An extract from “Lessons”

Following is an extract from the second chapter of Lessons from a Two Year Old. Enjoy!


Johnny sprang off the chair, ripped off his pajamas and grabbed some clothes off the floor. He ran out the door wearing black jeans and a crumpled black shirt displaying one of his favorite UNIX jokes.

In his rush, he didn’t pull the shirt down fully and his white belly bobbled as he flew out the front door. He drove toward Brian and Amber’s house, cursing again as he was held up by a traffic light, although he did use the temporary pause to reach down and put his shoes on.

He pulled up in front of Brian’s house with a lurch and a screech of tires. He jumped out of the car, ran across the lawn and knocked on the front door, struggling to bring his breathing under control.

Brian opened the door, a frown on his face.

“I’m here,” gasped Johnny.

Brian led him through the house and into the kitchen. Amber, short, petite and with a shock of curly brown hair, stood by the bench, a handbag over one shoulder and a piece of paper in her other hand. The television displayed a cartoon show in the corner of the family room. Zoe, a two year old with ringlets fashioned into pigtails, stood less than a meter in front of the wide screen, watching it intently.

Amber held the piece of paper out to Johnny. “I’ve written a few notes for you,” she said.

Johnny took the sheet of paper which consisted of paragraphs of information typed in a small font.

“It’s double-sided,” Amber observed.

Johnny turned it over, his eyes opening wide. “Do I need a degree to look after her?” he asked.

“It’s not complicated,” replied Amber. “I’ve simply typed some details of what food she should and shouldn’t eat, how to comfort her, some suggested activities, the routine for putting her down for a sleep – she’s particular about that – and her favorite toys.”

Johnny turned the sheet over and read a line at random. “Do not let her play with textas. Where are the textas?” he asked.

Amber snatched the sheet off him. “Goodness, I forgot to write that down.” She took a pen out of her handbag and scribbled a few words. She scanned the sheet again. “I wonder what else I missed.”

Brian suppressed his smile and spoke up. “Come on, Amber. We’ve got to get going. We’re late as it is and Christine will be wondering where we are.”

Amber thrust the paper back into Johnny’s hand. “Alright. But don’t forget to call me if you’re not sure about anything.” A panicked expression crossed her face. “Although I don’t think I’ve written the number down.”

“That’s OK – I’ve got it in my phone,” Johnny said.

Brian took Amber’s hand. “Let’s go, dear.” He looked at Johnny. “But do call me if you’re unsure of anything.”

“Will do.”

Amber kissed Zoe on the forehead. “We’re going out now, Zoe. You be a good girl for Uncle Johnny. See you soon.”

Zoe’s eyes never left the television screen.

Brian and Amber left the room, accompanied by Johnny. “I think things will be alright,” Johnny said. “I’ll call you if anything goes wrong, although if she sleeps most of the time there shouldn’t be a problem.”

He waved to the departing car, and with a deep breath, re-entered the house. He walked into the family room, where Zoe continued watching the television. “Hello, Zoe,” he said in what he thought was a cheerful and friendly voice.

She continued to stare at the screen.

Johnny licked his lips, grimacing. “I don’t think I brushed my teeth,” he said to himself. “A cup of coffee might clear up this yucky taste in my mouth.”

He addressed Zoe again. “Uncle Johnny is just going to make a nice cup of coffee and then he’ll come back and talk to you.” Zoe continued to ignore him, so Johnny put Amber’s list on the floor and re-entered the kitchen.

He filled the kettle with water, turned it on and rummaged in the cupboards for a cup and some coffee. As he stood, waiting for the kettle to boil, Zoe appeared at the door.

“Boo,” she said.

Johnny laughed. “Boo? Boo to you too.”

Zoe pointed towards the family room. “Boo,” she repeated.

Johnny frowned. “What are you trying to say, little one?” he asked. “And why have you taken your pants and nappy off?”


A look of horror crossed Johnny’s face. “You haven’t. . .” He ran toward her. Zoe retreated into the family room, followed by Johnny. A strong smell assaulted him as he entered the room.

Zoe pointed at Amber’s list. “Boo,” she repeated with a hint of pride in her voice.

“Oh, no,” groaned Johnny.

A large, stinking poo sat proudly on top of Amber’s list of instructions. “For a little kid, you sure do a big poo,” he said, holding his nose. “And a smelly one.” He tried to look at the list, but recoiled in horror as the smell invaded his nostrils. “What the hell do I do now? I didn’t notice anything about this in Amber’s list, and I sure can’t read it now.”

He stood still for a minute, unsure what to do next. He took hold of Amber’s note by the corners and picked it up carefully, taking care not to let the steaming deposit fall out. Holding it gingerly in front of him, he walked slowly through the house toward the toilet. Dropping the whole mess into the bowl, he jumped back in disgust as the water splashed toward him.

He shuddered and then flushed the toilet, sending Zoe’s poo and Amber’s list off to the city sewer system.

Johnny’s next task was no more attractive than the first. He wiped Zoe’s bottom, struggled with the nappy and put her shorts back on. Washing his hands, he returned to the kettle, more desperate than ever for a cup of coffee.

Zoe ran around the kitchen almost continually, stopping only occasionally to ask Johnny if he liked her pink fingernails, butterfly hair clip, frilly top, and toenails which were also pink. However, on each occasion she resumed her running before Johnny had a chance to respond.

Johnny spooned coffee and sugar into his cup, poured the boiling water in and then added another spoon of sugar as an afterthought. He stirred vigorously, all the while racking his brain in an attempt to remember the details from Amber’s list of instructions.

“Play outside?” asked Zoe.

“Alright,” replied Johnny. He picked up his coffee and followed the skipping two year old through the family room and into the backyard. Zoe ran across the grass and stood by the side of a large trampoline, surrounded by a safety net.

She lifted her arms. “Up?”

Johnny picked Zoe up and slid her through the opening in the net, zipping it closed after her. Zoe began jumping immediately, crisscrossing the mat in a series of random maneuvers. Johnny took his coffee across to the deck and sat on a chair. He sipped deeply, sighed and slid down in the chair, half closing his eyes.

“Look at me,” commanded Zoe. “Look at me.”

Johnny opened his eyes and looked at his tiny niece. “Nice jumping,” he mumbled.

Zoe stopped. “Spider. Get spider.” She pointed vigorously at a spot on the mat.

Johnny jumped to his feet and ran across the lawn. Could it be a funnel web or redback spider? “Don’t touch, Zoe!” he screamed. Opening the zipper, he leant into the trampoline for a closer look. Zoe kept pointing.

“Spider,” she repeated.

Johnny frowned. He touched a small black ant. “Is this what you mean?”

“Spider,” agreed Zoe. “Don’t touch.”

Johnny flicked the ant off the mat. “All gone,” he announced. He turned to walk back to his coffee.

“Johnny, up,” requested Zoe.

Johnny turned around. “Pardon?”

Zoe beckoned him. “Johnny, up,” she repeated.

Johnny looked at his rapidly cooling coffee and sighed. With a resigned shrug he climbed onto the trampoline and sat on the edge.

“Bounce,” requested Zoe.

Johnny, still in his seated position, pushed himself up and down with his hands. Zoe giggled. Johnny bounced harder, bringing about a fresh burst of laughter. He held Zoe’s hand to help her balance.

Johnny grinned. “You like this?”

Zoe nodded. Her eyes shone and her mouth was open in a wide smile, revealing a row of small, white, even teeth. She giggled continually as Johnny bounced up and down.

The sun beat down, attracted by Johnny’s black shirt and pants. Johnny’s breathing grew heavy and sweat trickled down his forehead. He let go of Zoe’s hand and wiped his sweaty brow. “Do you want a rest?”

Zoe continued to jump, shaking her head from side to side. No longer holding Johnny’s hand, her jumps lost synchronization with Johnny’s bounces. She overbalanced and fell forward, her chin striking Johnny’s knee. Her laughter turned immediately to a scream.

Johnny picked her up and looked at her face. Tears poured from her eyes and a trickle of blood oozed slowly out of her lip. “Does your mouth hurt?” he asked.

Zoe screamed.

Johnny drew her forward and gave her an awkward cuddle. “It’s okay. Don’t cry.”

His words seemed to have no effect. Johnny stood back and took another look. Zoe’s lip was puffy and fat. He wiped the blood off her chin and the tears off her face with his shirt.

“Would you like some ice cream?” he asked.

