Seriously, I'm so happy to be able to share that Lost Treasure is my first contemporary release with Crimson Romance. Actually, it's my first contemporary EVER! So why did an historical author switch to contemporary? Well, that's an excellent question, me hearties, and a fabulous story I love to tell.
There once was a contest called the 2011 HQN Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. At the time, I still had Pirate By Night, now released as Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, with HQN Mills & Boon. Lynn Raye Harris, fabulous HQN Presents author, had been encouraging me to try writing a Presents for years because of my military background and various travels overseas. Well, it took me a good two years to finally relent. And when inspiration for this story idea came to light, I thought, why not put three years of living in Italy to good use. I wrote the first chapter and submitted it to the contest, a contest in which that first chapter went public to everyone who clicked on the site. ACK!
Well, that took a lot of nerve, let me tell you. (Getting over my fear of letting people read what I'd written was a very difficult thing for me to do back then.) Though my 1st chapter entry didn't final during the contest, I met fabulous writers who are great friends today. Win! Win! Right? Also, I got a taste of what writing contemporary was like. And guess what? Da, da, da... I loved it! Imagine me, writing contemporaries and loving it! It was a great epiphany, I can tell you. So, as the experiment turned into a passion for writing a modern day story, I wrote the rest of the book. And boy, am I glad I did!
Prince Gian-Paolo Montovanni was such a force to be reckoned with that I actually had to write the book his way or it was the highway for me. <g> Who knew a contemporary hero could move me the way GP did? As a boy, GP's life was turned upside down when his mother practically scandalized the family. That event crippled his father emotionally and, ultimately, led to the monarch's ill-timed death. Youth stolen, parliament on his back, GP must produce a fiancee or lose his father's legacy. But to do that, he must produce the Montovanni's beloved emeralds, emeralds taken from his mother in a blackmail scheme twenty years earlier. And shock of all shocks, American jeweler Caroline Beugre has just created an exact copy!
Here's an excerpt for you, me hearties!
Carolina staggered backwards as her client’s name, royal status, and the improbability of her circumstances sank in. Reeling from shock, she shook her head to clear it. She was standing on a palace balcony with a prince who vowed to make her his wife. It didn’t get any more perfect than this. Did it? Except her situation wasn’t perfect. Gian-Paolo Montovanni didn’t love her. He didn’t even know her. He wanted the jewels, nothing else.
“I’m an American. You can’t keep me here against my will.”
She lifted her hand to shield her throat. “There are laws against kidnapping.”
“Who said anything about kidnapping? You have something I want. I have something you want.” His face was inches from hers. His jaw ticked and a starburst of honey flared out of his pupils. If her entire future wasn’t riding upon the emeralds, she could easily succumb to his promises and the hypnotic power of his eyes. “Our agreement stipulated you weren’t to wear the necklace under any circumstances, and yet,” he reminded her, “you put it on.”
“I explained why. Surely that more than makes up for — ”
“Basta!” His hand extended upward as if he needed God’s divine intervention. “You still don’t understand. My mother had a necklace exactly like this. It hasn’t been seen for twenty years and my people thought it was put aside for the day I’d announce my fiancée. You put the necklace on, Cara mia. My people believe you’re the one I’ve chosen. Since I’m only following custom and don’t really want a wife, you’re as good as anyone else. You must accept the consequences.”
“No,” she said. “This is a nightmare. I won’t marry someone I don’t love. I’ve got my own life to live.”
Gian-Paolo grabbed hold of her arms, applying just enough pressure to keep her at his side. Carolina tried to wrench free. “There is … no one else.”
The pain in his voice took her off guard. “No one?” she repeated. “You’re a prince. Surely there is someone who’d gladly jump at the chance to be your fiancée.”
His brown eyes blazed with fiery heat. “That may be true, but none of them put on the necklace.”
“So what you’re saying is, I put on the necklace and that makes it okay to ruin my life?”
“No,” he said. “You created a perfect copy of my mother’s necklace and put it up for sale. The only way from keeping it off the market was to lure you here under the guise of buying the copy. But that wasn’t what this was about, Carolina, until you put on the necklace.”
I hope you'll give Lost Treasure, Captive Princess a try, me hearties! If all goes well, I may just write the contemporary tickling my muse!
What do you like most about contemporary romance? What are your favorite tropes?
One lucky commenter will win an E-copy of Lost Treasure! Good luck!!!