Rosie & Brontelunch

Hello, my darlings,

It’s a bank holiday here in the UK, so I’m a leeeeeetle bit late with the Ludlow Hall sneak peek.

Here’s Rosie and Bronte doing what they do best:

Their baby girls sound asleep in their strollers, Bronte and Rosie are having a girlfriend lunch at Café Roma in the ancient market town of Old Ludlow . . .

*Rosie’s not a happy bunny. Wearing a face like a smacked arse, she’s pushing a limp lettuce leaf around her plate. When she heaves yet another deep sigh, Bronte tries hard not to laugh*

Bronte’s digging into a big juicy steak and fries and shoves the pail of crispy fries drenched in salt and mayo towards Rosie. “Stop making a face. Go on, have one. You know you want to. What’s the point of depriving yourself of all your favorite food groups if it makes you a miserable cow?”

Rosie’s gaze lingers longingly on the crispy fries with their fluffy centre. They smell amazing. Her mouth waters to taste one, just one. The fries whisper in an evil voice, ‘eat me, eat me’ in her ear. But she refuses to give in to temptation. Her eyes click to her best friend. Her skinny best friend. Her best friend who can eat whatever the hell she likes (even chocolate) and nothing sticks to her skinny ass. Her tight skinny ass. An ass that has delivered not one, not two, but THREE children. To be fair, the twins were delivered by C-section, but still . . .

“It’s not fair,” Rosie whines. “I love breastfeeding my baby girl to bits, you know I do. But Mila ate my boobs. They’re gone, baby, gone. For six short months I had a wondrous cleavage to be proud of. Awesome breasts. And now look at them.” She tugs her neck of her T-shirt to peer down. “They’re like deflated balloons. All empty skin. The fat’s gone to my ass and hips. It’s not fair.”

Her BBF does such a huge eye roll Rosie’s surprised she doesn’t give herself a migraine. So much for sisterly solidarity, eh? It’s okay for HER, she’d look amazing in a black bin bag. Not that she’s ever seen Bronte in a black bin bag, but that’s not the point, is it?

“For goodness sake stop that horrible whine,” Bronte says in a chirpy voice that does Rosie’s head in. “Breast feeding, if a woman can manage it and you have, is a wonderful thing for the mother and baby. Look at your belly, it’s flat and tight. And look at Mila, she looks plump and healthy and all on mother’s milk. You should be proud of yourself. And drink up your water, it’s good for milk making.”

Chewing on a sliver of red pepper, Rosie recognises a pep talk when she hears one. She’s not having it. “I smell of baby milk. She’s like a parasite sucking all the good stuff out of me, and leaving the crap on my ass and hips behind. My hair’s still falling out, too.”

Bronte pops another fry in her mouth, eyes Rosie’s riot of glossy curls, shakes her head. “You’ve gorgeous hair and plenty of it. What the hell is the matter with you today? Are you sleep deprived?”

“Nope. Mila’s sleeping through the night these days. She’s a frigging angel sent from heaven. I probably get too much sleep,” Rosie says in a pitiful little voice.

A voice that makes her BBF sit up and take notice. Bronte tops up their water glasses from the jug on the table. “Okay, what’s up, Buttercup?”

“There’s something going on with Alexander,” Rosie whispers.

Bronte’s eyes grow big and wide. “What’s my brother done?”

Rosie tends not to talk about her husband to his sister behind his back. It might have something to do with the marriage rules her mother drummed into her head, with loyalty to her spouse being very near the top. But if she doesn’t unburden herself, she’ll explode. “He didn’t kiss me goodbye this morning. No hug. No nuthin.”

Bronte blinks. “That doesn’t sound like him.”

“I know. Usually he can’t keep his hands off me.” The sting of tears prickle in Rosie’s throat. She sniffs. “Thing is, last night at least twice I caught him on his phone and he switched it off really fast, like he doesn’t want me to hear or see what he’s doing.” Now the prickle is stinging behind her eyes.

Again Bronte sends her wide eyes, and an even bigger smile. “Probably work. You know what Nico and him are like, they never switch off.”

“Yeah, but usually Alexander’s pretty open about pressure of work. I’m telling you he’s up to something. I know it. I can smell it. He’s gone off me. Probably because having a baby has wrecked my ass. I worked really hard for that toned butt,” Rosie says miserably. Then another thought hit her. “And have you seen the blonde dolly on reception at Ludlow Hall?”

Bronte shakes her head. “She’s a student. You’re being ridiculous, my brother adores the ground you walk on.”

“Not recently,” Rosie mutters.

“Anything else bothering you?” Bronte asks.

*Actually there was something else, but Rosie would rather have her tongue cut out with a rusty knife than say so. They’ve been best friends since they were three, and not once has Bronte ever forgot Rosie’s birthday. NEVER. Until today that is . . . Well, her BBF has the kids, Nico and Sweet Sensations to look after. Maybe now they’re all grown up birthdays shouldn’t matter so much? Maybe the hurt and upset she’s feeling is truly pathetic? Maybe she needs to get a frigging life? After all look, she should be counting her blessings. She has a longed for baby girl and a man who loves her. At least he did until this morning, and obviously HE forgot it was a special day for her, too*

Biting down hard on her bottom lip, Bronte stands. “Ready to go?”

