Zenka by alison brodie author @alisonbrodie2 #GuestPost

Morning all! I’m delighted to welcome Alison Brodie back to Chat About Books today 🙂



Ruthless, capricious, and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

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Jack glanced sharply at the gun in Zenka’s hand. ‘Put that down!’ ‘No.’ ‘I didn’t order those shooters for your benefit.’ She shrugged and picked up another gun. Jack bristled. ‘I told you to wait in the car!’ ‘Car boring.’ ‘You can’t have that. It’s illegal.’ She was aiming the gun at the wall, one eye closed as she looked along the barrel. ‘I need gun to protect myself from people.’ ‘No, Zenka, people need gun to protect themselves from you.’ She laughed, a full-throated laugh, her face suddenly alive and sparkling. Jack was staring at her in fury, but he was helpless. How can you reprimand someone so beautiful, so fearless?



Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. Brodie is an international, best-selling author. Her books have been published by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Reviews for her debut, FACE TO FACE: “Fun to snuggle up with” –GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Pick of the Paperbacks. “Vane but wildly funny leading lady” -Scottish Daily Mail. Brodie has now gone “indie”. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books.
BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” -Midwest Book Review THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review. ZENKA (to be released 6 Nov, 2017): “ZENKA is top of my list for best fiction this year. If Tina Fey and Simon Pegg got together to write a dark and hilarious mobster story with a happy ending, ZENKA would be the result.” -Lauren Sapala, WriteCity

Praise for Zenka:

“A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy” –D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

5* “To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement” –Bloggers from Down Under

5* “Top of my list for best fiction this year” – Lauren Sapala, WriteCity

5* “You won’t be able to put this book down” –Laura Reading

5* “Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing” –Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered.


US:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07534Y6QZ

UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07534Y6QZ

Canada:  https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07534Y6QZ

Australia:  https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07534Y6QZ








Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/AlisonBrodieAuthor/


Previous post featuring Alison Brodie and her books…..

Brake Failure by Alison Brodie @alisonbrodie2 #BookReview #AuthorInterview #Excerpt



#AuthorInterview with Rosie Millard @Rosiemillard @Legend_Press

Morning all! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Rosie Millard 🙂 You may remember I featured Rosie’s most recent book, The Brazilian, a little while back (The Brazilian by Rosie Millard @Rosiemillard @Legend_Press #Extract & #Giveaway).

Rosie has very kindly agreed to answer my questions…..

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I am a journalist and writer and The Brazilian is my second novel and sequel to The Square, a comic romp set in North London. The Brazilian is another comic romp but set in Ibiza largely amid the terrain of a crazy TV reality show.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I get an overall idea of what I want to discuss – here, the craziness of celebrity, the way the British middle classes take holidays and the nature of parenting. The plot came from several of my own experiences woven together, especially being on a Channel 5 daytime reality show which was very fertile ground!

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

No they are all invented.

How do you pick your characters names?

I pick them with relation to the age of the character, hence my lead female character is called Jane which is never given to a young girl these days but which was very popular when I was growing up. Other than that I look for comic effect. One of my favourite characters is called Gilda, another Jasper. They reveal a bit of a theatrical nature in these people.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

I start early in the morning, edit what I wrote yesterday and stay at my computer until I have written 1000 fresh words. I do this every day until I reach about 80,000 words. Then I write The End.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

George Eliot, Tolstoy, George Saunders, Hanya Yanaghihara, Laura Ingalls Wilder

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would ask Martin Amis if he was satisfied.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes. Four books from the library every week for years.

When did you start to write?

I started writing features for newspapers when I was about 23.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

I would get Sydney Carton off the scaffold in Paris in the last page of Tale of Two Cities and I would marry him off to Lucy.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

The Diary of Bridget Jones

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I would invite David Copperfield to my children’s secondary school so he could see that education had improved since he was under Mr Creakle’s cruel management of children.

What are you working on right now?

I am writing a 3000 word piece on the Royal Navy for the Sunday Times Magazine

Do you have a new release due?

Mercifully, no! Writing fiction is very very hard – in my experience!

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I drink champagne and laugh a lot.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

Twitter @rosiemillard

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I love to make people laugh and think that life generally turns out OK. That’s the message of my books, if there is one.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Rosie 🙂 

My pleasure. Thanks for such interesting questions.

The Brazilian

Rosie Millard’s Amazon Author Page



She’s Gotta Be Mine by Jennifer Skully @jasminehaynes1 (A sexy, funny mystery/romance, Cottonmouth Book 1) #BookReview

She's Gotta Be Mine

My review…..

