*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Great Escape (Dilbury Village #2), by Charlotte Fallowfield

#romanticcomedy #humour #chicklit #contemporaryromance

Blurb

A tropical beach paradise in Mexico was the last place Georgie Basset expected her decimated heart to be jump-started again, not after she’d been jilted the year before by spotted Weston Argent jogging along the beach, all bronzed with ripped muscles like some Greek God out of a modern day Baywatch scene, she nearly choked on her cocktail. She knew immediately she was in trouble, she’d never reacted so strongly to a man on first glance.

However, after a disastrous first date with him, she headed back home to Dilbury, resigned to never seeing him again. That is, until Weston turned up unexpectedly at her dog grooming parlour with Bertie the French bulldog, a species she had a real weakness for. She couldn’t help but wonder if fate was playing a helping hand. But each time she saw him, their encounters never went smoothly, resulting in some mortifying and hilarious escapades. Despite their undeniable attraction, there was something about Weston that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, something that concerned her.

When the truth finally came to light, Georgie was convinced that all men were dogs, except she knew that was an insult to dogkind. Ever the meddler, her best friend, Abbie, intervened, knowing in her heart that despite what had happened, Weston was full of good intentions, and was undoubtedly Georgie’s Prince Charming.

The question remained, could he convince Georgie of that, or would he forever remain in the dog house?

While The Great Escape is a standalone story, it’s the second in the Dilbury Village series of romantic comedy novels. All of them will be set in the quaint fictitious English hamlet in the Shropshire countryside, but feature a different village couples’ story.

Warning, if you are of a sensitive disposition when it comes to toilet humour, then the Dilbury Village series may not be for you!

Charlotte Fallowfield’s novels have hit #1 category bestseller charts internationally for Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Humour. Her alter-ego, C.J. Fallowfield, has also hit #1 category bestseller charts internationally for Humorous Erotica, and Romance (English), multiple times.

My Review

A Riotous Read ~ 5 stars

Oh my giddy aunt! If you love rip-roaring laugh-out-loud reads which pair hapless but lovable heroes and heroines then do yourself a HUGE favour –  get your mitts on Charlotte Fallowfield’s romantic comedy The Great Escape. I also loved the previous book, Never The Bride (Abbie’s story), and I really enjoyed revisiting Dilbury (a fictitious  Shropshire village) and being reunited with its larger than life characters, where there is never a dull moment. The humour is very British throughout and #turdgate makes a number of hilarious reappearances – you will need to read the previous novel to appreciate the reference!

The central romance, between Georgie and Weston is a delight to read. Georgie  has been sworn off men since her fiancé cheated on her and understandably has major trust issues. When, on her hols, she unexpectedly encounters the uber attractive sex god that is Weston, she is overcome with unfamiliar lust! They embark on what is probably the most hilarious (and disastrous) first date I’ve ever read, before Weston returns to the UK. Georgie thinks that will be the last she sees of him. However, fate and Weston have other plans and he eventually turns up, dog in hand, seeking her company and her dog grooming expertise. 😉

Their relationship goes from strength to strength but not before there are a series of side splitting and unexpected mishaps. Weston is very secretive about his life. Can Georgie trust him? What is he is hiding and is it a threat to their HEA? Georgie finds herself falling for him hard, but will she be able to forgive him when his past comes to light? I was dying to find out even as I laughed at their antics. The read also ripped my emotions to shreds as the story unfolds and it is fortunate that Georgie has such a close knit group of friends, Abbie, Charlie and Deirdre, who are there for her when she needs them.

A TOP READ, recommended for lovers of irrepressibly funny romcoms.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note an ARC of this book was sent to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

ttps://www.facebook.com/Charlottefallowfield.author

http://cjfallowfield.co.uk/charlotte-fallowfield

**Release Blitz for Abi’s Neighbour by Jenny Kane (includes extract)**

Out Now—Abi’s Neighbour by Jenny Kane (@jennykaneauthor) #romance #cornwall

 

Set in the picturesque Sennen Cove, Cornwall, Abi’s Neighbour is the sequel to the bestselling Cornish romance, Abi’s House. It’s time to catch up with Abi, Max, Beth, Jacob, Stan, and Sadie the Labrador- and meet some unexpected new faces…

Blurb

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT summer escape.

Abi’s Neighbour can be read as a standalone novel, or as a follow up to Abi’s House.

Available in eBook and print from Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/abisneighbour

Extract

The untidy, clipboard-wielding woman started talking as soon as she climbed out of her Mini. ‘Hello, my name’s Maggie, and I’m from –’

Cassandra cut impatiently across the formalities. ‘Sennen Agents, obviously. It’s written across your car.’

‘Oh, yes. So it is.’ Maggie paused, ‘Anyway, I’m sorry I’m late, I got stuck behind a tractor down the lane.’ She jingled a key ring in front of her. ‘I have your keys, Miss Pinkerton.’

