Saturday, 13 December 2008

The White Dress

My new book coming soon from eternal Press

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Pictures taken at a family party

Pictures this Christmas. Why only the men, Juliet?

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


It is almost Christmas.

My latest Linda Sole saga from Severn House.

I will be putting some Christmas stories up on my story blog, which you can access at I still have lots of competitions running, one at my website and others on various groups.

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Cassie's Sheikh has been in the top ten list under Desert Sheikhs for a couple of weeks. The Rake's Rebellious Lady/Anne Herries/HMB has been number two in the Harlequin Historical list at amazon, and Her Dark and Dangerous Lord has been at number seven in the HH list at Harlequin so all the new books are doign well

Three of my Red Rose Publishing books are coming out in print soon. Chateau Despair is the first to be published and this should be before Christmas. I am very pleased that this book will be in print. It is already available in ebook at several places on the web but a lot of people who enjoy my books want it in print. It won't be long before they can buy it at and it is usually available at too once it is up and running. I recently bouth some copies of A shameful Secret/Anne Ireland, which is already in print.

all the grahics have been credited somewhere on the blog. They are or Pat's Graphics

A Kind Of Loving

A Kind Of Loving/Linda Sole/Red Rose Publishing
available in ebook from
and other outlets in ebook

Soon to be available in print.

