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Lucy Felthouse and Lily Harlem Talk Co-Authoring

Lucy FelthouseLucy’s thoughts…

I’ve been published for a few years now, mainly in the short story arena, though I have novellas available and others contracted, as well as a novel coming later in the year. I always keep my eye on what’s out there, what’s coming soon, how people are working, their achievements, and so on. And one thing that’s caught my eye several times has been co-authoring. To me, it looked like a brilliant way to work on a project with someone, have fun and then end up with a piece of work at the end of it. But I admit I didn’t really understand how it worked, so it just bubbled away in the back of my mind, and I didn’t do anything about it.

However, towards the back end of 2012, my good friend and fellow writer Lily Harlem suggested co-authoring something together. I explained I had a few projects on, so I couldn’t start right away, but I would definitely be interested. She was busy too, so we said we’d start in the early part of 2013, when all the Christmas and New Year festivities were over and done with, and life was back to normal.

The writing bug bit Lily, however, and in December she sent me a chapter that had just come to her, so she’d written it down. I managed to read it quickly, but knew I still wouldn’t be able to do anything with it until January. I was eager to try out co-authoring, but other commitments had to take priority.

Then 2013 arrived. I’d cleared my commitments and was free to start something new – hurrah! I read the chapter again and then bombarded Lily with a million and one questions about the process of co-authoring, how she thought it would work, our intended publisher, and so on. I was very lucky in that a) Lily had co-authored many times before so knew how it worked b) she was very, very patient with me and answered all my questions c) that our writing styles are quite similar, so that although we wrote from separate character viewpoints, our respective sections would still fit together well and d) we know each other well enough to give constructive and honest feedback that will be truly helpful, rather than trying to sugar coat anything for the sake of being nice.

And so we began. The chapter Lily had written back in December was from the female perspective and I was happy to write from the male perspective. I’ve done it many times before and enjoy it very much. We’d already agreed that if things didn’t work out, we wouldn’t worry too much about it, so I opened the document and began to write without thinking too hard. We had no plan, no idea what on earth the book was going to be about, really, just that it would be an erotic romance. Despite this, the words came. Fast.

After writing a chapter of roughly the same length as Lily’s, I skim read it and sent it back to her. And thus the mad email exchange began. Prior to this project I’d only written one full-length novel by myself and found it a learning curve, albeit it a fun and very satisfying project, but often I had to force myself to carry on and not procrastinate. With this book, however, it was totally different. It was full of surprises – because we hadn’t planned it, the chapters we sent back to one another were a total surprise, and we both had to think on our feet to work out where the plot would go next. We’d agreed not to rush one another for chapters as we both had other things on, too, and although we didn’t pressure one another, we still produced the words at lightning speed (for me, anyway!). I grew eager to read Lily’s next chapter, to see where the characters – which I’d quickly grown very fond of – would go next, what they would do. There was very, very little procrastination! None, really. Just lots of use of Google Street View.

The only thing we’d really planned was that the book would be longer than 50,000 words – to make it novel length. We did discuss how it would end, but never made a set decision, we just decided to keep writing and hope it came to a natural conclusion. We agreed that because Lily had written the first chapter, that I would write the last. That was the only time throughout the project that I felt pressure – and it was from myself, not my co-author. I had to write the last chapter, therefore the ending, therefore it had to be good, and satisfying! I put my fingers to the keys of my laptop and hoped that what came out would be good. When I finished the final chapter I read it again and made tweaks, then decided that no benefit would come of me staring at it – so I sent it to Lily. And waited with baited breath for her reply.

She loved it!! She even said that it made her cry. Naturally, I was incredibly relieved that she liked it – and the fact it made her cry was a huge bonus. Poor Lily was suffering with a bad cold at the time so she wasn’t feeling her best, but I decided to take the compliment anyway. And voilà – our novel, which had been through what felt like a bazillion title changes throughout the writing process, was finished. We smashed our 50k minimum and ended up with 70,000 words, roughly. In five weeks (with me even doing two chapters in one day – one in the morning, then one in the late afternoon as Lily sent hers back in the early afternoon) we penned a novel that we were both absolutely delighted with, and characters we adored.

