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Posts Tagged ‘one long hot summer’


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Shanna Germain Shares The Story Behind the Story of Her Novella, Safe Haven

The Story Behind The Story

It’s my pleasure to welcome Shanna Germain to a Hopeful Romantic to talk about her fabulous novella, Safe Haven, which is in Xcite’s One Long Hot Summer anthology. Another one of the lovely Secret Library volumes.

 

The idea behind Safe Haven was one I’d been thinking about for a long time, but just hadn’t found the time and impetus for. I grew up on a farm where we were always rescuing animals – or having rescue animals brought to us – and that seemed like the perfect backdrop for two people to meet and fall in lust and love. And it also seemed like the kind of woman who ran a rescue farm would be the kind of woman who was a perfect heroine. She’d have to be strong and independent, but also big-hearted and determined. Of course, I also wanted to give a huge helping of unmet lust, just to make sure things really sparked.

When The Secret Library said they were looking for novellas with strong women and hot men, I just knew that it was time to find the characters to populate the steamy idea I’d been carrying around.

I found the perfect image of Kallie right away – a natural beauty with intense eyes who loved animals and had this crazy, world-changing laugh and smile. Gauntlet – the puppy who features predominantly in the story – was also easy to find. I knew he needed to have one white paw and those big puppy eyes that just melt your heart.

It took me much longer to conceptualize Darrin, the alpha male hero type. Most of the guys I write don’t really fit that mold; I like to create characters that are a little bit broken, often a little socially awkward, but who really do it for the right partner. So I wanted to find a way to combine the two elements – a man who was clearly an alpha male in one situation, but who was really soft and vulnerable in another. When I found an image of a dark-haired, charismatic man holding a camera, I realized that was the key to Darrin’s character. Behind the camera, he could be the strong silent type. In front of it, he could be something else entirely. And sexually? Sexually, he could be the kind of man who was happy to take control, and just as happy to give it up—to the right woman.

There were sparks from the first meeting (as you can read below), but by the end, things got even hotter—and sweeter—than I expected. I always love when that happens.

One Long Hot SummerExcerpt

It wasn’t one of the Eric’s hired hands. And it wasn’t, at least as far as Kallie could tell, a new rescue animal. And if it was fresh hell, it was incredibly sexy fresh hell in jeans and black boots. A fresh hell of a tall, curly haired man pushing a motorcycle up her gravel drive. As he walked, the horses were following him, keeping as close to the fence line as they could, tossing their heads and snorting at him.

A second later, she realised they weren’t snorting at the man. They were snorting at the wriggling bundle of fur that was bounding up the driveway after him. Great. So it was a random drop off. She wanted to stop them right there and tell them that Safe Haven was full. She didn’t have time or room for any more strays. Not even cute strays. Especially not cute strays. She had enough trouble on her hands.

But her voice, which had so recently been crooning at a huge horse, now seemed stuck in her throat.

‘Hey there!’ the man called as he got closer. He raised one hand off the motorcycle in something like a wave. He wore a thick silver ring on his middle finger, and her eyes were drawn first to its glint, and then to his long fingers and strong wrists, then to the length of his bare arm, the lightly tanned bicep that was offset by the blue fabric of his T-shirt. ‘Are you Kallie?’

She started to say no, even though she knew it wouldn’t do any good; someone had obviously sent him, even though everyone knew Safe Haven didn’t rescue dogs or cats, and it definitely didn’t rescue beautiful, curly haired men with motorcycles and fantastic smiles. But she started to deny her birth name anyway, because this was trouble walking up her driveway. She could feel it. Even the horses could feel it.

Then he lifted up his sunglasses, pushing them up on his head and any words she might have said completely disappeared.

He had blue eyes. Not just blue eyes, but poppy-blue eyes. Fall-into-a-dream blue eyes. Sky on the first day of summer blue. Almost surreal in their bright gaze, surrounded by small wrinkles as he gazed at her. She heard her own sharp intake of breath and felt stupid for its sound in the mostly quiet day.

‘Kallie, right?’ he asked.

She nodded. Look away from his eyes, she thought. Just … look anywhere else. But she couldn’t. They were so blue, threaded with silver that shone funny in the sunlight.

