Can you help?

My friend, thriller author extraordinaire, Mark Dawson has reached out to his author friends for help for a great cause. Here’s what Mark has to say.

Can you help?

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Emma Johns is the wife of my son’s godfather and has been battling with breast cancer for five years. In the middle of her gruelling treatment she found out that she was pregnant (the chemotherapy was supposed to make her infertile but, to her surprise, it didn’t).

And then, in December, she gave birth to her own little miracle: baby Phoenix.

Emma’s condition is worsening but there is hope: a trial immunotherapy drug called Pembrolizumab has shown amazing results for women with incurable triple negative breast cancer (like her). But, due to her pregnancy, Emma missed out on being eligible for the only trial available for this drug. Her best option now is to pay for it privately for the eye-watering sum of £40,000.

I’ve written a short story – called PHOENIX – and I will be giving all of the proceeds to her and her family. The book is available for preorder right now and it is priced as low as I can make it while still attracting the highest royalty from the online retailers. For every $2.99 purchase of Phoenix, Emma and her family will receive $2.

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PHOENIX is available for preorder at these links:

AMAZON   iBOOKS   KOBO   BARNES & NOBLE  GOOGLE PLAY  

She does Britain’s dirty work, but this time she needs help. Beatrix Rose, meet John Milton…

Beatrix Rose has a knack for making the British government’s problems go away. When the assassin is sent to Venezuela to track down a missing scientist, she meets a contact who knows the lay of the land: none other than John Milton…

As the state-sanctioned assassin and the special forces soldier team up in South America, they’ll do more than capture a missing scientist. They’ll discover a secret that will change Beatrix’s life forever…

Phoenix is a short story that unites two landmark thriller characters in a single tale. If you like ruthless assassins, fast-moving plots, and Jack Reacher-style action, then you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Mark Dawson’s latest short.

Buy Phoenix to witness the thrilling team-up today!

All proceeds from Phoenix will go to fund breast cancer treatment for superhero mother Emma Johns and her family.

Thank you,

Mark Dawson.

As all of you who follow my blog know, I’m a breast cancer survivor who dodged a bullet and lived to tell the tale. I wish Emma Johns and her family all the luck in the world and hope they raise enough to fund Emma’s treatment.

Christine X

IT’S MONDAY, ANOTHER SLICE OF LUDLOW LIFE . . . Aaaaand she’s back . . .

Rosie

 

Greetings, my awesome readers,

I hope this finds you well after the weekend, and raring to go for the week ahead. It’s been a while since we heard from Rosie … She’s back …

***

Working alone, Rosie Ludlow is busy, busy, at Sweet Sensations running against a deadline to deliver a surprise order of four dozen cupcakes for an engagement party before five o’clock . . .

*The kitchen smells of toffee, chocolate, and vanilla icing. Even though the place is rocking to Ella Henderson praying by a river, baby Mila is sound asleep in her amazing top of the line stroller. White rubber clog tapping to the beat, Rosie’s wearing chef whites, her inky curls tied back beneath a cap and net. With her tongue caught firmly between her teeth, she uses quick flicks of the wrist to pipe tiny spears of white meringue icing to make a ball effect for the topping of the chocolate cupcakes. It takes a steady hand, precision and a good eye to place a red cherry made of icing with a fragile chocolate stalk on the top. Since they were fiddly little bastards, she’d made the cherries the day before. When Nico Ferranti strolls through the door looking for all the world as if he’s just walked off a photo shoot for GQ, she sends him a lightning grin, nods to the pot of coffee on the counter top*

“Coffee’s hot, big boy. Help yourself. Let me just finish up here.”

Nico pokes his head inside one of the eight boxes of white card, checks out the cupcakes. “Amazing. You are a clever girl, cara. But why are you working so late?”

“It’s a favor,” she says, her focus one hundred per cent on the job at hand. “And they’re paying me big bucks for this favor. Bronte offered to help, but Eve’s cutting another tooth and it’s not going well. Her little cheek is all swollen and hot. Poor baby.”

Making himself right at home, Nico helps himself to a cup from the cupboard, pours himself a coffee from the pot. “Si. The twins didn’t suffer as much as la mia bambina. We’ve had to resort to medication to bring down the inflammation.”

*Rosie finishes the final cupcake, lays the cherry on the top, and carefully places the work of art in a box. The box lids are all sitting waiting. By the time she’s placed gold and black Sweet Sensation stickers on each box and ties them with black satin bows, Nico’s grinning at her quick fingered expertize. She checks the huge clock on the wall, turns the music down. While Nico pours her a coffee, she pulls the net and cap from her head to reveal inky curls that fall in a tail between her shoulder blades. She accepts her coffee and closes her eyes as she takes a sip of the black stuff. Heaven*

“Thanks,” she says, leans her hip against the stainless steel counter top, and eyes him appreciatively from the top of his immaculately cut hair, the sharp threads (Italian of course) to his hand stitched shoes. “Are you coming or going from a meeting?”

“Coming,” he says in the deep Italian accent that always makes her mouth curve. Man, with Nico as her husband her pal Bronte has got herself a hunka-hunka burnin’ love. His next words wipe the smirk from her face. “I have been meaning to stop by and have a little chat with you.”

*Little chat? Uh oh. Rosie recognizes the signs, that sharp eyed look, the way his mouth has gone firm. Something’s up*

“Everything okay with Bronte? Things okay at home?”

Nico nods. “Everything is mostly fine. Except for Sophia . . .”

Rosie blinks and can’t help but grin widely. “What’s up with my favorite niece? Been cutting hair again? Putting toys down the toilet? Painting toenails that don’t belong to her?”

Nico’s mouth curves, but he shakes his head. “No. But she’s quoting statements from ‘Auntie Rosie’ almost every time she opens her mouth. And some of the statements, cara mia, are causing her mama and me a few bad moments.”

Not in the least bit fazed by the way he’s glowering at her, Rosie sends him a cheeky grin. “Yeah? That’s my girl. Inquisitive. Smart as a whip.”

Nico’s dark brows lift. “Si. But it seems she knows a little too much about certain things, like child birth, and . . . sex. She was happy to inform a car load of children including her BFF Emily, that according to auntie Rosie, Tonio, just like me, is gonna break hundreds of hearts with his love muscle . . .” Nico waits until a spluttering Rosie stops laughing to continue, “then she told the same audience that women, and I quote, are cursed each month and put their men through hell. Men, according to auntie Rosie, do not know they are living.”

