New Release – Break The Rules – is out now….

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GET IT HERE:  AMAZON USA     AMAZON UK    iBOOKS      NOOK

Greetings, my darlings,

I’m so thrilled to bring you the third book in the Ludlow Nights franchise. The adventures of Anastacia, Danni and T.C. continue with cameo appearances from the Ferranti family (and Sophia of course).

Here’s an exclusive sneak peek:

Sean Kennedy had a simple rule when it came to women—

if they were hard work—

he didn’t bother.

Why put himself through unnecessary hassle?

And then he met a blonde bombshell…

She is beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won.

 William Shakespeare

From the moment Sean Kennedy frisked T.C. he captivated her. The look in the bodyguard’s tawny eyes for her was too intense, insanely sexy and dominant. He was a powerful man who towered over everyone. And a man who believed he could have anything and anyone. Despite T.C.’s reservations, she had a night of passion with him. A night which brought the demons of her past into her present and her future.

Demons that have no intention of ever letting her go.

But Sean was a man prepared to fight dirty for the woman he wanted.

And a man who’d never lost a battle—yet.

CHAPTER ONE

“You have the luck of the Irish, alright. It is not every day a man saves two lives, is hit by a bus and survives to tell the tale.”

Propped up on pillows in his hospital bed, Sean Kennedy eyed the tall, blonde bombshell.

Theresa Catliff was a stunner all right and mouth-wateringly gorgeous. Today, she wore a floaty summer dress the color of her eyes, a vivid violet. She seemed to have an unending collection of floaty dresses. The way the fabric tightened against her superb breasts, he was sure they were designed to test a man. The dress had little shoestring straps. Little straps that might take a man mere seconds to untie. Her smooth skin had been kissed by the sun.

Sean closed his eyes, not only against the agony of his ribs, but the ache between his legs. He was assigned to protect the head of Ferranti Communications, Anastacia Morgan, fiancée of Italian soccer star, Olivier Conti. And in that role he’d saved Anastacia and her friend Danni. Hence the part where he’d been hit by a bus and was now lying in a hospital bed in Paris. Fortunately for him he hadn’t broken anything. But, he’d ended up with a concussion and banged up ribs.

Theresa, aka T.C., was one of Anastacia’s best pals and the bane of Sean’s existence.

For six days she’d taken on the role of his fake fiancée.

He’d been out of it when, in order to gain access to his room, she’d lied to the medical staff and told them she was his bride-to-be. On day one, she’d pitched up in his room with a silver “Get-Well-Soon” balloon and an enormous purple teddy bear. The bear’s maniacal grin had seriously freaked him out during a delirium caused by his bump on the head. Then she’d proceeded to have an argument with his doctor —in horribly bad French—about pain medication. She appeared to have the uncanny knack of being able to tell, simply by looking at him, he was in pain.

Although Sean didn’t believe in the existence of magic, he’d begun to wonder if she was a witch.

Six days later and the woman had his entire medical team eating out of her hand.

Seemed she’d taken to the role of a loving, caring fiancée like the proverbial duck to water.

As he opened his eyes and examined her flawless face, her dancing blue eyes held their usual challenge. He swore that when he was back on his feet, he’d kiss the very breath from that voluptuous body. “I thought you’d have gone home today with your little pals.”

In response to his cranky tone, her eyes narrowed in a long and very slow study of his face.

A study that saw too damn much.

“Didn’t take your pain meds again. Did you?”

Yup, definitely a witch.

“They make me feel as if I’m floating.”

“Better floating than being a bad tempered growly bastard. I pity the poor nursing staff around you, I really do.” She dropped a leather bag the size of a small town on a visitor chair, moved towards his bedside cabinet and opened the top drawer to rummage around his personal stuff. When the scent of her slid around his senses, warm woman, shampoo and summer, Sean closed his eyes to enjoy the moment. Christ, she smelled incredible. When she didn’t find what she was looking for, she turned to him, held out her hand and wiggled her fingers. “Gimme.”

Wincing, he slid his hand beneath his pillow, found two pills and told himself the only reason he was giving in without a fight was because the pain in his ribs hurt like hell.

He dropped the pills into her palm.

“Stop being such a man, Sean. Don’t you understand that if you don’t take these you won’t get enough rest to heal?”

He knew he’d received a head injury that may make a person feel as if they’re having out of body experiences, but he found it beyond weird that Theresa Catliff was acting as if she gave a hot damn about him. Before he’d been hit by a bus, she’d made it clear, to put it mildly, he was not her favorite person. The idea struck him that perhaps her daily visits to make sure he was alive was a gratitude thing. And didn’t that make him feel sick to the stomach, disappointed and downright pissed off?

“Why do you care?” he growled.

Her brows rose. “Hell if I know. If you carry on with the bad attitude, I won’t give you your present. Open up.” She poured a glass of water, popped the pills into his mouth and watched him wash them down.

Her full lips, painted a glossy red, twitched when he poked out his tongue to prove it.

Christ, now he was behaving like a three-year-old.

He closed his eyes and inhaled her scent.

Truth be told, he was too fucking exhausted to care or to fight with her.

When gentle fingertips brushed his hair back from his forehead, Sean’s eyes blinked wide open. He stared into hers and believed he caught a tender look in those baby blues that reminded him of his mother when he’d had mumps. The look was gone in an instant as if it had never been. Sean decided he was hallucinating because to compare the blonde bombshell with his sturdy but loving Irish mother was plain crazy.

However, the pain meds were kicking in.

