CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE                                       Harlequin Romance   

 

    TRADING PLACES DUET: BOOK ONE

 

 

 

 

 

taste test...

 

Lady Roseanne Napier has always been in the media spotlight for her high-profile charity work.  Now Annie needs a break from being the “nation’s angel” and for just one week she goes undercover…and immediately runs into trouble in the shape of George Saxon.

 

 

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TRADING PLACES DUET

 

Annie wanted anonymity…Lydia wanted the spotlight.

They both found love…

 

BOOK TWO:

HER DESERT DREAM

 

What people are saying ...

 

"A delicate blending of fantasy and reality, this story has everything, including a difficult but irresistible hero and a clever, gutsy heroine who's in every way his match."

 

Romantic Times,  4½ stars

 

"...the fantastic Liz Fielding proves once again that she is one of the finest voices in romantic fiction today."

 

CataRomance

 

"Liz Fielding turns the short category romance form into an artform with the tight precision of her writing.   CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE is no exception.  Once again, Liz Fielding dazzles with a romance to touch the heart with just the right Christmas story."

  

Book Illuminations

 

 

They were not just large, but were the mesmerizing colour of a bluebell wood in April, framed by long dark lashes and perfectly groomed brows that were totally at odds with that appalling hair cut.  At odds with those horrible spectacles which continually slipped down her nose as if they were too big for her face…

As he stared at her, the certainty that he’d seen her somewhere before tugging at his memory, she used one finger to push them back up and he knew without doubt that they were nothing more than a screen for her to hide behind. 

Everything about her was wrong. 

Her car, bottom of range even when new, was well past its best, her hair was a nightmare and her clothes were chain-store basics but her scent, so faint that he knew she’d sprayed it on warm skin hours ago, probably after her morning shower, was the real one thousand-dollar-an-ounce deal. 

And then there was her voice. 

No one spoke like that unless they were born to it.  Not even twenty-five thousand pounds a year at Dower House could buy that true blue aristocratic accent, a fact he knew to his cost.  

He stirred his tea, took a sip, making her wait while he thought about his next move. 

‘I’ll organise a rental for you while it’s being fixed,’ he offered, finally.  Experience had taught him that where women were concerned, money was the easiest way to make a problem go away.  But first he’d see how far being helpful would get him.  ‘If that would make things easier for you?’

She carefully replaced the delicate bone china cup on its saucer.  ‘I’m sorry, George.  I’m afraid that’s out of the question.’

It was like a chess game, he thought.  Move and countermove.  And everything about her -- the voice, the poise -- suggested that she was used to playing the Queen. 

Tough.  He wasn’t about to be her pawn.  He might be lumbered with Mike Jackson’s Bentley -- he couldn’t offload a specialist job like that at short notice as his father well knew – but he wasn’t about to take on something that any reasonably competent mechanic could handle. 

Maybe if she took off her glasses…

‘As a gesture of goodwill, recognising that you have been put to unnecessary inconvenience,’ he said, catching himself -- this was not the moment to allow himself to be distracted by a pair of blue eyes, pale flawless skin, scent that aroused an instant go-to-hell response.  He didn’t do “instant”.  It would have to be money.  ‘I would be prepared to pay any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.’ 

Check.

He didn’t care how much it cost to get her and her eyes out of the garage, out of his mother’s kitchen, out of his hair.  Just as long as she went.

‘That’s a most generous offer,’ she replied.  ‘Unfortunately, I can’t accept.  The problem isn’t money, you see, but my driving licence.’

 ‘Oh?’  Then, ‘You do have a valid licence?’ 

If she was driving without one all bets were off.  He could ground his daughter for her reckless behaviour – maybe – but Annie Rowland would be out of here faster than he could call the police.

But she wasn’t in the least bit put out by his suggestion that she was breaking the law. 

‘I do have a driving licence,’ she replied, cool as you like.  ‘And in case you’re wondering it’s as clean as the day it was issued.  But I’m afraid I left it at home.  In my other bag.’  She shrugged.  ‘You know how it is.’  Then, looking at him as if she’d only just noticed that he was a man, she smiled, said, ‘Oh, no.  I don’t suppose you do.  All a man has to do is pick up his wallet and he has  everything he needs right there in his jacket pocket.’

