Seven and a Half Minutes – Roxana Valea

As part of the blog tour for Seven and a Half Minutes by Roxana Valea, today I have the privilege of sharing an extract of the book with you. Many thanks to Roxana for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


Before Roxy found herself “Single in Buenos Aires,” she was a single girl in London in search of true love. The third installment of The Polo Diaries series takes us back to that time, and we follow Roxy as she hires a love coach to help her navigate the dating scene. But the love coach comes up with an unexpected assignment: reconnect to a long-forgotten passion. For Roxy this means horses. Within weeks, she finds herself playing polo, thanks to a series of unforeseen events.

Torn between her desire to become the best polo player she can be and the dream of falling in love, Roxy steps fully into the exciting and demanding world of polo, where injury and recovery mix with hard training, and where celebrating the victory of a tournament comes at a high price. Will Roxy eventually become the polo player she dreams to be? And with polo being such a demanding sport, can there be any space left for love?


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Context: Polo player Roxy arrives in Argentina and makes her first contact with a different type of polo…

Dale, Dale, vamos!” I tell him I’m Roxy, but Monica seems to please him more, so I settle on being Monica for now. He rides behind me, and I get my horse into a canter again. The ball is in front of me: head over the ball, lean out, swing, hit. Again… again… again…

My back is arched, my body is crying out, every little bone in my back is sore, but he rides behind me and passes over every single ball I miss, and I have to carry on. Strangely enough, I don’t miss that many balls these days; it’s as if my polo has got better overnight simply because I’ve landed in the country of polo—Argentina.

I ride in the morning until I’m close to exhaustion and my horse simply refuses to go for another run. I ride until I feel he’s about to buck me off, and then, grateful that it’s over, I turn and walk him slowly to the stables, wondering if my knees will give in once I jump off. I ride in the afternoons with them, the Argentine polo players, who ride like they were born on horses. They ride with no hard hats, no knee or elbow pads. They ride in jeans and T-shirts with their hair flowing freely in the wind, and I smile and realize how ridiculous we look with all our protective equipment and hard hats. I ride alongside them, wishing my hair were free in the wind…

“Dale, Monica! Put your boobs out and your bum out as well, like this.” He arches his back in the perfect pose of a polo player in full swing—or a pole dancer, same thing really. “You see, like this, boobs out!” I smile at his directness. This would have been a bit too explicit for an English coach, but here it seems perfectly acceptable. I try to imagine myself pole dancing. I swing and hit, a plain, clean hit, and the ball goes halfway across the field. “You see?” He smiles. “Boobs out and the ball goes far!” I now think of pole dancing every time I hit, but it’s a really difficult thing: my arched back makes my muscles hurt even more. “I know, I know.” His smile is kind. “I know, more difficult, but better hit.” And I get it suddenly: the pain is there, but the trick is to allow it to be there, and arch your back despite the pain, and hit, again… again… again…

I play with them again in the afternoon. I play as number one (weakest position), and I’m told to mark the number four (strongest position) from the opposite team, and I can’t even get close to him. The only time I try to hook him, I miss, and I’m grateful that I missed, since his swing is so powerful I would most probably have been thrown out of the saddle. I ride close to him, and then I feel he’s about to ride me off, and this would be the end of me and my horse as well, but he knows better. He comes close and shouts “Taco, taco!” just to frighten me, and then, in full gallop, he grabs the ears of my horse and laughs, galloping away. He doesn’t need to ride me off; I get the message totally and fully. It’s his ball, and I graciously move out of his way.