‘No, you don’t.’ ‘I don’t?’ The estate agent frowned, looking away from the woman that stood before her in expensive couture with crossed arms and a far from happy expression. Flicking through the papers on her clipboard, Maggie said, ‘I was instructed by a Mr Justin Smythe that you would be accepting the keys on his behalf?’

‘I meant, no, my name is not Miss Pinkerton. It is Ms Henley-Pinkerton.’

‘Oh. I see.’ Maggie refrained from further comment as she clutched the keys a little tighter.

Determined to make sure the situation was clearly understood, Cassandra pulled her jacket on, turning herself back into the sharp-suited businesswoman she was. ‘In addition to your error regarding my name, there appears to have been a further mistake.’

‘There has?’

‘Mr Smythe has not purchased this property. He has merely rented it, with an additional agreement to sublet it as a holiday home. I am here for two months to make the place suitable.’ Cassandra ran a disdainful eye over the beautiful exterior stonework. ‘It would seem that my work is going to be well and truly cut out.’

‘This is a much sought-after street, Ms HenleyPinkerton. And this particular property is in excellent period condition.’ Feeling defensive on behalf of the old miner’s cottage, Maggie bit her tongue and flicked through her paperwork faster. Extracting a copy of the bill of sale, she passed it to the slim, angular blonde. ‘I think the misunderstanding must be yours. Mr Smythe has purchased number two Miners Row outright. It was a cash sale.’

Snatching the papers from Maggie’s fingers, Cassandra’s shoulders tensed into painful knots. Why hadn’t Justin told her he’d done this? She was convinced she was right. And anyway, he’d never deliberately make her appear foolish in front of a country bumpkin estate agent…  Yet as Cassandra scanned the document before her, she could see there’d been no mistake. Closing her eyes, she counted to ten, before opening them again to regard the badly dressed woman before her, who was once again holding out the offending set of keys.  Failing to take them, Cassandra gestured towards the little house.

‘Perhaps you would show me around, after I’ve made a call to Mr Smythe?’ Maggie, already feeling sorry for this unpleasant woman’s future neighbours, took unprofessional pleasure in saying, ‘Good luck with that call. The phone signal here is unpredictable to say the least.’

It had taken a ten-minute walk towards Sennen village to get a decent reception on her mobile phone, and then, when she’d been able to connect the call, Justin’s line was engaged. When she’d finally got through, she was more than ready to explode. ‘Justin! How could you have done this to me without a word? You’ve made me look a total idiot.’

Clearly thrilled that he’d managed to buy the terrace for a knock-down price – which, he’d claimed, was a far more economic use of their funds, an investment that would make them a fortune to enjoy in their retirement – he’d sounded so excited about what it meant for their future together that Cassandra had found it hard to remain cross. Assuring her that the situation remained the same, and that she was still only expected to stay in Cornwall while he secured his new position and got the wheels of the divorce in motion, Justin told Cassandra he loved her and would be with her very soon.

Returning to the terrace reassured, if lacking some of her earlier dignity, Cassandra swallowed back all the words she’d have liked to say as she opened the door and the gloom of the dark and narrow hallway enveloped her. She was sure that awful Maggie woman had been laughing at her. The agent had taken clear pleasure in telling her that if she hadn’t stormed off so quickly she’d have found out that the phone reception was excellent if you sat on the bench in the back garden.

Vowing to never drink champagne in any form ever again, as it clearly caused her to agree to things far too readily, Cassandra saw the next two months stretching out before her like a lifetime.  Letting out some of the tension which had been simmering inside her since she’d first seen the for sale sign, she picked up a stone and threw it at the back fence, hard. Maggie had gone, leaving her reluctant client sitting on an old weathered bench in the narrow rectangular plot at the back of the house.

Playing her phone through her fingers, Cassandra saw that there was enough reception to make calls if she sat in this spot – but only in this spot. One step in either direction killed the signal dead, which was probably why the previous owners had placed a bench here. And probably why they left this Godforsaken place!  The Internet simply didn’t exist here. When she’d swallowed her pride and asked Maggie about the strength of the local broadband coverage, the agent had actually had the audacity to laugh, before informing Cassandra with obvious satisfaction that people came to Sennen for their holidays to leave the world of emails and work behind them.

Breathing slowly, she pulled her shoulders back, pushed her long, perfectly straight blonde hair behind her ears, and took a pen and paper out of her bag. It looked as if she was going to have to tackle this, old school.

First she would make a list of what she considered necessary to make the house habitable for holidaymakers, then she would locate the nearest library or internet café so she could source decorators and builders to get the work underway. The sooner she got everything done, and herself back to hustle and bustle of London, the better.

Deciding there was no way she could sleep in this house, which Maggie had proudly described as ‘comfortable’, ‘sought-after’, and ‘ready to be made absolutely perfect’, Cassandra hooked her handbag onto her shoulder and headed back into the whitewashed stone house. Shivering in the chill of the hallway, despite the heat of the June day, she jumped in the silence when the doorbell rang just as she bent to pick up her overnight bag. For a second she froze. It had been years since she’d heard a doorbell ring. In her block of flats back home she buzzed people in via an intercom, and anyway, people never just dropped by. She hoped it wasn’t that dreadful Maggie back with some other piece of unwanted advice.

