Taken from the bookshelf this week...a stand-alone Harlequin Romance - THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM by Michelle Douglas.
Author bio: Making up stories of her own has always been one of Michelle’s passions. She received her first rejection letter at the age of eight for Keri the Koala Baby, and has been writing ever since. A love of literature led her to major in English at the University of Newcastle where she recently completed a MPhil (Creative Writing).
She has worked an assortment of jobs. Everything from waitress at a wedding convention centre (where the staff oohed and ahhed over fairytale wedding dresses) to answering the complaints line at a call centre for a bank. All of which have provided her with endless ideas for stories.
Her own “happy-ever-after” came in 1998 when she eloped to England with husband Greg. They were married in Westminster – the town hall not the Abbey – lived on tinned soup for a month so they could afford to spend their wedding night in The Dorchester, and then flew out the next day to honeymoon in Paris.
She received "The Call" from Mills & Boon's London office in February 2007. Her first book was released in December that same year. To date, Michelle has had seven romances published. Her eighth, The Man Who Saw Her Beauty, will be released in May 2012.
Title: THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM
Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance/Sweet.
Release Date: March/April 2009.
Hero bio: Simon Morton-Blake, the Seventh Lord of Holm and seriously over-protective big brother, travels to Australia in search of his younger sister who is backpacking her way across the country. He travels to her last known address—Nelsons Bay, one of the most picturesque spots on the NSW coastline—where she has been working for Kate Petherbridge's dolphin tour business.
Simon is tied to duty, to doing the right thing and is working tirelessly to save the family estate from crippling death duties. He can't remember the last time he took a holiday, and he can't afford to take one now. But it seems he has no choice when Kate tells him his sister isn't returning to Nelsons Bay for another fortnight and then refuses to tell him where his sister is.
When she offers him bed and board until Felice returns he accepts, determined to charm Kate into revealing Felice's whereabouts before the fortnight is up. One thing he hadn't counted on, though, was Kate's seven-year-old son. Simon has made it a rule to avoid children. Living with one, however temporarily, is his worst nightmare.
Heroine bio: Kate Petherbridge has one rule: Don't get romantically involved with the tourists. Managing her own dolphin tour business means she comes into contact with a lot of tourists on a daily basis and as a single mother she is not interested in holiday flings. Her son's happiness comes first and she and Jesse are a package deal.
However, when Simon Morton-Blake arrives on the scene sparks instantly fly between them and for the first time she's tempted to break her golden rule. That is until she witnesses his reaction to Jesse. A man who doesn't like children is certainly not the kind of man she could ever contemplate having even the briefest of flings with.
Interesting features of this book: THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM is set in breathtaking Port Stephens (Australia) and revels in the beautiful scenery and the potential of all the summer fun that can be had there. Of course, balmy nights do lead to balmy kisses. :-)
Romantic Times gave it 4.5 stars and said, "A simple story told very well, this one has great characters with nice chemistry. It's also by turns truly funny and moving."
There's a scene on the beach in Chapter Two that is one of my all-time favourite scenes to write. Reading it even now it can still make me smile.
Oh, and, yeah, there are the dolphins. :-)
THE ARISTOCRAT & THE SINGLE MOM
From hard-working mum--to lady of the manor!
Handsome English lord Simon Morton-Blake is reluctant to get involved with anyone on his visit to Australia—especially a single mother like Kate Petherbridge! But Simon can't deny his unexpected attraction to vivacious Kate, nor refuse her offer of a place to stay.
Thrown in the middle of Kate's lively family, Simon finds his buttoned-up manner slowly undone. A happy family isn’t something Simon’s ever known before, but he’s starting to realize there’s one ready-made, just for him…
Website links: Michelle's website or Mills & Boon or Amazon