As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rachel Brimble celebrates 'One True Love' at the baths

By Elisa.rolle - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28118060
 A dark carriage pulls up to a stone building in Bath. The modern signs hanging outside the centuries old building mean nothing to the hostesses. They know that once they pass through those doors, they will be transported back to a simpler time--a time when everyone who was anyone flocked to The Grand Pump Rooms in Bath to see and be seen--a time when people believed the warm mineral waters from the springs could restore the spirits and heal the soul.

Oliver assists the hostess down from the carriage and the ladies, dressed in the finest Victorian fashions enter the front room. Mary adjusts the bodice of her dress to keep the "girls" in place and whistles. 

"Wow! This room is huge. And look at all that lovely marble."

Lyn smiles. "The room is  eighty-five feet long and forty-six feet wide with a thirty-four feet high ceiling."

Lilly blinks. "It's not a micro brewery."

Lyn raises a brow and taps her large kid-slippered foot. "And what made you think we were holding Rachel's Roast in a brewery?"

"You said it was going to be a in Pump Room. Duh. I thought you meant like a micro brewery...with kegs and stuff." Lilly turns quickly to glare at Lyn. The full back end of her dress bumps into Debby.

"Hey watch it!" Debby pats the huge pile of hair atop her head. "You almost knocked me over with that huge bustle on your dress."

"That's not a bustle," LaVerne says with a snicker, her pale cheeks finally showing a hint of color with her flush. "That's Lilly's butt."

"Yes, well, that's one less contraption I have to endure. The corset is bad enough."

"Hey, they do have pumps," Mary says, pointing to the marble fountain spewing mineral rich water into the bowl. "It just doesn't pump beer."

LaVerne wrinkles her nose. "It smells like sulfur."

"It's supposed to be therapeutic and medicinal. Not tasty and delicious," Lyn adds.

"Well, I want delicious," Debby adds. "So, I'll take one of those champagnes Oliver is passing around."
 heatheronhertravels/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

"And I'll have a glass of wine," LaVern says. "A nice Chardonnay will go nicely with those yummy looking cucumber sandwiches."

"If they don't have any rich dark beer, I'd love a Bordeaux," Lilly says with a swish of her bustle-less bottom.

Mary eyes the room. "Oliver really outdid himself this time. Just look at the crowd."

Lyn smiles, her eyes filling with pride. "For centuries, people promenaded up and down the great room from eight or nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, drinking from the waters and socializing.  And in the pump room itself, an orchestra would play. We have an orchestra too, and there will be lots of dancing."

"Is that big pool of water for bathing?" LaVern asked.

"Is it like a hot tub?" Lilly adds.

"There'll be no bathing today," the hostess' guest, Rachel Brimble, says as she steps forward to thank them for her lovely party. "Today, we are here to celebrate my latest release, Her One True Love. My hero Matthew and heroine, Jane are thrilled with the turn out, and they're dying to meet you ladies."

"Then by all means," Debby says, "Let's go meet that handsome devil...and uh, Jane too. Let's go meet Jane and Matthew."

The hostesses follow Rachel to the Pump Room where tables of food laden with salmon & dill sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches, fruit, cakes coconut macaroons, lemon pound cake and raspberry sponge cake. And there on the dance floor, their foreheads pressed close together as they slowly sway to the music, are Matthew and Jane.

Mary sighs. "What a beautiful couple."


She Can't Forget Him…

Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…

He Can't Let Her Go…

Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits--including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?.. 


 Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”

She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”

“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”

“No, I do not need your––”

“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”

“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”

“My offer still stands.”

She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”

“You are being stubborn.”

She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”

The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”

The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.

She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”

He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”

Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”

Empathy and passion swirled in her eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.

He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all


Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

To win a copy of Rachel's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.
(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased)


  1. My daughter is travelling to Bath later in the year. I hope she has an equally interesting time.


    1. Hi Mary! It's a shame you aren't coming too - would have loved to have met up with you :D

  2. Good morning, ladies! *waves* It's great to be here in beautiful Bath with you all today - I am looking forward to talking with our guests :D

  3. Oh, I've always wanted to visit Bath. So, I guess this virtual visit will have to do until I can afford to do some real world traveling. Mary Preston, do you think I'd fit in your daughter's suitcase? lol! Welcome to you Roast, Rachel. I hope you, Matthew, and Jane have a lovely time today. Now, where did Oliver go with that Bordeaux?

    1. Where did Oliver go indeed?? My glass is also empty...I'm assuming he's come across a damsel in distress *ahem*

  4. Hi Lilly, Hi Mary *waves*. And a special welcome to Rachel, so lovely to see you here Rachel and thanks for choosing such an interesting venue for your party!

    Oliver - any chance of some mead?

    1. Hi Hywela! Thanks for having me! I'm going to try to track Oliver down...

  5. Rachel, so nice to see your success! I love when good things happen to good people. Wishing you continued success in your career.

    1. Hi Caroline! We haven't spoken in SO long! You're very sweet, thank you :) Hope things are going well for you too!

    2. Hi Caroline, so glad you could join the party. 'Her One True Love@ sounds like such a greatstory story - on my reading list for sure!

    3. Hi Hywela! Hope you enjoy it :D

  6. Hello Caroline! Lovely to see you again. Isn't this the greatest venue ever? I really want to sneak off and have a soak in that giant hot tub and get Oliver to bring us some cocktails. Much tastier than the mineral water!

  7. Don't - whatever you do ladies - have a glass or two of that lovely Chardonnay and then soak in that gorgeous hot water. I lost track of the time and I'm all wrinkled as my daughter would say, "like an old lady". :) But boy.... do I feel great! I've always wanted to go to Bath.

    Rachel - how wonderful to host you here on the Roast. You've always created the most unforgettable of characters, and I believe you've done the same again. Congratulations on your latest release, you clever lady! I'm looking forward to getting to know Jane and Matthew.

    1. Hi LaVerne! You are so lovely to say that! Would love to know which of your characters have stuck in your mind? Great to 'see' you xo

    2. Hi LaVerne, that's the trouble with hot water, it does have a tendency to be a bit wrinkle making. Don't worry though, the effect is only temporary!

  8. Hi Rachel - lovely party and it sounds as if you are going to have a fun day! I've been promising myself a day out in Bath with lunch at the Pump Room, now it's gone even higher on the wish list. I'll keep an eye out for Jane and Mathew who will surely be there in spirit.

    1. I'm lucky enough to live close to Bath & I'm there a lot! I believe every romance writer should visit at least once :)

    2. Hi Evonne, so glad you could join us for Rachel's party!

  9. I can't wait to use my twenty percent coupon at B&B. I love the place.
    Rachael,I used to wish the ROM would come and take me away!!

  10. Finally!! I have been going crazy trying to post and my comments need approval or just don't show. YAY! I fixed it. Now as I was saying I have a 20percent coupon for B&B that I can't wait to use. They have everything there. And, I really did want the gypsies to come and take me away. I always was in love with their way of life and sheer freedom!

  11. Rachel, when I was thinking about this skit. I went and did some research and could not find anywhere what they typically wore. I know we all have ideas of what they wore from tv shows. But, at the time period, what did they wear??

    1. Do you mean you have a voucher for a B&B in Bath? How wonderful! You'll have a fabulous time :) I write books set in the late 1890s and as for what they wore, it varied greatly depending on wealth & class. You can get a good overview online, here's a starting point http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/history-of-fashion-1840-1900/ but I have a bookcase full of research documents too. Happy travelling! X


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