Wiping her eyes on kitchen towel, Rosie takes a breath. “Omigod. The little monkey. She’s been listening to adult conversations again. What the hell is she like? You’ll need to break her of the habit, Nico.”

Nico blinks. “Si, but . . .”

Rosie shifts to top up their cups. “Thing is, Sophia is super bright. She can write everyone’s name. Her reading age is way ahead of her peers. She’s also overcurious and nosey. The trick for you and Bronte will be to channel that investigative trait within her into something positive. I’ve been thinking maybe horse riding to balance all that physical and emotional energy. Or ballet or gymnastics . . .”

Nico shudders at the thought. He cannot imagine what his daughter would be like if she was doing gymnastics. The conversation is not going Nico’s way. He’s here to ensure Rosie bites her tongue around his daughter. On the other hand, he can’t resist the complete lack of guile in Rosie’s dark chocolate Bambi eyes. Hell, he doesn’t want to upset a woman he adores. In truth, he doesn’t want Rosie to be anything other than Rosie, so he treads carefully and tries again, “I, we, feel Sophia is too young to understand certain things like how a woman has eggs in her ovaries . . .”

Rosie nods enthusiastically and jumps in with, “Exactly. You and Bronte are doing an amazing job with your children, but especially with Sophia. It is very important for adults to answer a child’s questions with the facts and total honesty. A penis is a penis and a vagina is a vagina. I simply do not understand why some adults, especially men, cannot be honest about procreation and how the human body works. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, Nico. Not telling a child the truth can set them up for an epic fail when they hit the hell that is puberty. It’s dangerous. Get Bronte to tell you the story of when our mothers were at school in the seventies. In their year was a girl of fifteen who’s first sexual experience with a boy, who just as clueless as her, ended up with her at A&E because of an infected navel. Apparently, the poor kids believed they had sex via the belly button. I am not joking. Our mothers drummed the facts of life into us as soon as we began asking questions.”

Dio mio. Nico knew his jaw was on the floor, knew there was perspiration beading on his top lip. “Si, but . . .”

*Baby Mila stirs, and her mama is at her side in an instant*

“Aw, did you have a good sleepy sloppy?” Rosie coos as she nuzzles the baby. She sniffs her diaper, makes a horrible face. “Phew. A diaper bomb.”

Nico can’t help but grin at how happy Rosie is since she married Alexander and became a mama. Today his mission has been as Rosie would say, ‘An Epic Fail.’ But he loves her. Perhaps he’ll just need to live with her Big Mouth because at the end of the day he wouldn’t change her for the world.

“I’ll leave you to it,” he says.

Rosie jiggles Mila, grabs the diaper bag hanging onto the stroller handle. “Drop in any time. Try not to worry about Sophia. If I were you I’d forget about a convent for her, too. The planet is made up of fifty per cent men, Nico. Better Sophia learns how to handle the suckers. When she grows up, that girl will have the world by the balls.”

And that, Nico decides as he strolls to his car, is exactly the problema. By the time Sophia Ferranti becomes a fully formed new adult, his hair will be white from worry and stress. As he drives towards home, he nods. He’ll handle anything his baby girls will throw at him because, at the end of the day, he’s Italian.

 

FINITO

 

Can’t fault Rosie’s own brand of logic.

Nico didn’t stand a chance!

The pre-order links for SEAN should be up in a couple of days (it was my birthday last week, so I got side-tracked by my wonderful family.)

Hugs

Christine X

It’s (just after) Monday, and here’s more from the Ferranti Fam-lee.

Behind every great daughteris a truly amazing dadand his name is Nico Ferranti

 

 

Hi, guys!

I’m late with this week’s post due to travelling yesterday. A trip that was supposed to take about five hours took nearly nine thanks to an acid spill on the motorway (freeway) which ate up the tarmac. We were stuck in a ten mile tail back in one of the hottest days of the year. Not fun.

Here’s this week’s slice of life with the Ferranti Fam-lee!

BRONTE & NICO EATING A ROAST CHICKEN, WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, DINNER WITH THE KIDS AT THE DOWER HOUSE.

*Luca, his little face a picture of complete misery, is pushing a piece of broccoli around his plate with a fork*

Dressed in below the knee jean shorts and an Incredible Hulk T-shirt, he says in a tone of utter disgust, “I hate this stuff.”

Sophia dressed in matching shorts and a Frozen T-shirt swings her bare legs beneath her chair, nods. “Me, too.” She spears a piece of chicken breast, nibbles delicately.

“I’m not eating it.” Luca’s mouth goes tight as he moves his full plate away.

*Bronte studies her youngest son’s stony face. He doesn’t look flushed. He doesn’t look pale. It’s not like him to make a fuss. He’s gone through a sudden growth spurt and is at least a head taller than his twin sister, so maybe he’s tired. He tends to leave food he doesn’t want, which is fine with her. But she frowns when Sophia, in a show of sisterly solidarity, pushes her full plate away, too. Little monkey*

Tonio, who by the amount of food he scoffs at meal times possesses hollow legs, cranes his neck to check out their plates. “Not want the chicken?”

Luca makes a horrible face, shoves his plate across the table to his brother. “Nope. It’s gross.”

*Bronte’s brows fly into her hairline. Excuse me? Since when has her freshly prepared, carefully balanced meals ever been regarded as gross? But before she can open her mouth, Nico steps into the breach*

“Do you have a headache? Are you sick?” he asks Luca.

Luca shakes his head. Big dark eyes meet his papa’s. “I don’t like these little trees. They taste gross, like soil. Why do I wanna eat soil?”

Nico sends Bronte big eyes to tell her he’ll deal with the sudden revolt in his family. He turns to his son. “We have carrots. You like carrots.”

Luca makes another horrible face. “I don’t like cooked carrots. I like raw carrots.”

“I like raw carrots, too,” Sophia says. She turns to Luca. “Maybe you’d like raw trees?”

“Yuk.”

“I do not mind the little trees,” Tonio says, spearing broccoli from Luca’s plate to his own, and then helping himself to chicken breast in gravy. “Mama makes the best food. Much better than school food. The priests used to say that we who have full plates and full bellies are blessed by Jesus. Around the world there are thousands of little childrens going to bed every day with empty bellies because of war… and stuff.”

Sophia’s green eyes went wide. “Little childrens go to bed with no dinner?”

Si.” Tonio broke a table rule by pointing his knife at his sister. “And without breakfast, and even lunch. Sometimes the little childrens have no food for days. Babies, too, have no milk.”

