Thursday, September 19, 2013

His to Command: The Nanny...

The title of this anthology His to Command: The Nanny, does not exactly match my contribution to this anthology, which is Nanny For Keeps (original published in the Tender series in the UK and Harlequin Romance in the US), in which "nanny" and her little charge runs rings around Harry Talbot, a man who wants neither Maisie, nor the woman who delivered her to his door.

The poor man didn't stand a chance!

I have to admit that I prefer the new cover, though! I know that finding cover models is tough - had this discussion with the lovely Diane Moggy just last week - and this guy was very tall (I was inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk - my heroine being "Jack") But what is it with that haircut!

But covers never tell the true story. Harry is gorgeous, Jackie is determined and Maisie - well, Maisie just stole my heart.

Here's a clip -

EASING carefully over another deep rut as the wipers swatted away the moisture clinging to the windscreen, Jacqui gritted her teeth and continued to inch her way up the lane in low gear.

‘Nearly there,’ she said, reassuringly, although more to herself than Maisie, who was ignoring the jolting with the composure of a duchess. Considerably more composure than she felt, as the bottom of the car ground on the edge of a deep, water-filled pothole that stretched most of the way across the lane. A broken exhaust was the last thing she needed.

The torture continued for another half a mile, ratcheting up the tension and tightening her shoulders. Finally, when she was beginning to think that she must have missed the house in the mist or that she’d taken the wrong lane altogether, an old, lichen-encrusted gate that looked as if it hadn’t been opened in years loomed out of nowhere, blocking the way. On it were two signs. One might have once said “High Tops” but was so old that only the odd letter was still clear enough to read. The other was new. It said: KEEP OUT.

She climbed out and doing her best to avoid the mud and puddles, lifted the heavy metal closure and put her weight behind it, anticipating resistance ... and very nearly fell flat on her face as it swung back on well-oiled hinges.

Maisie didn’t say a word as she scraped the mud off her shoes and climbed back behind the wheel, apparently still totally enrapt by the CD she was listening to. But she was wearing a thoroughly self-satisfied little smile that betrayed exactly what she was thinking:

Little Princess, 1 – Dumb Adult, Nil

Jacqui put the car into gear and a hundred yards or so further on the shadowy outline of a massive, ivy-clad stone house, towers at each corner, the crenulated roof suggesting a fortified stronghold rather than the home of someone’s grandma, appeared out of the swirling mist.

Despite the fact that she’d never been anywhere near High Tops before it looked vaguely familiar and Jacqui felt an odd sense of foreboding. It was, doubtless, caused by the combination of mist and mud.

She might not be totally in the mood for sun, sand and sangria, but given the choice she knew which option she’d choose. She almost felt sorry for Maisie.

Totally ridiculous of course, she told herself. At any moment the vast door would be flung open and the child enfolded in a loving welcome from her grandma, who must surely be looking out for them.

The door remained closed, however and rather than expose Maisie’s satin shoes to the elements unnecessarily, she said, ‘You’d better wait here while I ring the door bell.’

Maisie looked as if she was about to say something, but instead she just sighed.

Jacqui was enfolded in the cold damp air as she ran up the steps to a pair of iron-studded front doors that offered no concessions to the twenty-first century. There was nothing as remotely modern as an electric bell. Just an old-fashioned bell pull.

As she lifted her arm the silver bracelet slid down and the heart caught the light and flashed brightly. For a moment she froze, then she tugged hard on the bell and a long way off she heard the jangle of an old-fashioned bell.

From somewhere a dog raised its voice in a mournful howl.

Jacqui looked around nervously, half expecting a near relation of the Hound of the Baskervilles to come bounding out of the mist. Ridiculous. This was not Dartmoor... But nevertheless she shivered and, grasping the bell rather more firmly, she tugged it again.


Almost before she let go there was a thud as a stiff bolt shot back. Then, as one half of the door opened, she realised why the house seemed familiar. She’d seen it – or at least something very like it – in a book of fairy stories she’d been given as a child; the one with all those terrifying tales about witches and trolls and giants.

This was the house where the big bad giant lived.

He still did.

Half an inch short of six foot — without her socks — Jacqui was tall for a woman but the man who opened the door loomed threateningly above her. Okay, she was a step lower than him but it wasn’t just his height; he was broad, too, his shoulders filling the opening and even his hair, a thick, dark, shaggy lion mane that clearly hadn’t been near a pair of scissors in months was, well, big. Gold eyes — which might have been attractive in any other setting — and three days growth of beard only added to the leonine effect.

The book is available in paper or as a digital download and you can read a little more here ...

Or here at Amazon - wherever you are.

1 comment:

PrincessFiona01 said...

Ooh the hero sounds yummy. I just checked my shelves and I don't have this one.