Reading, Romance, Sob-Inducing Stories, Tule Publishing

Small Town Perfection: Marietta


Marietta is the setting for a number of Tule Publishing books, but my favourite series is The Great Wedding Giveaway.  Set in ranching land in Montana, the town seems to see a spate of romances burst up, set around a very interesting Wedding Giveaway!

The prequel to the series, Jane Porter‘s The Tycoon’s Kiss, follows Marietta’s librarian Taylor and its most eligible bachelor Troy, as they’re pushed into attending the Valentine Ball together, and sets the scene for the rest of the series!

Ella’s furious when her father puts an ad in the local saloon, trying to find a husband for her in, What the Bride Wants by Kelly Hunter, and so she retaliates with an ad of her own – for a lover!  only she didn’t expect newcomer Cam to take her ad quite so seriously…

Second Chance Bride by Trish Morey takes place across the Globe in Australia, where Scarlett – dumped by the boyfriend she flew across the world to be with – is trying desperately to get back to Marietta – but will Mitch Bannister be able to persuade her to stay?

Scarlet’s sensible sister Tara discovers that her fiancé’s been cheating on her in Sarah Mayberry‘s  Almost a Bride, and so she decides to go a bit wild!  And on her list is acting on her suppressed feelings for Reid.  But Reid is a wanderer by nature, and Tara’s a Marietta girl through and through…

Emma’s a British nanny that finds herself in the wilds of Montana in The Unexpected Bride by Joanne Walsh, looking for a job.  And Laurent definitely needs help as between his out of control kids and his crazy job, he’s being driven to the very edge!  Will Emma be able to settle so far from home, and with a man who’s scared of letting her in?

In Katherine Garbera‘s The Cowboy’s Reluctant Bride, Risa has escaped to Marietta and restarted her life – trying to leave trauma behind her.  Only she can’t forget Monty, the handsome and protective Marine that she left without an explanation, and when he appears in the small town, she doesn’t know how to explain herself!

Family weddings have always filled Emmy with dread, but in A Game of Brides by Megan Crane, she’s got no choice but to attend her sister’s.  So when she bumps into Griffin and the spark that was always between them flares, she decides to have a little no strings sex.  But is he really completely disentangled from his fiancee?  And is she really so detached herself?

Kathleen O’Brien‘s The Substitute Bride sees Marly return home to Marietta jilted and pregnant.  She’s stuck in tiny apartment with her disapproving mum, and then the bane of her teenage life, Drake appears on the scene…

Cole’s been all about responsibility for as longs he can remember.  So when he upped and got married in Las Vegas last year, it couldn’t have been more out of character,  Only in Last Year’s Bride by Anne McAllister, his wife Nell has appeared in Marietta, complete with romantic reality television program!

Andie can’t quite understand how the entry she made for Marietta’s Wedding Giveaway got entered in Make-Believe Wedding by Sarah Mayberry – it was only wishful thinking!  Only now she and Heath are having to pretend to be engaged to spare her humiliation…

Marietta’s absolutely charming, and I love the idea of the town having a little Wedding Giveaway competition – it’s the sort of thing that would only ever happen in a small town!

Mills & Boon, Romance, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Kelly Hunter

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Kelly Hunter

I love the fact that Kelly Hunter has essentially perfected the law-breaking hero in Flirting with Intent:

Ruby’s Relationship Rules…

Ruby Maguire’s done with being messed around by men. Now she just needs to know three things about a potential bedmate: his name, where he’ll be in a week’s time, and what it is he wants from her. Damon West knows plenty about subterfuge and secrets, and nothing about being truthful with women.

But Ruby demands honesty between them so Damon gives her as much as he can: I’m Damon West. I’ll be leaving Singapore in a week. And I want you to touch me. At least, that was the intent…but something’s telling normally bullet-proof Damon that one week with Ruby might not be so easy to recover from…


Ruby’s a PA for a top businessman in Asia, and she’s determined to put her father’s disgrace behind her; all she wants to do is focus on her job, and possibly a have a fling or two.  But then she meets Damon and their attraction is off the chart!

I really love the conflict here; Damon is a genius computer hacker, and Ruby’s been stung by men with no respect for the law before (ie. her father), so it makes for really great intensity between the two of them, and a fantastic black moment!

Also, the balance between the two of them, with Ruby being all bubbly and cheerful, contrasting with Damon’s more solemn approach to life really works.

Hunter’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • The Man She Loves to Hate  (Jolie hates Cole.  His father took her mother as a mistress and his family turned her into a social pariah.  The only problem is, is that she’s found herself stuck with him in a cabin during a snow storm, and he’s not as repulsive as she’d have liked…)
  • Cracking the Dating Code  (Nerdy Poppy needs peace and quiet to crack the code that she hopes will reveal her missing brother’s whereabouts, but when Sebastian – the owner of the island she’s staying on – appears, she finds it difficult to concentrate on anything else!)
  • What the Bride Didn’t Know  (Trig and Lena have always been attracted to each other, although his being her brother’s best friend makes things a little more complicated.  But when a bump on the head makes her think they’re married, will Trig be able to stay away?)
  • The Party Dare  (Breanna loves throwing parties – it’s the best way for her to forget about her past – but will she be able to resist her uptight new neighbour Leo?)

