Tough love. You don’t always have to be nice. How to avoid idiot compassion



Dear friends,

While writing and researching Claimed by the Shiekh I have been thinking a lot about the subject of ‘toxic dads.’

In part, I was inspired by Danielle Steel’s story of her son’s battle with mental illness and his suicide when the pain of living in this world became too much. Danielle Steel writes in her memoir dedicated to her son, His Bright Light, how her son’s father was a cocaine addict and extremely toxic. So much so that her next husband officially adopted her son and she went to the court’s to ensure her son’s father could not contact him and continue to emotionally abuse him.

I think this is something many of us can relate too. I know I certainly can.
Recently I came across a passage in Awakening The Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. It really spoke to me. When I was working in the corporate world people used to call me Budh and Budha. I’m not sure why, but it probably had something to do with my love for the wisdom of this ancient form of spirituality.

Here is the passage, written by Lama Surya Das, said to be the most highly trained American Lama in the Tibetan tradition.



A friend addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or shopping pleads with you to loan him money — ‘just one last time’ – to feed his habit. Your child begs for permission to do something you know is potentially self-destructive or dangerous. Your mate Ìs consistently hurtful, abusive and unkind, yet you

forgive him or her. Your troubled relative or friend does something that you know is wrong and then convinces you to participate in a cover-up so that he or she will not have to face the consequences.

If you give in to such demands, you are practicing ‘idiot compassion.’

Trungpa Rinpoche coined this apt phrase to name this false, inverted brand of compassion.

We are being foolish when we congratulate ourselves on our compassionate behavior when in reality we are simply giving in and giving up too easily.

In all likelihood, we are being lazy, fearful, frightened, or even codependent.

This idiotic pseudo-compassion is counterproductive and can enable others to hurt themselves further.

Sometimes to say ‘no’ is far more affìrming and supportive than to just say ‘yes’ without reflection.

Wisdom is an essential component of compassion. The enlightened mind is often defìned as radiant wisdom endowed with warm love and compassion.

Wisdom helps us develop a mirror-like awareness that responds appropriately to what is truly needed in any and every situation.

Mirror-like wisdom requires the capacity to stand back and look at the reality of a situation before we jump in. Sometimes we give in because we are trying to manipulate a situation – perhaps we are afraid of rejection or we want to get something in return. We all need to be really clear about what it means to give with a pure and unselfish heart.

Often we do what we always do and give what is easiest for us to give instead of what is needed in each different situation.

A friend of mine says that one of the hardest lessons she has to learn as a parent is to be open to her children’s real needs beyond what she thinks they need.

I think of myself and other mother’s like me who are trying to protect their children. Recently my thoughts traveled to Princess Haya who fled her husband, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum—fearing for her life and the wellbeing of her daughter and young son.

Princess Haya bint Hussein, commonly known as Princess Haya of Jordan, is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife Queen Alia, and the half-sister of King Abdullah II. She is a bright and beautiful and talented lady. She is a graduate of Oxford University in England. But even her education and her status as a royal princess could not protect her so long as she lived under her husband’s, and her children’s father’s rule. She had to leave and seek refuge in the West, specifically in London. She is also seeking protection from the UK Legal System to protect her children.

The BBC and many other international papers are covering this story, Princess Haya: Dubai ruler’s wife in UK ‘in fear of her life’ 

So what prompted her to flee her luxurious life in Dubai and why is she said to be “afraid for her life”?

“Sources close to her have said that Princess Haya had recently discovered disturbing facts behind the mysterious return to Dubai last year of Sheikha Latifa, one of the ruler’s daughters. She fled the UAE by sea with the help of a Frenchman but was intercepted by armed men off the coast of India and returned to Dubai,” reports the BBC.

The return, as friends and media report, was brutal. Sheikha Latifa also has a toxic dad. So toxic that she also lives in fear for her life and is imprisoned by him. Some sources fear she is dead.

Saint Dymphna is a Christian saint honoured in Catholic and Orthodox traditions and said to be the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and those who suffer neurological disorders – and, consequently, of psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists.

According to tradition, Dymphna lived in the 7th century and was the daughter of a pagan Irish king and his Christian wife. Dymphna was martyred as a teenager for her purity when she resisted the sexual advances of her father, the king.

St. Dymphna’s mother, who was quite beautiful, died when the child was only about 14. This so distressed King Damon that he sought to have his own daughter, who was Christian, take her place. (Talk about someone with a mental disorder!) Before this occurred, St. Dymphna had taken a vow of chastity, consecrating her virginity to Christ.

St. Dymphna then fled Ireland with Saint Gerebernus, her confessor, along with two others to escape the king. They landed in Belgium where they settled in the town of Gheel, but he caught up with them. Damon then killed Saint Gerebernus and St. Dymphna as well, when she refused to return to Ireland with him.

Miraculous cures of mental illness, and epilepsy as well, still occur at her shrine.

If you had or still have a toxic dad there is a lot of support out there. Many therapists specialize in helping people recover from traumatic childhoods. Even Google can be helpful, here’s are just a few self-empowerment articles:

12 Clues a Relationship with a Parent Is Toxic

Types of Damaging Fathers and How They Influence Who We are 
Never Think You Are Damaged

Prayers to St. Dymphna have been of great help not just to the mentally ill but, indeed, to anyone experiencing anxieties in these troubled times!

For all the brave kids that have had to break up with their father’s my heart goes out to you. It’s not easy to accept that your dad doesn’t love you like a healthy father should. But take comfort, now you are free you can rebuild your life and make peace with your history.

You are free to start again—and find a love that lasts a lifetime. This may be with a new dad, or a loving partner or husband, or with a child, or even with your pet. It doesn’t really matter what shape this love takes, as long as it is built on a foundation of strong self-love and the deepest respect and compassion for yourself.



You may also like:

Why I write romance

How extraordinary love can change our lives

Danielle Steele and the joy of working on many projects at the same time

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Did you know you can die of a broken heart? Make sure you know the cure.

Paper heart cut in half and sewn back together with wedding rings on light background. Relationship problems


Dear friends,

Did you know you can die of a broken heart? Science has recently validated what we know to be true. Only yesterday, I received the email below from a friend whose daughter had been caught in New Zealand’s broken mental health system.

my news is a sad one my daughter past away sunday the 8/9/2019 at Bay of Island hospital.

