One Night in Sydney by Jan Graham #TirgearrTuesday

This week, we welcome Jan Graham and her contribution to the City Nights series!

ISBN: 9781370633944
ASIN: B01J4VS2EQ
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Blurb:

Abigail Devon is all about business, until the dream of keeping her company alive fails and she finds herself seeking distraction in the arms of a tempting stranger she met on the plane. Kane Matheson is a man like no other, and once Abby gives into her attraction to him, passions spark and a night of erotic pleasure begins.

Kane can’t believe his luck when his flight to Sydney places Abby along his path to a fun filled weekend. She’s his kind of woman—business minded, clever, and with curves in all the right places. When he discovers they have more in common than savvy business expertise and undeniable sexual heat, he’s faced with a daunting choice, and left wondering if pleasure can win out over wise business sense in one of the most beautiful harbour side cities of the world.

Extract:

“You know, if you like, we could hang out together in the city for a bit, maybe when you’ve finished your busy day.” Kane didn’t look at her this time; speaking from his reclined position, head tilted back against the rest with his eyes closed. “I only have to try on a suit and then I’m done for the day. You could meet me there, let me know if you think I look okay, you know, thumbs up or down, and then we could grab a bite… or something. Whatever takes your fancy, beautiful.”

He raised his lids and angled himself slightly to look at her for the final part of his statement, the wicked expression and cheeky glint in his eyes giving Abby the distinct impression he hoped that he’d be the something that took her fancy. He did. But it couldn’t happen.

Abby didn’t believe in love at first sight, but she did believe in lust at first sight and Kane ticked all her boxes. Feeling breathless, hardened nipples, feeling flushed when they touched, and that increasing ache between her legs. Luckily the flight was a short one, so she’d be able to escape him soon enough. In her party days they probably would have been in the bathroom, reaffirming her membership in the mile-high club, but those days were behind her. She doubted she’d renew that membership again any time soon.

“I really don’t think that’s possible. But thanks for the offer.” She wondered if he knew she was lying. Of course it was possible, all she had to do was say yes. She merely chose not to.

“That’s a shame. I have this feeling we’d get along really well.” He tore the edge off the bottom of a page in his magazine, grabbed a pen from his shirt pocket, scribbled a number on it and handed it to her. “In case you change your mind.”

Abby laughed and stared at the mobile number in her hand. He certainly was persistent.

“I assume you’ve run out of business cards?” She continued to chuckle as the plane began its descent. “You did say you understood business, right?”

“I did. I also said I was on a pleasure trip. I’ve left all business accessories at the office. This weekend, I’m just a regular guy who uses any piece of paper on hand to give the woman he likes his number.”

Oh Lord, thank heavens the plane had just touched down. She folded the paper, slipped her fingers into the front of her shirt and tucked the number into her bra. It was a mistake to put it there, and Abby knew it the moment her gaze met Kane’s, who was now standing waiting for her to step out into the aisle.

“What?” she asked innocently as Kane stared down at her cleavage with a devilish grin on his face. “It’s just a silly habit I picked up in my partying days. I’d pop anything important in my bra and that way I wouldn’t lose it.”

Grabbing her handbag from the floor, she stood and moved to walk out into the aisle but Kane blocked her way. His body forming a human wall as he retrieved her bag from the overhead cabin. Luggage sorted, Kane didn’t move, fixing her in place with his heated gaze.

“I’m glad you think I’m important.” His devilish grin didn’t waver and he spoke in a tone laced with lust. “I’m also delighted to know that when you take off your clothes tonight and get naked, you’ll be thinking about me.”

She was about to burst into flames. Abby raised her hand, placing it on his chest with the intention of pushing him back, only to find her fingers lingered on the defined muscle beneath her touch.
“We’ll see,” she whispered.

Kane placed his hand over hers, gently gripped her fingers and raised them to his mouth. He kissed her knuckles tenderly and smiled. “We will. Now off to your very busy business day, Abigail Devon.” Stepping back, Kane handed over her bag before ushering her into the aisle. “I look forward to receiving your call later today.”

Unsure how she made it to the plane’s exit on trembling legs, Abby breathed a sigh of relief once she made it into the terminal. Allowing the disembarking crowd to carry her forward, she picked up her pace. The more distance she put between Kane Matheson and herself, the better. Today was all about saving her company, not indulging in a quickie with a man she met on a plane.