It wasn’t Maggie. It was a petite woman in paint spattered clothes, with a large shaggy dog at her side. Cassandra’s unwanted visitor wore a wide smile and held a bunch of flowers in one hand and some bedding in the other.  ‘Hello. My name’s Abi, I live next door. Welcome to Miners Row. I hope you’ll be very happy here.’

Bio

Jenny Kane is the author of the full length romance novels Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2015), Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the contemporary romance/medieval crime time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2015).

Jenny’s sixth full length romance novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published in May 2017.

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JennyKaneAuthor

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

Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee and historical crime as Jennifer Ash.

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services

~*Release Blitz for Shopping for a CEO’s Wife by Julia Kent, includes excerpt*~

Out Now—Shopping for A CEO’s Wife (Book 12 in the Shopping series) by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor)

Release date: April 25, 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Description:

Snowbound. Sounds so romantic, with visions of cuddling before a roaring fire, hot chocolate spiked with brandy, and a secret elopement.

Wait. What?

My fiancé’s father won’t stop trying to turn our pending wedding into a three-ring media circus so he can get free publicity for his family’s Fortune 500 company. My mother has decided she’s done with All Things Wedding and asks her teacup Chihuahua for mother-of-the-bride advice.

They’ve all gone certifiably mad.

Then the stress from the wedding puts my mother in the hospital, I scream at my future father-in-law in front of a camera crew and the video goes viral, and the romantic wedding that started with Andrew’s grand Pride and Prejudice proposal looks less like Jane Austen and more like Dostoyevsky.

So what do you do when you’re a fixer and you can’t fix something?

You give up on it.

Not on Andrew, silly.

The wedding.

Shopping for a CEO’s Wife is the 12th book in Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling Shopping series. As Shannon and Declan enjoy their newlywed bliss, Andrew’s father wants to exploit Amanda and Andrew’s nuptials, much to Amanda’s chagrin. Can she learn to stand up to her future father-in-law and fight for what’s right? But the real question is: will Spritzy the teacup Chihuahua end up being a flower girl?

Buy links:

Amazon US:      Amazon UK:    Amazon AU:    Amazon CA: 

B&N:   iBooks:   Kobo: 

Google Play:    Goodreads: 

Excerpt:

“You have a remarkable capacity for imagining the strangest worst-case scenarios, Amanda.”

“I have to. I’m in love with you.”

“Hey!”

“Did I or did I not walk miles in an 1800s Regency-era costume after you lost your car keys AND a three-carat diamond ring in Walden Pond?”

“Yes, but — ”

“Did you or did you not have to rescue me, half clothed, from a pool at your brother’s wedding?”

“I am sensing a trend.”

“And did you, or did you not, wake up with me in a Vegas hotel room, thinking for a few hours that somehow we’d both married more than one man?”

Now he just sighs.

Ah.

Victory.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://jkentauthor.com/

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2cnaTGc

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jkentauthor

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services

`*•.¸(*•.¸(´*•.¸(*•.¸FREE FOR A LIMITED PERIOD¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*  Until We Collide by Charlotte Fallowfield

Don’t miss your chance to get this Amazon UK and international bestselling romantic comedy novel for free 4th-5th May. Link below:
http://mybook.to/UntilWeCollide 

“This is Brit rom-com at its finest. Fans of Bridget Jones will love this.” – TotallyBooked Blog

What do you do when the guy you’re in love with is seeing someone else? That’s the dilemma facing Paige Taylor. All of her life she’s only ever had eyes for the gorgeous Alec Wright, but despite their undeniable chemistry, their timing has always been off. Fast approaching her thirtieth birthday, Paige despairs of ever finding love and a happy ever after. Her best friend Poppie tells her that she can either watch life pass her by, or grab it with both hands. She convinces Paige to throw herself back into the dating pool, or she could be waiting for Alec forever. What Paige didn’t expect was the catalogue of dating disasters to follow. A neck brace, jelly fish, stitches, flashing and an encounter with a gorilla were some of the most memorable. Despite some downright hilarious, humiliating and cringe worthy dates, her biological clock is ticking and Paige is determined to keep trying until she finds the one. Was Alec Wright always her Mr. Right, or is he still out there waiting to be found? Join Paige in her quest to find the ultimate prize. Love

*ARC REVIEW* ~ Never The Bride (Dilbury Village #1), by Charlotte Fallowfield

#romcom #humour

Loveable Feel Good Romantic Comedy!

I was honoured and SO excited to receive an ARC of this book! I have read a number of Charlotte Fallowfield’s books, writing as CJ Fallowfield (Torn, The Temptress and All That Glisters) and have hugely enjoyed them all. This was the first Rom-Com I’ve read of the author’s and her wicked sense of humour is given full reign – I LOVED it! Scroll down to find out more about the book and for my review. The book is due for release on 28th February, but is up for pre-order now. 🙂

Blank bookcover with clipping path

Blurb

From Charlotte Fallowfield, bestselling rom-com author, comes Never The Bride – A laugh out loud romantic comedy novel full of heart-warming friendships, romance, and quintessential British humour – Coming 28th February 2017.

