I love words. The profoundness of them intrigues me. I like to use them to best effect, for language, as much as a touch or caress has the ability to strike fear, rage, pain, sadness, euphoria, arousal, happiness into our souls. We remember touch, or our first kiss, the memories may fade over time, but words...words never fade. They are tucked away in our memories, still as loud as when we first heard them.
I am not a poet. I prefer novels, always have. But in high school, I discovered two poets, whose ability to use words to convey so many emotions, thoughts and feelings drove me to read everything they had ever penned. I have a fascination with them, and am proud to say own two antique copies of their entire works. Those two poets were Byron and Keats.
I adore them both for different reasons. Keats, I love his passion, the vulnerability he conveys and his gorgeous, lush descriptions. I chose him for the poet that Lindsay and Anais read, mostly because of Keats impassioned, hopeless love for his neighbor, Fanny.
On page 197 in Addicted, Lindsay quotes part of a love letter written by John Keats to Fanny. I think it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.
"I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion-- I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more-- I could be martyred for my religion-- love is my religion. I could die for that. I could die for you."
Ugh, just so impassioned and if you knew his whole story, that he did indeed, die a young man, the words only become more profound.
And just the other day, I discovered this gorgeous movie about John and Fanny's love affair. The movie is called Bright Star, and let me tell you, if you can see it, you should. At the very least, watch the trailer. I needed Kleenex, just as a warning!
Happy Friday, everyone. Let me know what you think of the movie, or trailer. And, don't forget to enter to win a copy of Winter's Desire.
GAWD I love our FedEx man! He's young and cute and always grins when he hefts up those heavy boxes (and I ALWAYS admire his biceps which have tattoos). Today he had two of those precious boxes and inside was the LIT ladies first Celtic Spice anthology, Winter's Desire.
My novella is Midnight Whispers. It's 1850's Northern England, and it's the eve of the Winter Solstice. My heroine is a widow who is caught between the memories of her husband, and her desire for the life and blood younger solider who came to break the news of her husband's death.
I really love this novella. I'm proud of it. And I'll be thinking of creative ways to give away a few copies!! Keep checking back.
And let me tell you, the wintery forest is just stunning when you see it in person. And the boobs...well, in hubby's words....'what forest'. Yeah, Mr. All Eyeballs and Teeth, oogling the the surgically enhanced Celtic Goddess....gesh, nothing is sacred!
Well, long time no Wallingford! I know you guys like the occassional taste of this bad boy,so here's a little excerpt that did not even make into the final draft of the book. My editor, in fact, has not even seen it. I decided to leave it out,due to a number of factors, the least of which was word count.
But I really liked it,and saved it, thinking that Wallingford's fans might be interested. In this scene, Jane has followed him after seeing that he's received a mysterious missive from a woman. In a fit of pique and curiosity, Jane impetuously goes after him.
Jane crouched to her knees and steadied herself by holding on to a thick branch. It had been mere child’s play to follow him to this spot in the meadow that bordered the Wyre Forest. A male voice, rumbling a short distance away, caught her attention. Jane swayed gently on the balls of her feet, moving from side to side in an attempt to see Wallingford and his mystery woman from between the rustling leaves. “You told me you would come back soon,” a small quiet voice said from beyond the leaves. “You lied to me.” “Is it not soon?” he drawled in that exasperating laughing way of his. She could almost see him standing with his arms folded across his chest and his black brows arched in mocking hauteur. “Don’t tease.” “Never you, love,” he drawled, his voice deepening. “You know I never tease you.” “I was afraid that maybe…maybe you no longer l…l..liked me.” “Silly pet,” he murmured as a twig snapped beneath his boot. “You know how very fond of you I am.” “I am your favourite woman,” she replied then promptly giggled. “My very favourite.” Unable to stem her curiosity, Jane knelt to her knees and parted the leaves that hung profusely from the branches. She saw Wallingford from the knees down as well as a flicker of lemon yellow muslin that wrapped around the leg of his blue wool trousers whenever the breeze picked up. Damnation! She wished she could see more. She was certain this creature was not Lady Burroughs. The countess was brazen and worldly; this creature sounded innocent and frighteningly naïve, which made her question what the devil Wallingford was doing in the middle of the forest meeting an innocent. “I made you angry last time when I refused to do what you wanted.” A male grunt followed that statement, but he did not speak. “That’s why you left. Because I didn’t please you. I didn’t like being left like that.” “And that is why we are meeting here, is that not right, so you can make amends?” Jane felt her lips firm in indignation. What blatant manipulation on his part. Why, he was turning the woman’s obvious guilt to his advantage. He was actually going to coerce this poor innocent into a sordid affair in the middle of a meadow. “I want to please you,” the voice whispered in the quiet. “I do not like it when you are cross with me.” “Come then, let us try again,” he said in a deep drawl. “I’m afraid,” the voice suddenly cried, and Jane pressed forward in order to see them, but her bonnet caught on a branch and pitched forward obstructing her view. “There is nothing to be afraid of, pet.” “It’s…It’s awfully big.” Tearing the bonnet from her head, Jane smothered a gasp of shock. Bloody hell, the libertine! Was he taking this woman’s hand and pressing it against his trousers as he had done with her? Wallingford’s sudden chuckle sent an unsavoury ripple down Jane’s spine. She assumed it was a shudder of disgust, but then she felt warmth seep into her blood as she recalled just how large he was beneath his trousers. She was scandalized to discover that it was not completely disgust, but a small measure of jealousy she was experiencing. “You wouldn’t want a small one. Trust me, love.” “I might want it to be small,” came the frightened reply. “After you get the knack of it you will not want a small one. Trust me.” “I’m not sure what to do.” “Why do we not start by touching him, hmmm?” “No, I don’t want to.” There was a brief rustle of starched muslin and the faintest of feminine whimpers that made Jane think they were tussling. “He’s hard.” “Mmm,” came a low murmur. “It’s moving!” shrieked the woman. “Well of course it’s moving!” he said through what Jane could tell were gritted teeth. “He finds your touch pleasurable. He’s moving in for more of your hand. Give him what he wants, pet.” Bloody hell! What disgusting act was he forcing on this…this innocent? “It’s wet.” “Happens. It’s been a bit since he’s been ridden hard. He can’t quite hide the fact he’s been neglected.” “I…I’m afraid,” came the voice again, but this time it sounded more like a child than a woman. “I don’t know what to do.” “Let me show you, pet. You’re doing so well. Can’t you see how much he is enjoying your touch? ” “What do you want me to do?” “Sit astride him.” “No!” the woman gasped. “I can’t. He’s too big.” “Sssh,” Wallingford soothed. “Now you promised me, and we cannot go back on our promises now, can we?” A little whimper escaped the woman’s lips and Jane felt her stomach contents churn uncomfortably. What would he do if the woman refused--would he rape her? She had heard rumblings about him before, his seductions that leaned toward forced. Jane’s breath caught in her throat. No, she would not let him! No woman would suffer such a fate if she was nearby to prevent it. God above, she’d scratch his eyes out before she let him hurt any woman. “How long must I sit on him?” “As long as it takes.” Wallingford replied silkily. “Who knows, perhaps you won’t want it to come to an end.” She heard the woman make a sound, but Jane could not see her, nor decipher it was a noise that stemmed from doubt or excitement. “Come, pet, I will buy you some sweets if you do this.” “I want a doll. You promised to buy me a doll if I sat on him. ” Jane’s spine straightened and she sat up, gagging at what she heard. This was a child. And a young one at that. “Very well, you shall have a new dolly. A pretty china one. As pretty as you. Now then,” he said with a slight grunt. “Climb on and lets have a go. You’ve teased long enough.” “You bloody bastard,” Jane roared, charging from her hiding spot in the bushes. Her bonnet was swinging in the air and her reticule shot out in a wide arc as she flailed her arms like a mad woman, hoping her weapons would connect with something, preferably his head. “Leave that child alone, you bloody lecher!” She hissed as her reticule connected with his shoulders. “Damn you, Wallingford, you bloody leech, you debauched…” she panted as she brought her bonnet atop his head, preparing to crown him with it. “How could you? How could do this to an innocent? What pleasure is there to be had in a child-” Choking on her panting breaths, Jane paused to catch her breath and bring her bonnet smashing one more time atop Wallingford’s head. A strong hand manacled her wrist and her gaze immediately shot to his dark hand gripping hers, then to his eyes which looked murderous. Blinking widely Jane darted her gaze to the right and nearly fainted dead away at the sight before her. “Good day,” the woman said as she smiled brightly. Her gaze volleyed back to Wallingford who arched one questioning brow. Mortified, she pushed away from him and took a step back. “Miss Rankin,” he snapped, and Jane saw how his gaze lowered to her skirts, which she knew were damp and dirty about the knees. “I see you’ve been spying on me. How very awkward.” “I…I…” she swallowed hard and looked up at him. He was dressed in only his shirtsleeves and trousers. His jacket and waistcoat lay in a heap in the long grass. Her gaze swung to the child—or what she had thought was a child. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered as she started to back away. The girl, a young lady, really, was sitting atop a huge chestnut horse, her yellow gloved hand busily brushing the beast’s glistening wet nose. “My sister,” he snapped as he waved his hand in the direction of the young lady atop the horse. “Lady Sarah Astbury. Sarah, pet, this is Miss Jane Rankin.” Oh God, what had she done? He must think her mad. “How do you do,” the woman replied and Jane saw that she had straightened her posture and was slowly rocking back and forth in the saddle as her hands nervously began to wring in a ball, the reins becoming tangled between her fingers. “Come, pet,” Wallingford said softly as he reached for her. “You’re becoming agitated and the horse can sense that. There’s a girl,” he murmured, steadying her as her feet landed on the ground. “I am sorry, Matthew that I did not ride him as I promised you.” “Sssh,” he said with an affectionate smile. “You did your best. Next time, hmm?” She smiled brilliantly and turned her gaze from her brother and settled it on Jane. “I’m afraid of horses,” she said simply. “My brother says I must learn to ride, but I do not want to. He says I can have a doll, though, if I learn. I like dollies.” The body of a young woman, the mind of a child. Sarah Astbury was a good head taller than Jane and as slender as a reed. From beneath Sarah’s bonnet brim, Jane could see that she shared the same colored eyes as her brother. “I’m seventeen,” Sarah said proudly. “My brother says that maybe I can come to London and go to a ball. I can dance. Matthew taught me. I love to dance. Do you dance, Miss Rankin?” “Ah, no,” she said, glancing at Matthew. “My brother will you teach you, won’t you, Matthew? Matthew loves to dance.” Jane felt herself flushing, but Wallingford took it in stride as he smiled benevolently down at his sister. “Matthew says that if I learn to ride, he will take me riding in Hyde Park. I’ve never been to Hyde Park. Have you?” “Pet,” Wallingford said on a laugh. “It’s best for a lady to keep an air of mystery about her. You’ll have told Miss Rankin your life story in the first five minutes of your acquaintance, then what would you have to talk about over tea?” “Gossip,” Sarah replied bluntly. “Father says women have nothing better to do over tea than gossip. And I am a woman, and women gossip. Is that not right?” Lady Sarah asked her pointedly. Wallingford laughed and wrapped his arm around his sister’s shoulders. With an affectionate squeeze he looked down at her and smiled. Jane was quite stunned by that show of affection. “Do you think she knows?” Sarah asked in what was meant to be a whisper. Wallingford’s eyes softened and his smile melted away. “Do not concern yourself, pet.” “Pray forgive me,” Jane choked out as she took an awkward step back. “I mis.. that is to say…” “You thought I was ravishing a child and you came to save the day, is that it?” “What does ravishing mean?” Sarah asked. “I thought perhaps…well, that is to say you could hardly blame me for thinking…” “Oh I can blame you,” he snapped. “I’m sure it all sounded very debauched and sordid with you hidden and crouched on your knees listening to everything.” His black brow arched as he pointedly looked at her. “Hard and big and sitting astride obviously took on a different meaning to you than from what I had intended.” Jane blushed red to her roots and looked away. “No doubt you were recalling those few moments back in Raeburn’s salon, when hard and big was undoubtedly the truth. She glared at him. Wicked, wicked man! “I hear something,” Sarah said, her voice suddenly guarded. “Father,” Sarah cried, pressing against Wallingford. “I know the sound of his boots.” “Sssh, pet.” Wallingford soothed, but the gentleness of his voice was lost beneath the roar coming from the brush. “Damn you, girl, where the devil have you got to?” Jane watched as Wallingford whispered something in her ear as a middle aged man with white mutton chop sideburns and unruly hair came barging out from between two large bushes. “Well, well,” the man said, looking between the three of them. “What have we here?” “N…N…Nothing,” Sarah cried. The man gave Sarah a withering glare. “Simple, useless girl,” he snapped. “Get over here.” Jane felt her spine go rigid as the man pointed to a spot by his boots as though he were demanding a dog to come to heel. “Stay,” Wallingford commanded the girl in a soft voice. “You will release her to me,” the man roared. “Sarah, damn you, come here at once. You know you are not to leave the estate. Lord, the last thing I want is the villagers seeing you.” “Return to the estate, you Grace,” Wallingford replied through snarling lips, “and I will bring Sarah back in an hour.” “Don’t meddle in my affairs, sirrah,” the man hissed, then promptly snatched Sarah from Wallingford’s hold. “The chit is none of your concern. I’m embarrassed enough by you, why should I add to my mortification with this bumbling creature as she goes about, humiliating me with her stupidity? Get going, girl,” the man ordered, shoving Sarah along. Jane watched as Matthew’s gaze turned murderous. “If you harm her you will answer to me.” The man laughed and crossed his arms over his chest. “And what will you do?” he said with a cruel laugh. “You can’t even rouse yourself out of bed, let alone get up the nerve to confront me.” “Don’t threaten me.” “Who is this?” the man asked, suddenly turning his gaze to Jane. “None of your concern.” “No, eh?” the man said, looking her over with his bright eyes. “Everything concerns me. I hold the land, the title and the purse strings, if you will but remember.” “Miss Jane Rankin,” Jane said with a curtsey as she ignored Wallingford’s narrowed gaze. “Another lightskirt,” the man grumbled. Jane gasped at the insult and took a step forward preparing to give the man a scathing set down. Wallingford stopped her with a hand on her arm. “You will come by the estate before you leave the county,” the man addressed Wallingford. “We have business. Business that can’t wait.” Jane watched as the man cupped his hand around Sarah’s slender neck and ushered her toward the bush. Wallingford let out a choked growl from deep in his chest and took a step forward. “I will kill him if he hurts her.” Jane glanced at Wallingford and saw the promise shining in his eyes. “Your father, I presume?” He turned his gaze to her and slowly nodded. “Charming, isn’t he?” Jane swallowed hard and tilted her head to the side so that she could watch as the duke and Lady Sarah disappeared amongst the trees. “And Lady Sarah, she will be safe with him?” “For now,” he muttered, looking away. The silence that ensued was awkward between them and the humiliation soon began to reawaken. Lord, she had made such a muck of things. If only she had tamped down her jealousy she would not have followed him out here and behaved so abominably. But then you would have never seen him like this, considerate of the feelings of another. Loving and caring a woman who was imperfect. “Shall we?” he asked, motioning to the horse. “I’m certain our whereabouts are being questioned.” “Perhaps then, we should not be seen arriving back at the house together,” she murmured, conscious how it would look if she were seen with him, riding atop his horse. “I trust you can find your way safely back, then?” “Indeed.” With a shrug, he bent and picked up her bonnet that had fallen to the ground and handed it to her. “Good day, Miss Rankin.” “Good day, my lord.” He was vulnerable, a little voice inside her whispered as she watched Wallingford ride away. It had been there, shining in his eyes. She had seen something kind and loving in a man she thought incapable of love or kindness. She had wanted to reach out and place a hand on his arm and touch him, ground him. God help her, she still wanted to. But what she wanted more was to peel back the pieces of this man and learn what truly resided deep within him. Like an onion, Wallingford had many layers, most of which would make a woman cry.
So now that Sinful is done and gone into production, as well as Velvet Haven, I'm finding myself at loose ends. Always dangerous for me, because my mind gets going and I get into trouble! :)
I've already blogged that I love the fall, and see this season as a new beginning. Strange since everything starts becoming dormant at this time of year. I don't know why it is, I just feel that the year is renewing for me. Traditionally, the fall is the time of year that I begin putting together proposals for future contracts. That's already done. I've sold the Sins and Virtues series to Spice, and Trey's partial is out with a few new houses. I probably will, in the coming weeks, begin thinking of book 2 in the Immortals of Annwyn series. I already know who I'd like to have as the next hero, and his heroine is already formed in my mind. I'd like to spend more time in Annwyn in this next book. Probably what will happen is my editor and I will chat via the phone about the next book, my ideas etc...and we'll discuss it, and reader expectations. I think, though, she'll like what I'm thinking of for book 2.
