The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Second Chance

Nearly missed a book-a-versary! Coming Around Again is a year old! Bless. The hero made me cry. So did the heroine. And their kids. And their grandmother. In between the tears, there's fun and romance and the other sex. If you haven't given it a go, and you'd like to skip the paranormal of the season, let me convince you...

Coming Around Again on Amazon

Excerpt of Strom v Strom 

Will wouldn’t shut up about his brother. Almost as if he was convinced that his mother had done away with him and there was a government conspiracy involved in Danny’s disappearance. He ate dinner, talking through mouthfuls of mashed potato, peas, and grilled fish to explain his theory.
Stella’s mind was on getting her suede shoes professionally cleaned and the wrinkle of disgust on the bank manager’s nose as he barely agreed to the loan for the second salon.
The phone rang and Will leapt to answer it in the dining room. “Strøm!” he announced. “Dad!”
Stella rolled her eyes, then remembered her other child was being watched by the Prick. The very least she could do was make sure her son still breathed.
“Yeah,” Will continued. “Muma’s here. I’m fine. Yeah, he yacked and everything. No school? That’s not fair. Okay, I suppose. Love you too, Dad.” He handed out the phone to Stella, a wide grin on his face. With tar-like discomfort rolling through her, Stella collected the phone.
“How did your meeting go?” he asked, sarcasm rolling through his deep voice.
“Really well, thank you for asking. How’s my son?”
Our son is chucking his little guts up. I have a feeling our other son will be doing the same very soon.”
“Most certainly. Before he passes the same terrible thing onto you, I suggest you bring William over to me. I’ve moved my meetings to next week, everything else I can deal with from home.”
What. The. Fuck? “I don’t think that’s necessary,” Stella said dismissively.
“They were coming over to me for the weekend anyway. No point in putting it off if William’s going to be ill. I don’t want to miss out on my time with them.”
And if she didn’t, she’d be in breach of their stupid contact order. That fucking judge thought Stella had life too easy. If only he knew. Dick stain didn’t have a sodding clue. “Let him be tonight and if he’s dodgy tomorrow, I’ll drop him around. If he’s not, I’m not exposing him to flu just so you get time with him. That’s what Skype is for.”
“It’s not the same, Stella.”
No, it wasn’t. “I’ll call you tomorrow. Let me speak to Danny.”
“All right then. Tomorrow.”
She heard the scrambling of the phone and a croaky-voiced Danny answered. “Hi Muma.”
The weakness of his tone clogged her throat with tears. “Hello, darling. How are you feeling?”
“Like bollocks, Muma.”
“Who taught you that horrible word?” she demanded, tears drying instantly at his language.
“You said it when we had a flat tyre last week before school. I do feel bad. Dad’s given me Lucozade and Ribena and Robinsons and coconut water. I think I’ve stopped throwing up.”
“That’s something. But keep drinking lots of water and juice. Are you hot? Has your dad put a cold flannel on your head?”
“Yes, I’ve got one. You should come, too. We’re watching TV in my bed. Like we used to on Sundays.”
She breathed out slowly until the urge to curse her husband for ruining every aspect of their lives together passed. “That sounds lovely, darling. Listen, get some rest and I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay Muma. Nighty night.”
“Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
He passed the phone back to Niels. “I’ll call tomorrow, make sure Will’s okay.”
“He’s with me.” She threw off his irritating suggestion. “He’ll be fine.”
Ten hours later, on her hands and knees wiping up something unspeakably disgusting, Stella took back every word of her suggestion that her son could simply sidestep a virus, even though she’d spent the better part of the evening spraying the house with an antibacterial aerosol. With pinpricks of pain needling her head, foretelling an undeserved migraine on the way, Stella packed her second sick child into her car and headed for Niels’ home. Her ex-husband lounged in the doorway as she pulled up.
Will weakly lifted his arm to wave to his father as Stella heaved him out of the car and rolled his overnight bag onto her shoulder. Niels took it from her, by her side in two short leaps. “Come in.”
Stella hadn’t stepped foot inside his home and had only seen pictures of the boys playing together within these much-lauded four walls. The interior wasn’t much different from her own, walls a subtle shade of grey that didn’t show scuff marks the same way white walls did. It was spacious, clean, and just like the man, meticulous. Niels placed the bag down in the hall way and lifted Will from Stella.
“Go and make yourself a coffee. I’ll just put him to bed.”
Stella jerked a thumb in the direction of her car. “I really do need to go to the new premises…”
“Stay and have a coffee,” he repeated, taking Will upstairs and out of her sight. She rubbed her forehead. A coffee would only make her migraine worse.
Closing the front door behind her, she trudged to the kitchen and flicked on the kettle. Now where the damn hell is everything, she asked the empty room. Leaning forward, she rested her head on the cold marble of the centre bar and closed her eyes.
She felt the heat of a palm on her lower back. “Stella?” Niels prompted softly. “Are you feeling sick?” Her mouth flooded with saliva and her stomach rolled with irritation. “All right, come on.”
“No, I’m all right. I’ve gone to work on worse…” Oh, talking did not improve that sensation. Gently coaxing her hair from her face, he edged her to the sink and the scent of lemon made her stomach protest violently. Her morning cup of tea went the same way as Will’s Weetabix.
“You’re not going anywhere, either.”
“Can’t stay here,” she groaned.
“Yes, you can. Don’t argue with me, woman.” He swung her easily into his arms and carried her up the stairs to a grand bedroom. A large king-sized bed dominated the room, decorated in simple grey, black, and white.
“I can’t, Niels,” she tried to lift herself out of his hold only for him to grip tighter.
He placed her on the bed and removed her shoes. “Just for once, be quiet and rest. You’re not going to feel any better for at least forty-eight hours. No work, no cleaning, no cooking, and definitely no driving in your state.”
His hands tunnelled under her pearl-studded jumper, lifting it over her head. He discarded her pencil skirt in much the same way and took her tights with the skirt. There was something unnaturally clinical about the way he undressed her. As if she was another sick child. Had she the strength to smack his hands away, she would have done. Smacked him right around his big head.
He tucked her into one of his T-shirts with the direction not to throw up over it and unclipped her bra with the T-shirt on, maintaining her dignity. Not that he hadn’t licked, sucked, or bitten her puppies, only difference being, he wasn’t legally allowed to touch her personage.
As he tucked her beneath his duvet, he said gently, “I’ll bring you a bowl and some painkillers for the headache.”
“Aren’t you going to get this?” she asked.
He smirked. “I don’t get sick. You know that.”
“Twat,” she muttered to his amusement. Before she could say anything else, he’d left the room. Slick bastard. She was in his bed undressed. It was their first date all over again…

