THE SECRET AT ARNFORD HALL by Molly Blake #Erotic #Cheshire #LoveStory @MollieBlake0

The Secret At Arnford Hall ~ A Cheshire Love StoryThe Secret At Arnford Hall ~ A Cheshire Love Story by Mollie Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

The Secret at Arnford Hall is an erotic family saga, set in and around Cheshire. Multi-millionaire Gabriel Black has a secret which has controlled and twisted his adult life. On the outside he is a ruthless businessman, on the inside an emotional mess.

The book opens with us joining Gabriel; he has recently been informed of the death of the mother of his only child, a seven year old boy. Gabriel is now being asked to step into the parental role and agree to a set of strict instructions about his son’s upbringing. One of these is that John must be educated in the state run system.

With a desire to do what is right and be a real father to his son, Gabriel throws himself and his household into parenthood. He meets Mrs Grace McGuire, John’s teacher, but can’t help himself. His need for control has him running a full background search on her. He discovers she too has a dark secret which he uses to blackmail her.

Gabriel’s sex life is one of control, featuring punishment and reward. He’s only previously grasped at love, finding release in BDSM. He expects Grace to comply, enjoys shocking her and keeping her on edge. Can Grace ever hope to stand up to the monster and change Gabriel?

This tale follows a classic storyline arc of this genre. Take an ultimate male: cold, harsh, dominant bachelor, and turn him into a warm, loving, devoted husband and family man. Add to this the second arc: from absent father, to loving parent. Throw into the mix the reason both Gabriel and Grace’s lives are in turmoil, a snip of complex family issues, and siblings with their own hang-ups. Add a pinch of evil step-mother and you have a boiling cauldron ready to explode from the page.

Did it all work for me? The whole controlling, dominant flawed male, shouted “Fifty Shades of Grey” to me. An extremely lucrative series, even if few people have anything positive to say about it, the deep appeal for many women being the desire to change a man for the better. The storyline of the estranged father becoming the doting parent was okay; it split up the heavy tension between Gabriel and Grace. However, I felt it competed with the main story arc on too many occasions and could have been cut back.

The book has many sub-plots running through it too; as a personal preference I would have liked more about Grace’s secret and its effect on her, rather than one involving finding her brother. Mrs Black’s role was under-developed for me, I was hoping for a very dark and twisted women to be portrayed which would have backed up Gabriel’s compliance to his father’s wishes. I didn’t believe the reasons for him keeping his promise to his father. He was a ruthless businessman who had access to an impressive range of technology, and could easily have countered any hold Mrs Black had, with a bit of surveillance and blackmail himself.

Overall, the book might appeal to those who enjoyed “Fifty Shades of Grey” and want to read a similar story. For me it tried a little too hard with too many competing storylines. Some of these could have been trimmed further or removed completely. I felt they erred towards watering down the erotica genre and pushing it into family saga mode. There was room to tighten the writing; small points of repetition, clunky dialogue in places, forgetting the reader doesn’t need telling about shutting of car doors, sitting on chairs etc. So for me it was just an “okay” read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

He lived in a nightmare. His son brought him daylight. Can this woman be his breaking dawn?
Gabriel Black didn’t give a damn about the world. Until, that is, his seven-year-old son enters his life for the first time. The young boy brings daylight into the darkness of Gabriel’s world. But a single parent needs a distraction. And this single parent has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants…
She’s built a new life for herself on the ruins of the old, but this man can destroy everything she’s worked so hard to gain…
Grace McGuire lives with a dark secret—one that, if revealed, will destroy her new life. Then her world collides with that of forceful Gabriel Black, a multi-millionaire with a secret of his own, a secret Grace is determined to uncover for her sanity and all she holds dear.

About the author

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Mollie Blake is the happily married mother of one son and lives in the UK. Having left a former life as finance director of a privately owned multi-national in order to look after her son, Mollie has gone on to develop a passion for writing romance laced with danger and spiced with steamy scenes. She is a creative and explorative writer, and has a strong desire to make her readers eager to meet her characters and unravel plots to discover their secrets.  With a love of romance, an enjoyment of the thrill of danger, and an intense desire for scenes of passion and sensuality, Mollie has written five books so far, all under contract with her American publisher Black Opal Books. She is also a proud member of the International Thriller Writers group and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. Her first book “The Secret At Arnford Hall” is out now – a provocative romance laced with alluring suspense.

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Romancing September author Tara Quan (Layla Tarar) (Day 18)

Day 18 on Romancing September and we meet author Layla Tarar whose pen name is Tara Quan. Come and read her interview with me and don’t forget to go over to visit Stephanie for a discussion on writing romance in today’s society.