So, I've been using the time off to catch up on reading, although, I'm having a REALLY hard time finding something I'm falling in love with. I've also been gathering information for website updates which are sadly behind. I've toyed with the idea of combining my blogs into one Sophie/Charlotte blog. Most of you know that I write under two names, and maintaining two blogs gets a little difficult at deadline time. So, I've been thinking of that, thinking of promo for Velvet Haven and Sinful, and getting the MAJOR itch to begin designing the Sins and Virtues web page. It's a bit early for that, but I can't help myself. Currently, I'm surfing for men to be the 'sins'. I want a character gallery like I have for the Immortals of Annwyn. I've found three of the four sins. I've also found a couple cool quotes regarding sins from William Shakespeare--and you know I gotta use them in the book!!! They are, 'Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall' which is so great for the whole premise of the series. And then this next quotes I think is perfect for Lust to whisper in his virute's ear... 'Commit the oldest sins the newest kind of ways' I think Chastity might swoon to hear that murmured huskily, and seductively in her ear!
The picture above is my newest find. Isn't it cool? It's given me some inspiration for the Unseelie Court that my Dark Fae princes belong to.
What else....hmmm, nothing really. I'm really a rather boring person, I guess. What about you guys? Read anything really fabuous you think I might like? Any good movies?
My last post talk of The Muse and the weird path she takes me on sometimes. I usually follow her, anxious to see where she leads. I followed her this time, and she got me a new series with Harlequin Spice! I'm so happy to share my good news with you guys. I think you're really going to like this series.
It was inspired by many things, mostly my love of dark, gothic things...and sin! :) This series will release in Feb, 2011. I know it sounds like forever away, but I'm already writing the first book. It will be the next book to release after Sinful, and kind of follows the Sin theme!
The series takes place in Georgian England, approximately around the 1790's. There was a surgence of the Gothic in that era, so my series will definitely have a dark, gothic tone. It's also combined with fantasy elements.
I'd like to attach part of the proposal that I sent to my editor to give you an idea of what the series is about.
In Georgian England, the court of King George III is full of amusements, ranging from the innocent to the most depraved. London in 1790 is a dichotomy of wealth and poverty, the West End—home to families of ancient titles, palatial townhouses and elegant courtesans, and the East End—a maze of tumbledown rookeries, gin taverns and bawdy houses.
It is the height of the Season where days are spent shopping, making calls and riding in Hyde Park. The nights are filled with concerts, the opera, and balls where marriage minded young ladies parade themselves before the available gentlemen. In the East End, Covent Garden attracts both sides of the city, and the Dark Walk is an avenue for both moral and immoral pleasure seekers.
Absorbed in their own dazzlingly world of privilege and leisure, or struggling to survive the hell of their miserable existence, the residents of London have no idea that they are living—and sleeping—with those that are not human…
It is said that the Fey have always lived amongst the mortals, their world lying parallel to ours. They live in two courts, the ‘good’ faeries, belong to the Seelie Court, where gaiety and happiness reign. And then there are the Dark Fey, those who live in the Unseelie Court, or the unholy court as it is known. These dark faeries are mysterious and sensual, well versed in pleasures of the flesh. It is said that to look upon them and their beauty is to be drawn into their erotic, voluptuous world, and once there, your fate is sealed, your body and will, no longer your own.
And that is precisely what happened, once, long, long ago to a beautiful queen of the Seelie Court who caught the attention of the king of the Unseelie Court.
The king found the queen stunning, and he desired her. Soon the queen was all the king could think about; he was consumed with yearning for the beautiful queen and wanted her more than anything, but the queen spurned him. So, the king stole her from her bed while she slept and brought her to his court where he used his erotic skills to win her over. The king was certain he could win the queen’s love, but the queen despised the king, and once she delivered twin boys, she found a way to leave his dark court.
One night, she stole away, taking one son with her, the golden haired child who was the image of her Seelie self, leaving behind his dark-haired brother who bore his father’s resemblance. As she fled she placed a spell on the Unseelie Court, that it whither away, never to thrive again until the king of the Unseelie’s could make a woman give herself to him of her own free will and love her deeply in return. As well, she cursed the sons of the king’s siblings, and any future male children of the king with each cardinal sin, further destroying the princes’ chances of finding a woman who would give herself willingly.
To this day, the Queen’s spell holds strong. The Unseelie Court is dying. Abandoned as an infant, the son, named Aragos, is left to be raised in the cold darkness of the Unseelie Court. He knows nothing of love or affection, just the warmth of plotting revenge against his Seelie brother, and the queen who left him to be raised in misery. As the eldest of the Unseelie princes, he assumes the rule of the dark court when his father dies. Aragos is forced to watch its splendor continue to dwindle beneath the spell.
Despite trying for years, Aragos has never been able to find a way to break the spell. Until he discovers an obscure myth in the scrolls which says that to keep the courts thriving, a mortal female must mate with a fae prince. The scrolls further say that every one hundred years, seven women are born into the mortal realm who represent the virtuous aspects of humanity. Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility. The Seelie Fey, whose court is flourishing has always been able to tempt those virtuous mortals to their court, thereby mixing mortal and Fey blood together, ensuring longevity of their people. It has been more than a century since the birth of the last virtues, and the seven mortal virtues are not only born, but of a marriageable age. These women, Aragos knows, are the only way to save the Dark Fey. He must find a way to entice the virtues to his court, but the trick is to ensure that they give themselves freely. He spends much time thinking of a way, and finally comes upon a plan to ensure the virtues are unable to resist the Unseelie Court. He will use the Fey princes who represent the sins—lust, gluttony, greed, envy, sloth, wrath.
The King knows that the power of the dark court and its sensual mysteries are a lure to most mortals, and he can only hope that the virtues will feel the same. Could their resolve be softened? Could they, in fact, be tempted by sin? Their task will not be easy, but nevertheless the king does set his plan in motion. Each sin will corrupt, through erotic pleasure and sinful offerings, their opposing virtues. But there is one caveat, the virtues must be enticed, never forced against their wills, and they must follow the sins back to the Unseelie Court of their own volition to live there and become the mates of the sins. If the virtues give themselves freely, and mix their blood with that of the Fey, the court will once again flourish. Not only that, one union between a sin and virtue will produce a daughter that will grow up to be either the Seelie or Unseelie king’s bride.
Aragos is prepared to do battle with his twin brother, the Seelie King, for the right to claim the mortal as his. And only then, when his bride gives herself, and her soul to the Dark King will the spell be broken and the Unseelie court left to regain its glory of the past—a battle he knows will be bloody and fierce—but one he must win if he, and his court are to survive.
The future of the Dark Fey rests with the seven sins, and their ability to beguile their opposing virtues. But virtues being virtuous will not be easy to corrupt, and it will take very creative thinking on the part of the Sins to make the virtues fall into their dark, sensual embrace. But who is to save the Sins from falling for the charms of their virtues, especially when said virtues are ready for a taste of sin?
So, we've got some dark and sensual Unseelie Fey princes, and some maidenly mortal women who embody the virtues! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what the sins have instore for their virtues!
The first book in the Sins and Virtues series will be.....LUST
To be followed by Vanity.
I'm looking forward to sharing these books with you. They're be historical, erotic, and full of romance, just like any other Charlotte book. My webmistress will be designing a new page for this series, and I'm already planning content for it.
Already, I'm fantasizing about the cover for LUST!
I've had a couple people email me about Winter's Desire, so I thought I'd post a bit about it. It's our take on a holiday tale--the Winter Solstice and it's steeped in Celtic folklore. (Beltane and Samhain will follow in other collections)
My novella, Midnight Whisper's takes place during the Crimean War. It's about a young wife whose husband is an officer and killed during the battle as well as the younger soldier who comes to break the news.
Sinead is the heroine, and Kieran is the young soldier. The Gaelic name Kieran means Black and he's very much like his name's meaning--dark, brooding, dangerous and deeply in touch with his masculinity. Her husband, David was blond, a gentleman, and very careful with Sinead. Sinead loved and adored him. But Kieran brings out those deep womanly needs she never expressed or showed to David. Sinead thinks of Kieran as her dark, and David her light.
Months go by and Sinead is trying to convince herself that she cannot allow Kieran's attentions, while Kieran believes he needs to step up his game. lol!
What insues is a romantic, passionate and very sexy tale of finding oneself and growing in life. I love Kieran, and my editor, says 'Kieran fairly smolders on the page'! It's the first time Lara and I worked together and it was really rewarding. It made this novella, which was really hard to get out, much, much easier.
I will tell you, though, that I found this novella excrucinatingly difficult to write. When I was 24, I was widowed. When I came up with the story (inspired by Dido's Christmas tune, On Christmas Day) I figured I was well past those feelings. after all, it's been fourteen years and I have re-married and become a mother. But I was wrong. It brought back feelings I thought I had long ago buried and moved past. My love story was not quite as beautiful as Sinead's with David, and at times I found it hard to write her widowhood in positive light. Now when I go back to it, I like what I've done with Sinead's story. And I like Kieran. Oh, boy do I like him.
Here's a little snippet from the story. I'll post a more formal excerpt in the next week or so on my website. Winter's Desire releases Nov 09 from Harlequin Spice.
