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. 🙂
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?’
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.
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. 😉
‘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.’
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.’
‘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):
- Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00M19AWO2
- UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00M19AWO2
- AUS: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00M19AWO2
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/haunted-ever-after/id902138042?mt=11
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. 😉
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):
It’s My Birthday And I’ll Blog If I Want To
Yay, a birthday! Another year to celebrate being alive – yippee! That’s what I think on the 14th April each year (see my overjoyed expression below). Then reality hits… Oh. My birthday. Um. Hmm… another year older (see my
overjoyed freaked out expression below). How does the time go so fast? Wasn’t it only recently that I was youthful and firm with skin all …dewy and stuff? What happened? Gravity and time, that’s what happened. Gravity – you suck. Except for the fact that you keep us on the ground instead of flying around in chaotic, uncontrollable astronaut fashion. Then again, that could be kinda fun. Occasionally. Except during meal preparation time… “Stay in the frypan, onions! And you naughty chicken breasts – stop floating towards the television! Don’t make me come get you!” And if I was boiling potatoes at the same time I’d also be dodging floating pellets of boiling water and looking like an uncoordinated ninja.
But seriously, a birthday is a blessing. A privilege. And although physical ageing is inevitable, the mind and heart can stay as young as you wish it to be. And when I blow out that birthday candle tonight (one candle, because who can be bothered counting them all out once you’re over a certain age? 😉 ), I’ll be wishing for health and happiness for myself and my loved ones. And maybe some other things but I can’t tell you because then they might not come true! 😉
Sooo, I better go enjoy my day. Oh hang on, I have an idea. I’ll share a couple of snippets of birthday scenes from my books. Yes, that’s a good idea for a birthday blog post. Rightio, off to find them…
Apparently only two of my books have birthday scenes. My other characters never age. Damn them.
Here are snippets from FAST FORWARD and THE JANUARY WISH:
Fast Forward, birthday excerpt from chapter 15:
I opened more presents, including a heat-sensing automatic temperature-adjusting blanket from Kasey and Max, along with a donation on my behalf to the Ants Have Feelings Too research foundation, and watched more amazing moving birthday cards, until only one thing remained on the present table. A white envelope.
It seemed strange that among all this technology, paper still actually existed. I slid my finger under the seal and pulled out a plastic card about the size of a book … if books still existed, I certainly hadn’t seen any around the house.
“Oh, whoops, that was supposed to be for later,” Will said. “Ah, might as well have it now, then.” His face went slightly pink.
“What is it, Kel?” Elaine asked with curious eyes.
“It’s a … ” I began, my cheeks becoming hot.
Ryan came over and plucked the card from my hands. “C’mon, the suspense is killing us!” He read the card and grinned. “It’s a couple’s intimate photo shoot at Image of Desire studios.”
“Woo-woo!” Regina said and a few cheers and whistles escaped the mouths of my guests, as Will held out his hands.
“Now calm down everyone, it’s just a makeover and photo shoot for married couples, nothing raunchy.”
“Yeah right,” Ryan exclaimed. “Have you seen the portfolio on the gift card? Look.” He pressed a button on the card and a slideshow played, showing various couples wearing minimal clothing embracing in imaginative positions like strands of spaghetti clinging to a fork.
A makeover and photo shoot I could handle, but with Will? Doing…that? My stomach lurched as I attempted to steal the card back from Ryan, who was holding it up in the air for everyone to see, keeping it out of my grasp. “Give it to me, son, that’s enough of your teasing,” I said in a motherly voice and interestingly, it worked.
“Sorry, Mum. It’s just funny, that’s all.” He handed me the card and I shoved it back in its envelope as Will mouthed a red-faced ‘sorry’ at me. I flicked my hand as though it was nothing and then re-opened Diora’s gift in an effort to distract myself—and everyone else—asking the nearest person to help me latch the necklace around my neck.
“There is another present, Mum,” Ryan said in a more serious tone.
