What is your favourite and worst part of the writing process?
I love the initial discovery, putting the story down in its first raw form. It’s an exhilarating and beautiful journey of discovery. I don’t know where it’ll go, and I love every minute of the process. The part that kills me, exhausts me and feels like walking through syrup is the rewriting, editing and polishing process. I can write the first draft in a few weeks, but the other stages can sometimes take years because I keep putting them off.
What are common pitfalls for aspiring writers?
- Waiting for inspiration. Too many aspiring writers think they can only write when the mood is upon them when really, it’s about discipline.
- Thinking they can circumvent the process, cut corners and not do the learning. The end result is putting their work out there before it’s ready.
- Giving up on a WIP because of rejection.
- Trusting friends and family to critique their work and then believing it over professional feedback.
You use a pseudonym. Why is that?
In my professional life I teach adults English as a Foreign Language and I also teach people how to teach English. I really don’t want my erotic writing to become common knowledge because I teach a lot of people from countries where things like this might be scandalous. I like to keep the two completely separate.
What do you think about writer’s block?
I’m in two minds about it. I believe people sometimes struggle to write but that’s often because they haven’t taken the time to fill the creative well, or because things in their life are emotionally challenging. Some situations can suck out the emotional resilience you need to be able to write. Time, self-nurturing and being kind to yourself should help. I’m not sure if I’d label that as writer’s block though.
Where did the inspiration from Hard-Pressed come from?
Rose Dainty popped up in my mind. Dainty name versus big muscled woman and I started thinking about what would make this woman afraid to reach out and be who she needs to be sexually. After that I needed to find a partner for her who would be able to handle her strength, the work she does and her penchant for MMA and competitive contact fighting. Lucien was the perfect foil. A man confident with who he is, and well able to support Rose, be the partner she needs without stopping her from being her.
What are your three favourite books?
I never get tired of reading Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair, Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer, and What I did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long.
The last two are hilarious and the authors manage to twist the tropes so that the stories don’t pan out in the way you think they will. The first one is just stunning in terms of the characters and the way two people with hang ups and very different needs find a way to have their Happy Ever After.
I mounted the six shallow steps and faced the double front doors. Twin carriage lights cast a soft gleam over the brass plaque with its discrete lettering:
Private Members Only
I desperately wanted to run back down the steps, leap into my car, and drive home, but if I did, nothing would change, and I’d go back to dividing my time between working out, Candy Crush Saga, and the occasional night out with my friends. I might miss out on learning something about myself, something that could make a difference in my sex life. Worse, I might miss a chance at love.
I stayed, my feet rooted to the floor, but the insides of my hands were so damp, my finger slipped on the brass bell, setting off a short, discordant jangling. I winced as I rang it again properly this time. That certainly wouldn’t endear me to anyone.
Shifting from foot to foot, trying to keep the blood circulating in my toes, I looked around. Behind me, the gravel drive snaked away to a discreet carpark, and trees and shrubs created shadows within shadows. Autumn had finally reached London and in this exclusive part of it, crisp, clean air and earthy leaf mulch replaced the smell of fast food and exhaust.
I shifted again, starting to get irritated. If you were going to demand a woman wear nothing but a skirt that barely covered her butt, and a top that was little more than a bit of elastic bandage—on me it was ridiculous, if I sneezed, I’d pop out over the top—then you should damn well open the door promptly. Now, despite wearing my warmest coat over the absurd ensemble, there was a distinct draught zipping under my hem and freezing my exposed butt cheeks.
I lifted my finger to stab the bell again, and the door swung open.
Bloody hell. A real butler. I was no stranger to mansions with staff. Working as a bodyguard meant I saw the inside of a lot of wealthy homes, but so far, a liveried butler was a new one to me.
“Can I help you?”
I cleared my throat, wondering if there was any etiquette for addressing a butler, aware that my finger was still lurking in the vicinity of his eye. “Umm, I’m, ah, it’s Ms. Dainty. To see Mr. Dufort. I’m expected.”
He waved me through into a large marble-floored hall with a fire burning at one side. A wide, elegant staircase at the back curved away to the upper floors.
“I’ll inform Mr. Dufort that you’re here, if you’d like to take a seat.” He indicated a collection of sofas and easy chairs huddled as if for warmth around the fireplace. I made a beeline for the heat.
“May I take your coat?”
I crossed my arms tightly. No way was I exposing my scantily clad self. “Ah, thanks, but I’m a bit cold.”
“I see my guest has arrived, Henry.”
I turned away from the fire to see Lucien Dufort crossing the hall toward me. The floor seemed to drop a few inches and I had to grab the back of a chair to steady myself as his delicious, rich chocolate voice with its faint French accent wound around me, setting my heart hammering.
A tall, elegant man, he moved toward me with predatory intent, covering the floor in loose, confident strides, but it was his eyes that held my gaze, dark eyes, sharp with intelligence and power. He wasn’t a handsome man. His narrow-bladed Gallic nose, inherited from his mother, was slightly overlarge for that, but his lips were sensual, and the mix of tenderness and lust in his expression as he looked at me sent electric tingles charging down my spine.
“Rose, welcome to Club Hard.” He lifted my hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it, his tongue flickering into the little hollow between my two smallest fingers, mimicking the act of sex. Normally, that would be an instant turn-off, but when Lucien did it, everything inside me melted. I tugged my hand free and shoved it into my coat pocket. This was bad. We hadn’t even started yet and my hormones were doing a happy dance.
“Your coat, ma petite.”
I undid the buttons reluctantly and he stripped it off my shoulders, giving it to Henry before indicating my feet. “Barefoot, please.”
I obeyed, steadying myself with one hand on Lucien’s forearm. I could have rested it there all day, enjoying the feel of thick bone and the flex of hard muscles, but I quickly unzipped my boots and gave them to Henry, who took them as solemnly as if I was handing him the crown jewels for safekeeping. He disappeared, taking my things with him, and I stood shivering, waiting for Lucien to say or do something. I shouldn’t have felt vulnerable. I fought with this amount of flesh on display, so it shouldn’t have bothered me, yet insecurity and apprehension crept hand-in-hand up my spine. “Lucien?”
He cupped my chin, his palm warm and sure, his thumb stroking my cheekbone in a gesture I found calming. “Tonight, you will address me as Monsieur, or Sir.” His words sank deep inside me, reaching a place I wasn’t aware existed. A place I didn’t want to believe existed. I stepped back, dislodging his hand.
Lucien’s cheek creased in amusement. “So, ma belle perle, the challenge begins. Are you ready?”
Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/2lXpCSP
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2kswibm
Master Lucien has one night at Club Hard.
One night…to show bodyguard Rose Dainty that he can be the Dom she needs,
One night…to show her that submitting to him doesn’t make her weak, that true submission requires strength and trust.
Will pushing Rose to her limits prove to her she can trust him with her body and heart, and can she let go of her deepest fears long enough to enjoy her surrender? `
They both have everything to prove and everything to lose.
I’ve always loved writing and I won my first prize for a short story when I was still at primary school. I’m an avid reader of romance and erotic romance and can usually be found with my nose in a book. The dynamics and sheer variety of human relationships fascinate me, and this is what I like to explore in my writing. I live in North Yorkshire with my husband and cat where I enjoy running and Tai Chi.
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