Enjoy! It was warm in the cottage, despite the open window above the porcelain sink. The late December wind was cold, biting, as it blew in through the lace curtains. It should have cooled her, but Sinead felt so very warm, cocooned in the small cottage that sat at the edge of the village and a heavily wooded forest.
The sun was setting, streaking in dark pinks and purples across the sky, the vivid colors disappearing behind the tops of the naked tree branches. Snow, white and fluffy fell gently, like cotton fluff, from the heavy grey clouds, to cover the earth in a blanket of white—as soft and beckoning as the finest goose down.
Glancing away from the falling snow, a flash of gold caught her eye as she picked up the dough and set it into a bowl to rise. Her wedding band. Her fingers dusted white with flour and dough, Sinead held her hand up, studying the simple gold ring in the light cast by the fire. It was a reminder of a past, the mark of a new life that had never had a chance to grow, the visual of a commitment and love that defied even the grave.
A haunting reminder. A source of guilt. Always the shame came whenever she saw the gold band David had slipped onto her finger when he had spoken his vows to her. Vows that were never intended to be broken. Vows she had clutched steadfastly to. Yet the words, with my body, I thee worship had taken on new meaning whenever she heard them in her thoughts.
Dunking her hands in the bowl of warm water, Sinead wiped them on her apron, and turned to the little brick oven where a loaf of bread, golden brown and steaming hot, was waiting to be pulled out with the long handled paddle.
“Let me get that.”
The deep resonant drawl skated along her skin, and she glanced once more at the band on her finger, fighting the flicker of awakening that rippled along her body.
She did not turn to greet him. She did not want to see him, did not want to feel his hand brush against hers as he took the paddle from her. She did not want to smell him, the scent of clean male sweat and freshly laundered cambric. She did not want to know the sensation of his broad chest engulfing her back; his hands, beautiful and strong snaking around her middle. She did not want to see that sinful mouth and imagine the kind of pleasure it could bring her.
She had thought too many times of those things, dreamt them too many times. In her mind she had tasted his mouth, his tongue against hers. She knew what she would taste—man. She knew how his hands would feel on her naked body, strong, weathered, masculine.
With her back to him, she composed herself, willing her body under control, her mind from envisioning him overtop her, dominating her with his strength and a muscled body she knew would sexually master hers.
She had dreamed of that body, tall and thick and so warm. She had fantasized about succumbing to him, allowing him to have her. She craved his strength, his masculinity. She yearned to be a woman with him—his woman, in every sense of the word.
He was the opposite of David, yet no less intriguing. Perhaps, if she were being honest with herself, he was the most captivating and arousing man she had ever met. And every moment spent in his company was a lesson in torture, for she could not allow herself to discover the pleasures of his body loving hers.
The wood which he had just cut, fell with a thud to the stone floor. The noise was followed by the tread of his boots across the small space between the hearth and the kitchen. Their fingers touched, brushing skin against skin. His so cold and roughened by the elements; hers warm, soft, slipping supplely between his like his body would slip inside hers, then out, only to slide deep within once again with a powerful thrust that would at once inflame, yet soothe.
Her core clenched in memory, her body trembling with the need to feel passion once again. She hungered for it, this physical intimacy with another human being. The warmth of being touched, held, whispered to. The heavy feel of a man on top of her, her hair wrapped around his hand, her chin tilted to receive the thrust of his tongue as he filled her with his phallus.
She had not been touched by a man in three years. So long…
Sweat trickled down her neck, sneaking beneath the ribbed bodice of her serviceable work gown until she felt it captured between her breasts. He would know her thoughts. He always knew. He would hear her labored breathing, recognize the flush in her cheeks, see her nipples hardened beneath her worn corset and thin cotton gown. He would discover her wicked thoughts, the vision of the two of them naked, mating like animals. He would know because he watched her. He always watched her with those black, mysterious eyes that were fathomless in their depths.
Finally, Sinead allowed her held breath to escape when he did not linger as he usually did when they touched. Even the barest brush of their skin had been cause for him to stop and look at her. Sometimes he had reached out, to touch her cheek, but always he would check himself, drawing his hand away and replacing it at his side. Sometimes she was relieved when he remembered himself. Other times she was left aching, her body crying out for one simple touch of a man’s hand against her skin.
Kieran’s touch. For it had been this way for months now, her wanting Kieran—needing him—as more than a protector and helper. Ignoring her suffering, he slipped the paddle beneath the round loaf, pulling the fresh baked bread from the oven onto a wooden platter before replacing the paddle beside the brick hearth.
“Thank you,” she said, busying herself with a coarse brush and a little dish of melted butter. “Will you not take it home for your dinner tonight?”
There was a pause, where only breaths, ragged and fevered could be heard. Won’t you invite me to stay? She heard his silent question, but did not look up from the golden butter that trickled over the top of the freshly baked loaf.
“I made some stew that would go well with it. Tis cold today, and you’ve worked all day long outside. It’s the least I could do in payment for all your hard work.”
Swallowing hard, she evaded his gaze, which she knew would be narrowed at her. He did not want her charity. He would not take a pence from her, even though he had repaired the neglected cottage and seen to the winter preparations. Her root cellar was full of potatoes, and turnips, carrots and onions. The larder full of flour, butter and eggs. The woodshed was stocked with thick dry logs that would see her warm the winter through.
He had seen to her home, her safety, her comfort. But she daren’t pay him in anything other than a full belly and conversation.
As she suspected, he said nothing as he walked past her and started stacking the logs in a pile beside the hearth. On the glowing embers, he tossed two thick logs and stirred the coals, the dry wood catching, the flames crackling, licking their way up the chimney.
From beneath her lashes, Sinead watched him, bent on his haunches, his muscular back rolling beneath the thin long sleeved cambric shirt. His black hair, long and untamed grazed his broad shoulders as they moved fluidly with his movements.
Kieran Thompson was as wild and black as the meaning behind his Gaelic name. Dark and quiet. Mysterious and dangerous. He was the first man since David that made her burn. The only man who had awakened the darker sexual needs inside her. With David she had been a curious virgin, an inexperienced but eager lover. With Kieran, she would be a woman, not afraid to ask for what she wanted, nor afraid to take it when offered. She would not blush at the sharing of her body with another, but indulge in the passion and pleasure to be found.
And there would be passion, and much pleasure with Kieran, she was certain.
Except to take what he offered would be a betrayal to David. To the vows she had said with such fervor. And yet, she knew her David was not coming back to her. Thinking to free her mind, Sinead reached around her waist and untied her apron then laid it on the worn work table. Crossing the small kitchen, she stood before the window that faced the forest. The trees were heavy with snow, the sun now below the horizon, casting grey and black shadows over the earth. The windowpanes were ice-covered, streaked with fern like lines of frosted snowflakes. Reaching out, she traced the path of one line, only to have a dark hand placed overtop hers. Slowly, his forefinger traced her fingers, one by one, then slipped down to her hand, where he traced the delicate blue veins beneath her pale skin.
For long seconds, she closed her eyes, savoring the gentle, erotic play of his hand on hers. His finger was calloused, rough, yet masculine and strong. She thought of those hands touching her more intimately, and she whimpered when she felt his finger slip to her wrist where he drew tiny circles over her bounding pulse. Greedily, she accepted his touch, absorbed it, clutching the memory for safekeeping where she could relive this moment night after night.
“You grow more lovely day after day. You intoxicate me until I cannot think of anything other than you.”
“I see it in your eyes. You want this. You’ve wanted it to happen since that first day I came to the cottage.”
She shook her head, denying what was the truth.
“I’ve wanted it, Sinead, your body, your warmth. I’ve dreamt of having you, dominating you, making you mine.”
“Do you know what they say about me in the village?” she asked, her voice sounding breathless.
His head dropped down beside hers. She heard him inhale deeply of her hair, then felt his chin brush her unbound hair. “Aye, I know what they call you. Witch. You enticed your husband, the second son of a noble family, with little more than a wicked spell and the promise of your luscious body. You made him give up everything for you, his family, his fortune, his friends, in order to have you as his wife.” Lips, warm and strong caressed the column of her throat in the softest of invitations. “Black widow,” he continued, “for they believe that after lying with you, you cast another spell to kill him. They say it was not the battle in the Crimean that saw to your husband’s demise but the spell of your body and your cursed love. They say you draw unsuspecting men into your sensual web where you seduce them, break them…fuck them,” he whispered darkly.
She shivered. He was coarse, yet her body responded as never before. Between her thighs she was wet, with just the sound of his voice whispered huskily in her ear. What if he were to touch her? What havoc he would cause inside her body, her soul.
“They say that while in the glimmer of ecstasy you enchant these men, you take their lives—the cost of sampling your abundant charms, and sensual mystery.”
“And are you not worried that you may turn out to be my next prey?”