It had been warmer than this earlier in the year but there was a definite bite in the air that morning and it was already the second week of May. Perhaps the cool weather was the reason she was feeling a bit out of sorts with herself, because she was down and there was no real reason for it. She ought to be feeling on top of the world, Verity thought as she parked her car in the yard at the back of the shop.
The gravel crunched beneath her feet as she took a large bunch of fragrant lilies and roses and her cumbersome shoulder bag from the boot, before going through the narrow alley from the yard into the main street. This past year had seen the realisation of one of her dreams, something that gave her great personal satisfaction. But there was a problem, a dark shadow that hovered at her shoulder.
It was in her mind as she unlocked the door of her small shop, lingering like a bad smell as she keyed in the number to cancel the alarm and walked through to the back room, which she used as her office. She removed her warm red jacket and fluffed out her chestnut brown hair in front of the mirror; her eyes were that greenish brown that some call hazel. Underneath her jacket she was wearing a slim-fitting black dress. There was only just over another two months to her fortieth birthday but she didn't look too bad. She'd kept her figure well after Jane's birth and there hadn't been any more children. She'd been sorry about that, and for a while she'd hoped that she would have another baby, but somehow it hadn't happened; though there was no medical reason why it shouldn't.
Was that what had gone wrong between her and Michael? Had they grown apart instead of bonding into a family unit? Would it have been different if they'd had a son? She knew that Jane was very much her daughter and thought that perhaps Michael sometimes felt a bit left out.
She puzzled over it as she arranged her flowers in two old and rather beautiful cut-glass vases. One she stood in the little room that was fairly private but which, through a window, gave her a view of the shop interior, and the other she carried out to replace some dead roses standing on the desk that took centre stage of her window display. She stood for a moment to admire them, pleased that she'd taken time to stop and buy the flowers on her way in. Perhaps it was an extravagance to spend so much on fresh flowers, but she did love to see them about the place.
Verity was frowning as she returned to her office, picked up a tin of the special beeswax she always used for her antique furniture and took it into the shop. She had made it a practice to polish a couple of pieces of furniture each morning, to keep the place smelling of fresh polish and the potpourri she had in bowls set at various points about the shop. Her customers always remarked on the beautiful smell; it relaxed them, and her friendly manner encouraged them to trust her enough to buy. Her trade had started slowly at first, but people came back and her reputation had grown this past year.
Usually the very fact of being here amongst these beautiful things was enough to make her relax herself. She loved the feel of the silky finish of old wood, the way her cloth glided over the surface of a beautiful antique table or an elegant desk. Looking at them gave her a sense of permanence, of satisfaction, and knowing these things were hers to sell gave her a purpose. She was doing something she wanted to with her life at last.
Verity stood with the cloth in her hand as she considered. Had she wanted to marry Michael Lovelace nearly twenty years ago? She'd been pregnant with Jane, and it had seemed the natural thing to do – but had she really wanted to be his wife? She supposed that she must have done. There must have been a time when his smile had made her feel good, when his jokes had made her want to giggle, his touch had sent the blood racing through her veins. Yes, of course there had! It was just that it was hard to remember these days. He spent so little time at home. His business demanded attention six days of the week, and on Sundays he often played golf in the mornings. After lunch he cut the lawn if it needed it, otherwise he cleaned the car or fell asleep in front of the television.
She knew that Michael wasn't the only man to follow the same dull routine every weekend. Her friend Susan Edwards was always complaining that her husband Bill did the same thing, but she said it with a smile on her face, and a look in her eyes that told a different story. The magic was still there for Bill and Susan, but Verity knew that it had gone missing from her life, though she wasn't sure whose fault it was.
For a long time, while Jane was still a small child, she'd been happy enough; they had still shared a small joke or an intimate smile, but of late even those things had vanished. They hadn't had sex for weeks – they hadn't made love for more than two years, and there was a difference.
Verity hadn't forgotten what it felt like to make love, to know the warmth and satisfaction, the sharing that comes from being close to the man you care for. She had loved Michael once, perhaps she still did deep down. He was still undoubtedly an attractive man with his thick, slightly wavy hair, which was a darkish blond in colour, his blue eyes and rather heavy brows. But his character had changed of late and there were times now when she felt she was living with a stranger, and someone she didn't always like very much.
To a casual observer, Verity was the very essence of Today's Woman. Efficient, well groomed, with an air of confidence, a friendly manner and a look in her eyes that warned she meant what she said. Dealers liked her because she was businesslike and they knew where they stood with her. She didn't lie about her stock and she'd become known for having good, genuine pieces. But she had something more, a vitality that made her eyes shine and her laughter was infectious, though she wasn't aware of it herself.
Verity was brought out of her reverie as the shop bell pinged and two men came in. She had seen one of them several times before, a dealer in his fifties who bought things from her occasionally, but she was sure the younger man hadn't been in before. He was tall and well built with soft brown hair that waved slightly back from his forehead and greenish blue eyes, and he towered over his rather short and chubby companion.
'Mrs Lovelace,' Harry Barton said and grinned at her. Harry always wore a suit and his shoes were highly polished. He was a cheerful, confident man who loved his work and Verity rather liked him. 'You're looking gorgeous as usual, and this shop smells like a dream.' Harry was part Irish and known in the trade as a charmer.
'It's the potpourri,' she said with a smile. 'That sunshine is nice. It was rather cold when I came in this morning but I should think it's getting a bit warmer out now, isn't it?'
'Summer is on its way, slowly but coming,' he replied and gestured to his taller companion. 'This is my sister's boy, Joshua Roberts. He was working as a carpenter for a furniture business but the firm went bust last month, nothing to do with Josh here.' He gave his nephew a jovial poke in the ribs. 'I've taken him on with me. He's a craftsman, and I think he deserves better than to be a carpenter. He could be a restorer of fine furniture, and he'll be good at it.'
The younger, good-looking man pulled a wry face as he looked at Verity. 'What my uncle means is that I'm useful to carry things, but if I take the right classes I might make a restorer of antique furniture one day.'
'Good restorer's are few and far between,' Verity told him. 'I hope you stick at it, Mr Roberts. I was disappointed with the last piece I had done.'
'Next time give me a buzz,' Harry said. 'I can probably point you in the right direction. I know a couple of good men in the area.'
Verity gave him one of her dazzling smiles. 'That is kind of you, thank you, I shall.'
'Well, we'd best get down to business,' Harry said. 'Got the rounds to make and there's a local sale I want to attend this afternoon. Are you coming, Verity?'
'It depends whether my friend Susan can cover for me for a few hours,' Verity said. 'She told me she would ring later if she can fit it in. There isn't very much I want, but I'll leave a bid with the auctioneer if I can't manage to get there.'
'It makes a break from the shop,' Harry said. 'A chance to meet and talk, hear what's going on in the trade. By the way, look out for a woman dressed very smartly buying antique porcelain with a fake credit card – she's caught a couple of dealers in the south of the country and they think she has come east now.'
'I probably don't have much worth her while,' Verity said, glancing round. She had some quality furniture, a few pieces of blue and white Delft, a collection of nice old glass, lace and dolls in a cabinet and also some copper and brass. 'I expect she targets the specialists.'
'Yes, I dare say but you never know.' Harry had been looking at a copper water jug that had a lovely worn, slightly battered sheen to it, but she knew he wasn't interested in the jug, and was waiting for him to tell her what he had really come in for. 'That little oak stool in the window,' he said at last, looking at the open display, which was set up on a little platform and accessible from the shop. 'Is it old or a repro?'
'Have a look at it yourself,' Verity invited. 'I was told in good faith that it had been in the family of the woman who sold it to me for years, her great grandfather's apparently. I believe it to be sixteenth century and there is certainly lots of wear on the bottom of the legs – but you decide, Harry. You know a good piece of oak when you see it.' And it was a good piece; an original, worn, well loved thing that shouted its quality at you. There was no need to push it at him, because she knew it wouldn't stay with her long.
He picked up the stool, turned it over, looked at the price tag and nodded. 'I think it's more seventeenth than sixteenth, Verity, but it's definitely genuine, and the price isn't bad. I'll give you eight hundred and fifty for it.'
Verity had paid six hundred and fifty and she would have to pay VAT on the difference. 'Sorry, Harry. I need nine to make it worthwhile. I never overprice my things, you know that. I bought it privately and I gave my customer a decent price for it.'
'It did come privately?' Harry seemed to hesitate, but she knew he wanted it. He would haggle for a while, but in the end he would pay what she asked, because it wasn't expensive, even though there was some slight damage.
'Yes, of course. Most of my stuff does, and I always say if it is a trade piece.'
'All right, I'll have it,' Harry said, surprising her. She knew at once that she had underpriced it in the first place, but it didn't matter. It had brought her a profit and that was all she needed.
'Thanks,' she said and fetched her duplicate book from behind the small counter to make out the invoice. 'Yes, a cheque is fine from you,' she said as he waved the book at her.
Harry wrote it out for her, then hesitated again. 'I noticed that you have a flat over the top of the shop. Someone said you were thinking of letting it out. It might suit Josh…' He glanced at his nephew. 'What do you think?'
Joshua had been standing silent for most of the time, looking round the shop at various pieces of furniture. Verity had noticed that he seemed to have an eye for the best things.
'It might be all right,' he said now. 'But perhaps Mrs Lovelace hasn't made up her mind what she wants to do yet.' He glanced at her, brows raised. 'I am looking for a place to live, but I don't want to push myself on you. I can manage where I am for a while.'
'Do you have a flat of your own?'
'No, just a room,' he said. 'I'm not keen on sharing with the people I'm with at the moment, but it isn't desperate.'
'I am thinking of letting it,' Verity said. 'But it isn't ready yet and I haven't decided. Come and see me again in about a month – if you're still looking.'
'Great, I'll do that,' he said and gave her a brilliant smile that lit up his whole face. It was strange but she hadn't thought much to him until he smiled like that, despite his good looks, imagining him to be perhaps a bit sullen or reserved. Now she saw that he had merely been polite, letting his uncle conduct his business without interruption. 'My uncle will give you a character reference, and I can get a bank reference if you want?'
'Well, I'm making no promises,' she said but couldn't help warming to him all at once.
She watched as they went out, putting the stool in the back of Harry's estate car, before returning to her polishing. It was nice that she'd sold the stool so quickly, though it was something she would have kept for herself if Michael didn't detest antiques, especially oak.
'I can't stand the smell of that stuff,' he'd told her once when she'd dragged him into an antique shop on their honeymoon. 'It smells of death and decay, and makes me feel old.'
'But it's so beautiful,' she'd said. 'I don't think of death, but of the lives people had, the history that is tied up in those things – all the loving and living they must have seen.' That was the thing about antiques; they had been handed down, passed on for generations, a part of so many people's lives. And the care and love that had gone into making them; you just didn't find that these days. 'Just think of the stories that old dresser could tell if it could talk.'
He'd looked at her as if she were mad. She had known then that she could never have her dream cottage, never fill it with antiques and the warm colours of browns, oranges, and creams that would make it glow. Michael liked modern things, bright light colours, and preferably magnolia walls with everything. He wouldn't even watch an old-fashioned film on the television with her, decrying it as idiots dressed up in long clothes.
Verity felt a chill at the nape of her neck as she put her cloths away and washed her hands. Was it then, at the very beginning that they had started to drift apart? No, it couldn't have been, she thought. They had shared most things, and her dream cottage had remained just that; she had put it away in a small corner of her mind, as she had all the other small things, the tiny hurts, the little disappointments that had come her way these past twenty years. She mustn't make too much of it now.
She put the coffee on. What she needed was a good dose of caffeine to drive the blues away. She was letting a small incident get to her and that was silly.
Michael had been a good husband in most ways. She had never had to worry about money. His business of a gentleman's outfitters had survived the trend towards large store shopping and continued to flourish, perhaps because Michael kept abreast of modern needs. His father had traded in good suits and shirts, and Michael still had a small section devoted to good quality formal clothes, but a lot of his stock now was of designer jeans, jackets and tea-shirts, which sold very well.
The bustling market town of Downham market thrived because it was close enough to Kings Lynn, and not too far from Norwich and the popular coastal resorts that attracted so many visitors in the summer. Most of Verity's own trade came from dealers who included her shop on their regular trawl, taking what they bought back to sell in smart London venues, but she had begun to sell quite a few small things to passing trade, especially in the summer months. People loved visiting antique shops; it was a form of recreation and you had to be prepared for lots of people who were just looking. But if you had the right things they bought now and then, though of course the main part of her income came from dealing with other traders.
Her lace was reasonably priced, and so was the blue and white china, which she picked up in auctions, or sometimes at boot fairs if she was lucky, and sold as individual pieces. Not many people wanted to buy the whole dinner or desert set, but a nice plate on its own made a focal point in a room, and was popular with people who liked to spend a few pounds on a day out. They were the kinds of things she sold to private customers, and she loved handling them, talking about antiques in general and people's collections. It was surprising how many people spent half an hour or more telling her about their private lives.
Her thoughts returned to her problem. She had had some happy years with Michael, and there were good memories. So if it wasn't right at the beginning, when had things begun to go wrong? Verity's mind went over her life as she tried to put her finger on a particular time, a moment that defined when Michael had stopped loving her, and she had started to withdraw.
Things hadn't been right for quite a while, but when had they started to fall apart? It might have been when she decided to invest her grandmother's legacy in this place. Verity frowned as she recalled his reaction to the news that she was going to open a shop of her own. No, he hadn't liked that at all, and they had argued over it several times.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Grand Christmas Contest

Just to announce that there will be a Grand Christmas Contest on Red Rose Publishing blog. It will go up on 5th/6th December and there will be four contests. Each contest will have eight prizes and one winner will win each contest. So there will be four winners of eight prizes each.

