Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Available Now: Irish Shadows by Paula Martin

Mist na Mara series, #5
Paula Martin



(99c through Sunday 1st of July)
After a heart-breaking experience, Rose Finlay has vowed never to give another man a chance to hurt her – until Liam McKenna arrives at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre to organise an anniversary celebration event. Liam has his own reasons for not wanting to embark on a new relationship. But both fight the mutual magnetic attraction.

Shocks await them when Liam meets the boy his sister gave up for adoption twenty years earlier, and Rose’s ‘ex’ makes contact with her thirteen-year-old son.

Rose then discovers a betrayal which has divided her family since the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.

Will Liam and Rose be able to resolve all the shadows from the past in order to find a future together?

• • •

Rose Finlay let out a grunt of frustration as she flung open the kitchen door. It crashed against the side of the tall store cupboard, and her two assistants jumped.

‘Uh-oh,’ Cait said. ‘What’s up, Rose?’

‘He’s going to use a catering company,’ she snapped, tugging on her white jacket and pushing her fair hair into the cotton beanie cap.

Cait held up her hands. ‘Whoa, hold on. Rewind, will you? Who’s he?’

‘An American friend of Guy’s.’

Amy, the nineteen-year-old kitchen assistant, widened her eyes. ‘You mean Brad Pitt?’

Cait did a double-take. ‘Huh?’

Despite her annoyance, Rose couldn’t help but laugh at Cait’s astounded expression. ‘He came in here this afternoon, asking where Guy’s office was, and Amy thought he looked like Brad Pitt, but I don’t think he looks anything like him. I suppose he has the same shape of face, but his hair’s much darker, for one thing, and—’

And he was better looking than any man had a right to be. Blue eyes, wide forehead, high cheekbones, strong jawline – and a hint of dimples when he smiled.

Picturing him caused an odd fluttering in her stomach, the same fluttering as when he’d appeared earlier at the kitchen door, and when she saw him again at the meeting in the staffroom. She dismissed it as a normal female reaction to a good-looking man, and went on, ‘Anyhow, his name’s Liam McKenna, and it seems he’s some whiz-kid organiser who’s done events all over the world. He’s here to organise a big celebration in May for Mist Na Mara’s fifth anniversary.’

‘And he’s using a catering company?’ Cait frowned. ‘Why can’t we do the catering?’

Rose lifted the lid of the pan in which the tomato soup was simmering, gave it a stir, and dipped a teaspoon in to check the taste and texture. ‘Obviously he doesn’t think we’re capable of large-scale catering.’

‘Huh!’ Cait’s huff mirrored her own displeasure at the apparent snub. ‘Didn’t you tell him we cater for large numbers almost every weekend?’

Rose thought for a few moments and sighed. ‘I didn’t, because he was talking about hundreds of visitors, not the thirty-odd we cater for when we have art and drama workshops. Besides, I’m not exactly tried and tested, am I? I’ve only been here for three weeks.’

‘But everyone’s raving about your meals, Rose. Joyce Daly said the sauce you served with the sea bass last Sunday was the best she’d ever tasted – and believe me, Joyce doesn’t hand out compliments unless she means them.’

Rose nodded. She’d already learned that the buxom, middle-aged housekeeper was a no-nonsense, say-what-you-think type of woman. ‘Aye, she asked me for the recipe.’

‘You should get her to have a word with this Liam Wotsit fella, and tell him he should be using in-house catering.’

‘McKenna. Liam McKenna.’

‘That’s a very Irish name. Wonder if his ancestors were Irish?’

Rose shrugged. ‘Possibly, but I doubt we’ll have much contact with him.’

Which, if she were being honest with herself, was perhaps as well. She didn’t want to think about this American who provoked the same tingling of nerve endings she used to feel every time she saw Harry Taylor.

She pushed the memory back into the dark recess of her mind. Maybe all men weren’t like Harry, as Marina, her one-time landlady in Dublin, had repeatedly told her, but nothing had changed her determination to stay well clear of them.

‘Forty-five minutes, girls,’ she said, eyeing the clock. ‘Cait, are the pies ready for the oven?’

‘Yes, and I just put the potatoes in.’