There’s no more suffering and dealing with the system any more. It was more the stress that mental health did within a year, and my daughters heart couldn’t take any more.

Thank you for been there when i needed someone who understood me the journey was tough but I have placed my self in the hands of heavenly father who keeps me safe and heals my wellbeing.


I’ll address the brutality of the mental health system in a separate post and share with you my intimate knowledge of what’s wrong and how it can be fixed. Like Danielle Steel, who shared her personal experience (unsuccessfully) trying to save her son who suffered from mental illness, I too can relate and will narrate my own (so far successful) attempt to save not just my daughter’s life, but others like her.

But first, I want to spotlight the very real threat to our health that emotional and physical stress can inflict. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken-heart syndrome, occurs almost exclusively in women, medical researchers say.

Harvard Medical School reports that the condition is caused by a weakening of the left ventricle, often as a result of emotional or physical stress—such as the loss of a loved one or a sudden illness.

When things we love or value end we can feel as though life itself has died. We can feel depressed, despondent, stuck in a wasteland of ‘nothing matters anymore’.

Life is a never-ending series of beginnings and endings. Life has its births and deaths. We have full moons and no moons—or new moons. An ending is not a failure, but an opportunity for a new, and often better, beginning.

It’s okay and healthy to ‘keep it real’ and allow yourself to feel bad. If your boyfriend cheats on you or tells you he no longer feels ‘the love,’ or friends abandon you, how could you possibly feel happy about that? It’s normal to feel sorrow. It’s okay not to succumb to toxic positivity and think that life is only about having ‘good vibes’ and feeling continually inspired.

When painful things happen in our lives, this adversity may temporarily dull our joy, but remember that joy is energy. Like the sun, it will rise again and charge and enliven our lives.

Sometimes, hanging onto the light during periods of darkness means cutting yourself some slack and cultivating serenity. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” the Serenity Prayer encourages.

Ultimately, surviving life’s ups and downs involves being in touch with our Higher Power (God, The Divine, The Universe—whatever we believe in).

If we can practice radical acceptance, cede control, and hang onto the spirit of hope, every ending does bring a new and happier beginning. As sure as day follows night and spring follows winter, we can, and will, experience the joy of new and healthier jobs, careers, and relationships.


You may also like:

Why I write romance

How Trauma Can Fuel Your Life Purpose

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Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How trauma can fuel your life purpose

Dear friends,

I heard some very distressing news today. Very, very distressing. And it made me very upset. A beautiful young man that had worked on the landscaping on our property took his own life. It’s is horrifying to me to know that suicide is the second leading cause of death in people under 30.

It’s easy to feel hopeless. Helpless.

“I wish we could bring Tom back,” his friend, who broke the news, told me. I nodded silently and agreed.

“I wish I had done more, ” he said. I nodded silently and agreed.

“I wish I had called,” he said. I nodded silently and agreed.

Sometimes the best thing we can do when people share tragic news with us is to listen and hold space and share the sadness and despair—and silently affirm that we care.

I thought of all the people affected – or rather infected – by suicide. I don’t know of anyone that escapes its insidious reach. But I do know that love is the cure—and holding onto hope. As a new book by Callie Shell affirms in its title, “Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas.”

I came straight home and stood beneath the Nikau’s Tom planted and I shed a tear. And the tears come now as I write. But instead of letting sadness prevail, I went and fertilized the trees so that they will flourish.

And then I jumped back into joy. I created a video for my new Mollie Mathew website. At first, I stood before a white wall, but it felt too morbid. So I stood before our new Piera McArthur painting and recorded the video below. The despair that Tom, and people like him, felt and are feeling is fuelled by so much that is ugly in the world.

The truth is sometimes all we need is something beautiful and joyful and distracting to fortify the hope needed to hang on for just one more day. And one more day after that…and one more after that…

Books can, and do, change lives.
Tom many never have read romances, in fact, I seriously doubt he did, but I know many people who do and have shared their story that romance novels saved their lives. Coco Chanel is one of the most famous stories that come to mind.


Which is why I write love stories—now and always will.


Some people feel guilty about being happy or focusing on their joy. They say, “what right do I have to be happy when there is so much suffering in the world.”

Some people are addicted to pain and drama and toxicity without even realizing it, say some psychologists. Imagine being addicted to pain? Who would? But millions do. Drug addiction. alcohol addiction, sex addiction, gaming addiction—so many things that people believe alleviates pain and suffering doesn’t. So many truths we believe are lies.

Want to know what the real fake news is? Negative addictions build fear—never hope;  never healing; never anything but pain in the long-term.

Joy, however, offers everlasting love and happiness forever after. This why I am a big fan of positive addictions, which I write about in my self-empowerment books like, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety—Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life

And, having discovered for myself the healing power of romance, it’s why I write stories which are unashamedly about hope and the power of love to heal.

In, my short story, Forever and Always, I shared the story of family therapist Lily Rose, who following her malicious sacking, is feeling rejected and super-low in spirits. Even worse, she’s broke. The last thing she needs is more money woes. Which is exactly what happens when she collides with billionaire water magnate Leonardo Ermenegildo Bressolini’s mint-condition Lamborghini.

Having found a place to retreat from the madness and greed and malevolence of his ex-wife the last thing Leonardo wants is complications. But he is a man in need of a housekeeper. And Lily Rose owes him. Big time.

What they both don’t know is just what a massive impact the crash will have on their lives. Forever and Always is a short story, clean romance, full of quirky humor and the promise of a happily ever after.

What many people may not know is that the story was penned from my own life. Sharing my trauma and transcending it with a fictional retune helped me heal myself with writing. And so many people have written to me and told me how much that story meant to them and how they identified so strongly with Lily, as they have other characters in my books.

“Did you ever dream that a car crash that wiped out your bank account could turn into one of the best days of your life?  Meet Lily Rose, who only wants to help children through emotional trauma and ends up finding herself and her true love in the process.  This charming and warm short story is just the start of great things to come.”

~ Elaine Zieroth.

The most thing to remember is to hang onto hope and know that sometimes the worst of times can, with the benefit of hindsight, turn out to the best of times.