Don't miss your chance to enter this fabulous contest!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Cassie's Sheikh Coming Soon in Print

Cassie's Sheikh /Linda sole/ Red Rose Publishing
Cassie's Sheikh is available in ebook from and and will soon be available from in print!

Kasim hates scandal magazines and people who work for them so what chance does Cassie have of convincing him that her father's racign stables is the right place for him to bring his horses?
Enjoy the excerpt!

"If she's the bitch I imagine she must be, there is no way I shall let my uncle place his horses at her father's stable," Kasim said. "It would be the worst thing he could do."
"But you don't know that," Ben Harrison, his friend, constant companion, and lawyer told him. "She may be a perfectly pleasant woman for all you know."
"A woman who writes for one of those filthy rags?" Kasim's eyes flashed with scorn. His face had the proud, regal lines of his ancestors, the bones angled beneath his olive-toned skin, but his eyes told another story. They were a deep brilliant blue, testimony to his mixed parentage, for he was the son of a desert Sheikh and the beautiful blonde and blue-eyed daughter of an American millionaire.
"Maybe she just does it for a living."
The angles of Kasim's face hardened. "Don't try to make excuses for her, Ben. I've had experience with her kind, remember?"
"Yes, of course I remember," Ben replied. "But you shouldn't jump to conclusions. You were all set for this deal until you found out that Josh's daughter worked for that magazine."
"My uncle thinks it is the best place available," Kasim said. "So I shall keep an open mind, but I want to see what they're like on a normal working day, not when everything is cleaned up for inspection."
"Shall I come with you?"
"Not today." Kasim's face relaxed into an affectionate smile, the angles softened as he looked at the man he trusted more than any other. "If I decide to go any further, we'll keep our appointment tomorrow—but today will be my little surprise."
Cassie rushed out into the hall as she heard the commotion, feeling concerned as she saw everyone gathered about her father. Her mother turned to look at her anxiously.
"Your father thinks his ankle may be broken, Cassie."
"Oh, Dad," Cassie said. "Does it hurt badly?"
"Pretty bad," Josh Livingston said, grimacing. "It may mean I'm stuck in hospital for a few days, and you know who's coming tomorrow, don't you?"
"An important client," Cassie and her mother echoed each other.
Cassie understood what was going through his mind. Josh ran a small but successful racing stable in Newmarket, but the owner who had kept a string of horses with them for the past several years was about to retire from the business.
"Maybe they will let you out, Josh," Helen Livingston said, without really believing it. "You may not have to stay in hospital."
"But what if I do? Who is going to explain the way we work here to our visitor? Joe is great with the horses, but he hates getting involved with owners. It's the reason he doesn't work for himself."
"I suppose I could try…" Helen said doubtfully. "If you helped me, Cassie?"
Cassie hesitated for a moment. She was meant to be back in London the next day, and they had a magazine to get out—but she was due a few days leave and she could email her stuff through to the office.
"Yes, of course. If Dad thinks I'm up to it?" She grinned, tossing back her long pale hair, her greenish-blue eyes sparking with mischief. "You know I'm a walking minefield, Dad—dare you risk it?"
"It looks as if I may have to. This ankle is pretty awful, Cas. Try not to say or do anything daft when Mr. Ahmed comes, won't you?"
"You mean like calling him the Sheikh of Araby and wearing my harem costume?"
"Cassie!" her mother cried, horrified. "Please don't joke about this, darling. Your father has enough to worry him."
"It's all right, Cas doesn't mean it. I know you'll both do your best, but you're too like me, Cas—you'll probably fall flat on your backside just as you go to shake his hand," her father said.
"Shake the Sheikh's hand," Cassie said irrepressibly. "I think I could make up a little song about that…"
"Please spare me," her father begged. "That sounds like the ambulance outside, love." He looked at his wife. "I think I shall need a chair."
"Yes, of course. Stay where you are, Josh."
As his wife hurried out, he looked at his daughter. "You know your mother hates horses, Cas, always has. She can't bear to go near them. I sometimes wonder how she has managed to live with me all this time."
"Because she adores you," Cassie said and smiled at him affectionately. "And because you treat her as if she were special, Dad. Not many women are lucky enough to find a man like that, and Mum knows a good thing when she sees it."
"Bless you, love. I'm relying on you to charm Mr. Ahmed, Cas. He can be a pleasant chap, but they say he is hard to please when it comes to business and we need his horses. Tell him that we shall be able to devote ourselves to his string by next month, and that we are very stringent about security, also discreet—that is important to him. He hates newspapers and magazines…"
"Pity about that," Cassie said. "I might have gained Brownie points with Maggie if I'd been able to get an interview for our rag."
"Mr. Ahmed wouldn't be seen dead in your rag," her father said. "Whatever you do, don't tell him you work for Stars & Their Lives or he will be gone so fast we shan't see the dust."
"I was only teasing, Dad," Cassie said, and for once her famous grin was missing. "I do know how much this means to you, and I promise I shall do my best to pull it off for you. I won't breathe a word about the magazine, and I shall tell him what a wonderful trainer you are. Not that I have to with your record. You had six winners last year and that surely speaks for itself."
"I haven't won a Classic for three years," her father said with a grimace. "That could all change with Mr. Ahmed's string—if he placed them with us."
"Yes, I know." Cassie looked at him curiously. "Why doesn't he like to be addressed by his title?"
"He is a very private man. He never allows photographs, and is furious if the press catches him anywhere but at a race meeting. He can't prevent that, of course, nor being addressed as Sheikh Ali bin Ahmed in public, but he prefers to keep a low profile in private."
"He's extremely rich, isn't he?"
"One of the richest of them all. The thing is that he…" Josh broke off as two ambulance men came in carrying a chair.
Cassie watched as her father was helped into the chair by the paramedics and taken outside, followed by his wife. Helen Livingston cast an agonized glance at her daughter as she left.
"You can manage, can't you, love? I may be with your father for the rest of the day. There are a few letters that need typing. You will find them on the desk in the office."
"Yes, of course," Cassie said. "Don't worry about anything here. I'll be all right until you come home, I promise."
And that was quite a promise, Cassie acknowledged after her parents had left in the ambulance. She had columns to write for the magazine, those letters for her father, and a routine tour of the yard, just to make sure she knew anything she ought to know before the arrival of the Sheikh of Araby the next day. A little giggle escaped her as she pictured him, looking much like Rudolph Valentino, the star of the silver screen in the twenties.
"That's enough of that, Cassandra," she told herself severely. She had no idea what Mr. Ahmed looked like. He could be thin and dashingly handsome or fat, boring, and ugly. And that wasn't important either. He was her father's one hope of keeping the stable going, because without him Josh would probably have to sell everything and that would break her father's heart. He had put so many years into this business.
A determined look came over Cassie's face. If she had anything to do with it, Mr. Ahmed was going to run straight to his lawyers and sign the contract even if she had to—what? Oh no, there were limits, she decided. She'd heard about some of these rich playboys, and the one thing she wasn't about to do was fall into bed with him!
But if Mr. Ahmed was the private businessman he claimed to be, he probably wouldn't be interested in her as a woman. Why should he? Cassie glanced at herself in the mirror and giggled. She wasn't exactly Miss Glamourpants, was she? Wearing her oldest jeans, a faded sweatshirt, her hair decidedly in need of a wash, she wouldn't exactly drive any man to madness with lust for her. That wasn't important. Tomorrow she would be wearing smart jodhpurs, her best riding boots, and her hair would be gleaming. But for the moment she had too much to do to worry about what she looked like!
She walked into her father's office and switched on his laptop. She was just about to insert a disc with the details of the articles she had prepared for The Stars & Their Lives when she heard a loud crunching sound and a car come to a screeching halt in the gravel outside her window. Now who on earth is that? she wondered, getting up to investigate. The car was a very expensive Mercedes sports model in metallic silver with a black leather interior, and the hood had been rolled back, which made it appear even racier.
