A Fairytale Christmas: New York Christmas Romance by Melissa Hill


Name: A Fairytale Christmas
Author: Melissa Hill
Format: ebook
Pages: 70 pages
Release date: 7th November
Sold by: Amazon Media


When Londoner Penny decides to visit her best friend Kate in New York for the festive season, the surprise appearance of a previous suitor sends her plans for a relaxing, carefree visit into complete disarray. When she and Mike last saw each other, the timing couldn't have been worse.

But when Mike decides to show Penny the very best of what a snowy, festive, New York has to offer - resolving to make it a Christmas to remember - will she be able to resist his charms this time round? And will there be a happy ending to her fairytale New York Christmas? 

The Second Love of my Life by Victoria Walters

Name: The Second Love of my Life
Author: Victoria Walter
Format: paperback
Pages: 320 pages
Release date: April 7th 2016
Publisher: Headline Review


In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey

Name: The Christmas Project
Author: Maxine Morrey
Format: ebook
Pages: 210 pages
Release date: 14th November 2016
Publisher: HQ Digital


Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O'Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren't her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.

Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…

Guest Post: A letter to Father Christmas by Kathryn Freeman

Today I have the honor to host a guest post by the fantastic Karhryn Freeman, Author of Before You, to celebrate the launch of her latest book, A Second Christmas Wish. It was officially released on 1st November by Choc Lit.

I know for some people November is too early to be thinking about Christmas, but perhaps it’s not too early to be thinking about presents. After all it’s when the Christmas marketing machine starts in earnest and we’re bombarded with adverts telling us what we absolutely can’t do without this Christmas (seriously, how many bottles of perfume does a girl need?).  It’s also the time when children start to think about what they want for Christmas – thanks to those helpful adverts.

Children are often encouraged to write to Father Christmas to tell him what they’d like for Christmas. I know I was, and I got my own children to do it, too. Not because I wanted them to practice their handwriting (though they needed all the practice they could get. At nineteen and seventeen, they still do). Not because I wanted to pin them down to a few items they then couldn’t change their mind about – okay, not just for that. It was mainly because the very act of writing a letter to Father Christmas, and posting it – to the North Pole, obviously – helps engender that belief in him. And believing in Father Christmas is such an important part of the magic of Christmas.  Waking on Christmas morning to the heavy feel of presents at the end of the bed, or the sight of those empty stockings left by the fireplace now brimming with boxes in festive wrapping. All the while knowing he’d left them there, battling with his reindeers through the snow and down dirty chimneys just for you. Not only that, he must have read your letter because you had everything you asked for.

But what if he hadn’t delivered what you’d asked for? It’s something every parent dreads; their child asking for a present they can’t find. Not just because nobody wants to disappoint a child on Christmas day (well, nobody apart from the father of the boy in my story, but I’ll come to that later) but because you want them to keep believing for as long as possible. The moment they stop, some of the sparkle is lost – both for them and for you. No more filling the stockings and sneaking them onto their bed while they’re sleeping. No more putting out the carrots for the reindeer, and the whiskey and mince pies for Father Christmas. As a parent I used to look forward to consuming the second two, the first not so much. I made my husband chomp at it, as his teeth were more reindeer like…

I tapped into these memories when I wrote A Second Christmas Wish. Thanks to his mean father, seven-year-old William has lost his belief in Father Christmas. His mother is trying to bring some of the magic back but it’s hard when she doesn’t have many happy memories of her own, thanks to her now ex-husband.  That’s where tennis coach Daniel comes in. He befriends them both and is horrified when William admits he doesn’t think Father Christmas exists. In a bid to convince him otherwise, Daniel suggests William writes to the big-guy-with-the-beard-and-red-suit, asking for a new tennis racquet. But doesn’t tell his mum. That way, if he does get a racquet, he’ll know Father Christmas must have read the letter. Daniel’s idea doesn’t quite go according to plan though, as William writes wishing not for one thing, but for two. And he’s not telling either Daniel or his mum what the second wish is. That’s between him and Father Christmas…

I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton I began working life as a retail pharmacist, quickly realising that trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for me. I left to join the pharmaceutical industry where I spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. My life long love of reading romance often led me to wonder if I could write about it, too. If only I had the time.

