SEPTEMBER 29TH. That’s the magic date, the drop date, the day that I will know that all the months of editing, re-editing, researching, writing, deleting, cursing the craft, (dilly-dallying) will have been worth it. One of my favorite labors of love, Simply Wicked, will be re-released with tons and tons of new material. It’s a full-length romantic suspense that was originally released in 2008. When I got my rights back, I decided to tweak it a little bit. And now, two years later, she is reborn: hotter, suspens(ier) and romantic(er) than ever!
Cassidy is a twenty-two year old aspiring American actress who makes her way across the pond to England after graduating from Yale University. While at Yale, she had the good fortune (in her opinion) to room with Esme, younger sister to the gorgeous, brilliant, British CEO, Tony Carleton. She’s the only child of parents who were murdered when she was a child, and she’s spent most of her life grieving their loss. The murderer has not been caught and when he re-enters her life when she’s an adult, he’s angry, meaner and has definite plans for her. It’s too bad for her that she has absolutely no idea who he is.
Anyway, Cassidy’s a bit spoiled (courtesy of a doting uncle); daring (courtesy of learning about the irreversible finality of death at so young an age); determined and headstrong. She wants two things in life: Tony and her career. Tony’s the oldest son of a British Lord and Lady. He works hard and is trying to prove himself capable of running the company that has been in his family for generations. He’s circumspect (but not a prude); responsible (again, NOT a prude); headstrong and determined – not to get involved with a woman who’s fourteen years his junior. No matter how attractive, stimulating and fascinating he finds her. It just wouldn’t be right. Or would it?
An excerpt of Simply Wicked is below. The contest with a $100 Visa or Amazon gift certificate and a free e-book making up the grand prize will be announced here, Facebook and Twitter on Friday, September 19th.
Simply Wicked Excerpt
© 2008/2014 by Lisa G. Riley
“Well, I’m in love, truly in love,” Cassidy said this with another forlorn sigh. She quickly ducked her head when Tony suddenly raised his head to look at her from directly across the dinner table.
“But that’s wonderful,” Lady Carleton said.
“Well, yes, it should be. I feel good about it, but he doesn’t want me to. He’s avoiding me.”
“I’m sorry to say it, darling, but perhaps your young man doesn’t feel as deeply for you as you do for him.”
“I know he’s attracted to me, but he’s fighting it. He feels that I’m too young for him.” She ignored Esme’s stifled snort of laughter and continued, “He’s being stubborn. We have a great rapport, we’re on the same wavelength on so many issues and our attraction burns really strong and fierce. I just know that we’d have a great relationship if he’d only give us a chance. I’ve been here for two months and he’s done nothing to take advantage of that fact.”
“Oh, so you knew him before moving here?”
“Is he English?” This came from Lord Carleton whose face was mottled with embarrassment while his eyes showed helpless curiosity.
“Oh, yes, he’s a very proper Englishman. It’s one of the things I absolutely adore about him, that and his intelligence, witty sense of humor and gorgeous physical appearance.” Again, Cassidy ignored Esme’s snort, which managed to sound both disbelieving and snide. She also ignored Tony’s determined gaze that warned her to knock it off. “What do you think, Lady C.? Should age matter?”
“Oh, no, not really. I’m not one for pedophilia of course, but I do feel that it’s hard enough to find love and when one does, the little things shouldn’t matter all that much.”
“That’s just how I feel,” Cassidy said passionately. “But he won’t listen to reason.”
“Well, just how much older is he than you, child?” Lord Carleton asked.
“A measly fourteen years; that’s all,” Cassidy said and sniffled as if holding back tears. “I didn’t know love could hurt so much.”
“Oh, I am sorry,” Lady Carleton said. “Perhaps your young man will come ‘round to your way of thinking.”
“Yes,” Lord Carleton agreed. “If he’s as smart as you say he is, he’ll at least give it a chance. Do we know him? Who is he?”
“Tony,” Cassidy said.
Not yet making the connection, Lady Carleton took a sip of coffee before saying, “What about Tony, dear?”
“I’m in love with him.”
Lady Carleton’s head jerked up to look from Tony to Cassidy, from Cassidy to Tony and back again to repeat the process. “Surely you’re joking?”
“No,” Cassidy said with a definite shake of her head. “I’m not. I’m in love with Tony.”
Lady Carleton stared at Cassidy in stunned silence for a long moment. She blinked. “Why, whatever for, dear?”
Into the silence after that disloyal question came Esme’s raucous laughter and from Tony in a disgusted voice, “Thanks loads, Mother, for that ringing endorsement,” which only made Esme laugh harder, so hard that she ended up pushing her chair back a bit so she could hold her stomach while tears of hilarity streamed down her face.
“I didn’t mean it like that, Tony,” Lady Carleton began, before snapping, after a particularly loud guffaw from Esme, “Oh do be quiet, Esme!”
Lord Carleton tried hard to control his twitching lips, but a chuckle escaped anyway, which he masked with a cough when Tony shot him a hard look.
Cassidy let the room quiet before saying, “In answer to your question, Lady C., I’m in love with Tony because he’s a wonderful man. He has a strong sense of duty, he’s smart, he makes me laugh, he makes me think and as I said the attraction between us is explosive. I have the most wonderfully wicked thoughts about him and—”
Tony interrupted with a screech of his chair as he pushed it back to stand. “All right, that’s enough!” She was getting carried away and he had to stop her. As she’d spoken, her face had taken on a look of deep passion and her voice had gone soft and husky. He doubted she’d even realized it. Next she’d be entertaining the table with tales of them nearly making love in her old apartment. He walked around to her side of the table and pulled her chair out. “Come on!” Barely giving her time to stand, he grabbed her hand.
“But Tony,” Cassidy protested.
“No buts! Let’s go! Please excuse us,” he said over his shoulder as he dragged her from the room while Lord and Lady Carleton looked on in astonishment.
Tony pulled Cassidy into the library and shut the door behind them. “Sit,” he commanded with a frown and before she could think about it, Cassidy did, quickly sitting on a cream-colored leather sofa in the middle of the room. When she realized that she had, she frowned and began to stand again until she got a good look at his face.
“Don’t even think about moving from that spot,” he warned in a low dangerous voice as he paced away from her.
Swallowing hard, Cassidy sat back down. She’d never seen him quite so angry.
Tony snorted in disbelief. “I don’t believe it! For once, you’re actually going to listen to me?”
Cassidy frowned. “There’s no need to be—”
“I’ll bloody be what I want to be, if you don’t mind!” Tony said. “Settle down and listen to me! That’s better,” he said when she very deliberately clamped her lips together. “Now,” he said as he began to pace back and forth in front of her. “For the past several years you have done nothing but make my life a living hell, especially when you got it into that beautiful head of yours that we were meant to be together. You’ve tortured me endlessly and it’s got to stop. Are we clear?” He demanded.
“Hmmph,” Cassidy said before folding her arms and turning her head away. “Whatever.”