Sunday, June 14, 2015

Christina Hollis: Extract, Heart Of A Hostage...

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I'm working on the final edit of the third book in my Princes of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press. This story is called Heart of a Hostage (although that detail may change). It lands rebel leader Mihail, and his enemy Princess Maia, in a whole load of trouble. He's a fighter, and she's a diplomat but rules, like promises and pie crusts, are made to be broken.

After Leo and Sara's romance in His Majesty's Secret Passion and the fireworks between Athan and Krisia in Her Royal Risk, Heart of A Hostage spreads the Kharovan net wider. Leo and Athan's younger sister, Maia, wants to be part of the modernisation of her old-fashioned country on the Mediterranean coast. For all their go-ahead ideas, her brothers still want her to have an arranged marriage.  When she falls into the hands of rebel leader Mihail, things take a sinister turn.  

Here's an extract from right at the beginning of the book, where Maia and Mihail meet for the first time. Her official car has broken down in the middle of nowhere. While she's exploring the countryside with her little dog, she's confronted by a handsome stranger...

“What’s the matter?” His voice was as rough as his stubble.
“ I want to go back to my car.”
“Not possible. Sorry.” 
That must top the chart of most insincere apologies, ever.
“My driver and my bodyguard…they’ll be worried.”
“Not about you. They've got other things to think about, such as their own skins. I’ve got lookouts posted everywhere. They’re busy taking your vehicles to a place of safety.”
“You mean they’re stealing them.”
“Haven’t you heard the saying ‘all’s fair in love and war’?”
Maia looked him up and down. There wasn’t any room to hide a weapon in his white tee shirt and tight jeans, so she lifted her chin and tried to calm her breathing.
  “This is neither. You’re a rebel and a thief, Mihail Dukagjini, and I want to go home.”
“No. And I haven’t stolen anything for years.”
He reached out, ready to trail his fingers down her cheek. Maia recoiled. Truffle tensed and she waited for the dog to lunge at her attacker, but he wasn’t going to challenge Mihail. Petrified to have someone stand up to his threats for once, Truffle turned tail and stuck his head under her arm. 
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The rebel’s arm kept on moving. Quivering almost as much as her dog, Maia turned, and tried to run. Mihail laughed.
“Where are you going? And how far do you think you'll get?”
“I don’t care! It'll be away from you. That's a start...”
He overtook her in a few yards, barring her way. 
“Escape? In those shoes? Come on.” 
He groaned. “It wasn’t an invitation, it was sarcasm. If you want shade, you’ll have to follow me. Once I’ve sorted out what to do with you, I must get up onto the road and make sure my men rip any tracker devices out of your vehicles.” 
“What are you going to do to me?”
“To you? Not concerned about your staff, then?’ His mouth was an economical line. ‘Aren’t you worried what I might be going to do to them?”  
Cut off from her men and face to face with someone who wanted her family forced from power, Maia was more on edge than Truffle. Her fiancĂ©'s family had spent the last six months drilling the rules of Kharovan diplomacy into her. What were engaged princesses supposed to do in this sort of situation? She racked her brains. No…none of those endless lectures covered anything like this. The only thing she had to fall back on was ten generations of Gregoryanak arrogance. It wasn't a soft landing.
“I am a princess of the blood royal. I demand you return me to my family.”
Mihail clicked his tongue. “I hope you aren't trying to impress me.”

Maia’s insides spiraled in a plunging turmoil of despair. My ancestry is all I’ve got, she thought, and he knows it.

Maia is horrified to be the prisoner of the man who is rumoured to have killed his own grandfather in his search for power. The last thing Mihail wants is the inconvenience of a hostage, but the family of Maia's future husband won't have anything to do with her now her reputation's wrecked by her association with Public Enemy Number One. It's stalemate, until Maia discovers Mihail has something a lot more frightening than illicit alcohol tucked away in his rebel hideout.

What do you think of Heart Of A Hostage  so far? You can find out more in my next newsletter, which is due in a couple of weeks.  Sign up for it here!

Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women–when she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at, on TwitterFacebook, and see a full list of her published books at Her current release, Her Royal Risk, is published by Wild Rose Press and available at


dstoutholcomb said...

sounds intriguing

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks—I hope you like it!