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Release Blitz: The Captain’s Snowbound Christmas by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

The Captain’s Snowbound Christmas | Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

A Captivating Captains Novella

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Release Date: December 22nd, 2020

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Length: 25,057 words

Buy Links:

Publisher: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/the-captains-snowbound-christmas

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Captains-Snowbound-Christmas-Captivating-Story-ebook/dp/B08K99ZZPN

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Captains-Snowbound-Christmas-Captivating-Story-ebook/dp/B08K99ZZPN

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55761537-the-captain-s-snowbound-christmas

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Blurb

Will Reuben be unwrapping a captain this Christmas?

Reuben’s a makeup artist who’s much in demand in the business, from making the beautiful even more gorgeous to creating an alluring love-scene glow. All of his Christmas wishes come true at once when he’s hired to work on the set of his favourite TV show. And not only that but on the swoony Christopher Manners.

Bunny is lusted after by millions as the brooding hero of television’s Captain Firth adventures. His manly swash and handsome buckle have earned him a legion of fans, and when he strides onto the screen and commands, “Draw your sword, sir,” it’s time to get down to business.

When Reuben and Bunny’s first date turns into a disaster, it looks as though the show’s over before it’s begun, but a blizzard, a mysterious bearded man in a red coat and a hot winter night combine to give them a second chance.

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Excerpt

Reuben couldn’t believe his luck. Makeup on the filming of one of his favourite shows. As he found a spot in the studio car park, he felt as if he’d stormed the barricades and at any moment someone would arrive and try to throw him out. And Reuben would say, “Go and have a word with Amy, she’s hired me for the day.”

Reuben had loved Captain Firth since the first series had been shown on television. What wasn’t to love about the flamboyant show full of men in tight breeches and flowing shirts? And the saturnine and sexy-as-hell captain?

Maybe I’ll get to meet him. Maybe I’ll get to say “Draw your sword, sir!” to the man himself.

As a makeup artist, Reuben had met a huge number of actors and celebrities. It was both a perk and a downside of the job—some of the people he’d met couldn’t have been nicer, and some couldn’t have been more nightmarish if they’d tried. Reuben had never been particularly starstruck, but he feared he might be if he actually met Christopher Manners, the man who played the captain.

Once he’d found a spot for his Renault, Reuben tightened his scarf round his neck and headed off into the studio. He’d probably spend the day applying mascara to a chimney sweep’s face or brushing rouge onto a kitchen maid’s cheeks, but when he saw the wall behind the reception desk covered by a huge Captain Firth poster, his heart leapt with excitement.

Christopher Manners, you smouldering bastard.

“Reuben!” Amy appeared from a closed door before he had a chance to approach the receptionist. “You’re a lifesaver! Carrie’s gone into labour and we’ve got literally one day left before we wrap. Reshoots, you know… I’ll tell you on the way. We’ll go straight down. It’s a closed set.”

Reuben nodded. “Hope Carrie’s okay! Closed set, eh? This should be interesting!”

He was probably going to be stood in a room with the coachman boffing the brigadier’s wife, but it paid a wage, so Reuben didn’t care. Besides, he’d been told before on closed sets that he was a joy to work with during intimate scenes, so he would be in his element.

“I’m going to let you look after Bunny,” Amy said as they strode along a grey corridor. It was funny to think that somewhere in this labyrinth, the Napoleonic Wars were being fought by the swoonsome Captain Firth.

Bunny?

“Okay,” Reuben said, trying to mask his disappointment. Definitely one of the less-well-known cast members, then. No naked, lustful Christopher Manners for him.

“Bunny’s a complete peach.” She pushed open another door, dodging past two fully equipped astronauts as she strode on. “But everything that could go wrong this morning has. It’s all a tad tense for our Regency spies today!”

“I’ve got my kit, don’t worry!” Reuben assured her. “And I’m an old hand at love scenes, you know that.”

“Brilliant.” Amy grinned. “Because once we get today wrapped, I can start my proper Chrimble!”

They paused outside another door that Reuben knew would take him into makeup. He was no stranger to the setup at the studio, after all. Amy opened the door a little and peered in, then told Reuben, “Come on in, everyone’s mostly decent!”

Reuben strolled in, nonchalant as he swung his toolbox of makeup. Until he clocked who was standing by the mirrors wearing only his breeches.

His very tight breeches.

Oh fucking hell, no way! Christopher Manners!

“Erm…nice to meet you,” Reuben said. Nice being the understatement of the century.

