Lyn steps back and looks around the room. Blue white and gold fairy lights twinkle overhead, and are strung around the window. A large vase of blue and white roses sits on the coffee table next to the white chaise-longue and the fire blazes a welcome in the old fashioned fireplace.
A large Christmas tree glistens and sparkles in the corner of the room and a silver candelabra with red candles graces the mantelshelf. The lighting is subdued but not too dim. She can’t help feeling a little nervous. She wants everything to be perfect.
Today that wonderful writer of Romantic Suspense, Sharon Donovan is visiting her blog – with another Very Important person, non other than Oliver, her butler. The star of Sharon’s latest story ‘Charade Of Hearts’ which was released yesterday! Oooh, the very thought of the charismatic, flirtatious and every so hunky Oliver brings a flush to her cheeks and turns her knees to jelly.
The snacks are set out ready – Including Chai Spice black tea and Oreo biscuits, chocolate eclairs and brownies, while the savouries consist of crab meat stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, a cheese platter with an assortment of artisan cheeses and an array of vintage grapes - and of course a celebratory bottle of the finest Champagne. Lyn has made a special celebration chocolate angel's food cake, and decorated it with Sharon and Oliver's book cover. She really hopes they'll like it, although she's not quite as good at cake decorating as Oliver himself.
The doorbell chimes and Lyn hurries to answer it, taking one last glance in the mirror and patting a wisp of hair in place. She opens the door, and there stands Sharon, looking dropdead gorgeous, brushing a few flakes of snow away from her midnight blue velvet trouser suit. Next to her stands Oliver, dressed in a casual black teeshirt and blazer, with tight black jeans, somehow managing to look as if he’s just stepped from the pages of a top mens’ fashion magazine.
Lyn manages to stutter a greeting and Oliver bestows a genteel kiss upon her hand while winking flirtatiously at Sharon.
"Sharon – Oliver, please make yourselves comfortable, I can’t tell you what a thrill and an honour it is to have you both as my special guests and to learn all about this great book of yours. I had such a fantastic time at your launch party yesterday and now you’re here at my place. I can hardly believe it!"
"Oh, Lyn, "Sharon gushes, kissing her dear friend on the cheek before handing her a platter of sinfully rich dark chocolate truffles. "It was a rather smashing good time, wasn’t it?! You look lovely, by the way. And with all those twinkling fairy lights, that cozy fire burning in the hearth, and flawlessly decorated Christmas tree, your place is as pretty as a Norman Rockwell painting! Don’t you agree, Oliver?"
As Oliver gazes into Lyn’s eyes, he smiles a beguiling smile. "Indeed, yes, my pet, although in my humble opinion, nothing could possibly compare to the sparkle in your eyes". With a wicked wink, he reaches into his jacket and pulls out a beautifully wrapped box of Lady Godiva chocolates. Merry Christmas, love. "Treats for my sweet!"
Lyn blushes and takes the proferred gifts with a delighted smile, "Oliver - Sharon, thank you so much, Oliver, I think I'm just as much a chocoholic as you are - it's good to have such a delightful weakness though, isn't it!"
When they are settled comfortably in the chaise longue, by the fireplace, Lyn seats herself opposite them, after drawing up the table of refreshments within easy reach.
"So Sharon, tell me and the readers all about this wonderful book of yours, ‘Charade Of Hearts.’ First of all, how did Oliver come to be the star of a romantic suspense? I’m intrigued."
Laughing, Sharon daintily plucks up an Oreo cookie with the tips of her fingertips. She licks the cookie crumbs from her lips. Casting Lyn a wink more wicked than Oliver himself could bestow, she beams brilliantly. "Oh, you mean aside from being sexy, I’m talking hottie tottie hunky sexy, with bulging biceps guaranteed to toss a woman’s hormones into overdrive and a killer smile designed to break hearts? Yeah, well there’s that. Grin. But what most people don’t realize about my darling Oliver is that he is a hopeless romantic who wears his heart on his sleeve. And as he reminds me on a daily basis, he only serves as my butler to amuse himself. LOL His real job is a private detective. So combining the romantic and Dick Tracy with the call out for stories wanted for the Jewel of the Night series by the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press, Oliver was the man for the job! Here’s a book teaser:
While scuba diving off the coast of Diamond Head with her diving partner on a quest to find a family heirloom, underwater photographer Dominique St. John witnesses his brutal murder and photographs it, ensnaring her in a deadly jewel ring. And when the investigating officer turns out to be her partner’s identical twin, a man she knew nothing about, her life becomes a Charade of Hearts.
