Related to: 'Notes from the Northern Lights (A Short Story)'

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

Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas's new novel invites you to a special cherry orchard in Spain, where sunshine, romance and family secrets are the order of the day. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde, SUNSET OVER THE CHERRY ORCHARD is a heartwarming, hilarious tale.It's time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat. After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?But it's not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over. As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart. Jo Thomas takes you there.

Headline Review

The Honey Farm on the Hill

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

'Jo Thomas has written another stunner of a book that many weeks later I still can't get out of my head' Goodreads reviewer 'Jo's book is as rich and sweet and moreish as baklava' Milly Johnson Jo Thomas's irresistible novel transports you straight to the mountains of Crete. A gorgeous, sun-filled new read from the author of THE OYSTER CATCHER, THE OLIVE BRANCH, and LATE SUMMER IN THE VINEYARD. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews.Sometimes you have to go back before you can move forwards...One magical summer Nell fell in love in the mountains of Crete and her life changed for ever. Eighteen years later, Nell is ready for a new beginning. When she sees a honey farm in the same hilltop town has lost its bees, the opportunity is impossible to resist. Welcomed back to Greece by the warm sun and aroma of wild thyme, Nell finds memories of her past at every turn. But much has changed since she's been away.As Nell throws herself into restoring the honey farm, she starts to unlock the truth of what happened all those years ago. She soon learns that the course of true love - just like Cretan honey - can be wild and sweet. And well worth the wait... Jo Thomas takes you there.Readers are raving about THE HONEY FARM ON THE HILL: 'Jo Thomas has the ability in her writing to take you right there' I Read Novels 'Incredibly enjoyable ... could practically smell the herbs in the air' Rachel's Random Reads'I absolutely loved this book ... a darned good story' Julie's World of Books'So richly imagined and so wonderfully written - highly recommended!' On My Bookshelf 'Superb escapism! ... the way the views, smells, sounds of the island are captured are spectacular' Be Reader Books'Jo Thomas is a purveyor of dreams. I defy anybody to read this book and at the end of it not to dream a little of the Cretan life' Short Books and Scribes 'Warm, sensual and heartwarming' Books, Life and Everything 'Perfect escapist magic' Good Housekeeping'A charming and delightful slice of escapist romantic fiction' Heat'The ultimate cheery tale' Sun

Headline Review

Late Summer in the Vineyard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Red Sky At Night (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Olive Branch

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Oyster Catcher

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Kindle bestseller The Oyster Catcher is Jo Thomas's first irresistibly feel-good novel, set on the coast of Ireland. 'A world you long to live in with characters you love' Katie FfordeDooleybridge, County Galway: the last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night.But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequinned shoes and a crashed camper van for company.One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for brooding local oyster farmer, Sean Thornton, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and an unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.Join Fi as she learns the rules of the ocean - and picks up a few pearls of Irish wisdom along the way . . . Glowing praise for The Oyster Catcher:'A warm and witty debut' Carole Matthews'A perfect pearl of a story. I loved it' Milly Johnson'A heart-warming tale full of Celtic charm . . . What more could you wish for?' Ali McNamara

Headline Review

The Chestnut Tree (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Adele Parks

Adele Parks worked in advertising until she published her first novel in 2000. Since then, her many Sunday Times bestsellers have been translated into twenty-six different languages. Adele spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London until 2005 when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son. Adele believes reading is a basic human right, so she works closely with The Reading Agency as an Ambassador for Reading Ahead, a programme designed to encourage adult literacy.Meet Adele! Visit her website for the latest news on her upcoming events: www.adeleparks.com, head to Facebook for exclusive extras: facebook.com/OfficialAdeleParks and chat with Adele on Twitter @adeleparks.

Emma Hannigan

Emma Hannigan is the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest. Her bestselling memoir, Talk to the Headscarf, has now been updated and revised as All To Live For. Emma lives in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and their Labradoodle Herbie.For more about Emma, visit her website www.emmahannigan.com or follow her on Twitter @MsEmmaHannigan.

Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times bestselling author who lives in Oklahoma with her husband and dogs. She has three grown children, who are all scattered around the country having lives of their own. A lover of sports, Jaci can often tell what season it is by what sport is being played. She watches entirely too much television, including an unhealthy amount of reality TV. When she isn't on deadline, Jaci can be found at her local casino, trying to become a millionaire (so far, no luck). She's a total romantic and loves a story with a happily ever after, which you'll find in all her books.Find the latest news on Jaci's books at ww.jaciburton.com, and connect with her online at www.facebook.com/AuthorJaciBurton or via Twitter @jaciburton.

Janet Evanovich

JANET EVANOVICH is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels including Turbo Twenty-Three and Tricky Twenty-Two; the Knight and Moon novels including Curious Minds, co-written with Phoef Sutton; five novels in the Fox & O'Hare series - The Heist, The Chase, The Job, The Scam and The Pursuit - co-written with Lee Goldberg; the Lizzy and Diesel novels including most recently Wicked Charms, co-written with Phoef Sutton; twelve romance novels; the Alexandra Barnaby novels; the Troublemaker graphic novels; and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. 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.

Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN.

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.

Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestseller Jill Shalvis is the author of many romance novels including her acclaimed Cedar Ridge, Lucky Harbor and Animal Magnetism series. The RITA winner and three-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe. Visit her website at www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog, and www.facebook.com/jillshalvis for other news or follow her on Twitter @jillshalvis.

Jo Brand

Jo Brand is a stand-up comic with many TV and radio shows to her name. She is married with two children and lives in south London.

Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2's The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Louise Lee

Louise Lee was once a geography teacher before taking the natural career step to become a Private Investigator. She studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck and has work commissioned by and broadcast on BBC Radio Four. Louise lives in London with her two children. The Last Honeytrap is the first in a series of novels to feature the inimitable Florence Love.

Marie Force

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty contemporary romances, including the Green Mountain series, the McCarthys of Gansett Island series, the Fatal series, the Treading Water series and numerous standalone books. While her husband was in the U.S. Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two teenagers and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie.Join Marie at www.marieforce.com to get news on her latest books, or keep up to date with her on Twitter: @marieforce and Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarieForceAuthor.

Penny Vincenzi

Penny Vincenzi is one of the UK's best-loved and most popular authors. Since her first novel, Old Sins, was published in 1989, she has written several bestselling novels, including The Decision and A Perfect Heritage.Over ten million copies of Penny's books have been sold worldwide and she is universally held to be the 'doyenne of the modern blockbuster' (Glamour). Penny Vincenzi has four daughters, and divides her time between London and Gower, South Wales.

Sasha Wagstaff

Sasha Wagstaff had a high-flying career in the City before walking away to follow her dream of becoming a writer. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Essex.