30 January 2018

Raven McAllan Visit with her New Release!

Hello Raven!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. 

R:- Thank you for inviting me. I’m so excited about Darling Doc. Just shut me up if I ramble on too long...

So tell me…
Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?
I thought I’d lot my ability to write hot. To say it worried me was an understatement. I had so many thing, I knew I wanted to write, but no inclination. It seems I just needed the right characters. The minute I pictured them, I knew their story would scorch the pages, in the best possible way. The heroine Sandy, is name after a fantastic supported of mine, and the hero Alistair is the name of a friend and which fits my hero to a ‘T’.

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?
Hopefully it’s the first book in a series called Naughty Forties. The hero and heroine are at that very interesting age. Makes for a lot of fun. Old enough to have seen a bit of life, and young enough not to creak too much. Wink The next book’s working title is The Awesome Ladies Supper Club.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?
The water bottle scene really happened. To me. I was in the situation I put Sandy, my heroine in. Sadly the rest is all from my imagination.

Q) What gave you the inspiration for your book?
That water bottle scenario. I giggled about it, shared in my Fb group, and was told I just had to put it in a book. Then while I was in Hong Kong, and chatting to my ex-hairdresser who now lives there, I bounced the idea off him. He was ‘go for it’.

Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind?
Nope. I just open the lap top and get on with it. And write whoever shouts loudest.

Q) How much real life do you put into or influences your books?
I love using places I know. Hence Darling Doc is set in a mythical village in the Trossachs in Scotland. I also have a book, hopefully out next year set in Hong Kong, my favourite city in the world. (Which I’ve used before) I’ve also set alot of books in Scotland, Devon, London, Barbados...

Q) What are your upcoming projects?
How long have we got?
Writing wise, I have... deep breath a Regency to finish, that I am extending from 14k to 70. It’s contracted and needs to be with the publisher by August. That sounds a long while away, but it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. Trying to weave a short story into all the added back story, extra scenes, and not lose the thread or timeline, is exhilarating, scary and difficult. But great fun.
And... I have another round of edits due for my first ever chick lit, The Pop up Bookshop on the Cliffs, (Cliff Cottage) which is due out in May, (That’s coimng out under my sweeter alter ego, Katy Lilley). Then finish off a contemporary sweet romance set in Scotland and Hong Kong, and a saga to write. All either contracted or under consideration.
And a bit of fun with a serious side. A story about a group of blokes who expect to go on a golf week and end up doing a lot more. I was at a charity dinner in aid of the RNIB, and somehow raised several hundred pounds by ‘offering’ (I say that tongue-in-cheek) to write a book with peoples names in it. As they all paid very well for the privilege, I’m trying to decide if I go ‘hot’ (very tempted... Tony the lizard—long tongue ;), Clive the silver fox, smooth and sophisticated, Geraint the magnificent and so on...) or do a sort of a chick lit. Both are muttering. Neither screaming yet, but...
And of course The Awesome Ladies supper club.
I better get a move on...

Anyway before all that, Darling Doc will be with you...

This stuff only happens in romance novels….
After a chance meeting on a crowded tram, Sandy has cause to re-evaluate several things.
1, It is perfectly possible to lust after a stranger.
2, It isn’t only fictional heroines who need to carry spare panties.
3, A man’s voice really can almost make you climax in public.
4, Great sex does exist.
5, Being a doctor can complicate things.
When her chance encounter turns up in her surgery, there is only one thing for it. Grab said hunk and the sex on offer with both hands and don’t let go. Alistair isn’t a patient after all… and what two consenting adults get up to in their spare time can’t be love, or can it?

(Sandy is on a tram in Edinburgh when Scotland are playing New Zealand at rugby. The tram goes past the stadium, and is full to bursting with fans.)