Out of curiosity, I googled, How Romance Saved My Life and retrieved the following excerpt from one of many articles that came up:

“When I was newly divorced and an abruptly single mother of five-year-old twins I needed something to fill the hours between my daughters’ bedtime and my own. I couldn’t get sloppy drunk, though I wanted to, because I had to be a grown-up and take care of my kids.

I probably could have eaten bowls of ice cream but I didn’t seem to have an appetite and, ironically, I did not have the attention span to watch TV. What I wanted was a book. I needed a big juicy read to take me out of my life for a while. A Gone with the Wind or An Unsuitable Boy kind of book that would suck me out of New York to a different place and time. What I found on the shelf in the hallway outside my office was a mass market copy of To Pleasure a Prince by Sabrina Jeffries. I had never read a romance novel but the first page hooked me and I took it home.

That night I was introduced to the wonderful world of clever feisty women whose intelligence and prickly independence are attractive and desirable traits that draw equally intelligent, handsome, sexy men to them. The characters were wonderfully complex and Jeffries wrote a tense compelling story that completely swept me into the world of Regency England and the rambunctious courtship of Viscount Draker, bastard son of the Prince of Wales and Lady Regina Tremaine, who has decided she can never marry. How could you not love the bastard son of a rogue Prince and a woman who believes she is unloveable?”

Read more from this article and discover how romance can save your life, click here>>


If life has got you down and you need a quick uplift or the chance to escape into another world, reading a good romance (or writing one), or diving into another genre, maybe just the remedy you need.

Much love




P.S. And the nightmare, narcissistic boss who I took from real life and fictionalized in Forever and Always? I blew my whistle on her unethical practice and alerted the Government Department who funds the organization she leads. They were alarmed and immediately acted. Below is an excerpt from their email to me

At a high level, we discussed:

  • Governance and operation structure
  • HR concerns regarding the past employment and termination of staff
  • individual profit of intellectual property owned by XXX
  • safe practise and policies.

We will be following up some matters further with XXX and have issued some actions that need to be rectified.

Thank you for raising these concerns with us.


We have to be the change we want to see in the world. We must take a stand. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding to know you have used your own trauma to try to prevent others from suffering harm.

“I fell in love with Ruby and Oliver, they are so good for each other, but both are so filled with garbage that their families filled them with, that they can’t see what’s in front of them. And when they finally realize that diamonds don’t have a hold to what they had, they are about to lose it. The butterflies remind me of how ethereal life is and it is up to us to not waste it, but live the fullest and best we can.”

~ Review re Flight of Passion


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Posted in About Mollie, romance, short story, Writer's Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

When their world crashes, will their love meet the test?

New Release! The Lightkeeper’s Lover

Cassandragaisfo 1

Dear readers,

I am so excited about my new release and to share the inspiration behind this new short story.

It’s a lot different in style and tone than my other books, but I do like to experiment. The story was inspired by my own experiences. And, as you’ll read in the final scene, I really did paint a lighthouse in a type of cathartic art therapy.

I’ve always believed in the power of creativity and art to heal and I’ve included this as a theme in this story. You might say The Lightkeeper’s Lover has more of a magical realism tone, and some readers have described it as ‘poetic’ but, I’ll let you decide.

The Lightkeeper’s Lover is a short story, and like all my short stories and full-length romances it contains the theme of heartbreak, family, destiny and the power of love to heal.

I hope you love the story. Here’s a little bit about it.



When their world crashes,
will their love meet the test?

A woman who flees from love and a man who can’t keep it.

These two lonely people couldn’t picture a life where love ever stayed. A legacy of painful secrets and wounds unspoken.

Set in New Zealand, The Lightkeeper’s Lover is a beautifully moving story of love, loss and betrayal, and what we have to do to heal our hearts.

A delightful mystical romance with a dream-like quality that weaves fantasy and myth into everyday life. If you enjoy clean and wholesome romances and love stories with a touch of magic and fantasy and with that so important happy ending, you’ll love this powerful new love story.

To grab your copy on Amazon navigate to here>>

Advance Reader Reviews

This is not my normal genre but you made the lighthouse come alive. The Lightkeeper’s Lover was an enjoyable and quick read that drew me in from the first page to the last.  The lighthouse took on human characteristics or personification and was almost poetic in his thoughts.  When Lucy was on the cliff near the lighthouse, she was in so much despair and was hurt and angry when not offered shelter.  The epilogue was a surprise and was unexpected but welcomed since it fleshed out the story.

JoAnne W.

“The Lightkeeper’s Lover has a lovely mystical, poetic feel about it, with deep longings being experienced by the characters.”

“It was beautifully written and your language and imagery, exquisite! “



Enjoy the first three chapters from my most popular full-length true romance:

Married by Christmas—animosity and undeniable attraction make the tension soar

And a preview of my upcoming release Claimed by The Sheikh—discover the secret the world was never meant to know.

Curl up with romance and savor these delicious clean, sweet and tender love stories. Grab your copy today!

Exclusive to KDP and Amazon.

To grab your copy on Amazon click here


As I’ve shared, the beginning of The Lightkeeper’s Lover is different in style from my other love stories. Some people loved the beginning best, some loved the end, and other’s the whole thing. There’s something for everyone in this story.

If magical realism and a more literary, poetic style is not your thing, read to the epilogue at the end. You’ll meet art therapist Issy and her billionaire husband Max again (Married by Christmas) and gain a sneak peek into the next book in my upcoming Sheikh series.

As a special bonus, I’ve also included three chapters from my full-length book, Married by Christmas, and advance chapters from my full-length book, Claimed by the Sheikh, due for release in 2019. You’ll meet some of the hero’s friends and learn more about his royal lineage.



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Free Excerpt: Married by Christmas…


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New Zealand Romance and The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride—The Inspiration Behind the Story

The Italian Billionaire's Christmas Bride

Dear friends,

The idea for this story was sparked when I read about a very successful Italian fashion-tycoon who said, ‘My biggest regret is that I gave my life to my job.’ It struck me as very, very sad.

I wondered why he had chosen to live his life this way. Despite all his wealth, all his mansions around the world, and all the ‘fans’ who adored him for the identity he had carefully cultivated, he loved no one and no one loved him back for who he truly was.

