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



Greetings, my awesome readers,

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nico blinks. “Si, but . . .”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ll leave you to it,” he says.

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

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




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

Nico didn’t stand a chance!

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


Christine X




A couple of months ago you might remember I mentioned that the lovely romance author, Nana Malone reached out to me, Stacey Joy Netzel, L.C Giroux, Liz Matis, and Kristine Cayne and asked us if we’d consider being part of a romance boxed set. And we jumped at the chance!

We titled the boxed set, Sugar and Sin. Working with the girls has been one of the best author experiences of my life. We bring many strengths to the party. During our on-line meetings we have plenty of laughs while we power through the decision-making and get things done.

And today we are officially Amazon best sellers by hitting number one in Kindle Deals. I never thought I’d ever see this day so I’ve taken a screen shot. We’re about (fingers crossed) to hit the overall Amazon top 100 best-selling books and if that happens the champagne will be opened in this house.  There are almost 3,000,000 million books published on Amazon and to say competition is fierce is something of an understatement. By participating in the boxed set it has brought visibility to the rest of our books. It’s an amazing feeling to reach and hear from new readers. Every message saying a reader has enjoyed the stories makes our day.

So, we’re about to embark on another endeavour.

This time there will be seven of us because we’ve been joined by the awesome author/editor Dana Delamar and will be The Magnificent Seven when we publish our next Sugar and Sin boxed set.

And I have news of a thrilling and chilling paranormal romance boxed set too, so watch this space.

The fabulous thing about being independent authors is the way we can be nimble-footed in a rapidly changing business environment to give readers what they want more of and I’m thrilled to be a small part of a great team.

I want to take this opportunity to thank DeeDee Scott who began the blog WG2E, which has now finished, and Alicia Street who began the WG2E facebook Street Team, Rhonda Hopkins and Tamara Ward.  It was through the street team that I’ve met fellow authors whose support and encouragement and sheer positivity has humbled me. They have truly caught me when I’ve fallen.

And the stupendous WANA group (We Are Not Alone) who are always there to share laughs and information, their names are too numerous to mention but they know who they are! I love you guys so much.

I hate blowing my own trumpet but can you tell I am utterly thrilled?

Christine XXX



What could possibly go wrong with a walk in the park?

What could possibly go wrong with a walk around the lake?

Answer: PLENTY.

‘Isn’t it strange,’ says H as we sit on the roadside by the lake, about four miles from our house, waiting for the daughter number one to arrive with the spare set of car keys, ‘how when we try to do a small thing, a simple thing, something regularly goes wrong?’

‘Very strange,’ I reply with feeling. A lot of ill feeling since I was the one who boobed and guilt is not a nice feeling especially when H is being very nice about my little mistake. It has been half an hour since I locked the car keys in the trunk and I’m not wearing my happy face.

The pic at the top of the page is why we were there in the first place, doing our regular two mile trot around the lake and admiring the views and how the sun shimmered through the trees.

I bet we’re not any different to you guys, we’ve all had our little vehicular mishaps haven’t we? I remember a time H left his wallet on the roof of the car and drove off without a care in the world. Fortunately, or more like miraculously, the car at the time had a sort of edge where a roof box could be fixed and the wallet was still there when we arrived at home.

A memorable car incident was when daughter number two and I went to collect a Christmas tree from the garden centre, which is just up the road. My brilliant idea had been to open the car windows and tie the tree to the roof with rope. That car didn’t have roof bars. We wondered why a handful of men in the garden centre car park were watching us with big eyes and grinning. Then we realised why when it became obvious we’d tied the doors closed, which meant climbing in the windows. Which we did as the guys howled with laughter – we were undaunted and waved as we left. But my daughter’s face was radioactive with embarrassment and she’s never come with me to buy a tree again.

Then there was the time we went to visit my late mother-in-law in Oban and as we left the town driving up a steep hill we looked down into the road where she lived and found her doing a sort of crazy jig in the front garden. We’d left the dog behind. And since my mother-in-law had not a lotta love for the dog… And the dog had not a lotta love for her… You can imagine the jig.

So I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when we got home, but then something happened that made my day!

In recent weeks I’ve been working very hard with a cover designer called Gabrielle Prendergast (who is simply awesome, patient, great sense of humour) of Cover Your Dreams to re-brand my contemporary romances and she’s done an awesome job of the six covers. Only four are published so far and here are the new covers for Reckless Nights In RomeA Stormy Spring , and Run Rosie Run.

Reckless Cover

book2flat copy

book3finalflat-2 copy

I’ll add Coco when I receive it, then I’ll do a cover reveal for The Fall of Jacob DelGarda. The colours are amazing when they’re all grouped together.

You know I love hearing from you!

Share with us your car incidents – can’t wait for these!

Christine XX

Boom Boom

Shopping is always fun

Shopping is always fun

#ccmackenzie #Sugar and Sin


It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper but life stuff happened and I needed to take a break, mull things over,  chew the fat, chill out, etc.  I can’t say that everything is back to normal, whatever that is, but something funny happened last week and H said, you really need to blog about that – and here it is:

So the thing is that I love and adore shoe shops. I’ve no idea why this is other than I’m a woman and shoes appear to be hot wired into our DNA. H and I were loitering in the gorgeous Roman spa town of Buxton in the peak district national park. We’d spent a couple of hours chatting and chilling out in a cafe, watching the world go by. (All authors people watch, that’s in their DNA too.)

Anyway, Buxton has THE most amazing shoe shop. It’s one of those places that defy a woman to pass without checking out the new stock, or even better, the SALE!