Rosie shrugs, lunch with the eternally skinny Bronte has not been fun. “Sure.”

*The girls buckle the baby seats securely in Bronte’s car, fold the strollers into the trunk, and then take their seats. But as they drive out of town Bronte doesn’t head for home, instead she takes the turning to Ludlow Hall*

Rosie turns to her, frowns. “Where are we going?”

“I want to check on Sophia and Luca. They’re having a play date in the kiddy party area next to the Spa. Won’t take a minute.”

“Sure.” Rosie shrugs miserably, stares unseeing out the window at the passing glory of acres of grass, the meandering river Ludlow, and the forests and hills beyond.

*The girls carry their daughters into Ludlow Hall*

Bronte leads the way past the Spa and into a function room. When she shoves Rosie through the door before her, there is a crowd of people lurking there who all roar, “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROSIE!”

Rosie’s jaw hits the floor because standing before her are all her family and friends. Her parents have flown over from their retirement home in Cyprus. Jacob and Gabriella Del Garda are laughing at the shock on her face. Sophia and Luca and Tonio are all dressed to the nines and carrying cards and gift bags as they run to hug their favorite auntie.

Rosie turns to a crying with laughter Bronte Ferranti, and narrows her eyes. “You shit!”

Bronte grabs Mila, gives Rosie a smacking kiss. “God, your face. Best laugh, evah!”

And then there was Alexander, his arms filled with fresh flowers, and his emerald eyes dancing with wicked laughter. Oh, man, she was so gonna kick his very fine ass.
“Hey, baby,” he whispers in her ear. She shut her eyes to inhale the delicious scent of her man “Happy Birthday. Gimme a kiss.”



Ah, birthdays are wonderful things.

Big hugs,

Christine X

Happy Monday, and here’s another slice of Ludlow life… I’m still yodelling to the Lonely Goatherd…


Remember, to read how Nico and Bronte’s love began, you can grab it here, free:

Dressed down in black below the knee yoga pants, a matching skinny vest, and sneakers, Bronte is collecting Sophia from a play date with her BBF, Emily, and her Bacon Freeze puppy, Bubblegum………

“Hi, Grace. How are you today? Did they run you ragged, or did they behave themselves?” Bronte asks as Grace waves her through the door and leads her through her beautifully appointed home into a huge light and airy family kitchen space.

Wearing cropped blue jeans and an ivory short sleeved sweater, Grace has the same petite build and fair coloring as her daughter, creamy skin with a constellation of freckles, and wild chestnut curls. She grins, rolls her blue eyes. “Do you have time for a coffee?”

“Sure.” Bronte dumps her purse on one of the breakfast bar stools, and slides into another. Her eyes click to a Grace who is still grinning as she pours black coffee from the pot into two white china mugs. “What’s she done or said now?” she asks, referring to Sophia, and fearing the worst.

Eyes dancing, Grace hands Bronte a mug and slides into another stool to face Bronte over the brown speckled granite counter top. “Nothing naughty, which makes a delightful change. Although I did manage to stop them before they painted Bubblegum’s nails with purple polish. No. I had what I thought was a brainwave and introduced them to one of my favorite childhood movies. They’ve been watching The Sound Of Music. And replaying Julie Andrews singing, ‘The Hills Are Alive’ about twenty times. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Julie’s voice. But I’m finding myself singing along. Betcha I’ll have an earworm for days.” She takes a sip of her drink, and then her grin turns into a wide smile, her eyes still sparkling.

“Okay. Spit it out,” Bronte says.

“They’ve got the words down pat, but can’t quite hit the high notes, know what I mean?”

“Aww, bless their little hearts. I’m not seeing a downside to this, Grace.”

*And right on cue, from a room above, there comes the dulcet tones of introduction music as Dame Julie begins her song, and right along with her comes a yowling of two young voices determined to nail it. Whoa. Bronte’s emerald eyes go wide*

Grace tips back her head to study the high ceiling. “And there they go… again.”

They both burst out laughing. “Could be worse, Grace, it could be The Lonely Goatherd,” Bronte says, wiping her eyes. And of course that thought made them laugh even harder.

Grace shakes her head, laughter making her eyes all teary and her voice quaver. “Thing is, Bronte, and I’ll apologize right now because I just didn’t see this coming.”

Bronte puts her cup down, places her elbows on the work top and leans over to study a Grace who is weeping hard so hard with laughter, she’d needs to cross her legs. And of course, Bronte ends up weeping with her.

Grace grabs a couple sheets of kitchen roll, wipes streaming eyes, takes a deep breath and holds up her hands. “I’m sorry. Sorry… Okay. I’ve got a hold of myself. Okay…” She takes a huge inhale in, holds it for four counts, and then breathes out. Her eyes meet Bronte’s. “They came down here and demanded two clean white tea towels. When I asked them what for, they said…” Again Grace’s eyes swim as her face creases. She takes another deep inhale. “They’ve decided to dedicate their lives to Jesus. They wanna be nuns.”

