COMING SOON!

UK & NORTH AMERICA

 

 

 


 

hero

 

 

Sheikh Zahir

 


 

 

heroine

 

 

Diana Metcalf

 


 

 

from liz...

 

When my first book AN IMAGE OF YOU was published in 1992, it was the most thrilling moment.  Since then, there have been many such moments.  Fifty fresh cartons of books to crack open and see the cover for the first time.  Hardback and Large print editions, foreign translations arriving from all over the world.   Manga books from Japan.

 

During the last weeks of the year, I've been revisiting some of my earlier books with readers, friends, colleagues who've dropped by my blog.  It has been an amazing journey, with some incredible highs.  The beginning of 2008, with this special Golden Anniversary, the publication of THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE is one of those special highs and I take a moment to pause and raise a glass to all my readers, colleagues, friends and to the many editors who've been with me on the journey. 

 

Here's to the next fifty! 

 

 


 

 

 

REVIEWS

 

Watch this space!
 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Liz's 50th book!


 

The single mum's new job: chauffeur to the Sheikh!

 

Zahir was surprised to find he had a beautiful new driver.  This chauffeur did not blend into the background.  Oh, no.  Diana Metcalf talked.  She laughed.  She took him on unplanned detours.  And he had more fun than he'd had in years.

 

But back in his desert kingdom a dynastic marriage was being brokered for Zahir.  Crazy though it seemed, he wished that this wonderful, vivacious, thoroughly unsuitable woman could be his bride instead...


 

Diana pulled up at arrivals, squashed the stupid little forage hat firmly into place, tugged down her uniform jacket, smoothed the fine leather gloves over the backs of her hands.  Then, her head full of snowy robes, the whole Lawrence of Arabia thing, she stood by the rear door of the Mercedes ready to leap into action the minute her passenger appeared. 

There were no robes.  No romantic headdress caught by the wind. 

Sheikh Zahir al Khalid had, it seemed, taken on board the dressing-for-comfort-when-travelling message.  Not that she’d have had any trouble recognising him, even without his VIP escort.

The grey sweat shirt, soft jeans and deck shoes worn on bare feet might be casual but they were expensive.  The man, tall, with a rangy, sportsman’s figure and long dark hair that curled around his neck, but his clothes, his film star looks, did absolutely nothing to diminish an aura of careless arrogance, the aristocratic assurance of a man whose every wish had been someone else’s instant command from the day he first drew breath. 

The very pink, thoroughly beribboned gift package he was carrying provided no more than a counterpoint that underlined his authority;  the kind of presence that raised the hairs on the back of her neck.

Sheikh Zahir al Khalid, it had to be admitted was dangerously, slay-em-in-the aisles, gorgeous.

He paused briefly in the doorway to thank his escort, giving Diana a moment to haul her chin off the ground – she didn’t do “dangerous” and, really, drooling was such a bad look – before affixing a polite smile to lips that she firmly compressed to contain the usual “did you have a good flight” chat as she opened the rear door of the Mercedes. 

No chat.

This wasn’t a family party returning from a trip to Disney, eager to share their good time as they piled into the mini bus, she reminded herself. 

All that was required was a quiet, “Good afternoon, sir…” 

It wasn’t easy.  There were two things she was good at.  Driving and talking.  But while driving was, had always been, her passion, talking came as naturally as breathing, a fact that had featured prominently in her end of year school reports. 

Talking in class.  Talking in Assembly.  Talking herself into trouble.

Since she mostly got the kids and the hen parties, jobs where a bit of lip came in handy if things got rowdy, it wasn’t usually a problem, but she understood why Sadie would only give her a job like this if she were really desperate. 

Why she’d reserved judgement on anything more than a fill-in role. 

Well she would show Sadie.  She would show them all, she promised herself – her parents, the people who gave her that look -- and she began tidily enough. 

Her smile was regulation polite and she opened the door smartly so that nothing would impede his progress.  

‘Good afternoon --’  

She didn’t get as far as the “sir”.

A small boy, skidding through the terminal doors in her passenger’s wake, dived through the closing gap between the car door and Sheikh Zahir, with eyes only for his goal.  Before she could utter a warning, move, he went flying over her highly polished size fours and cannoned headlong into Sheikh Zahir, sending the fancy package flying.    

The Sheikh’s reactions were lightning fast and he caught the child by the back of his jacket before he hit the ground. 

