Feb 21, 2018

The Joy of Kitchen Renovations! aka It's Finally Quiet Enough to Write Again - Annie West

Starting from scratch - after the kitchen was ripped out.
Well, we survived! Better than I expected, actually. If the words kitchen renovations fill you with fear, then you'll know what I mean. We've renovated before, but never a kitchen. We did easy rooms, where no plumbing was involved, and where, despite the mess around the place we could still end the day with a home cooked meal. But here - not so easy, as you'll see from this photo. 

Weeks without a kitchen bench, with doing the washing up in the laundry, with having a bare minimum of work space on a fold up table in the back room. Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd anticipated, maybe because it's summer and it was easy to live off salads and barbecues. Plus the experts who did the hard work were so good to work with (and not a single blaring radio in the place). I can put up with hammering and drilling and still manage to do some work, but loud radios mean an end to my word count. In this case, I admit I tended to take myself out on the really busy days.

During the process - minus benchtops and doors.

One of the best things about the new design is its accessibility. No more blind corner cupboards to dig into. You'll see from the photo above the two corner contraptions that pull right out into the room so you can get to the things you've packed away. Plus lots of drawers and, sigh, a walk in pantry. Heaven! Is it any wonder I walk into this room and smile? And, best of all - the bench height. For the first time in my adult life I have a bench that is the right height for me. It's marvellous to spend time working here and not get that niggle of pain from bending all the time. My skyscraper son would have been happy with an even taller bench but he can get his own!


The transformation took longer than expected, with some public holiday delays but we think it was worth waiting for. I'm still filling cupboards (and culling) and still have a table covered in bits and pieces waiting for their new home, but it's rather fun taking time to decide just where everything goes.

How about you? Have you done renovations? Were they a huge success or do you want to run, screaming to the hills at the mention of the word 'renovation'? Are you dreaming of a makeover and haven't yet attempted it? I'd be interested to hear your story!



Feb 20, 2018

Romance Trivia with Stefanie London


Stefanie London here! Recently I participated in a really fun event: Romance Trivia.


Along with my awesome publisher, Harlequin, we ran a night of cocktails, books and all-things romance.


To make the night even more special, the bar created cocktails for the hosting authors books!! (You can see the Bad Bachelor in this pick, cool huh?)


So, I thought it might be fun (instead of doing a normal post) to have a little romance trivia here on the Lovecats blog and Facebook page. Want to play? Share your answers in the comments below.


1. What Walt Disney animated film was hyped as "The most beautiful love story ever told"?

2. What planetary body was named after the Roman goddess of love?

3. How did Prince Harry & Meghan Markle meet?

4. What movie is this quote from: “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.”?

5. Which Friends character was first to get married in real life?



Place your best guesses in the comments. No cheating!

Feb 18, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Amy Andrews

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from but first ...... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Jillian Jones!

 











Can you please contact Rachel Bailey at Rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com to receive your prize.


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Playing House.


https://www.amazon.com/Playing-House-Sydney-Smoke-Rugby-ebook/dp/B0796X8GFY


Eleanor is content with her boring life—mostly. She’s even fine being the quirky sister in a bevy of beauties. So imagine her surprise when one of her brother’s Sydney Smoke mates hits on her at an engagement party. Her. The weird sister, who wears vintage dresses and prefers her books to parties.
Bodie is shocked the next morning to find the soft, sexy virgin who seduced him with corsets is his best friend’s little sister. If he could kick his own ass, he would. And two months later, she’s got an even bigger surprise for him. Now he needs to convince the corset-loving wallflower that he loves her uniqueness if they’ve got a chance at forever.
He always did love a challenge…


Scene set-up

Eleanor is waiting in the hotel room for Bodie to join her. Tonight's the night she's losing it and she's a tad nervous!