About the Author:

Jan Graham is an author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense; all her writing is erotic, some of which includes BDSM elements. She has numerous published titles to her credit, with more to come once she overcomes her current bout of procrastination.

Jan lives in Newcastle, Australia where she writes, reads, feeds her Netflix addiction, and drinks coffee with friends.

For those who enjoy labels and tags, as well as being an author, Jan is a blogger, a submissive, an aunt, dyslexic, a lover of all things erotic, naughty, a participant in the BDSM community, a widow, an orphan, and a member of The Australian Sex Party (no it’s nothing kinky, they are a legit political group).

In short, she is generally a bit of an eccentric who lives her life slightly left of center.

You can find out more about Jan and her work by stalking her on the various social media sites where she occasionally hangs out.

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The Viking’s Cursed Bride by Maribeth Macmillan

Today we welcome Maribert Macmillan and The Viking’s Cursed Bride.

TheVikingsCursedBridebyMairibethMacMillan500

ISBN: 9780463213919
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Blurb:

 

Half Briton, half Pict, Aoife has been an outsider all her life. Rejected by her family, despite saving them from the Norse raid on Alt Clut, she is forced to marry one of the invaders to ensure her family’s safety and rid them of a cursed daughter, while putting her own life at risk.

Jarl Tormod intends to settle on the Clyde and to marry a Briton. One as high-born as Aoife ought to ensure the safety and prosperity of the Norse settlement. When their relationship grows beyond convenience, loving one another may prove to be disastrous.

All Aoife wants is a place to belong, but when her family’s deception is revealed, a near-fatal betrayal in Tormod’s past threatens to destroy all hope for a peaceful and prosperous future.

TheVikingsCursedBridebyMairbethMacMillanFACEBOOKbanner

Extract:

Alt Clut, Kingdom of Ystrad Clud, 870 AD


“Smile,” Aoife’s stepmother, Ula, hissed at her. “You don’t want King Artgal to think you are ungrateful you were invited, do you? He has been known to punish even his most loyal subjects for less. And for one such as you…” Ula’s cruel laughter made Aoife want to run far from here. Not that she had anywhere truly safe to go. She glanced towards the dais and managed to force her lips into some semblance of a smile, then returned her attention to the plateful in front of her.

All around her, the families of the richest, most important nobles of the kingdom of Ystrad Clud feasted. Every one of the long wooden tables was full, and the room was too warm for the fire burning in the grate, more to demonstrate the wealth of the king than from necessity on a summer night such as this one. The gathered nobles were richly dressed in heavy woollen kirtles, and with the excessive heat, the stench of their sweat only grew stronger as the feast wore on, making Aoife’s stomach churn. Not even the smell of roasted meats and vegetables could mask it.

Aoife pulled at the neck of her dress. She’d grown over the past winter and Ula had not yet instructed the servants to make a new summer dress for her. Ula’s four natural-born daughters always came first. There was also the fact she knew Ula did not wish her to look too attractive tonight — at least not in comparison to her half-sisters. Any suitor found at a gathering such as this one was of a higher status than Ula would ever allow Aoife to marry.

“Eat,” demanded Ula, nudging her elbow and smiling beatifically towards the king.

Aoife lifted a mouthful to her lips. Obediently she chewed and choked it down as fast as possible under her stepmother’s wrathful glare. It tasted like ashes. The noise of the revelry around her was giving her a headache, the smoke from the fire stung her eyes and the heat made her queasy. The room swayed around her. She closed her eyes, then felt a sharp elbow in her ribs. Her eyes flew open.

“If you bring dishonour to our family…” her stepmother whispered urgently, her cold expression and hands clasped as if in prayer making it clear where Aoife would be headed. A prisoner forever behind the bare stone walls of the abbey, with no family, no hope for a home, nor a husband and children.

Not that she was sure why she yearned for those things. Her own childhood had been far from idyllic. And there was little chance of any of them before Ula had secured decent marriages for Aoife’s half-sisters. But she wished for them nonetheless.

Across the room a gentleman caught her eye and inclined his head towards her. She thought she recognised him but couldn’t remember his name. She nodded at him.