According to Amazon I purchased this book on 27th October 2012, so I thought it was about time I read it! I have to say I have really enjoyed it. It is exactly what it claims to be, “A sexy, funny, mystery/romance”.

I immediately liked Bobbie (AKA Roberta). She is 40 and recently separated from her husband, Warren. He left her for Cookie, who he seems to be have been obsessed with since high school.

Bobbie has given up her job and moved to Cottonmouth to make a brave new start. It becomes obvious as the story continues that Warren wasn’t the right person for her. There was no passion in their relationship at all and Roberta didn’t feel at all desirable. She decides to become Bobbie and is determined to prove to herself, and Warren, that she can find a man who will find her attractive. When she spots her new neighbour across the street, she more than likes what she sees.

Nick keeps himself to himself. He’s known locally as ‘the serial killer’ and although he’s very standoffish to start with, I couldn’t help but like his character. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the relationship between Bobbie and Nick develops. It doesn’t take long. The chemistry between them is palpable and there are one or two very sexy encounters between them!

Aside from the romance, there is a mystery to solve as a murder is committed and it’s a race against time to find out the real killer before anyone else gets hurt.

I found this to be a very well written story with great characters (a very eclectic bunch!) and a storyline full of romance, passion and suspense. I have added book 2 in the series to my wish list.

For more details and to buy your copy (currently free on Kindle, at time of posting)…..



No Way Back #BlogTour Kelly Florentia @kellyflorentia #BookBoost

Hi all! I’m thrilled to be joining in with Kelly Florentia’s No Way Back blog tour today! 🙂 

No Way Back banner


No Way Back cover


When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for. Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…

Buy a copy…..


Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. No Way Back, released 21st September, is her second novel.

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales.

Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on this subject. Smooth Operator (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, yoga, drinking coffee, and scoffing cakes. She is currently working on the sequel to NO WAY BACK.

Kelly Florentia

Website: http://www.kellyflorentia.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyFlorentiaAuthor

Twitter: @kellyflorentia

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyflorentia/

No Way Back Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/11135145039/playlist/0IbxzB3L6ZPdbrFiUY5fAI




Death In Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson @GuyFSAuthor @urbanebooks (Hampstead Murders Book 1) #BookReview

Death In Profile

Publisher: Urbane Publications (17th March 2016)

My review…..

Death In Profile is another book which has been waiting patiently on my kindle for some time (along with the rest of the series to date). I am so glad I finally got around to reading it as I have thoroughly enjoyed it! I was hooked as soon as I read the first few pages.

The story starts with a homeless man’s dog discovering the body of woman. This lady is seemingly another victim of a serial killer the police have been investigating for quite some time. As we follow the investigation it seems like the team might well have their man and the case will be solved finally, but it’s not quite as straight forward as they had hoped. The killings have stopped and a man is behind bars, but the team aren’t celebrating for long.

I loved how realistic this detective story is (not that I know much about being a detective!). The fact that not all is plain sailing makes it very real. The characters are very real. The detectives and their team are very professional, but human. They have their flaws and are all the more likeable for them.

I loved the profiler aspect and his story. He’s quite a fascinating character.

This is a very cleverly written, plot driven police procedural with excellent characterisation. It drew me in and kept me captivated throughout. Guy Fraser-Sampson’s writing style is very easy to get along with.

I was completely thrown by the twist. I did not see that coming at all! I was totally gobsmacked and quite disturbed towards the end. Absolutely brilliant! I’m looking forward to reading book 2.

For more details and to buy a copy…..



#AuthorInterview with Roger Bray

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Roger Bray who is the author of The Picture and, more recently, Dreams Of A Broken Man.

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I come originally from Blackburn, Lancashire but am now living in Brisbane, Australia with my wife
and her overly cute cat. I have spent most of my adult life in service to the community in one way
or another, in the Royal Navy and as a police officer in Australia. Policing came to an end when I
was badly injured at work and I took the opportunity to go to University and gained a couple of
degrees. University research and writing rekindled the love of writing that I had at school. My
book, ‘Dreams of a Broken Man’, encompasses two things that I dislike, violence towards women
and injustice. I also try to show the strength in normal people to fight back from adversity.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

The catalyst for ‘Dreams of a Broken Man’ came from two news stories, one about plea bargaining
in the USA, which has had the result of railroading people into guilty pleas when they were not,
and the consequences which follow on from those decisions. The second report was of the
abduction of a number of girls in the USA. Nothing of the original stories actually made it into the
book, but they were enough to start me thinking “what if?”

