Monday, September 22, 2014

Crossed & Bared Series Blog Tour ~ Misty Provencher


Re-Release of the Crossed & Bared Series!
HALE MAREE ~ FREE!
FULL OF GRACE ~ on SALE for $2.99!
Limited Time to Save!




~ Blurb ~
Hale Simmons’s life is already bottoming out and she’s only eighteen.  Struggling on welfare, while trying to keep her alcoholic father on track, her dreams of having a better life fade a little more each day.
But, when her dad witnesses a brutal accident at the bar one night, it changes the entire course of Hale’s future.
Thrust into an arranged marriage with Oscar Maree, the playboy son of a wealthy man, Hale must learn to trust a stranger to give her the life she’s always wanted. 
First, Hale needs to figure out if love can ever happen by accident.

Click to grab your copy FREE COPY:



First thoughts after…
Wow, wow, wow.  I can't wait to read Full of Grace.

How distracted did I get?
Hale Maree is a wonderful New Adult romance.  From page one I was swept away in Hale's story.  She's fun, sweet, innocent yet a fighter.  I love that she persistently stands up for what she wants.  Oscar, oh Oscar, he swept me up and off my feet.  He can make a person swoon!  Sher, Maree's bff cracks me up and I can't wait to learn more about her in the next book!  I finished this story in 24 hours!  I would highly recommend this book for anyone that enjoys romance.


5 baskets


~ Blurb ~

Landon Grace is a stand-up guy, but running about 7-bananas-strong, from tequila shots at Oscar and Hale's wedding reception, what happened between him and Sher Simmons was supposed to be a one time thing. A quickie, between the Best Man and Maid of Honor, at their best friends' wedding.
But some one-night-stands refuse to be finished in one night.
Especially when they return with a hard shot of morning sickness.
Now, Landon is faced with a problem he never thought he'd have to consider...
Just how much sway does a guy really have, regarding a woman's choice to pursue or terminate the pregnancy of his child?

Click to grab your copy for only $2.99!
(Regularly $3.99):

AMAZON / KINDLE
BARNES & NOBLE / NOOK
APPLE / IBOOKS
PAPERBACK


First thoughts after…
I love this world!  I want more!

How distracted did I get?
Full of Grace is a super angsty, super addictive amazing story.  I absolutely love Landon.  No matter how the tables turned for him he pushed through stronger. He's sweet, compassionate, and sexy. His patience knows no ends in this story.  More than most people would.  Sher, she's definitely not your typical leading lady.  She's definitely the angst in this story and at times I wanted to jerk a knot in her noggin.  Through it all she has a good heart and just needs to learn how to follow it.  This is a wonderful follow up to Hale Maree.  
I give Full of Grace…

5 Baskets!!!


Misty Provencher is a long-term wife, mama, and author. The first two are a bit more recent, but Provencher's writing roots date back to the hieroglyphics she left in her mother's womb.

While Provencher can ride a motorcycle, knows how to Karate chop, and has learned enough French, Spanish, and Sign Language to get herself slapped, Misty's life is actually just the ruse she uses to connect with people. She is totally enchanted with them and spends her days trying to translate the soul bouquets of her muses into words.

Misty Provencher lives in the Mitten.

~ Stalk Misty ~




 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#Free for a Limited Time Granted Redemption - Katie Mettner

Amazon






Psalm 23: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…..

A lifetime ago Grant Harris was an Australian surfer at the top of his sport, until one wave changed everything. Fifteen years later, Grant has become bitter, lonely, and disillusioned. Hoping to jump start his career he accepts a position in Duluth Minnesota, with no way of knowing how quickly his life was about to change.

A lifetime ago Carla Coffers was a runaway teen with no family, no money and no hope for a future. Fifteen years later, she’s a successful business woman as owner of Carla's Kinky Café, on beautiful Lake Superior. Her friends think she’s got it all, but Carla still yearns for the one thing she never had.


A cup of coffee, a car, a confession and a cross come together to grant them redemption from their past and hope for the future.



Katie Mettner grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and moved to the Northwoods where she now resides with her husband and three children. Katie writes spicy Christian romance and is the author of The Sugar series and The Northern Lights series. Her stories are a reflection of her love for family, intricately woven with life experience. When the gales of November blow early you can find her at the computer with a cup of joe working on her next adventure.



