Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Falling for his Best Friend

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by Emily Forbes

They’ve been friends forever…

When nurse Kitty Nelson becomes a surrogate for her sister, her best friend, paramedic Joe Harkness, is right there for her. But as Kitty’s pregnancy blossoms, Joe begins to see her in a very different light! Finally admitting a connection he’s never felt with anyone else, is it too late to convince Kitty they’re meant to be?

This is my current release and it is also one of the books on our  VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY! Don’t miss out, it is running until the 13th February 2018. If you haven’t entered yet here is the link ….

Valentines day giveaway 2018

Good luck and Happy Reading!

If you do miss out here are the buy links for my book:

Mills & Boon UK

Mills & Boon Australia

Harlequin

Other bookstores

And you can keep up to date at my website https://www.emily-forbesauthor.com/

 

 Falling for His Best Friend

Kitty was starting to feel more like her normal self. Her morning sickness was abating and, at twenty-two weeks, she was now feeling like she thought she was supposed to – a glowing, pregnant woman. She hadn’t gained much weight yet except for in her breasts but she felt voluptuous for the first time in her life and it was making her feel very feminine. She knew it was hormonal but she was constantly thinking about sex. She hadn’t had sex in six months, nearly seven, and she was beginning to think she might go crazy unless she did something about it.

And it seemed she wasn’t the only one as she sat with Lisa and a couple of other nurses at the Manly Pier Hotel and the talk turned, inevitably, to men and the lack of good ones.

Kitty was enjoying the evening. It was good to be out and nice to have the focus off the pregnancy for a little while. At home it had become the number one topic of conversation and she was looking forward to talking about the things she used to discuss with her girlfriends. The pub was busy, the line at the bar a couple of people deep. It was her turn to buy the drinks but she didn’t feel like fighting her way through the crowd. Like a knight in shining armour Joe appeared and offered to place their order.

‘You and Joe aren’t an item?’ one of the nurses asked, continuing the conversation as she watched Joe walk to the bar.

‘No. Just friends,’ Kitty replied.

‘With benefits?’ Victoria asked.

‘No.’ She shook her head.

‘He’s hot.’

He did look good tonight she thought although she had to pretend she hadn’t noticed. He wore his favourite jeans, they were her favourites on him too, they hugged his arse and highlighted what she considered to be one of his best features. A white t-shirt hugged his chest. It was a simple outfit but it showcased his body to perfection. He was fit and muscular with just the right amount of confident swagger she thought as she watched him leaning on the bar. His dark hair was casually perfect, he looked like he hadn’t made a huge amount of effort, as if he got out of bed looking like this – relaxed and gorgeous with a cheeky grin for whichever female he was talking to.

She had to agree with Victoria. Joe was hot but she’d long ago taught herself to ignore it. They were friends, first and foremost, and she was too afraid of ruining the status quo to ever test the boundaries of that friendship. She needed him as a friend and she wasn’t going to risk their relationship by blurring the lines.

‘Is he single?’ Victoria asked as they watched Joe return to their table.

‘He’s single,’ she admitted.

He delivered their drinks with a smile, making the dimple in his chin flash and Kitty noticed that Victoria couldn’t take her eyes of him. He didn’t stay, choosing instead to go out to the deck where some of his mates were drinking, and Victoria’s gaze followed his path through the crowd.

All the talk about men and, more specifically, Joe, had Kitty flustered. She couldn’t think about him and sex in the same conversation. She’d trained herself not to and besides, he’d never even hinted that he’d be willing to cross that line in the sand.

But what if he did? What would she do?

She shook her head.

She’d be crazy to even consider it. She wasn’t prepared to risk the friendship of a lifetime for a brief encounter between the sheets. Even if her hormones were going crazy there were others ways to scratch that itch. Kitty drained her water glass and stood up as the DJ played his first track. The pub was full of good-looking young men, Joe was not the only eligible bachelor here, she thought as she dragged Lisa onto the dance floor.

 

 

 

Joe could see Kitty on the dance floor from his vantage point on the deck. She looked particularly beautiful tonight. He knew she was suffering a little from morning sickness but she had a pregnancy glow and by the evening she was obviously feeling, and looking, better. Her hair was thick and glossy and her skin was luminous. She moved well, she was the epitome of someone who danced as if no one was watching and he took advantage of that fact to watch her.