Smooch  -



Eleanor jumped at the knock. Her pulse spiked and the muscles of her neck contracted. Bodie had assured her he’d come, but here he was, on the other side of the door, and suddenly she was overwhelmed by the thought this was really happening.
It had been exactly three minutes since she’d let herself into his room. The entire trip upstairs, she’d been convinced she was going to run into somebody she knew and be delayed. A lot of locals had stayed in town for the night after the country/city match to celebrate their local boy’s impending nuptials.
Which meant a lot of potential for gossip.
Thankfully, the staircase had been empty, as had the long corridor to the guest rooms. Now, all she had to do was go through with it. God…could she?
Yes. She could.
A second knock accelerated her pulse, and her gaze darted to the door a half-dozen steps away. She was going to have sex. Lose her virginity. Be deflowered.
She wished she’d had some more time to think about how it might go down, but all she’d had time for was snapping on the beside lamp, stripping off her clothes and climbing into the white, hotel-supplied bathrobe she’d found hanging in the closet.
Just in case he thought she was actually here to talk about the occult practices of nineteenth century England.
Plus, the corset and bloomers she was wearing beneath her dress tended to slow down the disrobing process, and she didn’t want that. It was hard to believe that a guy like Bodie was even interested, especially after prattling on about hypnotising lions, so she didn’t want to make it any more difficult to do the deed.
A third knock. Eep! Was she actually doing this? A quiet, “Eleanor?” galvanized her out of her inertia.
Yes she was!
Without giving herself time to have a panic attack or chicken out, she practically tripped over her own toes getting to the door. She must have looked a flustered wreck as she yanked it open, her pulse in her neck pounding madly, but he didn’t seem to notice as he pressed one big shoulder into the door frame and his gaze took a slow tour of her body.
It lingered where the gown crisscrossed the deep V of her cleavage before lifting to her face. “I wasn’t sure you were going to open the door.”
His voice tumbled over her smooth as water over river stones and dear God, the man smelled good. He towered over her as he lounged lazily in the doorframe. His gaze dropped to the rise of her breasts then back again. “I see you slipped into something more comfortable?”
Eleanor’s cheeks heated, and her heart raced. Her instinct was to apologise for being so…forward. But damn it, she hadn’t come here to play Scrabble or admire the recent refurbishment to the accommodations. This was operation losing it.
She drew in a shaky breath. “Yes.”
He smiled. “May I come in?
Eleanor’s knees wobbled at the request. This was his room, and she was clearly naked beneath the gown, but the fact that he was asking her permission to enter hit her in all her nineteenth-century feels.
Bodie may have been an elite rugby player, but the man had manners. And manners made Eleanor swoon like crazy.
If he wasn’t careful, she’d fall in love with him.
She grabbed him by the tie and yanked him inside.
He didn’t need any more encouragement, and Eleanor vaguely heard the door clicking shut as the hardness of his body smooshed up against the softness of hers. She pushed up on her tippy toes, seeking his mouth, and he met her halfway.
She moaned at the first touch of his lips, uncaring how much of a rookie she sounded. She was electrified by the feel of him and intoxicated by his taste and smell. His whiskers prickled and teased and she moaned again, her hands grabbing hold of his biceps as the earth tilted on its axis. 
“Christ.” He pulled away, his chest heaving as he stared down at her, his inky gaze satisfyingly bewildered. “You taste so good. I want to feast on you all night.”
Eleanor barely had time to register the feral lust turning his looks from preppy to predatory before his mouth was back on hers, hot and hard. He hauled her up his body, his hands gripping the backs of her thighs, lifting her feet off the ground, urging her legs apart.
Her gown gaped below the tie as her ankles locked tight around his waist, and Eleanor clung to him, oblivious of all else but him. Sucking in his taste and his scent, the rough chug of his breath and the deep rumble of his groan. Nothing mattered but the sweet plunder of his mouth, the heat of his belly pressed into the soft flesh of her inner thighs and the hardness of muscles beneath his skin.
She didn’t register him moving, his long sure strides efficiently eating up the distance between the door and the bed without tripping or missing a step despite having a fully grown woman wrapped around him. She didn’t even register falling or the soft embrace of the mattress as they landed. Or the fact her ankles stayed locked tight.
She did register the delicious weight of his body, the way his hips settled into the cradle of hers and the steel of his erection at the bare juncture of her thighs.
Oh yeah baby. Her vagina was all over that.