“Huh? But you already took me bungy jumping.”
“You went bungy jumping?” Marge Simpson leapt from her seat, her beehive wig almost toppling forward.
“Didn’t you know?” Homer asked. “I told you yesterday remember, when you were baking that soufflé?”
“Darling, you should know by now to never talk to me when I’m baking, especially a soufflé, I won’t remember a thing for the concentration it requires.”
“Yes, she sure did,” Ben said. “She was awesome!” Ryan glanced longingly towards Ben and smiled, before turning back to me.
“This is something extra special, I’ve been planning it for a while,” Ryan said.
Oh dear God. Don’t let it be skydiving, or hang gliding, or a one-way trip to Mount Everest. Please!
The January Wish, birthday excerpt from chapter 28:
‘I don’t think I can fit in dessert now,’ Sylvia said, as she leaned back in the chair at the dinner table and lifted her glass to her lips. She had no problem fitting in more wine.
‘You have to, it’s your birthday!’ Joyce said. ‘And the waiter needs something to put a birthday candle on,’ she added.
Mark nodded in agreement. ‘You know you’re getting old when you only get one birthday candle. It’s too much hassle to count out the correct amount,’ he said with a charming smirk. ‘Either that or there’s not enough room to fit them all on,’ he added. Everyone erupted in laughter and Sylvia kicked him under the table. He simply grinned, then winked at her. ‘Just teasing,’ he said. ‘You look great for someone your age, Sylvia.’ She kicked him again.
They say that one of the best signs that someone is recovering well from illness is the return of their sense of humour. Sylvia wondered if the same could be said for grief. When she’d first met Mark, his humorous charm had attracted her, but after their discussion about his wife’s death, he’d lost that charm. He’d become quiet and serious. Lately though, she’d begun to see a subtle re-emergence of his sense of humour. Tonight, it was obviously back in full force.
‘Look Sylvia, there’s lemon meringue pie.’ Joyce held the menu in front of Sylvia. ‘And coconut panna cotta with raspberry coulis and almond biscotti. Or what about Death by Chocolate?’
Maybe she could fit in some chocolate. ‘That sounds like a good way to go,’ Sylvia replied. ‘I mean, in terms of dessert choice, not death,’ she added with a chuckle, and hoped the mention of death wouldn’t upset Mark. She’d tried to keep their few discussions at work lighthearted, but that was difficult considering her profession. The subject of death was bound to come up occasionally. Thankfully, Mark didn’t seem rattled in the slightest, and in fact continued to mock her ‘old age’ by suggesting she tuck her napkin into her shirt collar and ask for her dessert to be pureed for ease of consuming.
‘Is the naturopath allowed any dessert?’ Sylvia asked Mark.
‘Of course. All things in moderation,’ he replied. ‘Tell you what, I’ll splurge on Death by Chocolate too.’ Mark placed his menu down on the table and signalled a waiter.
As the waiter made his way towards the table, Sylvia noticed Grace outside the restaurant. Strange, she thought. It’s a bit late to change her mind about joining them for dinner. Well, she could always just have dessert; there was room to pull up another chair. Sylvia was about to wave at Grace to come inside when a sense of dread filled her stomach. Grace looked different. Ghostly, in fact. And she was clinging to the window. A strange facial expression crossed Grace’s face as their eyes connected. Fear mixed with relief, Sylvia recognised. And within moments of their gaze locking on each other, Grace’s eyes rolled back and she slid down the window like a raindrop losing its grip on the glass.
~ Hope you enjoyed the excerpts! To check out the books or any of my others, here is my page on my publisher’s site with all the links: This one here. Go on, you know you want to. 😉
Until next year… 😉
Escape into a Romantic Book on Valentine’s Day – 10 Excerpts to Entice…
What better day to get hooked on a good romance than Valentine’s Day? Today I’m featuring a few books from my publisher, Escape Publishing. Next to each book cover is a brief romantic snippet from the book so you can get an idea of the writing style and characters and see which ones click with you. To find out more about each book or to buy it, click on the book title.
