Friday, 16 April 2021

A Gentleman in Love - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt 2



A Gentleman in Love

by

Arabella Sheen


A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



A Gentleman in Love - Chapter One - Excerpt 2

Sam smiled, but it wasn’t exactly a smile of welcome. It was more a smile of polite caution. She waited, expecting a verbal backlash to come, or the disdainful flick of a finger to signal security to carry her off, but they didn’t.

Sam was obviously practiced in the art of maintaining a poker face, and Shelby supposed he had to be. Attending diplomatic events, he had to know what to do in dangerous situations when a stranger approached. As an ambassador, Sam always had to be on the alert, and Shelby knew he could handle himself without any problem, but she was surprised he hadn’t called for help.

She wasn’t supposed to be at the party, yet Sam was acting as if it was the most natural thing for her to be standing at his side.

“Oh…there could be no chance of us ever missing one another. And I’m sure that at some point during the evening our paths would have crossed.”

Shelby’s heart skipped another beat. The deep resonance in his voice stirred her, yet she knew she had to stay calm. She had to remain composed, and she couldn’t allow herself to succumb to his charm…that would be her undoing.

It was illogical, and even though she was still lamenting the loss of what might have been with Edgar, she couldn’t help her physical reaction to Sam. She was sexually drawn to him and always had been.

When she had first met Sam, she’d been an innocent teenager with a secret crush. She’d felt an instant attraction toward him and had admired him from afar. But any urges of desire she now felt were anything but innocent, and she had to banish them from her thoughts. She couldn’t allow her emotions and impulses to get out of control…especially tonight.

Sam Hardwick, at the age of thirty-two, was one of the most handsome specimens of manhood she had ever known. And this evening, dressed in a full tuxedo that showed his superb muscular physique to perfection, he could once again set her pulse rate soaring.

He radiated power and energy. The chiseled lines of his strong jaw, and the way his dark gray, piercing eyes looked directly into her very soul, commanded immediate attention and respect.

Even though Shelby had come to resent Sam, against her will, she had to admire him for who he was, and for what he had become. He had worked long and hard to get where he was, and she was in awe of the diplomatic accomplishments he’d achieved in such a short but eventful career.

Her father often spoke of Sam, saying that as a young student, he had studied relentlessly, and worked even harder to get where he was. She’d been told his education had been funded by scholarships and grants, and that although he’d had a tough start in life, he’d made it through the system with honors. Sam’s integrity and honesty had allowed him to reach heights in the diplomatic world that others could only dream of.

And now, after having climbed the social ladder, he was also accepted by society’s elite with open arms. The upper classes welcomed him into their homes, and into their lives. Some women even welcomed him into their hearts, and into their beds. And at the moment, a rumor was rife in the tabloids that it was Lady Donna Ruston who was his current mistress and held his interest.

With money and connections, it was possible to achieve anything and go anywhere, and Sam Hardwick had done those things in abundance, and Shelby hated him for it.

Excusing himself, Sam stepped away from Lady Donna and pulled Shelby to one side, and away from his group of friends.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered.

Sam had leaned down toward her. He was so close that she could smell the soft tang of his aftershave as his cheek brushed inadvertently against hers.

“I’m gate-crashing the party of course.” She forced a bright smile. “How else am I supposed to find an opportunity to talk with you? These days you’re an impossible man to reach. I’ve tried contacting you at your office, but your secretary keeps fobbing me off with some excuse. And I won’t allow you to walk away from the situation you’ve created. Not after the devastation you’ve caused.”

Several people were looking curiously in their direction, but they weren’t close enough to hear what she had whispered through clenched teeth. Shelby merely smiled and tried to look serene as she ignored the inquisitive stares.

Tonight, Shelby intended to demand the help she thought she deserved. Somehow, she had to get Sam to clear her father’s name and right an injustice that had been done before he left London and returned to the States.

The tight, steely grip of Sam’s fingers on her arm caught her unaware, and as he pulled her with dogged determination to one side of the crowded room, she wanted to protest but didn’t. His rough touch burned her arm. Branding her. But she didn’t care. At least she had managed to gain his full attention. She’d become a thorn in his flesh, and that was good, because now she couldn’t be ignored.

Sam was all of six-foot-two inches, and he towered above her. He was staring down with controlled anger etched on his face, and Shelby was aware that a feeling of unease was beginning to grow deep inside her. Perhaps she’d bitten off more than she could chew.

