Saturday, May 8, 2021
Falling for Another Darcy
(Love Manor, #3)
Publication date: May 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Women’s Fiction
Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud, heart-warming final instalment in the Love Manor romantic comedy series for fans of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, Sinéad Moriarty, and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Right?
That’s the way the song goes, anyway. For Emma Brady, marrying her Mr. Darcy was a road to happiness that is about to take a sharp turn to trouble. Creating a tiny Mr. Darcy isn’t exactly proving to be easy. Sure, being newly-weds mean they’re more than happy to give it a good shot, but as time ticks along, Emma and Sebastian’s efforts come to nothing.
It’s time to call in the big guns.
For Emma, that means mood swings, hot flashes, ovulation kits, and more needles than a haystack. Add that to an increasingly-disapproving granny, and Sebastian and Emma’s love is being put to the test in a way they never saw coming.
Will they get the family they so desperately want? And will their love survive? Or will Emma’s fairy tale ending with her Mr. Darcy slip between her fingers?
“You looked so sexy in those wellies,” he murmurs, referring to my rubber boots. “Do you think I could get a private viewing of you in those and…let’s say nothing else?”
“Nothing else? Sebastian Huntington-Ross, I am deeply outraged.”
“Are you now?” he asks with a laugh that rumbles through me.
“I didn’t know you’ve got a thing for gardeners.”
“Actually,” he says with another kiss that has my head spinning, “I’ve got a thing for my hot Texan wife.”
“I’m guessing you’ll want me to team a ten-gallon hat with those wellies, huh?”
“Now we’re talking.”
As he reaches under my top and slides his hands up my bare back, sending a jolt of anticipation through me, I hear the creak of the door and look up in surprise to see not only Sebastian’s mom, but his granny with disapproving look on her lined face.
Not that this is anything new. The day that woman gives me a look that’s not disapproving I think I might faint from shock.
I instantly dismount Sebastian and readjust my top in an attempt not to appear as though we were about to engage in, well, marital activity. We might be a newly married couple who do what newly married couples do, but getting caught out by my mother-in-law and judgmental grandmother-in-law still puts a halt to proceedings pretty quick. As you would expect.
“Mother, Granny,” Sebastian says in a surprisingly steady voice as he rises to his feet. I’ve had to get used to that here. Sebastian always stands whenever his mom or grandmother enter a room. It’s super formal and weird to me. Where I’m from, you only got up to go fetch another Coke.
“Don’t let us interrupt, you two,” Jemima trills in an unnaturally high voice. She must be feeling about as comfortable as I am right now. “Come, Geraldine. Let’s, err…go for a stroll in the garden.”
Geraldine scoffs. “Jemima, it’s after nine at night and it’s raining cats and dogs out there. Have you gone completely mad?” She clunks her way across the room with the aid of her cane and sits down carefully on one of the seats facing us. “It’s fortuitous that we found you in such a position.”
I blink at her in disbelief. It is?
Jemima is still hovering by the door, clearly uncomfortable. “What about the library, Geraldine? There’s a book collection I thought you might be interested in. I only came across it a few weeks ago, and I think you’ll find it quite fascinating. It’s about the history of bridges in the British Isles, which is a thoroughly enthralling topic—”
“Oh, Jemima,” she scolds. “I haven’t got the least interest in bridges. Take a seat, will you?”
Defeated, Jemima replies, “All right.” She slinks into another one of the armchairs and shoots us an apologetic smile.
“We thought you were both out for the evening,” Sebastian begins.
“We’re back,” Geraldine replies, pointing out the obvious.
“How are you this evening, ma’am?” I say to Geraldine as she steadily lowers herself into a seat by the fire with the aid of her cane. It has a brass handle in the shape of a wolf, which appropriately casts her as a Bond villain. All that’s missing is the hairless cat.
“I’ve told you before, Emma. In England ‘ma’am’ is what we call the Queen. Please remember to call me ‘Granny’ now that you’re family. You’re no longer on your Texas ranch here.”