Next, we made ourselves leave it alone for a while. We both agreed that jumping in with edits and polishing too soon wouldn’t help. We’d made comments on each other’s chapters as we went along, asking for clarification of certain points or even just saying parts had made us “LOL” and that helped immensely. So much so that after our waiting period, we didn’t change very much at all.

Then came the discussion on submission. We’d had a publisher in mind all along – Ellora’s Cave – and we submitted to them. Thankfully, they said yes. Cue much happy dancing from Lily and I! As we waited for news, we had a bit of a debrief and agreed we’d both loved the process and were amazed at how quickly the book had come together – and even discussed making it into a series. Now that series is in progress, and even has its own website: http://rawtalentseries.co.uk. The first book, Grand Slam, just released – cue lots of nerves from the two of us –but thankfully, we’ve already had some excellent feedback. So our baby is out in the world and people are enjoying it – what could be better?

I totally adored the process of co-authoring with Lily. It was genuinely fun and we just seemed to work really well – and quickly – together.

So if you’ve been thinking about co-authoring, I would say go for it. If you know someone that you can work well with, and you will be honest with one another and complement one another, then it’s a great way to write a book. You’ll have to ask lots of questions to make sure you’re both on the right wavelength, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

Lily HarlemLily’s thoughts…

Well, I think Lucy summed our co-author experience beautifully, Grand Slam was borne from a ‘yeah, lets give it a go’ comment one evening on London’s South Bank over a glass of wine and a gourmet burger, and is now a fully fledged novel that we are both so proud of. Thank goodness we took the plunge!

As Lucy said, that first chapter did just come to me. I’d been watching tennis on Sky Sports, some hunky player whose name I don’t recall, all in white and darting around the court with skill and grace. And it had me wondering, as I often do about athletes, that if he was that focused, so utterly in control in his chosen sport during the day, what was he like at night, in the bedroom? Mmm, you see how my naughty mind works now, don’t you?

I also liked the contrast of his pristine whites and his tanned skin and brooding expression. This got me wondering what other layers he had? Were his desires dark? Did his passion also go to the physical extremes he clearly put his body through during a match? And was his determination to find satisfaction as unstoppable when he was with a woman as when he was facing an opponent?

That is how Travis Connolly was created, though because I wrote the first chapter I didn’t actually get very far into his head. As it turned out Lucy wrote Travis – and because of her A Taste of… Series, a male viewpoint is something she is exceptional at – and I wrote Marie. Oh, la, la, now I think I got seriously lucky there, because every time Lucy sent a chapter back my heart flipped. I just needed to read it. I was desperate to know what big, bad Travis had done next to me… I mean… Marie! LOL, you see that is the beauty of co-authoring, as long as you’re easy going, writing with someone with a similar style, then it is just a whole heap of fun. Marie and Travis were in our heads, bouncing off of each other, their voices loud and clear. The sex scenes were steaming up our laptops and having them from the both characters point of view made them very intimate.

The next book in the series is currently our work in progress, and readers of Grand Slam will already know the two main characters – cryptic, I know! Co-authoring is incredible, I guess it helps if one person has done it before and ‘gets it’. My first attempt was with Natalie Dae, and she was wonderfully patient with me, and encouraging, she certainly taught me a lot too. Sharing writing experiences, the highs and lows, makes it a less lonely profession for sure, and like many things in life, the more I learn about it, the more I realise I don’t know, which is where an easy going attitude is worth its weight in gold if you want to be a co-author. So give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen…?

*****

We’re on tour right now with Grand Slam, so if you want to learn more about the book, feel free to follow: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/lucy-felthouse-and-lily-harlem/

*****

Excerpt:

“Some people like pain,” he said, still not looking at me.

“Masochists you mean?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

Shit, was he trying to tell me that he enjoyed the pain the accident had left him with? If so, we really needed to discuss this. “That’s not the majority of people though.”