Now H knew that I’d stop there, like a dog cocking her leg on her favourite lamp-post. And sure enough…..

Like any woman my eyes can scan shelves  like a laser travelling over brand names, discarding the dross and hunting for a diamond. For the first time in years I found nada. I know, it shocked me too. How could this possibly be? So I turned towards the entrance but double backed to check out the stand there, just in case I’d missed something I couldn’t live without.

But nope, nothing hit the spot.

So I backed up into H, ‘There’s nothing here I want,’ I said, and then I half-turned and patted his bottom and felt him go stiff. ‘Let’s go.’

You know how we all have another sense, a sense that says, ‘Hold it! Something’s not quite right here.’

Well, my sense kicked in and I looked at H. Except it wasn’t H!

My eyes went huge and I held out my hand to grip his arm while my other hand slapped my face.

The poor man just stood there grinning at me and had the most amazing twinkle in his eye. Thank God.

‘Ohhh, I am sooooo sorry,’ I cried. ‘I thought you were my husband. And Oh My God, but I patted your bottom.’

In the meantime I was desperately searching for H, and found him leaning against a pillar and grinning like a fool.

‘Don’t worry,’ H said to the man. ‘She does that all the time.’

The stranger just grinned at H and replied. ‘Women! They’re all the same.’

By this time I was crying with embarrassment and H tucked my arm in his as we waved goodbye and walked down the street.

‘What happened?’ he asked.

‘What happened?’ I spluttered. ‘I only patted his bum!’

It’s not often my H is speechless, but he took a deep breath and then howled with laughter.

So there you go, H can’t take me anywhere but I’m feeling up other men. As I type this my face is radioactive.

Talking about radioactive.

Let me draw your attention to something else I got up to over the summer. The lovely New York Times best-selling author, Nana Malone, invited me and four others – Stacey Joy Netzel, Kristine Cayne, Liz Matis and L.C. Giroux – to bring a sample of our work to the masses. The boxed set is titled Sugar & Sin


Click To Read Excerpt

My contribution is Run Rosie Run which fits into the Sugar and Sin part of the deal.

The cover is really cool!

Now what the world wants to know is – what’s THE most embarrassing this you’ve ever done????

(This should be good.)

You know I LOVE to hear from you, please share your story.

Christine XXX


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



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

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

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

Good morning, boys and girls!

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


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


Happy Easter Monday, my darlings!

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and I trust the bouncing bunny of good luck and good fortune has smiled upon you all.

When my girls were little, they used to get really excited by Easter because their mother bought and even *cough* made baskets and chicks for their annual Easter Egg hunt with their friends. I cannot tell you how many hard (think solid rock) boiled eggs they’ve painted over the years. They’re a bit old for all that these days, so I look forward to doing the same with my grandchildren. Although the likelihood of grandchildren happening anytime soon is zero. The biological clocks are ticking, girls, just say’in!

My favourite candy eggs are Cadbury’s creme eggs and if you guys across the pond haven’t tried one, then you don’t know what you’re missing.


You can buy them singly or in packs of three/six/twelve etc.

This year I’ve been so good it isn’t funny because I have a history with Cadbury’s creme eggs. A history that goes back many, many years.

Do you girls remember what it was like to be pregnant with your first child? Remember how we nourished the bump with prenatol cream to avoid stretch marks? I used to rub in the cream religiously every morning and night. And if I was lucky H might lend a hand too. There is a point to this story, it’s coming.

Anyway, my first child was born in November. And that meant I had a whole Scottish summer with ‘the bump’. And what a beautiful bump it was. Since I was lucky enough to be a housewife and my garden was secluded, I could lie on my back in a bikini to let the sun do its thing. I can always remember the time I was seven months pregnant and I went to my pre-natal check up. H came with me. The nurse pulled back my dress and grinned at ‘the bump’.

‘Look at that,’ she said in a cheery voice. ‘What a beautiful bump and not a stretch mark.’

The lovely doctor smiled and did his thing with the measuring tape. ‘I have to say, Christine. It is the perfect shape. And what a fantastic colour. It’s really brown.’

How lovely are they, I thought, feeling pretty pleased with me and the bump.


‘That’s not a baby,’ said H in his deep growly voice. ‘That’s a huge Cadbury’s creme egg. She’s scoffed so many, the factory had to take on extra workers to meet demand.’

Haha! Very funny. But also, I’m ashamed to say, very true. This year I’ve had three Cadbury’s creme eggs.

But I’ve also had THE most amazing news I want to share with you guys!!


It’s been eleven months since Reckless Nights In Rome was published. I know, I can’t believe it either.


Reckless Nights In Rome

Reckless Nights In Rome

Since that nerve-wracking day, the book has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times across fifty countries via iTunes,, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and many more. Across those distributors reader reviews are in four figures with an average of 4.6% out of 5* – and I have to say I feel truly humbled by those statistics. Reckless has been in the top 100, sometimes reaching the top five of iTunes and the top twenty in  And readers have contacted me from every corner of the globe, many of whom have gone on to buy books two and three of the series.

However, the big news is that the book has finaled in the Indie Romance Convention Readers’s Choice 2013 Awards, which means the book was selected by readers! Woot!  And not only that, but people can go in and vote HERE.

So, if you’re sick of chocolate eggs and feel so inclined, please vote! You don’t have to sign in or jump through hoops, just click on the little button second from the top.

You know I adore hearing from you guys!

What are your favourite Easter stories?

And what did you do with your children/grandchildren this year?

Big Hug

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



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