In 2010 I made a New Year resolution to make that time, and started my first book. It was surprisingly easy to stick to, because I enjoyed writing so much. In 2011, backed by my family, I left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

More information about the author: Website / Twitter / Facebook

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

For Melissa, Christmas has always been overrated. From her cold, distant parents to her manipulative ex-husband, Lawrence, she’s never experienced the warmth and contentment of the festive season with a big, happy family sitting around the table.
And Melissa has learned to live with it, but it breaks her heart that her seven-year-old son, William, has had to live with it too. Whilst most little boys wait with excitement for the big day, William finds it difficult to believe that Father Christmas even exists.
But then Daniel McCormick comes into their lives. And with his help, Melissa and William might just be able to find their festive spirit, and finally have a Christmas where all of their wishes come true …

More information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Guest Post: The Things Characters Say by Linn B. Halton

Some writers are plotters, some are pantsers like me (by the seat of your pants, no outline or plan). I love having no idea what my characters are going to do, or say, before my fingers are typing the actual words. Each day I write is a new joy and an exciting journey.

But what happens when a character says something unexpected? Or someone you love writing about dies? I will admit I have cried copious tears while writing a scene where a beloved character takes their last breath. Often I’m alone, in the dark, as I tend to write into the early hours and beyond, sometimes. Nothing is lonelier than sobbing away when everyone else is fast asleep. And it hurts to say goodbye, raking up some very personal family memories for me, so it’s always traumatic.

At other times a character will say, or do something I didn’t expect. I usually think to myself ‘I should have seen that coming’ and I wonder where the story will go next. Sometimes I find myself shaking my head in disbelief and I will admit I did that quite a few times with Katie in A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love.

Katie is typical of many of us – her life is a juggling act centred around her work and her relationships. Setting up a bakery was her dream, but nothing comes easily and people she cares about are reliant upon her for that regular pay cheque. And then there is her partner, Steve. Life can be harsh at times and as a couple they have been through some tough times together. But a relationship won’t work if one person ends up giving more than the other, because eventually it becomes a drain.

And that’s where Katie surprised me, because for a while I simply believed she wasn’t aware that she was being pulled in all directions just to please the people around her. The added element to the surprise was that the person responsible for sparking this clarity was a customer, a stranger who lived in another part of the country and visited her shop only to pick up cakes for his grandmother. Who better to open up to than a stranger who has as many problems as you have?


The moments pass, seconds turning awkwardly into minutes as I struggle to compose myself.
“It’s complicated.” I sigh, dejectedly. My fingers toy nervously with the cup in front of me.
“In my experience, life in general is never straightforward. But then I seem to have this aptitude for messing up.” His laughter is comforting. It’s like sitting down with an old friend, but I have to remember that isn’t the case.

“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” I reply, hesitantly. Even if I wanted to, what could I possibly tell him that wouldn’t sound like I was being ungrateful? “Hey, all will probably sort itself out in the end, but I know how hard it can be when you bottle things up. I spend a lot of time trying to make sure Lily doesn’t sense my worries, or concerns. I’ve become an expert at running away from things, rather than confronting the problems head-on. Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I only meant to pop in …”
Adam looks mortified and pushes his chair back, ready to stand up.