Grace stuffs kitchen roll in her mouth as she weeps with laughter at Bronte’s stunned face. And then cries even harder when Bronte whispers, “Omigod.”

*Next morning at breakfast at The Dower House*

Dressed to impress, Nico Ferranti strolls into the kitchen looking like something off the cover of  Men’s Fashion magazine. With his hand protecting his silk tie from sticky little fingers, he dips his head to deliver a raspberry to the hot cheek of a delighted baby Eve sitting in her high chair and using her empty sip cup to beat the hell out of the plastic table. Tonio and Luca are wolfing down oatmeal and honey in a race to see who can finish first. No sign of Sophia… yet. Nico’s eyes light on a wife who is barefoot at the range preparing his poached eggs and bacon. She’s dressed in one his T-shirts and boy panties wiggling her cute little butt to Paulo Nuttini rocking the iPod. At the table the boys are now digging in to a mountain of toast and buttered crumpets. Since he cannot help himself, Nico shifts to slide his arms around Bronte’s slim waist for a cuddle, drop a kiss on her neck, and pat her ass. “Where,” he asks with his tongue firmly in his cheek. “Is the good sister Sophia.”

Bronte heaves a sigh, shakes her head. “The sister has kindly informed me that when she’s finished her morning prayers, she will join us for one slice of toast without jam or butter, and a cup of weak tea.”

Nico’s wide shoulder’s shake with laughter.

Tonio, face fierce, pipes up with, “Si. And she’s still wearing that stupid tea cloth on her head. She’s driving me nuts. Every time she sees Luca or me she says, ‘Bless you, my child.'”

Nico shakes his head as he pours himself a coffee from the pot, takes his seat at the head of the table. He flicks out a stiff white cotton napkin on his knee. When Bronte places his breakfast in front of him, he sends her a slow and sexy smile. “Grazie, cara. You are too good to me.”

Bronte drops a kiss on his freshly shaved cheek. “That’s because you smell delicious.”

“You buy my cologne.”

“Yep,” she agrees, as she places a fresh sip cup on Eve’s table and a plastic bowl of sliced banana so the baby can help herself. “If I’ve got to live with you, I get to decide how you smell. Wife’s rights.”

*The whole room goes quiet, even the baby’s eyes go big, as Sophia walks slowly into the room. She’s wearing a black dress from her dressing up box, black ankle socks, and black patent shoes with a strap. The tea cloth is pinned to her hair, and the palms of her hands are pressed together as if in prayer*

Dio mio,” Nico mutters under his breath, and digs into his breakfast.

Bronte can’t quite hold in the giggle before she clears her throat. “Good morning, sister. Would you like bacon?”

Sophia cannot resist bacon, ever. Temptation whispers loud in her mind, but she remembers the promise she and Emily made on the Holy Bible. “No thank you, mama. One slice of toast and tea, please.”

Luca, a piece of toast half way to his mouth, scowls at his twin. “You look stupid with that thing on your head.”

Sister Sophia narrows emerald eyes, purses her small pink mouth, then takes a breath. “There is no need for rudeness. I forgive you, my son.”

Tonio rolls his eyes, turns to his papa. “You’ve gotta do something. This cannot go on. She’s gonna drive us nuts.”

Nico nods, dabs his mouth with his napkin, and rests his gaze on a daughter he adores. “Sophia, bella. A little girl cannot be a nun. A convent will not accept you until you are eighteen.”

Sophia’s emerald eyes meet his. “Eighteen? Why?”

“Because when a woman decides to dedicate her life to God, she needs to have lived a normal life first.”

Sister Sophia’s shoulders droop, but she nods. “Okay. But can I go to a convent school for girls to see what it’s like?”

Nico’s heart soars with joy. There are no boys in a convent school, and he has just the place in mind, but before he can reply, his wife beats him to it.

“No,” Bronte says. “For a well rounded education it is important for you to socialize with boys and girls and learn to get along with both.”

“She has no problem with boys,” Tonio growls, and earns himself a dark look from his papa for his trouble.

Sister Sophia takes her own sweet time to think about it, then she nods, and pulls the tea towel from her head. “Okay. I’m still a little girl…”

“Yup,” Bronte says, slipping a plate of bacon and toast and a poached egg in front of her daughter. “And a little girl need a good diet of good food to grow into a fine woman. Dig in.”

*And peace descends upon The Dower House… until…*

“What’s the next film Emily’s mama has chosen for you?” Nico asks.

Sophia nibbles on crispy bacon, swallows. “The Goonies. It’s about buried treasure.”

Bronte grins in delight. “Aww, I love that movie.”

Nico rises to leave for another day at the office of Ferranti Enterprises, based at Ludlow Hall. “Si, just be prepared for her to start digging up the garden hunting for buried treasure.”

Luca turns big dark eyes filled to the brim with excitement on his papa. “We have buried treasure on our land?”

