered.

‘Hi, Ty, I…’ Oh God, I’m rhyming! ‘It’s me, Sally.’

‘Sexy Sally?’

Heat rushed up my face. ‘Well, the one from the guest house.’

‘Yeah, as I said: Sexy Sally. What can I do for you? Would you like to book another performance?’

‘Oh goodness, no, not at all.’

‘Gee, thanks. Glad you’re so keen.’

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean…I just meant, anyway, I’m calling to ask something,’

He was silent for a moment, then: ‘You’ll have to speak up, sunshine.’

I cleared my throat but my voice remained croaky. ‘I was wondering if you’d care for a game of…’ I cleared my throat again at the same time as uttering the word, ‘Twister’.

‘Sorry? A game of what?’

‘Twister,’ I said more loudly, the painful embarrassment like a red-hot burn on my cheeks.

Mel tipped her head back with a sudden laugh.

Ty’s voice held a hint of a smile. ‘You want me to come over to play Twister?’

‘I guess so.’

He chuckled. ‘You girls are an entertaining bunch.’

‘It’s okay, you don’t have to, I know you’ve had a busy day and you probably have other things to do with your brother, or a job to go to, or — ’

‘Be there in ten.’

‘Huh?’

‘The guest house. Ten minutes. I’ll warm up on the way there.’ And then he hung up.

I kept the phone next to my ear and furrowed my brow, my mouth agape.

‘Sal?’ asked Mel.

‘He hung up.’

‘He hung up on you?’ Georgie asked.

‘No, he hung up after saying he’d be here in ten minutes.’

‘Woohoo!’ Mel exclaimed. ‘I only wanted you to ask him, I didn’t think he’d actually agree to it! Ooh, this is going to be fun to watch!’

‘Watch? But you have to play too, I can’t play it on my own, with him.’

‘Nope, the dare was for you to ask him over to play.’

‘And I’m definitely out of this game,’ Lorena said, holding her belly and convenient excuse. I was sure, though, had she not been pregnant, she wouldn’t have minded playing Twister with a stripper.

‘And as much as I’d love to get up close and personal with His Royal Hotness, I’d much rather see you in action on those coloured spots.’ Mel grinned, and I looked towards Georgie for moral support.

She held her palms up. ‘Sorry, I’m needed in the kitchen.’

‘But we’re eating out tonight.’

‘Yes, but someone has to marinate the lamb for tomorrow night’s dinner.’

‘But — ’

‘Too late for an appeal, Sal, you better get ready. Warm up and stretch or something. I’ll set up the mat. Tick-tock!’ She tapped her watch.

Oh my goodness gracious me. I felt like I was about to betray Greg. What had I got myself into?

As Mel prepared the game, I swung my arms around in circles. Probably best if I did warm up a little, it would make it easier to manoeuvre around the mat and avoid bodily contact. Why did he agree to play Twister anyway? He knows I’m taken, so it’s not like he’s seeing it as an opportunity to hit on me or anything. Probably just wants to show off his…bendiness.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

 

5 Weeks To Go! HAUNTED EVER AFTER sneak peek

Each week until release day I’ll share a fun excerpt pic like the one below, and a longer excerpt here on the blog. So with 5 weeks to go, here is the first excerpt of HAUNTED EVER AFTER, my next full-length romantic comedy with a touch of magic. If you enjoyed the fun and mayhem of FAST FORWARD, be sure to check this one out on 1st September. 😉

5WeeksToGo

Excerpt:

What does one talk to a stripper about over dinner anyway? ‘How was work? Did you have a good day at the office?’

Georgie served our meals of Chicken Valdostano, and after taking a mouthful and complimenting the chef, Ty directed questions my way, saving me from having to think what to ask him. ‘When’s the big day?’

‘One week’s time. Are you married?’ I asked. It was so much easier to ask that question when men knew you were taken, otherwise it sounded like you were sussing them out for potential husband material. But anyway, what sort of wife would want her husband to strip semi-naked and have women grope him in order to pay the bills and put food on the table?

He shook his head, took another mouthful, then asked, ‘What do you do for a living, Sally?’

‘Sally’s a nurse,’ Mel said.

‘I’m sure she can speak for herself, Mel,’ said Georgie, her slender fingers wrapped around the stem of her wine glass.

