The end is in sight, y’all. I hope to get there very soon, but when I looked at my daily totals recently, I realized I’ve written nearly 20k in a little over a week. It’s a lot of work, at least for me, and I can’t believe how much I got done in so short a time. I don’t recommend you do this if you don’t have to, btw. 🙂 Thinking this hard, feeling my characters’ emotions so strongly over so short a period, wears me out. I really look forward to at least a week of vegging and enjoying holiday activities. (Though I expect revisions, I hope I won’t get them immediately.)

But I did have some good news to bolster me! (Besides Cavelli’s Lost Heir appearing on the eHarlequin bestseller lists!) First, I learned that my fourth book has been accepted. The Devil’s Heart is a July 2010 release in the UK! I’m very excited about this story. There is an Argentinian hero, a half-American half Italian heroine, and a priceless jewel.

The last bit of good news I got was the UK cover for The Prince’s Royal Concubine, due out in March 2010, and a North American release date! The book will be out in Harlequin Presents in June 2010. To whet your appetite, I’m giving you an exclusive sneak peak at an excerpt right here on this blog. But first, the back cover copy:

Two glittering royal houses…

Prince Cristiano di Savaré hunts his prey by ruthless means. Tonight’s pickings…Antonella Romanelli, crown princess of a rival country and part of a dynasty he has every reason to despise…

…one majestic seduction

Antonella is rocked by Cristiano’s unexpected magnetism. But there’s ice in his wolfish smile… She’s far from the promiscuous, spoiled socialite he believes her to be, but Cristiano is here to persuade her into compliance. If bedding her is what it takes, then it will make his mission all the more pleasurable…

EXCERPT:

Antonella emerged onto the top deck of the yacht, in search of someone who could arrange for a launch. She nearly stumbled when she caught sight of the man conversing with the yacht’s captain.

Cristiano di Savaré in a tuxedo had been magnificent. But Cristiano in Bermuda shorts, a crisp Polo, flip-flops, and Ray-Bans was downright sinful. He looked nothing like a prince and everything like some erotic fantasy of a muscled cabana boy who lived to serve the woman lucky enough to hire him.

He turned at her approach, no doubt because the captain ceased paying attention to him and watched her progress. She could see the captain’s eyes moving over her appreciatively, but it was Cristiano’s gaze she felt most keenly. Though he wore mirrored sunglasses, she was aware of the burning scrutiny behind them.

She’d dressed in a cotton wrap dress and sported a pair of sandals with a sensible heel. Her hair was pulled into a ponytail, and she’d gone minimal with her makeup. She wasn’t trying to attract attention, and yet it never seemed to matter. Attention was what she got.

“You have heard about the storm?” Cristiano said, skipping the preliminaries.

Antonella pushed away a tendril of hair that escaped her ponytail and blew across her lips. “Yes. When is the launch?” she asked, turning to the captain.

“There is a slight delay,” Cristiano said before the captain could reply. “Many in the harbor are requesting transportation.”

“I see.”

“Have you made flight arrangements yet?”

“No. I had hoped to go straight to the airport and take care of it.”

“Bueno. You may fly with me.”

Antonella’s pulse beat like the wings of a thousand hummingbirds. The man was unbelievable. “Thank you, but no. I will get a flight when I reach the airport.”

Cristiano shoved the Ray-Bans onto his head. The sunlight had disappeared as clouds rolled into the harbor. His eyes, she realized, weren’t blue or gray. They were deep, dark brown.

No, green.

Hazel, that’s what it was called. Brown ringed the pupil, but the bulk of the iris was green.

Striking.

How had she missed this at dinner last night? She’d sat across from him, but she’d barely looked directly at him with Raúl sitting beside her. The one time she had, she’d been far more mesmerized by the look on his face than the color of his eyes.

“Antonella,” he said sharply.

She jerked. “What?”

“Did you hear me?”

“You were talking about your jet.”

“Yes. It’s ready, and I have room for you. All commercial flights off the island are booked.”

“But you just asked me if I’d made arrangements!”

“I meant last night, before the hurricane changed direction.”

She shook her head emphatically. “I’ll take my chances at the airport.”

Was she crazy? She might despise him, but was it worth putting herself in danger to have the satisfaction of refusing him? Wasn’t the most important thing to get back to Monteverde and speak to her brother? If only Dante had been the one to come to Canta Paradiso! He’d have gotten Vega Steel and this would all be moot.

Except he had to stay to hold the country together. And his wife was about to give birth. Antonella had been the only choice, and she’d failed. She wanted to climb back into bed and pull the covers over her head until it all went away.

But she couldn’t. Cowardice was not an option.

“Don’t be childish,” Cristiano snapped.

Arrogant bastard. She forced herself to take a long, slow breath before speaking. “It’s not childish to avoid the company of people you despise.”

“No, but it is childish to put yourself in danger because of it.”

It was disconcerting to hear her thoughts echoed in his words.

Antonella stared at the mountains rising around the harbor. The airport was on the other side of those mountains. It could take hours to reach at this rate. Dark clouds billowed over the green peaks like a thick blanket unrolling. The wind had already picked up speed in the few hours between the time she’d gone to bed and now.

How she got home didn’t matter, so long as she did. “I will fly with you if there is no other option. Though when we reach the airport, I will check to see if I can book a flight first.”

“As you wish, Principessa.”

“But I cannot fly into Monterosso.” How would that look? And how would she get home to Monteverde? There were no direct flights, and the border was cut off. A princess of Monteverde could not be ferried across the border by Monterossan soldiers. It was unthinkable.

His expression hardened. “Of course not. We will land in Paris first. You can arrange transport from there.”

A dark thought occurred to her. “How do I know you will keep your word? That you won’t take me to Monterosso and demand a ransom for my return?”

His voice stroked over her like silk. “If I were to kidnap you, mia bella, I could think of far more interesting things to do than demand a ransom.”

What do you think of this cover? (I think I need a fan and some ice water!)

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