“No, but more than you think. And some people like administering pain.” He turned to me, cocked his head slightly and moved into the space I’d left between us.

I looked into his eyes. Swallowed and tasted his cologne as it traveled into my nostrils and then laced my tongue. “Would you consider them to be good people, Travis? These individuals that like to hurt others.”

“I’ve known a few people who like to give and receive higher sensations, and most of them I consider to be good friends as well as good people.”

I hesitated, felt his body heat radiating toward me, wrapping around me as I pondered his words. We were close, very close, and his consuming presence made logical thinking much harder than normal. “I’m not quite sure what you’re telling me.”

“You talk about pain like it’s a bad thing, Marie.”

“It is.”

He smiled but it wasn’t a sweet smile, more like one of a hunter who’d spotted prey.

“Pain is unpleasant for a reason,” I said. “Because it’s bad.”

“I disagree.” He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes. It was a challenging, cocky gesture.

A tingle snaked its way up my spine and threatened to wreak havoc in my body by turning into a tremble. But I beat it down. I wouldn’t let a patient get to me this way. I was the one supposed to be holding the reins here.

“Maybe, Marie, you should open your mind to new ideas with a little more grace.”

“I fail to see how I haven’t been graceful in discussing your theory that pain is good.”

“Can we keep it that way?”

“I hope so.”

“In that case,” he flicked his attention from my eyes and looked at my hair, “would you like me to demonstrate?”

Damn, the guy made me feel tiny. Even though I was wearing heels, his broad chest and wide shoulders were looming over me. “Okay.”

He twitched the right side of his mouth into a half-smile. Now he looked like a hunter who’d captured his prey. A trickle of fight or flight seeped into my system. Which would be my best option?

“Now that’s the first rule.” He reached up and undid the clasp holding my hair on the top of my head. It tumbled around my shoulders as the clasp fell to the floor.

“Consent.”

“Doesn’t consent require knowing what you’re agreeing to?” Fuck, with him this close and stroking my hair, spreading it out, I’d pretty much agree to anything. Who was I kidding? Fight or flight was not an option, the only thing that shot through my mind was giving myself over to him. Allowing him to do whatever he wanted, control my body, feed it what it needed.

Damn, it had been too long since I’d been with a man. It was making me desperate.

He slotted his other hand over the left side of my head, the sound of him sliding his fingers over the shell of my ear noisy. My breath hitched and I locked my knees to stabilize my stance. I stared up at him, noting the small shafts of black hair sneaking out of his skin on his chin and the way his bottom lip was a little plumper than the top.

“You see, some pain,” he said, gathering my hair up at my crown and tugging to create tension on the roots, “can heighten the awareness of everything else going on in the body.”

He pulled harder, forcing my head to tip back.

I gasped as discomfort shot across my scalp.

He increased the pressure a little more.

I reached out and clutched at his shirt, felt his hard chest beneath. “Travis, I—”

“Shh, I’m just showing you.” He slipped his arm around my waist, dragged me close and yanked my hair, really hard.

“Ow, I—” A barrage of sensations blasted through my system. The feel of him pressing up against me, hot hard male, all wide pecs and solid thighs. The pain from having my hair tugged with force, and the awareness that my belly was shoved right up against his groin. A groin that held a wedge of thick flesh.

“Just feel,” he whispered, hovering his lips over mine. “Endorphins are rushing into your bloodstream, giving you a natural high as pain alerts your nerve endings that something exciting is happening.” He slid his free hand up my back, tracing the outline of my spine through my blouse.

I breathed in the air he was breathing out, warm and sweet. The scream of hurt in my scalp made me want to wriggle but being held so firmly and confidently kept me still. The heat of the discomfort slipped down my nape and neck and over my shoulders, then combined with the lovely sensation of him stroking my back.

“Can you feel it?” he whispered. “Pain mixing with pleasure, the lines between the two blurring.”