“No, really, it’s fine. Stay and finish your coffee. It will be a shame to throw those cupcakes away tomorrow. You’re quite right, though. I’ve backed myself into a corner and I don’t know what to do about it.” “Well, I can certainly empathise with that. But you know what I’ve come to realise? When you’re in a corner, there’s only one way out and that’s forwards.” His words strike at my heart, and for one moment what I want is to be held. Instead I smile as broadly as I can and push the plate towards him. “Help me out here, while I grab two more coffees.” I have absolutely no idea why I feel I can chat to someone who is one step removed from being a stranger …

Of course, as the pages flowed I began to understand that sharing your deepest fears and concerns with a stranger who does the same in return, is cathartic. And it’s safe. They don’t know you, or the people in your life. Sometimes all we need in life is a listening ear … and Katie reminded me of that!

Linn x

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives on the edge of the small market town of Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.  "I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache..."

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award. Linn writes chick lit, women's contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Choc Lit, Harper Impulse and Endeavour Press.

More information about the author: Website / TwitterFacebook

Life isn’t all love and cupcakes … 

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better. But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she can’t help but feel that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?  Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed. But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …

More information about this book: Amazon UK / Goodreads


Flashback 2016: Visiting Frankfurt's Bookfair

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest event of the publishing industry. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a meeting place for the industry’s experts and the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. Be they publishers, booksellers, agents, film producers or authors - each year in October, they all come together and create something new.

As soon as I heard Paige Toon and Cecelia Ahern are coming to The Frankfurt Book Fair for Events and signings this year, I immediately started planning my trip to Frankfurt. I am a huge fan of both authors so there was no way I could miss this. I remember telling Paige a few years back that the Frankfurt Book Fair was the place to be and the best way to meet her german fans. I'm so happy it finally happened :)

The Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 took place from 19 to 23 October. Only on Saturday and Sunday privat visitors are allowed on the fair, so my niece Laura, who joined me for this trip, and I made our way to Frankfurt on Friday evening with a long distance bus. Frankfurt am Main is about 180 km away from the town where I live. We took the train to Heilbronn (20 minutes journey) to go to the pick up point for the bus. Normally you receive a text message when the bus is delayed due heavy traffic, unfortunately not this time. We waited over one and a half hour when the bus finally arrived. The rest of the journey went luckily well. We arrived in Frankfurt at the central station about two and a half hours later. We took a taxi to our hotel, Citadines City Centre, which was near the fair. At about 11 o'clock we finally moved into our room and fell into our beds.

The room facilities were excellent. Everything was clean and nicely done up. We had a good night sleep before we headed down to breakfast around 8 o'clock the next morning. The breakfast included a wide varieties of bread, eggs, cold meats, fruits, cereals, yogurts and cappuccinos, expresso, and more. At 9 o'clock we checked out and made our way to the fair. Frankfurt's fair is HUGE. There are 6 halls in total with 1-3 levels. It took us quite a time to go to our first spot, Paige Toon's Jessie Jefferson Bingo at the Herzenstage (HarperCollins Germany) booth in Hall 4.1.

The event was about to start at 10.30 but we already arrived there about 10ish. I spotted Paige in the crowd, she was standing with her back to us, talking to someone. Tall, long blond hair with some curls and a black top. I just thought "that must be her". I was smiling from ear to ear when I recognised it was really her. I have bought my first Paige Toon book, Lucy in the Sky, in 2010 and ever since I was a fan of her and her books.

As I live in Germany (also not in the biggest city, where author tend to visit) and I only read books by english authors, I have never attened a singing, book launch or bookish event before. I was so nervous to actually meet an author who I really love. Paige recognised me by the second even we have never met in person. That was a incredible feeling. She was so nice, took a selfie with me and signed my copy of The One We Fell In Love With. Meeting her met the world to me and made me the happiest girl at the book fair. Thank you Paige for so many amazing books! I hope there are many more to come.