He closed his eyes and took a careful deep breath to inflate his lungs, something his physio had told him was crucial to ward off bugs like pneumonia. His groan of agony was heartfelt.

It was pure shock, when her mouth whispered over his and it hit him with the force of a tsunami.

His heart pounded in his ears and his dick snapped to attention as if it was eighteen again.

He squeezed his eyes tight shut because there was no way a sissy cotton hospital gown and single blanket would hide his body’s betrayal.

“Oh, my good Lord,” the witch whispered.

Oh Lord, indeed, Sean thought viciously.

***

Ah, I cannot tell you the fun I’ve had with this couple and I hope you enjoy them, too.

I’m working on NO RULES and OUR RULES as well as this particular finale THE RULES.

There is no rest for the wicked!

Christine X

Sneak peek book news… and a new release…

it'sallabouttheromancebyccmackenzie

READER LIBRARY

 

Greetings,

Is that picture cute, or is that picture cute? It’s the cover of all thirty sneak peeks from 2016 collected in one book titled LUDLOW HALL After Happy Ever After. The book  is NOT for sale and will be placed in the exclusive reader library next week (it’s being proofed as I type) and is a full length compilation of around forty-nine thousand words. I will do another post when the file goes live in the library.

Editing the thirty sneak peeks has been an incredible journey – who’d have thought an author could forget whole scenes? I laughed so hard at times, and had a couple of teary moments, too. *sniff*

More Ludlow Hall sneak peeks are on the way for this year, too. So worry not.

I’m writing Break The Rules and No Rules together, but will release Break The Rules first and I’m having a great time with T.C. and the gang. The girl is trouble with a capital T.

 

glory-odin-outsidethebedroom

 

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AND – the sixth Golddigger short story, GLORY, is available right now for pre-order in the store links above. GLORY is out on Good Friday 14th April. My editor and team love this one and especially the lovely Odin who is brought to his knees by Ms Morning Glory Haden.

The next Golddigger will be HEATHER out sometime in May.

I’ll keep you posted.

Christine X

Golddigger news… and SEAN reviews…

A weekly tale of love and lust best describes the brand new short romance reads from USA Today bestselling author CC MacKenzie. Let’s face it, sometimes we’re in a hurry or not in the mood for a committed book relationship, or a series. Sometimes we want it quick and fast, a bit like a book one-night-stand.

These stories are set in the world of burlesque with glitter, love, desire, music and dance where girls tease and tantalize. These stories stand alone, unrelated to the next, except they are set in the same world. And CC will release an original story every Friday to get you in the mood for the weekend!

The Golddiggers series of thirty minutes of fun romance from CC MacKenzie – for busy people everywhere.

 

four-golddiggers

 

CLICK TO PRE-ORDER

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Happy Friday, peeps!

The pre-orders for The Golddiggers are well underway with the next four coming soon. As an author I’ve probably had the most exciting time of my career writing these fast paced, fun reads. The Golddigger world is introduced to readers in SEAN (Ludlow Hall book ten). Here are just some of the amazing reviews that have come in over the last ten days:

“As with all of the books in the Ludlow Hall series, you become immediately drawn in the busy, crazy hectic life that surrounds Ludlow Hall and will love every minute! The characters are engaging and if you have started with Reckless Nights in Rome you will find it is like catching up with old friends. And of course, spending time with the Ferranti family is always fun and Sophia is the best! Sean has intensity and you can feel his bitterness. Well done CC! Another hit!”

“You will not read anything better than this series. Sean is another funny, heartwarming “episode” in the series. Sophia is the best. I love how the words describe exactly how the facial expressions are in my minds eye. Ms. MacKenzie is brilliant. Read these books, you will laugh out loud.”

“C C MacKenzie has done it again! Sean plus Katherine equals combustible sexy heat and passion that cannot be denied. We also get a wonderful peek into the lives of our favourite family, “The Ferranti’s..So much love and heart in this book”

“If you have never read any of the Ludlow Hall books you are missing out. The characters are fun and you feel like you know them. I love this series because the main characters of Nico and Bronte appear throughout all of the stories. This book was really good, couldn’t put it down, love the story of SEAN & Katherine and what they go through to be together. This story will make you laugh and cry. Another great read from CC MacKenzie.”

“Love these books. Never disappoints. Great read. Love the family, humor, friendships, and hardship of the characters and how they handle each of life’s situations. Even though I am not Italian lol.”

“I fell in love, broke my heart, laughed out loud, got mad, even sang along through tears. Wish I had more stars to give. This story just wonderfully told. Well done CC MacKenzie, you are brilliant.”

“Wonderful story. Loved how strong and independent our girl is. Thanks for another great hit CC. Can’t wait to read about Ellie.”

 

Thank you so much for the SEAN love!  You’ve blown me away with all the Facebook messages and emails. My readers ROCK!

Big hugs,

Christine xxx

Exclusive SEAN excerpt and a video….

iBOOKS pre-order

Greetings my darlings,

And how cool is the video? Can you tell I’m getting down with technology. I’m gonna have a CC MACKENZIE youtube channel. I know, how cool for school is that? LOL!

My amazing daughter is helping me with a few things we’ve had on the back burner for months, but are now coming to fruition, including a video reader/author question and answer session. So if you can think of any burning questions to ask, now is the time. Stick them in the comments section below or message me or send up smoke signals – I will respond.

Want a sneak peek of SEAN?

Then read on:

***

Katherine slapped cold cream on her face, plucked tissues from the box on the dresser, and wiped her makeup from her skin. Removing her eye makeup took time. It had been applied by Birdie with a heavy hand to allow people at the back of the room to see her properly.

