WINNER! J L CAMPBELL won last week's competition for a copy of THE ORDINARY PRINCESS
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The Book Depository
I know from the last time I send you in the direction of a low price deal there that it won't last for long, so don't hang about.
Excuse me while a stop for a grin. I've been grinning like an idiot since I first saw the cover.
And if you want a sneak peek to whet your appetite, here's the opening -
If ever there had ever been a moment to follow grandma’s example and check her reflection in the mirror before she opened the front door, Elle decided, this was it.
On her knees and up to her Marigolds in soapy water when the door bell rang she hadn’t bothered to stop and fix hair sliding out of its elastic band. And there wasn’t much she could have done about a face pink and shiny from a day spent catching up with the housework while everyone was out, culminating in scrubbing the kitchen floor.
It was the complete Cinderella workout.
She couldn’t afford a fancy gym membership and, as she was always telling her sisters, cleaning was a lot more productive than pounding a treadmill. Not that they’d ever been sufficiently impressed by the argument to join in.
Even sweaty lycra had to be a better look than an ancient shirt tied around the waist with an equally geriatric psychedelic tie. Sexier than the jeans bagging damply around her knees.
It wouldn’t normally have bothered her and, to be fair, the man standing on the doorstep hadn’t made much of an effort, either. His thick dark hair was sticking up in a just-got-out-of-bed look and his chin was darkened with what might be designer stubble but was more likely to be a disinclination to shave on Saturday, when he didn’t have to go into the office.
Always assuming that he had an office to go to. Or a job.
Like her, he was wearing ancient jeans, in his case topped with a t-shirt that should have been banished to the duster box. The difference was, that on him it looked mouth-wateringly good. So good that she barely noticed that he’d made free with a name she’d been trying to keep to herself since she’d started kindergarten.
Swiftly peeling off the yellow rubber gloves she’d kept on as a “sorry, can’t stop” defence against one of the neighbours dropping by with some excuse to have a nose around, entertain the post office queue with insider gossip on just how bad things were at Gable End, she tossed them carelessly over her shoulder.
‘Who wants to know?’ she asked.
Her hormones might be ready to throw caution to the wind – they were Amery hormones, after all – but while they might have escaped into the yard for a little exercise, she wasn’t about to let them go “walkies”.
His voice matched the looks. Low, sexy, soft as Irish mist. And her hormones flung themselves at the gate like a half-grown puppy in a let-me-at-him response as he offered his hand.
Cool, a little rough, reassuringly large, it swallowed hers up as she took it without thinking, said, ‘How d’you do?’ in a voice perilously close to the one her grandmother used when she met a good looking man. With that hint of breathiness that spelled trouble.
‘I’m doing just fine,’ he replied, his slow smile obliterating all memory of the way she looked. Her hair, the lack of makeup and damp knees. It crinkled around those mesmerisingly blue eyes and fanned out comfortably in a way that suggested they felt right at home there.
Elle had begun to believe that she’d bypassed the genetic tick that reduced all Amery women to putty in the presence of a good looking man.
Caught off guard, she discovered that she’d been fooling herself.
The only reason she’d escaped so far, it seemed, was because until this moment she hadn’t met a man with eyes of that particularly intense shade of blue.
A man with shoulders wide enough to carry the troubles of the world and tall enough not to make her feel awkward about her height, which had been giving her a hard time since she’d hit a growth spurt somewhere around her twelfth birthday. With a voice that seemed to whisper right through her bones until it reached her toes.
Even now they were curling inside her old trainers in pure ecstasy.
He epitomised the casual, devil-may-care, bad-boy look of the travelling men who, for centuries, had arrived on the village common in the first week of June with the annual fair and departed a few days later, leaving a trail of broken hearts and the occasional fatherless baby in their wake.