“I do not believe in idle village gossip, nor the hurtful words of women who are filled with jealousy and intent on ruining the reputation of a good woman. And if it were indeed, true, that you are a merciless Black Widow who can cast spells and enchantments, I would risk it, just for a chance to share one night inside your body.”
“You would give up your life, to…to,”
“Take you?” he asked. “What other kind of death could a man wish for, Sinead, then to die between the thighs of the woman he has waited so patiently to come to him? Do you want that, Sinead,” he asked in a dark whisper that caressed her neck, “me between your thighs fucking you?”
So, I'm plotting. Sophie has ideas, and naturally, Charlotte is following suit. It's very strange to be a writer with two different personas. I consider myself a storyteller really, and currently, my muse is showing me a couple of different scenarios for both personalities.
I've verbally pitched an idea to my editor at Spice who was immediately intrigued and wants the proposal ASAP. No pressure there! So, I've currently been walking around the house with my iPod on while brainstorming ideas. I've come up with a solid basis for an erotic fanstasy historical series. I won't give any details yet owing to karma and all that stuff. While I would hope Spice would snap it up, it's not a given in this ecoconmy. I'm in a believer in karma!
However, I'm bursting at the seams to share something of it. My husband might choke me if I begin to prattle on yet again about the idea. He's listened to it for days now, trying to be supportive, but he's just not a book reader. Nor is gushing at my brilliance (said tongue in cheek) he only usually wants to know what is for supper, and when will it be ready! :)
So, I'll come to you and share my inspirations for this series. First, the series is inspired by a fairy tale my Gran used to tell me. It's actually an ancient Scottish folk song about a mortal man named Tam Lin who fell off his horse and was abducted by the Faery Queen. I loved that story and like I said, I've been inspired by elements of it for this series.
Next, is Byron's poem, She Walks in Beauty. I adore Byron and I have used this poem in Mistress of The Night. However, it's this version, done in a beautiful voice from the movie Vanity Fair that has inspired certain scenes.
And lastly, I wrote a poem that sums up the hero perfectly. I'm not good at poetry, and I haven't the foggiest why I even attempted it, but there it is....I'll share it with the world and you can see what you think...
I am the fog, mist and rain, the shadows that creep across your window pane. I am darkness and disease, the entity whom no one cares to see. I am hate, fear, rage, all humans pray to keep me at bay.
I am sorrow and loneliness. Emptiness and despair. I am, and will be your last breath of air. In the end it is you and me, and our walk of darkness where I will set you free.
Side by side we will go, we’ll touch hands, mine will be cold. You will look at me, and plead, “Please Lord Death, don’t take me.” And I will reply, as I always do, “nothing can sway me, pray do not try, for I have seen millions cry. Their tears, while soft, cannot break through this iron heart.”
I am Lord Death, bound by command, to steal life from those souls who have reached their end. I am Lord Death, a shadow of fear, a man say some, a demon cry most. I am Lord Death, and I will attest, I am cold and emotionless, and most certainly heartless. I am Lord Death, and this I will say, one day you and I shall walk the path of darkness
The Pictures are of Highgate Cemetery (London) which some of you may recall that I used in my Spice Brief, Improper Pleasures. I adore the staturary in this place, and while I'm not likely going to use it again, I find it it very inspiring and atmospheric. The Muse...I always love when she visits!
And for those of you still hungering for Wallingford, I've heard 'officially' from my editor who had this to say upon completetion of reading it. "It's everything I imagined and more!"
Well it's me again, giddy with the thought of one of my stories being translated into French. This is my novellette, Forever Yours (Spice)in an anthology with some really great authors, for the French market. I like it, especially the title. Goes well with my novella, which is about a Duke and his Duchess and the sexy letters they send to each other! Fun stuff! It's really neat to me, to think that someone could be sitting in a little cafe reading my stories!
Sorry I've not much to report, or any insightful posts. I've got my head buried deep in Velvet Haven revisions. They're coming along nicely, and hopefully I'll be done them and have the book sent to my editor by Friday afternoon. Then, I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing all weekend long. I haven't done much reading for pleasure this summer, and I'm feeling the withdrawl effects. I can't wait to dive in. Only trouble is, I can't choose what to read first from all the great books waiting for me in my TBR pile!!!
As well, Adrienne from the UK has posted on the blog about Sinful, and about how she lives quite near to the village that inspired Matthew's estate locale. She also mentioned how she might think of visiting Stourhead (the garden that is Matthew's garden) to coincide with the release of Sinful. What do we think, shall we rip her eyes out now for having the luxury of being so close to beauty! lol! I suppose we can't. It wouldn't be at all lady like, would it?! I suppose all we can do is prevail upon her to post photos for us, if she does make the trek! We can visit vicariously through her, and imagine what Jane sees when she first arrives at Wallingford's estate.
I do envy her. I wish I was rich, I'd fly all of us over, meet up with Adrienne and we could go to Evesham and follow the blossom trail and read Sinful. Or we could picnic at Stourhead and lay out on a blanket! Ah....it's good to dream!!!
I really need to get back to England. There's so much I haven't seen. I need more research!
Have a wonderful weekened, and thank you all for your continued support and for everyone who has written to me, telling me of their love for Addicted's Lindsay's, and Matthew! I do appreciate you all. And to everyone who has posted reviews, thoughts, and cover art, my humblest thanks for getting the word out!
Well, I got a little a surprise in the mailbox today. Three copies of Addicted, translated into the language of love~Italian! And it got a new cover, too! I like it. Very different from the original cover, but the smoke is there, I see. My only concern is that this book is MUCH thinner than the original Addicted, so I'm kind of angsting as whether or not the entire story is here. Not sure. I assume so. But who knows! I've had fun skimming it, picking out a few words here and there that I know in Italian. I'm able to decipher scenes and where I'm at in the book.
I love the opening. The opening lines of Addicted are: Slave. Minion. Fiend. In this one it's Schiavo. Servo. Demonio. LOVE it!!!
And for you Wallingford fans, there's this: Wallingford...modo perverso...yep, sounds like him! :)
Now I'm wondering what our Italian counterparts think of Lindsay and Wallingford?
So, what do think of the cover? Which one do you like best?
We're big So You Think You Can Dance junkies at our house. Even hubby watches it (mostly for the sake of myself and the kidlet!). Last night, Mia Michels choreographed a stunning piece of art for Kayla and Kupono. Kayla is one of my fav dancers, and Kupono was utterly mercenary and breathtaking in this piece.
It's about an addict, and her addiction and it made me think of Anais and Lindsay.
Anyway, thought I'd share in case you don't watch the show, or if you saw it and wanted to watch it again!
Hi everyone! Sorry to be so late dishing out the crumbs!!! I do have a few things for you. Not too much, but a few… Here’s an email I received from my editor today…she’s such a damn tease!!!!
Oh, and BTW, I did see some shots of just the model they used for the cover. He is bee-yoo-ti-ful! All the shots are from the back and he has amazing musculature! (And he looks really good in his breeches :-))
I seriously cannot wait to see his cover!
This next little excerpt if from a scene which is a turning point not only in the book, but in Jane and Wallingford’s relationship. I really like this scene, how he opens up, and Jane, who is a tough nut to crack begins to weakens.