I could feel it with every fiber of my being. My skin was alive with awareness, my breasts were heavy and desperate for stimulation, and between my legs I was buzzing for action. Good, hard man action, preferably of the naked, sweaty variety. “Yes,” I gasped.

*****

grandslamBlurb:

California had seduced me with promises of a new life working at Los Carlos Tennis Academy. What I didn’t expect was the dark, brooding number one seed, Travis Connolly, resisting my help. He wasn’t interested in my psychology skills. Instead his attention was drawn to the edgy, sharper corners of my desires, proving that they existed, setting me challenges and driving me crazy to the point of combustion.

I’m the best tennis player in the world—officially—so why would I need a damn woman full of psychobabble to get me on form? Despite my irritation, however, I can’t resist pushing Marie Sherratt’s buttons even though doing that shows her the darkest shades of my lust, the parts of me I buried deep. So I set her a challenge, one she rises to, one that has me rising too, and before long my game relies on her calling the shots, hitting the target and bending to my will. One thing was certain, being not just master of the court, but also of Marie is seriously good for my soul.

Buy links: http://rawtalentseries.co.uk/book-1-grand-slam/

Add to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18212109-grand-slam

*****

Author Bios:

Lily Harlem

Lily Harlem lives in the UK with Mr Harlem and a host of rescued animals. She is an award winning author of contemporary erotic romance and writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Total-E-Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press as well as self-publishing. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and sportsmen who are talented both in and out of the bedroom often feature in her novels. But whichever book you choose of Lily’s one thing you can be sure of is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Website http://www.lilyharlem.com/
Blog http://www.lilyharlem.blogspot.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/lily_harlem
Facebook http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Lily-Harlem/100003519563064
Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lilyharlem/
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4070110.Lily_Harlem
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106837751333678531161/posts

 

Lucy Felthouse

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

A Taste of Paris by Lucy Felthouse

A Taste of ParisBook two of the A Taste Of… series

Ryan Stonebridge and his friend Kristian Hurst are traveling on their year off before going to University.

Unfortunately, Kristian has been called back home due to a family emergency. Ryan continues on to Paris alone, hoping his friend will join him again soon.

In the meantime, Ryan’s lucky streak with women continues, and by the time Kristian makes it to Paris, Ryan’s bumper box of condoms is depleting rapidly. However, there are more than enough women to go around, and Kristian intends to have some sexy fun of his own, and when the boys get a chance to play with two sexy ladies at once, they certainly aren’t going to turn it down.

Ellora’s Cave
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks

*****

Excerpt:

Ryan could hardly believe his luck. After a sex-packed day and a bit in London, he was now being propositioned by a sexy older woman on the Eurostar. The Paris-bound train had just started moving and it seemed the woman wanted to spend at least some of the two-and-a quarter-hour journey to the French capital fucking him in the toilet.

He shook his head disbelievingly. Then, after making sure no one had witnessed their exchange—when she’d given him the come-on—he slipped from his seat and made his way as nonchalantly as possible in the direction the woman had gone. He quickly found her, standing in the area between carriages that also housed the public conveniences.

She looked around, ensuring no one could see through the glass doors at the ends of the carriages to either side of them, pulled open the toilet door and dragged him inside.

Ryan barely had time to catch a breath before she’d locked the door, slammed him against it and molded her lips to his. She tasted of expensive champagne—she’d probably been indulging in St. Pancras station’s champagne bar—and it suddenly made him very aware that, although she’d started their sexy rendezvous, he was most likely taking advantage of an inebriated woman. He twisted his head away.

“Hey,” he said, grasping her arms and pushing her gently away from him. “Don’t get me wrong, you’re gorgeous and very, very sexy, but you’ve been drinking. I don’t want you to do something you might regret later.”

The woman laughed, long and loud, and Ryan worried that someone might have heard her and wonder why on earth there was a woman laughing to herself in the train toilets. The last thing he wanted was to open the door and find a pissed-off member of staff waiting there. There was no excuse for two adults being in a locked cubicle together that anyone would believe.