We were all sweating—neat whisky in half the bodies I reckoned. Then when the tram lurched to a halt, the doors opened, and half a dozen more blokes crowded in.
Somebody pressed into me, and as the pole thing you hang onto unless you want to end up on the floor, and probably show your knickers was about an inch from my boobs, there was no way I could have given whoever it was any more room.
Then holy hell, I wished I had.
Something was pressed into the crack of my ass.
Yeah… A long, hard cock-shaped something.
Definitely not everything.
Oh shite. I had no idea what I could do. Talk about stuck between a rock (or is that cock?) and a hard place, and I wasn’t sure which was which.
“Hell, I’m so bloody sorry.”
Oh my blooming God. That voice was panty-dropping, salivating hotness. All of a sudden I couldn’t give a toss what was pressed up against me.
“It’s a water bottle, honestly,” the same sex on legs voice said. “I’ll show you when we get to Murrayfield. If I tried now I would be had up for sexual harassment.”
“Ah, it’s fine.” Sheesh, I sounded like a breathless twelve year old. Time to grow up. “Don’t worry. If it was anything else it wouldn’t be in its original shape now, busy carriage or not.”
He laughed. “Ohhh, feisty lady.”
I stiffened. Blokes usually said that in a detrimental manner. He sounded impressed.
“Nuh-oh, don’t hit me. That was a compliment.”
How did he read my mind?
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Shit, talk about frosty voice, but honestly, what was he like? And I didn’t mean hot. After all, I still hadn’t seen his face. “I’m not so uncouth.”
“That’s good then,” he said with a lilt to his voice that just got to me deep down inside. The tram slowed. “And here we are. Are you coming to the match?”
The doors opened, and people began to push past me to get out. The pressure from behind disappeared as I held in to the pole in front of me and gradually found space to breathe.
A water bottle waved in front of my eyes, and then a male body appeared.
Dressed in a kilt that actually suited his shape.
And oh my, what a shape.  Hot as Hades. Mid-forties, I guessed, with long black hair in a plait and smoky grey eyes. I’m a sucker for both of those. Add in that smooth as chocolate velvet voice and, God almighty, an earring. Now if he had a secret tattoo, I’d be butter.
“Right then, this is to show you I was telling the truth.” He dropped the bottle in my hands, sketched a wave, and got off the tram just as the doors began to close. I watched him walk away. Yeah, his rear was as hot as his front.
And I had no idea who he was.
Damn it to hell.
The carriage now held a dozen people, and we all grabbed a seat. There were a lot of heartfelt sighs heard.
I looked at the water bottle. Unopened and one of those designer ones.
Now if this was one of those scorching romances I’ll own up to reading, he would have written his phone number on it.
As it was a tram in Edinburgh, and the rugby took precedence over everything, he hadn’t.
 But even so, now I knew the bloke I would have shagged there and then, drank designer water and wore a kilt.
I wondered if he was a true Scotsman?

You can find all you need to know about me, all sides of me wink

27 January 2018

Down and Dirty Release!

Down & Dirty Boxset Cover.jpg

Romance Rebels Publishing....

Down & Dirty

Get in, get down...and get filthy with these sexy, hardworking, blue-collar heroes who don't mind when things get a little dirty while at work or at play.

This collection of 22 brand new stories from USA Today and International Best-Selling authors is full of scorching hot romance tales that will be sure to leave you breathless for more.

These men work hard, and play even harder. From cops to mechanics, and miners to brewmasters, they aren't afraid to go all in. At the end of the day, when they find the woman who completes them, they learn that love and life can be just as messy as their day job...and they wouldn't have it any other way.

 Featuring stories from: Lori King, Maia Dylan, Sarah Marsh, Elena Kincaid, Cecile Tellier, London Saint James, Bella Settara, Rose Nickol, RL Merrill, Ashley Malkin, Lucy Felthouse, Scarlett J. Rose, Sydney Lea, CR Moss, Samantha A. Cole, Danielle James, Ava Campbell, Eva Moore, Kimberlie L. Faye, Sabrina Sol, Nikki Prince, and Mia Hopkins!

Preorder Down & Dirty for just 99 cents!


►AMAZON-Coming February!◄

15 January 2018

Faye Hall..Book 2 in the Sins of the Virtuous Series!