She was normally slight but the pregnancy had added some curves to her bust and her hips he thought as he watched her hips move to the music. She let herself go to the rhythm of the song and Joe let his eyes follow her movements. There was something hypnotic, almost sensual, about her dancing.

He shook his head and turned away. He felt awkward and exposed now, he wasn’t used to thinking about Kitty in that sense. Of course he’d noticed little things about her before, the depth of her brown eyes, the curve of her lips, the twin dimples in her cheeks, but he’d never let himself entertain an image of her as a sexual being before. He’d always kept her firmly in the friend zone.

He turned his gaze to Lisa instead as he tried to get the image of Kitty’s hips out of his head and watched as the girls were joined by a couple of guys – strangers – or at least they were strangers to him. Not that who Kitty danced with was any of his business but Joe felt his hackles rise anyway as his protective, or should that be territorial, instincts came to the fore.

Kitty danced for a few more minutes but when Lisa’s boyfriend arrived she excused herself and headed to the bar, followed by one of the guys. Joe’s protective instincts kicked up another notch.  If this guy wanted a chance with Kitty he’d have to go through him first.

He pushed his way through the crowd and arrived at Kitty’s side just as the guy asked. ‘What can I get you?’

‘She’ll have a water,’ Joe answered.

The guy looked from Kitty to Joe. ‘I wasn’t asking you.’

‘And yet, I’m answering.’ His protective instincts were on high alert now, Kitty didn’t need a stranger buying her drinks, and as the guy half-turned away from Joe to face Kitty, obviously not about to listen to Joe, he couldn’t resist adding, ‘She’s pregnant, she’ll have a water.’

He saw the guy glance down at Kitty’s stomach. There were no visible signs of her pregnancy yet, not unless you knew her. Joe knew that her breasts were bigger and she was a little softer, a little more rounded, more voluptuous, but she was wearing a loose sleeveless top and jeans. All anyone else would notice was the size of her breasts. And Joe didn’t want other guys noticing that.

Her skin glowed. She looked beautiful. And cross.

She was glaring at Joe but he pretended not to notice.

The guy looked back at Joe. He looked irritated too but Joe didn’t care. ‘Are you the father?’ he asked.

‘No.’

‘Then what business is it of yours?’

‘It’s her brother-in-law’s baby,’ Joe stated flatly.

The look on the stranger’s face was priceless. If Kitty wasn’t still glaring at him Joe would have laughed. The guy looked completely horrified and he disappeared fast. Just as Joe had hoped.

‘What are you doing?’ Kitty turned on him.

‘What are you doing?’ he countered.

‘I was talking. He was cute.’ She was watching him walk away. ‘And now he thinks I’m a complete crazy.’

‘He wasn’t cute,’ Joe said. ‘And he looked about eighteen. No wonder he ran.’ He couldn’t help the smile that broke out on his face but Kitty was still cross.

‘Shit, Joe, I haven’t had sex in almost seven months, my hormones are going wild and I’m about to burst with frustration. I wasn’t going to marry the guy. It’s just sex.’

Just sex.

Joe saw red. He’d never understood that expression until now. Blackness encroached onto the edges of his vision as a red haze washed over the centre. His scientific background told him that the visual disturbance was due to a rush of blood through his body, and he would swear he could feel his blood pressure building, but he had a burning desire to punch something.

He didn’t want to think about Kitty having sex and certainly not with strangers. The very idea horrified him.

He was aware of other men looking at her with interest and listening to their conversation. He took a deep breath and tried to clear his vision as he gripped her elbow and steered her out to the relative quiet of the deck before any other strangers offered to help her out.

‘I was only talking to him,’ she argued, not prepared to let the discussion drop. ‘What’s the matter with you?’

‘You were talking to him but thinking about sex,’ he replied. ‘You don’t know anything about him.’ He knew he sounded like an irrational fool, Kitty was an adult and could make her own decisions, but he really didn’t want her thinking about having sex with strangers.

Kitty rolled her eyes. ‘If you hadn’t scared him off I might have found out more about him. That’s how meeting people works, Joe. You meet, you talk, you decide if you like each other.’

‘And then you have sex.’

