Monday, December 8, 2014

Torches, Mulled Wine, Kilts…Oh My!

Congratulations to Janice H., the winner in Alexa's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

The year I was going to turn 40, I decided I wanted to start it with a bang. My favorite place in the whole world is Scotland so I thought, “Why don’t I spend New Year’s in Edinburgh?” I figured it would be a great way to welcome in the year. As my friends and I started making plans, I kept running into the word Hogmanay. I had an idea what it was, but everything I learned about it during my planning made it sound even more interesting. It’s basically a multi-day New Year’s celebration with various traditions. Let me tell you, I’ve traveled quite a bit but I don’t think anything was as fun as that trip. There were torches, mulled wine, rides, shopping, fireworks, concerts, good food and drinks and, of course, the accents and kilts! (Yes, some guys still wore kilts even in the cold weather!)

It wasn’t until about a year & a half later that I thought, “Hey, Hogmanay would be a great background for a suspense story!” The book would give me a chance to share some of my Hogmanay experience with readers. Plus, a suspense story would fit perfectly in the darkened walkways of Old Edinburgh, with dim lighting, harsh winds, and cobblestone streets. So I wrote and revised SIMPLE TREASURES in less than 5 weeks then turned it in. The details of the setting and the events I shared from my own experience were the easy part. Plus, I enjoyed reliving my Hogmanay story through my characters’ eyes. However, tying the suspense plot together neatly and trying to understand my characters drove me insane. I mean, two stubborn, strong-willed people with their own way to solve the crime? Yeah, they butted heads with each other (and me) plenty of times over those 5 weeks, which led me to write 3 different versions of the story. But I was determined to find my “perfect” Hogmanay story, for my characters, myself and you.  

One commenter will receive a UK Christmas ornament and a Scottish treat! (US residents only!)


Take-charge bodyguard Colin Munro believes working for the International Protective Network will be the perfect occupation for him. Unfortunately, his trial assignment is protecting a woman who has no intention of blindly following orders. Aye, he’ll bring the bonnie lass in line because there’s no way he’ll allow her to ruin his chance of securing his dream job.

Physically and emotionally scarred during her stint as a U.S. soldier, Joanna Grainger wants nothing more than to enjoy life. New Year's Eve in Edinburgh marks the beginning of her transformation. But when she witnesses a crime no one believes occurred, her plans come to a screeching halt. To make matters worse, her sexy but headstrong bodyguard has no compassion for her or the victim.

As danger hunts them during one of the busiest times of the year, Joanna must convince Colin she's a worthy partner. But first, can she convince herself?

Joanna bolted upright. Darkness wrapped her in its hideous embrace. And silence reigned. Her heart raced. She flattened her hands on the mattress beneath her. 

Mattress. Bed. Colin’s hotel room. 

Rustling sounds came from the floor. The bedside lamp flickered on. Colin propped himself up, one knee bent and an arm dangling over it. He squinted against the brightness. “Are you all right?” 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.” She brushed her fingers under her eyes. 

“Don’t be daft, lass.” 

“I had a bad dream.” She smoothed her hair back off her face. Moisture beaded at her temples. 

“Here we call it a nightmare.” He smiled, and at once she relaxed her shoulders. 

“Americans do, too.” After another deep breath, she said, “I’ll be all right.” Once her heart rate slowed to normal. With her forearm, she wiped perspiration from her forehead. 

He stood, padded into the bathroom, and ran the faucet. When he returned, he sat beside her, tucked his finger under her chin, and pressed the cloth to her cheek. The cool moisture soothed her burning skin. 

She reached up and covered his hand with hers. “I can do that.” 

“I know.” He brushed her fingers away. “But you’ll not.” 

After a few seconds, he moved the wet towel across her forehead and to her other cheek. 

When he reached her neck, she sighed and closed her eyes for a few valuable seconds.
“Thank you.” 

His gentle caress reminded her how much she’d missed simple comfort…from anyone.

Author Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She is thrilled to be writing for Decadent Publishing and to have the chance to share her love of Great Britain with readers everywhere.

When she's not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers, so visit her web page, hang out at her blog, follow her on Twitter or drop her a note at!

Buy Links:

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST December 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.US Postal addresses only.


  1. Sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. Simple Treasures sounds awesome! That is one of yours I haven't read yet -- but is now going to the top of my TBR pile!! ~ I was introduced to your writing this past year and have really enjoyed each of your books. Just what I need to help warm up these cold, snowy days in northern Minnesota!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful stories with us AND for this incredible giveaway opportunity.

    Many blessings!!

  3. congrats to Alexa on the new release! It sounds fantastic! Definitely going to be adding this to my wantlist ;) Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh that excerpt is awesome! I totally need to pick this book up. Thank you for sharing!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

  5. Love the wrong place, wrong time theme with the opposite attraction theme between the hero and the heroine.


  6. Sounds great. Cant wait to read it

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  7. Thanks, everyone! I do love this story & I love coming back to it every year!

  8. A Romantic Suspense. Yay! Thanks for the chance.



  10. Hello again, Alexa! I went to Amazon and got a couple more of your books...for my holiday reading! I better get started soon, right? :-) Holidays are always busy, but not too busy for romantic suspense! Thanks again for your writing. Hope you have a very happy Christmas.

  11. Kimberly Perry, YOU are the winner!

    Thank you, everyone, for your support! If you read SIMPLE TREASURES I hope you love it!