Thursday, December 01, 2011

Guest Blogger Heidi Rice - Excerpt

Wow! I'm so excited to be invited on Lucy's blog today. It was great to chat with all of you a few weeks ago and as promised, here's an excerpt from the opening scene of my latest book On the First Night of Christmas... which is set in my home town of London (my favourite place to be come Christmas time, so the setting was a no-brainer).

I'd love to know what people think and will give a copy of the book away to one lucky commentator.

In this opening scene London book illustrator Cassidy Ryan has just been gazing at the Christmas window display outside Selfridges on London's Oxford Street and dreaming about finding her own personal 'candy man' when she gets soaked by a sleek black Mercedes.. Little does she know that the man inside is going to be Jace Ryan (aka Jace the Ace) the devastatingly attractive bad boy she once had a major crush on in secondary school!


Cassie gasped. The warm, fuzzy glow replaced by ice-cold shock. ‘What the…!’

The driver hadn’t even stopped. What a prize jerk.

Flinging her bag over her shoulder, she glared as the vehicle braked at the crossing ten feet away. Dodging through the crowd, she drew level and rapped on the passenger window. ‘Hey, Ebenezer.’

The tinted glass slid down with an electric hum. She blinked, the zing tingling back to life as a man peered out from the shadows on the driver’s side. Dark hair swept back from a broodingly handsome face accented by a strong jaw and hollow, raw-boned cheeks. She felt the odd jolt of recognition as the scent of new leather wafted out of the car. Did she know him?

‘What’s the problem?’ he demanded.

Clammy water dripped down inside Cassie’s boots and kick-started her tongue.

‘You’re the problem. Look what you did to me.’ She held up her arms to show him the extent of the damage, ruthlessly silencing the zing. He might have a striking face, but his manners sucked.

He swore softly. ‘Are you sure that was me?’

The blare of a car horn had Cassie glancing at the lights. Green. ‘Of course I’m sure.’

The horn blared again. Longer and angrier this time.

‘I can’t stop here.’ He straightened back into the shadows and Cassie saw his hand grasp the gear shift.

No way, Pal. You are not driving off and leaving me in a puddle on the pavement.

Yanking the heavy door open, she launched herself into the passenger seat.

‘Hey!’ he said, as she slammed the door behind her. ‘What the hell do you…’

‘Just drive, Sir Galahad.’ She pinned him with an indignant glare. ‘We can discuss your crummy behaviour when you find somewhere to stop.’

His dark brows drew down, the piercing emerald of his irises glittering with annoyance.

‘Fine.’ He slapped up the indicator, shifted into first. ‘But don’t drip on the upholstery.’

The car purred to life, and a blast of heat wrapped around Cassie engulfing her in the subtle aroma of man and leather. Her heart careered into her throat as the flicker of Selfridges’s fairy lights disappeared from her peripheral vision.

‘Actually, forget it.’ She grasped the door handle. Leaping into a stranger’s car probably rated a perfect ten on the ‘too stupid to live’ scale, even if he did look vaguely familiar.

The driver pulled to a stop at a loading bay. ‘So it wasn’t me after all.’

Cassie’s fingers stilled on the handle at the accusatory tone and her common sense dissolved in a haze of outrage. ‘It was definitely you.’ She glared at him over the gear shift. ‘Don’t you know it’s Christmas?’ She announced. ‘Show a bit of respect for the season and stop being such a jerk.’

Typical. When Cassie Fitzgerald is on the hunt for a candy man, what does she get? A candy man with a crappy attitude.
Jacob Ryan cranked up the handbrake, slung his arm over the steering wheel and stared at the furious pixie in his passenger seat whose wide violet eyes were shooting daggers at him.

How the hell did I end up with Santa’s insane little helper in my car?

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Helen had manoeuvred him into accepting an invitation for her ‘little soiree’ tonight, now he had a mad woman in his rented Mercedes. A mad woman who was dripping all over the custom finished leather upholstery.

He’d never been a fan of the season to be jolly, but this was getting ridiculous.

The sight of the drenched splatter on her coat, though, had the tiniest prickle of guilt surfacing. The car had hit a rut in the road.

Hoisting his butt off the seat, he pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. Okay, maybe he had been the culprit. He’d been so irritated by the situation with Helen, he hadn’t been paying attention.

‘How much?’ he asked. A hundred ought to cover it.

Her full Cupid’s bow mouth flattened into a grim line and the daggers sharpened. ‘I don’t want your money,’ she announced. ‘That’s not what this is about.’

Yeah, right.

He counted five crisp twenty-pound notes out of his wallet and presented them to her. ‘Here you go. Merry Christmas.’

She gave the money a cursory glance, and the line of her lips twisted into a sneer. ‘I told you. I don’t want your money, Ebenezer.’

The sarcastic name grated, but then she tightened her arms under her breasts, and his gaze dipped —distracted by the creamy flesh exposed by the V in the lapels of her coat.

Jesus, is she naked under that thing?


Xandra James said...

Love, love, love this excerpt! I adore Christmas themed books so will definitely be adding this to the ever increasing tbr pile.

Thanks for sharing, Heidi. And ho-ho-ho! :D

Virginia said...

Fabulous excerpt! I love holiday books and will be looking for this one.

Heidi Rice said...

Hi Xandra and Virgina, so glad you enjoyed the excerpt, had much fun writing this one as I always do with Christmas books!

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Gina Rossi said...

Can't wait to read this one! Selfridges windows are magnificent this year, apparently, and I'm heading over there on the 20th to check them out. Happy December- build-up-to-Christmas.

Christine Warner said...

Loved this! Not only because your heroine shares my daughter's name, but because you started this right out with the meet. I love that...and the fact that she's irritated and he's got attitude. Can't wait to read this book!

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Got my attention!! I love this excerpt... And Christmas is my favorite theme... I'm off to find myself a copy of this!

Heidi Rice said...

Fab Gina, haven't seen them yet myself but will be heading that way in the weeks ahead I suspect! Fortnum and Mason's Xmas window display on Piccadilly are always pretty special too!

Oh Christine, that's so cool your daughter is called Cassie. Have to admit I loved the name, but have a bit of fun with it later in the book when my hero discovers it's not short for Cassandra, as he expected.

GirlyGirl, yay, I got your attention!! If you do end up reading it would love to know what you think on (especially if it's good!!)

Anne said...

Great excerpt, I'd love to know the answer to that question it left us hanging on.

Heidi Rice said...

LOL Anne, you'll be glad to know my hero discovers the answer very shortly!

catslady said...

I agree - a great excerpt that leaves you wanting more. Thanks!

Heidi Rice said...

thanks Catslady, so glad it left you wanting more...

Laney4 said...

Love the repartee and look forward to reading more in the rest of the book. Thanks for sharing!

Heidi Rice said...

Cheers Laney!

Ok, have now done the draw for a winner and it's:

Xandra James!!

So please email me your snail mail addy to and I'll post off a signed copy of On the First Night of Christmas.

Many thanks all for your comments!

And thanks again to Lucy for having me on her blog.