‘That was my plan.’

‘But you’re pregnant.’

‘So? You think people don’t have sex when they’re pregnant?’

He didn’t want to think about her having sex, pregnant or otherwise, and not with strangers, that was for damn sure.

She was grinning at him now, the little dimples in her cheeks twinkling. He didn’t want her to think he was being funny, he was deadly serious. And he wanted her to take him seriously.

He was sorely tempted to offer his services but bit his tongue just in time. There was no way in hell that was a good idea.

She was waiting for his answer. Looking up at him with her big brown eyes, making it difficult to remember just why taking her in his arms and taking her to bed would be so terrible.

‘I don’t want to talk about you having pregnant sex,’ he said as he tried futilely not to imagine what her lips would taste like. Tried not to imagine how her breasts would feel under his fingers.

‘Why not?’

They were standing very close now and the noise from the bar receded into the distance as Kitty continued to look up at him, a challenge in her dark eyes.

Why not what? He couldn’t remember what he’d said. He couldn’t think straight when she looked at him like that. She was all lips and eyes and breasts and he was a mess.

Their conversation was forgotten as he stared at her lips. He thought about kissing her soundly, showing her what it was like to be kissed by someone who knew her well. Who cared about her. Showing her how much better that was than kissing a complete stranger. Why had he never kissed her before. He couldn’t remember.

Everything receded, the noise, the crowd, until there was just the two of them.

He searched for a good reason not to kiss her now and couldn’t think of one. The urge to kiss her was overpowering and he didn’t know if he could resist.

He bent his head.

She lifted her chin and tilted her head up to him.

***

 

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, New Releases, The Writing Life

WINTER & RUTS & CHANGES (or not)

I admit thi2-9-18 blog 1s freely—I HATE winter. Hate snow. Hate cold weather. Hate gray skies and Indiana is practically always gray during the winter. I stay here because my family is here, my husband owns a business here and we have a good life here. Except for when it gets cold. And, to me, cold is anything under 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Well, maybe I’m not quite that bad, but my family does know me to be a little eccentric on the numbers of layers I wear, and the lengths to which I’ll go to stay warm.

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As winters go, this one hasn’t been amongst the worst. Still, I don’t go out much. But I do have a very nice window in my office that gives me my winter view of the world. Sure, I go a little crazy staying inside as much as I do, but not because of the cold so much as that when I coop myself up, I start noticing things in my house I don’t normally notice.

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Now, here’s another true confession. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t move furniture around in my house, don’t even re-arrange the books on my shelves. Had you walked into my house 14 years ago, when we bought it, you’d have seen the same things in the places they are now. When I bought a new sofa a couple years ago, it went in the exact same place the old one did. And the books on my shelves—don’t even go there, because if I look up from my office chair and see one that’s not where it’s supposed to be, I move it back. Immediately. Let me tell you, my kids had fun with this idiosyncrasy of mine when they were young. Even today, grown and married, they can’t resist switching a couple books around, or moving the rocking chair in the living room a foot in one direction or the other.2-9-18 blog 4

So, anyway, I’ve spent a lot of time staring out my window this winter, as well as staring at the surroundings in my house. But, inspiration hit. I decided it was time to make some changes. Out of the blue, I was prompted to move my 100+ dictionaries from the bookcase on the left to the one on the right. (My office has 12 bookcases.) More than that, I decided to take my paperbacks and move them to the bottom shelf and put my trade paperbacks on the top. Then—rearrange the objects on my desk.

Two days of intermittent work, and my office was finally different. Now, the average eye might not discern the differences. But to me, it’s like I’m in a whole new setting and honestly, I’m not fond of it yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving things back, given some thought to moving only half of everything back to see if that doesn’t bother me so much. Looked at this situation every way I can, and I came to a disturbing conclusion…I like being in my rut. It’s my comfort zone. It’s where I live and where I function best.

I remembering watching one of the singing contest shows, feeling sorry for the poor contestants who just didn’t quite get it—according to the judges. There was always constant criticism from them telling the singers to change the song, shake it up, make it their own. That was their advice, over and over. And it got me thinking about my office, my rut, and if I really need to shake it up. Then, I asked myself: if I’m comfortable in my rut, what’s wrong with that? If the competing singer liked singing the song without changing it, what’s wrong with that?

