No Such Luck by Staci Troilo~ #Contemporary Romance Fiction ~ #Review ~ @stacitroilo

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.


Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.


The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

Our Review

It was the title of this book that attracted me, mainly because when it comes to luck, it always seems to run out when it gets to be my turn! I am ever searching for a HEA, so I thought it would make a change to read about someone else’s misadventures and I am really glad I did!

No Such Luck is the first of the new Keystone Couples Series, beautifully written and totally romantic and if all the stories that follow are like this one, they should do very well!

#Throwback Thursday ~ The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar ~ Mended Souls – Book 2 # Women’s Adventure Fiction @JacquieBiggar

Book Description


When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.
Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.
And threatening his key witness.
As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?
Or will a killer become the winner?

From USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar, Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

The twists and turns in this story are amazing. Just when you think you know where the adventure is going, it switches to the unexpected. Definitely kept me entertained and on my toes!
Jacqui Nelson





Our Review

I found the opening paragraph of The Beast Within painful to read, but it did set the tone for the rest of the book very well.

I love a good mystery thriller, and the premise for this book promised to tick all of my boxes. It has a strong emotional  and romantic element, warring guardian angels and an evil serial killer, all combining into one of the best suspense novels I have read in a while.

Add to all of that, an unrelenting pace, beautifully descriptive writing and multiple storylines, in short, a book that will not allow you to stop reading.

The Beast Within is the first of Jacquie Biggar’s books I have read, and it didn’t take me long to realise I would have benefitted from reading the first book in the Mended Souls trilogy. The story itself stands alone, I just felt the need to know the characters a little better.

I will be reading the first book in this trilogy while I await the conclusion to this amazing series…

Excerpt from The Beast Within

Mike sank into the chair his wife had recently vacated in the conference room at the police station. He stared at the door and pictured the cop holding Jules pressed up against its smooth surface while he locked lips with her like she was in need of CPR.

And she’d let him.

His head fell back, and he closed his eyes, desperately trying to erase the preceding minutes from existence. Moisture leaked down his cheeks and into his ears. The heart that he’d thought was frozen in time, cracked. Great fissures of agony and sorrow spilled into his chest, filling his soul with darkness and rage. Why was this happening to him? Why was he being tortured this way? Wasn’t it enough that he’d lost his family and then was given the task of teaching his enemy repentance? How was he supposed to stand by and watch the love of his life move on with another man? Maybe even raise his children?

No.

Mike erupted from his seat, and the chair flew against the wall before bouncing to the floor. He strode for the door, determined to bust the cop’s face and then grab his wife, throw her over his shoulder, and head for home where she belonged. Then the memory of what he was drew him up short. A freaking angel. It didn’t matter how much he ached to stake his claim, it wouldn’t do any good, would it? Unless they were going to re-enact that sappy chick flick Jules used to pick every other month for their date night, it wasn’t going to work. He was a ghost—and she wasn’t.

His stomach sank. That meant he was going to have to learn to accept other men entering her life, and maybe even staying.

She deserved happiness.

About the Author

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters. Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

My Hero… Jack Nicholson…

My Hero… then
Still My Hero…even now

I first watched Jack Nicholson in the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and vividly remember being instantly struck by his boyish and slightly naughty charms. He is one of those people who can convey so much emotion and feeling with just one raised eyebrow, not to mention the wicked gleam in his eyes.

Over the years, I have watched him in awe in so many different roles. Sadly frustrated in “Terms of Endearment” with Shirley Maclaine and the comical devil in “Witches of Eastwick.” He played the maniacal hotel caretaker in “The Shining” and the grumpy obsessive-compulsive writer in “As Good as it Gets.”

The other day I watched him in “The Bucket List” with Morgan Freeman. Old and not as attractive these days, but the charm was still there if you looked hard enough.

I read somewhere that Jack was fascinated by the actor Marlon Brando, watching the film “On the Waterfront” over forty times, studying the method acting style Brando professed to have invented. This surely had an impact on Jack’s development as an actor. If proof were needed, and certainly not by me, Jack has 12 Academy Nominations to his name.

I don’t know much about his personal life, although I suspected it hadn’t been a rose garden. I have since learned that his life almost mirrored my own. No father on the scene, Nicholson has his mother’s name. His ‘sister,’ who was in fact, his Irish mother, brought him up. Regarded as the class clown in High School, he had detention every day for a year. And one failed marriage, yet has several children by other women.

He has said that he attributes his eccentricity to being born on the cusp, the point where two star signs meet, on April 22nd, 1937. They say this gives you the characteristics of both astrological signs, and I think the mixture of Aries and Taurus would indeed produce someone like Jack Nicholson.