To start, I’ll share a snippet from my latest release, February or Forever, followed by other books from Escape…
She watched him for a moment, her finger wanting to desperately trace the curves on his face, but she settled for tracing them with her gaze instead. She lowered herself onto her elbow next to him, watching him sleep. Everyone said that sleeping children were gorgeous, but no one ever mentioned sleeping celebrities. Only he wasn’t a celebrity to her any more. He was a man. A talented and creative man, and a damn good dancer.
Watching him was like a meditation in itself, centring her mind and calming her breathing. She was about to snuggle up next to him when his eyes snapped open.
‘Gotcha!’ he said, a cheeky grin on his face.
Chrissie sat up. ‘You weren’t asleep?’
He shook his head.
She whacked him lightly on the chest with the back of her hand. ‘You trickster.’
‘You were watching me, weren’t you? I could feel it.’ A smug look graced his face.
‘No I wasn’t,’ she said. ‘I was just…waiting for you to wake up.’ She tightened the elastic on her ponytail and looked away.
‘Come here.’ Drew pulled her on top of him and whispered, ‘I would have watched you too.’
Chrissie confessed the truth with an honest smile, and her finger finally traced around the side of his face as she took in every perfect detail.
‘Your eyes,’ Drew said. ‘You’ve got Hungry Eyes.’
Chrissie smiled, remembering the song of the same name from Dirty Dancing.
‘Well then, you better feed them,’ she said, lowering her face to his and taking his lips in hers.
By day’s end, a dozen people would have a little piece of her heart. Perhaps it wasn’t the heart they longed for, but hers was a willing one.
Dressed for the occasion, Reese was a shock of colour on the subdued street. The bust of her dress was red and the lower half white. Just below her breasts the block of colour broke apart into tumbling hearts, which fell and pooled around the hem. The pockets of her long, red coat were stuffed with envelopes, none of which bore her name. Because these letters were not for her.
Reese didn’t know who they were for.
Each boasted the same sentence: If you’ve found me, I’m yours.
Brennan opened his beautiful blue eyes again and stared into mine. “I have lived my entire life searching for you. The instant I laid my eyes on you, the moment you first opened your mouth to speak, I knew that I would one day love you. But what I didn’t understand in those first moments was exactly how much I would grow to love you. I couldn’t have even conceived of the force of emotions I now feel for you. Leah, I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I have no doubts or reservations about that.”
My heart fluttered. Breathing heavily, I asked, “What are you trying to say?”
He hesitated, enough for my heart to thud hard in my chest, before asking, “Will you marry me?”
As he said those words, it was as though everything around me dimmed out. All the noise and all the colours faded, leaving only Brennan and I in the entire world. I didn’t have to think, I knew instinctively what my answer was. “Yes. I will marry you,” I said, unable to hold back the tears any longer.
He leant over the table and kissed me. “Thank you,” he breathed.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black ring box. My breath caught as he opened it and pulled out a stunning, antique diamond ring. I couldn’t tear my gaze from it as he delicately placed it on my left ring finger. It was beautiful; a generous square-cut diamond set in an ornate platinum band.
‘You’re really happy, aren’t you?’ I asked him as I observed every part of his face, mesmerised by what the emotion looked like on the outside, from his easy smile to his brows that were not at all crinkled like mine always seemed to be.
‘“Happy” seems tremendously understated I think.’ My nerves grew all at once wilder under the surface of my skin and my eyes widened. ‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ he said, as a hint of a smirk pulled on his lips as if they were gating a secret behind them.
With his relaxed disposition and loosely worn wedding attire, I could hardly breathe let alone answer him. ‘Like what?’ I managed.
‘As if I’m about to lure you into the fires of hell.’
‘How do I know that you won’t?’
