The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Crazy, Crazy Nights

This is my last story of 2013! It's quite fitting actually. Since it encompasses several things - faith, belief, the end of one thing and the glorious beginning of another. Neiri is a divorcee who has lost her faith and Roshan Ahsani is the perfect man to help her rebuild it. At the time of the year when one really shouldn't be alone with one's maudlin thoughts of all one's failures. It was a delight to research, to write, to be a little... okay a LOT naughty with.

Enjoy and Merry Flipping Christmas to you all!

Le Blurb

Neiri Halabi is a Christmas enthusiast and a cat allergist. She just wants to survive her first Christmas alone; with shop bought treats, her basement swimming pool and certainly without swallowing random cat hairs in said pool. Given there's only one other resident in the entire apartment building, it has to be Roshan Ahsani up to no good. While the extravagant building owner may be have a whale of a time keeping large pets and letting them share her space, Neiri isn't about to put up with it. She's going to turn spy and catch Roshan Ahsani at his own game. Shame she doesn't know that tigers are much better hunters...

Le Excerpt

She pressed her hands to her forehead. If she pressed a little harder, this could possibly be not taking place or Roshan would just point to a tiger in a cage and shout fooled ya! No such luck. “I let my grandmother get carried away. She even cursed my ex-husband with no testicles and that didn’t work.”
“Are you sure about that?”
It gave her pause. “The point is, it’s all superstitious, properly ancient madness that I didn’t mean. I didn’t mean to have any of this, least of all for me to be swallowing your moulting fur.”
“I do not moult,” he growled. “I came here because I was called. We have good hearing.”
“Better,” he corrected, adjusting the crease of his trousers with a flick. “It’s been a long time since anyone has called for our protection in that manner. So here I am.”
“That’s why you bought this place? Because my grandmother prayed?”
“Because you did,” he said softly. “Never heard of that? The grain of faith of a non believer being stronger than a whole field of wheat.”
Her grandmother had told her the prayers would only work if she truly believed in them. And in those desperately lonely moments, she wanted someone to come and make it all stop. Make it better. With her hands tight around her grandmother’s as the incense had burned before one of the many statues belonging to her family, she had the briefest vision of a cat padding towards her, growing in volume with each light jog, until it was as big as a man. It had touched her head with an enormous paw and vanished in a puff of smoke. Neiri’s grandmother asked her if she’d seen anything and she flat denied it. Instead, she’d gone to her GP for medication, saying the stress of the divorce was making her hallucinate. Oops.
She warmed her hands on the teacup, watching him for any sudden movements. “And you made Adil change his mind about the settlement?”
Roshan’s face flickered slightly, like a boy working out how to tell his parents he’d done something naughty. “I made him a decent offer which he accepted. It means you’re free.”
Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. “To owe you.”
“To do me a favour in return.”
Neiri closed a fist around the lapels of her robe. “I can’t give you anything.”
Roshan leaned back and glanced out the huge windows that lined the entire apartment. “Did your grandmother teach you the fertility ritual?”
She made a face of confusion. “Now you’re just making things weird.”
“I assume she would have, since you married.”
“It didn’t work.” She halted and waited until the bitterness wasn’t so sharp at the back of her throat. “It’s a fad.”
“But you know what to do.”
It was something she’d tried a thousand times before. She knew it better than her own name. “It really should be done in autumn.”
“Accounted for.”
“And you can only really do it on a full moon.”
“Indeed. Which is tomorrow.”
Checkmate. She tapped the side of her teacup. “So what, I do this ritual and what… We’re quits?”
Roshan nodded his head. “Absolutely.”
She didn’t quite believe him. Big cat or no, he was still a man. Men always wanted something. “When we say fertility ritual, it means no sex. Not that anything in me works for anything to come of it, anyway…”
“Neiriouri.” The way he said her name… She sat still and stared at him, eyes wide. “It will work. If you do it. And you mean it. Will you do it or not?”
Blinking rapidly, she nodded. “Yeah. Okay. I need some things first…”
He took a card from the coffee table and handed it to her. “Call this man. He will bring everything you need for the ritual. Be here. 9:30 p.m. The moon will be at its highest.”
“You can’t believe in this stuff,” she said, nervous laughter lilting her tone.
“You did,” he replied, getting to his feet. “Or else I wouldn’t be here. And neither would you.” He took her hand and tugged her to standing. Gathering the cup from her fingers, he set it down, and then led her from his wonderful flat. In silence, he took her to the lifts and walked with her until they reached her door.
“Until tomorrow.”
She opened her mouth to dissuade him and even managed to get a few words in. “Roshan, I’m not…”
“Faith,” he told her, his hands tightening around hers. “I know it’s been a long time, but have some in yourself.” He took a key from his trouser pocket and opened her door. With a short, almost bowing nod, he turned and walked away.