I open my mouth to reply and shut it again. Having grown up in a modest house in inner-city Houston, the only time I’ve been on a Texas ranch was when I was filming Dating Mr. Darcy. “I forgot…Granny. Habit, I guess. You can take the girl out of Texas, as they say.”
Geraldine purses her lips in obvious distaste. “Quite. Now. I have something I must say to you both.”
“It’s gratifying to see you’re still engaging in what is characteristically considered the honeymoon phase of a marriage.”
Sebastian’s eyes find mine briefly before he replies, “Thank you?” Because what do you say to that? Yes, we’re at it whenever we get the chance. Can’t get enough of it, actually. We’re at it like the proverbial rabbits. Our room, the living room, the garden, even your room when you’re out at the opera (okay, we’ve never actually done it in Geraldine’s room, and nor do we plan to, but you get the picture).
She steeples her fingers, fixing us with her glare. “An heir. That’s what we need.”
“An heir?” I swallow. She’s already made it abundantly clear that as Lady Martinston, it’s my duty to provide the family with the next generation. The first time she mentioned it, in fact, we’d literally been married less than three minutes. You’ve got to admire the old girl’s tenacity, I guess.
“Yes,” she snaps, “an heir. How often are you engaging in marital relations?”
“Mummy, I hardly think—” Jemima protests as Sebastian’s eyes widen at me.
“Let them answer, Jemima,” she quips. “It’s been a year and still not even a sign. You’re not getting any younger, you know, Emma. I’m certain your fertility has already begun to wane. When I was your age, I’d finished having my children.”
I offer her a weak smile. That was because it was the 1800s and there was no TV.
“Granny, we haven’t even had that conversation yet,” Sebastian says. “Give us a chance, please.”
“What’s the delay? You’re clearly raring to go if that little display earlier is anything to go by. Make it mean something, my dear boy.”
I suck in air, every part of me cringing. The mood has gone from sexy rubber boot fun to creating an “heir” in two minutes flat.
Could this get any more awkward?
“Thank you for your concern, Granny, but when Emma and I decide we’re ready to start a family, we will be sure not to tell you until we actually have something to tell you.”
“Does that mean you’re already trying?” Jemima asks, a healthy dollop of hope in her voice. “Because we can leave right now and let you get on with it if you like.”
Oh, no. Awkward!
Jemima rises to her feet. “Can’t we, Geraldine?”
“I suppose,” Geraldine grumps.
I squeeze my eyes shut, fantasizing that I’m not in the living room with my mother- and grandmother-in-law, my clothes and hair disheveled next to my husband as they discuss our sex life.
“Good-bye, you two,” Sebastian says with a tone of finality in his voice.
Jemima bustles over to the door, clearly keen to get far away from this whole thing as quickly as possible, while Geraldine rises from her seat onto her creaky bones as though she’s an arthritic sloth in no hurry to get anywhere.
It takes forever, stretching the awkwardness out to a breaking point.
Eventually, she reaches the door and turns back to us. “Missionary position. That’s the best for procreation. That’s all your grandfather and I ever did, and we had all the children we wanted.”
Why did she have to put that image into my head. Why?
“Good-bye, Granny,” Sebastian says firmly, and thankfully, she leaves the room, closing the door after her.
Alone once more in the cavernous room, we catch one another’s eyes and instantly dissolve into peals of embarrassed laughter. Catching his breath, Sebastian says, “I’m so sorry about that, Brady. The word awkward doesn’t even begin to describe that exchange.”
Sebastian’s shoulders shake as he laughs. “Granny can be very direct when she wants to be.”
I think of the way in which she announced that I wasn’t good enough for her grandson and that I would be doing everyone a big favor if I just simply disappeared. “Ah, yes. That’s very true.”
He laces his fingers in mine and claims my lips with a kiss. “Brady, I have an idea. How about we grab those wellies of yours and head up to our bedroom away from any prying eyes.”
“And lock the door?” I ask.
His eyes sparkle as his face pulls into his sexy grin. “Lock it, bolt it, and hide the key.”
