Sunday, December 30, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #35: A Spy Amid Family Chaos! (Last Six From Book2:Corpus Brides)

Hey beautiful people!

Can you believe it's the last Sunday of 2012? Where has this year gone??? I don't think I missed one posting of Six Sentence Sunday this year... and a good many of them gave come from Book 2 of my Corpus Brides espionage/romantic thriller series - Before The Morning.

So, to conclude the year, I'm posting the last snippet from this one. Sad to let Ash and Rayne go, but I have many more couples vying for attention in 2013. Yes, I know that at some point in January, Six Sunday will end, but why not keep up the tradition of a Sunday snippet throughout the year?

Quick recap - Ash is a former cop turned paramedic. Rayne is his childhood best friend whom he hasn't seen in 17 years. Somehow, they got together, and even got married in Vegas.
But Ash, and everyone from Rayne's family, ignores that she used to work as a clandestine asssassin in those 17 years when she was away.
She's left that life behind now... but sometimes, 'real' life can be more treacherous than undercover missions...

Case in point - Rayne has set foot on the family property after all these years, and the people she meets are not the ones she left behind. There are her parents, her brother and his fiancee, her sisters, Ash's brother (who's engaged to one of her sisters - they've come home for the family wedding), and her paternal grandmother (who is Russian).

No one knows yet how long Rayne has been back - they think she just landed. And, of course, no one knows she and Ash are married.
Until her grandmother notices her wedding ring, and a chorus of exclamations goes up, asking why she kept her wedding a secret...


'...
That's when she realised her faux pas; Russians wore their wedding bands on the fourth finger of the right hand, and wearing the ring on the left hand meant the person was married before—divorced, or widowed.
"I didn't realise, Babushka," she blurted as she started to pull off the ring.
"Nyet, don't ever remove your wedding ring; it is bad luck, and your husband should do that, if you don't want an unhappy married life."
In the silence that descended over the garden, not even birds chirped, until Shannon asked, "so, where is he?"
Was that smugness on the perfect face? Rayne couldn't help but think and brace herself at the malevolent gleam she saw in her sister's eyes—What have I done to her?
"Her husband is here," Ash said with a chuckle.
...'


If she thought clandestine life was chaotic madness, Rayne had no clue the family fold could be even more like a one-way trip to Bedlam!
Will negotiating the family proximity be her biggest mission yet? Check out Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out!

Don't forget to check the official SSS list, and the amazing peeps on it - JM Blackman, Sue Ann Bowling, Siobhan Muir, Sarah Ballance, Jessica E. Subject, Cara Bristol, Elin Gregory, Taryn Kincaid, C.C. Williams, Dee Carney, Tonya Burrows, Alexa Bourne, Lorraine Paton, Angela Quarles, Sarah Walter Ellwood, Krystal Shannan, & Gemma Parkes - among many others!

Taking this opp to wish you all a wonderful 2013 - Happy New Year, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 23, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #34: A new beginning for Ash & Rayne?

Hey beautiful people!

Feeling all giddy and light here as the sun is back out once more (and we're sizzling and roasting, but I prefer that to the squelching humid grey dampness of the past few weeks *grin*)

Yes, I get high on sunlight - didn't you know most bubbly girls get this? :) Oh, you mean it's time for me to come back to earth? Okay... how about some serious yet entertaining reading? Join me for Six Sentence Sunday snippets?

Last time in Vegas for me and my star couple, Ash Gilfoy and Rayne Cheltham... who is now Rayne Gilfoy, actually. Remember - these two (childhood best friends who haven't seen each other in 17 years) got hitched, and Ash has no clue how. He finds himself with this woman who sometimes freaks him out with the intense observation she subjects him to.

Little does he know Rayne has loved him all her life... and had plotted to get to where they are today, putting her spy mastermind to work.

But feelings have a way of coming through, especially to people who know you better than you know yourself sometimes....

Ash just found out Rayne has informed her mother she got married, but she didn't say to whom. He's asked her if she might be ashamed of him, and Rayne has stopped his words before they could leave his mouth.


'...
The conviction in her voice startled him, and if he were to probe deeper, he'd say he heard unfailing love in her words, too, but he didn't want to go that far, not when he hadn't completely defined his feelings for her . . . she might be his wife—Lord knew how, really—and all he felt for her at that moment was tenderness and affection; maybe with time, that'd grow into more.
When she lowered the hand she held over his mouth, he grasped her fingers and brought them to his chest, right above his heart.
"Promise me something," he paused, "no more lies, Rayne, not from either of us—if we're to make this work, we'll need to build everything on trust and honesty."
He thought he saw a flicker in her eyes when she listened to him, unblinking, but the emotion passed so quickly, he couldn't quite place it.
Was it fear, and does she have something to hide?
"I promise," she said.
...'


How complex does this couple get? Find out when you grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two). *whisper* The book is even available in print now!

Don't forget to check the following amazing peeps from the official SSS list - JM Blackman, Jessica E. Subject, Angela Quarles, Sue Ann Bowling, Jess Schira, Kate Warren, C.C. Williams, & Lorraine Paton - among the many others signed up there!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday. I also take this opp to wish those of you celebrating this holiday season a very Merry Christmas!!!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 16, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #33: The moment our hero crumbles into the heroine's palm...

Hey peeps!

Slow, lazy, sleepy Sunday morning here - it's actually quite cool with no sun and some drizzling rain on the whole island. So much for beach outings and all that summer hoopla this weekend.

Still, it means this is time to be spent indoors, in pyjamas and comfy slippers, and why not with a good read? And speaking of good reads, why not do some hopping for excerpts of Six Sentence Sunday?

