Fresh Beginnings - #Excerpt and #Giveaway


The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.
Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.
Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.


It bugged Jared a little bit, that Ivy was holding back on something that was obviously occupying her mind. And that something had something to do with him, otherwise she would've told him. But then again, there were so many other things she was holding back, and again he reminded himself that it wasn't really any of his business. It didn't make it any easier though because, with every minute he spent with her, he became fonder of the girl driving him along the roads of America. There was no doubt he really enjoyed her company, their banter, her humour, even her cooking skills. He'd become very fond of them as well.

"Gonna tell me?" He tried again.

"There's nothing. Really."

Her smile didn't reach her eyes, and he knew she wasn't honest with him, but he let it go. He didn't want to ruin a perfect day.

When they arrived at their destination, they made a quick dash through the shopping centre before heading towards the campground. The site looked a lot more like what Jared was used to from Australia. The sites were located amongst grass with only a small spot of concrete for the motorhome and the table with two benches. There were trees around in all shapes and sizes, swaying in the breeze. Even at this late hour of the day, he was still able to hear birds chatting in the trees and insects humming between the flowers that dotted the grass. Jagged, snow-capped mountains were all around them and, as on the previous night, he took his time to take some photos. It was an amazing sight, and he had to pinch himself again that he was there.

He turned when he heard Ivy approaching.

"There's a little pool over in the small building next to the showers. I'd give anything for a little dip."

Slowly he raised his eyebrow.

She gently slapped his chest. "What? Aren't you Australians lovers of the water? Wouldn't you like to go swimming?"

He shook his head. "Nope."

A sigh escaped her lips.

"What's holdin' ya back?" he asked.

Her eyebrows shot up. "What's holding me back?"

He simply nodded.

"I've got no bathers."

Then he shrugged. It didn't make sense to him. "Anybody else in there?"

"No." She looked around. "Which doesn't surprise me, because there're not too many people camping here tonight, it seems."

"No one will notice that ya swimmin' in ya bra and knickers."

"Knickers?" She giggled.

Not sure whether this was a language thing or whether he'd offended her, Jared decided to stay quiet.

"Honey, I don't wear knickers. I don't have much money, but enough to buy decent underwear, which we call panties."

Heat rolled over his body and pooled in his groin. He knew! There weren't too many secrets in a small motorhome, and when she'd changed into her clothes that morning, he took a sneak peak. Of course he did. After all, he was only human.

"Wear the panties."

"I can't do that."

Putting some distance between them, he moved back a bit. The conversation rang a bell with him as he remembered this kind of argument between Mark and Sophie. It was the female logic that seemed to defy him.

"Well, in that case, I s'pose you won't go swimmin'."

Hands on hips she came closer. "You're not helping."

"Happy to give ya some of my panties."

She rolled her eyes. "Forget it."

The words weren't even spoken when she turned and stepped into the motorhome. He followed her in.


With no chance to hold back, he had to grin when he saw her in the back of the motorhome half-naked.

"Do you mind?"

His grin got wider. "Actually, no I don't."

"Out," she screamed.

Bursting into laughter, he stepped out.

"Haven't you heard of knocking?"

"Honey blossom, how was I supposed to know ya goin' to strip in there?"

"I said I'd go for a swim."

He shook his head, still laughing, when he sat outside enjoying the scenery. There were a few noises coming from the inside, and he decided he'd be better off not knowing. A few minutes later, she stood in front of him with only a small towel wrapped around her body. At that moment, he was considering the idea that a swim wouldn't be that bad after all.

"If anybody approaches me inappropriately, it's your fault."

"Want me to come with and guard ya from all the bad Americans around?"

But all he heard was a humpf as she stomped away towards the pool. Watching her small body swaying, he thought how bad he could be if he were in there with her.




Ivy slid into the water and swam to the centre of the pool. The water was a perfect temperature, and she relished the cool feel of it over her body. Her gaze went to the pool entrance door a couple of times, although she told herself that was to see whether anybody else was coming in, but deep inside she knew, she was waiting for Jared. Leaning back, she lowered her head under water up to her mouth before she dunked her head under water. Hoping to clear her mind, she stayed like that for a few seconds. Jared was in her head and playing havoc with her emotions. She didn't like it. Okay, truth was, she did like it. She had liked his gaze when she'd undressed to only her underwear. And she had liked it the way he’d stared at her when she'd walked towards the pool. Thanks to the office window, she'd seen his open mouth before he'd rubbed his face with both hands.