With her heart thumping hard against her ribcage, she was having second thoughts, wondering if this was the right time or place to confront him. It was a social event, a Christmas party, and not the best place to present her plan to him, but Shelby realized she had to at least make an attempt. She knew it was her only course of action if she were to save her father.

There was an inflexible, fiery glint of steel burning in Sam’s eyes, and his temper was showing.

“Is this some sort of joke?” Sam practically spat the words at her. “What’s this about? And why are you here…at the Foreign Office?”

Shelby could see the throb of his pulse beating along his jaw. He was fuming.

“We need to talk,” she said.

“About what?”

“About my father.”

“No, we don’t,” he replied. “That business was dealt with in the courts and judgement was passed. We sat in the courtroom and heard the verdict. Remember? The problem is over and done with.”

But for Shelby, it wasn’t over.

A few months ago, her father had worked as a senior official for the government, and his department, which he’d been head of, had been accused of leaking secret documents. Sam had led the internal investigation, and when the allegations were made official, and charges brought, the public humiliation her father had endured had taken its toll.

Henry Chesterfield had become a broken man.

Unable to cope with the dishonor and shame, her father had crumpled, and he’d become a shell of the man he’d once been. Over time he’d lost the will to challenge his accusers and fight for his name. But Shelby hadn’t lost hope. She was determined to clear her family’s name of the shame and scandal that had been wrongly inflicted upon them.

In Shelby’s eyes, Sam Hardwick—a man she had once greatly admired—was the villain. He was the arch-enemy. And if Sam wouldn’t help her, she was going to destroy him any way she could. If he refused to help, she was going to cause such a scandal that not only would it ruin Sam socially, it would also obliterate his diplomatic career—forever.

Right now, she had no idea how she would actually achieve this, but she was determined to find a way, whatever the cost.

“I don’t care what the courts’ judgement was,” she said. “It was wrong, and you know it. You worked for my father for years. He practically built your career. How could you doubt him? How could you question his honesty and loyalty to the crown?”

“Tell me—what means did you use to get past security? To my knowledge, you’re not on the guest list. And I should know, I had to review and approve the list before the invitations were sent out.”

“I have clearance. Although technically, the identification disk isn’t mine.” Shelby reached into her clutch bag and pulled out what looked to be a level-five ID pass. She also had an invitation card to the party. With a flicker of triumph, she flashed them before his eyes. “It’s an old security ID pass and last year’s invitation that belonged to my father,” she told him. “I suggest you tighten your security. It seems that even with all your bureaucratic red tape, I can still manage to get past your defense systems.”


A Gentleman in Love
Copyright © 2020, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 781949300642
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: September 2020
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen - Author


Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

Social Media




BOOK BLURB                 A Gentleman in Love





A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



Buy Links:

  Website  

 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Welcome to RomCom Author - Jo Lovett

I’m delighted to welcome Jo Lovett to my blog.


Jo Lovett - Autor


Hello Jo – It was lovely to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association's Facebook group, and I am looking forward to reading about your contemporary RomCom writing experiences. But before we discover more about your latest release, The House Swap, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers and insight into some of the things that matter to you. 

Arabella: We all love the creativity of writing – otherwise we wouldn’t spend hours at a keyboard pounding away in the hope someone will read and enjoy our novels. But what do you like most about our craft? The editing and proofreading, the author/reader relationship, promotional book signings, or is there something else that has you hooked to the world of books?

Jo:  Hi Arabella. Thank you so much for having me here on your blog! That’s a good question. I love writing, but there are definitely some parts of creating a story that I love more than others. To start off with, there’s the excitement of the initial idea and honing an elevator pitch. Then (and I know that this is weird), I do actually quite like doing the synopsis (always before I begin the book itself). I love writing the first draft of the opening and closing parts of the story. I enjoy writing the first draft of the middle chapters, but I definitely enjoy editing them more… And once I’ve edited a manuscript myself a few times, I really enjoy structural and line edits with my editor, because she’s amazing to work with and I always feel as though the story’s improving with each round of edits. I’m not such a fan of proofreading if I’m honest… And then of course when the story is finished and published, it’s so lovely when a reader gets in touch to say that they’ve enjoyed it!

 



Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, The House Swap?