Well, she thought. That will teach me to snoop.

Monday, 16 December 2013

My Girl

The dad, the kid and the cafe owner have music to share with you. From Leila McNamara causing problems to Abigail Yeboah falling for the russet beardedness of Liam McNamara, here's the music of Sweet Child of Mine:

  1. No Money - Kings of Leon
  2. Otis Jay-Z and Kanye West
  3. I'd Rather Be High - David Bowie
  4. Gorilla - Bruno Mars
  5. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
  6. You Don't Know Me - Armand Van Helden 
  7. Royals - Lorde
  8. Voyeur - James Blake
  9. Wings - Little Mix
  10. Love Me Again - John Newman
  11. Dance Apocalyptic - Janelle Monae 
  12. Heart Skipped A Beat - The xx 
  13. No One Will Ever Love You - Connie Britton 
  14. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen 
  15. Best Song Ever - One Direction
  16. Ready To Start - Arcade Fire
  17. Bang Bang - Will.I.Am 
  18. Together - The xx 
  19. War - Edwin Starr
  20. Baby baby - Justin Bieber 
  21. Joy - Ellie Goulding 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Last year, everything was to the wire! I barely had time to breathe in between the wrapping and the shopping and the flamin' flu. This year, I've decided to be on my game. As a mini cadeau to say thank you for being delightful readers and my all round cheerleading team, I've written twelve short stories, one for each of the 12 days of Christmas, full of festive cheer and a little sauce. The sauce is because I like you lot. I like you lot quite a bit.

Click here to download the free collection from Weyward Thoughts, the collaborative blog I run with Janet Eckford and Nikki Winter (keep an eye on that for 2014 - things are happening!)

Each story has its own song and each song is perfect for the story. Read, baste yourself in some mulled wine and don't skimp on the pies. Work it off in January.

Past & Present Pleasures

  • The Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
Fate & The Future
  • Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Al Green 
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
  • Dreaming Of A White Christmas - Nat King Cole
Shopping For Two
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Christina Aguilera
Season of Diamonds
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Frank Sinatra
Miller's Girl
  • Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
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

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sweet Child Of Mine

Look at that?! Makes me feel all traditional and romantic and doing good service in the name of single fathers everywhere! Fathers who have daughters, coz as a Daddy's girl myself, I've made my father suffer. Suffer! The things that man has done with patience and a sigh and most probably several cigarettes after I've gone to bed. So this story is for the Dads to daughters. Fathers who will trek with their daughter to Topshop and endure the trauma so they can buy that skirt everyone's been on about. Fathers who will wear earplugs while their daughters sing along loudly and badly to their favourite boyband who they will marry. They totally will marry every member. Not the fat one though. Fathers who will watch that boy from across the street with suspicion because he is not allowed to look in his child's direction. Fathers who will iron school uniforms, do Design Technology homework before it is burned into a crisp, remember a much needed tennis racket and sneak a cheeky champagne to their daughter just so she knows the difference between the fake stuff and the good stuff. Thank you. You don't get enough credit.

Le Blurb

Liam McNamara has enough on his plate. As a widowed father to a daughter he doesn't recognise, he really has no time for his mother's interference with his love life. She and her church friend can stop handing out photos of him to the single ladies of the congregation and let him try to be the paternal and maternal figure his daughter so desperately needs.

Abigail Yeboah ignores most of what happens in her mother's church. She's focused on her budding business and she's certainly not interested in playing Evil Queen to Liam McNamara's brat. But when Abigail catches his daughter in an act of vandalism, she finally understands it's not only the child who needs her, but the man.