Although he never said it outright, he’d thrown himself into his work following the death of his life partner. His work was pure escapism—protecting him from feeling the pain of loss again.

He’d originally trained as a medic but after experiencing the horrors of war, he sought refuge in a fantasy world.

As a child, he’d loved the glitz and glamor Hollywood offered. After a brief stint in the war where he witnessed the deaths of friends, he found an escape from the harshness of reality returning to the fantasy of Hollywood

I wondered what sort of woman would be able to touch this frozen man at the deepest level. Everything in his life was controlled measured, predictably precise. I wondered what if the darkness of the past, his unhealed wounds began to impact his work, stifling his creativity and threatening to destroy everything he had fought so hard to achieve.

I wondered what if, as part of his recovery, he was forced to spend time with a woman so opposite in every way to the order he imposed in his life. And what if this woman was a children’s art therapist. A woman unimpressed by the fame and fortune he’d amassed, but who believed strongly in the power of play, fun, and spontaneity—things he considered reckless

What if this woman had the power to transform his life, and he hers—but they were both afraid. Hearts have been broken, love lost, trust betrayed. What if this woman had her own wounds? Don’t we all?

What would it take to make all the masks fall? To be vulnerable? To risk it all? What would it take, in spite of the fear, to believe you deserve, you want, you need to give love a second chance?

You’ll discover the answers in The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride. I hope you love this story as much as I loved writing it. Here’s a free EXCERPT:



Che cavolo! No! No! No! This will not do. Only an anorexic model could wear something that resembles a straw,’ thundered Massimilliano Balforni, CEO of Emporio Balforni, Milan’s most prestigious fashion house. His coal-black brows knitted in a fierce line as he looked with disdain at the scatter of sketches the young designer splayed on Max’s 15th Century walnut desk.

His protégé began to protest but one piercing look from the maestro forced his lips shut. His body stiffened as if frozen to the floor, reminded that his employer’s wrath was more dangerous than black ice

‘Alexandria Gorbetz is a real woman, the world’s richest woman, and someone like me that demands perfection.’

Max’s mouth curved in a controlled smile. Was that fear he detected in the young man’s face as Max pierced him with his dark gaze? He had every reason to be afraid. Enemies and friends alike knew Max had destroyed promising careers for lesser transgressions. Infinitesimal precision, extraordinary control, unrivaled beauty—Max suffered nothing less.

Pressing his fingertips to the smooth, cool parchment, he paused momentarily as a childhood memory stirred in his consciousness. He sucked in a breath and swept his hands brusquely across the page. He was no longer the lonely child who furtively sketched movie stars in beautiful clothes and dreamed of a Hollywood life.

What was once an escape was now a thriving commercial enterprise with insatiable demands. Max flourished his gold fountain pen across the page, adding a sweep of curves to the hips and breasts of the bespoke wedding gown his fashion house had been commissioned to design.

Now at the helm of his multi-billion dollar empire, Max was no longer a hands-on designer, but nothing went out the door without his final veto. Some called him a control freak and this he took not as a criticism but as the highest compliment.

He waited to feel the rush of joy he used to feel when drawing as a child. He stopped to await the all-consuming love that arose from knowing that no one possessed his raw talent and genius. He paused to feel the pride that came years later from knowing he designed dresses perfectly, to satisfy only one client on her most important day. There was nothing.

It shouldn’t have surprised him. He had long ago accepted that he was unable to feel the joy that other people did. He’d turned off that part of himself years ago and had vowed never again to succumb to vulnerability. In its place, carefully groomed aloofness and instilling fear in others were traits he prized and relentlessly cultivated.

As his protégé braced for the consequences Max forced his thoughts back to the commission. While he felt nothing in his heart, what he did experience as he looked at the drawing of the wedding dress executed to his design was a coolly detached appreciation that satisfied the perfectionist in him.

The lines and structure now conformed absolutely to his definition of ideal. The controlled steel gray pallet reflected his personality and every detailed aspect had been meticulously executed as he had commanded. No randomness or chaos anywhere.

Having witnessed his parents’ brutal marriage and subsequent divorce, Max had no misguided notions of happily-ever-after, nor any desire to marry.

Perfection in relationships was simply unattainable. But the knowledge that he was at the helm of an empire that created exquisite, extraordinarily elegant gowns admired by the world’s most elite, at the same time preserving a historic tradition, filled him with a degree of pride.

But as for the rest of his life—the personal, emotional side—he felt nothing. And that suited him perfectly.

Max’s long supple fingers drummed an impatient rhythm on the armrest of his chair. ‘Allora?’ Well? People react to fear, not love, he reminded himself as he kept his voice soft, but somehow containing all the might of the towering spires of the Duomo looming beyond his window.

A slither of fear crept into the young designer’s hushed apology. ‘I should have thought more about the woman beneath the dress.’

‘Thinking is not enough,’ Max commanded, his voice a dark, stark thing in the quiet of his office. ‘You must apply.’ Taking the drawings in both hands he tore the pages down the middle. ‘Begin again, and this time bring me excellence.’

Ignoring the tiny pin like tremors piercing his chest Max pushed back from the desk and rose to his feet as the young man retrieved the torn fragments and scuttled quickly toward the door. Striding across the room Max willed his racing heart to cede to his control.




‘Calm yourself, please Maxie,’ Sophia Balforni said, sweeping into his office she cast the young man a sympathetic look as their paths crossed. ‘Have you thought about what I suggested?’ she asked, gesturing to the art therapy brochure peeking from beneath a pile of contracts.

‘I am surrounded by amateurs and now you want me to play like a child, mia sorella. I have never heard something so ridiculous.’

‘You’re my brother. The best brother in the world, but do you know what’s holding you back? You’re afraid of losing control. You’re afraid that without all of this, she said, sweeping her hand around the room, ‘you’re worthless.’

‘But all of this means nothing if you’re dead. And none of this means anything without someone to share your heart and soul. I hope one day you’re able to realize that you’re wonderful for who you are, not just for what you’ve accomplished. But most of all I hope you’re able to experience the unconditional love and support of someone who loves you for you.’