Now Luca’s bottom lip’s trembling, and his big dark eyes swim. “But… You’ve eaten all my dinner. Now I’m gonna go to bed with no dinner, just like the poor little childrens and babies who have no milk.”

Sophia’s bottom lip joins her brother’s in a show of sibling sympathy. “Me, too, just like the poor childrens.”

*Nico’s eyes go huge as he looks at a wife who’s biting down hard on her bottom lip. Dio mio. Just listen to them, a person might think that Nico Ferranti starves his childrens, er children. Tonio’s English is amazing, but sometimes he has trouble*

Nico claps his hands. “We have plenty of food for everyone in this house. There is lots of chicken for anyone who wants it.”

Luca’s big eyes find his papa’s. “But… but… what about the little children who have no food? Can’t we give them our food if we have too much?”

*By this time, Bronte’s hand is covering her mouth to hide her smile. Her baby boy has a good heart, big heart. A heart that is easily bruised*

“Yes,” Sophia cries. “Emily’s daddy says my papa’s a filthy rich typhoon. Papa will send lots of food to the hungry childrens, especially lots of roast chicken and gravy.” She turns big emerald eyes to a Nico who’s still trying to recover from the shock of being called a ‘filthy rich typhoon’. “Won’t you, papa?”

Nico sends his daughter a nod. “Si. Ferranti Enterprises supports many charities, including Save The Children.”

*All three of his kids gaze at him in awe and wonder. Actually, he and his team donate much needed blankets and clothes to the United Nations refugee camps currently based in Jordan and Turkey*

“What does Save The Children do?” Sophia asks.

Nico clears his throat, the last thing he wants is to worry his kids, but it seems they are ready to hear about those less fortunate than themselves. “Well, they make sure children have clean water to drink and that they have a safe place to sleep, and they make sure they have clothes and food.”

Luca’s eyes go huge. “They have no water? No bed to sleep in?”

“Sometimes,” Bronte jumps in. “There is a natural disaster, like a flood or an earthquake, and houses are damaged or crops destroyed, so help is sent from many people all over the world.”

Without asking to leave the table, Sophia slides out of her chair. She moves to kneel on her papa’s lap and goes nose to nose with Nico. “When I’m a big girl and I can read and write good and get all my sums right, can I work for Save The Childrens?”

Nico can hardly swallow the lump of pride in his throat. Dio mio, how lucky is he to have such children? He cups Sophia’s little face, kisses her forehead, her nose. Then shifts to look her in the eye. “Cara mia, if you work hard you can do whatever you want to do in the whole wide world. Do you know why?”

Sophia’s high ponytail of shiny silver bounces as she shakes her head. “Why?”

“Because you are Italian.”

 

Finito

 

Gotta love the kids.

Until next week, enjoy the summer and hold your childrens tight and give them a big hug from me.

Christine X

 

 

 

Another slice of Ludlow life with Nico and the kids

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READ IT FREE HERE

Happy Monday, my lovelies,

After all the excitement of the weekend, here’s something to make you smile.

Another scene from the busy lives of the Ferranti family.

NICO AND THE KIDS IN THE CAR ON THE WAY TO THE DOWER HOUSE

*Nico and Tonio are in front, while Luca, Sophia and her best pal, Emily, are sitting in the back*
Easing the car around a tight bend, Nico shoots Tonio the side-eye, and grins. “You played well. I am proud of you.”
Tonio makes a face, gives a jerky shrug of a skinny shoulder. He spits on his palm and proceeds to clean grass stain, mud and blood from his skinned knee. “Si, but we lost by one goal.”
Si, but the team never gave up. You fought to the bitter end,” Nico says. He glances at Tonio’s sulky mouth, bites down hard on his bottom lip. He can’t bear the boy’s bitter disappointment. But such is life. “Why don’t we do a pit-stop for burgers?”
“Yay!” chorus Tonio and Luca.
“Mama doesn’t like us having burgers,” pipes up Sophia. She turns to look at a wide-eyed Emily. “Unless she makes them herself. And Luca is not allowed soda, he throws up everywhere. It’s totally gross.”
*Nico makes a face. How did he forget Ms. Big Ears with her big mouth was sitting in the back seat. Busted. Bronte’s gonna give him hell, but he can’t back out now and disappoint the boys*
“Mama won’t mind this one time,” he says.
“My mummy says fast food is full of complete crap. It gives you heart desees and cancer, and alls climbers,” Emily says.
*Nico racks his brain to work out what ‘alls climbers’ might be*
“Alzheimers,” Tonio says helpfully.
“Auntie Rosie says a Big Mac is the work of the devil,” Sophia says as she watches the world go by out the window.
*Since there was no good answer to that, the guys in the front keep schtum. Nico wonders why the hell he didn’t keep his mouth shut about burgers. All is peace and quiet, until….*
“My daddy,” Emily begins. “Says that mummies have a special zipper in their tummy and that’s how a baby is born.”
*Nico and Tonio go utterly still and stare unblinking at the road ahead with wide eyes*
“He lied,” Sophia says with the grim authority of a person who knows exactly what she’s talking about.
*Dio mio, is all Nico can think as his mind goes blank and a cold sweat breaks out on his top lip*
“The baby comes out a mama’s vajayjay,” Sophia says with a relentlessness that has Nico’s sweat turning to ice. “With my own eyes I saw pictures in a book in Auntie Rosie’s bedroom after Mila was born. They were totally gross. Lots of blood and poop. It was disgusting. I’m never ever in my whole life ever having a baby.”
*In the rear view mirror Nico sees Luca turn a pale shade of green. He swings the car into a handy rest stop and leaps out the door. He’s just in time to grab his son before Luca’s breakfast is tossed into the hedge. Without being asked Tonio climbs out of the front seat and into the back. Luca is better travelling in front, less likely to get carsick*
“Feeling better?” Nico asks, wiping his son’s white face with a hand wipe.
Luca nods. “I’m okay. It was just…” he shudders.
Si, capisco.” Nico understands exactly how the poor child feels.
*He pats Luca on the back and shoots a dark look to his daughter. A daughter who is sitting there like the Queen of all she surveys, as if butter wouldn’t melt. Meanwhile little Emily, a red headed fairy with wild corkscrew curls and a constellation of freckles anointing her pretty face, is all flushed cheeks and big blue eyes staring up at Tonio as if he’s a rock star. Dio mio. Nico wonders why he hasn’t gone straight home? He clicks the seat belt around Luca, hands him a plastic bag, just in case, and jogs around the bonnet to get into the drivers seat. As he pulls into the road he decides he needs a very stiff drink*
“Are you gonna get married one day, Tonio?” Emily whispers, hope a living, breathing, thing in her voice.
Before Tonio can respond, his sister does it for him. “Nah, he’s gonna be a world famous footballer, and date supermodels and film stars. My Auntie Rosie says if he’s anything like my papa he’s gonna break hundreds of hearts with his love muscle.”
*Cue a deadly silence. And Nico Ferranti swears to Sweet Baby Jesus and Bhudda and all God’s in the known Universe he is going to strangle Rosemary Margaret Ludlow with his own two hands*
Meanwhile Luca frowns, turns to his papa. “What’s a love muscle?”
“It’s a penis,” Sophia says, still clueless about the bombshell she’s dropped into her papa’s world as she stares out the window.
“My mummy says little girls are not supposed to talk about private parts. It’s naughty,” Emily says.
“Your mummy is quite right,” Nico growls from the front seat, desperately trying to catch his daughter’s eye in the rear view mirror. To no avail.
Sophia is still watching the world go by. “My Auntie Rosie says that talking the truth about sex to children is very important. I even know how a baby is put in a mummy’s tummy. In the book a picture shows……”
“SOPHIA FERRANTI,” Nico roars, his blood pressure threatening to give him a stroke, or a heart attack, or both. “One more word you will not be Elena’s flower girl.”
*Sophia’s head spins on her shoulders, her eyes, at last, meet her papa’s. The message is received and understood*
“But…” she begins, catches his eye again and closes her mouth.
*Silence*
Emily flutters her lashes at Tonio like a camel in a sandstorm. “Do you have a girlfriend?” she asks in a stage whisper.
Tonio sends her a grin that has poor Emily catch her breath. “Si. I am Italian.”
*Nico decides when he get’s home to his wife and baby girl, he’s gonna skip the wine and go straight for the hard stuff, Cognac*