Afterwards Paige joined the girls from Herzenstage on stage to do the Jessie Jefferson Bingo. Beforehand the crowd received the papers with the game and the introductions. Paige has read the second chapter of I Know You were Trouble and the crowd needed to listen closly to get the words on the paper. Everyone who got 4 words horizontal or vertical in row received the newest german book in the Jessie Jefferson Series. I was not lucky to win one but I don't mind it because I read the english version anyway :-)

After I ticked that off my list, we were ready to go to the next signing. I was shocked when we arrived at the Fischer Verlag booth (one hour earlier before the signing started) to see that at least a hundred people already queuing for the Cecelia Ahern signing. If I were on my own I would have lined up as well but not with my niece. We decided to walk around the halls and go back to the signing later just to see her. Luckily that worked and I could snapp a few pictures of her. She looked so lovely!

Another highlight at the book fair is to see all the Cosplayers. From comics to cartoons to manga, funnies for children, romance for teens and graphic novels for adults, there’s an audience for every genre. You'll see the the coolest, weirdest and funniest costumes. I actually saw a whole group of teenager dressed as Sam, Dean, Castiel and Crowley, my all time favourite TV Show Supernatural. That got me cracked up laughing. Totally amazing! I also stopped by at the stand of Choc Lit. Unfortunately I had a bit of a bad timing. No one was around when I was there. Well, maybe next time.

At the fair you will see many books you would like to buy right away. Whether you're excited about the newest manga or the first edition of an underground poet, on Sunday you can buy them all. If I could have bought any books that day I propably would have got so many that I couldn't even carried them :-D Sadly we had to go back to the hotel early enough to pick up our luggage and head back to the central station to get our bus home. I never had any difficulties with the long distance bus yet but this weekend we were not on the lucky side. The bus delayed for almost an hour again :( It was freezing outside. We were so glad when we were home. Beside the problems with our journey we had an amazing day! The fair was well worth a visit :)

Have you ever been to a bookfair? What are your experiences? I'd love to hear from you!

Confessions of a City Girl: Washington D.C. by Juliette Sobanet

Name: Confessions of a City Girl: Washington D.C
Author: Juliette Sobanet
Format: ebook
Pages: 81 pages
Release date:August 18th 2016
Publisher: Saint Germain Press


When famous romance novelist Violet Bell returns to her DC alma mater to speak to the senior class about her glamorous life ten years after graduation, the last thing anyone expects to hear is the truth. But after a devastating divorce and way too many missed writing deadlines have left her scrambling for both money and her sanity, not even a healthy dose of Xanax can stop the humiliating meltdown she has on stage.

As soon as her shocking anti-love diatribes go viral, Violet’s once lustrous career writing happily-ever-afters becomes a distant memory. With nowhere else to turn, Violet finds solace at the home of her closest friend from college, Aaron Wright. Practical, preppy, and married to his job on the Hill, Aaron was never the guy for the ultra-scandalous Violet. But a whirlwind weekend together in the Nation’s Capital could have her wondering if Mr. Wright hasn’t been right underneath her nose all along…

Carina Author Week: Interview with Maxine Morrey

Welcome to Carina Author week
a week full of Reviews, Guest Posts, Author Interviews and Giveaways, all about published authors by Carina UK. I'm delighted to welcome last guest, Maxine, Morrey, author of Winter's Fairytale and The Christmas Project.

Hello Maxi, I’m delighted to have you on my blog today featuring the Carina Author week with a Q&A and talking about your upcoming novel The Christmas Project.

It’s a pleasure to be here, Isabell. Thanks so much for having me!

Hi Maxi, a warm welcome to Dreaming with Open Eyes! Thank you for participating in this interview, would you like to start by introducing yourself…?

Of course! I’m Maxi, I live on the south coast of England and when I’m not writing and/or doing something connected with writing, you can find me reading, walking, listening to podcasts and desperately trying to catch up with the housework.

How was your publishing route with Carina?

I got my initial contract with Carina (soon to be HQ Stories) when I won their 2015 ‘Write Christmas’ competition. I only found out about the competition quite late and sent in the submission with literally just a few minutes to spare before the midnight deadline. When my (now) editor called me to tell me I’d won, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was actually in hospital for the day and I was so excited that my blood pressure shot up! The nurses got worried and so I had to tell them what was going on so that they would actually let me home!

