Sunday, 22 October 2017

How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh #BlogTour #Review @PortiaMacIntosh @LoveReadRomance


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How Not to be a Bride
by Portia MacIntosh
Released: October 17, 2017
Harper Collins

‘Delightfully romantic, light-hearted and charmingly entertaining.’ What’s Better Than Books?
Definitely, maybe…yes?
Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns out that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…
The laugh-out-loud, uplifting new book from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake and Sophie Kinsella.

Book Links:  




If you have ever read a Portia MacIntosh book you know that you will get down to earth characters who feel like you could genuinely know. Along with a story that will completely wrap you up in the storyline all the way to the end. How Not to be A Bride is exactly that and it felt so easy to be pulled into Mia's life along with the ups and downs that she experiences along the way. It was really refreshing to meet a character who wasn't obsessed with weddings or even remotely hoping for an engagement ring from her boyfriend. I guess in a way it made Mia stand out just that little bit more.

The story is written in a way where I couldn't help but laugh and smile along at some of the situations. I could understand Mia's reluctance of having the dream big wedding I never wanted that for myself. I hate being the centre of attention so to have so many eyes on me would be my worst nightmare. The fact that Mia and Leo are an established couple really made this story extra special for me it was almost a story of what happens after the happy ending. When real life and other issues crop up making it feel so realistic in that sense. A special mention has to go to Mia's granddad I loved how he was always on Mia's side and just loved her for who she is.

A heart warming story that will leave you smiling away to yourself long after you have put the book down!



With thanks to Love Reading Romance and Portia MacIntosh for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion. 


