Thursday, 30 July 2015

Jo's Review - Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm
​What They Say:

Maple sugar kisses

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

What I Say:

I would like to thank Rebecca Raisin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

When we first meet Lucy her life is endless shifts at a diner she hates and hospital visits to see her mum.  Her mum tells Lucy to take some time out and go travelling.  This is where Lucy ends up in Ashford.

Right from page one I liked Lucy, she wanted to do her best by her mom, but at the same time she has given up so much. Lucy instantly meets CeeCee who fans of Rebecca's other books will know from The Gingerbread Cafe trilogy.  Don't get me wrong this book can be read as a standalone but for me it was lovely to see some characters from other books.

Rebecca also introduces some new characters, there is the smouldering hot Clay who has a body to die for and I know why Lucy would find herself watching him. Although when I was originally told about this Clay was tall dark and handsome (my kind of man). I haven't forgiven Bec for changing his hair colour to dirty blonde.

The story is based around the maple syrup farm where both Lucy and Clay have secrets but the farm it's self has a massive secret, would they all be found out?  I loved the research Bec has done around how to produce maple syrup and found this added another dimension to this story. I stayed up one night to read this in one sitting and totally enjoyed it, hoping to hear more from Clay and Lucy.

5 Out of 5 Stars

Don't miss a single book in the Once in a Lifetime collection:

The Gingerbread Cafe Trilogy:

Book 1 - Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe
Book 2 - Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe
(The Bookshop on the Corner)
Book 3 - Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

The Little Paris Collection:
The Little Bookshop on the Seine (coming October 2015)
The Little Antique Shop under the Effiel Tower
The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees

About The Author
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She's been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Come chat with Rebecca on her Facebook 


Amazon US:

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dear Darling by Ellen Faith

What They Say:

I’m 30 years old and sat celebrating with a greasy pizza and a bottle of cheap plonk.’

On her 30th birthday, Ellie Darling decides that it’s time to start a diary. Mainly as a reminder for when she’s old and living with cats that she once had a life that wasn’t all bad. Even if it was one where at 30 years of age, she still refused to spend that extra £3 on the good wine instead of chocolate.

But when the only proposal she gets from her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day is that of a threesome, she decides that enough is enough! With a new, improved job as Personal Assistant to one of the most feared Partners at her law firm – one that she doesn't seem to be able to stop dreaming about – Ellie decides that this will be her year. And if she has to run errands for her boss’ neurotic Russian girlfriend or drag her best friend to a sponsored cycle with her now gay first love, then so be it.

What I Say:

I would like to thank author Ellen Faith for allowing me to beta read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Way back in March Ellen asked for readers to read her work in progress and she sent me a copy of this.  Right from page one I knew I was going to love Ellie, especially when she decided to spend £3 on chocolate rather than the more expensive bottle of wine. (We all done that haven't we?)

From the outside Ellie has a perfect life, a boyfriend who is hot and a job that she is good at.  Then her world starts to crumble around her. On Valentine's Day the proposal she gets from her boyfriend isn't what she is expecting and then the office junior accuses her of bullying and passing her work over.

In walks Adam and as book boyfriends go he is so hot, Tay and I have been dying to talk about him for months.  Adam's problem is his crazy Russian girlfriend who's determined to keep him all to herself.

All this is written in a hilarious way from the PoV of Ellie's diary, it is filled with her and best friend Gina's antics as we well as lots of scenes talking about Adam.  Throw in Adams hot brother and this is a fun filled hilarious read, that I didn't just read once I read twice.  I can honestly say if I want a fun loving book to read again and again, this would be top of my list.  My first time if reading I had a book hang over for days and none of the books I picked up after lived up to this.

5 out of 5 Stars


Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though. 

After spending years with an overactive imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel. 

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from day dreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal. 


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Cottage in the Country by Linn B Halton

What They Say:

What do you do when your best friend has an affair with the man to whom you've been married for twenty-five years? The father of your two children and the person you trusted with your heart? Not to mention the best years of your life ...