Oh, no, it couldn't be! Cassie's heart sank as the man got out of the car, standing there in the sunshine for a moment. He was tall but not too tall, strong-looking with powerful shoulders and an air of assurance that made Cassie's heart plummet all the way down to her white, wedge mules. It had to be Mr. Ahmed! He was turning towards her now and her breath caught as she saw that he was better looking than any Sheikh she had seen in old movies on the TV screen. His hair was jet black with a bluish tinge in the sunlight and his eyes—were hidden behind his designer shades. His suit shouted Saville Row at her, his shoes obviously handmade and expensive.
What the hell was he doing here today? She felt like exploding as she glanced down at herself. She looked like something the cat had dragged in and felt worse. Oh, why couldn't he have kept to his appointment as arranged? There was no help for it, Cassie realized. She had to meet him as she was and grovel.
She went swiftly through to the front door, opening it seconds before he could ring the bell. He removed his glasses and looked at her, his eyes going over her slowly in a measured way that made her want to die. This man was used to having the best of everything—and no doubt that included women!—what must be going through his mind? He must think her a poor specimen.
Hang on a minute! Those eyes were blue, bright, clear and devastating. She had always thought men from the Middle Eastern countries had dark eyes—but his were startling. And she was staring like an idiot!
"I am so sorry," she said, offering her hand and smiling. "We weren't expecting you until tomorrow, sir. I'm afraid I'm not properly dressed for showing you round the yard, but I can find a pair of Wellington boots and then I'll be with you."
"And you are?" he asked, his brows rising. He did not immediately take the hand she offered, and she let it drop, feeling rejected. His voice had the quality of cut glass and Cassie shivered, her knees suddenly feeling as if they had the consistency of jelly. He was clearly a man of authority, and none too pleased by being met by someone who looked as if she'd been pulled backwards through a hedge. "I was expecting to meet Mr. Joshua Livingston—the owner of this stable I understand?"
"My father, yes, of course, sir," Cassie said, but her head went up and she refused to be cut down by the slash of his tone. His manner was sending shivers along the entire length of her spine, but she wasn't going to fail at the first fence. "Unfortunately, he had an accident this morning and had to go to hospital. Actually, there must have been some mix-up, Mr. Ahmed. I am so sorry to seem at a loss, but we weren't expecting you until tomorrow."
"So, you are Miss Livingston?" he said and appeared to be considering, his eyes surveying her with a calculating coldness. "And you are offering yourself in your father's place?"
"It might seem a poor substitute," Cassie admitted. "I'm not a trainer, but I've been around horses all my life and I love them. I don't have my father's expert knowledge, but I know a great deal about the way he runs the stable—and his head groom, Joe Green, will be glad to tell you anything that I can't, sir."
"Mr. Ahmed will do," he said, and his mouth relaxed slightly. She thought he might have been laughing at her, and for a moment her heart did a giddy somersault, but he had replaced his glasses and it was impossible to tell. "Do you think you could find those boots, Miss Livingston? I shall be calling on you officially tomorrow, but I decided to drive myself down early and take a quick look round this morning. I like to see things as they are, not specially tidied up for my benefit."
"Yes, of course, sir," Cassie said and opened the door of the hall cupboard, taking out the Wellingtons her mother used for gardening. They were a bright turquoise, and really little bootees rather than the sensible boots she would have chosen given time, but at least they fit. "I hope you won't allow this little misunderstanding to put you off my father's stable. He really is an excellent trainer."
"If I didn't know that I should not be here." He glanced at his watch—gold, fabulously expensive—and then at her. "I have just thirty minutes before I have to fly back to a meeting in London."
"You came all this way for half an hour?"
Cassie couldn't help being fascinated. There was something about him that she found stimulating, a raw masculinity that she had seldom met with in the men she knew, his mouth curiously sensual despite his aura of power and disdain.
"I assure you it was nothing. I would go much further on…important business. Indeed, I often do, and few of my meetings last longer than thirty minutes. I am a busy man, Miss Livingston."
"Yes, of course."
Cassie felt like a wilting rose under his withering stare. She was babbling like a fool, and that wasn't really like her. In her real life, apart from the odd accident, like knocking over her diet drink and ruining her copy, she was confident, vibrant and one of the best journalists on Maggie's staff. But she mustn't even think the word. This man could probably read her mind—oh, she did hope not, and not just because she was a journalist. She couldn't help thinking that Maggie would drool over this one, if only she could get photos—preferably of him wearing something less than his smart silk suit. She watched as he bent to remove his own shoes and replace them with a pair of riding boots that had seen a certain amount of wear, noticing the way his jacket pulled tight across his shoulders for a moment. The body under that suit had to be something special!
"Shall we go then?"
His abrupt question broke into her thoughts, bringing her sharply to heel. Stop dreaming of sunlit beaches, iced drinks, and fabulous men in bathing shorts, Cassie Livingston, and get on with the job at hand.
She switched into professional mode as they walked from the house to the yard. It was a matter of only a few minutes, but the walk was pretty with the blossom trees just beginning to drop their flowers, and the sound of birdsong all around them. She told him of her father's love of horses, the way he could often tell what was the matter with a sick horse just by looking and watching, and how he had saved his previous owner thousands of pounds by working with one particular horse they had all adored.
"The vet said we ought to have Jester put down," Cassie said, her voice warm and enthusiastic, "but Dad wouldn't hear of it. He nursed Jester himself, slept there every night for weeks until my mother threatened to divorce him—but it was worth it in the end."
"Why—did the horse win a race for you?"
"No, but it sired a colt that won for someone else," Cassie said. "Besides, the very fact that Dad made Jester well again was worth all the trouble, wasn't it?"
"Was it?" His voice was clipped, precise, slashing at her like a scimitar. "It would probably have been more economic to have the horse put down in the first place."
"But totally cruel!" Cassie cried, infuriated that he could suggest such a thing. "I hope my father would never think that the better option."
"I was merely putting the point," Mr. Ahmed said coldly, his eyes raking over her. "There is no need to jump on me as if I had suggested murder."
Cassie took a deep breath, counting to ten before speaking. Had she been free to behave as she wished, she might have turned on her heel and left him standing there. He might be the most totally fascinating man she had ever seen, but he was also infuriating. Unfortunately, her father was desperate for a new owner, and the only one to profess an interest was this man. She swallowed her pride.
"Forgive me. I did not intend to be rude."
"Did you not? I would not like to hear you when that was your intention, Miss Livingston."
Cassie clamped down on a sassy retort, giving him what she hoped was a conciliatory smile. "It was just that we all loved Jester so very much."
"I had thought you meant that your father would do as much for any horse if it was sick?"
"Yes, of course he would!"
"I am relieved to hear it. I should not consider placing my…horses with anyone who was not prepared to put themselves to extra trouble to nurse a horse that needed it."
Cassie did a quick stock-take of her thoughts. Just what was he doing here? Had he deliberately set a trap for her? She paused for a moment, giving him one of her Cassandra looks. A look that her work colleagues knew well, though her parents and friends had rarely seen it.
"I hope you don't think I am a silly, sentimental woman, Mr. Ahmed. I assure you that I have my wits about me. I care for all animals, not just horses, but if I loved an animal that could not be helped I should immediately send for a vet to put it down."
"Indeed? How practical you are," he said and the look he gave her was deliberately provoking. "I thought for a moment that I had discovered that rare thing these days—a tender-hearted woman."
Oh, damn him! He was determined to turn everything she said on its head, and she had a dawning suspicion that he was laughing at her. Not that there was a trace of it in his expression, his mouth firmly set in disapproving lines, and of course his eyes were hidden.
"Tenderness should be reserved for the right moment, Mr. Ahmed."
"Yes, I believe that is very true," he replied. "I have very little use for it myself—except at the right moment."
If only she could see his eyes! Cassie was sure that he was thoroughly enjoying himself at her expense, and she was quite certain that she knew exactly what he meant by the right moment. Thinking about what he would feel was a moment for tenderness was making her knees go wobbly again. Oh, hell, this wasn't the time to start having fantasies about a man with beautifully tanned skin and a body to die for!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

