Date: 10th February 2023, Posted by mollie
As I write, a huge cyclone is storming our way and should arrive on Valentine’s Day! Cyclone Gabrielle, a severe category three storm, is forecast to be one of the most serious storms to hit NZ this century. She may inspire a story or at least a scene in one of my love stories! Weather can be a character all of its own and often forces the lovers together:) Did you read and enjoy Married by Christmas, also released as the Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride? There’s a wonderful storm scene. Here’s a little excerpt from Chapter 18, before the two lovers are forced together:
‘Hit me with another,’ Max set the crystal tumbler down onto the granite bar harder than he should. The bartender turned at the sound and glanced back at his supervisor. The older Fijian nodded slowly, his eyes signaling his understanding, as though sensing the conflict stabbing Max’s heart. No doubt they’d both seen their share of normally sober guests at Max’s resort drowning their conflicting emotions in a heady mix of alcohol.
Fire and ice, Max mused clenching the tumbler as he stared at the rocks of ice submerged like the Titanic below the burnt orange hue of the whiskey. Like a nymph from a Waterhouse painting, Issy’s face shimmered on the surface of the amber liquid—ethereal, desirous, seductive.
If he wasn’t such a rational man he’d think she had cast a spell over him. Why else would a plain Jane make him so reckless? Yet she wasn’t plain. Not in the way ordinary girls were. There was something unique about Issy and it was driving him crazy.
Either that, he decided, or the surgeons that had operated on him meddled with a vital valve in his heart—joining it up with a circuit of feeling he would prefer remained defunct.
‘Quei bastardi. You sad, sorry fuck,’ he cursed, pushing the glass aside unwilling to block out what he knew he must face. He had acted irrationally and irresponsibly, dressing her like a siren and driving her to him, only to find he couldn’t stand the heat. Drinking wouldn’t obliterate his guilt. He’d already lost control once. It was a mistake he didn’t plan to repeat.
Anger slapped inside his stomach as the sky rumbled with the threat of rain. Two sets of parents had repeatedly taught him how easily vows could be broken. “You’re just like your father,” his mother threw at him every time she was displeased. Her relentless attacks were like one giant affirmation. But maybe she was right. He was just like his father.
A heartless philanderer.
People often ask me what inspires my love stories. Very often, it’s something I have read in the news. Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride is one example. I share more in the Author’s Note.
The idea for this story was sparked when I read about a very successful Italian fashion-tycoon who said, ‘My biggest regret is that I gave my life to my job.’ It struck me as very, very sad.
I wondered why he had chosen to live his life this way. Despite all his wealth, all his mansions around the world, and all the ‘fans’ who adored him for the identity he had carefully cultivated, he loved no one and no one loved him back for who he truly was.
Although he never said it outright, he’d thrown himself into his work following the death of his life partner. His work was pure escapism—protecting him from feeling the pain of loss again.
He’d originally trained as a medic but after experiencing the horrors of war, he sought refuge in a fantasy world.
As a child, he’d loved the glitz and glamor Hollywood offered. After a brief stint in the war where he witnessed the deaths of friends, he found an escape from the harshness of reality returning to the fantasy of Hollywood
I wondered what sort of woman would be able to touch this frozen man at the deepest level? Everything in his life was controlled measured, predictably precise. I wondered what if the darkness of the past, his unhealed wounds began to impact his work, stifling his creativity and threatening to destroy everything he had fought so hard to achieve?
I wondered what if, as part of his recovery, he was forced to spend time with a woman so opposite in every way to the order he imposed in his life? And what if this woman was a children’s art therapist? A woman unimpressed by the fame and fortune he’d amassed, but who believed strongly in the power of play, fun, and spontaneity—things he considered reckless.
What if this woman had the power to transform his life, and he hers—but they were both afraid. Hearts have been broken, love lost, trust betrayed. What if this woman had her own wounds? Don’t we all?
What would it take to make all the masks fall? To be vulnerable? To risk it all? What would it take, in spite of the fear, to believe you deserve, you want, you need to give love a second chance?
Claimed by the Sheikh, is another example of a new item sparking a love story. It was partly inspired by the tragedy in 2015 that took the lives of former New Zealand sporting star, All Black legend Jerry Collins and his Canadian partner Alana Madill in France. The crash happened at 3:10am along the highway near Béziers on the way to the city of Montpellier. They died instantly, and their baby daughter was taken to Montpellier hospital in a critical condition.
I cried such tears thinking of that baby being left an orphan. It really worried me that she would be left in the world with no parents to love and care for her. So I wondered―what if her parents weren’t really dead? What if the two people that died were the baby’s adoptive parents? What if her biological parents were very much alive?
