Monday, April 25, 2011

Melanie Milburne: The Unclaimed Baby

Have you ever had someone ask you to keep a secret? I get asked to do it from time to time and I find it really hard. Not that I would ever betray a friend or anything, but just the fact that someone had begged me, “Don’t tell anyone” makes me feel under enormous pressure. I have to check every word that comes out of my mouth when I’m talking to a mutual friend!

However, I love writing stories about secrets. And one theme that I have revisited a few times now is The Secret Baby Plot. But times have changed and so have readers. While in the past keeping a hero’s child a secret from him worked quite well, these days readers like to have a very good reason why the heroine would not or could not tell him of the existence of or expectation of a child.

In Unclaimed Baby (released in UK/ Australia as Scandal: Unclaimed Love Child) is a story about two secrets. One of course is the baby, but the other is the secret about Luca Sabbatini’s health. He is plagued by a condition that he has told no one about. Not even his family knows. And he has certainly not told Bronte Bennett, the beautiful ballet student he has been seeing.
 Facing the prospect of  do-or-die brain surgery, Luca comes to the decision he must end his relationship with Bronte. He gives her no explanation. He just cuts her from his life. He blocks all contact. He wants to have a clean break so she can move on with her life. He doesn’t want her to give up her life for him if he was to become an invalid. A heroic choice but sadly it backfires on him terribly.
Two years on from his surgery Luca steps back into Bronte’s life. Unlike Ashleigh in The Secret Baby Bargain who felt she couldn’t risk telling Jake she was pregnant, but just like Scarlet in The Marciano Love-Child, and Charlotte in Bought for Her Baby - (See? I told you I like this theme!) Bronte did everything she could to contact Luca to tell him he was to become a father, but finally gave up in frustration and anger.
When Luca makes it clear he wants to resume his affair with her she is furious. Where was he when she needed him most? Bronte wants to tell him about little Ella, and is working up the courage to do so when he finds out via someone else. What a shock to find he has a child!  
Luca is one of my favorite heroes because he really tried to do what he felt was the right thing by Bronte. He was terrified of becoming an invalid and thereby tying her to him. He knew her well enough to know she would never desert him.
This is the first book in my Sabbatini Brothers Trilogy and I wrote the other two books around the premise of this one because Luca, like his older and younger brother, needed to learn that love can truly conquer all.
Warmest wishes,
Melanie Milburne
p.s. Do you find it hard to keep a secret?!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kate Walker: Springtime – and New Beginnings

I’m celebrating today -  for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have a new book out – The Proud Wife is released in Harlequin Presents  Every new book that I have published is a real thrill. It’s a delight and an excitement that never goes away – no matter how many titles I have in my backlist. This latest, brand-new, beautiful ‘baby’ is one I’ve never seen in the shops before. It’s a ‘first’ for this title and seeing it in all its untouched beauty in a new cover, new title is a very special thrill.  A whole new beginning.
It’s one of the best things about being an author. That feeling of seeing your work in print is something that never fades – or it hasn’t for me. I may be heading for my 60th romance title   but I always love that feeling of having a brand new book out there so that readers can find it and  - hopefully  - enjoy it.   So The Proud Wife is one reason why I’m celebrating.  I’m so happy to have this book out in the shops and  I hope that readers will love my heroine Marina and her  estranged husband  the Sicilian Prince  Pietro D’Inzeo.  I’ve been thrilled by the response to this book in the UK – it was at #1 in the bestsellers on the Mills & Boon website for 3 weeks and one reviewer called it a ‘Modern masterpiece’.
But  there’s a second reason why this month is very special for me and that involves a past book – one that I had published  last year – in  March 2010 to be precise. I’m now finally able to announce, The Konstantos Marriage Demand, has just been awarded Best Presents Extra 2010 in the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards. I just wish I could be at the RT convention this week to pick up the award but I’m in the UK and  I’m on a really tight deadline so there just wasn’t the opportunity to be there.  I’ll raise a toast to the book – and to everyone who’s going to be there anyway!
Both The Proud Wife and The Konstantos Marriage Demand  are about one of the themes I most love to write – and read about  - in romance. And that’s the theme of lovers reunited. When a couple have once been  lovers - once so very close, intimate in all ways that a man and woman can be, and then are torn apart by some action   of Fate, some terrible mistake on  the part of one – or both of them – the fact that they once cared so much makes the pain of the break-up so much worse to bear.   When  my hero and heroine have once felt a deep, passionate love and something comes along to destroy that feeling  then   where there once was a deep love, now there is a deep, deep pain. The loss of the feeling they once had leaves a real emptiness inside.   And they close themselves off from the source of that loss – the person they once loved.
 I love writing this theme because there is so much raw emotion in  the idea of second chances, of the hope of starting again,  building a new future from the shattered pieces of the old one.  So this is a really appropriate time of year for these books to come out.  Here in the UK, the real signs of Spring are starting to show. The  tulips and daffodils are coming into flower, so are the primroses, all making a brave display of colour and brightness after the long dark, cold  days  of winter. The blossom is blooming in the trees, the birds are singing and building nests and a whole new sense of life and renewal is filling the air .
I always think that this is just like a romance story. We have a saying  that  March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb – and that’s the way the story  of  lovers reunited develops.  The conflict between them – the reasons why they split up, the lack of trust,  the anger and pain that drove them apart are all like the  stormy, dark days of winter. Times when the wild winds howl and the nights are cold and bleak.  But slowly, gradually that coldness  changes and turns into  a hope of a new spring – a new beginning.   It’s not a just a new calm but  a green, golden and fertile peace. One that has the promise of potential for growth and trust – and a whole new future.

