Returning the Spotlight to Choc Lit Author Yvonne Wareham with an Extract from her new Novel Summer in San Remo

This week I have Evonne Wareham back on my blog with an extract from her new novel Summer in San Remo. Evonne first joined me on my blog on 13 February 2017. You can read that post here.

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Evonne Wareham

Hello. I’m Evonne Wareham and I write romantic thrillers and romantic comedy, with a touch of crime, for award winning UK independent publishers, Choc-lit. Writing in the sunshine and in the shadows.

I live on the Welsh coast, after spending many years in London. Both locations feature in my books, along with a number of other European cities. I like to think that I write books that are exciting, romantic and glamorous – a shot of escapism when the world looks drab and grey. They are also sometimes a bit scary. 🙂

I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, an historian by day, a novelist whenever I get a moment and a romantic always.

Summer in San Remo my newest book, is a summer holiday read, first in the series, The Riviera Rogues.

Never Coming Home, my debut novel, was winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award, a Single Titles’ Reviewers’ Choice Award, Oklahoma Romance Writers’ of America National Readers’ Choice Award and the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence for romantic suspense.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, a paranormal romantic thriller, was a finalist in the ‘Maggie’, the Award for Excellence presented by the Georgia chapter of the Romance Writers’ of America.

My short story, Fairground Attraction, appears in the 2014 Choclit anthology Kisses and Cupcakes.

To contact Evonne you can use the following links.

www.eveonneonwednesday.blogspot.com
Twitter:@evonnewareham

9781781892213

Anything could happen when you spend summer in San Remo …

Running her busy concierge service usually keeps Cassie Travers fully occupied. But when a new client offers her the strangest commission she’s ever handled she suddenly finds herself on the cusp of an Italian adventure, with a man she thought she would never see again.

Jake McQuire has returned from the States to his family-run detective agency. When old flame Cassie appears in need of help with her mysterious client, who better than Jake to step in?

Events take the pair across Europe to a luxurious villa on the Italian Riviera. There, Cassie finds that the mystery she pursues pales into insignificance, when compared to another discovery made along the way …

Summer in San Remo by Yvonne Wareham is a fun holiday read with a hint of mystery. Please find a sample below:-

*****

The sound of a small commotion in the outer office broke into Cassie’s phone calls. She was on her feet, ready to greet a prospective client, when the door swung open.

‘Hi, Slick. How you doing? I hear you’re prepared to pay money to sleep with me.’

Cassie’s chair creaked in protest as she dropped back into it. Her legs had gone to water. She had just enough presence of mind to stop her mouth gaping. The only sound that came out of her throat, when she tried to speak, was a low moan.

He looked … gorgeous. There was no other word for it. Dark hair, those incredible blue eyes, the mouth, the cheekbones, lightly tanned skin, wide shoulders. He was bigger, bulkier with muscle, under the expensive suit.

He was in her office.

‘What the hell are you doing here, McQuire?’

This time she got her legs under control and stood up. He was shutting the door behind him, smiling at Benita as he closed it. That smile …

‘Sorry, Slick? Is there a problem? Benita said you wanted to hire me. Something about needing a husband?’

‘Not you! Someone from the agency.’ The words came out sideways, through gritted teeth.

He was looking around the room, as if he was valuing it. ‘Nice office.’

‘It would look a lot better without you in it,’ she muttered furiously as she caught her breath and unlocked her jaws. She was an adult. She was in control of her life. She could do this. ‘I was expecting one of your employees.’

‘Oh.’ One eyebrow went up. She’d always envied the way he was able to do that. ‘Communications glitch. I thought Benita understood. All my operatives are engaged at the moment. I’m the only one available. I haven’t done much fieldwork lately, but as we’re such old friends—’

‘I wouldn’t dream of putting you to that much inconvenience.’ Cassie convinced her wobbly legs to take her around the desk, as far as the door. ‘You must have a million things to do. Really, it’s not important. Don’t even think about it,’ she insisted, shaking her head and holding up her hand. ‘I can soon find someone else. Much better all round. Nice to see you, Jake. Sorry you’ve been troubled.’

Her fingers slipped on the door handle as she tried to grab it. She nearly jumped a foot in the air when Jake’s hand closed over hers. ‘Cassie.’ Oh, that voice. It trickled into her ears; dark, warm, full of the sound of promises that the bastard was never going to keep. ‘Let’s talk about this, shall we? Benita was quite frank. There is no one else. We’re both business people. I know our situation is – unusual – but I’m sure we can be professional about this.’

Cursing Benita and her big mouth, Cassie wriggled her fingers out from under Jake’s. They were all still there, but they felt funny. Sort of boneless. She stuffed them into her pocket, where they couldn’t get out.