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

All That Remains...

Hey! It's my second favourite season! And to celebrate, a story of some terrible things that hold lifelong grudges, my Witch Bitch Mical, a Spanish redhead (they exist. I have witnessed the glory!), and the loveliest Romanian I will ever write. Light your candles my dears, it's about to get dark...

Remains on Amazon

Remains on AllRomanceeBooks

What's left of a blurb

Considering her husband would happily strangle her on sight, Mical Wentworth has a battle on her hands to win his trust back. Jamie believes she betrayed him in the worst way possible, when all she had tried to do was to protect him from the horror that has stalked her family for decades. Now all her avenues of escape are fading away, she is desperate to make it up to him. She can accept her fate as long as her husband can forgive her.

Strangulation is far too good a death for Mical, and Jamie Santillan has thought of all the ways he’d kill his estranged wife for what she did. But when she turns up on Jamie’s doorstep almost a year after disappearing, the possibility of murder slowly leaves his mind. She’s running away from something. The Mical he knows isn’t afraid of anything, in any world. And nothing should get to her before he does… 

What's left of an excerpt

Barely dressed in one of Jamie’s shirts that carried the faintest scent of him, worn in the hope that it would lull her to sleep. She wandered into the kitchen in search of coffee, following the scent like a Bisto kid.
“Morning,” she said on a yawn. “Do you mind if I have what’s left?”
Jamie barely looked at her, only started sifting through his mail. “If you want.”
She poured herself a cup and blinked several times to wake up. “Busy day today?” she asked into the silence.
“If that’s you asking, if I’ll be leaving the house empty, the answer is no. I work from home.”
She turned around to spread butter and jam on her toast. “No need to crucify me, it’s just a friendly morning question.”
He looked up, mouth open and ready to start a war, when he clocked the shirt. “What the hell?”
“That’s my shirt!”
“Yes,” she mumbled around her toast. “I borrowed it.”
His jaw worked furiously. “Get it off. Now.”
She couldn’t help it; she gave a tinkle of surprised laughter. “Oh, come on. I haven’t stolen it. You can just wash it if you think I smell that bad…”
“You didn’t have any nightwear in that Titanic of a suitcase?” There was a vein in his temple that looked fit for bursting.
“Jamie,” she said, as if calming a serial killer. “You’re being…”
“Just take it off now!” His voice thundered in the kitchen.
“Fine.” She stripped the shirt off and threw it in his face. “Why do you have to be so petty? It is a lousy shirt.”
He wrestled the shirt from his face, “No, it is you taking the…” He realised that she wasn’t wearing anything, but silk shorts. In the cool air of the kitchen, her nipples began to tighten. Jamie’s eye level dropped.
“Hello!” Kelly burst into the kitchen, and saw Mical standing there topless.
Her lips pursed. “I see you’re settling in.”
“Don’t mind me,” Mical said evenly. “It’s nothing Jamie hasn’t played with before.” She flashed them both a tight smile, and took her tea and toast to her room.
She heard the beginnings of their argument, and perversely noted that it was quite turning her on.