Behind her Birdie was helping Ellie out of her flesh colored strapless bra.

“You’re burnin’ up,” Birdie said to the girl in a sharp tone that caught Katherine’s attention.

She spun to study one of her best Golddiggers.

Ellie was an all-American blonde bombshell.

The girl did look flushed, her eyes a glassy blue.

“You sick?” Katherine asked.

Ellie nodded.

“Feel like crap. Took a couple of pills before the show, but every bone’s aching.”

“It isn’t the Grey Goose flu, is it?” Katherine wondered, her voice sharp as she studied Ellie.

Ellie glared at her. “For crissake, I never touch vodka and my drink was spiked, once.”

“Just checking.”

Non. She ees seek.” Pearl, a petite Golddigger from Paris, placed the back of her hand on Ellie’s forehead and clicked her tongue. “Mon dieu, you are hot. Let us hope it is not ze flu. You need a bath, a painkiller, and bed. Tout de suite!”

“That’s why you threw your panties into the crowd instead of to me, I knew there was something wrong,” Birdie said as she helped Ellie dress. “Let’s get you out of here.”

In no time, all the girls were bundled up in jeans and sweaters.

And just as they were about to leave, a knock at the door heralded the arrival of two outrageously good-looking men. They were both tall, built, and dressed in immaculate dark suits with pristine white shirts opened at the neck. Katherine, unfortunately, was well acquainted with one; the other was super model Noah Blake. And at the moment, Noah was staring hard at a very sick Ellie who stood and smiled and nodded as she did her duty and shook his hand.

As Ellie left with Birdie and the rest of the girls, Noah was hot on their heels, his eyes glued to Ellie’s back. Seemed her Golddigger had found herself a rabid fan, which left Katherine alone with a man she hadn’t seen in years. One who’d always tied her emotions in knots, and these days, a man who regarded her as public enemy number one.

Her stomach knotted as she took a good long look at the narrowed eyes, the set face, the firm line of his mouth.

Well, time had certainly been kind to Sean Gallagher.

He looked the picture of power and authority in his expertly tailored suit. To call him good-looking would be a pitiful description.

As the camera well knew, the guy was devastatingly handsome.

Trouble was, he knew it.

Unblinking eyes captured hers, and held.

Her pulse raced; her mouth went dry.

God, it was like being trapped in a blue tractor beam.

It cost her, but she dragged her eyes away as scenes, good and bad, from long ago flew into her mind to send it spinning down memory lane.

“Hi, Sean,” she said.

Of course she’d known he’d be at the wedding. His friendship and best man status with Marc Atelier had come as something of a surprise, which was putting it mildly. Seemed the guys had met years ago, long before Marc met Elena, and become firm friends.

Normally, Katherine didn’t believe in coincidences. But, coincidences happened in life all the time.

Sean was well over six feet tall.

Big.

Bigger than she remembered, with wide shoulders, narrow waist, and a flat belly.

Her eyes lifted to his. She’d always loved his eyes, a shocking ice-blue. The kind that seemed to see right into a person’s soul.

However, at the moment his gaze didn’t look friendly, and not once did that wonderful mouth crack a smile. Rather, he pursed his lips in a thin, hard line.

His hair was still jet black, cut in a modern style, short at the sides, longer on top, and he wore his signature carefully cut and trimmed five o’clock shadow.

Seemed after six years he was still bitter, and how pathetic was that?

She’d been eighteen, and when it came to men, especially this man, she’d been too stupid to live.

“Long time no see,” Sean said in a low tone that was one click up from a growl.

“Years,” she responded in a clipped tone.

Now, he curved his full, sexy lips in a smirk as his eyes lingered on the V of her thin silk wrap. She folded her arms against her body’s pitiful reaction to a man who couldn’t stand the sight of her. He’d always affected her this way, made her tongue-tied and nervous, when, in truth, she was anything but.

“Bit of a step-down from the Royal Ballet, don’t you think?”

The fact he was beginning their conversation with an insult shouldn’t have hurt, but it did.

Then she wondered why she was surprised?

In the past, when they’d been young and before his brother came between them he’d been full of fun and not the sort of person, she’d have thought, to hold a grudge. He’d changed—and that change had a sliver of disappointment in him curl in her belly.

At one time, their late grandmothers had been best friends. They’d lived next door to each other in Dublin. After Katherine’s grandmother passed away and Joanne Kennedy had taken her daughter to live the dream of ballet in England, they’d lost touch with Sean’s family. Katherine and her mother had finally joined her older brother and his family to settle in Old Ludlow, where they’d lived ever since. And of course, since then, all her dreams of ballet had turned to dust. Not that she’d had second thoughts. Creating The Golddiggers had opened more doors to her than ballet alone ever could. She’d never regretted her decision. Plus, as far as she was concerned, she had nothing to be ashamed of, and if Sean Gallagher thought he could rain on her parade, he had another think coming. Namely, a boot up the ass.

“I had my reasons,” she said, determined to give this man no cause to sneer at her life choices.

“Sure you did. Maybe you just weren’t good enough.”

The blow of his open hostility hit like an open handed slap to the face.

Her cheeks might be hot, but Katherine blinked—held her chin high.

“We’ll never know, will we?” she said.

His blue eyes went so cold, she shivered.

“You’ve gone from living like a nun to courtesan in seven years. Bit of a departure,” Sean said, his voice low.

Not once did her eyes leave his. She refused to back down from the challenge he’d tossed between them.

