Rachel found an old post I made about the books that impacted my career right back at the start and I thought I would redo it and add to it. As I get to the end of the year it's always in me to look back and assess how the year has gone, and looking at the game changers in my career is a good place to start.
Way back in 2010 I wrote The Christmas Throwaway
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Christmas is a time for giving – what do you do when no one gives a damn? 

For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go. Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.
Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?

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Love it or hate it for it’s Christmas theme, for it’s happy ever after, or for the angst, The Christmas Throwaway is one of my bestselling books.

It certainly engenders some passion and I think a lot of that is the innocence in the story that contrasts so much against the darkness of a kid being thrown out of his house at Christmas.

It started as a short story for a friend who was ill, and it was called The Christmas Miracle which ended just after Zach is taken in to Ben’s family. Turned out that my short story was the perfect first chapter for me to continue from and the rest flowed easy. If I recall right, Chris Quinton helped me with the strapline. The book became the first time readers saw RJ Scott and so I can safely say writing it changed my life in a big way.

It was the first big game changer for me.

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Then there was the other book, another of my biggest selling books, The Heart Of Texas. This is a soap opera of a novel with blackmail-into-marriage, family, hate to love… and so many twists and turns it certainly kept me on my toes.

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Riley Hayes, the playboy of the Hayes family, is a young man who seems to have it all: money, a career he loves, and his pick of beautiful women. His father, CEO of HayesOil, passes control of the corporation to his two sons; but a stipulation is attached to Riley's portion. Concerned about Riley's lack of maturity, his father requires that Riley ‘marry and stay married for one year to someone he loves'.

Angered by the requirement, Riley seeks a means of fulfilling his father's stipulation. Blackmailing Jack Campbell into marrying him “for love” suits Riley's purpose. There is no mention in his father's documents that the marriage had to be with a woman and Jack Campbell is the son of Riley Senior's arch rival. Win win.

Riley marries Jack and abruptly his entire world is turned inside out. Riley hadn't counted on the fact that Jack Campbell, quiet and unassuming rancher, is a force of nature in his own right.

This is a story of murder, deceit, the struggle for power, lust and love, the sprawling life of a rancher and the whirlwind existence of a playboy. But under and through it all, as Riley learns over the months, this is a tale about family and everything that that word means.

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It actually really polarises opinions in people who read it, I don’t think another one of my books has as many bad reviews as good. In fact HOT was the book where I responded to a one star review and learned my lesson… Texas has spawned 7 sequels.

The latest one of course should never have happened. Texas Gift was something that just *happened*. I can't explain why, but I had people ask me for the next Texas book and I really thought Texas Wedding was the final one.

But I needed desperately to tell Hayley's story, and revisit Jack and Riley and show readers ten years of their lives and how their love is just stronger.

Texas was another Game Changer for me (notice the capitals!). It showed me that readers love sequels as much as I love writing these extended worlds.

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However, I keep changing my mind about a sequel to Throwaway. One day maybe.