As promised, another fabulous post from the nasty authors of Xcite Book’s new Secret Library series. Today’s nasty author is in between those sexy velvet covers with me and Elizabeth Coldwell in the Traded Innocence anthology. Please welcome the yummy Toni Sands here to get sexily historical with the title story from this sizzling anthology, Traded Innocence. Welcome Toni!
It’s thrilling to have my story snuggling alongside those of KD Grace and Liz Coldwell in the Traded Innocence collection. These are two very talented ladies and I can’t wait to curl up with this trio of novellas.
When Xcite Books asked me to write something for their new imprint, a tingle ran down my spine. The Secret Library is a fabulous, evocative title and when I read the criteria for authors, I knew I must embrace the challenge. Powerful – passionate -provocative: three words to encapsulate an alpha male hero, a feisty heroine to fall for him and a tempting setting. I’d like to explain how my novella emerged.
I’ve written on and off for years but back in the 1990s, began submitting stories. From memory, my first effort was about as effective as a dish of strawberries and cream left out in the rain but I got my act together to write and broadcast two stories for BBC Wiltshire Sound. After I became suddenly single, concentrating upon writing a novel (still in the drawer) helped me hugely. After a move to Wales and several short story successes, I joined a writers’ group and that creativity bug had its way with me at last. I enrolled on a degree course and when the word ‘dissertation’ dropped into the mix I kept seeing smugglers and a heroine who needed rescuing from a scheming male. I’d never written a historical before so for inspiration I took Wales’ awesome Gower Peninsula as background. Research included visiting some alleged smugglers’ coves, of course.
I gained my degree and drifted away from writing ‘nice’ to writing ‘raunchy’ but those characters hung around my hard drive until last year when I knew Rebecca and Jac, my hero and heroine, must seize their moment. Here’s the first sighting of my bad boy smuggler and the lovely young woman who captures his heart …
On the golden crescent visible at high tide, a horseman cantered towards the headland. An emerald green bandanna tied back glossy black hair from his face. His white shirt ballooned as he rode, muscular thighs gripping the horse’s flanks.
Fingers laced, two young women giggled their way across the dunes above, to scramble into a sandy bowl, sheltered by swaying grass and sea thrift.
‘She’ll never catch us now,’ said Rebecca, fingers raking her copper curls. ‘I won’t let her spoil our fun.’
‘Biddy’s only following your father’s orders,’ said Catrin. ‘He wants you to make a good marriage.’
‘It’s not fair! Marrying me off to someone who’s a hundred years old.’
Catrin frowned. ‘He’s a wealthy lord.’
‘Born back in the last century. You do the sums!
When Rebecca spots Jac, she begins to dream, not just about being in his arms but calculating whether he can save her body and soul from her sleazebag of a bridegroom. She engineers a meeting with Jac …
The weather was changing. There was a distant growl of thunder. Jac gestured to some nearby rocks forming a natural sitting place and Rebecca noticed something that had slipped her attention before. The tip of Jac’s forefinger was missing. Instead of sitting down, she reached for his left hand and took it in hers.
She saw the uncertainty in his eyes and recognised his vulnerability. She felt a torrent of tenderness. He was beautiful, this twenty-one-year-old Irishman. She didn’t care about his chaotic lifestyle. All that mattered was the man. Slowly she raised his hand to her mouth. Her lips closed around the damaged forefinger and she began to suck. Gently and rhythmically her tongue licked Jac’s fingertip.
Sea, sky and smugglers’ coves – paradise for some – despair for beautiful Rebecca. Her father plans to marry her off to a tyrant. Intrigued by a soothsayer’s words, she tumbles at the feet of bad boy Jac, an apprentice smuggler, good with women and horses. Desire burns as powerfully as Rebecca’s determination to rewrite her destiny. Local witch Morwenna is Jac’s ex-lover. Can she be trusted? Midnight at Half Moon Cove sees scavengers and power-hungry barons struggling for supremacy. The lovers must face greater danger before innocence is traded for passion in the sandy cove where they first met.
My website is www.tonisands.co.uk
My Twitter account is https://twitter.com/#!/tonisands
Toni Sands is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003739178570
I very much hope you’ll enjoy reading Traded Innocence and its companions in the just-released collection. Thank you, KD, for inviting me along at this exciting time. Hold out your glass, everyone, and let’s break open the bubbly!