Thursday, 26 September 2013

Stella Whitelaw: Sweet Seduction

It's always a pleasure to have Stella Whitelaw back at Heart of Fiction. She's a wonderfully prolific writer and a well-respected woman in her field. That and she's a lovely woman with a great sense of humor and a great story to tell.

Today's story is about Kira Reed, in the newly released, Sweet Seduction. Kira has been let down too many times, and by some of the most important male figures in her life. Amongst them, her grandfather, Benjamin Reed; her now ex-fiance, Bruce; and her former employer, MP Percival Connor.

Feeling emotionally destroyed, Kira sets about reinventing herself, and to do that, she needs a change of environment. What better place than sunny Barbados? And it just so happens, she has a family history there she hopes to connect with.

Kira meets Giles Earl on her flight. She's instantly drawn into his charm and handsomeness, but she tries keeping their relationship professional when she learns his grandfather had been her grandfather's business partner so long ago. Their company, Reed and Earl, had become the most powerful sugar refining company in Barbados, and with it came social importance and political intrigue, which eventually turned into a dramatic downfall. But the professional exterior Kira exudes is soon shed when Giles kisses her, and she falls hopelessly in love with him.

The story of the Reed women play alongside that of Kira's, revealing secrets and uncovering truths. Including the mysterious death of her mother, Tamara. And just when Kira receives the most heartbreaking news of her life, Hurricane Hannah rips through Barbados, destroying all in her path. Will she destroy Kira as well? You'll have to read the story!

Sweet Seduction is romantic, suspenseful, intriguing, tender, and dramatic. Stella weaves a tale that will make you want to read this book in one sitting. You'll feel the warm breeze on your face, smell the sweet scent of the sea in the air, and taste the richness of the exotic island of Barbados.

How about a sampling of Sweet Seduction to seduce you?

• • •

Three important men in Kira Reed's life have let her down -- her grandfather, her fiancé and her MP employer. Feeling she can have a better life and start over, Kira relocates to the beautiful island of Barbados, forgetting about past disappointment and about her failed London career. Determined to succeed, she reinvents herself as a successful, glamorous executive. She has a secret, too, and is determined to find the man she believes caused the death of her mother, Tamara.

Giles Earl owns a sugar factory and plantation called Sugar Hill.  He is the type of man Kira should be seducing with her business expertise, but instead, she finds herself falling in love with him. Can she trust him with her secret, or will he use it to destroy her?

The mystery of Dolly’s unfolding story is told alongside Kira’s: Kira discovers an insurmountable barrier with her love of Giles. Her grandmother, Dolly, a wild young girl, had two lovers at the same time -- one of them had been Giles’ father. Could Tamara be Giles' sister? This would makes Giles, the man Kira deeply loves, her own uncle.

Just as Kira is about to discover the truth of Dolly's marriage secret and who killed her mother, Hurricane Hannah hits Barbados, destroying almost everything on Sugar Hill. Will Kira ever discover the truth?

"I believe this seat is free?" he asked, stopping in the aisle. "May I join you for the flight?"

"Please do," said Kira, but she did not look at him.

He eased himself into the seat, stretching out his long legs. She could not help liking everything she saw about him . . . the capable brown hands fastening the clasp, the old gold of the watch chain, the sharp crease in the trousers, the faintly aromatic smell of a spicy cologne, the darkly glistening hair crisply cut into the nape of his neck. He was all man, and a magnificent man. But she wanted nothing to do with him.

"Do you always travel first class for a twenty minute flight?" Kira asked.

"You may have noticed that I need the leg room."

His arm brushed against her as he moved sideways to stow a wallet in an inside pocket. It was like an electric shock. It took a physical effort to stay still in her seat and let the feeling wash away.

"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Giles Earl. I own Sugar Hill Plantation in the Parish of St John," he said.

Kira took a steadying breath and smiled briefly. "My name is Kira."

"That’s a very pretty name."

Kira was hardly listening as Giles Earl continued talking. Sugar Hill Plantation. In the briefcase at her feet was a letter of introduction written by Percival Connor MP to the owner of the Sugar Hill Plantation.

And Benjamin Reed’s business colleague had been Reuben Earl. Reed and Earl. The name had been famous in the sugar industry before the two men quarrelled. They had set up a partnership, harnessing the power of both their plantations and refineries. Her mother had often told her how Benjamin and Reuben had planned a brilliant future for Barbados with a new political climate.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to open her briefcase and bring out the letter to start things going. But somehow she could not. Her hands lay frozen in her lap, despite the comfortable cabin temperature. This was not the time to say that she was Benjamin Reed’s granddaughter.

• • •
Stella Whitelaw began writing seriously at the age of nine. She was ill with measles when her father gave her an Imperial Portable typewriter. Covered in spots, she sat up in bed and taught herself to type.

At sixteen, she became a cub reporter and worked her way up to Chief Reporter. She was the first woman Chief Reporter, the youngest, and the only one who was pregnant.

After producing a family, she became Secretary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery at the House of Commons. Secretary then meant the original meaning, Secretariat, the keeper of secrets. She was awarded an MBE in 2001 but is not sure why.

Like Trollope, she wrote books on the train and in the recesses. The Jordan Lacey PI series is her favourite and the cruise crime books. Her big romances, No Darker Heaven and Sweet Seduction, were a marathon adventure.

Stella has won a woman’s magazine national short story competition and the London Magazine’s Art of Writing competition judged by Sheridan Morley. The Elizabeth Goudge Cup was presented to her at Guildford University.

Homeless cats find their way to Stella’s lifelong hospitality and she has written eight books of cat stories for the 7 – 70 plus.

Find Stella online --

Tirgearr Publishing

 • • •

--> Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of Sweet Seduction today to one lucky commenter. Leave Stella a message with your email address, or ask her a question, and be automatically entered into the random drawing.

Or grab a copy of Sweet Seduction here.

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