Finally Chapter Two

How was Chapter One of Finally for you? Here's the continuation. Happy reading!


Sarah grinned as her laptop showed three girls crowding the screen.

“Finally, you two have deigned to come down from the clouds and video-call us!” Gemma Aldwin said.

“I know! After more than three weeks!” Amanda Payne agreed with a scowl.

“You better have a good excuse as to why this is the first call we got,” Brenna Ward said, narrowing her eyes.

“Sorry, we’ve been busy,” Sarah answered, thrilled to be chatting with her and Rebecca’s three other best friends. The five of them had known each other since they were eight years old. Twenty years later, they were still tightly knit and as close as sisters.

“Busy?” Gemma asked accusingly. “You sent us an email saying Magda’s perfectly fine, so the two of you have just been hanging around that ship having a good time. And where’s Bec?”

“Putting on her makeup for dinner.”

“Rebecca!” Brenna yelled.

Sarah laughed. “She can’t hear you. She’s in the en suite bathroom.”

“Just how big is your room that she can’t hear us?”

Sarah grinned. “I’ll show you.” She stood up and carried the laptop. She was in Zach’s suite—well, now Zach and Rebecca’s since Bec had moved her stuff here, leaving Sarah to enjoy the comfy room with the balcony that she and Rebecca had originally shared. She showed her friends the vast living area before walking toward the couple’s bedroom.

“Did Magda give you a suite?” Gemma asked in disbelief.

Sarah laughed. “Unfortunately for me, I don’t stay in here, but Bec does.”

Right that moment, Rebecca came out of the bathroom and waved to the camera. “Hi girls!”

“Something is obviously going on,” Brenna said. “What the hell are you doing in such a massive suite, Rebecca Andrews?”


“Oh. My. God,” Amanda said. “She’s back with Zach Carmichael.”

All at once, questions were fired by the three girls. Sarah walked back out to the living room, followed by a grinning Rebecca. She placed the laptop on the table as she and Bec sat together to face the others.

“I don’t believe this,” Brenna said. “How did it happen?”

Rebecca told them everything, with Sarah filling out interesting details here and there, while the others interjected with their comments and questions.

“And…” Rebecca said, getting to the end of her story, “we’re getting married.”

The stunned look on their best friends’ faces was so precious that Sarah quickly took a screen shot. The three then posed with happy, congratulatory expressions as Sarah captured another shot.

“Well, somebody fulfilled our group New Year’s resolution very quickly,” Gemma drawled.

They all laughed. A couple of months ago, in the fifth New Year’s Eve in a row that all five of them didn’t have someone to pash at the stroke of midnight, Gemma had suggested a group New Year’s resolution. As busy career women who each had their own share of painful pasts, they weren’t proactive when it came to finding a boyfriend. So they’d promised to make time for love. Importantly, they’d vowed to make the first move if a hot, decent, open-to-commitment guy showed up on their radar so they’d have a date for next New Year’s Eve. They were more than slightly tipsy when they’d made the pact, but they’d pinky-promised and there was no backing out.

“What about you, Sarah? You mentioned spending a lot of time with a guy named Ron in your email,” Brenna said.

“Uh, yeah,” Sarah responded hesitantly as Rebecca snickered.

“What?” the three asked curiously.

“She’s interested in someone else, not Ron,” Rebecca said.


“One of my future brothers-in-law—Jeff,” Rebecca supplied.


“I’m interested, as in I find him attractive, which we all know he is,” Sarah explained. “That doesn’t mean he’d be my New Year’s Resolution Guy. He doesn’t fit the bill.”

“What do you mean?” Rebecca asked.

“He’s commitment-phobic. He said he never wants to get married,” Sarah replied, telling them about the conversation with Jeff at the hot tub earlier.

“Really? That’s a shame,” Rebecca said. “It would be nice to have you for a sister-in-law.”

“Hey, aren’t we soul sisters already? Besides, didn’t you say he’s sleeping with Marilyn?”

“Not anymore. Apparently, their fling is over.”

“Oh really?” Sarah asked, pleased with that little piece of news.

“So now he’s free to have a one-night stand with you,” Rebecca joked.

“I wouldn’t mind that,” Sarah quipped.

“What?!” came another round of incredulous cries from the laptop.

“Since when have you become the one-night stand kind of girl?” Gemma demanded.

“Since I boarded this damned ship! I tell you, it does something to your libido. So, I’m thinking, why not forget my personal rules on land and enjoy myself while I’m here? I have to hurry though, as we only have three nights left at sea.”

“Isn’t that telling?” Rebecca mused. “You’ve been saying you wanted some casual sex since week one of this trip. The cruise is almost over and you still haven’t done anything about it. I’d say that’s proof you don’t really mean it.”

“Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just been waiting for Jeff…”

Rebecca frowned at her. “That doesn’t sound like wanting something casual, Sarah.”

“It is!” she insisted. “Just because I’m only looking for a one-off experience doesn’t mean I’ll settle for someone I’m not highly attracted to.”

“Or is this just another excuse to get yourself out of finding your New Year’s Resolution Guy?” Gemma asked.

“No. I’m still going to look for him. But what’s wrong with not wanting a serious relationship at this point? We have plenty of time before next New Year’s Eve.”

Rebecca put an arm around her and squeezed her tight. “Nothing at all, honey. Except that you said you really want to break the shackles of the past this year, and begged us to help you. You even said you’re sick and tired of being afraid to fall in love again.”

