Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!


Yup another one is upon us. And d'ya know - I LOVE the start of a new year.... never mind all the bright shiny newness of it or the fact its full of undiscovered possibilities and new hero's yet to be born inside my poor crowded little head...

It also means BOOKS. Cos for some reason I seem to have fallen into a *start of the year* schedule the last few years. So while I kinda go quiet-ish at the tail end of an old year... at the beginning of a new one I - well - I kinda get busy...

So as a special welcome to the new year and the beginning of my new release schedule for 2008... I bring you... wait for it...

An excerpt from His Mistress: His Terms and a re-introduction to the very very lovely Alex and the fabulously confident Merrow... Cos they're OUT ON THE SHELVES THIS WEEK!!!

“So are we talking about what’s wrong or are we pretending nothings wrong ‘til we get back to my place and I wheedle it out of you another way?”
Merrow lifted her chin and continued walking, “Nothing’s wrong.”
“That’s okay,” She could hear the amusement in his voice, “I’m fine with the wheedling option.”
“There’s nothing to wheedle.”
“Oh I think there is.”
“Well, you’re wrong.”
Alex pushed his hands back into his pockets and continued walking beside her while Merrow stared down Grafton Street. There was no point in trying to explain how she felt.
Because to be completely truthful, she hadn’t quite sorted through how she felt yet. She just knew she was, well, miffed, quite frankly.
“I didn’t spill any food.”
She ignored him as he withdrew a hand and began holding fingers up as he counted off what he obviously considered to be plus points,
“I used all the right cutlery.”
“There were only two courses,” She mumbled back, “So it’s not like you had that much cutlery to begin with.”
“Still counts though,” He unfurled another finger, “I didn’t ask for a quarter of the information they supplied me with. And-“
He leaned a little closer to add, “I even deflected a couple of titbits that sounded like they were going to be really juicy to help you with your embarrassment…”
He didn’t unfurl another finger for that one Merrow noted. And in fairness, another bottle of wine and her friends would have divulged enough information to make her contemplate moving to another country.
Another finger unfurled, “I didn’t push for the reasons why I’m apparently much better than ‘that Dylan one’ – who, incidentally, I’m assuming was the prat that cheated on you.”
Probably because she’d barely managed to stifle a moan of mortified agony at that point…
And another finger, “Even you have to admit that I was at my most charming. I didn’t even try to feel you up under the table, though the fact you’re wearing trousers instead of one of those short skirts I like so much was a help with that –“
“Yes but you didn’t have any problem with smiling at me the whole damn time, or brushing my hair back, or holding my hand on the table,” She stopped in the middle of the street and turned to frown up at him, “Since when have you been so into PDA’s?”
His other hand appeared out of his pocket as he stopped and turned to face her, both hands twisting in the air to form an invisible shape as his brows lifted in question, “Those little hand held computer things?”
“No,” She pursed her lips and shook her head in frustration, “Public Displays of Affection. Since when do we do that?”
The hands were tucked in against his broad chest as he folded his arms, “There’s a rule about that I didn’t know, is there?”
“Well…” She frowned at a point at the base of his throat, “Yes… there is…”
“Because it breaks the ‘affair’ boundaries does it?”
“Yes!” She’d have stamped her foot in frustration if she hadn’t thought it would’ve made her look like a five year old.
Alex unfolded his arms and stepped a step closer, his voice dropping as he lowered his head, “You see I haven’t actually been given a list of those rules. So since you’re so much more au fait with the whole ‘affair’ thing then maybe you should fill me in. I’ve always been the type of guy to wine and dine or actually date a woman before this…”
Merrow struggled to find words, which irritated her all the more. How dare he stand there having charmed all her friends to the point of adoration over one meal and then look so goddamned gorgeous while pointing out that he was practically God’s Gift to womankind – and then claim to be a nice guy too! How was that fair? Huh?
When she didn’t answer as fast as normal, his brows rose again, “You have me pegged as some kind of playboy, don’t you? Running about all over the country looking for mistresses?”
She sucked her cheeks in.
And Alex smiled his hint of a smile in response. So she frowned and exhaled,
“I hate it when you smile at me like that.”
“No you don’t.”
“I do right this minute.”
He stepped another step closer, tilting his face so close to hers that their foreheads almost touched, his gaze steady and fixed on her eyes, “You know what I think O’Connell?”
She searched his glowing eyes, heat radiating all over her body from just that look alone while her pulse bounced erratically. She wasn’t actually sure she did want to know what he thought, but she sighed and asked anyway,
“What do you think Alex?”
He angled his head to one side, as if he was about to kiss her with one of those incendiary kisses of his – right there – in the middle of a busy Grafton Street - in what would end up as a very public display…
But instead he kept looking into her eyes as he informed her in a husky whisper, “I think you need someone to remind you that not every guy on the planet is as big a loser as your last boyfriend was…”
Last boyfriend? Meaning he saw himself as her current boyfriend? Hang on a minute-
But before she could call him on it, he leaned back a little, taking a deep breath as he considered a point about an inch above her head, and then he smiled; a wide smile, a devastatingly sexy smile - a smile that addled her brain and distracted her completely from rational thought. Seriously – one man should not be allowed to be that sexy!
“Meanwhile, having had our first debate in a while, I think we should head back to my place to make up, don’t you?”
When she opened her mouth to answer, he stepped back, bent over at the waist, and to the sound of her surprised squeak, tossed her up over his shoulder.
“Alex! Put me down!”
