Warwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.

When the arrival of her new neighbour and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?

I’ve loved both of Ellie’s previous two novels, Beauty and the Recluse and Love on the Nile, and I had high hopes for this one. After all, it’s set in one of my favourite places, Whitby in North Yorkshire, a place I’ve visited on many occasions.

Luckily, Warwick’s Mermaid lived up to my expectations. Like Ellie’s other books, it’s unashamedly romantic, sweeping the reader along on a tide of passion, drama and sexual tension.

Chloe, the heroine, is undoubtedly damaged. She’s had a terrible time with her ex-boyfriend, putting up with dreadful abuse – both mental and physical. Breaking free from him, she is still a prisoner of her own low self-esteem – held there, in part, by the drip drip of negative comments she has endured from her own mother all her life. Chloe’s mum has suffered at the hands of a man, and she’s determined that Chloe won’t have the same fate. Unfortunately, all her efforts to convince her daughter to stay away from men have ensured that Chloe is a mass of insecurities and doubts.

When she meets Luke, Chloe experiences an overwhelming attraction that astounds and scares her. But with her heart telling her one thing, and her head another, she is paralysed to move forward with her life and take a chance on this handsome man who has come to her rescue.

For Luke, his feelings for Chloe are a bolt from the blue, and she’s not the only one who’s scared. Falling in love was not part of his plans, and he tries his best to stay away from this intriguing creature, who seems very prone to getting herself into bother.

But when the two of them are thrown together, sparks fly and there is no denying their feelings for each other. With troubled pasts and a mutual suspicion of relationships, can they ever put aside their fears and make a fresh start together?

Warwick’s Mermaid is a passionate love story that will carry you along on waves of emotion as you follow Chloe’s and Luke’s journey back to happiness. Ellie has written another winner here, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. 5/5

You can buy Warwick’s Mermaid here.

Love On the Nile by Ellie Gray

Having read Ellie Gray’s previous novel, Beauty and the Recluse, I was confident that I would enjoy this second offering, and I’m happy to say it more than lived up to my expectations.

Ellie writes such romantic stories, with really sexy and passionate heroes. In this novel, we have the added bonus of the beautiful backdrop of Egypt. I’ve never been to Egypt myself, but reading this book, I really felt as if I was there. I could feel the sun beating down on me, taste the dust in the back of my throat…I was highly relieved when the heroine reached for her bottle of water and glugged down the liquid. I was quite parched myself by that time!

So, what’s the story? Well, basically it’s girl hopes for holiday of a lifetime, visiting the breathtaking sites of ancient Egypt, girl gets unexpected guide on her dream vacation, guide turns out to be gorgeous but annoying, their attraction sizzles hotter than the Egyptian sun, guide has issues and reluctantly pushes girl away, and then…

Well, you’ll have to read it for yourself to discover what happens next. Let me just say, though, that there’s a lot more to this story than that paragraph could adequately explain. The almost mythical setting of the novel, the wonderful characters, the likeable and gutsy heroine, and the oh-so-sexy, dark and brooding hero, makes this a sheer delight to read. Natasha and Kyle’s romance is believable, sweet, tender, and smoking, all at the same time!

I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this gorgeous book, and I was rooting for Kyle to battle his demons and take a chance on Natasha. I loved both main characters, but I also grew very fond of Natasha’s younger brother, Nicky, who is very sympathetically and realistically drawn, and on Aunt Lucy, too. Ellie has, in short, done it again, and now I’m very much looking forward to her third novel. Excellent read. 5/5

You can buy Love On the Nile here.

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Beauty and the Recluse by Ellie Gray

Kiya is still grieving for her father when she heads out into the Yorkshire countryside on her bicycle, and chances upon an advertisement in a post office window. A local man apparently needs a housekeeper, and Kiya is intrigued to find that the ladies in the shop are astonished that she seems interested in the job. She is told that the man is “strange”, but she decides that she has nothing to lose by applying. She has lost both her parents to cancer in the last few years, her home is up for sale, and she has little reason to ignore this chance of a fresh start.
She’s startled to be taken on as housekeeper, after only having an extremely brief telephone conversation with the reclusive stranger. It appears that the ladies in the post office were right. St John is a little strange, after all. In fact, when Kiya arrives at the house and discovers a note pinned to the door, advising her to stay out of his way and even avoid the kitchen at certain times, she begins to wonder what on earth she’s let herself in for.
Bumping into her elusive employer unexpectedly, she reacts with shock, and St John, already convinced that he is a monster, unfit to be seen by outsiders, determines to keep her even further at bay.
Kiya sets to work, bringing life back to a neglected house, restoring it to its former beauty. As she weaves her spell upon his home, St John finds that she has begun to work her magic on him, too, reminding him of happier times, when he knew how to laugh and how to enjoy someone else’s company. Bit by bit, Kiya repairs the damage to the house, and tries to repair the damage to its owner. But though St John’s physical scars may not be as bad as he fears, his emotional wounds will take a lot more tending. Can Kiya reach the lonely, tortured man behind the aloof facade, or will St John’s pain ensure he remains forever a sad recluse?
I absolutely loved this novel, reading it in one sitting. I found myself completely absorbed from the first page, and couldn’t put it down. Kiya is a lovely heroine, full of compassion and understanding, but with enough spirit to ensure St John’s defensive attitude doesn’t break her. Dominic – St John’s best friend, and the only person who really knows him – is an excellent character. He has empathy, humour, kindness, and a streak of mischief. As for St John himself – well, I couldn’t help but fall for him. I understood his behaviour, and longed for him to believe in himself enough to take a chance.
This is a gorgeous, unashamedly romantic tale of two people who have been through harrowing times, finding each other, and helping each other to heal. It’s the sort of book that leaves you feeling all contented and satisfied, and with a feeling that love really can conquer everything. A wonderful debut novel. 5/5

You can buy Beauty and the Recluse here.51Q6U-nq3VL._UY250_