Available to pre-order from Amazon now!

Abbie Carter felt doomed as she clutched her bouquet and started walking up the aisle. Again. She felt like she was stuck in some kind of Groundhog Day wedding nightmare. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Eight dresses, most of them hideous, were already stuffed in her attic space. She had more bridesmaid dresses than relationships. Was she really that unlucky in love? She despaired of ever finding her soul mate and was convinced that if she packed away dress thirteen in her attic, she’d never get to wear the coveted white one and have her happy ever after.

That was until she locked eyes with one of the handsome ushers, whose wink turned her elegant and well-practiced glide up the aisle into a flailing Bambi-on-ice spectacle. Miller Davis was the first man in forever to make her heart skip a beat, as well as her legs turn to jelly. And, for once, her interest in a man didn’t seem to be one-sided. It was just a shame that the Atlantic Ocean separated them. Abbie couldn’t even make a relationship with her elderly fat pooch, Sumo, work, so what chance did she have with a permanent New Yorker? Her best friend, Georgie, told her to ignore the miles that separated her from Miller and to go for it, saying that true love knew no bounds.

Was Abbie fated to always be the bridesmaid, or would her wish for the perfect day with the man of her dreams ever come true?

While Never The Bride will be a standalone story, it’s the first in the Dilbury Village series of romantic comedy novels. All of them will be set in the quaint fictitious English hamlet in the Shropshire countryside, but feature a different village couples’ story.

wedding invitation

My Review ~ Loveable Feel Good Romantic Comedy! 5 stars

Charlotte Fallowfield’s Never the Bride is a feel good romantic comedy, the ideal read if you are after an instant pick me up! It contains an unlucky in love but totally likeable heroine Abbie, who careers from one embarrassing or compromising situation to another, whilst she lives her life and looks for Mr Right. It is the first book in the author’s Dilsbury Village series, but can be read as a standalone.

Abbie meets Miller, a sexy American IT specialist whilst she is once again bridesmaid (never the bride) at the wedding of one of her old school friends. The scene where they meet is one of pure comic genius, as are many other scenes in the book! Their attraction is instantaneous yet they live thousands of miles apart, separated by the Atlantic. The romance sees a non-starter until their paths once again cross at yet another wedding and Miller’s persistence pays off.

Yet Abbie is very much wedded to village life and her friends in Dilsbury, in the centre of England. Can there possibly be a future with Miller, the swoon worthy alpha male, who is equally committed to his career and home in New York? How can they meet each other half way, when half way is the middle of the Atlantic? Is Abbie forever destined to remain the bridesmaid and never the bride? Should Abbie look elsewhere for her beau? The book is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and humour!

Abbie’s tale is recounted in Charlotte Fallowfield’s signature comedic style, interspersed with some sexy scenes. Village life in Dilsbury is never boring –  there are a wealth of lovable and entertaining individuals who accompany Abbie on her exploits and support her in her quest for Mr Right. Characters incude Abbie’s BFF Georgie, Daphne and David her neighbours, Heath the sexy gardener and last but not least her adorable pooch Sumo, who plays a key role in the plot.

I’ll say no more – this read just about killed me with laughter. It full of  hilarious scenes, recounted with typical British humour.

Highly recommended for fans of Romantic Comedies. A riotous read guaranteed.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note an ARC of this book was sent o me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Pre-order now:

Amazon UK  Amazon US

unicorn

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31742268-never-the-bride?from_search=true

https://www.facebook.com/Charlottefallowfield.author

http://cjfallowfield.co.uk/charlotte-fallowfield

 

**Release Day Review, Author Post & Excerpt** BRAKE FAILURE by Alison Brodie

Released today, BRAKE FAILURE is a contemporary romance, with humour, suspense and a kick-ass heroine. The story is set in one of the most fascinating episodes in America’s history: the months leading up to Y2K “melt-down”. And, what’s more is that it’s just $1/£1 for the first five days of it’s release!!

brakefailurecoverwithreview793Title: Brake Failure

Author: Alison Brodie

Genre: Contemporary romantic suspense

Date released: January 9th, 2017

Length: 340 pages

Buy Links: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada

Blurb: “Is it too late to tell him you love him when you’re looking down the barrel of his gun?”

Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is upper-class English, rigidly brought up to marry a man from the pages of Burke’s Peerage. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.

She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until …she ends up in Kansas.

Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England, but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to erupt. She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure. And he’s not thinking about her car.

With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria. She joins a Survivalists group, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials. Accordingly, she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman’s Relish and macaroons.

Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and “finding herself” for the first time. She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law. At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him, but knows she can never have him.

She’s angry at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.

As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she’s on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.

What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper? And why did she shoot Mr Right?
________________

Note: Alison Brodie wrote this story from first-hand experience. She lived in Kansas during this time and was stunned by the hysteria, unnerved that the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon. As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: “1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world.”