Hello Faye!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

Indulgence & Temperance, Book 2 of Sins of the Virtuous series, has two strong leading characters – Beth Meridian and Daniel Raeburn.  Beth needed to represent temperance – a woman willing to give up what she had to for those around her.  Even her name means to take the middle ground.  Daniel is the opposite.  As his name defines, he had to be a gluttonous man, willing to indulge in anything and everything to the point of excess.  The hardest thing was to make Daniel gluttonous and not greedy – as that is the subject of the next book in the series.

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

Yes, Indulgence and Temperance is Book 2 of the Sins of the Virtuous series.  Each book in the series has a blend of a seven deadly sin and it’s matching heavenly virtue.  Book 2 follows Beth and Daniel through Hellfire clubs, kidnapping and laudanum addiction.  Faced with never seeing his sister again, and loosing Beth, Daniel is forced into a position to choose between all the wealth and properties he has horded over the years and the women he loves.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

The names of the hotels in Rockhampton are real and still stand in the township to this day.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

I plan basic things like hair and eye color, the rest just develops as I write.

Q) How much real life do you put into or influences your books?

I try to put in as much local history as I can such as real hotel names and street names.  I also use some local family names for some of the minor characters.

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I’m still in the process of finishing book number 3 in the series and hopefully it will be off the publishers in the next few months.

Indulgence and Temperance by Faye Hall


Would you abandon the woman you love for your own indulgence?

Beth Meridian has returned home, hoping to leave her sordid past behind her and settle into a quiet life. When her childhood friend, Hannah Raeburn, offers her a place to stay, Beth knows it won’t be long until she runs into Hannah’s brother, Daniel. What she doesn’t expect is for him to reignite feelings deep in her heart, reminding her of the kiss they shared before she left town.

Daniel Raeburn’s past is scandalous, his sinful indulgences allowing him more wealth than he could ever need. Still, he wants more, and his gluttonous appetite for wealth and women leads him to buy into a partnership at the local hellfire club.

When Hannah goes missing, Beth and Daniel follow her trail through the Australian outback. Witnessing the womanizer Daniel is, Beth flees on a cattle train headed north. Desperate to explain his actions, Daniel follows her.

Arriving in the small town of Jarvisfield, Daniel is shocked to learn that Beth is now the owner of the largest cattle company in the area. He’s even more shocked to discover that the preacher controlling the town, and stealing from the townspeople, is his once business partner William Maxon. He’s convinced this man is also responsible for his sister’s disappearance. When he learns William has Beth picked out as his next victim, Daniel knows he must do whatever it takes to make her listen to the truth. But she has no interest in hearing anything he has to say.

Faced with losing the two women he loves, Daniel is forced to choose between their freedom and the possessions and wealth he has hoarded over the years. But even if he gives it all up, he still might lose everything.

Content Warning: contains sex, strong language, and some violence
Genre(s): Historical Romance


“What would you have me do? Pretend that this man chasing my sister is genuine and not some money-grabbing monster?”
“You don’t know him,” she tried again.
“Neither does she,” he said, his voice raised. “And neither do you.”
She went to walk past him, following Hannah’s direction out the back of the house. He reached out, his hand on her forearm stopping her.
“I didn’t mean to sound so harsh, Beth,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
She nodded as if understanding. “I understand that you love your sister. So do I. I shan’t just sit back and watch her walk into a trap. Nor shall I stand by and watch as her brother robs her of a chance of what may be happiness.”
“How dare you presume to know what I want for my sister.”
She pulled away from him. “I dare because I grew up with you. Every time your sister wanted to do something you always had to interfere.”
“She is na├»ve,” he told her. “Had I not taken control of her life, heaven knows what would have happened to her.”
She raised her brow. “I understand you need to protect Hannah against lecherous men. That doesn’t explain why you had to be her constant chaperone when she was meeting up with me.”
He lowered his gaze. “I needed to go with her.”
“Do you think that I would also take advantage of your sister?” she asked. “That I have prolonged our friendship only so I might get my claws into her fortune?”
He shook his head, his gaze cautiously rising back to hers. “I know you would do anything for my sister, Beth.”
“Then why did you need to follow Hannah everywhere we went?”
“I did it for you,” he whispered, the words being dragged from him.
“What?” she asked.
He smiled softly. “I played chaperone for my sister so I might be able to see you,” he repeated. “In the hope that you would notice me.”
“All you ever had to do was ask,” she whispered. Approaching him, her lips gently fused to his.
His hands went to her upper arms, pushing her away. “What are you doing?” he asked. Trying desperately to grip onto what remained of his control, he reminded himself that being here with this woman so intimately was far from appropriate. No matter how much he desired her, he couldn’t afford to succumb to such passion. Not there, and certainly not now.
She shook off his hold, her fingers hesitantly going to the buttons of his shirt. Slowly, she began undoing them one by one. “Do you remember the last time we saw each other before I left town?” she asked.
His hands went to hers, stilling her movements. “The image of you that day…” His words drifted off. He didn’t understand why she was acting this way with him, but he couldn’t deny that her movements were ripping at his restraint. He had always hungered for this woman, but now that she was there with him like this, he couldn’t help but wonder why. “Why did you send for me that day?” he asked, his words strained.

