IN THE PINK
In this wry, comic entertainment set in the early 1980s it’s just three years since art historian Anthony Blunt was publicly unmasked in 1979 as the fourth man in a ring of British spies that had worked for the Soviet Union as KGB operatives.
Dame Marjorie Sandringham is a delightful and distinguished former diplomat and later Mistress of St. Ethelreda’s College, Oxford, until her recent retirement. Now she’s Chair of ISAS (the International Sisterhood for Action and Solidarity) but there’s more to her than meets the eye...
Rhoda Ribteen, Chair of the ISAS Grants and Publicity Committees attends a conference in Washington and finds herself sharing a room with Winifred Hokeki, a matronly woman from Maphutsana in southern Africa. With a sudden flash of her native initiative Rhoda offers her the ISAS scholarship for developing countries for her daughter, Kezzia, to come to England and study rural development. Maphutsana is strategically the key to Africa, and is the last remaining British colony in Africa. It ‘s due to become independent and already the Maphutsana cabal headed by Dr Bible Uvengi is intriguing for power while Romeo Alfaemzo, the guerrilla leader is backed by China.
Dame Marjorie supports Rhoda's offer and it's not long before the plump and permanently bumbling Annie Pettifer, secretary to the ISAS Grants Committee has the task of making travel arrangements for Kezzia and meeting her off the international flight. Hovering over Annie’s every move like the sword of Damocles is sharp-tongued Verene Widmer, the Swiss General Secretary of ISAS.
Kezzia proves sublime. At the Agricultural College, the Honourable Eustace Darracott and Joe Lister fight for her favours and she runs away with the succeeding days. With this success in the bag, Rhoda backs Dame Marjorie for the Presidency of ISAS. Dame Marjorie is standing against Mrs Wilmer T. Swatz of the United States, who considerably stirred up the ISAS Congress in Brussels at the Palais des Nations by daily issuing campaign leaflets canvassing for herself.
Dame Marjorie wins the contest and the way is open for a fundraising drive for Maphutsana. Grace Crackenthorpe, now eighty and a member of the ISAS Grants Committee, who has spent most of her life as a science organiser in foreign fields, is despatched there. She gets a Maphutsana branch of ISAS off the ground, totally constitutional, and the money, thanks to Kezzia's impassioned advocacy pours in. Most of all there is Dame Marjorie's brainwave, the huge Sinking Fund out of which a preliminary cash injection is given to the hopeless and homeless to get them to participate in self-help.
Cut to the following Summer when Annie's friend, the journalist Francis Best, is being seen off at the airport by his girl friend, Honor Grenville, to cover Maphutsana for a television feature at the same time as ISAS is bidding farewell to Kezzia, who has Eustace and Joe in tow. Honor and Dame Marjorie recognise one another from the time Dame Marjorie was Ambassador to Ecuador and Honor's husband Colin (from whom she has separated) was Third Secretary. Eustace, whose father is Foreign Affairs spokesman in the Lords has pulled a string or two to ensure that Kezzia will be back as an Observer at the Constitutional Conference to be held at Marlborough House. Joe, not to be outdone, has volunteered for VSO in Maphutsana.
Nobody, least of all Francis, expects the result of the Maphutsanan elections to turn out as it does. Kezzia, who formed a Women's Party, only two weeks before polling day, sweeps to power in a landslide victory and is elected President of the country. She is self-confessedly non-aligned, but the day afterwards does the little favour she has agreed with Dame Marjorie.
You quick witted reader will have cottoned on before half the book and half the manoeuvring is completed... But everybody wins in his or her own way.
Apple ibooks https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/serena-fairfax/id487813547?mt=11
Seared by a bigamous love cheat, London designer Deborah Tremaine backs off sex. But when charismatic Serbian, Zoran Pavlović, who wants to demolish an art deco cinema she’s campaigning to save, crosses her path she’s up for a fling.
Zoran has clawed his way out of Serbia’s turbulent past but believes his background means he won’t find happiness simply because he can’t trust a woman to cherish him for who he is — a Serb. But he’s a hot-blooded Slav up for no-strings sex and Deborah sends him into overdrive.
Deborah’s finances are in meltdown when a customer goes bust. Zoran dangles a business deal based in Belgrade, Serbia that she can’t refuse. She’s confident the job won’t compromise the campaign and decides that Zoran is the guy who can jump-start her love life.
They embark on a sizzling affair but tension, erotically sexual and work related, skyrockets. Incidents trigger the revelation of their personal demons. Can they escape the black holes?
Ko je ta zena? “Who is that woman?” Zoran Pavlović trained his binoculars on the pigeon-haunted roof of the derelict cinema, his eyes zoning in on the endless blue-jeaned legs, the wind-blown auburn hair, the high, full breasts jutting against the thin fabric of her sherbet-lemon T-shirt. She was primetime. A hardening heat coiled through his groin.
“That’s Deborah Tremaine, sir, the interior designer who’s spearheading the campaign.” His aide sweated nervously in the summer sunshine. “I think we ought to…”
“I think,” Zoran said and dealt him a trenchant glance, “you should leave the thinking to me. I want you to stay here and monitor this lunatic fringe.”
Nice view, Zoran muttered as he assessed his options for handling her. She was brandishing a crimson flag emblazoned with the purple slogan Save Our Heritage Now! having scaled the ladder hauled into place by her supporters. Singing “We Will Overcome,” they’d blockaded the bulldozers and charmed the guard dogs into shadows with choice chunks of meat.
Zoran sprang from the Land Rover, a powerful body in black— denims, T-shirt, trainers—and cut a swift path over the rubble. Tipped off that activists planned to stage a long sit-in, they’d already spiked redevelopment for months—months that left him seriously out of pocket. It couldn’t go on, it wouldn’t go on. Action was imperative—action that would be characterized as friendly persuasion in his native Serbia, although possibly something quite else in England—but he’d ride out the storm. He’d ridden out worse.
“Quite the warrior princess, Boadicea,” he murmured as, storming the treads, he scaled the parapet with spider-like agility. He flicked her a cool, controlled gaze, his belly knotting as he registered the luminosity of her skin, the scent of lavender shampoo in the shining cloud of hair, eyes of lapis blue, a soft mouth that promised so much.
“I’m Zoran Pavlović. We haven’t met before…”
Their eyes swerved together and held, and suddenly Deborah’s heart was drumming with the most primitive sexual charge. She felt like melting ice, lost and floating in a warm flood. As the sensuous amber-richness of his cologne infused her senses, a wave of entrapment clutched her and she inched away. “I’m sure I’d remember if we had.”
She’d tracked him as he sharked across. The strong sunlight highlighted the glossy, cropped, raven-black hair, restless energy exuding from the long-limbed body, the T-shirt taut against wide shoulders. The polished skin with its hint of olive. She knew he owned the site and was once mauled by the media for his predatory style but now played them like a Stradivarius violin with his promise to deliver jobs and homes.
“Welcome aboard,” she added caustically. “So what’s on offer?” She tilted her head speculatively and lifted her chin. The dangling, animist-style earrings from central Africa clinked softly, the antique beaten silver contrasting with the sudden, bright color in her creamy skin as his glance stripped her naked. God, this wasn’t supposed to happen. She was a foolish, reckless nineteen-year-old again, easily aroused and prone to coup de foudre.
He was well armed for the fight. “We’ll talk when you’re down.”
Siren BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/loving-that-feeling
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-that-feeling-serena-fairfax/1118197748?ean=9781627409261
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm.
Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content, that you can download free from her website until 1 August 2014.
She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog http://www.serenafairfax.com/serena_fairfax_author_blog/
Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure.
Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).