He is just a few years older than I am. I often wonder how he is faring in his old age, for he looks lonely sometimes. Is he still searching for that special someone, or has he resigned himself to still being alone? Like myself, he has been branded ‘difficult to live with,’ but maybe we would have got along just fine…

“Nicholson is the Hollywood celebrity who is most like a character in some ongoing novel of our times. He is also the most beloved of stars—not even his huge wealth, his reckless aging, and the public disasters of his private life can detract from this…For he is still a touchstone, someone we value for the way he helps us see ourselves.”

David Thomson, film critic.[53]

New Release: No Such Luck by Staci Troilo #Contemporary Romance Fiction @stacitroilo

I have started reading Staci’s new book and loving every word, but couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it! My review will follow in due course…

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.


The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

MLMM Wordle #262Wordle and Substitute ~ New Memories

New Memories


Our winter ski holiday,
Years later, no more than a treasure
A shadowy memory
An element of toujours perdrix
A sign to the past
Together we navigate 
the slippery road ahead
Crisp white winter
Warm within, cold without
Years slow the body, not the mind
We sit, wait for mind and body to catch up
To forget the wonderful winter holidays skiing
Time to make new memories
Slow, warm, indoor memories


© Anita Dawes 2021

Linda… The End of the Week…

Linda… Friday/Saturday

I am working from home today.

My boss rang twice to remind me about Saturday. No surprise there, he knows how I feel. I worked until lunch. I took my bike out for a ride and stopped at a greasy spoon, had the most amazing lunch. Spent an hour talking with an elderly lady who sat herself at my table. I think the universe is trying to push my buttons.

I managed to put my laundry on the line before I left. Should be dry by now. Stupid thoughts keep entering my mind. I decide on faded jeans, blue and white striped shirt for Saturday’s lunch.

I bike home on a full stomach, slower than when I had arrived. Why am I thinking about Saturday?

By rights, I should ring and cancel. I was beginning to feel itchy all over. Something didn’t feel right. I hung my bike on the hook in the hall, deciding to iron the laundry, clean house. If I didn’t know better, you would think I’m pregnant. Don’t worry, I not. The pill is a great liberator.

My mother would never have approved. Sex before marriage is not on. She was wonderfully old fashioned, dad too. You could say they were cast from the same mould, made for each other. Mum died aged 63, dad went soon after, leaving me alone. There are distant cousins, aunts I never knew. Didn’t need them then, nor now.

There isn’t a spot left to clean. I showered, retired early and tried to read a few chapters. The book was on the floor when I woke.

Saturday

I barely had time to shower, have breakfast. One last chance to think. Without realising it, I was pulling on my jeans, white sneakers, ready to go.

This time, he sent his driver to fetch me.

Before finishing lunch, he asked if I would mind coming to his home. I could feel the itch gathering strength, even so, I said yes. Lunch was great, he knew how to make me feel relaxed.

I had agreed. The drive took two and half hours to Hampshire and a small mansion. Derek, the driver opened the door. I tried not to let my mouth hang open. I couldn’t see any houses nearby. This put my itch into overdrive. Again, with the thoughts. The man could be a serial killer for all I knew. I could feel the virtual shaking of the head, don’t be daft.

We went through the large hall to his office, worked for three hours. So far so good.

‘Are you hungry?’ He said

I said yes, as I felt peckish. He sent Derek out for Kentucky chicken. This surprised me, as I thought he would have a cook hidden away below stairs. Over a large bucket of chicken, I asked if Derek lived there.

Two males, in such an isolated place was beginning to make me uncomfortable. I was told he lived over the garage, which was down the drive by the gatehouse.

Thanks, this didn’t help me much.

‘Would you like a tour of the house?’

I did. The tour ended in his bedroom. There was the biggest bed I had ever seen. Why would someone with no partner to speak of, need a queen-sized bed?

When Derek entered the room through an adjacent door, the panic struck. I ran and kept running until I reached the highway.

The first car to slow down, was Peter. ‘Get in, let me drive you home.’

Ignoring him, I climbed the embankment, intending to walk through the woods. Reaching the top, I turned to see the car drive away.

Climbing down, hoping to hitch a ride, I started walking.

I should have listened to my itch, my rule about weekends.

He turned out to be a good-looking fraud.

A lorry pulled over. I had to take a chance. I had no money. I needed to go home, take a shower, wash the bad feeling away. Soothe my thoughts with the idea that I had a near miss.

I didn’t read it wrong, did I?