Max was neither given to excessive emotion nor impetuousness but his mood wrestled with his need for control. He threw open the shuttered windows of his office and inhaled the frigid Milano air with shallow, measured breaths.

He ran his hand over his broad chest, fingering momentarily the fine scar snaking across his heart. His mind had the endurance and stamina of one thousand oxen but two months ago his body had betrayed him.

His gaze swept down the Piazza then flew up the spires of the Duomo, dusted with snow and bejeweled in dazzling pre-Christmas lights as the cacophony of Vespas buzzed like irritated wasps through the open window.

Although he had always hated Christmas, he loved tradition and he loved the supreme elegance that the Milanese never failed to deliver, but it pained him to concede that never had his beloved city been so irritating. In fact, everything, and everyone was irritating. Even his designs bored him. He knew better than most that he must continually innovate or die. Grudgingly he accepted his sister was right. He needed to get away.

‘I admit it’s a little unconventional,’ Sophia said, taking an assortment of pills and vitamins from a gold embossed pillbox and, after pouring a glass of mineral water into a crystal tumbler, she passed the pills and water to Max.

‘Unconventional?’ Max tossed the pills into his mouth, took a gulp of water and threw back his head, grimacing as they slid down his throat. ‘What you are suggesting is childish.’ Childish, isn’t that exactly what his father had thrown in his face when, as a young boy, he’d first shown him his sketches. ‘If this got out to my competitors,’ he said, forcing his mind from a memory he vowed never to revisit, ‘can you imagine what it would do to my reputation?’

‘Not nearly as damaging as being paralyzed by a stroke and having to be spoon-fed, Sophia snapped. ‘And since when have you cared what others think? Besides, you have an island on the other side of the world.

‘One which you’ve been too busy to visit. Fiji is remote enough for you to step away from the constant flash of cameras and be virtually anonymous,’ she said, lowering her voice as Max’s new PA cat-walked into his office. ‘Call yourself Mr. Johnstone, or Mr. Smith, or whatever else you want, to protect your privacy.’

Beneath long-fringed lashes the PA gave Max a sultry look, trailing her gaze over his lean and muscled form, as she placed a collection of fashion magazines and media cuttings in a neat pile precisely as she’d been trained.

‘Thank you, that will be all,’ Sophia said, dismissing her.

‘A nudist camp would be vastly more appealing,’ Max’s gaze trailed after his PA as she left his office. While he had no time for relationships, that didn’t stop him from appreciating beauty. How much easier it would be to lie naked amongst a bevy of loveliness than expose his feelings to the spotlight.

Sophia rolled her eyes. ‘I can just imagine what that would do to your blood pressure. Art, unlike making a career of intimately studying the curves of women, my dear brother, is therapeutic.’

‘So you want me to go to kiddy school and make a fool of myself.’ Irritation coursed through his veins as he ran his fingers around the neck of his shirt and loosened the starched white collar.

‘You never had a childhood,’ Sophia said, her voice almost a whisper. ‘You grew up too fast. We both did. And now you’re a thirty-five-year-old man who may not see forty.’

‘I know you are trying to help but I told you I can handle it.’ And he would. He would never abandon his responsibility. Unlike his father who had tried to combine work with marriage and failed at both, Max had gladly sacrificed his personal life for his career.

Abandoned at birth by his biological parents, raised briefly by strangers, then dumped in a boarding school, he had turned what could have been a weakness into his biggest strength.


‘All this stress has engulfed you, Max. Only you can’t see it. And it scares me. You’ve become a shell of yourself—more than you were already. A man so cut off from his feelings that you are devoid of emotion. You’ve become a lighthouse of a man—lonely in a crowd, aloof and detached. Uncaring.’

The words bounced off Max’s chest like the final shards of Milan’s winter sun reflecting off the panoramic glass windows. It was true. He no longer cared.

‘What do you want from me, Sophia?’

She paused, concern pooling in her dark eyes. ‘I want what our mother wants. I want you to be happy.’

His lips curved into a tight mocking smile. When had his real mother ever cared about his happiness? He knew what she really wanted. After suddenly reappearing in his life, she wanted a daughter-in-law and she wanted a grandson. Max shook his head and gave a short exacerbated sigh. She wanted the impossible.

He plunged his hand through his hair, raking it back from his brow. He should have had it cut razor short last week. Instead, he’d thrown himself into the rollout of his retail network of 60 Massimilliano Balforni boutiques and jewelry stores throughout China, and the pending development of his luxury hotel in Dubai, with such single-minded, unrelenting focus there had been no time for indulgences.

‘I’ve done my research,’ he said, adding his signed consent to the final contracts, ‘and from every angle it all seems based on spurious psychology.’ His hand closed around the pen as he looked up sharply.

Sophia sucked her breath as though steeling herself to battle with his formidable will. ‘Unless you make some changes, and I mean massive changes,’ Sophia glanced momentarily in the direction of Cimitero Maggiore, Milan’s largest cemetery, then fixed Max with a penetrating gaze, ‘you’ll end up like our father. Morte.’

‘That will not happen to me,’ he said, balling his fingers into a fist. ‘I am nothing like our father.’

‘No, you’re not. You are loyal, honest and immensely generous to the people you care about—nothing like our father. But you are an unrelenting workaholic like he was. No better than an addict, because despite all your willpower, all your determination, all your talent, all your wealth you can’t stop working. My God, you even live above your office.’

Mia sorella, even if I wanted to go finger painting, which I do not, there is no way I can get away. People need me. I cannot just walk away without everything collapsing.’

‘Even geniuses need time out to replenish. Super-heroes too,’ she laughed. ‘You, Clark Kent, need a rest from being Superman, a week out of this world. Not eternity. I will take care of things until you’re back.’

The blood vessel in his temple pulsed, whether out of conviction or rebellion he didn’t know, but her suggestion was not without merit. His sister had proven herself capable in so many ways since her appointment to Director of Public Relations.

He leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers against his lips as he savored a compelling idea. What if he could achieve several goals by leaving Italy? While he did not believe in fate, he did believe in destiny. Was it not destiny after all that had led him to this career, launching him from male model to CEO of a multi-billion dollar empire?

Max began to wonder if his recent conversation with some Fijian silk merchants was also pre-destined. Until that meeting he hadn’t known there was such a large population of Indians in Fiji, and he’d been intrigued by the innovative textile developments they had shared with him.