I ride with them every day, and every time I get off my horse, my body aches and refuses to think about ever getting back on a horse. I crawl into bed for the noon siesta, and I promise myself that I’ll not get on a horse again that day. But the afternoon comes, and we’re due to play. It’s a four-chukka game, and by chukka two, I almost cry out in pain. I’m out of breath, and I feel like bailing out, but then I remember I’ll miss the handshakes at the end if I do, and this thought keeps me going. And I move on, with him riding behind me shouting “Dale, Monica!”, with the smiley guy I’m supposed to mark far in the distance. I ride in the late afternoon sun with the smell of freshly cut grass in my nostrils. I ride despite the pain in my body and despite the weakness in my knees. I ride, and I don’t think of anything but the ball, the horse, the fact that the game appears to be turning, and I need to change direction. I ride, not knowing sometimes which way we are supposed to go and whether that was a real goal or not, but I ride on. I ride with them, and their joy of riding spreads to me, and for a few moments I feel there’s nothing else to life but riding…

By the third chukka, I’m given a very narrow horse with a shiny leather saddle. My legs are almost giving in by this time, and I cringe when I think I’ll probably end up on the horse’s neck. I’m too tired to keep myself stable on a shiny leather saddle. But he’s there and reads my thoughts: He asks me if I want some water. Water? No. Another horse maybe. But he smiles, takes a bottle of water, pours it all over my saddle, and tells me to rub my trousers against it. Now I look like I’ve been peeing in my trousers, or even worse, because the brown color of the saddle comes out on my white jeans. But it’s okay actually, because now the wet leather grips like never before, and I smile, really grateful for this trick, and I know I’ll be safe for another chukka. “Dale, Monica.” The chukka has started without a whistle, without a lineup, and without notice, flowing on as naturally as everything these people do on their horses. I run out, mad, in full gallop across the field. I run flat out, and smile when I feel the solid grip of my wet leather saddle, and I know I’ll now be able to stay safely on this horse.


Seven and a Half Minutes Author PhotoRoxana Valea was born in Romania and lived in Italy, Switzerland, England and Argentina before settling in Spain. She has a BA in journalism and an MBA degree. She spent more than twenty years in the business world as an entrepreneur, manager and management consultant working for top companies like Apple, eBay, and Sony. She is also a Reiki Master and shamanic energy medicine practitioner.

As an author, Roxana writes books inspired by real events. Her memoir Through Dust and Dreams is a faithful account of a trip she took at the age of twenty-eight across Africa by car in the company of two strangers she met over the internet. Her following book, Personal Power: Mindfulness Techniques for the Corporate Word is a nonfiction book filled with personal anecdotes from her consulting years. The Polo Diaries series is inspired by her experiences as a female polo player–traveling to Argentina, falling in love, and surviving the highs and lows of this dangerous sport.

Roxana lives with her husband between England and Spain, and splits her time between writing, coaching and therapy work, but her first passion remains writing.





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The Love Virus – Eleni Cay

I have the privilege today of sharing with you all a couple of extracts from The Love Virus by Eleni Cay. Written in verses, it draws on Eleni’s personal experience of Multiple Sclerosis, which has strongly marked her young adult life. Thank you so much Eleni for allowing me to share these extracts.


When Katie finds out that her increasingly unresponsive legs and extreme fatigue is due to Multiple Sclerosis, she rides an emotional rollercoaster – anger, denial and fear – when faced with a wheelchair-bound existence. She puts her studies at Oxford on hold, and she splits up from her fiancé, Mark, even though she still loves him. While undergoing treatment, Katie is diagnosed with MS2 – a virus that paralyses the mind. In hospital, Katie has to cope with her irritating bedfellows who argue constantly, and where she is treated by Dr Andrews, a handsome psychologist. The closer she gets to him however, the worse her pain becomes. Compounding Katie’s struggle is Mark, who returns to her bedside day after day. Once Katie begins Dr Andrews’ new experimental MS2 treatment, Mark can’t recognise her anymore. He begins to wonder if Katie will ever be cured.

You can find out more about Eleni and her writing on her website where you will also find links to purchase a copy of her book.



‘Deep love doesn’t reside in the universal.

Deep love is local.’

Markos gives Philippa a big kiss on her forehead.

‘Deep love, my dear friends, is about the authentic details

that you create with your partner

as you cook and enjoy your life together.’


‘When you trade the heart as a commodity,

then you can do that with any other organ,

any human. Any island, any country.

Any home becomes a sellable property.’

Untoucheable poem


I remembered how dad took me to

a jazz club once. He liked blue notes

and he liked this song.

He couldn’t stand mum’s cheesy pop.