He wrapped an arm around my waist and held my hand out to our side with the other, taking the pose that would begin a traditional waltz. He pulled me securely against him. ‘You know me better than that. Now, it’s about time that we get a little loose, don’t you think?
‘Nick,’ I warned, though all over my body my skin prickled with anticipation of what he had planned.
‘Do you trust me?’
‘You’re up to something,’ I accused.
‘You didn’t answer my question.’
‘I trust you, but—’
He shook his head dismissively. ‘No buts. It’s a yes or no question, angel.’
‘Yes. I trust you.’
‘That’s my girl.’
Abi rested her hands upon Mackenzie’s knees, her fingers playing with his coarse leg hair. Her breasts bobbed salaciously above the water line and her wanton nipples peaked as the sensation of the warm water and the cool air teased her skin. Mackenzie placed his hands over her hands and she felt the warmth emanate from his palms. She closed her eyes and was absorbed in the immeasurable pleasure of a simple bath.
His hands splashed into the water and his fingers caressed her calf muscle. She opened her eyes. He was watching her. His honey eyes drew her in. Her heart beat faster and heat rose from within her core. As he devoured her with his gaze she wondered what he was thinking.
He licked his lips. “Would you like a foot massage?”
She swallowed hard, unable to answer.
Without taking his eyes off her he lifted her foot from the water and she chewed on her bottom lip in an attempt to curb the fireworks racing through her body. Her breath deepened more with each toe he massaged and she felt herself melting away when he ran his thumbs down her instep. Her heart quickened as she experienced one of the most sensuous moments of her life.
An exquisite pulsing between her thighs surprised her.
She wanted him to touch her more but she had no idea if he wanted her too. As she looked into his eyes she wondered if he was thinking the same thing. Never before had she wanted to be with someone so much.
Matilda smiled up at him, her eyes dark with passion. As she lay back against the pillow, her bright hair fanned out around her perfect face. ‘I know that you are to be married and that you will belong to another, but tonight I want what your eyes have promised me from the first moment we met.’
Dear God. This woman would be his undoing.
Kit knelt at the side of the bed and ran his fingers around the loose collar of her blouse. The sight of peaked nipples—visible through the cotton of her blouse—and of goosebumps sparking in the wake of his fingers caused an agonising pulse of need to score his already-tense body.
Surely she didn’t understand what she was saying.
‘Kit.’ The breathless tone of her voice turned his name into a caress more potent than the touch of her body. She was irresistible, and she was right—he had dreamed of this since that first moment she had leaned across the dinner table, captivating him in the candlelight.
Bending over her, Kit took her lips, kissing her slowly as though they had all the time in the world. As he nipped at her lower lip, she moaned in pleasure, licking and stroking until his body screamed with need.
Kit released her mouth and trailed a line of kisses across her cheek, inhaling the scent of warmth and sunshine in her hair.
‘Tell me once more,’ he whispered against her cheek. As much as he wanted her, this had to be her decision and must be made of her own free will. He would not take her until he truly knew it was her wish.
‘I want you, Kit. It is my gift.’ Matilda stated the words simply, ‘My gift to myself.’
A rapid splash under the shower got him as alert as he was going to be. He was just reaching for the towel when the bathroom door opened and Erica slipped in, wearing a short cotton robe and looking pale and washed out. ‘You need a shave,’ she said, reaching out one small hand and touching his cheek.
‘Yeah,’ Nathan said, pushing the water out of his hair as he turned off the shower. She handed him a towel, and he wrapped it around his waist as she opened the bathroom cabinet and rummaged amongst the shelves. Then she pulled a small blue stool out from a corner and pushed him down on to it. Nathan didn’t protest as she soaped up his face, tilted his head to the side and set about shaving off a week’s worth of growth.
‘You’ve done this before,’ he said, wanting so badly to pull her close and just hold her, to tell her everything was going to be alright.