Finito

This exact conversation actually happened between two six year olds in the back of my car when I’d picked them up from school – my son, Scott, takes Sophie’s role, and his best pal, Tom, is Emily. A few days earlier Scottie had found a copy of A Child Is Born and flicked through the pictures, stopped on one and said the immortal words, “This is totally gross.”….. Two days later his teacher asked me if I’d been giving him a talk about the birds and the bees. I said, ‘No. But that’d he’d found the book’ Then I asked, “What has he been saying? Are parents upset?” She shook her head. “Nope. He did a better job of it than I could.” Then she told me about a daddy who’d told his little girl about the baby zipper (his wife had had a c-section). We both agreed the zipper idea had not been a wise choice. Gotta love kids and their clueless daddy’s!

Until next week, my lovelies, be good. I’m desperately trying to catch-up on SEAN’s story, after the roller-coaster of the Referendum.

Christine X

Time for another slice of Ludlow Life

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CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE A FREE READ OF HOW THE WHOLE STORY BEGAN!

Apologies for being a little bit late with this post, it should have gone live last Friday, but I got caught up writing a story……

You guys are amazing. I’ve had readers here and on my Facebook asking for the ‘sneak peeks’ to be made into a book. *CC’s eyes grow big* Omigod. What the hell are all y’all like? I write these totally out of my head without editing etc. To turn them into a book will take lots of work and the scenes will change, too. So I’m not promising anything, but let’s see how we go. Thing is, that on Facebook and my blog I can’t write ‘real’ lurve scenes. I need to close the bedroom door. Anyhow, here’s the next slice of Ludlow life. (You guys kill me, seriously, you do. And I say that with love.)

 

BRONTE AND NICO IN THE FAMILY ROOM OF THE DOWER HOUSE.

 

 

*Dinner time. Family time. The gang’s all here, except for…  Nico strides through the door in his dark business suit looking for all the world like an ad for GQ. Immaculate. Sexy. Hot*

 

“Sorry I am late,” he says, and dumps his laptop bag on the couch, shrugs off his suit jacket, his silk tie, rolls up the sleeves of his pristine dress shirt. He walks to the sink to wash and dry his hands. Then he moves to the high-chair to kiss his baby girl, and a Sophia who yelps when he gently rubs his five-o’clock shadow on her soft cheek. Next he scrubs his knuckles on the top of a grinning Luca and Tonio’s dark curls. Last, but not least, he grabs Bronte in a big hug, pops a kiss on the tip of her nose. And misses the way her emerald eyes narrow as she takes a sniff of his neck, then a deep inhale. She sits back and studies him very hard as he takes his seat at the table.

*Bronte serves the food, her mouth a tight hard line. Nico chats to the kids*

“Had a good day?” he asks Tonio who is settling well into his new school.

Tonio nods as he digs into pasta with meatballs. He swallows. “Si. I have been picked for the football team. I’m playing on Saturday. Can you come?”

“Of course.” Nico lifts a wine bottle, pours himself a glass of Chianti from his own vineyards. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Can I come, too?” Luca pipes up.

Si,” his papa says and sends him a wink.

“I don’t wanna watch stupid football,” Sophia says as she nibbles on her pasta. “I’ll stay home with mama.”

Nico shrugs. “Nessun problema.” He turns to a silent Bronte, and frowns when he sees her set face, and cool green eyes. “That okay with you?”

“Fine,” she mutters.

*He blinks because he hasn’t been married to this woman for nearly seven years without understanding that when it comes to his wife ‘fine’ is a tricky word, especially in that particular tone. A tone that means, ‘I’m so far from fine I’m gonna poke your eye out with a white hot needle and fry your puny brain.’ OR ‘You’re so deep in excrement and don’t even know it.’ Nico receives the message loud and clear that it appears he’s in trouble. He racks his brain, discounting forgetting their wedding anniversary or her birthday (as if), and came up with… nada*

“You okay?” he asks, sends her a cautious smile, and receives a stony face in return.

She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes as she looks around the table at their four offspring.

“Fine,” she says in a tone that brings a cold sweat out on Nico’s brow.

*Okay. She’s said ‘fine’ twice. This is bad. He’s forgotten something vital. Even the kids have gone quiet, picking up the you-are-a-dead-man vibe. Tonio gives Nico big what-the-hell-have-you-done eyes. Nico sends him an I-dunno shrug in response. The rest of the meal passes off without a knife being thrown or the world as Nico knows it coming to an end.  Two hours later the kids are bathed, brushed and in bed. Except for Tonio. He’s reading Nico a chapter from Moby Dick*

“Does the whale get him in the end?” Tonio asks Nico.