La Excerpt

Abigail carried on clearing down the tables. “I’d like to be home before half eight,” she said. “I’m listening, but I do need this done.”
He leaned over and took the cloth and table spray from her hands. “Hold on a moment.”
His palms were warm and rough around her wrists. It made her freeze. Er...hello? Did she miss a conversation where this was all right? He gently tugged her in front of him, looking her directly in the eyes.
“I’m sorry about Leila’s behaviour. And I do appreciate you being decent, rather than taking her to the police station. It’s what I would have done. I’m sorry for snapping at you. It was uncalled for.”
She carefully pulled her wrists from his grasp and returned to cleaning down the tables. “Don’t worry about it. Nothing was broken.” The sigh that came from him forced her to look up. There was some truth in her mother’s words. The man was lonely. “Do you want to talk?”
“To a professional?” he asked ruefully.
She lifted one shoulder. “To me. I feel like you need to talk to someone who isn’t related to you or your vicar.”
He wavered, rubbing a palm over his beard. “Are you sure?”
No. “I’ve offered, so I’d hope so.”
Bowing his head, he stared at his shoes for a moment. “I’ll drop Leila with my mother. Shall I meet you somewhere in half an hour?”
“Just come back here,” she suggested. “Get a cab, come here. We’ll get on the wine I can’t serve until my licence kicks in. Get a cab home.”
He grinned. “You said the magic word. Wine. My mum was right about you. I’ll see you in half an hour.”
His mother was what? He disappeared, leaving her speechless, holding the cloth and cleaning spray like a doofus. Crap, did she have makeup in her bag? Hurriedly finishing the cleanup, she closed the café and rummaged through her bag to find a bit of blusher and lip-gloss. A little powder toned down the shine on her nose, but nothing was going to rescue the tired T-shirt printed with Books Are Friends or her torn jeans. She brushed a hand over her cropped hair—the cut that made her mother cry for two weeks straight. It did provide endless compliments as to how it emphasised her jawline and the shape of her eyes and drew attention to her mouth. Still, she looked boyish. Hell, Liam had more hair on his head than she did. What was she doing? Why was she getting overexcited about a grieving man?
Just as she thought about how to tell him to keep his widowed arse at home, he strolled back into the café.
“You should lock that,” he said, pulling one of her mismatched chairs from the table and sitting down. “Where’s this wine you promised?”
“Aren’t we bossy?”
“We,” he pointed his thumbs to his chest, “are in need of alcohol. A lot of.”
She bolted the front door, picked up a bottle of Pinot and a corkscrew. “You open that. I’m getting some food.”
He perked up. “Food? What do you have?”
“Goat cheese tarts to start and chicken parmigiano.”
His mouth parted for a moment before he burst out, “Jesus Christ, you fucking angel.”
“Calm down.” She laughed. “Just open the wine and I’ll bring it out.”
In five minutes, she brought out the warm tarts with onion marmalade. The smile in Liam’s eyes was enough to make her feel weak and all too aware of her femininity. “Before you say, this was all made fresh this morning. I just put it in the oven to reheat.”
“This is such a luxury, I can’t tell you.” His praise was all in his groan of appreciation after his first mouthful. “I’m a cheese monster.”
“Good for you,” she teased, taking a sip of wine. “Don’t you cook?”
“I have to. But I’ve been cutting corners recently. Trying to feed a twelve-year-old who thinks you’re Satan out to ruin her life means food needs to be done in fifteen minutes or less. I used to bake.”
Abigail choked on her tart. “You used to what?”
“Bake,” he said, barely pausing in between forkfuls of tart and salad leaves. “Bread, cakes, quiches. We’d do it together.”
Abigail tried not to tense, but the sensation invaded her shoulders. The image of his demon child and his perfect wife all laughing and giggling, throwing flour at each other, did not sit well in her stomach. “Why don’t you? Any more?”
“No incentive.”
“Come on. Having fresh bread is always an incentive.”
“Nice idea,” he murmured, flicking his eyes up from the plate to rest on her. “What’s happening with your licence?”
Normally, people only ever stared that intently at her to request service or more chocolate cake. “Refused for some unknown reason. Probably because Mrs. Dalbury-Scott’s husband is the local councillor. He deals with licences and she’s called The Library a ghetto.”
The woman had an issue with Abigail ever since she offered a breakfast and tea menu for local schoolchildren at a very reduced price. It was to help out struggling parents who had to rush to get their children to school and themselves to work. More so, it ensured those children ate well before and after a long school day. Apparently, Abigail was simply encouraging riffraff into the area and alcohol would increase the number of ASBOs the council would have to give out. Abigail wouldn’t put it past Mrs. Dalbury-Scott to imperiously command her husband to refuse the licence without thinking. Only to be petty and completely fuck up Abigail’s revenue.
Liam’s brows rose. “Does she know half the kids from her daughter’s fancy school are here every day?”
“Like yours?” she countered.
“Without the egging. I’m sorry about that... You don’t want to listen to me complaining about my child.”
Not really, but if he carried on talking she’d try to ignore what he was saying and instead focus on his voice—deep and smooth and as rich as the wine they were enjoying. “You wanted to talk. So talk.”