Excerpt:


“Grant?” The voice on the other end of the line was quiet, but panicked. I sat up straight in bed, and had my feet on the floor before I was aware I was awake.
“Carla? What’s wrong?” I asked jumping into a pair of jeans and throwing on a sweatshirt, cursing when my toe caught the edge of the bed.
“Grant, Grant can you help?” She said rather out of breath, and my fuzzy brain realized she hadn’t been gone more than twenty minutes.
“Red, tell me what you need. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.” I said steadily realizing she wasn’t acting right.
“I had an accident. I need help.” She explained calmly, maybe too calmly.
I grabbed my trail boots and stuffed my feet into them, bracing the phone under my ear as I tied them, “Red, where are you? Can you call the police?”
I grabbed my keys off the hook and ran out the door impatiently waiting for the garage door to go up on this very cold morning.
“I can’t call the police, I called you. You can come help me. You can come help me, right?” Her voice was sounding more agitated with each word. I slid into the car, gunning it into reverse and tossing gravel behind the tires when I accelerated onto the road.
“Carla, tell me where you are.” I tried to keep an even tone so she wouldn’t get scared. There is only one way to Duluth from my house, which at least narrowed down the area where she would be.
“I can’t really see where I am. My arm hurts, the seatbelt hurts.” She started to cry softly.
“I’m coming sweetheart, just keep talking to me. Can you unfasten the seatbelt?” I asked, driving down Highway 61 slowly, thankful there wasn’t much traffic this time of day. That would end soon though, and I knew I didn’t have much time to find her.

“I, I think I’m upside down.” 

Other Books by Katie Mettner











December Kiss ~ A Snowberry Christmas Book 2 (Releasing October 13)


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tempting Thursday/Pie Girls - Lauren Clark



Kindle
Nook
Chick Lit
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Place Beyond - Laura Howard Cover Reveal





Title: A Place Beyond
Author: Laura Howard
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy

The time has come. Allison's quest to save her mother from Aoife's wicked enchantment will test everything she believes in.
Who is trustworthy in the land of the Fair Folk, the Tuatha de Danaan? It's up to Allison,  along with her ragtag host of allies, to unravel the truth.
Journey along and discover the power of love and duty as Allison faces the most difficult trial of her life.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

About Laura


Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teen Tuesday/Forget Me Not - Stacey Nash

Happy Teen Tuesday!
Today I'm featuring debut author +Stacey Nash 
Check out the blurb and my review!  

Kindle
Nook
YA/NA Supernatural Romance
Anamae is drawn into a world which shatters everything she knew to be true.

Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. They're not just jewellery, they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewellery's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device - and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One. 

She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends' lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stay - B.A. Wolfe Cover Reveal

StayEbook
Title: Stay (The Keaton Series) 


Author: B.A. Wolfe 

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance 18+ 

Publication Date: October 20, 2014 

Cover Design: Bookfabulous Designs LP Hidalgo 

Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Synopsis

Fate took Cassandra down a path she never expected. Then a small town in Colorado gave her exactly what she needed—until tragedy left her heartbroken and devastated. Alone with only her child and her memories, Cassie struggled to put her life back together, one day at a time, piece by piece. Finding love again was something she never thought possible. That was, until she ran into an unlikely stranger who flipped her entire world on its axis. Aidan had a secret locked away in his heart; one that would surely send Cassie running the second she discovered it. He held onto her closely and kept his secret guarded, but one careless mistake could reveal all. Their friendship was strong, their moments beautiful, and the love that brewed between them intense—something neither denied. The only problem? Cassie was slowly letting him into her life. Could she let herself get close to the one person she didn’t think she should? Her mind tells her to run, but her heart tells her to stay.    


Click the book jacket for larger image
  Stay

Excerpt

       “God, he’s gorgeous, Cass,” Mel gushed, pulling me out of my thoughts. I followed her swooning eyes and immediately found the source standing by the bar. She was right about one thing: he was definitely good looking.

       His hair was dark; his jawline was sharp, complimenting his clean-shaven face. His body was hidden under a pair of dark jeans that hung on his hips and a button up shirt that was layered under a casual suit jacket. He looked professionally polished. He also had more than just mine and Mel’s eyes on him.

       I bit down on my bottom lip. Something else stuck out about him. I glanced back at Mel. “He looks familiar, doesn’t he?”

       She deepened her gaze on him, wrinkles forming around her eyes. “Eh, kind of. Why don’t you go talk to him?” She wiggled her brows.

