Today’s special guest is my good friend Nancy Jardine. She is author of a number of wonderful books: contemporary mystery, Topaz Eyes; the historical Celtic Fervour series that begins with Beltane Choice. And now her latest release from Crooked Cat is the delightfully titled Monogamy Twist. I’ll hand over now to Nancy who will tell you more about the novel, and she’s also kindly provided a free extract. Buy links are below – or you can click on the cover photo…
I’m very pleased to be invited back to your blog to tell your readers about my latest re-release from Crooked Cat publishing—Monogamy Twist . A new version of my fun romantic mystery was published on the 27th March 2015 and at £2.99 for a full length novel, it’s a great buy.
Monogamy Twist, a light-hearted contemporary romantic mystery. The fabulous quirky new cover, designed by Laurence Patterson of Crooked Cat, reveals a grand house at the centre of the story which is a really excellent image since the plot is based around a Dickensian theme. Luke Salieri finds he’s been bequeathed a dilapidated mansion in Yorkshire…but he can only fully inherit after some weird and antiquated stipulations are fulfilled! He’s never met his benefactress; hasn’t even heard of her but Luke’s never one to back down from a challenge. He needs expert help, though, to find out why Amelia Greywood chose him and Rhia Ashton seems ideal. Rhia, a historian and family tree researcher, initially appears to be perfect but it turns out that she has her own ideas of what will make Luke’s strange request worthwhile. Compromise is the name of the game for Luke…and for Rhia as they unravel the mystery of the archaic bequest.
It’s probably no surprise that the plot for the novel came about as a combination of my watching the current BBC TV Charles Dickens serial of late 2010 while I was also attempting my first forays at researching my own ancestral background. I found a decidedly black sheep in one of my great-grandfathers: Rhia finds a good few family surprises for Luke in Monogamy Twist! Rhia and Luke were lovely characters to invent but some readers have told me that they love Thor, the Irish wolfhound, even more!
Blurb for Monogamy Twist:
When Luke Salieri inherits a dilapidated English estate from a woman he’s never heard of— with quirky conditions attached—it’s a mystery he wants to see resolved immediately. But there’s a catch: he needs a woman to meet his needs, though just how far will he have to go to persuade her?
The job of researching Greywood Hall and its fantastic contents is enticing, but can Rhia Ashton see herself living with gorgeous Luke Salieri for a whole year and then walk away? Rhia has her own ideas about what will make it worth her while.
But neither expect love to enter the game.
Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She currently shares a home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, 3 year old granddaughter and 1 year old grandson. It’ll continue to be a busy household till late summer of 2015 when the new build home will be completed for the young ‘uns on what was Nancy’s former back garden. The loss of that part of the garden won’t be missed since there should now be more writing time available this spring and summer! Childminding is intermittent over the day and any writing time is precious. (If interested in how a new house is built these days, follow my blog posts named ‘Gonna build a house’ )
All matters historical are a passion; Ancestry research a lovely time-suck. Nancy regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebooking is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds! Any time left in a day is for leisure reading and the occasional historical series on TV.
Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:
Novels also available from Barnes and Noble; W.H. Smith; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; TESCO Blinkboxbooks; and various other places.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my news with your readers!
Extract from Monogamy Twist:
“Why hadn’t you phoned ahead?”
“Good question.” Luke laughed at himself. “Perhaps the fact that I left London at three in the morning had something to do with that?”
Rhia’s sudden gleeful grin slayed him because she was now finding his predicament funny. Strange woman. He ploughed on, even more determined to get her on board his ludicrous venture.
“Anyway, I’m not known to be idle. I came to Greywood Hall to take a look around. I thought that even if I couldn’t get into the house, I’d be able to see the grounds.” The rocking chair played a steady thump on the wooden floor.
“But the main gates were locked when I first passed with Thor.”
“Sure, the main gates were. I tried them first, though I didn’t have cutters in my car, or anything to force the padlock, or break the chain with. It was the police who cut them open when they came to arrest me, Miss Ashton.”
