The Making of The Ninth Hunter

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I’ve recently published my fifth novel. It’s no longer an idea, a dream, a goal or (and I hate to admit this) a frustration. It’s a book. I can hold it in my hand and flip through all those pages—the thousands of words neatly printed, side by side, barely representing the agony I went through to get them there.

Now that it’s over, I can finally sit back and congratulate myself for making it. Because until publication day—the finish line—everything else is just one tiny step in an impossible journey. And no matter how many times you’ve done it before, it doesn’t get easier. Of course, there are elements of certainty that only experience can bring. Like knowing you have the resilience to make it through the drafting phase and various edits, but with that experience also comes expectation. Because you’ve done it before, you expect yourself to do it faster, you want your characters to be stronger and your plot to be a thousand times more intriguing. But realistically, every book is different and they can’t be written the same way.

If I’d gone into this book with that in mind, perhaps I would have saved myself a lot of frustration. But if I’m being honest with myself, there’s truly no point working within your capabilities. How will you ever grow if you don’t stretch yourself?

Where it all began…

So back on June 6th 2013, I started working on my humble little ghost story. I’d recently fallen in love with ghost stories and plots that moved away from the mainstream concept. Like Anna Dressed in Blood and the Graveyard Queen Series. I took inspiration from those stories and set to work on my own book, using the well known concept of ghosts and twisting it into my own unique mythology.

I didn’t want to write about ghosts of dead people who linger around earth until their unfinished business is settled. What if instead, ghosts were an extension of the human psyche? Ghosts of the living, who have the power to manipulate and destroy human lives. Wouldn’t they be far more terrifying?

I wrote extensive notes about world building and really focused on creating a strong main character with an intriguing struggle. Daniel Barrow, a young man with a sad past, who’s evolved into a ruthless ghost hunter. I fell in love with the idea of a character who could be a complete badass and a competent killer, but who also has a unique vulnerability. He’s done terrible things but ultimately has good intentions, and he’s fighting for a noble cause.

Out of all the characters I’ve written, Daniel instantly became my favourite. Although I can’t directly relate to the horror of his past, I think we’ve all felt trapped by some element of our lives before. And while he accepts his dark fate, it’s his ongoing struggle for identity that really brings him to life.

When it got tough…

I’ve drafted novels in as little as four months before, but this book, this neat little package of pages, took a whopping 2.5 years from concept to publication. And to be honest, I truly resented the time it took while I was stuck in the middle. But now that I’m finally at the end, I can see that it took so long because it’s far more than one novel. It’s an entire education. I learnt so much in the process of creating this piece, from the fortnightly critiques from the ever inspiring Ellenbrook Writers Group, the seven beta readers who pulled this book apart and helped me glue it back together, the professional content editor and the TWELVE rounds of editing it took to get to the finished product. In the process of writing this book, I became a real writer, and there’s a whole team of people who supported the process. They know who they are, and I’ll never forget their lessons!

Aside from the technical elements of writing, I had a few personal speed bumps along the way too. And I can assure you, dealing with a complicated mythology is hard enough when you’re spending regular time working on it, but any extended breaks you have, make it virtually impossible to remember your place and they’re a huge step backwards! So add into the mix, a year of living packed to the rafters with five adults and a baby (let me add, it was a beautiful distraction to be surrounded by family and to watch my niece growing into a little lady), a house move and six months of hideous migraines, I lost my place time and time again and there were days where I really didn’t know how this book would ever be finished. But I slowed down and stopped expecting so much from myself. Gradually life got easier. I chipped away and I called in encouragement whenever I needed it. I finally finished this book and proved to myself that being passionate about something is always stronger than any obstacle.