And he could maximize efficiencies by going undercover and checking out his hotel chain in the Pacific. Yes, he thought, warming to the idea, perhaps a change of scene, getting away from all things European might just revive his flagging spirits.

His creativity was blocked, young designers were licking at his heels. He needed to continually innovate, but nothing inspired him. The plan was worth considering after all. Nothing else had worked. Plus it would get Sophia off his case. And the art therapy gimmick she was so convinced he needed?

What could any dowdy art therapist do to him that he couldn’t control?


To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>

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Leap of Faith and Writing through Chaos


Dear readers

Many people have a romantic vision of the writer’s life. They imagine us creating our stories and our art in beautiful writing rooms, or looking out to mesmerizing landscapes, secluded from the realities, and sometimes, the harshness of life.

They don’t consider mundane things like how we cook, clean, run errands—or worse, deal with family crises or dramas.

Some successful authors don’t have children, they don’t have a partner, or husband or a wife. They devote themselves, seemingly, entirely to their craft. This was the case for many male artists, including Leonardo da Vinci.  But also women, like Coco Chanel.

Other writers who have happy home lives often have a white knight or significant other who helps them focus on their writing, or artistic pursuits, by taking care of domestic chores or financial concerns,  while their ‘writing other ‘ enjoys or earns money from their craft.

For women, in particular, trying to balance motherhood, domestic realities, and perhaps even the breakdown of dissolution of their relationships, it can be difficult to focus on the work at hand or to maintain belief in your dreams. This is especially the case if your white knight does a runner or becomes a warlord.

Whether, you are an artist, photographer, dancer, or work in some other creative career, these less traditional roles don’t always reward you with the steady income you need. For Indie and traditionally published authors in particular—with the advent of Amazon Kindle and other online publishing and other sales platforms—many books have become so cheap.

Some authors offer free books on Amazon, for example, as part of their sales ‘loss-leading’ strategy. Competition has become so fierce. As a result, many authors are working longer and longer hours. Which begs the question—how do we find time for love and life?

As artists, we are driven to express ourselves. We have to. As the psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson says, “the artist must create, or she dies.”

A friend of mine told me recently how after many years raising a daughter on her own, and living many more years without a loving relationship, she made the decision to pursue her dream of becoming a writer when her daughter left home.  She decided that writing would become her great love.

She began studying the craft but gave up her dream when her fiancé (at the time) ghosted her. That experience had been devastating, but more so, when, some years later, trapped in a series of unfulfilling jobs and struggling to pay her bills, she realized that had she persevered, she could have already published many books and earning a living in a job she loved.

Rather than write through chaos, instead, she had found a job that would enable her to earn an immediate income, but offered no long-term security.

She decided to again pursue her dream and become a writer on the side and work towards making this her primary source of income. She was partway through making this new side-hustle career lucrative when she met another seemingly dashing hero. Everything was beautiful in the first flush of romance when they first started dating.

Last year, to her horror she realized she was about to make the same mistake. Her new partner resented the time she spent working on her writing projects and sulkily said, “you’re not spending enough time with me.” He began to resent the fact that her writing wasn’t earning much money.

“I was faced with a choice. Writing or love,” she told me.

She knew this time she couldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past. She knew this time she had to make a different choice.

“All I need,” she said, quoting much-loved author J.K. Rowling, “Is to be able to sit down in peace.”

She tried to tell her resentful partner that all his ranting and raging and arguing with her was really taking a toll on her writing.

And she wanted her partner to be her white knight and honor the commitment he had made to her that he would support her. “Men want all,” she lamented bitterly when he didn’t follow through on his promise, “they want a whore in the bedroom and a woman who wears the trousers when it comes to finances.”

She envied the women who were financially protected by their men. But then she read stories that showed her that sometimes a man’s shelter was a gilded cage. Recently she read the autobiography of Queen Noor of Jordan. Born in America she had trained to become an architect and had done very well in her career before she met the King of Jordan.

King Hussein made it clear that there was no room for an architect wife in the regal role, and reluctantly she conceded. In her memoir, she recounts how she married for love, not any material or financial advantage. She shares how she struggled to give up her financial independence—but he was insistent.

Queen Noor tried to talk about her Western life and the things she missed, and he replied dismissively, “I really do not want to know.”

Frustrated, Queen Noor turned to other projects that would support her husband’s career. She chose ones that would give her some glimmer of purpose.

In her memoir, she wrote,

“He was so sure about our future life together that his confidence was infectious. His unfailing conviction was beginning to win me once more. I had an incomplete picture of what the future might be, but I knew that no matter what happened, that I would always have my work and the contribution I could make to the country to see me through. The King had let me know in so many words that he was offering me a partnership. That realization too, help me make up my mind. I had a job to do for a country I already loved, and an extraordinary man as a partner together we could make a difference.”

My friend, sighed, “My partner used to jokingly call me his queen. He too offered an incomplete picture about what our life might look like when we co-joined our finances and moved away from my family to the other side of the country. He turned out to be a tyrant,” she said, sadly.


What if, I wondered—it wasn’t peace she needed after all?


What if

As my friend was telling me her story, I began wondering how instead of being distracted by all this emotional drama which was preventing her from writing she could actually use the experience constructively—writing, a story within the story as the drama unfolded.

What if, I wondered—it wasn’t peace she needed after all?  What if everything that happened, the environment in which she found herself, was exactly what she needed?

What if a different sort of writing emerged from that? Another genre, perhaps. Something darker with an angry female protagonist. Recently The Guardian ran an article called, Mad women: how angry sisterhood is taking over the small screen.

What if, I wondered, instead of the light, bouncy,  ‘everything is beautiful’ love stories she was struggling to write, she worked with what was showing up in her life.

“What if you turned yourself to something deeper with more angst,” I encouraged. “It might just be the career rescue you need, and you’ll heal yourself with writing in the process.”

I told her about something similar I had been through many years ago and a story I had written called The Lighthouse. My male friend at the time (we’re going back quite some years) read it and loved it. Remember he thought he was reading about a lighthouse not him!

Here’s a wee excerpt: I am about to release this as The Lightkeeper’s Lover (Subscribe to this blog and my newsletter if you’d like to know when The Lightkeeper’s Lover is released).


