Excerpt: Zarif’s Convenient Queen by Lynne Graham

Three years after rejecting him, Ella Gilchrist is reunited with prince Zarif al Rastani, and needs his help. Read on to find out what the prince will want in return…

About Zarif’s Convenient Queen:

zarifFor one year only  

Once, Ella Gilchrist had the gall to turn down playboy prince Zarif al Rastani’s proposal. To ensure peace and stability to his country Zarif must now marry, so when Ella returns begging for his help, he’ll give it…on one condition.

Three years ago, Zarif needed only moments to ignite a passion in her that left her breathless, until his adamant declaration that he could never love her broke her heart. But if she is to rescue her family from imminent and permanent ruin, Ella must agree to a year of marriage, on his arm and in his bed!

***

Zarif was bored. The opulent attractions of his creamy-skinned and highly sophisticated mistress had palled. Right at that minute she was posed on the bed, entranced by her reflection in the mirror as she adjusted the glowing ruby pendant now encircling her throat. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ she told him, wide-eyed with avid admiration. ‘Thank you. You’ve been very generous.’

Lena was shrewd. She knew the pendant was a goodbye gift and that she would vacate his lavish Dubai apartment without argument and cruise off in search of another rich man. Sex, Zarif had discovered, was no big deal. He preferred amateurs to professionals in the bedroom but had few illusions about the morals of the women he took as lovers. He gave them the means to enjoy the good things in life while they gave him a necessary outlet for his highly charged sex drive. Such women understood the need for discretion and appreciated that approaching the media would be a seriously unwise career move.

And Zarif had more need than most men to conserve his public image. At the age of twelve he had become the King of Vashir with his uncle acting as Regent until Zarif attained his majority. He was the latest in a long line of feudal rulers to occupy the Emerald throne in the old palace. Vashir was oil-rich, but very conservative, and whenever Zarif tried to drag the country into the twenty-first century the old guard on his advisory council—composed of twelve tribal sheiks all over the age of sixty—panicked and pleaded with him to reconsider.
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The Argentinian’s Demand by Cathy Williams

There’s nothing like an office romance, is there? The heroine of Cathy Williams’ latest Presents wants nothing more to do with her soon to be ex-boss, but he has plans of his own. Read on to find out more about The Argentinian’s Demand.

demandWhat the bad boy of the business world wants…

When billionaire Leandro Perez’s indispensable and alluring assistant Emily Edison resigns and lets him know what she really thinks of him, he’s furious. He won’t let her off easily. If she wants to go, she’ll pay the price—two weeks in paradise at his beck and call!

…he gets!

Trapped by Leandro, Emily’s fragile plan to marry a suitable man to bring security to her family is threatened. And as their attraction gives way to a craving that’s impossible to deny Emily will have to make the ultimate choice—duty…or desire?

***

Emily Edison stared resolutely ahead of her as the elevator purred upwards to the twentieth floor, disgorging employees along the way. It was the morning rush at Piccadilly Circus, in the towering glass building where she worked in the heart of London. She rarely experienced this because she rarely came to work later than eight in the morning, but today…

Slim fingers tightened on the neat leather satchel at her side. Inside the bag her letter of resignation felt like an incendiary device, waiting to explode the minute it was released from its fragile containment. When she tried to imagine how her boss would take this she felt slightly sick.
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Poll: How should the hero win the heroine’s heart?

There are a lot of ways a guy can win over the girl of his dreams, but which one do you prefer? Let us know in our poll, and if your favorite isn’t here, head over to the comments and let us know what we’ve missed!

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The UK Editors take a leaf from the Presents Heroine’s Playbook!

by Associate Editor Pippa Roscoe

One thing that we especially love about Presents is the amazing locations that the heroines find themselves in. And with summer holidays just around the corner, I’ve been looking into where our very own editorial heroines have been jetting off to. We might not have heroes with private jets, but we won’t let that stop us from leading a glamorous and global lifestyle!

Laura in Mexico for Holiday Blog

Last month you heard about Laurie Johnson’s fabulous honeymoon in Hawaii. Safe to say we were all a little green-eyed over that one! Presents’ very own Laura McCallen has been doing her best to out-glob-trot us all with trips to Mexico and Budapest. Not content with just the one trip, Charlotte Mursell has been to France THREE TIMES (and provided us with a beautiful photo as proof!)

