Here’s a little about the book…
A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.
Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.
Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?
Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).
For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.
Without further ado, here’s the extract. I hope you enjoy. Over to you, Tim.
Thank you so much Laura, for letting me share an extract from We Are Animals with everyone at Novel Kicks! In this extract, the protagonist’s parents do not know that their son has stowed away on a stranger’s boat, dreaming of lands afar. I’ve chosen this extract as an example of one of the smaller love stories that pop up along the plot of We Are Animals.
I hope you enjoy it…
*****beginning of extract*****
Jan’s mother, still completely unaware of Jan’s lack of presence in Fishton, and of his unauthorised presence on England man’s boat, was washing the family’s clothes.
Now, there are three types of clothes washers. There are those who don’t use detergent and don’t sort their socks (the slackers), there are those who do use detergent but don’t sort their socks (the half-a-jobbers), and there are those who do use detergent and do sort their socks (the jobs-worths). Jan’s Mother was of category number three, religiously. It was when she was sorting Jan’s socks that she realised something must be wrong. There were seventeen in total, twelve of which she could match. She sat on her kitchen floor with the other five surrounding her. She’d had the odd odd sock before, and could handle that, but five? Something wasn’t right. ‘What a waste of detergent,’ she thought. Then she worried about the five missing socks. She hadn’t seen them when she’d been cleaning, and she prided herself on her housekeeping. Where were those socks?
Incidentally, you will notice that there are only three types of clothes washers – not four. No one has ever not used detergent but then sorted their socks. These people simply do not exist.
When Jan’s father returned home from the fish shop with their tea he found Jan’s mother sitting on the kitchen floor repeatedly tying the odd socks together and then untying them again.by
When former Olympic Swimmer, Michael Adams—now Canada’s hottest reality TV star— insults his fake showbiz wife on social media, he escapes the ensuing scandal and jumps on the first flight to Australia. Desperate to experience ordinary life again—if only for a few weeks—he becomes “Adam”, just another tourist traveling through the Outback. But with a reward out for his safe return and his fame’s nasty habit of catching up with him when he least expects, he needs a better disguise… and he’s just found it.
Sweet and scruffy British backpacker, Evie Blake, is taking a year out of her busy London life. Tired of lies and liars, she’s looking for adventure to heal her broken heart. So when the hot Canadian she meets at the campground offers to be her travel partner through Western Australia’s wild Kimberley region, she grabs the chance, unaware he’s got the world out looking for him.
He’s just a down-on-his-luck traveler, right?
If you want my opinion, it sounds amazing.
OK, so do you have a cup of tea… biscuits… a comfy chair? Excellent. Keep reading and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Extract intro: When Adam first meets Evie
“Adam” is a Canadian celebrity-sportsman on the run from scandal, pretending to be an ordinary tourist on the Australian backpacker trail. Evie is a British backpacker working as a cleaner at the campground she’s been staying at. Adam has just arrived at the campground, very hot and very dirty after a few days on the road…
He grabbed his gel and towel, and stepped out of the truck. Man, this heat was intense. The air thick and heavy like soup. He wiped the towel over his sweat-slicked face, desperate for cold water on his skin. But when he reached the shower block, a sign stood in his way.
No frickin’ way.
“Hello?” he called, but when no reply came back, he stepped inside, thinking what the hell? He stripped and stood under the shower, turning the dial full blast toward the blue arrow. He’d be thirty seconds, sixty tops—just long enough to feel something cold on his skin and wash away the three-day grime. By the time the cleaning guy returned, he’d be cooled off, semi-dressed and out.
Only the water wasn’t cold and the cleaning guy not a guy at all.
Adam wiped soapy water from his eyes and focused on the figure standing before him. The cleaning guy was a young woman with huge brown eyes and sun-streaked hair scraped back into a tight knot on the top of her head, just like his favorite aunt Florence used to wear. Except Aunt Flo’s hair was gray and looked like wire, and she’d never before stood outside his shower gawping at his naked penis—unlike this bug-eyed stranger.