      “No. I’m not here to pick up guys. I already have an awesome one back at home.” My voice was playful, but my insides clenched at the thought of talking to a guy—especially that guy.

      “Yes. That’s true.” She held up one finger as if she’d just discovered how they get all that caramel into the Caramilk bar. “But this guy can actually take you to dinner.” She laughed and I gave her an exaggerated eye roll. Suddenly, she sat straighter. “Looks to me like you’ve been noticed too. Someone’s hot-ass eyes are locked on your back. I think he knows you were ogling him.”

      “He does?” My heart went from normal to pounding in zero point three seconds. “How?”

      “For real?” She gave me the you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-meglare. “He’s been looking over here all night, but he caught you just as you turned around. I wasn’t able to hide my looky-loo eyes, sorry.” She shrugged as if to let me know she wasn’t sorry. “What if you do know him? School, maybe?”

      “I don’t know. I guess it could’ve been college. He looks older, though.” The urge to see him up close was something I hadn’t experienced before. It was powerful. “Okay, I’ll go, but just because I need to know where I’ve seen him before.” I couldn’t even admit to myself that part of me wanted to talk to this attractive man just because.  

Add to Goodreads

Ebook mailed 9.13

About the Author


7133885

B.A. Wolfe is a girl with a passion for reading and writing, and lives in the good ol’ state of Colorado with her husband (her biggest cheerleader), and her two crazy min pin fur babies. These days, her life is anything but calm, and there isn’t one thing she’d want to change. B.A. spends all her free time either furiously typing stories on her laptop or happily reading through her endless T BR on her Kindle. Her list of favorites would be long enough to fill a book, but most would likely fall under the romance category. She is a sucker for a good love story that makes her cry, and an amazing book boyfriend who will melt her heart. ‘Away’ is B.A. Wolfe’s debut novel.
Connect with the Author

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Mess Detectives and The Case of the Lost Temper - Karen Roth

Print
Children's
A Lesson in Self-Control
In this Level One VeggieTales I Can Read, The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper, Bob and Larry have another important case … track down the Masked Door Slammer. But when the investigation doesn’t go the way Bob wants, and things go wrong, he begins to lose his temper.
Will a gentle reminder from Larry help Bob get his temper under control?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wanton Wednesday/Created Darkly - Gena D. Lutz

Happy Wanton Wednesday!
Today I'm featuring an awesome book from Gena D. Lutz!
If you catch it by September 12, 2014 it's on sale!


Kindle
Paranormal Romance
Necromancer Kris Chase's purpose is simple. Blindly raise the dead for the primary elite, self necro-governed group, the Center. The problem is, she couldn't care less about what the Center expects from her. Instead, she is more content with snuffing out the life-force from every vile creature she can get her hands on; the same monsters her brethren indiscriminately create… for the right price.

Until the life of someone dear to her is threatened.

With the stakes raised insurmountably, she finds herself bound by desperation to create the very darkness she always fought against being consumed by, going against everything she has ever believed in.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hottie McTottie Monday/Taming Mr. Right - Tonya Kappes

Happy Hottie McTottie Monday!
Today I'm featuring the 2nd book in the BLUEGRASS ROMANCE Series!
You can always count on Tonya Kappes writing awesome Hottie McTotties!



Kindle
Nook
Romantic Suspense
Vivian Westwood is smart, practical, and has always followed the rules. She prides herself on her work ethic and climbing her way up the ladder where she just got promoted to her dream job as head horse trainer at the Lady B Horse Farm, leaving her little time for anything more in her life. Cowboy Clay Preston likes his women like he likes to train his horses, fast. When he answers the help wanted sign at the Lady B Horse Farm, he sets his eyes on Vivian Westwood. He is use to getting what he wants and just because she's his boss doesn't stop him. Vivian plays hard to get. Just when Clay ropes her, the secrets from his past turn their new life upside down.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful - Katie Ganshert


Kindle
Nook
Christian Romance
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong
 
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Promo: Cooking Up Trouble - Louisa Mack



Kindle
Nook
Smashwords
4+ Stars
Contemporary Romance

She is an award-winning chef and he is the unnervingly attractive lawyer who represented her ex in the break-up of their business.