Jo:  The House Swap includes two settings that I love, and several tropes that I love. Pretty much everything about Cassie and James is opposite. Cassie lives in an island house off the coast of Maine, with alpacas and chickens and colour and very poor Wi-Fi. James lives in a swanky Central London flat overlooking Holland Park with no animals, greige décor and every mod-con. Cassie’s very friendly. James isn’t. Cassie knows her neighbours. James doesn’t know his. Cassie would really like a family one day; James wouldn’t. They get a lot more involved in each other’s lives than James, at least, ever imagined they would, and they discover quickly that they thoroughly dislike each other. I love the enemies-to-lovers and opposites-attract tropes, and I felt very lucky to be able to explore both Maine island life and Central London life with Cassie and James!

 

Arabella:  You are out for a walk and see a twenty-pound note (or a twenty-dollar bill, etc.) lying on the road. What do you do with the unclaimed funds?

Jo:  Give it to charity.


Arabella: Some authors cannot work without a business planner, others cannot write without an editing app…  Are there any “essentials” you need to help your writing move forward?

Jo:  Once I’m in the flow of it, I write fast, but I find it hard to get going if I feel as though I’m going to be interrupted or if I’m sitting in the middle of a mess. I have to have a tidy desk and I also have to have several different coloured memo pads and several sparkly pens to hand. And in an ideal world I like silence, but that’s been quite difficult to achieve during lockdown and home schooling, so I’ve been honing the ability to really zone out the noise that’s going on around me – I think it might be the most useful lockdown skill I’ve gained (other than cutting my children’s hair and convincing them that I’ve done an okay job)…


Arabella: An Indian Curry, Italian Paste Bake, Fish and Chips, or ______?

Jo:  That’s a tricky one… I think if pushed I’d go curry. Or maybe pasta. Or maybe the fish and chips… No. Curry. Always followed by lemon tart or cheesecake. Or a sticky toffee pudding.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

 Arabella: If the person of your dreams, (husband/wife/partner/or superstar), were to take you out for the day, social distancing restrictions permitting, where would they take you and what would you do?

Jo:  I discovered last summer that you could go two-person canoeing (kayaking? Not sure what the difference is…) on the Thames. I went twice with my children, and both times I was in a canoe/ kayak with a youngish child, and the currents were surprisingly strong, and it turned out that I wasn’t that skilled with a paddle so we zig-zagged and crashed a lot (and got told off a lot by more competent canoeists – not sure whether they were unusually stroppy people or we were unusually bad river companions – probably the latter). I’d like to go with another adult and actually go in a straight line and get beyond the part of the river where the currents kept defeating us… And then I’d like to go for a long walk (can barely remember pre-lockdown life without walking and walking and walking…) and eat lemon drizzle cake at Petersham Nurseries. And obviously I’d like it to be the perfect weather – sunny and warm but not too hot.



Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you would like to share with “want-to-be” authors starting out on their writing journey?

Jo:  I might be more naïve than everyone else, but I didn’t realise initially how much re-writing there is in producing a publishable book, and that it’s extremely likely that you’ll need to do structural edits of your own (in my case, by reading the whole thing through, fast, as though you’re a third party reader, and seeing how the pacing and structure feel) before you start to proofread before submitting to agents and editors. I definitely started by doing minimal actual edits, and proof-reading far too soon, and therefore went down the polishing-a-turd route. Once you have your polished non-turd (!), it’s incredibly useful to get as much feedback as possible from industry professionals via competitions, open submissions, any opportunity you can find. And, as everyone says, don’t give up. And read both widely and in your genre. And enjoy it!


Thank you for being a super guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Jo. Sparkling pens and coloured note pads are a must!

PS. I had to Google: - In a kayak, the paddler is seated and uses a double-bladed paddle pulling the blade through the water on alternate sides to move forward. In a canoe, the paddler kneels and uses a single-bladed paddle to propel the boat forward.

Wishing you lots of RomCom happy-ever-after writing…

Arabella


About Jo Lovett

Jo Lovett - Author

Jo Lovett's first novel, 'The First Time We Met', was published by Bookouture in November 2020, and her second is out on 19th April 2021. Her third book will be published in October 2021.

Jo lives in London with her family. She worked in Corporate Tax before taking a longer-than-expected career break to have more-than-expected children. She started writing romantic comedy when she realised that she was regularly begging her oldest son to let her do his English homework but she wasn't actually that interested in haunted houses or Macbeth.

Jo was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping/ Orion First Novel Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Award 2019.

When she can escape her laundry mountain, she enjoys reading, tennis and wine.