Christopher turned and raised his teacup to Reuben in greeting. “Hello!” he said as a man knelt before him, face to face with the breeches. For a moment Reuben wondered what was going on, then the man began tussling with the buckle of Christopher’s sword belt.

‘Draw your sword sir!’ 

Reuben was so tempted to say it. The words were burning his tongue. But he didn’t dare. Here he was, in the flesh. Captain Firth. His toned chest was even more impressive in reality. And those shoulders…that flop of dark-blond hair and…and…his blue eyes. Reuben tried to bring himself to his senses and said, “Just looking for Bunny?”

“You’ve found him!” Christopher Manners extended his arm over the armourer’s head towards Reuben. “Sorry, I’m trapped in my sword belt!”

Reuben wasn’t sure where to look. He glanced down at the armourer and all he could see was Christopher’s groin in the pale-coloured breeches. Then, when he glanced up, his gaze latched on to the man’s chest before moving up the column of his kissable neck and finally settling on his eyes. And even that seemed wrong, somehow.

“I’m Reuben. And you’re…you’re Bunny? You’re on the closed set?”

Merry Christmas, Reuben!

“I hope so, or my agent’s not doing her job!”

He seized Reuben’s hand and shook it as Amy said, “Bunny, I’m going to leave you in Reuben’s capable hands today. Linda’s a bit shy and I think she’d prefer a gal, so…you boys’ll be okay together, won’t you? We need Bunny to look nicely battle-worn and beddable, smouldering basically. Dust down on torso and shoulders, all that.”

Reuben blinked. Battle-worn and beddable? But wasn’t that one of the main reasons people watched Captain Firth? Well, one of the main reasons Reuben watched it, at least.

And Reuben would help to bring the magic alive.

“Okay, could you take a seat and I’ll…” Reuben turned to Amy. “So just torso, arms, shoulders, we’re keeping the breeches on?”

She nodded. “They’re due to come off round about lunchtime, but for now just torso.”

“Arse out before lunchtime,” Bunny lamented as the sword belt finally came free. “Thank God for that! Can’t do a love scene strapped into a sword belt.”

Reuben put his toolbox down on the worktop. He caught sight of his own reflection and saw his cheeks were pinker than usual.

I’m going to see Christopher Manners’ bum. I’m going to sponge it and brush it. Dear God, this is a beautiful day.

“Okay, we’ll deal with the bum when we come to it,” Reuben said. He selected some of his creams and powders and laid them out on the work surface. “Could you take a seat, Christo— Do I call you Bunny? Or Christopher?”

“If you’re powdering me from head to toe, we may as well go straight to Bunny,” he replied with a smile. “Skip the formalities?”

Straight to Bunny? 

“Dare I ask why you’re called Bunny?” Reuben asked.

“Because I earned my Equity stripes playing the Easter bunny in a rather anarchic pantomime.” Bunny gave him a dazzling smile. “And now I brood manfully on Cornish cliffs for a living.”

Amy patted Reuben on his shoulder as though to say thanks for being a sport, then headed towards the door with the armourer in tow. As she reached the threshold she paused and turned.

“Reuben, I forgot to tell you to bring your baby oil. You’ll need it after lunch!” She shrugged. “I’ve got some in my kit, shout if you need it.”

Baby oil. On Captain Firth’s chest? I’ve been waiting for this moment forever.

Reuben had a quick rummage in his toolbox and held up the bottle. “Never fear, I come prepared!” He gave Bunny a wink. “Post-coital gleams are a speciality of mine.”

“I hope so.” Bunny settled into the chair, returning Reuben’s wink with one of his own. “Captain F’s known for his post-coital gleam!”

About The Authors

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Catherine Curzon  is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper’s.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

Visit their website at www.curzonharkstead.co.uk

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Release Blitz: The Captain and the Baker by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

The Captain and the Baker | Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Captivating Captains #7

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Release Date: August  25th, 2020

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Buy Links: 

Publisher: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/the-captain-and-the-baker

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08C8YPTB7

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C8YPTB7

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54451031-the-captain-and-the-baker

MY REVIEW

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Blurb

When a hot-tempered TV chef and a mild-mannered baker meet on the rugged Cornish coast, they’ve got the perfect ingredients for a red-hot snack.

Sweary and stressed celebrity chef Jake Brantham is the captain of several floating restaurants. When he’s sent to the idyllic village of Porthavel to turn a pirate ship into the next gastronomic sensation, it’s the last place on earth he wants to be.