Diana, no slouch herself, leapt for the ribbons.

The package was arcing away from her, but those ribbons had their uses and she managed to grab one, bringing it to a halt.

‘Yes!’ she exclaimed, triumphantly. 

Too soon. 

‘No-o-o-o!’

She held the ribbon, but the parcel kept travelling as the bow unravelled in a long pink stream until the gift hit the concrete with what sounded horribly like breaking glass. 

At which point she let slip the word she’d promised Sadie that she would never, ever use in front of a client.

Maybe – please – his English wouldn’t be good enough to grasp her meaning.

 ‘Hey!  Where’s the fire?’ he asked the boy, hauling him upright and setting him on his feet, holding him steady while he regained his balance, his breath and completely dashing her hopes on the language front. 

Only the slightest accent suggested that the Sheikh’s first language wasn’t English.

 ‘I am soooo sorry...’ The boy’s grandmother, the focus of his sprint, was overcome with embarrassment.  ‘Please let me pay for any damage.’

‘It is nothing,’ Sheikh Zahir replied, dismissing her concern with a graceful gesture, the slightest of bows.  The desert prince to his fingertips, even without the trappings.

He was, Diana had to admit, as she picked up the remains of whatever was in the parcel, a class act.

Then, as she stood up, he turned to her and everything went rapidly downhill as she got the full, close-up impact of olive-skinned, dark-eyed masculinity.  The kind that could lay you out with a smile.

Except that Sheikh Zahir wasn’t smiling, but looking down at her with dark, shaded, unreadable eyes.

It was only when she tried to speak that she realised she’d been holding her breath. 

‘I’m sorry,’ she finally managed, her words escaping in a breathy rush.

‘Sorry?’

For her language lapse.  For not making a better job of fielding the package.

Deciding that the latter would be safer, she offered it to him.

‘I’m afraid it’s broken.’  Then, as he took it from her, shook it, she added, ‘In fact it, um, appears to be leaking.’

He glanced down, presumably to confirm this, then holding it at arms length to avoid the drips, he looked around, presumably hoping for a litter bin in which to discard it.  Giving her a moment to deal with the breathing problem.

So he was a sheikh.  So his features had a raw, dangerous, bad boy edge to them.  So he was  gorgeous. 

So what?

She didn’t do that! 

Besides which he wasn’t going to look at her twice even if she wanted him to.  Which she didn’t.

Really.

Oh, for heavens sake, Diana Metcalfe, haul your tongue back into line and act like the professional you promised Sadie you are...

There wasn’t a bin and he dealt with the problem by returning the sorry mess of damp paper and ribbons to her.  That at least was totally masculine behaviour;  leaving someone else to deal with the mess...

‘You’re not my usual driver,’ he said.

‘No, sir,’ she said.  Nothing wrong his eyesight, obviously, she thought as she retrieved a waterproof sick bag from the glove box and stowed the package inside it where it could do no harm.  ‘I wonder what gave me away?’ 

‘The beard?’ he offered, as she turned to face him.

What?  Oh, please, please, she hadn’t said that out loud.  Had she?  No...  Yes...

Oh, double … sheikh!

‘It can’t be that, sir,’ she said, hoping that the instruction to her brain for a polite smile had reached her face;  the one saying “Shut up!” had apparently got lost en route.  ‘I don’t have a beard.’  Then, prompted by some inner demon, she added, ‘I could wear a false one.’

Sometimes, when you’d talked your way into trouble, the only way out was to keep talking.  She hadn’t entirely wasted her time at school.  She knew that if she could make him laugh, she might just get away with it.  

Smile, damn you, smile... 

‘If it’s essential,’ she added, heart sinking.  Because he didn’t.   

Or comment on what was, or was not, essential.

‘What is your name?’ he asked.

‘Oh, you needn’t worry about that,’ she assured him, affecting an airy carelessness.  ‘The office will know who I am.’

When he made his complaint.

She wasn’t even going to last out the day.  Sadie would kill her.  Sadie had every right...

‘Your office might,’ he said, ‘but I don’t.’

Busted.  This was a man who left nothing to chance. 

From the book THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE by Liz Fielding
ISBN 978-0373174898
Imprint: Romance TM & Harlequin Romance (R)
(R) & TM are trademarks of the publisher

 

 

 

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