The result…

The Ninth Hunter ebook cover

Before I started this book, writing had always been a solo venture, but thanks to my writers group, I’m now surrounded by a wonderful group of extremely talented authors. These amazing people taught me how to use the English language in ways I hadn’t thought of before, they allowed me to understand how readers really think, they encouraged me when I struggled and were hard on me when I needed to be shown the truth. They’ve made me tougher, and wiser and one billion times better at doing what I love. And six weeks post publication, the response to The Ninth Hunter has been overwhelmingly positive. Every time I read a review that talks fondly about Daniel and his struggle, I smile and think, that’s my struggle too.

 

Totally Starcross’d by SD Wasley – Release Day

What if Juliet could tweet? What if Romeo was a connoisseur of latte art? What if the Capulet and Montague feud played out on the field of politics?

Today marks the release of Totally Starcross’d, SD Wasley’s romance novella! Totally Starcross’d is a retelling of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

Romilly Montague and Julian Capulet are struck with a deep mutual attraction … before they find out each other’s names. But their dads are about to slug it out for Governor of Verona City. This makes the course of true love a lot more complicated.

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Blurb

“Why does she have to be Romilly Montague? Any other name on the planet. She’d be just as pretty and cute and clever—just as perfect—but she wouldn’t be Romilly Montague. Then I’d have a chance with her.”

Romilly longs for the freedom to live her own life … but her dad is Alan Montague, hot contender for the job of Governor. And the bigger he gets, the more protective of Romilly her parents become.

Could Julian Capulet’s luck be worse? As if being born into the most conservative family in Verona wasn’t bad enough, the girl of his dreams is the daughter of his father’s biggest adversary in the upcoming election. His embarrassing family—especially his troublemaking younger brother—seem set to totally ruin his chances with Romilly.

For Romilly and Julian it’s never been truer that you can choose your friends but not your family. Will this story end in woe—or can there be a happily ever after for this modern-day Juliet and Romeo?

A modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

99c on Amazon or Free on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt:

I hovered before the Picasso. It wasn’t one of his famous cubist works. It was quite a sad painting of a woman with a child.Totally5

“I wonder what made him start experimenting like he did,” came a voice beside me.

“Not sure,” I said, glancing around. A young man was standing a short distance away, gazing at the painting. I made a brief assessment: neat clothes—jeans but dressed up with a jacket. Top knot in his golden-brown hair. I dropped my gaze. Uh, flip-flops? Hmmm, hipster styling, knew about Picasso. Montague supporter for sure.

“You’re missing the debate,” I said.

He gave me a quick smile. “Am I? That’s a shame.”

I laughed. “Dragged here by your parents as well?”

He nodded, losing interest in the Picasso and coming closer. “I was only ever in it for the caviar-topped blinis.” He said this with just the right amount of irony so I knew he meant it but he was also laughing at himself. Cute and smart.

“They certainly know how to cater these political things, huh?”

“Conservatives always cater well. Making a good impression is of prime importance. Campaigning 101.”

I cocked my head. “And the other guy?”

“The other guy should know that the caviar isn’t dolphin safe and the wait staff are underpaid.”

I burst out laughing this time. “I hope you’re joking. I don’t want to be eating something that hurts dolphins, or accepting service from exploited workers.”

He shrugged. “I may have made up the dolphin thing. But you should probably tip the waiter generously.”

I appraised him again. This guy was intriguing. He couldn’t have been much older than my sixteen years but he conversed like a much older man. And now he was closer I saw how cute he was. Dark blue eyes, tanned skin and gorgeous angular cheeks. He investigated my face with similar interest.

“What’s your name?” he asked me unexpectedly.

I didn’t particularly want him to know I was Alan Montague’s daughter after his snappy political commentary of a few moments before. I snatched at the first thing that came into my head. “I am the girl who wanders galleries at night.”

He cracked up laughing this time. “Mysterious, indeed.” He stuck out a hand for me to shake. “Hello, Girl Who Wanders Galleries at Night.”

“Girl Who, to my friends,” I said. “Nice to meet you, Guy Who Came for the Caviar Blinis.”