The thought of the expression on his face spread warmth through her body, when she suddenly felt a hand on her thigh. She shrieked and whipped around, only to stare into Jared's eyes. His eyelashes were spiked from the water, his hair was plastered to his head, and a big grin spread across his face. He was only inches away, and she curled her arms around his neck as she snuggled into his embrace.

"Will ya keep it down," he said with a laugh.

"You scared me."

He leaned in, angling his head, and nuzzled just beneath her ear. Her body instantly came alive.

"I like American panties," he said as his hands moved further down her body.

Ivy choked back a giggle. "I'm sure they have them in Australia as well."

"Hmm. Can't say I've noticed."

"Liar!" She laughed.

Then he was still, and she tilted her head to meet his gaze. His face had become serious, and his eyes expressed more than fun in his eyes. Something different. Something she would have loved to explore. But it was the would have that made the difference to the situation. They were close to Salt Lake City, and their time together was drawing to an end. She sighed and became aware that she was having the time of her life with this stranger, who always carried a smile on his face. The Australian mate, who laughed at her silly jokes, or even laughed at life's simple pleasures. Her heart ached as part of her wanted this to never end. However, her heart was still bruised, and she knew that she didn't want sleep with Jared. Not out of regret. She was certain, she wouldn't regret a single second with him, but her heart would not cope with the beating afterwards. It would shatter into a thousand pieces the moment she had to say goodbye. This way, it'd be only a few hundred pieces—enough, she told herself, to pick up and put together again over time.

"We shouldn't do this," she heard herself whisper to him. It was like someone else was using her voice, it felt so distant and unreal.

"I know," he replied as he buried his face in the vulnerable spot beneath her ear to place another kiss.

As if on auto pilot, she angled her head again for him. How did he make her feel so good? She sighed, thinking how easily he made her feel attractive like no man had before.


He gently bit her in the shoulder before he moved to look at her. "I know." All of his disappointment was put into the two words.

"Another time, another place—"

"This could've been somethin' really good?" he finished.

She simply nodded. Not sure whether her tears were obvious on her wet face, she didn't make an effort to hold them back.

And she was awarded with another one of those kisses that went straight to her toes.

Yet, he only spoilt her for a brief moment. Jared placed his hands on her hips, and in one smooth motion lifted her up and threw her back into the water. Initially, she wasn't sure what was happening, but when she came back to the surface, she saw his typical grin.

With a pretend pout, she swam away. As expected, Jared came towards her and, as soon as he was close enough, she tried her best to dunk him. It was a fruitless attempt though. He was much stronger than she was. Even though, she had the time of her life being immature for a while, she had fun like she hadn't had in a long time.


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Snippet Sunday - My untitled WIP 31/08/2014

It's time for a new story ... as yet untitled.
Meet Jeri.
Jeri's lives in Hobart where she owns a gallery. Since her divorce many years ago, she's finally ready to "be" with a man again. But finding the right one seems to be harder than she thought.

Olivia paled, and momentarily some guilt crept up inside Jeri. Yet, only for a brief moment.

“I’ll get him to apologise. I’m sure he’s got a hundred percent solid excuse.”

Jeri waved her hand in resignation. “Don’t bother. I’m over it.”


But Jeri shook her head. “See you on Saturday for your mum’s birthday,” she finally said quietly. “I’ve still got a few things to organise for tomorrow. The carpenter is coming to finally get the shelving done in the gallery office.”


“Zip it!”

“Do you need help for Sophie’s exhibition?”

Thank you all for your support and kind comments.
 I do appreciate each single one of them!


May I introduce: Sara Donovan "Love By Numbers"

Love By Numbers
by Sara Donovan

Reading Sara's bio, I felt like picking up the phone and tell her my teacher failed me in that English! And I still turned out to be okay. 

Anyway, I love the blurb of "Love By Numbers" and the sound of the story, so my obvious question is:
1 - How did you come up with the idea for "Love by Numbers"?

I read a lot of non-fiction books about neuroscience in my day job which led to a fascination with the ‘brain in love’. I had a personal interest as well. I wanted to figure out how “trustable” attraction was as when I looked back over my romantic history and those of my friends, I could think of times we all got attracted to completely incompatible people.