Clapping her hand over her mouth, the woman suppressed her mirth, then finally spoke. “Yes, gorgeous blond one.” Her French accent surprised him—he’d thought she was a tourist heading to Paris. “I have been drinking champagne. But only a glass. I’m certainly not drunk.”

With that, she pounced on him once more, and Ryan decided not to resist any longer. They were both consenting adults and he had protection in his pocket—so where was the harm in indulging their baser instincts? His cock definitely didn’t see any further reason for delay as it filled with blood and pressed against the crotch of his jeans.

He pushed his fingers into her thick black hair and pulled her more tightly to him, deepening their kiss. She was eager and, judging by the way she was rocking her hips against him, incredibly horny. He held out for as long as he could, exploring her mouth with his tongue, nibbling at her plump lower lip and pulling her hair to expose her white throat. Before long, though, the pants and tiny mewls coming from the woman’s mouth pushed him to the point of no return. His cock was all but bursting from his jeans and he really needed to be inside this woman’s pussy.

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

An Exclusive Excerpt from Testing Tom by Lucy Felthouse

WMS_blogtourMy novella, Testing Tom, is a femdom erotic romance, which was released on the 30th July. I’ve been touring all week with it, discussing various elements of the story, so today I’d like to share an exclusive excerpt so you can really get a taste for what it’s all about. Enjoy…

She glanced into the mirror one last time before heading out of her bedroom. Grinning, she acknowledged that she looked good and that Tom would probably be drooling as soon as he stepped through the door. Her smile widened—he could perv on her all he liked, he wouldn’t be laying a single finger or any other body part on her tonight. In fact, now she’d come up with a few tasks she wanted him to complete in order to prove himself, she decided that he would have to pass at least two tests before she’d allow him to even touch her. She’d go for three if she could, but she doubted it would be possible. She was a woman with needs, after all. Dominating Tom turned her on like crazy and she loved fucking him, too, so she wouldn’t be able to hold out for too long before pouncing on him.

Just then, the doorbell sounded. Katrina looked at the nearest clock. He was exactly on time—a point in his favor already. He’d probably been standing outside for a few minutes, but he knew she didn’t like people to be early or late, and so had hung on for the precise minute they’d arranged before announcing his presence.

She took her time getting to the door, just to remind him of his place. Then she unlocked and opened it, then turned around and sauntered away without a word. She heard the closing and re-locking of the door, then nothing. Tom didn’t move, didn’t speak. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips. He hadn’t forgotten his training, then.

Sitting in the middle of the sofa, her usual television-watching spot, she crossed her long legs and picked up the remote that was resting on the arm. Just before pressing the button to switch the set on, she spoke. “Turn around, Thomas. Face the corner next to the front door, sit down, be silent and don’t move until I tell you.”

“Y—yes Mistress.” He said nothing else, but she heard the rustle of clothing and muffled thumps as he shifted into the position she’d ordered. After giving him long enough to get himself sorted, only then did she turn her head and look at him.

“Very good,” she said, with a nod. “Now I’m going to watch some TV.”

He remained still and silent, so she twisted back around and did as she’d said. Pushed the red button and waited for the screen to flicker into life, before using the remote to find a channel she wanted to watch and selecting it.

For the entire hour of the first program she watched, the only sound came from the television. Had she muted it, she would probably have heard only two lots of breathing. Tom was doing as he was told, and doing it well. He had to be in some discomfort by now, sitting on the floor would be making his bottom ache, and not being able to move would be having the same effect on the rest of his body. Good, she decided, he deserved it. It was nothing compared to the pain she’d felt when he’d left her. These tests would be good for the both of them—he’d be reminded how to behave, and she’d get reassurance of his feelings, as well as no small amount of revenge. Tom Black ought to be damn grateful she was just a dominatrix, and not a murderer.

When the commercial break came on between programs, Katrina turned off the sound on the television, and turned to look at Tom once more. Sure enough, he was silent except for his breathing, and hadn’t moved a single muscle.

