GIVEAWAY NOW ENDED
And the winner is: Kerry McKenzie!
We’re back with four fabulous authors over four days and a book giveaway a day!
What does a house or a home mean to a character in a book?
All my guest authors this week are ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) 2014 Award finalists for Romantic Suspense fiction - and for good reason.
In today's post there's an international giveaway of an Amazon kindle copy of the featured book:
IN SAFE ARMS plus a choice of one of any of my books (international, Amazon kindle)
for either you or a friend.
Today our guest is Lee Christine, author of Romantic Suspense and also Rural Romance
Nate Hunter, hero.
Character bio: Nate is in his early thirties and a talented detective with the Sydney Gang Squad. For the past two years he’s been deep undercover with the notorious ‘Choir Boys’ motorcycle gang. Nate’s focused and strategic, and has no trouble keeping his cool as the gang embark on a bikie turf war with their greatest rivals, the Southern Cross. But Nate’s also jaded, tired and lonely. And he’s beginning to fear he doesn’t know who he is anymore.
Nate Hunter’s safe house is in the Blue Mountains, perched on the edge of the Jamieson Valley. It’s the perfect sanctuary for the heroine who has witnessed the murder of a bikie president and needs to hide out. Nate designed the house himself. It has a sunken lounge room with a wing on each side. The house looks out over the valley and has a garage big enough to house his ute, his WRX and the Harley Davidson motorcycle he uses when he’s with the Choir Boys. But the feature Nate loves most is the vine-covered, wrought iron arbour in his garden which leads to a World War II air-raid shelter built into the side of a hill. Cold and dark, the old air-raid shelter makes a perfect wine cellar, which happens to house a well-aged, celebratory drop for when the heroine turns twenty-one while staying at the safe house.
What makes a house a home for Nate?
Nate craves the peace and quiet of the mountains after the mayhem of Sydney. He yearns to lie low, to let his guard down and be Nate Hunter again. He likes the sense of community in the mountains, though being recognised by the locals is a risk as it could place both himself and the heroine in mortal danger. Nate loves to go running through the many trails in the Jamieson Valley and to abseil, though his climbing gear is going rusty in the garage. He longs for a family to fill the house and he’d love to spend time turning the old air-raid shelter into a top wine cellar which could also be used as a fire shelter for the locals in the case of a bushfire emergency.
In Safe Arms: book blurb
Extract from In Safe Arms
Outside, Josie squinted in the darkness, barely able to make out the overgrown pathway curving through what looked like a cottage garden.
The house was perched on the edge of the valley, and this afternoon she’d stood at the bedroom window watching the cable car lift tourists high above the heavily wooded valleys and gorges. At that time, the mountains had been bathed in the famous blue light after which they were named. Now, a smattering of stars and a shadowed slice of moon pierced the cloak of darkness wrapping around them.
‘See those two luminous stars?’
Josie looked up and studied the sky. ‘Is that the Southern Cross — because that would be just a little bit creepy?’
He gave a low chuckle. ‘No, the Southern Cross is the most famous constellation, but the Centaurus is the brightest in the Southern Hemisphere. Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri. Much brighter up here than in the city.’
‘They’re beautiful.’ She glanced at the Alpha Centauri beside her, hyperaware of his hand on her arm. Crickets chirped, and a faint aroma of orange blossom and diosma perfumed the evening air. ‘Where are we going?’
He pointed with the torch, though he hadn’t switched it on. ‘There’s an old air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden. It’s built into the hill, obscured by vines and shrubs. Undetectable, even in the daylight.’
‘Is solitary confinement really necessary?’ She had the urge to tease. He’d been nice about the food thing at lunch, and she was buoyed by the news the operation could move swiftly now.
‘Well, let’s consider your misdemeanours. Biting a policeman, kicking a policeman, swearing at a — ’
‘Okay, okay. So it’s rations for me.’
‘And a week in the hole — minimum, if you’re lucky.’
Something big shot out of the grass beside her and she clutched at Nate, the reaction instinctive, her body in motion before her mind could catch up.
To her surprise, he wrapped a warm, muscular arm around her waist and drew her close against his side. ‘Strange, how I’ve suddenly become the lesser of two evils.’
Heat flooded through Josie’s body, heart banging in a way she could get used to. ‘What was that?’
‘Probably just a bunny.’ His fingers squeezed her waist through the cotton material of her track top, sending a delightful buzz humming along her veins.
‘No not really.’ He dipped his head, mouth close to her ear, breath warm in her hair. ‘There’s a goanna around here. He eats all the bunnies.’
The night shrouded them in an intimate darkness, so even the shadowy outlines of trees and shrubs were no longer visible. ‘Yeah, yeah, keep going senior, and I might just believe you.’
Oh gees, was that her voice, all breathy and excited? His body heat seared into her side, igniting a flame within, and suddenly it seemed perfectly natural to angle her body towards him and slide a reciprocal arm around his waist.
He pulled her closer, the decisive move scrambling her senses like words in a decoding machine. He handled her body with a man’s confidence, a man experienced with female anatomy by the feel of it. Moulded to his side, her hipbone brushed his thigh as they walked, the top of her head barely reaching his chin.
And then all too soon, it was over.
He came to a halt and switched on the torch. ‘We’re here.’
Josie blinked in the sudden light. She was staring at a wall of greenery.
They separated, and she turned, couldn’t help gasping as she stared at the wrought iron feature through which they’d come. An arbour arched overhead, and when Nate pointed the torch skyward, she could see a thick coverage of wisteria that had blocked out the breeze, the clouds and even the moon.
‘No wonder everything went so quiet. It’s beautiful. Why couldn’t I see this from the house?’
‘It’s off to one side. During World War II, the owner hollowed out a part of the hill. He built the arbour to disguise the entrance. In recent times, it’s been useful as a bushfire shelter. I don’t lock it for that reason.’
He turned back to the wall in front of them and began tearing away long pieces of vine. Then he thrust a hand through the foliage and groped around. ‘There’s a handle in here.’ He gave a grunt. There was a rusty squeak, and then a perfectly rectangular, vine covered door swung open.
‘Ever hear a strange crying from behind the door, detective?’
He gave her a blank look. ‘I won’t even pretend to know what that means.’
Josie smiled. ‘The Secret Garden. One of my favourite novels as a child. I used to pretend I was Mary. Looking back, I probably identified with her in some way.’
‘Fair enough.’ He shone the torch into the room. ‘I identify with vignerons. I turned it into a wine cellar.’
More of Lee Christine's books
All of Lee Christine's books can be read as stand-alone novels.
Find out more about Lee and her books on her webpage LeeChristine.com.au
Say hi to Lee on her Facebook page LeeChristine
Huge thanks to Lee for participating in my A house is a home when... series.
I love to share great books with my readers.
LEAVE A COMMENT for Lee and you’re in the draw to WIN a copy of In Safe Arms for either Amazon kindle or iBooks plus your choice of one of any of my books (Amazon kindle or iBooks) for either you or a friend.
Giveaways drawn Sunday 22 Nov midnight AEST.
GIVEAWAY NOW ENDED
And the winner is: Kerry McKenzie!
Jennie, in the company of Lee xx
"We may not have everything in life we want but at least we can have it all in a book." ~ Jennie Jones