I'm still with Rayne and Ash from Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book 2). There's something about these two - my most complex, twisted, and intriguing characters/couple to date - that makes me reluctant to let them go. So much I want to show ye all about the romance between them...

Speaking of romance, where are they at right now? Remember, they got hitched (with Ash not remembering a thing!) in Vegas. Right when he's come to grips with this idea, and decided to give Rayne a chance as his wife, real life has butted in, in the form of a call from Rayne's mother (last week's six).

Ash suddenly realises Rayne has lied to him, because her parents have no clue she has returned home, when she expressly told him she had called them.

If there's one thing Ash cannot tolerate, it's lies. Rayne wants to slither away from a confrontation, but he will not let her off the hook. He's caught up with her near the terrace door, and a fight has escalated. The only thing Rayne has 'managed' to say is that she is sorry...


'...
"Is that all you're bloody going to say all the time?"
He looked into her eyes and saw fear and apprehension—God, he was behaving like an arse, like his father, and too many times, he'd seen that haunted look in his mother's gaze when his father was home, between Geoffrey Gilfoy’s tours of duty with the RAF.
Ash balled his hands—the anger, and the fight, drained out of him at the realization that he was taking the path he'd sworn never to take . . . yet, he'd also sworn never to get married, and look where he was, one-hundred-percent hitched and to a complex puzzle, to boot.
He heard a small hiccup, and the rest of whatever volatile emotion that turned his blood hot evaporated; he couldn't make her cry, and he didn't know which was worse—terrorizing her or making her heart hurt.
"Baby, I'm sorry," he said as he reached out to pull her to him for a hug, and thought he saw her flinch under his touch. He made sure to keep his hands gentle and light on the delicate, rounded curve of her shoulders, and added, "I'm sorry."
...'


Boy, does she know how to play him right or what? Because, yes - manipulative Rayne is not showing her cards, but she is twisting him around her little finger, exactly as she would a target...

How far will this girl go? How long can she remain unscathed? Will Ash ever wake up to her mind games? And what of love between them...?

Don't forget to check the amazing peeps on the official SSS list, among them - Jessica E. Subject, Tonya Burrows, Jess Schira, Angela Quarles, Kate Warren, Lorraine Paton, & Sue Ann Bowling.

Hope ye're all enjoying a lovely Sunday with your loved ones...

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, December 14, 2012

#HolidayLove Blog Hop - The Holidays in Mauritius!

Hey beautiful people!

Awesome to be getting a chance to take part in yet another of Carrie Ann's lovely hops, and one about Holiday Love, too!

There are 200+ of us telling us about the holidays and romance in this hop. Goodies galore to be won at every stop, and don't forget - there's a chance to win the Grand Prizes by commenting at every stop. The more you comment, the better your chances. And look at this lineup - pretty swish, innit?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

So, what is it about holidays, and romance?

I don't do Christmas, not the celebration per se, but I do indulge in the holiday season. At this time of the year, in the southern hemisphere where Mauritius is located, the full of summer is blazing. So you're more likely to see everyone spilling out of their houses and hitting the numerous beaches on the island. Not to mention that the kids are on summer break, so the holidays become a prone time to spend treasured moments with your family.

There's a bash - usually a barbeque! - just about every weekend, family members taking the relay each week to host lunch or dinner. The kids all get to meet, and madness is magnified. :)

And that, to me, is what holidays are about. Ties, affection, love, a feeling of belonging while you let go of your day-to-day concerns and bask in a casual moment when you look at what really matters, and no longer sweat the small stuff.

Romance, too, in this time, is that to me - the notion of family, of ties, of finding a place to belong. Any romance that brings people together - the more unlikely the mix, the better - is a sure-fire bet for me to sit down with during the holiday season.

In fact, I started writing one such story two holiday seasons ago, in 2010. The idea came to me about a cold, reserved, and uptight forensic pathologist who suddenly lands custody of an 11-yr-old tween... which totally throws her orderly world and locked heart into a tailspin. The notion of family, of belonging, is alien to this woman, Margo Nolan, and Emma, the girl she must now care for, tests the frozen limits of her heart at every moment. Between cuddly moments and tantrums worthy of the most demanding diva, Emma rocks the life Margo had resigned herself to live. And when the handsome, very sexy, and much younger village doctor, Jamie Gillespie, starts to poke his nose into their affairs, things get even more complicated for Margo, because suddenly, the woman she had buried at the heart of her starts to batten down the hatches, eager to be heard, and given a chance at love...



I titled this story Calling Home - and it came out last year in December. To celebrate this anniversary, and to comfort the idea of holiday love, I am offering a download copy of this novel to a lucky commenter today.

Very different are my Corpus Brides heroine-centric espionage/romantic suspense series, or my 1NightStand offerings, but somehow, some way, family and ties play a big, big role in all my stories. I hope you'll deign take a chance on some of my books. *grin*

Tell me - what does Holiday Love spell out to you?

Leave a comment (and don't forget your email address! We can't add you to the prize draws otherwise) and let me know!

And don't forget to check the other 200+ participants on this hop - I'm certain they'll appreciate a visit. This is the link where you can find them all.

Thank you for taking some of your precious time to drop by!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Next Best Thing: A Sneak Peek into my latest series, Havisham Park

Hey beautiful people!

The lovely Charisma Knight tagged me last week in her TNBT post - today, it is now up to me to answer the 10 questions of this gigantic, exponential hop, and tell you a little more about my current WIP.

I've just finished putting finishing touches to my Island Girls series, but no rest for the wicked, innit? I'm already delving into a new one. This one has been a while in the making, have had this idea brewing for a long time, and suddenly, a few weeks ago, it seemed like the right time to give in to these characters.