She sighed. “I am sick and tired of being afraid to fall in love again, and I am eager to meet my soulmate—whoever and wherever he is. I just hope I won’t be stupid enough to fall for a heartless, lying jerk again.”

“That was five years ago, Sarah. You’ve grown up since then,” Amanda said teasingly.

“Oh God, I certainly hope so,” she answered, theatrically posing in prayer.

“Getting back to Jeffrey Carmichael,” Brenna interjected. “You said you’re highly attracted to him. If he doesn’t do serious, doesn’t that make him dangerous then? Wouldn’t you be setting yourself up for hurt and disappointment?”

“I don’t think so,” Sarah replied. “Like I said, I’m only interested on a one-night stand with him. And why shouldn’t I go for someone I’m really in lust with?”

“But if you’re so into the guy, wouldn’t you find yourself wanting more than one night?” Brenna pressed.

“How would you choose a one-night stand guy then?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know. I’m too shy to have one. I imagine I’d have to be real drunk and real horny to have the guts to go through with it.”

“Sarah’s making this decision when she’s completely sober and… well, we don’t know if she’s feeling horny right now thinking of Jeff,” Gemma quipped.

Sarah flushed. “Thinking about him does kind of make me hot and bothered.”

“Oh God,” Gemma said with an eyeroll. “I do think Jeff is dangerous for you. Plus, like you said, he doesn’t fit the bill for your New Year’s Resolution Guy. So why bother with him?”

“But I don’t plan to find my New Year’s Resolution Guy on this ship,” Sarah said. “Look, I can’t remember the last time I’ve done something adventurous and out of the ordinary since that heartless jerk proposed to me, then had the hide to call me by his ex-girlfriend’s name in the middle of sex. For the first time in a long time, I just really want to let my hair down and experience something I’ve never done before. For whatever reason, that includes enjoying no-strings-attached sex—and it’s Jeff I want to do that with. I know it’s weird that I’m so stuck with this idea, but… it’s just there, taunting me.”

“I suppose out of the five of us, you’ve had the longest sex drought,” Gemma said. “Maybe you’re drunk with horniness.”

They all chuckled, then Sarah let out a big sigh. “You know what? Just because I want to do it doesn’t mean I’ll have the guts to ask for it. I might end this trip with my sex drought still unbroken.”

“If you really want to break the drought, is there anything you want me to do?” Rebecca asked. “Like give Jeff some hints that you’re interested in some casual sex with him?”

A picture of Rebecca whispering into Jeff’s ear popped into Sarah’s head. Her mind followed the scene her imagination created, and she watched Jeff’s eyes register surprise. Then his lips started to twist—into a… smirk. A smirk?!

She felt herself go red. The thought of Jeff rejecting her for a no-strings-attached romp proved way too uncomfortable and embarrassing. Hurtful, even.

“No, thanks, Bec. I want to be as subtle as I can about it. I’ll play it by ear and see what happens.” What she really wanted was for Jeff to suggest it. That way, she could avoid being rejected if he wasn’t interested.


Sarah took her seat next to Rebecca at the table for six in one of the ship’s specialty restaurants. She, Bec and Zach were the first to arrive for a family dinner to celebrate Zach and Rebecca’s engagement. She felt both out of place and grateful. She wasn’t family, yet she was invited. Even Magda’s younger sister and friends who were with them on this cruise weren’t there. Magda had requested a dinner with only her grandsons, her future granddaughter-in-law and Sarah. Well, she supposed she was Rebecca’s “sister” for all intents and purposes.

“Hello, darlings,” Magda said as she arrived with Greg.

Sarah couldn’t help but be secretly pleased that Magda sat next to Zach while Greg took the other seat next to Magda. That meant Jeff would have to sit next to her when he arrived. Good.

She made small talk with Greg, who was just as utterly good-looking as his two brothers. Funny, though, that even with similar levels of hunkiness, only one brother could raise her body temperature. Speaking of that particular brother, where was he?

“I wonder what’s keeping Jeffrey,” Magda murmured. “I hope he hasn’t forgotten we were all going to have dinner tonight.”

“I’ll give him a call,” Greg said, pulling out his phone.

“No need. Here he comes,” Zach said.

“Hey, all. Sorry to keep you waiting.” Jeff took his seat, grinning at Sarah as he did so.

“I was worried you’d forgotten about dinner with us, Jeffrey,” Magda said.

“Of course not, Gran. But I bumped into Grand-Auntie Miriam and your friends, and I had to engage in some chit-chat.” He turned to Zach and Rebecca. “I didn’t mention your engagement to them. I thought you might want to make the announcement yourselves.”

The couple nodded their thanks.

“There’ll be another opportunity for them to celebrate with us when Zach and Rebecca have their engagement party,” Magda said. “That is, if they’re having one. Are you?” she asked the two.

“Engagement party?” Rebecca asked with a hint of trepidation. “Do we want one?” she added to Zach.

“Oh, I hope you consider having one,” Magda said pleadingly, hopeful excitement written all over her face. “Wouldn’t you want to share the good news with all your family and friends?”

Rebecca laughed and smiled fondly at Magda. “Okay, we’ll have one.”

“I actually have something in mind, but I haven’t discussed it with Bec yet,” Zach said.

“What’s that?” Rebecca asked.

“How big do you want our engagement party to be?”

“I’d prefer just family and friends,” Rebecca said shyly.