“Good boy,” she said, deliberately making her voice sound like she was talking to an obedient dog, “very well done.” She paused. “Right, I’m going to watch one more program, and then I’ll consider allowing you to get up. So don’t let yourself down now, will you?”

He didn’t respond, but then, she hadn’t really expected him to. He’d known it was a rhetorical question and that she’d been trying to catch him out. He was a lot of things, was Tom Black, but he was no idiot. Except for when he’d dumped her for a vanilla chick, of course. That had been completely and utterly stupid, loony even, but he was paying for it now.

She found it difficult to concentrate on the next program, as she was hyper-aware of the man sitting in the corner of her living room. She’d never stopped loving him, never stopped being attracted to him, and now he was here, in her house, she really wanted to go back to the fun, sexy games they’d always played, rather than something that was somewhat dull, and provided no physical pleasure for either of them. Mental and emotional pleasure was another matter altogether, of course. She was feeling plenty of that as she got her own back on him, that and a huge rush of power. Tom, a grown man with his own mind, was in the corner like some kind of dunce—albeit without the cap sporting a large ‘D’—and he was there because she’d told him to be, and because he wanted her back.

I hope you’ll check out the book. And if you do, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below.

*****

Testing TomWhen Katrina’s ex, Tom, turns up on her doorstep, he’s literally the last person she was expecting to see. After dumping her and running off with a vanilla chick, Tom broke the Domme’s heart and left her seriously hurting. So when he returns, begging for another chance, Katrina is understandably very confused and protective of her bruised feelings. She finds it very difficult to believe that he’s turned his back on a vanilla lifestyle for good and wants to be with her, a professional dominatrix. Rather than letting her head or her heart figure out what to do, whether to forgive him, she decides to put Tom through a series of challenges that will prove his devotion to her—or not. Testing Tom is not something she’d ever expected she’d have to do, but to her, it’s the only way she can be sure whether he’s back for good.

More info, excerpt and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/testing-tom/

Add to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18147133-testing-tom

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

*****

GIVEAWAY:

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New Release: A French Affair by Lucy Felthouse

A French AffairSydney Tyler is renting a barn conversion in Northern France, planning to spend the fortnight getting some words down on her novel. Unfortunately, construction work in the other half of the building puts an end to her peace and quiet. Genuinely upset that the builders are going to disturb her, the property’s handsome English owner, Harry Bay, offers to make it up to her. He’s a little flirtatious, and after spotting his wedding ring, Sydney keeps him at arm’s length. Sexy as he is, she has no intention of getting involved with a married man. But when Sydney learns the truth about Harry, will their mutual attraction spur them on to work through their emotional baggage and make this more than just a French affair?

Available from: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/a-french-affair/

*****

Excerpt:

Sydney Tyler jumped so hard that her fingers slammed down onto the laptop’s keyboard and she typed a bunch of gobbledegook.

Kashfkjsdhlfknsdlfvn sdlkch awoeduioh ahdwklc

Gasping, she clutched at her chest as her heart thumped rapidly and painfully. “What the fucking hell was that?” she said to the empty room.

Pushing her chair back from the desk, she stepped over to the window. Peering out into the brilliant sunshine, she saw something on the lawn that she had absolutely not been expecting. Workmen.

She groaned. So much for her peaceful writer’s retreat. She’d planned to get a good chunk of her novel down in the fortnight she was away, and now it looked as though her peace was going to be monumentally shattered by banging, drilling and God knows what else.

Sighing, she gave the windowsill a pathetic thump in her frustration. She might have been pissed off, but she was no vandal. And besides, she didn’t want those noisy buggers in her part of the building fixing things—having them next door was bad enough.

Sydney really could not believe her shitty luck. When she’d booked the cottage in the French village of Monthiers over the phone a couple of months ago, she’d dealt with a fellow Brit called Harry Bay, who she’d suspected was the owner. On arrival, though, a timid French woman had met her and let her into the luxurious barn conversion before handing over the keys and explaining a little bit about the local area. Apparently, in the mornings, someone came along the village streets, selling fresh bread and pastries.

