When football-mad Lily’s local club relocates to a city more than 50 miles away, she’s just as devastated as all the other fans. Determined to keep the community’s love of football alive, Lily, along with her dad and sister, set up a brand new club, Crawford United, with the dream of making it a permanent fixture in their home town.When notorious professional player Ben Pryce shows up out of the blue to help coach the new team, everyone is shocked. Despite being a top Premier League striker, he has been temporarily suspended from his team for an altercation with a fan - and his image is in serious need of a revamp.The attraction between him and Lily is as deep as it is instant. He may have a bad-boy reputation, but she is convinced there’s more to Ben than meets the eye.Ignoring the one rule she vowed not to break at Crawford United - strictly no mixing business with pleasure - she embarks on a secret whirlwind romance with Ben and quickly discovers he has a heart of gold. But will everyone else be convinced?

Kate Wareing is astonished when she secures a place in a dance competition in which beginners are paired with professionals to compete for a huge cash prize.Initially she’s matched with gorgeous French dancer Merle, who seems just as keen to work on their chemistry as their routine. But when the competition is rocked by a scandal, she’s forced to switch to a new partner, Aleksis, who is just as devastatingly attractive as Merle – but seems to hate her.With the odds stacked against them, Kate and Aleksis agree to embark on a showmance to try to win over the public. But what happens when Kate’s feelings for her fake boyfriend become all too real? And how far will Merle go to sabotage her chances – both in the competition and in love?Funny, sweet and oh-so-steamy, this is the perfect read for the Strictly Come Dancing obsessed and anyone who loved The Spanish Love Deception and The Love Hypothesis.

About me

I've worked in magazine publishing for 20+ years, as both production editor and travel editor, on publications ranging from the little known Public Sector Building to celebrity favourite OK!. I've written hundreds of travel features for New!, OK! and the Daily Express, as well as restaurant and theatre reviews, and a handful of short stories.I wrote my first book – a choose-your-own-adventure complete with drawings of dragons – when I was about ten and followed it up with around 200 angsty teenage poems and some song lyrics for Bon Jovi and DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (not to be found on any of their albums). There are a couple of further attempts at book writing in a box under my bed and in 2016 I compiled an illustrated children's book, The Pig Dog Tails, to raise money for charity. My debut novel, The Dance Deception, was released in August 2023 and is available from Amazon. My second novel, Playing The Field, will be out on 5 June 2024.When I'm not writing, I'm often found at gigs and theatre shows, on a pickleball court or engrossed in a crime novel. I'm lightly addicted to Wordle and Scrabble (I can't even admit how many games I've played on my phone) and I like a good pub quiz too.