The woman wandering the cliff tops grew weary from her restlessness and sat, weeping, at the base of the lighthouse. She wore the cloak of a betrayed lover, looking lost and forlorn, wondering whether one day love would come to stay. Through teary eyes she looked to the heavens, beseeching: “why hath thou forsaken me?” The lighthouse, unaware of her presence, stood tall and solid, gazing sadly out to sea. Grieving he searched vainly for his lover. Waiting. Waiting for the lover never meant to be.

Two souls lonely in their loss, united by the yearning for love that would stay, remained unaware of each other and saw not that which lay within the distance of touch. The heavens sought to intervene – orchestrating the elements to throw them further together.

Violet-gray clouds swirled angrily – gaining momentum. Faster and faster. The woman stumbled to her feet as the wind rose. Finally noticing the presence of the lighthouse, she ran to its door and tried to open it.  The handle, stiff from lack of use, refused to succumb to her touch.

She persisted – pounding on the cold, steel door, determined in her knowledge and belief that, despite the cold exterior, inside it would be warm. The lighthouse stood firm, unyielding. And yet his curiosity was aroused.  Secretly he bent to see her, looking with soft, kindly eyes – wanting to let her in, yet fearful of the returning feelings.  Fearful of the stirring in his heart. Fearful of her.  What if she came in, settled, filled the house with her scent, her song – filling the void which for so long he had denied existed.

“You have a gift, especially when emotion is involved,” my male friend told me.

I wrote his feedback down in the little ‘writing feedback’ journal that I still update to this day. It always encourages me to read the kind things my readers have said about my writing. Especially if I am having a bad day.  I still go to this little notebook sometimes when I think I can’t write or I don’t believe that I have any talent, or I feel like an imposter. It’s a great comfort to me.



Mine your emotions

Artists have mined their negative emotions and feelings for years—often to lucrative effect.

“I’ve been feeling this sorrow all my life,” wrote UK rock band Genesis. They shapeshifted through different genres throughout their career. The band moved from folk music to progressive rock in the 1970s, before moving towards pop at the end of the decade.

“In the desert, you can remember your name because there ‘ain’t no one to give you no pain,” wrote America in their song entitled, Horse with No Name.

Many writing experts encourage us to amp up the emotion. In my writing shed, I have a quote written in chalk from one of my favorite romance writers Emma Darcy (actually this is a pen name for a husband and wife couple. She/they wrote  ‘a how-to’ guide to writing romance in which they advised, “Put as much emotion onto the page that you think you’ll need– and then double it.”

Recently, the UK songstress, Adele has announced her divorce, and her fans are delighted!? Something feels ghoulish about this to me. I’m sure it is a deeply upsetting time for her and her son.

“Divorce will inspire Adele’s fourth album which producers are keen to see,” news media reports quickly proclaimed. Whether you agree or disagree with the lack of empathy for her plight, there’s no doubt that heartbreak has inspired all her award-winning hits.

Back in 2011, the superstar said of her creative process: “When I’m happy, I ain’t writing songs – I’m out having a laugh.“If I ever get married, it’ll be, ‘Darling, I need a divorce. It’s been three years – I’ve got a record to write’.”

Insiders say Adele is throwing herself back into work to get over the break-up. Work can be a positive addiction that heals. Something touched on in the books, Mind Your Drink, The Joy of Sobriety and also in Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life—it’s a poignant reminder of alternative sources of healing for those frustrated creatives or people who may be tempted to hit the bottle.

Because an artist must feel. And a great artist mines those feelings, like a diamond hunter mines mud until they find the alchemy that sparkles.

The choice, dear readers, is to choose love. The love that sustains you. If love between a man and a woman fails you, the love of your metier will always sustain you. Perhaps not financially, perhaps not immediately, but the love of your work will save you. And the right partner for you will know that. They won’t resent your work, they will love that you are inspired and deeply happy.

And if the relationship doesn’t survive—you’ll have plenty of material to write about.

Oh, and do you know my friend that I wrote about, the one with the warlord. Her man transformed into the White Knight. He went from being stressed out and resentful to being totally encouraging.

She started a feedback journal like the one I keep and the first sentences in it were those he had said to her,

“My job is to protect you so you can tell your story like no one else ever will.”

Yay, she got her happy ending after all.

Live an exciting passionate life, dear friends. Remember that we are surrounded by an invisible world—one that is sometimes polluted, toxic and harmful (with suspended particles, light gases, heavy metals, sun radiation, and peoples moods)….and one that is beautiful, healing, and healthy (infused with magic, alchemy, and spiritual guides).

Fight for your dreams! Give in to your passions regularly—giving yourself permission is the biggest gift.

As my masseuse reminded me recently, “Don’t let life get in the way.”


Perhaps this inspirational quote I have on the wall of my writing shed will speak to you as much as it does me, 

“Always picture succeeding. Never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things are going in the moment.” ~ Jessie Burton, author of The Muse

Much love



Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and newsletter to receive notifications about more inspiring love-filled content and to learn when The Lighthouse and other stories are being released.


If you’re going through a tough time, you may enjoy my wee poem. It’s inspired by an old oak tree in my garden. I also wrote about an inspirational magical tree in my love story called  Love Me Forever—download a free sample or purchase here


The Oak Tree

The oak tree grows toward the light

the gnarly cypress towers above

pushing against the oak, stunting its might

the oak stands its ground and grows proudly,

its roots arch and spread and burrow

down, down, down it grows

down, down, it goes

down, down, down it reaches

seeking water

seeking nourishment

seeking Mother Earth


up, up, up it reaches

up, up, up it goes

up, up, up it grows

its branches arch and spread and borrows

borrows from the energy of the earth and sky

borrows from the whispers of the wind

the song of the birds

the comforting touch of those just like her


and she grows where she can

and she stands her ground

and she flourishes and thrives

and lets go of the parts of her that die


And she knows

yes she knows

she really knows

that what she releases is past

and there will be a time to weep

a time to cry

a time to say goodbye

and she will rest

she will sleep

and then one day,

again, she shall meet

the little seeds of hope so sweet

and the tiny buds of dormant growth

which, in a whisper unfurl 

and the growth will be new

and the growth will be vital

and the growth will delight


This is nature

This is natural

This is how magic happens


And who knows what tomorrow will bring

Every day is another opportunity

To start again

And to be better.