Zoe stopped crying instantly. “Yes, please,” she replied in an enthusiastic tone. She disentangled herself from Johnny and slid over to the edge of the trampoline. “Down.”

Johnny helped her down and led her into the kitchen. He opened the freezer and peered in, but could not see any ice cream.

“I’m sorry, Zoe, but there’s no ice cream.”

Zoe stamped her foot. “Ice cream. Ice cream.”

Johnny scratched his head. “How about we go to the shop and get some,” he offered.

He led Zoe outside to the car, but when he put her in, he realized he had no car seat for her. He shook his head in disbelief. “This is a shambles,” he said to himself. He took Zoe back inside.

Zoe stomped her feet. “Ice cream. Ice cream!”

Johnny had a thought. He went into the garage to check Brian’s car. Walking through the door, he noticed Zoe’s pram. He clicked his fingers. “Come on, Zoe. We’ll walk to the shop,” he said. “Would you like to go in the pram?”

“Yes, please,” replied Zoe. “I like pram.”

Johnny hoisted her into the seat. He struggled with the safety harness, giving Zoe a high five when he finally managed to clip her in. Pushing the pram through the garage door, he squinted in the bright sunlight, strolling slowly so as not to get too hot. As they turned the corner onto the highway, Zoe spoke.

“Flower, please.”

Johnny stopped the pram. “I beg your pardon?”

“Flower, please,” repeated Zoe, pointing at a lavender bush in the garden next to the footpath.

“Do you want one of those flowers?” asked Johnny.

“Yes, please.”

Johnny plucked a lavender flower and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” said Zoe, smelling the flower deeply.

“Well, I must say you have good manners,” Johnny said.

He continued pushing the pram, lulled into a somnambulant state by the buzzing bees in the bright red bottlebrush trees. A galah burst from the bushes with a raucous cry. Johnny jumped.

Zoe clapped her hands. “Bird,” she cried.

When they arrived at the shop, Johnny bought a small ice cream in a cup. He handed it to Zoe, along with a little plastic spoon. “You’ve been a good girl on the walk,” he said. “I hope you like this.”

He took a detour on the way home. Zoe seemed occupied with the ice-cream, and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with her when he arrived at Brian’s place, so a longer walk seemed like a good idea. He strolled through the warm mid-afternoon sun, trying to ignore the sweat he could feel coming up under his black outfit. Despite the mild discomfort he was surprised to find himself starting to enjoy the feel of the sun and wind on his pale skin.

“Finished,” chirped Zoe, interrupting his thoughts.

She turned to Johnny holding out the container and spoon with ice cream coated fingers.

Johnny looked at her in horror. Her face, from the tip of her chin to the top of her nose, was streaked with ice cream. Her frilly pink shirt was stained with chocolate splodges – too numerous to count. He stopped the pram and stepped to the front for a closer look. Zoe’s shorts, legs and shoes were covered with ice cream and even the seat of the pram had been reduced to a sticky mess.  He took the cup from Zoe, wincing as he felt the sticky substance invade his own clean fingers.

“We better get you home,” he said. Bringing his detour to an end, he stepped out in a brisk stride, keen to clean the mess off Zoe and the pram before it dried. He crossed the street, breaking into a jog as a car approached.

“Wahoo,” giggled Zoe.

“You liked that?” asked Johnny, smiling despite himself.

“Fast is fun.”

“Hold on then,” replied Johnny, resuming his trot. He jogged for about two hundred meters, slowing to a walk as his breathing became more labored.

“Again, again,” pleaded Zoe.

Johnny tried to suck as much oxygen as possible into his struggling lungs. “I don’t know if I can run anymore,” he gasped.

“Fast, fast.”

“All right. I’ll try again,” Johnny agreed.

He broke into a trot, much to the delight of Zoe, who clapped her hands in approval. Johnny wheezed and puffed. Turning the corner into Brian’s street, he groaned when he saw the steep hill he had to climb to reach the house. He slowed to a walk for the second time.

“Fast, again,” commanded Zoe.

“We’re nearly home,” said Johnny, pointing to the house. “I can’t run anymore.”

“Keep running?”

“We have to go inside and get clean,” said Johnny. “Then I’ll think about what to do next.”

He took Zoe into the kitchen and found some paper towels to wipe her with. Moistening it under the tap, he wiped Zoe’s face and hands clean. The stain on her top remained stubbornly brown, resisting his scrubbing. He thought about returning to the garage to wipe the pram down, but his wobbly legs disagreed. Staggering to the kitchen table, he fell onto the chair with a loud sigh and began massaging his legs, wincing with each stroke.

“What you doing?” asked Zoe.

“Uncle Johnny has sore legs,” he replied. “Too much running.”

“I like running,” replied Zoe, taking off around the table. She ran a number of laps, first clockwise and then the other way. Johnny grew dizzy watching her, so he stared at the ceiling, still trying to calm his breathing and relax his legs.


“Good idea,” agreed Johnny. He filled a glass for himself and a plastic cup for Zoe. He threw his head back, guzzling the contents of the glass in one long swallow. He quickly refilled the glass and repeated the process, before wiping the cool liquid off his chin with the back of his hand.

He looked down at Zoe. She was tracing shapes on the tiles. When he took a closer look, he realized she was drawing in water. With a start, he realized her face, shirt and shorts were also wet.

“Zoe, what did you do?” he shouted.

“Spill water.”

Johnny dragged himself off the chair, grabbed a cloth and wiped the floor.

“Change shirt please,” requested Zoe.

“Show me where they go,” replied Johnny.

Zoe skipped down the hall at full speed. Johnny shuffled slowly behind her. Zoe’s bedroom was painted pink, with butterfly decals on the walls and a matching bed cover. She opened the door of her wardrobe, and pulled the second drawer open vigor.

She handed Johnny a dress. “Pink tutu please.”

Johnny stripped off her stained, sodden shirt and grey shorts, and helped her slip into the dress. It was a sleeveless garment, with a picture of a ballerina on the front and it flowed into a frilly tutu from the waste.

Zoe spun around. “I’m a ballerina,” she said with a proud smile.

“What do I do now?” Johnny asked himself.

“Shrek,” replied Zoe.

She raced out of her room, down the hallway and into the family room. She pulled a DVD out of the drawer and handed it to Johnny. “Shrek,” she repeated.

Johnny loaded the DVD and turned on the television. Zoe resumed her position directly in front of the television, her eyes focused on the screen. Johnny dropped to the floor. His eyes closed a few minutes later.

Zoe woke him some time later. Shrek was watching Princess Fiona beat up Robin Hood and the Merry Men, but Zoe was no longer in front of the television. “Build house,” she said, dragging a basket of Legos across the floor.

With a resigned sigh Johnny sat up. “You want me to build you a house?”

“Yes, please.”

Johnny rummaged through the basket. He found a large base plate and placed it onto the floor. Scrabbling through the basket, he dug out a number of different pieces and began building. His house was built over two levels and included internal and external stairs, a number of windows, a pitched roof with eaves and a carport. He was putting the finishing touches to the fence when Brian’s voice interrupted him.

“That’s a fancy house.”

“Daddy, you’re back. Hello, Mummy.”

“Hi, darling,” replied Amber. “You’re wearing your pretty tutu. How did you go with Uncle Johnny?”

“Build house,” replied Zoe.

“How long has she been up for?” asked Amber. “Did she have a good sleep?”

Johnny scratched his chin. “Ahh, it was only a short sleep today,” he replied after a moment’s thought. “And I had to change her clothes because she spilt her drink on them.”

“That’s funny. She doesn’t usually spill anything out of the straw cup.”

“I gave her a normal drinking cup, and I might have filled it a bit too high,” admitted Johnny. “She wanted a cup like mine.”

“I’m glad you had a good time and Uncle Johnny made you a lovely house,” said Amber. “I guess there wasn’t time for much else?”

“You could say that,” agreed Johnny. “How did you go with Christine?”

“She was a lot happier when we left than when we arrived,” said Brian. “I think she enjoyed sitting and talking with Amber and the house looks a whole lot better now, although there’s still lots to do.” He wiped his forehead. “It was hot in the sun. I was a bit jealous of you, relaxing here in the comfort of the house while Zoe slept. Still, it was for a good cause.”

“I better go now,” said Johnny. “I guess you need to get dinner ready or something.”

“Are you right to do this again next week?” asked Brian.

Johnny looked around the room. Zoe played quietly with the Lego house, moving characters up and down the stairs and cars in and out of the carport while Amber dabbed at a damp spot on the floor with a cloth. Brian looked at Johnny with a pleading expression on his face.

