Today’s guest is multi-published fantasy author Nicole Murphy, who is also writes contemporary stories under the pen name Elizableth Dunk. Read on to find out more about her upcoming book.

Why did I write ‘Arranged to Love’? It was 2011. I had just finished drafting the fifth of the Gadda books and it occurred to me that I could happily keepnicolemurphy churning them out, but it wasn’t going to be much of a challenge. They followed a pretty set pattern, had a set tone and style, so they wouldn’t necessarily do much to help improve my writing (I want to be constantly growing and improving as a writer).

I’d had this idea for a contemporary romance swimming around in my head, brought together by two different ideas – my career as a journalist and an Indian girl I worked with who came to Australia on an arranged marriage. The two combined with my need to challenge myself so I sat and wrote a contemporary. It was both harder than I’d imagined, and more fun! And now I’m kinda addicted to them.


 Arranged To Love_mediumAll her life, Madhuri Singh has been sure she’ll make an arranged marriage with an Indian man. But when the opportunity arrives at the same time a past lover returns to her life, Maddie finds herself torn between her culture and her desire.

 All his life, Jack Faulkner has been obsessed with being the one his father chooses to take over the reins of Faulkner Publications. When it seems it’s finally within his grasp, he finds himself face to face with the one woman who can make him forget everything.

 What will win out – the dreams they’ve always held for their futures, or the passion that even after seven years apart cannot be contained. Will they remain blinded to the truth – that they will only be happy if they can be together?


Jack started the conversation again. “So, do you think you’ll come to work at the paper when you finish uni?”

     “I’m not sure,” Maddie said. “It depends if they want me, I guess.”

     Jack smiled. “How can they not want you? I can’t imagine anyone not wanting you.”

     There was a heaviness, a depth in the way he said ’want’ that made Maddie’s toes curl inside her shoes.

     “I know I’d like you to be there.”

     Maddie stared down at her coffee, frantically trying to decide what to do.

     “Maddie.” Jack put his coffee down then leant forward. She watched his tan hand lightly touch her brown one as it lay on her lap. “I think you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen and I’d really like to get to know you better.”

     Their children would be so pretty, Maddie mused as she stared at their skin, side by side. Particularly if they got Jack’s blazing blue eyes in her brown skin…

     She shook the thought away and lifted her gaze, but then she stopped when she was looking into Jack’s eyes. Heat. Desire. Want. Need.

     Transfixed, it seemed like she was standing outside herself, watching Jack’s other hand reach forward and gently cup her cheek.

     “So beautiful,” he murmured.

     “So are you,” she whispered.

     Jack smiled and it lit a fire deep within her, licking along her limbs and making her tremble. His hand moved down and he rubbed his thumb across her lower lip.

     “From the moment I saw you, I wanted you.” His soft words were like a benediction and Maddie was thrilled. “I know I shouldn’t—you’re an intern, I’m your mentor. And I’ve got this iron-clad rule about not dating people I work with. But I can’t see how we can keep ignoring this.”

     Not any more, Maddie thought. Not now that she knew the attraction was as strong on his side. Right then, the past, the future, cultural sensitivities—none of it mattered. All that mattered was that the most stunning man she’d ever known, the first and only man she’d ever wanted, wanted her too. She might never know this again.

     Maddie leant forward and their lips touched—hesitatingly, softly, and then more firmly as mutual passion rose to the fore. Jack’s hand moved to the back of her neck to hold her as his lips shaped hers, and then his tongue pressed against her mouth.

     Maddie shuddered, wondered for a moment, then accepted that if this was going to happen, she’d have to go with it fully. So she opened her mouth and his tongue thrust in and Maddie moaned, feeling the movement deep inside her.

     Her body loosened, tingled in ways she’d read about but never experienced before. She arched her back, leant closer, wanting more but not sure how to ask for it. Jack must have understood her silent invitation because he pulled her close and then her body was tight against his, her breasts crushed against his chest, her hips lying on his. He leaned back on the lounge, so she was sprawled on top of him and continued to kiss her, deep and strong while his hands learnt her body.

     Maddie kissed him back—loving the taste of the coffee on his tongue, the thrill of his body quivering against hers as she caressed his mouth. Certainty took over her and she pulled back, away from him, standing. She almost laughed at his pout, then held her hand out.

     “You wanted to see my bedroom,” she said softly.

     Jack looked at her hand, then at her. “Maddie, are you sure about this?”

     With every nerve in her body screaming, every inch of her skin begging for his touch? How could she not be sure?


     With a wide smile, Jack stood. Maddie took his hand and led him to her bedroom, to be made love to for the first time. By a man who would never be her husband.

Arranged to Love Releases February 1 and will be on special for just 99c for a short time through all the major electronic retailers and at Escape. Meanwhile Nicole’s Dream of Asarlai trilogy is available electronically and you might even be lucky enough to find it on a bookshelf at a bookstore (Australia only)

Nicole Trilogy

And now for the fun stuff:

  1. Name your fantasy menage combination – It would be difficult to pull off nowadays, but Star Wars aged Harrison Ford (aka Han Solo) and modern day hunk Nathan Fillion (aka Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly). Particularly in those costumes. Hot, hot, hot.
  2. What five items would you take if you had to get out of your house in 5 mins or less – Well hubby, obviously. My computer. My archived copies of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy (I’ve got them protected and wrapped in special plastic so I’ll have a pristine copy of each forever). My camera and finally, TiVo. I don’t know HOW we lived before TiVo – has changed how we watch television FOREVER!
  3. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself? A house. It would have lots of rooms – so hubby and I can continue to each have our own offices, but there would also be a dedicated library, with floor to ceiling shelves, a ladder, a big comfortable armchair and an alcove window so on rainy days you can curl up on it and read surrounded by the rain but totally dry. This house would have a big enough lawn for hubby to create his own professional croquet court (one of the best players in Australia, by the by) and finally, the bathroom would have a massive spa bath. But all that assumes my lottery win is massive. If it’s just a couple of dollars, then the answer is – another lottery ticket.
  4. Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why? Oh, that’s so hard, cause I’m a bit of a history nut and it’s so hard to choose. But I think it will have the be the court of Elizabeth I. I’d love to watch her run rings around all those men who thought they were so frickin’ superior but had to live with a woman as their monarch.
  5. What super power would you like to have and why? I’m torn. It would either be Super Speed cause that way the moment someone did something stupid you could race over, bop them for it and then away before they knew who had hurt them so you couldn’t get in trouble, but your frustrations would be relieved. Or it would be Mind Reading cause damn that would make life easier!
  6. Best writing advice ever received – it’s all about the details. Choosing the exact write details means you can say a whole lot in just a few words. Whereas fill the page with irrelevant details, or none, and the story is either boring or not interesting enough to grab.

To find out more about Nicole, visit her website or follow her on twitter @nicole_r_murphy