About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Married by Easter - Clare Revell

Confirmed bachelor, Nigel Turner, needs a wife in order to inherit his father's millions. And he needs one in short order. His only option, other than kidnapping which is illegal, is to use the internet site Rent-a-bride.
Chloe Wilkes brother signed her up for the site as a joke. Only when Nigel's details end up in her inbox, she decides to get her own back and reply.
Only neither expected to fall in love with something that was only expected to be a temporary arrangement.

Another email arrived. Chloe moved the mouse to delete, but instead opened it. She sighed. “Hello, Chloe. My name is Nigel. I read your profile and am contacting you as we are both Christians and have a lot of other things in common. I find myself in a bit of a fix and am hoping we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement. I’ve attached a picture of myself and hope to hear from you soon. Yours faithfully, Nigel Turner.” The email ended with a verse. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10.
She scrolled down the page and looked at the photo.
Close cropped wavy brown hair, a neat trimmed beard and the most amazing brown eyes she had ever seen. He wore a grey suit and brown tie with a bright white button down shirt. She picked up the bottle of water on the desk and drained it. Be still my heart, the bloke is a hunk. And a Christian.
But still a bloke nonetheless. How did she know he wasn’t a creep like the other emails she’d received?
She took a deep breath. She probably shouldn’t do this, but she was going to reply. “Hello, Nigel. I don’t make it a habit to advertise on sites like this, and I have no desire for a mutually beneficial anything with anyone. Especially when I know next to nothing about you. This is real life, not some trashy romance novel and a casual hook up.” She hit send.

You can pick up a copy here - AmazonUS    Amazon UK

And just in case you'd forgotten or didn't know, here's my bio:
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.
Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.
She can be found at:

I also have a newsletter. You can sign up for it HERE. Your email never gets passed on, and you won’t be inundated with mail either. It’s four maybe five times a year.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Two new releases from Mary Manners

Mary Manners has two new books out! And I for one can't wait to read them. They are sat on my kindle eagerly awaiting my attention.

Hearts Renewed:
Isabella Carpenter spends her days soothing souls as a radio host on the local Christian station. Her witty charm and bright outlook on life hide the fact that in her heart, she still struggles with tragic events of her past.
Sam Holman's sister was kidnapped and murdered. The single, unspeakable event ripped his family apart as the murderer was set free on a technicality. Consumed by anger, Sam is determined to use his position as a state prosecutor to avenge the murder.
When Sam and Izzy cross paths, their lives are forever changed. Izzy's determined to show Sam there's life after loss, happiness following tragedy, and her five-year-old son, Tucker, is only part of the story.

Labor of Love:
Addy Shaw lost her husband to a heart attack only months after they bought their dream house in the country. Together, they had plans to turn the hundred acre ranch into something profitable. But now, Addy's heart feels as barren and raw as the unworked land that surrounds her. Angry and bitter, Addy is determined to never let anyone close enough to make her hurt again.
Jace Baldwin gave up his quest for the perfect eight-second ride after an accident nearly claimed his life. He's turned his sights to ranching, and, at only thirty-six, is considered one of the youngest experts in the horse industry. Jace spends his days working his family's land and wondering how he might acquire the rich and untapped neighboring land from elusive Addy Shaw.
When an unexpected turn of events leads Jace to Addy's doorstep, he's torn. Helping her turn her land to the good will mean bypassing the sale he desires. But Addy's need and that of her son, Garrett, waken tenderness in Jace's heart that he cannot deny. And when Addy confides in Jace a troubling secret held tight to her heart, he wonders whether the turn of events will bring him and Addy closer together or shatter any hope they might have for a future, together.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Dark Lake has a release date

Dark Lake has a release date :D. September 21st. YAY. And it'll be paperback and ebook from Pelican Book Group.

I love this story. It was one of those that just ignored my plan and did what it wanted. It's not romance, hence this one is a harbourlight release. OK, so there is kind of a love story there, but it's not the 60% romance 40% everything else for the White Rose line. It's more 80% death and destruction 10% everything else and 10% oh i do love you thrown in. Shhh...spoiler. Make that 90% action and 10% romance. ;-)

And I love the cover - it looks suspiciously like the photo I send Pelican of the nice foggy lake about a ten minute walk from my house.