Layla 2

1) Where is your home town?
 I was born and grew up in Bangkok, but I moved to the U.S. a while back. Home is now Arlington, Virginia.
2) How long have you been writing?
 My first real foray into writing was Harry Potter fan fiction back when I was in high school. I took a long break after I started college, but picked it up again in 2010.
3) Has it always been romance?
 Oh yes. I’m a romance junkie.
4) You use a pen name are you happy to tell everyone about how you chose that name?
 I wish I had something exciting to tell you. Alas, all I did was invert my first and last legal names before making very slight spelling modifications (i.e. removing an R).
5) What made you choose Dubai for the setting of “More Than Strangers”?
 I lived in the United Arab Emirates for two years. The country has such an eclectic mix of cultures it makes for a great character pool.
6) Your book has a mix of suspense, danger, wealth, power and intrigue, would it be fair to say that James Bond could fit right in?
 He might find it a tad boring–there are no nifty gadgets or super villains. Then again, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to wear a tuxedo as well as emerge shirtless from the sea. I also believe he’s a huge fan of high speed car chases.
7) Since “Fifty Shades of Grey” catapulted erotica up the reading lists, would you say it is now a much wider accepted form of romance?
 E.L. James has definitely made erotica more mainstream. Highly sexualized romances have always been popular–they just weren’t labelled as erotic romances.
8) Thinking about the sexual content of your book, my Granny is well travelled, could I recommend it to her?
 If she is a fan of contemporary romances, I don’t see why not. More Than Strangers is rated as “spicy” by my publisher. It contains consensual sex between a monogamous heterosexual couple. The language is descriptive, but I didn’t use any of the “c” words (for this one). There is a bit of kink but not lifestyle BDSM. I would compare the heat level to Linda Howard’s books (though the frequency of sex to word count ratio is higher).
9) Are your other books “Tower in the Woods” and “Warlock’s Pawn” both erotic romances? Tell us a little about their story lines.
 Yes, they are both erotic romances. Tower in the Woods is the Rapunzel fairy tale set after a zombie apocalypse. Mother Gothel is an evil cult leader, Prince Charming is a federal agent, and Rapunzel is a nerdy sniper. This one is rated “hot” (a notch above “spicy”).
Warlock’s Pawn is a fantasy romance set in a magical desert world. A conquering sorcerer and a fey princess fall in love while trying to survive political intrigue and assassination attempts. It’s rated as “erotic” (my publisher’s highest heat level). Pass me a fan someone!
10) Are you in the process of writing a second book in the Safe Harbor series? Will it be a sequel to “More Than Strangers”?
 I’ll probably be done writing it by the time this interview goes live. Since it’s a Christmas story, it might end up coming out next year (I’m behind schedule). It’s a direct sequel and the main characters from More Than Strangers play cameo roles.
More Than StrangersFind a copy of this book here at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Thank you so much for being our guest today, Good Luck with the new book release. Don’t for get to step over to Stephanie’s blog http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Guest Author Natalie Taylor

I decided to have a bit of a change in the way I interview guest authors, so without further ado let me tell you about Natalie Taylor.

Natalie Taylor Author

I recently read Natalie’s first book and reviewed it here on the blog. Here is a reminder of the review;

The Desire to Touch (The Desire to Duology Book 1)The Desire to Touch by N. Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book grew on me, I was a little hesitant at the start and thought the main character was going to be a spoilt brat, but then we started to get hints of deeper issues. The snippets of information became intriguing and more characters came into the scene, I wanted to know answers about the family just like Ellie. I’m glad the book ended on a cliff hanger, there were too many ends to tie up. The book does contain adult material which is handled well and I’m glad there is a depth to the story which I’m sure will continue in the next book.

Check out the book here on Amazon.co.uk or here on Amazon.com

Let’s find out a bit more about Natalie;

1) Where is your home town?
I currently live in Flintshire, North Wales – UK but I grew up in Surrey. I live in a nice little town called Flint, where on a good day you can see the River Dee but on rainy ones it’s mainly clouds – all the best bits of living on the side of a very small mountain. (Sorry I’ve just got to sing…Flintstones, meet the Flintstones…like you’ve never heard that before!) Sorry serious face back on, let’s carry on…
2) What inspired you to write “The Desire to Touch”?
For years I’d had this reoccurring fantasy of what it would be like to meet a certain movie star (no names mentioned lol). (Oh Go on we won’t tell anyone!) I ended up making the fantasy into a dream and thought to myself, ‘Well maybe this would make a pretty good book one day.’
3) Can you describe Ellie’s character, from your book, to our readers?
Ellie is a 24 year old girl, who in the past few years has had to deal with the most horrific circumstances of her life. She used to be loud, brash and outgoing but now she is timid, quiet and tries to stay out of the limelight. She over thinks everything and second guesses herself at every opportunity with the help of her “Angel & Devil” advisers  (which are her coping mechanism). Throw into the mix that she is clumsy – she’s your all round average girl.
4) Ellie has a hidden past which is hinted at throughout the book, did you plan the reveal or did it evolve with the book?
I always planned to reveal, I just wasn’t sure when. So in truth it was a bit of both, it was planned but the reason’s to when it came out had evolved with the plot line.
5) There is adult material in your book, I read an article once advising writers about getting into “The Zone” before attempting to write any form of erotica, do you find it easy to write or do you set aside a time and place to write those scenes?
When it came to the ‘naughty’ scenes I definitely had to be in the zone. Some times it’s easy enough for me to write it and others I have to go back to it when I can completely submerge myself into the mood. I have a son who tends to hang around me in the evenings so I can’t write anything until he’s in bed, having cartoons on in the background has an impeding affect on the thought process lol! So in the evenings I sit at my desk with my headphones in my ears and as soon as I find the right song, I put it on repeat until it’s written.
6) Do you think there is always room for more romance fiction? Why do you think women devour romance books?
I believe there is endless opportunities for the romantic fiction genre – its something that most women and men love to read, I just feel that it’s about making it more exciting for the reader. Personally I love romance books because I fall in love with the characters and dream of meeting the hunky, heroic man myself one day. The books are a great escape, if only for a little while, into a world that someone else has created for me to enjoy.
7) You said you started writing after you and your friends read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Crossfire trilogy” I know of a couple of men who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” How do you think romance could be sold to more men?
I’m not sure, I guess each read is a case of personal taste, not everyone is going to like what the person next to them likes. Possibly more books from the male perspective?
8) Ellie’s story continues in “The Desire to Love”, are you planning your next book?
“The Desire to love” is now available on Amazon – which has been received well so far. I am currently writing another adult romantic fiction book currently called ‘Play me Away’ which I hope will be ready for sale in October.
If you are interested in “The Desire to Love”, follow either of these links; Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
A BIG thank you to Natalie for being my guest today and Good Luck with the new book, I’ll be posting my review of “The Desire to Love” in a few days time.