Related to: 'The Honey Farm on the Hill'

December Book of the Month

Nikki and Damien continue in Take Me

I awake to an empty bed and the smell of frying bacon. I roll over to find my phone on the bedside table, then glance at the time. Not yet six. I groan and fall back among the pillows, but I don't really want to go back to sleep. What I want is Damien. I slide out of bed, then grab the tank top and yoga pants I'd left draped across a nearby armchair. I head barefoot out of the bedroom and move the short distance down the hall to the third-floor kitchen. We're standing in Damien's Malibu house, and the wall of windows that faces the ocean is wide open, the glass panels having been thrust aside to let in the breeze. The smell of the ocean mingles with the scent of breakfast and I breathe deep, realizing that I am content. Whatever demons had poked at me during the night, Damien effectively banished them. I glance toward the windows and out at the darkened Pacific. Waves glow white in the fading moonlight as they break upon the shore. There is beauty there, and part of me wants to walk to the balcony and stare out at the roiling, frothing water. But the siren call of the ocean is nothing compared to my desire to see Damien, and so I turn away from the windows and head straight to the kitchen. It is larger than the one in the condo I used to share with my best friend, Jamie, and it is not even the primary kitchen for this house. That is on the first floor, and could easily service a one-hundred-table restaurant. But this - the "small" kitchen - was installed as an adjunct to the open area that serves as a venue for entertaining, and since it is just down the hall from our bedroom, Damien and I have gotten into the habit of cooking our meals and eating in this cozier, more informal area. Usually we're joined by Lady Meow-Meow, the fluffy white cat I took custody over when Jamie moved out. I know Lady M misses Jamie, but she's also enjoying having the run of this huge house, and Gregory - the valet, butler, and all around house-running guy - spoils her rotten. Now I lean against the half wall that marks the break from hallway to kitchen. Damien is standing at the stove cooking an omelette as if he were nothing more than an ordinary guy. Except there is nothing ordinary about Damien Stark. He is grace and power, beauty and heat. He is exceptional, and he has captured me completely. At the moment, he is shirtless, and I cannot help the way my breath stutters as my eyes skim over the defined muscles of his back and his taut, strong arms. Damien's first fortune came not form business, but from his original career as a champion tennis player. Even now, years later, he has both the look and the power of an elite athlete. I let my gaze drift down appreciatively. He is wearing simple gray sweatpants that sit low on his narrow hips and cling to the curves of his perfectly toned ass. Like me, he is barefoot. He looks young and sexy and completely delicious. Yet despite his casual appearance, I can still see the executive. The powerful businessman who harnessed the world, who shifted it to his own liking and made a fortune in the process. He is strength and control. And I am humbled by the knowledge that I am what he values most of all, and that I will spend the rest of my life at his side. "You're staring," he says, his eyes still on the stove. I grin happily, like a child. "I enjoy looking at pretty things." He turns now, and his eyes rake over me, starting at my toes. "So do I," he says when his gaze reaches my face, and there is so much heat in his voice that my legs go weak and my body quivers with want. His mouth curves into a slow, sexy smile, and I am absolutely certain in that moment that I am going to melt. "You spoiled my surprise," he says, then nods toward the breakfast table where a tray sits with a glass bud vase displaying a single, red rose. "Breakfast in bed."

Headline Review

Notes from the Northern Lights (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Dive into this gorgeous winter warmer from Jo Thomas, bestselling author of The Oyster Catcher and Late Summer in the Vineyard. Notes from the Northern Lights is a sparkling short story available exclusively in ebook.Wardrobe mistress Ruby Knightly has been sent to Iceland on a very special mission that could save her opera company's opening night. And she's determined that her fear of the dark - and the incoming weather - won't stand in her way.But as Ruby follows her nose across Iceland's wild, volcanic landscape to the warmth of the smokehouses, she will soon discover that there is shelter to be found from even the most turbulent of storms. Particularly if there's romance around the corner...An irresistible winter tale that will melt the coldest of hearts.

