Thursday, May 30, 2013

Re-Release of The Perfect Crime: A Story of Truth or Fantasy By Peter Hindley and Susan Goodsell~~ Launch Day

 Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Political
Release Date: May 30, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-64-6  
          ISBN 10:1-939217-64-4
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-63-9  
       ISBN 10:1-939217-63-6

The Perfect Crime: A Story of Truth or Fantasy:
Events have accurately been recorded since the time of Alan’s death; they combine to reveal an intriguing story. Did he die naturally or was he helped in some way? Has a crime or two taken place? Some may think so. Maybe there is a conspiracy; if so how far it may extend is unclear. Nothing is quite as it should be.
This unique book evolves from a simple account to a vast scandalous exposé, a true and topical account showing a fascinating view of human nature, society, and the establishment in the United Kingdom. Many questions are posed for the reader and evidence is laid bare as you take a journey of discovery.
The story and writing style changes drastically as the twists and turns in the narrative expose themselves; ultimately it reaches a logical end, but that is not the end of the story. A sequel is already underway.

About Peter Hindley:
Peter Hindley is a coach to dance competitors and is a jury member for international dance competitions. He left England in 2007 for a new life in France and has been recording events since his brother’s unconventional death in 2002.

About Susan Goodsell:
Susan Goodsell, co-author and Peter’s niece, lives in England with her partner and their two now grown-up sons. She spent many years in London before returning to Kent in 1997. The year her father died she began teaching English in a secondary school; now after finishing work, she returns home to begin another shift, as a detective and writer.
How to Contact the Authors:
Email for Susan:
Email for Peter:

EXCERPT of The Perfect Crime: A Story of Truth or Fantasy:

We have accurately recorded the events near the time of Alan Hindley’s death, who was a brother to Peter and father of Susan, the two authors of this account, and what followed; they combine to reveal an intriguing story. Did he die naturally or was he helped in some way? Has a crime or two taken place? Some may think so. Maybe there is a conspiracy; my lawyer certainly thought so; how far that conspiracy extends is unclear. We are certain that nothing is quite as it should be. Nevertheless this account shows a fascinating view of human nature, English society and the workings of the establishment in the United Kingdom. The story is so bizarre that it could well be fiction, and that is why I have added "A story of truth or fantasy" to the title. What is frightening is that it is all absolutely true.
      The normal formalities that follow a death were not adhered to after Alan’s demise: Why the mandatory procedures were bypassed may not be evident, but during the course of our nine year account they certainly do become evident.
      Why did his wife act as she did and who aided her? These and so many other questions will become apparent.
      In this case what is certain now is that the will and wishes of the deceased, Alan Edward Hindley of Paignton, Devon, has not been adhered to and the UK law and establishment did nothing to aid its rectification: The laws relating to Wills are fatally flawed and the government is fully aware of that. As named executors we have been denied the right to execute his wishes. You may think this is not possible, but it is, and it has proved to be absolutely legal.
His wife, Wendy, acted as sole executor of her husband’s Last Will and Testament without the other two named executors and we reveal how simple it is to do just that. Why she felt this was necessary will ultimately be disclosed. You will learn how the solemn duty of executing a will can be mal administered in a totally legal way and without fear of retribution.
      We have experienced many twists and turns along our path of discovery and these have been reflected in both the different styles and structure of the book. Our journey has taken us to numerous office doors and has led us into the heart of the halls of government, where events have made it very apparent that what we were witnessing was true injustice and unchecked corruption within the United Kingdom. It is for this reason that we felt it necessary to pen our story, to be able to share our account with you and all our other readers, who have been reading an abridged account on the Internet since May 2008; it is very much in the public’s interest to be aware of what can go wrong and does go very wrong daily.
      We have been told that Alan died in his home during the evening of 14th March 2002 in more than one place, and all on the same night, the last time anything vaguely like this happened was two thousand years ago (please forgive the last statement, it is not meant to offend); but first a little background information about the family.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Release A Clue for Adrianna by Charlotte Kent