Ignoring his wife’s imploring gaze, Nico comes up with a dastardly plan to keep his children entertained for days. “Si. Of course. You did not know The Dower House has a box of treasure just waiting to be discovered?”

As a wide-eyed Luca shakes his head, whispers, “No.”

“Then today, even though I am busy, I will retrieve the treasure map from the safe at Ludlow Hall and bring it home with me tonight. But you must promise not to tell anyone about the map. It is a secret.”  And all the while his busy mind is coming up with a plan that will include Alexander and their PA, Julie, who will be only too happy to play their part.

As Bronte follows him to his car, she gives him the stink eye. “You are worse than they are. If they dig up my garden…”

After dumping his laptop on the passenger seat of his Range Rover, Nico grabs his wife for a hot kiss. Shifting to watch the way her eyes have gone all cloudy, he grins down into her face. Dio, he adores her. “Trust me, X will mark the spot around their play area. Nessun problema. But I’d like you to think about a convent for Sophia.”

Bronte grins as she adjusts the knot of his tie. “I don’t care if you are Italian. Not a chance, sunshine.”




And here, for your listening pleasure, is Dame Julie singing one of her signature songs:


My best pal, Linda, and me were six when we saw The Sound of Music and immediately dreamed of becoming nuns. For two weeks we wore a white tea towel on our heads and blessed every person we met, and drove our families mad. We never ended up in a convent, which is just as well. But we still remember every single word of every single song in The Sound of Music.

Those were the days, eh?

There was no catch a Pokémon in my day.

With love and hugs,

Christine X

Another slice of Ludlow Life with The Ferranti’s







Nico picking up the twins from Montessori School


*While he straps Sophia into her car seat, he spots skinned knees*

“What happened?” Nico asks as he drives away, eyeing Sophia in the rear view mirror.

*She shrugs*

“Nothing. I tripped.”

“Evan Brown pushed her,” Luca pipes up.

“Perche?” Nico asks.

“Sophia kissed him. He didn’t like it,” Luca says.

*Nico gives his daughter the stink eye*

“Haven’t we talked about kissing boys? Haven’t we talked about germs?”

“I LIKE kissing,” Sophia says with a jerk of her chin.

“And I said, No Kissing Boys,” Nico growls.

“Evan’s my boyfriend.”

“No boyfriends,” Nico thunders.

“I want a boyfriend. Evan’s my boyfriend,” Sophia says, her voice rising.

*Luca’s eyes go big*

“I will speak with Evan’s papa…” Nico says through gritted teeth.

“NO!” Sophia shrieks.

“Si!”  Nico roars like a bull. “His son pushed you. You are hurt…”

“Sophia started it,” Luca says, more than happy to throw his sister under the bus.

*Nico eyes his son*

“Why did you not protect your sister?”

*Luca gives him a face that clearly says, ‘Are you kidding me?’*

“Evan is my friend. He told Sophia to stop, but she didn’t, so he pushed her.”

“A man protects his famiglia…” Nico begins in a tone that means business.

“I’m not a man. I’m five,” Luca says with a ruthless logic.

*Good point. Nico turns his attention to his daughter*

“Kissing boys will make you sick. Your teeth will fall out,” Nico says.

*Sophia narrows her eyes*

“You kiss mama all the time,” the daughter from hell says.

“We are married. We are adults.”

“Evan’s papa told him if he keeps kissing Sophia his willy will fall off, ” Luca says.

*Nico thanks God Evan’s papa is on the same page*

Si,” He growls. “And it won’t grow back.”

“I’ll just get another boyfriend,” Sophia the invincible says.

“You will not!” Nico roars. “That’s it. You are moving schools. Girls only. No boys.”

“Nooooooooo, papa!”


*As the car comes to halt at The Dower House, a smiling Bronte opens the door. Baby Eve is perched on her hip heroically sucking a soother. The baby’s eyes pop as a weeping Sophia races past them, and clatters up the stairs. Luca drops his schoolbag at Bronte’s feet and buries his head in her belly for a hug. Nico, with a face like a thundercloud, approaches his wife. He takes the baby, plants a kiss on a hot cheek*

“That child will be the death of me,” he says.

*Bronte takes a wild guess*  “She flushed your cell phone down the toilet?”

“No. She’s kissing boys.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Bronte says.

*Nico looks at her as if she’s lost her mind, so Bronte smacks a kiss on his mouth to shut him up*

“She’s testing her boundaries. What did you say to make her cry?”

“Girls only school.”

*Bronte shakes her head*

“Bad idea. If she’s restricted from boys until she’s eighteen, she’ll be like a heat seeking missile of mass-male-destruction. Think totally insane, and out of control.”

“She is already out of control,” Nico growls.

“She’ll grow out of it. Don’t look so miserable, daddy, this too shall pass.”

*Nico grabs her in a lip-lock that lasts, and lasts, and… He shifts to rest his forehead on hers*

Si. I can do this. I am Italian.”





Isn’t this fun?