Too smooth for him.

He liked the dissonance.

Not jarred jazz, but a blue note

here and there,

that can bring the whole song

to another level.

Perhaps this whole

Multiple Sclerosis thing

was one of those blue notes.

It added some novelty to the ordinary,

some new vocabulary we all had to learn,

something new for friends to Facebook

and to Tweet about.

Some modifications to my diet,

to my personalised Google ads.

Some changes to my thinking,

to my love life …

ms relapses








Words of Alchemy – Camilla Downs (Part Two)

Following my post earlier this month about Camilla Downs’ collection of poetry, Words of Alchemy, today I have the honour of sharing another poem from the book with you. The following is a Renga poem written by Team TLC (Camilla and her two children). Thomas Darnell wrote the first stanza, Lillian Darnell the second, and Camilla wrote the third. They rotated in that order until the completion of the poem.

You can find out all about Camilla and her work on my previous post, here.

Photo #9 Words of Alchemy Thanksgiving 2018 Team TLC 11.22.18
Love is Magical
Cows are loud and can moo
sometimes they say,
I love you!
Cows have milk,
and cows eat grass.
You are surrounded by love
every breath you take is love
You are love
Guinea pigs wheek and guinea pigs meek,
lovey dovey guinea piggy moo!
Love is the butterfly
gracefully it flies
magical is its color
Love is magical
the alchemy of peace.
Airplanes flying
through the air
fun galore!
How beautiful the bird flies,
as the wind.
Love is the tree
Love is the flower
Love is the silence.
Flowers blossom
pollen falls.
Rainbow is the sky
Rainbow is the water
Rainbow is the colors of the earth.
Nature is love
Nature knows how to be.
Team TLC
always kind
always thinking.
Kindness is always there
Kindness is like friendship
A wise man
is kind to the kind
and kind to the unkind
A wise man
under a tree
Blue bird flies to Alaska
Red bird flies to Hawaii
White bird flies to Australia
The magical hummingbird
arrives on a warm summer day
best food ever
try some
Most delicious food ever
Mindful eating
Mindful living
The way of peace and happiness
Eating is fun
and yummy
Apple trees grow with sunshine
Butterflies grow with food
Cake gets eaten fast or slow.
Beings, trees, and insects
We are all one love.
Words of Alchemy - Pre-Order November 2019 copy

An Implacable Woman – K.T. Findlay

K.T. Findlay makes a welcome return today, sharing an extract of his novel, An Implacable Woman. Many thanks to K.T. for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.


If a tooth costs a tooth and an eye costs an eye

When a man hits his wife, then it’s his turn to die

Furious that the courts and police can’t prevent respected surgeon John Kirby from beating his wife, Sally Mellors steps in to save her. Permanently…

But Grace Kirby isn’t the only one who needs saving and Sally quickly discovers she’s taken on a much bigger job than she’d thought.

With her unique ability to blend justice with fun, Sally sets joyfully about the business of removing the monsters from women’s lives, but is she in danger of becoming a monster herself?

As her friends in the police get ever closer, Sally has some serious questions of her own to answer.


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An Implacable Woman 14 April 2020 For Rachel


In this extract, Sally is talking to a new friend, little girl Connie, who Sally thinks has fabulous potential as an artist. Unfortunately, Connie has the most ghastly mother who can’t see the good in any of her three children, but especially not in Connie. Sally decides to give the three children a tool they can fight back with…

Roger’s eyebrows shot into his hairline. ‘Mummy tells lies?’

Sally shook her head. ‘Not lies exactly, it’s just that she’s not always right. Watch out now.’

Mrs Taylor pushed aside the last branch, saw her children clustered around Sally, and walked over. She bent over to look at the painting. ‘That’s better than the one you were doing before.’ she said begrudgingly. ‘You might even be able to sell that one.’

‘Then I’ll put it in my next exhibition.’ smiled Sally.

‘Exhibition? Who are you then?’ demanded Mrs Taylor.

‘Sally Mellors, professional artist.’

Mrs Taylor blinked. ‘There’s one of yours in the town library!’