“The showers are closed,” the woman said to his bare butt as he whipped around. Her accent was flat and clipped—British—like royalty, though looking over his shoulder he saw nothing regal about her. She was dressed in dark green shorts and a dirty light-blue vest, damp with patches of sweat or water, or both. White earphones dangled around her neck. He turned off the shower.
“Didn’t you notice the bright yellow sign? The cleaning bucket? The distinct lack of shower curtain?”
Well, he’d ignored the sign and bucket, obviously, and throughout his career, he’d been in plenty of changing rooms at top sporting venues around the world all boasting a distinct lack of shower curtain. Okay, they were all a lot nicer than this dump, but he’d never been in a place like this before so how would he know?
“If you’d be so kind as to pass me my towel, I’ll get out of your way.”
She handed it to him, finally lifting her gaze to his face. Her eyes narrowed. He narrowed his own back, already picturing the headlines.by
Set in the rolling countryside of Devon, ‘In Too Deep’ is the emotional story of a woman’s determination to win the trust of the man she’s adored since they were thrown together as children, by forcing him to confront the darkness of his long-lost past.
One little lie. A guilty secret. And the man she mustn’t love…
It’s been six years since Isy Forrester left home. In that time, she’s strived to forge a new life for herself in London, away from Jack Mancini, her father’s adopted son, and his devastating betrayal of everything she thought they had.
Only now her father’s in hospital, and the house that’s been in her family for generations is at risk. Forced to return to Devon, she finds Jack as infuriating and stubborn as ever, and just as irresistible. Soon she realises the bright lights of London can’t hold a candle to him.
But Jack has a past, one which he refuses to share with her. And until he can trust her with these deepest secrets, how can she risk her heart? How can she even begin to help him, when he won’t tell her what happened all those years ago – before her father brought him home to Hambledon Hall?
Elly has shared an extract from In Too Deep today. Enjoy!
***** beginning of extract*****
Jack is waiting for Isy to return from a brief stay in London to Hambledon Hall
‘You’re quiet tonight, my lad,’ Frank said, as Jack stared down at the iPhone in his hand. ‘And checking that constantly isn’t going to bring her back any sooner.’
Jack knew that. Of course, he knew that and part of him wished the damned thing hadn’t been invented. Only he was waiting for a text that hadn’t come. A WhatsApp message to tell him she’d left and was on her way home.
‘It’s almost seven o’clock,’ Frank said, checking his watch. ‘Why don’t you try to phone her and tell her to wait until tomorrow? Then you can go out with your mates, and I won’t have to worry about her driving back in the dark?’
‘I tried,’ he said, trying to shrug it off, as though it was of no consequence. ‘She didn’t pick up.’
‘You’ve got to stop doing this, you know,’ Frank said, leaning towards him. ‘You’ve got to let her go. You did it before. You can do it again.’
Jack wasn’t so sure. She’d been gone two days now and it seemed like forever. ‘I should have told her everything before she left for London the first time. We should have told her everything when you took me in.’
‘She was too young. She wouldn’t have understood.’by
Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.
At least she has Rob. Young, rich, handsome and successful, Rob runs a tech company on the idyllic Cornish coast. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health. When she’s with him, in his luxury modernist house, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.
Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor.
Is Rob who he says he is? Or is it all in Kate’s damaged mind?
J.S. Monroe and Head of Zeus have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Kate glances across at Rob’s smooth, sleeping body and slips quietly out of bed, wrapping a cotton dressing gown around her as she steps out onto the terrace. It’s a warm August evening and no one can see her here. The isolated house, all glass and oak and concrete, is cut deep into the Cornish hillside and faces out to sea, which is empty tonight, apart from the winking lights of tankers moored in the distance off Falmouth.
‘You OK?’ Rob calls out.
She swings around. It’s too dark in the bedroom to see him properly.
‘I couldn’t sleep,’ she says, turning back towards the bay, where a ribbon of moonlight has been laid across the water.
A moment later, his arms are wrapped around her from behind. ‘Come back to bed,’ he whispers in her ear.
She can feel him against her, a familiar swelling. She rests her hand on his smooth forearm and thinks again about the necklace he gave her earlier, his insensitive response to her squeal of pain. It still niggles.
‘Thank you for the present,’ she says. He must have just been tired. Hardly surprising after a long week at work and then the flight down.