He waited though she ignored his little jibe. She eventually responded after a long tense silence.
“So how did you get in?”
Luke wondered how Rhia regularly got in as he answered. “I found a back entrance to the stable block on the far side of the property, also padlocked of course. I left my car on the verge and nipped over the wall. From there, as you know already, I entered the house via that pantry window. It had a faulty catch that I was able to manipulate.” His smile was tight. “And the rest is history – except not quite.”
“I don’t understand why you were checking all the windows if you’d already broken into one. Your movements were pretty sneaky.”
Her questioning was measured and purposeful. Needed the fine details tuned, did she? Well, he guessed she deserved to know since he needed her to help him one hundred per cent.
“It’s my job,” he answered, perusing the photographs hanging in a montage on her wall.
“What? But you said you weren’t…”
“A burglar? Of course, I’m not.” Encouraged by her naive responses sardonic laughter spilled forth. “I’m a Chartered Surveyor. My current focus in the UK is renovation of old properties.”
“So you were checking all the windows as a professional?” That rosy little blush stained her cheeks, though he contrarily wished it hadn’t. “I’m sorry about that.”
Brushing off her apology with a terse wave of his hand, Luke enjoyed telling her more of his farcical story, though she had a cute little way of squirming up her nose when she was working something out, which distracted him from the main purpose.
“What did you mean ‘and that’s history, but not quite’?”
“My being willed the Hall isn’t as straightforward as it seems. That’s where you can help me.”
He had a gut feeling she was going to be perfect for his needs.
Her bewilderment was exhilarating. He soared up in front of her.
“We’ve established that I’m not a burglar, but you, Miss Rhia Ashton, are a multiple trespasser.” He let his index finger gently mock in front of her nose. “You’ve been trespassing on that property for some time.” His tongue clicked against his teeth. “Disregarding the law.”
“Gus told me it would be fine to walk Thor there.” Her voice faded to nothing.
Creasing his dark eyebrows in doubt, Luke determined Gus needed to be eliminated from her life.
“Neither you, nor Gus had permission to be there. So here’s the thing. Unless you want to go back to the police station and be charged with quite a few offences, I think you might need to listen to the proposal I’m about to put to you.”
“But they said nothing at the police station about my trespassing. They brought me home.”
Deliberately placing his hands on the chair back, one on each side of her shoulders, he effectively trapped her, finding she was easy to be near. He had to keep his mind out of his pants, though, because he needed Rhia Ashton to satisfy other needs.
She inched back from him, her head lolling on the cushion.
“Didn’t you wonder why they let you go without a mention of the fact that you’d been wandering at will all over that property for ages? Doing who knows what damage?” His gaze not wavering a single blink, his body leaned conspiratorially closer.
“Of course, I wondered!” she cried. “But I never ever damaged anything.”
“Well now, it’s like this. You have me to thank for the lack of charges,” he mocked, finding her lips were way too close for comfort. “I chose to tell them that they didn’t need to proceed with the trespassing charges…for the foreseeable future.”
“The foreseeable future?”
He persisted, knowing he was unnerving her. “Not for ever you understand, just for the coming months.”
“Are you blackmailing me?”
“Blackmail?” He pulled back, calling a halt to her siren song. “You and me both. This is where the old lady excels. She has the last laugh.”
Startled bewilderment battled with piqued interest as she leaned forward.
After a circuit of the room, he halted in front of her, one hand raking back his thick hair. She needed to be told all the facts. Well, perhaps not about the tight deadline: he could leave that little snippet till after she complied.
“Okay. I told you it’s a bloody Dickensian nightmare. Here’s the real deal, Rhia. I only become the completely legal owner of the property after I fulfil some very quirky terms which you can help me with.”
A rabbit snagged in a deadly snare couldn’t look more horrified. He was okay with that. He held up his hand in front of her.