The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Friday, 24 July 2015

ONE WEEK UNTIL ANGEL HEART IS PUBLISHED!

 ANGEL HEART will be released on 30th July by Accent Press.  
 I can't wait! In the meantime, here is the blurb and a short excerpt...

Blurb
Devonshire, 1815.
A mysterious Templar relic,
A web of intrigue and lies,
A woman about to lose her heart...

Marie-Ange, the young widow of an English officer, accepts an inheritance in France only to find that everything in Beauregard is not as it seems. Why is the sinister Malleval so obsessed with her family? And could her darling Christopher still be alive? Marie-Ange finds herself trapped in a dangerous web of lies, intrigue and mystical possession, and the only person to whom she can turn for help is Captain Hugo Saintclair. Yet the enigmatic Hugo represents a danger of a different kind …

‘Angel Heart’ is a lavish mix of romance, adventure and a hint of the supernatural, largely set in France against the turbulent background of Napoleon’s return from Elba.


Excerpt
Marie-Ange meets Capitaine Hugo Saintclair...

She pushed open the door to the drawing room and hurried inside. Splinter and Rusty ran under her feet, tripping her. Her cry of alarm died on her lips as two strong arms caught her. Surprised, she tilted her head up to look at the tall, dark-haired man holding her against his hard, wide chest. His intense blue eyes held her gaze and sent a shiver down her spine. One side of his weather-beaten face was barred by a long, ragged scar. The thin line of the mouth and the tightness in his jaw gave an impression of controlled anger. For a moment fear gathered in her chest. Then he smiled, a slow, confident smile, and he was transformed into the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on.


The dogs barked at them furiously. Marie-Ange parted her lips to order them to stop but before she could speak Robert took a few steps forward, an angry scowl twisting his face, his fists clenched by his sides.

‘Let her go at once, sir,’ he warned, ‘or …’

‘Or what?’ The man arched his eyebrows, a mocking smile at the corner of his mouth, as if he dared Robert to come any closer. He shook his head and released her.

 ‘I will ask you to restrain your puppies, Madame. The three of them,’ he said as he looked down at her.

‘How dare you call me a puppy?’ Robert's face flushed a deep red, and he took another step forward.

Marie-Ange found her voice at last.

‘Rusty. Splinter. Lie down at once.’ She pointed to the rug in front of the fireplace. The dogs whimpered but obeyed. ‘Robert. That's enough. Monsieur was just helping me.’

Robert muttered an apology and crouched beside the dogs to stroke their wet, muddy coats.

‘You must be Capitaine Saintclair,’ she said, tilting her chin up to look at him again.

 The papers had been full of sketches and reports about the famous French cuirassiers and she had no difficulty imagining Saintclair in a dark blue uniform, his chest covered with shiny metal plates and his helmet topped by a black horse mane, charging onto the battlefield. His current attire of black breeches and tall leather riding boots topped by a short brown coat did nothing to dispel the heroic image conjured in her mind.

He clicked his heels together and bowed his head.

‘At your service, Madame.’

Links
http://www.accentpress.co.uk/Book/17119/Angel-Heart

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Welcome to Yorkshire novelist Helen Pollard

A very warm welcome to Yorkshire writer Helen Pollard. I have had the pleasure to meet Helen a couple of times for lunch in the delightful Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge and I have read and very much enjoyed her two romantic novels, WARM HEARTS IN WINTER and HOLDING BACK.

Hello Helen. It's lovely to talk to you again! What can you tell us about Holding Back?

Holding Back is a summer romance set in northern Portugal and it concentrates on the developing relationship of Daniel and Laura who, as the title suggests, are both wary of each other and the prospect of falling in love. From a very rocky start, they move through a rollercoaster of mutual attraction, misunderstandings, friendship … but will they allow that to develop into something more?

I loved the Portugal setting. Even though I have never been there, I could picture perfectly well the scenery and the little towns Laura and Daniel visited.
 
In three words - What kind of man is Daniel, your hero?

Demanding, loyal, goodhearted.

Indeed... I found Daniel a wonderful romantic hero! In three words - What kind of woman is Laura, your heroine?

Independent, capable, stubborn. 

What did Daniel think the first time he saw Laura?

After a mix-up over luggage and hire-cars at the airport, Daniel thought Laura was stroppy and incompetent … and attractive despite her dishevelled appearance:

He was so tired he could sleep for a month. Encounters with stroppy, sexy women he could well have done without. On his drive north from the airport, he'd had quite a struggle to forget the pretty brunette with attitude.

And what did Laura think of Daniel the first time she saw him? 

Laura thought Daniel was arrogant, rude … and handsome:

"Pity his manners aren't as attractive as the rest of him," she muttered as she pushed her trolley through the throng. And, she had to face it, the rest of him was attractive, even to her usually oblivious eyes.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to write? (quiet, music, an empty house?)