The Christmas Project is the second book you publish with Carina. What can you tell us about it?

This book, like ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ is also set in London. The heroine, Kate Stone, has a successful career as a Professional Organiser. With just weeks to go before Christmas, she takes on her best friend’s brother as a – very reluctant – client. Kate prefers everything – including her life – to be tidy. But the gorgeous Michael O’ Farrell isn’t like any man she’s ever met before, and it’s not long before things start to get messy…

How long did it take to write?

The main bulk was probably about two months if you put it together solidly, with quite long days, but I’d been working on the plan of it for a little while before that.

If you could write yourself into a romance book, what would be the title? Where's it taking place and who's your love interest?

Hmm, that’s a good one! Although I love my heels and dresses, I’m quite a tomboy when it comes to interests so I think it would have to be a bit of an adventure romance, something in the style of Indiana Jones. I also love that period too so that would suit me! I’m not too great with titles, I have to admit. I usually leave that to the publisher – but perhaps something life ‘A Love of Adventure’ (told you I wasn’t good at titles!). As to where it’s taking place? Somewhere exotic, obviously. I’ve a passion for India so perhaps somewhere like that, up in the hills of the Himalayas maybe. As for the adventurer hero – tall, broad, gorgeous in a masculine way – more Hugh Jackman than Eddie Redmayne. And, finally, he’d have a great sense of humour – that’s non negotiable!

What book character do you love so much, you wish you had written him or her yourself?

I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’ series and have a bit of a crush on Stephanie’s long suffering, on again/off again cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli. I love the way she writes him so I’d probably have to say him. I do have a soft spot for Jane Eyre too – I love that she was considered a nobody but wouldn’t let anyone treat her as such, no matter their station in life. Writing a female character that strong, in that period, was incredibly unusual, and really quite brave. It remains one of my favourite books.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes. I’ve been scribbling away since I was little, but I never really believed in myself enough to keep going all the time, as I should have done. Being ‘a writer’ wasn’t something I saw ordinary people like me doing. I wish now that I had had that belief – but you can’t change the past so I just try and make sure I keep hold of it now – which isn’t always easy! But you do have to try.

 What has been the most surprising thing you've learned during your publishing process?

I think one of the most pleasant surprises has been just how much support there is out there from other writers. I’d been part of Twitter for a while, and enjoying it, but with the competition win, there came a whole new level of contact and interaction. Writing can be quite solitary, especially if you don’t really know anyone in the ‘real world’ that does it, so finding others who understand exactly what you do, what your highs and lows are, and supporting each other through all of those has been amazing.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

When I won the competition, I’d actually only written the first three chapters of the novel. The publishers wanted the whole thing ready in a month’s time. I was determined not to miss that deadline. It was, admittedly, a pretty crazy month with not a whole lot of housework being done but I’m proud that I got there, and didn’t let the publisher, or myself, down.

Lastly, what is next for you? Are you writing on something at the moment? Can we expect another book that you will publish with Carina?

I think, like most writers, I’m always working on ‘something’ – whether it’s on paper or just ideas rattling about in one’s brain. But to be honest, it’s been a year that’s held some challenges, so for the moment, I’m just concentrating on the final processes for ‘The Christmas Project’ and taking each day as it comes.


Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first, she won a handful of book tokens - perfect for a bookworm!

As years went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She had written articles on a variety of subjects, aswell as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words, can be found tackling her To Be Read pile, sewing, listening to podcasts, and walking.


More information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US

More information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US


Here is your chance to win Fiona Collins latest release Winter's Fairytale.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Carina Author Week: Never Give Up by Darcie Boleyn

Welcome to Carina Author week a week full of Reviews, Guest Posts, Author Interviews and Giveaways, all about published authors by Carina UK. I'm delighted to welcome my sixth guest, Darcie Boleyn, author of Wish Upon a Christmas Chake and Something Old, Something New.