Archaeologist Dr. Lou Fitzgerald is used to unexpected happenings, and they don't usually faze her. After surviving a childhood disability, and dealing with an unfair boss, Lou has learned the art of rolling with the punches. But when she arrives at Dark Lake, what was supposed to be a simple archaeological dig is beyond even her wildest imaginations.

Land owner Evan Close has his own reasons for keeping the secrets of Dark Lake, and this attractive interloper is a menace. Her precious dig threatens to bring his house of cards tumbling down around him, and he feels helpless to stop it.

It soon becomes apparent there are dark forces at work, and Lou's simple assignment turns into a mystery. Solving that mystery comes with a steep price.


Lou is one of the main characters from the Signal Me series. In this novel, she is now 32 and has achieved her dreams of being a champion swimmer and an archeologist. However, it’s been done at the expense of a social life.

Please note that this and all subsequent releases from me  will be in correct English... ummm that is British English. So lots of flavour, colour, harbour, etc. No u's will be excluded on the account of them living the wrong side of the pond... :D

I will post an extract once I've decided on one. Too many good bits in this book. And I can't give away spoilers.  

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas in Delaney Mountain - Mary Alford

Blurb: Kara Edwards has been looking over her shoulder for years. After being kidnapped and held hostage by a man who claimed to be her late husband's friend, she's no longer in the trusting business. She moves to Delaney Mountain with one expectation: to outrun her stalker. Never does she expect to meet a man like David Delaney—one who not only makes her want to trust again, but to love again, too. David Delaney is drawn to Kara from the first moment he meets her. There's an attractive strength behind her no-nonsense caution and independence. He knows Kara is running from something, but nothing prepares him for what she has to say. When Eli Redford escapes from prison, Kara and David find themselves on one side of a Christmas Eve showdown that brings everything to a deadly head.
Two months. She’d spent the last two months looking over her shoulder and yet the expected nightmare hadn’t returned. There’d been no word from him. No sightings. Only silence.
So why couldn’t she relax? Begin to enjoy life once more? 
Because this routine was a familiar one. The last time had been four months. The time before six. The only variable in the equation was that there was no variable. The routine‒his routine‒never faltered. 
He always found her. 
So, no matter how tired, or frustrated, or fed up she became, she couldn’t let her guard down because it had only been two months; and she was convinced, even after moving to a remote village in Colorado, he would find her again. At times, Kara felt like a ghost without a past. Transparent. She barely remembered the woman she’d once been…before him. 
Kara glanced out the window at the gathering darkness. It came quickly at this time of the year in the shadow of the mountains. The news had been broadcasting a huge winter storm on the way. It was almost six. Amy would start to worry if Kara didn’t pick up her four-year-old daughter, Maya, soon. 
But Kara couldn’t afford to upset her boss. She needed this job. She was barely hanging on financially. Kara picked up the phone to call Amy. Before Amy had a chance to answer, Kara’s boss stepped out of his office and into her personal space. Immediately, she dropped the receiver back into its cradle to the sound of Amy’s ‚hello.‛
A familiar nervousness slithered down into the pit of her stomach. It reared its unwelcomed head every single time David Delaney came within twenty feet of her. 
It didn’t help that he was handsome and had bad- boy-troubled-past written all over him. 
His straight, dark blond hair had been hastily pushed back. He hadn’t shaved in several days. David’s stubble darkened his strong jawline, drawing attention to his face. She suspected he’d pulled quite a few all-nighters lately. 
When David had hired her, he’d explained that he and his brother were expanding their ranching business and had bought up several hundred acres of land across Delaney Mountain from the original ranch. David was charged with getting the new ranch up and running, which was huge undertaking, especially now that his brother had taken a leave of absence to be with his wife who was on strict bed rest during the final stages of her pregnancy. 
While David seemed to enjoy the challenge, the running of the entire ranch fell squarely on his shoulders, resulting in many long days….and nights. He’d told her that the ranch foreman, Noah Henderson, was a tremendous help, but still, the pressures had to be enormous.
Kara glanced up, regretting the color that crept up her face. 
His amazing smoky-blue eyes were on her. His aftershave reminded her of how long it’d been since she was close to a man. And as always, her thoughts drifted to Bryce. She still missed him terribly. It had been almost five years since she’d buried her high school sweetheart, and the love of her life. Lately, it seemed life was reminding her of the things she’d lost with Bryce. Yet she just couldn’t picture going there with anyone else. Especially now. 
After she’d survived him.
Buy link:

Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith came naturally for Mary. In 2012 Mary entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call”. In addition to writing for Love Inspired Suspense, Mary also writes Christian romance and sweet romance. Being a published author has been a dream come true for Mary.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Poles Apart - Marion Ueckermann


Writer’s block and a looming Christmas novel deadline have romance novelist, Sarah Jones, heading for the other side of the world on a whim.

