Romance readers, get excited! The Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) have announced the 16 finalists for their coveted annual Romance Book of the Year Award.
The award, affectionately known as the RUBY, is the RWA’s top honour and is a one-of-a-kind in Australia. The contest is open to Australian and New Zealand authors who have published a romance novel in the previous year. The award, voted for by Australian readers and authors, is divided into four categories: long novel, short novel, novella, and novel with romantic elements.
The RUBY will be awarded at a gala dinner in Sydney on Saturday 18th August. Without further ado, here are the finalists for each category:
Ruining Miss Wrotham
by Emily Larkin
If he helps her, he’ll ruin her…
Eleanor Wrotham has sworn off overbearing men, but she needs a man’s help—and the man who steps forward is as domineering as he is dangerous: the notorious Mordecai Black.
The illegitimate son of an earl, Mordecai is infamous for his skill with women. His affairs are legendary—but few people realize that Mordecai has rules, and one of them is: Never ruin a woman.
But if Mordecai helps Miss Wrotham, she will be ruined.
The 19th of January, 1996… I’ll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the same day I developed my first crush on a girl.
Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after our wedding day, she was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma, she had no memory of me, of us, of the love we shared.
That’s when I started writing her letters.The stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we’d experienced together.
What we had was far too beautiful to be forgotten. Read more.
Lies, secrets and scandal threatens to tear the lives apart of the family who live in Villa Nave…
Temporarily escaping her Hollywood life, and the relentless pursuit of the paparazzi, Alex Botti finds refuge in Sicily. Armed with a list of things to do, places to see and foods to try, she soon finds the one thing on her list that she cannot afford. From the moment her eyes set on Stefano Conti, she knows the price of losing her heart is too high to pay. How can she indulge in a holiday romance knowing she would have to leave him behind when it was time to return to her blossoming career?
Stefano Conti has no intention of becoming distracted by the “American Actress.” There are problems with his business and his deceased Nonna has left him a mystery to solve. Read more.
The human race has been all but wiped out, along with our best traits: compassion, empathy, and generosity. Euan is a survivor. In a dystopian wasteland infused with violence and cruelty, he protects something invaluable. His love for Nick and the solace that comes with the connection keeps him from destruction, and offers him that most elusive and dangerous emotion of all – hope. But happiness comes at a price and a hunting trip leaves Nick vulnerable to the evil that still infects the world.
When Euan returns, he finds Nick broken and bloody, irrevocably damaged in both body and soul. Read more.
Plight [plahyt] Noun: a difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation. Verb: pledge or solemnly promise. Be engaged to be married. I promised myself to a man. Well, technically, I promised myself to a boy.
We were eight years old. Neighbours. He gave me a Cheezel, pushed it onto my finger, and asked me to marry him. I ate the Cheezel. I also said, “Yes” but that we’d have to wait until we were thirty. It was my thirtieth birthday last week and now he’s calling in that promise. Seriously, Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks that an out of the blue private Facebook message stipulating the binding law of an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two-year bullshit engagement. Insane. I wonder if he really does look like his profile picture, though.
Finding undiscovered treasures is always daring, dangerous, and deadly. Perfect for the men of Treasure Hunter Security. Former Navy SEAL and CIA agent Ronin Cooper is used to living his life in the darkness.
A loner by nature, he enjoys his work at Treasure Hunter Security, stays busy on the road, and never lets anyone too close. That is until he notices a mystery redheaded woman spying on him and his colleagues. Then he finds himself sucked into a dangerous rescue mission to Antarctica with a fiery, outspoken woman who pushes every one of his buttons.
Peri Butler will do anything to save her sister. The experienced polar guide knows the deadly black-market antiquities ring, Silk Road, has her twin, but Peri isn’t sure who she can trust. She wants to believe Treasure Hunter Security can help, and soon finds herself facing off with the dark, intense, enigmatic Ronin. Read more.
Harper Lake may be pregnant, but the father isn’t who she thinks or wants it to be! Wealthy former navy SEAL Nick Tate pretended to be his brother, Harper’s boss, as a favour but, after one night of desire, he’s now proposing a marriage of convenience that just might lead to a real romance…
When luxury hotelier Alex Mikhalis encounters the blogger who once nearly destroyed his reputation, he wants to get even. Only Adele Hudson isn’t exactly as he remembers. She’s pregnant, alone and he can’t stop his protective instincts kicking in!
After a difficult break–up, Adele is very wary of any relationship. She has no choice but to accept the Greek tycoon’s offer of a job, despite their complicated past. But his next suggestion is much more intimate: becoming his convenient wife!
Silk and Scholar
by Cassandra Dean
Most ladies dream of finding a husband, but Etta Wilding-Marsh dreams of the law. Establishing a law school for women is the determined firebrand’s dearest ambition and she has no time for distraction—and certainly no time for the wickedly handsome antagonist from her youth.After years of annoying her from afar, Lord Christopher Hiddleston leaps at the chance to return to Cambridge and the fiery girl he has never forgotten. Now a successful Gothic novelist, Christopher will use his notoriety to support the school…and drive Etta wild.