That’s why Spring has always been my favourite season   and it’s the  reason why I love reunion stories so much.  In The Proud Wife, Pietro and Marina  start out  in one of the darkest times in their lives. When the love they once shared seems to have totally disappeared, been destroyed by the tragedy that tore them apart.   Both of them believe that there is no future for them together – and they meet up in the lawyer’s office to put the final  nail in the coffin of their marriage – and sign the divorce papers. But from their very first meeting, it’s so obvious that there is still so much between them – if only they can  work through the pain of the past.
They don’t find it easy. They’re both proud, determined people. Both hurt by the past and scared of going through that pain all over again.  But they both know that no one else has ever made them feel  the way  they make each other feel.  So can they find a way to put the past behind them,  put right the mistakes they made,  and create for themselves a new future – together?
You’ll have to read The Proud Wife to find out!  Romantic Times gave this book  4.5 stars and called it  “ an emotionally charged page-turner with plenty of tension and passion.” And that sounds to me like  ‘coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb’ – just like  the month of March merging into April as Spring arrives.

You can find out more about The Proud Wife over on my web site and you can read all my latest news and the most up to date events on my blog.  I hope to see you there

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 2011 Releases

Picture of Innocence by Jacqueline Baird

Lucy Steadman refuses to be intimidated by brooding Italian Lorenzo Zanelli. He may hold the fate of her family's business in his iron fist, but she will not submit to his more personal demands.

As a talented artist, Lucy can see the truth in beauty; Lorenzo may be devastatingly handsome, but he has a soul blackened by his desire for revenge. And to give in to such a man, even for a single kiss, would be to lose her head—and her heart—forever….

For more information, visit

The Devil's Heart by Lynn Raye Harris

Francesca D'Oro was just eighteen when darkly sexy Marcos Navarre swept her up the aisle—then fled before the ink on the marriage license had dried. Marcos might have given Francesca a jewel for her finger, but he stole another: the Devil's Heart, a dazzling yellow diamond he believed belonged to his family….

Years later, Francesca, no longer so youthfully naive, is determined to reclaim the precious gem! But she's forgotten that Marcos lives up to the treasure's name—and dealing with the devil is always dangerous!

For more information, visit

Not For Sale by Sandra Marton

Lucas Vieira needs a translator to seal a high-profile business deal, and also a woman to pose as his girlfriend to fend off a colleague's overeager wife—so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Linguist Caroline Hamilton jumps at the chance to earn some decent money. But when she meets her client, she realizes she may be out of her league. The powerful Brazilian seems to be interested in more than just her brains….

Is the price of this passion too high?

For more information, visit

The Proud Wife by Kate Walker

Marina thought her dreams had come true when her husband placed a wedding band on her finger. But their marriage was not the fairy tale she'd hoped for, and eventually Marina walked away, her heart broken.

Two years later Pietro D'Inzeo no longer haunts Marina's dreams. She knows the time has come to move on, and even a summons to join him in Sicily won't deter her….

However, with his wife standing before him, about to sign on the dotted line of their divorce papers, Pietro wonders why he ever let her go.

For more information, visit