I hoped he wouldn’t pull his work from us. The boss had threatened to sack me if I messed up. Fingers crossed; he would send the rest of his work in by courier as many of our clients do.

Sunday was all mine, time to shake it all off. Monday was a new day, hoping I still had a job.

Maybe I will let you know tomorrow…

© Anita Dawes 2021

We are really looking forward to reading your thoughts about Linda, people…

Did you enjoy reading it? and if not, why?

and while we’re on the subject, what would you like more of?

Linda… a week in her life ~ Thursday #serial

Thursday

I have a confession.

No work was done that afternoon. Now I had sheets to clean, thoughts to reassemble. Would I repeat the experience was my first thought? That didn’t take too much consideration. Yes, yes, yes! Is he a keeper? I don’t think so. If he is a test drive; I need more lessons.

He left before I woke. The space beside me empty, his presence lingering. Rolling into that empty space, warmed the scent he had left behind. Bottled, it would sell well. I stripped the bed, leaving the sheets in the machine until later. A quick shower, skipping breakfast, I took the car, to work. I can’t afford to be knocked off my bike right now. That makes it sound like I am planning to in the future. I mean, I don’t want to play with that kind of danger right now.

My boss said I took a big risk telling a writer his idea stinks. ‘I didn’t say it quite like that. ‘

‘Lucky for you he didn’t mind. He said he would send in the locations as they arrive in the story.’

I managed to do some work. The rest of the crew were as pleased as the boss. He is a big name. His books are followed by young enthusiasts all over the world. I felt like I had landed a marlin after hours wrestling, much of which ended up between my sheets. A night to remember, yes. A night to repeat, yes please, and soon, I hope. That depends on his first draft when he sends it in. I cannot wait to start work on it. The sooner I give him something to look at, the sooner we might meet again to approve the work over lunch. I was hoping for a repeat of the last time.

The weeks passed, I was beginning to think he had changed his mind.

Turned out to be five weeks before I received a call for lunch. Same place, mid-day Saturday.

I don’t work weekends. For him I made an exception. I need to drop that into our next conversation. Don’t want him to make a habit of changing my life around. I know, I can hear women across the globe saying, if the sex was worth it, what do you care about weekends?

I do care. All week the boss calls the shots, the weekends I’m in charge.

Saturday is going to prove interesting. My back isn’t exactly up, it’s a bit prickly. It would be up to him to smooth it out.

By now, I had extra work on my desk. I try burying myself in it, not wanting to think about Peter Westwood and his edible eyes. The extra time will give me time to stop thinking about him as I’m sure he’s not the one. I haven’t taken him for a test drive yet. One encounter after a long dry spell doesn’t tell me much more than I was just horny. If there is to be a second time, it must match the first time or surpass it.

I will let you know when that happens. Needless to say, I haven’t had the time to read the book that I picked up…

See you tomorrow…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Linda, Wednesday…

Sorry that we missed a day yesterday! I wonder what you think of Linda…

I found the Rose and Crown too smoky.

Pushing open the door, I remembered Brian had thick, blond hair, a crew cut back then, dark blue eyes. Making my way to the bar, trying to look without swivelling my head too much. Wouldn’t want anyone to think I was about to spew pea soup across the bar or speak in tongues.

It was the eyes I noticed at the corner table. I sat opposite Brian, holding out my hand. He stood, shaking my proffered hand.

‘I’m glad you came.’

The blond hair had vanished, a shiny dome in its place. That makes it sound as if he was doing an impression of St Paul’s. I remembered the whispering gallery when mum took me. I wondered what thoughts were running around inside that dome that will never get said that evening.

He ordered drinks, reminiscing about the old times. The past doesn’t interest me. I could feel boredom creeping over me like unwanted ivy.

About an hour in, I made my excuses. ‘I have a big lunch meeting tomorrow; I need my shut eye. Been nice catching up.’

I stopped myself from saying we should do it again. He stood; I could feel him watching as I left.

It wasn’t exactly a lie. I do have a meeting my boss wouldn’t want messed up.

On my way home, I scolded myself a little. I could have given Brian more time.

I didn’t have to be in work that morning, the boss wanted me fresh for the meeting with Peter Westwood. I chose to wear my pencil skirt, long sleeved pale blue blouse, three buttons undone, showing just enough cleavage. If his eyes drop below my face, I will know something about him. A gentleman never lets you notice his eyes wandering. He is practised, he can do it without staring. This one knew the rules. Not once did I see his eyes wander. Deep brown, like chocolate buttons. Thick black hair with a slight kink trying to be a wave.