‘Not too tight?’ he asks.
Back inside the bedroom, they snuggle up in the darkness. In all other respects, he’s played it well this evening. He ran her a bath with Moroccan rose oil and brought in two glasses of chilled champagne. Her exhaustion of earlier slipped away. Afterwards, he was the one who fell asleep almost instantly, like a laptop closing.
‘Talk to me,’ she says now, quietly. ‘Tell me about your week.’
She still doesn’t understand exactly what Rob does in London. One of the articles she read about his meteoric career described him as a serial ‘techpreneur’, the youngest ever founder of a British ‘unicorn’ company and a pioneering champion of something called ‘direct neural interface’ technology – the interaction between brain and machine. She likes the sound of unicorns. The ‘disruptive’ tag is less appealing. He also runs a charity on the side that puts on art shows in hospitals, which is how they met.by
Here’s a little about the book:
Romance blossoms under the stars in this feel good love story for fans of Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain.
Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.
Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.
Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.
Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…
Full of warmth, tears, love and laughter, this is a gripping romance for fans of Heidi Swain and Philippa Ashley.
Alison and Aria have shared an extract today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Lily looked around the room again for Mark but couldn’t see him. Perhaps he was in the gents’, trying out his speech. She wondered what he would say. Would he go down on one knee, even in the middle of the dancefloor? She secretly hoped so. That was how she had always wanted it to be done. And now the time was finally near.
A small frown creased her forehead. In fact, the time was actually a little overdue according to her life plan. She had wanted to get engaged on her birthday, but Mark had given her a lovely necklace instead of a ring. He knew about her plans to be engaged by the time she was thirty, so he only had until her next birthday to propose.
But she could forgive him for the short delay, as it was such a glorious setting that summer evening and would make an amazing story to tell their children. Perhaps they would come back to the Natural History Museum when the kids were old enough to understand.
‘And that’s where Daddy proposed to Mummy. Right by that dinosaur.’
Lily smiled expectantly at her reflection in the hallway mirror. She tucked a stray lock of red hair behind her ear, but her ponytail and simple makeup had remained in place. Her green eyes were framed with just a lick of dark mascara, her lips painted with a natural matte colour. Nice and neat. Nothing too outlandish.by
The grieving widow. The other woman. Which one is which?
When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.
Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.
Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.
Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years…
Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed.
As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…
Previously published as After He’s Gone.
To celebrate the book’s release, Jane and Aria have shared an extract. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Residents of Collingtree Park were just taking their waking breaths when the roar of a motorbike broke their Sunday morning reverie.
At high speed, the rider took the bends effortlessly, radiating a cool calmness in dark leathers. He passed houses with curtains drawn tightly, manicured lawns, driveways adorned with estate cars and people-carriers screaming out for their weekend wash.
Exhaust fumes dispersed into an air thick from a sun already flexing its muscles, reigning supreme in the clear blue sky. Summer was in full swing, the recent heatwave showing no signs of abating. In a few hours, paddling pools would be refilled in back gardens, the sound of children’s shrieks and laughter filling the area.
At precisely 7.05 a.m., Cameron Swift emerged from number sixteen Meadowbrook Close, pulling the door to a gentle close behind him.
The bike dropped a gear, rounded the lip of the close, and pulled up the incline.by
They say you should never go back, but glamorous Ronnie Percy did just that, to the home she ran away from with her lover.
But not everyone is finding it easy to forgive and forget.
Daughter Pax, fighting for custody of her small son as her own marriage disintegrates, is furious to have to spend New Year’s Eve waiting for some stranger her mother has invited to help run the family stud farm.
Even more annoyed is the staunchly loyal stud head groom, Lester. Does Ronnie think he’s lost his touch with the horses? And anyway, who is this so-called Horsemaker, Luca O’Brien? Why does he seem to be running away from something? And what is the true story of his relationship with grey stallion Beck, once destined for the Olympics, now broken and unrideable, screaming his anger from the Compton Magna stables.
Passionate, sexy, gripping, laced with her trademark wisdom and humour, this is bestselling Fiona Walker at her dazzling best.