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

As complete characters, no, but as traits or characteristics most certainly. Even from myself, my
wife often sees me in some of the things characters may say or do, and she has sometimes picked
the person from whom a particular trait comes from. There is an element of mix and match from
different people as far as characters go.

How do you pick your characters names?

That is sometimes harder than it seems but is part of the character development although not one
I tend to spend much time on. Some names come easily and ‘go’ with the character while some
others don’t work as the story develops and get changed along the way.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Initially I spend quite a while mentally developing plot ideas and scenarios. When I start writing I
have a fair idea of where I am going with the story but that can and often does change along the
way. I am a linear writer, for want of a better term. I start writing in a session from where I left off
previously and keep going until I run out of ideas. I then have a break and come back. Re-read
what I have written, edit as required and then continue. A session can last anything from one to
six hours depending on the idea flow or the attention sought by my wife’s overly cute cat.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Leon Uris, Tom Sharpe, Tolkien, Louis de Bernières, Sebastian Faulks.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Tom Sharpe – I would ask him how he keeps the momentum and tempo going in his story lines.
His stories seem to lurch along, but there is real art in what he achieved.

Were you a big reader as a child?

I was. The Famous Five and Secret Seven were mainstays of my pre-teen reading followed by such
authors as Gerald Durrell. Even most of the books I had to read at school I enjoyed, like The
Odyssey or Time and the Conways by J. B. Priestly, even Shakespeare and Chaucer. The first book I
actually remember buying was The Hobbit, the second was Carrie by Stephen King.

When did you start to write?

I wasn’t a great scholar but when given the chance to write fiction I loved it. I won a couple of
small awards at school and was encouraged to write more, but circumstances and life got in the
way until I could take it up again.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

That is a very subjective. There are many books that people complain about as having bad
endings, but I wouldn’t suggest that. They end when and how they end, it is the reader’s
perception that decides if that is good, bad or in need of a rewrite So, change, probably not,
extend yes, like Grisham’s The Street Lawyer I felt ended a little too soon. Maybe a sequel!
Having said all of that I must admit I am not a great fan of deus ex machina style endings

Is there a book you wish you had written?

1984. Orwell was so forward thinking for his time as evidenced by a lot of the concepts he
explored now actually coming true. His writing was quite simple and yet complex in its subject. I
don’t think I could do better but would love to have tried.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Someone forgot the Instruction Book!

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

Mikael Blomkvist, as played by Michael Nyqvist. I would take him to a little coffee shop that I have
been to just down from York Minster. One of my favourite characters and favourite places.

What are you working on right now?

My third novel about a young woman who is attacked, but survives, then discovers her attacker is
probably a serial killer.

Do you have a new release due?

As above. When it’s finished, but I am close, maybe 2 months.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

Let it go and hope that people get some enjoyment from reading my work.

How can readers keep in touch with you?


Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Not really Kerry, except to say thank you for this opportunity and if anyone does wants to get in
touch, please do. I am always happy to discuss most things

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Roger 🙂

Roger Bray’s Amazon Author Page


The Daughter #BlogTour Billy McLaughlin @bilbob20 #CharacterSpotlight @emmamitchellfpr

Today I have the pleasure of being one of two stops on Billy McLaughlin’s The Daughter blog tour! 🙂 

The Daughter Banner

Character Spotlight…..

Today, I’m introducing Trisha Waters, who is one of the main characters in my new book The Daughter. She is mother of one, Alex Waters. She was created for the sole purpose of my new book and this will probably be her only outing with me.

Did you write the book to accommodate Trisha or Trisha to accommodate the book?

Trisha was created to accommodate the book. She’s very central to what’s going on although she appears to be relatively in the dark. She has a psychic gift that has alienated her to a lot of friends and family.

What do you like most about her?

I like that she’s insular and doesn’t really care what the outside world thinks of her. At least on the surface. When you dig a little deeper, of course she’s been hurt by the treatment of her. Mostly though, she has cut the crap out of her life. That’s something we should all aspire to do.

What do you like least about her?

The thing I like least about her? I can’t say there’s much to dislike about her. She can be a little frosty and somewhat unforgiving.

Did your early readers/editorial team like her to start with or did you have to change her in any way?

Nobody has mentioned disliking her. She has remained largely intact.

Does she have any similarities with anyone real?

I sprinkle little bits of everybody over my characters. There may be a few aunts written in there, and a cousin or two, maybe a psychic friend. I couldn’t say. She’s not based wholly on anybody.