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Sometimes, I think we tend to change things simply for the sake of changing them. My office, for example. I’m happy there. Happy with my 100+ dictionaries on the left bookshelf. But I shook it up, and there was no reason to do that. It’s like that in my writing, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me if I get tired writing what I write, and should I try something else? The answer is…no. I’m where I want to be on so many different levels, and that includes my writing. It includes my dictionaries, too. Which is why, after I post this blog, I’m going to shake it up, make it my own, and change things by moving them back the way they were. Why? Because that’s where they belong. That’s where I belong.

In a world that’s going crazy around us right now, where we feel like we’re losing more and more control, I find my ruts a very nice place in which to dwell, especially on a cold, winter’s day. So, tell me. Do you have ruts in which you’re happy to exist?

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I had two books come out in January. They’re available to purchase in all the usual places. And, especially good to read if you’re caught up in a cold winter like I am and prefer to stay cozy inside.

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 VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY! 
Don’t miss our VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY which is running until the 13th February 2018. More details at:

https://loveisthebestmedicine.wordpress.com/valentines-day-giveaway-2018

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As always, wishing you health & happiness & comfortable ruts…

Dianne

http://www.Dianne-Drake.comDianneDrake@earthlink.net * @DianneDrake http://www.facebook.com/DianneDrakeAuthor

 

Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories, The Writing Life

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? Dianne Drake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAValentine’s Day is one of those days where true love takes over, and all things chocolate, flowers, cards, romantic dinners and gifts are on our minds. Well, most of our minds. I could do without the chocolate and my cats eat my flowers. But I do love gifts and romantic dinners. Have you ever wondered, though, what Valentine’s Day is all about?

It’s said that this festival for lovers had its origin with Emperor Claudius II, who didn’t want Roman men to marry during wartime because marriage distracted them from their killing. Bishop Valentine, an Anglican and a right romantic gent, went against Claud’s wishes and performed secret weddings. For that, Valentine was jailed. While there, he wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it “from your Valentine.” He got caught, and was beheaded the next day–on February 14, sometime near the year 270.

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Cupids were a popular theme for a Victorian Valentine’s Day.

It wasn’t until the 14th century, though, that the date February 14 became linked to romantic intentions, largely thanks to the tradition of courtly love, which abounded in the circles of Geoffrey Chaucer. Still, it took another 4 centuries before the day became about gifts, and candy and all those other things we typically think about.

And just an aside here–about 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. Whether or not it’s true, the first Valentine’s Day card may have been a love letter from Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Makes sense, considering Charles was a Frenchman and France is noted for its romantic traditions. Oh, and in case you’re interested, teachers receive the most Valentine’s cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets. But don’t feel sorry for poor Fido and Fluffy, who come in last in cards, because they get 3% of all the Valentine’s gifts given. Not bad for a loved one who has a wet nose.

Speaking of love letters, every Valentine’s Day, the city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet. But Verona isn’t the only place where letters or notes are popular. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine, then write that name in a heart-shaped note and pin it on their sleeve for everyone to see–especially the one whose name was on the note. Hence, the phrase:  “to wear your heart on your sleeve.” It’s still a tradition in South Africa, today and, in some cases, it’s how South African men learn of their secret admirers.

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Forget-me-nots were one of the most popular Victorian expressions of love.

But South Africa isn’t the only country with a unique Valentine’s Day tradition. In South Korea, the gift-giving commences on February 14th, with the women in the wooing mood when they give their men chocolates, candies and flowers. The guys return the woo on March 14th with a little one-upping by adding lavish gifts to the giving of chocolate, candies and flowers. Not to be outdone, however, in Italian tradition, young, unmarried girls wake up before dawn to spot their future husbands, believing that the first man they OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsee on Valentine’s Day will be the one they will marry within a year. Of course, if that doesn’t happen, they have a back-up plan to help them save face, where they simply say, “Well, at least he looks like the man I’ll marry.” That plan runs a distant second to actually marrying the guy, but it’s something to hang on to. Back-up plans like that one are good though, and sticking with Italy, their next back-up plan is to come Valentine-calling with Baci Perugina in hand. It’s a small, chocolate-covered hazelnut wrapped with a romantic quote.