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Demon Heart

You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you? No, I love my musical influences too much to not collate a soundtrack list for any of my stories.

This is a lucky number thirteen soundtrack to Angel's Baby for your delectation. It's as varied and random as my emotions writing this story.
  1. Jack White - Love is Blindness
  2. Faithless - Insomnia 
  3. Gotye - Heart's A Mess
  4. Foals - My Number 
  5. Keaton Henson - To Your Health
  6. The xx - Missing
  7. Florence and the Machine - Seven Devils 
  8. Keaton Henson - Charon
  9. Olafur Arnalds - Broken (Broadchurch Soundtrack) 
  10. Gemma Hayes - Wicked Game
  11. The xx - Fantasy
  12. Jay-Z - Holy Grail ft Justin Timberlake 
  13. Tom Odell - Can't Pretend 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

That's Amore!

As promised, here's the Amazon link for A Life Sublime. Pages of Italian sunshine for you to enjoy. Blimey, it's been so long I've forgotten what happens in it...

And now it's here, it means I can have a thorough chat about all the IK books in detail. I'll be at Violette Dubrinsky's Fantasyland on November 9th at 11pm my time, 6pm EST. Join us! It'll be quite a limencello filled riot!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Devil In A New Dress

And look what I woke up to this cold and frosty morn! A brand spanking new sequel to where all my apparent issues stem from! You can find the book, Angel's Baby, right here:


Eva Mensah isn’t happy. To the outside world, she has the perfect life; a gorgeous musically talented husband and a beautiful little boy. But Gabriel Walker happens to be half way across the world on tour in Australia. And her five month old baby boy is evidently displeased by her parenting skills. She can’t do anything right by little Elijah. A world of emotion keeps her from admitting to her husband and her family that past events of two years ago are threatening to swallow her sanity whole. Eva can’t help but feel overwhelmed by being a new mother and inadequate to cope alone. 

Especially when she can still see bad things. 

Really bad things. 

Definitely not when they happen to her and certainly not when they start happening to her son. Unable to decide what’s real and what’s imagined, Eva struggles to keep the life she so desperately wanted, from dissolving into hell.


The phone rang in the house. She needed to go now. No, to having another argument with her husband and definitely no, to having an argument with her husband in front of his parents. Malgosia stood up to answer it, and Eva collected all of their belongings. 
“Evangeline, it’s your husband. Come and talk to him.”
“I’ll call him later. I need to get Elijah home.” At the car, she tucked her baby into the car seat. “Thank you for today. I appreciate it.”
“Evangeline,” Isaak said softly. “You can trust us. With anything.”
“I know,” she lied.
The seat fit perfectly into the car for once and she and Elijah made their way back to Maida Vale. Feeling little more than super-efficient, she marched Elijah back into the house and gave him a brisk but thorough bath. The phone rang and rang. Infuriated, she put Elijah into his crib and snatched it up. “You are disturbing my child.”
“You’re disturbing me, Evangeline. What the hell is going on?”
“Look, everyone, every single person is weighing in on what I do. If it wasn’t that my arse had the audacity to marry you, it’s that I had the temerity to get pregnant. And now I have a child, I’m not looking after him right. He’s too thin. I’m not feeding him enough. I’m not showing him that I love him. And there’s you, halfway across the fucking world again when you’re needed. I know, it’s a contract and if you don’t honour it we lose everything, we can’t support our child. But I really, really could have done without the accusation of you cheating on me and if I don’t joke about it, I will cry. That’s all I do these days. Cry. And not fucking sleep.”
Silence ruled the telephone line for so long, Eva called out “hello” down the line.
“I’m still here.”
“That’s what’s up, honestly.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me?”
“You should know,” Eva said, her voice breaking. “I shouldn’t have to tell you.”
“Yeah, you get that you’re the only empath in this relationship, right? So, you need to talk to me.” He exhaled heavily. “Look. Let me sort out some nannies on my side for you at least. And maybe...”
“See a doctor.”
“To tell me that I’m what? Depressed? I know I am. How do I breastfeed on antidepressants?”
Gabriel sucked in a breath. “Angel, if you can’t look after yourself, you can’t look after Elijah. I’ll book an appointment for you.”
“Then what happens if I’m too depressed to look after Elijah at all?”
“He’ll be with me, until you’re better. Small steps, Angel.”
“Okay,” she agreed.
“I love you, so much. You know that, don’t you?”
It took her several swallows to push back the tears clogging her throat. “I do. And I’m sorry for yelling at you.”
“Try and sleep. I’ll call you as soon as I can.”
Not feeling much more reassured by the talk, she returned to her son’s room. She turned on his crib mobile and “Rock-a-Bye Baby” played in delicate notes above him. He watched her action and reached out to her. She kissed both his starfished hands and left the room, to feel anything other than the weight of her responsibility to that child. Fuck. There definitely was something wrong with her.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Father Figure