“Well, then, I have a great idea. The extension and refurbishment of our small country hotel in the Hunter Valley are in their final stages. Before we reopen it to the public in a month and a half, we could put the services through a dry run. Holding our engagement party there would be perfect. Our guests could stay overnight. There are now thirty rooms and five suites in total, so if we’re only having a few people, we should be able to accommodate them all at Magda’s Place.”

Sarah noticed that Magda was holding her breath, trying valiantly to contain her excitement while waiting for Rebecca’s answer. Sarah bit her tongue to keep from chuckling out loud at Magda’s childlike delight.

“That sounds wonderful,” Rebecca answered with a bright smile. “I can’t wait.”

“Me neither,” Magda quipped, making them all laugh out loud.

While Sarah and Rebecca were looking after Magda while she recovered from her hip replacement surgery, Magda had told them about their boutique country hotel that her late husband had named in her honour. Magda’s Place, situated in the grounds of the Carmichael vineyard and winery, was the part of their business that Magda was most interested in. Apparently, Magda had played a big part in designing the interior of the building, and had chosen the decor herself. She’d have a ball if her grandson’s engagement party would be held there.

Sarah was looking forward to it too. She’d love to check out their vineyard and winery.

“I love your shiraz,” she said with a sigh. “Now I’ll get to see how it ends up in the bottle. That is, if it’s allowed,” she added hurriedly.

“I’ll take you behind the scenes in the winery,” Jeff offered.

“Oh, will you?” Sarah asked excitedly. “That would be great!”

“You can even try everything we produce,” Jeff said.

“Everything? I might get drunk during your wine tasting tour,” she joked.

“Are you a happy drunk or a sad drunk?”

She chuckled. “A happy drunk. When I start giggling uncontrollably for no reason, that’s when you know I’m at my limit.”

“Well then, you definitely must try everything we produce.”

Sarah giggled, inexplicably happy. Geez, she wasn’t even drunk yet and she was already acting like it. It must be the effect Jeffrey Carmichael had on her.

Oh darn. He was dangerous. But the realisation only served to excite her more.


Finally–available from May 27th.

I'll be back shortly with the links to the stores :-).


Finally Chapter One

I'm so proud of Sarah and Jeff–our couple in Finally (Time for Love Book 2). I tried to take their story in one direction, but they kept blocking me until I was forced to look at a different path. In the end, these two characters reminded me of the simplicity and complexity of true love.

There's only a handful of days left before the 27th, when Finally is released. Today, I want to share with you how their love story begins.


“Kiss, kiss.”

Sarah Daley whipped her head toward the hunk with dark hair and vivid blue eyes sitting next to her in the big hot tub. What?

Her two-second excitement at the thought that she might be the intended recipient of that comment was quickly dashed when she noticed that the gorgeous Jeffrey Carmichael wasn’t even looking at her.

“I’m almost hoping that there are paparazzi around to capture this moment,” Jeff said with a wry grin as he watched his older brother Zachary and Sarah’s best friend Rebecca Andrews kiss passionately by the poolside.

“Oh, let them be, Jeff,” Magda Carmichael said as she sank up to her neck in the heated pool, relishing the massaging effects of the water jets. “They’re in love.”

“Look at your face, Gran,” Jeff said to Magda with a laugh. “You’re so thrilled about this.”

“Of course, I am,” Magda replied. “I’m glad your brother and Rebecca settled their differences and reconciled. They’re wonderful together. Don’t you think so, Sarah?”

“Yes, they are, Magda,” Sarah said with a fond smile for her sweet eighty-year-old client.

“Well, I’m glad that you and Rebecca are on this ship with us. It produced a very satisfactory outcome,” Magda said smugly.

It had already been almost four weeks since Sarah and Rebecca boarded one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships from Sydney, and Sarah was still overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Magda Carmichael—the matriarch of one of Australia’s wealthiest families.

Having been Magda’s physical rehabilitation nurses when Magda had hip replacement surgery a year ago, Sarah and Rebecca were handpicked by the elderly woman to accompany her as her private nurses on the all-expense-paid, one-month cruise that included several exotic Asian cities in its itinerary.

But Magda was fit and well, and only wanted them on board for any unexpected illnesses or injuries. That left them with loads of free time on their hands, able to fully enjoy the amenities, activities and shore excursions the fabulous ship offered.

Sarah now suspected that getting Rebecca and Zach together again had been Magda’s primary reason for getting them on board as her nurses. She just felt lucky that Magda had thought of hiring her, too—probably to make sure that Rebecca felt comfortable enough to take the job.

Well, Sarah was very grateful. She’d been having a wonderful time meeting new people—a few of them good-looking single men. Truth be told, the romance of being at sea on a grand floating home was having an effect on her. She’d been toying with the idea of a holiday fling, even though she was generally averse to one-night stands. But although Ron—the handsome guy she’d met at the beginning of the trip—had been giving her strong hints, she hadn’t been tempted enough to go to bed with him.

But geez, ever since Jeffrey Carmichael had boarded the ship over a week ago with his younger brother Gregory, he’d been occupying her mind.

The Carmichael brothers turned heads wherever they went. Photos of them on the covers of magazines ensured a bestseller. So it wasn’t hard to develop a crush on a Carmichael. But out of the three, Jeff was the one who had always made her heart beat just a tad faster.

She’d gotten to know him a little in the six months that she’d looked after Magda. She’d seen the guy who was the COO of a multi-million dollar company—focused, driven, brilliant, reliable and trustworthy. Combine that with his flirty and fun-loving nature, and sitting next to her was someone irresistible. Totally hot. Heck, who wouldn’t want to sleep with him?