So let's get on with the questions and answers!


What is the working title of your book?

This one is Book#1 in the Havisham Park series. The title is Whisk Me Up

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had an idea to write a light, comedic series with a small-town British feel, and that would follow the lives and loves of 3 sisters. From there, the "world" would be built for the Havisham Park series - the stories set in and around Havisham Park, a stately North Yorkshire residence, and the collection of villages around it in the Yorkshire Dales.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romance, small-town romance, romantic comedy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

The characters actually came into being through images of actors/famous people, so this question is really easy for me to answer. :)

The heroine, Mary Beth Beresford, is an anorexic model who's been whisked to Havisham Park so she can recover her health and purge her life of the crazy demands of the international modelling world. At the same time, Mary Beth is at heart a fragile and gentle young woman who hopes to find love one day.
Actress Yvonne Strahovski struck me as the perfect Mary Beth - with the beauty to be a model, but the fragility of a vulnerable woman, too.



The hero, Nyall Barry, is a chef who owns the local pub in the closest village to Havisham Park (as in, the actual residence). A huge man, he is more comfortable in his kitchen and behind the stoves than in the public spotlight.
I've had a crush on wrestler Triple H ever since the first time I saw him, so Nyall immediately painted himself with the face, body, and long hair (!) of Triple H when I imagined him.



What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

The recipe for a fulfilled life always involves love...and trust...

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency/publisher?

I hope to offer this book, and its whole series, to my current publisher, Decadent Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

No answer to this one as I haven't yet started the first draft, lol. I'm looking at 6-7 weeks tops to have a first draft in hand, though.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series, as well as Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Castle Howard, this immense, stately residence set in North Yorkshire. This image here is the front view, and the above image at the post's start is that of the south/back facing facade and gardens.



I've been in awe of this place ever since I saw it in the movie Garfield:A Tale of Two Kitties. Just knew I had to use that place as a location for a story. It's only logical that when I planned this series, it decided to happen in one such castle.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

Most small-town romances are set in the US; there are very few that showcase England and English life.
I also plan a slew of quirky characters... and did I mention there's a street called Millionaire's Row in town, where only hot, handsome, and very rich single men live? *grin*


So here's a sneak peek at my latest project, peeps! I'm eager to hear what you think about this one!

I'm not tagging anyone to continue this hop - usually, they would've had to answer the questions next Wednesday, Dec 19, and tag 4 people of their own. But everyone I've contacted has already played the game at some point in the past, so I'm afraid I'm at a loss of options here. Forgive me for not continuing this forward, in this case.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Battle of the Sexes Playlist: in the current Pop Music scene, who wins - Girls, or Boys?

Hey peeps!

Ages since I last posted on a Tuesday, innit? Then with all my writing projects lately, I have barely had a minute to pop on here for longer than to put an interview doc or a guest post on. Last week, I even had to veg out and thus, missed a whole week's posting here. Apologies... and I hope the posts from today onwards will help with getting back into your good books. (Okay, a girl can dream, right? *wink*)

So, ye all know I'm hooked on Brit Pop. I even did a post a while back featuring Brit Pop tunes - I remember there were Adele and James Blunt on there. My fave spot to get my music fix is the UK Top 40 charts. Sales of Top Singles for the week in the UK. Music come and go really fast in there (though Gangnam Style has been in the Top 10 for like forever by now, lol! Seriously, who can resist that track?)

Anyhow, a few songs have hit me lately, and many come from a renaissance of girl bands. I'm from the Spice Girls era; so yes, I love girl bands. Totally moved beyond boys bands, because these kids are jail bait and I like my men a little more rugged. Still, doesn't mean their music is unpalatable (most of the time...)

Got me thinking - currently, who does it better? Girls, or boys?

Why don't you join me, and let me know your opinion? To do this, check out some vids of the tracks that have stayed with me and made it into my playlist lately. 2 from girl bands, 2 from boy bands (and/or boy groups)

First one to start the showdown - Something New by Girls Aloud! Peppy and gets you moving!



Second one - DNA from Little Mix. Powerful vocals from these girls, and the style is good, too.



Now on to the lads - Chasing The Sun by The Wanted. Those of you with kids might recognize this one as being on the soundtrack of Ice Age 4. Good beat and rhythm.



And, finally, Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas joins the band named as The Script for the very 80s-sounding Hall of Fame.




What's your verdict? Who does it better in today's pop - girls, or boys?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 09, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #32: And the plot thickens, thanks to...

Hey beautiful people!

Goodness, been ages since I last been here... I also apologise to everyone who visited last week, because I haven't been able to acknowledge your comments and visit back. It's been an insane past 10 days, with me scrambling to put 3 submissions together, and after managing that on Wednesday, I just crashed.

But time to pick myself up and get on with everything, ditch this zombie persona for a more lively one. Starting with Six Sentence Sunday!

I've just been informed Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) will be coming out in print this week or next week - the proofs and everything have been sent and we're only waiting for Amazon to give the green light. Can I say I am absolutely chuffed by this news? *grin*

This one is probably my favourite book in all I've written. It's got espionage and danger and a kick-arse heroine, but there's also a whole other dimension of family ties and relationships woven in. Anyone who's seen Burn Notice will know what I mean - this book has been described as Nikita meets Burn Notice.

So, this week, let me show you a little of that family madness and drama. Yes, it's still the Vegas bedroom scene. Last week, Ash accepted his fate of being married to Rayne...until his phone rang and shattered through the moment.

Who was calling? Check it out!