Headline Review

Late Summer in the Vineyard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Escape to France with LATE SUMMER IN THE VINEYARD - Jo Thomas's irresistible follow-up to THE OYSTER CATCHER and THE OLIVE BRANCH. 'A fabulous French feast of fun' Milly JohnsonEmmy Bridges has always looked out for others. Now it's time to put down roots of her own.Working for a wine-maker in France is the opportunity of a lifetime for Emmy. Even if she doesn't know a thing about wine - beyond what's on offer at the local supermarket.There's plenty to get to grips with in the rustic town of Petit Frère. Emmy's new work friends need more than a little winning over. Then there's her infuriatingly brash tutor, Isaac, and the enigmatic Madame Beaumont, tucked away in her vineyard of secrets.But Emmy will soon realise that in life - just as in wine-making - the best things happen when you let go and trust your instincts. Particularly when there's romance in the air... 'Sheer romcom brilliance!' Heat'A heart-warming tale... Perfect escapism' Marie Claire'This book is scrumptious! I couldn't stop reading' Katie Fforde'A full-bodied tale with hints of humour and romance which can be enjoyed at any time of year' Sun'What a gorgeous book! Reading it felt like the best kind of holiday' Lucy Diamond'A warm-hearted, sparkling gem... I loved it!' Miranda Dickinson'Sunny and funny...as warm as a south-facing vineyard. It made me want to rush to France tout suite!' Veronica Henry'Captures the essence of France from the vineyards and chateaux to the glorious sunshine and of course, the wine' Cathy Bramley

Headline Review

The Red Sky At Night (Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

A sparkling, feel-good short story from the bestselling author of The Oyster Catcher and The Olive Branch, available exclusively in ebook.When Layla arrives in the Welsh coastal village of Swn-y-Mor with new fiancé Rob in tow, she plans to carry out her dad's final wishes, then return to Cardiff quickly, before too many unwanted memories surface.But the longer Layla remains, the harder it is to resist the lure of the autumn skies and memories of family holidays gone by. With fishing trips and firesides to enjoy, is Rob really Layla's future, and is Swn-y-Mor going to remain in her past for ever? It's time for Layla to recapture the magic of her childhood...

Headline Review

The Olive Branch

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Oyster Catcher

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Headline Review

The Chestnut Tree (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Treat yourself to this wonderfully funny and romantic short story by Jo Thomas, kindle bestselling author of The Oyster Catcher, available exclusively in ebook.When Ellie Russet leaves home and her restaurant in the wake of disaster to housesit in the Kent countryside, the last thing she wants to do is cook for a living - ever again.Ellie's new neighbour, Daniel Fender, is struggling to make ends meet as a furniture maker. Could the answer to his problems lie in the chestnut orchard at the bottom of the garden?Only Ellie can help Daniel unlock the delicious secret that will bring them the fresh starts they need. And as autumn approaches, romance will blossom amid the glowing embers of the chestnut fire...*Contains an exclusive extract from Jo's brand-new novel, THE OLIVE BRANCH, out February 2015*

Andy McDermott

Andy McDermott is the bestselling author of the Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase adventure thrillers, which have been sold in over 30 countries and 20 languages. His debut novel, THE HUNT FOR ATLANTIS, was his first of several New York Times bestsellers. THE MIDAS LEGACY is the twelfth book in the series, and he has also written the explosive spy thriller The Persona Protocol.A former journalist and movie critic, Andy is now a full-time novelist. Born in Halifax, he lives in Bournemouth with his partner and son.

Bateman

Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, DIVORCING JACK, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. He wrote the screenplays for the feature films DIVORCING JACK and WILD ABOUT HARRY and the popular TV series MURPHY'S LAW starring James Nesbitt. Bateman lives in Ireland with his family.