To celebrate the release of Country Lovers, Fiona has shared an extract today. I hope you love it as much as I did.
*****beginning of extract*****
Convinced the stud’s revival would bring her family closer together, Ronnie refused to be daunted by the hard work needed to make it profitable by the trustees’ deadline. She just had to attract owners, generate stud fees and sell horses fast. Horse-trading was in her blood.
In the room behind her, Ronnie’s two small dogs were rooting round the skirting boards on the hunt for mice, sneezing at the dust. Tough, low-slung black and tans – mother and daughter Lancashire Heelers – their tails gyrated at fresh scent.
‘Catch ’em, girls,’ she urged. ‘Got to make this place habitable.’ She glanced round the room, part of a long-neglected staff flat. Blast the housekeeper for going AWOL just when they needed her most, a handwritten note delivered last week to say she was fed up working for nothing.
Well, she couldn’t afford to buy Pip back when she had a new work rider to pay.
Hired before she’d changed her mind about staying on, Luca O’Brien was an added expense Ronnie knew she must justify. Having poached him from a big Canadian showjumping yard, she’d vetoed both daughters’ demands to withdraw the job offer at the last-minute. No rider could make a horse look as good as Luca; added to which he wasn’t afraid to muck in and get his hands dirty, could manage a yard, and never stopped smiling. Lester had his teeth gritted too tightly in disapproval to muster much joy these days.
She watched the small, bowed figure in the distance, throwing open the gate to the winter turn-out then limping back to the broad-span barn to let out a stampede of yak-like woolly beasts, kicking and squealing as they charged into the field to shake off the straw, playfight and roll. Somewhere beneath all the matted hair and mud were some decent youngsters, she hoped. And whinnying furiously from his stallion box in the yard, trumpeting his superiority, her beautiful grey powerhouse would wow fellow breeders just as soon as she figured out how to defuse the bomb in his head.
Her phone face lit up on the windowsill, notifications pinging. ‘At last!’by
Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.
Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.
In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.
Barbara has shared an extract today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Behind us a car’s radio blares “Born in the USA.” Curious, I turn and watch a black convertible pull into the driveway next door. The sandy-haired man in the driver’s seat sings at the top of his lungs and bangs his hands on the steering wheel. He alternates his drumming with a little air guitar. He does neither well.
Mr. Air Guitar gives off an aura of happiness and an appearance that says “I’m carefree” that annoys me. I dislike him, even if he’s a fellow Springsteen fan. He makes me think about the huge pack of trouble I’m trying to unload, the one named Jerome, the one who routinely porks his trainer. Still, nothing requires me to be friends with the neighbors.
Terri opens her door and climbs out. She waves at Mr. Air Guitar, but the man remains engrossed in his playing and fails to notice. He strums a muscled arm again to the blast of the radio, and my ears grow hot. The guy probably knows nothing about the meaning of the song he sings. The mantra “Born in the USA” isn’t a rallying cry for overzealous patriots no matter how many times they try to claim it.by
Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!
Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.
Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround.
Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.
Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show.
As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…
To celebrate the release of One Christmas Star, Mandy and Aria have shared an extract today.
***** beginning of extract*****
Before Emily had a chance to reply, the sharing-size bag of Haribos was pushed under her nose by Dennis Murray, the forty-something teacher of the Year Five class. He shook the plastic and all manner of gum, sugar, sweet and sour flew into Emily’s sinuses in one mammoth rush. She picked out a sweet simply to get the bag away from her nose. Popping it into her mouth, the bitterness hit her taste-buds straight off, contorting her expression. She watched, one eye squinted, as Dennis put five sweets into his mouth at once, double-chin wobbling. He was a walking, talking pick ‘n’ mix addict but still his capacity for sugary sweet treats astounded her. Simon had liked sweets – Maltesers, Minstrels, Mars Bites, all the chocolate. Simon had liked chocolate the way Emily liked cheese…
‘So, what do you think the budget meeting is going to be about this time?’ Dennis asked, nudging Emily’s arm as the other teachers joined them in the main hall used for assemblies, performances, lunch and meetings such as these. ‘Christmas cancelled? No unnecessary expense until we’re back in January?’
