MORE SHEIKHS, MORE SHEIKHS...
When I was in Matera a couple of years ago, doing a book signing in starlit square with my lovely Italian editor, Stephano, at my side, he kept whispering in my ear, "More sheikhs, Liz. More sheikhs."
Well HER DESERT DREAM is for you, Stephano!
Those of you who've read CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE will know that Lydia Young, who does "look alike" gigs as the "people's angel", has traded places with Lady Roseanne Napier to give her a break from the media.
The tricky part is getting past the press cordon at the entrance to the hotel where they do the swap, but after that it's going to easy. A week of luxury in the private Ramal Hamrah holiday villa of Princess Lucy al-Khatib (The Sheikh's Guarded Heart) where no one has ever met Lady Rose. All she has to do is take a daily walk along the beach to give the paps a target for their ever present cameras.
The best laid plans...
Princess Lucy has another friend who needs her help and she seizes the chance to infiltrate Kalil al Zaki into the royal household under the guise of a bodyguard for "Lady Rose".
From the first moment Lydia and Kal set eyes on one another the temperature rises but falling in love with a national treasure will do his cause no good. And Lydia knows that next week she'll be back on the supermarket checkout.
Here's the moment they meet: --
It was like some dream-come-true fairytale, Lydia thought. Check out girl to princess. Pure Cinderella.
All she needed was a pair of glass slippers and a fairy godmother to provide her with someone tall, dark and handsome to play Prince Charming.
She wouldn’t even have to flee when the clock struck twelve. She had a whole week before she turned back into Lydia Young, whose job as on the supermarket checkout was occasionally enlivened by a look-alike gig.
She automatically reached for the door to the VIP departure lounge, but it opened as she approached; a “Lady”, with a capital L, did not open doors for herself. She was so intent of covering her mistake by adjusting the veil on her hat that she missed the fact that her escort had stopped at the door.
‘Mr al-Zaki will take care of you from here, madam.’
She thought the word, but never voiced it.
All sound seemed to fade away as she looked up. She was tall, but the knee-meltingly gorgeous man waiting to “take care” of her was half a head taller and as his eyes, dark and intense, locked with hers, she felt the jolt of it to her knees. And yes, no doubt about it, her knees melted as he lowered his head briefly, said, ‘Kalil al-Zaki, Lady Rose,’ introducing himself with the utmost formality. ‘Princess Lucy has asked me to ensure that your holiday is all that you wish.’
Graceful, beautiful, contained power rippling beneath exquisite tailoring, he was, she thought, crazily, the embodiment of Bagheera, the bold, reckless panther from her childhood favourite Jungle Book. She’d made her father read over and over the description of his coat like watered silk, his voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree.
Her own, as she struggled for a suitable response, was non-existent.
Kalil al-Zaki might favour well-cut British tailoring over a fancy Ruritanian uniform but he was as close to her own Prince Charming fantasy as she was ever likely to come and she had to resist the temptation to look around for the old lady with wings and a wand who’d been listening in on her thoughts.
‘You’re coming with me to Bab el Sama?’ she managed, finally, knowing that she should be horrified by this turn of events. The frisson of excitement rippling through her suggested that she was anything but.
Here's what Romantic Times said:
"Complex characters with powerful chemistry, a compelling conflict and plenty of humour highlight this memorable story. A keeper." 4.5 stars.
To read the entire first chapter, click on the UK cover --
As you'll see from this, lucky UK readers will also get the fabulous Lucy Gordon's THE BRIDE WORE RED as part of the new 2-in-1 format. Lucy's book is part of the "Escape Around the World" series and is set in China. Lucy is a trooper. Nothing is too much for her fans and she went to China twice to research the book. :) She's captured the country so beautifully that you'll think you've been there yourself. The romance is great, too!