There wasn’t much else to tell, it seemed, as the village had nothing except a church—almost opposite her accommodation—and a tavern. It was also lacking—she’d quickly discovered—a mobile signal. Not even a single bar illuminated her screen. Her phone was now no more than a watch, alarm clock and calendar. If there was an emergency, she was screwed. But on a much lighter note, it was one less distraction. She could just get on with what she was here to do, blissfully undisturbed.

The arrival of workmen was incredibly irritating. Her temporary landlord hadn’t mentioned there’d be anyone working next door. If he had, she wouldn’t have booked the place—the quiet and idyllic location were the whole reason for choosing this property, this area. Even though there was no way he could have known she was there to work, common courtesy would dictate that he told her. Perhaps he was just interested in taking her money and didn’t give a damn about whether she had a satisfactory stay or not. There was nothing to be done about it now, unfortunately. She’d paid for the fortnight, and she was buggered if she was going to cut and run, pissing that money down the drain. She’d just have to find a way around the disturbance, and console herself that she could leave a snarky write up on a review site when she got home.

Finding out the builders’ working hours would be a good start—she could attempt to write around them then. Or perhaps she could make use of the headphones she’d stuffed into her case, without ever thinking they’d get used. Some loud rock music would drown out the din from next door and hopefully allow her to work. It was worth a try. She hoped they were only doing a small job that would only take a couple of days, but deep down she knew they weren’t. They were renovating the whole place so it was as beautiful as the half she was in.

She was just about to go in search of the aforementioned headphones when one of the men pottering around on the lush back garden stepped away from the others. Standing in a shaft of sunlight, he pulled his arms high above his head and stretched, dragging up his t-shirt to reveal a lean stomach with a fine line of dark hair leading enticingly into the waistband of his jeans.

Oh yum, she thought, perhaps having builders next door wouldn’t be so bad after all. Especially if they all looked like him. She continued to watch as the man dropped his arms to his sides and watched the others. His dark hair was overlong and stuck out at crazy angles, as though he’d been running his fingers through it. She couldn’t see the colour of his eyes from this distance, but she could make out enough detail of his features to see that he was handsome. Gorgeous, actually. Close up he could be much less attractive, but from her upstairs window, the view was pretty fine.

Just then, he glanced across at her side of the long barn, which was divided into two holiday cottages. He caught sight of her standing there, and his face dropped. He looked back at the builders, then returned his gaze to her again. Pointing at the group of noisy men, he slapped his forehead with his other hand. Finally, he pointed at his chest, then up at her. He was indicating he wanted to come in. She paused, then nodded. Common sense told her she shouldn’t be letting a strange man into her temporary home, but then, there were several large, bulky men milling around, so if they were a dodgy sort, she and the locked door would have no chance against them, especially with no means of calling for assistance. She could scream, of course, but she doubted anyone would come. The walls of the building were extremely thick—though sadly, no match for banging and drilling—the nearest house was a little way down the road, and by day, the village was all but deserted. There was only one business that she knew of—the tavern—so the other inhabitants would have to go elsewhere to work. To nearby Chateau-Thierry, perhaps, or even further afield.

She’d just have to hope that the handsome man—probably the head honcho of their group—was also a decent one. Presumably they were a reputable company, as they’d been hired by the British owners, who were usually more wary of cowboy builders, and given the horror stories and dedicated TV programmes back home, it was understandable.

Before she got even halfway down the stairs, a knock came at the door. Okay, so he was polite enough to knock, that was good. She moved a little faster, careful not to trip in her flip flops and go hurtling downwards. Once she was safely on the ground floor, she twisted the key in the door and opened it.

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

Coming Together: With Curves, edited by Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse

Coming Together With CurvesCurvy girls and the men (and women!) that love them is the theme of this charity anthology, edited by Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse.

From Zumba classes to Burlesque dancers, all kinds of big and beautiful women are portrayed between the pages of this book. Read about birthday surprises, smut at the gym, horse riders, lusty couples, naughty neighbours, skilled bakers, rope bondage and misunderstandings from some of erotica’s best authors.