Excerpt


Chapter One

I don’t know what hits me first: the smell of meatballs or the fist of an impatient child who, having clearly spent too much time in Ikea, is flailing around like a maniac in the hope his embarrassed parents will get a move on and take him to Toys R Us. I wonder, only for a second, whether adopting a similar tactic might work on my boyfriend, except I’ve probably done much worse to embarrass him in the past.
Trips to Ikea are a regular event for us since we bought our house – partly because we just spent most of our money buying a house and this is now our number-one social activity, but mostly because said house is what you’d euphemistically call a ‘fixer upper’. What I call it is a building site, but it was cheap, and my boyfriend, Leo, loves doing DIY, so it’s perfect for him. To be perfectly honest, I’d go as far as to say he loves Ikea too. Why else would we be here, dashing in through the exit door (something that is highly frowned upon, but is undoubtedly the most efficient way to work the place), the day before we’re set to go on holiday? Like, I don’t know what it is, but something about flat pack furniture just makes him come alive – get yourself a man who looks at you the way my boyfriend looks at the instructions for an Ikea coffee table.
‘OK, let’s split up to save some time,’ Leo suggests. I pull a face, because even I know you never leave a man behind in Ikea, especially when you’re going against the tide. Ikea is a signal dead zone so, if we separate, it will be hard to find each other. ‘I’ll get most of the things we need, all you need to do is grab a trolley and get a white SÄVEDAL door, 60x40.’
I feel my face contort with pure confusion.
‘Seve…’
‘SÄVEDAL,’ he repeats himself. ‘Make a note in your phone.’
‘Leo, I’m not an idiot. That… word you just said… 40x60.’
60x40, Mia,’ he corrects me. ‘Just grab one of the little pencils and write it down.’
‘Yeah, fine, go, go,’ I babble.
I watch Leo disappear into the crowd before turning my attention to the task at hand. I need a seve… seve… dal? I’ll just use one of the little computers dotted around to tell me where they are.
As I walk past the showrooms, I feel like I’m walking down the street, peeping in people’s living-room windows. Couples are sitting on the sofas, chatting like they would in the comfort of their own homes, as they deliberate which lamp to buy. There’s even a couple arguing in one of the dummy rooms, who both shoot me a filthy look for looking inside – the very thing the fake room is here for. In one of the dummy kitchens there’s a kid sitting under a worktop, visibly contemplating whether or not to take a bite out of a plastic apple, like a less bright Sir Isaac Newton. He decides it’s a good idea and raises it to his mouth, but his dad stops him just in time, scooping him up and planting him on his shoulders, six feet in the air where he can’t get in too much trouble.
I patiently wait my turn to use the computer, because Ikea is expert-level busy today. I mean, it’s always busy, but today it is bank holiday busy, and everyone and their spouse and 2.5 kids are here to get their hands on furniture and pieces of Daim cake. The only problem is, by the time my turn comes around, I’ve completely forgotten what I’m looking for. I type S E V, hoping it will suggest something. He said it was a door, right? And we’re shopping for things to build the kitchen. There’s no way he’d send me for an actual door, so it must be for a cupboard or something.
I glance behind me, only to see the queue growing longer, and increasingly more impatient. I try again, typing S A V, but I’m still not getting any hits. Defeated, I give up and try to find a yellow-and-blue-striped employee to help me out.
‘Excuse me,’ I say to a man sitting at a computer. ‘I wonder if you can help me? I’m after a door, for a kitchen, I think.’
‘Sure, what’s the product name?’ he replies helpfully.
‘Sev… sav… something, I don’t know, sorry,’ I reply apologetically.
A few punches of the keyboard and a quick look through their products and the employee knows exactly what I’m after.
‘SÄVEDAL?’
‘Yes,’ I reply, a little too excitedly. ‘I need a white one, please.’
‘What size?’ he asks.
Shit. Leo was right, I should have written this down.
‘Erm… So, I think it’s 60x40 or 40x60. So, whichever one of those is a real size.’
‘We actually do both of those sizes, miss,’ the employee points out.
Double shit.
‘Erm…’
Come on, Mia. You’ve got this. Just think about what numbers he said – he even said them twice.
‘40x60?’ I tell him, although it sounds more like a question than an answer.
‘Are you sure?’ he laughs.
‘Positive,’ I reply.