The first novel in the women’s fiction series Captain’s Point Stories, A Clue for Adrianna, written by multi-published, internationally known From Women’s Pens authors Annie Acorn and Juliette Hill under the pseudonym Charlotte Kent, offers the reader romance, mystery, humor, and adventure in a story of love and personal growth.
Forced to return to her ancestral home in Captain’s Point, a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Adrianna Montgomery receives a shock and a challenge when the terms of her great-aunt’s will are read. Faced with a haughty attorney, a crumbling old house and a clue, she must draw upon the resources found in those around her as well as her own inner strengths in order to solve the riddle and secure her inheritance. Little understanding the adventure and danger she will encounter along the journey ahead, she accepts the challenge and ultimately learns who she is destined to be and discovers the meaning of true love.

Don’t miss this chance to fall in love again!

A Clue for Adrianna, recently released by Annie Acorn Publishing LLC, is the first novel in the contemporary romantic woman’s fiction series Captain’s Point Stories that I am writing in collaboration with writer and publisher, Annie Acorn under our pseudonym Charlotte Kent.  The pseudonym celebrates our efforts and sets them apart from our individual work as Juliette Hill and Annie Acorn. Our collaboration has been smooth, exciting and rewarding, as well as lots and lots of fun! 
It all began back in January when Annie and I were discussing upcoming WIPs for the year. She offered me the opportunity to work with her on a romance series that she had been thinking about writing for years, but was still fluid in her mind.   I always intended to start a series of my own at some point.  Who would have imagined that, in approximately 90 days, we would have written, edited and published our first full-length novel?
The process was amazing, as we’ve truly experienced two creative minds being better than one, melding our similar writing styles, voices, and visions. Our individual ideas about setting, characters and plot development wove seamlessly together, creating a romantic, suspenseful, contemporary, often humorous, women’s fiction novel.  It’s our belief that readers will find themselves falling in love again as they follow our main character’s journey of personal growth and discovery of true love!
The fictitious town of Captain’s Point on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the setting of our series.  Living in Maryland as we do, Annie and I both have a soft place in our hearts for the Eastern Shore with the area’s deep roots in history, its picturesque towns and scenery, friendly residents and, of course, the close proximity of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay.  The commerce and lifestyle of the area blend with our storylines, enhancing their beautiful imagery and larger than life characters.
A strong cast of characters, who will grow and change depending upon whatever curve balls life throws at them, are introduced within the first book.  Adrianna Montgomery, the series’ central character, is a modern young woman who meets a number of challenges that life throws at her.  Doors close, and she embraces others as they open.  As her character exploded onto the pages, Adrianna guided us through the episodes of her journey, dictating and influencing our approach to her interactions with the other main players.  
The series, as it’s developing, proudly embraces our characters’ pasts and heritage while dealing with present day situations and issues.  Storylines highlight Adrianna’s development of friendships and relationships with the residence of Captain’s Point and beyond.  Serious writing has already been completed on the next three novels, within which the series merges our characters business lives with fun, romance, courtship, marriage, children, friendships, human failures and flaws as well as personal triumphs and successes.
A Man for Susan, the second novel in the series will be available August 1, 2013.  The future for our readers is bright indeed as we explore the wonders of Captain’s Point together!
Interview by Juliette Hill of Annie Acorn
Question #1:  We were able to write and edit A Clue for Adrianna, the first novel in our Captain’s Point Stories series in the contemporary romantic fiction genre in approximately 90 days.  Besides churning out sometimes thousands of words a day, what do you feel was the secret to accomplishing such an ambitious goal?
Annie Acorn:  It isn’t only the number of words we produced each day that led us to accomplishing such a goal–the key to writing a good novel, which was our goal, is saying what you intend to say in a way that will be entertaining and helpful to the reader, if they should chose to learn from the experience of the characters presented.
I am personally proud of what came out of our daily collaboration, during which we continually reminded ourselves who these characters were, what their lives were like, what their hopes and dreams were and their baggage (or what they as individuals had to overcome) in order to become the best they could be.
We put ourselves in the position of our characters to truly understand their actions and individual growth.
Question #2:  Did you ever experience writer’s block while we were working on A Clue for Adrianna or while you were writing any of your prior literary works?  If so, how did you deal with this issue?
Annie Acorn:  I can honestly say that I have never experienced writers’ block.  Scenes will come to me unexpectedly like a gift but when writing a daily quota, what I do is reread the previous scene and ask which one of the characters would take the next step, or who might show up at the door–that sort of thing.