 

Social Media

Twitter handle: @JoLovettWrites

 

Book Blurb    The House Swap 



Island house off coast of Maine, with private beach, sea views and the occasional farmyard animal, seeks super swanky Central London penthouse overlooking Holland Park, complete with concierge service and spurned ex-lovers…

When thirty-somethings Cassie and James find each other on a home swap website, it feels meant to be. City hotshot James needs a bolthole after a relationship goes sour and Cassie needs to leave the comfort of her little island to research her new book.

Soon, James is living in Cassie’s cute but ramshackle beachside cottage, and Cassie’s living in James’s luxurious London apartment. It’s the perfect solution.

Except James didn’t imagine he’d be sharing his home with eleven chickens and three alpacas, not to mention the unusually friendly neighbours, who seem to find any excuse to drop by. And Cassie is less than impressed when James’s ex-girlfriend turns up at his door, demanding to know where he’s gone.

The more Cassie and James talk, the more the tension between them mounts. But as the insults fly so do the sparks, and when the time finally comes to swap back, Cassie and James find they aren’t quite ready to give each other up.

But there’s more than just distance between them – and when Cassie makes a surprising discovery, the pair are forced to confront their feelings and decide what kind of life they really want.

The House Swap is a Contemporary RomCom

Release date: 19th April 2021  

PRE-ORDER - Buy links:

The House Swap: A funny and utterly gorgeous feel-good romance eBook: Lovett, Jo: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

The House Swap eBook by Jo Lovett - 9781800195073 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Welcome to Regency Author - Natalie Kleinman

I’m delighted to welcome Natalie Kleinman to the blog.

 

Natalie Kleinman - Author

Hello Natalie – I’ve been looking forward to hosting you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat and I’m eager to learn about some of your writing secrets. But before we discover more about your Regency novel, The Reluctant Bride, here are a few questions that will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

 

Arabella: Authors can release books, making them available to readers in various ways…via an agent, or working directly with a traditional publisher, or they can even go the self-publishing route. Which method of publishing do you prefer, and why?

Natalie:  Hello, Arabella, and thank you for hosting me today. What an important question and one to which I’m afraid I can’t give a definitive answer. Ideally I would choose to work with an agent (I don’t have one at the moment). I believe strongly that the right agent can negotiate the best deal with far more success than the author herself/himself. And of course there are avenues an agent can pursue which are closed to writers. That said, I have the most wonderful relationship with my publishers, https://SapereBooks.com and cannot praise them highly enough. While the industry is changing and self-publishing is I believe on the increase, it isn’t a route I want to follow. For a start I lack the skills but, as importantly, it is time-consuming. Hours spent when I could be doing what I love most, writing. Also, I have a not-so-secret desire to see my novels in bookshops and supermarkets. So I guess the answer is definitive after all. It’s traditional publishing for me.

 


Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest Regency release, The Reluctant Bride 

Natalie:  Oh, that’s an easy one. I was introduced to Georgette Heyer Regency world by my mother, a not-uncommon occurrence I believe, at about the age of eleven. There are few authors whose work I re-read but, along with many other of her devotees, her books have fallen to pieces in my hands, only to be replaced, so often do I go back to them. They are to me like a comfort blanket in times of stress and a joy in times of relaxation. Her dialogue is exceptional and her humour unsurpassed. How many writers can make their followers laugh out loud. If I can give my readers a tiny percentage of that I will be a happy woman.

 

Arabella: A slice of Chocolate Cake, a piece of Fruit, or Burger and Fries?

Natalie:  Raspberry meringue roulade with lashings of double cream poured over the top. No wonder I struggle to lose weight. I’d like to be a piece of fruit person but I’m afraid it just isn’t the same – unless it’s raspberries and cream!


Raspberry Meringue Roulade

Arabella: How do you research your Regency novels and characters?

Natalie:  I have a shelf dedicated purely to reference books. I’ve walked the capital courtesy of Louise Allen’s wonderful Walks Through Regency London. I’ve visited Bath for its beautiful architecture (and to enjoy a jolly good holiday). I have an annotated version of Persuasion, my favourite Jane Austen novel. Various other tomes on house styles, country houses and estates, furniture and furnishings and, of course, fashion. Jennifer Kloester’s invaluable Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and, without doubt my primary source, Heyer’s own catalogue. Reading this back I’m amazed I actually ever get any writing done.


Persuasion

Arabella: Which historical locations, cities or buildings have given inspiration when writing your Regency novel(s)?