Sally nodded. ‘That would be Harriston then? The autumn leaves on the town street? An oil painting? I bought my new kitchen with that one!’

Mrs Taylor blinked again. ‘You really are her!’ Then she looked back at the painting. ‘I don’t think you’ll get a new kitchen with that one, but you might get a week’s groceries.’

Roger pulled his mum’s blouse. ‘But mum, it isn’t hers!’

 ‘Don’t be silly Roger, of course it’s hers!’ Mrs Taylor snapped, slapping his hand away.

Sally laughed. ‘No, he’s right. Connie painted it. Isn’t it fabulous?’

Mrs Taylor’s face clouded instantly. ‘Connie’s? I don’t believe it!’ She bent down to look at it more closely, then shot back up with a snort. ‘Humph. You painted it, and she signed it. That’s not a nice thing to do to a child, teaching her to lie!’

Sally’s smile vanished. ‘Connie painted the whole thing, in just five minutes too. And it really is as good as you think it is, and it will go in my next exhibition, under her own name.’

Mrs Taylor glared at her. ‘I will not be lied to! We’re leaving. Children, get yourselves cleaned up!’ Then she stalked off to the car where her husband was busy pulling out the lunch things. ‘You can pack that lot back up right now! We’re not staying here tonight!’

Connie looked despairingly at Sally. ‘What’s going to happen?’

Sally rested her hand gently on the girl’s shoulder. ‘I will keep this safe. It will go in the exhibition, under your name, not mine, but it won’t be for sale. I’ll keep it myself, until you’re grown up enough to be able to come to see me. Then you can have it back, and if you want to, I’ll teach you how to be an artist.’

‘Really?’ whispered Connie. ‘Do you really mean that?’

‘Yes, I promise. I really mean it Connie Taylor. Now children, your mother just showed you that while she might think she knows everything, sometimes she’s dead wrong, and it can hurt you. Do you want her to show you again?’

The three children nodded, wide eyed.

‘Okay,’ whispered Sally, ‘your mum told you to get cleaned up, and you already are, right? So you’re waiting for mum and dad to get finish packing before you get in the car? I say again, you’re the ones waiting for her, right?’

Three more nods.

‘Well I bet you each a fish and chip supper, that when she’s finished packing, she’ll call you over and tell you that you’ve made everyone late for lunch.’

The three children looked over at the car where dad was putting the very last bucket into the boot. Mrs Taylor called over to them. ‘Come along children, you’re making us late for lunch!’

Roger’s jaw dropped. ‘How did you know?’

Sally gave him a wink. ‘Remember I asked you to pay attention to everything from now on, and watch what your mother says and does? That’s why. You never made anyone late for lunch, and Connie painted that beautiful painting. Your mum isn’t always right. If you know when she’s wrong, you can take better care of each other. Now, off you go, and God bless. And Connie? I’ll always be here for you when you’re ready! Just remember my name, Sally Mellors.’

Emma rested her chin on Sally’s shoulder as the car drove away up the hill. ‘You’re going to go to hell for that. You do know that don’t you?’


A Thoughtful - KT FIndlay above swing bridge 1 - CroppedK.T. Findlay lives on a small farm where he dovetails his writing with fighting the blackberry and convincing the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a vital part of its job description.






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Trust In You – Julia Firlotte

Today I have the honour of sharing an extract from Trust In You by Julia Firlotte. Many thanks to Julia for allowing me to share this piece of the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.


From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

Ella’s world has already turned upside down after moving from England to rural Kansas. She and her sisters were hoping for a more secure future, but instead find that life can be tough when jobs are scarce and the stakes often higher than anticipated.

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.


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Trust In You Cover


I expect him to talk but he doesn’t, instead he opens the glove box where the cupboard lighting reveals a handgun inside. I freeze at the sight of it. I know it’s almost standard to carry one here, but it’s not a sight I’m used to. Adam reaches inside and pulls out a leather pouch. I watch in horrified silence as he slides a curved blade out of it. Does he always carry that around in his truck?