‘I’ll have you know, I’m very professional,’ she defended herself, eyes flashing. ‘I’ve been running this firm for eighteen months. I have a reputation, respect—’

‘Fine,’ Jake cut in, smoothly. ‘I suggest we sit down and do a deal, on a strictly professional level. Forget we have history together. This is work. You have a proposition, I’m interested. We figure something out and we both make money.’

Money.

Cassie’s head jerked up. She might have known. Money was to McQuire what blood was to sharks. Just the scent of it in the water and he’d come circling. And, dammit, if either one of them was going to make any, she needed him.

‘Of course,’ he went on. ‘If you have issues, because of the past—’

‘Issues!’ Cassie hissed. ‘You left town, twelve years ago, without even a backward glance …’ She sucked in a deep breath and pasted on a shark smile of her own. ‘But as you said, that’s history.’ She gave an elaborate shrug and stifled the desire to bang her head against the wall. Or better still, Jake’s head. Aware that he was watching her every move, she crossed the office, sank back into her chair and leaned nonchalantly on the desk.

‘You’re right, of course. We can help each other.’ Oh, that cost her. Pain stabbed at her gut. If I ever get the chance, McQuire will pay for this. And not in money. Blood would be good. Very good.

Following her lead, Jake folded himself into her visitor’s chair. Cassie sighed. He’d not lost an atom of the casual grace he’d had at nineteen. She still remembered that body …

Business, Cassie. Strictly business.

‘Okay, Slick, what’s the deal?’

Succinctly, Cassie outlined Mr Benson’s proposition.

‘And you believe him?’ Jake asked as soon as she’d finished. Cut straight to the chase. She’d always admired his incisive mind.

She shrugged again. ‘There might well be something else going on. Benson might be some sort of crook, which is why we need to be careful. But the man’s money is good.’ She curled her lip as she saw the light in Jake’s eyes. That was the bit that pushed Jake’s buttons.

‘So …’ Jake exhaled. ‘You and I, posing as man and wife, go to London, collect some papers and deliver them to Benson’s flat. We don’t have to meet formally with anyone, or sign anything?’

‘No. It wouldn’t work if we did, seeing as how we are not Mr and Mrs Benson.’

‘Mmmm.’ Jake studied the ceiling, clearly thinking.

Cassie studied his profile, her nerves twitching. All you have to do is reach over the desk, grab him by that expensive designer tie and haul him close, to where his mouth is in kissing distance—

Ahhh! She pulled herself upright, with a wrench that made her rock in her seat. She could feel colour mounting in her cheeks. Where had her imagination been taking her? She felt nothing for this man. She didn’t want to touch him. Hadn’t wanted to for years …

Jake finished inspecting the ceiling and turned back to her, with something speculative in his eyes. She hoped the flush was dying down. What were you thinking?

‘It all seems very simple – which probably means that it isn’t. I daresay we can hack it.’ He was gazing at her now, in a way that made the back of her neck feel hot. ‘Um … this husband-and-wife thing—’

‘Yes?’ She forced her voice to sound as crisp as possible. It wasn’t easy.

‘How realistically do you want to play it? Only I seem to remember—’

‘Well don’t.’ She bounced in her seat. ‘You said it yourself McQuire, this is a business deal. You get a fee.’

‘Yeah, well, I wouldn’t want to waste an opportunity. Have a little fun, and get paid for it.’

‘I don’t think so, thank you.’ She glowered as he grinned.

‘Can’t blame a guy for trying.’ The grin got wicked. ‘And it’s a lady’s prerogative to change her mind.’

A swift flash of temper sparked through Cassie. She’d opened her mouth, to give him the benefit of it, when the irony struck her. She nearly laughed. He’d only offered her what she’d been wondering about, seconds before.

She pulled in a breath. She could do it. She could go to bed with him, and find out exactly how the lean, lithe body she remembered had matured into the hunk in front of her. She could show him what he’d missed; make him want her, then walk away. Just like he did.

Use him, abuse him and toss him aside.

The prospect glowed for a second, before reality hit. Who was she kidding? This man dated starlets and models. Dream on, Cassie Travers.

‘Yes? No?’ He was watching her closely, head tilted questioningly.

‘No.’ She shook her head for emphasis. ‘Sorry to disappoint you, and tempting as the prospect is.’ She arranged her face to show how little she was tempted. Liar. ‘We do the job. Kings gets paid. That’s all.’

‘Ah, yes – the fee.’ His eyes glinted as he settled more comfortably in the chair. He looked so damned at home in her office. ‘I’m always happy to discuss money. But don’t forget, if you change your mind, I’m all yours. Any time, day or night.’