“Guy Who,” he said, nodding gravely. Then we shared a grin.

Through the glass foyer walls I saw a sight that made me roll my eyes. A leggy blonde was climbing out of a sleek car in front of the gallery. “Oh, god. It’s her.”

He followed my gaze. “Her?”

“Paris Addison. In the Capulet camp,” I explained. “Her dad owns half the coal mines in the state and when she’s not tweeting about her dog or Instagramming her nail art, she’s schmoozing with the conservatives on her father’s behalf. Her dad’s trying to get a major new mine through environmental planning so the Addisons are being pretty friendly with the party most likely to help them out.” I made a face.

I’d meant it as a joke but his face fell slightly. Perhaps he was more serious about politics than I’d realized.

“Hopefully Capulet keeps his ethics in check long enough to get through the election,” he said.

I gave him a dubious glance. “Uh-huh. Let’s see how that works out.”

 

Pick up your copy of Totally Starcross’d on Amazon or read free on Kindle Unlimited!

New Release – The Ninth Hunter by Anna Hub

NEW RELEASE

The Ninth Hunter – A Standalone Paranormal Thriller

Anna Hub

Limited time release price – 99c. Read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

The Ninth Hunter ebook cover

These weren’t ghosts of the dead with unfinished business. They were something far more sinister.

Daniel Barrow is a ghost hunter bound to a life of misery; protecting the world from ghosts by killing their human hosts. He knows the rules: mark the targets, plot the crime scenes, and then murder those beyond saving. Daniel’s safe in his rituals—until he meets Faye Michaels.

Faye isn’t his average target and her ghosts threaten to destroy everything he has worked for. When his ritual goes wrong, Daniel must create an uneasy alliance with the woman he intended to kill. But the deeper they dig, the closer they get to a dangerous secret that will change their lives forever.

Daniel must make a choice: fulfil his duty, or turn his back on those he has come to trust. Can the truth lead him to salvation?

Excerpt

This was uncharted territory. In all his years of ghost hunting he’d always taken solace in the fact that the ghosts couldn’t physically reach him. Now the rules didn’t stand and he had to be prepared for anything.

Daniel shut the door gently in the hope they wouldn’t be interrupted. He took a mirror from his pocket and searched for the ghosts. They had to know he had arrived but there was no sign of them yet. Perhaps they had a more calculated approach this time. One thing was certain—they wouldn’t let him kill Faye without a fight.

A groan sounded behind the curtain and his throat dried out. He’d never had to face a victim after he’d attacked them and it wasn’t just that he feared the girl’s reaction; he didn’t know exactly how it would make him feel.

He dropped the tablet into the medicine cup and pulled the curtain aside. Faye was asleep with the bed propped up to prevent her neck extending too far. A thick bandage covered her wound. The surrounding skin a mix of yellow and purple. Daniel remembered the way her skin had split beneath his knife, the thought creating a sense of heaviness in his chest.

Faye’s eyes shot open, almost as though she sensed his anxiety, her breath rapid in the otherwise silent room. At first, Daniel couldn’t move, sure she was about to scream. Instead she blinked, her eyes glassy from medication.

He swallowed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Could he pull his blade out faster than she could call for help? She stared and he waited, each beat of his heart emphasising the slow seconds as the pressure in Daniel’s throat built up, spreading all the way to his jaw. He had to distract her, but the sight of her blue—and somehow bottomless—eyes froze him.

For one small moment he was moved. He wanted to whisper an apology, to have her know she hadn’t done anything wrong—it wasn’t her fault she was haunted. But there was no space for thoughts like that; he had to concentrate on his task.

He forced a smile to his lips. “I’m on a medication round, thought I’d see how you were.”

Faye didn’t answer. She looked to the window, the reflection showing two ghosts hovering on either side of her.

“Do you feel okay?” he asked, searching for a clue of what might be going through her head.

Faye’s voice came out hoarse. “A little sick.”