Playing The Field: Chapter 1

‘I know it’s been on the cards for months, but I still can’t believe it’s actually come to this,’ my dad says, his voice heavy with defeat as he sits at our kitchen table, staring at the message on the screen of his mobile phone. I can count the number of times I’ve seen him this despondent on one hand – and right now is one of the worst.But I know why he’s so downhearted – because I’ve been sent the same message. Thanks to a combination of greed and poor management, our beloved football club has ignored the protests of all its fans and confirmed it will be relocating to a stadium sixty-three miles away. Which means many of the fans who, like him, have loyally supported the club through good times and bad for most of their lives will no longer be able to go to the home matches.And the fact that this devastating news has come on the back of a humiliating defeat yesterday to a team that didn’t even have all eleven players after their striker was sent off – for assaulting a fan of all things! – makes it an even more bitter pill to swallow.‘After everything we did.’ Dad sighs.We attended every consultation, replied to every email designed to make us feel like our voices matter, even stood through a whole match with our backs to the action, wearing T-shirts with ‘Keep Hamcott Park in Hamcott’ on the back, but to no avail. The eleventh-hour U-turn we were all praying for never came. The final confirmation has just been posted on the club website and emailed to fans.‘I don’t mind doing the drive,’ I tell him, trying to find a way to make things better. ‘I know it will mean not having a beer in the pub beforehand and probably getting stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home, but we can still go. Lots of people can’t. In some ways we’re the lucky ones.’But we both know it won’t be the same. Not without the shouty bloke two rows in front who thinks he knows more about the offside rule than the referee. Or the old guy in front of him, who shuffles in on walking sticks every Saturday and promptly falls asleep, often only waking up in time to see the last ten minutes of the match. It will mean our club’s fans will make up a smaller proportion of the crowd than the away fans even at our so-called home matches. It will be like every game is an away game.‘Bob and Marge will no doubt be happy to squeeze into my back seat,’ I say to Dad, still trying to find a silver lining. They’re the couple who’ve sat next to us for the last twenty years, ever since the very first game Dad took me and my sister Cassie to when we were four and six – old enough to properly appreciate it. Thinking about all those happy afternoons at Hamcott Park now, I can’t even begin to imagine the roar of the fans not being a regular fixture in my life.And there’s another reason why this is such a blow. When I was eleven, my sister thirteen, my mum left my dad, leaving us all heartbroken. At that age it was so hard to understand why she would want to go and live on her own in a tiny village in rural Cornwall and not stay in the hustle and bustle of Hamcott. The truth is, she found Dad’s love of dinner parties and socialising exhausting and desperately craved a more peaceful existence.Cassie and I could have gone with her, but we chose to stay with Dad. Neither of us wanted to change schools, lose our friends or live in the middle of nowhere. We’d see Mum in the holidays and she promised to call us every day. Dad, meanwhile, put on a brave face and tried to keep our lives as normal as possible, and a big part of that was making sure we still went to see Hamcott Park as a family every Saturday.It was good for me and Cassie, but I think it was even more important for Dad. Bob and Marge, among others, rallied round to help him bring up his two headstrong teenage daughters. They became like an aunt and uncle to me and Cassie, and having their support meant everything to Dad. Still does, in fact. So I know he’ll be fretting that things won’t be the same any more, even if Cassie and I are grown-ups now.I look around the spacious rustic kitchen that was the main reason Dad insisted he and Mum bought this house, where I still live with him. How many Saturday afternoons after a home match have an assortment of people found their way back here, knowing Dad will have something tasty ready to heat up and share while the latest game is discussed at length? And then I think of our pre-match hangout, The Fox, where a crowd of Hamcott fans congregate for a pub lunch and a pint every other week. Will it now lose all that business?Dad frowns at the kitchen cupboards behind me, disappointment rolling off him in waves. I hate seeing the wind sucked out of his sails like this. He’s one of those people who never wants anyone to see him having a down day, but today there’s just no hiding it.But Dad being Dad, I should have known he wouldn’t let this keep him down for long. We’ve never been a family to just roll over and give up. So just as I’m about to remind him we fought as hard as we could to prevent this from happening, he slaps the table and pushes himself to his feet, his chair scraping back across the mottled tiles.‘This isn’t the end of this,’ he says, his voice full of determination.And I nod. ‘There are still two more home matches before the season wraps. We can still make the most of them.’He turns his gaze to me and says, ‘That’s not what I mean.’ And it’s almost like I can see the fire light up again behind his eyes.‘Footballers come and go – we all know that,’ he says. ‘We’ve seen countless players move on to other clubs or go out with an injury over the years. But the one thing that has never changed in this club is its heart. So all we really need to do is to let these players go, but keep that heart pumping.’‘What are you talking about, Dad?’‘We’ll let them go.’ His eyes are positively sparkling now. ‘And we’ll start a brand new club. One that’s run for the fans, like it used to be. Like it should be.’It’s my turn to frown. ‘We, as in us? Me and you?’He nods vigorously. ‘And Cassie. You’ve got a business degree. You can look after the money side of things. Your sister’s a coach. She can train the players.’I stare at him in disbelief – he can’t seriously be suggesting this. My sister coaches a group of eleven- and twelve-year-olds on Saturday afternoons and I haven’t even finished my degree yet. My final exams are still two months away. Plus I’d been planning to spend a couple of months loafing around Europe with my boyfriend before looking for my first job, and Cassie is busy doing up her new house with her fiancé.Dad may have some managerial experience, but it’s certainly not in a sporting environment – he helps run a local coach and minibus hire company. In short, we might know how to support a football team, but we’re in no position to start a new one.But because I don’t want to burst Dad’s bubble, I humour him when he requests I grab my laptop, so we can start making a list of the things we’d need to make this happen. ‘Players, kit, a manager, a team name,’ he says, counting them off on his fingers.And a spark of excitement bubbles up deep inside me, because football is such a massive part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine what Saturdays might look like without it. I’ve had posters of my favourite players up on my wall since I was in primary school and, if I’m honest, my decision to go to a London university was only partly so I could live at home and save on rent – I also wanted to be close enough to Hamcott Park that I could still go to all our home matches.It’s quickly followed by a reality check, though, when the list expands to include a training schedule, pitch, referees . . . There’s no way Dad can start up a whole new football club from scratch with absolutely zero experience beyond playing for his university team thirty years ago, with only me and my sister to support him. I don’t know what briefly made me think he could. Especially when he’s proposing to have it up and running in time for the new season at the start of August. It’s mid-April. That would give us less than four months.But it turns out I underestimate all three of us that day. Although I don’t know it then, that’s the day Crawford United is born.