Well, you pack your bags, grab half of the equity in the house you've both lovingly restored and run away to an idyllic little cottage in the country.

I suppose not having the cottage surveyed was the first mistake—buying with your heart, and not your head, isn't the wisest move. The second was moving in six days before Christmas, the day the heavens decided to open and the rain just kept on coming.

Maddie Brooks grits her teeth and hires the highly recommended man who can, ex-soldier, Lewis Hart. As he rips out the very shabby and decidedly not-so-chic kitchen, reality sets in. Not only is he the most abrupt person she's ever met, but the man is a Neanderthal!

As the flood waters rise, and the village is cut off, everything that could possibly go wrong, does. How bad can it get, Maddie asks herself? Well, that was before she found herself living with no central heating and no kitchen, and the man who can, as an unexpected house guest.

Hitting the big five-o two days before Christmas is the final straw. No presents, family, or friends—just Lewis Hart, who can’t leave because the flood has now cut off his exit. How on earth is she going to get through this and put her life back together?

Can Maddie Brooks become that ‘fifty-and-fabulous’ woman of her dreams?
What defines YOU? Wife, mother, grandmother, colleague – or is there another person buried deep within, who is struggling to be heard?

Buy link ( & .com)

What I Say:

I would like to thank Linn for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I started this book on a Sunday morning as I needed to take my mind off other things in my life at the moment and found that I couldn't put it down.

When we first meet Maddie she is visiting the cottage of her dreams and instantly decides to buy it without a survey.  Not the best of ideas I would say but I will go with it as Maddie is a lovely easily likeable character who has been cheated on by her husband and best friend, so I guess she is going with her heart and not her head in the purchase.

In walks gorgeous builder Lewis Hart, (I've got to say that it is nice to have a book boyfriend who is slightly older than normal, he is literally swoon city and moody to go with it).  Lewis isn't happy as he was meant to be buying to cottage but circumstances took him away at the wrong time or could it be the right time as he would never have met Maddie had he purchased the cottage.

Maddie is naive in thinking she can have the cottage up and running in the few days before Christmas and lurches from one disaster to another.  Also I've got to say I didn't really like her boss as he was a bit of a creep to me and no better than her husband at times.   I was preparing to send a disgruntled email to Linn but I won't go into details as to why and spoil it for everyone else.

It's also great to find a book where the leading lady is slightly older and even though she is she can still make the same mistakes a young girl would make. 

5 out of 5 Stars

About The Author

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her husband and feline with 'catitude'- Mr Tiggs.

Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:

"From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that's love of life, a partner, or the things I'm passionate about.

My stories are about love, life and real relationships - but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there's a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding in the subject has grown, it is now such a part of my life that it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it's wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder 'What if?'

The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that's something rather special and for which I'm very grateful."

Love, life and beyond... but it's ALWAYS about the romance!

Linn is published by HarperImpulse and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is the managing editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher. For more information on our titles please sign up to our newsletter at Each week you will receive updates on free and discounted ebooks. Follow us on Twitter: @EndeavourPress and on Facebook via We are always interested in hearing from our readers. Endeavour Press believes that the future is now.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Excerpt - Island of the Red Mangroves by Sarah Lark

What They Say:

Jamaica 1753. Doug and Nora Fortnam have raised Nora’s illegitimate, mixed-race daughter Deirdre, born from violence, but who has grown up to be a beautiful and headstrong young woman. Despite her past, the stunning Deirdre attracts men wherever she goes, but has turned them all away, finding them wanting. However, when she meets the handsome and kind Dr. Victor Dufresne, who sees beyond her history and heritage, they fall in love and marry, moving to Victor’s modest house in Hispaniola.

In Grand Cayman, Jefe, a young free black man, and Bonnie, an escaped slave, leave home on a pirate ship in search of wealth, freedom and power, renaming themselves Caesar and Bobbie. When Bonnie is injured in battle, she relies on Jefe to find a doctor to save her – without revealing that she is a woman. Their worlds collide when Victor treats Bonnie for her injuries, reluctantly allowing the two black pirates into his home. Deirdre however feels an irresistible and mutual attraction to Jefe, which she finds she cannot fight.