‘I don’t know,’ Emily answered. ‘But no matter what it is, I can’t protest.’ She lowered her voice and leant a little into Dennis’s personal space. ‘Susan caught me giving Jayden Jackson help with his project this morning and I bought him a bagel because I know he isn’t getting breakfast at home.’ She wasn’t getting breakfast at home herself, but only because the cupboards always seemed to be bare now Jonah had gone. Plus, really strong coffee almost counted as a meal, didn’t it?
Dennis sucked through his teeth, bits of gum crushed between his canines. ‘A double-whammy.’
‘I know,’ Emily said with a sigh. ‘I only narrowly managed to avoid the proverbial third thing because the Sellotape on the Christmas stars held out just long enough until Susan had closed the door behind her.’ But she knew she was under scrutiny and it made her nervous. She pulled at the sides of her maroon corduroy skirt, shifting her bottom on the too-small chair. Had she picked one of the children’s chairs and not a grown-up one. That was exactly how her luck was right now…
‘Definitely no extra baubles for the Year Six Christmas tree this year then,’ Dennis remarked, chewing on more sweets.
Emily’s phone erupted, tweeting like a bird, from inside her all-colours vintage carpet bag. It had been a bargain. Well, actually it had been quite expensive, but it was a genuine 1950s artifact. And she’d been quite emotional on that particular visit to the antique boutique. Emotion and her love of vintage were a heady mix…by
Christmas and romance are in the air…
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
Lucy and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Standing beneath the steady stream of hot water without the overhead shower wetting my hair isn’t easy but it’s so refreshing. By the time I’ve dried, changed my underwear and donned the crease-resistant, long-sleeved top rolled up in my hand luggage, I at least have a bit of my sparkle back. A quick brush of my hair, a squirt of deodorant and then perfume, and I’m done.
Making my way back into the open area of the lounge and scanning around the sea of occupied seats, I look for Cary. His head appears above the crowded masses as he stands to wave at me and I head in his direction. He, too, is looking a little more refreshed, I notice as I sink down very gratefully into the squishy leather seat next to him.by
Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One shot at love…
There are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie Midwinter isn’t one of them.
At the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a ‘proper’ grown-up.
She’s eternally strapped for cash, she hasn’t had a date in nearly a year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won’t stop asking her out.
The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.
But when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally time for her to grow up?
Mary Jayne and her publisher have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘The chances of me getting lucky with Sally Pemberton are slim to none,’ Dave said.
‘The chances of Si getting lucky with Sally Pemberton, and me therefore receiving the knock-on benefit of a faster pint, are about 99.9 per cent. I’ll take those odds.’
Clarrie was still squinting at the photo of the dog, which was small and Ewok-like with curly beige fur.
‘I reckon it’s a cavapoo,’ she said.
Si shook his head. ‘That’s not a thing.’
‘It is too a thing, the woman next door to my mum’s got one.’
‘What, so it’s half poodle, half fizzy wine?’
She nudged him, smiling. ‘Half Cavalier King Charles, you div.’
‘You know, dogs really went downhill when they started breeding them for comedy portmanteau purposes.’
‘Go on then, write it down,’ Dave said, rolling the pen to Clarrie. ‘You’re captain, you get final say.’
‘All right.’ She jotted it into the answer box. ‘But if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I don’t want it following me to the grave like Sonny and the fifth Marx brother.’
Sonny scowled. ‘Do we have to bring that up every week? Anyone could’ve made that mistake.’
‘Very true,’ Dave said gravely. ‘I’m sure Karl had plenty of time after writing Das Kapital for a bit of slapstick fun with the family.’
‘Oh, knob off, can you?’ Sonny rubbed a V-sign at Dave against his cheek. ‘Eight years ago I got that wrong. Jesus.’
‘Still funny though,’ Dave said, grinning. ‘Right, I’m off to the bar. Same again, you lot?’
Jeff was half asleep again, but he flickered to attention when he heard the magic word ‘bar’.
‘Another Landlord for me, young Davy.’
‘I’ll skip this round.’ Simon waggled his still half-full beer. ‘All right with what I’ve got for now.’