“I wanted to see you before I left town,” she muttered. Shaking off his hands, she continued unbuttoning his shirt. “Do you ever wonder what would have happened had your sister not arrived?”


Come on a journey with me through 19th century North Queensland, Australian and explore the passions and hardships of unique characters.

There is corruption, deceit and murder, as well as cattle rustlers, slave traders and hell fire clubs. Explore townships of Jarvisfield and Inkerman, as well as Ravenswood and Bowen. One book even incorporates my great grandmothers cattle station 'Inkerman Downs Station'.

As well as an author, I am also the most spoilt wife in the world, and a very contented mother.
Come and discover all the passion and drama of North Queensland history with me.

12 January 2018


What inspired you to write this story?

Believe it or not, a song. An Olivia Newton-John song titled "Recovery" (Physical album 1981). The song is about a woman who has decided to live in her mind, her fantasy world, to avoid all the pain in the real world.  The chorus goes like this: “Don't worry about my recovery, 'Cause lover, you won't recover me, I'm not too low, I'm not too high, I'll get by makin' my recovery”

If you listen to the lyrics they are really amazing and speak on a level most songs don’t touch upon…mental illness.  I love the song and obviously I got the title from the chorus.

Did you do any interesting research for this book? 

I live in Nevada, and this beautiful state has amazing places to explore and hike, with many trails going through mountains and over desert terrain. It also has over a hundred ghost towns. With the rich history of silver and gold mining here, it’s considered one of the most haunted states in America. Several locations have been featured on the Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures, including one place in Tonopah, Nevada….the Clown Motel.

My boyfriend, Mike, and I decided to visit and explore Tonopah at the end of 2016, and we started at the visitors center. I really had no idea how entrenched in the mining history this town was until I sat watching a short film about its history. That’s where I got the idea of setting Recover Me in the early 1900’s, at the start of Tonopah’s glorious rise in the gold and silver mining that eventually produced  over $250,000,000 in precious metals.

Going that day to explore Tonopah gave me the back drop for my story, Recover Me, and we also visited that Clown Motel.  Yes, it’s creepy and to top it off…it’s right next to a cemetery.

What is your favorite line, or scene, that you wrote in the story?

            “Are you implying we’re perfect for each other?”
            “I think we’re damn well the most perfect couple in the entire fucking world.”  He ran a finger down her cheek.


Evie Duncan’s dreams are slowly taking over her life. Every night she falls in love with the man invading her subconscious, playing out scenes from a past life.  It becomes harder and harder to wake and leave her dream man behind.

Bishop Kain has devoted his life to protecting crime boss Sherman Groto, but when he spots Evie at an underground fight, all he can think about is her.  He tries to keep his distance, but like a moth to a flame, she’s a siren he can’t resist.

Danger is coming for Evie and her salvation lies somewhere in the truth of her past life.  If Bishop can save her, he may be the one man who can bring her into the light…and for once, she might be willing to stay there.