When Ally French inherits Chaffey’s Island, she’s working and saving to replace the café she lost in a failed romance. She doesn't need or want another romance. But when Chaffey’s Island turns out to be a pub in the Australian outback she’s prepared to do just about anything to keep it. Even when the lawyer handling her godfather’s estate is Edward McGrogan, the same yummy lawyer who took her café away. The problem with her last business was not having a lawyer so at least this time she will have one. Even if it means risking her heart.
Of course there are a few complicating factors such as someone trying to frighten her into selling cheap; her godfather’s sly grog shed out the back; and the growing sizzle between her and her lawyer. When attraction boils over into love and when accusations arise of grievous bodily harm, not to mention dope in the dinner, Ally knows she’s really cooked up some trouble this time and she’ll need a darned good lawyer no matter what she has to do to keep him.



CHAPTER 1

The air whooshed into Ally French’s lungs as the words in the letter sank in.
“What is it?” Mel Harper, her best friend, crossed from the kitchen doorway to where Ally stood. “What’s the matter?”
“I think I’ve inherited an island.” Ally laughed as her eyes scanned the page again.
An island.
If it was true, all her troubles could be over.
Holy mackerel. An island.
Islands were real estate. Equity.
She could get Deli-sh back. She could—
Not Deli-sh! her strict voice cut in, shrill with panic. That’s gone.
Okay, not Deli-sh. But another café. A better one.
Whoa, don’t get your hopes up. Don’t.
Deal with the facts.
Where was this island?
It could be some guano-covered rock off Antarctica. It could—
Mel’s hand on her arm steadied her and Ally took a breath.
“Have you ever heard of Chaffey’s Island?” she said.
“No,” Mel said as she leaned in to read over her shoulder. “Who’s this Albert Chaffey?”
“I have no idea.” Ally chewed her lip and handed the letter to Mel. “It’s probably just some guano-covered rock off Antarctica.” It’d be silly to get excited.
Mel laughed. “You glass-half-empty-girl you. Why don’t we Google it?” She crossed to the computer and started tapping keys. “If I’d known this letter was so exciting I’d have put it on your pillow yesterday when it came instead of leaving it out here.”
“I knocked off so late last night I went straight to bed, so I wouldn’t have seen it,” Ally said, coming to stand behind her, a knot of tension forming in her stomach as the green bars gathered at the bottom of the screen. If this inheritance were worth anything there would be no more drudgery in other people’s kitchens. She’d have her own again.
 “Looks like we’ve got a live one,” Mel said and clicked on one of the links. Two blond Adonis types popped up sitting at a dingy, old bar, grinning and holding their beers up in a silent toast. Somebody’s holiday pics. The text was in an indecipherable language rich with diphthongs and o’s with slashes through the middle. ‘Chaffey’s Island’ and ‘Australia’ were the only words Ally recognised.
“No guano so far,” Mel said.
Ally managed a laugh. “Good. Sunlounges in the Whitsundays would be better, though. Pina Coladas and warm tropical breezes.”
Careful, her strict voice warned. Don’t get too excited, it only leads to disappointment. Ally sighed and glanced out the window to where traffic hissed past in the drizzle she’d run through to get home. The dreary drizzle that was Sydney in May. She’d rather a tropical dream but she needed to be realistic.
“At least we know you can get a beer there,” Mel said, scrolling back up to the photo of the blond duo. “That’s a start.”
“I guess so.” Where there was beer there was often food. And she was good at food. “Is that the only one Google could find?”
Mel went back to the list and clicked on the only other mention of ‘Chaffey.’ “There was a guy called James Chaffey who went to Indian Island in 1760.” Mel’s lips moved as she read further down the screen. “That’s in Canada. Probably not sunlounge territory.”
“And not Chaffey’s Island.” Ally glanced down at the letter. “It’s definitely called ‘Chaffey’s Island’ and it’s in Australia I think because the letter says ‘under Australian law’ and that first site mentioned Australia too.”
Mel scrolled further down the page. “Nope. Google has nothing more to say on the place.”
Ally straightened. “Maybe I should buy some maps.”
“I think you should ring your mother. She might know all about it. And Albert Chaffey. The guy left you everything, didn’t he?”
“Yes, but I can’t ring Lola. She’s in Bali at that meditation retreat and the number she gave me is strictly for emergencies. I’ll ring the lawyer.”
“Worth a try,” Mel said. “He might not be working on a Saturday, but I’ll make coffee so we’ll be ready to celebrate just in case.”
Ally pushed damp hair out of her eyes and picked up the phone. “Oh no,” she said as her eyes focussed on the letterhead. “The lawyer is Edward McGrogan.”