I like music if I'm fiddling about with bits and pieces – marketing, social media, etc. – but when I'm actually writing or doing some serious editing, I do need quiet. As for an empty house … that's a rare occurrence so I tend not to rely on it, or I'd never get anything done!

Just like me then!
 
Do you find it difficult to come up with titles for your novels?

Yes, I find titles really hard. I know some authors think of a title first and write around that, but I can have the whole book written and still draw a complete blank!

With Warm Hearts in Winter, even when I’d finished the book, everything I thought of seemed to have been used before. In the end, I went for something that gives the reader a clear idea of what they’re getting (with a little alliteration for good measure!) For Holding Back, I spent weeks trying to come up with something. I wanted it to reflect the story, the fact that the hero and heroine are too stubborn and reticent to allow themselves to fall in love. In the end, good old hubby came through and suggested Holding Back, which I'm really pleased with.

As for my current work in progress, it has several working titles - none of them suitable, of course …

I am sure you will find wonderful title. Sometimes, it's better not to try too hard and it just pops into your mind!
 
Now for the word association fun test!

day                      coffee, work, walk                 
night                  insomnia, owl, pillow
winter                snow, robin, radiator
summer            coast, flowers, garden
nature                trees, river, wildflowers

Blurb:
The last thing they're looking for is love …
Laura Matheson is a natural at avoiding romance, so when she is drawn to mystery guest Daniel Stone while helping out at her friends' hotel in Portugal, she assumes all she needs is a little extra willpower.
Daniel is at the hotel on business. The demands of work and a manipulative ex-girlfriend mean he doesn't have the time or energy for romance, but Laura is a distraction he finds hard to ignore.
As they negotiate a minefield of misunderstandings and mutual attraction, will they both continue to hold back? Or will they finally allow love into their lives?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holding-Back-Helen-Pollard-ebook/dp/B00WRZ1PKA





About the Author:
Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor - to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love ... and we all need a little love, right?

A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers and a psychotic cat. When she's not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.

Find Helen at:

Website & Blog:  http://helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com     
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/pages/Helen-Pollard/372986142839624
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/helenpollard147
Goodreads:  http://goodreads.com/author/show/8647878.Helen_Pollard
Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/helenpollard

Excerpt:
Laura's mind raced as her footsteps slowed. What on earth was he doing here? The unlikely hope he might be passing by—perhaps he'd called in for directions to somewhere else?—was immediately scotched as he lifted his luggage from the car. Reminded of their encounters at the airport, she could have squirmed with embarrassment at how out of character she'd acted, making mistakes and being so snappy about them.

Well, he wouldn't see her like that again. If Daniel Stone was a guest here—and it seemed there was no escaping from it—then she must make him welcome. For goodness' sake, she was used to dealing with awkward situations every day at school!

He turned at the sound of her footsteps. Forcing a calmness into her voice that didn't extend to her stomach, she stepped forward and held out her hand.

"Mr. Stone? Welcome to the Quinta Maria."

Closing the car, he straightened up to his full six-foot-something and reached out to shake hands. For one brief, glorious moment, Laura thought he might not recognise her now that she was spruced up a little, but any hope of that disappeared as his eyes narrowed in sudden recognition and his hand dropped to his side as though it had been burned.

"It seems you have the advantage over me, knowing my name," he said. "Since you're determined to turn up like a bad penny wherever I go, perhaps you could enlighten me with yours?"

Incensed, Laura bit back a response. They were no longer on neutral ground, and as his host, she could hardly give him a piece of her mind.

"I'm Laura Matheson," she replied as evenly as she could. "If you'll excuse me, I'll get your key and then I'll show you around."

Disappearing into reception before he could find further fault with her, she crossed to the desk and raked her tired eyes over the reservations spreadsheet with a growing sense of disbelief. Not only was Daniel Stone booked in for a full fortnight, but he'd been allocated the room next to hers. Even Paulo and Rachel were unknowingly conspiring against her!

"You're in room eleven," she announced, sensing his presence in the doorway. "Your other party checked in earlier. Will you require a second key?"

"My other party?"

Something in his tone made her glance up. She recognised the travel weariness in his stance, but his face showed only bewilderment.

"Yes." She squinted at the computer screen again. "Miss Hartman."

His eyes froze to a dangerous dark blue. "Natalie Hartman?"

"That's right," she confirmed, double-checking the name. "Is there a problem?"

"What time did she check in?" His mouth was a hard, thin line.

She frowned. "I'm sorry, I don't know."

"You don't know?" There was incredulity in his voice, along with displeasure and a hint at incompetence on her part.

Laura didn't like it, nor was she going to take it. "I don't know because I wasn't here in reception when she checked in. As you're aware, I only arrived here a short while ago myself. I …" She stopped. There was no need for her to explain herself. Frankly, she couldn't understand why he didn't just go and talk to his companion. After all, they were sharing a double room.
 