He then pins my wrists on his thigh and uses the razor-sharp knife to slice the rope before discarding it. He turns my wrists over in his hands to look at them.

‘Put some ointment on them when you get in, ok?’ he says softly. Our eyes lock on each other’s and I stare back wide-eyed and silent. His expression is so many emotions all at once: regretful, angry, protective. I’m so confused. He runs his hand down the side of my cheek and my skin comes alive under his fingertips. I don’t know what to say or do and there’s a pause as he tries to find the right words.

‘That wasn’t really me; you remember I told you that, right?’ He speaks quietly, but I can tell he means it. What I can’t tell is whether I believe him, there was just so much I overheard which I don’t understand.


Trust In You - Julia Head Shot 2.Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.




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Spider Games – K.J. McGillick

As part of the blog tour for Spider Games by K.J. McGillick, I have the honour of sharing an extract from the book with you all today. Many thanks to K.J. McGillick for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


How do you kill a spider?  

Kate O’Brien is pure dedication; she believes in the justice system. This feisty, no-nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is on the path to being a legal star. That is until her corrupt law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the inconceivable happens, Bill is arrested, charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering leaving the law firm in chaos. As Kate slowly digs her way out, what she finds sends her down a dark path that could lead to her imprisonment or death. Bill has meticulously set her up to pay for his malevolent crimes. His cohorts, fearing she knows too much, have marked her for death. Can she stay ahead of the FBI and unravel crimes that reach as far as China and Russia? Or will she need to assume a new identity to save her own life?

A fast-paced thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.



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I climbed the steps, making a note we had to get someone to paint them, the peeling paint was an embarrassment. When I pushed through the door, the annoying small bell tinkled, causing Bill to stick his head out from the conference room. This place had gone to hell in a handbasket.

“Good, you’re here,” he said, waving me toward him. “We are back here going over some things.”

“Great, let me just grab a cup of coffee and I’ll be right there,” I said.

“We’ve got a carafe in here and some donuts, just come on back,” he told me.

Things must be pressing as he had his shirt sleeves rolled up and his tie loosened. One to stand on professional ceremony when clients were around, he normally wore a jacket and tie. And except for once, when a client killed himself mid-trial, I had never seen him with his hair out of place. Today he did not exactly look dishevelled, but something was off, he looked frazzled, worn out.

He signalled he was waiting for me to drop what I was doing and join the conversation. This was indeed unusual. Apparently, I didn’t move fast enough for his lordship as I received a subtle eyebrow raise, and with that encouragement; I picked up my pace.

“Kate, this is my old frat brother, Dr. Ashton Mayhew,” he said. “Ashton, this is my law partner, Kate. She will handle the bond hearing today, but I want to sit in on the initial meeting, so we are all on the same page. I’m due back at court in thirty minutes, and I know this may seem rushed but let’s get started.”

From the first moment you walk into a room, people make judgements about you. Are you attractive? Do you look smart and can play a particular part? This was no different. I felt Dr. Mayhew assessing me and I certainly was sizing him up. It was obvious that Ashton Mayhew either came from money or made a lot of it. At somewhere around six feet four, his suit had to be custom made because it fit to perfection. And custom made meant he spent a pile of money on it. He looked like a man who enjoyed taking care of himself, and I would go so far as to say he was a pampered man by the style of his hair and flawless skin.

He stood to shake my hand—firm, but not a double-clasp-fight-for-control handshake like some pushy salesperson or business mogul. But a solid squeeze to make sure the meaning behind it was clear—he held the power. As he sat back down and casually crossed one leg over the other, I could not help but notice his shoes, ones that I had seen in a boutique shoe shop for well over a thousand dollars. He had dropped a pile of money on some orthodontist to ensure that perfect smile. The man was likely the most put-together person I had ever seen, and I had to wonder what the hell he was doing here instead of hiring a white glove expensive criminal defence lawyer for his wife.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Dr. Mayhew,” I said as Bill handed me my coffee.

I felt his eyes sweep over me in an appraising manner. He need not have bothered. I was only in for round one, not for the fight.

“Have a seat, Kate, and let’s go over what we have,” Bill said and slid a stapled document my way.