“Keep your eyes down,” Ula said. “And if you have any ideas in your head about Lord Aethelfred, then forget them. He will not be for you.”

“And what if I am his choice?” Aoife replied before she could stop herself. Sometimes she found it hard not to answer her stepmother back, despite knowing it only ever made her life more difficult.

“Your father will give him short shrift,” Ula promised, hatred etched on her features. “Your father always does what I tell him.”

It was true and becoming more true as each year passed. Ula’s influence over her father’s decisions was not a good thing. Not for the first time, she wished her own mother was still alive to care for her and protect her. What Aoife would have given for her to have lived through her brother’s birth. But they had both died, and her father, Lord Cadell, had remarried. And now she had Ula as a stepmother. Most of Cadell’s people had been happy to see him marry another Briton rather than a Pict. Aoife had often regretted that her father had not sent her back to her mother’s family in Pictland, but Cadell wasn’t willing to give up anything belonging to him – even an unwanted daughter.

Aoife picked up her cup of wine and took a sip. A wave of dizziness swept through her. The cup clattered onto the table, wine spilling like blood and seeping into the wood. She clutched at the edge, trying to keep her balance. She glared at her stepmother. Had the woman finally poisoned her, hoping she could blame another?

“What are you doing?” Ula demanded, talon-like fingers gripping Aoife’s elbow. “Stop this at once.”

But Aoife’s eyes no longer saw the woman, nor the room, nor the walls of the hall at Alt Clut. At first, she didn’t know what she did see. She smelt the salt tang of the sea and heard the whoosh of waves and the cry of gulls. It was night, dark out on the water, and yet in front of her were the heads of hundreds of serpents. They approached Alt Clut in the darkness just before the dawn and swept onto the land, slithering up the walls of the rock and on into the fort. Above them, two ravens circled, watching the progress of the serpents, their frantic screeching serving to encourage the invaders. Blood-curdling screams sounded and she realised they were her own.

“They’re coming! The sea serpents are coming!”

A slap from her stepmother was hard enough to jar her neck and her head hit the back of the wooden chair, sending her down into darkness.

 

About the Author:

Mairibeth MacMillan lives on the shores of Loch Long on the edge of Argyll and Bute. While very picturesque, living there seems to involve endless driving and family life currently involves running a taxi service.

She was a drama teacher for many years until, during a career break, she studied for a Creative Writing degree through the Open University followed by a Masters degree in Playwriting and Dramaturgy. Over the years she has had some success with short stories and flash fictions in various competitions, magazines and anthologies. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the New Writer’s Award at the Festival of Romance.

Inspired by the discovery of a Viking fort marked on the Ordnance Survey map in a friend’s garden she started working on a series of Viking Romances set in the Kingdom of Strathclyde at the end of the Ninth century. The Viking’s Cursed Bride is the first in a series of books about four Norse cousins as they build new lives far from home.

• • •

 

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The Fated Series by Becky Flade

Today we welcome Becky Flade with not one but three titles as part of her Fated series!

FatedSoulsbyBeckyFlade500

Available 7th October

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Blurb:

Shamed investigative journalist turned tabloid scribe Maggie O’Connell convinces her editor to let her go to Minnesota to research alleged werewolf sightings. Her first night in the woods, she gets trapped in an old sleeping bag, unintentionally attracts the attention of a bear, and is saved by the most unlikely of heroes: the very wolf she had come to investigate!

When she meets horse rancher Aidan Gael in the town market days later, she recognizes his eyes as those belonging to her champion.

Aidan tries desperately to avoid her; he both fears Maggie and fears for her. Neither man nor beast can resist her curious mind and courageous heart. One kiss threatens to break Aidan’s tenuous self-control but furthers Maggie’s resolve.

Danger lurks at every turn. The curse Aidan fights to keep secret is only one of the obstacles that will test the strength of their bond. Together they will navigate the violence of both nature and of man in pursuit of their destiny.

FatedHeartsbyBeckyFlade500

Available 9th October

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Blurb:

Psychiatrist Henley Elliott fled her quiet life in Cleveland for a gypsy lifestyle, trying to stay one step ahead of her painful memories. When she breaks down in quirky little Trappers’ Cove, Minnesota, she meets Sheriff Carter McAlister – a man healing from his own share of hidden heartbreaks.