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

To say I loved this story is an understatement. Brake Failure is a powerful romantic suspense, with quick wit and humour at times when you least expect it for a great uplifting experience between the intense scenes. Ruby, an extremely well-to-do upper class Brit, has her hopes and dreams set on a life in Paris; living up to the expectations of her stepmother and stepsister. Marriage is more of one of convenience than love and desire, and so when she realises her husband has been offered a job in Kansas, USA instead of the sexy, sophisticated Paris she is quite disheartened and a tad embarrassed. However, when two men from completely different backgrounds enter her life her thoughts begin to spiral out of control.

Sheriff Hank Gephart is the man she keeps running into every time she does something wild and loose cannon-like. He always catches her during times of misbehaviour and craziness, letting her off the hook, but always telling her what to do, and who she shouldn’t be hanging out with. Another moment in his company and she’d lose her top. Yet, from deep within he has this invisible hold of her. She can’t stop thinking of him. But, no, she definitely hates him! Or, does she? Besides, who cares, she’s married to Edward and is certainly not going to be running off with anyone anytime soon.

Unless, Payat, the Red Indian Chief boss of her husband counts, with his tall, broad body, soft eyes and caring nature. Yes, if she were to have an affair it would definitely be him. Why on earth would she want the brute of a man, a cowboy, like Gephart, when she could have the soft, tender caressing love and protection from her seemingly lovely Indian? Yet, as a reader, it is the intensity of Hank’s character that gets the heart pacing, just as it does for Ruby, even if she is in denial.

“It would be like wanting a cuddly cat and being given a tiger. He (Hank) was too masculine, too overpowering, too much in charge. If she wanted to rock the security of her little world by going off with another man, she would choose Payat. Payat with his gentle manner, his shy dark eyes and, of course, his wildly romantic appeal.

But she wasn’t prepared to go off with another man. Like a filing cabinet, her life was compartmentalised and ordered. Edward was her husband. Payat was a delicious fantasy. And Gephart was the rogue piece of paper that had to go in the bin.”

Brake Failure draws you in from the very beginning as the reader learns that a sheriff has been shot. This leads the reader to question who shot him, why did they shoot, and where are they now? What will happen next? Stories that open up with a shocking scene always seem to be the best, as the reader searches for these answers, being gripped to every ounce of information that the author offers them.

The story weaves between the events that unfold in the investigation of the shot sheriff and the weeks leading up to that event. Did Ruby really shoot Hank? If so, what caused her to do so? And, where is she now? Did she leave, running scared after an accident? Or, did she decide to leave to go to Payat?

The differences of Ruby’s social class and etiquette in comparison to the culture and behaviour of those in the Mid-West adds plenty of humour to the story. Her Kansas friends are ever-eager to find out about the British Royal Family, whilst preparing themselves for a possible breakdown in society if computers start to crash during the 2000 New Year Millennium Bug. This encourages Ruby to start preparing herself, just in case. It is during some of these events that the reader is introduced to Ruby’s diary and her thoughts that will make the reader laugh out loud, along with her sarcasm towards her stepsister and Hank Gephart.

Alison Brodie keeps the readers guessing due to the surprises and twists that occur, and also because of Ruby’s sometimes erratic and indecisive behaviour. She has her family’s upbringing expectations to live up to, her perfect, classy housewife expectations of her husband’s, and yet (although in denial for the most part) starts wanting to live. Love shouldn’t be a lustful desire, but a companionship – a means to an end, but when she begins to desire things she’s not used to it sets her down a crazy path. This keeps the reader on their toes, making it a fast and exhilarating read that will stay with you for a very long time. Certainly a classic in my opinion!

A copy of Brake Failure was provided by the author, Alison Brodie, in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Other reviews include:

5 * “OMG…I freakin’ LOVED this book…going on the list of one of my favorites of 2016.” –Star Angels Reviews

5* “Everyone needs to read this book. It’s blooming brilliant.” –The Reading Shed

5* “Hilarious.” –Lauren Sapala, Book Reviewer and Writers’ Coach

5* “A laugh-out-tale that will keep you flipping the pages as fast as possible.” –Tome Tender

5* “Empowering…comical…refreshing.” –San Francisco Book Review

AUTHOR POST

ALISON BRODIE – Brake Failure

 

Brake Failure is about an English girl, Ruby, who has been strictly brought up to be polite – and to bottle her feelings. Then she arrives in Kansas and collides with Sheriff Hank Gephart, who gives her a hard time. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket and commits minor acts of criminal insanity.

I loved writing this story. It was wonderful to be in Ruby’s skin and just be reckless, rude and raving!I I also love Hank. He is down-to-earth, controlling (he is a cop, after all) and very macho.

When I write a book, I allow my characters to tell the story. With this book, I just didn’t know how – or if – Hank and Ruby could ever get together. It seemed so impossible. I also loved Rowdy, the ugly dog she adopts, and Idabel, a Survivalist who teaches Ruby how to shoot a gun ready for Y2K “meltdown”.

