Monday, June 18, 2012

Looking Back While Looking Forward...

My daughter will soon be home for the holidays. It only seems five minutes ago that we were bringing her home from hospital as a tiny baby.  Now she's about to start her final year at university.  She's studying Archaeology, which means the summer is her busiest time. This year, she'll be spending some of her  time working at a Roman site in the south of England, where last season she found all sorts of beautiful and poignant things, from beads to babies. Archaeology is a bit of a cinderella discipline. They also serve who only stand and sift spoil heaps, so I thought it was about time the "trowel jockeys" got their very own heroine! Josie is a dedicated academic who gets the chance of a lifetime in The Count's Prize, my July release for Harlequin Mills and Boon which you can find at http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/books/Modern/The-Counts-Prize.htm. Josie wants to develop a course based on the beautiful di Sirena estate, but its notorious owner Count Dario is a volatile character. He can't resist the challenge of a woman so wrapped up in her work that she spends her days in shapeless working clothes, turning pink in the sun and getting covered in dust. Unlike the other women in his life,  Josie is no pushover. She knows what she wants, so when her best friend finally tempts her into attending a glamorous party thrown by Dario she transforms herself into a woman who has an unexpected effect on him. She revives feelings that have remained buried deep within him after a tragedy hardened his heart. 

With one hand, Dario lifted a glass of champagne from a nearby tray then stuck the other hand into his trouser pocket and sauntered casually to the edge of her group.
'Josie...'
He spoke, and she smiled.
Dario took that as his cue to advance and stand beside her. Instead of lifting her fingers to his lips as he had done the first time they'd met, his hand went straight to her waist as he kissed her lightly on the cheek. She didn't flinch from either gesture, he noticed with a delicious kick of pleasure.
'How are you enjoying the party?'
'I didn't think you'd recognise me,' she said apprehensively.
'I would know you anywhere,' he said, and it was true. She was so lovely, he couldn't bear to leave her alone for a moment. No one knew more than he did how every single second in the company of a beautiful woman should be cherished. One wrong word, one thoughtless gesture and happiness could be snatched away for ever. Nothing could have persuaded him to risk going through the pain he'd endured in losing Arietta - but he wasn't prepared to see Josie fall prey to one of his guests. The idea of a treasure like her in the clutches of another man was unthinkable...  
 ...she was looking at the woman he had abandoned when he'd blazed a trail around the room to her.
'Oh, that's just Tamara,' Dario said casually, stepping back.
On the other side of the room, the blonde raised one hand and blew him a kiss.
'Hmm. It doesn't look as though she's saying"Oh, that's just Dario," to those other people,' Josie said stiffly.
Dario felt a surge of purely male satisfaction. She was jealous - tonight she was as good as his.

Copyright Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, 2012.

That's what Dario thinks - but Josie has very definite ideas about the way she wants to be treated and loyalty is top of her list. Commitment equals pain for Dario - so when Josie walks away he has to face the past he's sworn to forget, or face losing her forever...

The Count's Prize was an absorbing book to write. I could let myself go on the warm, exotic locations I love so much. We're experiencing some dreadful weather here in England at the moment, so distraction is a good thing. I hope it's blowing itself out ahead of some good weather in time for my darling daughter's stint on that Roman excavation!  

Where's your favourite destination when you want to get away from it all? It can be real or fictional, and there's a signed copy of The Count's Prize for a comment picked at random.

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, when she isn't  working in the garden, with her bees or daydreaming about resuming her abandoned Classical Studies. You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.comhttp://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com on Facebook and on Twitter, where she tweets as @christinabooks.

27 comments:

  1. Well, I like it very much! If you need more information at http://www.sobeautifulbag.com

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  2. My favourite destination is wherever my sister and her family are! When we are together, THEN we can visit other places. It matters not where, as long as we are together.

    I loved reading the excerpt above. In a small way, it reminded me of myself, as for years I have "never made the most of what I have". I am what I am. Since turning 50 a few years ago, though, I am starting to "come out of my shell" and accentuate my assets in order to detract from what I feel are my liabilities.

    Funny story: I recently attended our annual badminton banquet and bought myself a new top to go with my usual boring black pants (necessary, as I wear orthotics so can't wear skirts/dresses). I thought the top was sexy on me. It has black silkish material gathered like spandex against my body, with black see-through lace covering the spandex and my bare shoulders. I ditched the black/white polkadot sash that came with it and bought myself a red/black sash instead, donning red earrings too (but no necklace, as I can't wear them re itchiness, plus it would have caught on the lace). When my 24-year-old daughter saw me ready for the banquet and I asked her what she thought, she said, "It's revealing." Hmmm. I said, "If [so-and-so] wore it, would it be revealing on her?" and my daughter said, "No way." So in my eyes, it was just more revealing than I usually wear, but not what society in general wears. I got to said banquet and had many compliments, but the best one (to me) was when a very conservative 71-year-old man out of the blue said to me in his broken English, "I like your dress, or whatever you call it. You look classy." Wow. Revealing from the young'un and classy from the not-as-young'un. Usually it's the opposite reaction, I would think!