New Mills & Boon

This is my latest Regency with Mills & Boon. To be published in November!

New Medieval!

This is the cover for my new book coming in November with Eternal Press. It is a Medieval story that I loved writing but didn't think I would get published. I am delighted that it very soon will be!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Love is Not Enough

A couple of months back I got my copies of the CD of my adudio of Love Is Not Enough. I have just disovered that is saying it is out of print and says Temporarily out of stock. I don't know whether to be delighted that it has sold out of the copies that were done or annoyed that they didn't do quite enough. It is a beautiful cover but I expected it to be available for a while yet. I had ages searching for it, because it only came out last month and then when I found it I couldn't buy copies. It is still available in download to an ipod or an MP3 player - which is something I suppose.

The second book seems to have sold reasonably well. Only one in stock on the third book will be out in December. I may have some exciting news for my readers soon but it isn't certain yet. Love to all, Linda

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Trial By Fire excerpt

Trial by Fire/Anne Ireland/
Eternal Press

Coming in September
Ally is being haunted by a fourteenth century witch!

As she went down to the hall, Ally heard someone laugh. It was a pleasant sound, youthful and joyous. Where had it come from? The door to the sitting room was open. She walked in, half expecting to see a child at play, because it had surely been a child's laughter. The room was unoccupied, but the tiny, latticed window had been left open a little at the top. Of course, that was why she had heard the laughter. Sound carried a long way at night. Her neighbour probably had children.
Ally smiled, picked up another suitcase, and carried it upstairs.
“Why do you always smell so sweet? Why does your skin have the perfume of flowers?”
Ally froze as she heard the whisper. The voice was a man's―a man talking to his lover.
Laughter and now, whispers! Ally's skin prickled as she stood on the threshold to her bedroom. The voice had seemed to come from this room. But, it couldn't have. She had been into the room; she knew it was empty. Perhaps one of the other rooms? Was it possible that someone had been squatting here?
Putting down her case, she walked along the hall and looked inside the other bedrooms. They were both neat and clean, as pristine as when the agent had showed her the cottage. No one was in the house. It was her imagination.
Ally went back to the bedroom. It was quite empty. She was alone in the house. She hadn't heard that whisper. It was all in her mind.
Perhaps it was the book beginning to take shape at last. The explanation was one she could live with, because it had happened occasionally in the past. Not whispers exactly, but thoughts that came out of the blue and were so insistent, so loud in her head that they might have been spoken.

Trial by Fire © 2008 by Anne Ireland

Sunday, 10 August 2008

New books

I have a new book with eternal Press coming in September. The title is Trial by Fire and it is a historical time slip or as some people call it, a parnormal romance.

In October I have the first book in a new series from Severn House. The Lie/Linda Sole. this is the Family feud trilogy and I look forward to seeing it out.

In December I have an Anne Herries book from Severn House - the third in the Upstairs Downstairs series. The title of this one is Forbidden Love. If you have read the first two you will know it is Rose's story.

Also in December I have a new paperback from Mills & Boon. This is another Regency and the title is The Rake's Rebelllious Lady!

I am just about to start another book in the Melford Dynasty. None of these books have been published in England yet but the first two are out in America.

It hasn't been a good summer for us, has it? I am looking forward to some hot sunshine next time we visit Spain!
Love to you all, Linda

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Chateau Despair

My latest ebook from Red Rose Publishing.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Too Hot To Handle Published!

Too Hot To Handle/Linda sole/Eternal Press
Sylvie is Vulnerable. Rafe is angry. Sparks will fly!
Available from
Published 7th June

Sylvie knew that most of her friends settled for sex and a mutual liking, companionship and someone to share their lives. They went in for relationships that were never intended to be permanent, which might last for a few months or a few years, but would eventually end as one partner moved on to a new relationship.
"Marriage doesn’t matter anymore," was the general theory, and Sylvie had gone along with it, but in her heart she couldn’t help wanting more.
Well, you’re not likely to find it with Rafe Wilde, she told herself firmly. He simply isn’t the marrying kind.
She sighed, then smiled at her own thoughts. Mr. Wilde was just too attractive for her peace of mind.
And yet there had been a moment in his arms when she would have given herself and not though twice about it. Even now there was a tender, sensitized feeling between her thighs, a need that she had never felt before.

I am now at myspace

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Chateau Despair

Chateau Despair is a big WWII saga.