With an unconvinced laugh, he tells me where to find what I need and, as I walk there, I can’t help but think about how much my life has changed since I moved back to the UK. If you’d told me four years ago, when I was living in the Hollywood Hills, hanging out with movie stars, and playing the dating game to the best of my ability, that I’d be living in Canterbury, in a house that needs a lot of work, spending my days procrastinating and my nights watching Netflix, I would have laughed in your face – and probably threatened to do something drastic to save myself from such a life. Don’t get me wrong. I love Leo so much, and I’m so lucky to have him, but my life has changed so much and I’m really starting to feel it. My day-to-day life has changed, my hobbies have changed – even my looks have changed, which I can’t help but notice, standing here in front of this full-length ISFJORDEN mirror. Gone are the days I’d spend hours at the gym, eating clean and tanning regularly to maintain my toned, LA body, and since I stopped dropping triple digits on my long, blonde locks at a swanky salon, instead going to a cheaper, local place, I’ve had what’s known in the trade as a chemical cut, which basically means they’ve been using such strong peroxide on my hair that it has broken off, leaving me with much shorter locks. As superficial as it sounds, I took such confidence from these things, and now I feel kind of unremarkable by comparison. I don’t look bad, I just don’t look like me.
Finally through the checkout, I spy Leo standing over by the door, finishing up a hotdog. It took me all this time to find one item and here he is, his trolley piled high with things, finishing up his dinner. This is further proof that he’s some kind of Ikea wizard. He just seems to know how to manipulate the place, to bend it to his will, whether he’s modifying furniture or taking the little shortcuts he knows to get from sofas to plates in a matter of minutes.
‘There you are,’ he says as I approach him. ‘I was just about to come looking for you – I half expected to find you curled up in a bed somewhere.’
‘What would you have done then?’ I ask, adopting a more flirtatious tone.
‘Probably napped with you,’ he replies. ‘Maybe.’
I see that little glimmer in his eye that I love so much.
I laugh to myself. Sex in an Ikea bed, in Ikea, is probably Leo’s number-one fantasy. It would probably make his day to find me in one of the fake bedrooms, whispering sweet Swedish nothings into his ear before some post-coital meatballs.
‘OK, we need to go if you’re going to get to Boots before they close,’ Leo says with a clap of his hands.
I absolutely need to get to Boots before they close. It might feel like it’s been a really long time since we had sex, but there’s no time for flirting if I’m going to get the things I need for my trip tomorrow. Plus, we’re not going to have sex in Ikea, are we? Our naughty days are a thing of the past. Well, when you’ve been together for four years you don’t really do wild any more, do you?
‘Here, I got you one,’ Leo says, handing me a hotdog.
‘I’m OK, thanks,’ I reply. ‘I need to watch what I eat.’
‘No, you don’t. You’re as sexy as the day I met you,’ he insists sincerely.
I smile.
‘I’m not really hungry,’ I reply, giving his arm a squeeze.
Leo shrugs his shoulders before eating it himself.
I know it’s easy to put on a little weight when you’re comfortable in a relationship, but my super-sexy boyfriend is just as hot as the day we first met. I suppose being a fireman helps with that. He has to keep fit, and the uniform still lights a fire in my downstairs. I, on the other hand, work from home, so I’m not as active as I used to be. I’m a healthy-ish weight; I’m just nowhere near as toned as I used to be.
Finally at our car, Leo begins loading things into the boot as I plonk myself down in the passenger seat, exhaling deeply, relieved to have survived another trip to Ikea.
‘Erm, Mia,’ Leo calls from behind me.
‘Yeah?’
‘You’ve got the wrong size,’ he tells me.
I massage my temples.
‘Can’t you make it work?’
‘I mean, it would be better to just have the right one. Shall I run back in?’
‘Leo, I need to get to Boots,’ I tell him.
‘I know, I know,’ he calls back. ‘I just really wanted to do some work on the kitchen today. Aren’t you sick of eating microwave food and takeaways?’
‘Well, yeah, but we’re going away tomorrow,’ I reply.
‘To Cornwall,’ he reminds me. ‘Where they have plenty of Boots… I’ll make sure we stop at one on the way to the beach house and you can even give me a list of what you want and I’ll get it… and I’ll buy you some Daim chocolate.’
‘OK, fine, go,’ I tell him. ‘I’ll stay here.’
Leo gives me a kiss on the cheek before dashing off back inside, leaving me sitting in the car. I know he just wants to get the house finished so that we can get on with living a happy life in it. I guess I’m just impatient and growing tired of the constant DIY.
Perhaps the kid with the helicopter arms was on to something. That’s why he’s probably in Toys R Us right now getting whatever toy he wants, and I’m still stuck here, in Ikea purgatory, waiting for a kitchen door.