Clarrie glanced at the dregs of her pint. She had to work tomorrow. Probably should go easy…
Oh, what the hell.by
Without further ado, over to you, Barbara.
Hi! Thank you for letting me visit.
I’m going to share with you a little secret. As much as writers love telling stories, the actual process of writing a book can be a long and boring process. After all, you try and spend months with the same two people in your head. Therefore we sometimes – okay I sometimes – make up little inside jokes and references as a way of making the work fun.
What I’d thought I’d do today is share some of those behind the scenes facts. I’m also sharing some of the great historical facts I learned while doing research. Provence and Nantucket are both rich with history. Because Philippe is an historian, I was able to weave in a few facts, but just as many ended up discarded. (Until now.)
Lastly, I decided to share a deleted scene with you all as well. I thought it might be fun for you to see the kinds of things that editors suggest we cut.
So, without further ado, let me present, Ten Fun Facts About One Night in Provence (whether you wanted to know them or not.)
The Destination Brides series was originally named Bucket List Brides. We conceived the idea during a brainstorming session on Facebook Messenger. It began as an excuse for Donna Alward, Nina Singh and I to work together on a project. We asked Liz Fielding to join us because working with her was on our personal bucket lists.
Jenna Brown and her colleagues Shirley and Donna were named for my fellow romance authors Jenna Bayley Burke, Shirley Jump and Donna Alward.
In the book, Shirley is dating a man named Joe. In real life, Shirley will be marrying her fiancé Joe this fall.
Chateau de Beauchamp is based on a real five star French hotel: La Bastide de Gordes. Sadly, I haven’t been there. Never been to Provence either. I’ve spent exactly eight hours in France. Long enough to do a hop on/hop off tour of Paris.
Equally sad is the fact that those eight hours are more than I ever spent in Nantucket – despite living four hours away. By the way, The Whaler Inn in Nantucket – the Merchant auction takes place – is also based on a real hotel. The Ocean House Resort in Westerly, Rhode Island. That hotel was recently named one of the best in the country. Oh yeah, and Taylor Swift lives down the street.
The White Terror that Philippe refers to when he first meets Jenna was an uprising staged by the royalists following the French revolution. Members of the noble classes briefly fought back by conducting nighttime terror raids.
The Tour Magne in Nimes is real and you can climb the stairs. It was built by the Romans in 15 BC.
Philippe’s apartment is located in Arles. Vincent Van Gogh also lived in Arles. In fact, I imagined Philippe’s apartment overlooking the park near Van Gogh’s famous yellow house. While living in the Arles, Van Gogh decided to focus many of his paintings on a single theme: Sunflowers. Arles is also where Van Gogh severed his ear.by
I am happy to welcome Shari Low back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, One Day in Winter.
On a cold December’s morning…
Caro sets off to find the truth: has her relationship with her father been based on a lifetime of lies?
Cammy can’t wait to surprise the woman he loves with a proposal. All he needs is the perfect ring.
Lila can no longer hide her secret. She has to tell her lover’s wife about their affair.
After thirty years, Bernadette knows it’s time. She’s ready to leave her controlling husband… and never look back.
Over the course of twenty-four hours, four lives are about to change forever…
Shari and Aria have shared an extract today.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘No, please, you go first.’ The elderly man smiled gratefully, as the young blonde woman held the train door open for him. He’d read the Daily Mail. These… what was it they called them? Millennials? Anyway, according to the papers, the young ones these days were all supposed to be so entitled and self-centred that they didn’t give a hoot for anyone else, but this young lady certainly didn’t fall into that category. Actually, now that their faces were so close together, maybe not so young. Perhaps late twenties? Thirties? Pretty, and without all that make-up the young ones wear nowadays. Eyebrows like snails, some of them. But not this lovely woman.
Caro returned his smile and held the train door open until the gent had, painstakingly slowly, climbed the step on to the train. No hurry. She’d waited this long to make the journey south to Glasgow. Although, right now, there was a huge part of her that wanted to stay in the comforting cocoon of home city.