Yes, chocolate… Everybody loves it, including the Brazilians who go a-courting with it, as well. But not on February 14, because it’s too close to Carnival. So they hold off their lovefest until June 12, when they celebrate Dia dos Namorados, or “Lovers’ Day,” And yep, chocolates, along with flowers and cards, music festivals and performances.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, why chocolates? Why not licorice, or cinnamon red hearts? Honestly, nothing spells romance better than a gummy worm, don’t you think? But, we have chocolate, and it’s been hanging in as the lovers’ favorite since the early 1800s. Back then, though, it wasn’t a romantic thing. Doctors prescribed it to their female patients to help relieve those certain symptoms associated with that special time of the month. It calmed them down, so it was said. Of course, so did those vibrator treatments those wacky doctors were giving out, personally, in their offices, back then. A vibrator AND chocolate…must have calmed m’lady right down into a perfect bliss. Oh, and about chocolate–Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s, and more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of pure, silky ecstasy are sold for Valentine’s Day any given year.

Cards, love notes, chocolates…isn’t it romantic? Actually, word romance wasn’t associated with the romance we know. It was originally a Latin adverb for Romanicus meaning “of the Roman style.” You know, when in Rome… The Romans considered themselves a chivalrous people, and their earliest tales of romance were actually stories of chivalric adventures. public-domain-images-vintage-postcards-valentine-victorian-1900s0075It wasn’t, until the late 17th century that the chivalric adventures turned more to the romantic escapades we know today. Probably had something to do with the hunk on the cover of a romance novel one of the ladies of the day was reading. She took one look at his bare chest, his long flowing hair, his well-muscled arms, his steely thighs…well, you know what I’m getting at.

Being the proper lady that she was, though, she surely hankered for the gift of a red rose from her true love, since chocolates weren’t around yet. Which is just another way to transition into why red roses have become the traditional Valentine’s flower. First, the red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. That’s as good a reason as any. But there’s more… red roses are also considered the love flower because red stands for strong romantic feelings, blood and fire, passion, desire, heat, longing, lust, sexuality…it’s a pretty long, self-explanatory list. Or, in other words, red just works.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So does the Welsh tradition of giving a love spoon for Valentine’s day. Only, it’s not exactly Valentine’s Day. It’s the celebration of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, on January 25th. The hand-carved spoons were given as token of affection for the women they loved, and different patterns were carved into these spoons, including horseshoes for good luck; wheels to symbolize support; and keys for the keys to a man’s heart. Often, spoons given to lovers had two handles intertwining to form one. Interestingly enough, this tradition of giving spoons known as “spooning” makes it especially fitting when two handles intertwine. We all know what comes of that!

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So, before I end this history lesson, let me leave you with a few more romantic traditions, like an old one in the Netherlands where prospective couples were put in separate sacks in the same bed to sleep together, but not allowed to engage in any premarital hanky-panky. Talk about tough love. Then there was that time during Italian Renaissance when the gentlemen would give their lady loves erotically-inscribed belts which would both remind them of their chastity while at the same time inciting them to horniness. Also, there’s that old, popular stand-by called the bridesworth, which went beyond the offering of the dowry, but could include acts of humiliation or entertainment such as chariot racing, singing, dancing and grueling interviews with the bride’s family. Often, a bridesworth could last for an entire year. And finally–the eating of the haggis every day, from Valentine’s Day to Valentine’s Day, for a year, to prove a man’s worth to his lady love. Actually, I just made that one up. But it sort of fits in doesn’t it?

There are so many kinds of wacky, wonderful, strange and romantic ways to celebrate your love, and that’s something I try to capture in my books. The different ways we go about it. To each his own, as they say. For some, Valentine’s Day is an expression for every day of the year. For a dear friend, it’s the biggest heart-shaped box of chocolates her husband can find. My grandfather always gave my grandmother red carnations for Valentine’s Day, and my grandmother always gave me a fresh, brand new five-dollar bill straight from the bank. For me, personally, Valentine’s Day is all about the thought, not the deed. Deeds are nice, but in end, I’ll take the thought any day. So what about you? Are you doing OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsomething special for Valentine’s Day? Gifts? Chocolates? A romantic dinner? Staying home together in your jammies, eating popcorn and watching a romantic movie? Or a scary one that’ll make you cuddle up?