Never Give Up!

The thrill of being a published author is one that I appreciate every day. I’ve been very lucky to work with some fabulous editors, to have gorgeous covers and to be part of the extremely exciting and supportive community of publishers, authors, readers and bloggers.

My road to publication wasn’t an easy one by any means, and I learnt a lot along the way. But rejections of my early attempts at romance novels—including one from a major publisher, when I submitted my first attempt at a medical romance—along with a few revise and resubmits, helped me develop a better understanding of what worked and what didn’t.

I’ve always written, and as a child I used to enter writing competitions. This continued when I went to university but then, as life became busier, writing took a back seat. I nursed the dream to be published for years when my children were young, but I spent a lot of time procrastinating, which meant that once the rejection of my medical romance came, I didn’t try again for quite some time.

A few years ago, my husband encouraged me to really try again. He supported me throughout the ups and downs, and I will always be grateful to him for having such faith in me. I stumbled a few times along the way but he kept telling me I could do it, and the fact that he believed in me kept me going. When I received the email from Carina telling me that they wanted to publish Wish Upon a Christmas Cake, I was thrilled. All the hard work had paid off!

My own experiences mean that I would encourage aspiring authors to keep trying. The success of the ebook industry means that there are more opportunities to become a published author than ever.

I am in awe of other authors and of how they create such wonderful worlds within their novels. Even though I’ve been through the creative process myself, it still amazes me when I read a line that takes my breath away or when a plotline brings tears to my eyes. I am an avid reader, although working and writing mean that I don’t have as much time for reading these days, but when I get the chance to immerse myself in a book, it’s divine.

Sometimes, looking back, I wonder why I didn’t start writing in earnest sooner. But a flick through my photo albums provides the answer to that. I was working, striving to earn a living and build a home, then before I knew it, I had two beautiful children to care for. They took my time and energy and some days I could barely brush my hair, let alone create stories. So for me, the time wasn’t right then. But it is now. (I know many talented authors who have young children yet still write, and my hat goes off to them! How they manage to do it, I do not know.)

So if you’re harbouring a dream to write, then go ahead and do it. Put aside some time (and your fears) and make a start. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, it doesn’t matter. If the time is right for you, then make the time to write. And if you want this; never give up!

Good luck!


Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away.

She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

A heartwarming, giggle-inducing romance from Darcie Boleyn, just in time for the wedding season!

Will you marry me…again?

When Annie Thomas agrees to give her ex away at his wedding to his boyfriend, she thinks she’ll be fine. With her three children at her side, she can handle anything. Then she finds out her gorgeous first ex-husband Evan Llewellyn is flying in from his glamorous life in New York to attend as well!

An unexpected pregnancy ended their relationship and as she stumbles through the ups and downs of life as a working single mum – helping everyone else find a happy ending along the way – Annie refuses to believe their old and incredibly hot spark can still exist.

It’s only when she and Evan are forced to face up to the past together that they’ll discover if they can have their own happily-ever-after too!

Excerpt 1

I wanted to wear my baggy old joggers but Cassie wouldn’t allow it. She had a slightly larger pair of Lycra running pants and a sports bra and she made me change into them. They almost fit, although I have serious side-boob coming out of the bra’s armpits. Cassie’s only concession was letting me put my t-shirt back on over the bra, so at least half of me is covered up, although I’m really not happy with the way that these trousers cling to my bum and thighs; it’s like wearing a full-body corset and I’m almost afraid to move in case I burst a seam.

However, Cassie forces me out the door and we walk briskly to the local park where Vlad is meeting us. My stomach churns in a mess of fear and apprehension. What if Vlad isn’t happy that Cassie has brought along her neighbour? What if I’m so unfit that I have some sort of attack during the workout that renders me helpless? My children need me. How would they manage if I wasn’t there to care for them and to earn a living? What if I’m as bad at this as I was at PE during my own school days?
Then another thought overpowers the others: Why am I so worried about a stupid workout session? It might actually be fun.