“Nope.” He hoisted her up a little more as he stood tall, so that her stomach rested on his shoulder, both his arms wrapped around the backs of her knees to hold her in place, and her head dangled upside down facing his back.
Then he started walking down the street.
Merrow heard laughter as they passed people. Scowling, she tried to struggle free, kicking out her feet, “Put me down!”
“Stop jiggling woman. You’ll make yourself sick after all that food.”
It would serve him right if she threw up all over the back of his designer suit! She attempted to look from side to side, the end of her upside down ponytail flicking up into her eyes, “Alex-“
“Complain all you want O’Connell.”
“You can’t carry me all the way back to your place - you’ll have a heart attack.”
“I’ll have you know I’m in great physical health thankyou,” She felt his head nod against her hip, “Good evening, nice night, isn’t it?”
And now he was talking to passers-by about the weather? She really should’ve wanted to kill him. But instead she felt a bubble of half hysterical laughter building in her chest. It was the most ridiculous situation she’d ever found herself in – and that was saying something!
The laughter escaped, “You are not a nice person!”
“I happen to think I’m bloody adorable.”
She laughed again, “Please put me down you moron.”
“I’ll put you down on-my-bed.”
She moved her head from side to side to see if anyone had heard him, knowing she couldn’t blame the heat rising on her cheeks entirely on all the blood rushing to her head. But they were already turning off the end of Grafton Street and Alex was marching them past Trinity. He really did have abnormal stamina, didn’t he?
You’d have thought she’d have known that already from all the ‘messing around’ they’d been doing.
Admitting defeat, she attempted to make herself more comfortable for the journey, propping her elbow on his back so she could rest her chin on her hand. She flicked her ponytail out of the way and when a passing car beeped its horn, she waved at the driver with her free hand, not bothering to look to see if they waved back.
“Hey Gabe, how you doing?” Alex stopped walking and Merrow attempted to see who he was talking to. Whoever it was, was obviously someone he knew well, judging by the friendly tone of his voice.
A similarly deep voice answered with an amused edge to his voice, “Grand. I’ve just dropped some estimates through your door for the Gallery job.”
“That was quick.”
“I was out that way this afternoon on another job, so I took a look at the place,” There was a pause, “So who’s your friend?”
Merrow raised her voice, “Yes, please feel free to introduce me. Or just pretend I’m not here, whatever suits best. Don’t mind me.”
“Sorry,” Alex swung round a little, “Gabriel Burke, Merrow O’Connell. Merrow is the interior designer for The Pavenham. Gabe is the contractor for the project, and an old friend from way back.”
“You have my sympathy,” She reached her hand out and had it shaken by what felt like a ridiculously large hand. She even had to crane her head round to a painful angle to look all the way up at him, “Wow, you’re tall aren’t you?”
“Next to this squirt I am,” Amazingly blue eyes sparkled at her when he leaned down, “He giving you trouble?”
The six foot one ‘squirt’? She sighed dramatically, “You have no idea.”
“You need me to sort him out for you?”
“Would you?”
Alex hoisted her up again, “When you two have finished flirting with each other…”
Gabe stood tall, his voice laced with a more distinct humour, “I have to say I’m impressed squirt. You couldn’t have carried her like that when we were kids.”
“She’d have been too big when I was a kid.”
“Hey! I’ll have you know I’m the ideal weight for my height. I have a colour chart and everything.”
There was the sound of joint male laughter and Merrow felt her stomach jiggled as Alex’s shoulders shook. She even giggled herself. There wasn’t much else she could do. But they really had gone past the not tangling with each others lives thing if they’d both managed to meet each others friends in the space of a couple of hours. Even if Alex had managed his introductions while the right way up!
Gabe leaned down again, “Nice meeting you Merrow. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again.”
Alex swung her away before she could answer, “Probably at the party at the tail end of next month - if we don’t see you at the Hotel.”
“Nah, they don’t need me down there. I’ve moved on to the housing development outside town. So I’ll see you both at the party then.”
“Ash will be back by then. She flies in the day before.”
“Yeah, I know. Bye Merrow.”
“Bye Gabe,” She switched elbows and watched him walking down the street as Alex headed for Merrion Square again, “Do you both come from the land of giant beautiful people?”
He smacked her behind lightly and she flinched, “What was that for?”
“For checking him out enough to think he was beautiful.”
She smiled, “Is Ash his girlfriend?”
Another smack, “No, she’s my sister.”
“You have a sister?”
“That I do. She’s been away for a while. You’ll meet her at the party.”
Merrow didn’t remember being invited to a party, “What party would that be then? One of the long list of parties you haven’t bothered telling me about? I might not want to go to a party. I might hate parties.”
His shoulder shook again, “Not according to your friends you don’t. Though if you could avoid going in fancy dress or dancing on any tables at this one that would be helpful. It’s my parents wedding anniversary.”
What? Oh hell no! She wasn’t going to meet his parents!
SO THERE YOU GO! If you're out and about and you see a copy of it anywhere don't forget to move it to the front and spread it out lots ;) And send it my love...
If you're interested in a copy you can get it at Amazon here and at the Mills & Boon Site here...
Now if someone could just get the flipping wordcount meter thing to work I could update that so you know I've actually been doing some WORK. But more about that next time... Oh and I'm about to do my big end of year/new year COMPETITION for ALL of my UK releases from 2007 so if you want to get the heads up just sign up for the newsletter in the sidebar...

1 comment:

Natasha said...

Happy New Year!!! May it be shiny, bright and beautiful and full of wonderful things. A Rupert Penry-Jones look-alike perhaps???????

I hate you for that cover, btw. It's gorgeous.