At the request of a friend, Carter offers Henley a job to help her get back on her feet . . . but soon he can’t resist trying to sweep the intriguing woman off them. Breaking through her carefully built shell proves to be a near-impossible task, and to make matters worse, a dangerous new presence in the Cove seems to be targeting Henley. They must learn to trust in each other in order to keep her safe.

Can Henley and Carter leave their secrets and scars in the past to get a second chance at happily ever after?

FatedDesiresbyBeckyFlade500

Available 11th October

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Blurb:

Jenna Gavin is searching for a fresh start, but more importantly, balance. Her heart, and perhaps the hands of fate, has led her and her young son to Trappers’ Cove, Minnesota. Settling in the small, quirky town, she’s not in the market for a casual relationship yet finds herself in one with the young widower next door.

Former shortstop, Gabriel Foxx, is drawn to his difficult new neighbor. The more the prickly divorcee attempts to keep him at arm’s length, the more determined he is to break down her walls. He can’t avoid the passion she inspires but he won’t allow himself to feel more.

When friendship grows complicated by stronger emotions and mutual desire, it just isn’t enough. Will love be worth the risk?

Photo of Becky Flade

About the Author:

Becky has been writing stories since kindergarten. But it wasn’t until she found her very own knight in slightly tarnished armor that she took the leap in to publishing. And hasn’t looked back once. In addition to being a wife, mother and grandmother, she works as a legal professional when she’s not writing, reading or dancing. And Becky’s proud to tell people she’s making her own dreams come true one happily ever after at a time.

 

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The War Queen by J.M. Robison #TirgearrTuesday

ISBN: 9781370236688
ASIN: B01LXD0C6N
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Blurb:

How do you dethrone a heart when its owner has stolen your kingdom?

Altarn is used to tolerating the biases of men. It comes with being the first female to secure the political State Head of Blindvar. But Kaelin, the State Head of Ruidenthall, crosses the line when he proposes a merger of their two states. Altarn has reason to believe this is Kaelin’s attempt to make himself king of both. Believing it’s her responsibility to “dethrone” him, she rides to her last ally to ask for aid.

While on the road, she’s kidnapped and taken to Ruidenthall. She wakes from a drug-induced sleep to hear about a foreign army marching upon Blindvar, and Kaelin capitalizing on her kidnap to make himself king. He threatens her life if she tells anyone, but she will suffer tyranny under a king if she does not.

When the final battle forces her hand, she has but one choice: to save Kaelin’s life or let him die. She never expected to dethrone his heart instead.

TheWarQueenbyJMRobisonSMbanner

Extract:

All seven members were already seated, one baron for each major city in Blindvar. There were actually six cities, but there could not be an even number on the court.. The seventh was a random member qualified to be a court official, currently held by a female named Brigot. The idea of females serving in positions of authority was not settling easy.

Altarn walked to the head of the table, sitting in her large, leather chair which felt awkwardly like a throne, reminding her of the last king the Blindvarn citizens had dethroned more than three hundred years ago.

Her seven members waited for her to speak. Perseth pushed his glasses higher up his sweaty nose. Leodin coughed into his sleeve.

Females were not discouraged from positions in politics, but the concept still troubled many. It had been a traditionally male position to hold both the state’s title and to fill the positions in court, but Altarn had been in a particular mood eleven years ago and had broken it. She became the first female State Head and had already served one year out of the three-year session.

Two men had competed for the State Head with her. The background check on one revealed he had a criminal record. The second was leading the election by a large margin until authorities discovered he was born in Luthsinia.

“The minutes will reflect the presence of all representatives from their respective cities,” Altarn began. “On seven Midar, year three twenty-four After the Reign of Kings.” She paused to let the court scribe catch up. “So being, I am unaware as to the nature of the request for court so I will let another member proceed from here.”

Perseth stood from his chair and straightened his buttoned waistcoat over his round belly. “Baron Perseth of the City of Fellsbarren requested this session due to concerns with the present dealings with the State of Ruidenthall.”

His nasally voice made Altarn want to hand him a tissue. She drummed her fingers on the armrests. She had suspected as much.

“May I speak freely, Lady?”

“Proceed.”

Perseth pushed his glasses higher up his nose. “We all think it is impulsive of you to threaten Ruidenthall with war.”