Visit kateokeeffe.com and sign up to her newsletter so you never miss out on new releases and great book deals again! Follow her on Bookbub to learn about deals on her books. Just cut and paste this link into your browser: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kate-o-keeffe
Kate O'Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he's a scruffy dog too. He's not: he's a cat. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
Visit kateokeeffe.com to sign up to her newsletter to keep up to date on new releases, great deals on books, and more.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Text Wars: May the Text be With You …
Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
May the text be with you…
Seraphina Lopez is not your typical airy-fairy astrology fanatic. First and foremost, she’s a businesswoman who happens to have a fascination with the stars. Her lifestyle app, “Live for Your Star Sign” is blowing up, and when she’s asked to be a guest on New York’s most watched Morning Show, she knows the exposure will launch her app into the stratosphere.
Astrophysicist Ben Williams just landed his dream job at NASA’s Goddard Institute, Not only is he heading a multi-disciplinary team in search of habitable exo-planets, he’s also been tapped to be the spokesman for the project. While he’d much rather be crunching the numbers to pinpoint the location of Earth II, he also has to sell the concept to the American public.
When Seraphina and Ben meet on the set of the Morning Show, sparks fly! Sera is there to show viewers how to dress for their star sign. Ben is there in the name of science. Their explosive chemistry sets records for the network’s viewing audience. As such they’re asked to host a regular segment–together.
Ben and Sera hate each other so much, they resort to texting instead of talking when they’re off air (and sometimes on). Yet somewhere in the haze of dislike, they start to realize they have more in common than they thought possible. Is love written in the stars or will it burn up on impact?
Find out in the Text Wars, the third installment of the deliciously funny and romantic Accidentally in Love Series.
Once I’m dragged off into the Green Room with all the gorgeous women, I sneak a peek at myself in one of the full-length mirrors propped against the wall. Who am I? And where is astrophysicist Ben Williams under all that hair gel and bronzer? This is going to be the single most humiliating experience of my life. Not only am I dressed like a banana for his first day of school, my manhood is on display like it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. How is anyone going to take me seriously?
They won’t. That’s how.
Not to mention, everyone I know, including my co-workers, will be watching. NOOOO!!! I have to stop this. Panic starts to build inside of me until my chest cavity feels like it’s about to explode.
The bossy woman who made me take my underwear off loudly declares, “You all look great! This is going to be an amazing show!”
I have no idea what she’s talking about, but I don’t have time to ask because someone else comes in and says, “You’re on next. Follow me.”
I tug at these ridiculous pants in hopes they’ll magically grow three sizes and turn black. Or a nice brown, even. That would be good too. Although I don’t know if brown would go with this awful green vest.
Oh, for pity’s sake, Ben, it doesn’t matter! Your pants aren’t going to change color so forget it. Unless …what if I change into normal pants? Yes, that’s the answer. As we march down the hall and pass my dressing room, I decide I’m going to put on my own clothes no matter what anyone says. As I open the door to dressing room three, I hear Serafina demand, “Where are you going?”
She doesn’t wait for an answer. Instead, she takes my hand and leads me to the third spot in line. “There. You’re right behind our Taurus.”
Grinning broadly, she says, “Okay, everyone, you look fabulous. Just get out there and strut your fine selves.”
Strut my fine self? What in the world is she talking about?
“Listen, I-I think there’s been a mistake,” I call out to her.
“I know, the pants aren’t exactly the right fit, but you can really get away with it, trust me.” She boldly winks which causes me even more distress.
“No, not that …”
That Justin intern rushes over and says, “Ms. Lopez, you’re on!”
I try to get his attention, but he disappears, leaving me with no one to ask for help. I wait for what feels like forever, but I’m sure is only a couple of minutes, before Justin comes back and starts to lead us backstage. “When I point to you, walk onto the stage, turn left at the X, strut down the catwalk toward the studio audience. Pause for a count of two, then spin back around and go out the other way.”