Mel stuck her head out from the kitchen. “Who?”
“Brad’s lawyer.” This was more elaborate than her ex-boyfriend and ex-business partner’s usual practical joke but Brad was still capable of it. Suddenly the whole thing made sense and she tossed the letter on the coffee table as fury ripped through her.
“I knew it was too good to be true. This whole thing is just a sick joke.” It wasn’t what she would have expected from Edward McGrogan but she’d stuck with Brad for three years, what did she know about judging people? 
 “Hang on a sec.” Mel came back to peer at the letter again. “No self-respecting lawyer is going to pull something like that on his own letterhead.”
“But Brad would. He could have pinched some of the letterhead.” It felt better to think it was him. The snake. “Maybe that’s why Edward McGrogan came after me this morning.”
Mel’s brows lifted. “Oh really?” Her hands went to her hips. “Do tell.”
Ally took a breath to steady her voice. “It’s nothing. Just that the agency sent me to Deli-sh and I––” She swallowed. “I couldn’t face it.” Working as a kitchen hand because you didn’t have your final certificate was one thing but doing it in what had once been your deli-café was too painful to bear.
Mel’s eyes widened behind her red-framed glasses and her hands dropped from her hips to grab Ally’s shoulders. “Deli-sh? God, Ally, why didn’t you tell them ‘no’?”
“Well, it’s not called Deli-sh anymore, so I didn’t realize until I got there. I thought it was that other new café in Bondi.” Plus her bruised ego had been flattered that ‘Spangles’ had asked for her by name at the temp agency. That was before she caught sight of Brad behind the coffee machine like it was any other day and she’d never been his partner.
That’s when she’d seen red for a second or two. Dammit, Deli-sh had been her idea, not to mention her recipes and her cooking. All he’d put in was the money. And the coffee.
Then you should never have slept with him, her strict voice preached. Sex and business don’t mix.
And wasn’t that so true. If she’d doubted it before, she’d figured it out this morning in that instant of grief and rage. Then through the window she’d locked eyes with Edward McGrogan, Brad’s lawyer, and had another humiliating reaction to the man. Dry mouth and no brain function all over again. Lawyers who had that kind of effect on their clients’ adversaries ought to be struck off.
But she remembered the intensity of his eyes through the café window and the thrill it had sent through her system. The way he’d kept his eyes on her as he’d put his coffee down, the way her breasts had tightened and she’d gone all wet between the legs. That’s when she’d run.
“Oh, honey,” Mel said and pulled her into a hug. “I thought you were over the split with Brad.”
“I am.” Definitely. Brad wasn’t the problem this morning. Her ridiculous crush on his lawyer was.
“That explains why you’re home so early on a Saturday.” She gave Ally a squeeze and pulled back. “Why do you do it? Why do you work for all these other people when you know you should have your own place? People want the food you cook.”
“I can’t afford a new cafe yet. Soon. Give me another year.” Another year as a kitchen hand would be slow torture but it would be worth it if she could have another Deli-sh.
“I wish I could afford to bankroll you,” Mel said with a huff.
“Well you’d be the only partner I’d ever consider after the Brad debacle but I’m determined to go it alone next time. That’s the key to making it.”
 “Hmm,” Mel said, not sounding at all convinced. “So what did lawyer boy say when you ran into him? Did he happen to mention dear old Albert Chaffey or this island?”
 “I didn’t give him a chance,” Ally said with a mirthless laugh. “I bolted.” She’d all but set a land speed record running for the bus stop.
“Anyway, it’s not the same guy,” Mel said as she picked up the letter again. “The address is Kangaroo Point and that’s in Brisbane. Not Sydney. A whole different state.”
“Look.” Ally pointed to the name above the address. “It says ‘E.G. McGrogan.’ There can’t be that many E. McGrogans around, not both practising law.”
“Okay, but the address is still in Brisbane. Look at the postcode.” Mel tapped the letter one more time for emphasis. “So, unless he’s made a pact with the devil and can be in two places at once, it’s not the same guy. It can’t be. The easiest way to solve it is to go see this E. McGrogan in person.”
“No. You don’t understand.”  How could she tell Mel what the man did to her through a café window? Heaven only knew what would happen if she was right up close again. “I can’t.”
“Sure you can,” Mel laughed. “What’s he going to do, bite you?”
Ally had a vivid image of Edward McGrogan leaning in to nibble at her neck and a fresh tingle rippled right through her body. No, no wrong thought. He was tall, lean and darkly alluring but he was far too dangerous to see one on one. Look what happened last time she was in a room with him. Her brain had been so fuddled with attraction for the guy she’d let Brad bully her into selling Deli-sh to dissolve their partnership. She went to stand at the window.  “He’s Brad’s lawyer.”