What are your plans for her?

I don’t have any plans for Trisha. I think her story has been told. I think it’s an interesting story. There’s room for redemption in there. I don’t like to wrap things up with a bow. I won’t say exactly what her role is, or what the outcome of her story is. Only that she’s a character that I wanted people to get behind. It gives the story somebody to root for so that when the layers start to strip away, people have some level of emotional reaction.

Would you be friends in real life?

Probably not. I don’t think she wants friends. I think her lack of sociability makes her sympathetic. If she starts letting too many people in, it takes away what makes her sympathetic. Suddenly, the reason to pity her might be taken away. I prefer people who are less abrasive.

The Daughter cover

Sometimes a killer comes along who will make your blood run cold…

When the body of a young woman is found with her hands and teeth missing, Detective Inspector Phil Morris struggles to identify her.

The evidence initially suggests she is local missing girl, Alex Waters, whose mother, Tricia, comes armed with a psychic gift she would rather not possess.

As Phil and his partner, Detective Donna Barclay, try to untangle the web of mystery surrounding the body, it appears that Alex had more secrets than even her psychic mother knew.

As the hour glass empties, Phil and Donna are pushed to their limits trying to unravel the disturbed mind behind the sick game playing out around them.

Welcome to a new chapter in domestic noir.

Buy your copy…..

About the author…..


Billy McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author who released his first novelette Invisible in March 2016. Receiving glowing customer reviews, he followed up with the gritty novel Lost Girl which introduces readers to the mainstay characters Phil & Kate. In September 2016, his third book In the Wake of Death was released, re-uniting audiences with Phil & Kate as well as throwing a brand-new mystery that has been praised for its unique twist.

McLaughlin welcomed 2017 in celebrating that Lost Girl peaked at number 2 in the crime thriller charts the previous August and gained the coveted number 1 slot in the Scottish crime charts with In the Wake of Death. His fourth book The Dead of Winter arrived in March 2017 to glowing reviews. One reviewer likened the novel to a series of Broadchurch. Kate and Phil returned for a brand-new mystery in The Daughter which also sees the return of Donna Barclay.

Work has now begun on the sixth book which will be a new stand-alone project. More information coming soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for more news at the following social media platforms;

You can also contact Mr McLaughlin directly at billymclaughlinbooks@gmail.com


#SheDidIt by Mel Sherratt @writermels #BloodRedBooks #BookReview

Happy Publication Day, Mel Sherratt 😀 xx

Chat About Books

She Did It

Publisher: Blood Red Books (19th September 2017)

My review…..

First of all I would like to thank Mel Sherratt for the honour of being one of only 20 people to read She Did It in advance of publication day. Proud, as always, to be part of #TeamSherratt 🙂

I always look forward to a new book by Mel Sherratt and I am never disappointed! She Did It is different to most of Mel Sherratt’s other books. More of a psychological thriller like Watching Over You (which I absolutely loved!). There is a police procedural element to it, but this story very much centres around Tamara and Esther. I really warmed to Tamara. She has been used to the high life and is doing her best to re-build that life after a particularly difficult time. A time she is desperately trying to leave in the past. She has started her own…

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#AuthorInterview with Faye Hall @FayeHall79 @beachwalkpress

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Faye Hall! 🙂 


For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

My name is Faye Hall and I write Australian Historical Romances, each filled with passion, deceit and murder.
I try to encompass much of my own family’s history into my books, as well as setting most of them in my home town in North Queensland, Australia.

I am happily married to my childhood sweetheart and soulmate and living in North Queensland.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

A lot of the stories are variations of the stories of my grandparents and their parents when they first came to live in Australia. My latest release, Heart of Stone, is slightly different though. The idea for that book came more from the unspoken history of blackbirding in our area of Australia. For those that don’t know, blackbirding was the title given to the slave trade in Australia’s past, mostly dealing with the islanders called Kanakas that were forcibly brought into the country. The main female character in the book is in fact an Irish slave, another scandalous past of Australian history.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Yes! The main character in Amorous Redemption was in fact based on my great grandmother who also owned the cattle station in the book called Inkerman Downs Station.

How do you pick your characters names?

Nearly all of the surnames of the characters in my books come from mine, or my husbands, family tree. However in my upcoming book series, Sins of the Virtuous, the characters names actually mean the sin or virtue they apparently have.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

My process is very scattered. As most know I have quite a large family so I writes as I can. Usually though the character plans and notes are done on paper or an app on my phone. Everything is pieced together then on the computer over several drafts.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Harper Lee

Amanda Quick

Stephanie Laurens

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve

William Golding

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Harper Lee and how hard was it for her to write To Kill a Mockingbird.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Very! Was always in the school or town library.