Jane looked up. His breathing seemed harsh to her ears. His gaze, she noticed, was focused intently upon her. Jane struggled to not look away from that intense, almost passionate gaze. “We have done what we promised never to do,” he said, his voice husky in the dark quiet of the hall. “We—both of us—thought never to expose ourselves to the prying eyes of others. And yet we have done the unthinkable, we have sold ourselves to each other.” She could not help but stiffen at his words. Indeed, they had agreed to complete honesty, to shed the mantle of secrets they both wore, and yet, the reminder of it did little to settle her nerves. She had known what she was getting into the minute she stepped into the carriage for Evesham. She had known that her secrets would now belong to him, yet that had not prevented her from coming to him. “We are both damaged souls, Jane, marred by darkness and sin. We’re both scarred,” he whispered, brushing his thumb against the uneven skin of her top lip. “You wear your scars on the outside, while mine are hidden deep. But they’re there, Jane. You just have to look hard.” “And will you let me, my lord, look deep?” He swallowed hard, but nodded, even though it was only a slight incline of his head. “You’ve made it clear that this is the only way I can have you, Jane.” “Honesty will set you free.” He smiled, a soft sound of amusement passed between his lips. “The truth enslaves, Jane. It will chain us, bind us in a way that the two of us will fight to get free from.” “I can bear the burden.” “I wonder if you can? Because beyond this door we will cease to be the people we show to the world. Agreed?” “Yes.” “I will be only Matthew here in this room with you, Jane. Tell me, who, am I to expect? Who are you really?” “I do not know,” she said, her voice trembling despite her attempts to appear as though she were firmly in control of her feelings. “I always thought I knew myself so well. But then…” The words froze in her throat and she looked away, but he caught her chin with the edge of his fingers and turned her face to his. “Only honesty, Jane. We promised. We will not go beyond this door until I have your word that you will be completely honest with me, as I have vowed with you.” “I thought I knew what I wanted—who I was—that is, until that day I first saw you in the carriage. You…you awakened feelings in me that were strange, terrifying yet exhilarating. These feelings were all things I forbid myself—feelings I’ve never wanted to have. I was quit satisfied with never having felt pleasure or passion, and then when I met you, I questioned everything I have ever believed in. You ask me who I truly am? The truth is, I do not know.” “Do you wish to know?” “I fear the answer I may uncover.” His expression seemed to soften. She saw the flicker of something in his eye, before he shielded it with his thick lashes as he watched his thumb glide along her mouth, parting her lips. “I, too, am afraid, Jane. I fear what I will find inside me as well. I fear the things you will ask, and the answers I shall have to give you. Shall we forget this bargain of ours, then? Shall we pretend that we never agreed to bare our souls to one another? Should we forget that we have never met, never touched. Never kissed?” Suddenly she felt breathless, anxious. “Is that what you want?” she asked, fearing the answer. “No,” he said in a hard, almost choking voice. “It is not what I want. I want to know you, Jane. I want to understand what makes you different from the women I have known. I want to understand these feelings I had, that I still have.” “Then we will go forward. And we shall never tell a soul what happens in this room. We will never speak of each other’s secrets or use them to hurt one another once this week is over.” “Agreed,” he murmured brushing his thumb along her mouth. “Our secret.” Together they released the latch on the door and stepped into the room. With a quiet click the door closed behind Matthew. They were now completely alone. While clothed, Jane knew that Matthew would strip her utterly naked, and he would not have to remove one stitch of her clothes to do so.
This is for Barbara who coerced a bit of sexy scene out of me….
Matthew’s arms felt strong beneath her as he carried her to his bed. He wore a linen shirt that was unbuttoned, allowing her to feel the hot skin of his corded neck beneath her lips. Aware of the steely strength in his shoulders, Jane slid her fingers beneath the opening of his shirt and caressed his chest. His flesh was taut over the thick muscle, warm and scented with the smell of eastern spices and man. Feeling brave, knowing that she only had but a week to indulge herself with him, Jane threw caution to the wind and allowed her hand to slide further into his shirt. Cupping his breast, she discovered his chest was nothing but chiselled muscle that felt as unyielding as rock and as contoured as a sculpture. She ran her finger along his nipple and felt it grow taut and erect, pressing urgently beneath her finger. She wanted nothing more than to discover what his hard body would feel like beneath her hand and what he would look like naked to her gaze. Tilting her head back, she looked up into his face and saw that he watched her with unblinking eyes. His irises had turned to a brilliant, glistening shade of India ink and she could not help but think once more how beautiful and mysterious his eyes were. He reached the bed and instead of tossing her on it, he gently placed her atop the blankets which were folded back and followed her down until his body half covered hers. Pressing against her, his weight sank them both deep into the mattress. She should have felt smothered by his strength and the strong, large bulge of his arousal that pressed eagerly at her pubes, but she felt only desire and comfort and a strange sense of safety and rightness. “I was too anxious the last time. I did not take my time to explore you as I should have—as I wanted.” She covered his sculpted mouth with her finger, stopping his words of regret. “You gave me what I needed, Matthew. And I needed you so fiercely, and somehow you knew that. My body has not stopped crying out for more of it.” His eyes darkened further and his lashes lowered. She followed the path of his gaze and saw that he was busy untying the strings of her petticoat and she became mesmerized by the beauty and elegance of his long, dark fingers pulling and tugging and freeing the perfectly tied bow. Her breathing became rapid and she felt the light brush of his knuckles along her belly as he parted the cotton over her hip. “I want to give you more, Jane. I want to savor you, to kiss and lick every inch of you.” Her womb clenched, the muscles of her core tightened in yearning. “I want to tongue you,” he said in a deep, provocative voice. Then he flicked the tip of his tongue between the seam of her lips. “Everywhere. Your lips, your neck, your breasts, your rounded belly. Your quim,” he growled, sending a wicked, forbidden tremor throughout her limbs. “I want you to tell me your desires. I want to know what you want me to do to you. And I want to do them, Jane. I want to give you what you need.” Her corset was off and he tossed it to the side of the bed where it fell to the floor in a heap with her petticoats. She lay partially beneath him in only her chemise and she felt his wide palm slide up her calf, then thigh, nearly engulfing her flesh in his hand. He caressed her to her hip, running his hand appreciatively up and down the rounded contour. He reached up, above her head, and she froze, stiffening beneath him. It was a silly response, but she could not hide it nor could she look away from his gaze that studied her so quizzically. But he would not allow it, and tipped her chin up so that she could not avoid his gaze. “Please don’t,” she whispered, seeing how his hand was against the bed curtains. “I don’t want it to be dark, not with you. I...I want to see you—us.” “I would never want you in the dark, Jane. You were made to be seen beneath a man.” “I want see you, too,” she said, slipping her hands beneath his shirt. He helped her tug the linen over his shoulders and when his head pulled free, his hair was mussed and she ran her fingers through it, thinking how rakish he looked peering down at her with his dishevelled hair. Sliding his hand beneath her pillow, he raised himself slightly above her. It was then that she saw how beautiful he was—how strong—how wonderfully muscled beneath skin that was a rich tawny brown. Her gaze skimmed down to his belly that was fashioned out of the same hard muscle and resembled a washerwoman’s washboard. Black silky hair ran in a straight line from his navel, disappearing below the waistband of his black trousers. Her gaze slipped lower and she noticed that his trousers were tented with a formidable erection. Her stomach curled in a knot, knowing she was going to have him covering her with this hot, hard, very male body. “You’re beautiful,” she said on a sigh, sounding awed even to her own ears. “You feel like steel beneath this soft skin.” His fingers sought and found the silk tie holding her chemise and he tugged the ends of the bow taut, freeing it and allowing her chemise to gape open. She barely registered the fact that he was parting her shift, preparing to bare her breast to his gaze. She let out a deep satisfied sigh as their skin brushed together when he pulled her chemise from beneath her. Matthew looked down between their meshed chests and studied Jane’s lush body. She was naked now and he watched how the rain drops on the cottage window dappled shadows on her skin. He saw the reflection of a crystal shaped drop snake over the roundness of her hip. He traced it with his fingertip until it ran down her thigh, racing to the shadow of her apex, until another drop followed, then another, reminding him of tears. Brushing his cheek against her thigh, he closed his eyes, smelling Jane’s skin, relishing her fingers running through his hair, absorbing the feel of her naked body against his. His heart hurt, despite knowing what they would share. It ached at the loss he knew was coming closer, day after day. They would go their separate ways soon. The secrets and pleasures they shared would forever be kept within the confines of his cottage. Every time he gaze out this window, he would see rain, and the shadowy droplets on Jane’s flesh. He would think of tears and forever wonder if Jane would shed any for him. “Matty?” she whispered, and he pressed his eyes shut, willing the pain to subside. “What is it?” She lifted his head from her lap and he smiled, a sad smile, mixed with joy and desire, loss and loneliness. “I want to make you weep with pleasure, Jane,” he murmured, sliding up the length of her luscious body. “I want to take your tears away on my lips and keep them with me forever. And after, I want to paint you like this, with the shadows on your body and the remnants of pleasure casting a glow over your body.”
This next scene was the first scene that came to me for Sinful. I actually wrote it while writing Addicted. I knew then, that Wallingford was going to be really tortured, really passionate and really possessive. Here’s a little snippet.
The door opened and Jane’s gaze darted to the door, only to see him shouldering his way through and pressing his back against the door until it clicked firmly shut. His gaze met hers and then suddenly he was on his knees before her, his face pressed into her skirts as he rubbed his cheeks against her thighs. “I am in hell,” he groaned, and his fingers fisted into the silk of her skirt. “Seeing you tonight has been my salvation and my agony.” Lifting her face from the arm of the lounge, she bent over him, kissing the top of his head and running her hands through his tousled hair. “When, Jane,” he asked, his voice gruff and full of emotion, “when will I look at you and think of you as a friend? When will I see you and not feel my body harden and ache to be inside you?” His hot hands slid down her calves and snaked their way beneath her skirt so that he could wrap his fingers along her ankles and slide them up along her stocking clad leg. “When will I stop dreaming of you wearing nothing but crème stockings and lace garters? When will I ever be able to dress you and kiss you and think of you as mine?” He bent to kiss her ankle then slowly he raised her skirts, pushing the silk and the petticoats up so that her stockings were revealed to him. His mouth was everywhere, nipping at her calves, her knees, and the inside of her thighs. He hesitated for a moment then ran his lips along her mound that she had not been able to bring herself to cover with drawers. “I dream of this naked, wet flesh. I crave it,” he whispered and dropped a kiss amongst her curls before wrapping his arms around her hips and clutching her close to him so that his face rested on her bare thighs, and his breath caressed her apex. “When I saw you tonight without your spectacles, I nearly went mad.” He raised his head and looked at her, and she had never seen him more handsome than he was peering up at her from behind the crinkled blue silk. “I’m supposed to be the only man to see behind the glass.” Her lips trembled and she smothered a soft sob of longing. “It is only me that should be removing them. Only me you should see atop you.” “Matthew,” she whispered shakily, raking an unsteady hand through his hair. “God help me, Jane,” he cried, grasping her to him as buried his face in her lap. “I cannot do this! I cannot let you be. I swear I need you—need the little piece of Heaven you can give me. I need it so much.” When he looked up at her, his expression shattered her heart. “Please tell me that you’re lonely too, Jane.”