‘Oh, good,’ he said. He looked away – she was so grateful for being released from his gaze that she could hear her heart thumping in her chest – and kicked his bike stand to settle it on the gravel. Then, he bent down and picked up the wriggling bundle of fur that had been stalking his boot laces.

In contrast to the man’s intense blue eyes, the puppy’s curious brown gaze was a hundred times easier to take. His tongue lolling to the side, he settled into the man’s arms and gave a happy yip. The puppy licked his fingers, and the man gave a quick, delighted laugh.

Kallie’s heart did something funny in her chest. She stuck her hand in her pocket, realised she still had half a carrot in there, and pulled her hand out quickly, trying to wipe the wet off on her jeans without being obvious.

The man didn’t seem to notice her movements. He reached for the puppy’s single white paw and made it move up and down in the semblance of a wave.

‘Hi, I’m Gauntlet,’ the man said, his voice a growled approximation of a puppy voice. Kallie choked back laughter, and ended up just coughing in the process.

‘Are you OK?’

‘Fine,’ she said after a moment, although she clearly wasn’t. She was the world’s biggest dork. She cleared her throat, and finally found her voice. ‘But … Gauntlet?’

The man looked at the puppy in his arms as though he’d just seen him for the first time. Then the man smiled. Dimples. Wrinkles. Oh sweet heaven. She was in so much trouble. She thought her libido had dried up after Erik left – an event her friend Stephanie called the Double B, “the Big Breakup” – but clearly that wasn’t true. Go back to the barn, girl. Now. Before you get yourself in more trouble.

*****

Shanna Germain claims the titles of writer, editor, leximaven, wanderluster, vorpal blonde, Schrodinger’s brat, knife licker, flower picker and tire kicker. Her poems  essays, short stories, novellas, articles and more have found homes in places like Absinthe Literary Review, Best American Erotica, Best Gay Romance, Best Lesbian Erotica, Blood Fruit: Queer Horror, Pank, Storyglossia and more. Visit her at www.shannagermain.com

BUY One Long Hot Summer: http://thesecretlibrary.co.uk/?page_id=8757

 

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Penelope Friday Tells the Story Behind the Story of Her Novella, Just Another Lady

The Story Behind The Story

The fabulous Penelope Friday is joining us today to tell us the Story Behind her hot regency offering, Just Another Lady, her novella from  the Secret Library anthology, One Long Hot Summer. Welcome, Penelope.

 

So, when you’re writing a story, you start at the beginning and move through the middle until you reach the end, right?

Um…

That would probably be a sensible way to do it. In fact, I know a lot of writers who write that way. But I’m not one of them. I mean, what am I supposed to do when I don’t actually know what happens next? Wait around hoping for inspiration to strike? Tidy the house? (Actually, that would probably make for a considerably more tidy house than I currently live in!)

Instead, I write another bit of the story. A bit which I do know. And then, when I run out of inspiration for that bit, I write another bit. And another. And another. And then… well, I suppose I ‘join the dots’. Because now that I know that – say – my heroine is going to meet her hero for the first time in chapter 1, but that they’re actually a couple by chapter 3, it’s easier to work out what happened in between.

Okay, I know that sounds odd. The scary thing is how long I’ve been writing in this way, though. When I was at school, I had a tendency to approach essays in the same manner – writing the bits I knew and then joining them up. In those pre-computer times, I had to ‘guess’ how much space I would need on pieces of paper, which was sometimes interesting: I ended up with quite a few essays which had little stars on the paper and another paragraph on a separate sheet which belonged in the starred place. Believe it or not, I was actually reasonably academic and ended up with decent marks, unusual methods notwithstanding 🙂

More surprisingly still, the ‘joins’ don’t seem to show too much in my stories, either. I would challenge anyone to spot the places where my sections have been joined: as I sometimes get inspiration for bits of conversation, the join may come part way through a scene, not just at the beginning of a chapter! If you think you spot one, feel free to email me – penfriday@gmail.com – and I promise to tell you truthfully if you’re right…

One Long Hot SummerBlurb

Regency lady Elinor has fallen on hard times. The death of her father and the entail of their house put Elinor and her mother in difficulty; and her mother’s illness has brought doctor’s bills that they cannot pay. Lucius Crozier was Elinor’s childhood friend and adversary; and there has always been a spark of attraction between the pair. Now renowned as a womaniser, he offers a marriage of convenience (for him!) in return for the payment of Elinor’s mother’s medical bills. Reluctantly, she agrees. But Lucius has made enemies of other gentlemen of the upper echelon by playing fast and loose with their mistresses, and one man is determined to take his revenge through Lucius’s new wife …