Clothilde is growing up in France in a crumbling chateau with her half mad granmother. Christine lives in England in a beautiful house with her family.

Clothilde gets caught in Paris when the Germans invade. She has several lovers and is involved with the Resistance. Christine has to contend with unrequited love and clothing coupons.

A secret binds these two but neither of them knows anything of it. What will happen when they meet and the mystery is solved?

Chateau Despair received a five star review from Anastasia
A Kind of Loving was given three cups from Coffee Time and a glowing review from Red Roses For Authors!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Love & War

My new book from Severn House arrived this week. The cover is taken from a photograph and looks really good. I love it! The soldier looks like pictures of my husband's father! The book is out in June.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Coming Soon

Too Hot To Handle will be out next month. This book was first published by Triskelion. It seemed to do well but the publisher closed and I never did find out how many copies were bought. I am crossing my fingers it will do well this time for the firm who has been good enough to republish for me.

Too Hot To Handle/Linda Sole/Eternal Press
published in June

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Books I like to read

A Wealthy widow is published now in America. It has also been done in Italy, Japan and some other countries. this was the second in the Hellfire series.

I've just reviewed a book called Witch's Heart by Tabitha Shay. This is part of a series of books about witches, and all of them are set in the same world, using many of the same charachters but featuring different couples in turn. I found this an enthralling read. It is at number two in the Eternal Press secrion at fictionwise.

I am now reading a western which I am enjoying and I have a regency I am going to read next. Unfortunately I don't get as much time to read as I would like, because I am always writing. However, I make sure I read and review a few inbetween bouts of furious work, because the brain needs to take in as well as put out.

We went to Hunstanton yesterday but the wind was cool - last week it was glorious there but we don't get it that warm often enough.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Chateau Despair

An excerpt from

Chateau Despair/Linda Sole/ Red Rose publishing

Clothilde is growing up in a crumbling chateau with her half mad grandmother.

"You should send the child to the Nuns," Father Caillebotte said. "It is not fitting for her to be here in this place – and you are not well enough to care for her." His eyes swept round the room. It was cold despite the small fire flickering in the grate. Finding no answer to his problem, his gaze returned to the old woman, who sat hugging her shawl about her shoulders, her expression defensive and wary.
"The child is mine," she told him. "I brought her here to save her from the kind of life you would condemn her to with those sour-faced hags, who have never known what it is to live. Go away and leave us alone. We do not need you."
Caillebotte’s expression was one of patient resignation. He had made the same plea each time he came to the house for the past seven years, and it was always refused. He was wasting his time. It was only duty that made him continue to call at the house, which was crumbling into a ruin from neglect and had an air of despair about it.
"Perhaps not, but I shall continue to call even though you say you do not need me, Madame. If you have no thought for your own soul, the child must still be brought up in the way of the Lord – and she must be educated. It is time for her to begin her lessons. If you will not send her to school, I shall come myself to teach her to read and write."
Caillebotte was a good man. He would do his duty as he saw it. His conscience would not allow him to abandon either the child or the woman, even though he sometimes wondered if his visits meant anything at all to either of them.
The old woman gave him a sour look. "Please yourself. I should have taught her when she was ready. She likes to look at my treasures, and already she knows some of her letters. I do not neglect her as much as you imagine, Caillebotte. I tell her my stories. She likes stories…"
The priest was silent. He knew that the old woman had her good days and her bad days; he also knew that if he had done what was right, he would have taken the child into care long ago. This decaying chateau with its damp rooms and its dark secrets was not a suitable place for a child to grow – and yet the girl seemed to thrive on it.
She was a pretty child with large grey, wondering eyes. Her hair was long and dark; it flew wildly about her face as she ran bare foot about the house and the estate. He knew that she hid from him as much as she could, and suspected that she was somewhere around even now, listening to their conversation.
Clothilde listened from behind the painted screen, where she had hidden herself so that she could hear what they were saying. She was fiercely glad that Grandmere had refused yet again to send her to the Nuns. She did not want to go away from her grandmother, though she would not have minded escaping from certain other people in this house. But that would have meant leaving Grandmere, and she would never, never do that! If the priest took her to the Sisters of Mercy she would run away and come home to Grandmere.
Father Caillebotte was mistaken if he thought that she went nowhere and saw no one but her grandmere and the servants. Clothilde visited the village often. She knew the cottage where the priest lived behind the church, with its back garden where he grew herbs and vegetables, also fruit and a few flowers. Once she had stolen an apple from his tree, and his housekeeper came out shaking her fist. Clothilde ran away laughing; she was certain that the woman would never catch her.
The village itself was old; the houses built of some kind of stone that looked golden in the sunshine. Outside the small, dark inn, with its shuttered windows, old men sat drinking wine and dreaming in the sun while stray cats roamed where they would. Once Clothilde took one of the cats home with her, but it scratched her hand and ran away
The street was cobbled and there were potholes where the rain lay in the winter, the houses close to the road without gardens at the front. Some of them had bright window boxes, from which pink and red flowers trailed. In the back gardens the women, who always seemed to wear black, kept hens and some of them owned a pig, others grew herbs but not many of them grew flowers. Clothilde loved flowers, but there were none at the chateau, and no one to tend them. The servants were interested only in growing the vegetables they needed for the kitchen.
Clothilde waited until the priest left, then crept out from her hiding place and went to Grandmere. Climbing on to her lap, she sat before the fire, staring into the flames as they flickered and burned lower in the grate for want of kindling.
Grandmere stroked her head in an absent-minded manner. Clothilde knew that her grandmother’s thoughts were far away. She was always like this after the priest came, as if his visit made her want to shut out her surroundings.
"Are you dreaming about when you were young, Grandmere?" she asked, but received no reply. "Will you tell me a story?"
Sometimes her grandmother did not speak to her for hours, at others she would bring out her treasures and tell her stories. Clothilde liked those times best, but Grandmere was the centre of her world. Even when she was far away, lost in her world of dreams, she loved her.
From the moment she could walk and do things, Clothilde cared for Grandmere, understanding that the old woman needed her. She got down from her lap now and went to put more wood on the fire. Grandmere needed warmth because she was so often in pain from her poor crippled hands that ached with the rheumatics.
She went back and kissed the soft cheek, then slipped from the room. She would come back later when it was time for their supper. Grandmere would be ready to talk to her then, but for the moment Clothilde was free to escape into the woods. There she could run and hide, escape for a while from the harsh reality of her life at the house.
She was not sure that she liked the idea of lessons with the priest, but perhaps he would teach her to understand what was in the books in the library. There were a great many of them, some with pictures, which Clothilde liked to look at, others with strange letters that meant nothing to her.
"Where are you, little pig?"
Hearing the voice she hated most in the world, Clothilde made a dash for the door and freedom. She had stolen two buns fresh from the cooling tray earlier that morning and Blanche would beat her if she found her. However, the servant was fat and lazy, and she would not search far. Once Clothilde was in the woods she would be safe.
As she reached the door a bulky figure came darting out of the kitchen and grabbed her, shaking her until her teeth rattled.
"I have the little pig for you," Betrand called to his wife. "Here is the thief who stole your cakes."
"I didn’t steal them," Clothilde protested. "They are Grandmere’s cakes. You work for her. It’s your job to cook the food…"
She gave a scream as Betrand shook her, her head snapping back and forth. Blanche was coming towards her, stick in hand. She was going to be beaten again. Blanche was a vicious bully and beat her whenever she had an excuse. The last time she’d been black and blue all over for more than a week; she cried herself to sleep every night. She did not dare to complain to Grandmere, for it might upset her and make her ill. The servants treated her shamefully, but Clothilde was learning to fight back.
She turned her head and bit Betrand's hand. He gave a cry of pain and let her go, dropping her with such force that she felt the pain shoot through her wrist. Yet in a second she was on her feet, scuttling away and out of the door before he could recapture her.
She could hear them arguing about whose fault it was that she’d escaped, as she ran for her life, through the gardens towards the woods and safety.


Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What a lovely day!

Yesterday we went out for a lovely lunch at a restaurant my brother in law told us about. It was in a nice country setting and the sun was shining all day, and now the sun is shining again today. I do love it when we get periods of warm settled weather in England. We have such a beautiful country but so often the summers are cold or wet and so we go off abroad to get some sun!

I am putting up a new picture of me in Spain this time. I have just agreed a contract for five new books with Severn House. A new Linda Sole trilogy - sagas this time. Also the third in the Anne Herries Upstairs Downstairs trilogy and one other. I have finished revising the second in the A Season In Town trilogy for Mills & Boon and have one more book to write.

More importantly, we have a squirrel visiting the garden again! We did miss them so when they all disappeared last year!

Love to you all, Linda

Monday, 28 April 2008

Too Hot To Handle

Too Hot To Handle will be republished in June. This is the new cover. I love it!

My latest from Severn House - the first of the Upstairs Downstairs Trilogy. Second book coming in June!
Chateau Despair/Linda Sole/Red Rose Publishing
My new ebook coming soon.
Coming soon to Red Rose Publishing!
FRANCE JANUARY 1921Madame Fanchot watched in triumph as the child entered the world in a mess of slime and blood. However, her feeling was short-lived as she turned to its mother. She was dying. Her labour had been long and hard, and the months of carrying had taken their toll. No one would care what became of her or her child. She’d been foolish and careless and her behaviour had brought shame to her family. For herself, she could have little reason left to live, but Madame Fanchot knew that she feared for her child."Where is she?" The woman’s voice was barely more than a whisper. The blood drained out from between her thighs, sluggish and thick. Madame Fanchot gave up any attempt to staunch it. She believed nothing more could be done to help the woman, or perhaps she was either too indifferent or too ignorant to try to save her. "Let me see her…just once.""She is beautiful, Madame," Madame Fanchot said. She laid the small bundle in the mother’s arms. The child was wrapped in nothing but the shawl the woman had been wearing when they’d found her wandering in the woods some hours earlier. "You have a lovely daughter.""I want to call her Elena," the mother said. "Her name is Elen…"The rattle of death caught in her throat, causing her head to fall back against the pillows."She has gone," a man said from the doorway. He spat on the floor of the filthy cottage. "So perish all such whores as they deserve.""You are too harsh, Jean," his wife said. She took the squalling child from its mother and held it to her breast to quiet it. "How can you know who or what the poor woman was? She has scarcely spoken a word since we found her wandering.""No decent woman would be alone in a wood in her condition," he muttered sourly. "If she came of good family they threw her out – and she isn’t wearing a wedding ring.""That doesn’t mean she was a bad woman," Madame Fanchot gave the dead woman a pitying look. "What are we to do with her now?""I’ll bury her in the wood. I’ve no money to pay the priest for a proper burial for a stranger?""But shouldn’t we tell someone? Supposing someone comes looking for her or the child one day?""We never saw her.""What of the child?" she cried in horror at his callous words."Get rid of it…" He growled deep in his throat . "I don’t mean kill it – take it to the church. Leave it near the altar. The priest will know what to do. It won’t be the first time he’s had to deal with an abandoned bastard I’ll swear. I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of the house.""The shawl is hers. Was there nothing else – no ring or trinket of any kind that might help them to trace who the child’s mother was?""Nothing," he muttered in a way that immediately told her he was lying. "Nothing at all."She scowled at him. If he’d stolen something from the woman, he would likely keep it until he thought it was safe to sell. She would not receive the smallest part of his ill-gotten gains, even though she was the one who’d gone through the trouble of attending the woman."I’m going to take the child," she told him. She hated his brutality; she hated the poverty of her life. She wished she dared to leave him and take the child with her. It was impossible. Poor as her life is, it was still better than starving on the streets. "If you mean to bury the woman, Jean, be careful. If anyone sees you there could be trouble.""No one will see," he shrugged. "No one ever comes to the woods these days. Not after what happened up at the chateau."Madame Fanchot crossed herself as she hurried out into the bleakness of a cold winter evening. The chateau remained empty for the past five years, save from the crazy old woman that owned it. The last of her family, she had lived there alone, hardly seeing anyone since the tragedy. Madame Fanchot’s mind shied away from what had happened all those years ago.Indeed, she did not truly know for sure what had happened at the chateau. She’d only heard the rumours, but it was certain three people were brutally murdered there.Shivering, she ran all the way to the church. She looked about her, but could see no one. Hurriedly, she deposited her bundle behind the priest’s pulpit. He would surely see it there when he came to take evening confession.Afraid and guilty for leaving the child, Madame Fanchot made the sign of the cross over her heart and then ran from the church hastily. In her anxiety to get away, Madame Fanchot failed to notice the figure sitting quietly in the shadows. Nor did she ever know what happened after she’d left, though there would be times over the years when she wondered what had become of the child. Times when she believed she knew…

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Too Hot To Handle

I just want to say I am very happy that Too Hot to Handle (first published by Triskelion) is to be republished by Eternal Press!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I have posted the first of a series of parts of a book called A Different Kind Of Love/Anne Ireland on my blog that has all the excerpts and stories now. I used to have these on my website but now I have a blog especially for them. I will publish the book a few chapters at a time so pop over there when you like and enjoy your free reads.

This is the url!

Last week I went to London twice. first to the RNA luncheon for the Romantic novel of the year. It was good to see friends and enjoy the speeches. On thursday I went to the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square to Mills and Boon's 100th birthday party. It was a glittering occasion and it was difficult to hear yourself speak! Quite an experience. This week I am getting on with my work. I have my latest M&B almost there and then I am going to start my next saga for Severn House.

Love to you all! Linda

Friday, 1 February 2008

A Shameful Secret

A Shameful Secret is out today! This is a new Regency book from Amira Press. it has a very different cover and is quite attractive I think, but not at all like my Anne Herries covers.

Love Is Not enough/Anne Herries/Severn House is doing very well. It has sold to audio and has just been well reviewed at Cataromance.