‘If it happens, you will be the first to know.’ Cassie shifted a pile of files to the side of the desk, so she didn’t have to look into his eyes. There was laughter in those blue depths, no question, but there was something else there as well. Something hot. She didn’t want to think about it.

‘As you said, this is a simple job,’ she said briskly. ‘I’m prepared to pay … three-hundred pounds, plus expenses. I take it that’s acceptable, for a few hours’ work?’

‘It’s broadly in line with our regular rates.’

‘Good, then that’s settled.’

‘Er … no. I didn’t say that,’ he corrected blandly. ‘On the surface it’s simple, but who knows? You might need the services of Kings on a retainer. And that costs. Benson paid you up-front. I want half, Slick.’

‘Half! No way! And stop calling me Slick!’

The name took her right back to when she was fifteen and her quick thinking had hauled the gang out of a sticky situation. It still gave her conscience a pang when she remembered it, but hey – it hadn’t been that big a fire. The old sports’ pavilion had been scheduled for demolition in any case. They’d just accidentally helped things along. And learned a lesson about the unpredictable nature of flame into the bargain. A sort of win-win situation, really. Jake had been the first to use the nickname.

‘It’s a compliment,’ he pointed out now. ‘Cassie Travers, slick and smart as paint. Always was, always will be.’

‘Huh!’ Cassie dealt ruthlessly with a treacherous glow that had sprung up, mysteriously, in her chest. ‘I’ve moved on since then. I’m all grown up now.’

‘Mmm, yeah.’ He gave her an appreciative top-to-toe glance. ‘I’d noticed.’

‘Get your mind above the belt, McQuire. We’re negotiating here.’

You’re negotiating. I’m stating terms. Half. Of course …’ He paused.

‘Yes?’ Cassie bent forward, hopefully. She should have known better, when she saw the way he was smiling.

‘If you wanted to reconsider the husband-and-wife thing, then naturally I’d have to think about what I was charging …’

‘McQuire! I cannot believe you said that! You think I’m going to sleep with you, just to save money? That is outrageous, disgusting, perverted—’

‘Only if you want it to be, babe.’ He leaned forward, eyes alight. ‘What did you have in mind? Black leather? Masks? Handcuffs?’

A flush of intense heat surged though Cassie’s body. Heat that sent prickles of awareness into the most sensitive parts of her skin. Do not go there. ‘Right, that’s it! Out! Out of my office, now!’

‘Fine.’ He held up his hands in a gesture of surrender, uncoiling from the chair. ‘I’ll go. I never argue with a lady. If you have second thoughts, you know where to call.’

He was on his way to the door.

Cassie said something extremely rude under her breath. She hated this, she really did, but she didn’t have any choice. It was McQuire or nothing.

‘All right.’

‘What was that?’ He slanted his head, listening.

‘I said all right,’ she repeated, goaded. Her tongue was almost curled with the effort of speech. She cleared her throat. ‘Come back, please, and we’ll talk — about money,’ she added hastily.

He stayed at the door for a moment. Savouring his victory? Cassie was sure he could see all her mixed emotions clearly in her face. He looked as if he was biting down on another grin. He sauntered back to the chair and sat.

‘Well, Sli— Cassie. Are we on, or not?’

‘Jake …’ Using every ounce of willpower, Cassie summoned up her widest smile.

Jake sat up straight in the chair. He looked surprised, as if something had happened that he hadn’t expected. Cassie blinked, disconcerted by the strange expression in his eyes. She’d finally caught him unawares. How?

With an effort she pulled herself back on track. She had to use whatever she could to salvage this. ‘Look, I know you were joking just now, about us sleeping together. I … overreacted. But the fact is, you don’t need cash. You have shed loads of the stuff. If you could just see your way to—’

‘Sweetheart,’ he interrupted. ‘I’d love to let you have me for free, believe me.’

Whatever it was that had taken him by surprise, it had passed. She knew her eyes flickered, betraying her annoyance. She was the one on the back foot here. All he had to do was stay cool and keep chalking up the points on his side. He was still talking, ‘I have obligations, and the agency has overheads. I want half.’

‘I …’ She took a breath, to give herself time to re-group. Now she had to be the cool one. She leaned back and steepled her fingers, trying to look like a woman wrestling with a hard decision. If she could pull this off …

‘Okay, I admit it. I need you.’ Yes! She’d got the necessary words past her teeth, and the roof hadn’t fallen in. Her nose hadn’t even grown. ‘I agree. You help me and I’ll pay you—’ She hesitated, showing reluctance. ‘—five-hundred pounds.’

‘That’s not half – it’s not even close.’

‘How did you …’ Cassie recoiled, realising too late what she’d done. She’d given away her hand, but someone else had a part in it. A big part. ‘Benita Wells is going to die!’

