chick-lit · Christmas · romance

*BLOG TOUR* One Winters Night – Kiley Dunbar (EXTRACT)

Blurb; A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…

It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.

When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?

And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?

A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!

About the author;


Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.

Extract;

The autumn came in quickly this year. Even in early October the leaves of the rowan trees in Kelsey’s shared gardens at St Ninian’s Close are tinged golden brown. Gritty breezes gust down Henley Street, whipping past the house where, once upon a time, William Shakespeare was born. Chill morning dews make the grassy banks of the River Avon sparkle, and dawn mists settle over the subtle valley that the town nestles inside. Above its tangle of medieval streets, church spires, theatre turrets and flying flags, up on the gentle rises of the Welcombe hills the brambles have swollen fat and blushing on thorny boughs and the blackbirds sing out that summer is over.
Having worked as a tour guide, pounding the streets of Stratford all summer long and getting to know its most beautiful treasures and best-kept secrets, Kelsey thought she had discovered everything there was to know about her new home, but as she observed autumn creeping in, she came to the realisation that fall in Warwickshire was even finer than the summer months.
Fall. That’s what Jonathan calls this time of year. But he isn’t here to see it with her. He’s been wowing the crowds at an Ontario Shakespeare festival with his Hamlet and after Christmas he’ll be heading to California to take up his drama teaching residency for the winter. But he writes, and he video calls…
‘Don’t wake up, I’m just taking my stage make-up off before bed and calling to say goodnight. I love you, Kelsey.’
‘Don’t go, I’m awake. Wow, you look good.’
Jonathan held the phone closer to his face, letting Kelsey see the subtle black eyeliner that deepened his ice-blue eyes and his messy brown hair lightened a little with dye for playing the Prince of Denmark.
‘I was gonna say the same thing about you. Is it after six in Stratford?’
‘Uh-huh, but old habits die hard, I’ve been up for a while. There was a blackbird going crazy under the oak tree at six, so I’m already on my first coffee, just listening to him sing. How’s the run going?’ Kelsey gathered her duvet around her for warmth. Her little garret room at the top of the building which had been so warm in the summer was growing chillier by the day.
‘Pretty good. Full houses, excited crowds. They’re a lot more vocal than the Stratford audiences. I forgot about the spontaneous applause and the interaction. You don’t get that with English theatre. Tonight the first row were whooping and hollering when I kissed Ophelia, kinda threw us both.’
‘I can see how that would be distracting. How is Peony? Did she get the postcard I sent her?’ Kelsey asked. The confusion of the summer months when she’d been convinced Jonathan and his co-star and childhood sweetheart were still an item, had been left far behind.
‘She did, and she’s good too, sends her love. She’s kinda pissed I’m leaving the company after our Stratford run of Love’s Labour’s Lost in the spring but she gets that I’m ready for a new beginning. Anyways, I’m counting down the days ’til I fly home to you for the holidays.’
Kelsey had never heard Jonathan call Stratford ‘home’ before, and although it sent a thrill through her, she worried he was counting his work-visa chickens before they hatched. He was allowed to stay in England for the spring run but after that, nobody could know what would happen.
‘What’s today? Ninth of October?’ he added. ‘That’s only… seventy-five days.’
‘Only?’
‘I’ll be home soon and we’ll get to spend a few days of the holidays together. Until then I’ll just have to make sure I catch every English sunrise with you.’
Kelsey smiled, listening to his breathing and enjoying the flex of his dimpled jaw when he grinned. For a while they let the silence speak between them. They could do this, she had found; just say nothing and be together, feeling somewhere close to contented, three and a half thousand miles apart.
‘I’ve been thinking about you a lot,’ Jonathan said eventually, his deep Oklahoma drawl crackling.
‘You have?’
She saw the light blazing in Jonathan’s eyes as he carried the phone over to his hotel room door, turning the lock. ‘Uh-huh.’
‘What have you been thinking?’
Jonathan made a low laugh which was followed by a moment of hesitation before he settled on his bed, holding the phone at arm’s length so Kelsey could see his loose black stage shirt open at the neck and offering a glimpse of the broad, honed torso she missed touching so much. ‘I’ll tell you… if you lie down with me.’
Kelsey cast a quick glance at the pillows behind her, her face flushing pink and her pupils dilating in the way that made Jonathan’s heart pound.
‘All right then,’ she said, as she settled back, blushing and grinning at the same time.
‘First of all…’ his voice was low as he looked confidently into the lens. ‘I miss being able to kiss you whenever I want…’
Kelsey fought to catch her breath, narrowing her eyes, intently watching as Jonathan slowly tugged the shirt over his head, letting it muss his hair.
Jonathan talked with increasingly shallow breaths and Kelsey listened, losing her inhibition as the bubble formed around them. They forgot the miles between them; their separate time zones realigned and whole continents moved to bring them closer together. Yes, this felt somewhere close to contentment, and for now that would have to be enough for both of them.

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chick-lit · romance

*BLOG TOUR* Gone With The Waves – Brian David Bruns (EXTRACT)

Blurb; He’s emerged as a swanky, tuxedo-wearing, cruise-ship rock star. But will it be enough to win his girlfriend’s heart?Brian would walk the plank if it plucked Romina from her awful bottom-of-the-boat job. But knowing that their only way out of the hellish working conditions is to beat ships at their own game, he bids her adieu to learn the competitive trade of art auctioneering. And though he takes his fair share of hard knocks, he’s finally hitting the big time.