His eyes, too round and too close to his nose, swept over the other members of the room, who all nodded.

“They have been our friends and allies since the war to dethrone our king. If Luthsinia didn’t cut straight between our two states, we might even be one. A lot of us have family who either came from Ruidenthall or who live there now.”

“Is it so easily forgotten the Lord of Ruidenthall is trying to steal Blindvar from us?”

The members at the table moaned.

“Please reflect on my use of the word ‘impulsive.’”

It pushed on the edges of her serenity to listen to Perseth’s boldness and not respond to it. But she’d been called to court to listen to a problem, not create one.

“Scribe, will you please read us the letter from the Lord of Ruidenthall concerning the matter our lady has just mentioned?”

The scribe pulled a book off the shelf at his desk and thumbed through it, pages snapping crisply. “Seventeenth of Kaidar,” the scribe read. “Year three twenty-four After the Reign of Kings. Addressed to Lady Altarn Shadheing from Lord Kaelin-drath Morrendrake. It reads:

Greetings, Lady of Blindvar.

It is fortunate our two states are such great friends. It has come to my recent attention that a number of Ruidenthall citizens have taken a fancy to your small town of Heathe. So much so, that there are more Ruids than Blindvarns. I’ll have to visit to see what the attraction is. After all, who would sacrifice great Ruid food to live in a small Blindvarn town where the closest city is thirty miles out?

Of course, having this offset of Blindvarns to Ruids must make it a tad more difficult for the yearly census for you, which gave me an idea. Since our states are such good allies, I propose—just as a speculative thought—that Heathe be merged into the State of Ruidenthall in exchange for a small bit of land out of my own good state, if you like.

Maybe this small exchange can start something bigger, and maybe someday Endendre will eventually be one state instead of divided into three. Of course, it is just an idea, and something like this has never been done before between our two states. Please reply with your thoughts. If it is disagreeable, I’ll digress.

Signed, Lord Kaelin-drath Morrendrake of Ruidenthall.

The members at the table watched Altarn like ghosts waiting for the moment they could pounce on the living and suck out their souls.

About the Author:

Born in small town Bennington, Idaho, J.M. wanted to be just like her big, story writer sister. Big sister paints now, but that initial role model was all the springboard J.M. needed to fearlessly leap into writing the novels of her heart. Getting around the world as a soldier has helped broaden J.M.’s views on cultures and personalities, and settling down as a Deputy Sheriff in Nevada for a time has helped her maintain all the fine intricacies humans are capable of which has helped define her characters into something realistic and believable. Without any prior claims to fame, J.M. is proud to showcase that hard work, even from rock bottom, DOES pay off.

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Deadly Alliance by Kathleen Rowland – an extract #tirgearrtuesday #romance #suspense

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Blurb:

Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Les is alive. After cheating the Irish mob, he became their target. Mistaken identity took the life of his disabled twin brother. Now Les makes another deal—trading Amy and stolen drugs for their forgiveness. Stakes are high as Finn tracks assassins across the San Bernardino Mountains. If he gets her back, can he trust her?

Extract:

The front door opened. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Holding a broom, Burlie swept behind the bar.

Finn stepped closer. Drunken merrymakers, they were not. His heart hammered like it was stuck in overdrive.

“We offer protection.” Speaking with a Spanish accent, the shortest of the trio dressed like the others, donned the ISIS-style full face black mask.

“I have protection.” Burlie’s big mouth nailed his coffin.

A second thug grabbed the bartender’s hand and pulled out clippers. “You’ll change your mind, one finger at a time.”

“I just paid the Irish.” Panic burrowed into Burlie’s high-pitched cry. He thrashed his arms as he tried to pull his hand back.

“Us you pay”. His utterance with the object in the first position identified him as an Arab speaker. Light glinted off shiny metal. The thug pulled a combat knife, grabbed Burlie’s arms, spun him, put the blade to his neck. Finn dialed 911 and then shouted, “Finn Donahue here. Gang trouble. Burlie’s Jazz Club,” To grab their attention even more, he heaved in a breath and released a long whistle. His distraction worked.

Burlie broke from the hold, and Finn thanked God for the curious.

“Where are you?” Heavy boots pounded toward him.