I also have a good review for Cassie's Sheikh at

I don't like the weather much! Roll on summer!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Day For Friends

A Day for Friends at Ebooklove
25th January 2008
A group of authors from different publishers have come together to promote their books.
There will be lots of contests, lots of prizes and lots of excerpts from wonderful books.
Our fabulous authors are:
Lynne Connolly, Rita Karnopp, Sloane Taylor, J Morgan, Missy Lyons, Tambra Kendall,
Pam Champagne, Raven Starr, Dee Dawning,
Melissa Glissen, Marie Treanor,
Ellie Tremayne, Bonnie Clarke MC Halliday,
Marie Rochelle, Savannah Chase, Maddie James,
Linda Sole
We would love you to join in the fun!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


I am thrilled to announce that I have been given the Reviewers' Choice Award from Cataromance. Forbidden Lady/Anne Herries/Harlequin Historicals.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Cover for Cassie's Sheikh

I am delighted that my new ebook is out today with Red Rose Publishing. This is a romantic story and one I wanted to see in print. The artwork is the copyright of Red Rose Publishing.

Yesterday I received a Polish translation of Rosalyn and the Scoundrel. I think this Anne Herries book has been published in at least seven countries now! It is lovely to see all the books in different languages and exctiting when yet another parcel comes through the door.

We have had some lovely birds in the garden recently, including a beautiful woodpecker who comes on the nut box in the cheery tree near our kitchen window. Unfortunately I haven't seen many squirrels lately, but I do occasionally glimpse them in the trees opposite my study.

I must get on now as I have a book to finish! Linda

Monday, 7 January 2008

A Shameful Secret

The picture is the cover of the last book of the trilogy just published by Harlequin Mills & Boon. A new Regency coming from them in paperback in Feb 2008!

This is an excerpt from my new Regency coming soon from Amira Press. Enjoy!

Hester has disgraced her family and can never be forgiven.

'Good morning, ma'am,' he said politely. 'Forgive me for disturbing you, but I believe I have missed my way. I wonder if you could direct me to Holdenby Hall please?'
For a moment Hester's heart caught with fright, for the words were the very same as those uttered fatally more than eight years earlier, the words that had led to a broken heart and her terrible shame. She breathed deeply, taking a moment to recover her composure before looking up at the face of the man who had spoken. Thank God it was not he! Had it been she could not have answered for her actions, for she had often thought she might like to strike that other one. Indeed, in her grief- maddened dreams she had longed to wreak bloody revenge on the man who had ruined her life, though when she was awake and thinking sensibly, she knew that she would never do such a thing. She was in actual fact, a well-brought up and conscientious lady, and her lapse from grace had been unfortunate rather than deliberate.
'Are you all right?' the man was looking at her in concern now, his blue eyes narrowing as he saw how pale she was. She was a lady of medium height, hardly above a man's shoulder, slender and attractive in a quiet, unremarkable way, despite her plain gown and severe hairstyle. And yet he thought that given a little colour in her cheeks she might have been pretty. 'Did I startle you?'
'A little,' Hester confessed, forcing herself to put away her foolish memories. 'I believe you have taken the wrong fork, sir. You must return to the crossroads and take the road to the right. I believe there is a milestone with the inscription, Holdenby Village two miles, but it may have become overgrown again.'
'Ah, yes, that would explain it. Josh told me there was a milestone but I did not see it as I rode. Thank you very kindly, ma'am, and forgive me if I came upon you too suddenly.'
There was sincerity in his deep voice and his smile was like a gentle caress. Despite the warnings in her head, Hester found herself responding to his charm.
'Are you staying with Lady Holdenby?' she asked. 'She told me last week that she expected her brother Josh for a visit and that he might bring friends to stay at the Hall.'
'We were in France together,' the man replied. 'Served under Wellington, on his staff. Captain Paul Crawford at your service, ma'am.'
'Hester Weston,' she replied, her heart beating quickly, too quickly. He was charming and good looking, she supposed, in a rather stern, forbidding way. Blue eyes, strong features and dark hair combined to make him a man who would always be noticed - and this was all wrong! She knew what such chance encounters led to and she was disobeying her father's last orders to her as he lay dying. She was to stay at home with her mother for the rest of her life and never think of shaming her family again. 'Excuse me, Captain Crawford, I must hurry. I am expected at home.'
'Of course, forgive me,' he said and swept his hat from his dark head once more before turning his horse to ride off the way he had come.
Hester could not resist a last glance at him as she turned homeward. He was not the most handsome gentleman she had ever seen, but he had good bone structure, a soft, sensuous mouth and a deep, pleasant voice. Despite her father's unkindness, her mother's reproaches, and the knowledge that she could never expect to marry, Hester had occasionally thought of it. In the ridiculous dreams she sometimes experienced, the kind and generous man she longed for rode up on his horse and carried her off to a life of domestic bliss. It was foolish of her to hanker after something that could never be hers; she would never know the joy of holding her child in her arms, or the happiness of being loved by a man who loved her in return.
At the age of just seventeen, Hester had been ruthlessly pursued and seduced by a rogue, who having won her heart and her confidence, ravished her and left her to face the consequences alone. When the evidence of her disgrace became too prominent to disguise, her father had subjected her to a cruel punishment. She was forbidden all the pleasures she had until then enjoyed, and was banished to stay with a distant aunt until the child was born. The child being stillborn, Hester had been allowed to return to her home, the scandal hushed up and kept from all but certain members of her family. However, it was made perfectly plain to her by Harold Weston that she was a wicked girl who had brought shame on her family and would never be given a chance to do so again.
At first rebellious, Hester had come to accept that she had indeed brought shame on her family, and that she must bear her punishment as best she might. It had been very hard for a girl of spirit to accept, but over the years the light inside her had dimmed and at five and twenty she was not the foolish romantic who had given her heart so easily.
Richard Mortimer, grandson of Earl Mortimer, was a ruthless rake and Cousin Charlotte had told her that she was not the only innocent girl he had ruined. Indeed, he had been banished to the West Indies after one particularly bad scandal, and there for all Hester knew he remained, though she had heard that his elder brother had been killed at Waterloo fighting the French.
Hester hoped that her seducer would never return to this part of East Anglia, and indeed it was unlikely. He had found the area dull and had stayed at his family home near Burnham Market reluctantly, having been rusticated because his grandfather refused to pay his gambling debts. In his boredom Richard had sought a diversion, and Hester's sweet naiveté had aroused his interest. Had her mother been less indolent or more interested in her daughter's welfare, Mrs Weston might have warned her child to beware of rakes like Mortimer. However, he had set himself to charm both the mother and the daughter, and Araminta had ignored the signs.
Hester sighed as she smothered the memories. It was ridiculous to let herself hope for something that could never be. Her mother needed her at home now that her father was dead. He had died without forgiving his daughter, and that had hurt Hester deeply. She knew that she had been foolish, but she had never meant to be wicked and she had longed for her father's forgiveness, but it had not been granted her.
As she ran the last few steps towards her home, she saw that a mountain of luggage was in the hall still waiting to be carried upstairs. That must mean Cousin Charlotte had arrived. Hester smiled and for a moment her face lit up and the air of repression left her. She was no longer the pretty child she had once been for care had driven that sweet innocence from her face, and she often looked sad or dull, but when she smiled she had a gentle beauty that would appeal to the more discerning.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. A Shameful Secret/Anne Ireland/Amira Press

Coming soon in ebook and in print.