When did you start to write?

As a child. Started off as poems for my mum then quickly branched into short stories. First full length novel was written when I was about 16.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

Am I allowed to say one of my own? I would re-write My Gift to You’s ending. It was my first release so my writing style has grown a lot since then.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

Beauty and the beast – my favourite tale.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Always and Forever.

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

Bella, out of my newest release Heart of Stone. I’d take her for coffee and a decent meal – after everything she’s been put through I figure she’d deserve it.

What are you working on right now?

I’m still finishing edits for the first two books from my upcoming book series Sins of the Virtuous. I’m also working on the next few books from the series.

Do you have a new release due?

I do! I have Heart of Stone due out 18th September. Also Lust & Chastity due for release 16th October. Both releases are from Beachwalk Press.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

Usually a few glasss of wine with my hubby.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

They can find me on facebook, twitter and Instagram. Also email me at FayeHall@outlook.com.au

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Just a huge thank you to everyone who buys my books! xo

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Faye 🙂



Isabella Miley was trapped. Her brother and protector was dead – murdered on a slave traders ship. And now the man she feared most, Samuel Buchanan, had papers placing her in servitude to him. She needed to get the signet ring and ruby necklace she’d hidden away if she were to be able to prove who she was. When Samuel threatened to make her his wife and offer her out as payment to all the debt collectors that were calling, she ran for her life and straight into the arms of Ruben Stoneheart. Before she could ask for his help she found herself dragged back to Samuel and into bondage.

Ruben wanted a peaceful life, far away from the blackbirding slave trade he had once been involved in. He had watched too many people die on those ships and all for a man’s own greed and want of a ruby necklace.

This wasn’t the life he wanted. He wanted peace. A wife. Family.

When the Irish beauty Isabella ran into his arms down on the docks, she stirred feelings in him unlike anything else. Never could he have imagined her to be as passionate as she was mysterious – or to be the wife of his once business partner Samuel Buchanan.

Curious how such a wondrous woman could end up entangled with a brute like Samuel, Ruben went delving into her past, eager to know more about this woman he was quickly losing his heart to. What he found was a slave contract with her name on it.

Hurt that she would hide such a thing from him, he confronts her with an ultimatum – Samuel or him.

Isabella’s fear demands that she must stay with Samuel until she could get back her freedom, but her heart is willing to risk it all on Ruben – a man rumoured to have a heart of stone.


He shrugged. “People will always gossip, Bella.” She pulled her hand away. “Why did you call me that?” “I didn’t mean to overstep my place, but I had to say it,” he explained. Reaching to her, his fingers ran along the soft, pale skin of her cheek. “Bella means beauty, something you most definitely are.” She lowered her face from his, but not before he saw the blush filling her cheeks again. “Please stay, Isabella,” he invited her again. “I really must go,” she said, hesitantly leaning into him and kissing him on the cheek near his lips. “Thank you again, Ru,” she uttered softly before turning and stepping away from him. She had just reached the door when she glanced back at him. “Bellymena.” “What?” he asked, confused by what she had just said. She smiled. “You asked where I grew up in Ireland. I grew up in Bellymena.” Watching her leave his office, Ruben knew he wanted more than anything to see this woman again. There was something about her that was so hypnotic. Driven by the need to know she was now safe from the men chasing her, he followed her from his office and back into the alleys that led to town. Losing sight of her momentarily, his steps quickened. Hearing a scream up ahead, he ran toward it. As he rounded the corner, he saw her being captured by two burly men; men he had seen act as deckhands on his father’s blackbirding ships. “You’re a slippery little thing, aren’t you?” he heard a familiar voice say as a third man approached a very terrified-looking Bella. His gaze going to the man who had spoken, his gut clenched. “Let me go, Samuel,” she yelled. “Please let me go.” Hiding in the shadows of the alley, Ruben watched as the old sailor walked toward her. He couldn’t believe the woman he had just been with was connected to the same man he was trying to prove a criminal. Samuel stopped in front of Isabella, his hands going to her chin, and Ruben found himself wondering exactly what kind of relationship lay between these two. As the older man’s lips connected to her, he couldn’t ignore her struggle to be free. “I will never let you go,” Samuel said when his lips finally left hers. “Without your brother here to protect you, you are mine to do with as I please.” Thinking now was the time he should again jump to this woman’s rescue, Ruben started to step around the corner toward those holding her captive. He’d only taken a few steps when a carriage pulled up and Samuel threw her inside before turning to his henchmen. “Find Ruben and convince him to give me that ruby necklace. Now!” he ordered before instructing the driver to take off quickly. Cursing himself a coward for not going to Bella’s rescue earlier, he kicked the earth beneath his feet. Everywhere he turned it seemed Samuel was there, his deception bleeding into every inch of his life. Even Isabella. But how was she connected to this evil man?