Hi guys! Well, as promised, I'm here with a few details about Lord Wallingford and his book, Sinful. I'll try to drop a few juicy tidbits at the beginning of each of month. I hope you'll enjoy them and they'll tide you over until May 2010!
So, I thought I'd start by telling you a bit about the book. It takes place a few months after Addicted leaves off. It's Spring, and most of the book takes place in the north of England, where Lindsay and Wallingford have their estates. Near Bewdley is a village called Evesham, a delightful, quaint, little village with a lot of fruit trees. Evesham inspired me. We have lots of blossoms in Sinful. Orange blossoms, quince and cherry. Wallingford is very, very creative with them. It must be the artist in him!
Years ago, when I was in England, I had the opportunity to travel to Wiltshire, to Stourhead. Stourhead's gardens are world renknowned. My day was just gorgeous, and I came away knowing that one day I would use the gardens on a grand estate, for just the right hero. Wallingford is that hero. He appreciates beauty in all forms. I've included a few pictures of Stourhead, especially the temple. Wallingford's garden has a temple, and there is much misbehaving in those gardens! lol!
The bridge in the mist was most inspiring, and I wrote a scene with Wallingford standing on the bridge in the drizzle, looking down into the water contemplating his life, and Jane. I think it's very atmospheric that picture, and it really set the tone perfectly for that scene.
CindyW asked in the last update if Wallingford dances in his book. He does, Cindy, a few times in fact. But only one special one with Jane, and it takes place in his studio cottage.
This is a picture of the cottage that sits in the gardens at Stourhead. I loved the romantic, gothic look of it and knew I had to have it in Sinful. So, this cottage is Wallingford's art studio. It's his oasis, and the only place he can truly be himself. NO ONE has ever stepped foot inside it, but this is where he brings Jane, time after time. Some of the best scenes (I feel)take place in that cottage. Wallingford is just a man here, and this is where Jane truly falls in love with him.
Music is always a big inspiration for me when I write. The first draft was written to the Pride and Prejudice movie soundtrack. The soft piano pieces are just so haunting, and I was able to really connect Wallingford's emotions with those pieces. However, there is one song, and in particular one part of it that really worked for him, and a scene where he is lying in bed, smoking, trying to pretend that he's not hurting over something that has happened between he and Jane. That song is Outside by Staind, and the lyrics are:
All the times that I've cried. All that's wasted. It's all inside. And I feel all this pain, stuffed it down, it's back again, And I lie here in bed, all alone. I can't mend
I heard from my editor a little bit ago, and she says they've already briefed Sinful's cover. She told me that she's very excited about the idea, and that she could tell me that "the cover will have a lone man on it, barechested and shot from the back' WOO HOO!!!! I'm so excited. I do believe that this will be the first lone male cover that Spice has ever produced! I can't wait to share it with you when it's done.
And now for a little excerpt. Keep in my that these teasers are first draft, unedited and may nor may not make into the final book. This is just for fun.
Hope you enjoy a little bit of Wallingford! Have a great weekend, guys!
Mathew followed his friend’s gaze and saw that it was focused intently on Jane. He didn’t care for the amused glint in Raeburn’s eye, nor did he care for the smug smile that parted his lips.
“My God,” Raeburn drawled as his smile widened, “you’ve gone and done it. You’ve fallen for the little pea-hen.”
Matthew stiffened. “Don’t call her that,” he snapped, his gaze lingering on Jane and the curve of her graceful neck and the whisps of red hair that caressed her skin.
“Why not? You do,” Raeburn taunted. “I specifically recall hearing you say she was nothing but an unremarkable and dower spinster.”
“Well perhaps I might have been wrong,” he snapped.
Raeburn placed a hand over his heart and took a mocking step backward. “Wrong? The Earl of Wallingford mistaken about a woman? Impossible, my friend. You are never wrong where women are concerned.”
Glaring at his friend, Matthew fumbled inside his jacket pocket searching for a cheroot. After locating the wooden box of matches, he irritably swiped a sulphar match against the stone railing and lit the cheroot, inhaling deep breaths of smoke before waving the flame out and tossing the match to the ground.
“Admit it, Wallingford, the pea hen has somehow managed to catch your eye.”
He caught Jane laughing as she sat down beside Anais. Even through the French doors he was aware of her, aware of the way the lamplight would reflect in the glass lenses of her spectacles—aware of the way the firelight would dance along the deep auburn highlight in the hair that was pulled so severely back. Despite the distance between them, his body was as aware of her as if she were standing beside him. He saw her laugh again, then clasp Anais’ hands in hers. Her face turned pink and he was drawn in by the simple pleasure of watching her unguarded and laughing. She was full of life and exuberance, and her skin fairly glowed as she smiled and laughed with Anais.
“She is no colorless bird,” he murmured, not knowing if had intended to say the words aloud.
“Is that so?” Raeburn asked as his gaze narrowed on Jane.
“Indeed,” he murmured, secretly smiling as he remembered her flailing about in the water that afternoon. Grinning, he recalled the colorful epitaphs that had fallen so easily from her lips as she clung madly to his shoulders. “There is something about her,” he said, unable to keep his gaze from her. “Something I cannot describe or understand. She is not the least bit beautiful by Society’s standards, and yet I have not looked at another woman since I met her at your wedding. There is something about her face that draws me in.”
“You find her beautiful?” Raeburn choked.
“Is that so damn hard to believe?” Matthew growled, tensing as his body filled with anger and a fierce protectiveness he had never felt towards a woman.
“Aye, it is,” Raeburn said with a grin. “It is almost unbelievable. I’ve never known you to look at woman with more than a passing glance. Your gaze strays to the most superficial trappings. But it seems you have looked deeper where Miss Rankin is concerned. You’ve seen beyond the spectacles and her severe manner of dress and seen the beauty within.”
“You’re talking rubbish, Raeburn,” he grunted, as he took a long, calming drag on his cheroot. “Obviously your honeymoon has made you into a romantic halfwit. You’re romanticising whatever this...this attraction is I hold for Miss Rankin. An attraction, I fear that is fuelled not by lust or affection, but by pride. She won’t have me, you see, and I am afraid that my ego cannot bear it.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew them for a lie. Knew that at first when he had pursued her at Raeburn’s wedding it might have been a case of bruised pride. However, he had to admit that those were not his feelings now. He had looked deeply—today most especially—and had seen the loveliness in Jane. And what was more, he felt strangely possessive of that rare beauty. He knew he must be the first man to really notice Jane’s beauty, and that realization made him selfish, made him want to hide her from all men. He wanted her to be his, yet he didn’t want her to think that he could be hers—that there could be anything lasting between them. But when he thought of her with another…
“I don’t believe you, you know,” Raeburn said beside him. “You see, I’ve known you too long, and I’ve seen you with too many women—women I may add that you have never looked at quite the way you look at Jane.”
“I don’t know what you mean, Raeburn, nor do I care.”
“You don’t have to pretend, my friend. I understand how damnably confusing the whole thing can be.”
“What whole thing?” He asked as he studied the blunt end of his cheroot.
“Giving your heart to another.”
He laughed, a hollow, bitter sound from deep in his chest. “I have no heart to give, surely you know that.”
Raeburn looked at him with a strange intent gaze. “You have one, I’m sure of it, you just have to find it. However, I’ll wager it’s locked up tighter than the crown jewels.”
Matthew grunted and looked away. Raeburn knew nothing. He had no heart. He was heartless. He was not kind, he was selfish and merciless. He had not given anything—most importantly his heart—to Jane Rankin. And what was more, he didn’t have it in to offer anything meaningful to any woman.
“Night, old boy,” Raeburn muttered. “I’ll see you in the morning for a few hours of fishing?”
Nodding, Matthew turned his back on the French doors and the glittering lamplight pouring out from the salon and looked up at the black velvet sky. Christ, his mind was a mess. He was thinking things he had never once thought of—never once cared about.