'...
So Maura thought Rayne was still abroad—his beautiful new wife had some explaining to do; he gripped her hand tighter, in a crushing hold.
"You will not believe this, Ash, coz she said she was coming home for Shannon's wedding."
"Did she?" he asked as he narrowed his eyes at Rayne, who looked toward the sliding glass pane to the terrace.
"And Ash, she mentioned something else," Maura paused, "she . . . she said she's gotten married . . .did you know?"
"Did she say to whom?"
Maura sighed, and continued, "she didn't, and that's what's got me worried; I know Rayne has travelled a lot and seen a lot in her life, but what does she know about real life, and I mean, what if the man is not right for her, especially if she made a precipitate decision . . . oh, dear Lord"—she gasped—"you think she might be pregnant?"
...'


Turns out Rayne, who's been back in England for 2 weeks, has not let her family know that she's returned. Guilt has totally got her cornered now, and she wants to escape from Ash, because she told him, while looking him in the eye, that yes, she has called her parents and informed them of her return.

What's a girl to do in such a situation? Can Rayne wheedle her way out? Can Ash forgive her...? Grab your copy of Before The Morning here and find out!

Don't forget to check out these amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica Subject, Lorraine Paton, Angela Quarles, Monica Enderle Pierce, Sue Ann Bowling, & Jess Schira - among many others!

Hope ye're all having a wonderful Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 02, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #31: And they lived happily ever after...?

Hey beautiful people!

My brain is absolutely scrambled right now, thanks to the awful heat wave going on here. Remember - I told you that, once summer comes around, you'd hear me complain of the heat when this is all I wanted during the dreary cold winter months. :)

But, it's Sunday, and I've finally managed to curb the blokes' enthusiasm here and got them to stay home for a day. So here's me finally able to sit down with a Virgin Mojito while downing Six Sentence Sunday snippets in front of a blowing air-monster fan. Join me? *grin*

And... we're still in Vegas. Told you this one was a pivotal point in the book, so I'm still taking you to that moment when Ash discovered he and Rayne are married. Last week, he disclosed his secret to you readers... Will he tell Rayne? And what happens if he does tell her?

Will he... or won't he?

Check this week's six to find out.


'...
He might have only darkness in his soul, but Rayne would be his light. . . Ash didn't have much to give her, yet he knew he would protect her with his dying breath, if he had to, would do everything he could to make her proud of him.
“Trust me,” she said, and he knew he should, because Rayne had always made what was wrong in his life right in the past.
"Hello, wife," he said.
She pulled away, and he tightened his grip on her hand, breached the distance between them and placed his lips over hers, shushing her. After a second or two, she returned his kiss, a chaste meeting of her mouth with his, and he smiled; so, she was suddenly a shy bride, after all they'd done—and what had they not done—in the past week?
The realisation clamoured for attention, before his mobile phone rang and vibrated on the clear glass of the bedside table, shattering the silence.
...'


Don't forget to check those peeps from the official SSS List - Jessica Subject, Carmen deSousa, Jenna Jaxon, JM Blackman, Krystal Baird, Mae Clair, Sherry Gloag, Lorraine Paton, & Sue Ann Bowling - among many, many others!

Hope ye're all enjoying a fabulous weekend & amazing Sunday! I'm off to go dry out to jerky state in this heat. LOL.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 25, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #30 - And Ash's secret is...

Hey peeps!

Beautiful Sunday here, but thanks to the heat wave raging on our island right now, everyone's beat by the absolute level of warmth. Nothing better to imagine than sitting down in an air-con room or in front of a blowing fan... and reading. :) Join me for Six Sentence Sunday?

Back once more in Vegas - because this chapter/scene is a pivotal one in the book.

Last week, I'd hinted that Ash, former cop turned ambulance worker, carried a heavy secret. A new beginning with his childhood best friend beckons. Marriage, and a partnership between them... Yet, how can Ash allow all this, when he bears this secret?

What is this secret? Read on to find out.


'...
Maybe—just maybe—there might be one person who'd never abandon him if she knew what he'd done, and that person would be Rayne, because she'd always been by his side, her presence quiet, steady, and unobtrusive. He'd grown up a turbulent teenager, punch-happy and with his father's terrible, volatile temper, and when he was in one of his unpredictable, almost bipolar funks, no one dared approach him. . .he'd had no friends, and not even his brother had stepped up, though they were thick as thieves in everything else, as that would mean going up against their father—the father Duncan idolized but Ash hated for charting out his life even before he'd been born.
So he'd rebelled, but Rayne had never let him down, though—she was the only person who had cared for him during those troubled days. She always knew where to find him, and she was just there; he couldn't explain it any other way. Rayne saw through him, and she reached inside to the part of him that had needed acceptance and love, never questioning, never trying to make him do what he didn't want to do.
And that was why he couldn't taint her life, because Rayne was all things good, like hope and the prospect of a wonderful tomorrow, while he was only darkness, a fact he’d had confirmed the day he had shot and killed Matt Dearborn, one of his closest friends.
...'


Don't forget to check these following amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Alix Cameron, Jessica E. Subject, Angela Quarles, Sherry Gloag, JM Blackman, Lorraine Paton, Sue Ann Bowling - among the 150+ particpants on the list this week.

Hope you're all enjoying a lovely Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, November 23, 2012

#DecadentBFHop When Love Needs A Little Push - #1NS stories from Zee Monodee

Hey beautiful people!

Been waiting for this Black Friday Decadent Publishing Hop ever since the lovely Jessica E. Subject threw the notion into the ring of Decadent Authors. It's been a few, looong, weeks, in arriving, but here we are...