I lived in Kansas during the time of the Millennium Bug and got quite worried about what would happen when the bell struck midnight of the new year! TV channels were either saying: “Just prepare as if for a 6-day blizzard.” Other channels were saying “Run for the hills!” I didn’t know what to think, especially as the American government was spending 150 billion dollars on preparing for the “bug”. Yikes!

This was an easy story to write because I didn’t need to do research. I lived there, went to all the dives, danced with cowboys, met real bull-riders, sheriffs, neighbours, Survivalists. The book reads more like a memoir! And the big event that happened right at the end? It really did happen. I have the Kansas City Star from 1 January to prove it!

Some readers may enjoy historical references: I mention Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac (institutes like these gave money to poor people, which would eventually lead to world recession).

The first Harry Potter book had just come out and was being burned (can you remember a time before the Year HP?)

Princess Diana had died two years before and the American people were still stunned, still asking questions. The Americans have a fascination for the Royal Family.

The Hadron Collider was just being built. Now it’s up and running and has found the Higgs boson.

So this book is a romcom, a memoir, a slice of recent history, plus a social document detailing the differences between America and Britain. Enjoy!

Alison Brodie Author photoAUTHOR BIO

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.

Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.

BRAKE FAILURE will be “unleashed” 9 Jan, 2017. See the reviews on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31683339-brake-failure

Alison loves to hear from her readers. Link to website: http://www.alisonbrodiebooks.com/#!the-double/c1253

EXCERPT

Ruby!’ Karla shouted. ‘Git yer ass over here, gal.’

She wandered over, aware that he was more stoned than usual. He grabbed her hand and tugged. ‘Come on, Ruby-Ruby; tell us more about the Tower of London.’

She was not at all alarmed by his manner. Although he was built like King Kong, he was a pussy-cat. But she was in no mood for talking. ‘Nah, I’m going back inside,’ she said, making a half-hearted attempt to disengage herself.

GET YER HANDS OFF HER!’ The voice cut through the night air.

Gephart was striding towards them, his face murderous.

Karla was on his feet, hands bunched: ‘You talking to me?’ he growled, unaware that he was threatening a cop out of uniform.

Yeah, I’m talking to you.’

Karla stepped forward, chin thrust out. ‘What I do with her ain’t none of yer business!’

It’s alright!’ Ruby cried, grabbing Gephart’s sleeve to restrain his threatening punch. This was a mistake. With his arm held back, Gephart was unable to defend himself and took the full force of Karla’s fist in his face. Gephart let out a yell and fell back clutching his nose.

Ruby spun to Karla. ‘You idiot! Why on earth did you do that?’

Karla, startled by her verbal attack, didn’t see Hank’s fist coming. It cracked against his jaw, sending him reeling back.

Appalled, she turned angrily to see Hank going in for another punch. ‘STOP IT!’ She jumped between them and held out her hands. ‘THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!’ Goodness, she sounded like the Queen.

It worked, though. The combatants stared at her with a “what-the-hell-was-that” look.

Karla’s girlfriend arrived on the scene, wobbling on spiked heels and screeching. Everyone was making a fuss over Karla, yet no-one cared about Hank, who was bent over, cupping a hand under his bleeding nose. Ruby’s fury turned to pity. She picked up his Stetson.

Come on,’ she said, putting a hand on his back. ‘Let’s go inside and I’ll clean you up.’ She steered him towards the entrance, along the corridor and into the ladies lavatory. ‘You shouldn’t have hit him,’ she said, sitting him on a stool by the sink and taking the tube of Savlon from her bag. Apart from a pair of tweezers, the rest of her emergency medical supplies had long ago been abandoned to make space for makeup and perfume.

You were in trouble.’

She began filling the sink with hot water. ‘I wasn’t in trouble.’ Gephart was so close; she could feel the power of him.

Didn’t look that way to me.’

Karla’s my friend. He was just being silly.’ She yanked paper towels from the dispenser, soaked them in water, squeezed them out and began to wipe the blood from Hank’s face. He was staring at her but she refused to meet his gaze. Being so close, she could smell him, the beer on his breath, the smoky smell of hickory wood from his hair, the warm scent of male sweat; musty yet inoffensive. She could see the kink in his noise where it had broken, the crows’ feet at the corner of his eyes.

In the dance hall, the band finished their song with a rousing roll of drums. The roar of chattering voices filled the sudden silence. It was the interval. Females began filing in to the lavatory and, seeing Gephart, rushed forward, squeaking their sympathy. ‘Hank, sweetheart, does it hurt?’ ‘Can I help?’

When a hand reached out to touch his cheek, Ruby slapped it away. She was appalled at this base action. She quickly collected herself: ‘Ladies, please!’ That voice again. ‘We need space.’ Throwing her cautious looks, the females backed off.

Why had she slapped that girl? Shame-faced, Ruby soaked another fistful of paper and began cleaning the side of Gephart’s nose. All around was the sound of flushing loos, the spray of perfume, the click of lipsticks. Then the room went silent as everyone left. From the dance hall came the plaintive sound of a woman singing:

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love. Don’t fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evening breeze, listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees, send me off for ever but I ask you please, don’t fence me in …’

When Hank spoke again, his tone was low, dejected. ‘What happened to you at Shady Acres? I was waiting with a bunch of flowers to say thank you.’