‘Sorry, force of habit. Five kids.’ Mel shrugged.

‘Ah, you must be a very caring person,’ Ty said. ‘How long have you been nursing?’

‘Geez, he asks a lot of questions.’ Red sat at the empty chair to my right and placed her ghostly elbows on the table. Such a classy ghost. Crashing my party and bad table manners to boot.

‘Almost ten years now.’ I smiled.

‘I could have been a nurse,’ Red said. ‘All those smart, hot doctors to drool over. Mmm…’ she rolled her eyes back in an apparent daydream.

I wouldn’t spoil her assumption and tell her that most of the doctors I knew were either grey-haired and pudgy men or skinny and awkward young men with remnants of teenage acne. Sure, there were a few lookers, but it’s no Grey’s Anatomy.

‘How long have you been, um, stripping?’ I asked, as dignified as possible.

‘Three years.’ He took a sip of wine. ‘And did you always want to be a nurse?’

Did you always want to be a stripper? I couldn’t imagine him as a young boy at school getting up in front of the class and sharing his career aspirations for career day.

‘Well, sort of, I — ’

‘I want to ask questions too, sheesh! Can’t get a word in with this guy!’ Red sat on the edge of the table and I tried not to look at her. ‘What’s your favourite colour, Sally? Wait, let me guess, mauve, right?’

Quit distracting me! I tried the ESP thing again. But what I really wanted to do was push her off the table. So much for being a caring person.

‘Okay, what’s your favourite band then?’ she persisted. ‘Favourite food?’ She leaned over the table and shoved her face in front of mine. ‘Ooh, what about favourite celebrity when you were a teenager? Huh, huh? Answer me, girl!’

I shifted in my seat and pretended I was trying to retrieve the answer to Ty’s question, which had been diluted by Red’s constant verbal assault.

‘Favourite book? Favourite animal?’ she continued shooting questions at me like a tennis ball machine, and my head started to hurt.

‘Um…’ I cleared my throat and rubbed my ear, tension building inside like a boiling pot of water. ‘Sorry, what was the question again?’

‘I said, did you always want to be a nurse?’ Ty repeated.

‘Favourite song? Favourite shop?’ Red continued. ‘Ooh, ooh! Favourite sexual position?’

In frustration, my hand banged down on the table, sending my fork flying across to the floor. ‘Missionary, okay? Missionary!’ I blurted.

All eyes stared at me. ‘What?’ Lorena asked, curiosity and concern on her face at my apparent distress.

Oh dear God.

Red had collapsed in laughter on the floor next to me. ‘Missionary! Haha, missionary position! I knew it!’ she repeated, rolling about.

Just when I thought I’d have to excuse myself from the table, a convenient explanation hit me. I cleared my throat. ‘A missionary. I, er, wanted to be a missionary.’ I gave a confident nod.

‘Um, no you didn’t,’ Lorena said firmly.

Mel had cracked up as well as Red. ‘Since when did you want to become a missionary?’

I pushed my unnatural curls from my face and raised my chin. ‘Well, if you must know, since I was a kid. My parents sent me to Sunday school (true) and I really enjoyed it (false). I thought it would be great to one day travel the world and spread the good word of the Lord (also false). There. Now you know.’

‘Good for you,’ Ty said with a nod. ‘What stopped you?’

How could I get off the missionary topic? All this quick thinking was doing my head in.

 

Stay tuned for the release of HAUNTED EVER AFTER on Sept 1st from Escape Publishing.

>> You can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

>> And you can preorder from Amazon & iTunes at the moment (though will be available 1st Sept from all ebook retailers):

COVER REVEAL! Haunted Ever After (plus excerpt)

Drumroll… Ta-Da! 🙂

What do you think?

HauntedEverAfter-JulietMadison

The design team at Harlequin Australia / Escape Publishing have given me another fabulous cover. It’s always so exciting to see a cover for the first time, and I end up giggling like a little girl. 😀

This is my first cover with a guy on the front! Hello. Oh, except if you count the male nose and mouth on the cover of Starstruck in Seattle. 😉

As soon as it’s up on Goodreads, and on Amazon etc to preorder, I’ll post links. But for now, enjoy the cover and the blurb and excerpt below…

(Unofficial) blurb:

When bride-to-be, Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids in the small country town of Barron Springs, the last thing she expects is for an uninvited visitor to tag along: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.