Niklas Toivonen offers cosy Lapland accommodation, but when his aging father falls ill, Niklas is called upon to step into his father's work clothes to make children happy. Red is quite his color.

Fresh off the airplane, a visit to Santa sets Sarah’s muse into overdrive. The man in red is not only entertaining, he’s young—with gorgeous blue eyes. Much like her new landlord’s, she discovers. Santa and Niklas quickly become objects of research—for her novel, and her curiosity.

Though she’s written countless happily-ever-afters, Sarah doubts she’ll ever enjoy her own. Niklas must find a way to show her how to leave the pain of her past behind, so she can find love and faith once more.


It was a cold and frosty night.
The seven words on the screen contained no magic. No hook. Sarah Jones stared at her laptop. Nothing enticed the reader to continue. From her chair in the kitchen, she gazed at the Christmas tree sparkling in the lounge. Tiny white lights flickered on and off, their reflections dancing in the colored balls that hung on the surrounding green branches.
Didn’t help.
“Ugh, this is impossible.” Sarah closed the laptop lid and slumped back in her chair. Maybe if she ate something, her muse would come out to play. She glanced at the cereals and toast her sister had set out on the table, the knot in her stomach refusing to budge. No. Not going to help either.
She turned to look out the window at Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the blanket of mist clinging to the top like a white cloth. The day was young—the mist would soon lift from this beautiful South African landmark, her muse for so many stories.
Not this one.
Shutting her eyes on the welling moisture, Sarah raked her fingers through her hair. For a few moments she sat in blindness, obliterating the world around her. If only she could obliterate the looming deadline or give sight to the nothingness in her mind.
The tap on her leg brought a smile to her lips. She took a deep breath then exhaled as she opened her eyes to the dark gaze from below.
“Hey, Jonathan. What are you up to?”
“Nuffing.” The pajama-clad five-year-old smiled as his chubby hand tapped Sarah’s leg again. “An’ you, Auntie Sarah?”
Another heavy sigh escaped her lips. “Nothing, too.” She wrapped her fingers over Jonathan’s. For a brief moment his hand disappeared beneath hers before he pulled away and scrambled onto her lap. The wooden kitchen table scraped against the tiles as it made way for his small body. He placed his palms on Sarah’s cheeks, focusing her gaze on him.
How she loved those chocolaty orbs.
“Whatssa matter, Auntie Sarah? Are you sad?”
“No, Jonathan. I’m not sad.”
“You sure?” He smoothed his hands down the sides of her head before twirling some strands around his fingers, following the long winding path until he ran out of hair.
Sarah nodded. “I’m sure. I’m struggling to start this story, that’s all.”
“What’s it about?” Matthew, Jonathan’s older sibling by three years, thumped across the kitchen, pulled out a chair and plopped onto it. He poured a glass of milk before stretching to grab a piece of toast from the basket in the center of the table. After spreading the toast with butter, he twisted the lid off the peanut butter jar. His knife disappeared inside. Soon a thick layer of brown covered the slice of white, which he topped with a generous drizzling of maple syrup. Mouth wide open, Matthew sank his teeth into the gooey meal and closed his eyes. “Mmm, good.” He licked a stray sticky strand from the corner of his mouth.
“Yes, Auntie Sarah, what’s your story about?” Jonathan echoed.
Sarah gave a weak smile. “Nothing at the moment, boys, I’m afraid.”
“You got building blocks again?” Jonathan’s dark eyes held a seriousness Sarah adored.
Matthew giggled. “It’s writer’s block, silly.”
Twisting around, Jonathan screamed. “I’m not silly, silly.” As he turned back to face Sarah, his bottom lip rounded into a pout.
“No, you’re not.” Sarah planted a kiss on her younger nephew’s forehead, shooting a frown at Matthew.
Matthew eyed Sarah and his brother over the syrupy horizon before sinking his teeth again into the gooey layers. “So, what’s the story meant to be about?”
“Matthew Grant Olson, how many times have I told you not to talk with food in your mouth?” Hannah strode across the kitchen and dumped the basket of ironing on the counter.
Matthew chewed fast, swallowed, and then grinned. “Sorry, Mom.”
Jonathan wiggled around on Sarah’s lap and wagged his head at Matthew, seemingly happy that his mother’s admonition was just retribution for his brother calling him silly.