“Look.” Mel was practical as always. “You don’t even know if it’s the same guy. Didn’t you just see him this morning?”
“Yes, but—
“There you go, so chances are it’s a totally different person. And even if it is him, he will at least tell you where Chaffey’s Island is so you can go there and check it out.”
Good point. Ally watched the traffic cruise by and tried to calculate how much driving to Brisbane would cut into her funds. If the island weren’t worth much, she’d need every cent of her savings for a new café. And thinking about the money kept her mind away from certain sexy solicitors.
“If you wait a couple of weeks I’ll be finished this latest project and could come with you,” Mel said coming to stand beside her. “We could stay with Mum and save on accommodation.” She lifted one of her shoulders. “I think I might be overdue a visit.”
“I need to cook something,” Ally said rather than make a decision then and there. She went into the kitchen and yanked open the fridge. 
“I was going to make sandwiches if you’re hungry,” Mel said, trailing in behind her.
 “I don’t need to eat. I need to cook.”
“Fine with me.” Mel came to stare into the open fridge too. “How about a chicken terrine?”
Ally slammed the fridge. “Right. A chicken terrine. I’ll need chicken thigh fillets, baby spinach, shitake mushrooms and pine nuts. Oh and a bottle of dry white wine. ” She snatched her keys and purse off the clutter by the coffee table. “I’ll be back,” she said.
She stopped when Mel called out to her. “I hope this doesn’t cost me a terrine. But it might not be your lawyer man who wrote you that letter. In which case you could safely go to Brisbane next week and I could meet you there the week after.”
“He’s not my lawyer,” Ally said. Or her man. “I haven’t got a lawyer. That’s how I lost Deli-sh.”
****
Edward McGrogan let the door to his apartment close and leaned back on it with relief. After making such a complete and public fool of himself chasing Ally French down Campbell Parade, he was grateful to be alone.
A fool for love, his inner nark quipped. No better than Eddy. No. His father was called Eddy, not him. Although, he’d told himself he wasn’t his father so many times in the last five years it was starting to sound repetitive.
Anyway, if he were no better than Eddy it would be lust. Not love. He pushed away from the door and shrugged out of his coat, lumping it on the hook in the entry and shaking raindrops from his hair.
All he’d wanted to do was make sure Ally French was all right. He’d seen her eyes widen with grief at the sight of her café and he’d wanted desperately to undo his part in the whole sorry mess. But that didn’t mean he was in love with her.
And yet there had been that moment when he’d wanted to undo every bad thing that had ever happened to the woman. What was that about?
He headed for the kitchen to make a coffee to replace the one he’d left behind. Okay, there was no denying the effect Ally French had on him. All those wayward slips of dark hair framing her face. Those big green eyes and the way she bit into her bottom lip when she was agitated. But it was attraction. And that was all it was.
Those snug jeans of hers weren’t hard on the eyes either.
See? his inner nark quipped as he started the coffee. Lust. Just like Eddy.
Edward clenched his teeth. All his life he’d been told how much he resembled his father. And not just in looks. Apparently they had mannerisms in common too. Not an easy comparison to live with when your father was a womanizer. What if it was true?
All the more reason to stay away from Ally French. Right away. She’d been through enough. The decision left him feeling hollow. He carried his coffee into the lounge room, past the picture windows looking out on the beach and the rain and turned on the big, wide-screen TV, pulling up the recording he’d made of last week’s game between Brisbane Lions and West Coast Eagles in Brisbane.
You don’t have to stay away from Ally French, temptation whispered. She’s not with Brad anymore. 
But she’d run from him like the devil was on her tail. That was reason enough. That and the Eddy legacy.
To distract himself from thoughts of Ally, he picked up the letter that had come from his father only the day before and sagged back against the caramel leather to read it again, wondering again what had gotten into dear old Dad.
Not a job offer. But a partnership. Just like that. No mention of the blazing row five years before when Edward had slammed out of the office vowing never to return. He took a sip of his coffee, remembering the effort it had taken not to bellow a reminder at Eddy that he was a married man.
Trouble was, he’d fancied the new secretary himself. If she’d slapped the old man for touching her backside he’d have been willing to comfort her. Maybe asked her out.