Portia MacIntosh has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

Author Links:


If you want to check out the other stops on the tour you can find them on the following Link:

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes #WeekendBlitz #Review @KellieHailes


I'm so happy to be taking part in the weekend blitz for The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes. Today I will be sharing my review but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...



Love happens when you least expect it…

Jodi is panicking. It’s only weeks until her little village in Devon holds its first ever festival and everything is falling apart.
Desperate to avoid disaster, she brings in notorious party planner Christian to save the day. Although she wasn’t prepared for just how gorgeous he would be!
Men are off the cards for Jody and surely Christian is the last man she would ever date? But with tensions rising – along with the bunting and home-made scones – she’s about to find out…
Buy Links:







Even though this book is part of a series I found it could be easily read as a standalone. You do get to catch up with characters from the first book but it just added to the overall story. Along with being a lovely touch for readers who had read The Cosy Coffee Shop of Promises.

I loved the first time that Jodi and Christian meet there is tension galore and the sparring between them was lots of fun to see. There were plenty of moments where this story had me smiling away. Jodi is likeable and very determined to make the festival a success and at first Christian is a bit of a mystery but as time goes on more of his personality is revealed. The question is can Christian and Jodi work together?


There is a lovely warmth to Kellie Hailes writing that easily draws you in plus some laughs along the way making it very easy to find yourself immersed in the story. The Big Little Festival has that lovely community feeling to it and I loved how everyone rallies together.

I read this book in an evening after grabbing a hot chocolate and in no time at all I had finished. If you need to unwind I can definitely recommend The Big Little Festival and I'm already looking forward to re-visiting Rabbits Leap!

With a gorgeous heart warming vibe that will leave you in a lovely mood!

Four stars from me!


With thanks to Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.



At the age of five Kellie Hailes declared she was going write books when she grew up. It took a while for her to get there, with a career as a radio copywriter, freelance copywriter and web writer filling the dream-hole, until now. Kellie lives on an island-that’s-not-really-an-island in New Zealand with her patient husband, funny little human and neurotic cat. When the characters in her head aren’t dictating their story to her, she can be found taking short walks, eating good cheese and hankering for her next coffee fix.

Author Links:


Twitter:  @KellieHailes

The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen #Review #BlogTour @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen

With thanks to the publisher for my copy.





A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. 

Buy Link



At times this story is pretty surreal but it just works so well and I loved how everything unfolded. Jaakko was someone that drew me right in, from finding out he is dying to deciding to discover the truth behind his poisoning along with who is behind it. I couldn't help but like him he really is a one of a kind character that was so interesting to get to know.


The story moves pretty quickly and held my interest throughout mainly because I felt just as invested in discovering the truth as Jaakko. The Man Who Died is cleverly written and at times darkly funny which I really appreciated. This definitely helped to turn this story into something quite special. There are some surprises along the way that kept me on my toes and I loved to hear Jaakko's inner thoughts as he goes on this very strange journey of discovery. There is also that added bit tension within the story as there is definite a lack of time on Jaakko's side.

The question is will he discover the truth in time?

Dark humour really helps to set this story apart from other thrillers, Antti Tuomainen has created a very engaging lead character in Jaakko. He has a certain matter of fact way of going about his daily life that just kept me turning the pages. There are possible suspects everywhere and I have to admit to suspecting everyone. I will never make a great detective so I just sat back and let myself be carried away on this madcap journey with Jaakko. I was treated to plenty of drama and laughs along the way. With plenty of intriguing twists and turns I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Man Who Died.

Five stars from me!


With thanks to Anne Cater & Orenda Books for my copy and the invite to join the tour. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.


Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary @cass_oleary #CoverReveal @rararesources


Thank you for joining me today for another wonderful cover reveal. I'm delighted to be sharing the fabulous cover for Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary, so let's take a look...




So what do you think?
Well let's take a look at the description for the book...


Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love. A great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.

At least, that’s what Lily Lucas tells the perfume counter customers. Personally, Lily is tired of perfumes with a sickly sweet top note that make her dizzy. She definitely does not want to stick her nose in another scent with a base note of stinky old socks. 

After leaving her home in Sydney, Lily moves to Melbourne and a new job as a perfume counter manager in a major department store. One day she wants to own a Parisian-style perfumerie, but at the moment she’s spritzing perfume on unsuspecting customers and ringing up purchases until she falls off her high heels at the end of a long day. 

The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, the ex-cop senior security guard, who happens to look like a Greek god. She’d happily stare at him all day, but keeps falling at his feet like a klutz. It’s kind of embarrassing. No other man has ever had this effect on her. He smells so good up close, she gets a little woozy. But in a good way.