Question #3: How did you find the experience of our collaboration on such a large undertaking like A Clue for Adrianna?
Annie Acorn:  I have always had an overactive imagination and obviously you do, too, Juliette.  Every time I thought I had a story line, you brought just as much to the table.  By bringing our creative perspectives together in the book, we produced vastly better material than we could have on our own.
Saying that, there were three things that I found during my experience: (1) knowing I was checking in with you each day kept me writing; (2) having daily collaboration discussions helped me focus on characters’ motivations, dreams and goals; and (3) I often saw your role, Juliette, in collaborating as keeping me on track–true to the characters by insisting that a character had to do something or not do something.
Question #4:  How did you approach this undertaking, given that this novel is the first in the Captain’s Point Stories (romance) series, compared to any of your previous works such as your highly successful Chocolate Can Kill, the first in the Emily Harris Cozy Mystery series?
Annie Acorn:  First, in a mystery series, the author is constantly looking to move the sleuth from one environment or group of people to another so that the reader has a fresh suspect or set of suspects to choose from.  With a romance series, a writer wants to set up an environment and a broad group of strong characters that the reader will want follow as they move forward together in the series.
When writing a mystery, one usually wants to limit the number of characters to between 12 and 15.  While in an ongoing romance series, the more characters that are casually introduced the better, without confusing the reader.
Question #5:  What if any, surprises or unexpected challenges did you encounter during our collaborative effort?
Annie Acorn:  I was surprised by how much fun that it was!  At the start, I had carried around a setting for a series for 30 years–a young woman that inherits a large money pit property in a small town who meets a cast of characters who change, broaden and enrich each other’s lives.  On Jan. 10, 2013, I had no plot, no characters, no message beyond the single woman and the house.  In point of fact, the town of Captain’s Point is small but the house is not at all what I had envisioned nor is the character of Adrianna.  After we started, Adrianna took on a life of her own.  When she became defined, she dictated how we would move forward imagining the people around her and who might be thrown in her path that we could draw upon for the story.
The second surprise would be how much fun it could be to write collaboratively with another author who’s voice and vision are so similar.  I found it stimulating working with another accomplished author such as yourself, Juliette.  Our brainstorming sessions were amazing.
Question #6:  Working with you on this endeavor has been a dream-come-true for me and I have learned so much about completing a full-length novel.  What would you say is the greatest lesson that you’ve learned from this experience?
Annie Acorn:  Having written for more decades than I care to reveal, after all, Annie Acorn writes blog posts as– A Tired Older Woman… , it was wonderful to reaffirm that you’re never too old to take on a new challenge and stretch your talents such that they may be.
Second lesson:  Annie Acorn really does need 8 hours sleep a night rather than 4!
Question #7:  Was there anything about the collaborative approach to writing this novel that has surprised you?
Annie Acorn:  At times, A Clue… poured out of me!  So many words wanted to come out that it would have been physically painful not to put pen to paper.
For days on end, I would go to bed, only to wake up three hours later having to complete one or two chapters that were ready to be borne.  Being A Tired Older Woman… this took its toll–flipping my days and nights, forgetting to eat–a slave to my words.  At the end of the day, reading A Clue for Adrianna–it was all worth it!
Question #8:  Since A Clue for Adrianna is your first novel which would be categorized primarily as a romance, what have you found to be the most appealing aspect of working in this genre?
Annie Acorn:  Having the opportunity to fall in love again.  I have occasionally on my blog mentioned that I’ve been a widow for almost 20 years, writing this story of two, three-dimensional true to life young professionals, whose paths have met at a crucial time during which they fall in love, has allowed me to relive the time when I fell in love and married my soul mate.
We set out to write a romance and what we wrote was a romantic women’s fiction novel taking our work way beyond our initial expectations.  Our characters are so strong!
Question #9:  What do Charlotte Kent’s readers have in store for them in the near future?
Annie Acorn: Lots of fun and romance!  A Man for Susan, the second novel in our series has a projected launch date of August 1st!  Substantial writing has been completed on this work.  At the moment, we have five books in the works with others to come.  Romance and humor consistently flow through all five books as do a strong cast of characters experiencing and learning from life surrounded by friends and family at Captain’s Point.
Thank you so much, Annie, for spending this time with us and sharing your personal experiences, so that our readers and fellow authors have a better understanding of what motivates and influences you as a writer, as well as insights into our new collaborative undertaking, the Captain’s Point Stories series!
Links and Contact Information:
On Twitter:              @CharlotteKent20
By Email:
               (Juliette Hill)
                (Anne Acorn)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Release from Best Selling Author Bernadette Marie~~Lost and Found