Natalie:  My goodness, where do I begin. Living in London as I do I’ve been fortunate to grow up in a city where there are countless examples of beautiful Regency (and other) architecture. But our country is so riddled with beautiful cities, villages and buildings that a lifetime would never be enough to see them all. If I have to pick one example I would choose the Royal Crescent in Bath. Give me a moment here if you will as this has conjured up a vision of Rupert Penry-Jones and his outstanding portrayal of Captain Wentworth. Be still my beating heart.

 

Royal Crescent - Bath

Arabella: When writing a book or chapter, which do you concentrate on first: plot, character, or setting?

Natalie:  Character every time. My books are always character led. I’m often surprised when a subplot presents itself to me as I am by nature a pantser. Over time I’ve tried to discipline myself to plan, even if somewhat loosely and I probably now fall between two stools. I always have the main plotline when I begin but it’s a vague thing and while I know the beginning and the end I rarely have a clear line of sight as to how I’m going to get from one to the other. Settings seem just to fall into place, perhaps because I have been so steeped in this genre for such a long time but it’s definitely the characters who float my boat.

 

Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?

Natalie:  My current contract with Sapere is for four books, none of which is connected other than by genre. Following release of The Reluctant Bride on 6th April, I believe at least two more will be published this year, though I don’t have dates as yet. Waiting in the wings I have three more books already written, two of which are in the same series (if two books can constitute a series). I must confess I would like to write a series but, as I’ve indicated above, my books tend to take me forward rather than the other way around. We shall see.

Thank you for your fabulous questions and for having me join you on the blog today

Natalie xx

It was lovely to have you as a guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Natalie. And thank you for giving me the chance to research…Raspberry Meringue Roulade. Delicious! Wishing all the best for your latest release – The Reluctant Bride

Arabella

www.arabellasheen.co.uk


 


 

 


About   Natalie Kleinman


Natalie Kleinman - Author

A late starter, Natalie has embraced her career with an enthusiasm which she suspects emanates from a desire to make up for lost time. With four published novels and over forty short stories appearing in magazines internationally, she has never lost her ambition to succeed, always ready to attend workshops and conferences as a way of improving her skills. Natalie has now signed a four book contract for her Regency romance novels with Sapere Books, the first of which was published on 6th April 2021.

She lives with her husband on the London/Kent border and considers herself lucky to have the best of both worlds, with the delights of the capital close at hand and the peace of the countryside a mere stone’s throw away.

Social Media Links:

Website:                                 https://nataliekleinman.com/

Facebook Author Page:        https://www.facebook.com/NatalieKleinmanAuthor/

Twitter:                                  https://twitter.com/NatKleinman

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/nataliekleinman6279

Amazon Author Page:          http://amzn.to/3sx3D1W

 

 

Book Blurb – The Reluctant Bride

 



Forced by her impecunious father into matrimony with Ernest, Earl of Cranleigh, twenty-year-old Charlotte Willoughby is widowed six weeks after the wedding.

As she comes to the end of her period of mourning, Charlotte is ready to go out into the world again.

With her fortune under the protection of Ernest’s cousin, Sebastian, Duke of Gresham, Charlotte begins to enjoy her independence.

She is joined by her aunt, Esther Meredith, who has stood as mother to her since childhood, and her sister, Harriet Willoughby, and both soon have suitors of their own.

Charlotte finds herself drawn to Gresham, but he seems cold and indifferent towards her.

And when the charismatic Viscount Roxburgh starts to pay her attention, she realises she may not be able to remain unattached for long…

Are Charlotte’s suitors only after her inheritance? Could Roxburgh – or Gresham – be a match for her?

BUY LINKS:

AMZ. UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08V1V4NNZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

AMZ. US:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08V1V4NNZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A Gentleman in Love - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt 1



A Gentleman in Love

by

Arabella Sheen


A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



A Gentleman in Love - Chapter One - Excerpt 1

Shelby Chesterfield was familiar with the layout of the building. She had been to the Foreign Office many times before, but this time was different. This time she wasn’t there to see her father, and she didn’t have an invitation.

It had been a while since Shelby had stepped through the tall, oak doors of the Foreign Office, but the place was just as imposing as she remembered. Dark wood paneling, thick pile carpets, and gleaming brass fittings were everywhere. Looking around, she felt intimidated by the grandeur of her surroundings, but the building spoke of refinement, tradition, and history.

Lifting the long, billowing skirts of her black Dior evening gown, she climbed the imposing marble stairway to the second level and walked toward the visitor’s cloakroom where she left her floor-length coat. Taking a steadying breath, Shelby studied the reception area.