“That is the preliminary police report,” he said.

“I know, I’ve already seen it,” I told him. “What I’d like to discuss is what’s not in the report.” 


Spider Games head shot

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.






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From Here To Nashville – Julie Stock

Happy book birthday to Julie Stock and From Here to Nashville. As part of the birthday celebrations, I am sharing an extract from the book with you all. Many thanks to Julie for allowing me to share the extract, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the festivities.


Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again to see whether their music really can unite them.


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This extract is from the beginning of the second chapter and introduces the idea that Sam is not quite so pleased about Jackson’s arrival on the scene.

After some breakfast the next morning, I called Sam to talk over last night’s concert, still buzzing with excitement from all that had happened.

‘Hello, Rach, how are you feeling today?’ his gravelly voice resonated down the line.

‘I still can’t get over how brilliantly it went for us last night, can you?’

‘No, better than we could have expected really, given that we’re still quite unknown.’ He fell silent at the other end of the phone, making me wonder what he was really feeling. He didn’t seem his usual laid-back self.

‘Hey, Sam, is everything all right? You seemed a bit upset with me at the end of the gig last night and I didn’t know why.’

There was an awkward pause while I waited for his reply.

‘I’m feeling a bit tired, that’s all and I’ve got a sanding job to finish today as well. I’ll be fine later on, I’m sure. Do you want to meet up for a drink tonight as usual?’

‘Yes, I’d like that, shall we say six o’clock?’ I was sure he was bluffing but I didn’t want to push him over the phone.

‘See you then, bye.’ He rang off quickly as though he couldn’t wait to get away.

I remembered the strange look I’d seen on Sam’s face last night when Jackson had offered to walk me home and a seed of doubt began to niggle away in the back of my mind.


From Here - JSAuthorPhotoJulie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam’s Story) and Finding You (Jenna’s Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books.

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Julie is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.







Win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



The Single Best Thing – Elaine Spires

Happy publication day to Elaine Spires! The Single Best Thing, the final book in the Singles’ series is released today. I have the honour of being able to share an extract from the book with you all today. Many thanks to Elaine for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of today’s festivities.


Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?

Provoking smiles and tears this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion


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The Single Best Thing is set in 2023, four years into the future from the end of Singles, Set and Match (the fifth book in the Singles’ Series) and tells the story of what finally happened to Eve and Melv.  This extract is when their paths have crossed in Florida and Eve has reluctantly agreed to a family day out in Walt Disney World to celebrate their grandson’s second birthday:

“Well these Disney people sure know how to party,’ Melv said as he filmed the children who were surrounded by a whole bunch of characters and waiting staff singing “Happy Birthday”.  ‘That cake’s big enough to feed a hundred.’

‘It’s been a magical day.  It’s a magical place,’ Eve agreed.

‘You never came here in all your travels?’

‘Never.  It’s not the sort of place Travel Together clients would want to come.’

‘Their loss.  I’m loving it.’

‘Me, too!’  Eve giggled.

Juliet wrestled the twins back into the buggy and the group moved on.  It was a few moments before they realised that Melv’s arm was around Eve’s shoulder.  They pretended they hadn’t noticed. Eve had noticed, of course.  She couldn’t deny the jolt of electricity that shot through her body at his touch, or the way her heart was pounding by the nearness of him.

‘Hey, come on!’

Melv grabbed Eve’s hand and pulled her into the short queue for the Mad Tea Cup Ride.  They clambered into a purple tea cup and for a few minutes lost themselves in the Disney magic, shrieking and laughing as they spun round and round.

‘That was fun,’ she announced, clutching onto him as she waited for the world to stop spinning. 

He placed his hand over hers and gave it a gentle squeeze.

‘Nothing beats acting like a kid again,’ he said.

And she realised just how much she had missed him.


The Single Best Thing Author PhotoElaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.