A laugh slipped from Sarah’s mouth. She should write a book about kids instead of a romance. She’d gathered enough fodder staying with her sister the past fortnight. Building on her new townhouse dragged on far longer than anticipated. Summer rains and availability of stock already delayed construction by two months, rendering her homeless after she’d given notice at her rented apartment. And now, in a few days’ time, the building industry would close for the Christmas holidays. Nothing would happen for five weeks. Why did she have such specific and unusual taste in finishings? Couldn’t settle for an alternative? And why did she decide to build when she did, knowing the challenges she’d face this time of the year?
“Auntie Sarah has writer’s building blocks, Mommy.”
“Writer’s block, silly.” Matthew rolled his eyes.
Jonathan shot his brother another look, his voice rising with each emphasized word. “I’m not silly.”
“Whatever.” Matthew took another bite of his toast, and then a swig of milk.
Hannah removed the ironing board and iron from the tall cupboard beside her and set them up. “You’re struggling with the story, sis?”
“A little.”
“How much have you done? Are the boys a distraction to your writing?” She filled a jug with water and topped up the steam iron’s water tank.
Sarah shook her head. “The boys are fine. If only my publisher wanted a Christmas story involving children and sunshine, not one with Santa, kisses, and snow.”
Glancing up, Hannah smiled. “You wanted to be a romance writer.”
“I know. And I love it. But it’s so weird—I have no inspiration for this story. I feel like an artist up against a blank canvas.” Tears stung her eyes as she whispered. “I’m afraid the canvas is winning.”
“I have inspiration for you, Auntie Sarah.” Matthew took a deep breath and then belted out the familiar Christmas song, I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. With a titter, he puckered his lips.
“Not mommy,” Jonathan squealed as he wiggled off Sarah’s lap. “Mommy’s married. We must sing ‘I saw Auntie Sarah kissing Santa Claus’.” He wrinkled his nose and grinned at Sarah as his giggles joined Matthew’s laughter.
“Oh you boys. I don’t think you’re helping your aunt at all.” Hannah folded the ironed pillow slip and set it to one side of the counter before pulling a pair of creased jeans from the basket. She straightened them on the board. “How much have you managed to write?” Steam hissed as the iron met the thick blue fabric.
“Seven words. And they stink.” Sarah lifted the laptop lid. Extending her index finger, she pressed the power button. The sleeping screen woke.
“What? Only seven? You’re kidding.” Hannah’s eyes widened before a frown formed on her forehead.
“I wish I was.”
“But you’ve been tapping away on that keyboard for days.”
“And I keep erasing everything. Like now.” Sarah hit the backspace key several times, clearing her latest attempt. “I can’t get started on this novel.”
“When’s your deadline?”
“End March.”
“Word count?” The iron hissed again and steam billowed into the air above the ironing board once more.
“Seventy to eighty thousand.”
“Ouch. That’s a lot of words. Will you get done in time?”
“I would if I could get my mind around a solid story. I really need some inspiration. What do I know of snow? Or Santa Claus for that matter? It’s been years since I’ve had anything to do with either.”
“You do know that Christmas is about far more than snow and an old man in a red suit that lives in the North Pole.”
“Lapland, Mom. Santa lives in Lapland, not the North Pole. I saw it on a TV program last week.”
“Of course, Matthew.” Hannah slipped the pressed jeans onto a hanger which she hooked onto the clothes stand—last year’s Christmas gift from Grant.
So unromantic. She’d certainly give Hannah’s husband a few pointers this year.
Pulling the next pair of jeans from the mound of clean laundry, Hannah leaned against the kitchen counter. “Lapland aside, you know what Christmas is really about, Sarah.”
Jonathan shot his hands in the air. “Jesus. Christmas is about Jesus. It’s his birthday.” Singing at the top of his voice, he danced around in circles. “Happy birthday, Jesus. Happy birthday, Jesus.
“Another aspect of Christmas you’ve had little to do with in years.” Hannah raised one eyebrow in her typical big sister way.
Sarah drew in a breath and silently counted to ten.
“You should so go to Lapland, Auntie Sarah.” Matthew grinned as if he’d found the solution to all her writing problems.