...and I have no clue what to talk about! Yes, Zee is speechless. And no, it's not Turkey Coma, or crashing from a super-high of Black Friday Shopping and haggling (sadly... I'd always loved, loved, loved the equivalent in the UK: Boxing Day, on Dec 26. Anyhow...). The reason is, I'm smack in the middle of deadline hell with a sh*tstorm about to hit the fan if I don't get all my ducks lined up reaaaal fast! Gaaaahhh!

Though I must say, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I must give thanks to my wonderful husband, who is holding the fort together while I'm crumbling from all the seams. If I've done one thing right in my life, it is to have snagged that man up when he came onto the market. *grin*

And, you see, I knew the minute I saw him that I would do everything I could (short of breaking up a relationship, if he happened to be in one back then!) to make him mine. This happened at a function in my cousin's house - I was inside, and across the window, I saw this tall, big man with absolutely breathtakingly wide shoulders leaning forward to talk to his diminutive-stature mother. Yes, I had no clue who he was at that point, but seeing these two in profile, the family resemblance jumped out, and I put two and two together.

Two weeks later, on Valentine's Day, he proposed. Yes, I worked fast. LOL. I had found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with; I wasn't going to dally around.

But I also know I've been lucky....Not everyone gets to meet the right person in a luck-by-chance stroke, have that love-at-first-sight deal work from the get-go.
Sometimes, you need a little push, some gentle steering in the right direction.

Something like what Madame Evangeline from the 1NightStand agency delivers.

I love love stories; nothing I crave more than a good romance (probably the reason why I started romance). I thus get to play matchmaker, and make Happily-Ever-After happen.

And occasionally, help comes in the form of people like Madame Eve. She's "helped" me pair two couples, already. Check out who these people are, and how this lady has played a part in their romance:


British billionaire Lars Rutherford came to the tiny island of Mauritius to take over directorship of his best friend’s shipping company. He’s not here for anything but the job, or—to the chagrin of the many matchmaking society mamas in the country—to find the ‘right woman’ for him.

Corporate legal affairs specialist Simmi Moyer is rich, beautiful, successful, and climbing the executive ladder with tremendous speed. She’s got it all—or does she? Mauritian society shuns her for being single and childless, and nothing she accomplishes will ever be enough.

Lars isn’t looking for a woman; Simmi isn’t looking for a man. Both just want one night to forget their precarious position in this traditional, culture-driven society.
The tempest brewed by uncalled-for yearning in their hearts when they meet, and the desire for something more substantial than one night of pleasure, builds between them, while outside, a real-life cyclone storms on the island and ensconces them in a world where only the two of them exist.

Before the night is over, both Lars and Simmi will have to decide whether each will walk out the next morning alone, or if they can put themselves on the line to step out together.
Get the book here


Leila Hassan Al-Nadir spent ten years in a forced, abusive marriage in the United Arab Emirates, before her husband divorced her... and another man stepped into his place to make her his wife. But before she can look at a future with this new man, he abandons her, dropping her off on the island of Mauritius in the care of his stepmother.

Khalid Al-Nadir wants nothing more than to be with Leila, his wife. But he hides a deep, dark secret – his intentions when he made her his weren’t noble. Despite falling in love with her in the end, he knows she will be better off without him.

Leila craves answers; Khalid desires salvation. Fate, in the form of Khalid’s stepmother, intervenes and sets this estranged couple up for a one night stand date with Madame Eve’s agency.

Can Leila and Khalid have a second chance, once they both face the truth that brought them together?



Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think feelings should be given time to grow?

Answer me in the comments - and enter to win the very first copy of Leila and Khalid's story when it comes out in a couple of months!

And don't forget to check the other wonderful authors taking part in this lovely hop - sadly, the code isn't working for me today, but here's a link to the page where you'll find a list of participants.

Goodies galore, peep - indulge in a Decadent book or two this Black Friday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 18, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #29 - And our hero, Ash, opens up a little...

Hey beautiful people!

For once, a beautiful, gorgeous summer sun is shining down on us during a weekend. We'd been treated to god-awful windy, rainy weather these past few weeks, and to have a small blast of heat with lots of brightness is a boon.

There's something about bright lights that gets me all revved up - what about you? Care to join me on a Six Sentence Sunday trip?

I'm still in Vegas, in the wedding night bedroom. Last week, Ash Gilfoy, former cop turned ambulance worker in London, woke up to find himself hitched to his childhood best friend, Rayne Cheltham, a woman he no longer really knows, though, as Rayne has been gone for the past 17 years.

After the shock and confusion of finding that ring on his finger (read that snippet here), Ash has outright asked Rayne what's going on... and her reply was that it "appeared" they got married. She "admitted" to not remembering, and "thinks" she must've asked him to marry her...

How does Ash react to this confession? Read on for today's six!


'...
How could she have done that, and, oh yeah; never mind that he'd agreed—how could she have even broached the subject with him? She knew, for God's sake....for close to two decades, she'd known marriage was not a path he contemplated, and she wasn't even aware just how much he believed in the notion that he should not taint another's life with the depths of the darkness that ran inside him.
Rayne had no idea what he'd done after she'd left—she'd gone on to save the world, to make it a better place, while he'd fought the same battle, but lost to his own demons. Demons he'd inherited from his father, that he'd seen crush his mother down into a shadow of herself. He'd never wanted to take the chance he'd do the same, even against his will, to a defenceless woman. But he’d never known how deep his darkness went, until....
...'


Can Ash be hiding a dark secret, too...?

Don't forget to check these other peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Jess Schira, Monica Enderle Pierce, Siobhan Muir, Sue Ann Bowling, JM Blackman, & Callie Hutton - among many others!

Hope you're all enjoying a lovely Sunday, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 11, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #28: The spy wife strikes back!

Hey peeps!