Welcome to the world of greed, intrigue, deception and murder. And at its core is a blue diamond worth millions.
As honest as his twin was corrupt, Honolulu Homicide Detective Oliver Carvalho must convince Dominique that her diving partner and best friend was a crook. In a race against time, Oliver must rescue Dominique from a ruthless killer. But his biggest challenge proves to be mending a broken heart torn by betrayal that can only be redeemed by love.
Lyn sighes trying her best to tear her gaze from the sex god that is Oliver. "That’s so intriguing. And I have to say, I absolutely cannot wait to read ‘Charade Of Hearts’. Before you tell us some more about the story though, I’ve wanted to know something for ages. Oliver – just how did you come to work for Sharon in the first place?
Oliver pumps his biceps and reveals his Glock snugly secured in the shoulder holster discretely hidden beneath his jacket. Hearing the inward gasp as Lyn rushes in for an up close and personal, Oliver blushes and engages her with a most captivating smile. "Dear heart, dear heart, if you would kindly get a hold of yourself! I was exposing my Glock, my piece, the gun I’m licensed to carry. What were you thinking, love?
"Oh, getting back to the question at hand. How I came to work for the slave driver." Catching Sharon’s deadly glare, he blows her a kiss. "Ah, naturally, I meant the best boss in the world. One day when rapping up a case, I found myself idly flipping through the want ads and came across some woman in need of a butler and bartender to serve her uptown author gal pals. Tell me, love, does that beat all or what? So just for laughs and chuckles, I answered it and got the job. Oliver smiles and stuffs a handful of Oreos into his mouth. Cookie crumbs crumble on Lyn’s spotless rug as Oliver continues. I only took the job to amuse myself, you understand. My real job is as an undercover cop, a detective." Grin
Lyn gazes at him in open admiration, what are a few crumbs between such dazzling friends as these?
"Is Sharon really such a strict employer as she’d have us all believe, or is that just a front she puts on?"
Oliver grins and pumps his biceps. "How do you think I got all these rippling muscles, love?"
"Truly Oliver? You can't fool me. I know you worship the ground she walks on, really. Now a question for you, Sharon, I know you’ve written some beautiful Inspirational stories: ‘Touched By An Angel’, Lasting Rose, ‘The Claddagh Ring, so how did you come to write romantic suspense - and how did ‘Charade of Hearts’ come about? Would you like some more tea by the way?"
Sharon grins modestly. "Why, thank you, Lyn.I would love more of that delicious Chai tea. With that spicy aroma of cinnamon, ginger and cloves, it smells heavenly." Sharon takes a soothing sip and smiles. "Mmm, nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a dear friend over a cup of tea. Now getting back to your question. As you know, ten years ago, after a long bout with diabetic retinopathy, I lost my vision and my will to live. I was a legal secretary where I prepared cases for judges in the Court of Common Pleas. But painting was my passion, my life. When I could no longer paint, and with no where to channel my creative muse, I was devastated. When I learned of a computer with adaptive software, converting text to synthesized speech, hope soared. I began taking creative writing classes. In light of all I’ve been through, I felt the need to write inspirational in order to inspire others through the gift of hope.
"But ever since I was a little girl, I loved being scared to death. Nothing could come close to the images Alfred Hitchcock conjured up in my head. Just the sound of those words “Good Evening” in barely more than a whisper made my skin crawl. The anticipation of the story he was about to show had my heart racing. I remember glancing around the room to make sure all the curtains were drawn, all the doors locked. My family and I would gather around the television on a Friday evening, lights out with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. And the second the master of suspense’s face would appear on screen, my brother, sister and I would scream loud enough to wake the dead.
"Few books or movies since the Master’s time have stayed with me or left such jarring images. I think we all agree that Psycho is his most chilling. The Bates Hotel is such a simple name, who would suspect that such a twisted psychopath lived inside? Thinking of some of these old plots that linger in my mind, I write stories of romance and suspense to hopefully give readers just a hint of that old Hitchcock magic.