But she hadn’t slapped Eddy and Edward knew he’d behaved like a spoilt brat in the end for all that his father was in the wrong.
The coffee turned bitter in his mouth. He forced his attention back to the game, the Brisbane Lions looking unstoppable in brilliant sunshine.
He felt a sharp pang of homesickness for the city where he’d been born and spent the first half of his childhood. Brisbane winters were the dry season and nearly always sunny.
But if living there meant working with his father again, it was out of the question.
His mobile phone started to chirp in his pocket and he answered, thinking it was his workaholic boss, Max. Instead it was Max’s daughter, Jacqueline. Brad Wheeler’s old school friend and new business partner.
“Did you catch her?” Jacqueline said after they got through the preliminaries.
Edward looked at the phone, not sure if he’d understood her correctly. “Catch who?”
“Ally French. She was supposed to be the cook for today. I asked for her especially.”
How sensitive. “Brad said you were going to do the cooking.”
“Well yes, fancy cakes and things but I’m not interested in cooking endless plates of eggs Benedict and pancakes which is what all this lot seem to want today.”
“Looks like Ally isn’t interested either. Call the temp agency and get them to send someone else.”
Jacqueline huffed in frustration. “I wanted her because she knows how to cook all the things that Deli-sh was famous for, like the chicken terrine and the Moroccan marinade and those lovely little lime tarts. I wanted to get the recipes.”
Edward rolled his eyes. He’d never tasted Jacqueline’s cooking but he doubted she’d be anywhere near as good as Ally French even with the recipes. Jeez, Deli-sh had won three awards. “Sorry, I can’t help you,” he said as the Brisbane Lions scored and the crowd erupted with a roar.
“Where are you?” Jacqueline said, sounding aggrieved.
“At home. It’s Saturday. The first I’ve had off in months.”
She answered with a ‘tsk’ of disgust and disconnected.
He picked up his coffee again and his thoughts spiralled back to Ally. He should have done more. He should have at least refused to deal with splitting the business until she’d gotten herself a lawyer too. He’d merely suggested it to her when she’d arrived early for that fateful meeting.
He could still picture her uncertain smile for Brad when he arrived, followed by his client’s glib dismissal of the idea that she might need a lawyer of her own.
“This is a friendly split,” Brad had said shooting Edward a warning look. Yeah. Sure. If it was so bloody friendly why didn’t he give her more time to raise the finance to buy him out? But by then Jacqueline was involved and, as his boss Max had pointed out, Brad was the client. Not Ally.
Of course Max could well be prejudiced given he was the one bankrolling his daughter Jacqueline’s share of the takeover of Deli-sh. Some ugly things went on in the law. On the TV, the sun seemed to shine more brilliantly than ever and Edward pushed off the couch to go stand at the window and hook up with reality.
On the beach far below, a couple of hardy surfers struggled with the rain and the waves. Crazy.
Like he’d be to even consider Eddy’s offer. His father wouldn’t touch divorce work.
Besides, he had a good life here in Sydney and a job he loved. For the most part. His boss Max was a workaholic who expected the same level of commitment from all his employees, but over the last five years of working for him Edward had carved out a niche handling all the divorce work. In the process, he’d discovered a natural talent for guiding his mostly female clients through what had to be one of the toughest challenges in life, the breakdown of their marriage.
He’d have to be insane to chuck it all in and move back to Brisbane to work with his father again. But maybe he should see if he could juggle his schedule and take a few days off to head north. That would put an end to the homesickness and maybe while he was there he could make peace with Eddy. He didn’t have to take up the offer to do that.
And maybe Eddy had known that. Maybe the letter was nothing more than Eddy’s version of an olive branch. Either way, he decided, first thing Monday he’d talk to Max about some time off to go see his father. With a bit of luck he might be able to wangle a few extra days to visit his stepbrother in the far west.
His cell phone rang again, but this time Edward checked the caller ID. Jacqueline again. With a snap of irritation, he turned it off and gave his attention back to the game. Jonathon Brown was lining up to score another goal when the landline started to ring.  Christ, the woman just didn’t give up.
“What?” he roared but the damn thing kept ringing. He was tempted to ignore it but she was his boss’s daughter, so in the end he snatched it up. “Hello,” he said, not caring that a sharp edge lingered along the word.
“Whoa brother,” Damien said. “Sounds like you’re having a rough morning.”