“Uh, sure,” replied Johnny after a moment’s hesitation.

November Releases

Available from 5 Prince
Genre: FICTION / Westerns
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-077-0 ISBN 10: 1631120778
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-078-7  ISBN 10: 1631120786

Purchase link :

Sheriff Luke Atwell, a religious man, doubts his occupation after accidentally shooting a female bystander during a gunfight. The violent deaths of lawmen and criminals that follow heighten his questioning and he joins the priesthood to counter evil as a man of peace. However, his lawman instincts remain as he deals with crime in his inner-city parish. Temporarily relieved of his priestly obligations, Atwell returns as sheriff to the changed, now crime-ridden Kansas town to rethink his calling, joined by unlikely reinforcements—an experienced but alcoholic deputy and a youthful banjo player. The team, often outnumbered, confronts thieves and killers in a series of gun battles. As Atwell fights lawlessness, he struggles with his feelings toward a recent widow. Eventually he must decide:  keep the badge or again wear the clerical collar.

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: FICTION / African American / Contemporary Women
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-075-6 ISBN 10:1631120751
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-076-3 ISBN 10:163112076X
Purchase link :


Sydnee Garrett has a lot on her to-do list. Wrangle her young and rambunctious twin boys. Check. Get her life back in order since her husband decided to leave her for a much younger woman. Check. And buy a Christmas tree. Check.

What she wasn’t expecting was adding one more thing to her list. A young, sexy personal trainer. Check.
Quinn Masters is a man who knows what he wants and doesnt take no for an answer. He isnt fazed by age or race differences and he does everything in his power to win Sydnee over.
Will Sydnee continue to fight for her orderly life or welcome in the chaos that’s threatening to change her entire world?

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance,
Historical, Alternative History
Release Date: March 13, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-082-4 ISBN 10: 1631120824
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-079-4 ISBN 10: 1631120794

Living abroad, Adela Tilden has avoided the worst of the rebellion. But now that King William has ordered her back on risk of disinheritance, it doesn’t seem she’ll be able to stay out of the tumult. Of course, Adela has never abided being a pawn.

With two men ahead of her, and one left behind, she has to hope she can control this game–or else she might lose her life.

Between books 1 and 2 of the Broken Line series, The Copper Rebellion is a glimpse into Antony and Adela’s lost years after The Copper Witch.


Available from 5 Prince

Genre: FICTION / Historical /Thrillers
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-069-5 ISBN 10:1631120697
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-070-1 ISBN 10:1631120700


Purchase link :

On Orders Of The Commandant is an historical novel, set inside a 1940′s concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.
It is the story of four men who are imprisoned. In their struggle afterwards, they deal with several issues-desolation, losing their family and freedom-but more importantly are confronted with the knowledge of a machinated plot intended by an SS First Commandant right under their noses. A plan is conceived, after having an underground exit pointed out to them, to escape the concentration camp itself…

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary / Ghost / Paranormal
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-073-2 ISBN 10:1631120735
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-074-9 ISBN 10:1631120743

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Mallory got her happily ever after, but haunting loss in the past has her running scared that she will lose her beloved yet again. Can anything…or anyone make her realise she needs to let go of the past and live for today?

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-067-1 ISBN 10:1631120670
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-068-8 ISBN 10:1631120689

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Johnny, an IT geek still lives at home with his parents. When his brother and sister-in-law help a sick friend, he gets coerced into babysitting his two year old niece, Zoe, on a weekly basis. Johnny reluctantly takes on the challenge with humourous and often near-disastrous results. Over time, Zoe’s independence-seeking and outgoing personality inspires Johnny to try to improve his health, his fashion sense and even his love life. However, after a couple of setbacks, Johnny wonders if it’s worth the effort and retreats to his former habits. Can Zoe show him the way to true love?

The Art of Being Brilliant

One of the reasons I love reading is that it provides the opportunity to learn new approaches to life. One book I read recently was ”The Art of Being Brilliant” by Andy Cope. It’s a book that has many insights but one of the things I took away was Andy’s theory about the 6 things you need to do to live a life in the top 2% of Happiness:

1. Choose to be positive, and try to react positively, even to bad situations.
2. Understand the impact (realise that how we interact with others can have a big bearing on how others feel).
3. Take personal responsibility: don’t just react, but choose our response carefully, and make sure we are responding in a way that aligns with our choice to be positive.
4. Have bouncebackability: It’s OK to feel sad when something bad happens, but have strategies to get back to fine form
5. Set Huge Goals
6. Play to your strengths
I realise that’s a very brief synopsis, so if you want to find out more, I’d encourage you to read Andy’s book.

October Releases from 5 Prince

Available from 5 Prince Publishing

Genre Contemporary Romance:

Vivian Book three of The Three Mrs. Monroes

Release Date: October 9, 2014

Digital ISBN-10: 1631120425 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-042-8

Print ISBN-10: 1631120433 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-043-5

Purchase link :


From loss breeds new beginnings

Vivian Monroe had been jaded. Her husband’s death only compounded the lies she’d only come to learn about.

Clayton North knows a thing or two about loss. He figured it was fate for him to meet Vivian Monroe. He’ll take on the challenge of helping her mend her heart.

Midst new friendships and new romance, Vivian must let go of her pain and face the woman who helped Adam Monroe weave his deceptive web.

About the Author:

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.

How to reach Bernadette Marie

@writesromance on Twitter


Available from 5 Prince


Genre: FICTION / Romance / Paranormal

Release Date: October 9, 2014

Digital ISBN 13 978-1-63112-071-8 ISBN 10: 1631120719

Print ISBN 13 978-1-63112-072-5 ISBN 10:1631120727

Purchase link :


Braving the Darkness

All have sacrificed, but one will sacrifice all…


Just when Olivia thought she’d finally have everything she always wanted, she was never closer to losing it all. Haden rocked Olivia’s foundation when he professed his love for her, and then turned himself in to the High Court. Although it was for the best, watching him walk out of her life was one of the hardest things she’d ever done.

Liam has always been the angel that holds her heart. But nothing will test the bonds of that love more than when a sick twist of fate brings all their lives crashing back together again.

Bitter enemies in love with the same woman, Liam and Haden must put their differences aside to battle an evil whose reach is far greater than either of them ever imagined. It will take all their strength to protect Olivia from an enemy that’s come to claim her and usher in a power-play to overthrow the High Court.

Love, sacrifice, and betrayal… It all comes to a heart-stopping conclusion in Braving the Darkness.   


Melynda Price:

An avid lover of paranormal romance, Melynda was inspired to write her own series after reading the Book of Enoch. She’s always had a fascination with stories about angels, and the role they’ve played in the history of our multi-dimensional world.

She attended Bethel University in Minnesota and graduated in 2003, holding AA, ASN and BSN degrees.

She lives in Northern Minnesota where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua, and a hot cup of coffee, to write. She’s blessed with two amazing children, and a wonderful husband of nineteen years.

Redemption Series:

“Writing the Redemption Series has been a fantastic adventure, culminating a world of mystery, suspense, love and deception. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to see beyond our dimension? Step into Olivia Norton’s world, where nothing is quite as it seems, and evil lurks where she least expects it.”


New Release: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Contemporary
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120646 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-064-0
Print ISBN-10:1631120654 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-065-7


Purchase link :
Have you got a secret hidden so deep that thinking about it threatens to overwhelm you?
Bethany Forrester and Denizon Cartwright are mother and daughter but they haven’t seen each other for thirty five years. Not since Beth gave Denizon up for adoption when she was two days old.
“How to Have a Happy Marriage” tells the story of how they find each other and their lives and loves along the way – from the stormy relationship between Beth and her husband to Denizon’s quest for true happiness and real love.
We follow the ups and downs of the pair as they struggle to fit each other into their already complicated lives.
Will it be a happy ending for either of them?
Find out in the final chapter of the “How to …” series of books.
About the Author
Lindsay Harper lives in West Yorkshire, England with her husband and four Springer Spaniels. She has two grown up children and three grandchildren. She now writes full time and this is the third book in the ”How To …” romance series following best friends Robyn and Denizon through the trials and tribulations of life. When she’s not writing she practices
Homeopathy and is a House Doctor. For fun she enjoys walks by the water, yoga, cooking, DIY, 60’s retro and anything romance.
How to contact the author
 Twitter -@harperpublishin
Facebook – LindsayHarperauthor
You Tube – Lindsay Harper How to Have an Affair
Excerpt of How to Have A Happy Marriage

Chapter 1

Bethany Forrester finished the last page and closed the book – “How to Have a Happy Marriage”. She sighed contentedly as she realised this book, out of the entire “How to…” series was the most relevant to her. She bought Jay Trethedick’s first book, “How to Have an Affair,” after seeing him on Breakfast Time last year. Even though she couldn’t personally relate to the topic she had been very impressed with his theories … plus he was very easy on the eye.