He points to the woman in front of me. As she goes, I watch her carefully, trying to memorize what she’s doing. Okay, that doesn’t look so hard. It’s just walking, right? I can walk. Do they introduce all of their guests like this? My confusion equals my horror. I should have watched an episode of this show, so I knew what I was getting into.
When the woman turns back my way, she’s not smiling. Are we not supposed to smile? Do we pout? Yes, pouting seems right. How do you pout?
Turning to the woman behind me, I say, “Does this look right?” then I push my lips out and try to look like I’m really angry about something. Which is actually true because I’m going to lose it on Dev when I see him.
She wrinkles up her nose and answers, “You look like you’re trying to poop.”
Well, that was rude. I’m trying to learn. I give her a glare and she snaps her fingers. “Perfect! Now you’ve got some serious smolder going on.”
“Gemini Guy! Gemini Guy!” Justin whisper-yells.
I spin around, realizing he means me. He points to the stage wearing a completely disgusted look. As I walk by, I hear him say something about models with rocks for brains into his headset. Models? I’m not a model.
My heart is thumping like a rabbit surrounded by a pack of bears as I walk, trying to keep time with the music which is some airy-fairy crap that doesn’t even have a beat. That bossy Serafina person is sitting on a chair next to the show’s hosts talking … about me … it turns out.
“Geminis absolutely love to be the center of attention, almost to a fault. They’re known to be intelligent, passionate, fun, but also sometimes unreliable and are even called flighty.”
I keep walking toward center stage while I glare at her, causing me to miss the big X on the floor.
“As you can see, our model truly is a flighty Gemini. He just missed his mark.”
I hate this woman. I hate her with every cell of my being.
Hal lets out a laugh. “Other way, buddy!”
“Wow, those are some tight pants!” Lacey inserts. “I can see his center of attention!”
The audience laughs as I scramble to find the damn X. It’s actually quite large and is in bright green tape, so it’s pretty hard to miss. I stalk down the catwalk feeling like a piece of poorly-dressed meat. The audience—mainly older women—start to hoot and whistle and, I swear to God, one woman is waving a five-dollar bill at me.
How the hell did I end up here? I have my PhD. I work for NASA.
I head back toward the hosts while that awful Serafina woman talks about astrology. I’m so busy trying to make sure I land on the X this time I almost don’t hear Hal say, “Geminis really must be flighty because our other guest, Dr. Ben Williams, didn’t bother to show up for Star Day. I understand he’s a Gemini as well.”
I stop in my tracks and stare at him, sweat trickling down my back.
Hal looks at me while making a scooting gesture with his hands. “You can go now.”
Astrology girl gives me an urgent head nod toward the exit. Now is my only chance to fix what has gone terribly, terribly wrong. “I’m Ben Williams.”
All three of them stare at me like I’ve just said I’m from planet Zorbits. Lacey gives me a sympathetic look, as though she feels so bad for the male model who’s so dumb he doesn’t know his own name. “Um, no. Ben Williams is a rocket scientist. You’re a model.” She says this slowly like it’s the only way I’ll be able to understand her.
I wait while the audience has a good laugh at my expense while ignoring Justin and some other woman with a headset who are frantically waving at me. “I’m not a rocket scientist.”
Giving me a condescending look, Hal says, “We know you’re not, buddy. But you’re still special, okay? Now, off you go!”
The fashion show music stops, and the audience becomes so still you’d think they were waiting for me to perform a magic show. Off to the side, I see two security guards at the ready. I swallow hard, then keep going. “There’s no such thing as a rocket scientist,” I say. “What you’re thinking of is actually called an aeronautical engineer or an astronautical engineer. Rocket scientist is a dumbed down word for the job.”
“Wow,” Lacey says, blinking at me. “You know a lot about rocket science.”
I shut my eyes at her inane statement, then open them and say, “That’s because I’m an astrophysicist.”
The astrology “expert” (and I’m using that term lightly) seems to be the first one of the three geniuses to figure out who I am. “Wait, if you’re Dr. Williams, why are you masquerading as a male model?”
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries -- not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, May 7, 2021
★ ★ ★ HOT FREEBIE ALERT! ★ ★ ★