So what’s Kelly been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

There’s her Modern novel for Mills & Boon, The Spy Who Tamed Me, the sequel to Flirting with Intent, Cracking the Dating Code and What the Bride Didn’t Know:


Jared’s been undercover for so long that returning to his old life seems completely surreal, but all he wants is to get back to work.  And it’s the job of the new Director of Operations, Rowan, to make sure that he’s ready to return to duty…

She’s also written a number of books for Tule Publishing, as part of various mini-series:


  • What a Bride Wants  (When Ella’s father puts an ad in the paper for a husband for her, she’s furious.  A couple of drinks later and she posts an ad of her own:  lover wanted.  Cam Sawyer knows he could be the lover that Ella needs, but will he also end up answering her father’s ad as well?)
  • What a Bachelor Needs  (Skiing champion Jett is expecting to take whoever bids for him onto the slopes, but when single mum Mardie’s friends realise that he’s also got handyman skills, he finds himself fixing up her dilapidated house…)
  • Pursued by the Rogue  (Dawn doesn’t do relationships, but she can’t resist Finnbar Sullivan and so sets up a casual, sex-only arrangement with him.  But Finn wants more than just sex!)

She’s also just completed The Jackson Brothers trilogy:

  • The Courage of Eli Jackson  (Eli has just married the perfect woman as part of an online role-playing game!  But when his brothers bestow a real-world honeymoon package for him and Zoey, he can’t quite believe his luck…)
  • The Heart of Caleb Jackson  (Only one woman ever tamed Caleb Jackson, and when Bree Tucker returns home to Brunswick Bay, he won’t let anything get in the way of them both!)
  • The Downfall of Cutter Jackson  (Cutter Jackson really isn’t having the best time.  All of a sudden he’s discovered that he has a half brother, his father’s refusing to give up his secrets, and there’s the most frustrating woman in the world come into his life, in the form of Mia Blake! )

Accidentally educated in the sciences, Kelly Hunter didn’t think to start writing romances until she was surrounded by the jungles of Malaysia for a year and didn’t have anything to read. Eventually she decided that writing romance suited her far better than throwing sterile screw-worm flies out of airplane windows, and changed careers.

Kelly now lives in Australia, surrounded by lush farmland and family, 2 dogs, 3 miniature cows, a miniature pig, a 3-legged cat and a small flock of curious chickens. There are still flies, but their maggots don’t feed on flesh. Bargain.

Kelly is a USA Today bestselling author, a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and loves writing to the short contemporary romance form.

Find out more about her and her writing on her Facebook pageTwitter, and on her website.

Guestpost, Mills & Boon, Reading, Romance, Writing

Guestpost – Kelly Hunter; What’s In a Setting?

Kelly Hunter promo pic small

After a decade spent writing category romance for the international marketplace, I’ve come to the conclusion that where I set a story has a rather large impact on how well that story sells. Choose a recognizable and appealing location, play to its strengths, linger longer on its unique beauty … and sale!

I should have just asked the real-estate guy.

But there are caveats when it comes to sales, be it within real estate or romance novels. Who you’re trying to sell to matters rather a lot. Are they familiar with your setting? Do they want the location you’re peddling?

Sometimes not.


Being an Australian author writing predominantly for UK and US markets, I regularly come unstuck in that the places I find fascinating and want to write about aren’t necessarily recognisable locations with widespread appeal. Can’t please everyone, I thought early on in my career—although as a romance author writing for a publisher with unparalleled worldwide distribution, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try.

Write to the market, yes. Test the market? That too, which is another way of saying “I don’t always want to write stories set in bestselling locations, so occasionally I’m going to write about some other place that interests me.” Occasionally, I’d wear the consequences of such tests—meaning poor sales and delayed entry into some of my bigger markets. I used to budget for it in that for every risky setting used, I’d write two other safe-set stories to go with it.

These days I set my stories far and wide, without any of the budgeting I once did. My reasons?

Stubbornness, obviously, along with enough financial security to allow a little leeway when it comes to sales. Markets changing, opening up, shrinking, and no crystal ball for any of it. Books go round a second, third and fourth time and meet a different market every time. It’s fascinating stuff. Above all, I want diversity in my romance reading mix, alongside familiar stories I know I’ll love. I’ll try anything once (twice, three times). And sometimes I’ll find a new favourite.

Bennetts Blog Promo

I’ve a series on sale in Australia at the moment, called the Bennetts. They were the ones who got me thinking about settings and market preferences and stories coming around again.

So what’s the series about?

One independent young woman, four overprotective older brothers, and settings ranging from London to Hong Kong, outback Australia, the Greek Islands and Singapore. The Bennetts are Australian by birth but the extended family they acquire is an international one.

Series order is:

  1. Wife for a Week
  2. Priceless
  3. Taken by the Bad Boy
  4. Untameable Rogue
  5. Red Hot Renegade

The first book in the series, Wife For A Week, is FREE on iBooks Aus and Amazon Aus.

Wife For A Week Aus e

Kelly’s career in science took her from outback Australia to the jungles of South East Asia before she turned to writing romance.

Thirty books in, and she’s received both industry and reader recognition for my stories. She likes the tight focus of short contemporary romance and it suits her attention span to write them. A lot of people ask if she’s ever going to write longer books. Maybe that’s next…

Find out more about Kelly hunter and her books on her website; and follow her blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter for regular, nature-filled, updates!