She felt a twinge of guilt. He’d bought her flowers. ‘I’m sorry, Hank. I must have gone out the wrong door.’

You were running from me again, weren’t you?’

Her glance flickered over his blue eyes and quickly away.

Was it because I called you Sweet Cheeks?’

She was silent for a moment then a tiny laugh escaped. ‘Possibly.’

He stared at her. ‘You’re the most beautiful woman I ever did see.’

Ruby knew from the heat in her cheeks that her face had turned the fiercest red. She was panicking, unable to cope with these feelings.

How kind,’ she said coolly, trying to re-assert control of her emotions.

She sounded like Claire. Good. Now she had to be Claire.

I want you to know I’m more’n just a cop.’ He flexed his right hand – his punching hand – and grimaced. ‘I’m a bull-rider. I’ve won the bull-riders’ championship at Flint Hills Rodeo three years straight, and no-one west of State Line can rope a steer as good as me.’

Evidently, you are not a man who sits at home in a smoking jacket listening to Schubert.’ She was using biting sarcasm as a defence and was surprised when he chuckled.

Sure don’t sound like me.’ He shifted. ‘I’m building my own house out in Abilene with a veranda looking west to the sunset. And a picket fence that goes all around. Out in the yard there’s a live oak some say was used by Sherman’s scouts.’ He paused. ‘Come out with me Ruby. No strings. Just you and me. Bottle of wine. Steamboat on the Missouri. Moonlight. Then we can talk, start over. What do you say?’

It sounded appealing, and very romantic. All the pieces fitted perfectly, except one:

Him.

It would be like wanting a cuddly cat and being given a tiger. He was too masculine, too overpowering, too much in charge. If she wanted to rock the security of her little world by going off with another man, she would choose Payat. Payat with his gentle manner, his shy dark eyes and, of course, his wildly romantic appeal.

But she wasn’t prepared to go off with another man. Like a filing cabinet, her life was compartmentalised and ordered. Edward was her husband. Payat was a delicious fantasy. And Gephart was the rogue piece of paper that had to go in the bin.

It was time to tell him she was married.

I’m mar-’ She stopped and thought: This man is a cop, a control freak. What if he has the old-fashioned notion that this little lady should be at home with hubbie and not in some seedy bar mixing with drug-fuelled Hells Angels? What if, in a fit of pique, he tells Edward? Then I’m in big trouble and all “shore leave” will be revoked – permanently.

Hank sighed. ‘Sometimes I get the feeling you don’t like me.’

Possibly.’

He grabbed her wrist. Astonished, she found herself staring him straight in the eyes. ‘No, you don’t dislike me, Ruby,’ he whispered. ‘In fact, I bet if I asked nicely, you’d give me a kiss.’

She had the sensation of standing on railroad tracks and feeling, or imagining, the far-off trembling of something large racing her way. And yet she was powerless to move away as much as a step.

Go on, Ruby, I’ve been injured in the line of duty. Give me a kiss.’

No.’ His hand felt like a steel band around her wrist.

I saved your hide.’ Although his tone was cheeky, his eyes pleaded.

Then will you to let me go?’

I promise.’

Alright,’ she conceded, telling herself that for right or wrong, he was now sitting here because he’d believed she’d needed rescuing. She lowered her head, touched her lips to his cheek and jerked back.

His face was stamped with indignation. ‘What the hell was that?’ he thundered.

A kiss.’

I meant on the lips.’

She stared down at his mouth. A voice in her head told her to do it, another voice told her to run like hell. But she couldn’t run; not with him holding her. She bent and quickly pecked him on the lips. ‘There! That’s a kiss.’

Where I come from lady that was no kiss.’

He stood up abruptly. She sensed what was about to happen and felt the flutter of giant wings open inside her chest. But before she could step away, he pulled her against him, one hand coming around her to hold her arms, the other gripping the back of her head. She was immobilised, unable to turn from his advancing kiss. He lowered his head and slowly brushed his mouth across hers; she could feel his breath coming into her. She felt a dart of hot desire shoot up from between her legs. Then his mouth was on hers, pressing down…

A cheer of female voices and male wolf-whistles erupted from the doorway. Hearing it, Hank lifted his head to his audience, his arms loosening their hold on her. ‘Now that’s a kiss!’ he smirked.

Humiliated, she slapped him across the cheek and strode for the door. Laughter broke over her head like a wave. She shouldered her way through a jubilant crowd of heavily perfumed females and grinning cowboys. The bastard had got a laugh at her expense!

A man shouted out. ‘Hey, Hank, I got a notion she don’t like you!’

Another man agreed. ‘You ain’t gonna be herdin’ that pretty heifer into yer corral any time soon.’

In the babble of voices she heard: ‘… got yerself a maverick.’ ‘… Roxanne.’