As she threaded her way through the thick throng of bodies, a tingling awareness danced over her skin. The last time she’d experienced such a weird feeling, she’d slipped off a cliff and ended up in a hospital. Deciding to be cautious, she stopped and turned in a slow circle to study the people around her. As if an invisible hand guided her, Evie looked to her left.

A man moved through the crush of people, parting them as if he were Moses at the Red Sea. He was a complete stranger, and she had never seen him before, yet there was something about him that sparked a familiarity. She pushed forward, trying to get through the dense crowd to get a better view of his face. His height worked to her advantage because she was able to easily follow, but she halted once she saw him going up a set of concrete stairs guarded by a few big burly men. For a split second, he turned her way. Her heart thumped wildly in her chest and every fiber of her being wanted … needed … to touch him, but he disappeared out of sight. She searched the second level until he came into view once more, and she was able to breathe again.


He was here. He was real!

Subtle changes made this John a little different. A tad taller, which said something because he’d been tall in her dream world. Fantasy John had held a quiet strength that made people respect him. This John was so heavily muscled, with an aura of danger swirling around him, that people instinctively moved out of his path, giving him a wide berth. He had a militaristic look, with blunt-cut dark hair and a rigid posture any soldier would be envious of, but something told her he hadn’t been in any branch of service. She stared at him, unblinking, until he suddenly looked down and their gazes met.

The saliva dried up in her mouth as her heart thundered with a mixture of excitement and happiness. Any doubts she might have had about his identity disappeared instantly as the gossamer threads between them solidified. The people, the fight … everything disappeared, leaving them the only two people in the world. Curiosity filled his face. She reached out a hand but was bumped by someone walking by, abruptly pulling her out of the dream-like trance. She blinked and he was gone.

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Welcome Kory Steed! Book 3 in the Lightning Series releases!

Hello Kory!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

I could never have imagined how much Jason and Aaron have changed from their introduction in From Lightning to Love, however, I’ve always loved the dynamics between characters who occupy different ends of the personality spectrum and how they cay play off each others strengths and weaknesses. On first appearances, Jason appears reserved, patient, and sensitive, but when someone he cares about is threatened he can become a force to be reckoned with. He’s also a thinker who weighs his options before he acts unless he’s thrown into a life and death situation.

At the other end is Aaron who appears outgoing, boisterous, and impulsive, but on the inside is a sensitive soul who is covering up for his insecurities. Because he is a decade younger than Jason, he hasn’t gained as many life experiences.

As the series has progressed, Jason has been pulled out of his shell by Aaron, and Aaron has matured greatly to the point where they are beginning to stand on equal footing. As a couple, they have become a force of nature who have a clear vision for the future and the wherewithal to get there.

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

When Lightning Strikes Twice is the third book in my Lightning Series. It is the story of a gay, male couple who were forced together by chance, fell deeply in love, overcome obstacles to remain together, and have chosen to dedicate their lives towards the betterment of the gay community. The two MC’s are Jason Ackerman, a former army medic and Aaron Jaeger, a former professional football quarterback, and their story is about how the strength of the bonds of love can overcome any adversity.

In reaching book three, Jason and Aaron have surrounded themselves with a support system of caring individuals who believe in their mission. Adding their unique personalities to the storyline has provided me with a tremendous opportunity to incorporate the wonderful dynamics each of them brings.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

Yes. Nearly all of the recipes and dishes served in the all of the books come from my own culinary repertoire. I must admit, I have never cooked a crown roast.

Q) What gave you the inspiration for your book?

When I began, I had two goals. First, I wanted to tell a story about how diversity enhances our world and how we all draw on each others strengths while maintaining our individuality. Second, and this is not an original idea, but I wanted to show how we are so much more alike than we are different, and I continue to believe this.

Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind?