She’s quirky, loud, and hyperactive, and the prim and proper Sally is desperate to find out why she’s being haunted so she can be free of her embarrassing disruptions before the wedding day. Problem is, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her presence, but seems intent on tempting her with the hot and charming stripper, Ty, who is always turning up at awkward moments. Is the ghost on a jealousy-fuelled mission to stop the wedding? 

By the time the ghost’s secrets are revealed, Sally’s strength will be tested to its limits, and she must go above and beyond anything she’s ever experienced in order to ensure a happy-ever-after for not only herself, but others too.

Exclusive excerpt:

She pushed her finger forwards, and — plop! —the stone fell from my grasp and down my t-shirt through the small valley of my cleavage. I shivered at its cold, smooth surface as it travelled down to my abdomen. ‘Oh no!’ Red laughed as I unbuttoned my jacket and tried to discreetly shove my hand down my top.

‘Can I help at all?’ I spun around to see Ty standing nearby, my hand still lodged between my boobs and my elbow pointing to the heavens, where I wished Red would toddle off to. I yanked my hand out and straightened my jacket.

‘No, I’m fine thanks. Where did you spring from?’

‘I saw you looking at something in your hand so I came to see what it was.’

‘Oh, it’s just a gemstone.’ I brushed a non-existent strand of hair from my face. ‘It sort of, um, fell down my top.’ I could still feel it low against my belly, but I didn’t think my arm could reach down far enough to get it. I could also feel an uncomfortable wave of heat rushing across my face, belying the fact that it was a cold winter’s day.

Ty tried to hold back a grin, but a hint of it twinkled at the sides of his mouth. ‘So, maybe just give your shirt a bit of a shake?’ He grasped his close-fitting black ribbed top at the hem and gave it a shake, and a glimpse of his tanned, hard abs brought back flashes of him last night in his underwear.

The heat on my face intensified. ‘Well, you see, I sort of can’t,’ I replied, touching the spot where the gemstone lay.

‘Why not?’

Oh dear God. Of all the days, why did I have to wear this thing underneath?

‘Because I’m wearing a bodysuit.’

Ty’s eyebrows rose. ‘Oh, one of those all-in-one lycra things?’

I nodded.

‘So you’d need to, um…’

‘Unhook it, below, yes.’ Too much information. Why was I telling him this? Surely a man of his ‘experience’ knew how a woman’s bodysuit was structured.

‘In that case, I’ll let you get on with it.’ He gestured behind and turned away, then turned back briefly. ‘I’ll just wait over here.’

I hid behind a stall and grasped the stone through my clothing with one hand, walking it up my body the way one does with a draw cord lost in the waistband of one’s pants, but it only moved slightly. I plunged my hand down my top again and dug around, but the tight-fit of the bodysuit made it difficult. C’mon gemstone! Where are you? It was like the Bermuda Triangle in here. If this failed I’d have to find the ladies bathrooms and do the unhooking, but if I could just get it…

I grunted, sinking my stomach muscles inwards to make more room for my arm, and stretching poor Mel’s t-shirt piece of art. My fingers came in contact with cold stone which I grasped, and with my other hand I pushed it upwards, until the stone was in my hand and my arm was finally out of a place I didn’t exactly aspire it to be whilst in public, or even private, for that matter. ‘Phew!’ I breathed out, having held my breath for a little while.

I adjusted my top and jacket and returned to where I’d been, feeling as though everyone was looking at me, even though they weren’t. Except Ty.

‘Got it?’ he asked.

I held up the stone in victory.

He clapped. ‘If you were single I would have given you a hand. You know, just to do the helpful gentlemanly thing.’ He winked.

Flirt. ‘Oh, I’m sure.’ I crossed my arms and diverted my gaze from his.

 

Stay tuned… HAUNTED EVER AFTER releases on 1st Sept 2014. Subscribe to this blog or to my email newsletter HERE to be reminded on release day.

Meet The Mothers In My Novels [& Enjoy This FREE Mothers Day Gift!]

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, aspiring mothers, mothers-to-be, mothers-at-heart, and single fathers! 🙂

I love writing about mothers in fiction, and being one myself, there is no shortage of inspiration to draw on… the fun, the challenges, the heartwarming and heartbreaking moments, I can make sense of these things in my life by putting them into stories.