He is polite, stood shaking my hand, letting me sit before he did. His voice is deep. Not down in your boots deep, just enough to be sexy. Which I very much found him to be. ‘Would you like to order? I have to admit I am ravenous.’

He spoke naturally, which put me at ease.

We spoke while eating, which surprised me. I had to admit his book idea didn’t go down well with me. A teenage story of murder come whodunnit with a prize, if you entered of a replica of a jewelled dagger.

Knives and guns are all wrong, I told him. I couldn’t in all consciousness work with his ideas. I wondered what my boss would say if he was standing right behind me. I could almost hear him screaming between clenched teeth.

‘Maybe it could be a magical mystery tour around London where the reader could track the perpetrator, and the winner could have lunch with you.’

He must have liked the idea, for he stopped chewing, took a swig of his white wine. ‘That a much better idea. I could run them all over London, then back to Mayfair to the Silver Spoon.’

Before leaving, he gave me his card and his ideas for the sketches he wanted in the book. A young man with a book and pencil in his hand, roaming through London, hoping to win a lunch date with his favourite author.

He offered me a lift back to work.

I told him I was working from home today.

‘Home it is then.’

He sat in the back with me, my skirt riding up more than I would normally like. This time I didn’t tug it down. I couldn’t tell if he noticed the amount of leg on show. ‘Ask your driver to turn left here. I’m the one with the monkey puzzle tree out front.’

Turning to face me, he asked if he could come in for coffee. ‘I think there is more we can do.’

I will let you know tomorrow what he had in mind…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Linda… new hair, new date…

We had some brilliant feedback yesterday for the first episode of Anita’s serial, so thank you all for that.

Here is episode two, so we are looking forward to reading your comments!

The book I brought yesterday kept me up past my usual lights out of eleven pm. It was twelve thirty before I could put it down. The writer has a soft, gentle way of writing that pulls you in on every page. I wanted to know what will happen to the girl and her baby. That’s quite enough of that, or I will want to stay home and read some more.

I am taking the car, after a light breakfast of Rice Krispies. I check the post, just five birthday cards, as I have no family to speak of and few friends. Parking the car in my allotted space, I wondered what I would find upstairs. Would they have remembered my birthday?

I decide on brunette for my hair, in Stella’s across the road from Holland publishing. I can see the shop from my window and have been there twice for a shampoo and trim.

Entering my office space, I saw the envelopes on my desk. Terence arrived with coffee and a cupcake with a lit candle. Stopping in front of me, he said, ‘make a wish,’ with a big grin on his face. I wished for him to have a good life. I know, goody two shoes!

Like I said he’s a good egg. Birthday wishes over with; I find a note on my desk. The boss wants to see me. My guess, it was about Wednesdays meeting. Wants to give me his final pep talk. Well, okay, it is my birthday, I will be kind. Let him believe I am hearing it for the first time. that done, I pick up a file I had forgotten yesterday and put it in my bag.

I had time for a quick sketch of the fire fairy for page five of the new children’s book. Somehow, looking at it, made me think of the last date I had. The cinema, drinks after, that’s when he turned into an octopus. Too many hands had me running to the hills.

That was the beginning of last year, about ten months ago. Enough of that, today my year begins again.

Checking the time, I gather my cards. ‘I’m off, guys. Thanks again for the cards and cupcake.’

Opening the door of Stella’s let out a waft of hair spray, a warm sweet smell. Stella greeted me, ‘Come sit down, Linda. I hear it is your birthday. Carol will see to you today.’

I had barely sat down when they burst into singing happy birthday and another cupcake. This time the wish was for me. I can’t tell you what it was, or it won’t come true. I will let you know if it does. Picking my new colour from her colour range, my transformation began. Carol was quick and nimble fingered. Before I knew it, my hair was being blow dried and I was ready to go home. I liked my new colour, and everyone agreed that it suited me. Making my way back across the road to my car, my footsteps felt lighter.

There is a message on my answer phone. Someone I hadn’t heard from in a decade. Brian, an old flame from school. I listened to the message more times than was necessary. Should I agree to meet him at the Horse and Crown? He had, after all, remembered to wish me a happy birthday. Would I recognise him after all this time? What did I remember about him? Not much, which might be good or bad. He said eight I clock, so I have time to think about it. In the end I decide it would be a good test of my new look.

Would he recognise me? It was a pub, so I decided on my navy trouser suit, cream camisole, navy sling backs with four-inch heels.

We recognise each other without too much trouble. Turns out four inches was the best choice as it put us eye to eye. Save my six-inch heels for a better date.

Now that’s unkind, he might surprise me.

I will let you know tomorrow…

© Anita Dawes 2021