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: May 9, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-54-7  ISBN 10:1-939217-54-7
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-53-0  ISBN 10:1-939217-53-9

Lost and Found

Darcy McCary came to Nashville with some big expectations--to find her birth parents. She had no plans of making a life in Tennessee. But when her sources lead her to Eduardo Keller, her heart took over, and plans changed.  

Eduardo Keller is a man who goes after what he wants and he doesn't have time for playing games. Darcy is exactly the woman he's been looking for to assist him in business and be his partner in life.

Because he loves Darcy, Ed promises to help her find the answers she seeks. What he doesn't know is that if Darcy finds the secret to her past it might mend her curiosity; however, it might also tear apart a branch of the Keller family. 

About Bernadette Marie:
Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 
In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009  she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres. 
In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few.  Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist who will earn her conditional second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do in October 2012.  An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts, Karen White, Megan Hart, to name a few. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.

Author Contact Info:
@writesromance on Twitter

EXCERPT of Lost and Found:

Ed  Keller  leaned  back  in  his  chair  and  kicked  his  feet up on his desk. The view from his office would never cease to  amaze  him.  The  view  from  his  uncle’s  office  was  much more spectacular, but he had no reason to complain.
Who would have thought, nearly twenty years ago when he’d  asked  for  an  after-school  job  to  afford  a  limo  ride  to take  a  girl  to  prom, that he’d  end  up  with  the  title  Vice President on his business cards.
He  laughed.  He  couldn’t  even  think  of  the  girl’s  name that  had  squeezed  at  his  heart.  She’d  been  older. That  he remembered. But he’d never done well with older women. 
Now he sat atop an empire that his uncle’s grandfather had started and his uncle’s father had carried on. But it was Zach Benson who made it what it was today. 
Benson,  Benson,  and  Hart  built  big—built  on  time—and built under budget. Nothing had changed.
Ed  didn’t  have  a  foreman  like  Zach  had.  His  other uncle,  John  Forrester,  had  been  the  best  foreman  any company could have asked for. A loyal employee until Ed’s Aunt  Arianna  made  him  retire  only  two  years  earlier.  But another would come along. Right now he had to focus on a new assistant.
Interviewing  people  for  a  position  shouldn’t  be  an issue. He’d been doing it for years. But a personal assistant had to be in your business, and he didn’t like that. 
He’d fought it for years. Temps were good. They came, did the work, and left. He figured it was kind of like dating the  wrong  girl.  There  weren’t  any  he  wanted  to  spend  his life with.
Perhaps  his  expectations  were  too high.  After  all,  his Aunt Regan had been Zach’s assistant. They’d been married nearly  twenty-five  years, and  she  still  took  care  of  him.  It wouldn’t  be  long  before  Tyler  and  Spencer,  their  sons, would be sitting in Ed’s seat. 
Ed  dropped  his  feet  to  the  floor  and  pushed  up  from his chair. When the time was right, he’d find the assistant of his dreams. He’d given up on the woman of his dreams, so an assistant would have to do.
He walked to the elevator and pressed the button to go down  to  the  lobby.  There  was  a  Starbucks  there  now, and he’d grown very fond of caramel lattes, thanks to his Aunt Arianna,  though  he  didn’t  go  for  the  skinny  version.  His Uncle  John  would  say  it  was  a  bit  too  frilly  a  drink  for  a man  in  the  construction  business.  His Uncle  Zach, on  the other hand, would argue that it was a good stress reliever. 
