Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Day Contest


My new hard drive is installed and my computer is up and running. I’m beginning to breathe again and feel so elated.
Bad things come in three and good things come in three.
Right now I have three good things to celebrate:
My return to computer and Internet life,
My new contract with The Wild Rose Press for BABIES in the BARGAIN,
And my upcoming release of FRENCH PERIL with Cerridwen Press on June 19, 2008.
Would you like to share my joy?

I will run a contest. This is my first contest so please bear with me while we play together.
My part: Starting today, I will plot a different scene from French Peril for 5 consecutive days, Sunday, May 25 to Thursday, May 29, 2008, to promote my book.
You part: You read the scene and leave a comment.
On Thursday night I will pull three names from all those who left a comment.
And I will send them a special prize.

Many of my friends know that I traveled a lot and I collected unique items from all over the world to decorate my house, or give to my family and friends.

Here are three items that I will give as prizes on Thursday. A salt shaker from Holland, a coffee cup from Paris, and a toothpick holder from Las Vegas.

On Friday, I am flying to Italy for two weeks—I told you I can’t stay in place too long. My husband is even worse. He used to travel two weeks a month for business. As soon as I come back, I will rerun this contest with new prizes. I will do a special shopping for you.

So let’s start:


A summer job in France with room and board in a chateau owned by a handsome count. Can it get any better for Cheryl Stewart? The graduate student in Architecture is now officially on a mission for her sick professor.

Count François can’t hide his disappointment when Cheryl arrives instead of her eminent professor. But the aristocratic playboy is not one to turn away a beautiful young woman. He allows her to manage the restoration of the chateau’s chapel while keeping his search for a valuable historical statue a secret from the other students working on the project.

Soon things deteriorate. The professor is poisoned, the chateau’s butler attacked and Cheryl’s room burglarized. Is there a traitor in the chateau or a killer on the loose? When Cheryl’s summer job changes into a romantic involvement and dangerous treasure hunt, Count François is faced with a difficult choice. Is the priceless statue worth jeopardizing the safety of the impetuous young woman who has stolen his heart?
Note: This book contains explicit sex scenes.

Chapter One

“Chinese restaurant… Malaysian student…”
Cheryl Stewart raised the volume on her cell phone and pushed it closer to her ear to decipher the intermittent mumbling. “What’s wrong, Doc?”
“Heart…stomach…” A pause amplified the labored breathing of her mentor.
She connected the hardly audible words. “You’ve been to a Chinese restaurant with a Malaysian student when you felt sick?” Leaning forward, she tightened her grasp on the phone. “Where are you now?”
“Am… Amb… ” The strident wail of an ambulance siren interrupted his effort and Cheryl’s pulse raced at the sound.
“Which hospital are you going to?” God, she should have insisted he take better care of his health.
“ER… Cam…bridge Hos…pital…”
“I’m coming.” It made sense that the paramedics had rushed him to the medical center closest to Harvard School of Architecture.
“Don’t. I need… ” Doc’s voice, suddenly forceful, filled the line and then collapsed as if he’d lost his last shred of energy.
“Yes, what do you need?” Her throat constricted in anguish. She’d do anything to help the man she’d considered a surrogate father for the last eight years.
Her question must have triggered some awareness. “Go to France. My plane ticket in my office. Left drawer. Take my laptop… Password statue.” His voice shattered, then came back. She didn’t know if she’d missed something. “Go. Careful. Watch… ” His panting reached her across the line, louder than his words. “Tell François…tell…”
“Yes?” She probed, her heart drumming in the deafening silence.
“What about you?”
“Maybe food poisoning… Better soon.” He grunted and gasped. “Go.” The connection was cut. Cheryl checked the calling phone number. His cell phone. Had Doc closed the line because a new surge of pain assailed him?
Professor Howard sick? He hadn’t missed a day of work since she’d sat in his class for the first time eight years ago. Should she disobey his orders and rush to the hospital to reassure herself he wasn’t in danger? She bit her lip, hesitating. No, she couldn’t do that. If he’d taken the trouble to call her on his cell phone while in the ambulance writhing in pain, she’d better do exactly as he said.
Her briefcase under her arm, she left the graduate students’ studio at Harvard School of Architecture and strode down the hallway to Professor Stanley Howard’s office. He’d given her a key two months ago when she worked with him on the statue’s project as part of her Ph.D. thesis. She unlocked his office, closed the door behind her and went straight to his desk.
Having obeyed her dear mentor’s orders, she speed dialed his cell phone.
He picked up on the first ring. Thank goodness he’d kept his phone with him. “Yes?”
“It’s Cheryl. I did everything you asked. How are you feeling now?”
“Better… I may join you next week.”
“Can I come to see you?”
“No need now.”
“What happened? How did you get sick?” Had he been feeling poorly in the last few days? As far as she remembered, he’d never complained of any ailment.
“Later. Doctor here.”
“I’ll call you in a couple of hours.” She had so many questions to ask before traveling to France and she needed to be reassured Doc was on the mend.
After collecting her laptop carrying case, she left the studio and locked the door. As she glanced down the hallway and gasped.
A man was just stepping out of Doc’s office. What the hell was he doing there? Except for Cheryl and security, no one else had a key to her mentor’s office.


Sandra Cox said...

Wow! This sounds like a great romantic suspense.

Jean said...

This sounds like a great read!

Mona Risk said...

Thank you Sandra and Jean.

Mary Marvella said...

Good job! MORE!!

Amarinda Jones said...

Sounds like a bloody good contest

Molly Daniels said...

Wow...I'm with Mary. What happens next? I the book...(sigh)!

Joanne said...

Wonderful read, Mona. This is a great book. Much success!

Judy said...

I really enjoyed the excerpts. I will have to read this to find out what happens!!

wildchild said...

Loved the excerpt. Can't wait to read the book to find out what happens.

IB said...

Sounds marvelous.

JACLYN said...

A summer job in France with room and board in a chateau owned by a handsome count. Can it get any better for Cheryl Stewart? The graduate student in Architecture is now officially on a mission for her sick professor.


Nancy J. Cohen said...

Looking forward to reading both your titles, Mona. And I liked your review of the RT conference in our FRW newsletter. It was the next best thing to being there.