"So since suspense is my favorite genre, I began writing them. Charade of Hearts is my third published suspense book. Last November, the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press challenged suspense writers to write a story with a blue diamond at its core. Although the setting could be anywhere, it had to contain elements of romance, danger, intrigue and suspense. I’d never been part of a series and found myself up for the Jewel of the Night series. And with darling Oliver inspiring me as the perfect romantic hero personified, images of sunken treasure envisions of blue diamonds dancing in my head, I met the deadline and was offered a contract. Oliver begs to differ. Mr. Stud Muffin has it in his head that he is the sole reason the contract was a done deal. Smile.
Standing up, Oliver pumps his biceps and takes a sweeping bow.
Lyn passes a plate heaped with Oreo cookies to Oliver. "Of course you can have another Oreo, Oliver, help yourself. You too, Sharon, dear friend. Now where was I? Oh yes, Oliver, can you tell us a bit about ‘Charade Of Hearts, without giving away too much of the plot? And what role do you play in the story?"
"I’ll be only too happy to share a little of the behind the scenes drama with you, love. Not only do I star as romantic hero of the book, but I’m the homicide cop assigned to investigate my identical twin’s brutal murder." He graces his most beguiling smile when Lyn gasps. "Get hold of yourself, love. Hard as it is to fathom, they didn’t break the mold after creating me. Up to his neck in a black market jewel ring, Roberto is as evil and corrupt as I am good, out to prove that justice prevails. So outside of an ideal setting in a tropical paradise off the rugged coast of Diamond Head, I vow to track down the ruthless leader of a jewel ring that killed my identical twin in cold blood. But part of the mystery is the dark secret that haunts me and prevents me from wearing my heart on my sleeve. Until I fall head over heels with the lovely and enchanting Dominique St. John, the woman who was involved with my twin prior to his death. And that’s all you’ll get out of me, love, or the boss won’t allow me to star in any more of her books. Grin"
Lyn draws herself back to reality with a little shake. Oh to be Dominique!
"Another one for you Sharon. The setting of ‘Charade of Hearts’ is the exotic location of Hawaii. Tell us, why did you chose that location for your book?"
"I went to the Hawaiian Islands once upon a time, and fell in love with the wild and majestic landscape. Diamond Head hugs the entire island of Oahu like an iron fortress. The contrast of the waves of the Pacific Ocean against the rugged backdrop is breathtaking. Ebony on true blue. The sweet scent of orchids and gardenias sweeten the air, and the climate is perfect. There’s always a balmy breeze and the humidity is low. I loved it so much, I thought it the perfect setting for Charade of Hearts."
"You make it sound so beautiful. I've never been there but I can imagine how it would inspire a writer.Finally, Oliver, did you enjoy playing the lead in Sharon’s book? And are you just like him in real life?"
"To answer your questions, love, a resounding YES to both. Quick as a wink, Oliver presses his sweet lips to Lyn’s and kisses her soundly. Smiling a smile designed to melt hearts, he gazes into Lyn’s eyes. You see, my darling pet, I will always be a fool for love."
Lyn sighes ecstatically,, and hopes the sound of her beating heart isn't resounding too loudly across the internet.
"Thank you so much Sharon and Oliver, I could go on asking questions all day – but let’s have some more refreshments – and Oliver, perhaps I could ask you to open the champagne, before I take a photograph of you and Sharon to record for posterity!"
"Thank you for a most delightful and entertaining afternoon, Lyn, dear friend." Sharon stands and hugs her. Smiling, she turns to Oliver." About that Christmas present, dear heart?"
Pumping his biceps, Oliver presents an autographed copy of Charade of Hearts.
To Lyn With Love. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous and Blessed New Year!
Sharon and Oliver
Oh thank you SO much, MY dear friends. A very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year to you both too - and once again congratulations and Many Happy Sales for 'CHARADE OF HEARTS'
You can Purchase 'Charade Of Hearts here:
You can visit Sharon and Oliver at her Blog www.sharondonovan.blogspot.com
and she and Oliver are in residence at the Author Roast and Toast every Friday except for the weeks directly before Christmas and New Year, and the Easter Holiday period. www.authorroastandtoast.blogspot.com
Sharon's website is www.sharonadonovan.com
And don't forget - you can have your very own 'I love Oliver' badge for your website or blog, all you need do is contact Sharon and ask to join his fanclub - or just click on the badge below
I'm going to keep this entry going for a week and will draw one lucky name for a download of
Charade of Hearts