Finn’s phone vibrated, but he killed the call and darted into the first door he saw, the one with the frosted pink window. He spotted Amy at the sink and pointed his index finger up.

He took off his coat and wrapped it around his fist. After rapping on the glass, he wound up and threw a hard punch through the window. Glass splintered as he connected with the thug’s nose. Prepared to jump aside, he opened the door.

Amy followed and jumped over the guy spread on the floor, holding a hand over his bleeding nose.

He struggled to stand. Finn patted him down, took his gun, and pointed it at him. After the guy stood, Finn walked him to a chair. “Don’t move.”

“I’ll phone the police.” A high-pitched squeal came from the back of her throat. “Never mind. Police are here.”

From the street, the blue light of a cop car radiated across the club’s interior like a strobe. Uniforms burst through the door.

The first officer made radio contact with homicide, and the second, much younger, rushed to the nearest thug and pulled out flex-cuffs.

“Stand over there, Amy.” Finn motioned toward a corner.

She rolled her eyes and dashed toward Burlie who wrestled with the Arab and tried to keep him from moving toward the young rookie. Amy pulled an item from her purse. A Swiss army knife? Out came a miniature cork screw.

The rookie cop turned the Arab around to be handcuffed and leaned him against a wall. The thug used the hard surface as leverage to throw himself against him.

Finn saw it coming. A switchblade . . .

Meet the author:

Book Buyers Best finalist, Kathleen Rowland, is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.She grew up in Iowa, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Kathleen now happily exists with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California, where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write while listening to characters’ demanding voices in her head.

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Irish Echoes by Paula Martin

IrishEchoesbyPaulaMartin500.jpg

ISBN: 9780463311790
ASIN: B07WFQXFB9
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Blurb:

Rachel Pearse and Elliot Quinn had been deeply in love—until Rachel made a huge error of judgement which deprived Elliot of the acclaim for discovering a long-lost famine village in Ireland. Elliot denounced this as a deliberate attempt to betray him and ended their relationship.

Seven years later, they meet unexpectedly when Elliot turns up at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre in the west of Ireland for a week-long conference which Rachel has agreed to manage as a favour to a friend.

New tensions mount when it becomes apparent Elliot isn’t prepared to forgive and forget, even though they are both aware of the revival of their feelings for each other.

Surrounded by the echoes of their own past as well as those of Ireland’s Great Hunger, can Rachel and Elliot resolve their problems and find their way back together?

IrishEchoesbyPaulaMartinFACEBOOK

Extract:

Rachel watched as Dan and Ellie set off, hand-in-hand, along the corridor to the stairs, and a frisson of envy shivered through her. They’d had a perfect day and were so happy and in love.

With a sigh, she turned toward the door of the function room. It was only eight-thirty, but if she collected her camera equipment now, she could wait in the entrance lounge. Anything was better than having to watch Elliot dancing with whoever he’d brought with him.

As she reached the door, she was about to push it when it was opened from the other side. She would have toppled forward and landed in a heap on the floor if two firm hands hadn’t grasped her arms.

‘I’m so sorry,’ a man said. ‘Are you okay?’

She looked up, straight into Elliot Quinn’s clear, blue eyes. A fire of embarrassment rushed to her cheeks. In the same moment, he jerked his hands from her arms, almost as if they had been red-hot to touch.

‘Yes, I—’ Her tongue seemed to be stuck to the roof of her mouth. ‘Yes. Yes, I’m grand, thanks.’

She didn’t know where to look, but Elliot stepped sideways and held the door open. ‘After you.’

‘Thank you.’

And that was it.

She walked past him and he went out of the room. No smile, no nothing. They could have been total strangers.

Somehow she managed to return to the bar, pick up her camera bag, and head along the corridor toward the hotel entrance. How was it possible to feel numbness and pain at the same time? She bit her lip hard to stop tears flooding her eyes. Hadn’t she shed enough of them seven years ago?

When she reached the lounge, she faltered. Declan, a pint of Guinness in his hand, stood near the fireplace, talking to Guy Sinclair, the owner of the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre.

‘Hi, Rach,’ Declan said, then frowned. ‘Everything all right?’

Was it obvious her world had tilted on its axis?

‘Yes, I—I’ve—Yes, I’m getting ready to take photos of the newlyweds leaving.’