Ceasing his dance, Jonathan came and stood beside Sarah, taking her hand in his. “No, you should go to Bethmel… Bethelme…” He looked across the room at his mother.
“Bethlehem, silly,” Matthew prompted before Hannah could.
“I’m not silleeeee.” Jonathan dragged out the word for as long as he had breath. He’d turn blue and pass out if he didn’t breathe soon.
My word, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to do this mothering thing. It’s just as well that—
“Matthew, stop frustrating your brother, or you’ll go to your room.”
“I don’t have a room. Auntie Sarah’s in it. Remember?”
“Then you’ll go to your brother’s room.” Hannah shook out the jeans and began to give them the same hot treatment as their predecessor. “You should go to church.” She kept her eyes on the jeans.
Not this again.
Sarah drew in a sharp breath. “Hannah, please, don’t preach.”
“Not all men are like Andrew Palmer, you know.”
“No, they’re not. Maybe only preachers’ sons?”
With a huff, Hannah stood the iron upright. It sputtered, trying to expel steam in its vertical position. Hands on hips, her eyes bore into Sarah’s. “You can’t keep running, trying to find love only in the words you write.”
“At least that love is pure. And safe.” Sarah’s eyes stung again. She swallowed hard. She’d shed enough tears over the pastor’s son.
Pinching her eyelids with her fingers, she blotted out the light, trapping the tears.
“Boys, run along and get dressed.”
“Aw, Mom...” Jonathan’s little hands wrapped around Sarah’s waist a moment later, offering her a tiny hug, before his feet hurried across the kitchen floor with Matthew’s.
“Lapland, Auntie Sarah,” Matthew shouted before his feet pounded down the passage, too.
Jonathan’s voice grew softer as he followed his brother’s path. “Bethme— Bethlehem.”
Hannah strolled over to Sarah, her hands coming to rest on Sarah’s shoulders. “You need to forgive Andrew so you can move on, love again. It’s been nearly four years. That’s a long time.”
“I know exactly how long it’s been, down to the very minute.” Sarah squirmed out of her chair. Hannah’s hands fell away as she did.
Snatching up her laptop, Sarah hurried across the kitchen, stopping in the doorway. The memory of it all made her nauseous. Her world swirled, and she grabbed the doorjamb. “Forgive? How long should it take to forgive, Hannah, especially when there’s a congregation of faces on that ‘To Do’ list?”
“Not everyone believed Andrew’s story. You know that.”
“No, not everyone. But most did.” Heat rushed through her. “What was it they whispered behind my back? Oh yes, ‘Probably doing research for those books of hers. Such a shame, tempting sweet, innocent Andrew that way.’” Sarah swiped a disobedient tear from her cheek. “Sound about right, sis? If they’d bothered to read any of my work they would’ve known there was no way I’d need that kind of research.”
“Sarah, people are just…people. Fallen. Fallible. Desperately in need of forgiveness.” Hannah took a step toward Sarah then stopped. “And Andrew did try to do right by you.”
“Oh yes.” Sarah brushed her hand across her stomach, immediately wishing she hadn’t. “Until he no longer had to.”
“I’m sorry you’ve suffered so much, but don’t block God out because of man’s mistakes. He loves you. And He’d go to the ends of the earth to prove it to you.”
Hannah spoke the truth, but Sarah didn’t want to hear it. Not now. Maybe never.
“Heaven to earth’s a pretty long way—a whole lot of love, Sarah. That’s what Christmas is really all about. Not Santa. Not snow. And certainly not Lapland. Focus your Christmas romance on the Bethlehem babe rather.”
There was no way Sarah could stop the sneer twisting her lips. “What? And risk my publisher rejecting my manuscript after all the hard work I’ll put into it? Besides, God and I don’t speak the same language. Haven’t since—”
What was the use? Hannah knew all this. It wasn’t the first time she’d raised the subject. Wouldn’t be the last, either.
Shaking her head, Sarah turned away. She needed to be alone.
“Maybe you should find another publisher? A Christian one,” Hannah called after her. “Or relearn God’s language.”
“Why don’t you tell me to stop writing, Hannah? Find another career?”
Sarah ran to Matthew’s bedroom, slamming the door behind her. She fell onto the colorful airplane-covered duvet and buried her face in the comforting arms of the feather pillow, thoughts of flying away to the other side of the world consuming her mind. And the more she thought about Lapland, the more appealing all that snow for Christmas appeared.