“I don’t regret my life choices.”

“I’m sure you don’t. You were a good actress then; you’re an Oscar winner now. With you it’s all smoke and mirrors. Always was, always will be.”

When Birdie pushed through the door, Sean moved past her and walked away.

And all the while, Katherine’s heart was going crazy against her ribs.

“Sheesh. That’s one helluva bitter man,” Birdie said, tipping her head out the door to watch Sean.

Katherine’s eyes narrowed as she stood behind her dresser and stared down the corridor at his retreating back.

A boiling anger bubbled inside her, so intense it made her fist her hands.

Birdie turned to her, studied her face, snapped her gum. “What on earth did you do to him?” she asked.

Katherine wished she knew, because whatever had set him off like that had to be more than that one kiss years ago.

“I didn’t do anything to him.”

***

Not long now until SEAN is live – the 30th September.

Don’t forget you can pre-order him HERE.

Any questions you want to ask about the writing process, creativity, or what’s coming, leave a comment below.

Big hug

Christine X

GOLDDIGGER NEWS AND EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT …

golddiggersfbbanner

Greetings, my lovelies.

The GOLDDIGGER short stories of half hour reads are rocking with my editor and proof reading team who are laughing and crying (in a good way).

The first story, ELLIE, is released on FRIDAY 28th October 2016. Her pre-order is out now and available HERE.

I’m offering EXCLUSIVE content of behind the scenes sneak peeks of GOLDDIGGER life to readers who sign up to my mailing list HERE. 

Each story is a stand alone romance. No cliffhangers. Each story is set in the GOLDDIGGER world.

And to get you in the mood, here’s a taster of MILLIE who will land in your eReader on FRIDAY 4th of November 2016.

 

millie-1

iBOOKS pre-order links are going up very soon!

 

MILLIE

“Money. Fame. Success.

Honey, I’m a GOLDDIGGER.

I’m truly walkin’ in high cotton.

I have it all.

Sure, I’ve gone through real hard times and made mistakes along the way.

Who hasn’t?

I’m not a perfect person.

But success comes with a price.

Seems I have a stalker.

Since I’m his object of desire, the notes detailing what he’s gonna do to me have gotten everyone from the police to my boss’s knickers in a knot.

You might ask, am I scared?

’Scuse me, sistas. I’m from Texas. I learned to shoot a gun before I could walk.

A nut job don’t worry me none.

Remember I mentioned a past mistake?

Well, the mistake just walked through the door.

Cole Buchanan’s always been too good looking with a hot bod and sultry bedroom eyes. Once upon a time, Cole and I did a lot of messin’ up the straw in my daddy’s hayloft.

These days, he’s an ex-navy seal, runs a personal protection business, and looks like a man straight out of central casting for the Men in Black, complete with the shades and piss poor attitude.

And he’s here to protect me.

(Hang on a minute while I stop laughing).

But then a tragic secret from the past comes back to bite my ass, and both our lives are changed…

Forever.”

Dear readers, I’m so excited to bring you the GOLDDIGGERS and having THE best time writing key moments in the girls’ lives. I figure if I’m having fun then so will you.

Remember, I’m introducing the Irish showgirl, Pousse-Cafe (a.k.a Katherine Mary Kennedy) and her GOLDDIGGER troupe in SEAN, where Katherine brings him to his knees. Again, my editor and team are doing a happy dance with the story. They love the chaos and love in the Ferranti household, too.

You can grab SEAN’S pre-order links HERE.

SEAN is out in three short weeks, on September 30th! and I’ll be giving you exclusive excerpts on this blog page, so stay tuned.

Love and hugs,

Christine X

 

New Release – ADAM – Book four of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles is out today

ADANRELEASEDAY

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Hi guys,

For all you paranormal romance lovers out there, I’m thrilled to announce that Book four of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, ADAM, is out today.

 

Here’s the blurb:

“We must not be defeated…”

Each night her dreams of him keep the nightmares of her visions at bay. All she sees is his face. All she hears his voice. And she foretells of his death.

Tonight, in a world gone mad, foreseer Mhari MacDonald will behold the man who is both light and dark, redemption and seduction.

He is Adam Gillespie – Vampyre Prince.

And he is hers.

Tonight, Mhari will meet the man doomed to be her mate…

 the man her love will destroy…

 

EXCERPT:

 

Mhari raced into the bedroom, and hauled open the closet door.

She pulled on thick black thermal leggings, a long-sleeved thermal beneath a warm sweater, thick socks, waterproof boots of soft rubber, all topped off by a thick duck down jacket the color of bleached bone. The jacket had a hood, but she crammed a beanie on her head and thrust thermal gloves into the pockets. She sped into the kitchen, grabbed a banana and a couple of apples, stuffed them inside her jacket. She didn’t need water. The Grampian Highlands in Scotland were covered in snow and had plenty of teeming burns.

Heart beating fast and her mind racing even faster, she sped across the sitting room to the open French doors to peer over the balcony to the ground three floors below.

She had no money, not even a credit card, but she didn’t care.

Far in the distance she recognized a couple of Munros, mountains over three thousand feet high. The trek home through deep snow might be tricky. But it wasn’t far, maybe fifteen miles, maybe less, and when she hit a main road she could do it. Once she was home, she’d never let Adam Gillespie anywhere near her.

Abruptly, the searing ache in her heart told her it didn’t want her to leave Adam.

And it was that single and incredibly foolish thought that hooked her leg over the balcony.

With her booted foot, she carefully shoved snow off the stone ledge.