Ed  laughed  at  himself.  What  an  eclectic  bunch  of people  he  had  in  his  family.  And  even  without  them  there with him, he still enjoyed them.
The  gathering  of  the  masses  in  the  Starbucks  also entertained  him, almost as  much  as  the  thoughts  of  his family and their differences. 
Ed  ordered  his  drink  and  stood  at  the  counter  waiting for it to be handed to him.
As he looked around the store, he mentally spotted and named each  kind  of  person.  There was  the  tourist,  the executive,  and  the  assistant.  There  was a couple,  obviously just downtown for the day and…hmmm, one that stumped him. 
She was professional, probably interviewing by the way she  was  dressed,  but  she  wasn’t  comfortable  with  the  big building  and  the  mass  of  people.  She  was  using  Starbucks as  a  common  ground,  something  familiar,  to  ease  her nerves.
He   listened   as   she   ordered   her   drink—decaf   and nonfat. What fun was in that, he wondered.
She  tucked  her  change  back  into  her  purse, walked  to the end of the counter, and stood behind to Ed to wait for her drink.
Flowery perfume filled his nose. She had a sweet side.
The  lady  behind  the  counter  handed  Ed  his  iced caramel latte. He  turned  to  leave and, he’d  say  so  himself, that was when things got interesting.
The   woman   who   had   been   standing   behind   him, searching  in  her  bag  for  something, looked  up  just  as  Ed turned  around.  She  shifted  to  move  out  of  his  way,  but instead she moved right into him.
Ed’s  hands  slipped  from  the  condensation  on  the  cup, and  the  entire,  cold  drink  poured  down  the  front  of  the woman.
She let out a stifled scream, and her hands went into the air. “Oh-my-God!”
“I’m very sorry.” 
Ed turned toward the counter and grabbed a handful of napkins. He would have helped to mop up her clothes, but he noticed that the white, silk shirt clung to her and decided it just wasn’t a good idea to try.
“Look what you did!” She ripped the napkins from his hand and began to blot away the coffee, which had already stained the shirt.
“Sorry, but I think you ran into me.”
She  snapped  her  head  up  again.  “Oh,  men.  You’re  not always right, you know. Sometimes you do make mistakes.”
Not only was she not as sweet as her flowery perfume, she was jaded. Bad news.
“Again,  I’m  very  sorry.  How  can  I  help  you?”  He turned and reached for more napkins, but when she pulled them from his hand, he noticed she was crying.
“I think you’ve done enough.”
“I still think I can help in some way.”
“Listen. My suit is ruined. This is the only one I have. I
was  searching  for a  job, and  I  can’t  do  that  now.  I  can’t hand out resumes looking like this.”
Ed  watched  as  the  woman  continued  to  wipe  off  her blouse,  but  to  no  avail. It  was  ruined,  but  he  still  wasn’t going to take the blame.
“Are you looking for a job in this building?”
She let out a grunt. “Why else would I be here?”
“I was just asking. I know most of the businesses in the building. Perhaps I can help you out.”
The   woman   pursed   her   lips.   “I   don’t   need   your charity.”
“It’s not charity. You seem to be in need of a job, and
I’m sure I can help you find one.”
“What, do you own this place?” She waved her arms in the air.
“Let me see your resume.”
The woman stared at him as if he’d lost his mind. That wasn’t new. You didn’t run a multi-million dollar company in your mid-thirties without people giving you a shifty eye.
Her coffee was set on the counter. He moved in to grab it,  but  she  moved  quicker.  “I’ll  get  this.  I  can’t  afford  to waste a sip of this. It’s my breakfast and lunch.”
She  picked  up  the  coffee  and  moved  to  a  table where she  set  down  the  cup  and  pulled  a  resume  from  her  bag.
She  handed  it  to  Ed.  “Here  it  is.  I  hate  to  say  it,  but  I’m desperate.  If  I  don’t  find  a  job  in  three  days, I  have  to  go home.”
“Why?  Does  that  suit  turn  back  into  a  pumpkin  and your glass slipper breaks?”
“Have  you  ever  been  desperate  for  anything  in  your life?”