‘Did Benita know it was meant to be a big secret?’

‘Um …’ Cassie squirmed. ‘Well … no.’ She had to admit it. ‘I suppose not.’

Jake gave her a measuring look. ‘You have a job here that you can’t do alone. I am willing to help.’ He leaned forward. ‘Now is a good time to make a deal, Cass.’

‘There’s never a good time to make a deal with the forces of evil! And that’s where you belong, McQuire, no question.’ She stabbed a finger at him.

‘Bloated capitalists, you mean?’ There was just the hint of a smile. He leaned a fraction closer. ‘So —why not live on the edge a little?’ His voice had gone soft, persuasive. ‘Come over to the dark side.’

Cassie gave him a glare calculated to make a grown man shudder, then weep. It bounced off with no visible effect.

She was going to have to do this.

With a last pang of regret, she caved in.

‘All right. You win. Partners. Fifty-fifty. Shake?’ Without thinking, she stood up and held out her hand. Jake rose and took it.

It was too late to draw back, to wish that she’d had more sense.

His fingers were warm and firm, with an intriguing hint of roughness. She swallowed, hard. McQuire had never been the manicure type. And isn’t that part of the problem?

She had to forget all that, like right now.

‘Partners.’ He nodded as he let her go. ‘I’ll tell my people to talk to your people. Person. Benita. We have a proper contract, or the deal is off,’ he warned.

‘Naturally.’ She faked nonchalance. Bugger. He’d thought of every angle. Not even the tiniest bit of wiggle room. She wasn’t in the habit of reneging on deals, but the chance to be a little … creative … would have been nice. All’s fair in love, war and dealing with Jake McQuire.

‘I’ll get someone on to it straight away,’ he promised. ‘After that, I’m entirely at your disposal.’

‘Yes, that’s what I’m afraid of,’ she muttered as he turned towards the door.

His hand was on the doorknob when she remembered. In the cut and thrust of wrangling with Jake, it had gone right out of her mind. Would it make any difference? Surely Jake would have realised? But she still had to say it. ‘Um … the job … tomorrow. Er … technically it involves us in a fraud.’

‘Sailing close to the wind,’ Jake agreed. ‘But necessary, if we want to find out whether Benson is crooked.  If we hit on evidence of illegal activity, I can see that it gets into the right hands.’

Cassie didn’t quite like the spurt of relief that Jake could take care of things. But if it would smooth the way … Presumably detective agencies had channels not available to the general public. ‘Fine. Cool. I’ll see you tomorrow then.’

‘That you will.’ Jake agreed, grinning.

With a brief nod to Benita, who was on the phone, Jake strode across the outer office. Once on the other side of the door he leaned back against it, closing his eyes. Shock rippled through him. Hell – he’d forgotten what a stunner Cassie Travers was. And that smile! She’d looked up, right in the middle of arguing with him, and there it was. Assault with a deadly weapon. Totally unexpected, it had rocked into him, hitting dead centre of his chest. He’d felt it, right down to his toes. He’d almost lost the thread for a couple of beats.

Maybe this thing is going to be more of a challenge than you thought.

Well, bring it on.

The cute kid he’d known had matured into one heck of a woman. She was lovely, and then some – spiky, sassy, sexy as all get out. The red hair he remembered, green eyes, legs and figure to stop traffic – but he’d forgotten how smart that luscious mouth was in dishing out backchat. Cassie Travers took no prisoners. He wasn’t quite clear why she’d decided he was the next thing to Satan’s second cousin, but unpredictability had always been part of her charm. If he got through this without major damage to his pride and his ego, not to mention his wallet, it was going to be a miracle.

He peeled himself away from the door, running a hand through his hair, a reluctant grin on his face. ‘Deal with it, McQuire,’ he told himself softly. ‘You were the sucker who got yourself into this.’

The grin widened. Maybe things wouldn’t shape up the way he’d planned them – but he could always fix that later. He swung onto the stairs, whistling.

However it all went down, working with Cassie was never going to be boring.

*****

If you enjoyed this extract and can’t wait to read more, you can find Summer in San Remo available to purchase on all eBook platforms!

Kindle UK:  https://goo.gl/ghNaks 

Kindle US: https://goo.gl/UFqzx8

Kobo: https://goo.gl/vuz1yR

For other buying options click here: https://goo.gl/XVvZmn

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My novel The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available from all ebook platforms – Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.img_2806

 

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About Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels. http://mortonsgray.com
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2 Responses to Returning the Spotlight to Choc Lit Author Yvonne Wareham with an Extract from her new Novel Summer in San Remo

  1. angelabritnell says:

    The extract intrigued me and it’s on my Kindle waiting to get to the top of the list – might have to shuffle others further down after this!

    Liked by 1 person

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