Whatever your Valentine’s Day will be about, I hope it’s everything you wish for. It’s only one day of the year, so enjoy (unless you take up that haggis thing, then it’s for a whole year!).

And now…promo time. My latest, The Nurse and the Single Dad came out on the 1st. It’s available in all the usual places. That’s it. No more promo, no more wacky Valentine’s traditions like the one where, in 19th century rural Austria, an eligible lass would keep an apple slice crammed in her armpits during an entire evening of dance. At the end of the evening, she would give her used fruit to the guy she fancied. If the feeling was mutual, he’d wolf it right down, which sounds like true love to me. I know the old saying is something about the apple of his eye, but the apple of her armpit? Okay. I’m really done now. Promise.

Until next time, wishing you health & happiness.

DD

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February 1, 2017

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Cranky Romance Author by Amy Andrews

Happy Valentine’s Day to those in the world who are celebrating it at the moment! Here in Australia it’s come and gone already and the chocolatiers and florists are taking a well earned breather.Well…until Easter anyway!

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Anyone who was on my FB page yesterday will know I spent a good deal during my “day of love” fuming about an article that the lovely Avril Treymayne had posted on her FB page about some idiots somewhere naming the top 20 romcoms ever.

Avril was baffled by the list. Me? To say I was incensed is putting it lightly. Romcoms are my thing – I’m a self-confessed connoisseur – and have probably a dozen or even more that I love like I’d written them myself. Or, in the case of the finale scene in Notting Hill, that I wished I’d written myself!  Here it is because awesomeness.

And here’s the stoopid list for you to have a look at –

http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/romantic-comedies-best/

Now I know that movie/book/art tastes are different but I reckon if a bunch of romance readers – more authorative on this topic I bet – was asked to put together a list of the top 20 romcoms it wouldn’t resemble this list remotely….

I agree with three. And could probably get on board with one or two others if someone stuck a gun to my head. I suppose I should be grateful they at least got #1 right!

But where is Notting Hill? Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Dan In Real Life, Wimbledon, Raising Helen, The Princess Bride, Stakeout, Sweet Home Alabama, The Waitress, A Fish Called Wanda, A Knights Tale?

My biggest bug bear with the list is that I think they got confused between romantic and romantic comedy. I dont believe romcoms are just romantic movies with a bit of humour. I think comdey is integral to the romcom and has a certain tone and pace. It’s one of those – you know it when you see it kind of things.

And I didn’t see a lot of it on that list. Seriously, if you’re writing a list purporting to be made up of romcoms (the top 20 no less) than they’d better damn well be romcoms!

So, now its your turn. Do any on the list make your top 10. If so which ones and which ones would you like to see there instead? I need some romance peeps to restore my faith in humanity.

Help me, please, help me!

PS – dont forget to check the previous post to see if you’re a winner of the massive Valentine’s Day giveaway!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Valentine’s Day! (includes a giveaway)

One of our favourite days of the year is coming soon!  And to celebrate Valentine’s day, we have books to give away!

Amy Andrews, Amy Ruttan, Annie O’Neil, Annie Claydon, Avril Tremayne, Emily Forbes, Fiona Lowe, Jennifer Taylor, Kate Hardy, Louisa George, Lynne Marshall, Robin Gianna, Scarlet Wilson, Sue MacKay, Susan Carlisle, Susanne Hampton and Tina Beckett will each be sending a book to one of our lucky winners.  All you need to do to be included in the draw, is to leave a comment in reply to this post before Sunday 14th February.  We’ll be posting again on Sunday morning, with a list of winners, so please do call back then to see whether you’ve won!

We’d love to hear your Valentine’s Day stories, or your thoughts about what makes the perfect Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you’d like to try our Valentine’s Quiz, and let us know how you did.  Or maybe you’d just like to send us a wave from your corner of the world.

And just for fun, we’ve put together a Valentine’s Quiz.  We’ve selected some of our most romantic covers, and have blanked out the titles and author names.  Can you guess which cover belongs to which writer?  We’ve made it a little easier by giving a list of eight possible answers underneath each cover.  How many do you recognise?  