Sadly, the topic of divorce in his second book resonated all too well. Her divorce had not been amicable – far from it, and she could remember rushing through the three hundred pages just so she could tightly pack away all her memories of that time in a box and bury them deep.

But this book was different and each page had been a pleasure to read as it reminded her of the wonderful man she was now lucky enough to be married to. The first page always made her smile and she opened the book to read for the thousandth time, the Recipe for a Happy Marriage.


250grms Honesty

250grms Friendship

250grms Respect

250grms Faithfulness

1 tbl spoon of Sex

1 level tsp of Humour

A touch of Compromise

A pinch of Individuality


Take a couple of individuals in love, add all ingredients, mix together and cook for the rest of your life on earth at 100%.

She thought the concept was so sweet and would love to meet the man who could write such sentiment. There were just two ingredients on the list she was missing, but only one of them played on her mind. The first was sex, but that didn’t really bother her, if she was honest. Adrian, her husband was approaching sixty – ten years her senior – and his sex drive started to diminish not long after his fiftieth birthday.

At first, she took it personally but eventually came to realise it was the pressure of running his own plumbing contractors business and being on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

She knew it was nothing to do with her, as whenever they took a well-deserved holiday and he relaxed, he couldn’t get enough – and she was usually glad when the fortnight was over so she could get some rest.

What did bother her was number one on the list of ingredients – honesty. She had been keeping a secret from everyone she had ever met for all her adult life. It was such a major part of her that, most of the time, she didn’t think about it, until at times like this when it reared its ugly head. One day I’ll tell someone but not yet … it’s not the right time. But sadly, it never was.

Just then her phone rang. It was Leo, her twenty-four year old son from her previous marriage.

‘Hi, Mum, can I borrow your car?’

‘Why? Where’s yours?’

‘Er …’

‘Let me guess, your dad’s borrowed it.’

‘His is in the garage. He promises to have it back this week.’

Beth had heard her ex-husband’s promises before.

‘But I need it to collect the girls from school.’

‘If I do that, can I?’

‘What’s the urgency? You usually walk to work or Adrian picks you up.’

Leo was one of Adrian’s best plumbers and had worked with his step-father since leaving school at sixteen.

‘Cat has got somewhere to go this morning.’ Cat was Leo’s live-in girlfriend who Beth had never really approved of. She reminded her too much of herself at that age. The girl was only eighteen and Beth was sure she was only with Leo to escape her controlling parents.

‘So it’s Cat that wants to borrow my car?’

‘Er … yes, but she daren’t ask you in case you said no.’

Beth sighed.

‘I could give her a lift, would that do?’

‘But that would mean her having to tell you where she’s going.’

‘Yes, is that a problem?’

‘I’ll have to ask her.’

‘Can’t you borrow your own car for a couple of hours?’

‘No, Dad’s gone away until Friday.’

‘So how’s he going to get his own car back today?’

‘Don’t bother, Mum, if it’s too much trouble. We don’t want to put you out.’

This is just so typical. I’m the bad guy again. I’m sure his perfect father could commit double homicide and Leo would defend him.

‘Okay, I suppose so … could she have it back by school time?’

‘Thanks, Mum, you’re the best.’

‘Only when you want something.’

‘Don’t be like that. You know you love me really.’

That’s the problem – sometimes I think I love you too much.

‘What time are you coming to collect it?’

‘I thought you could drop it off on your way to work.’

‘Did you now, and how pray am I going to get to work?’

‘Cat will drop you off.’

‘Okay, I’m just getting ready. I’ll be there in forty-five minutes.’

‘Can you make it half-an-hour. Her appointment’s at ten in Glastonbury.’

‘I’ll see what I can do.’

‘Thanks, Mum.’

So instead of the leisurely breakfast she planned, she ran upstairs to take a quick shower. Adrian always dropped the girls at school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when Beth worked. It saved her dashing around and gave her an hour to get her head together before her busy day. She had recently cut her hours down to three days during the week and all day Sunday since appointing the most brilliant manager for her thriving little coffee house on the high street in Street, Somerset.

Up to the beginning of the year, she had worked seven days a week trying to get the business established. When she took it on, it was an ailing cafe serving a menu of fat, fat and more fat. She had completely refurbished the inside with her husband and invented a whole new healthy menu.

It had taken a while for the locals to get used to eating paninis instead of bacon butties with lard, but eventually, they had seen the light and she had built up quite a regular clientele of tourists and visitors alike. Now she loved going to work and was finally living her dream instead of feeling the burden and stress of the stone around her neck she felt at the beginning.

Lunchtimes were the busiest times and she always liked to be in before ten to help the chef prep the salads and make the soup of the day. Between the three of them, the Cafe Sorrento was finally making the profit she had told her bank manager would be achievable when he finally granted her the business loan over a year ago.

By nine-fifteen she was on her way to her son’s flat. He only lived ten minutes away, but traffic on the Glastonbury road was usually busy until at least ten o’clock. Cat was waiting outside, looking at her watch as Beth pulled up.

‘Thanks, Mrs F. You’re a life saver,’ Cat said as she got in the driver’s side.

‘So what’s with all the secrecy?’ Beth asked.

Cat didn’t speak as she looked in the mirror before pulling out into the traffic.

‘Are you okay, Cat? You look a bit pale.’

‘I’ll be fine.’

‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you? I’m sure they can cope without me at work for a while.’

Cat hesitated. ‘Er … no, I’ll be fine.’

Beth couldn’t imagine it could be anything other than some sort of hospital appointment because if it was something simple like an interview it wouldn’t be shrouded in such secrecy.

‘Well if you’re sure. Leo could’ve asked Adrian for the day off, you know.’

‘We didn’t want to make a fuss.’

‘Watch out for that car!’ Beth braced herself waiting for the impact, but luckily, Cat’s young reflexes were sharp and she pulled up with inches to spare. Everything tumbled off the back seat into the foot wells.

‘Sorry Mrs F, maybe I shouldn’t be driving.’ Cat pulled the car onto the side of the road.

‘Don’t worry. It’s always mad at this time in a morning. Everyone goes too fast.’ Beth reached across and stroked Cat’s arm. At that moment she seemed no older than Beth’s youngest daughter … so naive and vulnerable.

‘Please don’t ask me anything, but will you drop me off at West Mendip Community Hospital? I’ll get a taxi home.’

Beth was desperate to know what was going on but she respected Cat’s wishes and said, ‘Of course I will. I’m here if you need to talk or I’ll come and collect you.’

‘Thank you, that’s kind.’

They swapped places again and Cat reached into the back to retrieve all her handbag contents that were strewn about the floor and under the seats.

‘I think I’m missing a lip gloss. If you find one, it’s mine.’

‘I’ll have a look when I get back to work.’

Beth pulled up in the visitor’s car park. ‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with you?’

Cat shook her head. Her hands were shaking as she opened the door. Just before getting out she reached across and kissed Beth’s cheek.

‘Thanks, Mrs F, for being so nice. I know we haven’t always seen stuff the same way but you’re really cool for a mum.’

‘That’s sweet of you to say, and remember if you want me to come back for you, I will. Just ring me anytime.’

Cat closed the door behind her and walked off as slowly as if she was heading a funeral cortège.

Beth was reluctant to leave her in this state. But what more could she do?  So as soon as Cat disappeared through the revolving doors, she drove away. She parked in her usual car parking space outside work and remembered that Cat had asked her to look for the rogue lip gloss. Under her seat all she found was an old Maynard wine gum, which she was tempted to eat, as it was a red one – her favourite colour. The lip gloss was under the passenger seat hidden under a paper tissue. As she reached along the floor, fumbling for the lip gloss, her fingers touched a piece of card. She pulled it out and saw it had the Marie Stopes logo on the front and an appointment for ten o’clock.

‘Shit!’ She slammed the car door, forgetting to lock it and ran into work.

‘Can you cope without me for a bit? I’ve got somewhere urgent to go,’ she asked Carol, her manager.