Aberdeen train station was bustling with commuters arriving from less expensive postcodes. A city with the third largest population in Scotland, after Glasgow and Edinburgh, in the heyday of the oil industry, this had been boomtown. The black gold that was pumped in from the oil rigs off the coast had seeped into every brick of the granite that lined the streets, bringing American oil companies, financial investment, big spenders and the air of confidence that it would last forever.by
A big hello to John Steinberg and the blog tour for his novel, Nadine.
London 1974 – and Peter Greenberg is riding high. Thanks to his magic touch, every play he puts on in Theatreland is a hit and the money is rolling in. The young man’s empire feels secure – but then everything changes. One evening, he calls in to see a rival’s musical and falls head over heels in love.
The beautiful Paris-born dancer who catches his eye is Nadine – a major star in the making. Like Greenberg, the young dancer too is in love – but with someone else. The eternal triangle is complicated by the birth of a child, and by tragic secrets that go back before World War Two; slowly, those secrets reveal themselves in a drama that out-performs anything on the West End stage or Broadway.
Nadine is a poignant story of unrequited love, a love that will one day be returned – and in a most unexpected way…
John has shared an extract today. Enjoy.
**** beginning of extract*****
Greenberg has lost his theatre and his luxurious Georgian home. His wife has run off with his accountant with whom she’s been having an affair and he’s been relegated to living in a one bed flat above a North London Florists. With too much time on his hands, Greenberg is teetering on the edge of depression.
A phone call from an unexpected source, Nadine’s father, offers him a lifeline and a chance to salvage his reputation.
Jacques Bertrand had described himself perfectly. Medium height, with a full head of white hair and a tanned complexion. He resembled Alan Ladd, the 1940s Hollywood actor, Greenberg thought to himself. They had arranged to meet at Nadine’s graveside. It was probably his last chance, Jacques said, to see where his daughter had been laid to rest and to beg for her forgiveness.
Greenberg couldn’t believe what the other man was proposing. The chance to put together a major musical production based on his daughter’s life seemed completely surreal. It was, in the old man’s words, his ‘last opportunity to try to make up for the despicable way he had discarded Nadine when she had needed him most’.
‘Alors, Monsieur Greenberg, do we have an agreement?’ the old man said, suddenly coming to life.
‘Jacques, it’s very kind of you, but I’ll need to give it some thought. What you are asking is a huge commitment.’by
A big welcome back to Zoë Folbigg and the blog tour for The Postcard.
The sequel to the bestselling phenomenon The Note – based on the true story of one girl and her ‘Train Man’…
A year after the kiss that brought them together in a snowy train-station doorway, Maya and James are embarking on another journey – this time around the world. The trip starts promisingly, with an opulent and romantic Indian wedding.
But as their travels continue, Maya fears that ‘love at first sight’ might not survive trains, planes and tuk tuks, especially when she realises that what she really wants is a baby, and James doesn’t feel the same. Can Maya and James navigate their different hopes and dreams to stay together? Or is love at first sight just a myth after all…
Zoë and Aria have shared an extract from the Postcard today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
December 2015, Kent, England
‘Happy Christmas, James. Happy Christmas, girls,’ James’ mum says in a small voice as she raises an elaborately cut glass of sherry at the table. It’s the most flamboyant Diane Miller gets all year.
‘What about me?’
‘You too, dear,’ she says to her husband, as he scratches his white hair. ‘You too.’
James’ dad, Stuart, and his sister, Francesca, barely look up from their plates. Francesca’s wife, Petra, lifts her wine glass, closely followed by James, and they say ‘Happy Christmas’ in unison. ‘Cheers Diane,’ adds Petra. ‘Thanks for a beautiful lunch.’
The Christmas dinner table at the Miller home in Kent is quieter than the Flowers of Hazelworth. It is circular, covered by a neat tablecloth with holly embroidered onto it. I
n the middle, a metal Christmas carousel rotates, where angels chase – but never catch – each other, powered by heat rising from the candles around it. Gold crackers perch uncracked on beige linen napkins, and Diane’s late mother’s Denby ware pottery all still matches.
No one’s elbows knock into anyone else’s elbows. No one shouts ‘SPUDS TO THE NORTH END!’ over a clatter of crockery and glasses. Neither James nor Francesca flash a mouthful of food at their sibling.by