Sales proceeds benefit Parkinson’s UK.

Contents: Six Lengths of Red Hemp (Tilly Hunter), Cross Trainer Number Four (Lily Harlem), Bella Buxom, Just Squeeze Me (JoAnne Kenrick), Captivated (Elizabeth Lapthorne), Red Rag to a Bull (Victoria Blisse), Girl Next Door (Bella Blake), Lush Buns (Sommer Marsden), The Big Reveal (Giselle Renarde), The Wrong End of the Stick (Lucy Felthouse), Riding School (Bella Blake), Flesh For Fantasy (Lexie Bay).

Available from: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/coming-together-with-curves/

*****

Bonnie stifled a sigh. He was doing it again. Staring at her, as he had been every day that week. She was on a fortnight’s training course through work. She was the only one from her office who’d been sent. As a result, she knew no one and ended up sitting alone in the college’s cafeteria at lunchtimes. She’d had a couple of invites from kindly people also on her course, but she’d turned them down. It wasn’t that she was being rude or anti-social, she just hated people to see her eat. She was a big girl—that was putting it politely—and when people saw her eat, she could feel the judgment rolling off them in waves, the thoughts that she was fat because she ate so much.

It wasn’t true. About what she ate, that was. She was fat, and there was no denying it. But it certainly wasn’t her doing. She’d been born to large parents, and despite a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, she was still overweight. All she ever managed to shift was a pound or two here and there, and that was hardly noticeable, particularly on a woman her size. She kept at it, though, resigned to being a larger lady, but determined not to get any bigger.

Because she’d always been big, she was used to the snide comments, the dirty and derisive looks, the open stares. So it didn’t upset her any more, but she still got irritated when people simply gawped at her. Surely one glance was enough for them to ascertain that yes, she was a shapely girl, and then move on. In most cases it was, particularly if she glared at the person in question. But not with this guy. She was sure he was trying to be subtle, because he often averted his gaze as she trained hers on him. But even if he’d looked away, she could tell by the position of his head and body that he’d been peeking at her. Again.

Now, on day seven, she was almost at boiling point. What the hell was his problem? Had no one ever told him it was rude to stare? She was on the verge of doing just that.

Eating her lunch was an unpleasant task, knowing she was being observed. If she hadn’t been so damn hungry, she’d have left it. But she’d been running late that morning and had committed that mortal sin—missing breakfast. So her chicken salad—with no dressing—was absolutely necessary to avoid making herself feel ill, or passing out, so she devoured every last morsel. She ate faster than she normally would, not because she was being greedy, but because the sooner she finished eating, the sooner she’d stop feeling so damn self-conscious about the guy across the room watching her.

She decided to give him one last chance. When she’d finished her lunch, she’d drink her carton of apple juice, then sit for a few seconds, doing nothing. If he continued to look at her, she was going to stomp over there and give him what for. If he didn’t, then she’d carry on with life and do her best to forget about him and his rudeness.

Deep down, she knew she was going to have to go over and say something to him. After seven days, he wasn’t going to suddenly amend his habits. She was just being a bit of a wimp, really, hoping to find some way of getting out of confrontation, because she didn’t like it, not one bit, and it was absolutely a last resort. Unfortunately, she couldn’t think of a single other way of stopping him from doing it. Perhaps she could put up a sign in front of her saying “Please stop staring at me.” But if he couldn’t take the hint when she’d glared at him, he wouldn’t take any notice of a piece of paper.

Several minutes later, her salad was gone and she moved onto her drink. With a sinking feeling in her gut, she saw he was just as interested in her now as he had been when she’d been eating. Damn, confrontation it was then.

Draining the carton, she gathered her plate, cutlery and other rubbish onto her tray, stood up and slid it onto the rack nearest her. Then she returned to her table, grabbed her bag, pulled in a deep breath through her nostrils and marched over to the Peeping Tom. She slid out the chair opposite him and sat down on it.

*****

Editor sites:

http://victoriablisse.co.uk

http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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