Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We are still running my contest. All you have to do is leave a comment. By the way my friend Sandra Cox is also running a contest to celebrate the release of her ebook, BLACK OPAL, from Cerridwen Press. Check her blog at

On Sunday I posted the first scene of chapter one. Here is a short blurb and the first kiss.
What could be more exciting for a young American architect than to live in a French chateau owned by a young count and to work on the restoration of a chapel in the Loire Valley?
But when her professor is poisoned because he knew too much about a missing statue, Cheryl's summer job changes into a dangerous treasure hunt and Count François is faced with a difficult choice:
Are the statue and his chateau worth endangering the life of the impetuous young woman who's turned his life upside down?

François glanced at his watch. “It’s already one in the morning but we covered a lot. I better leave and let you sleep.” His gaze shifted to the windows and he resolutely strode toward the heavy draperies. “Do me a favor. Switch off the lights for a moment and don’t turn them on until I tell you.”

She understood he wanted to peek outside. “Can you see in this darkness?”

“I know the area pretty well. I will be able to see if there is something unusual.”

He probably meant if someone was watching the chateau, her balcony and room. Without further comments, she did as asked. The room turned pitch black and she heard him move. When her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, she realized he had slipped his head behind the curtain to peer at the backyard and beyond.

A couple of minutes later, he got back inside and said, “Don’t turn the switch on. I will light the bathroom for you.” He padded across the carpet and switched on the bathroom’s light. “You have enough light to get undressed and go to bed.”

“Did you see anything unusual?”

“No, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.”

“Really?” She arched her eyebrows. He was obviously lying, afraid to worry her. “What happened to being a team? Friends?”

He burst out laughing, a devastating laughter that sprouted goose bumps over her arms and a rill of heat down to her belly. “Are you sure you want to be my friend?”

Her jaw sagged. What was she expected to answer? “Huh, I share my information with you. You’re supposed to share what you just saw outside.”

“Well answer my question first. Are we friends?” He came toward her, his hand outstretched.

“Yes,” she said as she stared at his open palm and debated if she should touch it.

“I don’t bite. Especially not my friends.”

She sneaked a look at him and put her hand in his. His fingers immediately wrapped around hers.

“I don’t bite my friends,” he repeated with a soft voice. “Far from it. I’d rather kiss them,” he said as he brought her fingers to his lips.

Warmth seeped through her skin and her bones. “Yes, friends if you want,” she murmured with conviction, hoping she wouldn’t regret her foolishness tomorrow.

His lips lingered again on the back of her hand and her wrist. “Thank you for your trust.” He backed up and held her shoulders at arm’s-length. “I looked outside to see if anything was different from usual.” His hold tightened. “There was someone smoking a cigarette in the fields. Definitely unusual.”

“You think he was watching my room?”

“I’m not going to speculate. But I don’t like it. Please don’t leave my side tomorrow.” She frowned. “A team and friends, remember?” he insisted.

“Okay. We’ll work together.”

“Goodnight, Cheryl. I’m so sorry about Professor Howard. I will miss him too. And I will be here for you.” He hugged her and kept his arms wrapped around her back. She leaned her forehead onto his shoulder and breathed the lemon scent of his cologne and his masculine presence. Strange enough, she relaxed and felt protected for the first time in years.

She raised her head, met his gaze and forgot the whole world. He had the most beautiful eyes, hazel dusted with green and gold. Kindness, almost tenderness, swirled in their depths. He didn’t move, didn’t release his hold on her back. What was she doing staring for so long? She lowered her lashes just enough to shift her focal point. His lips, luscious and full, stretched in a hint of a smile and came close. Closer, invading her field of vision.

Mesmerized, she swallowed and licked her lower lip, her fingers clutching his shoulders. His smile faded as he raised her chin with a fingertip and tugged her forward against his solid chest. Heat seeped into her body when he claimed her lips and darted his tongue into her mouth to tease and taste.

His kiss ended too quickly. And too late. Her heart still hammering in her chest, she splayed her hands on his chest and pushed him away, afraid to remain in his embrace another second.

He let her go, walked to the door and opened it.

“I’m here for you, Cheryl. My room is next to yours. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to knock on my door.”

She nodded and kept staring at the door long after he left.

Doc was gone. But François was here.

Danger floated in the air. But François is here.

Would he still be here when she needed him? When his latest girlfriend summoned his presence and invaded his bed?


Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for the honorable mention, Mona:)
Did I mention, I love French Peril....

Mona Risk said...

Thank you, Sandra. You are in my book, sweetie.

Marlene said...

Mona, this is just wonderful. I can see how far you've brought your skills since the very first draft. I am so proud of you and all that you are accomplishing in you career. Continued good luck to you.


Jacquéline_Roth said...

The excerpt sounds great!

Beth Trissel said...

Love your blog, Mona! Upcoming release sounds great and the cover is very appealing.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had found this sooner. Now i'm behind.LOL

wildchild said...

A really great excerpt. Can't wait to tead this one.

Katie Reus said...

I love checking out your blog Mona! Wonderful blurb :)

Molly Daniels said...

This is great, Mona! Eagerly waiting for tomorrow's excerpt...

Mona Risk said...

Marlene, you were one of the first to tell me this story has potential. Thank you.

Jacqueline, I value your expert opinion. Thank you.

Beth, you are so good for my morale and my ego.

Debby, I'm glad you are here. I hope I will see you regularly.

Wildchild, welcome to my blog. I'm glad I'm on your list of to buy and read.

Katie, a pleasure to see you here and on TWRP loop.

Mollie, I will make sure you have two more days of excerpts. Then I will take a break as I'm leaving to Italy for two weeks and will start again when I come back on June 14.

Heather Hiestand said...

Sounds like a fun book, Mona! I love France.

Mona Risk said...

Heather, if you love France, you will love my book, beaucoup. mark your calendar for June 19.