Charlotte's France Picture

While Linda Fildew stuck closer to home, heading to the heady heights of Scotland’s Edinburgh, Sheila Hodgson has visited the delights of Egypt and Sardinia (but not to be outdone, specifically reminded me of her trip to Malaysia last year).  Bryony Green made us all jealous when she set off for Cape Town and kept us updated on the wonders of South Africa via twitter.

Julia Williams is looking forward to a gorgeous holiday in Crete and Barcelona has proved to be a very popular destination for the editors in the UK with both Clio Cornish and Kathryn Cheshire enjoying lots of tapas and even more sangria!

AnneMarie Ryan will be visiting family in America, which does count because it’s a very glamorous setting to us Brits! Nic, also spending time with family, is heading to the sunny climes of Italy.

As for me, some of you may have seen my tweets from Toronto – from the amazing food in Montreal, to the fabulous shopping at Young and Bloor and the giddy excitement of meeting the Canadian editors. (Ladies, I did try to keep my eye out for an alpha hero, but sadly I was too busy having fun!)

Pippa in Canada For Holiday Blog

And whilst we’re warmed by the happy memories of holidays past, we’re heated by the anticipation of holidays to come!

Australia and New Zealand – keep an eye out for our very own Flo Nicoll who’s packing the sun screen and can’t wait to see you all!

And batten down the hatches Texas, because the UK editors are on their way for the RWA!

But in the meantime, ladies, if you could be whisked away to an exotic location, where would it be and why?!

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Finding Those Sicilians Irresistible!

by Michelle Smart, author of Taming the Notorious Sicilian

Regular readers of this blog will (hopefully) recall a post I did back in March about standing at my kitchen sink when a snapshot of a scene came into my mind. That snapshot was of Grace walking into her kitchen to find Luca, the husband she was in hiding from, there. That snapshot became the basis for What a Sicilian Husband Wants and, by extension, the Irresistible Sicilians trilogy. At the time though, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead! Pepe and Cara’s story, The Sicilian’s Unexpected Duty, evolved naturally but it was Francesco, the nemesis of the Mastrangelo brothers, who really demanded his own story.

Ahh…Francesco…

What can I say about him? Devilishly dangerous are the two words that spring to mind. Whereas Luca flirted reluctantly with the gangster lifestyle, Francesco Calvetti has seemingly embraced it. He’s a man feared by all, his power assured. But he has demons, secrets from his past that have been revealed and that he has sworn to avenge. His thirst for revenge is consuming him and the last thing he needs are distractions, especially of the female kind!

As I already ‘knew’ Francesco before I started writing his book, it was a simple (ha!) case of finding the perfect heroine for him. I knew from the outset that he needed someone pure of heart, who could reach inside and touch his soul—exactly the kind of woman he swears away from, not wanting to bring them anywhere near his dark world.

While the ideas were fermenting in my head, a personal tragedy struck my family when my two-year-old nephew was diagnosed with cancer. He’s in remission now (and doing fantastically well) but there were many months when everything was on a knife’s edge, us not knowing what the outcome would be. During those months, I spent a lot of the time in the children’s oncology ward with my sister and nephew, surrounded by all these amazing people working so diligently to try to save him and all the other suffering children there. These people were like angels. There was one doctor in particular who fascinated me—she looked so young, as if she should still be in secondary education! Of all the people in all the world who should be swept away by a gorgeous Sicilian billionaire, she was the one…and so Dr Hannah Chapman was born.

Hannah Chapman is an amazingly dedicated doctor. Her whole world revolves around her job, leaving her (deliberately) no time for any kind of social life, which is just the way she likes it. All that changes when she’s knocked off her bike, and the knight in shining armour who saves her life is none other than Francesco!

In some respects, Taming the Notorious Sicilian is a reworking of the classic Beauty and the Beast with a hero who can’t find the prince he is beneath the skin until he can cast off the demons plaguing him. But his Beauty has demons of her own to face, too…

So all of this makes me wonder—who out of all the people in all the world do you think deserves to be swept away by a gorgeous Sicilian billionaire? And if the answer to that question is you, then where would you like to be swept away to?

About Taming the Notorious Sicilian:

tamingFrancesco Calvetti. He has the face of a god and a body made for sin!  

Francesco doesn’t do nice, and he doesn’t do damsels in distress. Apart from that one time. He never thought he’d see Hannah Chapman again. A woman like her, pure and untouched, has no place in his world. 

Ever since losing her sister, Hannah has sheltered herself from the world, but being knocked from her bike is a wake-up call. A call she’s ready to accept. There’s one thing left on her to-do list and there’s only one man who can help her. But will the dangerous, devastatingly gorgeous Sicilian oblige her?

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