Perhaps she didn’t remember him after all. Daniel tried to relax his posture as he took the chart from the end of the bed. Hopefully the drug he was about to give her wouldn’t interact too badly with the morphine recorded on her medication chart. Still, he had to take the chance. He didn’t want her revealing anything to the police—sometimes the smallest piece of information was all they needed to catch a killer.

“This tablet will help with the nausea.”

Faye watched as he poured water into her cup, her expression filled with turmoil. He’d always found it easy to play whatever part he needed, but this situation was like nothing he’d experienced before. He’d never felt more like a killer. If she had her wits about her she might have recognised his discomfort but he forced a smile once more and pushed the cup closer. She looked at him, her eyes cautious before she swallowed the tablet and took a drink.

Daniel picked up the water jug. “I’ll fill this up.”

 

He turned the tap in the bathroom and lifted his gaze to the mirror, startled to see a ghost standing right behind him. Despite the bristle of hair and the deep-rooted feeling that he wasn’t safe, the energy reminded him of what it was like to be human. The rest of the time he was just a shell.

Opaque skin barely covered the ghost’s veins and her detailed form made her more human-like than the others. Her eyes weren’t the regular white, but rather the deep blue of night, and her hair a harsh white instead of mottled brown. At first he was bewitched, her edges shimmering as she leaned in and brushed against his shoulder. He jolted; disturbed by the distance she’d travelled away from Faye. This must have been what Lamont spoke about. They weren’t bound by rules anymore. Daniel turned to the side, keeping his eyes on the mirror as the hair on his arms lifted and he thought about all the times a ghost had pulled him through the veil. He couldn’t let that happen now; these ghosts were too powerful to risk entering their realm.

He pressed one hand against the knife at his waist as he reached out to touch her. A chill spread up his hand before the creature flashed and disappeared. He waited to see if she would come back, but the mirror showed only his own pale face and an empty bathroom behind him.

Daniel paused to force away memories from when he was haunted. The ghost had reminded him how it felt to have your every move tracked, the rushing in your veins when you knew they were behind you. He splashed water on his face. Everything about this job felt wrong. He was losing himself, and if he didn’t figure something out soon, Faye Michaels would be his undoing.

 

Q & A with the author

Can you start by telling us what inspired you to write this book?

When I finished working on my last set of books, The Shadow Series, I was looking for a new story to write. At the time I was reading a lot of ghost stories, like the amazing, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, and The Graveyard Queen Series by Amanda Stevens. I really loved their style of combining ghosts with unique plots I hadn’t come across before. That was exactly what I wanted to create; a story that no one had ever read.

Creating my own mythology has been incredibly challenging, but I’m glad this book stands apart from others in its genre.

Why would readers like this book?

I think The Ninth Hunter appeals to a wide variety of readers. Although I classify the book as a standalone paranormal thriller for adults, I think it’s also suited to a younger audience. Young adult and new adult are my favourite to read and that’s what I had in mind when I wrote this book. The characters are a little too mature to fit into that category but younger readers will still be able to identify with the main character’s struggle for identity.

I’m a big fan of mixed genres so this book has something for everyone. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed thriller but I’ve also added a touch of romance, a pinch of horror and an unusual plot, which could almost pass as fantasy.

Who was your favourite character to write?

The main character, Daniel Barrow, wins this hands down! He’s such a complex guy, and probably the first murderer you’ll genuinely feel sorry for. Although he’s done terrible things, he’s trapped in a life of misery and at the core, he wants to do the right thing. He’s an incredibly flawed hero (anti-hero even?), but he’s so good at his job which makes him a complete badass at the same time. While I truly love, Faye, his strong female sidekick, I think her strength somehow adds to Daniel’s vulnerability and that only makes me love him more.

And finally, what does it mean to you, to have this book published?

Although I’ve previously published a set of four paranormal/fantasy novels, this book is by far my favourite. It’s definitely the most challenging story I’ve written and it’s been a long time in the making, but I’m hoping I’ve captured a unique story and created characters that readers will love.