Hanging onto the railing, she bounced a little to test her weight on the ledge. It didn’t budge, so she carefully shuffled to the left, and finally took a breath when her hands clutched metal.

The downpipe was sturdy.

The climb down had a couple of hairy moments that brought her heart into her mouth.

If she slipped the fall would surely kill her, or at the very least break a few bones.

The thought entered her mind that if Adam could see her, he’d go ballistic, but she didn’t want to think of him. Not now.

 

Her feet hit solid ground.

And she was off.

Her breath was sucking freezing particles of air into lungs that felt too tight. And all the while her ears strained to catch the first shout of alarm she fully expected to hear behind her. She ran. As she dug in to climb up, up, the steep hillside, it wasn’t long before her thigh muscles were burning.

Once, twice, three times, she tripped and fell flat on her face in the snow, hidden stems trapping her ankles and bruising her shins, her knees and elbows.

Scrambling to her feet again and again, Mhari literally threw herself into a thick forest of Scots pine trees.

Only once did she risk a look back, to catch her breath, to gaze at the castle far below.

Dear God, it looked stunningly beautiful, like something straight out of the Brothers Grimm, as it sat nestled in a glen on the edge of a wide loch, surrounded by mountains and hills. A dark winding tar macadam road going in the other direction had been cleared of snow. It was tempting to take the easy route home. But she knew Adam would have everyone looking for her, once he found her missing. She’d taken time to close the French doors behind her and now she was thankful for her quick thinking. He’d never consider she’d climbed out of the window, not until it was too late and she was long gone.

She hoped.

The thought of him and the way her mouth still throbbed, swollen, from his kiss had her tongue run over her bottom lip. Mhari could still taste him there. The scent of him, of man, seemed to cling to her skin. The ache in her chest, in the region of her heart, made her stiffen her resolve. Her heart still belonged to her. He might have stolen a part of it, but her heart wasn’t broken. And she was determined her heart was going to stay that way.

For a moment, she panicked, her clear footprints left in the snow would alert Adam and his Centuri to her escape route, but the thought had no more entered her head when thick flakes began to drift down from a leaden sky.

It seemed someone in the universe was looking after her.

She sent up a quick prayer of thanks.

Turning her back on the castle, and on the creature she felt sure had captured a tiny piece of her heart, Mhari’s ears listened to the stillness and the utter silence behind her, and heard nothing.

She was free.

 

End of Excerpt.

Please remember that all my books stand alone with no cliffhangers.

For exclusive content and more information about deliciously handsome vampyres and the women who bring them to their knees, you can sign-up for my Vampyre Legal Chronicles Newsletter HERE!

Next in the series will be book five, CONSTANTINE, due in February 2017.

Enjoy!

Much love,

Christine X

Vampyre Legal Chronicles, ADAM, pre-order now

adam1 copy

 

 

iBOOKS   AMAZON  KOBO  NOOK

Hi guys!

I can’t believe book four of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, ADAM, is out on June 28th 2016. I’ve had the best time writing Adam and Mhari’s story. They are an amazing couple who challenge each other every single step of the way on the path to true love.

Here’s the blurb:

This Book Stands Alone – No Cliffhanger

“We must not be defeated…”

Each night her dreams of him keep the nightmares of her visions at bay. All she sees is his face. All she hears his voice. And she foretells of his death.
Tonight, in a world gone mad, foreseer Mhari MacDonald will behold the man who is both light and dark, redemption and seduction.
He is Adam Gillespie – Vampyre Prince.
And he is hers.
Tonight, Mhari will meet the man doomed to be her mate…
the man her love will destroy…

Excerpt:

She’d have killed for a hot bath. A big, deep whirlpool of rose scented oil and foam, or failing that a man with good hands. Hands that knew how to give an exceptional shoulder and neck rub.

Mhari MacDonald passed the time fantasizing about both, while she waited for her boss, Professor Redford, to wind down. Bubbles up to her chin, her hair piled up as she lay her aching head on a soft cushion, and let all the cares of the world simply float away.

A wave of fatigue threatened to floor her, but Mhari kept her eyes straight ahead, and remained standing to attention in her nurses’ uniform; black rubber clogs, navy pants, and a navy blue cotton tunic edged with white piping which denoted her rank. The sleeves were short. Her skin felt tight and raw from the chemical scrub. Her pores reeked of disinfectant, too. She shivered. Jeez, the room was freezing. Seemed the people who ran the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh had cut back on heating for staff offices.

Mhari waited for the axe to fall.

She didn’t have long to wait.

Professor Redford, a tyrant at the best of times, tossed her pen on the desk.

She sat back in her chair, and peered at Mhari over the top of black framed reading glasses.

“You’re one of my best nurses, and now this? I will not accept it,” she said in a high-pitched nasally voice. Today the tone grated on Mhari’s nerves. Nerves shot to hell with the stress and strain of fighting a losing battle with an airborne Ebola virus that had spun out of control. Since Mhari reckoned she had nothing to say in response to the Professor’s statement, she kept her mouth shut.

The only sound in the room was the relentless tick, tick, tick, from the clock on the wall. Another endless moment of being considered by cold grey eyes over the top of those damn glasses, and Mhari MacDonald was barely holding on to patience with her fingernails.

After four weeks as a head triage nurse running a team working hard to contain a disease that scythed without mercy, man, woman and child, Mhari felt she’d learned a lot more than patience. She’d learned the bitter lesson no matter how much a person cared, no matter how much experience and dedication a person brought to bear, there were some battles dedicated medical care and science could not win.