“Wait and see.”

“I bet it does,” Tonio says as he closes the book hands it to his papa. He cosies beneath the comforter, and Nico gives him a big hug and wishes him night-night.

*Still mulling over Bronte’s strange mood, Nico showers, changes into his favorite tatty jeans, soft long sleeved thermal, and in bare feet pads into the family kitchen to look for her, and have a clearing of the air. Whatever he’s done, he’ll fix it. Bronte’s sitting at the table with her laptop open. The hand holding a pencil tap, tap, taps the table in a rhythm that tells him she is not a happy bunny*

“Wine?” he asks her as he makes his way to the vast stainless steel American fridge.

“Not for me,” she says. The tone, icy, has his brows rise as he takes his own sweet time to study her face. Hmm. Someone has a stick up her ass. He pours himself another Chianti, all the while pondering on what it was he’s done that he doesn’t know he’s done. And comes up empty, except for the distinct flutter of irritation uncoiling in his gut.

“Are the clipped responses and cranky face your version of Chinese water torture?” he asks, not bothering to hide his annoyance.

Her response is to toss down the pencil, sit back in her chair and fold her arms, while her eyes bore holes into his. “When were you going to tell me Elena Rocas is back?”

*Elena Rocas was Jacob Del Garda’s ex-personal assistant. And Bronte is not a fan. Neither is he. Nico blinks once, stares into space for at least ten seconds. He shakes his head*

“I have no idea what you are talking about. I haven’t seen that woman since she was thrown out of my office.”

*Bronte rises, stalks to stand up close in his personal space. Her chin jerks in a way that makes his body hum, in a good way. She’s seriously pissed off with him, for something he most definitely has not done, and for some weird reason, it turns him on. Little devil*

“Then how come I can smell her on you? Only one person I know wears JOY and that’s Elena Rocas. AND her lipstick color is on the collar of your white shirt. Careless of her,” Bronte snarls.

*Nico again racks his brain. The only woman he’s had direct contact with today is a famous actress who’s a VIP guest at Ludlow Hall. She’s booked a three day break to use the Spa facilities. She’s beautiful, and not a day under seventy years of age. AND it appears his beloved wife is jealous. A frown creases his brow. Doesn’t Bronte know he’d never look at another woman? Haven’t they been down this road before? He rubs the sudden ache in his flat belly. Didn’t the love of his life trust him?*

To be continued………

Hehehe, do you really think I’d do that to you?

Would I?
Yes, I would.

But I won’t……

 

 

PART TWO

NEXT EVENING  at The Dower House

 

*Our favorite loved-up couple are not speaking to each other, much to the amusement of their children. Nico is home early from work. He’s showered, shaved and changed into his comfy jeans and another long sleeved thermal. His feet are bare*

“What did I do?” he asks Bronte as she clears the table. The kids are sitting in their chairs and watching them like big-eyed hawks, in a way that makes him send them an irritated frown. Isn’t it time they were in bed? Bronte lifts baby Eve from her high chair.

“Why should I have to explain why I’m upset with you?” she asks in a snippy voice. “The fact you appear not to understand WHY just proves to me you’re not even sorry for what you did.” She walks out with the baby.

*The kids eyes are glued to his face. Does anyone have THE first clue what is going on with her? No? Neither does Nico. Poor sod. He gives her a couple of hours to cool down. He sips a glass of Chianti and tries to work out what has just happened. Two things are clear: 1. Bronte is still mad with him. 2. He has no idea why she won’t let him explain himself about the lipstick on his collar. By the time he’d got to bed last night, she had her back to him and appeared sound asleep. Maybe he’d made a mistake not to wake her and clear the whole thing up? Sighing, he checks the locks on the doors, the windows, turns off the lights and heads for their bedroom*

“The perfume and lipstick on my collar belong to Evelyn Rice, the actress, she’s staying at The Hall for a few nights,” he says as he locks the bedroom door. Bronte is sitting on the top of the bed in jeans and T-shirt. Her arms are folded and she wears a face like a smacked ass.

“Well, why the hell didn’t you tell me last night? Why let me fume all bloody day for no reason?” she demands, her cheeks pink with what looks like embarrassment. Good, he can live with embarrassment.

“Because you deserve to suffer,” he says with steel running through his tone. She sends him big sorry green eyes.

“I’m not the same woman you fell in love with,” she says in a low voice filled to the brim with regret. “I’ve changed. These days I can’t do sex on demand. Hell, I can’t even find time to slap on make-up or style my hair… Now we’ve got the kids I can’t even sleep naked anymore and I WANT to sleep naked… I’m no longer ME. I’m a wife, a mother, a business woman, with no time for me.” She buries her face in her hands while Nico frowns as he watches her. “Oh, God. I’m such a selfish cow.”

*Nico moves to sit on the edge of their bed, sips his wine as he mulls over her words. It’s pretty clear all work and no play makes Bronte a grumpy girl. It’s also clear his wife needs a break. In one way she’s right. She does work too hard. In another way she’s dead wrong because she’s so beautiful she doesn’t need cosmetics. Plus, she’s a wonderful wife and mother, who apparently loves to sleep naked. Why did he not know this? He places his wine on the bedside table. He stands and studies the way she’s lying on her side, curled up in a ball like a little girl. At this moment she forcibly reminds him of Sophia. He bites back a grin at her little yip of surprise as he grabs her ankles and yanks her down the bed*

“What are you doing?” she gasps, and slaps at hands that are working fast unbuttoning her jeans to drag them off her ankles along with her panties. Her T-shirt comes next, and then her bra. Her hands clutch her girls. Her eyes go big as she watches him strip. “Are you crazy?”

Si. Crazy for you.” He slides into bed, pulls her against his hard length. “You are right. I like sleeping with you naked. Tomorrow we will burn all your sleepwear.” When her jaw drops, he roars with laughter. Then he kisses her soft mouth.

*One thing leads to another… (use your imaginations)….. Later, much later…*

“You don’t trust me,” he begins, determined to clear the air.

*Bronte’s sprawled on top of him, and Nico’s statement has her rest her weight on her elbows on his chest and stare down into his wonderful face. She realises he’s serious.*

“Of course I trust you. It’s the women I don’t trust. And I don’t care if she is seventy and wears JOY perfume and hot red lipstick, age is no barrier to lust.” She laughs as he rolls her beneath him.