Buy links:  Amazon US   Amazon UK

Friday, 8 December 2017

No Home for the Holidays - Lillian Duncan


Unlike the Prodigal Son, Chloe Sullivan knows she can’t go home for the Christmas holidays or ever—not if she wants to stay alive.
She’s resigned to the fact she must stay in hiding to keep herself and her family safe. Lonely and desperate for God’s presence, she’s drawn to a nearby church.
Ex-FBI agent turned preacher, Colton Douglas, mistakenly identifies Chloe as the person breaking into local churches. A midnight chase ensues that ends with him snapping her photo. When the photo goes public he learns more about the mystery woman than he bargained for. . .
And that changes everything! 


Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Game On. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com


Do you know what a parable is? One definition (my favorite) is an earthly story with a heavenly message. Wow! That’s a very close description of what I write. My stories are action-filled stories but with a heavenly message. So does that mean I write parables? I like to think so. How cool is that?

Jesus used parables to teach.

He knew that stories can illustrate a truth better than any lecture or sermon. Scientists say that stories and movies activate the brain as if the events are actually happening to the reader or movie goer. So that means we can learn from them without having to face the consequences of the bad choices in our real life.

And that’s why I write what I write!

My stories are first and foremost meant to entertain the reader, but they also have a spiritual message or a life lesson. No Home For The Holidays is a Christmas-themed story readers will find entertaining but with several heavenly messages.

Chloe Sullivan needs a miracle but has given up on getting it. As sad as it is, she’s resigned to the fact that she has to stay in hiding if she wants to remain alive and keep her family safe.

Ex-FBI turned preacher, Colton Douglas believes in helping others. When Chloe enters his life, he’s sure God has put her in his path for a reason—to help her. And that’s just what he plans to do, whether she likes it or not.

Both Colton and Chloe learn something about themselves and about life as they face death. Some of the things Colton and Cloe learn are some of the things we all need to learn as we journey through this life.

And that’s why I write what I write!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Once Upon A Christmas - Clare Revell

Once upon a Christmas...

 As settlement for her father’s debts, Caitlyn Hosier is forced into a marriage with the village recluse—a man no one has seen all the years he's lived in the manor house. A man surrounded by rumours. A man with a vicious temper. A man said to be a monster. A man who hates Christmas.

Hayden Shade hides his scars behind a mask, but the past never ceases to haunt him. A new life and a new start seem too much to hope for. Does he even deserve one? Surely not with a woman so wholly beautiful as Caitlyn. He longs to build a life-long relationship, but he daren’t allow her to see the real him until he knows for sure she loves him.

Desperate to find happiness with the man she's fated to marry, Caitlyn determines to uncover the real Hayden Shade. There must be something good behind the mask. But what if there's nothing more to him than the monster she could never love?