Monday, May 6, 2013

We are heating it up today with Anne O'Connell new release Her Demon Lover

HER DEMON LOVER by Anne O’Connell
Lori Penhall is a bit wary when she's called to her late uncle's estate to claim an inheritance. After all, she barely knew him. Leaving her tangled life and her ex-husband behind, she travels to western Ireland . 

As if her surprising inheritance wasn't enough, she meets the handsome dark and mysterious Michael O'Siad who rents the local renovated castle.

One night his dream doppelganger invites her to a private "dungeon" party. Intrigued by what she sees but mortified by how it makes her feel, Michael shows Lori what it means to truly be free. In the real world, she begins to fall in love with him, only to learn the real Michael has other dark, intriguing secrets - darker than a dream dungeon. Will his secrets tear them apart, or will their love and desire for each other be enough to keep them together?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and content includes: bondage, spanking, anal play, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and ménage m/f/m.

She felt compelled to open the door a little more to be polite. “Yes, can I help you?”
He held out his hand and said in the most beautiful, deep accent she’d ever heard, “I’m Michael O’Siad. I live in Castle Sedgebrook.”
She reached out her hand to take his, surprised when he lifted it to his lips and kissed it. That was certainly old-fashioned. She gently pulled her hand back and gave him a nervous smile. “Nice to meet you, Mr. O’Siad. I’m Lori Penhall.”
“When Jack O’Mally told me I’d have a new landlord I was looking forward to meeting you. I saw the lights…”
She nodded, “Yeah, just settling in.”
“I am sorry to hear about your uncle. It was a difficult loss for me, too. I considered him a dear friend. I’d sometimes come up and play chess with him. He was a good man.” His eyes traveled over her.
Feeling small under his gaze, she was beginning to wish she’d changed into something less - common. But then she didn’t have anything uncommon in her wardrobe. In her off hours she was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. The only reason she was wearing khakis and a white blouse now was because she was always told that one dressed business casual to travel. “Yes, it was sad, but he was older. These things happen, unfortunately.”
The light in his eyes showed amusement. “Very pragmatic. Were you able to find everything okay?”
“Yes, thank you.” In the back of the house the tea pot began to whistle. “Oh, my tea…”
He gave her an expectant look.
Crap. Was he expecting an invitation? It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be hospitable, but really she’d just arrived and wanted time to sort through everything - alone. Finally, she gave him a smile and relented. “Would you like a cup of tea, Michael?”
“I would love some.”
She fought back a groan, stepped back into the house and opened the door so he could enter. Once he was inside, she closed the door behind him and motioned him to follow. “Come back to the kitchen.”
As he followed her back she found herself increasingly annoyed that he’d expected an invitation in the first place. Then she was annoyed at herself that she felt guilty enough to invite him in. Reaching the kitchen before him, she turned off the stove and took the kettle off the burner. Pulling a second cup from the cupboard, she placed a teabag in each cup, and then poured the boiling water over each. Finally, she covered each cup with a saucer.
She heard a deep chuckle behind her.
Turning to him she asked, “Is something funny?”
“I always thought the saucer went under the cup.” He gave her, what she surmised, was an arrogant smile.
Despite that, she couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous he was. For some reason his good looks annoyed her even more. Good looking men always thought they could charm any woman they set their sights on. If he was trying to be funny, she wasn’t amused. “It keeps the water hot while the tea steeps,” she explained, feigning a smile.
“Ah, I see. That makes sense. I apologize for laughing,” he said, still obviously amused.
She could tell the apology wasn’t genuine, and decided to change the subject. In the very least she could try to be a gracious hostess. “Feel free to have a seat.” She motioned to the kitchen table. It was probably good to at least get to know her tenant a little. “So how long have you lived in the castle?”