The cloakroom was crowded, and the place was buzzing with noise and laughter as friends were recognized and greeted. It was past eight o’clock, and although people were still arriving, Shelby had yet to find the person she was searching for.

Holding her clutch bag firmly in her hands, she bravely passed a security guard, and unimpeded, she moved through an arched doorway and entered a stately reception area.

Shelby was on the warpath. She was at the Foreign Office for one purpose and one purpose only. She wanted justice for her father. And if she couldn’t get that, then she was prepared to ruin Sam Hardwick any way she could.

Ready to face the consequences of her actions, she was willing to do almost anything to achieve the goal she so desperately desired. And if need be, she was prepared to tarnish Sam’s name in the same way her father’s name had been blackened and disgraced beyond redemption.

Excitement filled the air. Tonight was a formal affair, and as tradition and custom dictated, black ties and ball gowns were to be worn for the Christmas party. The men were attired in tuxedos while the women, dressed to impress, were wearing long, elegant, flowing gowns, with glistening jewels shimmering about their persons.

Overhead, crystal chandeliers were sparkling brightly, and Christmas tinsel trimmings were cascading down from the high, ornate ceiling. A fir tree, with tree lights and red ribbon packages, was strategically positioned in the corner of the room, and that evening, there was a sense of rich, festive lavishness about the place.

Surveying the room, Shelby estimated there were upward of three hundred guests present, if not more, yet the one person she’d expected to see was missing from the crowd…and then she saw him.

Sam Hardwick, the ambassador, based at the United Kingdom Embassy in Washington, DC, was standing at the bar with a drink in his hand. Surrounded by a group of affluent-looking people, he was deep in conversation with a stunningly beautiful woman, and Shelby could see quite clearly that the woman was none other than Lady Donna Ruston. Sam had a fixed smile on his face and appeared to be enjoying himself.

Sam Hardwick was the type of man you couldn’t miss. He was utterly gorgeous. His height and broad shoulders drew the eye, and then there was his elusive aura of power and authority that always captured people’s attention. Men envied his commanding presence, while women…well, they were usually after only one thing, and that was Sam.

Against her better judgement, Shelby had to admit Sam was sex on legs. And purely on the physical level, just the sight of him had her body reacting. She couldn’t help it. Whenever she saw him, her stomach flipped and her heart gave that extra beat.

But tonight, the shockwaves of excitement running through her lasted only briefly. As the memory of what he had done came flooding back, she knew that deep down inside, she hadn’t, and she couldn’t, forgive him…not yet. The respect and admiration she’d once felt for Sam had gone, and in its place, a cold, icy hatred had taken over.

Sam was the man who had ruined her life. In ruining her father’s career and shaming her family, he had ultimately destroyed her very existence. Her engagement to Edgar Parker had been canceled, and any chance of happiness she thought she might have had for the future had been spoilt by Sam’s callous, cold-hearted actions.

She wanted revenge. Not just for herself, but mostly for her family.

Time was of the essence. Sam was due to fly back to America, and once there, Shelby knew he would be out of reach. As an ambassador to the British Embassy, he would be off-limits to members of the public, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to get to him. Red tape and office staff would make it impossible for them to speak, so tonight was her only chance for a showdown.

Deciding now was the time to act, Shelby glanced stealthily over her shoulder to see if the coast was clear, and with no one to stop her, she set about putting her plan into action. Taking strong, confident strides, she crossed the great expanse of the room, determined to reach Sam’s side unhindered. And she did.

An immense sense of achievement came over her, and then daringly, and with more nerve than she could have imagined, she slipped her arm possessively through his. She was behaving as if it was the most natural thing in the world for her to cling to him. But it wasn’t. She would rather be anywhere but where she was at that moment.

Trying to ignore Lady Donna, Shelby smiled coolly up into Sam’s dark gray eyes, and said, “I’m so pleased I caught you before you went into dinner. I thought I might have missed you.”

Shelby felt Sam stiffen. There was an instant glint of recognition shining in his eyes, and it was a relief to know he wasn’t going to create a scene. And then, with lightning speed, she saw him recover from her unexpected appearance, and a mask of indifferent coolness came down, covering his face as his guard went up.


A Gentleman in Love
Copyright © 2020, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 781949300642 
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: September 2020
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen - Author


Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

Social Media




BOOK BLURB                 A Gentleman in Love





A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



Buy Links:

  Website  

 

A Gentleman in Love - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt 2

A Gentleman in Love by Arabella Sheen A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love? Desperate to e...