Rumours about Christos swirl around the department store staff. There’s a scent of scandal. The reason he quit the police force wasn’t a happy one. But he’s the strong, silent type. A mystery box. Lily hopes she can get close enough to unwrap him. When he asks for her help, it seems like the perfect opportunity to get to know him better…if she can trust him.
It’s almost Christmas and the whole store is bedecked with decorations, and Lily has to gift wrap and sell eleventy billion gift sets assisted by a team of glamorous spritzer chicks. Meanwhile sneaky guys are trying to get into the store room at night and stock is going missing. It could be an inside job. Lily helps Christos setup a sting. They are a team, sort of. But why won’t he confide in her?

She’d like to be kissed by Christos (and more) preferably not while wearing the hideous red velvet onesie and reindeer antlers all the spritzer chicks are supposed to wear. But can they solve a crime, and get it together to go on an actual date before Christmas?

Publication date – 6th November 2017

Book Links




**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader's Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**


Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. 

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.


 Social Media Links

Twitter – @cass_oleary

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan @lisalregan #CoverReveal @bookouture

Thank you for joining me today I'm delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan.

What are we waiting for let's take a look... 




So what do you think?

I love the design it just that has that little bit of a creepy edge to it!

Well now we have seen the cover let's find out a little bit about the book, here's the description...



Vanishing Girls: A totally heart-stopping crime thriller (Detective Josie Quinn gripping crime fiction series – Book 1

She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…  

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Helen Fields and Robert Dugoni will be utterly gripped and sleeping with the lights on once they discover the first in this unputdownable new crime thriller series.

Publication date - 17th Jan 2018

Buy Links






Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Find out more at her website: www.lisaregan.com

Connect with Lisa Regan here:






Warwick's Mermaid by Ellie Gray @elliegray58 #Review #BlogTour @BrookCottagebks #Extract




I'm so happy to be joining the blog tour for Warwick's Mermaid by Ellie Gray and today I will be sharing my review. First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book, then read on for an extract and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win an ecopy of the book!




Genre:   Contemporary Romance
Release Date:   11 October 2017
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.

When the arrival of her new neighbour and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?