Excerpt

The feel of Lucius’s fingers running down her spine made Elinor want to shiver. Even though she was protected by layers of clothing, the knowledge that he was stripping her – that shortly she would be naked in his company – made every touch tingle with what Elinor had to acknowledge to herself was excitement as much as embarrassment. As he unfastened the final button, she wriggled impatiently and the dress fell in a pool at her feet. The petticoat she could divest herself; the corset, however, needed Lucius’s aid to remove. Elinor could feel his breath warm against her neck as he teasingly took his time to undo the strings. When at last it expanded around her, Elinor took what felt like the first decent breath since that morning, almost moaning her relief.

‘You looked beautiful in it,’ her husband (her husband!) murmured in her ear, ‘but even more so out of it.’

He pushed it off her shoulders, so that she stood dressed only in the light cotton shift in front of him. As he turned her to face him, Elinor was suddenly made all too aware of her semi-nude state compared to Lucius’s full dress. She could feel her nipples peaking against the cloth, almost begging for Lucius’s touch.

Penelope Friday – http://penelopefriday.jigsy.com; http://penelopefriday.livejournal.com

Buy links
US Kindle
US paperback
UK paperback
UK Kindle

 

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Elizabeth Coldwell Shares The Story Behind the Story of Her Novella, One Long Hot Summer

The Story Behind The Story

I promised more heat and romance from Xcite’s fabulous Secret Library collection and today’s guest, back with her second fabulous novella with the title story from the anthology, One Long Hot Summer, please welcome back, Liz Coldwell.

Mmm, Toy Boys…

If there’s one thing I’m rather partial to, it’s a toy boy – in my fiction, at least. It’s not that men my own age (or even rather older) don’t have their charms; it’s simply that from a writing point of view, young male characters offer a wealth of possibilities. Unlike their older counterparts, they haven’t seen it all before and they don’t tend to come with a wealth of baggage. There’s so much they haven’t yet experienced, which is where an older woman is ideally placed to step in and show them the way…

Ashton KutcherOf course, the relationship between an older woman and a younger man is one that’s all too easy to turn into a capacious reticule of clichés. She can seem too desperate; he can come across as an improbably experienced stud. And the idea that this type of partnership can really last has taken a severe bashing, as the poster couple for toy boy love, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, who at one stage didn’t appear to be able to keep their hands off each other, have gone their separate ways. Though maybe their break-up should serve as nothing more than a warning not to post nauseating love notes and sneaky crotch shots of the missus on Twitter…

The reasoning why this works well as a pairing was always that men in their late teens are at their absolute sexual peak, and so are women approaching thirty. This theory may have been largely discredited, but the idea still lingers that the only reason women want much younger lovers is for sex. And while erotica thrives on what happens between the sheets, the best stories are always those which present the characters as rounded individuals, with lives that extend beyond the bedroom door. In which case, what does a young man really have to offer a woman who’s older and more mature than him, and is it really possible for them to turn lust and physical chemistry into lasting love?

One Long Hot SummerOne Long Hot Summer, from the Secret Library collection, is my latest tale of age gap romance. Not that Lily Metcalfe, the novella’s heroine, is looking for any kind of romance at the start of the story. She’s split up from her long-term partner, and the trauma of the break-up has left her with a severe case of writer’s block. In an attempt to cure it, she accepts her friend Amanda’s offer to house-sit for the summer, spending time on Dorset’s beautiful Jurassic Coast and (so she hopes) taking inspiration from her new surroundings. Her plans are thrown into disarray when Amanda’s son, Ryan, turns up, intending to spend the summer surfing and partying with friends. The last time Lily saw him, he was a gawky sixth-form boy, and now he’s filled out into a hunky young man whose presence in the house might just cure her block, but could also lead her into temptations she never expected. What happens next? You’ll just have to get hold of the book (which also contains stories by the very talented Penelope Friday and Shanna Germain) to find out more!

One Long Hot Summer is available from http://www.thesecretlibrary.co.uk

 

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