2 - Your Seven Easy Steps of "How to Fall in Love with (Almost) Anyone" sound easy and scary. We want the truth ... made up or real research? J
Research, believe it or not!
Experiencing peak emotional states, laughing a lot, sharing novel experiences, lowering your inhibitions, touching, eye-gazing and sharing secrets are listed as intimacy increasing activities by well-known scientist Dr Robert Epstein in his article, ‘How Science Can Help You Fall in Love’, (Psychology Today, 2010).
Dr Epstein was so sure there was a technology to falling in love, that he put an ad in Psychology Today for a woman who would be willing to date him exclusively and follow various intimacy exercises for 6 to 12 months. He expected the experiment would end in marriage.
Dr Epstein didn’t marry the woman he chose for the experiment, but he still stands by the theory that you can influence romantic love significantly. As does renowned anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher, whose book, ‘Why We Love? The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,’ is also one of the main inspirations for the Seven Steps and my book.
3 - A house full of kids (I've counted five!). What's the secret to find the time to write a book?
Waiting for them to grow up (my youngest was 17 when I started writing Love By Numbers), having an addictive personality and having an unbelievably supportive husband who cooked and cleaned and constantly answered my questions about what a ‘guy would say if a woman said……?’ 

4 - Tell us a bit about your current WIP.
I like exploring edgy relationship topics and hopefully making them fun and romantic as well.
This time round, I’m curious to write a story that explores degrees of monogamy – from couples who are co-dependent, to couples who have close friends of the opposite sex, to those who have covert emotional affairs, or even relationships they believe support the primary one. I’m going to set the story among a group of activists living in the bush for a year who are also serialising their experiences as a documentary on the internet.
I’m also contributing a chapter for a non-fiction book called ‘Born To Do This’. It’s about the psychology of creativity.

Thanks so so much for the opportunity Iris! It’s been fun - An absolute delight to have had this small "science lesson in love" ! IB

What if there was a scientific 7-step formula that triggered the heart into feeling passion? Would you follow it to have a hot and heavy romance with your available 'nice guy’ bestie?

Set in the glittering lower north shore of Sydney, Love by Numbers follows the story of April, a young successful HR consultant who escapes the boredom of her serious man-drought by fantasising more than she should about her uninterested office crush, Ryan. When April finally gets Ryan to drinks after work one night and he falls for her flirtatious house-mate, April decides to never again trust her instinctual‘man-picker’. Her only solution is to rewire her brain and create passion with the one guy she knows she can trust
 This is a story about how far you can go to control your heart's choices, and what happens when you try.

My dream job when I was fifteen was scriptwriting for TV or film, only I was a writing wimp. A few bad marks for English essays I thought were great and I pursued a career in science instead of creative writing - determined to never again be evaluated on anything subjective.

It took a few decades of writing non fiction in my day job while living an accidental romantic comedy life before I was willing to manage the uncertainty and give my creative writing dream a go - and I'm so glad I did! Writing Love By Numbers was the most fun I've ever had.
In my day job, I run a small and busy Learning and Development Consultancy, where I write and teach neuroscience, communication and congruent influence programs to very smart and talented clients who constantly teach me.
My greatest blessing is my wonderfully supportive and inspiring family - my personal superhero husband, my two amazing children, three wonderful step children and my love-addicted dog.

 Purchase Links:

How to Fall in Love with (Almost) Anyone in Seven Easy Steps.

Choose an available friend who doesn’t turn you off, and rewire your brains for a hot and heavy romance.

1. Get emotional together while watching a sad movie.

2. Share an adrenaline rush by jumping out of a plane.

3. Show how competent you are at something, but don’t make a big deal of it.

4. Have him bring home food from the hunt — a good restaurant will do.

5. Eye gaze in bed without talking until it doesn’t feel weird.

6. Role-play each other’s primal fantasies within reason and without judgement.

7. Sleep together like stacked spoons.

Repeat the above until love and lust kick in. Then when they do, send your attraction into overdrive by not seeing each other. That’s when things really get cooking.

Chapter 1

The trigger that made me do something radical to fix my relationship problems happened a few weeks earlier when I’d broken an unwritten company rule: the ‘don’t show emotion at work’ rule, which really means don’t show female emotions. You could swear, raise your voice, even slam the occasional phone and you’d be seen as strong at Odyssey IT. But get misty-eyed, and you’re a drama queen or worse, weak.

It wasn’t that I found hiding my vulnerability at work difficult. I was great at it. But a couple of unwanted coincidences and I was exposed. Raw. All because of the wrong kind of synchronicity – the kind that orchestrates you away from what you want, instead of the other way around.