Buy Links

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com.au

Author Links

Website Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

 

Downfall SD Wasley – Release Blitz

Congratulations on another brilliant book release, SD Wasley! I absolutely loved this book and you can check out my ARC review here.

OUT NOW!

Downfall (The Incorruptibles Book 1)

By S.D. Wasley

Release Date: January 7, 2016

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Buy Links

99c release special!

Summary

From Amazon bestselling author S.D. Wasley comes her first work of new adult paranormal romance perfect for lovers of Lauren Kate’s Fallen and the Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series.

Blurb

Frankie’s cousin wants her to do three things this year:

  1. Lose her inhibitions
  2. Do something spectacularly stupid
  3. Fall madly in love

Travelling was Frankie’s life. As the daughter of a big-name evangelist, she’s been able to feed her hunger for new sights throughout most of her teenage years. Then a hushed-up scandal gets her thrown off the tour circuit and stuck at her uncle’s house in the town of Augur’s Well.

Forced to repeat her failed senior year, it looks like a dismal existence for Frankie—until she’s invited to the bizarre meeting place of four mismatched people … and falls hard for the fascinating, secretive Cain Aleister.

Furtive meetings in an underground chamber … Latin words carved into a stone wall … intense desire … and a secret so elusive she’ll do almost anything to bust it open. Until now, Frankie never believed in grand passions—but that’s not the only one of her beliefs about to implode right before her eyes.

Looks like Frankie’s going to score three for three.

Teaser

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Excerpt

I had to touch him on his bike, to press my arms and thighs around him so I wouldn’t fall off. He was solid. I don’t know what I’d expected but, for some reason, that surprised me. I felt fear as well as something else I didn’t understand, something that made me tremble all over. I told myself it was just the exhilaration of speeding along the highway with the cooling wind rushing past my arms. He didn’t ride towards civilisation but took us even further beyond Gaunt House ruins. I had no idea how long we were out there but it must have been a long ride because the light started to change. I wondered if Cain could feel how hard my heart was thumping with it pressed against his back like that. When we finally arrived back the others’ cars were at the ruin. He cut the engine as we coasted to a halt. I let my arms fall reluctantly but stayed where I was.

“Where did you go, when you went out the other night?”

I felt Cain go tense and it took him a moment to answer. “What do you mean?”

“And last week. Where did you go? What’s the big secret?” I twisted around him, trying to see his face.

When he glanced down at me I knew for certain I was right. There was a secret. I nudged his back with my shoulder.

“I don’t know what …” he said, his tone mechanical.

My frustration surged. “I’m not going to let it go. You’ve invited me back here so what’s the secret? I bet the other three know. Tell me!” He didn’t answer. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.” I shocked myself with this tough guy attitude. “Are you choosing the hard way?”

Cain was startled, too. “What are you going to do?”

I just slipped off the seat, leaving him to put the bike on its stand and follow me into the ruin.

“Francesca!”

I heard from his hurried footsteps that he wanted to talk to me before we went inside but I didn’t trust myself not to betray what I was feeling; this big … huge … massive desire, just barely disguised by frustration. I knew the other three were inside. It would be safe in there. We wouldn’t be able to have this conversation anymore. I just needed to make it inside before he caught up to me. After a swift clamber down the ladder I rushed blindly for the door but somehow Cain caught my hand to stop me an instant before I threw the door open.

Francesca.” He breathed my name warm against my neck.

A hot, uncomfortable flush hit me when Liz, Owen, and Jude saw my hand caught in Cain’s, although he made an attempt to pull his away. Too late. They’d seen our breathless awkwardness, dishevelled hair, and tangled fingers.

