by Serena Fairfax
When a feisty 21st century girl shakes hands with 400 years of history what happens next? In London on a buying spree, Jo Farrer, who runs a fashion shop from her cottage, wanders into an ancient churchyard and is hooked by an epitaph on a gravestone immortalizing a notorious seventeenth century French highwayman and womanizer.
Pre-occupied by thoughts of him, her van skids in an unfamiliar residential area, demolishing the original cast iron railings of an upscale, Victorian town house. Dazed and shaken, she’s rescued from the wreckage by charismatic tycoon, Ed Amery who she recalls hounded Kim, her former fiancé, out of office. Further shock encounters with Ed occur at a seminar designed to provide advice to budding entrepreneurs and at the stables owned by her uncle Roger, where Ed’s filly is in training.
Subsequently, Ed reveals that Kim was a computer hacker who’d defrauded Ed and transferred millions offshore where he’d bolted.
Keen to open a conventional retail outlet, Jo rents a boutique within a luxury country house hotel complex only to learn later, to her dismay, that Ed’s her landlord and he, reluctant to accept her as a tenant, challenges her skills. She’s also jealous of Ed's apparent romantic involvement with Cait.
An unlucky gemstone, a fancy dress ball, a fashion shoot, unsavory disclosures, equestrian sketches, a bloodstock auction and the enduring, Casanova legend of the mesmerizing highwayman, who plays Cupid, mingle to intrigue the reader in the highly charged erotic clashes between Ed and Jo. The setting is the idyllic English countryside of hawthorn hedges, bluebell woods and may blossom.
‘Here lies Du Vall, Reader, if male thou art,
Look to thy purse, if female, to thy heart.
Much havoc did he make of both, for all
Men he made stand and women fall.
The second Conqueror of the Norman race,
Knights to his arm did yield, and ladies to his face…’
Who were you? Jo nudged her white minivan through the press of traffic, her thoughts tantalized by the mildewed epitaph she’d glimpsed just an hour earlier on a ravaged headstone. The shade of the ancient London churchyard had been a welcome respite from the unseasonably hot May day and her haggling with veterans of the rag trade. She glanced in the rearview mirror, her cobalt-blue eyes dancing with pleasure at the pile behind her that semaphored contemporary and classic labels. And what would Du Vall have made of it, she mused. If she half closed her eyes, she could see him now, a virile bandit, and her lips curved in a wry smile that this man, long dead, long forgotten, could stir her blood. I’ll Google strip-search you, she resolved, running a hand through her ribbons of golden hair, as she itched to unlock him from the dusty pages of history.
“Dammit—should’ve taken a left at the lights,” Jo muttered. Her ditzy preoccupation with lady-killer Du Vall had diverted her into unfamiliar territory, an upscale residential area where cream, stucco-fronted Victorian villas, edging a tree-filled garden square, soared behind gleaming black railings.
The dusty road suddenly glistened with a treacherous oiliness. The van began a wild tango. Jo’s hands tightened over the steering wheel. Her heart pounded as she closed her eyes in the grim realization she was skidding. In a space of seconds, there was a crunch of metal as the van surged through cast iron railings, the windscreen raced to meet her as she was flung forward, shards of glass raining down. She slammed the brakes and the vehicle shuddered to a stop, straddling a steep drop across a basement well. This isn’t meant to happen. But the seat belt had saved her from a gory end. Slowly she opened her eyes, nausea creeping over her as she started to shake.
“A woman driver—surprise, surprise.” It was a deep male voice tinged with sarcasm and, emerging from a kind of fog, it took Jo several moments to grasp what was happening. The nearside door was wrenched open—strong hands reached across, unbuckled the seatbelt, and slowly tugged her into the solid muscle of his chest. She could feel the heat of his body, smell his musky male scent mingled with the sharpness of aftershave. Desperately trying to keep a fragile hold on herself, Jo’s heartbeats almost sped off the radar as the Good Samaritan’s eyes, silver-gray in a lean, sun-bronzed face, collided with hers as he steadied her upright on the sidewalk. And although she was five foot seven, he was all height, broad shoulders, rock-hard body and sensual mouth. He hadn’t shaved and was simply gorgeous.
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm.
Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content. She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog.
Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure.
Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).
Serena is giving away a eBook copy of Loving That Feeling.
For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.