“I am very pretty, no?” he says outrageously.

“Trust me, it’s not your face she’s interested in, pretty boy.” Her emerald eyes go wide. “It’s your big Italian salami.”

His laugh peals through the room as he shakes his head. “My salami only salutes for you.”

Her snort of derision has the flat of his hand spank her bare ass cheek. “Ow, are you trying to tell me that when an attractive woman gives you eye – and yes, pal, I’ve seen them myself – it doesn’t give you a tingle?”

“No,” he says without a moment’s hesitation.

“Seriously?” she studies his face. “Not even a little twitch?”

“No.”

“Wow.”

Si. Only you. From the moment I saw you, you captured my heart… and my big Italian salami.” His mouth on hers stops her gurgle of laughter. He shifts to stare down into her face. Dio, he adores this woman. “From now on we sleep naked every night.”

“Is that so?”

Si, so,” he growls low in his throat.

“Even in winter?”

“Especially in winter.”

*She rubs her body against his, and sure enough his salami salutes*

“I love you so much, Nico,” she whispers.

Ti amo, cara mia.”

Finito

Until next time, my darlings, be good.

If you can’t be good, be careful.

If you can’t be careful, I’ll buy you a pram. (As my old gramma used to say.)

Christine X

Cover Reveal for SEAN and exclusive excerpt. Ludlow Hall book 10.

LUDLOWSEANFINITO

Book TEN?

Seriously?

Here’s SEAN in all his glory. I adore this cover, but to be honest I wanted a man-chest. And when I realized I couldn’t have a man-chest due to branding issues my bottom lip hit the floor. Yes, I pouted. It wasn’t pretty.  I WANTED A MAN-CHEST.

However, the wonderful Gabrielle Prendergast of Cover You Dreams and I put our heads together and she came up with the exact character of (a guy with a decided twinkle in his eye) SEAN.

Gabrielle’s also working with me on a super-secret project linked to SEAN coming later this year, and all I’m prepared to say is she’s knocked the covers and the CC MACKENZIE brand right out of the ballpark. Can you tell I can’t keep a secret?

As soon as SEAN is ready for pre-order I’ll post the links, but to keep all y’all going here’s a sneak peek from the book, enjoy!

 

***

There’s only one thing in life that Sean Gallagher hates, and that’s a woman who cheats.

There’s only one problem in Katherine Mary Kennedy’s life and that’s how to pay her mother’s medical bills.

Let yourself be swept away by a romance so hot it will singe your fingers…

Supermodel Sean Gallagher is catch-your-breath gorgeous and ruined by his troubled past in Ireland and his part in the death of his younger brother. All grown up and relocated to New York, he’s become one of the most photographed faces on the planet. No one knows the dark childhood secrets that have given Sean a backbone of steel and a heart untouched by love.

No one until Katherine Mary Kennedy, that is…

From the moment the former girl-next-door steps onto the stage at Ludlow Hall to star as international burlesque star, Pousse-Café, Sean is sure he’s living in some sort of parallel universe.

Katherine peels away Sean’s prejudice about burlesque. She opens the door to a different world filled with pleasure and desire, and Sean is captivated. But when he realizes Katherine is the reason for his brother’s death, how far is he willing to go to punish her? And what happens when he has to step back into the real world and face some hard truths?

Sean & Katherine’s is a story of forbidden passion, revenge, love lost and love found and changes both of their lives forever…

Excerpt

“Nice dress,” Birdie said.

Katherine grinned at the way the words were spoken, in a gravelly New Yawk accent, and did a twirl of the dress, an ocean of shot silk the color of her eyes, azure blue.

“Do I look like a respectable member of the wedding party?” Katherine asked her dresser, and right hand woman.

Birdie chewed gum the way it should be chewed.

Her beady eyes, black like a bird’s, gleamed in a face that had lived over seventy years.

“Yup. Respectable’s boring, but the dress is… nice.”

“You’re just used to sequins and feathers, and satin and lace. Nothing wrong with nice,” Katherine muttered as Birdie’s arthritic fingers slid down the zip.

Birdie shot her a bland look beneath thin brows penciled in black. “Your cousin doesn’t want you to upstage the bride.”

Katherine shook her head, stepped out of the maid of honor’s dress, watched Birdie bag it and hang it on the hook on the back of the door. She stood in nothing except a nude thong and matching boned strapless bra and black silk hold ups. She lifted a boned corset of sheer silk the color of ink, wiggled firm but small breasts into position to lift and separate, and turned her back to let Birdie do her magic with the laces. “Elena doesn’t think like that, she’s too…”

“Nice,” Birdie said as she tugged and pulled at the corset to make Katherine’s small waist even smaller.

Katherine frowned as she snapped her stockings to her garter belt. “She’s a lovely person, and madly in love with Marc. They look good together. Can you adjust the bodice of the dress? I seem to have lost weight since my last fitting.”

“Wiggle your ass. That’s it. Honey, of course I can fix your nice dress. This is me you’re talkin’ to. Not a problem.”

“You’re an angel.”

Birdie dipped her head to eyeball Katherine over red framed reading glasses.

“I’ve been called many things in my life, Katherine. An angel ain’t one of them.”

“You’re all bark and no bite.”

Birdie sniffed. “Honey, you just keep telling yourself that if it makes you happy. Anyway, makes a change to see you in a dress since you make a living out of wearing very little. Park your skinny ass in the chair and let me do something with feathers and your hair.”

Katherine did as she was told.

She didn’t have a skinny ass.

Thanks to a rigid diet and a rigorous exercise regime, her ass was tight and toned.

In fact, every ass of every single one of her famous Golddigger burlesque troupe were tight and toned and fabulous.

Birdie whirled a cotton protector over her outfit to ready her for make-up.

“Good job I have a thick skin,” Katherine muttered.

“A thick skin’s a must in our business,” Birdie said as she set about working on one of the most beautiful faces in the world. “You’re looking gaunt, and a little bit hollow eyed. How’s your mama doin?”

“Still in remission, thank the Lord.”

“You’re a good girl. If your grandma could see you now, she’d be as proud of you as I am.”

Katherine couldn’t help but smile as Birdie worked her magic with eyeliner.

“She was a pistol, wasn’t she?”

“Yup. In her day she was the queen of burlesque.”

Katherine’s hand lifted to grip Birdie’s narrow wrist, their eyes held.

“I couldn’t have done this without you,” Katherine whispered.

Birdie’s eyes glittered with emotions neither ever put into words.