She was dreaming though. Fat chance that Jeff would pay attention to her. According to Rebecca, Jeff was sleeping with Marilyn—the granddaughter of one of Magda’s friends, who was also on this cruise with them.

She sighed her resignation.

“Now it’s your turn to find that special someone, Jeffrey,” Magda said.

Jeff snorted. “Now, now, Gran. Don’t get any ideas.”

“Whyever not? You’re already thirty years old. Back in my time, that was too old to still be single.”

“You already know I don’t want to get married.”

“Oh Jeff. You can still change your mind,” Magda said, her eyes wide with concern.

Jeff shrugged. “You should just focus on Zach, Gran. This thing with Rebecca looks serious. Say, if those two decide to tie the knot, would you promise to lay off me about finding a wife?”

“No,” Magda said with conviction.

Jeff laughed.

“I want to see all three of my grandsons happily settled down with someone they love. A few great-grandkids to help raise before I die is one of my final wishes before I leave this earth.”

Jeff sighed. “So me being happy with my life isn’t enough, Gran?”

“I know you’d be happier if you could spend the rest of your life with a woman who loves you, and whom you love,” Magda said stubbornly.

Jeff rolled his eyes and glanced at Sarah. “See what I have to put up with?” he asked in mock frustration.

Sarah smiled and decided to ask the question that piqued her interest. “So you don’t believe in marriage, Jeff?”

“Oh, I’m not anti-marriage when it comes to other people tying the knot. It’s just not for me anymore.”

“Anymore?” she asked, unable to shut the lid on her curiosity.

“Well, I proposed to a woman once. But she didn’t want to marry me,” he said blithely.

“Really? Was she crazy?” Sarah exclaimed before feeling the heat rise up to her face. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to marry someone as dashing and devastatingly handsome as you?” she hastily added in a flippant tone, hoping to cover up her embarrassment by pretending she was joking around. Not that she was joking about Jeff being dashing and devastatingly handsome, because he really was. She just hoped he thought she was joking. Argh! She was blushing harder now.

“Why thanks, Sarah. That’s very kind of you to say that. I didn’t know you had a crush on me,” Jeff said, his eyes laughing and his tone teasing.

Magda’s amused expression at their interaction gave Sarah confidence to push on. “Well, if saying that someone is handsome means I have a crush on that person, then I have a confession to make.” She gave an exaggerated sigh before turning to Magda. “Magda, I have a crush on all your three grandsons. They’re so good-looking. But that’s not a surprise because you’re one very beautiful woman.”

Magda chuckled. “Why, thank you, dear. Yes, I agree my three goons are not bad on the eye. So which one do you like best?”

“Oh, uh…” Sarah was lost for words. Speaking before thinking was a trait that had landed her in embarrassing situations many times before. She’d done it again, and there was only one way she knew how to dig herself out of a hole—continue pretending everything was a joke.

“Well, unfortunately for me, Zach’s taken,” she said with a fake pout. “By my best friend, nonetheless.”

“Ouch,” Jeff said quietly. “See what I mean, Gran? This is what women in this day and age do. They take your heart from out of your chest and crush all your dreams.”

Jeff spoke with enough gravity to make Sarah’s eyes widen in surprise and… yes… hope. An itsy-bitsy, tiny speck of hope. Was he really disappointed at her answer?

“That’s one face that would be a challenge to paint,” Jeff said gravely, but the twitching of his lips gave him away. “To capture that horror and disbelief would take some serious skill.”

Sarah laughed out loud and her tension eased. “Hey, don’t you know I’m a painter’s dream?”

“I wouldn’t dispute that,” he said.

She sighed, deciding it was time to end this banter. She was flirting around with Magda’s grandson, for heaven’s sake! That was very unprofessional. But with all the Carmichaels being so down-to-earth, it was so easy to forget she was in the company of her employer, not her friends. In fact, Magda had always treated her and Rebecca like family, not hired nurses. Of course now that Rebecca was officially Zach’s girlfriend, Rebecca was definitely no longer considered staff in any way, shape or form.

She pretended to relax, closing her eyes, as she mulled over Jeff’s comments about being rejected by the woman he’d wanted to marry. Was that the reason why he’d now turned his back on marriage?

At least Jeff was being honest about what he didn’t want for his future. Maybe all those magazine articles about him changing girlfriends like he changed his clothes were true after all. There had been enough pictures of him in the magazines and on the internet to suggest that he’d had a string of affairs with different beautiful women in the last two years alone.

She knew how the constant attempts to invade their privacy were a big frustration for the Carmichaels. Luckily for them, unwanted publicity had slowed down in the last few months. Rebecca had told Sarah that the brothers were intent on not giving the press anything to write about. Privacy was something the Carmichaels valued, and they had been vigilant in ensuring they minimised the chances of seeing themselves plastered on the front covers of magazines.

A wave of sympathy hit her. It wouldn’t have been easy being in the brothers’ and Magda’s shoes in the last two years. The tragedy that hit their family was so great she could only admire how they’d handled it and come out of that dark period.

Her musing was interrupted by Zach and Rebecca getting into the Jacuzzi with them, their faces split by big, happy grins.

“Glad you decided to join us,” Jeff said teasingly. “I was starting to worry that you’d forgotten you’re in a public area of the ship and not in the privacy of your suite.”