The Ebola virus was one of them.

Mhari shifted from one sore foot to the other.

She’d covered three shifts, which meant thirty-six hours on her feet.

And two hundred and forty-one dead.

Her heart clenched.

In her mind her patient’s heartfelt pleas for help as they passed from life into death broke more than her heart.

She tried not to think of the number.

No human being should die as a number.

Three hours ago, she’d used a permanent marker to write the number on the forehead of a nine-month old baby boy.

Her mind flew back to the precise moment, to the reason why she was standing in front of her boss instead of lying face down on her bed.

 

Inside the sealed suit, which filtered air into her hazmat headgear, the suck and exhale of her breath had sounded too loud. Two days ago, she’d wept when she’d lifted the desperately ill little body from his dead mother’s arms. When he’d been conscious, Mhari’s face behind the clear plastic helmet had terrified the child. She’d rocked him, held him close as he’d taken his last breath. A child who was one of many in a ward over-filled with the dying. Inside the suit she couldn’t smell bodily fluids. But Mhari imagined she could. Blue plastic shoe covers stuck to human waste on the floor. The progression of the disease that was Ebola; flu like symptoms, headache, fatigue, fevers, and then an escalation into delirium with bleeding from eyes, nose and ears, as internal organs liquefied, which made the corpse and anything it touched incredibly infectious.

After pictures of the dead were taken, the bodies were burned.

In an attempt to speed up the process and control the spread of disease, the authorities had automated body disposal. Crematoriums with vast ovens burning twenty-four-seven had been built in the grounds of every hospital. The sweet smoke of death was a pale grey murk over every city in the land. There wasn’t time to read last rites, or say a prayer. Robots, prototypes made in Japan, lifted and placed the deceased onto a conveyor belt leading directly into the ovens. The dead were cremated with an efficiency not seen since the second world war.

When she’d used a black marker to write two hundred and forty-one on the child’s forehead, Mhari’s eyes had stung.

Her throat closed.

Her hands had been shaking uncontrollably as she’d taken pictures.

But when she’d handed the baby to a robot, that was when Mhari knew she couldn’t do this.

And something inside her cracked.

Broken.

Fractured.

 

Now standing in front of her boss, Mhari lifted hands that trembled from exhaustion, and rammed a loose hairpin into her throbbing scalp.

She welcomed the hurt.

The pain told her she was alive.

The pain told her she was one of the lucky few.

 

Professor Redford, head of infectious diseases at the Western General Hospital, was a martinet for tidiness and order. Hair was not permitted to touch the shoulders of her nurses. The woman herself was neat, and a stickler for the rules.

She reflected it was a pity Mhari was a regular breaker of said rules, disorganized and so far from neat, it wasn’t funny. Her hair was a case in point, and seemed to symbolize her lively personality. There were a variety of shades from a delicate ash blond to rich brown to a vivid red gold. It was long and heavy and hated confinement of any kind. A bit like Mhari herself, it was disobedient and obstinate, yet soft and appealing.

It had been the appeal of Mhari’s somewhat unconventional looks and personality that had prompted the Professor to hire her in the first place. That and her talent of dealing with difficult and complicated cases, plus the way she ran a team.

Professor Redford recognized a natural ability which had the potential to put her department on the map. With the male contingent on her team, Mhari’s face and body were undoubtedly a plus, too. Mhari just had to bat those thick lashes and junior doctor’s rushed to do her bidding. The Professor couldn’t really in all good conscience call Mhari beautiful, but she was spectacular. The girl’s features were sculpted and pointed and undeniably highborn. Fine brows curved over wide, lidded eyes that seemed too big for her narrow face, were a stunning pale violet.

“I refuse to lose you. You are one of the most valuable members of my team.”

In response, the girl’s hands were shaking as she unpinned her little badge of silver wings, a sign of her seniority, and laid it on the desk.

It appeared her nurse was stubborn, too.

Eyes fixed on Mhari’s, she picked up her letter of resignation and ripped it into shreds.

The Professor might be neck deep in a crisis, and have a hospital to run, but she was well aware Mhari had reached the end of her tether. However, she was not prepared to let one of her best nurses walk away when she knew the girl would live to regret it. What Mhari needed was a break. Fair enough. She’d give her one.

On the whole the Professor was pleased with Mhari’s enthusiasm, her intelligence and her energy, but she had a distressing habit of letting her mind drift at times. It gave a sort of other-worldly quality to her features. Plus, she’d soon discovered that in spite of appearances, Mhari had an unfortunate tendency to forget her place, and re-write the rules whenever it suited her. More than once she’d come upon Mhari giving spirited and unwarranted advice to a junior doctor too dazzled to question the girl’s apparently infinite wisdom. When Mhari was reminded of who was the boss here, her smile gave the distinct impression she was enjoying a private joke. Whatever her shortcomings, Professor Redford refused to lose her.

Meanwhile, blissfully unaware of the Professor’s thoughts, Mhari did what she invariably did when her mind wasn’t busy. She let it drift back to the last vision she’d experienced and tried, uselessly as it turned out, to understand the meaning behind it.

Since she’d been a small child, flashes of scenes from the future had occupied her mind. Details of her visions came to her in spurts and starts, and out of time order. With her maternal gramma as teacher, she’d studied her gift, or curse, of foresight. At twenty-one she’d been left without family and virtually no money in the bank. However, she’d continued to work her way through her nursing degree, and supplemented her small income with a variety of odd jobs from a bottle tossing bartender in one of Edinburgh’s hot spots, to a professional dog-walker. She had an affinity with animals. Between her education and employment, Mhari had been left with few moments of free time. Even those had been set aside to work on her gift.