A Shape on the Air – Julia Ibbotson

Today I am joining the blog tour for Julia Ibbotson’s latest novel, A Shape on the Air, and I have the privilege of sharing an extract from the book with you. Many thanks to Julia for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


Unlocking a love that lasts for lifetimes – and beyond! When Dr Viv DuLac, a medievalist, slips into 499 AD and into the body of Lady Vivianne, little does she realise that both their lives across the centuries will become intertwined as they fight for their dreams … and their lives. How can the key which Viv bring back with her to the present unlock the love they both crave, and help them through the dangers they both face? And how can they help each other across the centuries, without changing the course of history?


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A Shape on the Air cover 18.11.19


A Shape on the Air is the story of two women 1500 years apart. Can they help each other to achieve their greatest desire? And what if the world they want is not the one that’s best for them?  University lecturer in medieval studies, Dr Viv DuLac, is devastated when her partner walks out and threatens her home.  About to lose everything, drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down as she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne, who is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to  the brutish Sir Pelleas. He is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv’s own parents’ death and legacy, can Viv  unravel the web of mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, and bring peace to them both? A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

This extract from A Shape on the Air is from the second chapter, when Dr Viv DuLac, devastated by her partner’s betrayal, has fallen into the dark Cooney’s mere at midnight and finds herself in a different time …

A deep male voice came faintly from far away and slowly entered her consciousness.

“Lady Vivianne!”

Viv felt a strong arm grip her waist and then she was floating, being drawn gently through the water. She gasped for breath as she rose, and her mouth filled with balmy air, sweet and fragrant. Oddly, it was light, and the sun was just starting to sink into dusk.

“What …? In heaven’s name …?” Viv spluttered, as the man lifted her up and over his broad shoulder and, splashing through the shallows, carried her to the bank. The world swirled around her and she found it hard to focus. She tried to draw in her breath but her chest felt too tight. She was trapped against him. Her body felt strange, her dripping sleeves seemed wider than they should be, her jeans somehow flapping against her legs. She was soaked through but yet the mere seemed to be calling her back again. She tried to twist round to it but the man only held her tighter. She grabbed hard at his shoulder and a piece of wet cloth tore away in her hand. It felt strange, not a fabric she was familiar with, thick and closely woven, but not rough.

He lowered her to her feet and grinned down at her. His eyes were dark like smoke, skin olive and exotic, and he ruffled his long dark curly hair to flick away the water that soaked it. She stared at his large wide mouth and the dark shadow that swept his chin and upper lip. His smile was intimate, as if they shared a secret. For a moment, Viv felt her brain somersault. Her mind was drifting in and out of consciousness.

She was aware of movement around her and she tore her eyes away from him. There were people, men, their figures moving out of focus behind him, their voices echoing as if from far away. There were trees that she didn’t remember being around the mere. It seemed wilder than it should have been. Yet everything within a few feet of her was exceptionally bright and clear, the light picking out all detail: the veins on the leaves, the knobbles and crevices of the tree bark starkly sharpened in high relief. Beyond that, all she saw was misty and swirling.

As she clenched her hands into fists she realised that she still held the torn fragment of cloth, and made to thrust it into the pocket of her jeans. The pocket was no longer there. She looked down and saw that she wore a long skirt, the dark wet fabric clinging to her legs. Good god, what was happening?

Viv looked back at the tall figure before her. He was dressed in some kind of loose cream tunic, dripping with lake water, with a brown leather belt that was finely tooled in gold, and as she stared he pulled on his boots that he had left at the water’s edge.

She looked wildly around her. The other men were dressed likewise in tunics, though not so fine. There were horses higher up on the bank-top; she could hear their loud snorting and feel the juddering of the earth as they stamped their hooves. What was this? What was going on? Her brain didn’t seem to be working properly; she felt confused, dull-witted. The sun was sinking behind the trees, leaving a trail of bloody streaks, red and orange, in the sky. Yet she had stumbled into the lake in the dark. She remembered staggering, a hand on her back, clutching for the branches to halt her fall into the water, floundering, or being pushed? Her clothes … her peculiar-feeling body … these people.

Her hand found a pouch hanging from her waist within the folds of her soaking skirt and she thrust the fabric into it, hiding it, though she had no idea why she needed to.