Edward felt the tension in his shoulders ease at the rumble of his stepbrother’s what’s-the-hurry drawl. “I’ve had better. Just trying to watch the Lions beat the Eagles in last week’s game. Did you see it?”
“Yeah. Can you pause it? We need to talk.”
The hairs on Edward’s neck tingled as he flicked off the TV. “What’s happened? Is Mum okay?”
“Yep, she and Dad should be in Paris by now,” Damien said referring to their respective parents’ dream holiday. “But that’s not why I rang.”
Edward heard his brother hiss in through his teeth the way he did sometimes when he was nervous and the hairs prickled to full attention. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Not with Mum and Dad.” Damien paused then chuffed out a breath. “There’s no easy way to say this. Eddy’s dead.”
“What?” A memory of his father laughing and pulling Christmas crackers flashed into Edward’s head as the word reverberated around the room. He turned back to the coffee table where he’d left the letter. “How could he be dead? What happened?”
“Heart attack early this morning,” Damien said. “Trudy rang about half an hour ago,” he went on, referring to Edward’s stepmother. “She was looking for Mum but she got me. You okay?”
“Yeah.” Edward fought for breath and sat back on the couch.
“Looks like the funeral’s on Tuesday. Can you be there?”
All the frustrations of the morning erupted inside Edward. “Of course I can be there. We’re talking about my father here. What do you think I am?”
“Easy man, easy. I just thought that ... well you haven’t had much to do with Eddy the last few years and with Trudy the way she is about you—”
“I can deal with Trudy.” He’d had to learn how to deal with his stepmother at a young age, thanks to access visits with his father. Visits, he remembered now, that his stepmother resented. Normally, what Trudy wanted, Trudy got. But not on this one. He’d hand that much to Eddy. The man had stayed loyal to his son. Edward pinched the bridge of his nose and took in a steadying breath.
“Trudy’s pretty upset about this, as you can imagine,” Damien said. “I got the full waterworks version of it.”
“Yeah. Look, sorry I yelled. How are you doing?”
“Me? I’m fine. I hardly knew Eddy and my Dad’s in the pink of health. Besides, I knew I was ringing with pretty shitty news.”
“You don’t know how shitty,” Edward said and let himself sag back against the cushions. “Just before you called I’d decided to head up to Brisbane and patch things up with him.”
“And now he’s dead.”
“Yep.” Edward pressed his lips together. It had been a long time since he’d felt so close to tears.
“You want me to fly down and pick you up?” ‘Karalinga,’ the family cattle station, was under Damien’s management while his father was away. The place boasted a plane and Damien was the pilot.
“No. But thanks. I can manage. I might even drive. And you don’t need to be there.”
“I’ll be there,” Damien said, cutting off all argument. “But listen, I was thinking of not telling Mum for a few days. Are you okay with that?”
“You mean until after Tuesday?” Edward pursed his lips. “She won’t like it.”
“If we tell her now, she’ll feel she has to come back from Europe for the funeral. And she’s waited too darned long for this trip, especially Paris. I want them to have Paris.”
“Right.” Edward hoped his mother didn’t skin him when she got home.
Once the call ended, he sat staring sightlessly at the grey sky outside. His father was dead. It was a fact he couldn’t quite believe. For all his excesses, Eddy had always been alive.
He turned his attention back to the TV but couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to turn it back on. He had to go out. If he hung around the flat he’d only brood about Eddy and all the squandered opportunities to repair the rift between them.
Maybe he’d go shopping since it was almost midday and he had nothing but coffee and dry crackers in the house.
He’d buy a six-pack of beer, he decided, as he shrugged back into his coat and picked up his keys.
Now that’s like Eddy, his inner nark preached. He always reached for a drink at the first sign of trouble.
“Shut up,” Edward muttered and slammed the door.




Hi I'm Louisa Mack. I live in Brisbane, Australia and I write romance.
I studied Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology and later completed a Masters by Research in Romance Writing.
I spend my days inventing stories and living in an imaginary world as I write them down. At night I come down to earth and teach pottery.
The idea for Cooking Up Trouble came to me in Betoota in far west Queensland.
The only building in Betoota is the pub but there is an airfield and a racecourse. No kidding! And there really are wild budgies there though sadly, not as many as there used to be.
When I'm not writing I'm teaching pottery in the studio I have under the house.
Cooking Up Trouble is the third full-length novel I've written but the first to be published. There will be more to come. Enjoy.

http://www.potterybrisbane.com
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124905