This was a difficult tale to pen, it did go in contradiction to my moral centre. I don't know what it is, but me and single fathers do not mix. Normally because I regularly witness some of the most pathetic excuses for parental care in the history of man. Shudder.

So to make my hero a single father caused me trauma. Even now, I don't feel entirely comfortable about it. Normally because it all comes with an insane amount of drama and really, truthfully, what about the children? Won't somebody please think of the children? But then, I have been and am still surrounded by towering examples of paternal saintliness - some of them single fathers themselves.

There's a difference between a man being a father and a man being a dad. And the dad part is what I focused on. The more I did, the more I found my hero sexy. His dedication to his daughter, how much he puts up from her, the way he convinces the heroine to give him the chance to show him fatherhood is only one side of him. I still side eye the hell out of him, but he and I understand each other a bit better. Okay, so he distracts me with general hotness. I'm weak, what can I say?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Remember how I mentioned that I have WIPs started and abandoned a while ago? Well Addicted to Witch was one of them. I read it again recently, with the distance of one who isn't questioning every single word under the cloak of edits and proofs. It's er... it's pretty intense. Witches and doctors and musicians and forestry and weirdness in Kent... Intense covers most of what goes on.

My publisher once told me, all of my stories have a strand of survival running through them all. But none more than in Addicted to Witch. Both the hero and heroine (polar opposites in the career and familial stage) have been through damaging, traumatising events and managed somehow to struggle through their issues to the other side where the grass is decidedly more green and less tragic.

While it's a paranormal tale, it's as real as any other story I've written. I was kinda shocked by what came out of my head. You think I wouldn't be any more, but I was. The story will be out this month and I hope you can identify with Auden and Helena. Two messed up people who find each other in a world of magic. There really is hope for us all.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Blurred Lines

I know some people think I've made some sort of mistake with my IK books but, believe me I haven't. A long time ago, two and a bit years ago, I was happily writing away on Massimo's story and got stuck. Just plain old stuck. And with most things I get stuck on, I leave it, have a bit of cake, play with some boys (hehehe) and go back to it when I'm ready. That didn't happen until this year. In the meantime, Rocky started chattering to me about his lost love and the Luca wanted to have his past resolved with someone sweet and generous and loving. All the time, Massimo was sitting back, waiting, patiently. That surprised even me, since patience isn't a Da Canaveze trait by a long mile. So while Rocky talks about Massimo's marriage on his book, A Life Sublime tells you all about that wedding and what happened to even get to said wedding. This book pre dates the events of The Claim. I wish I could have written A Life Sublime two years ago, but I wasn't in that place. Neither was my hot muse Hank. There were things we had to experience, to go through, to understand, to feel before I had the maturity to write this book. Plus there's so much Fante in it, I needed my parents to wait a damn minute to get spelling. In truth, the IK order of books should be as follows:

  1. Windows
  2. On Caristo's Watch
  3. A Life Sublime 
  4. The Claim
  5. Best Laid Plans
Any other story after number five will not cause timeline confusions. I hope. Depending on who shouts the loudest. Massimo was content to wait. I'll have to see who else is.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Let's Dance

A Life Sublime is pretty long. But that's because there's lots of music to each and every scene. So here we are. Let's party like we're African/Italian/British and if we stop the wine's going to be taken away.