Cover reveal ~~ Australian Sports Stars Book One "Let me Love you"

My first book in the Australian Sports Stars series is taking shape. The series has been contracted by "Limitless Publishing" and will be released soon.
The series is set here in Melbourne, Australia, and follows three friends as love finds its way into their hearts.
Book One is titled "Love Will Find You"

Snippet Sunday - My new WIP 24/08/14

It's time for a new story ... as yet untitled.
Meet Jeri.
Jeri's lives in Hobart where she owns a gallery. Since her divorce many years ago, she's finally ready to "be" with a man again. But finding the right one seems to be harder than she thought.

“Don’t’ give me this attitude, honey. Your super boy didn’t show up, is all.”

Olivia’s eyebrows shot up. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” Jeri walked past her friend’s daughter. “Your sex-on-legs loverboy hid like a frightened turtle.”

Olivia’s chuckle didn’t go unnoticed, and Jeri turned to her, anger rising within.

“Honey, this is not funny,” she said, with as much calm as she could muster. “Having a blind date with a guy, who half way through dinner goes to the toilet without returning, because his pills played havoc with his heart might be funny. Or being asked for a ten thousand dollar loan on the very first date. That might be considered as funny, too.” Jeri took a deep breath. “But I can’t see the funny side in sitting in a busy restaurant, not to mention, one of the best in town, waiting for your friend’s neighbour who never turns up. Do the words Trust me ring a bell?”

Thank you all for your support and kind comments.
 I do appreciate each single one of them!


May I introduce: Mae Archer "Hollywood Dreams"


Hollywood Dreams
by Mae Archer

We're all a little bit hooked on Hollywood, the good as well as the not so good. "Hollywood Dreams" sounds like a great read, I love the blurb!

1 - The main character in "Hollywood Dreams" becomes a method actor to get a "the part of a lifetime". How did you come up with the idea and how much research went into getting the "method acting" right?

The idea of Hollywood Dreams came with the image of a method actor who is practicing for his next part by being in a wheelchair. While writing this book was really easy after all the years of having it in my subconscious, I did have to do a lot of research about the practicalities of being in a wheelchair. So when Beau takes Maree out on a date there was a lot of detail about how he would have transported himself and the car he would have used.


2 - Do movies / actors inspire you to write a story?

I’m not usually inspired by movies/actors, but what I really love is romance novels about characters who are in some way in disguise. So this whole premise of having a secret identity and then the sense of suspense as to how long will the secret survive and what will happen when it’s uncovered.

3 - What's your current project?

I’m currently working on a follow up to Hollywood Dreams. I fell in love with Allegra, Maree’s best friend, who is a lover of vintage fashion and a dame at heart so I’m working on telling her story. It’s also going to have another element of lovers in disguise so that’s going to be so much fun to develop.

Hollywood Dreams by Mae Archer

Former soap star Tom Calvert dreams of making movies that matter. To get the part of a lifetime he becomes a method actor, living as Beau Tennant, handicapped war hero. While in character he meets Maree Reynard, a costume designer, and takes her on a date. But when this practice date becomes all too real he realizes that he’s made the mistake of a lifetime. Will he be able to get Maree to fall in love with Tom Calvert?

Maree Reynard’s father is an actor and she has grown up on a studio lot. She has no illusions about the artifice of the movie-making business and has vowed she would never date an actor. When she meets and falls in love with Beau Tennant she knows that she’s found her dream man who is genuine and real. But when Beau disappears from her life she is heartbroken. She meets Tom Calvert on the rebound and sees their flirtation as a way of recovering her shattered confidence. Will Tom Calvert be able to convince her he is the real deal?

Mae Archer knew she wanted to be a writer since she was a child. She loved listening to her grandmother's war stories about English maidens falling in love with handsome Yankees while England burnt under the Luftwaffe's blitz.

When she discovered romance novels as a teenager she soon realised that her dream job was to be a romance writer. After many career twists and turns she’s making her dreams come true.

 Her real life is like one of her grandmother's stories. She met a foreigner who travelled through Australia and it was love at first sight. She married him six months after they met and every day since has been an adventure.

She lives in Australia with her husband and daughter.

Mae Archer is the author of Return to Me and the upcoming Hollywood Dreams both published by Momentum.

Mae loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through her website,


Purchase Links:

Return to Me published by Momentum Publishing. Buy it