Praise for Downfall…

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Author’s VIP Readers’ Club

http://eepurl.com/bahrs9

The Little Bookshop On The Seine – Blog Tour

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

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La Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams

EXCERPT

My email pinged and I dashed over to see who it was from. That’s how exciting my life was sans Ridge, an email was enough to make me almost run, and that was saying a lot. I only ran if chocolate was involved, and even then it was more a fast walk.

Sales@littlebookshop.fr

Sophie, a dear Parisian friend. She owned Once Upon a Time, a famous bookshop by the bank of the Seine. We’d become confidantes since connecting on my book blog a while back, and shared our joys and sorrows about bookshop life. She was charming and sweet, and adored books as much as me, believing them to be portable magic, and a balm for souls.

I clicked open the email and read.

Ma Chérie,

I cannot stay one more day in Paris. You see, Manu has not so much broken my heart, rather pulled it out of my chest and stomped on it. The days are interminable and I can’t catch my breath. He walks past the bookshop, as though nothing is amiss. I have a proposal for you. Please call me as soon as you can.

Love,

Sophie

Poor Sophie. I’d heard all about her grand love affair with a dashing twenty-something man, who frequented her bookshop, and quoted famous poets. It’d been a whirlwind romance, but she often worried he cast an appraising eye over other women. Even when she clutched his hand, and walked along the cobbled streets of Paris, he’d dart an admiring glance at any woman swishing past.

I shot off a quick reply, telling her to Skype me now, if she was able. Within seconds my computer flashed with an incoming call.

Her face appeared on the screen, her chestnut-colored hair in an elegant chignon, her lips dusted rosy pink. If she was in the throes of heartache, you’d never know it by looking at her. The French had a way of always looking poised and together, no matter what was happening in their complex lives.

“Darling,” she said, giving me a nod. “He’s a lothario, a Casanova, a…” She grappled for another moniker as her voice broke. “He’s dating the girl who owns the shop next door!” Her eyes smoldered, but her face remained stoic.

I gasped, “Which girl? The one from the florist?”

Sophie shook her head. “The other side, the girl from the fromagerie.” She grimaced. I’d heard so much about the people in or around Sophie’s life that it was easy to call her neighbors to mind. “Giselle?” I said, incredulous. “Wasn’t she engaged – I thought the wedding was any day now?”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “She’s broken off her engagement, and has announced it to the world that my Manu has proposed and now they are about to set up house and to try immediately for children –”

My hand flew to my mouth. “Children! He wouldn’t do that, surely!” Sophie was late-forties, and had gently broached the subject of having a baby with Manu, but he’d said simply: absolutely not, he didn’t want children.

The doorbell of her shop pinged, Sophie’s face pinched and she leaned closer to the screen, lowering her voice. “A customer…” She forced a bright smile, turned her head and spoke in rapid-fire French to whoever stood just off-screen. “So,” she continued quietly. “The entire neighborhood are whispering behind their hands about the love triangle, and unfortunately for me, I’m the laughing stock. The older woman, who was deceived by a younger man.”

I wished I could lean through the monitor and hug her. While she was an expert at keeping her features neutral, she couldn’t stop the glassiness of her eyes when tears threatened. My heart broke that Manu would treat her so callously. She’d trusted him, and loved him unreservedly. “No one is laughing at you, I promise,” I said. “They’ll be talking about Manu, if anyone, and saying how he’s made a huge mistake.”

“No, no.” A bitter laugh escaped her. “I look like a fool. I simply cannot handle when he cavorts through the streets with her, darting glances in my bookshop, like they hope I’ll see them. It’s too cruel.” Sophie held up a hand, and turned to a voice. She said au revoir to the customer and spun to face me, but within a second or two, the bell sounded again. “I have a proposal for you, and I want you to really consider it.” She raised her eyebrows. “Or at least hear me out before you say no.” Her gaze burned into mine as I racked my brain with what it could be, and came up short. Sophie waved to customers, and pivoted her screen further away.

“Well?” I said with a nervous giggle. “What exactly are you proposing?”