 


The footy season is about to start again for the year. For a chance to win an electronic copy of Playing House (must have an Amazon account) tell me, are you a footy (of any code) fan and who's your team?


Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a new smooch will be posted!


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

Feb 16, 2018

The LoveCats Feb & March Releases!

Happy Friday, everyone! We here at the LoveCats are pretty excited today because we're looking forward to all the lovely March released, while still devouring the Feb books. Here, have a look! Are there any upcoming books (from LoveCats or any author) that you're particularly looking forward to?



Winner

 
 
Drumroll please...
 
The winner of my Valentine's Day giveaway is Diana Michelle Tidlund! Congratulations, Diana, and I hope you'll enjoy my duet. Send me a PM or email with your postal details and I'll pop it in the post for you asap.

And thanks to everyone who came and shared their stories! I loved each and everyone of them. :-)
 

Feb 14, 2018

Best present ever...

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is the 20th anniversary of my Best Present Ever. Now, to be perfectly honest, Mr Douglas and I don’t normally go in for Valentine’s Day presents, but he made an exception 20 years ago.

Why?

Because it was our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple…and we’d been married for less than three weeks. :-)

An awful lot of you will know that we eloped to London and spent our wedding night in the Dorchester (best hotel ever). Here’s a picture of the newly married me in our ‘Double Deluxe Room with Four Poster Bed and Views of Hyde Park.’ I look pretty happy, huh?



Well…before we left London for Australia over a week later, Mr Douglas managed to sneak back to the Dorchester to buy one of their amazingly plush robes for me. He smuggled it back in his suitcase and then hid it for a week before surprising me with it on Valentine’s Day. I never suspected a thing!

Happy sighs. :-)

So in honour of that memory, and of Valentine’s Day, I’m giving away a copy of my February Mills & Boon Australian Favourites duo: Her Irresistible Protector and The Rebel and the Heiress. All you have to do to enter the draw is to leave a comment telling me what has been your favourite present ever. :-) Good luck. Oh, and have a happy Valentine’s Day!



 Her Irresistible Protector
When Officer Mitchell King — her ex and the only guy Tash Buckley has ever loved — arrives on her doorstep, claiming she needs his protective custody, Tash is more concerned by the heart-fluttering, pulse-racing effect he still has on her!
Confined to Mitch’s beachside cabin, Tash finds it increasingly difficult to resist her delicious protector...
The Rebel And The Heiress
After losing her family fortune, it’s time for once-privileged Nell Smythe-Whittaker to make it on her own…with a little help from delicious bad boy Rick Bradford!
Rick hasn’t seen Nell since childhood, but with a family mystery to solve Rick needs Nell as much as she needs him. Yet with a past as chequered as his, can Rick ever be good enough for this beautiful heiress? It’s something he’s willing to prove...

Feb 12, 2018

Shopping – love it or hate it?

I live in the small regional town of Byron Bay. It is a tourism mecca. The centre of town has lots of little shops but I very rarely go shopping. Why? Because I really don’t enjoy shopping. I know. Crazy. Aren’t all women supposed to like shopping? But I don’t.

Yesterday, my daughter had some shopping needs that were beyond our local offerings so we had to drive to our closest major shopping centre over an hour away at Robina (yes – in another state). It has all the major chain stories, DJs, Myers etc. With all that was on offer, the only store that I really enjoyed being in was Kikki K – the stationary store. I love all those notebooks, pens, books about being organized etc. I didn’t buy anything as I have so many notebooks already, it is going to take me a lifetime to use them all. But I do love all those pretty items and it was so hard not to add to my notebook collection.
Small sample of my notebooks

But the rest of it, I can leave (well except perhaps for an 85% designer clothes sale).  And as I discovered, so can my daughter. After about an hour she said ‘you know what Mum, shopping is really boring.’ So, like mother, like daughter.

I know we can’t be the only people for whom shopping is at the bottom of the list of fun things to do but I’m beginning to worry as all my friends love it.


So, is there anyone else out there who finds shopping boring? Or are we alone in the ‘shopping is quite boring’ sphere?