Zach grinned at his brother. “Bec and I have something to tell you guys.”

“What’s that, dear?” Magda asked.

“We’re getting married,” Zach said, giving an ecstatic-looking Rebecca a sweet kiss on the lips.

Sarah gasped while Magda let out an uncharacteristic squeal.

“Oh, darlings, that’s wonderful!” Magda gushed, reaching out to hug Zach, then motioning for Rebecca to come close for the same treatment.

Sarah glided to her best friend when Magda released her. “Congratulations, hon! I’m so happy for you,” she said, squeezing Rebecca tight.

“Thanks, sweetie.”

“I can’t believe this,” she whispered. “Just a few days ago you were crying your eyes out because Zach had broken your heart again.”

“I know,” Rebecca said with a giggle.

Sarah let go of her friend and hurried to Zach, who already had his arms poised for a hug. She let out a surprised cry when she felt a wall of muscle hit her back. A low chuckle came from behind her as warm hands gripped her arms.

“I see you like being sandwiched by two men,” Jeff said, keeping her flush against his chest.

“Hey, I was going to give Zach a hug and I thought he was aiming for me.” Despite her light response, Sarah knew she was redder than a beet. And, heaven help her, she couldn’t move away. She was frozen in the hot water as Jeff’s caressing hands slid down her arms. When he stepped back from her, the chill she felt was startling.

“Here we go, Sarah,” Zach said, his voice laced with amusement as he embraced her.

“Congratulations, Zach,” she murmured, returning the gesture and swallowing her embarrassment.

“Thank you.”

“My turn,” Jeff said.

She moved away from Zach to make room for Jeff. To her utter surprise, Jeff wrapped her in his arms. Her already racing heart galloped faster and, Lord, she’d rather not admit it, but she felt a delicious, needy tingling between her legs.

“Oops, wrong person,” Jeff said, grinning wickedly before turning to give his brother an affectionate hug.

“Don’t mind him, Sarah,” Zach said, casting Jeff a warning look. “He’s just a big, flirtatious joker. And for all his reminders about our photos making it into magazines, he’s the worst when it comes to public exhibitionism.”

“I’m finding that out,” she said wryly.


Jeff sat back down on the raised seat in the water, chuckling. It was slack of him to continue to tease Sarah when embarrassment was written all over her face, but he couldn’t help himself. She was just too cute. Plus, she was a good sport. Despite her blushes, she seemed to enjoy ribbing just as much as he did.

He was attracted to Sarah. She was hot and fun, and he loved watching her blush. He could still see some colour on her cheeks and even on her neck, which was fully exposed as her silky blonde hair was tied up in a bun atop her head.

He had the urge to pull her to him so she would sit on his lap, and he could place a kiss on that slightly tanned shoulder of hers. He shook his head mentally and dunked his head in the water to arrest the direction of his thoughts. His groin was stirring and his grandmother was only a few steps away, for heaven’s sake.

A question that had been prodding him lately popped into his head again. Would Sarah be up for some fun in bed?

It wasn’t ideal to even think about a fling with her, considering that she was the best friend of his brother’s new fiancée, not to mention that she was his grandmother’s nurse. And with Rebecca and Zach getting engaged, he was sure Sarah would be deep in discussions with Rebecca about engagement parties and weddings. Women could get funny when talking about those things. The last thing he wanted was the complication of a sex partner who’d want an eventual trip to the altar with him.

He’d meant it when he said he had no intentions of getting married. It was something that didn’t hold interest for him anymore.

It hadn’t always been that way. He had wanted to get married two years ago. He’d even been engaged for five whole weeks.

He remembered he’d still been on a high from Bianca’s acceptance of his proposal when the biggest tragedy in the Carmichael family history had struck.

Jeff dunked his head in the water again to hide the grief that crossed his face. It wasn’t as bad as it used to be, but it was still there. Every now and then, memories of that horrendous day flashed in his mind, making the big empty hole in his heart make itself known again.

He’d been in his office when he heard the news that the light plane that carried his grandfather, father and mother had crashed. The three had been on their way to an outback property that his dad and gramps had been interested in buying. Investigators had surmised that his dad, who had been piloting the plane, hadn’t anticipated the suddenness and severity of the freak storm that had developed in the area. In one fell swoop, they’d lost three loved ones.

He truly didn’t know how the rest of his family survived those first few days. But even though he and his brothers had been wholly devastated, they had rallied and pulled themselves together for Magda.

In honour of their gramps, mum and dad, they had been putting all of their energy into making sure that the company built by their family’s blood, sweat and tears continued to flourish. The Carmichael Corporation, founded by their grandfather, was now one of Australia’s biggest property development firms, with interests extending to wineries and eco-tourism. He was now its COO, Zach its CEO and their youngest brother Greg the CFO. Not in a million years did he and his brothers think they’d run the company so soon, and from such harrowing circumstances.

Yes, that short space of time two years ago had been the most devastating in his whole life. It was compounded by Bianca breaking off their engagement just a month after the funerals. She’d said that while she did love him, she wasn’t ready to get married, and that the sudden spotlight on the Carmichaels by the press scared her. She’d felt suffocated by the need to hide so they could keep their private lives private. Three weeks after the breakup, Bianca had left Sydney for New York to further her career in advertising.

He’d stopped moping around for Bianca a long time ago. But ever since they broke up, he hadn’t wanted to be in a committed relationship again. He’d discovered that giving his heart to a woman only added to his grief, not helped him out of it. He no longer had the motivation to put his heart in a position where it could be broken again. Those terrible events two years ago were enough to last him a lifetime.