  1. Azonto - Fuse Ft Donae'O and Tiffany 
  2. Prince Nico Mbarga - Sweet Mother
  3. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
  4. Shirley Brown - Long As You Love Me
  5. The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You
  6. Diana Ross - Who Was The Boss
  7. Urban Cone - Winter's Calling 
  8. Western Diamonds Band, Kofi Betsil - Passenger 
  9. Cecilia Bartoli - Caro Mio Ben
  10. Tarantella - Napoletana 
  11. The Naked and the Famous - Punching in a Dream
  12. Jodeci - FreekNYou
  13. Kanye West - Golddigger
  14. Nat King Cole - I Love You For Sentimental Reasons
  15. Cameo - Candy
  16. Al Green - Let's Stay Together
  17. Al Green - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
  18. Adele - Hometown Glory
  19. Bill Evans Trio - Night and Day
  20. Ms Victoria Barnes - Never Too Late
  21. Ella Fitzgerald - Blue Skies
  22. Sammy Davis Jnr - The Candy Man
  23. Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing
  24. David Bowie - Modern Love
  25. Verdi's La Traviata - Di Sprezzo Segno
  26. Jewel Ackah - Sea Never Dry 
  27. Ramblers International - Awuraba Artificial
  28. African Brothers Band International - Oman Bo Adwo

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Time Is Now

After toil and trouble. Trials and tribulations. Tests and tears. Many, many tears... It is finally here! Now it is no longer mine ultimate enemy, I am pleased and more than that relieved to present to you A Life Sublime. 


Uno Blurb: 

Belinda Afriyie is only in the Neapolitan Riviera for the wedding of her best friend’s daughter, never mind the fact that she bullied her way into it, mostly out of guilt for not being the mother figure that she should have been. At the very least, she had to make sure that Gina Robinson did her Ghanaian duty in marrying Nick Da Canaveze, even if Belinda had to get on a plane, pay excess baggage and suffer the heat for it. There would be no time for sightseeing, lounging around infinity pools and definitely no time for flirting with anyone. Especially not The Big Man, who was as troublesome as his son. The twinkle in Massimo Da Canaveze’s eyes told her that he was more than just trouble. He was a huge, fat God-like sign of what was missing from her life. Of just how glorious life could be with someone like him in it... But a man like him would never give her a side glance. It was fine. The wedding celebrations would last all of four days and she’d be off home. No looking. No touching. No flirting. None of that was good for her or her ego.
Massimo Da Canaveze is not enjoying his status as widower. He’s lonely. Feeling that way had become a way of life and his son’s wedding at his 800 year old family villa would hopefully put that to a stop. He would be surrounded by people he loved.  What he didn’t expect was the shrill voiced, authoritative, all commanding, arresting personality that was Belinda Afriyie to blaze through Italy in figure hugging, traditional African dresses and floaty kaftans that left little to the imagination. There hadn’t been an ample bosomed challenge like her to cross his path since his late wife. With a little music, a little sunshine, more than a bit of whiskey, he and Belinda were going to become very good friends.
Four Italian named puppet masters sit on the sideline of this play, throwing pizza pies to hit two half-centenarians in the eye. The Da Canaveze family is about to add to their growing number and no one is more shocked about it, than the puppets…

Uno Excerpt:

He sent her an assessing look. “Why are you afraid of having things in common with me?”
Belinda turned to him, fury in her eyes. “Pardon?”
“The idea of having similarities with my life worries you. I can tell. We are all simply human. If not always with the same set of sensibilities.”
Hmm. “You and I both know that is not always the case.”
Those crystal blue eyes twinkled. “That sounded nice.”