Buy links

social media links
website http://www.faye-hall.com
blog http://www.faye-hall.info
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faye-Hall/174774709247649
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Faye Hall’s passion driven, mystery filled books are set in small townships of North Queensland, Australia during the late 1800’s.

Each of her novels bring something symbolically Australian to her readers, from Aboriginal herbal remedies, to certain gemstones naturally only found in this part of the world.

Each of her books tell of a passionate connection between the hero and heroine, surrounded and threatened by deceit, scandal, theft and sometimes even murder.

These romances swerve from the traditional romances as Faye aims to give her readers so much more intrigue, whilst also revealing the hidden histories of rural townships of North Queensland.

Faye finds her inspiration from the histories of not only the township she grew up in, but the many surrounding it. She also bases most of her characters on people she has met in her life.

Faye was able to live her own passion driven romance, marrying the love of her life after a whirlwind romance in 2013. Together they are raising their 9 children in a remote country town in northern Queensland, Australia.

Ideal Love by Alice Burnett @BurnettBooks @Legend_Press #Extract & #Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an extract from Alice Burnett’s Ideal Love, as well as offering you the chance to win a hardcopy for yourself. 🙂

Ideal Love_ High Res


Publisher: Legend Press (14th August 2017)



After an argument with her husband
Gilles, Venus Rees is left devastated by his sudden death. But when she discovers that he
died of a treatable genetic condition she knew nothing about, she is haunted by
the thought that he didn’t love her enough to save himself. As time passes,
Venus looks set to be trapped between grief and distrust forever. Until she meets
the shy, good-looking and seemingly ideal Alex.

Intertwining Venus’s compelling attraction to Alex in the present with
Gilles’ enraptured pursuit of her in the past, Ideal Love is an intimate and
life-affirming novel about love, from its incandescent beginnings to its final
breath and back again.


