The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Fairytales of Christmas

I am trying to keep all my literary balls in the air, at the moment. I sent out a little reminder that I am actually alive (sort of) and this time last year, I completed a little collection of stories all around the Christmas holidays. Each story connects with the one before - two by two, like the Ark. Gosh, I love this time of year. Yes it's cold. No, there is no snow (can't remember the last time it actually snowed at Christmas in London). Yes, I will eat my body weight in mince pies and brandy cream. And still be hungry. With all of that, I get to see my friends, my family all happy, and joking, and laughing and most likely having a snooze in the corner. But as NaNoWriMo has taken over my life, I may need to wait a little bit longer until I can get into the party-writing spirit.

The Fairytales of Christmas on Weyward

So for you, I've re-compiled the playlist for The Fairytales of Christmas. You know Spotify doesn't give me everything I want. Sad face. On the other hand, some cracking Christmas tunes right here. I know one isn't Christmassy at all, but on three repeats, I wrote that story. Can't be unhappy when this music exists. Enjoy!

The Fairytales of Christmas on Spotify

Past & Present Pleasures
  • The Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
Fate & The Future
  • The Christmas Song - Ella Fitzgerald 
The Gift Of Donna
  • Jingle Bells - Michael Buble 
India's Christmas
  • All I Want For Christmas - Mariah Carey
A New Noel
  • Mirrors - Justin Timberlake
Changing Lights
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Christina Aguilera
Shopping For Two
  • White Christmas - Otis Redding
Season of Diamonds
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Frank Sinatra
Miller's Girl
  • Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Al Green 
Jingle In The Night
  • Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Castle Family Christmas
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard
Brooke & A Hard Place
  • Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Violet Hill...

I'm still wrestling with the uncontrollable beast that is NaNoWriMo. And I've done something I really wish I hadn't.

I have a plot device. It unveils the villain. It brings the hero and the heroine together - because nothing defines love like a goddamn crisis. And it teaches my beta to be a better man. A more deserving man. His eyes are opened to all that he is and all that he can be. There's logic to the madness. And yet, I don't want to do it. I don't want to kill off this character. I need to. The story doesn't work if I shirk it.

I've killed off people before. It's not an IK story if there aren't a few bodies littered around. (Oh god, there are two massacres each in the next two) . That's not what's making me hesitate. I've killed off people I didn't care about. I didn't blink when I had them shot. Or their neck snapped in two. Or their ribs kicked through their lungs...  Of course it's simple to slit a literary throat when you can't see their smile, or hear their voice, or ignore special they are. I shouldn't do it, but I must. Hank tells me I must. He's also told me he'll make it all right. I call him an out and out liar. So while I've been a quaking mess sobbing over something I'm yet to do, Janet Eckford reminded me that she's done this. *side eye for the pain she caused me* It hurt at the time; tears were shed; but it made sense in the end.

That's all I can hope for.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


For some reason I've signed myself up to the undeniable pressure that is NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days. I don't know why?! One is not a flower that blooms in the dark. Or some such rubbish. We're on day 4, and.... Well I'm ahead. Just. And it's a story that I've started and abandoned a thousand times. I knew there was something wrong with it. Something missing. I couldn't quite grasp what it was. Until a day before NaNo was to begin, I had a light bulb moment. The heroine always had this rather mystical way with words and an even more alluring way with men. So Hank nudged me and said bluntly, "Bitch is a witch."
"No, she's just... Just... Bitch IS a witch. Who knew?"
"Me. You weren't listening."
I've got a lot to do. 36,000 things to do... But with a strong start these last few days, I've got room to do it. I will do it! Plus it's only pushing my competitive side. I want to win something this year. I mean a drink or a free meal is all very well and good but I want a badge! Badges plural! I love a badge. And a tiara. Might get one of those too for the 30 November. Now, to plotting!

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Dead, The Damned and the Darkness

Happy Halloween! Holidays equals presents and presents equal... Well a re-release but I'm glad it's back out in the world. On the most spooky day of the year, let the dead rise again!

Shibah's Monster on Amazon

Dr. Blurb

Dr. Shibah Kusi is a woman who lives by the rules of science. There isn’t anything that can't be explained or rationalised by what she’s learned in her work as a pathologist. It’s kept her grounded and it has kept her sane. Until one night, in the depths of the mortuary, she comes face to face with the dead body of her childhood crush, Marek Kaszynski. All she wants at that moment, seeing the man she’d always been in love with dead, is to bring him back to life. Change their future to reflect the promise of their history. 

At just past midnight, everything she wants will rise from the jaws of death. And in spite of everything she’s learned and everything she knows, Shibah will do anything to protect Marek. Whatever the cost...