‘Yes, of  course Are you okay?’

‘I am, but someone else isn’t. I haven’t time to explain now. I’ll be back as soon as I can.’ Beth turned round and dashed to her car, speeding back up the Old Wells Road to the hospital. She turned on the hands free kit and rang Leo’s number.

‘Hi, Mum, did Cat get off okay?’

‘Do you know where she’s going?’

‘Of course I do. Why, do you?’ he asked tentatively.

‘Yes. I’ve found her appointment card. Why is she going to the Marie Stopes clinic?’

‘Oh fuck! We didn’t want to tell anyone until it was all over.’

‘You mean you’re letting your girlfriend have a termination and you can’t even be bothered to go with her?’

‘She said she’d be fine, and we’ve got a big plumbing job on.’

Beth couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. ‘How can you be so selfish? Have you any idea what the poor girl’s going through?’

‘Chill, Mum. It’s no big deal.’

‘No big deal! How dare you. I thought I’d brought you up better than that. It will be the worst ordeal of her life so far, and I doubt anything will ever beat it. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll drop what you’re doing and get to that hospital by any means you can. I’ll see you there.’

‘Okay … okay. I get it, you’re mad, but don’t take it out on me. She told me she was on the pill. We don’t want a baby … she wants to get rid of it as well.’

Beth couldn’t speak for the tears.

‘Mum, are you still there? … Why are you so upset?’

‘I’ll see you soon.’

So much for burying my feelings deep underground in a box. It was over thirty-five years ago, yet right now she felt as bad as when she was waiting for them to call her name. Then, she didn’t have a friendly face offering to go with her … she had an angry, disappointed mother who, all the while in the waiting room, kept telling her she’d brought disgrace on the family.

Poor Cat … she was facing this ordeal all alone. As Beth got out of her car she saw it was already ten thirty. Please be running late! Quickly, asking the receptionist where the clinic was being held, she ran to the lift. Typical, the clinic’s at the other end of the bloody corridor. She was out of breath as she rang the buzzer to be let into reception.

‘I’m looking for Miss Catherine … er … Sykes,’ Beth asked the receptionist.

‘And you are?’

‘Her partner’s mother. He’s been held up in traffic and is on his way.’

‘I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait here. She’s already gone into surgery.’

Beth put her head in her hands and sobbed.

‘Are you okay? Would you like a glass of water?’ The receptionist came round the desk and led Beth to a seat.

‘Sorry. I would please. Is it too late to change her mind?’

The receptionist paused and, trying to be as gentle as she could said, ‘She doesn’t want to change her mind. You know this isn’t her first appointment. We do an awful lot of counselling before we carry out any procedure … Do you want to talk to someone?’

‘I’ve never talked to anyone in thirty-five years.’

‘So wouldn’t now be a good time to start?’

Beth didn’t go back into work – she couldn’t – she felt totally drained. After dropping Cat and Leo back at their flat she went home to be by herself … her staff could cope – it was only one day. While the kettle was boiling, she kept looking at the card on the kitchen work top reminding her of the counselling appointment the receptionist had made at a sister clinic … thirty-five years too late. After making herself a strong coffee, she went to sit in the beautiful conservatory looking out over her long cottage garden with distant views of Glastonbury Tor and thought about her morning.

She expected Cat to be devastated after her procedure, but all she saw on the young face was relief. Beth could understand why she didn’t want a baby at eighteen … she hadn’t wanted one at thirteen, but unlike Cat, she couldn’t go through with it. She had screamed and shouted so much, embarrassing her mother even more, that the whole trip was aborted not the baby.

Luckily, it was the 1970’s and most of the mother and baby units had closed down which meant Beth had to stay at home – a prisoner in her own house for nine months. The baby girl was taken off her at birth and given to deserving parents and the whole sorry incident was never mentioned again. Beth continued her education and was a good girl until she found someone to marry her and then she was off, at not much older than Cat was now.

Beth sat in the same armchair all day until it was time to collect her two precious girls from school. What she couldn’t give her first little girl she lavished on the two she had. Leo was always accusing her of spoiling them and treating them better than she ever treated him. She knew he was speaking the truth, but she couldn’t help it. She had to make it right somehow.

Tuesday was hectic after school – Amy, who was eight, had ballet and tap and Annabelle, who was the eldest at ten, had choir and gymnastics. Eddie Stobart’s Logistical Haulage Contractors couldn’t do a better job of organising the schedule than she did. Each activity was precisely planned down to the last second, and if it all went without a hitch – which it usually did– they were back in the house totally exhausted by eight o’clock, ready for supper and bed.

Adrian supervised bed-time while Beth made the evening meal.

‘Ooh … I know what I forget to tell you. You know that author you’ve just been reading, he’s appearing at the Glastonbury Christmas Book and Craft Festival,’ Adrian said as he sat down at the table to a plate of home-made moussaka.

‘You mean Jay Trethedick?’

‘Yes, that’s him.’

‘Wow. Do you know how I can get any tickets?’

‘Da … da.’ Adrian said as he pulled two tickets out of the back pocket of his work trousers. ‘It’s for his Creative Writing workshop.’

‘How did I manage to be married to the most wonderful man in the world?’ Beth walked round the table and gave her husband a kiss.

‘Just lucky I guess?’

‘Are you coming with me?’ she asked.

‘I don’t think it’s really my thing. I got two tickets in case you wanted to take a friend, or maybe you could invite your mother?’

‘What? So I could hear her moan about how he wasn’t as good as her favourite author. No, she’d only spoil it … I might see if Cat would like to come with me. I think I made a breakthrough with her today.’

‘So tell me what’s been going on with Leo today? He ran off site like a man possessed.’

‘Let’s finish eating first. It’s a long story and might put me off my food.’

For the rest of the meal they kept the conversation light – with Adrian doing most of the talking about his day of plumbing. At times like this she was glad she really loved him, as it was the only reason she would tolerate hearing about a dripping stop-tap and sticking ball-cocks.

‘So?’ Adrian said as they took two cups of coffee into the lounge.

‘Leo rang me this morning to ask me if he could borrow my car. It turned out it was actually Cat who needed it to go to a hospital appointment. You’ll never believe, she was only having an abortion on her own! So I phoned Leo and told him to get down there if he knew what was good for him. I’m sorry if it left you in the lurch.’

‘No, we managed. He never said anything … An abortion and you knew nothing?’

‘I don’t think I’d know now if she hadn’t dropped the appointment card in my car. When I dropped her off I could tell something was bothering her, but I never guessed it would be that. What are we going to do with him?’

‘I don’t know what you mean. What can we do with him? He’s a grown man.’

‘But fancy, letting the poor girl suffer all that on her own. I thought I’d taught him better than that.’

‘Have you spoken to him?’

‘Not on his own. I tried to be gentle with them both when I collected her. Apparently, she hasn’t even told her mum she was pregnant.’

‘Do you want me to have a word with him, man-to-man?’

‘I don’t know what to do. I’m only sorry he felt he couldn’t talk to me about it first.’

‘He probably thought you’d try and talk them out of it.’

‘Why would I do that?’

‘Because I thought you didn’t agree with abortions?’

‘No, that’s not true. I wouldn’t have one, but I don’t think it’s right to interfere in anyone else’s decision.’

Adrian raised his eyebrows. ‘At the risk of having my head bitten off, is that strictly true?’

‘Why do you know me so well?’ She laughed. ‘I suppose I might have put forward the alternative viewpoint.’

‘Hence, why they didn’t tell you.’

‘But Leo tells me everything … or he used to before he started going out with Cat.’

‘Is that why you’ve never warmed to her… because she took away your baby boy?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve not thought of that before … but maybe. I saw a different side of her today … I think I may have misjudged her.’

‘I’ve always liked her. I think she’s good for him. He’s so laid back … I’m sure some days he’d never get out of bed.’

‘Yes, she does seem to motivate him, and he does love her.’

‘I know you think she’s using him, but I think she loves him as well.’

‘From now on I will try harder. I never want a repeat of today.’

‘I assume they don’t either … But don’t you think it was sensible of them? Neither of them is ready for a baby, she’s only eighteen – far too young to be thinking about motherhood. They’ve got the rest of their lives to have children.’

‘But sometimes these things happen and you can’t get rid of something just because it’s not quite the right time.’

‘Sorry, love. I didn’t mean to be heartless. Has today upset you more than you’re letting on?’