‘Cheek To Cheek’
by Irving Berlin
It was 25 September 1997, I was twenty-six and I had no
idea the evening ahead of me would change my life.
‘Gilles – ’ Tim Woodward was whispering at my office
‘Ah thank God, let’s go.’
We exchanged nods with my principal and I steered
Wood out of the building.
He was slightly less miserable than when I’d first
suggested tonight’s party. We had a laugh about a keen
fellow trainee on our way to the tube and I got a glimpse
of the Wood of old. But whatever else happened that
night, one mission had been accomplished – Wood was
neither at his desk nor at home listening to Mozart’s
He’d been single for a year, I’d only had six days of it,
but I was the one who couldn’t sit still.
We went down the escalators and squeezed on to a
carriage. He’d gone too far into the darkness.
I hadn’t expected my girlfriend to call it off either, I’d
been upset. But the two of us were like travellers who’d
teamed up only to realise we’d arrived, nothing was keeping
us together. She’d just bothered to understand that and take action. And with enough notice for me to hear about this
party, get Tim invited and coax him into showing up.
We stepped out of Covent Garden tube and I told him to
prepare himself. It was going to be a beautiful night.
‘So it’s all over with Anna then?’ he asked bleakly.
‘Yup,’ I said, walking on.
‘Sorry to hear that.’
‘No, she did us both a favour.’
‘She seemed genuine to me.’
‘Yeh, she was, the spark just went out.’
Tim sighed. ‘Gilles, I hate to break this to you, but at
some point you’ve got to stop thinking with your dick and
grow up.’
A group of girls paraded past, like an erotic pat on the
back. I could sense them with my eyes closed.
‘Tim,’ I said as they walked away, ‘twenty quid says I
leave with a woman and you don’t.’
Tim raised his eyes and went quiet. I didn’t speak.
‘All right, all right,’ he said as if I hadn’t stopped talking.
We walked into the club entrance and down the stairs, pulled
under by the waves of sound and body heat, until we reached
a kind of massive volcanic cave which my friend’s sister’s
twenty-first had filled beyond imagining. The DJ was
charging it up with seventies funk – there must have been
over a hundred women on the dance floor alone – not only
that, the men were all at the bar, dutifully perpetuating that
great English ritual of refusing to dance with the women.
What was this if not the promised land?
It didn’t take long before I was mesmerised. I pointed out
the blond woman with the incredible figure to Tim. Tim said
she looked aloof, but that on the plus side, this would help
her shake off lust-crazed French bastards like me. I brought
his attention to a sweet-looking, dark-haired girl I thought he
might like, but he wasn’t convinced. I finally got Tim to concede that the blond one was ‘superficially attractive yes,
but nice, no’, and went over and bought her a drink.
Her face wasn’t quite so pretty close up, but then again I
clearly hadn’t made her day. She wasn’t interested in
conversation and when I asked her to dance she looked at me
like I’d told her a bad joke.
Did I still smell of rejection? Surely not, it had been
nearly a week.
Then I got lucky. She liked lawyers, especially city
lawyers. She made a remark about my hair, and I said it was
straight before I saw her. She laughed, and looked at me and
carried on laughing, beyond the time allotted.
I went from trainee solicitor to cash-laden hotshot in five
minutes. She became a stream of gazes, a sweetshop of
breasts, waist and thighs, drinking with me, dancing with
me, not objecting to the feel of my hands.
At least an hour must have gone by. One of her friends
interrupted to complain about a girl they both knew. I went
to get drinks and came back into focus.
I couldn’t see Tim anywhere and wondered if he’d left.
He didn’t get it. You just had to throw yourself and see where
you landed.
But waiting in the crush at the bar, I glanced over at the
one I’d been with as she dished it out, her expression as cold
and dismissive as when I’d first asked her to dance.
Nice no, I thought.
Back together, we found a quiet spot on the other side of
the dance floor, and she was all hospitality, the sweetshop
door open, the jars within reach.
We left the club. Cooling off on the pavement, I found
myself asking her to dinner the following Thursday. Did
people do that? But within a minute, she’d accepted, I’d
hailed her a cab, kissed her goodnight and lost myself twenty
I went back in to look for Tim. He couldn’t have needed me less. He was deep in conversation with a girl. Not the
dark-haired one, another.
A guy I knew from law school blared into my ear like a
trumpet. ‘Gilles you old tosser! I knew you’d be here!’
We had a drink and discussed rugby for ten minutes,
which was educational but not what I’d come for.
I scanned the dance floor one last time. It had gone down
a gear, mainly smooching couples and people too out of it to
know what else to do.
I thanked my friend’s sister – I was going to Paris the
next day – and went to the cloakroom to get my jacket. It
was soundproofed and organised. I put my jacket back on,
not half as pleased with myself as when I’d taken it off.
‘Hi Gilles.’ Tim was following me up the stairs, arm in
arm with the girl he’d been talking to. She was pretty and
sensitive-looking and I could see the pride in his face.
We chatted on the street. Her name was Elaine.
‘He’s a great guy,’ I said to Elaine, ‘I’ve known him for
years, you couldn’t meet a nicer person, really fantastic guy – ’
‘Thanks Gilles.’ He was smiling like a light. ‘Elaine and
I were actually at university together.’
‘Right,’ I realised I was slightly drunk and neither of them
were at all. ‘Well then you already know,’ I smiled back.
Self-consciously, they wished me goodnight.
Wood had turned it around.
Give it a year or two, I thought, and me and the Trumpet
would be handing out the orders of service at their wedding.
I started walking towards Soho Square. I didn’t know what I
wanted, but I wanted it, whatever it was. Police sirens came
and went, beer cans and cocaine packets flowered in the
bushes – the place was like a dark mouth, salivating over
every human urge. I thought about another me being
reincarnated as a prostitute. She’d be good at it. And then
I-me could meet this charming woman-me who’d know
exactly what I wanted.