Stay tuned for the cover reveal of SEAN book ten of the Ludlow Hall Romances, with lots more to come.  AND a top seekrit project I’m dying to tell you about coming later in the year.



Christine X


It’s been brought home to me that I should have posted an alert here, in my blog, that book four of The Ludlow Hall series, The Trouble With Coco Monroe  is live on Amazon!

The Trouble With Coco Monroe is live now at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Nook Store UK, KOBO, Smashwords, WH Smith UK and Sony US & Canada.

The Trouble With Coco Monroe

The Trouble With Coco Monroe


The life of a writer is such that some things slip, and I’m deeply ashamed to say that posts to this blog have slipped. Yes, I’ve had many ideas for posts, but I’ve simply run out of hours in the day to post them. Which doesn’t help you guys at all. So I promise to do better in the future.

One of the things I’d really like y’all to consider is have you ever written a love letter to your significant other? Or have you become lazy and just send texts and msgs with LOL or XOXO?

Coming soon is my first ever love letter to H, written very recently.

So go for it, write your significant other a love letter and share it with us. Why should I be the only one to share my heart with the world? Step up and be men – or women!

Big Hugs

Christine xx


Happy Sunday, peeps.

Who remembers Lana Turner’s quiff?

Whether it’s on the news or walking into town for my weekly latte with my girls, it struck me that we were surrounded by quiffs! Quiffs everywhere! Along with bomber jackets like the Fonz in Happy Days! Remember him?

Spring – oh where for art thou, Spring – fashion has been struck by the jitter bug. It’s a blast from the past. A moment where the carefree and slightly wild side of the fifties is rocking the high street in Britain. Capri pants are back (they’ve never gone from my wardrobe) and plimsolls. And boys are now combing their hair (thank God) instead of that weird reverse blow dry look some of them had going. You know what I mean, the one where Justin Beiber (I am not a fan 😦 ) just came out of a wind tunnel backwards with droopy bangs down to their chin and the pants so far down their hips we can see their calvins. Why did anyone think that was a good look? What were they thinking?

Anyway, from what I’m seeing we also have a return to the high street of what I call ‘the peacocks’ led by Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins. I can’t say I’m fond of his skinny body in lycra, but he can work a suit.

But the man who works a suit best is the awesome Savile Row tailor, Ozwald Boetang. Seen here wearing one of his own. I use Ozwald’s suits for my heroes in my romances. The man is a master.

But back to the quiff!

Here’s the lovely Kate Beckinsale working the look beautifully. And I’m seeing lots and lots of young girls working this look too.

So ultimately, what goes around comes around.

Thank you, fashion designers, for bringing back the age of the mod and the rockabilly and Fred Perry!

You know I adore hearing from you, so tell me:

What was your favourite time in your youth?

Were you a mod or a rocker?

Did you wear winkle-pickers and pancake on your face girls?

And boys did you keep a comb in your back pocket?

As an aside to all of this, Run Rosie Run is being highlighted on the lovely Michael Gallagher’s Kindle Books and tips blog today for a steal at $.99cents. So grab it while you can!

Christine xxx





Hello my darlings,

You know, there used to be a time when men were men. They’d do the heavy lifting and we’d make sure a red sock went nowhere near the white wash.

It’s come to my attention that women these days want a man who’s a dork. A nerd! A guy with razor rash. A guy with a bad haircut (if he has hair at all). Why? Well, it’s all that computernerdie Zuckergeek’s fault. There’s even a new name for this type of man – a technosexual! Who knew?

Not long ago we lusted after men in well fitted jeans, who wore tool belts hung like gunslingers and knew what to do with a spanner.  Then there were men like David Hasselhoff, remember him?

imgres-1I think it was the swimming trunks.

Then we went through the metrosexuals like The Gandy or James Bond – men who waxed, have a perfectly sculptured torso and had Ozwald Boetang’s cell number on speed dial. (Savile Row tailor).

Times, girls, have changed. And I must admit that we’ve felt that change in this house. Many moons ago, the break down of domestic chores went like this: I did the cleaning, cooking, gardening, grocery shopping, painting and decorating, looking after the children, organising after school activities, remembering the birthdays of every single relative. H, on the other hand, was chief recycler, anything to do with the cars, man who could pull the cord of the petrol lawnmower, and the man who intimidated teachers at parent’s evening. And main breadwinner. And it worked!

But now technology has come along to ‘make life easier.’ *Snort* Now, I can’t function if my computer/laptop/ipadmini goes down. And what’s with the TV remotes? Eh? With all those bloody trackers and menus how the hell are we supposed to work those? I have to get my son to show me the right button to get the news, again!

Now my repartee with H go like this:

Me: ‘Why won’t Gmail work?’

H: ‘Have you rebooted?’

Me: With an eye roll he can’t see. ‘Yep.’

H: ‘Reboot.’

Me: ‘Is the WiFi down?’

H: Deep sigh. ‘Let me check.’

Me: Screeching like an evil witch.  ‘Now I have no signal!!!!!’

H: ‘For God’s sake woman, give it five minutes!’