Meanwhile, racial tensions are growing across the island, as white families are being poisoned by their slaves. A rebellion is in motion, led by the mysterious but captivating François Macandal. The rebels are dangerous and brave, feeling angry and mistreated and they are ready for an uprising...

Exclusive Extract:

Now, however, Deirdre was hardly paying any attention to her dinner partner and instead only had eyes for Victor. On Quentin's attempts to converse with her, she gave mainly one-syllable answers, if she gave any answers at all, and the young man soon seemed accordingly annoyed. Regardless, Victor behaved impeccably. He noticeably tried to keep from returning Deirdre's looks all too fervidly and concentrated on his conversation with Nora. Their discussion quickly grew very interesting. Nora enjoyed herself at this meal far more than at other parties with her neighbours.
Eventually, the banquet came to an end, the guests strolled over to the ballroom, and Victor turned to Nora with a polite smile.
"Would you care to dance, Mrs. Fortnam? Or …"
He tried not to let it show, but Nora had noticed every stolen glance at Deirdre and how he hardly let Quentin out of his sight for even a moment. He stood to lead her into the ostentatious ballroom, which was connected to the Keensleys' salon.
Nora fanned herself. The state apartments at the Keensleys' home were not designed for the weather in Jamaica – it was already stifling hot and there were surely no open windows …
"No thank you, Monsieur Victor," she warmly declined. "After that meal – which was wonderful, but way too rich – I just need to take a breather. Perhaps I should also save my husband from Lady Warrington. It was not necessarily the most brilliant idea to make her his dinner partner …" This seating arrangement had probably been intended to deter the Fortnams from future parties at the Keensleys', but Nora kept such thoughts to herself. "Look after Deirdre a bit. She also doesn't appear to be all too happy with her cavalier."
She gestured to her daughter, who had just held back a yawn. It was not exactly ladylike behavior and Nora was a little embarrassed for her daughter. Victor laughed with relief.
"Really?" he asked, trying to appear casual. "And here I thought … well, with such close neighbors …" He stopped short. "And the young Lord Keensley has been going to great efforts for her …"
Nora sighed. She had also often thought with Simon that one could overdo it with politeness and restraint.
"Well, then you should go to greater efforts!" she said to Victor unambiguously. "In any case, we don't have very much in common with the Keensleys and Deirdre is absolutely not promised to anyone."
Smiling, she watched as the young doctor excused himself and then hurried over to Deirdre and Quentin. A moment later, the young woman was beaming as she got in line beside Victor among the other dancers in the minuet. Quentin led the blonde girl onto the dance floor – apparently everything was turning out as Lord and Lady Keensley had hoped.
Quentin Keensley was too quick tempered to accept the obvious. No matter how clearly Deirdre made it that he did not possess her favor, the spoiled young man was not ready to give up his courtship so quickly. Over the next few hours, he danced with one young woman after another and laughed and flirted with his partners whenever Deirdre walked past. However, she did not notice her host’s popularity. When she wasn't dancing with Victor, she was chatting with him excitedly. She sipped on a glass of champagne and hung on her cavalier's every word.
Quentin was furious whenever he saw Deirdre's smile. Out of pure frustration, he indulged in the rum punch and then didn't care what kind of scandal he could possibly be causing. He roughly pushed his way between Deirdre and Victor, just as the two had lined up to dance again.
"Now that's enough, Miss Fortnam!" he said decisively. "I asked you for a dance hours ago. It's time!"
Deirdre furrowed her brow. "I can't remember having promised you anything," she replied. "And I have already promised this dance to Monsieur Dufresne."
Quentin turned to Victor and glared at him. "He's had his share of dances already!" he blurted out angrily. "And besides, what sort of behavior is this? To simply show up here and … and steal dances from the best girl, and …"
Victor raised his eyebrows with mock astonishment. "Do you feel robbed by me, Miss Fortnam?" he asked coolly.
Deirdre giggled, tipsy from the champagne. "Not at all, Monsieur Victor. Quite the contrary, I … feel rather fortunate …" She winked at him and curtsied.
"There you have it," Victor said. "And now please let us dance – you see, they are waiting for us."