‘Come on, Annie!’ Cassie scolds, taking hold of my arm and leading me through the gates into the pre-spring confines of the park. I notice that the warning sign about letting dogs off their leads hangs at an angle on the fence, so the black silhouette dog looks like it’s doing a circus trick by balancing on its nose. I snigger. No letting your dog do circus tricks in the park or you face a possible fine of up to one thousand pounds. I can’t imagine Dragon managing to get up on his big squishy nose unless he overexerted himself sniffing the ground after Fairy Princess had done a wee.

‘Is that him?’ I ask, swallowing hard against the lump that lodges in my throat when I spy a giant Adonis up ahead. He’s so gorgeous that I swear the sun is actually breaking through the clouds above his head and filtering down upon him to make him glow like some kind of spirit. But this man is no apparition; he is clearly, undeniably, evidently, one hundred percent flesh and bone. So much hard male flesh and muscle. Cassie follows my pointing finger and nods.

‘Oh yes, that is Vlad.’ She quickly pulls a compact out of her cleavage and applies some lipstick. How on earth did she fit the mirror and lipstick in there? She notices me staring in confusion and winks. ‘It’s the implants, honey. They cradle anything, even a big, hard…’ My cheeks flame as she winks again. For a moment, as we approach Vlad, I ponder the sex act she referred to and wonder if it’s possible. Apart from a few high school fumbles, there was only ever Dex and our very tame and infrequent sex life – which confused me at the time but was understandable when he finally came out – and before him, Evan. Sex with Dex was quick and quiet but sex with Evan was so…

I can’t think about it right now. I shouldn’t think about it. Ever. Vlad is huge and as we stand before him I have to force my mouth shut. I mean, gaping like an idiot would not go down well. At all. But, just, wow! I take him in from his cropped honey blond hair to his strong square jaw, his tree trunk thick neck to his shoulders the width of a Chevy bonnet, then down his muscular arms which bulge out from a tight black t-shirt. I only stop staring because someone is saying my name. I blink. And again.

‘Annie!’ It’s Cassie. ‘Uh… yeah?’ I lick my lips and drag my attention away from Vlad to meet my friend’s curious gaze.‘I just introduced you to Vlad. Say hello.’ She gestures at him and as I turn to look at him again and meet his twinkling eyes, my cheeks fill with heat. He holds out a hand the size of a spade and I shake it. His grip is vice-like and I realise that he could snap me like a twig. He reminds me of a Viking as he stands before me, all raw masculinity, bulging biceps and energy. It occurs to me that it’s been a long time since I’ve ogled a man and I quite like it. Standing before him I feel womanly, I feel good, I feel… alive.

Excerpt 2

I jump awake, dragged from a dream about being in the jungle. Strangely, Lady Macbeth was there, talking about when the owl shrieks and the crickets cry… Crickets? I hold my breath and will my heart to slow down as I listen.

But I am not mistaken; my house is filled with the song of crickets. It’s as if I am abroad and they’re chirruping away. But I am not on a Greek island in a café eating date and walnut scones filled with honey and yogurt; a pleasant image inspired by a recent novel. I am, in fact, in England, inside my own home, clad in my fleecy pyjamas and it is February. So why, then, can I hear crickets?
I sit up and rub my eyes. My neck is stiff from sleeping on the sofa and I am cold. I need to go to bed and snuggle beneath the duvet. I pick up my phone and check the time. Three-thirty a.m. I head out to the hall and nearly fall over Dragon who is sleeping across the hallway guarding the stairs like some ancient mythical creature guarding its gold. Fairy Princess is not far away, snoring her head off in a very un-princess-like way. They clearly don’t need to go out, so I step carefully over them and tiptoe up the stairs. The house is immersed in darkness and I usually like this time when I can listen to everyone I love breathing in unison under one roof. But tonight, there is another noise and it is incongruous in my Sutton semi.

