Whirlwind Romance

A rush of emotion dropped a veil over all but the tiny world of the two people in seats 11A and 11B, in a jet plane floating somewhere over the Atlantic, in a still moment in time.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Before We Had Monuments Men There was........... Triptych


A new movie, the Monuments Men starring George Clooney, tells the story of a group of academics drafted by the U. S. Army to comb through the rubble at the end of World War II and try to protect and preserve the glorious monuments of Europe. In honor of this movie (and the book it's based on)  I'd like to give readers a chance at another thrilling story of long-lost art works, preserved and protected in a secret place beneath a castle in Strasbourg. Triptych is romantic suspense at its best, a novel in which legend, history and romance intertwine in a triptych of suspense. 

Three sisters host a mysterious Frenchman who comes to Washington to peddle artworks—artworks that turn out to be lost masterworks of the greatest European painters—Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer. The heroine's misplaced suspicion leads to their disappearance, and it takes the ingenuity of all three sisters and their three lovers to solve the mystery.

Here's the blurb:

Both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters.

Misgivings about the stranger’s intentions lead Miranda and Honor to ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey to chaperone. Three beautiful, strong-willed women living in a house with three handsome, virile men results inevitably in an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Add in long-lost master artworks, stolen prototypes and a resident genius and you have a recipe for romance. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?

Triptych has three Five-Star Reviews and tied for Best Cover and for Best First Chapter at D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters (November 2011).

Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Excerpt (PG): A Masterpiece is Discovered

Forty minutes later she waited while her friend Polly Needles, one of the curators of Renaissance art at the National Gallery, frowned at the painting. The woman’s ice blonde hair, cut in an unfashionable bob, swung thoughtfully to and fro in the slight breeze from the ceiling fan in the tiny office. She fingered the fine set of pearls at her throat. Lips pressed together, she stood and straightened the skirt of her severe gray flannel suit.
“At first glance I’d say it’s authentic. By which I mean not a forgery, but a genuine original. Unless I miss my guess, it’s from the 17th-century Dutch school at Haarlem. It’s eerily reminiscent of some of Hals’ group portraits. Tell me again where you got this?”
“I told you, the man who’s staying with us brought them from France. He calls himself the Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. He claims to be acting as an agent for a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.”
Polly stopped and stared at Miranda. “What did you say his name is?”
“Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. Why?”
Polly put a hand to her mouth in an uncharacteristically girlish gesture. Through muffling fingers she gurgled, “Do you have any idea what it means?”
“N…no. Nothing came up on Google. And Dieter Heiliger, my neighbor, hasn’t been able to find any trace of his family in Alsace. Why? Do you think it’s an alias?”
By this time tears of laughter streamed down Polly’s face. She gulped, wiped her nose, and sat at her desk. “Yes, Miranda,” she managed between gasps for breath, “I do.”
Miranda sat down hard on the other chair. She realized that, subconsciously, she’d been hoping Polly would confirm Luc’s legitimacy, that her doubts and fears would prove unfounded. “Well?”
“Miranda, a “bon arnaque” is argot—French slang—for a good ssscccam artist!” And she went off into a long spasm of giggles again. “What a perfect choice for a charlatan!”
Her friend watched with alarm, trying to dispel the feeling that bits of her heart were breaking off and crashing into her veins like tiny ice floes. She let Polly’s mirth subside. “So, okay, now we know he’s a crook. But what about the painting?”
Polly sobered immediately. “Ah, yes. I’m almost positive it’s valuable and old. How long can I keep it? I’d like to have our conservators examine it.” She started to pick it up, then suddenly bent and peered at the upper right corner of the painting. “Wait a minute.” She grabbed a magnifying glass from her desk. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait…a…minute.” She straightened and turned to her friend, her eyes wide. “Miranda, I…I think this may actually be a Hals! I’d swear that’s his signature. I don’t think I’ve seen this one before, not in any catalogue I can think of.”
“What do you mean—how could there be any unknown Hals?”
“Frans Hals had a very long career, and toward the end of his life his style went out of vogue. There could be several works out there that we’ve never seen. He was a pauper by the time he died, and many of his paintings disappeared or were sold quietly for cash. If it’s real, that means your friend the scam artist has obtained a painting worth millions.” She tapped a finger on the frame. “But from where?”
Secret Cravings Publishing, November 2011
eBook, 70,055 words, Print (206 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames
Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Buy Links:



Book Strand: http://www.bookstrand.com/triptych

To have your ebook autographed, click on Kindlegraph at my blog.

For more information on the real Monuments Men, check out this article in the Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-monuments-men-180949569/?no-ist

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