And so it goes back and forth until I’m spitting nails at the Mac and showing big sharp teeth at anyone who crosses my path. It isn’t pretty. Of course, the smart thing to do would be to go down into the belly of the beast that lives in H’s study and work the WiFi myself. But I’m banned from the room because, ‘You cause chaos.’ And he’s right – he’s the techie, geeky guy (without razor rash) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Men, girls, are genetically programmed to deal with this stuff, just like dealing with the trash!

I sincerely believe the basis of a good marriage, especially when life is full on, is to stick to what we’re good at.

So, do you have highly defined roles in your relationship?

Do you put out the trash or does he make fabulous lemon meringues?

You know I adore hearing from you guys!

Christine XXX

THE FALL OF JACOB DEL GARDA – Ludlow Series book 5 – preview.

Ludlow Hall Series, designed by reader Jane Aschtgen Bowen
Ludlow Hall Series collage, designed by reader Jane Aschtgen Bowen

It’s not like me not to have a cover for this one, but we’re struggling to find the right model. Anyway, for you avid readers who’ve been asking about Jacob and want peek and a preview of what’s coming. Here’s the prologue. I don’t usually write prologues, but in this case it was required since readers have met Jacob before and know what he’s like, so I’ve had fans ask me what happened to him to make him the way he is. Plus we meet him in The Trouble With Coco Monroe, which means I’ll be inundated with queries.

Here’s the answer – enjoy!!

The Fall of Jacob Del Garda

A Ludlow Hall Story, book 5.


‘I’m sorry, Jacob. But I can’t do this. I can’t go through with it.’

Gabriella’s voice was no more than a whisper.

Her fiancè’s spectacular face swam in front of her eyes.

And she blinked to clear them.

He simply stared at her as if she’d sprouted another head.

Blanking out her surroundings, the penthouse apartment of The Prince Felipe Hotel in the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. This was their dream home with its carefully chosen pieces. Pieces they’d shopped for together. Yet another wedding gift, beautifully boxed with a waterfall of silver ribbon lay unopened and forgotten on the table between them.

‘I do not understand, querida,’ he said carefully. His deep voice went rough and he cleared his throat. And those dark, dark eyes were riveted on her face. ‘You want to postpone our wedding. Or you do not want to marry me, ever?’

Colour rose and fell from high cheekbones leaving him too pale.

Her heart fractured.

Gabriella clung to the back of the chair for support. A corner of her mind registered the fact that her knuckles were bone white.

She wouldn’t think about why her life, her future, with a man she loved so much was lying in tatters. If she thought about it, she knew she’d never be able to go through with this.

Even now the mere thought of the pain, the harm, she was inflicting on a man who didn’t deserve either, made her sick to her stomach.

But the alternative made her straighten her spine and look him dead in the eye.

Jacob Del Garda was a hard man. In business he gave no quarter, she knew that. But with her he’d been patient, so loving and giving. Dark eyes the colour of burnt chestnuts narrowed into hers, while a crease lined his usually perfect forehead. He had a smooth lean face that complemented the aristocratic carve of his cheekbones and his long, thin mouth. His nose was slightly aquiline, which had always appealed to her. The hair, raven black, and those brooding eyes always made her think of one of those statues of a fallen angel.

She was used to seeing wonderful looking men. In her line of work a carefully maintained body was a given. At twenty-three she needed to workout four times a week to stay lean, healthy and to keep her body in shape.

A body she’d taken utterly for granted. And body that had let her down in the worst possible way.

Bitter tears stung again. Oh God, please help her do this.

The buzz in her ears became louder and she forced herself to take a shallow breath.

Her eyes stayed on his.


She saw the blow hit him and read a toxic mix of pain, confusion and desperation.

Her legs threatened to give way so she held on tight to the chair.

Be strong, you can do this, she told herself.

‘This is madness, Gabriella.’ Jacob’s deep voice cracked as he paced and ran a shaky hand over his hair. He wore a lightweight suit in pale grey, immaculately cut by an up and coming tailor from Savile Row. His crisp shirt was pristine white cotton, the windsor knot of his silk tie perfection.

He shook his head.

Dark eyes lasered into hers. ‘I know I have been busy with the new acquisition. You knew how it would be.’

She could almost hear his clever, analytical mind clicking through the probabilities of what had gone wrong.

Now he stopped. ‘You have been quiet and distracted, lost a little weight. But I put it down to nerves. I know you wanted a small wedding.’ He frowned, rubbed the back of his neck, that strong jaw. He stared hard at her. ‘Is that what this is all about? I agree things have got way out of hand. My father is enough to drive any sane person crazy. Has he …?’

‘No,’ she said quickly. She adored his father. ‘It has nothing to do with him. I’m sorry …’

Her voice faded. She could have written a letter, run as fast as she could. The thought had crossed her mind more than once. But that would have been sheer cowardice.

Jacob deserved to be told face to face that the future he’d dreamt of, of having a wife, a family, with her, could never be.

Of course, she could never tell him why because he’d never let her go. He was an honourable man with a highly developed sense of duty. He’d stick by her, of course he would.