To Mhari, the gift of foresight was a vocation. Her entire life had been guided by a grandmother who, like her granddaughter, was fey. Her gramma used to say they’d been touched by an angel. Mhari didn’t know about that, but she’d had no time for attachments of a personal nature. She was twenty-three now, and people simply fascinated her, but there were very few with whom she could say she’d ever got close to. Her busy brain seemed to enjoy understanding and analyzing complex relationships, and yet her personal understanding of them came about exclusively second-hand. Her gift of foresight gave her work with the sick a quality of keen observation and a surprising depth of empathy, together with an emotional intelligence often lacking in a medical profession more concerned with ticking boxes and achieving unrealistic targets. For the greater part of her life, Mhari’s emotions had found their release in her vocation of caring for others and helping them cope with their pain, be it physical or psychological.

But putting herself last had taken a heavy toll.

The psychic energy needed to help souls cross over the bridge from life to death was depleted.

Mhari MacDonald’s emotional well was bone dry.

She needed to get away from the pain and grief she dealt with every second of every hour of every day.

The world as she knew it and the people in it, her friends and loved-ones, all gone.

There was nothing she could do about it or give hope and solace to those suffering.

This broke her heart, and lowered her spirit.

So she was following her intuition, her gut.

She’d already packed a car with her few personal possessions.

This evening she was planning to head north into the snowy-capped Grampian Highlands of Scotland, to find respite in the tiny bothy that had been in the MacDonald family for hundreds of years.

She was going to find her destiny… and, perhaps, the man who filled her dreams.

It was time.

“I’m sorry, Professor, but I need to go.”

When her boss nodded and smiled, Mhari blinked in surprise.

There was not a lot of love lost between them.

So when the Professor stood, picked up the silver Angel’s wings, walked around the desk and pinned it on Mhari’s lapel, the gesture of support was so unexpected it brought a sting to her eyes.

“Take a break. Let’s say a month or two. And then return to us rested and ready. Do not lose faith, child. A cure or treatment will be found.”

Not soon enough for baby number two hundred and forty-one, Mhari wanted to say.

Instead, she nodded.

“I can’t promise anything.”

The Professor smiled again, this time a curve of the lips that seemed to hold a secret.

A smile Mhari would remember.

Finito

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As a busy author, I’m working on The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, book five, CONSTANTINE, as well as a couple of other projects.

My next release will be SEAN, book ten, of The Ludlow Hall Romances (with plenty more to come). And a super-secret project released after SEAN, which I’m incredibly excited about and will share the details as soon as I am able.

 Hugs,

Christine X

Soccer star, secrets, lies, glitter and lust… It’s the HER RULES release day…

HER RULES 3D

HER RULES

A queen of hot contemporary romance is back with plenty of laughs, tears, thrills and spills! USA Today Bestselling author, CC MACKENZIE returns with a brand new, burn-up-the-sheets story to set your eReader aflame. No cliffhanger. Ooooh-la-la, we’re off to gay Paris!

“I miss you. The Old You. The new one sucks.”  Olivier.

Greetings, my darlings,

Today I am beyond thrilled to announce the release of book two of The Rules series –  HER RULES! Although the stories are linked, each book stands alone.

Readers are loving the leading characters we met in HIS RULES – Anastacia Morgan, the fiercely independent and whip-smart head of Ferranti Communications, and Olivier Conti, the drop dead gorgeous Italian soccer star determined to march her down the aisle. Shame the woman he loves is kicking and screaming all the way…

Set in the stunning city of Paris, Anastacia and Olivier have arrived to film the next stage of their Ferranti Boutique hotel campaign. The bad times are behind them and they’re looking to embrace a glittering future together. Until a blast from her past, Jake Thornton, arrives.

Jake wants Anastacia back. She wants him long GONE. And Olivier wants Jake… dead.

However, help is at hand. Anastacia has not arrived in the city of love alone. Her two best friends, Danni and T.C., are in Paris, too. And both are having their own man trouble.

Meet Pascal Wolfe, the charismatic, gorgeous and wealthy designer who has more than just shoes and handbags in mind for Danni. She might be attracted, but Danni’s not ready to trust the well-named Monsieur Wolfe.

And meet Sean Kennedy, the tough ex-mercenary turned personal protection expert, who rubs T.C. up the wrong way. On the face of it the pair have nothing in common, and when they meet, they have even less. Except what they do have is a wise-cracking nothing held back chemistry.

With an ex-boyfriend creating mayhem for Anastacia and a stalker causing big trouble for Danni, the stage is set for an explosive summer…

BUY NOW

AMAZON  iBOOKS  KOBO  BARNES & NOBLE

In the next post, the cover reveal for A DADDY FOR DAISY!

Do I hear a yay?

With much love and lots of hugs,

CHRISTINE X

Pre-order for HER RULES out now and exclusive extract

pre order banner for FB for Her Rules with release date

It’s been a busy week in the MACKENZIE household.

Like everyone else we’re shocked that it’s only four short weeks until the fat man in the red suit slides down the chimney. Where did autumn go?

For once I’m ahead of the game with my book releases, she says.

The first book of the Ludlow Hall off-shoot series, Ludlow Nights – HIS RULES, is gathering amazing reviews.

“I loved Anastacia and Olivier. Like all of CC’s heroines she had spunk! Olivier reminded me soo much of Nico sometimes I must admit I wanted to reach into the book and smack some sense into him, but through it all you just know his hearts in the right place, his machismo just gets in his way sometimes. I laughed each time she put him in his place as I pictured a puzzled expression on his face while he tried to figure out what he’d said wrong this time!