The Dance Deception: Chapter 1

When you spend several hours pressed up against the muscular torso of a drop-dead gorgeous professional dancer, I promise you it will cross your mind how it might feel if there weren’t two layers of clothing separating your bodies. And that’s exactly what’s going through my mind now, a couple of hours into my first training session with Merle Picard, the ridiculously attractive French dancer from the Fire on the Dance Floor team, as he walks me through our first routine together.I imagine running my hands over his rock-hard abs, trailing my fingers across his smooth, tanned skin and working my way down . . . It sets off a light tingling sensation between my legs and an involuntary sigh escapes from my lips.Ça va?’ Merle asks.‘Oh yes, sorry, all good.’ I snap back to attention. ‘I was just . . . never mind. You were saying?’He goes back to explaining what his various hand signals mean – a double shoulder tap for a body roll, a lowered hand to prep for a turn – but despite my best efforts to stay focused, I slip back to picturing us getting more intimately acquainted.This time when he asks if everything is okay, I reply, ‘Oh, oui,’ with a shy smile.‘How about now?’ he asks, taking both my hands and pressing them firmly against his chest.I glance up and see the intense look in his dark brown eyes. ‘Um, better.’He takes my hands and moves them to his hips, curling my fingers round onto his taut buttocks. ‘And now?’‘Very good.’He puts one of his hands over mine and slides it round to the front so I can feel him getting hard through his gym tights. ‘And now?’My cheeks flush as my brain scrambles to formulate a response that won’t sound corny, but he saves me by planting a kiss firmly on my lips, his tongue pushing into my mouth to find mine . . .‘Kate, are you still with me?’ the real Merle asks. ‘I know it’s a lot to take in on your first day. We can go a little more slowly if you’d like.’‘Sorry, sorry, sorry,’ I babble, blushing. ‘I’ve got this, I promise.’‘Why don’t we take a few minutes to regroup? Grab yourself some water, use the bathroom if you need to, nip out and get some fresh air. Let’s get back to it in ten, fifteen minutes. Okay?’‘Good plan,’ I agree.A splash of cold water might help me focus. In five days’ time we’re going to be dancing in front of a live studio audience, as well as however many millions of people are watching on the telly, so I’ve got to pull myself together and start getting to grips with our routine. I’m here to learn, not to lust after my instructor. Even so, I can’t help hoping he’s into redheads.‘All set?’ Merle asks when I head back into the studio. And I nod, because I don’t trust myself to speak. I just can’t get over how achingly handsome he is.He walks towards me and places his hands on my shoulders, giving them a squeeze. ‘Just try to relax,’ he says. ‘To be a good dancer, you need to release all this tension you’re carrying up here.’But it’s hard to relax when his fingers feel so warm and inviting against my skin. I fight the urge to close my eyes, tip my head back and sigh with pleasure. He’s just trying to help me become a better dancer, I remind myself. But what I really want to do is tell him I know the perfect way for him to relieve any tension.‘Let’s try some breathing exercises,’ he suggests, stepping back and turning to face the mirror. It’s not exactly what I had in mind. ‘Take a deep breath in and raise your arms up above your head, like this,’ he says, showing me the move, then watching me to make sure I’m following his direction. ‘Then exhale as you bring them back down in front of you, like this. And again . . . ’I can’t stop looking at his sculpted biceps as he repeats the exercise, and I notice he doesn’t take his eyes off me, either. And it feels like something changes between us in that moment, because afterwards he reaches for my shoulders again, to see if I’ve loosened up, and this time I’m certain his hands linger for longer than is necessary.But just as I’m convincing myself this is not just wishful thinking on my part, he steps away again. ‘That’s much better, Kate. See how your shoulders are much softer now?’‘I do,’ I agree, even though they don’t feel any different to me.‘Great, then you’re all set. And now, let’s dance...’

The Dance Deception reviews

‘Like seeing the Strictly curse play out in real time… seriously sexy’
OK! Magazine
'Romantic, sexy and full of drama, The Dance Deception is absolutely sizzling!'
Melanie Blake, author
The Dance Deception is a breezy, sexy romance filled with passion, intricate dance moves, and a hero and heroine you can really root for. The perfect summer read!’
Kimberly Ash, author
‘A steamy yet heart-warming romance that will make your heart and temperature soar.'
Emily Houghton, author
'I was so sad when I finished it. Please write a sequel. I loved it so much.'
Kate Bates
'Brilliant, racy and so addictive. The perfect beach read.'
Catherine Usher
‘I loved it so much that I lived vicariously through this book throughout my entire read. It was perfect! Cute and witty characters, entertaining story and a sweet romance. Going to recommend to all romcom lovers.’
Reader review
‘A feel-good and steamy read with lots of funny moments. The chemistry is electric, and the dance and reality show concepts add an extra layer of excitement to the story.’
Reader review
‘A well written, entertaining story. I had a blast reading it. I instantly fell in love with the characters and found them very relatable. The chemistry between the two love interests practically sizzled off the page and there were so many laugh out loud moments as well.’
Reader review
‘Sexy, intriguing, and well-paced…will keep you entertained!’
Reader review
‘Lots of drama and steamy scenes. This was so good I stayed up late to finish reading.’
Reader review

Review in Heat magazine

Review in Bella

Voted Indy Book of The Month for August


For more information, please contact:Meg DavisKi AgencyTel: 020 3214 8287Email: meg@ki-agency.co.uk