I was lucky enough to have been given the job of editing The Secret Library novellas as well as being asked to write one myself. And what a fabulous job that was. I had several hours of happy, not to mention, very hot, reading. We, at Xcite, only commissioned writers who we knew would come up with the goods: alpha males, feisty heroines and a strong plot with heaps of sexual tension. Oh and great writing, of course – so it goes without saying I’ve never had so much fun in my life.
I got to choose the covers for the ebooks too – which meant spending an afternoon or two searching for images of fit, semi clad men. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it! Honestly, I don’t know why my friends are so jealous when I tell them what I do for a living!
On writing my novella
As for my own novella, One Of Us, here’s how it came about. I live in Dorset, which has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country, so the setting was easy. I knew straight away I wanted my story action to play out on beaches, and I’d always fancied the idea of setting a love scene in the sea.
My heroine, Natalie Crane, is an artist, who is doing an exhibition in Bournemouth when she meets the enigmatic composer, Will Falcon. There is intense chemistry between them from the outset despite the fact that her friend and agent, the very camp Anton doesn’t trust Will one little bit. Natalie’s not entirely sure she trusts him either. But Will wants to buy a painting and, against her better judgment, Natalie agrees to go to his house to discuss what type of painting might suit.
Excerpt from One of Us by Antonia Adams
‘Just through here,’ Will said, and opened the door opposite the lounge.
She was so close behind she almost cannoned into him when he stopped just inside the doorway. So much for running away. She couldn’t wait to get into his bedroom.
‘I thought maybe –’ He turned and their faces were so close that …
‘Sorry.’ She was in his personal space – or was he in hers? All she knew was that they were not in a bedroom. She wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed or relieved. They were in a big L-shaped room full of musical equipment: speakers; a keyboard; wires that snaked across the floor from a plug to an amplifier. And was that a grand piano in the bay window? The air smelled of something spicy and exotic – no, that was him. So close. So close, so close. But in that heartbeat of a second it no longer mattered which room they were in, because in the next moment they were in each other’s arms. She didn’t know who had engineered it – maybe her, maybe him. She only knew it didn’t matter. It felt right that they were in each other’s arms.
He bent his head ‑ even with the heels she was still not quite tall enough to be on eye level with him ‑ and she looked up into his eyes and saw another flash of lust there, which she knew would mirror what he saw in hers. Mirror it exactly. Then his lips were on hers – surprisingly gentle at first, and his hands were cupping the back of her head, drawing her closer, drawing her deeper into the kiss. She softened beneath him, welcoming his tongue. She hadn’t been kissed like this for so long. And it felt amazing.
When they finally broke for air and he looked at her the lust had softened into a dark ache of longing. For a moment they just stared. Eyes were different close up. She could see the tawny flecks of gold she’d noticed earlier and other colours too – hazel, a hint of green. He had eyes like a big cat and they were very expressive. Alongside the longing there was curiosity, a kind of wondering.
He was probably as surprised as she was – that things had progressed so fast. She had never in her life done anything like this before and she had the oddest feeling, despite the fact that they were still in each other’s arms, that neither had he.
Antonia Adams joined the Xcite team in 2010, but she is no stranger to writing. She uses various pseudonyms and her work has been published extensively in the UK and abroad for the last 25 years. She also lectures in creative writing at events around the country.