I think I have some of the worst writing habits. When I write, it’s all consuming. I’ll often get a hint that something’s fermenting in my mind, but it can be weeks before it reveals itself. I’ve started writing one day, continued through the night, and worked well into the following day until I’ve mentally collapsed. After sleeping for twelve to fourteen hours, I’ll begin all over again. After several days of repeating this pattern I slow down and can then work at an even pace for several hours each day until the story is complete.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

They often develop on the fly, but there are times when a character comes to mind while I’m writing a scene who I believe will be useful later on. I’ll write down a few notes on them and then go back to what I was working on. At some point in writing a story I’ll often suddenly stop and go to one of the baby names web sites and select a list of twenty or thirty male and female names as possible characters to use later on in the story.

Q) How much real life do you put into or influences your books?

I’d say real life makes up about half of what I write. I love the author’s adage, “Careful how you treat me or you might just wind up in one of my novels.” Many of my characters personalities come from people I know or have known, but who have passed on. I often shroud them with different body types, different professions, or as the opposite sex, or, I’ll combine particular personality traits to make a completely unique character.

Nearly all of the medical conditions I include are ones I have professional experience with.

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I have a new, spin-off series from Lightning called Family Men. It will be released soon (I’m hoping for Valentine’s Day). There is crossover of characters from Lightning, but it is a different kind of M/M Romance story with a completely different storyline. I believe it’s my best work to date. The first book’s manuscript is currently with my publisher’s copy editor. I’ve also just submitted my first Romance on the Go novella to my publisher, and I’m currently working on a second.

The Lightning Series, 3
Discharged from intensive care after an invasion and attempt on their lives, Jason and Aaron return to their home, but it has become a militarized, cocooned compound with a new security force and support staff hired to ensure that their dream for Nathan’s Promise, an LGBTQ physical rehab center, becomes a reality. 

Friends both old and new join them, and in the ensuing days and weeks, Nathan’s Promise begins to take shape. Jason experiences a bittersweet reunion with his beloved barn animals, and romance between two of their new friends burns to a fevered pitch, an ex-Marine comes out to his father, and a mass-casualty event ensues.

Jason, Aaron, and the remaining survivors struggle to treat the wounded before time runs out, but a freezing rainstorm has grounded their rescue by helicopter. Who will survive until morning? Has fate forced them to concede that their dream for the LGBTQ community has been shattered? And will the prediction of a new nemesis make their lives a hell on earth?
Be Warned: m/m sex, rimming, sex toys

Kory Steed Links:

Buy links:

Networking links:

Author Website - http://korysteed.com

08 January 2018

A Steamy Romance from Sonia Stanizzo!

Hello Sonia!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

I think like a lot of writers, we dream up story ideas or a snippet of an idea and we turn it into a story.  That’s exactly what happened with The Trouble with Mr Pretty.  I had a dream of a woman sitting and watching New Year’s Eve fireworks and feeling a deep gut wrenching pain.  I woke up and immediately wrote down the scene and then continued on with the story.  The dream started off as a prologue but I thought it was too depressing so I threaded it through another scene instead.

Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind?

I do like to light a white candle.  I don’t know why it needs to be white but I find it soothing.  Especially if I’m stuck on something that’s when I’m most likely to light it.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

I’m not a big planner though I do like to do a brief character description so I can get to know them better.  It helps me to know how they might react in a certain scene.  But sometimes I think they’ll do one thing and they turn around and do something completely different. 

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve written a story about a secondary character Ava, from The Trouble with Mr Pretty.  She’s been a lot of fun to write.  I’ve pulled her from her meticulous life into a messy one.  I’m still tweaking and editing it.  I’m hoping to get it finished soon.


The Trouble with Mr. Pretty by Sonia Stanizzo

When the man you want to avoid is the one you really want, trouble is sure to follow.

Gift shop owner Lauren Moore’s motto is ‘never trust a pretty face.’ Following a disastrous affair with a handsome celebrity, she’s vowed to never fall for anyone like him again.

But when Australia’s sexiest ex-football player, Jack Henderson, barges into her shop late one night, displaying all the charismatic characteristics she wants to avoid, Lauren is unwillingly drawn to his seductive good looks and bad-boy smile.

When Lauren is forced to accept a job offer from Jack to pay her blackmailing sister, Jack shows her that he is more than just a pretty face. But as the two grow closer, Lauren remains resistant to Jack’s attempts to break down the barriers around her heart.