Kelly exploded. “What the fuck was she doing? Have you just shagged her?”
“Kel,” Jamie sighed, rubbing his face in brisk strokes, trying to banish the image of Mical’s breasts from his sight.
“Just say it!” She folded her arms, tapping a beat of annoyance with a trainered foot. “I knew it. I knew it was a bad idea you letting her stay here.”
“Kel, she is winding you up.”
“Then why are you letting her walk around naked?” she screamed, picking up a side plate and smashing it onto the floor. Jamie let her rage on, glancing at the cheque he received for his article in Criminal Law Weekly. There was also a cheque from a crime writer whom he had met through Twitter, funnily enough, and was helping with his research. Maybe if he took Kelly for a shopping spree, she would stop her god-awful racket.
“Kelly,” he said finally, as she started on his dinner set. “There is nothing going on. I told her off. She is trying to play me. I am not having it. You yelling at me will make her happier, so please stop it.”
She abruptly closed her mouth. “I’m sorry, babes.” She sat next to him and dotted kisses over his cheek. “She’s just really pissing me off, acting like she owns this place.”
Jamie gave her a reassuring kiss to her temple. “It’s okay.”
She rubbed a hand over his back. “Do you even know where Madam disappears to all day?”
“As long as she’s not here, I don’t care. Here, look. I just got paid.” Kelly’s eyes widened. “Oh my God! How much dough is that?”
“Enough to go shopping. Come on, we’ll go up to London and get you a bag and shoes. Whatever you fancy.”
“Dinner, too?”
“Of course.” He gave another smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “We haven’t spent much time together. Let me have a shower and we’ll go.”
Kelly kissed him and gave a little squeal of joy. “I’ll sweep up this mess and we’ll be on our way to Harrods!”
Jamie stood up and winced. His leg was hurting again. He’d have to take his painkillers and drive. It’d be quicker. The less time he spent on his feet, the better.


As Jamie disappeared into the bathroom, Kelly quickly dispatched the broken crockery, then hovered outside of Mical’s room. Even in the corridor, she could smell that rose perfume of her expensive designer candles.
Resolved, Kelly put her hand out towards the door handle, only for it to be pulled away. Wearing a slash neck knit jumper in a vivid blue with sleek-looking leggings and thigh high boots, Mical stared down at her.
“Going to work?” Kelly smirked.
“Can I help you?” Mical asked mildly.
“Just checking you’ve found clothing.”
Mical flashed a grin that made Kelly uncomfortably aware that she was still her boyfriend’s wife. “That’s so sweet of you to be concerned about me. Mind out, I need to shut the door.”
“Got somewhere to be?” Kelly demanded as Mical hooked her coat over her arm, along with her Birkin bag.
“If Jamie wants to know where I’m going or what I’m doing, he can ask me. I have no problem telling him directly.”
“What if he doesn’t see it your way?”
“Then,” Mical closed her door firmly, “he will have to stay in the dark.” Her mobile began to ring and she answered it. “I’m on my way. No, don’t worry. It’s all under control.” She gave Kelly a look of appreciation. “Enjoy your shopping trip.”
Kelly returned the smile with as much muster as she could find and waited for the front door to close. She went back to Mical’s room and opened the door. There was a familiar chocolaty smell along with the rose and underneath… Something slightly rotten. Like an abandoned, moulded tea cup.
On the bedside table sat an array of potions. Crème de la Mer, Elemis, Chanel, Philosophy…that bitch had money falling out of her ears. Just as she edged towards Mical’s hefty suitcase, she heard Jamie call her. She tried to open it, but realised there was a combination on the case. She told herself that she would figure it out on the way to London. Bitch features wasn’t going anywhere.