‘I’ve nearly finished prepping the veggies,’ Amy added. After tossing another handful of cubed carrots into the pan, she went on, ‘Rose, please may I serve in the dining room tonight?’

Cait laughed. ‘She wants to see her Brad Pitt lookalike again. Come to think of it, so do I.’

Rose forced a smile. She and Cait usually took the heated food carts to the dining room, but tonight she was quite happy to let Amy take her place. She wasn’t sure why Liam McKenna had unsettled her. It could simply be because she was angry at being overlooked as a caterer for the anniversary event, but whatever it was, the less she saw of him, the better.

• • •

Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons. She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years.

She returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, USA and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Find Paula Online:

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Available Now: The Fountain of Youth by Margaret Pearce

Margaret Pearce



(99c through Sunday the 10th of June)
45 year old widow, Amelia Martin, finds her life has fallen to pieces. Worse, she’s one of three hostages kidnapped by bandits while holidaying in the Amazon jungle.

When her children refuse to pay the ransom, Amelia acquires a ruthless willpower to survive, and unexpected cold and deadly determination awakens in her to aid in her escape.

Months later when she emerges from the jungle, youth and wealth on her side, did she find the legendary fountain of youth, or did she discover the woman she’d always been deep inside?

• • •

Mrs Amelia Martin had coped with her marriage and the grumpy, miserly, complaining years of her husband’s good health like a saint. She had also coped with the grumpy, miserly, and complaining months of his last illness with the same saintly attitude.

Her saintly attitude vanished shortly after his death. She sold the gloomy family home in their newly gentrified inner suburb for a very inflated price. She downsized to a small flat, and fled. She had been to Europe twice, Ireland once, and Hong Kong and Singapore once.

“His half of the family house should have been left to us,” her daughter Angelina had accused. “Daddy knew how we needed a decent stake in Bert’s new business.”

“He had promised to help out with my overdraft on the new house,” her son Brad grumbled. “He knew how important a good address is for my public image.”

“But when he made that will, the house was worth very little.” Which was why I inherited, Mrs Martin reminded herself.

“But he would have left us his half share of the house if he had realized how much it was going to be worth,” her son snapped.

“But he didn’t,” Mrs Martin pointed out. “He left both of you all of his shares and his stamp collection, which was the equivalent price of the full house. The house, paid for with most of my earnings, was mine to sell.”

“But the house value rose to a lot more than the stamp collection and shares,” Brad grumbled.

“Wasting Daddy’s money,” her daughter sneered.

“Your father and I always intended to travel when he retired,” Mrs Martin defended.

“Only to the seaside for his fishing,” her son pointed out. “Not around the world all the time.”

“And with that dreadful woman,” her daughter accused.

“Widowed because her husband was a gangster and got himself shot,” her son said.

“Betty Drakeford is a lovely woman, and as we are both widows, we have so much in common,” their mother defended.

They didn’t seem to have that much in common on first acquaintance. They both owned to being forty-five, but Betty Drakeford fought the onset of age with bright, trendy clothes, and was an eye-catching figure with blonded hair.

Mrs Martin’s clothes were sombre and the acme of good taste for a grieving widow. As their friendship deepened, however, she had taken Mrs Drakeford’s advice, donated her dowdy good taste wardrobe to the Op. shop, and bought clothes with more flattering lines and more cheerful colours.

The united disapproval of Mrs Martin’s two children of her new friend and lifestyle intensified when Mrs Drakeford sabotaged Mrs Martin’s meek and uncomplaining babysitting of her three grandchildren.

“Both your son and daughter can easily afford pre-school and after-school programs for their kids,” she had pointed out. “You are entitled to start having some fun.”

“We’re leaving for Brazil tomorrow.” Mrs Martin rose and opened the front door for them to leave.

“Don’t expect us to rescue you if you get picked up for drug trafficking,” her son sneered.

“Or expect us to fund you when you finish off Daddy’s money,” her daughter warned.

Mrs Martin shut the door on their disapproving faces with relief. South America sounded exciting.

• • •

Margaret Pearce was launched on an unsuspecting commercial world as stenographer and ended up copywriting in an advertising department. She took to writing instead of drink when raising children and was surprised to be published. She completed an Arts Degree at Monash University as a mature age student and lurks in an underground flat in the Dandenongs still writing.

Find Margaret online:

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