Today for Mothers Day I’d like to introduce you to the mothers in my books, and I’ll share a little ‘motherhood’ snippet from each book:

 

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonMother #1: Kelli McSnelly from FAST FORWARD

Kelli suddenly becomes a mother when she transforms overnight from a 25 year old model to a 50 year old woman with two grown kids, a grandbaby on the way, and a husband she doesn’t like. As she navigates her way through the future, she’ll come to realise a few important things about life, love, and motherhood.

Excerpt:

Hang on, if she was pregnant, then that meant I was going to be … a grandmother. No way!

This couldn’t be happening. Real grandma’s knitted and had short curly mauve hair and stored tissues up their sleeves, didn’t they? I was too young for this. Two children and a grandchild-to-be all in one day? I needed Valium. Preferably intravenously. Damn! I should have asked the doctor for a prescription.

 

january wishMother #2: Dr Sylvia Greene from THE JANUARY WISH

Sylvia became a mother as a teenager, but she gave her baby up for adoption. In The January Wish she meets her now eighteen-year-old daughter and must discover how to adapt her life to make room for the child she never thought she’d see again.

Excerpt:

Sylvia turned away to give them privacy, and leaned over Maria’s grave to place down the single sunflower she’d brought with her. Silently, she thanked Maria. Thanked her for taking care of Grace, for loving her, for being the mother Sylvia wasn’t able to be back then. She wished she could hug her the way she’d hugged David, but she couldn’t. She simply placed a hand on the cold, rough headstone, and somehow hoped to communicate just how thankful she was that her daughter had been well cared for. Maria’s life may not have been long, but Sylvia knew it would have been fulfilling, having Grace in it. And suddenly Sylvia felt a strong sense of responsibility, that although she wasn’t taking Maria’s place, she was taking on a new role in Grace’s life. At sixteen, it wasn’t her time. But now, at thirty-five, it was.

 

FebruaryOrForeverMother #3: Chrissie Burns from FEBRUARY OR FOREVER

Chrissie has recently gone through a divorce and is now single mum to Kai, a challenging six-year-old boy. She moves to the town of Tarrin’s Bay when she inherits her aunt’s beach house and hopes she can make a fresh start and help both herself and her son open up to the joy and possibilities of life.

Excerpt:

‘Oh, but Mum. You don’t understand. You don’t know what it’s like to be this tired.’ He strung out the last word with dramatic emphasis.

‘Oh for heaven’s sake.’ Chrissie bent and hooked the heel of one shoe on her finger, then the other, and flung them into her son’s room. At least they were out of the way; he could put them in the wardrobe himself later. Chrissie picked up Kai’s school bag that he’d dumped next to the couch, and chuckled. Don’t know what it’s like to be this tired? She shook her head at her son’s naivety. Granted, he was only six, but if only he knew. Getting up five times a night on average for the first year of his life? That was the definition of tired.

 

Sisters at HeartMother #4: Carrie from my short story SISTERS AT HEART

Carrie is also a single mother with a young son who doesn’t want to go anywhere without her. She’s starting from scratch in a new town and living with her parents, desperate to find her own way and make new friends. When she volunteers for the school cake stall she experiences something profound that gives her hope for the future.

Excerpt:

‘I have to look after the cake stall along with another mummy, sweetie. Grandma and Grandpa will take care of you.’ I widen my eyes and nod in reassurance.

He cautiously turns his head towards my dad, who bends forward and holds out a lollipop of swirling, jarring colours.

Dental decay and hyperactivity to look forward to – thanks Dad!

Zac’s uncertain eyes glance back at me, then back at his grandpa. He releases one hand and holds it out to the lollipop while Dad inches back slightly so it’s just out of reach. Zac sighs and releases my other wrist, his pout soon replaced with a smiling red stain on ripping open the wrapping and licking the treat with gusto.

Bribery. Works every time. 

🙂

 

926565_giftFREEBIE ALERT! Do you have a favourite fictional mother character from a book, movie, or TV show? Let me know in the comments and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story SISTERS AT HEART! This isn’t a prize draw, everyone will get a copy, as long as you answer the question and leave your email address in the comment too so I can send the story to you! It is a quick story you can read over a cup of coffee 🙂 *Comment must be left before 16th May when the freebie offer will close. Spread the word! 🙂