Anastacia faced some very difficult times growing up and it’s made her a very strong woman. There were a couple of scenes that brought me to tears as she came face to face with her past, I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.

I can’t wait for the next book to come out!”

Readers are loving more Nico and Bronte (Nico is a gift as a character and a joy to write) and they’ve fallen hard for Olivier and Anastacia. Their journey to the land of happy-ever-after is proving to be a rocky one.

And their story continues in HER RULES. It’s full of laughs and many challenges as they move the advertising shoot to Paris. Unfortunately, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Mix a professional disaster with a personal crisis and Anastacia is ready to swing for a certain someone.

Daniella Pebbles is with her best pal in Paris, too, covering fashion week. She meets her Waterloo (pardon the pun) in the city of love when one Pascale Wolfe decides that she belongs to him. Unfortunately for Pascale, Dani’s having none of it, and so the fun begins.

And T.C.’s in Paris, too. Will she finally meet the one? Or will she find herself in very hot water? Read the story and see.

Here’s the blurb:

Style guru Danni Pebbles is in the stunning city of Paris for fashion week and discovers that the powerful and wealthy Pascale Wolfe has more on his mind than business – but, given her past, that makes Danni even more determined to keep him at arms length.

One woman stood out, a fragile rose, among hot-house blooms at the show in Paris fashion week. Imaginative,  innovative and shy – Daniela Pebbles is nothing like any woman wealthy designer Pascale Wolfe has ever known. The cynical Frenchman was determined to discover why Daniela wanted to keep him at arm’s length. But, given her past, could Pascale really convince Daniela that their night of passion could become a lifetime together?

EXCLUSIVE excerpt HER RULES

 

Anastacia rose and moved to the window to stare down at the busy river Seine flowing through Paris. Oh, it stuck in her craw that her boss had had to clean up her mess. It was the first time she’d failed so spectacularly, and she had no intention of ever repeating the incredibly humbling experience.

“Ana…” Olivier took a step towards her. Anastacia hardened herself, and her stupid emotions, against what she knew was coming.

“I can’t do this with you.” She faced him, took the hit to the heart, but for once in her pitiful life listened to her head. “In fact I won’t do it. Let’s just keep our relationship professional. Get the job done. Go our own way.”

He stood utterly still.

Any flicker of warmth in his eyes for her now gone.

“If that is what you want.”

“It is what I want.”

She told herself to just hold it together.

She could do this.

“Ana…”

When he shifted to take another step toward her, she held up her hand in the universal signal to halt.

He stopped dead.

Logic in total control now, she spoke,

“I want my life back. I want me back. I want the life I had before you were in it. I was happy then. I’m not happy now. I want a life where I’m not abused on social media. I want a life where people don’t care if I’m too fat or too thin, too tall, too short. Where people don’t care about my hair or whether my breasts are my own. Where I am not measured by what my boyfriend does for a living.” Her steps were jerky as she stalked to the window and back again. Her hands thrust through her curls to her scalp, gripped and pulled. “Jesus, all this nonsense, all this hassle because of football. It’s crazy!”

She took a deep and cleansing breath, desperately trying to ignore how grave, how devastated and how shocked he looked.

Her eyes found his and held firm as she said, “So… I’m stepping off the crazy.”

“I did not handle today well,” he said, his deep voice a rumble in his chest. And she could see by his face how much that admission had cost him. But she refused to listen to the clarion call of her heart. A heart begging her to forgive and to forget. Eyes fixed on her face, he continued, “I did not realize how much the negative attention of my fans has affected you…”

Her double hand-swipe through the air had him stop again in his tracks.

Was he serious?

“Yes, you did know, because I told you time and time again. But you just shrugged it off as part of the circus that is your life. That circus is not my life, Olivier. I knew it going in. I knew it was a mistake to get involved with you while trying to work together. I knew it and I did it anyway.”

All of it, every single part of the mess they were in, was all her own damned fault.

She refused to acknowledge how sad, how pale, he looked.

His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. “So, this is it?”

“Earlier this evening you dumped me. You made your feelings crystal clear,” she reminded him with a bite to her tone.

He nodded. “I was upset…”

“Yeah, well, we’re both upset. Let’s for once be adults about this.”

A wave of exhaustion swept over her and washed away all the conflict, all the anger, leaving her feeling nothing but empty.

His dark eyes burned into hers and she thought, Here we go, he’s going to fight.

“I will not give you up.”

She merely raised her brows.

“You do not get to choose my future. I do.”

*****

PRE-ORDER LINKS – RELEASE ON 15TH DECEMBER 2015

iBOOKS   AMAZON  KOBO  BARNES & NOBLE

new1 copy

And if you missed HIS RULES – here are the links:

iBOOKS  AMAZON  KOBO  BARNES & NOBLE

I’ve already begun BREAK THE RULES, which is out early 2016 so stay tuned.

And I know you’re all waiting for the next Ludlow Hall story, A Daddy For Daisy – I can confirm that I’m writing the story right now, and it’s rocking! Do I hear a YAY? So glad I waited until my head was in the right place for Janine and Josh’s tale. There is no way I could ever release a book unless it was the very best work I can do. I can confirm that I’ll be sharing an exclusive cover reveal with you guys along with the blurb very soon.

AND I’ll have some Vampyre news, too.

Right, back to the grindstone.

Love and Hugs,

Christine XX