Locryn Trevorrow is the bakery king of Cornwall. From the humble pasty to a wedding cake fit for a mermaid queen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the art of baking. He lives in a cosy world of gingham and ganache, but at night he goes home to his smugglers’ cottage alone.

When he’s adopted by a lost kitten, Jake soon discovers that there’s more to Portavel than cream teas, lobster pots, and the annoyingly fastidious Locryn. As the village prepares for the wedding of its favourite young couple, Jake and Locryn find themselves as unlikely matchmakers for two locals who’d given up on love.

Torn between the call of Hollywood and the kisses of Locryn, will Jake choose a mansion in Beverly Hills or a cottage on the Cornish coast?

Extract

Jake, immaculate in his chef whites but his hair just ruffled enough to look careless, tried to smile into the television camera.

There wasn’t much to smile about because, although the set of Saturday Breakfast was more than familiar to him, he hadn’t had to share it with Locryn Trevorrow before.

Locryn, as sugary sweet as the cakes and delicacies he baked, was as far as it was possible to be from Jake, a chef who’d made a name for himself swearing on the telly while cooking. As he had watched Locryn across the studio that morning, all smiles and sunshine and please and thank you and how marvelous, he couldn’t imagine the man had ever sworn in his life. He’d probably draw the line at fiddlesticks. 

“And now it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for!” Katya, the host of the show, beamed, showing dazzling white teeth. “Our search for a bride and groom ends today with our very last couple, so get on the phones and get voting! You all know the rules by now. We’ve scoured the country and, out of thousands of applicants, we’ve found three couples who are competing for the chance to hold their wedding at Jake Brantham’s brand-new restaurant. The twist is, even Jake doesn’t know where that will be! All he knows is that it’ll be in the hometown of our winning couple and we’ll watch it all happen in his new series, From Wreck to Restaurant!”

The camera cut away to Jake, who pulled his best theatrical glower. The one all his fans went crazy for.

“Each week we’ve invited a couple onto Saturday Breakfast and paired them with a chef from their town, who’s been challenged by Jake to cook one of his signature dishes. Our last couple are Zoe and David, from the gorgeous little village of Porthavel, and they’re joined by Britain’s favorite and loveliest baker, Locryn Trevorrow!” Across the studio crew, a loud smattering of applause sounded, which Locryn dismissed with a bashful wave of his hand. “We sent our intrepid crew off to meet Zoe and David at home in Cornwall, so let’s take a look at life in one of Britain’s cutest fishing villages.”

The floor manager called, “And we’re off.”

A makeup artist dashed onto the set and immediately began dusting at Katya’s face. Standing behind the worktop where he would soon do battle with Jake’s recipe, Locryn called to Jake, “Morning! We haven’t had a chance to meet yet, so hello!”

Plummy wasn’t the word for it. Jake had wondered if that voice was a put-on for the cameras, but it didn’t sound like it. Did that mean the cottage in the opening titles of Trevorrow Treats was real too, right down to the roses around the door and the goats on the front lawn, grazing the grass that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean on Cornwall’s south coast?

“And a good fucking morning to you!” Jake unfolded one arm and waved. A sort of wave, at least. Locryn blinked at him, then gave a smile that was more like a grimace. Perhaps they didn’t say fucking in his little corner of Cornwall.

“You ready to feel the meat?” Jake asked. He planted his hands on his hips, his eyebrow arched in challenge.

“Yes…right, meat.” Locryn abandoned his designated mark as a runner began assembling the ingredients on the worktop. There were fresh herbs and juicy tomatoes, oils and spices, but none of the sugar and silliness that Locryn Trevorrow had turned into his fortune. He approached Jake and lowered his voice a little to ask, “You do know I’m a baker? I’m just slightly concerned because it doesn’t look like you’ve set me a baking challenge.”

“And you do know I’m not a bloody baker?” Jake sighed. “You’ve got to follow one of my recipes, mate—and I don’t do cupcakes or croissants!”

Locryn shook his head, then ruffled one hand through his dark-blond hair. He glanced back at the worktop, where the runner had now covered the ingredients with a tea towel that bore a pattern of sunflowers.

Very bloody him.

“I’ll give it my best,” he decided. Then he smiled and said, “You never know, if I get it terribly wrong, Zoe and David might get the sympathy vote anyway!”

And I’ll have to go to the arse end of nowhere for months.