Besides, he was happy enough with his mutually agreed casual relationships with beautiful, discreet women. Such agreements had an added benefit: the women didn’t get mad or demanding when he worked long hours. Apart from his grandmother and brothers, The Carmichael Corporation was, after all, his priority.

Happy laughter from Magda snapped him out of his depressing memories. He smiled as he watched his grandmother chuckle at something Zach was saying.

Now this kind of love was entirely different. One thing he absolutely had no doubts about was the love of, and for, his remaining family members. They had it in spades for each other. In terms of emotional support, that was more than enough for him. Maybe that was why he didn’t feel the need for a ‘special someone’ in his life anymore. What for? He had the love of his family. As for sex, he could satisfy his lust at any time with anyone he wanted.

Speaking of lust… His gaze returned to Sarah. She was talking animatedly with Rebecca, her beautiful hazel eyes shining brightly. To his bemusement, he felt himself go hard again.

He sighed in resignation. It wasn’t the greatest idea in the world to try to convince Sarah to have a short, hot affair with him. All he was likely to get was a hard slap on the face if he did proposition her for it. So he really shouldn’t even consider it… not unless she gave him some hint that she wouldn’t mind…


Tomorrow, I'll share Chapter Two with you ;-).


Finally – released on May 27th. Pre-orders are available from Apple iTunesBarnes and NobleGoogle Play and Kobo.


Finally: Cover and Release Date


Finally 380x594

Hi! I've got some news for you. Finally (Time for Love Book 2) is currently in the editing stage and will be officially released on…(drum roll)… May 29th!

I wanted you to be the first to see the cover so I've decided to share it with you now before the book turns up as a pre-order on Apple iTunes and Kobo. Unfortunately, pre-orders are not available for this book on other platforms, but rest assured, it will be available for download on all stores, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google Play on the 29th.

I had a blast writing Jeff and Sarah's love story even though I struggled with these two characters a lot. You see, I insisted that their story should go a certain way. But they stubbornly gave me writer's block until I wrote in the direction they wanted me to go 😉 .

Sarah and Jeff are fun and flirty. But don't be fooled. They're good at hiding their hurts, uncertainties and insecurities.

I'll be sharing with you chapters one and two of Finally a few days prior to its official release date. That's three weeks away and I know that's a bit of a wait. So, for now, here's an unedited excerpt of Sarah and Jeff's story:

“We’re getting married,” Zach said, giving an ecstatic-looking Rebecca a sweet kiss on the lips.

Sarah gasped while Magda let out an uncharacteristic squeal.

“Oh, darlings, that's wonderful!” Magda gushed, reaching out to hug Zach, then motioning for Rebecca to come close to her for the same treatment.

Sarah glided to her best friend when Magda released her. “Congratulations, hon! I’m so happy for you,” she said, squeezing Rebecca tight.

“Thanks, sweetie.”

“I can’t believe this,” she whispered. “Just a few days ago you were crying your eyes out because Zach had broken your heart again.”

“I know,” Rebecca said with a giggle.

Sarah let go of her friend and hurried sideways to Zach who already had his arms poised for a hug. She let out a surprised cry when she felt a wall of muscle hit her back. A low chuckle came from behind her as warm hands gripped her arms.

“I see you like being sandwiched by two men,” Jeff said, keeping her flushed against his chest.

“Hey, I was going to give Zach a hug and I thought he was aiming for me.” Despite her light response, Sarah knew she was redder than beet. And, heaven help her, she couldn’t move away. She was frozen in the hot water as Jeff’s caressing hands slid down her arms. When he stepped back from her, the chill she felt was startling.

“Here we go, Sarah,” Zach said, his voice laced with amusement as he embraced her.

“Congratulations, Zach,” she murmured, returning the gesture and swallowing her embarrassment.

“Thank you.”

“My turn,” Jeff said.

She moved away from Zach to make room for Jeff. To her utter surprise, Jeff wrapped her in his arms. Her already racing heart galloped faster and, Lord, she’d rather not admit it, but she felt a delicious, needy tingling between her legs.

“Oops, wrong person,” Jeff said, grinning wickedly before turning to give his brother an affection hug.

“Don’t mind him, Sarah,” Zach said, casting Jeff a warning look. “He’s just a big, flirtatious joker. And for all his reminders about our photos making it to magazines, he’s the worst when it comes to public exhibitionism.”

“I’m finding that out,” she said wryly.


More to come soon!

Love yah,

Miranda xxx



Forever Chapter Two

Forever 200x300Hi again! I hope you enjoyed Chapter One of Forever yesterday.

Here's Chapter Two. In a handful of days, I'll be back with links to the purchasing sites so you could get your copy.



Zach stood outside the balcony of his expansive suite and looked down at the crowd below, gathered to check out the big cruise ship docked at Sydney Harbour. He found himself scanning faces, looking for one particular woman.

“This is crazy,” he muttered, stomping back inside. While there was bitterness at the thought of seeing Rebecca again, he couldn't deny that every single cell in his body had stood up to attention at the mention of her name.

No surprises there. He'd had the hottest, most satisfying sex in his life with her—because his heart had been involved. Yes, he'd been crazy about her.

How he would remain calm in her presence, he didn't know. Even though they were well and truly over, his scars hadn't fully healed yet. He sighed, knowing he didn't have a choice but to grin and bear it for the sake of his grandmother.