He refused to indulge the little niggle that wanted to know whose wallet, what man…

‘And where, exactly, is home?’ he asked, trying not to look at her hand and failing.  She wasn’t wearing a ring but that meant nothing.

‘ London .’

‘ London is a big place.’

‘Yes,’ she agreed.  ‘It is.’  Then, without indulging his curiosity about which part of London , ‘You must know that no one will rent me a car without it.  My licence.’

Unfortunately, he did.

Checkmate. 

 ‘Oh, for goodness sake!’  Xandra, who’d be watching this exchange with growing impatience, said, ‘If you won’t fix Annie’s car, I’ll do it myself.’  She put down her cup and headed for the door.  ‘I’ll make a start right now.’

 ‘Shouldn’t you be thinking about your grandmother?’ he snapped, before she reached it.  ‘I’m sure she’d appreciate a hot meal when she gets back from the hospital.  Or are you so lost to selfishness that you expect her to cook for you?’

 ‘She doesn’t…’  Then, unexpectedly curbing her tongue, said, ‘I’m not the selfish one around here.’

Annie, aware that in this battle of wits Xandra was her ally, cleared her throat.  ‘Why don’t I get supper?’ she offered. 

They both turned to stare at her.

 ‘Why would you do that?’ George Saxon demanded.

 ‘Because I want my car fixed?’

 ‘You won’t get a better offer,’ Xandra declared, leaping in before her father could turn down her somewhat rash offer.  ‘My limit is baked beans on toast.  I’m sure Annie can do better than that,’ she said, throwing a pleading glance in her direction.

 ‘Can you?’ he demanded.        

 ‘Do better than baked beans on toast?’ she repeated.  ‘Actually, that won’t be…’  She broke off, distracted by the wild signals Xandra was making behind her father’s back.  As he turned to see what had caught her attention, ‘…difficult.  Not at all.’ 

He gave her a long look through narrowed eyes, clearly aware that he’d missed something.  Then continued to look at her as if there was something about her that bothered him. 

She knew just how he felt. 

The way he looked at her bothered her to bits, she thought, using her forefinger to push the “prop” spectacles up her nose.  They would keep sliding down, making it easier to look over them than through them which made wearing them utterly pointless.

‘How long do you think it’ll take?’ she asked not sure who she was attempting to distract.  George or herself.

He continued to stare for perhaps another ten seconds – clearly not a man to be easily distracted – before he shrugged, said, ‘It depends what else we find.  Your car is not exactly in the first flush.  Once something major happens it tends to have a knock on effect.  You’re touring you say?’

She nodded.  ‘That was the plan.  Shropshire , Cheshire , maybe.  A little sightseeing.  A little shopping.’

‘There aren’t enough sights, enough shops in London ?’ he enquired, an edge to his voice that suggested he wasn’t entirely convinced. 

‘Oh, well…’  She matched his shrug and raised him a smile.  ‘You know what they say about a change.’

‘Being as good as a rest?’  He sounded doubtful.  ‘This isn’t a great time of year to break down, especially if you’re stranded miles from anywhere,’ he pointed out. 

He didn’t bother to match her smile.

‘It’s never a good time for that, George.’    

‘It’s a lot less dangerous when the days are long and the nights warm,’ he said, leaving her to imagine what it would be like if she broke down way out in the country, in the dark, with the temperature below freezing.  Then, having got that off his chest, ‘Are you in a hurry to be anywhere in particular?’

He sounded hopeful.

‘Well, no.  That’s the joy of touring, isn’t it?  There’s no fixed agenda.  And now Xandra has told me about the Christmas Market in Maybridge this weekend…’ – she gave another little shrug, mainly because she was certain it would annoy him – ‘…well, I wouldn’t want to miss that.’  A new experience that.  Annoying a man.  One she could grow to enjoy and taking full advantage of this opportunity, she mentally crossed her fingers and added ‘Ho, ho, ho…’

 

 

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From the book Christmas Angel for the Billionaire by Liz Fielding
ISBN:
978-0373176212

Text Copyright © 2009 by Liz Fielding

Cover Art Copyright © 2009 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by

arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.

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