Dr. Excerpt

Shibah was past wide awake. This was a state of complete chemical alteration, with Marek’s unrelenting erection pressing between her thighs. She wanted to blame her wet underwear on the shower, but this was a metronome of sexual need counting down to how long it would take for her to succumb. Get up, get up, get up five minutes ago, get up!

This couldn’t be good for his circulation. It took a good fifteen minutes of struggling but she eventually broke Marek’s hold and slipped from his body. With a foot braced against her old mattress, she heaved him onto his side and into a foetal position. The man slept like the dead.

Was he dead? She stared at him until she could see the rise and fall of his body. Closing the door behind her, she made her way to her parents’ room and sat on the bed in her damp towel.

What else could she do for now? No way could she sleep knowing her reincarnated childhood sweetheart was in the next room regenerating or something.

Oh God, he’d beaten that security guard to death. Well, it was either that or genital worms would have got Aaron. The sexual hazard of sticking one’s genitals into corpses. A snort of laughter escaped her before they quickly became sobs. Now what? Now fucking what? Her bag vibrated and she jumped a foot into the air. Kevin.


“Where are you?”

“At my parents. Just easier to get here. I didn’t want to drive for ages after such a long shift.” How easy it was to lie.

“I wish you’d called. I’ve been worried here.”

“I’m fine. Honestly,” she forced lightness into her tone. Why was he doing this? He should have made this sort of effort months ago.

“Well, call me in the morning”

“If I can. Goodnight.”

“Night. Love you.”

She ended the call before he asked why she didn’t say it back. I love a monster and that means I couldn’t have ever really loved Kevin, she whispered. Maybe if she got a little sleep she could start to process what her next steps were. And they had to be smarter than covering up a murder. Arranging herself on top of the duvet and beneath an electric blanket, Shibah forced her eyes closed and practised some deep breathing. Space. Calm. Breathe. Marek. Hearts. Marek drawing hearts on me. My wrist. My tummy. Between my legs with his tongue. No, no. He never touched me, he only kissed me once. And that kiss had been erotic perfection. He crossed her mind every time anyone looked at her in an even vaguely sexual way. Space. Calm. Breathe. Repeating the phrase over and over seemed to help, the warmth of the blanket lulling her into sleep.

She was back inside the lab. Marek was prostrate on the mortuary table in front of her. As she’d done before, she lifted his hand to her lips, tracing her thumb over the heart tattoo. His pulse jumped under her lips and her gaze fell on his face, still grey and waxy. Her hand traced over his forehead and she watched as sparks flew between their skins. White orbs fixed on her, his hand large and strong caught the edge of her lab coat, pushing it away. Obeying the silent command, Shibah allowed the lab coat to fall to the floor, leaving her in a simple pencil skirt and white blouse.

“Lift it up,” he commanded, his voice still sounding as if his voice box had been grated. She caught the hem of her skirt and pulled it above her waist. His fingers felt rough against her bare thighs. She couldn’t help her own shock at how dark she looked against his hand, even as it rose higher, scraping over her panties. Her breath locked in her throat as soon as he touched her beneath the lace. A gasp—desire and surprise—sounded loudly in the lab. Skin slipped against skin, Marek’s hand moving higher along her thighs, until he parted her sex and sank his fingers deep inside her. She rocked against his hand and almost lost her voice when he caught her just where she needed him. The response of her body skated down her legs and coated Marek’s fingers. Her eyes flew open at the sound of his grunt of pain. She glanced down and saw stark red half-moon circles where her nails had dug into the flesh of his torso. “Sorry,” she heaved.

“Come here,” he said in quiet invitation. She stripped off her skirt and panties before straddling him on the table with ease. He burned her with the heat of his cock, the tip brushing over her clit. Oh, God, how she remembered this fire! Sweat beaded between her breasts and at the small of her back. Marek caught her hips with hands that bit into her flesh, forcing her to look at him. The whiteness in his eyes had given way to that startling silver of her sweetheart.

“Take it,” he urged. Slowly she sank down onto him, the thickness of his cock pushing into her, spreading her little by little. She leaned down onto his chest and touched his cheek bones with the tips of her fingers.

“Every time,” she whispered, “every time I did this, I wished it was you.”

He kissed her, brushing his lips over hers. “It is me.”

Shibah woke, drenched in sweat and her hand locked between her thighs. The dream had been so vivid, she could feel the hardness of Marek within her. Ever since she’d touched him, the strangest sensations had assailed her. Stop it, she told herself. Just stop. She threw the blanket aside and showered properly, this time taking the care to put a cap over her hair. Changing into comfortable clothing that her mother kept aside for her, despite her stepfather’s need to have Shibah out of the house, she made her way down the stairs and sat at the kitchen table. It was barely two in the morning and she was afraid of what she’d dream about if she went back to sleep.