Hope you're all doing good. Absolutely awful weather here - it's suddenly summer, and with it comes one of those tropical cyclones our region is known for. Nothing dramatic or huge, but enough to throw the weather into a rainy tailspin and pump the humidity to nearly 100%. Hate this... so I need a breather and something to take my mind off the rain. Join me for some Six Sentence Sunday excerpts?

Last week, I featured the snippet from my hero's POV (read it here). Ash Gilfoy, a man who doesn't like complications and who is striving to live a normal, simple life, finds himself waking up in Las Vegas... with a wedding ring on his left hand! How did this happen? And who to...?

Turns out the bride is Rayne, his childhood best friend. She's recently come back into Ash's world after an absence of 17 years, time during which she was working in war-torn areas as a humanitarian aid helper.
But this is what everyone believes, what Rayne has led them to believe... as it turns out, she's in fact a skilled, trained assassin who was taking out deadly criminals all these years.

But Ash thinks she's a sweet, traumatized, innocent girl, and Rayne's not doing anything to shift his perception of her. Manipulative? Only just...


'...
"I . . . I knew you'd think we made a mistake."
He saw the shimmer of tears in her big, blue-grey eyes . . . damn it, she wouldn't cry, would she, not because of him? He’d been curt with her, but he'd just woken up to find out he'd gotten married; try as he might, he couldn't remember getting hitched, or even proposing, or agreeing, to marry her. Bloody hell—most men would've gone bat shit ballistic for less.
She gave a small hiccup and rubbed her open palm against her nose; bad signs—she was about to unleash the waterworks.
"Rayne," he said as he pulled himself up on the mattress, into a sitting position, before he placed his hands on her shoulders and squeezed gently, "calm down . . . just give me a minute here, okay?"
...'


Don't forget to check out the other excerpts on the official SSS list today, and these peeps among them - Cassandra Dean, Jessica E. Subject, Tonya Burrows, Veronica Scott, JM Blackman, Adaline Raine, Gemma Parkes, Susanna Fraser, Sue Ann Bowling, & Sherry Gloag.

Enjoy your Sunday, peeps! Send me some sun if you have it! *grin*

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, November 09, 2012

Autumn Harvest Blog Hop - What does Autumn mean to me, my characters, & my readers?


Hey beautiful people!
Excited once again to be joining another of Carrie Ann’s amazing hops. Love the rush of being together with so many fantabulous authors, and the chance to meet so many readers and bookaholics during those tours.

I’ll admit this one nearly ran past me – I’m up to my eyeballs in deadlines, and wasn’t planning to post on the blog today. Thank goodness for reminders, lol.

So... Autumn Harvest Blog Hop. 200+ participants, as many opps to win books & swag & other goodies, and as many chances to enter the draw for these fabulous Grand Prizes. Check them out: I know I am tempted... J

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
 

 So we’re supposed to be talking about Autumn, and what we like about the season. I’m a bit out of my depths here, because right now, where I live in the southern hemisphere, it’s spring, not fall. And on my tropical island, Mauritius, we have mainly two seasons – summer, & winter. There’s a brief transition between the seasons that we can barely label spring and autumn, though around April, all the big maple trees in town start turning russet. The air also gets crisper, especially at twilight time, and during the day, there’s a sparkling radiance that shines from the deep-blue sky.
I love this change of weather, because it usually means a respite from the horrendous heat of summer. Down the line, winter will be coming – bringing with it lots of cold and humidity as I live in the coldest town on the island.

But there definitely is something magical about our Autumn when it happens, a sense of hovering between two mighty shores, suspended in an airy bubble...

 
Now this got me thinking – what would the characters from my books have to say about Autumn, the ones who do experience this season at the time we’re speaking? I asked them the question; check out the answers.

From WalkingThe Edge (Corpus Brides: BookOne) – a romantic suspense thriller on the backdrop of amnesia and espionage:

Amelia Jamison – the ‘bored’ housewife with no memory of her past life, who however feels something is off in her existence: I barely remember seeing autumn strike in this year... With me not remembering anything about my past, I hoped this time would be a transition to the real life I’m supposed to live... Then, my ‘husband’ took me home, and my hopes crashed.

Gerard Besson – the Marseille police commissaire who reluctantly finds himself running to Amelia’s rescue: Autumn on the Mediterranean coast is magical. Marseille never looks any better, though with night coming in earlier, that does spell a more active lookout for us cops where crime is concerned.

From BeforeThe Morning (Corpus Brides: BookTwo) – a high-stakes, espionage thriller on the backdrop of childhood best friends reuniting through marriage and heavy-handed, crazy family involvement.

Rayne Cheltham – the former espionage mastermind & skilled assassin who has just ‘retired’ and is looking forward to a peaceful, domestic life with the man she never stopped loving: Autumn is the time for slowing down and taking stock of your life, and the path you’ve taken. *sigh* For the first time in seventeen years, I’ll be able to do that, because this fall, I will not be undercover on any mission to rid the world of some of its biggest, baddest criminals.

Ash Gilfoy – the former policeman turned ambulance worker, who suddenly finds himself hitched in Vegas to a complex puzzle, the girl who used to be his childhood best friend, and now a woman with more secrets than all the secret services of the world combined: Autumn... Beer in front of a roaring fire inside the cosy comfort of your home. Doesn’t get better than that; not yet a biting sting to the cold, just enough chill to have your woman want to snuggle up with you in front of that fire. *grin*

From CallingHome (A Destiny’s Child Book) – a sweet, romantic contemporary tale between an uptight forensic pathologist who suddenly lands herself custody of a tween girl, and the young and sexy country doctor who steps in as a modern knight in shining armour.