“Do you think so?” Jake dabbed at some crumbs on the workstation in front of him. “I bet it’s fucking fixed anyway. That posh couple from Hamble’ll win because—and don’t tell anyone I told you ‘—Jake revved up to unleash his secret in an unsubtle stage whisper, and he didn’t care if anyone overheard—’ the groom’s uncle is one of this show’s producers.”

Locryn unfastened one of his cufflinks—they wouldn’t be buttons, would they—and rolled up his sleeve as he said, “That’s not true, is it? Tell me that’s a fib.”

A fucking fib. Is he nine?

“It’s true!” Jake gave an emphatic nod. “Eugenia and Ptolemy have an in. You may as well send your two fucking home right away! It’s a long way back to your foggy old smuggler country. If they leave now, they’ll just about catch the next train!”

But all Locryn did was unfasten the second cufflink and serenely roll up his sleeve. Then he smiled and told Jake, “You’re just as charming as I thought you’d be. Don’t count me out yet, Mr. Brantham. If all else fails, I can try and fall back on this smile.”

“I don’t do charming, Trevorrow. I do simple, local, fresh.” Jake emphasized each word, punching his fist against his palm. Locryn blinked then glanced toward the floor manager, who was frantically ushering everyone back into position. Across the studio all three couples were sitting on bright yellow couches around a coffee table in the mock-up of a sitting room, where guests were stationed while the cooks gave their demonstrations. Locryn gave them a thumbs-up and David and Zoe returned it, the young couple looking as nervous as he was laid-back.

That won’t last.

“It’s Saturday Breakfast and—awwww—aren’t David and Zoe adorable?” Katya made a face into the camera as though she were addressing a newborn kitten. “And someone else we adore is our guest chef, or should I say guest baker, Locryn Trevorrow. Locryn’s famous for his naughty but gorgeous cakes and bakes, and he’s come all the way from Porthavel with our last couple to try and cook them to victory. Are you ready to face Jake’s challenge, Locryn?”

He nodded and replied, “As I’ll ever be, Katya.”

“You’ve already met our couples and the lines are open, so get voting now. At the end of the program we’ll find out which of our gorgeous couples have won their dream wedding, and Jake will find out where he’s going to be turning a wreck into a restaurant in his brand-new series, From Wreck to Restaurant.” She glanced toward Jake and grinned. “Will he be in Hamble, York or Porthavel? It’s up to you at home. Jake, it’s time for you to reveal to Locryn what he’s going to be cooking today!”

Rubbing his hands together, Jake crossed the studio and stood beside Locryn. The man’s cologne was suddenly all around Jake. Not a cloying, gassy cloud of it but a spicy scent that Jake, despite himself, found oddly enticing.

Oh, fuck that, no.

“So, Locryn, no f—fancy cupcakes for you today!” Jake said. “Instead, you’ll be making one of my favorites, pork goujons with tomato sauce. It’s simple, it’s local, it’s fresh, and when you get to the breadcrumbs, it’s bloody close to baking.”

Pork?” Locryn looked down at the worktop as Katya pulled back the tea towel to reveal the ingredients. He rubbed his hands together and glanced toward the couples on the sofa. “I’m up for that. It’s for Zoe and David, after all!”

“You’ve got your recipe, you’ve got your ingredients and you’ve got Jake to keep you on your toes.” Katya grinned. “Jake, any hints or tips for Locryn before he dives in and tries to recreate one of your Michelin-starred staples?”

“Feel the meat,” Jake advised. He leaned with one hand on the worktop. “Don’t skate round it. It’s central to the dish. You need to feel it and know when it’s cut the right size, know when it’s cooked through. That’s the secret working with any f—flesh. Meat. You’ve got to feel it.”

About the Authors

catherine and eleanor

Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of sauce, well-dressed gents and a uniquely British sort of romance. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a double entendre.

They are the authors of numerous  short stories and two novel series, the de Chastelaine Chronicles, and the Captivating Captains, published by Totally Bound and Pride. Their novel The Ghost Garden has been shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novel Awards.

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The authors knock another classic Captain romance out of the park!

0The Captain and the Baker by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series from Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead is one of my absolute favourites.

They’re just so very British, the humour, the characterisation, the settings (even during theWorld War One one!) all brim over with quintessential nods to the four nations.

We’re back in Cornwall for this one and it’s an absolute delight.

A Gordon Ramsey-esque chef slowly realising that he doesn’t want to be a shouty TV star and a baker, who puts as much love into his creations as he has for the place he lives.

I was smiling or laughing the whole way through, with a few ‘awwwws’ thrown in as well.

I could read books like this all day and never get bored.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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