Folding her arms on the table, she watched water drip from the tap in the sink. Her mum should get that fixed. Levi was useless at DIY. He was good at manipulation but nothing that was inanimate. Horrible man. It took three inhalations to calm down. She’d worked so hard to put her feelings for Marek into perspective. Teenage infatuation with someone untenable. A crush on a boy who was angry and hurt and damaged. She’d told herself many times that it wasn’t fair for her to feel like that about him. Not when it couldn’t and wouldn’t last. Eventually it worked. The self-coaching did what it was supposed to, just so she could get on with her life. Meet someone else. Not expect the world from them. “Now he’s here,” she said. It changed everything. She buried her face in the crook of her arm and willed herself to stop thinking. To just stop.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Of Monsters and Men

Just in time for Halloween - or really, any time you're in the mood for something a little on the dark side... I re-present to you Shibah's Monster.

Maybe paranormal isn't your thing, or you don't do scary. Well let me reassure you, this isn't scary at all - and I wouldn't say that to you if it wasn't true. You're hearing from the wimp who couldn't sleep after watching The Blair Witch Project (to be fair, I saw a preview screening, left the cinema at 1.30 in the morning in the damn suburbs). And it comes under paranormal because, seriously, dead people don't rise from their graves. Even though I wish a few would. So there we are. All in all, it's about the power of love over the curse of death. Yes!

So to music! This is the soundtrack to Shibah's Monster. Hold on to the one you love...

Shibah's Monster on Spotify

  1. Craig Armstrong Storm
  2. Jay-Z and Kayne West ft Frank Ocean No Church In The Wild 
  3. Radiohead Karma Police
  4. Tom Odell Another Love
  5. Eminem Beautiful Pain
  6. Dante Alighieri & Patrick Cassidy Vide Cor Meum
  7. The xx Reunion
  8. 112 Cupid
  9. Portishead Machine Gun
  10. Bloc Party The Prayer
  11. UNKLE ft Richard Ashcroft Lonely Soul
  12. S. Carey Mothers
  13. The Chemical Brothers Setting Sun 
  14. London Grammar Hey Now
  15. James Blake Retrograde
  16. Editors Nothing
  17. Chase & Status Alive
  18. Harry Gregson-Williams The Letter
  19. Gabriel Faure Requiem Op. 48 Agnus Dei
  20. The xx Unfold

Monday, 20 October 2014

Turn Back Time

And it's here! What started off as a story in a short collection evolved into a mire of emotion and naughtiness and the restorative beauty of Mexico. So for you, Coming Around Again...

Coming Around Again on Amazon

Don't forget, I'm having a Facebook Party to celebrate the release from 5.00pm to 6.30pm EST on Thursday 23 October and 7.00pm to 8.30pm on Friday 24 October. Prizes and goodies and all sorts, from me and a few of my friends. I get by with a little help from my friends! Release Party on Facebook

Around A Blurb

"I can't exist in a marriage where you endure me..." 

And with those haunting words, Stella's marriage to Niels comes to a terrible, heartbreaking end. She thought she'd done everything possible to keep her life together and to the outside world, her marriage was nothing less than perfection. Not according to Niels. As she struggles with the fall out of the divorce, Stella truly understands just how much she underestimated the strength and depth of feeling for her husband. And that they may never go away. However much she wants them to. And it seems, neither will Niels. Certainly not if she calls him. Invites him to her home. Sleeps with him. Stella tells herself it's a nostalgic habit she needs to break. Niels tells her it's just how they are and always will be. Maybe the divorce was exactly what they needed to truly be married...