He stiffened, like he’d been hit with a lash. Jane’s voice, low, husky, tore into his flesh and he curled his fingers around the stone balustrade. How the intimacy of hearing her call his name in the dark made his blood grow hot. How he hated the weakening of his resolve. He was not the man Raeburn was, he reminded himself. He did not love women, or care for their feelings. He did not think of them as wives and mothers and lovers. He thought of them of sexual beings—beings to be fucked and discarded. He was callous and cruel, and he was only deluding himself into believing that he was something other than a libertine. He doubted that whatever transpired between him and Jane this week would mean a damn to him once they returned to London. He doubted he would even care, or remember all her sordid little secrets. He was damn certain he would not remember the feel of her wet body clinging to him, or recall the way he had felt strong and masculine, protecting her and whispering away her fears with soft words. He would not allow himself to remember the way she had looked up with admiration as he carried her to the river. No, damn it. He was no God damned knight in shining armor. His past a cesspool of debacles and debauches. He could not change what he was, and what was more he didn’t think he could bear to. Because caring who he was would mean that he would have to care about Jane and her opinion of him; and caring about Jane Rankin was something that would only cause him pain.
“Matthew?” she whispered, but this time she rested her hand on his forearm. It was the first time she had ever willingly touched him, and the image of her small hand on his coat sleeve played havoc with his mind. He felt himself begin to soften, begin to believe in this that could not be.
As he looked down at her hand, anger began to rage inside him. And as irrational as it was to feel angry with himself, it was even more irrational to wish to lash out at Jane.
“Do you wish for me to meet you in your studio?” she asked, her voice quiet and unsure. “Or perhaps-”
“It is our bargain, after all, isn’t it Jane,” he snapped, hating the venom he heard in his words, and sound of her startled gasp. Christ he despised the fact that he was lashing out at Jane because he was confused by what he was feeling. He felt utterly worthless and deserving. “As you’ve been attempting to tell me we have struck a bargain, and as we have both given our word, we cannot go back. So, yes, I want you in the studio. You are here for me to paint, and I am here to tell you whatever it is you want to know about me.”
“I think I learned all there is this afternoon,” she whispered, and he saw a fleeting glimmer of what he thought might be hope in her eyes. Hope that perhaps his reputation might be overblown, hope that he was really a gentleman who carried ladies safely from danger. Hope that he was anything other than the notorious, sinful earl.
“Is that what you think?” he asked, lowering his head so that he was glaring at her.
“I think I know you better than you think I do.”
He smiled cruelly. “My dear, you haven’t even begun to know the worst of me.”
Hey there, I'm posting at my Sophie Renwick blog and would love for you to come on over and put your two cents in about what readers are looking for when they're searching for new books, new authors or new releases.
for readers/reviewers to read my erotic contemporary romance, Hot In Here and post their review for pimpage. The book is written under my other name Sophie Renwick. I'm debuting that name this June with Hot In Here and I'm looking for ways to bring reader attention to the book. So, if you're interested in an ARC of Hot in Here, just email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I have an electronic format, or I will print it out and mail it to you, within North America. If you want more information, you can visit Sophie Renwick for more information on the book!
Okay, so now that I promised VampFanGirl that I would occasionally dole out some dirt and stuff on Lord Wallingford, I thought I'd give her, and you a few treats. It's not like I can send a chocolate bunny, but I'm sure these visuals will be worth a pound of chocolate! lol!
So, we all know that Lord Wallingford is a prickly fellow. He's closed and aloof, and really doesn't have a good opinion of women, although that does not prevent him from being a promiscuous rake!
One of the inspirations for Lord Wallingford was Richard Armitage's portrayal of John Thornton in the BBC's production of Elizabeth Gaskell's awesome book North and South. I read this book in grade 10, the same year I read Pride apnd Prejudice for my English lit class. I have to tell you that I loved N&S more than P&P! Thorton made me weak kneed, even at the age of 15. I hated Darcy at that time in my life, but Thornton...I don't know what it was, I adored him. That set me up, I think, for loving, and writing the brooding, misunderstood hero.
Richard Armitage's brooding sensuality made me fall instantly in love with him. I have adored this man for years, and it's only natural that I put some of that brooding longing into a hero that is probably, my most favorite character. I loved Lindsday, but there is something about Wallingford that reaches in and takes hold of me. He's so broken, that I want to hug him but he's the type that would bite back and shove you away. Which of course, makes me want to reach out even harder!
I am done with his first draft, but I keep being drawn back to it. Probably because I am writing Bran, the hero of my (Sophie's) contemporary paranormal, Velvet Haven. In many ways, these men are similiar. Both are honorable in their own right, and have a hidden vulnverability that only one woman has ever seen. They can be fiercely loyal,yet surely and closed off. Both carry burdens, and secrets that could destroy them. So, I think it's a natural extension, to be writing Bran and thinking of Wallingford.
So, here's a few facts about Wallingford and his book, as well as some very fine pictures of Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton. In these pictures, the 'looks' remind me so much of of Wallingford.
for two more blog Facts: Jane, his heroine is seen briefly in Addicted. She is Anais' aunt's companion.(One savvy reader emailed to ask this question. I was suprised she put two and two together! lol!)
Wallingford is an artist, sculptor and piano player, as well as boxing for release of 'excess desires, pent up feelings, and generalized emotions that make me crazed'
Jane compares Wallingford to an onion, 'you must peel away the layers, and every one of them would you make you cry.'
There is a scene where Jane tells Wallingford that he is 'uninvited' in her life. It was inspired by the song Uninvited by Alanis Morrisette. The words in that song have profound meaning in regards to Jane's speech to Wallingford.
The premise of the book was based on one of my favorite quotes from Anais Nin, it is 'and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.' It is relevant for both Jane and Wallingford.
The song Broken by Seether and Amy Lee is exactly how Wallinford sees himself. Almost word for word. (You can glean alot about the book from that song!) lol! I wrote a scene to it, where Wallingford is trying to pen a letter to Jane, describing his feelings.
Wallingford's name is Matthew, but Jane, when in the throes of passion whispers 'Matty' in his ear, he becomes completely undone by her honesty.
One of my favorite parts is when Wallingford is monologuing about his life, and his fears. In a very brave moment he realizes that what he longs for the most is a deep human connection. 'He was starved for it, parched, thirsting for a connection with someone-- no-- with Jane. Greedily he wanted to horde her, to hungrily devour every little word, look, soft inhalation of desire, and selfishly keep it, never to return it her, for it was for him-- his alone. Never to be shared, never to leave the confines of his memories. But there was more, so much more that he wanted from her. Touch, he shuddered at the word, the very thought. Yes. He wanted to be touched by Jane. Outside and deep within his body he wanted Jane's fingers imprinted on him, branding and binding him. He yearned for the feel of her body, her touch, her breath against his skin. He wanted it embedded in his mind, his pores. He wanted her entwined with his body and soul, both which hungered and hurt. Both which were empty and so...' he swallowed and closed his eyes, finding the strength to go on. Both which had never known softness or kindness. Both which were so frighteningly alone and...afraid. What he wanted was the sort of elemental connection that would bind Jane to him for eternity, a connection that would see him well fed and safe, forever. Body and soul. His already belonged to her, and he shook, unnerved by the truth, and the feeling that perhaps, the dawn would for once, be a welcome sight.'
So,there you have it. A Wallingford teaser! I hope you enjoyed it, and it whets your appetite for more of Sinful which be released in May 2010 from Harlequin Spice. (oh, and if you're still loving Lindsay and Anais, you'll get to see them as well!)
Even us authors get a hankering for a good read, and I'm no exception. I've had this book on my wishlist for months now, and today, it arrived in the mail! The cover is gorgeous and the blurb enticing. Emma Wildes is new to me author, and already, just by flipping through the pages, I know I'm going to love her. Sophie (my contemporary persona) is currently reading Joey Hill, and when she's done, Charlotte will start on this luscious historical. Can't wait to share my thoughts. The blurb is below....
It’s the talk of the town. In a less than sober moment, London’s two most notorious rakes—the Earl of Manderville and the Duke of Rothay—placed a very public wager on which of them is the superior lover. Now it’s too late to retract the foolish bet, but what woman of beauty, intelligence, and discernment, would consent to bed both men—and declare which is more skilled in satisfying her deepest desires?
Lady Carolyn Wynn is the last woman anyone would expect to step forward. She’s a respectable young widow with an icy reputation, which has kept her firmly off the marriage market. She may not desire another husband, but her brief marriage has left her with some scandalous questions about the act of love.
If the men will keep her identity a secret, she’ll decide who has the most finesse between the sheets. But to everyone’s surprise, what begins as an indelicate proposition turns into a most astonishing lesson in everlasting love…