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  3. take my book and go to my bedroom and reading sometimes listening music from my mp3 :)

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  4. What a lovely and thought provoking post. Yes, they do grow up very quickly. Time is fleeting and precious. A locale that beckons me would be Italy since it is so special, entrancing and captivating in everyway. Cures what ails me.

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  5. How exciting for your daughter. Praying for safe travels. Both my girls live within 10minutes of me. I'm afraid I would drive them crazy worrying. We love to camp and sitting outside by a fire is very relaxing! Thanks.

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  6. I've always loved history & archaeology - best of luck to your daughter for a happy & successful future.
    When I really want to relax I love to be at the beach, but sitting in the shade with a good book (or actually several books).

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    1. Congratulations, Di - you won my lucky dip prize of a signed copy of "The Count's Prize"! Please send your snail mail address to me at christinahollis at hotmail dot co dot uk (replacing spaces and adding @ & dots) and I'll get your copy into the post asap.

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  7. My fav destination is probably the only place I can afford to get away from it all... my bedroom:)

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  8. Thanks for commenting, Prevost Dallas!

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  9. Laney, what a lovely evening that must have been - funny how our children only see "Mum" and not "the lady in the glamorous outfit"!

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  10. Hi, Eli - a relaxing time with book and music is just the thing when you've been out and about in the world all day.

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  11. Italy is such a beautiful country, it's easy to let the atmosphere wash over you. The people there are lovely, too. Thanks for commenting, Traveler!

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  12. Hi, Shelley, thanks for commenting. It must be lovely to have all your family so close. My Mum's a couple of hours away in one direction, my daughter's a couple of hours away in another, and my sister is an hour away. Thank goodness for Skype and phones!

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  13. Hi, Di - wherever in the world we do it, reading in the shade is perfect. Especially if there's a long cold drink to hand (though my favourite treat of chocolate cake's a bit of a no-no on a hot day!)

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  14. Christina, what a great set up for a book! I love the idea of an archaeologist. I've had a heroine who's a marine archaeologist and would love to have another one some time. Your setting is so gorgeous too. I'm looking forward to this one.

    Favourite destination to get away from it all? A book - no travel involved!

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  15. Hi Yadkny, thanks for commenting. I think that's one of the best things about reading - it doesn't matter if you're in your bedroom or on some exotic holiday, as long as you can immerse yourself in a story, you're sure of a great time.

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  16. My garden, right now it all starts to get into flower and it's such a lovely sight. Great to get away for a moment or two.

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  17. There are days when my favorite destination is my old, comfy couch. It's my reading spot & my Sanctuary. I do like to pretend I am invisible, but the family still seem to find me.

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  18. Hi Christina,

    For me the best getaway destination is definitely a good book, as it can manage to transport me to a whole new world,yes it might not be a real world but for me it is the escape that I need for everyday situations in life. A Christian book can make me feel closer to the word of God and a romance book can make me feel as if I am experiencing the passion between two characters that the author is sending accross.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us and thank you for the lovely chance to win your really nice sounding book.

    Desere

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  19. Thanks for commenting, Jo's Daughter. This is a lovely time of year in the garden - the scent of honeysuckle was very powerful this morning, as the air was still and moist. Let's hope the rest of the year is a bit warmer and drier!

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  20. Hi Annie, thanks for your lovely comment. I really hope you enjoy The Count's Prize. It's good to hear from another avid reader - if only we here in England could be sure of some prolonged summer weather this year, so we can get out in the sun with our books!

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  21. Hi Marybelle, thanks for commenting. Isn't it funny how OH's can manage to vanish into their surroundings like chameleons when they don't want to be disturbed -hungry/wet/dirty children and pets always make a bee-line for 'Mum' instead!

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  22. Thanks for commenting, Desere. I know exactly what you mean. I've recently discovered Love Inspired, which combines observance and romance. What more could anyone want in one small volume?

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  23. I fully agree with you Christina and the Love Inspired series sound great thanks for the recommendation

    Desere

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  24. My favorite place to go is into the nearest
    printed page! I climb into the corner of my
    "Big Comfy Couch" with my book and my favorite beverage. I am wafted away into
    whatever place about which I am reading!!
    This makes me so happy! Just think of all the
    places I get to visit!

    Pat Cochran

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  25. Hi Pat, thanks for commenting. It's good to hear you're another happy member of the couch-corner sorority. Thank heavens for reading!

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  26. Congratulations to Di, winner of my prize draw!

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