First Place Winner, 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award – Excellence in Category Romantic Suspense
A father’s murder. A stolen legacy. Can passion overcome the secrets of the past?
Ella Wilcox wants one thing only — to find the men who murdered her father and stole his gem collection. With just a handful of photos documenting his work as a jewelry restorer, Ella uses her skill as a gem historian to access the vaults of the rich and powerful. If only she could peek inside the most spectacular vault of all, the one belonging to the impossibly wealthy Cherbourg family.
Sébastien Cherbourg IV wants one thing only — to take his rightful place at the head of his family’s empire. To earn their trust, he’s arranged a magnificent exhibition of his family’s legendary jewel collection. Unfortunately for him, Ella is the only woman who can sign off on the insurance paperwork.
When someone steals the gems right out from under them, Ella and Sébastien are thrown together in a desperate race to catch a thief. As danger ignites their uncontrollable passion, Ella and Sébastien discover nothing is what it seems. A family’s deadly heritage is revealed. A trusted friend becomes a traitor. And a dangerous secret threatens to shatter any chance they have for happiness together.
Short on time? Take Ella and Sébastien with you! Download the first 3 chapters in PDF form to read anytime you want…or read the first chapters here on my website, no download required.
“The details in this book were what hooked me, to be honest. I used to work in the jewelry industry, so finding out that Ms. Wiltz didn’t skimp on the details and important facets (pun intended) was really appreciated.” – Amazon reviewer
In November of 2010, I was in my first semester of grad school. My sister had just finished her first NaNoWriMo and had a completed romance novel to her name. She said she bet I could write one just as fast.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. It helped that it was Christmas break and I was dying for a break from all that scholarly reading material. I needed a setting that was familiar, so I picked San Francisco. I love jewels and jewelry, so I made Ella a gem historian. And when I needed a super-identifiable stone for her to track down, I picked a star ruby. I have an uncut star ruby ring I bought at the Tibet store in Davis, so I figured I’d at least have a visual reference.
Three weeks later, the first draft was done. I took a week to edit it, and bam, there you have it. This is SO NOT how I normally do things. I edit things to death. I spend hours on a single paragraph. But being in grad school and having a huge volume of information pass through my head helped me to temporarily let go of my internal self-editor.
I’m still not sure why I even sent the manuscript into the Daphne competition. I mean, what was I thinking? A manuscript that had been written quickly and with so little editing? No way. Asking for trouble.
For reasons I still don’t understand, I sent it in anyway. Then I found out that I won first place in the unpublished division for category romantic suspense!
I hope you enjoy meeting Ella and Sébastien. When you get to the line about Ella’s red coat, read it with a smile because you know something the rest of the world doesn’t – my sister wore a beautiful red coat home for Christmas that year and I had total coat envy.