Related to: 'Ernie's Ark'

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

Any Bitter Thing

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

ANY BITTER THING is a novel about how much we can and should forgive, by Monica Wood, the acclaimed author of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY. The perfect read for fans of Gail Honeyman's ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and Joanna Cannon's THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE. 'If you liked THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, try ANY BITTER THING' GlamourAfter surviving a near-fatal accident, thirty-year-old Lizzy Mitchell faces a long road to recovery. She remembers little about the days she spent in and out of consciousness, save for one thing: she saw her beloved deceased uncle, Father Mike, the man who raised her until she was nine, when she was abruptly sent away.Though her troubled marriage and broken body need tending, Lizzy knows she must uncover the details of her accident - and delve into the events of twenty years ago, when whispers and accusations forced a good man to give up the only family he had.What readers are saying about ANY BITTER THING:'Another great story with wonderful characters''This writer, with her exquisite prose, weaves a gripping and grace-filled story of redemption. I will go back to this amazing book again and again. It shines''A beautiful story. The characters take on a life of their own. Pure human emotion, well written, very touching'

Headline Review

My Only Story

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

MY ONLY STORY is a moving, funny and bittersweet novel by Monica Wood, the acclaimed author of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY, sure to appeal to fans of Sarah Winman, Anne Tyler and Maggie O'Farrell. 'Wood's command of voice holds a reader all the way through to the last page' San Francisco Chronicle Rita Rosario has a gift, a way with people. She listens to them and really sees them for who they are - warts and all. Women, even men, come to Rita's beauty shop for perms, town gossip, and makeovers of their very lives.John Reed first appears to Rita in one of her dreams. When they meet at a town gathering a few days later, she immediately offers him a haircut, and a heart. As they share stories, Rita helps John fill a void by reconnecting him to his only family - a young niece he nearly lost in a heart-breaking tragedy.While inspiring John out of loneliness and into reconciliation, Rita begins to come to terms with events in her past... and discovers things about herself she never realised, including her own intimate role in John's unfolding story.What readers are saying about MY ONLY STORY:'Monica Wood is a beautiful writer and can convey complex emotions in the most beautiful and simple ways. The book stays with you long after you finish it, as do the characters''An enchanting book. Wood's mastery of the language creates beautiful, sometimes poetic prose. Her ability to express both human pain and human hope is very refreshing. This book is a treasure''One of the best kept secrets of the literary world'

Headline Review

Secret Language

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood
Headline Review

When We Were the Kennedys

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a brilliant, award-winning memoir about the death of a father and the healing of a family, by Monica Wood, the acclaimed author of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY. Perfect for those who loved Cathy Rentzenbrink's THE LAST ACT OF LOVE or Helen Macdonald's H IS FOR HAWK. 'It's a pleasure to linger with her elegant prose, keen eye and grace of thought' Reader's Digest 'Intimate but expansive ... A tender memoir of a very different time' O, the Oprah Magazine 1963. The Wood family is much like their neighbours, all dependent on the fathers' wages from the local mill. But when Dad suddenly dies on his way to work one April morning, Mum and the four deeply connected Wood daughters are set adrift.And then, come November - the family still overwhelmed by grief, the country shocked by the assassination of President Kennedy - Mum announces an unprecedented family road trip. Inspired by the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy, herself a new widow with young children, Mum and her girls head to Washington, DC, to do some rescuing of their own. WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a funny, moving and imaginative memoir about how one family and one country, each shocked by the unimaginable, find the strength to move on.What readers are saying about WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS: 'A beautifully written, thought-provoking book''Filled with great love - of family, friends and the ability to bounce back even with many setbacks. Wood's words are so beautiful they literally lift off the pages''Compelling, profound, beautiful'

Headline Review

The One-in-a-Million Boy

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY by Monica Wood is for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL. 'A lovely, quirky novel about misfits across generations' Daily MailThe story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades. One Saturday, he doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father Quinn arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again.

Headline Review

A Woman in a Million

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

Warm, funny and heart-breaking, this short-story prequel to THE ONE IN A MILLION BOY - the book on everyone's lips - will make you laugh and cry with the turn of a page. If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Shock of the Fall, this is for you... There's someone you should meet. But, before you do... She's just turned one hundred. She doesn't want a birthday party. Or a TV interview. She's too busy practising for her driving test. And hoodwinking church visitors with magic tricks. She's Miss Ona Vitkus. And she's one in a million.What readers are saying about A WOMAN IN A MILLION:'A touching story and so well told. Excellent book''The characters, the plot and the writing are something very special indeed''A wonderful short story about a remarkable woman. Ona has so much spirit, I immediately loved her'

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.

Anne Baker

Anne Baker trained as a nurse at Birkenhead General Hospital, but after her marriage went to live first in Libya and then in Nigeria. She eventually returned to her native Birkenhead where she worked as a Health Visitor for over ten years before taking up writing.

Anne Perry

Anne Perry is a New York Times bestselling author noted for her memorable characters, historical accuracy and exploration of social and ethical issues. Her two series, one featuring Thomas Pitt and one featuring William Monk, have been published in multiple languages. Anne Perry has also published a successful series based around World War One and the Reavley family, and the recent standalone novel The Sheen on the Silk. Anne Perry was selected by The Times as one of the twentieth century's '100 Masters of Crime'.

Chloe Benjamin

Chloe Benjamin is the author of The Anatomy of Dreams, which won the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. She lives with her husband in Wisconsin.

Emily Gunnis

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Emma Hannigan

Emma Hannigan is the No. 1 bestselling author of twelve novels including Letters to my Daughters, The Wedding Promise and The Perfect Gift. Her bestselling memoir, Talk to the Headscarf, was updated and revised as All To Live For: Fighting Cancer. Finding Hope. and was also a top ten bestseller.

Harriet Evans

Harriet Evans is the author of seven previous novels, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After and Not Without You. She lives in London with her family.

James Patterson

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. Since winning the EdgarT Award for Best First Novel with The Thomas Berryman Number, his books have sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past eight years in a row. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels - and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust's Children's Reading Fund in the UK.

Janet Evanovich

JANET EVANOVICH is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels including Hardcore Twenty-Four and Turbo Twenty-Three; the Knight and Moon novels including Dangerous Minds, co-written with Phoef Sutton; 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. 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.

Jen Williams

JEN WILLIAMS started writing about pirates and dragons as a young girl and hasn't ever stopped. Her short stories have featured in numerous anthologies and her debut novel, The Copper Promise, was published in 2014 to huge acclaim. Jen was nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the 2015 British Fantasy Awards and her following two novels, The Iron Ghost and The Silver Tide were both shortlisted for the British Fantasy Awards Novel of the Year. Jen lives in London with her partner and their cat.

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.

Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is the No. 1 international bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, THE BUTCHER'S THEATRE, BILLY STRAIGHT, THE CONSPIRACY CLUB, TWISTED and TRUE DETECTIVES. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored DOUBLE HOMICIDE and CAPITAL CRIMES. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored THE GOLEM OF HOLLYWOOD and THE GOLEM OF PARIS. He is also the author of two children's books and numerous non-fiction works. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar and Anthony Awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico and New York.

Jude Morgan

Jude Morgan, whose previous novels include PASSION and THE TASTE OF SORROW, was born and brought up in Peterborough on the edge of the Fens, and was a student on the University of East Anglia MA Course in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

Karen Rose

Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe's The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep. Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby - knitting.