EXTRACT
Chloe stared at the bright blue front door, not quite sure if she was willing it to open or remain shut. Cerulean Bliss. She had been drawn to the name, conjuring up images of crystal clear Mediterranean Sea, sandy beaches, and cloudless skies. Chris had appeared amused by her decision to choose the paint based on the name rather than the colour.
‘‘Babe, if you want Cerulean Bliss for the front door, Cerulean Bliss is what we’ll go for.’’
But when he’d returned from a boys’ weekend away to find Chloe had painted the door, it had been a different story. He had flown into a rage, claiming she hadn’t consulted with him on the colour and had gone behind his back, waiting until he was away to make changes to his house. That was the first time she had been on the receiving end of his anger; the first time she had been frightened and confused by his apparent about-turn on something he had previously agreed to. It hadn’t been the last time.
Chloe glanced at her watch, frowning when it showed only a minute had passed since she had last looked. The frown deepened when she lifted a hand to rub her eyebrow and saw how much her fingers were trembling. A gentle hand touched her forearm and she looked up to meet her friend’s calm gaze.
‘Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.’
Chloe shook her head, unable to prevent her gaze from returning to the front door only twenty or so metres from where they were sitting in her car. What if he glanced around and saw her? What if he didn’t?
‘What am I doing, Bekah?’ She dropped her head in her hands, squeezing her eyes shut and immediately wincing as that small movement resulted in more pain than it should.
‘The right thing, that’s what.’ Rebekah rubbed her friend’s forearm. ‘Come on, Chloe. We talked about this.’
‘I know, I know we did.’ Chloe lifted her chin, but didn’t remove her gaze from the door. ‘I just…I keep thinking about it, over and over. He’s not always that bad, not really, and I think…I think maybe it was my fault.’
Chloe didn’t have to see her friend’s face to know she was angry; she could feel it radiating from her in waves. Rebekah remained silent and reached across to pull down the sun visor in front of Chloe, lifting up the small flap covering the vanity mirror.
‘There is nothing you could have done that would ever justify what he did to you. Nothing.’
Chloe stared at her reflection, taking in the dark purple bruise circling her left eye—now bloodshot and half-closed—the ugly graze reaching across her cheekbone and further down to the swollen and split bottom lip. Without thinking, she licked her lip. The tip of her tongue slipped over the injury, and she drew in a sharp breath at the sting it produced.
She met her gaze in the mirror once more, noting the confusion and uncertainty dulling their green hue. ‘I know. But it’s not usually this bad. He pushes me around a bit sometimes, nothing major, and he says things…you know, usually when he’s had a drink.’
‘That doesn’t make it right. You know that.’ Rebekah blew out a long breath. ‘I can’t believe you never told me.’
Chloe avoided her friend’s accusing gaze. What could she have told her? That Chris was proving her mother right? That she wasn’t woman enough for any man?
‘It doesn’t matter now anyway. I—’ She drew in a strangled breath as the front door opened and, shrinking down a little in her seat, Chloe prayed he wouldn’t glance down the street and recognise her car among all the others parked along the kerb.
As she watched, Chris locked the door before turning and sauntering along the path, tossing his keys in the air and catching them, his lips pursed as he whistled. Chloe couldn’t hear from this distance, but she knew he would be whistling the tune to whichever song had been on the radio before he left the house. She glanced at her watch once more; 8.15am on the dot. Chris was a creature of habit.
‘Bastard.’ Rebekah thumped the dashboard in obvious frustration as he got into his car without glancing left or right before driving off. ‘Look at him, acting as if he hasn’t a care in the world. You should have let Sean come round last night and hammer ten bells out of him, see how he liked it.’
Chloe gave a weak smile. ‘I don’t suppose that would have solved anything.’
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Rebekah finally opened her door.
‘So, come on then. Let’s do it.’
Chloe bit her lip and immediately winced in pain, wishing she hadn’t. Gingerly exploring her lip with her fingers, she saw they were stained with blood, and stifling a sigh, searched in her bag for a tissue.
‘What if he comes back? What if he’s forgotten something?’
‘He’s not coming back. He’s gone to work,’ said Rebekah, nodding her encouragement. ‘Come on, the sooner we get in, the sooner we get out. We’ll only be a few minutes.’



My heart broke for Chloe in the opening to this book and I was also so angry that she had endured such a terrible time. So I really hoped that she would find a bit of peace as she started her new life. Chloe has suffered with her confidence so there is a vulnerability to her that was so sad to see especially how damaged her confidence is. Luke is surprised to feel a connection with Chloe and their first meeting made me like him even more as he pretty much became her knight in shining armour. Even if she really didn't want him to be! I really enjoyed hearing the story from both Chloe and Luke's perspective it was lovely to see their connection play out. There were some characters who I fell for namely Luke but also characters who I really hated namely Chris!

The setting for the story was perfect and Ellie Gray had a lovely descriptive way of describing everything so it felt as if I was right there. The pace of the story is steady and gives you time to get to know the characters. So even though it's a short book I never once thought that the story was being rushed along. I couldn't help but root for Chloe and Luke, but will there be a happy ending for them?


It's the kind of story where I just wanted to curl up with a hot chocolate and become immersed in the story so that is exactly what I did. With this being a short story it is perfect to sit and read in one go.

With drama, love and new beginnings Warwick's Mermaid was a joy to read!


Four stars from me!

With thanks to Brook Cottage Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.



Ellie Gray is a contemporary romance author who loves to write heart-warming, sensual romances with characters her readers can really identify with. Her novels are set in places inspired by her own life and travels, including the beautiful UK Yorkshire countryside as well as far flung, exotic countries such as Egypt.

Currently working on her fourth novel, and still tinkering away at a young adult novel first started some years ago, Ellie loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through any of the social media links below or through her website.

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