Can Lauren let go of the past and trust in love again?

“I need something to get myself out of trouble,” His deep voice sounded as smooth as whiskey.
Heat sizzled and stirred around her, making the room feel like a sauna. Was the air conditioning off already? The need to get him out of the shop fast was crucial; otherwise, she feared she might melt into a steamy puddle at his feet.
“Does ‘getting you out of trouble’ have a price tag?” Lauren asked.
“After the mess I’m in, the sky’s the limit.” He grinned.
“A desperate man with lots to spend—you’re my favorite customer,” she joked, keeping it light while her insides turned to a quivering mush. “How much trouble are you in?”
One large shoulder shrugged as he dipped his head and dug his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Enough for me to pound on your door after closing time.”
The devilish smile showed he knew how to get himself out of all sorts of trouble. Why did men think women could be appeased by a charming smile and expensive gifts? A stab of shame pierced Lauren’s thoughts as she remembered a time when she could be won over by sparkly trinkets and a dazzling smile. She’d learned the hard way that shiny things soon tarnished.
“We have beautiful lockets. What’s your wife’s style?”
“I’m not married.”
“Your girlfriend?”
“It’s for my mother,” he clarified.
“Oh.” She hadn’t seen that coming. A get-out-of-trouble gift was usually for a lover.
With stiff fingers, she touched the locket around her neck. It wasn’t one of the pretty gem-encrusted ones she sold, but to her it was much more valuable. Lauren had found the cheap silver locket years ago at a small seaside market she’d been aimlessly walking through. A precious yet painful reminder lay locked inside. A big reminder of why she kept away from men who looked too good to be true.
“These vases are lovely if you think your mother would like them.”
He ambled over to the cabinet, closing the distance between them. The smell of sunshine, sea breeze, and man surrounded her and sent her senses into overdrive. She stepped away, only for her back to press against the wall, giving her no more room to move.
As he looked inside the cabinet, oblivious to the turmoil he was causing her, Lauren examined his profile. The start of an afternoon shadow covered a square jawline. His long, narrow nose had a small bump on the bridge, the only flaw on his chiseled face. He bit his lower lip as he studied the vases, and for a moment, she wondered how they would taste. Where were these outrageous thoughts coming from?
Lauren desperately needed to put more space between them. Standing so close was making it impossible to think, but to move would involve brushing past him. Touching him wasn’t going to help with her jumbled thoughts and sensations.
She excused herself. He stepped back, giving her room to pass, but not enough to avoid contact, and her bare arm brushed the length of his strong, firm one. Another blast of heat shot from him and into her. Blinking up at him, their gazes locked, and she searched those piercing green orbs to see if he’d felt it too. His emerald eyes held hers.
A shrill tooting of horns outside broke the spell, and she glanced out the window. A bunch of excited New Year’s Eve revelers, with colorful hats and party horns, crowded the footpath in front of the shop.
“They’ve started early,” she said on a shaky breath, using the noisy distraction to move away from him. She scurried behind the counter, putting a safety barrier between them.
He flicked a glance over his shoulder at the partygoers. “It will be a great night for it.”
By his casual stance she would have believed him unaffected by the burning moment they’d just shared, but heat still smoldered in his eyes. Then, in a blink of an eye, it was gone. Could she have imagined it? It had been so long since anyone had come even close to looking at her that way that she probably read the signs wrong.
Needing to get back to the reason he was there, and not be distracted by that liquid green heat, she cleared her throat. “Do you see anything you like?” She relaxed a little because her voice sounded professional and not like the trembling mess simmering on the inside.
The liquid heat was back in his eyes and they raked over her in a way that said she was what he liked. A sharp breath caught in her lungs and her heart began to race. Surely she didn’t get that signal wrong?


Sonia Stanizzo is a romance writer who lives in the beautiful coastal city of Wollongong Australia. When Sonia’s not working with her husband in their motor mechanic business she can be found chauffeuring around her three kids, chasing after a hyperactive Beagle, taking pole dancing lessons (purely for the fun and exercise) and spending any free time reading and writing.

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