Sunday, October 31, 2010


''Fauxmance'', ''tweetheart'' and ''bigotgate'' are among the popular terms to have made it into the latest Collins English Dictionary. 

According to the Daily Telegraph, ''fauxmance'' apparently refers to ''a fictitious romance between two celebrities, concocted in order to gain press coverage''.  Unfortunately Lucy Bright, the heroine of MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO doesn't know that her great big romance is all just a PR campaign and her reaction, when she finds out, isn't well considered but comes straight from the heart.


The only sound in the room was the clatter of motor drives as tycoon, Rupert — just-call-me-Prince-Charming — Henshawe’s press conference was hijacked by his fiancĂ©e, Lucy — I-feel-like-Cinderella — Bright as she tugged off her engagement ring and flung it at him.


Every lens in the room zoomed in on the bright splash of blood where the huge diamond found its mark on Henshawe’s cheek.

The gathered press pack – city newsmen, financial pundits, television news teams - held their collective breath.

They’d been summoned to a full dress press conference by the Henshawe Corporation. Whatever Henshawe did was news. Good news if you were one of his shareholders. Bad news if you happened to be on the receiving end of one of his corporate raids. At least until recently.

The news now was all been about how he’d changed. How, having met his “Cinderella”, he had been redeemed by love and was no longer Mr Nasty, but had been transformed into Prince Charming.


This was much more like it.

‘Why?’ Lucy demanded, ignoring the cameras, the mikes, dangled overhead, pushed towards her face. The larger than life-sized images of herself, wearing her own, custom-made originals of the “Lucy B” fashions, being flashed across a screen. All she could see was the man on the podium. ‘Why did you do it?’

Stupid question. It was all there in the file she’d found. The one she’d was never meant to see. All laid out in black and white.

‘Lucy! Darling…’ Rupert’s voice was deceptively soft as, using the power of the microphone in front of him, he drowned out her demand to know why her? ‘These are busy people and they’ve got deadlines to meet. They’ve come to listen to the plans I’ve been making, we’ve been making for the future of the company,’ he stressed. ‘Not a domestic tiff.’

His smile was tender, all concern for her. It was familiar, reassuring and even now it would be so easy to be sucked in…

‘I don’t know what’s upset you but it’s obvious that you’re tired. Let Gordon take you home and we’ll talk about it later, hmm?’

She had to fight the almost hypnotic softness of his voice. Her own weakness. Her longing for the fairytale that had overtaken her life, transformed her into a celebrity, to be true.

She had a “Lucy B” fan page on Facebook, half a million people following her every word on Twitter. She was a modern day Cinderella, whisked from the hearth to a palace, her rags replaced with silken gowns. But Prince Charming’s “bride ball” had been a palace-generated crowd pleaser, too. There was nothing like a royal wedding to keep the masses happy.

It was exactly the kind of stunt to appeal to some super smart PR woman with a name to make for herself.

‘Talk!’ she replied as someone obligingly stuck a microphone in front of her, giving her equal voice power. ‘I don’t want to talk to you, Rupert Henshawe! I never even want to see you again.’ She held up the file for him to see. So that he would know that there was no point in denying it. ‘I know what you’ve done. I know everything!’

Even as the words left her mouth, Lucy sensed the mood in the room change. No one was looking at the podium now. Or Rupert. She’d stolen his limelight. She’d stormed into this plush hotel, her head exploding with the discovery that her new and exciting life, their engagement, the whole shooting match, was nothing more than a brilliantly executed marketing plan. The focus was now on her as she put an end to a sham smoke-and-mirrors engagement that was as false as his “new man” change of heart.

Rupert Henshawe had no heart.

But as the attention of the room shifted to her, it belatedly occurred to Lucy that this might not have been her best move.

In the months following her whirlwind romance with her billionaire boss she become used to the press, but this was different. Until now she’d been supported every step of the way whether the interviews had been personal or about her new role as the face, the name, on his rebranded chain of fashion stores.

When she’d gate-crashed this press conference, she hadn’t had a thought in her but to confront the man who had so shamelessly used her.

Now, the focus point of every lens, every eye in the room, she suddenly felt alone, vulnerable and all she wanted to do was escape. Escape from the lies, the cameras, the microphones. Disappear. But as she stepped back, attempting to distance herself from Rupert, from everyone, she stumbled over someone’s foot.

She put out a hand to stop herself from falling, grabbing at someone’s lapel. There was the ominous sound of cloth ripping and as she turned, instinctively, to apologise, she discovered that her retreat was blocked by a wall of bodies.
And the man whose lapel she was clinging to, was now hanging onto her, pulling her towards him, shouting something into her ear as she was jostled, pushed by other newsmen trying to get closer, photographers shouting to attract her attention.
She forgot all about apologising, instead yanking her arm free. Someone tried to grab the file she was carrying. She used it to beat him off, swinging the tote she was carrying bag to clear a space, provoking a blinding series of flashes as the photographers caught the action.

Another hand made a grab for her in the scrum, catching the back of her coat. One of the buttons flew off and she nearly went down again, but the sight of two of Rupert’s bodyguards elbowing aside journalists and cameramen alike as they made their way towards her sent a shot of adrenalin surging through her veins.
Until now she’d only seen the gentle side of Rupert Henshawe, had believed that he was truly her Prince Charming. But she was carrying proof of just how ruthless the man could be in pursuit of his ends and he wasn’t going to let her leave with that.

Of course they would make it look as if they were rescuing her from the press scrum, but denouncing him in public, on camera, had put her on the other side.
She’d seen his eyes, the truth behind the soft words, the smile and she knew that he’d do whatever it took to keep her quiet.

Swinging her tote again in an attempt to batter her way through the enclosing wall of bodies she managed to make a little headway, but then someone grabbed her wrist, a camera lens caught her a sharp blow on the temple and, head spinning, she staggered back.

There was a yelp loud enough to be heard over the bedlam as her stiletto heel encountered something soft and yielding.

As the man behind her backed off, swearing creatively, apology was the furthest thing from her mind. A gap opened up and she didn’t hesitate. She dived through it. 

Dive in!  This is cutting edge stuff!


Vince said...

Hi Liz:

I have “MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO”. I’m just waiting until it gets a little closer to Christmas to read it.

I must say, however, that it looks like the US art department understood what the book was about and the UK artists may not have.

The UK seems to be going generic on their covers but that may be because Mills and Boon likes to issue 2 in 1 books.

I do like seeing the difference between cover art.


Lacey Devlin said...

It's a fabulous excerpt! I love that Lucy gives as good as she gets :) I'm really looking forward to this one.

I'll have to looks up tweetheart (although I think I can guess that one) and bigotgate now...

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Vince

You're right, the UK covers do tend to be more generic, although that's a stand alone and they did manage to get the mistletoe in there. The US cover certainly gives the reader a better sense of the Cinderella aspect of the story.

This will be my last Cherish cover since the new book, Tempted by Trouble will be published in the new Riva series in the UK next year. It may not even have the same title in the US, or issue date, although it will still be pub'd as a Harlequin Romance over there.

Liz Fielding said...

Lacey, bigotgate was our previous prime minister referring to a voter as a "bigot" when he thought the microphone was switched off. Oh dear.

Sarah Callejo said...

I just finished Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto and I loved it as I have loved all Liz's books. I found this one especially witty and snappy. Another one of Liz's brilliant smile-makers.