A chance meeting leads to another, and then the firebrand and the antagonist find a passion of a different sort. But can a woman who dreams too much and a man who never does truly find a happily ever after?
Wedding Bells by the Creek
by Janet Gover
How do you forgive what you can never forget?
Helen Walsh has never stopped searching for the daughter who ran away from home when she was just fifteen. Now, her daughter has found her. Face to face with the woman her child has become, Helen longs to be forgiven for her mistakes.
Ed Collins has walked Helen’s path, and he knows that she needs more than her daughter’s forgiveness. He would help her if he could.
Ed’s wife Stephanie returns – thirteen years after she deserted Ed and their young son. Now Ed is being asked to forgive. Steph was his first and only love… but are some things impossible to forgive?
In the tiny outback town of Coorah Creek, secrets are hard to keep.
The Rise of Jaz
by Tamara Martin
A story of finding yourself while in the grip of addiction, when your world is crumbling around you. A story of falling in love with the one person that really sees you when no one else bothers to look.
Jaz is a Harrington but being a Harrington and living in the shadows of her father’s expectations has driven her to cope the only ways she knows how but as she spirals further and further out of control, can anyone save her? Can Jay love her enough? Will she let him?
The Rise of Jaz is a beautiful novella of overcoming who you think you are, who you think you’re supposed to be and finding a new path, letting someone in and opening your heart.
Road Trip Baby
by Fiona Marsden
Fran knew Ethan doesn’t want children, but when contraceptive failure leads to pregnancy, she didn’t expect his total denial of responsibility. Now she has one last chance to find out the secret stopping him from accepting his child. The clock is ticking and they are a long way from home.
Ethan knew sleeping with his sister’s best friend was a mistake. Especially when he can’t give her the home and family she deserves. Her betrayal stunned him into a reaction that sent her away. Now he’s thinking clearly and maybe he does have something to offer, even if he has to reveal his shameful secret to make it happen.
Sensible teenager Morgan Parker would love a day free from scandal, but her tabloid-fodder family can’t help making idiots of themselves in public.
So when a confused – and a little bit gorgeous – ghost by the name of George Sebastian Wallace shows up in her room, Morgan welcomes the distraction from the chaos of her real life.
As Morgan gets to know George, she brings him up to speed with the modern world. The trouble is, the modern world can’t see George, only Morgan can. Suddenly the rest of the world is fascinated with Morgan and her ‘imaginary friend’. Now Morgan’s the one creating scandal and family embarrassment, and she hasn’t a clue how to stop it.
Finding undiscovered treasures is always daring, dangerous, and deadly. Perfect for the men and women of Treasure Hunter Security.
Long, tall, and deadly Morgan Kincaid enjoys her job at Treasure Hunter Security. Raised by a tough Marine father, she loves her guns and knives, and never backs down from a fight. She’s yet to find a man who can keep up with her and after a string of first dates, she’s not feeling hopeful.
Assigned to an underwater archeological expedition on the trail of a long-lost shipwreck, Morgan finds herself protecting the very hard, delicious body of a certain globe-trotting archeologist. A smart rogue with a wide smile and a boat-load of charm. Dr. Zachariah James has information leading to a shipwreck filled with history and treasure. After growing up with nothing, he’s forged a stellar career for himself, but history is more than just a job, it’s his lifeblood. Read more.
“Full of heart-wrenching emotion and pulse-pounding action.” – Helene Young, Australian Romance Readers Association award winner for best romantic suspense
Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher Neve Botticelli leads a double life. Thanks to a childhood tragedy and her paranoid father, she’s a trained warrior with extreme survival skills who lives off the grid.
When self-made billionaire Micah Kincaid storms into town in search of his son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything she despises. Micah can’t believe a kindergarten teacher is barring the way to him getting crucial information or even just a glimpse of the boy his cheating ex kidnapped. They share only one thing in common: either will do anything to protect the four-year-old, who they soon discover is being held for ransom by an outlaw motorcycle gang. Read more.
When your world falls apart the only person you can depend on is your sister.
The three Chirnwell sisters are descended from the privileged squattocracy in Victoria’s Western District – but could a long–held secret threaten their family?
Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life – a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.
Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.
Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy? Read more.
For further information about the RUBY Award or the RWA conference, please visit www.romanceaustralia.com
About the Contributor
Bronwyn Eley is new to the book industry, having previously served in the Royal Australian Air Force & even spent some time as a barista until entering the exciting world of Booktopia. Books are her true passion. Bronwyn writes in her spare time, often has her face buried in a book and enjoys keeping fit (which she undoes by eating loads of chocolate) with Martial Arts and personal training. She can't answer what her favourite book is but she has a soft spot for The Host (Stephanie Meyer), Peter Pan (J.M Barrie) & Outlander (Diana Gabaldon). Fantasy, sci-fi and YA make up the majority of her bookshelves.