‘I suppose it’s been such a shock … I could’ve been a grandma,’ she said resting her chin in her hands.

‘You’re too young to be a grandma. I, on the other hand, am just the right age to be a granddad. I keep hoping Toby will tell me he’s ready to settle down.’

‘I doubt that. He’s too busy travelling the world.’

‘But he’s thirty-five next birthday.’

‘You were nearly fifty when we had Annabelle.’

‘I know. I’m hoping he doesn’t take after me.’

‘Surely two young girls is enough for anyone your age?’ She laughed.

‘Oy, watch it! I think we’d better change the subject! … Do you want to watch something on television?’

‘Is there anything on?’ She picked up TV Chat and looked.

‘I love you, Bethany Forrester.’ He winked at her.

‘And I love you, “The man for any job”… Here’s the remote, you choose.’

When Adrian’s snoring got so unbearably noisy it was agreed that Beth would sneak out of bed and go sleep in the guest bedroom – tonight was one of those nights. It didn’t help that Beth’s mind was working a double shift. During a large percentage of her day to day life, she could put to the back of her mind the little girl she had given away by pretending it never happened to her – it happened to a friend. But after everything that had transpired during the past twelve hours, putting it out of her mind was impossible.

Over the years she had been tempted on so many occasions to search for her daughter, but was too terrified of the outcome. Maybe today was an omen. It was also one of the main reasons she had agreed to go for counselling. The receptionist at the Marie Stopes clinic said all the ramifications of the adoption could be discussed at the appointment and any help she needed could be given to her then.

Ever since Beth had given her baby up for adoption she had kept a diary of her life – so one day the daughter she couldn’t keep could learn all about her birth mother. She hadn’t written in it every day. In fact, she had hardly written in it this year. It was hidden on the bottom shelf of the airing cupboard in a pillow case. She had chosen that specific hideaway because she could guarantee no-one would ever choose to change their bedding or towels voluntarily.

Without putting the landing light on, she crept along the hallway and opened the door to the airing cupboard. Sliding her hand along the bottom shelf she felt for something hard. She pulled the pillow case containing the diary out from underneath a thick pile of towels and crept back to the guest bedroom to read it. The diary was a loose-leaf A5 Filofax which had been added to over the years – it was now over three hundred pages long. In the past she’d thought about publishing it, because even though she said so herself, it was a scintillating read. Maybe, I could have a word with Jay Trethedick and ask for his advice when I go and see him. Only a month to go before I meet my hero. Come on, no daydreaming. You need to write about today.

She opened the diary at a clean page and started to write.

Dear Denise,

‘Well, what a day …’



New Release: A Gift for Chloe


Available from 5 Prince
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014 
Purchase link :
A Gift for Chloe
Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…
Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.
Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.
Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.
This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.
About Susan Lohrer


Susan Lohrer grew up in more towns in western Canada than she has fingers to count them on. She currently lives in southern BC with her husband of more than two decades, their two teenagers who are still at home, three dogs, and far more aquariums than a reasonable household should contain. She believes life is always better with a healthy dose of humor.
Twitter: @susanlohrer

New Release: Penelope (The Three Mrs Munroes)

Some men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept three.

Available from 5 Prince
Genre Contemporary Romance:
Penelope Book two of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120409 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-040-4
Print ISBN-10: 1631120417 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-041-1
Purchase link :
From loss breeds new life.
Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies. Pregnant she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.
Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.
On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her
heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.
About the Author:

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part
of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its
release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The
married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says
she can write it, because she lives it.
When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly
hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from
her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do.
A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011,
5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to
write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.
How to reach Bernadette Marie
@writesromance on Twitter
Excerpt of Penelope:

Chapter One

God she was miserable.
Heat waves rose off the pavement and the air was thick and
still. Penelope Monroe sat on the front porch in one kitchen chair with her
feet up on another. With gentle strokes, she rubbed her pregnant belly. She
simply couldn’t believe how uncomfortable she was.
The smell of paint from inside the house wafted out and she
tried not to let it make her stomach churn. She’d been appointed to oversee the
two men putting in the new front window. That wasn’t much fun at all.
Both of their butt cracks stuck out of their pants and every
time they talked they cursed then looked at her and apologized. She wasn’t a
prude—well not really. She’d heard those words before, even if she didn’t use
Penelope closed her eyes and wished for a slight breeze. Her
head was buzzing with paint fumes, curse words, and the events of the past few
It had all started when she’d married Adam Monroe.
His image formed in her head and she let out a small sigh.
Those blue eyes and that blonde hair, he was like a god, she
thought. One she’d read about in books. He was a Marine, so his body was
chiseled hard and he carried himself—well, like a god.
He’d been a player. She’d known that. The night she’d first
laid eyes on him, he’d taken her friend home from the bar. At least he’d had
the sense to offer her a ride home before he drove off with Christina—her ex-friend. There were explicit details from Christina she could do with forgetting.
That should have been her clue to never even talk to the man
again. Easy sex from women you picked up in bars wasn’t her style. She’d been a
virgin, after all. She’d been saving herself for her husband. It had been
Christina who thought differently of that. Christina liked the loud music, the
dancing, the beer, and the men. Usually she was considerate of Penelope’s
feelings when they went out. But that night Christina had gotten caught up in
Adam’s blue eyes, his hair, his body, and his voice delivering all the right
Penelope figured she was most mad about the evening because
she’d been having feelings she’d never had before. She thought, briefly, that
had she been given the chance to go home with Adam she’d have done it. She knew
she’d have chickened out, but he’d had a way with turning her heart to mush.
But it had been Christina he’d taken back to his place
and—well, again, she’d just like to forget that she knew every detail of that
She couldn’t have imagined that a few nights later, when
Christina had abandoned her at the bar for another one night stand, that Adam
would walk in and change her life.
The words he used were different than the ones he’d used on
Christina. His moves were gentle and that hadn’t been a word Christina had used
when she’d given Penelope all of her details.
He was a gentleman.
They talked, walked, and dated a few nights. He was sweet
when she told him she was a virgin and she was saving herself for her husband.
Not once did he make a move or cross a line. Then he said he loved her and that
had changed everything.
When he’d asked her to marry him, there had been no
hesitation. They’d gotten married and, that night, she gave herself to him.
Penelope let out a breath and opened her eyes. Everything
changed in that one night.
She ran her hand over her growing stomach. A small part of
Adam grew inside of her, even though he was gone.
The day she’d come to Parson’s Gulch was the day they’d
buried Adam—the day she’d met one of his other wives and seen the other with
his children. She was only one of three Mrs. Monroes. One of three Adam had
lied to. One of three who now fought to move past him.
The very thought of Adam’s lies still made her sick.
But just because she now detested her husband of only a few
months, she couldn’t hate the life that grew inside of her. This child was hers
and in a few days she’d see the baby for the first time. Adam’s other wives
would be there too.
She let out a small chuckle which had the window installers
looking over at her. Kindly, she gave them a smile and closed her eyes again.
Amelia Monroe, Adam’s second wife, had taken her in. She was
kind though Penelope was sure she wasn’t used to being so kind But she’d given
her a place to stay and had just friended her when she’d needed someone to
Vivian, on the other hand, had taken a little longer to warm
up to. But when she had, they’d bonded. Though Vivian wasn’t more than ten
years older than Penelope, she thought of her as a mother figure, where Amelia
was more of a big sister.
Adam’s lies had entangled them.
Adam’s death had brought them together.
Adam’s life grew inside of her.
Penelope opened her eyes and rubbed her aching side.
In just the past week, her stomach had grown so much bigger.
It stretched and Vivian was relentless with the cocoa butter routine. She had
stretch marks from Adam’s other two children and she was going to make sure
Penelope didn’t suffer the same fate.
More than just her stomach had changed though. A week ago,
the entire town changed in fifteen seconds when a tornado ripped through the
sky. There had only been a few injuries and no one had died—thank God!
Vivian’s home had been totaled and the front window of the
century-old house on Main and Pine had blown in. Penelope’s car had also been
totaled, but she thought she’d faired pretty well in that deal. Her beat up old
car, which didn’t always run well, had been replaced by her late husband’s
vintage Mustang.
Penelope had never been one for flashy, vintage cars, but
she couldn’t help herself—she loved this one. It sat against the curb within
view. Oh, she might look sexy in it now, from the neck up. But no one would
ever give her a second look when they saw a baby seat in the back in a few
Sam Jackson, Adam’s lawyer, her boss, and now Amelia’s
fiancé, pulled tree branches around the side of the house and stacked them near
the porch.
“I have the misting fan set up in the kitchen. Maybe you
should go inside,” he called to her.
“Too much paint.”
He nodded as he took his cellphone out of his pocket. He
looked at it, smiled, and walked toward her giving the front window a glance
first. “Why don’t you go in, get yourself a cold bottle of water, and walk
Penelope frowned. She knew it was much hotter upstairs.
Sam climbed the steps of the porch and held his hand out to
her. “C’mon. Amelia is up there. She just texted me. She has something to show
Penelope planted her feet on the floor, took Sam’s hand, and
stood with an umph.
“You start up,” he said placing his hand on her back and
walking her toward the door. “I’ll get you a bottle of water and meet you up
Penelope shifted him a glance and walked inside the house.
The heat was nearly unbearable, but she walked toward the
stairs and started up them.
Sam had redone every tread and in time, when she wasn’t
around, they would stain them and the rest of the floors in the century-old
house, which they were turning into a daycare center.
Adam’s father had donated the house to them. It was a kind
gesture, she thought as she neared the top step. He’d been gracious when they’d
needed it.
Amelia had come up with the great idea that they take what
Adam had and turn it into a business to take care of his children. Amelia
hadn’t asked for anything in return. But when pushed, she’d mentioned she’d
like a gym in the basement.
So far she hadn’t stumbled across the secret project
Penelope and Vivian had been working on. She seemed to be preoccupied with what
she was calling her office upstairs.
Penelope hadn’t been upstairs in weeks. It wasn’t worth the
climb. And now that she was at the top of the stairs and the air was thick and
horribly hot, she knew she’d been right to stay downstairs.
Sam was right behind her with a cold bottle of water. He
handed it to her.
“C’mon, go in,” he said.
“She’s been behind those doors for a week. I don’t want to
be the one who goes in unannounced.”
“You’re chicken.”
“Yeah. You go first. She loves you.”
Sam scowled and stepped forward. “Yeah, and I’m the one she
punched in the gut when I startled her too. I’m walking with heavy footsteps.”
He twisted the knob of one of the closed bedroom doors and
pushed it open. Sticking his head around the corner, he pushed it open just a
bit more.
“She’s afraid to come in. You’re not going to throw anything
are you?”
Penelope heard Amelia grunt and then the door swung open
hard. “Get in here.”
Penelope walked through the thick air toward the room and
gasped when she walked in.
Amelia, Vivian, and Vivian’s daughters were standing in the
room with enormous grins on their faces. “Well, what do you think?”
Penelope looked around at the transformed area. They had
taken the two bedrooms, which shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, and completely
renovated them.
The room she stood in was painted a very soothing shade of
pale green. There was a wrought iron bed with a lacy white spread. Over the
bed, was a painting that she knew Vivian had found in the basement. An antique
dresser and mirror sat against the wall and they’d also added a beautiful
“This is magnificent,” she said with her breath wheezing
out. “This is what you’ve been working on?”
“Yes. You needed a place to stay,” Vivian said. “Amelia did
almost all of it.”
“For me?”
“You and the baby. This is your home now—when the fumes are
all gone.”
She felt the tears sting, but she tried to hold them back.
“I did that.” Emma, Vivian’s four year old daughter said as
she pointed to the rocking chair. “The Teddy bear. I made it at Build-a-Bear.”
Penelope covered her mouth and tears quickly rolled down her
“You’re such a girl,” Amelia teased as she put her arm
around Penelope’s shoulders. “C’mon, there’s more. Try not to cry too much or
you won’t be able to see anything.”
She walked her to the bathroom that joined the two rooms. It
was painted a soft brown and all the fixtures had been replaced with modern
replicas of older ones.
“This is gorgeous. I can’t believe I didn’t know you were
doing this.”
“That would have ruined the surprise. Okay, now you can cry
your eyes out,” Amelia said as she opened the door that led into the next
When Penelope saw it, she did cry harder. The pastel yellow
room with handmade curtains depicting tumbling teddy bears hung from the
window. Matching bumpers adorned a crib against the wall. There was a matching
rocking chair in this room with a teddy bear on the seat.
Ava, Vivian’s two-year-old, tugged on Penelope’s shirt. “I
made that.”
Penelope batted her eyes and ran her hand over Ava’s braids
and smiled. Never in her life could she have expected such love. And to think,
these women and children had been jaded by Adam’s lies too. But they were there
for her and her baby. They embraced her. They loved her.
“I can’t…I don’t…Oh…” she sobbed.
Vivian moved to Penelope and wrapped her arms around her.
“Quit crying. You’re going to make me cry.”
“I don’t deserve this,” Penelope said.
“Sure you do,” Amelia added.
Penelope looked up to see her standing with her arms crossed
over her chest and Sam next to her with his arm around her shoulders. They made
a beautiful picture, she thought. Amelia was very lucky to have fallen in love
with him.
“You’ve all been so nice to me…”
“And we’re going to keep being nice.” Amelia walked toward
her and whispered, “Adam brought us together. We are all family now.” She took
Penelope’s hands in hers. “This is the least he could do to take care of you
and your baby.”
Again, Amelia was being sweet and that nearly made Penelope
want to laugh. But she’d learned this side of Amelia was as genuine as the side
that liked to kick men’s butts.
As Ava and Emma showed Penelope all the parts to their baby’s room, the doorbell rang.
They all exchanged glances and Vivian shook her head. “I’ll
get it. It’s probably those boobs putting in the window.”
Penelope watched her walk out of the room and then, hand in
hand, Sam and Amelia walked out too. She looked down at the sisters of her baby
and smiled. She’d be okay without Adam there or any other man for that matter.
She and her baby were loved. That’s all that mattered.

Cover Reveal: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Contemporary
Release Date: September 25, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120646 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-064-0
Print ISBN-10:1631120654 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-065-7
Have you got a secret hidden so deep that thinking about it threatens to overwhelm you?
Bethany Forrester and Denizon Cartwright are mother and daughter but they haven’t seen each other for thirty five years. Not since Beth gave Denizon up for adoption when she was two days old.
“How to Have a Happy Marriage” tells the story of how they find each other and their lives and loves along the way – from the stormy relationship between Beth and her husband to Denizon’s quest for true happiness and real love.
We follow the ups and downs of the pair as they struggle to fit each other into their already complicated lives.
Will it be a happy ending for either of them?
Find out in the final chapter of the “How to …” series of books.

Launch: Bridge of Hope

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
Purchase link :
Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…
I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the
most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon;
my guitar.
But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I took my anger out on her.
On Mallory.
But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last
person she wanted help from.
Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?
About Lisa J Hobman

Lisa is a happily married mum of one with two crazy dogs and a passion for writing.  After relocating to Scotland from England and writing her first novel she gave up on running a craft business to do what she loves full time and is now putting the finishing touches to books four and five so watch this space.


How to contact Lisa J Hobman:
Excerpt of Bridge of Hope:

Chapter One

January 2011
It had been the same damned nightmare again.
I’d been experiencing what the doctor called night terrors ever since receiving the news that Mairi had been declared dead. The love of my fucking life… dead.
There were no words to describe the physical pain knotting my insides every
time I realised it was true and not just a cruel dream.
There had been no body to bury. But apparently that’s not uncommon when
people are lost up the side of a mountain like K2. People can lie undiscovered
for years up there, so I’m told.
Sobering thought.
The stupid thing was that I wasn’t even there when it happened, but for
some bizarre reason my psyche had built up its own series of events and
insisted on torturing me with the movie of Mairi’s death every time I closed my
What I wouldn’t give for a peaceful night’s sleep.
I’d taken on extra work whenever I wasn’t on the water. The boat was
only a seasonal thing anyway. And although tourists loved the area surrounding
the bridge over the Atlantic, taking a trip out on Little Blue on choppy water wasn’t for fainthearted, unseasoned sailors. So I’d taken on work as a handyman. I was fixing taps, sealing sinks, unblocking drains. Oddly, all the jobs seemed to be water related. Maybe that
was because I had a combination of water and single malt running through ma veins.
Who knows?
Keeping busy was my intention. Being occupied was the only thing
stopping me from slipping into a deep depression, and I knew all too well how
easy it would’ve been just to let go and fall into the abyss like Mairi did in
my nightmares.
I’d met her when I was out walking. I’d pretty much given up hope of
ever falling in love for real. I’d had a shot at it before—Alice was her name,
but the less said about her right now the better. But life likes to throw in
curveballs every so often. And so there I was up by the Buckle, taking in the
scenery and fresh air, when this fiery-haired girl tripped over her laces and
into my arms. She had the most stunning smile I’d ever seen. And her eyes…
Let’s just say when she gazed up at me she melted my heart. We chatted for ages
and it was just… so natural.
I was never going to be the same again.
Our relationship progressed quickly and was very physical. I was a fair few years older than her but I had no trouble keeping up, if you know what I mean. I loved every inch of her body with a passion I’d never experienced before. It was raw and real. I’d sit
watching her as she studied maps and reference books about climbing. Every so
often she’d glance up and catch me staring and she’d just smile, climb into my
lap, and kiss me.
After Alice and I split—I won’t bore you with the details just yet,
let’s just say that she was a nasty piece of work who messed with my head and
broke my heart, more than once—I swore off love and all it entailed. I didn’t need a woman in my life. Or so I thought. But when I lost Mairi, it was like someone had ripped out ma heart and stamped on it whilst I watched. The pain was excruciating.
Physical, gut-twisting pain.
I felt sure they’d gotten it wrong. She went to K2 with experienced
climbers. She was an experienced mountaineer too. It’d been her dream for so long. I wasn’t about to stand in her way, and the thought that she may not come back never even entered my head.
Not being able to say goodbye was the worst thing. The small memorial
service we held was devoid of emotion. It was as if her friends and family were
in some kind of denial.
I think I was too.
Thinking back to the morning she left for the trip broke my heart, but I
couldn’t stop myself.
June 2010
Her long, titian curls fanned out on the pillow beside me and she smiled
as she slept. She was exposed to me from the waist up and I lay there on my
side, willing her to awaken. I wasn’t going to see her for months and I wanted
to get my fill whilst I still could. I gently stroked her chin, down between
her creamy bare breasts to her navel. It was cruel but I wanted her to open her
eyes. Instead she whacked my hand away and muttered expletives. I burst out
laughing, trying my best to do it quietly but failing miserably.
She picked up one of the spare pillows and hit me on the head with it,
making me chuckle again. “Gregory McBradden, you’re a total shit. I was having
a really sexy dream,” she whined, eyes still closed.
I leaned in. With my mouth next to her ear, I whispered, “Open your eyes
and let’s make your dream come true, love.” That got her every time. Goose
bumps pricked her skin and she moaned. Her eyes sprang open and she pounced on
me, pushing me onto my back and straddling my waist.
God, she was so beautiful.
I gazed up at her. Her pert breasts begging for my touch. I was already
hard, but seeing her like this did something to my insides and brought out the
animalistic side of me. I gripped her hips as I inhaled a deep breath, trying
my best to calm the furnace raging beneath my skin. As she bent to take my
mouth in a deep, sensual kiss, her hair cascaded to my chest. Our tongues
slipped and slid together in an erotic dance, and every nerve in my body sprang
to life just for her. Every fibre of my being was drawn to her; needed her.
I swept the hair back from her face and fixed my eyes on hers.
“Do you know how much I love you, Mairi? Do you know how much I’m going
to miss you when you’re gone? It doesn’t matter how far apart we are. You’re
still in here,” I said, touching my head. “And in here.” I touched my chest
over my heart. She stared silently at me for a moment and then closed her eyes.
A tear slipped down her cheek and I caught it with my thumb. “Hey, what’s
She inhaled deeply. “Nothing. I’m just… really nervous about the whole
trip. K2 has been my dream for so long, but now… I’m terrified. What if I’m not
fit enough? What if I can’t do it, Greg?”
I slid my calloused hands up her smooth, taut thighs where they gripped
me, to the dip between her hip and waist as my eyes followed the journey of my
fingers. I swallowed hard at the feel of her muscles tightening under my
caress, and my breath caught in my throat as I replied, “Come on, love, you are fit enough and strong enough. You’ve been working towards this for so long, how could you not be? You’re bound to be nervous. But you’re fulfilling a dream, and there’s not many folk can say
they’ve done that. You’ll be fine. Absolutely fine. But I might not be.” I
stuck out my bottom lip, trying to lighten the mood. “My heart might break into
a million pieces when I’m left here by mysel’. What will I do?”
She bent and kissed my nose. And then with a sexy smile, she smoothed
her hands down my chest and it was my turn to shiver.
“You’ll have to dream of me naked on top of you like this, and that’ll
cheer you up.” She rolled her hips, making me bite my lip.
I inhaled deeply. “Aye, I suppose it will. But having you back here
again so I can do this again…” In one sweep of my arms I had her beneath me, my
body between her silky thighs. I sank into her, pleasure radiating from where
we were joined. “… is what I’ll be looking forward to.”
A breathy moan escaped through her full lips. She closed her eyes as she
welcomed me in and slipped her arms around my neck. I kissed her everywhere I
could reach, taking each nipple into my mouth slowly and nibbling on the little
buds as they tightened. Gasping, she fixed her eyes on mine as I moved deep
within her.
Overwhelming emotions ripped through me as I made love to her. My Mairi.
I took in every sensation and every look; my heart aching at the thought of
being apart from her for so long. As she pulsed around me and her orgasm took
her soaring off into the stratosphere, I kept my gaze locked on hers, hoping I
was conveying everything through my eyes that I couldn’t put into words, and I
followed soon after.
Afterwards, we lay there in each other’s arms for what felt like hours.
I was unwilling to let her go, telling myself I’d hold her for a few minutes
more. When she eventually withdrew from my embrace, I lay back and fought the
fears niggling deep within me.
Stupid fears.
What if she meets someone who’s more her age? What if she meets someone
who loves climbing the way she does? What if she doesn’t miss me as much as I
miss her? What if she loves it so much out there that she decides to stay? What
if? What if? What fucking if?
A couple of hours later we set off to the airport, and for the first
part of the journey we both sat in silent contemplation. There were so many
things I wanted to say, but the words never came and I cursed myself for being
so fucking useless at expressing myself.
Luckily, she knew what I was like. I’d spent the day before looking for
songs to express how I felt and I’d made a CD. The silence in the car was
deafening and so I reached over and hit play. I made eye contact with her for a
few moments as the opening chords to “I Will Remember You” by Ryan Cabrera
filled the small space between us. Turning my eyes back to the road, I saw her
in my peripheral vision, wiping her eyes as her lip trembled.
At the airport I pulled her into my arms and held her against my chest.
I knew she must have felt the rapid pounding of my heart as we stood inside the
terminal. Tears threatened. My eyes were desperate to give them up, but I tried
so hard not to make the situation more difficult than it already was.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I pulled away and gazed into her emerald eyes
one last time.
My voice wavered as I told her, “I’m not going to say goodbye because I
hate that word and we’ll be back together before you know it anyway. So I’m
going to say have a great time and stay safe. And know that I’ll be thinking of
you every moment whilst you’re gone.”
Pulling me toward her, she kissed me with a ferocity that took my breath
away. I fisted my hands in her hair and returned the kiss with equal passion.
When I eventually pulled away, I cupped her face in my hands and stroked the
apples of her cheeks with my thumbs. “It’s just a few months, love. Go and show
’em what you’re made of, eh?”
She nodded and gripped my hands where they lay on her skin. Relentless
tears spilled from her eyes as she let go and turned to walk away. All my fears
bubbled to the surface once again and I couldn’t hold back. “I love you, Mairi.
And one day I want to marry you!” I shouted.
As soon as the words left my mouth I clamped it shut.
We’d never discussed marriage before. But I have a tendency to say
what’s on my mind without thinking about the consequences, and this was one of
those times. I was filled with dread. Had I just given her a ticket to
Get-Out-Ville? Again, fuck! My heart hammered like it was trying to do a
fucking runner and my mouth went dry.
The people around us stopped and stared.
Mairi halted in her tracks and I froze. She turned to face me, her mouth
open in what I can only describe as utter, mind-frying shock. I swallowed hard,
my mind racing to find something to say to take the words back. But a beautiful
smile appeared on her face. She ran toward me and flung her arms around my
neck, her legs around my waist. Everyone around us applauded as I hugged her
into my body before letting her go and setting her down again. With one last
heart-melting smile she stroked my cheek, turned, and walked away.



Cover Reveal: A Gift for Chloe



Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120662 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-066-4
A Gift for Chloe
Her carefully ordered world is turning
upside down…
Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.
Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for.  It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is
something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.
Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.


This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.