It was eleven thirty. The plane left at nine the next
morning. Get up when, six?
I had to accept that I hadn’t got into the cab with the
blond woman, and that this was for the best given I was
going away the next day. I headed to Leicester Square tube.
Women weren’t ice cream, I told myself, they could wait
and melt later. Sometimes it was better to get some distance
and re-evaluate.
I strolled down the escalator and caught up with a couple
standing side by side. They stayed put until the last moment,
let themselves be delivered by the bottom stair and walked
off giggling.
I followed signs to the Piccadilly Line, passing an
angled mirror in a blind corner of the passageway – a relic,
surely, from the days when Victorian lawyers roller-skated
through the station. God was I slick. Billowing cape for
attracting attention, untouched Victorian women gasping,
sweating at my exceptional roller-skating skill. Careful,
shy eyes. Beating breasts. And though my feet are strangely
shod, my mode of expression oddly modern, they can see
that I am strong and tall, passionate yet practical, wild yet
sensitive –
A train rattled off into the dark.
In its wake I heard someone singing. Someone who knew
what they were doing. A woman, mellow-voiced, light.
It went away.
I needed a cab for 6.30. I had to take a second shirt for the
evening. Two ties. Business cards. Pick up some cash at the
I heard the voice again. Faint but not weak.
… I could take the red tie. Or no… dark red, less showy.
You didn’t often hear a voice like that on the tube. Or a
woman on her own, which took courage. I locked my ears
onto it as it faded.
I walked along the passageway, listening out for the
voice, wondering if I was getting warmer or colder, until it stopped being a game and listening was all I was doing. Had
I heard it? I thought I had, I was almost certain of it – I was
taking off, separating from myself, listening with every cell.
And although I realised I hadn’t, I felt that time had slowed
down, that it was only me listening that made the link from
one moment to the next.
Then the voice came in from nowhere and I was set back
on the ground, the music so tender with sadness that at first I
could hardly bear to listen. I hadn’t known how much I’d
needed to hear it. I’d had no idea.
As I stood there, the sense grew in me that I’d been an
invalid, on the way out – for months, years – that I’d been
given the right medicine in the nick of time, a shot of
emotion calibrated precisely for the way I was feeling,
combining inside me, making me cry in my head, making
the night fall away like nothing.
The song was an aria, I wasn’t sure which, and normally
I couldn’t stand opera, but there was nothing operatic in it,
her feelings were real. A voice as light as sun on the water,
barely caught in the physical, and yet this close, this full of
It was ending, but there was another.
I laughed in delight. ‘Dancing Cheek to Cheek’. Oh
perfect choice. I had its pattern in my head, I couldn’t have
heard it better.
I felt my ears drink in the sound. How wonderful that I
was here, that I hadn’t got into the taxi, for one moment of
this – a woman’s voice, simple, smooth, entirely on the note,
no tricks, no catches, relaxed, effortless, but with the greatest
depth of emotion.
And while I listened, I let something happen to me
without me realising it. Something I couldn’t explain and for
a long time kept to myself, because this feeling didn’t usually
happen to me, I made it happen. The person singing was
you, the passion, the honesty in your voice were yours, and I
was falling for you, distantly as if I’d separated from myself again, and the me that was there listening was too ecstatic to
know it.
‘Heaven,’ you sang, ‘I’m in heaven.’
I rounded the bend and caught sight of you, standing
where the passageway met the stairs. The beauty of your
face, the ease of your expression, the grace in your bearing
– I took it all in, but it made sense and didn’t surprise me. It
was dream-like. I could feel and see and hear, but not act.
And you were still singing, and I was still listening.
I noticed I wasn’t the only one. Other people, women and
men, young and old, they stopped. Like me, they walked on
eventually, shy of how they felt. Perhaps like me they
listened for a while on the platform. ‘Fly Me To The Moon’
– Piccadilly to Uxbridge. ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ – Heathrow
Airport. ‘Sophisticated Lady’ – Rayners Lane. Then, like
me, their feet took them on to a train.
Sitting in the carriage, it occurred to me that I could have
spoken to you. I could get out at the next stop, go back, find
you. Of course, I thought, I must, why not?
But I told myself it would be awkward, an interruption to
you, an embarrassment to me. Later that night, alone in my
room, having gone over my failure to act as if I could have
worn it away, I swore I’d never litter my life with excuses
like that again. I’d make up for it.
I’d search everywhere, somehow find you. And once I’d
found you, I thought as I lay awake, anything was possible.
We’d fall in love. For myself, I knew it. For you, I’d do all I
could to convince you.
It wasn’t that I was totally deluded. I knew I wasn’t
much. But time seemed suddenly shortened, with an end as
well as a beginning, and highs and lows that might never
come again. That night in the tube station, I’d been to
heaven. I wanted to go back. And if nothing short of insane
optimism would get me there, what was the point in being
realistic? This was love. And love was all there was, I knew
it for sure. And pity the old me – pity anyone who didn’t.

Fancy winning a hardcopy for yourself?

(UK only I’m afraid, due to postage costs)

Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post and you’ll be entered in to the draw! (I’ll leave it open for a week)

Thanks in advance for joining in & Good Luck!

Many thanks to Imogen Harris, at Legend Press, for providing this wonderful extact and for offering a hardcopy for me to giveway!

If you’re not lucky enough to win, buy your copy here…..