Thank you so much for coming on the blog today Helen. I wish you plenty of success with HOLDING BACK and good luck with your work in progress!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Welcome to American Author Barbara Donlon Bradley


Today is July 4th so it only seemed appropriate that my guest should be American. I am delighted to welcome Barbara Donlon Bradley and her latest release HIDDEN DESIRE - which is book eight in her series Vespian Ways.

Hello Barbara. I am delighted to meet you. Can you tell us a little about you?

My name is Barbara Donlon Bradley and I live in south east Virginia in the USA. Happily married for thirty years, I live with my husband, son, 87 (almost 88) year old mother-in-law and two cats who don’t really care for each other. I’ve been published since 2001 but have been writing off and on since I was a teenager. I love writing, it’s such a strong passion for me. Writing is my way to escape into the worlds I’ve created.

I know what you  mean. I feel exactly the same exactly the same about writing and the need to escape from a busy life. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

I play the ‘what if’ game a lot. That was how I developed my first book, which is a time travel. I had read a lot of them  and it seemed that every time the heroine, who normally was the one going back in time, always knew about history of where she was going. They worked in museums or were history teachers. I sat there and said what if my heroine knew nothing about the timeline? So I made her an astrophysicist. What I heard from my readers is they loved the way the heroine would do something we take for granted, like a light switch on the wall, then had to explain the strange behaviour. Now that I’m writing SF/Fantasy Erotic romance I still do the same thing. What if the hero is a shape shifter? What if my heroine thinks she’s human but finds out she’s not.

Can you tell us about Hidden Desire?

Hidden Desire is the 8th book in my series the Vespian Way. Heather wants to fight beside her people, not watch from a safe distance. So when her brother comes up with a way to disguise her she jumps at the chance. Now she can try out for an elite team to help defeat Reasta, who has a stronghold on their planet. No one knows who she is, including her mate, who has also been disguised. They must find each other, qualify for the team and help rescue the elders without being found out.

I do love the name of your hero. Storm, how wonderful... What did he think the first time he saw Heather?

He finds her fascinating. She is petite by Vespian standards but she walks with an air of confidence that he likes.

And what did Heather think of Storm the first time she saw him?

She thinks he’s a womanizer. Vespian males release a pheromone when their single. It how they find their mate. The effect on humans though is powerful they either love them to obsession or hate them just as powerfully. When she first sees him he’s surround by a bunch of women who were fighting each other to touch him.

Tell me Barbara, what is the one thing you absolutely need to write?

All I need is my recliner and noise from my television. I know it sounds crazy but that is what I got used to over the years.

It doesn't sound crazy at all. We all have our favourite places and times of day to write...What are you working on at the moment?

Book nine of the series – Timeless Desire. Someone is messing with the timeline and only Skye and Sam know the truth. They must bring Heather and Storm together again and fix the timeline back the way it should be.

That sounds exciting!

Now for the word association fun test! Please write the first 3 words that come to your mind.

1. night – time to write

2. summer – the beach

3. romance – what I write

4. writing – my escapism

5. reading – as much as I can

Thank you so much Barbara for coming on the blog and being my guest today. I wish you lots of success with Hidden Desire.

Author bio:

Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favourite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humour is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humour bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – whose 87, her husband and son.

Blurb

Heather wants to fight beside her people, not watch from a safe distance. So when her brother comes up with a way to disguise her she jumps at the chance. Now she can try out for an elite team to help defeat Reasta, who has a stronghold on their planet. No one knows who she is, including her mate, who has also been disguised. They must find each other, qualify for the team and help rescue the elders without being found out.

 

 
 
 
Excerpt
Heather had been dropped off near one of the security outposts, where she had been told by Kuarto to sign in, then was directed to the large cave nearby. She saw about eighty other soldiers with her. This small a crowd should make it easy for her to find her mate, if he had been dropped off at the same place. Looking around, she didn’t see anyone who fit his build and height right away. She’d have to search for him later. The meeting was about to start.

Fridon’s image stood in front of them, waiting for everyone to gather and quiet down. “All of you are here because of your records. I am looking to put together several more elite teams to infiltrate our enemies’ stronghold. Our war is a private one, not sanctioned by the council. They have been compromised and can’t help us right now, so we need to help them.”

Soldiers around her murmured amongst themselves.

“As with any elite team, you must be tested. Once you leave this cave you will find out what your destination is. You’ll have two days to get there. That is all.”

As they filed out, they were given a handheld that contained all the information they needed to get to their destination. Heather looked at hers as she followed the people in front of her. Interesting. She had two days to get to the target that normally took three days to travel on foot if they followed the basic paths, and they weren’t allowed to use any sort of transportation because it could be traced. She grinned. This was going to be fun.

Buy Links








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