Declan held up a car key. ‘I’ve brought Dan’s car to the bottom of the steps. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what Kevin and Finny are doing right now, but I’m thinking helium balloons might be involved.’

Rachel gave him a weak smile as she placed her bag on one of the coffee tables and pulled out her camera.

Declan turned back to Guy. ‘I’ll probably arrive about seven tomorrow evening. Maddy, my assistant, will also stay overnight, while we get everything organised for the start of the conference on Monday.’

‘We’re ready for you,’ Guy said. ‘It’s the first time we’ve had the Irish History Society at Mist Na Mara, but it sounds like it will be an interesting week. Anyhow, I’d better go and find Jenna now, if Ellie and Dan are about to leave. Not that my wife needs to catch the bridal bouquet,’ he added with a grin. ‘See you tomorrow, Dec.’

‘What’s up, Rach?’ Declan asked once Guy had left.

She gave a small shrug. ‘I was right about a certain person ignoring me.’ After telling him about the encounter at the door, she shrugged again. ‘Silly of me to expect anything different, wasn’t it?’

Declan raised his eyebrows. ‘Were you hoping for something different?’

‘No, of course not.’ The denial came out too abruptly and she backtracked. ‘All right, maybe I half-expected a polite “Hello, Rachel, how are you?” but I’m not really surprised it didn’t happen. It proves the point that Elliot belongs in the past, doesn’t it?’

‘If you say so.’

About the Author:

Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years.

She returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, USA and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

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Summer holidays, food poisoning, and new books…

The past six weeks have been eventful to say the least.

Let’s start with the good news. I got the rights back to The Black Door, which had been previously published with the fabulous Tirgearr Publishing. After giving it a new edit, re-formatting it, and designing a new cover, it was re-released on the 26th August.

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ASIN: B07WVRFVPS / ISBN: 978-1687345493

Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle CA, Kindle AU

It’s available to read on Kindle for £/$4.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited, and is also available in paperback for £7.99/$12.99.

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More writing news: C.V. Leigh is doing very well. I’ve been a bit quiet under this persona, simply because I’ve been run off my feet with other areas of my life. But, I’ve signed the contract for book two of the Wolves of Faol Hall series, and have finished the first draft of book three.

The Change is no longer available on KU, but can now be read on e-readers other than Kindle. Find your buy link: HERE.

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Blurb:

Kincaid pack Alpha, Alistair, has called his family back to their ancestral home in the Scottish Cairngorms. His wife, Megan, is losing control of her ability to shift and it has him rattled. When it comes to light that Nathan Trevell, Megan’s ex and the lycanthrope who turned her, has travelled from the States and is in the UK, closing in on his family, Alistair is even more determined to keep everyone safe.

Nathan isn’t deterred by the Kincaid pack. He’s in the UK for a very specific reason, a reason that threatens to turn the lives of the Kincaids upside down – and possibly endanger them.

Being cooped up together in Faol Hall only serves to highlight the differences between the Kincaids, and fighting soon breaks out. Can they put aside their issues and present a united front, before it’s too late?

Unfortunately, that’s where the writing news ends for now. As always, I took a break over the summer holidays. My son has gone into year 6, and if he’s anything like his sister, next year I’ll only see him if he’s hungry or needs me to drive him somewhere, so I decided to make the most of it this year. I made lots of plans to go places with them and do exciting stuff. Halfway through the holidays, they went for a sleepover at Nanny’s. Hubby and I thought this would be a great time to do some adulting. We ordered takeaway, went out for meals, booked tickets to see Russell Howard live… and halfway through his show, I got hit by food poisoning and had to run out. (Sorry Russell.)

I’ve never felt so ill in all my life. The actual poisoning only lasted two or three days, but the final three weeks of the summer holidays were ruined because I felt utterly drained. I haven’t been able to eat properly for almost a month now. In fact, my appetite only really came back the day before yesterday. I now feel much better, but I’m struggling to write. My plan to finish the child-friendly epic fantasy was a bust. I haven’t been able to finish the second draft of Wolves of Faol Hall Book Three, and I still haven’t written a book to go with a cover I won back in February!

Hopefully my mojo will return at some point, but for now fans will have to be content with books I’ve already written.

Sorry about that.

Hope everyone else has had a lovely summer. Time to look forward to the autumn and start planning for Christmas!