It wasn’t until she was outside that she realised she was crying.

brake-failure-teaser-2733

 

 

Catch That Santa, by Karen Docter (includes excerpt)

#romance #comedy #christmas

Catch That Santa

A Romantic Comedy Novelette

by Karen Docter

When widow, Sara Marks, hears her Grams has gone on the lam from Happy Acres Residence on Christmas Eve – on Santa’s arm, no less — she teams up with sexy stranger, Francisco de la Vega, to chase the couple down with one thing in mind. Keep her Grams from becoming Mrs. Claus. Of course, Francisco’s grandfather is not really Santa Claus, but Grams did run off to Vegas to marry him and she’s obviously not in her right mind.

Sara leaves her seven-month-old baby, Lanie, with a friend and she and Cisco head west in the worst snowstorm in decades, chasing his grandfather’s ’57 Ford Fairlane over the river and through the woods.

Will they catch Santa and his crazy Mrs. Claus before it’s too late? Or will love stop them in their tracks?

(Novelette, approximately 17,000 words/50 pages)

ONLY 99¢

CHAPTER ONE

“What do you mean, Grams ran off with Santa Claus?” Sara Marks stared at the first floor orderly, Buddy Cantor, who’d met her outside her grandmother’s room at Happy Acres Residence. She could barely catch her breath after dashing through the facility carrying her sleeping seven-month-old. It had taken her a full thirty minutes to drive from the church near her apartment across Denver’s snow packed streets in her crotchety, old Ford, when it should have taken ten. Twenty minutes too long if her grandmother was truly missing.

She should never have gone to the Christmas Eve service. She’d suspected Grams was up to something when she called and told her to come later so she could take a nap before their usual dinner together. There was something in her voice, but Sara hadn’t paid enough attention with little Lanie fussing in her ear. “Next thing you’ll tell me is Santa took her to the North Pole in a sleigh pulled by reindeer.”

“No. A gold ’57 Ford Fairlane convertible.” The man shuffled uneasily in the doorway. “And they’re headed to Vegas. We think.”

“Vegas.” Movement in her arms made her aware Lanie was fully awake and ready to play. She grinned up at Sara with two shiny new bottom teeth, like she’d woken up just to laugh at her great-grandma’s latest flight of fancy.

Oh, Grams, what have you done?

Sara frowned at the orderly. “This is insane,” she said. “She has to be here. You searched the building? She loves the arboretum.”

Buddy nodded. “We’ve canvassed the entire building, mast to deck. Stem to stern.” The orderly fancied himself a sailor, although Sara couldn’t see how buying a bass boat gave him the chops to litter sailing terms through every conversation she’d ever had with the man.

“Could she be hiding for some reason?” There was never an inkling Grams was unhappy at Happy Acres. Or that her faculties were failing. The woman might be pushing eighty but she was still sharp as a tack. It was her mobility that forced Sara to accept her grandmother’s insistence she move to this facility.

Happy Acres was a large complex with suites on the west side for more independent residents, while those who needed assistance lived in the east wing. Grams had moved herself into the east wing after her fall four months ago, claiming it was time she move out of Sara’s tiny apartment anyway and make room for her first great-granddaughter. Sara argued until she was blue in the face but her independent Grams had already signed the papers and paid the upfront, non-refundable fees. It was a done deal by the time Grams asked Sara to help her pack.

A knot of apprehension grew in her chest, right above where little Lanie was elbowing her sternum. Sara smothered her growing panic and laid the baby on the bed to remove her new hat and coat. “Okay, so Grams isn’t here.” She picked up Lanie and refocused her attention on the orderly. “When did she leave with this Santa Claus? Did she know him?”

She answered her own question. “Of course, she had to know him, or she wouldn’t have left with him.” She frowned. “Why do you think they’re heading for Vegas?”

He reached into his pocket and handed her a folded piece of paper. “Your grandmother left this note on her bed.”

Sara unfolded the paper. Sara, honey, don’t fret. Santa’s finally come, as I told you he would. Getting married in Vegas. Your Christmas present is under the bed. Don’t wait till tomorrow to open it. You’ll need it. Love, Grams.

There was a postscript. P.S. Didn’t have time to water my begonias. Please take care of that for me before you come? Can’t wait to see you!

Grams’ hold on reality was becoming dicey in Sara’s mind. “I don’t understand.” She glanced around the small room at the begonias Grams babied like children – fifteen begonias to be exact, scattered on bookshelves, an antique dresser and armoire, on the floor near the sliding glass doors that led to her private patio – as if the hand-painted pots also held the answer that would end her confusion. “How long has she been gone?” she asked.

 

Bestselling Author Karen Docter writes contemporary romance. When she feels the need to feed the dark side, she writes intense suspense thrillers as K.L. Docter. She’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.

 

Author Web & Social Media links:

Website/Blog: http://www.karendocter.com
Twitter: @KarenDocter
Karen Docter FB: goo.gl/6TXc5X
K.L. Docter FB: goo.gl/uD1iGL
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/bsswDd

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