He sat at the edge of the bed and stared unseeingly at the painting on the wall, reluctantly allowing his mind to drag him back to the past.

I love you,' Rebecca had whispered. Even though his heart had danced with joy at her declaration, he hadn't been able to say the same words back to her. Guilt and bad experience from previous exes had taught him not to say those three words again until he was absolutely sure the woman was someone he was prepared to have a long-term relationship with.

He'd asked Rebecca for time to figure out if what he felt for her was something that could last. But Rebecca didn't give it to him.

It had shocked him to the core when Rebecca broke up with him just two days after saying she loved him. How could she have done that?

He rubbed his face, remembering the pathetic state he'd gotten into after he'd been dumped. He hadn't been able to eat, sleep, rest, even work. Eventually, he hadn't been able to avoid the truth that was staring him in the face—he loved Rebecca.

It had been such a relief to finally admit it to himself. He'd wondered at how idiotic he'd been to even question his feelings for her when it was so damned obvious.

His brothers had wondered what his problem was—and he'd told them about Rebecca, and how he'd planned to get her back. What he didn't expect was Greg coming out with surprising news of his own. An ex-girlfriend had claimed she was pregnant with Greg's child.

Greg was ninety-nine percent sure the baby wasn't his, and had asked for a paternity test. But the woman had been having pregnancy complications, and an in-utero test might put the baby at risk. They'd have to wait a while to see when they could have the test done safely. In the meantime, the woman had been insisting that Greg take care of her financially since he was going to be the father of her child. She'd threatened to go to the press if Greg ignored her.

Jeff had blown up about Greg's lack of vigilance over what might come out in the press.
Privacy was an important thing for the Carmichaels. It was something they'd struggled to keep since their terrible family tragedy two years ago had been broadcast all over Australia. Since then, the media, who'd pretty much left them alone before that event, had taken a great deal of interest in their personal lives.

In the beginning, the press were more interested about the tragedy, their company and their close family ties. It didn't take long before the gossip magazines gleefully invaded their privacy. Because they were young, rich and good-looking, the magazines loved them. Copies sold like crazy when paparazzi shots of one of the Carmichael brothers were plastered on the front cover. Since then, the brothers had been extra careful to not give anyone something to write about—unless it was business related.

With a possible scandal looming due to Greg's issue, Jeff had been adamant that they get Rebecca investigated before Zach went crawling back to her.

Of course, Zach had refused. In the four months that they were together, there was nothing—not one thing—that Rebecca had said or done that indicated to him she was a gold-digger or a scheming manipulator. She'd even stopped him from showering her with material things. He had thought it was so refreshing to be with a girl who saw him for himself, not his money. Rebecca was different. And Jeff had reluctantly agreed to drop the subject.

Zach had intended to speak with Rebecca the minute he was back from his business trip. But there was no way he could have anticipated the shocking news waiting for him upon his return.

He raked his hair, not wanting to revisit that particular past. But he had to go there. Rebecca was here on the ship with them. Why? What were her motives? Could she be trusted around his grandmother?

After what he’d found out about her, he simply had to know the answers.
He exhaled gustily. He needed a drink—and a chat with one of his brothers.


“I'll question her myself,” Zach insisted to Jeff.

Jeff exhaled loudly on the other end of the line. “Are you really the best person to get the truth out of her?”

“I'm not totally inept when it comes to subtle interrogation,” he answered. “Gran did say it was her idea to take nurses on board with her, and that she'd specifically asked for Rebecca and Sarah.”

“See, this here is my problem. You're already making excuses for her.”

“I'm not, Jeff. I'm just saying that her being on this particular trip might not have anything to do with what she did to me. What was she supposed to do? Turn down a job and a cruise? That would have been insane. Anyone would have grabbed at the chance.”

“I don't understand why you still defend her after what she's done to you,” Jeff said disgustedly.

“I'm not defending her. I'm just being rational about this and not letting emotions get in the way of the truth. I'm a fair man.”

“Okay, fine. Let me know how you go.”

“I will. This is also my chance to get her to say to my face that she two-timed me. You stopped me from confronting her about that in the past.”

“Zach! We've agreed to just drop it. It's a waste of your time and emotion. She was just another woman who wanted to snare you for your money. God knows she wasn't the first to attempt that, and she wouldn't be the last. I'm sure there'll be others,” Jeff said bitterly.

“I just want to hear it come out of her mouth,” Zach said stubbornly, taking another gulp of his beer. “I have this perfect opportunity for that.”

“Fine. Suit yourself,” Jeff replied with exasperation. “If I were you, I'd just treat her as one of Gran's nurses and ignore the fact that you had a past with her. If she so much as sniffs that you're still affected by her, I'm concerned she'll use that knowledge to manipulate you again. And don't even bother denying she's still under your skin. It's very obvious.”

“I just want to know if she was really two-timing me when we were together,” he said, his voice rising.

“Hey, shush!” Jeff scolded. “You're at the bar, right? Don't make a fool of yourself there. People will recognise you, for God's sake.”

Zach took a deep breath and composed himself. Jeff was right. The last thing he wanted was for other passengers to witness the CEO of The Carmichael Corporation breaking into pieces over a woman who'd dumped him seven months ago. That would just be something their competitors and the press would have a field day with.

“Sorry,” he muttered.

“Ah, hell,” Jeff said. “I can't wait to board that ship so I can stop you from doing something stupid.”