Around An Excerpt

“What’s going on?” Stella demanded, stepping over the twins’ weekend bags scattered in her living room to face her ex-husband. The smug plonker was stretched out on her sofa—a sofa she was still paying for—with a boy on each side.
“Dad fancied staying,” Danny answered, barely turning his head to acknowledge her.
His brother piped up. “He said he wouldn’t mind if you had to go out.”
Presumptuous… “That’s the point of him having you over the weekend so I didn’t have to worry about that,” she retorted.
Niels barely rippled his shoulders in a shrug, squashing their children into his body. “You don’t have a date, do you? You’d have told me.”
Of course she would have! To rub it in his overtly attractive face. Instead, she’d had plans to meet up with her friends for a speed dating event. The risk with that plan was that her ex-husband would have free reign in her house.
Nope. Couldn’t be done. “Can I talk to you?” she suggested, with a grin so false, it cracked her cheeks. “Outside?”
Will looked at her. “Are you and Dad going to have a fight? Because…you know you said you wouldn’t anymore? Remember?”
Pressing her fingers to a pulse in her eyeball, Stella turned into the corridor, leaving the door open for Niels to follow. He sent her an infuriating smile before he sealed the living room from what needed to be a full-on barney.
“This is what we spent two years in court fighting about,” Stella began. “Boundaries,” she enunciated the word, drawing a line between their bodies. “You’re not respecting mine. Again.”
Niels watched her with an indulgent look on his face. “What are you more worried about? That you’re not out tonight, or that I know you’re not out?”
She’d paid a lot of money to be told not to use her fists to put her point across when it came to the man she’d so blindly married. “I’m worried about you putting ideas in their head—” she thrust a hand in the twins’ direction, “—that we’re getting back together!”
He nodded slowly, mouth twisting in thought. “Ah. That idea. The one you started by using me for sex last weekend.”
She slapped her hands over her eyes and turned away. Massively unfair! “It was a mistake! I was feeling weak and vulnerable and you…you came over with that sodding bottle of Malbec for no reason than to…to…”
He interrupted her spluttering. “To reminisce about the good days, post-three or four orgasms?”
Stella pointed to the kitchen and with the smuggest of smiles, he led the way. As soon as they were inside, Stella closed the door. “Now listen here…”
Niels pressed her to the wood and kissed every single letter of argument from her lips. Bad. Bad man. He still tasted every bit as forbidden and addictive and delicious as he always had. Her downfall was nostalgia. All of her firsts happened with the terrible man and he was still the best kisser to have nibbled on her top lip while palming her bottom. “I miss you,” he growled against her mouth.
“You divorced me, you numpty!” She heaved, pushing him away with shaking hands. “You split us up. You fought me on everything. And you, you utter wanker, you started seeing other people.”
Rage flickered in Niels’ face. “Hey, I only did that after Daniel told me about some fuck-face being here every other night.”
Okay, granted, she’d tried to move on first; but even after she accepted her marriage was over, nothing, including the vaginal tear from naturally delivering her two boys, nothing hurt as badly as seeing Niels with another woman. She sighed, rubbing her hands over her face. It really was her own fault for sleeping with him last weekend. All it did was make her wish for the old days.
“You know why our divorce took so long?” Niels said into the quiet. “I wanted you to change your mind. I dragged it out at every opportunity so you had to keep talking to me.”
What? “You’ve figured this out now?”
“My therapist told me.”
“You? Your what?” Niels didn’t do new age, touchy-feely stuff. Maybe if they had…
No, no. It was all too late. It had no meaning with a framed decree absolute and a shared care order.
He sighed heavily. “Therapy for what happened between you and me. It was that or pills, and you know me and pills don’t agree. I didn’t want to be off my face when the boys were with me.”
She stared at him in amazement. “You never said.”
He sent her an arch look. “Well, the last time I tried to talk to you, you were far more interested in getting my mouth in other places.”
Oops. God, he confused her completely.
“But I’m practically over you.”
“Liar. I’ve got text messages to prove it.” Urgh, maybe not. “I remember them off the top of my head: No one can make you harder than I can…”
“Niels...” The warning didn’t make him cease the falsetto in his quotes.
Remember that anniversary when we finally did anal? You really think you’d ever convince another woman to let you do that with that monster dick of yours?
“What is wrong with you?” she yelled.
“Oh, and my personal favourite: I miss you so much sometimes. That’s a lie. I miss you all the time. Sent just before I came over last week.”
She stalked past him and uncorked a bottle of wine. “What’s your point? I say silly things. And I know those first two texts were sent in the early bit of our divorce. Because I remember adding to the end of the second one how I ruined my arse because of you, so you owe me the sodding house.”
“Our children ruined your arse,” he argued, bracing his arms on either side of her waist, kissing the back of her neck. The heat of his breath sent shivers all over her skin. No, she couldn’t get caught up in physicality. Sex hadn’t been their problem. Communication had been.
“Back up,” she warned, pushing him away with her bottom, only to find herself locked against his groin.
“No,” he murmured, his hand stroking from her waistband to cup her breast. “Let me stay. We’ll talk.”
So tempting… “We won’t talk. You’ll try to get on top of me. Or in me. Or both.”
“Naturally, but Stella…we’ve been fooling ourselves for long enough. Last week was the first step to us being honest. There’s no reason we can’t carry on.”
His mouth trailed persuasively over her jaw to her lips. Breathlessly, she turned to give in to the kiss when Danny burst in.
“Dad, you promised pizza when Muma got home, and why are you being mushy-face with each other?”
Stella heard Will call from the living room, “I want stuffed crust!”
Niels pressed his lips to her cheek, his hand roving over her buttocks in an act of such dominance she nearly went on her knees. “Leave your Muma alone for a bit. We’ll order from the living room, okay? Dad’s not going anywhere.”
With a look of certainty, he shut the door behind them, leaving Stella gripping the wine bottle for dear life.
Well, damn it to hell on a breadstick.

Shit. Just. Got. Real.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Here I Am

So because I'm dippy, I completely forgot to add these books to All Romance eBooks. There are some great deals there, especially for buying a few books at a time. I'm all for a bargain!

ARe A Life Sublime

ARe On Caristo's Watch

ARe Windows