“You and I. Please do continue, we may even eventually agree with one another.”
Ridiculously attractive man, she thought, a reluctant grin tugging at her mouth. “Eh heh. All right, I’m going to go and sort myself out.”
“Belinda,” he said with a mild warning, as she heaved herself from the pool and padded to the lounger, “I am the last sensible adult in this villa. You should stay friends with me, even if we disagree, or you will have no one else to talk to.”
He has a realistic and very valid point, she thought, snapping off her swimming cap. God knows she wished there was a palm tree within reach where she could remove a few swatches and swat the idiocy from the mouths of those children. “I’ll let you know,” she replied smartly, pulling the kaftan over her head and wrapping the towel around her hair. He was still watching her. Naughty man, she knew that look. That same sort of look had got her into trouble before she had married and a good many times after. “You behave yourself. I told your son and I’ll tell you too. I am not afraid to beat you if you give me nonsense.”
Massimo glanced down at his arms before looking up, a light in his eyes that should have sent her running for her passport and on the first plane back to London. “What makes you think I would not enjoy that?”
“Because you’ve never had a proper beating from me,” she retorted, collecting her things and making her way back to the villa. There would be something to occupy herself with and take the goosebumps from her flesh that had nothing to do with being cold and everything to do with the husky laugh of the man still in the pool.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Monday, 26 August 2013

Speak Now

Since it's a Bank Holiday, I thought I'd share this interview with you all. So here is the last of the IK interviews. I present to you Mrs Belinda Mary Afriyie and Signor Massimo Alvise Da Canaveze It's been a long time coming...

  • Who are you closest to?


I like to think I am now extremely close to my sons and their respective wives. We now feel like a family. It saddens me that my late wife had to pass away before that happened, but as they say, God has a plan.


The person I was closest to died years ago. Her daughter is all I have left and we keep on fighting. She's so cheeky! What do you mean, what did I say to her?

  • What is your earliest memory?


My father teaching me how to farm olives at the villa. I have many good memories associated with the villa in Naples. When I wish to be calm or feel at peace, I think of those days. My brother will tell you how hard work feeds the soul. I am inclined to agree with him.


Swimming with my school friends. The beach nearest to my family home had white sands, the bluest water and it was hot. Not heavy hot, but pure heat. Like oven heat. You wouldn’t know because you live in this cold country.

  • What is your biggest fear?


That my children will share the same fate as their mother. I have nothing without them.


Being cut out of Gina's life. I made a promise to her mother and I want to keep it. If she'll let me.

  • What are you best at?


Decorating. It is a secret pleasure. Naturally you are invited to the villa to verify my skills.


Organisation. There's a proper place for everything. Yes including paper doilies. What’s wrong with them? Araba, you have no taste.

  • Tell us something that will shock us.


You can be married to a person for thirty three years and not know them at all. It inevitably becomes somewhat of a shock when they reveal their true nature.


I collect underwear. Frilly ones, silk ones. All for me. Why not? What else am I spending money on? Yes they do fit my bum, don’t be so rude!

  • What do you value in a partner?


Shared cultural interests. At the very least an interest in me as a person and not as a commodity. 


Faith in me. Faith in God. 

  • Describe the last time you remember feeling really happy.


When my daughter in law told us that she was pregnant. I am most looking forward to being a grandfather. 


When Gina invited me to her wedding in Naples and I felt so blessed. I'm not crying, what nonsense are you talking about?

  • What is your biggest regret?


I try not to have those. It would lead me to a path where I would not have my children. A life without them is inconceivable.


Where should I begin? I wouldn’t have married that bleeding Herbert Afriyie for a start. Kwasiasem.

  • What is the one thing you would change about your life?


I would like to share my life with someone. I believe I am older and wiser to select a better partner than I did before. 


To find someone to share my life with. Someone who won’t upset the people I know and someone who won’t upset my priest.

  • What item can't you live without?


A decent blade. How else will you delicately chop porcini mushrooms? My dear girl, I have children your age. I know that look. What I am saying is the truth. I only use knives for cooking. Perhaps take some time to calm yourself.


Hot pepper. Proper pepper not that oily business with little chillies in them. What kind of pepper is that?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Summer breeze, makes me feel fi-hine! It's summer. And raining, typical England. As well as a shower, thunder, lightning and spots of blistering heat whereby everyone everywhere decides it's time to get naked, summer time also means quiet patches at work. Huzzah!

