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

A Winter Beneath the Stars

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

Sunset over the Cherry Orchard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

'Warm, romantic and funny' Katie FfordeJo 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 Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews, Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard is a heartwarming, hilarious tale that is 'like the best kind of holiday' (Lucy Diamond).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 Andalusian 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. Readers love Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard:'I loved it!!! I can't recommend this book enough''Such an enjoyable journey that I just couldn't put it down' 'A real feel good book' 'Wow just wow, its a shame I have to come back to England, after being so thoroughly transported to southern Spain in this wonderful story''Amazing, incredible, heartwarming read that I loved from start to finish''If you want to be transported to another country and another way of life, with fantastic characters and an utterly addictive story, then you really must read this book!''I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book''The plot of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard is perfect''There is laughter, tears, friendship, jealousy, and passion all vying for attention against the stunning backdrop of rural Spain''This is a delightfully sweet, escapist read that's perfect for holidays or anyone wishing to get away for a bit, as it whisks readers away to beautiful Spain''Sun, Food and Romance is there anything more you could ask for in a summer read? I don't think so!!!'

Headline Review

The Honey Farm on the Hill

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

Late Summer in the Vineyard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

The perfect place for a fresh start . . . 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 Johnson'Love this book ... makes me want to live on a vineyard in the South of France!' Lisa Zupan, Producer of P.S. I Love You Emmy 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...What readers are saying about Late Summer in the Vineyard:'A light-hearted romance set in a French vineyard. What could be better for summertime reading!''Funny, romantic and heart-warming read of love, friendships and wine''I loved this book - the sights, sounds, smells of France during the wine making season was truly believable. A great story with funny, loveable characters who I wanted as friends!'

Headline Review

The Red Sky At Night (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

It's time for Layla to recapture the magic of her childhood...A sparkling, feel-good short story from the bestselling author of The Oyster Catcher, The Olive Branch, and The Honey Farm on the Hill 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?What readers are saying about Red Sky at Night:'Fabulous as always! Jo makes you feel like you are right there with the characters. This book took us to beautiful West Wales and you can almost smell the sea air as you are reading''A lovely believable story. Hard to put down' 'Another heart-warming short story from Jo Thomas. You won't be disappointed'

Headline Review

The Olive Branch

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Can love bloom in the groves of Italy?Escape to Italy with The Olive Branch - the irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, author of ebook bestseller The Oyster Catcher.'I loved it!' Katie Fforde You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his family... Then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.What readers are saying about The Olive Branch:'Characters that come to life and each chapter comes with a smile. An uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable read providing a little escapism, a little romance and a lot of determination''A heart-warming book you will find hard to put down''A feel-good book. Great for a holiday read'

Headline Review

The Chestnut Tree (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Oyster Catcher

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. After attending writing workshops when she was in her mid-thirties, Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read - entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, which look at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean. She has written six books, including SMALL ISLAND, which was the unique winner of both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread book of the Year, in addition to the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and the Orange Prize 'Best of the Best'. Her most recent novel, THE LONG SONG, won the Walter Scott Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Carrie Adams

Carrie Adams is the author of The Godmother and The Stepmother. She lives in London with her family.

Daniela Sacerdoti

Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel WATCH OVER ME was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages. Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela's children's book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps. To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 14 novels including the Sunday Times bestsellers My Best Friend's Girl, The Ice Cream Girls and Goodnight, Beautiful. Dorothy's novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton. The Brighton Mermaid is her most recent novel.

Emylia Hall

Emylia Hall was born in 1978 and grew up in the Devon countryside. She is the author of The Book of Summers, which was a Richard & Judy Summer Book Club pick in 2012, A Heart Bent Out of Shape, The Sea Between Us and The Thousand Lights Hotel. She lives in Bristol with her husband, the writer Robin Etherington, and their young son.

Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey's debut novel, THE SNOW CHILD, was published in twenty-six languages, and became an international bestseller. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize 2013, and Eowyn won the International Author of the Year category at the 2012 National Book Awards. A former bookseller, Eowyn lives in Palmer, Alaska, with her family.

G X Todd

G X Todd lives and works in the West Midlands. After completing a history degree at the University of Birmingham, she worked for public libraries for fifteen years, where she drove a 35-foot-long library van around the Black Country. She now spends her days living the dream: writing books while in her PJs.

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.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born in 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector. When she was 25 the family moved to Bath till her father's death in 1805, then to Chawton in Hampshire where Jane lived with her mother and sister. She wrote six novels. Sense and Sensibility was first in 1811, then Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma(1816). Northanger Abbey and Persusaion were both published posthumously, in 1817. Jane Austen died in 1817. Well-received during her lifetime, since her death she has become known as not just one of the greatest writers of English fiction, but one of the most beloved.

Jenny Blackhurst

Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels - writing her own seemed like natural progression. The Night She Died is Jenny's fourth novel.

Jill Mansell

'The queen of witty, heart-warming, feel-good love stories' RedJill Mansell started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. She has since written over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers, including The One You Really Want and You And Me, Always, and her books have sold over 11 million copies around the world. Jill's hobbies include buying stationery, particularly magical new colours of ink for the fountain pen she uses to write all her books. She lives in Bristol with her family. Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter - @JillMansell - and Facebook - /OfficialJillMansell.

Judith Kinghorn

Judith Kinghorn was born in Northumberland, educated in the Lake District, and is a graduate in English and History of Art. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children.