Related to: 'Sunset over the Cherry Orchard'

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

The Honey Farm on the Hill

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

Notes from the Northern Lights (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

An irresistible winter tale that will melt the coldest of hearts...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...What readers are saying about Notes from the Northern Lights:'A delightful story, drawing in readers in with detailed descriptive writing of the scenery and the feel-good factor of two people who are poles apart but find love and happiness together' 'Could not put it down. Five stars''Jo Thomas captures your interest right from the first paragraph'

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
Headline Review

The Oyster Catcher

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

It's sink or swim in the search for love. . . Ebook 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 Fforde Dooleybridge, 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 sequined 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...What readers are saying about The Oyster Catcher:'A fantastic debut novel which was the perfect escapism read; I literally could not put it down and read it at every opportunity I could get''Beautifully written. You feel like you are breathing in the sea air and walking along the sand''A realistic romance with some strong and colourful characters, set in a fascinating, modern Irish coastal community'

Headline Review

The Chestnut Tree (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Abi Maxwell

Abi Maxwell is the author of an acclaimed story collection, LAKE PEOPLE, and her fiction has also appeared in McSweeney's. She studied writing at the University of Montana and now lives in New Hampshire, where she grew up, with her husband and son.

Amanda Reynolds

Amanda Reynolds lives in the Cotswolds with her family where she writes full-time. Her debut novel, Close To Me, is a #1 e-book bestseller. Lying To You is her second book.

Bernie McGill

Bernie McGill was born and raised in Northern Ireland and attended Queen's University, Belfast. Her first novel, The Butterfly Cabinet, was published by Headline Review in 2011. Bernie is also the author of Sleepwalkers, a collection of short fiction (shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize) and a contributor to three acclaimed anthologies of Irish women writers, The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore and Female Lines (New Island, 2015, 2016 & 2017). She has numerous theatre credits to her name. Bernie lives in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, with her family.

Brian Kimberling

Brian Kimberling was born and grew up in Indiana, where he was briefly employed as an ornithologist, a job that inspired his first book, SNAPPER. Before settling in the UK, he lived and worked in Prague, and drew on extensive experience teaching English in bars to create the character of Elliott in GOULASH. He now lives and works in Bath.

Clemency Burton-Hill

Clemency Burton-Hill has been one of the UK's most prominent arts and music broadcasters for the past decade. As the host of BBC Radio 3's Breakfast Show she welcomed a new audience to classical music. Her television presenting work includes the BBC Proms and Young Musician of the Year, as well as numerous other music and arts programmes on radio, television and online. As a journalist her work has been published in every major UK publication, including the Economist, the Financial Times, Guardian, Observer and Independent. She is also the music columnist for BBC Culture. An award-winning violinist, Clemency has performed all over the world under leading conductors. She is the co-founder of Aurora Orchestra and a patron of the music and arts education charities The Choir of London Trust and Dramatic Need. She was appointed Creative Director of Music and Arts for New York Public Radio in September 2018 and she divides her time between London and New York.

Deborah Moggach

Deborah Moggach, OBE is an English novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, These Foolish Thing, Heartbreak Hotel and Something to hide. She lives in Wales.

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.

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 Cooper

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire with her partner and four children. She spends her spare time writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.Emma has always wanted to be a writer - ever since childhood, she's been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend 'Boot') and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma's love of music and her ability to almost always embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two that she began to write Melody's story. The majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office.

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.

Gill Thompson

Gill Thompson is an English lecturer who recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. The first three chapters of THE OCEANS BETWEEN US were longlisted for the Mslexia novel award and the first page of her second work in progress has been selected to feature in Mslexia magazine. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.

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.