There are stories which have been sitting in my hard drive, gathering dust and fading from memory and when I look back on them - it's a good thing. There are stories which have been too close to the bone, opening wounds that hadn't even started to heal and I try and disable my laptop by crying over it. Then there are the stories that with time, I can complete normally because I now can't bear having unfinished stories lying around mocking me! Following prompts, demands and general revelry with Nikki Winter and Janet Eckford, a WIP that languished in 'Unfinished Purgatory' is now complete. Mainly because in between the moments when I should be working, I've been scribbling away.

Finishing it means I now have space in my head to deal with other people who have been jostling for attention. There's nothing quite like typing "The End". It's a beautiful closure than never fails to make one smile. Getting emosh. Again. Sigh. Let me have a look on Buzzfeed. At least then it'll be tears of laughter.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Thursday, 25 July 2013

I Hear You

Rather conversely, I didn't listen to much music while I wrote this. Probably because every time I did, I'd burst into tears. So while it's brief, these songs were the echo resounding in my ears as I told the story of Madeline and Cain.

  1. The xx - Together
  2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
  3. Mariah Carey ft Miguel - Beautiful
  4. Daughter - Human
  5. John Legend - Who Did That To You? 
  6. Hans Zimmer - Chevaliers De Sangreal 
  7. Alicia Keys ft Maxwell - The Fire We Make
  8. Ellie Goulding - Explosions

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Can't Hold Us

An Army of Me and You is now available on Shara Azod's site! This story means a lot to me. I said in another post how I've military family and corrupted a few military men. (No, that's a lie, they corrupted me.) More than that, I hope I've conveyed just how difficult it is to leave behind everything to start a new life in another country to save your life. How it never goes away, but like most things, gets easier. No preaching. Just two people coming together after extraordinary circumstances. 

Here's the blurb:

The irony of Madeline Mpoyi's choice in a career was never lost on her. Being that her days as a girl in a war torn village, suffering the horrors of an innocent Rwandan child started off as anything but sweet most would find it incredibly funny that as a woman she'd be manufacturing treats to send to the soldier that saved her life. Or at least she thought it was the soldier that saved her life. Errr...technically it is...being that he has the same name and comes from the same bloodline. Although Major Nathaniel Goldsmith Sr. has long retired, his son is carrying on the family tradition as a Captain in the army. A Captain that has come to depend on both Madeline's sweet letters and even sweeter care packages. And it would seem that said Captain has Madeline in his sights...eager to sample whatever else she's willing to offer...

And this is the excerpt:

“Oh, don’t worry. I’m driving. Borrowing my father’s run around for a bit. He barely uses the other three.”
Madeline tucked a twist under her scarf. “You’re quite privileged, aren’t you?”
“In many ways, yes. Not many people come home to a few cars in the garage that they can borrow.”
“A few?”
“Who needs five cars?” she blurted.
He ticked them off his hand. “The Land Rover, the truck that pulls the horsebox, a Mercedes, a Jaguar, and my mother’s Bentley.”
“No one needs five cars.”
Cain gave a shrug. “They’re all old enough and ragged enough to be worthless in today’s value. I won’t say it’s not nice being privileged. I wouldn’t get free sweets otherwise.”
“Or free truffles,” she added.
“Or kisses.”
Madeline’s eyebrows drew together. “I don’t have anything called kisses...” Her voice trailed off as she took in their circumstances. That sweet chin of hers was balanced on the edge of his left hand, and his right cradled the small of her back. Until he’d touched her, he hadn’t fully appreciated just how badly he wanted to kiss her. He watched as the rise and fall of her chest increased in speed, mimicking his uneven breaths. Her mouth parted, and the flash of her pink tongue flicked off his brain switch. All instinct based, he lowered his head and pressed his mouth to hers. He’d only meant to kiss her goodbye. Or rather, see you later.
As soon as he tasted her, all his thoughts were on Madeline naked, underneath him, thighs parted and cradling him against her soaked sex. His hand moved from her chin to lightly stroke her face, the skin so soft beneath his fingers. He trailed his hand over her side, tracing the shape of her waist and the flare of her hips. Madeline moaned under his mouth, the sound sending a thrill over his body.
“Um,” she gasped. “Can we... Not in the street?”
He barely lifted his lips from hers to send her a frown. “Where?” With her lower body pressed to his, his mind transported him to the back room of her shop. He could sweep the chocolate aside, perch her on the edge of the table, and lift the skirts of her vintage dress. Within moments, he could be buried inside her, rocking them both to satisfaction.