Island of the Red Mangroves by Sarah Lark is published 23rd July by Bastei Entertainment, price £3.99 in eBook.

About The Author:

Sarah Lark was born in the Ruhr region of Germany in 1958. She studied psychology at university and wrote her doctorate on the subject of “daydreams.” She has worked as a primary school teacher and as a tour guide – a job which led her to discover and fall in love with New Zealand, where her bestselling In the Land of the Long White Cloud trilogy is set. She has also written many books about horses for adults and children, and has been nominated for the Deutsche Jugendbuchpreis, Germany’s distinguished prize for best children’s book. A regular presence on the German bestseller list, Sarah currently lives with four dogs and a cat on her farm in Almería, Spain, where she cares for retired horses.

Praise for Island of a Thousand Springs:

“If you’re looking for a novel to get completely and utterly lost in…Island of a Thousand Springs will absorb you and take you on a shocking, saddening, yet inspiring adventure, an adventure which I can’t wait to continue…” Bookaholic Confessions

If you are a fan of Lesley Pearse, you will certainly love this wonderful, exciting novel.Shaz’s Book Blog

Release Day Blitz - What Happens in Cornwall by TA Williams

Book Information
Title: What Happens in Cornwall...
Author: T.A. Williams
Release Date: July 20, 2015
Genres: Chick Lit

Publisher: Carina UK

What They Say:

For a very British summer holiday
When archaeologist Sam realises her relationship is as dead as the skeletons she’s exhuming, she knows it’s time to make a change. But with bills to pay her options are limited…until a discovery on Rock Island in Cornwall gives her a reason to escape…

Head to the Cornish coast!

In Cornwall, questions are thrown up at every turn: who is the glamorous owner of Rock Island that the paparazzi are so interested in? How has the irresistible, but impossibly arrogant, history professor James Courtney managed to get so far under Sam’s skin? And will it ever stop raining so Sam can lose the cagoule and sip a cool drink in the sun? One thing’s for sure: there’s never been a holiday quite like this one!

Enjoy a summer of surprises and romance with What Happens in Cornwall…, the perfect retreat for fans of Fern Britton.

Goodreads Link

Buy Links

Excerpt from What Happens in Cornwall…

Excerpt #1

At nine-thirty on the Sunday evening, fortified by a large glass of Chardonnay each and bearing a bottle of Rioja as an offering, they turned up at the party. It wasn’t in a scruffy terraced house in the heart of student town, but in a fine Georgian villa, high on the hill above the university, with a terrific view across the historic city. Even more surprising was the fact that the music was provided, not by a tattooed DJ with an earring and a couple of battered loudspeakers, but by a string quartet set up under a pergola of exquisite white roses. As they rounded the side of the house and took in the scene, both of them stopped dead in astonishment. They glanced at each other, the same thought on both their minds.

‘Bugger! We should have dressed up.’  Sam looked down at her shorts and regretted her decision not to go with a dress. Beside her, Becky was doing her best to tug her very short skirt down to her knees without baring her bottom.

‘There’s something about Bach, isn’t there?’

They turned towards the voice. It emanated from a tall man, probably in his early forties, with a patrician accent and immaculately styled long brown hair. He was wearing jeans and a plain white shirt. Samantha began to feel a bit less conspicuous about her choice of clothes. He smiled down at them. ‘Miles Vernon, Professor Miles Vernon. And you are?’ He held out his hand.