She blew out a breath, and then smiled. “A bookshop exchange. You come and run Once Upon a Time, and I’ll take over the Bookshop on the Corner.”

I gasped, my jaw dropping.

Sophie continued, her calm belied by the slight quake in her hand as she gesticulated. “You’ve always said how much you yearned to visit the city of love – here’s your chance, my dear friend. After our language lessons, you’re more than capable of speaking enough French to get by.” Sophie’s words spilled out in a desperate rush, her earlier calm vanishing. “You’d save me so much heartache. I want to be in a place where no one knows me, and there’s no chance for love, ever again.”

I tried to hide my smile at that remark. I’d told Sophie in the past how bereft of single men Ashford was, and how my love life had been almost non-existent until Ridge strolled into town.

“Sophie, I want to help you, but I’m barely hanging on to the bookshop as is…” I stalled for time, running a hand through my hair, my bangs too long, shielding the tops of my eyebrows. How could it work? How would we run each other’s businesses, the financial side, the logistics? I also had an online shop, and I sourced hard-to-find books – how would Sophie continue that?

My mind boggled with the details, not to mention the fact that leaving my books would be akin to leaving a child behind. I loved my bookshop as if it were a living thing, an unconditional best friend, who was always there for me. Besides, I’d never ventured too far from Ashford let alone boarded a plane – it just couldn’t happen.

Please,” Sophie said, a real heartache in her tone. “Think about it. We can work out the finer details and I’ll make it worth your while. Besides, you know I’m good with numbers, I can whip your sales into shape.” Her eyes clouded with tears. “I have to leave, Sarah. You’re my only chance. Christmas in Paris is on your bucket list…”

My bucket list. A hastily compiled scrappy piece of paper filled with things I thought I’d never do. Christmas in Paris – snow dusting the bare trees on the Left Bank, the sparkling fairy lights along the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Santa’s village in the Latin Quarter. The many Christmas markets to stroll through, rugged up with thick scarves and gloves, Ridge by my side, as I hunted out treasures. I’d spent many a day curled up in my own shop, flicking through memoirs, or travel guides about Paris, dreaming about the impossible…one day.

Sophie continued: “If you knew how I suffered here, my darling. It’s not only Manu, it’s everything. All of a sudden, I can’t do it all any more. It’s like someone has pulled the plug, and I’m empty.” Her eyes scrunched closed as she fought tears.

While Sophie’s predicament was different to mine, she was in a funk, just like me. Perhaps a new outlook, a new place would mend both our lives. Her idea of whipping my sales into shape was laughable though, she had no real clue how tiny Ashford was.

“Exchange bookshops…” I said, the idea taking shape. Could I just up and leave? What about my friends, my life, my book babies? My fear of change? And Ridge, what would he have to say about it? But my life…it was missing something. Could this be the answer?

Paris. The city of love. Full of rich literary history.

A little bookshop on the bank of the Seine. Could there be anything sweeter?

With a thud, a book fell to the floor beside me, dust motes dancing above it like glitter. I craned my neck to see what it was.

Paris: A Literary Guide.

Was that a sign? Did my books want me to go?

“Yes,” I said, without any more thought. “I’ll do it.”

The Little Paris Collection:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Also by Rebecca Raisin

The Gingerbread Café trilogy:
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

The Bookshop on the Corner
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm

Amazon  UK http://amzn.to/1LfJJzO

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1KR2Wck

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/little-bookshop-on-seine-little/id1022785186?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-rebecca-raisin/1121263193?ean=9781474030786

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-the-little-paris-collection-book-1-1

Sainsbury’s

https://www.sainsburysentertainment.co.uk/ebooks/The-Little-Bookshop-On-The-Seine-The-Little-Paris-Collection-Book-1-/Rebecca-Raisin/9781474030786

Rebecca RaisinRebecca Raisin

is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Follow her on twitter @jaxandwillsmum

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Website rebeccaraisin.com