Daisy Goodwin

Daisy Goodwin's work as a TV producer and presenter includes Reader I Married Him, Bookworm and The Nation's Favourite Poems; she is also the creator of Grand Designs and wrote the script for ITVs Victoria . She has edited numerous poetry anthologies, including the bestselling 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, and is the author of Silver River, a memoir as well as two novels, My Last Duchess and The Fortune Hunter. Goodwin reviews regularly for the Times and Sunday Times and writes a bibliotherapy column for the Daily Mail.

J. Kenner

J. Kenner loves wine, dark chocolate, and books. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.jkenner.com to learn more about her and her other pen names, to get a peek at what she's working on, and to connect through social media.

Janet Evanovich

JANET EVANOVICH is the No. 1 bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, including ONE FOR THE MONEY, and the Lizzy and Diesel series including WICKED APPETITE, WICKED BUSINESS and WICKED CHARMS, as well as THE HEIST, THE CHASE, THE JOB and THE SCAM in the Fox & O'Hare series with Lee Goldberg. In addition she is the author of FULL HOUSE, FULL TILT, FULL SPEED and FULL BLAST, amongst many more. She has won several major crime fiction awards including the CWA John Creasey Award, Dilys Award and Silver Dagger.Janet's website can be found at www.evanovich.com. She is on Twitter - @janetevanovich - and Facebook - /JanetEvanovich.

Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY, YOU AND ME, ALWAYS, THE ONE YOUR REALLY WANT and THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the Romantic Novelists' Association's Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter - @JillMansell - and Facebook - /OfficialJillMansell. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder is the author of several previous thrillers, including the bestselling novels PARANOIA and KILLER INSTINCT. In addition to fiction, Joseph continues to write extensively on espionage and international affairs for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter.

Josephine Cox

Josephine Cox was born in a cotton-mill house in Blackburn, one of ten children. At the age of sixteen, Josephine met and married her husband Ken, and had two sons. When the boys started school, she decided to go to college and eventually gained a place at Cambridge University. She was unable to take this up as it would have meant living away from home, but she went into teaching - and started to write her first full-length novel. Her strong, gritty stories are taken from the tapestry of life.

Julia Crouch

After a drama degree at Bristol University, Julia Crouch spent ten years devising, directing and writing for the theatre. During this time she had twelve plays produced and co-founded Bristol`s Public Parts Theatre Company. She lives in Brighton with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, and their three children.

Kathryn Hughes

Kathryn Hughes was born in Altrincham, near Manchester. After completing a secretarial course, Kathryn met her husband and they married in Canada. For twenty-nine years they ran a business together, raised two children and travelled when they could to places such as India, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. Kathryn and her family now make their home in a village near Manchester. The Letter, Kathryn's first novel, was an international bestseller, and her second The Secret has been highly acclaimed. Kathryn is now at work on her third novel.

Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novels. She lives near St Louis with her husband, her daughter, two dogs and an ever-fluctuating number of fish. She invites you to visit her website at www.laurellkhamilton.org.

Lee Goldberg

LEE GOLDBERG is the co-author with Janet Evanovich of the bestselling Fox & O'Hare series including THE HEIST, THE CHASE and THE JOB. He is a screenwriter, TV producer, and the author of the bestselling Monk series of mysteries. He has earned two Edgar Award nominations and was the 2012 recipient of the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic.Lee's website is at www.leegoldberg.com. On Twitter you can find him at @LeeGoldberg and on Facebook at /LeeGoldberg.

Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author. Her FBI Profiler novels include SAY GOODBYE, GONE and THE KILLING HOUR. Her Detective D.D. Warren series includes THE NEIGHBOUR, which won the International Thriller Writers' Award in 2010, CATCH ME, CRASH & BURN and FIND HER. Lisa lives with her family in New England.

Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty books across many romance genres - contemporary, romantic suspense, dark paranormal and erotic fiction. Her books have been translated all around the world, and her highly acclaimed Inside Out series is now in development for cable television. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and can also find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones and on Twitter @LisaReneeJones.