Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful and satisfying Thanksgiving. We'll be having Turkey and stuffin' muffins at my sister's house. I'm assigned to mashed potatoes and broccoli. Thank goodness for my niece, Betsy--she's bringing some rum and coke along with snacks to consume while we play our traditional board games of "cut throat" Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers. I plan on having a wonderful time.
Kate, my sweet dog, will be going with me. Though it's difficult for her to get in and out of the Forester now, I have a ramp for her and a nice quilt for her to lie on while we're there. I thought you'd like to know that she's hanging in there. I hope she can make it for Christmas but, for now, I'm just glad to have her each day.
I hope for all of you a great Thanksgiving Day!!
Sarah McNeal
www.sarahmcneal.com
Author of The Violin at Amira Press
The Dark Isle at New Concepts Publishing
Lake of Sorrows at New Concepts Publishing
My WIP: Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cassie's Sheikh


Cassie's Sheikh/Linda Sole/Red Rose Publishing



Also at other outlets and soon to be in print.

Cassie's Sheikh has been shortlisted for the Christmas Awards 2009 at


Kasim hates scandal magazines and the people who work for them. What chance does Cassie have to make him see that her father's stables is a ghood place to bring his uncle's thoroughbred 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."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Books in Print


I have just checked the print proofs for Chateau Despair, Cassie's Sheikh and A Kind of Loving for Red Rose Publishing. When I sent these books to be published in ebook format I never expected that they would all go into print too. While it was very satisfying to see books I love go into ebook format and I do very much like the flexability of this format there is nothing like print copies you can hold in your hand. I hope to buying quite a few of these to pop in Christmas stockings for friends and relatives who would never read an ebook and therefore miss out on mine.


I have been working very hard on my lates saga recently and have now reached the first print out, which is the end of the first stage for me. I sent in a new Melford Dynasty to HMB a few weeks back and have signed a five book contract. I seem to get translations of my HMB books most weeks and this is a source of great pleasure for me. Writing is rewarding in itself but it is lovely to know that your books are being published worldwide!


I wanted to hint at a big competition on Red Rose Publishing's blog and a Christmas party on the group. I can't say anymore yet but this is just a taster. Love to you all, Linda

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Kate

MY KATE


I thought when Grandfather Tree died that something shifted, like a shadow fell over my house. I know this is probably just kinda strange but I knew somehow more trouble was on the way. And so it has. My Golden Retriever, Kate, who has been with me through thick and thin, has cancer of the bone and only weeks to live. There is nothing I can do to save her. I am keeping her comfortable at present on meds but that won't last and I dread the final outcome. How will my life be without my Kate? This has been a year of mixed emotions. It was wonderful when my book THE VIOLIN was released but the loss of my friend, Joyce, Grandfather Tree and now this devastating news about my best buddy, Kate, has left me exhausted emotionally. It is my earnest prayer that the new year will bring with it a sense of happiness and hope.


In the meantime, I will spend whatever time I have left with Kate just loving her and try to let her go without allowing her to suffer for my sake.


All good things to your corner of the universe.


Sarah McNeal




Author of


THE VIOLIN at Amira Press


THE DARK ISLE at New Concepts Publishing


LAKE OF SORROWS at New Concepts Publishing

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Contract...

Well I'm doing the happy dance! I just signed a new contract with Eternal Press for my gay romance Homecoming! Squeeee! As most of you know that have been following along here, I had submitted the manuscript in July and was waiting to hear back from them, and I finally did hear back last week. I am very impressed with their professionalism. Anywho, I don't have a release date yet, but I will be sure and post it here when I do have one. For the time being here is the blurb for Homecoming:

After five years Crew has returned to his home planet of Mara hoping to reunite with his bondmate Eagle. Not knowing what Eagle’s reaction to his return is going to be, Crew is very nervous. When Eagle comes to him first he must decide if Eagle truly loves him or if he is out for revenge.

New Regency Release - Unspeakable

Now Available from Red Rose Publishing!

UNSPEAKABLE

Kayleigh Jamison

Unspeakable

Erotic Romance: Regency, Historical/Period
ISBN: 978-1-60435-262-7
Cover Artist: Shirley Burnett
Editor: WRFG
Word Count: 12,830
Release Date: November 06, 2008



Trevor Caufield has always prided himself on being a consummate rake...until a clandestine meeting with a mysterious, strangely silent woman in a darkened hallway. Setting out to pursue Emma Hatton with purely selfish intentions, he discovers emotions that transcend his formerly uncomplicated existence and teach him that true love has no need for words.


Excerpt


“Ah, silence,” he muttered, rounding a corner and slipped deeper into the house. His steps were unhurried, and the leisurely pace saved him from walking straight into the petite form that blocked his path just after the turn.

The woman stared at him with wide, doe—eyes. She was radiantly beautiful in the dimly lit corridor, the rays of moonlight illuminating the golden tresses of her hair, which spilled over her shoulders in rich, enticing waves. She didn't have the look of a servant girl; her dress, though out—of—date, was far too elegant. Her pixie—like face was soft but refined, with a small, button nose and full, pouty lips that made him, without thinking, lick his own in anticipation. Her eyebrows, the same golden blonde as her hair, were fine and sculpted, arching over eyes that, even in the dim light, he saw were a sparkling, crystalline blue.

“My apologies, Madame, I didn't intend to frighten you,” Trevor soothed, recovering from his momentary shock and offering her a charming half—smile. Where have you been hiding? he wanted to ask instead.

Her eyes widened another fraction, but she said nothing.

“Truly, I thought myself alone,” he continued and flashed another smile. “Had I known I would encounter such an enchanting gem hidden away in this dark hall, I would have brought two glasses.” He lifted the champagne flute to his lips, watching her carefully over the rim.

Still no response from her. Were it not for the slight tremble of her lower lip, Trevor would have begun to wonder if she was a statue – or perhaps a life—sized doll. Yes, she resembled the dolls his little sister had played with as a child, her skin smooth and pale as porcelain, eyelashes almost freakishly long, fanning against the ridge of her eyebrows.

“Am I such a terrifying sight?”

More maddening silence.

He changed tactics. Trevor reached for her hand, half expecting her to jump backwards out of his reach. She didn't, and allowed him to grasp her fingers lightly, giving them a squeeze. Her skin was soft and silky, and he felt a jolt of warmth at the contact. “Are you ill, Madame? Hurt?”

She shook her head just the slightest bit – a minute gesture, the shimmer it stirred amongst her flaxen curls the only indication that she'd moved at all. Her hand remained limp in his much larger palm.

“Damnit, woman, say something, would you? Anything,” he exclaimed.

She shook her head again, this time with more force, and gave his hand a squeeze. Rather than pulling out of his grip, as he expected her to do, she allowed her hand to stay where it was, giving a second squeeze with her fingers.

“Well, good. We've established you're real, and I'm real,” Trevor said. “Now, I really must insist that you…” That she what, Caufield? Exactly what is it you want her to do?

A rustling from around the corner caused him to abandon his thought process. His companion stiffened, and he heard her sharp intake of breath. Before he could stop her she'd pulled her hand free and was running down the hallway.

“Wait!” Trevor called. “At least allow me your name!”

She paused long enough to cast a final, mournful glance over her shoulder, and then disappeared into the shadows.





$1.99