“You go get yourself out there with the girls and give Marc’s bachelor night the send off he deserves.”

Katherine stood, checked her hair, her make-up, in the mirror.

Birdie handed her black satin gloves, watched her as she tugged them over her elbows. She clipped the diamanté choker around Katherine’s long neck, clipped a matching bracelet on each wrist, and kept an eye on her girl as she slid narrow feet into mile high heels to showcase the best pair of legs in the business. Mr. Louboutin’s shoes did the job all right, they oozed pure sex.

“Get out there and give ’em hell,” Birdie ordered.

Since Birdie used the same words every single night, Katherine sent her a wicked grin.

“Yes, ma’am.”

As she strutted in all her finery down the corridor towards the back of the grand ballroom of Ludlow Hall, Katherine, a.k.a. Pousse-Café, the leader of The Golddiggers, couldn’t help but grin as four of her girls did their thing on the stage. Their timing was spot on, and their voices as they sang We Got The Look brought the house down. A Golddigger did more than just tease and tantalize. A Golddigger was a trained dancer, and she could sing, too. Plus, a Golddigger had to look good on and off stage. And that included a Golddigger’s behaviour in her private life. No salacious headlines in the celebrity press. A Golddigger had standards, high standards. Standards that had made The Golddiggers a household name right around the globe.

And now Katherine was about to entertain a home crowd.

Yep, the good girl gone bad was back.

And the small market town of Old Ludlow was buzzing over it, whispering untruths, dishing dirt and innuendo through the mom’s and tot’s groups, the nail bar and hairdresser.

But Pousse-café could care less.

The girls on stage were taking their bows as the good-natured crowd went wild.

Marc and his pals didn’t have grabby hands, thank God.

As her intro music began, Ms. Pousse-café lifted her chin, jerked her shoulders back, and strutted her stuff on stage.

Let the show begin.

 

***

I cannot tell you guys how much fun I’m having with this story, and what’s coming next. I’m working with a brand new support team, and we’re all so excited to bring you guys SEAN and Katherine’s stormy tale.

Next up, Wednesday’s Ludlow Hall Hump Day Sneak Peek of Ludlow Life…. and it’s a doozy.

Hugs,

Christine X

 

 

 

Why taking risks makes you brilliant!!

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Hello my darlings,

We’ve only got one life, so we’re as well living it to the max. This isn’t going to be a deep post about the meaning of life, btw. So you can all reeeelax, after all this is me you’re dealing with.

Recently I’ve been talking to a couple of peeps who are a little itty bitty disappointed with what life is tossing them and they’re feeling blue as if all the energy they’ve used devoting themselves to a certain path has been a waste of time and they’re lying flat on their back on the the ground gazing up with hungry eyes at the sheer cliff face they have to climb and it all seems too much. And I get that, I really do. The thing I’ve been struggling with is how to help them and then I found this:

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach our to another is to risk involvement.

To expose your feelings is to risk rejection.

To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,

because the greatest risk of all is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing,

has nothing and is nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow,

but he cannot learn, he cannot feel,

he cannot change, he cannot grow

and he cannot love.

Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave.

Only the person who risks is truly free.

Beautiful isn’t it? I’ve no idea who wrote it. It’s by Anon. I found it in a precious little book called Poems and Readings for Christenings and Naming Ceremonies, Compiled by Susannah Steel

And the picture of the baby is my son when he was twenty-four hours old, after a twenty-six hour labour. He screamed into the world at a fighting weight of 10 pounds (I know, my eyes are crossing just thinking about it) and three weeks late. I’d taken a huge risk having him after losing his brother two years before, but someone was missing from my family. Thankfully H was right behind me. We took a risk and we’ve never regretted it.

Another risk, a professional risk for me, was to write in two genres. I can’t tell you the number of voices who said, ‘Don’t do it.’ Or, ‘Your readers will hate it.’ Or, ‘Write under a pen name.’  And, ‘You’ll stretch yourself too thin.’ They might be right about that, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. There are two books out in the series with another three ‘under construction’ and I’m way behind with book three due to events beyond my control. But you know what? Readers – awesome readers – are waiting for the rest. How amazing is that?

So just for them, here are the three newly minted covers of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles designed by the lovely Gabrielle Prendergast of Cover Your Dreams and I promise book three will be here as soon as possible.

vamp1final

vamp2final

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What risks have you taken in your lives?

You know I love hearing from you guys, so share your stories with The World!!

Christine XX

Good News – it’s been a Witch of a day!

Big Trouble In China in Amazon's Best Seller Paranormal List

Big Trouble In China in Amazon’s Best Seller Paranormal List

Good morning, boys and girls!

Today’s been a good day in the hectic life of this author. I was alerted by a fan that Big Trouble In China, book 1 of the Vampyre Legal Chronicles has hit Amazon’s Best Seller Paranormal list for Witches and Wizards at #8 in the top 100!

 