“I won't, Jeff. Can't you see that if I show her that I know everything, it might scare her enough to stop any scheming she might be planning?”

“Okay. I see your point. But like I said, do it in such a way that doesn't show her how much she still affects you. The last thing you want is for her to mess with your head even further.”

“Don't worry. I'm doing this so she knows she can't mess with a Carmichael again.”

“I hope that's really why you want to do this, bro,” Jeff said gravely.

“It is,” he said with conviction.

Zach ended the call and leaned back on his seat, planning on how he would approach Rebecca. He couldn't be sure that she would tell him the truth if he asked her his questions outright. He'd have to be cunning in his search for answers.

He stared at his drink as he forced himself to recall why he needed to face Rebecca and interrogate her.

It was months ago, but the utter disbelief in what Phillip—the son of Magda’s best friend—had told him and his brothers back then swamped him again now.

Phillip had called for an urgent meeting the day Zach had come back from his business trip. Apparently, Phillip had seen Rebecca parking her car in the basement garage of the luxury apartment Phillip also lived in. An annoyingly suspicious man even at the best of times, Phillip had wondered how Rebecca was able to afford living in a place like that on the salary she was on, and had worried that Magda's nurse might have been preying on Magda's kind and generous nature.

Zach had walked out of that little meeting. He wasn't a violent man, but he'd wanted to punch Phillip's face, and he hadn't wanted to do it in his own office. Jeff had forced him to come back, saying they had to get to the bottom of it.

As the apartment building was one of The Carmichael Corporation's own developments, a quick check of company records proved something unbelievable. Rebecca Andrews was named as the full owner of a three-bedroom apartment in the luxury complex.

Zach had stared in disbelief at the computer screen. He'd scanned his memory of his conversations with Rebecca, looking for clues as to how she'd come about owning that place.

Rebecca had mainly talked to him about her nursing life and her grandmother, who was now living happily in a retirement village with her friends. She hadn't liked talking about her parents much—although she did divulge that her father had left them when she was only two, and that she hardly saw her mother, who had re-married for the third or fourth time. She'd sounded fond of her brother, who worked from home doing some software development.

But there had been nothing in Rebecca's stories that had indicated she could afford something like the apartment she had suddenly owned two months after breaking up with him.

Phillip had volunteered to arrange to have Rebecca investigated by a company he'd used previously. Since he lived in the same building, Phillip had suggested it would give the private investigators better access to the complex if he was the main point of contact.

Zach had still hated the idea, but he had to admit things didn't look right. Not wanting to deal with the investigators himself, he'd agreed for Phillip to run things.

Zach shut his eyes tightly as he recalled Phillip's shocking news.

The investigations had revealed that Rebecca was the mistress of a wealthy married man, and it was that man who'd bought her the apartment.

Phillip had shown them the photo of Rebecca hugging a man tightly in the garage of her apartment. Apparently, Rebecca had even called out ‘I love you’ to the guy as he drove off in his Mercedes. Then there was another photo, taken on the same day, of the same man kissing another woman in a coffee shop. Phillip had also played a recording, taken by the investigator while sitting next to the man at the coffee shop, confirming that it was indeed that man who'd paid for Rebecca's apartment. The recording had included Rebecca's boyfriend saying to someone on the phone that Rebecca had discovered his “secret”—presumably that he was a married man—but that she only got mad for a short while, as she loved her new place.

Zach hadn't wanted to know anything else after that. He'd ordered the investigation to close even though he'd never found out who the guy was. He didn't want to know. It would hurt more if he had a name to match with the face of the bastard Rebecca had been sleeping with.

What nagged at him was whether Rebecca had been seeing that other guy during the time they were together. Had she been playing them both—seeing whom she could fully ensnare first?

“You're fucking stupid,” he scolded himself. Even up till now, he wondered if Rebecca would still be in his life if he'd done things differently. Frankly, money wasn't an issue—he had plenty of it to give to whomever he chose. He would have given her what she'd wanted if she'd asked for it.

What broke him was that she'd lied. She'd made him believe she'd loved him. She'd made him dig deep into his heart to discover his own feelings, only to find out he was the only one in love. That was what he hadn't as yet recovered from.

And now he had no choice but to see her again.

***End of Chapter Two***

Forever's official release date is on March 24th! Not long to go!

As I've mentioned yesterday, it's available for pre-order on Apple iTunes. Click here to pre-order if you're using an Apple device.

My next post will include links to all the other stores :-).

Much love,
Miranda xxx


Secret Moves Now Also on Apple iTunes and Kobo

Secret Moves 2D 200 x 300 AReFinally, Secret Moves is now also available from Apple iTunes. Yay! It's been a long few days of wait but it's now live there. And yes, it's also now up on Kobo too.

Initial reviews for it have been great. Here are some extracts from some Goodreads reviews:

“Ms .Charles just like with her previous books draws you in, brings the characters to life, writes some great sexy romance scenes and hold you in the web of their story till the end!”

“These books continue to get hotter than the last.”

“Another fun, flirty and steamy romance from Miranda Charles that let me step away for the afternoon!”

Click here to visit the Secret Moves page for links to all the stores where you can get it from.

On a different note, I'm hard at work on Secret Tastes (Secret Dreams Book 4). I'm thoroughly enjoying writing Sam and Adam's love story. It should be published sometime in January 2014. But for now, hope you're enjoying Secret Moves.

Now back to work for me to make that January deadline…