Margo Nolan – forensic pathologist, clueless mother, half-dead/zombie-brained woman where love & relationships are concerned: Autumn? Kinda depressing. I mean, that’s the season when we get the most suicides, you know— *her ‘hero’ interrupts with a shake of his head here* Fine. The season where you bring the wide range of designer boots you own out. That’s the best thing about Autumn.

Jamie Gillespie – young, up-and-coming doctor who chose life in a quiet Surrey village over a lucrative career in London’s private practice world: Autumn is the time of hot chocolate with marshmallows, comfy afghans, and baking gingerbread men. Time well spent in the kitchen, making families tighter.

I think these people have it as for what Autumn truly represents...

What does Autumn mean to you? Answer in the comments to let me know – and enter to win a copy of one of the 3 books I feature above (winner’s choice!).
A comment here also gets you another entry into the draw for the Grand Prizes – just don’t forget to leave your email address, otherwise we cannot compute your entry in.

And check out the Blog Hop’s page with the list of all the participants here!

From Mauritius with love,
Zee

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Review of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, & author Sheila Roberts answers some questions!

Hey beautiful people!

Look at the pic here - it says, "Better Than Chocolate." Is that even possible? That's the question I asked myself... and immediately was tickled pink to check this one out. Was getting ready to delve into that book (my first from Sheila Roberts!), when I got asked if I wanted to review this book and have the author on my blog.

Where do I sign on the dotted line? was all I asked. Seriously, the very name Sheila Roberts is a mark of romance and good reading, or so I'd gathered (not having read her books yet, I didn't know for myself. But I was determined to find out...)

But let's start first off by stating that never in the course of the communication asking me to host the author and review the book, was it suggested/implied/bribed/asked that I provide a glowing/positive review. Any and all opinions henceforth are mine and mine alone.

So let's get started, but first, an idea of what this book is about:

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.


My Review:

I'm a goner for chick-lit. Everyone knows that. At least, I'm a goner for any story that features heavily on the life and trials and tribulations of the heroine/s in the book. Yes, if it's not chick-lit, you can call it women's fiction. Let's just say that Better Than Chocolate straddles that line between genres. No, there's no mention of shoes or shopping in it, but there are ample doses of chocolate. Enough to turn any woman into a raving chocoholic!

I loved this book. Though the focus wasn't much on the romance or the attraction between Samantha and Blake, Ms. Roberts had me enthralled. I cheered for Samantha and her sisters, Cecily and Bailey. I got angry at her mother, Muriel, and more than annoyed at the deceased stepfather, Waldo, the one who got them into the mess they find themselves in. These characters really felt like people you could know - their story a slice of life you're getting to witness.

And the chocolates mentioned (some of the recipes look easy!) - let's just say I'm kinda glad Sweet Dreams Chocolates don't exist for real, because, a) I'd rant that the goodies are available only in Icicle Falls, and b) none of my clothes would continue fitting me coz I'd be totally indulging in that kind of chocolate. *grin*

Little tidbits in this book made it even more interesting - sometimes sweet, sometimes hilarious. Yes, I have the "Mr Dreamy" contest in mind. Let's just say I totally would've voted for the man who won, because he was an absolute sweetheart.

If you love soap operas and that kind of character-driven drama, you're bound to enjoy this book. I know I loved it!

And now I cannot wait to delve into Merry Ex-Mas, Sheila Roberts' next book from Icicle Falls that'll feature characters we already root for in Better Than Chocolate.

And also - I'm praying Cecily gets her story! The battle between sweet widower Luke and bad boy Todd? Sign me up ASAP - I need to see that!


Now here's Sheila Roberts for ye all, peeps! She was lovely enough to answer some questions of mine.



Tell us about your Better Than Chocolate:

This book is the first book for my new series. In it you’ll meet the Sterling family – Samantha, her sisters Cecily and Bailey and their mom Muriel. They own Sweet Dreams Chocolates... so far. Sweet Dreams is in danger of getting taken by the bank. Samantha’s stepfather Waldo ran the company into the ground and now Samantha has to save it. The town of Icicle Falls isn’t doing much better than Sweet Dreams Chocolates due to a lack of snow and tourists. What they all need is... a chocolate festival! Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But for Samantha the road to chocolate success is almost as difficult as the one to true love.

In a few words:

      Your book

Is fun

      Your heroine

Is stressed

      Your hero

Really isn’t the bad guy

      You as an author

I’m fun, too!

Let's say BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?

“You’ve Got Mail”

What real-life actors are playing the roles?

Ryan Reynolds. Hmm, as for the heroine, help me out here. Any suggestions?

Oooh, yummy... Hmm, she's a bit young, but Leighton Meester would totally fit the feisty, determined picture I have of Samantha!

Now this movie needs a soundtrack – what songs/tracks best fit your book?

Hmmm. Let’s include “Sweet Dreams” by the  Eurythmics

Your characters end up in a world where everyone's a fashionista – how do they dress and what are they wearing?

Blake, Mr. Bank Manager, will have to be in a three-piece suit. (Don’t you just love a man in a suit?!) Samantha will be in Icicle Falls business casual – dark jeans, cool top, great jewelry.

The suit is lethal - I'll grant you that!

As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. What’s the idea behind this book, and how did it come about?

You know, I wanted to write about a woman needing to resurrect some sort of business – at first I thought maybe a B & B. But then I got to thinking, what business would be more fun to save than a chocolate company. And I went from there. I wanted the message behind this book to be about picking yourself up when life knocks you down. We all go through times like that, don’t we?

We sure do, and this book is a perfect message of hope!

Tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.

I’m ridiculously social, love to hang out and play games with friends. And I want to go on Dancing with the Stars! Don’t you think writers can be stars?