But she was the one who couldn’t live with it, refused to even consider giving him a choice in his own future, his own destiny. She loved him too much to see him suffer, to see him look at other couples, normal couples, living a normal life. To see him wish that he’d chosen differently.

Jacob’s eyes went into dark slits, became cool and she shivered.

Those eyes missed nothing as they searched her face.

‘I know you can handle him. You can handle anything.’ But the tone had gone cold now. ‘Why?’

Gabriella licked parched lips.

‘I made a mistake. I’m so sorry. I can’t tell you how sorry I am. But I …’

Her voice broke.

‘Stop saying you are sorry,’ he exploded and moved towards her.

Gabriella winced and took a step back, fear skidding up her spine. If he touched her she would break and never, ever, let him go.

His eyes went wide and she recognised hurt battling through utter disbelief.

‘You are scared of me?’

Shame scorched her cheeks.

Nausea crawled into her throat.

She was deliberately hurting a good man. A man who would stand by her, she knew he would. And that was precisely why she needed to let him go.

‘I would never harm you. How could you even think of such a thing,’ he said, and his Spanish accent became stronger as he looked at her as if he’d never seen her before. ‘Gabriella, we love each other. Do we not?’

His eyes, dark with pain pierced a shaft of agony right into her heart.

Sending up a prayer for forgiveness, she lied straight to his face.

‘No. I don’t love you,’ she whispered. And rubbed the burning ache below her breast bone.

She’d thought she’d experienced anguish, but it was nothing compared to this.

Jacob’s breath came hard and fast, and she watched him fighting a war of attrition to keep it together, hands clenched at  his sides.

With trembling fingers, she took off her diamond and platinum engagement right, placing it on the table.

He flinched as if she’d slapped him.

‘Keep it.’ The raw torment in his voice mirrored the spear of agony in her chest.

But she merely shook her head and on shaky legs moved past him. ‘What about the house?’ he asked.

Their new home was almost complete, but she couldn’t think of it.

Truly she was in the middle of a waking nightmare, had been for ten hellish days, reliving over and over again the exact moment when her whole world had collapsed.

Don’t think about it, not now.

‘It’s yours,’ she whispered. ‘It’s the least I can do.’

‘Just like that? That is it? No discussion?’

Rage replaced pain in those dark eyes and Jacob’s fury lanced a heart already in pieces.

Gabriella knew that if she didn’t get out now, she never would. The only thing keeping her together was the unbearable knowledge of what their future held. And she drew strength from that.

She picked up her coat, her purse, and moved towards the door.


With her hand on the handle she paused, the pleading in his tone almost broke her.

She could not bear to look at him.

‘I want the truth. Is there someone else?’

For a second she stiffened, blinking with shock, then realised he’d thrown her a lifeline. What difference would one more lie make? And there would be no going back now. Because she knew Jacob would never, ever, forgive betrayal.

Her conscience was screaming now, asking what the hell she was doing?

He would be there for her in sickness and in health. But that was the whole point, wasn’t it? Thank God, she’d found out before they’d taken their vows. He deserved to be happy. Deserved to have a future, to have all the things he dreamed of, things she couldn’t give him.

‘Something like that.’

The shocked gasp behind her had her open the door.

‘Damn you, Gabriella. God damn you straight to hell,’ he said through clenched teeth as his voice finally cracked.

Hot tears blinded her.

‘I’m already there, my darling,’ she said so softly he could never hear her.

With a shaky breath Gabriella Dolman straightened her spine and stepped through the door to an uncertain future.


So that’s the answer to all the questions.

God, you’re an impatient lot. I like that about you!

Christine x

DESERT ORCHID – Coming early 2014 – Get the skinny here

Desert Orchid 900 03 300dpi 1200x

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



It’s read an ebook week on Smashwords.

And I’m thrilled to be taking part, thank you Mark Coker.

Today through the 8th of March, A Stormy Spring, Run Rosie Run and book two of my Vampyre series, Dirty Little Secrets is taking part and on sale at Smashwords with 50% OFF.

Have you ever downloaded books from Smashwords before? If not, you should. They have a vast library, and ALL their ebooks are ready to go in EVERY SINGLE EREADER FORMAT OUT THERE. It’s fabulous. And once you’ve purchased the book, you can download it in any format you like, as many times as you like. For instance, I have books both on my Kindle app on my computer, my iPadMini and also on my Nook. It’s fabulous. (Have I mentioned yet that it’s fabulous? Because it totally is.)

So don’t be afraid to buy from Smashwords just because it’s not Amazon or Barnes & Noble or iTunes (all of which, BTW, partner with Smashwords)! They’re a great resource for finding eBooks, and they are definitely a good friend to independent-published authors like myself.

Okay. Now that you’re totally sold on Smashwords, here’s how to take advantage:

Follow the links below to get to the Smashwords pages for A Stormy Spring, Run Rosie Run and Dirty Little Secrets. Take note of the coupon code listed there.  The coupon code for all of my books is REW50.  Click ‘Add to cart’. Enter coupon code. Click on ‘checkout’. Voila! You now own your book. Scroll down to see the different formats, and pick the one(s) that’s right for you.