Carols played in the background. Caitlyn Hosier grinned at best friend Meredith Mantle. “Who’d have thought this time last year we were preparing for the Paradise Christmas Ball, and here you are married.” She paused. “And here I am, not. And neither of us are going to the ball, either.”
“It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Ty.” Meredith hung another ornament on the tree. “We’d have been related.”
Caitlyn shook her head. “Ty’s a nice enough bloke, but we have nothing in common. And I’m beginning to lose hope in David as well. He still hasn’t called since that one date he took me on. I know he’s far older than me, but age is simply a number, right?”
The door opened and her father and step-mother came in. Father cleared his throat, his face serious and pale. “Caitlyn, I need to speak with you. It’s urgent.”
Meredith stood. “I should be getting back. I promised Grannie I’d call in on my way home. She’s coping OK on her own, but she’s finding it hard with the anniversary coming up.”
Caitlyn walked Meredith to the door. “I’ll call later this evening. Bye.” She closed the door and headed back into the lounge. “So what’s wrong?”
Her father took a deep breath. “I got called in to see my boss. He made me an offer for your hand in marriage.”
Caitlyn’s stomach knotted and threated to eject her lunch over her feet. She pushed her hands through her hair. She must have heard wrong. “He wants to what?” she managed, reaching out a hand to turn off the music, the carols incongruous now.
Her father’s agonized gaze hit the floor, as if couldn’t quite bear to look at her. He seemed as if he’d aged fifty years since he’d left home a few hours ago. “He wants to marry you.”
“He doesn’t know the first thing about me. Why would he want to do that?”
“Because I messed up. I did something I shouldn’t have and this is the only way he won’t press charges.”
Caitlyn swallowed hard. “Press charges?”
“I broke the law. I’d go to prison for a long time, possibly the rest of my life.”
Shock turned to horror. “So you traded me for your freedom?”
Her father shook his head. “No. I’d never do that to you. This is your choice and yours alone. He granted me that much.”
Caitlyn turned to her step-mother. She didn’t really remember her birth mother, only a faint recollection of perfume. Naomi had never wanted to replace Mum, opting instead for the term Auntie. “Auntie Naomi…”
“I’ve spoken to Naomi,” Father interrupted. “She’s in agreement with me.”
She turned away, her eyes burning. Marriage was something she’d always dreamed of, but not to her father’s mysterious boss, who had a reputation for being a hard liner. Caitlyn’s dreams lay with David, a local man from the same church. He’d told her he worked in an animal shelter, which she’d found adorable. They’d been on one date and got on pretty well. But this? This would end all that. Now her dreams lay shattered at the foot of the half-decorated Christmas tree. Scattered like the box of baubles she’d dropped, sparking in the light, yet out of reach.
“How…how long have I got to think about it?” she whispered.
“I have to let him know by three.”
She gasped as she glanced at her watch. “That’s only an hour away.”
Her father hurried over to her and gripped her hands. “I’m so sorry. If there was a way around this, some other way I could make amends, I’d do it, but there isn’t.” His gaze held hers. “If you can’t do this, if you don’t want to, then don’t worry. I’ll face up to what I’ve done and accept the consequences.”
Caitlyn pulled her hands away. “I need time to think. I’ll be in my room.” She dashed from the room, before she really did cry. She shut the bedroom door and leaned against it. “Oh, Lord, what do I do?” she whispered. “I can’t let Father go to prison, but to marry someone I don’t know? Someone no one has ever seen or really knows? Someone with a reputation like Mr. Shade has? Even the name makes him seem dark.” She shivered, wrapping her arms around herself as she paced to the window. “I wanted a future with David. He’s tall, charming, handsome, and he likes me. He took me to the most expensive restaurant in town, and then kissed me on the doorstep when he dropped me home. OK, bells and whistles didn’t go off and the stars didn’t explode, but for a first kiss I wasn’t expecting that.”
Caitlyn sighed, studying the view of her garden. “I have to do this. Please promise me I’m not doing this alone. I have no idea if this Mr. Shade is a Christian or not. So I may well end up unevenly yoked. If I can ask one favour, Lord, please let it be a church wedding. Work this horrid situation for good.”
Her gaze fell on the verse-of-the-day calendar on her desk. The one for today was Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Thank you, Lord. OK, let’s do this.” She rubbed her hands over her eyes and sucked in a deep breath. Should she take everything? Would she be allowed home to get things she forgot? What did she do now?
Her hand rested on the locket her birth mother had left for her, along with a note saying ‘sorry’. The note had long since been discarded, but the necklace she’d kept. Not that it was ever worn—it didn’t really go with the jeans and baggy sweaters she preferred—but she’d take it with her. Decision made, there was no time to waste on questions she couldn’t answer.
Father paced the living room floor. He stopped mid-stride as Caitlyn entered the room. “What did you decide?”
“I’ll do it. I’ll marry Mr. Shade.”