The crickets! The central heating must have encouraged their journey to maturity and some of the larger ones are chirping. Upstairs, I pop my head into each child’s room to check on them. Anabelle and Janis are sleeping in their beds, but when I enter Henry’s room, he is sleeping on his knees in front of the vivarium. How can children do that? Fall asleep in some strange sort of yoga position. The lights inside it are off but I can make out the small dark shape of the baby dragon underneath the fibre-glass cave. I gently scoop Henry up and shuffle him into his cabin bed – not easy when he is getting so big and I have to lift him up four steps too – then pull the covers over him. As I turn away and head for the door, something crunches under my foot. And again as I take another step. There is a slimy wetness beneath the crunch. I pause as my sleep fuddled mind tries to conjure an explanation.

Henry probably sneaked a grape up here too and that somehow got mixed up with the Lego and that’s what’s now sticking to the ball of my foot and oozing between my toes. It must be Lego that Henry has left out again, even though we’ve had the discussion about putting it away once he’s finished playing with it. The dogs don’t brave the stairs very often, but if they do and they decide to consume some of his plastic building blocks or his intergalactic pirate ship, then there will be an expensive trip to the vet and Henry will lose what is now being hailed as a better investment than stocks and shares. I will certainly have to speak to him about tidying up properly tomorrow.

But as I take another step, the chirruping gets louder and something scuttles across my naked foot and up my shin. I shake my leg vigorously and hear a plop as something hits the wall. It’s like a horror movie where everyone except for the actress can see that at any moment she’s going to have her leg ripped off by a giant killer scorpion. My heart thuds as I realise with mounting dread what must have happened. This is no giant scorpion and this is not a movie. I told Henry ten times before he went to bed to ensure that he put the lid on the cricket tub properly but now…

I thrust my fist into my mouth and bite down to stifle my scream. I want to get my feet off the floor so I take it in turns to lift one then the other. Which is your favourite foot? Which one would you keep if you had to choose? It’s like some bizarre Sophie’s choice.

Excerpt 3

When I’ve washed the dishes and left them to dry on the draining board, I pour another mug of coffee and head upstairs. I haven’t heard any movement up there yet and as it’s not even nine, I doubt I’ll hear anything for a while.

I reach the top step and pick up a sock that is wedged between the spindles of the banister then throw it into the wash basket on the landing. ‘She shoots! She scores!’ I whisper then make a cheering noise in the side of my mouth. Henry loves it when I do that, or he did when he was about four. In fact, he used to ask me to do it again and again.

Just as I’m passing Janis’ room, I hear a funny noise and it stops me in my tracks. I am seized by a wave of panic, worried that she’s somehow choking on her tongue or even her vomit if she’s that stressed, but then she whimpers softly and I smile. She’s dreaming. My sweet baby girl. But another noise makes me start. It’s a low, deep moan. Oh my god! That wasn’t Janis! There’s someone else in there!

I carefully lower my mug to the floor and roll up my sleeves. Images of my daughter being assaulted by a prowler flash into my mind. I am overwhelmed by maternal rage. How dare anyone hurt my child! How dare anyone break into my home! I slam the door open and scream like a banshee as I rush towards the bed. I grab the intruder by his naked shoulders and pull him off my daughter then hammer blows all over him with my balled-up fists.

‘Who are you? What are you doing? How did you get in here! Run, Janis, run!’ The man beneath me covers his face with his arms and cries out that he’s a friend, that he’s sorry, and a variety of other excuses that I can’t make out because he’s trying to shield himself from my pummelling. I give him a good hard kick in the bum for good measure. ‘Mum!’ Janis tugs at my arm whilst trying to avoid accidentally getting clocked. ‘Mum, please! Get off him. He’s my…’

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