He sat down, his eyes again traveling over her and through her. “Almost four years. I have an apartment in Dublin, but only use it when I’m there on business. I much prefer the castle.”
Checking the tea, she decided it was dark enough and set a saucer and cup in front of him. “I don’t have any cream, I’m sorry. But I think I saw some sugar cubes in the cupboard...”
“No need, I take it plain.” He examined her some more and took a sip of the tea and wrinkled his nose a little.
“You know, you keep looking at me. Do I have hanging threads or a stain or something?” Looking down at herself, she smoothed her blouse.
“Do I keep looking at you strangely?”
“Yes, and you also just wrinkled your nose at my tea.” It was just like her to be blunt. As a girl, her father was always telling her that there were some things she should keep to herself because being honest and up front was offensive to a lot of sensitive people. She never listened, or learned.
He chuckled again. “The tea is fine, just strong. And I wasn’t aware I was looking at you in a way that might be uncomfortable for you.”
“Oh.” What she really wanted to do was tell him his time was up and send him back to his castle.
“So when does your husband join you?” he asked.
A vision of Dave jumped into her head and she shoved it aside. “I’m not married.”
“Boyfriend then?”
“Happily unattached to any male.” She changed the subject yet again. For whatever reason, Michael O’Siad was getting on her last nerve. He was presumptuous and nosy. “So I’ll come by to inspect the castle later this week. Maybe in the morning even?”
“Very good. All business.” He studied her some more. “You’re not a lesbian are you?”
“Excuse me?” The question left her aghast.
“Well you don’t have a boyfriend or husband. You are happily without a male, specifically, you made that very clear. So I’m wondering how a beautiful woman like you is single at your age.”
“No. I’m not a lesbian,” she said. “As I was saying, I want to just take an inventory of the property and see if anything needs to be fixed. Anything my uncle didn’t get to. So please make a list of any maintenance issues…”
“James usually gets to my maintenance issues quite quickly. I have no problems. I’ll be in all week. You can stop by any time. So I stand corrected. You’re just coming out of a bad relationship.” He took another sip from the tea cup though she was sure it was out of politeness rather than enjoyment.
“Mr. O’Siad, my personal life is none of your business. Now who is James?”
His grin widened. “Call me Michael, please. James is your maintenance man. It appears I’ve offended you. I apologize. I just find you curious. Since we’re neighbors I thought it might be nice to get to know one another.”
She bit her lower lip. Curious how? What the hell did that mean? “Well, let’s keep things… business, shall we?”
“Ah, yes. I see I’ve pushed a button and for that I apologize. I didn’t mean to pry.”
A surge of annoyance overwhelmed her. “Of course you meant to pry, otherwise you wouldn’t have.”
He shrugged. “Perhaps later this week you’ll let me show you around town. Let me take you to dinner.”
“Are you picking up on me?” The more annoyed she got, the more he seemed amused.
“I just wanted to offer to show you around.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“I’d like to get to know you.”
She was at a loss for words at first, but quickly recovered. “Thank you, but I’m not interested.”
“On the contrary, I think you’re very interested, you’re simply afraid.” He narrowed his eyes. “But of what? Was it a nasty divorce perhaps?”
“I think maybe you should go.” Her hands started shaking and she realized she was trembling a little.
“He left you for someone else?” His blue, piercing eyes grew narrower.
Her heart began pounding in her chest. Somehow this stranger knew things about her that only her closest friends knew. Who did this arrogant prick think he was? “It’s late and I’m tired.”
He stood. “I suppose I’ve imposed enough.”
“Yes, you have,” she whispered under her breath. She started toward the front door, very aware that he was right behind her. She opened the door.
“It was nice to meet you Ms. Penhall. I look forward to your visit. Goodnight.” He turned and made his way down the stairs.
She closed the door and locked it behind him. “What a jackass,” she said.