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Things Making Me Happy by Amy Andrews

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Valentine’s Day.Finger Hug on Valentine's day theme

It was great looking at everyone’s FB posts and twitter messages about what their valentines did for them. My true love gave me a gorgeous bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed.

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And the lovely Harlequin Australia office gave all its authors this beautiful tea cup!

 

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But the thing that me happiest, that made me smile and laugh and even cry a little on the great world wide day of love was the ultimate expression of that – my lovely godson and his wife welcoming their second baby, a gorgeous little girl calledLillian Lillian May Nellie Grice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Book Covers

Two new covers landed in my inbox this week. Ask me Nicely is my Brazen that’s coming out on 3rd March. No, it’s not a medical but its set in a vet practice. There are animals inlcuding a foul-mouthed galah and an obese labrador with a tick. It is a little bit…saucy (dirty) but if you’re into that kind of thing….

In May I have a crazy/different/new/excitinAMN_500g/scary project coming to fruition. The book is called Limbo. It’s still me but with ghosts and a PI and I really love the cover!

LimboFinal

Also I’m putting this cover up even though its a couple of months old now because it’s a medical and I just adore it. I think it’s one of my best medical covers yet!

ItHappenedOneNightShift

ThingsMakingMeHappy#3

Puppies and babies. What’s not to love?

 

What’s making you happy lately and how did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

The Day of Romance – by Dianne Drake

thCAK299YCTHE DAY OF ROMANCE – by Dianne Drake

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here, and lucky me, I’ve drawn Valentine’s Day to come back.  The day of romance, and chocolates, and flowers…

Personally, for me it’s just another work day.  I got up this morning and did what I normally do.  No one sent me flowers, I’m not particularly fond of chocolates, and when you’ve been married for as long as I have, maybe the romance hasn’t died but it’s certainly become habit.  But yet the stores are full of reminders that we should be doing something special or different for someone we love.  Last night, as I picked out a hasty, not-too-well-thought card for a friend, I watched a man picking out a card, and at first I was a little annoyed by how long it was taking him and how he was standing just where I wanted to be looking.  But then I watched him for a while, and he was actually reading the cards… reading one after another, then putting it back.  My guess is that the cards didn’t come close to expressing his sentiment for that special someone in his life.

Cynical old me was touched by what I saw, and I wondered if the recipient of his efforts would ever know the effort he spent on picking out that card, or would she simply look at it, thank him, give him the appropriate kiss on the cheek, and move on to the next activity in her day the way I probably would?

So this morning, I’ve been thinking a lot about St. Valentine’s Day, and what it is.  Fact is, no one really knows the history.  There are several versions, all of them having an origin of sorts in the patron saint, himself.  What we do know for sure is that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.  Personally, I’d always thought the holiday was contrived by the greeting card, candy or flower industry to make a buck.  Seems I was wrong.  It’s an ancient celebration, generally thought to date back to the 3rd or 4th century.  And it centers around of all people, the martyred Saint Valentine (Valentinus) who died on February 14.

One story has Valentine, a priest, serving during the third century in Rome. When the emperor of the day decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, hating the injustice of true love being legislated out of existence, defied the emperor and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Eventually he was put to death for that. But if that’s the origin of our Valentine’s day, he’s a true hero for lovers through the ages.

Then another Valentine story has the saint being killed for helping Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. That’s the stuff of which the true, great historical romantic heroes are made, don’t you think?  Finally, a third legend has an imprisoned Valentine falling in love with the jailor’s daughter, who would visit him often in his last days. Before his execution he sent her a farewell love letter signed, “From your Valentine.”  What a tragic romance.

Honestly, we don’t know the truth behind the Valentine legend, but the one element that stands out is that he is a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure who would do any romance novel proud.  What we do know, though, is that St. Valentine’s day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages. That was a beautiful time in which the traditions of love flourished – lovers expressing their love by sending flowers, giving confectionaries, embellishing ornate hand-made cards and letters.  I think, perhaps, it was a more thought-out occasion hundreds of years ago.  But then, maybe I’m wrong.  Because last night, I watched someone putting such heartfelt thought into picking out his card that he inspired me to write this blog.  And maybe, he changed my mind just a little.

However you observe it – candy, flowers, a simple card or maybe just an I love you to the person you love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dianne