‘No,’ she replied. ‘But I’ve always wanted to.’ She touched her mouth to a clean patch of skin on his jaw. ‘I’m in love with you, you know,’ she said, offering him a pained little smile. ‘I didn’t mean to be. But it happened anyway.’ Another stroke of the blade against his skin, this time across his chin.
Brent Coleman’s gut clenched when the doorbell echoed through the house, heralding the arrival of another of Valentine’s Dates. Watching from the window, he committed the licence plate to memory as the expensive car eased down the driveway and out of sight. His fingers tightened on the frame, his knuckles turning white with the effort to rein in his jealousy. The sequence of beeps behind him indicated the front gate had been passed and the following three longer and one short beep marked the activation of the perimeter alarm.
He let go of the window frame with exaggerated care and turned to check the control panel. The property was broken up into zones, each linked in an overall system that protected the premises of the sprawling three thousand-square-metre estate. It was overkill, but it was a valuable testing ground. Being able to work out the bugs in his latest programs on the harbour-side mansion meant real-life experience and he wasn’t stuck in the office twenty-four-seven. Luckily, Wade, his business partner and best friend, more than welcomed Brent’s need to regularly tweak the security systems their company built.
Satisfied the alarm was armed, he made his way back to his office. Working and living with Wade had never been a problem, even once his best friend married and had a baby. Vee moving back in, however, made him uncomfortable. The woman had been a thorn in his side since the day she turned eighteen and made it clear any attention he gave her would be willingly received. But he couldn’t bring himself to admit he’d fallen for his best friend’s little sister. Talk about a walking cliché.
Melinda dumped her wine glass on the bar, slipped off the chair and headed for the dance floor to join her friends. It was stupid to feel so hurt but she did. James didn’t know she had feelings for him, so she really had no reason to be angry. To him, she was just his housemate; the girl he could joke around with and test his pick up lines on.
The fact that she’d fallen in love him was her problem. He was the perfect housemate. He cooked, cleaned, ironed and listened. He even watched chick flicks with her sometimes.
He was the perfect guy and to him, she was just Melinda; the girl whose house he shared. He’d never once batted an eyelid when she’d brought guys home. In the beginning, she hadn’t batted an eyelid when he’d done the same and bought girls home. The fact that she hadn’t gotten laid in over six months wasn’t his issue. It was totally hers.
The realisation she’d fallen for him had been one Friday night when they’d been sharing Chinese. He’d said something and she’d looked over at him and WHAM that was when it had hit her. She’d fallen for him.
Mooning over a guy who wasn’t into you was the least attractive trait in a woman. How many times had she’d told her friends that? Now it was time to take her own advice and get over her feelings for James.
Chris takes me in his arms, brushes the stray hairs off my face and gently traces my rounded cheek with his fingers. “My beautiful wife,” he says smiling at me. Those sexy crinkles melt my heart again. He puts a hand on my tummy and right at that moment the baby kicks. His face lights up and then he looks at my tummy as though it is the most miraculous thing he’s ever seen. “I can’t wait to meet you, little one. Be kind to your Mummy. She’s the love of my life.” A tear rolls down my cheek and my chin wobbles as he takes my face in his rough hands and brings his lips to mine in the most delicate, loving kiss I’ve ever experienced. I can still feel his lips long after he’s pulled away.
He heads out the door. “I love you, Chris,” I call out after him, but he’s gone and doesn’t hear me.
~ Hope you enjoyed these excerpts and hope you’ve found a new book to read! Which excerpt/s caught your attention the most?
On the 8th Day of Christmas…
…my true love gave to me… an interview on Lindy Dale’s blog!
And here it is. Lindy’s been doing a ’23 days of Christmas’ author interview series, so make sure you check out all the other fab interviews too while you’re there.
In this interview I talk about where I got the idea for FAST FORWARD, character crushes, and what I’d like to do before the world ends. I also share a short excerpt from the book.
Check out the interview here.