P.S. Subscribe to this blog and my newsletter if you’d like to know when The Lightkeeper’s Lover or any of my other books are released.



You may also like:

How extraordinary love can change our lives

Danielle Steele and the joy of working on many projects at the same time

Love Me Forever…a stunning new love story

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Upcoming July Releases

Three Weeks, Three Fun and Tender New Books

Hi everyone, I hope you are well. There have been a few health challenges in my family, but I’m hoping (and praying) everyone will be recovered soon.

I’ve taken time out to care for those closest to me and now I plan to play catch up!

Watch this space for more information on my three new books from my Passion Down Under Sassy Short Stories collection.

Next week we’ll kick off with Love me As I Am

Kiri Love had no need for friendships. She had no time for distraction. She is in her final year of medical studies by the grace of God to do a job—and a darned good one.

Her mom had scrimped and saved every last dollar she earned and worked three jobs to pay for Kiri’s education and Kiri was determined to make her proud. She would be the first person in her family to receive a degree and achieve her ambition of being a doctor.

But when her mother is murdered she sacrifices her ambitions and travels back to the tiny Far North town which had created so much pain.

With three sisters under nine to feed, she’ll do whatever it takes to provide them with the security they need—even if it means groveling to Benotti Zegna, billionaire jeweler to the stars.

Benotti Zegna has a heart of gold but a failed marriage has left him cold. His hands are full running his global empire,  plus being a millionaire-dad to his young and motherless daughter.

He can spot a diamond in the rough and while alarm-bells warn him to watch his heart, intuition tells him that Kiri Love will make the perfect nanny.

The role he offers is a far cry from her the life she’d hope to lead, but Kiri quickly discovers the power of family and sacrifice to heal the deepest of wounds.

Have you read the newest release in this series: Forever and Always?

Will Lily and Leonardo end up giving their hearts to the wrong person?

Still reeling following her malicious sacking, family therapist Lily Rose is feeling rejected and low in spirits. Even worse, she’s broke. The last thing she needs is more money woes. Which is exactly what happens when she collides with billionaire water magnate Leonardo Ermenegildo Bressolini’s mint-condition Lamborghini.

Having found a place to retreat from the madness and greed and malevolence of his ex-wife the last thing Leonardo wants is complications. But he is a man in need of a housekeeper. And Lily Rose owes him. Big time.

What they both don’t know is just what a massive impact the crash will have on their lives. Sparks heat into a collision of powerful forces that can’t be dampened.

Spontaneous love on the beach sends deep passions and emotional connection—more heartfelt than either has ever known—steaming to the surface.

When Leonardo’s past comes careering into his future—will both Lily and Lorenzo end up giving their hearts to the wrong person?

Forever and Always is a short story, clean romance, full of quirky humor and the promise of a happily ever after.

Set in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand—my home—one of the most beautiful, unspoiled, sensuous places in the world.

Forever and Always is part of my bestselling series, Passion Down Under Sassy Short Stories It can easily be read as a stand-alone story, but you’ll love reading the other books, too.

Reader Reviews

“Lily’s Day from Hell could not get worse after she loses her job and doesn’t know how she will pay her rent. She is forced to walk away from the children she was counseling as a therapist. But it does get worse when she runs into a Lamborghini driven by a billionaire. How can she possibly pay for the damages now? And yet sometimes your worst day turns into your best day when fate hands you a handsome Italian man and a new job.”

“The worst day of her life becomes even worse. Lily not only loses her job but ends up running into a Lamborghini and she has no hope for paying off the damage. Leonardo, on the other hand, has had his fill of selfish women, but being rear-ended by the therapist that had previously attracted his attention, makes him stop a moment and consider ways in which to bring her into his orbit. This sweet and short romance touches the heart and makes one smile.”

“I enjoyed Forever and Always—a story about two wounded people that come together in a crash. I very much enjoy Mollie Mathews writing. When she writes I feel like I’m right there because of the colorful descriptions that she paints.”



Enjoy the first three chapters from my most popular books:

Married by Christmas—animosity and undeniable attraction, make the tension soar

Flight of Passion—a rapturous tale of love and obsession

And my upcoming July release Claimed by The Sheikh—discover the secret the world was never meant to know.

But wait—there’s more. Purchase Forever and Always and Receive the first book in the Passion Down Under Sassy Short Stories, Twist of Fate, Absolutely FREE!

Twist of Fate is a short story full of quirky humor and the promise of romance. Jonathan has returned home feeling disillusioned and low in spirits. When a baggage mix up leads him to a potential cross-dresser, the story takes off in a hilarious direction. However, all is not as it seems and Jonathan finds that the future isn’t as dismal as he initially thought. This is a delightful, well-written short story that had me laughing out loud.”

~ Margaret


The inspiration behind Forever and Always!

Last year, my partner Lorenzo shouted me a glorious weekend at the exclusive resort Donkey Bay  (you absolutely have to check it out!!!

While we were there we were greeted by Amelia. She shared her inspiring story of escaping a rat-race existence and finding a dream job as a housekeeper.

My creative brain jumped with joy and my imagination soared. What if, I wondered, the dream job also came with a dream lover?!

When I experienced my own toxic work situtation it seemed like a perfect marriage to bring this fictional story into being.

As I write this post, Amelia just emailed me a beautiful photo….I’d love to include it in my cover. What do you think?

Curl up with romance and savor these delicious clean, sweet and tender love stories.

Book One: Twist of Fate

Book Two: Love Me Forever

Book Three: Forever and Always

Book Four: Love Me as I Am—coming soon!


You can grab the first two books as a boxset available from Amazon here—

Or grab the first book, Twist of Fate and other sweet romances for FREE in this summer giveaway, click here to grab all these treats.



You may also like:

How extraordinary love can change our lives

Danielle Steele and the joy of working on many projects at the same time

Love Me Forever…a stunning new love story



To purchase your copy on Amazon ➜click here
To purchase your copy on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other online stores click here
Posted in New Release, New romance novel, short story, Twist of Fate | Leave a comment