Becoming a master auctioneer, he lives like a cigar-smoking king aboard elite luxury liners with access to anything he wants. But when he returns victorious to whisk his love away to better things, Romina mysteriously refuses. And he worries that in chasing his ambitions, regardless of good intentions, he may have lost her forever…

Can Brian persuade Romina that the world is their oyster, or will she push his grand vision overboard?

Gone with the Waves is the dramatic conclusion to the Gone with the Waves romantic comedy series, entirely of real events in the author’s life. If you like charming humor, conflicted hearts, and more twists than a whirlpool, then you’ll adore Brian David Bruns’s sweeping odyssey.

Extract;

Greece
JUNE 2, 2005

1
Sweat sheathed my body, slid down curves, dripped over edges. The hair on my chest swirled this way and that. The scratches down my back the same. I panted, was exhausted. I was dizzy.
I was not alone.
The room brightened as my lover pulled open the curtains. Revealed was she who had taken my breath, made me sweat, made me dizzy. She wore my shirt. It was large enough to hide if she wore anything else underneath. I knew she did not.
“Check you,” she said with a smirk. “You say you marathoner, babaloo.”
“That was longer than a marathon,” I noted wryly.
I slid into shorts, followed her out onto the balcony. It was on the third floor. The air was damp, cool, delicious to our fevered skin.
It was dawn.
The distant plains sloped up to a mountain range to the east. The ridge was dark but defined by a sharp, brilliant edge. Sunlight slid along its outline like molten iron flowing into a mold. And from behind the sun-rubbed ridge sunlight speared high into the sky, also defined by a sharp, brilliant edge.
It was no ordinary sunrise.
This was no ordinary valley.
The valley floor itself was forested with deciduous trees, soaking up a lush morning mist. From their midst rose a shocking series of rocky pinnacles. The fat stone fingers raked the sky, some slender, others fat, all hundreds of feet high.
Perhaps they were upthrusts of ancient granite, or hardened volcanic plugs. More likely they were sedimentary stones winnowed by deep time. A river meandered among them. Perhaps it had been the artist, now retired.
Certainly the most amazing aspect of the magnificent pinnacles was their caps. Ancient stone monasteries were neatly fitted atop, capped themselves by orange tiles. Some had towers that crawled down slopes, others graceful stone bridges arcing from rock tower to rock tower.
Behold, Metéora.
Romina trailed a fingertip along my shoulders as she passed by, leaned against the railing. She readied a cigarette, but did not light.
She squeaked.
She fled.

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chick-lit · romance

*BLOG TOUR* Wet Orpheus – Brian David Bruns (EXTRACT).

Blurb; He chose her over the company. He’s about to find out the real cost of romance…

Brian’s love for Romina may be strong, but he’s sailing into troubled waters. And he’s even prepared to endure torturous months apart working like a dog on another ship, if it means he can get them back together. Though he’s unprepared for the sadistic challenges his cruel new boss implements to break him body and soul.

Enduring extreme anti-Americanism, food deprivation, and 100-hour-long work weeks, Brian’s only beacon of hope is the messages sent from his soulmate. With her emails to sustain him, he vows to stay the course and outsmart the higher-ups of the cruise-line giant.

Can Brian survive the stormy conflict threatening to drown his hopes of reuniting with Romina?

Wet Orpheus is the second book in the wild Gone with the Waves romantic comedy series, entirely of true events in the author’s life. If you like insider accounts of work below deck, heart-aching emotion, and passionate love stories, then you’ll adore Brian David Bruns’s tale of overcoming impossible odds.

Extract;

Black Sea

JUNE 2, 2003

1

I feel a distance between Romina and myself that was never there before. It is because of her indifference when she left Conquest. I only hear from her every couple of days, and that is hard for me. I can feel the difference in her tone, the resumption of happiness (she is traveling a lot).

Romia is meant for paradise, and our spending this vacation together is our way of reaching that. I want another Eden like last time, and I certainly am ready to make it happen. It is a two-way street, though, and it was lacking on board from her direction. I will not waste my time if she is not interested. We both know that we will be apart afterwards.

We’ll see what happens.

—Brian’s diary

I was in Romania again.

Had I really been gone seven months? It didn’t feel like it. But those months had been a blur of crushing newness—to get to sea, to learn the sea, to survive the sea.

The sea and the job were one and the same.

For every day a passenger lived on a cruise ship, the crew lived two. Like the sea, the work was eternal. The work was vast. The work pummeled, eroded. It inspired awe, inspired fear. In my four months on the job I never had a day off, nor a sub-eighty-hour work week.

I was ready enough for a break.

That was an important term, ready enough. I could keep going. But I recognized how the micro-tears in my body, in my mind, would only deepen. I now understood why the military recruited the young. I was no longer particularly young. I also now understood why Romina had lost her spark. She was no longer particularly young, either.

But she was in Romania again, too.

Would Romina be the same provocatrix as when I first met her? Or would she be Conquest-cold?

At the airport, she didn’t greet me with a white rose. She greeted me with a bone-crushing hug and countless kisses. Her red lips made pajamas out of my face. She purred.

So too did Albișoara purr, as she took us to our happy place.

Everything was better. Instantly. Me. Her. Us. Gone was the labor, the stress. Gone was the indifference to each other’s presence. Gone was the rain, the gloom. Not the traffic. That was still there. But gone was its effect on Romina. She had released her inner donut.

I secretly wondered if she was sucking up.

But when Albișoara entered the verdant foothills of the Carpathians I began to understand Romina’s almost euphoric happiness.

The green spoke volumes.

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