A Stormy Spring

Run Rosie Run

Dirty Little Secrets

What are you still doing here? Go get your copies.
And if you already own copies, this is a FANTASTIC time to give some away as gifts. Talk about easy gift-giving! Not that you need it, but you totally have my permission to gift to anybody and everybody you know.

I hope your Sunday is particularly fabulous.

Christine x



By awesome reader, the lovely, Jane Aschtgen Bowen via Facebook

By awesome reader, the lovely, Jane Aschtgen Bowen via Facebook

Happy Valentines Day!

The links to a free copy of Big Trouble In China are HERE!

My thinking behind the title of this post is that the word procreation was a better choice, more polite, than shagging. I could have gone for beget, breed, conceive, create, make, multiply, reproduce, sire, spawn. But since this is me you’re dealing with I went for shag.

According to certain people in the know in the scientific community and certain organised religions, the urge to shag is a primal one, meaning to shag is the reason we were put on earth, which would explain a lot.

Have you ever seen mismatched couples? I see them all the time. As a romance writer, I’m nosy an avid observer of the human condition.

So while I was watching H measure out four ounces of wholemeal pasta per person (we’re on the 5.2 diet) for our pasta and veggie bake he’s making for dinner, I got to thinking about the primal urge.

‘Perhaps,’ I said, ‘This is why a woman can end up with a well padded accountant from Pensacola who’s afflicted with folliculitis (I’ll wait while you Google it, it is not pretty.)’

H just gave me the look. And for authenticity I thought you might like to know that H has a deep, gravelly voice that has been likened to Sean Connery, there’s a lot of rolling of ‘r’s in our house.

‘The reason a woman might end up with a guy like that,’ he said. ‘Might be an overconsumption of warm Pinot Grigio at the office party, which might have resulted in a little surprise.’

Hmm. He has a point, didn’t think of that.

Undeterred, I ploughed on. ‘Okay, but the thing is that today women are not supposed to have hang-ups about shagging. We’re supposed to be able to express ourselves with gay abandon, liberated sexually, living in the new age where men no longer rule with their love muscles. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening at all. It never ceases to amaze me what women tolerate these days.’

He dumped the pasta in frantically boiling water, stirred, turned on the extractor fan before sliding a tray of chopped red onion, courgettes, peppers into the oven.

‘It never ceases to amaze me what I tolerate these days,’ he muttered. I ignored it because he mutters all the time.

While he opened a carton of passata, emptied it into a glass jug, added dried oregano, black pepper and crushed garlic and stirred, my mind was mulling over how couples who’ve been together a looooooong time do it.

‘The reason most couples have been together for years is because they’re fairly honest with each other,’ I said.

His brows rose. ‘This, from the woman who demands honesty in all things.’

‘The odd little porky pie (lie) isn’t a big deal. Look at how men always say, You look lovely, to their wives when their girlfriends are secretly wondering, What on earth were you thinking wearing that? It’s what makes a relationship last. But it’s vital to get the big things out in the open like, No I do not want your mother staying over every weekend. And look at us, we never let things drift! If we have an issue we discuss it.’


‘Look at us,’ I said again. ‘Two weeks after we met, you asked me to marry you. And you were a confirmed bachelor.’ I’ve always secretly felt a bit smug about that.

‘In those days getting married was the only way to get regular sex from an attractive woman,’ came the shocking response that burst my romantic bubble.

Stunned, I just looked at him, the love of my life, and my temper started to simmer right along with the pasta.

‘Are you telling me.’ You might like to know that my tone matched Siberia. ‘You simply married me for my body?’

By this point he drained the pasta, dumped it back in the pot, took out the roasted veggies and stirred. Then he poured everything into a heated oven dish, poured over the passata, added baby tomatoes and grated cheese. Put the dish onto a tray and placed everything in the oven for twenty minutes.

He looked at me, caught the expression and blinked.

‘Among other things,’ he said. ‘Mostly, it was your quick brain and how you made me laugh. You still make me laugh. But, yes, marrying you for your body ticked a big plus in my box. My life is much more fun with you in it. And although it would be a hell of a lot more peaceful, I can’t imagine life without you, so you can lose the face.’

And then there was a romantic interlude. Use your imaginations!

So there you go, my theory is correct, we cannot help ourselves but procreate.

Go forth and shag with abandon on Valentines Day!

And, since I feel nothing but love for you guys here’s a link to a fabulous idea by horror author Samantha Warren, a blind date to match readers with authors of their favourite genres, there are plenty of mystery, psychological/legal thriller, romance – sweet and steamy, paranormal, sci-fi and even a non fiction author too. So pop over and leave your name on the link below and you’ll be matched up with an author. The author will email either a Smashwords code or email a gift of a book to your eReader of choice. Sound good??? The link is HERE


But I want to know what you guys are up to for Valentines day, will it be romantic with its logical conclusion or do you treat it like any other day?

You know I adore hearing from you!

Christine x