He was very good-looking and he knew it. Sam read the interest in his eyes, but she took a surreptitious step backwards, definitely not attracted to him and keen to avoid his getting the wrong idea. At the same time, she didn’t want to appear rude to a professor, even if his was a new name to her. But she needn’t have worried. Before she had time to extend her own hand, Becky had grasped his with both hands and was pumping it up and down. She beamed up at him. ‘Hello, Professor Vernon. I’m Becky and this is Samantha. We’re PhD students in the Archaeology department.’ She paused, then added for clarification, ‘At the university.’

Sam had a hard job restraining herself from giggling. Miles Vernon probably didn’t realise just how close he was to having his clothes ripped off him, Viking-style. You didn’t need a PhD to see the ‘target acquired’ look in Becky’s eyes. Sam waited until Becky had reluctantly released him and then shook hands with him in her turn. ‘Good evening. Is this your lovely house? Is this your party?’

He smiled at her, exposing a set of immaculate white teeth as he did so. ‘Good evening, Samantha.’ He pronounced it ‘Sementha’ and she repressed a shudder. ‘The answers are yes and yes. The house is indeed mine, and I thought I should do something for all my new friends at the university.’

About The Author

Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south-west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador. 

I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

Social Networking Links

Jo's Review - Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

What They Say:
Love is an open door… except when it keeps slamming in your face Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he? When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of a historical building in the village of Clover's Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone. As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

What I Say:

I would like to thank Holly Martin and Bookouture for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

When Milly arrives at Clover Castle little does she know what effect the Castle and its owner Cameron Heartstone would have  on her heart.

As with all Hollys books this was an intriguing mix of a story  and different right from page one.  

Milly's a really easily likeable main character and she isn't just gorgeous but has brains to go with it.   She is a hopeless romantic who wants to save all the Castles she inspects for Castle Heritage.   Milly has been hurt by previous boyfriends and is so desperate not to get hurt again.

Cameron is super hot but he also has his own demons but then at times so sweet.  The chemistry between Milly and Cameron is fantastic and had me turning to pages so I could find out more about their budding romance.  Throw in Camerons jealous secretary Olivia and Hollys created a great story.

That's not all there is to this book, there is the weird villagers who trick Milly and Cameron, they aren't above using blackmail to get their own way.  I loved the bits where they were exploring the castle.  Add in the mystery of some lost jewels and a few ghosts makes this is a fabulous read.   It was also really different from Hollys other books but in a good way.

5 out of 5 Stars

About The Author

Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine's competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.

Here are the buy links:

Here are the links to Holly’s profiles.
Connect with Holly on Facebook:
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Holly’s website link is  

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Excerpt - Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

What They Say:

Maple sugar kisses...

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

Amazon US:

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm – Rebecca Raisin

The Maple Syrup Farm was, at best, a ramshackle mess. The front gate hung off its latch, creaking in the wind, pitching backward and forward like an invitation to enter. In the distance you could make out the cottage. Gnarly old vines twisted around porch posts as though they were slowly strangling them. Cottage windows were smashed, leaving only dirty shards of glass clinging to their perches. Mountains of junk had been abandoned across the land for so long that grass had grown over them. Odd sticks of wood protruded like arms in supplication. The decaying façade of the place was somehow compelling rather than confronting.
Behind the gate, the property spanned for miles. Long snow-dotted grass swayed like green ribbons and grew into everything, wild and free. Even down the graveled driveway the grass had crept over like it was intent on taking over, burying the vestiges of ground.
I pushed the creaky gate open and walked purposefully, convincingly, like Id been on a million farms before and knew what to do. As I neared the cottage music blared from inside. I stepped onto the porch. It was rotted in places, worm-wooded. I covered my ears against the noise as I dodged holes and hoped to God I made it inside without tumbling into trouble in my boots.
Whoever was inside the small cottage was belting out lyrics to Pony by Ginuwine like he was the only person in the world. Clay? I couldnt really see an old farmer type listening to such provocative music, but it took all kinds to make a world, as my mom was keen on saying.
With a quick rap on the door, I set my shoulders, pulled my coat tighter and waited. No answer. There was no way hed hear me with the volume up so high. With a shrug, I opened the front door, and stuck my head inside.
My mouth hung open at the sight before me. Clay was not old. Not weathered. Not wearing overalls.
He stood all six foot something of him, on the top rung of a stepladder, wearing only tight denim jeans, holding a drill. His broad shoulders moved to the beat of the music, his biceps flexing in time. As he turned and leaned I caught sight of his sculpted abs, the grooves and valleys of them, the color of his skin, tanned somehow in wintertime. He was the epitome of the perfect male model. I imagined him nude, and wanted to paint him in explicit detail because it would make such a stunning portrait.
The tight denim jeans accented his butt, and he thrust his hips to the rhythm of the song. That kind of taut, strong body would be a joy to paint. Just watching him made me uncomfortably warm. I had been wanting to capture a man on canvas, their intense lines and lengths, especially one aschiseled as this.
He flicked his dark blond hair back, and turned suddenly, one hand grasping the top rung of the ladder. When he caught sight of me the singing and, sadly, the thrusting stopped abruptly.
I walked to the stereo to turn the music down, before saying, Hi, nice drill you have there. Nice drill you have there? I promptly closed my mouth, and hoped my brain would catch up with my voice. In my effort to come across convincing, like I knew what a drill was, I sounded like I was flirting. Or just plain stupid. What I meant was—”
His expression darkened and he spoke over the top of me. You lost?
I tilted my head, confused at the hostility in his voice. No. I appraised hima hot guy with a bad attitude. Id been expecting to see a middle-aged guy wearing overalls, not someone half-dressed, and mesmerizing from a painting point of view. The fierceness in his eyeswould I capture it?
He jumped down from the ladder, a fine sheen of sweat glistening on his abs. From a sofa covered with plastic, he snatched up a crumpled tank top and pulled it over his head.
No need to get dressed on my account. I resisted the urge to clap a hand over mouth. What I mean is, just be as you were… The words were coming out wrong, in my effort to be someone I was not.
I blushed.
He scowled.
Can I help you? He let the drill drop, the cord slipping slowly through his fingershe didnt take his eyes off me, before it hit the ground with a clunk. For some reason the gesture seemed highly erotic. But the steely glint in his eyes told a different story.
Thoughts of traipsing back down the driveway, jobless, flashed through my mind. Im here about the job. I raised my chin.
His face cracked into a cynical smile. He snatched a rag from the coffee table and wiped his brow, all the while chuckling to himself. I held his stare, while he gave me aonce-over. His eyes were a mesmerizing, deep, dark brown, almost fathomless. I should have changed my outfit before I set off. He couldnt take me seriously for the job, looking like some kind of bohemian.
A job? His mouth twisted. I dont think so. His gaze traveled the length of my body once more and I tried hard not to squirm.
And why not? I asked, remembering Beccas word of warning. Do not take no for an answer.
He sneered. Do you even know what the job is?
Farming, or a farmer, or a farmers assistant. Who cares about the title? All you need to know is, I am more than capable of…farming. Way to go, Lucy, I silently berated myself. Say farmer one more time. He had me on edge with his cool stare. I hoped the desperation wasnt evident in my voice.
Who sent you here?
I tried to hide my smile at his phrasingit was almost like a line out of a mafia movie. Was this guy for real? Your cousin Becca. She said you cant find anyone else. And now I see why. If I wasnt so desperate for a job I would have told him exactly what I thought of him and breezed out. But there was also a stubborn side of me that wanted to show him he was wrong about me. I could…farm, as well as anyone else.
He raised an eyebrow. You think I cant find anyone?
I dont see people lining up to work for you. He blanched. If it was a tug of war, Id just retrieved a bit of the rope. But I am perfectly able to do the work.
Is that so?
Sure is. I pursed my lips.
He took two steps toward me and stood so close I could feel his breath on my face. My pulse quickenedfor one second I thought he was going to kiss me. He said, You think you can handle it?

Author Bio:

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She's been published in various short story anthologies and in in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

Come and say hello to Rebecca on her Facebook page : or @jaxandwillsmum on Twitter.