Well, writers are readers' stars! I am still having a fangirl moment here, being able to ask you questions! *grin*

What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?

When everything on my to-do list is checked off. Love that feeling!

Oooh, yes - perfect feeling!

You're a color – which one are you and why?

Magenta – because it’s warm and fun.

What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

Laughter and encouragement. I hope!

Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?

Never give up.

Where can we find you and your books?

I hope you’ll find me on Facebook (Sheila Roberts, author) and check out my website, http://www.sheilasplace.com
Oh, and if you want to see me in action, check out “Merry Christmas Mama” on Youtube.

Thanks for the answers, and for coming over! I'm totally stoked to have you visiting J XOXO

Thanks so much for having me. Great fun!

One more time, I'll say: Grab this book! Hard to believe, but some things can be Better Than Chocolate - proof in this heartwarming story here.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 04, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #27: Wishing You A (Not!) Happy Wedding Life!

Hey beautiful people!

Surfacing from my edits/rewrite/deadlines cave to post up a little something of my own today. As always, I'm up to my eyeballs in drowning with deadlines swirling all over me. I need a break - so anyone wants to join me for some Six Sentence Sunday excerpts?

And we're still in Vegas. Remember - super-spy Rayne got back together with the love of her life, her childhood best friend, Ash Gilfoy. And would you believe it? They even got married!

Except for the tiny detail that the groom has no clue he's tied the knot... Rayne is dreading what'll happen when Ash realizes this. Last week, she was quaking on her boots.

Today, we finally get to see what Ash is going through. We switch to his POV from here on. Read for his reaction...


'...
Ash blinked; he had to be dreaming, except that the metal band on his finger felt all too real—heavy, smooth, warm, and tight. He glanced at the ring, then at Rayne—it took two people to get married, and she was the other half of the equation...he didn't need to see the glinting piece of gold on her ring finger to put two and two together.
Except that here, two and two equalled a whole muck up of twisted shit. They were married—since when, how, and worse, had they consummated the union? He snorted softly; Who am I kidding? Of course, they'd consummated their wedding, because the only thing between him and Rayne was sex, the strings of their friendship pale, sketchy ghosts grappling for a hold where there was none to be grasped.
...'


Poor man, innit? But Rayne loves him... and love makes everything better, doesn't it? What will this marriage be like? Do these two even stand a chance? Grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out.

Don't forget to check some lovely peeps and their excerpts on the official SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Gem Sivad, JM Blackman, Kate Warren, Monica Enderle Pierce, Jess Schira, Veronica Scott, Siobhan Muir, & Sue Ann Bowling - among many others!

Hope ye all are enjoying a lovely weekend! It's spring-easing-into-summer here, aka allergy season. So I'm not out of the woods yet... *grin*

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, October 28, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #26: And the spy said "Honey! We're married!"

Hey beautiful people!

Drowning under deadlines and exciting new projects at the moment, so had to be away from the blog for a little while. But no chance in hell I'd miss my Six Sentence Sunday fix! On top of that, I have both hyenas at home with me this weekend, and my brain is shot at barely 10AM, but, hey - it's Sunday! I am on a binge to read snippets - join me?

And why don't we go back to Vegas? Unfortunately for Rayne, the heroine from book 2 of my Corpus Brides espionage series, and a former assassin and spy who's just retired - what happened in Vegas won't stay in Vegas. For once, this rational and super-efficient mastermind has listened to her heart and not realized the consequences of giving in to feelings...

For as long as she can remember, Rayne has loved her neighbour and childhood best friend, Ash Gilfoy. Her dream was to marry him and give him a big family. Except that Ash, who has a manipulative and sociopathic father, has vowed never to marry so he won't hurt a woman the way his father has hurt his mother. Rayne's dreams crashed on the day he made that confession... and she gave in to the darkness, becoming a spy and assassin.

Seventeen years have passed... and it appears a second chance knocks on Rayne's door. She can have a life with Ash... but what she hasn't counted on is the fact that Ash has no clue what he's signed up for when he hooked up with her.

Hurdles litter her path - she's already dealt with her mother (awkwardly, we'll grant that, but dealt nevertheless. Read last week six for a glimpse!), and now she's facing the second leg of her dilemma. Rayne has cut the call with her mum, pretending a bad connection and without giving Maura Cheltham any answers, and she's now in the bedroom where Ash is asleep.

Fear - that unknown feeling - has gripped her...


'...
Ash shifted onto his side and propped himself up on his elbow.
Dread coursed through her, firing up random synapses with stinging, lashing pain in an otherwise stone-cold body; like most people, Ash had an unconscious tic—he brought up his left hand every so often to run his fingers through his hair.
That's what he was about to do, and she swallowed hard when he stopped in mid-movement, when a moonbeam glinted off the wide, gold band on his third finger.
He froze, stared at his hand, before he turned those hard, steely eyes on her.
She burned under the severe scrutiny, and her heart rate picked up again as sweat pearled at her hairline.
At the "bloody hell" he said softly, Rayne knew she was screwed.
...'


Will Ash realize what he's now embroiled in? And what will he do to Rayne? Grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out.

Once again, don't forget to check the official SSS list for these amazing peeps' snippets - Jessica E. Subject, Lisa Fox, Carmen DeSousa, Gem Sivad, Layna Pimentel, Gayle Ramage, Adaline Raine, Jess Schira, Lorraine Paton, Kate Warren, Kerrianne Coombes, Monica Enderle Pierce, Sue Ann Bowling, Susanna Fraser, Taryn Kincaid, Siobhan Muir, Tonya Burrows, Karisa Faire - among may, many others!

Hope you're enjoying a fabulous weekend, peeps! Happy Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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