It’s doing well on Barnes & Noble and iTunes too. 
To update readers on book three of the series – I’m way behind – Gia’s Song will be out at the end of May.
At the moment I’m knee-deep in edits for The Trouble With Coco Monroe, book 4 of The Ludlow Hall series. I’ll keep you posted on when she goes live. Then I’m working on the re-write of Desert Orchid as well as working on Book 5 of The Ludlow Series, The Fall of Jacob Del Garda and book 4 of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, which doesn’t have a title yet.
All of the above is why this blog has been neglected and for that I ask your forgiveness!
Do you get the feeling I’ve bitten off more than I can chew?? 🙂
If you visit iTunes, check out the review numbers for Reckless Nights In Rome, book one of The Ludlow Hall series – I’m thrilled that it’s now received 336(!) 4.7* reviews. Woot! And on Barnes & Noble Reckless has 103 4.6* reviews. And as you know it’s finalled in the Indie Romance Convention Readers Choice Awards for 2013. Voting is open until the end of April – the link is on the right hand side of the blog. So if your fingers are feeling twitchy, please feel free to vote and spread the word. I’m up against some big guns. But to be nominated at all has been the highlight of this amazing journey.
One of the things I’ll never, ever forget was the night almost a year ago to the day when we pressed the button on Amazon for the book to go live. I’ve never been so terrified; sweaty palms, palpitations, excitement, dread and that, ‘What the hell am I doing? It’s not good enough. It needs more work. Mwahahaha!’ feeling. It’s been a roller-coaster ride and it’s still going.
Talking sales numbers is something I avoid, but I can say that sales on Barnes & Noble over the past four months are in the five figures. Amazon I hit four figures last month alone as I did in the last quarter with iTunes. Downloads in Reckless Nights In Rome are in the hundreds of thousands across five distributors and cover something like fifty countries. Big Trouble In China is rocking too, as you can see.
I’d never in my wildest dreams believed it was possible for an independent author to do this. To reach hundreds of thousands of readers, to meet them live on-line, to have them email, FB message, Tweet me or for wonderful fans to set up a street team for me. I still can’t believe these wonderful women take time out of their busy lives to care so much about the books that they promote them far and wide. If you’d like to join The Ludlow Girls street team just click HERE or send me a message. It’s a closed Facebook group and we have a lot of laughs and fun, plus I give them out takes of the stories, character inspirations, cover reveals/choice, competitions and news. But I also want to say that every single person who’s emailed or messaged me will also receive alerts when the next book goes live.
But none of the above happened without a support team. First up is H, he does all the IT technical support including all formatting, dealing with the distributors, keeping an eye on trends, the financial side, spreadsheets, and he does the covers! I have a team of editors and beta readers who are amazing.
I’m a member of fabulous writer’s groups, WANA – We Are Not Alone – run by the awesome Kristen Lamb just click on the link if you want to learn more about the craft and social networking, Kristen is the hot mama to go to.
I’m also a member of DeeDee Scott’s amazing The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing WG2E author group. WG2E also has an awesome Facebook Street team for authors. It is a closed group, so again if you want to join just message me.
However, the people who are at the front and centre of every single thing I do is you, the reader. Without you none of this would have happened. The way you’ve embraced my work has thrilled and humbled me.
I love you guys.
Christine xxx

DESERT ORCHID – Coming early 2014 – Get the skinny here

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Here’s the prototype cover for my stand-alone adventure romance coming early 2014.

Here’s the short blurb and back page blurb:

Think Memoirs of a Geisha meets Taken.

…An Arabian Queen must marry a wild, wicked and wilful Desert Prince to save her people from civil unrest and protect the wealth of her Kingdom…Charisse never expected to find love…But events in her tragic past threaten to destroy not only her Kingdom but her life too…Can their fragile love survive…

He didn’t want a country. He didn’t want a wife. He wanted whisky. And he wanted to forget.

Charisse El Haribe is committed to her adopted country. But after her husband’s death covetous eyes are turned towards the vast untapped mineral wealth of Onnur. The country’s only hope is for her to marry her husband’s nephew, the wild, wicked and womanizing Prince Khalid El Haribe.

To make amends to his family and to assuage his guilt for the death of his sister, Prince Khalid El Haribe agrees to marry his late uncle’s widow and to reign over the small state of Onnur. However, he’s stunned to find his intended is young, intelligent and beautiful.Their attraction is instant and burns too hot.

But a nightmare from Charisse’s past returns and threatens to destroy not only her, but the man and the country she loves.

Christine x

I’M IN TROUBLE

Sunrise over the MacKenzie household.

Sunrise over the MacKenzie household.

Good Monday, my darlings.

For those of you with long memories, a few weeks ago I mentioned certain Christmas toilet paper. The response was interesting. I’d no idea you guys would be riveted by such a thing. So when I was in the supermarket (I won’t mention which one since I’ve been outed in our local community) doing a bit of shopping, I happened across the lovely husband of my best friend Mags.

You might remember Mags is a card-carrying feminist and the owner of very clear thoughts and opinions, on men.

Anyway, I leaned on my shopping cart and gave him a cheeky grin. I couldn’t help it because he’s a big teddy bear and was peering through his glasses at row upon row of toilet paper and had a wonderfully ‘confused man’ look about him.

‘Hello, handsome,’ I said.

Oblivious, he didn’t budge or turn around so I called out his name and he jumped like a rabbit under a gun.

Then he gave me a wild-eyed look. ‘Ah hi, Christine. How are you?’

‘Very well. Whatchadoin?’

He waved a hand in the general direction of the toilet paper, then ran it over the back of his neck. Intrigued by this edgy behaviour I moved closer.

‘What’s this?’ I asked. ‘Doing the shopping? Are you a ‘new man’ these days?’

He looked over his shoulder and then whispered, ‘No. I did the shopping yesterday. She made a list. I didn’t stick to the list. I’m in trouble.’ He gulped audibly and by this time I was biting down hard on my bottom lip.

‘What didn’t you stick to on the list?’ I whispered back.

He blushed. And it was soooo cute. ‘Bought the wrong toilet paper,’ he admitted as if he’d broken every one of God’s laws. ‘I had to bring it back to customer services and get a credit.’

By this time my eyes were stinging, honestly that Mags is a monster.

I inhaled a deep, shaky breath. ‘What was wrong with the toilet paper?’

He pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and peered at it.

‘It wasn’t white and it wasn’t with Aloe Vera.’

I peered at the list and sure enough there it was in black and white, ‘Supersoft gentle touch with Aloe Vera’ and she’d underlined it, twice, for good measure.

0-Huge-0

I defy any woman with a heart to abandon a man a such a time, so I scanned the rows and was stunned at how many different toilet paper there is to be had. I don’t do shopping because I’m writing. In this household we go for the best multi-pak deal in white we can find. However, we found what the wife-from-hell wanted and off he went happy as a clam.

Later, unpacking in the kitchen, I was telling H the tale and caught him giving me ‘the look.’

He was leaning back against the worktop, sipping a cup of coffee.

‘What?’ I demanded.

‘You,’ he said in a growly tone. ‘Have a very short memory.’

‘What?’

His eyebrows rose. ‘Don’t you remember the little temper tantrum when I bought ‘the wrong colour’ of toilet paper?’

I did not. Did I? A vague recollection from years ago of bright orange toilet paper made me give him big eyes.

‘It was disgusting. Why on earth you even considered it, I don’t know. We only ever have white toilet paper in this house.’

‘There you go,’ he said. ‘I feel a temper tantrum coming on. You are just as bad as Mags.’ He gave me a kiss. ‘And that’s why we love you.’

He walked out. And I’m still stunned.

I’m not a monster. I’m not. Seriously. I’m not!

Sigh. And that photo at the top of the post is what happened at dawn this very morning. Apparently we’ve a storm coming, blizzards, 70mph gales, yada yada yada.

You know I love to hear from you guys. Has your H ever done the grocery shopping? But more importantly, do they get the right kind of toilet paper?

Christine x