“Sir Roland,” murmured one of the men, holding out to the dark-eyed man a large, heavily embroidered crimson cloak which her rescuer swept around his shoulders and pinned with a huge gold brooch, covering the torn seam. As he did so, he glanced at Viv and smiled intimately again, his glance insolently drifting down to the clinging folds of her skirt and the pouch where the fragment of cloth nestled. His eyes found hers. Embarrassed, she turned away.

“My thanks, Arfon,” he said to his helper. “And now we must bring Lady Vivianne back to the mead hall with all haste.” He grinned at her. “She may need to change her gown first, though; it is not fit for public view.”

 Viv felt a shudder rise up through her spine.


A Shape author photo image 3Acclaimed, award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then an academic as a senior university lecturer and researcher. As well as medieval time-slip, she has published a number of books, including memoir/history of food (The Old Rectory), children’s medieval fantasy (S.C.A.R.S), a trilogy opening in 1960s Ghana (Drumbeats), and many academic works. Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.







Win a Paperback copy of The Old Rectory, book mark, postcard, key ring, handbag fob.  (UK Only)

A Shape on the Air RRR Giveaways

*Terms and Conditions –UK  entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.


Make sure you check out the other blogs taking part in the tour for more information about A Shape on the Air.

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His Wife’s Secret – Susan Willis

I am hopping on board the blog tour for His Wife’s Secret by Susan Willis today, and I have the honour of being able to share a snippet from the book with you all. Many thanks to Susan for allowing me to do this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour. Before we get to the extract though, here are all the details about the book itself.


When David meets old school-friend, Erin again he falls head over heels in love. He leaves his wife and their sixteen-year-old daughter to marry Erin. But, in a small village people have long memories and they move south for a fresh beginning. Erin’s behaviour starts to change in a very strange way and David wonders if she is punishing him for something he’s done?


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We hear about domestic violence from a man to a woman regularly in the news but from a woman to a man is rare. However, in my book this does happen. When David meets old school-friend, Erin again he falls head over heels in love. He leaves his wife and their sixteen-year-old daughter to marry Erin. But, in a small village people have long memories and they move south for a fresh beginning.

David is just a typical guy and for two years is deliriously happy until the move down to London. This is when everything changes, and his wife begins to act out of character in a strange way. Unbeknown to him, it was whilst packing to move that Erin finds her mother’s diary in an old trunk. What is written in the diary to make her lash out at her husband? David wonders if she is punishing him for something he’s done?

An extract from Erin:

Yesterday, when I saw the thin blue line on the testing kit and realised, I was pregnant I bordered on the edge of hysteria. My overwhelming feelings had been of horror at the thought of an alien invader inside my body. I’d left the chemist with the small paper bag in my trembling hand. My walk home had been slow and deliberate. I’d dreaded the outcome with every step I’d taken.  

When I’d done the test and stared at the blue line my mind went into some type of melt-down. I’d shaken my head and looked once, twice, and three times more but still couldn’t believe the line was blue. I’d left the stick lying on the top of the toilet cistern and scattered from room to room. I made coffee that I didn’t drink and then hurried into my art room where I’d paced around and around my easel like a panther stalking its prey. 

‘Noooo,’ I screamed aloud then ran back into the bathroom to take another look. There it was like my sky-blue paint in the palette. I’d sank to my knees on the bathroom floor and howled in terror.


His Wife - author shot 1a first SMALL SIZESusan Willis is a published author of four novels and five novellas. She lives in Co-Durham surrounded by a big family and dear friends. Susan works as a food technologist developing new recipes and weaves the different aspects of her job into stories.

Her last two novels are psychological suspense. Readers who have left reviews on amazon love the books because they are realistic with everyday people in situations that can happen.

She has a collection of Fun-Size Tales of Love & Family which are available in Ebook and paperback.

Susan is now writing Cozy Crime Short Reads and incorporating up to date issues of poor mental health in a kidnap scene, the perils of social media, and an intruder on Skype. Nest year she hopes to publish these stories into a collection.





Susan Willis

For more information on His Wife’s Secret, have a look at the other blogs taking part on the tour.

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