And then, as writers are want to do, I thought, what if the biological father was an extraordinarily wealthy sheikh who was unaware that he had fathered a child?
I absolutely adored the movie, The Road Dance, which I watched on iMovie recently. Hermione Corfield was wonderful in the role of tragic heroine and the story had so many themes relevant today. Her character was strong, resilient and courageous. Isn’t this how we want our heroines to be:) I did love this story so. It is something I would watch again and I am inspired to read the book from which the film is adapted. My ancestors were from Scotland (and Ireland, Wales and England) so the story and setting held special significance.
Here’s the official overview:
Kirsty Macleod (Hermione Corfield) dreams of a better life away from the isolation that suffocates her in a small village on an island in the Outer Scottish Hebrides. Suppressing these aspirations, she sees her lover Murdo (Will Fletcher) conscripted for service in the First World War, soon to set off and fight alongside the other young men from the village. A road dance is held in their honor the evening before they depart, and it’s on this fateful evening that Kirsty’s life takes a dramatic and tragic turn.
The Guardian wrote a nice review you may enjoy:
I had a fun catch-up with friends last night in a local wine bar. “I need to spend more time pampering my husband,” my friend confided. ‘What’s a good Valentine’s Day gift?”
My other friend and I laughed and said, Shorts! He really needs new shorts.” (Her husband’s shorts are so worn and ripped! And then we got giggling and said, “make them edible!”
“What flavour?” she asked.
I suggested she read my book Sex With Strangers. “There’s a great scene about how to seduce a man with food, including edible underwear!” Enjoy a wee excerpt from Chapter 28:
Before I leave for the night Chanel and I meet for a drink and she gives me some final coaching on how to have sex like a man.
“First you need to set the scene. So far you’ve been on a couple of dates and no sex. Guys like to be champions and true champions are the ones who can turn a casual date into a bonk. You must be sending out the wrong vibes or he would have bonked you by now, darling.”
“We’ve just been having so much fun, enjoying each other’s company that it’s never come up,” I say, despondently.
Chanel arches an eyebrow, “It’s never come up? Believe me, with men, it always comes up.” She raises her forefinger in the air to add further affect. “You need to take control and break the physical boundaries.”
“He kissed my cheek. Does that count?”
Chanel rolls her eyes up to the heavens and back.
“Alright point taken. Maybe he’s just not into me.”
“He’s calling you, isn’t he? Showing you attention? Asking you on dates…believe me, he’s into you, darling. He just needs a little encouragement.”
“I don’t want to seem too forward. Shouldn’t guys take the lead?”
Chanel’s hands fly to her hips. “What have I been telling you all along?”
“Guys need to be given the nod,” I reply.
“Exactly! So while you’re out tonight accidentally brush his leg with your hand. Smile a lot. Show him you’re having a good time.”
“That shouldn’t be hard. We’re going to a comedy club!” I tell her.
“Good. Smile, even if the jokes aren’t funny and make sure you make eye contact, all the time. Don’t break it. That’s fatal. Toward the end of the evening give him your best bedroom eyes. Eyeball him with ‘I want your body’ emblazoned in your eyes. This is crucial, but I recognise that it doesn’t come naturally to most people. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to you, “Chanel says. “Only a small number of people have their bedroom eyes on all the time. These people can be digging in the garden, singing in the choir, cutting their own hair, or filing their income tax, but their bedroom eyes are always on.”
“That sounds hazardous to your health.”
“Yes, in the best way possible,” Chanel laughs.
“They must be getting propositioned all the time! How’s this?” I say trying to put on my best bedroom eyes.
“Fine if you’re trying to say, ‘can you pass me the remote’, but crap otherwise. Geeze, Ruby, you can write the sex stuff but when it comes to getting hot and saucy you look like you’ve got stage fright. It’s more like this.”
Chanel tosses back her hair and then lets it fall forward. She lowers her head then looks up slowly with her best ‘come hither you sexy beast, take me, take me into your cave and make me your women’ look.
She would win an Oscar for her outstanding performance.
“When you finally get him into the sack,” she continues, “and believe me that shouldn’t take long once you give him the nudge, I guarantee he’ll take over. Oh, that reminds me, whatever you do don’t apologise for your body.”
“But my breasts sag, I have stretch marks. . . and. . .”
“Stop! What have I told you about that negative self-talk? Five self-esteem press-ups on the spot!”
“I’m loving, I’m loyal, I’m fun to be with, I’m . . . I’m generous . . . I’m. . .”
“You’re sexy, Ruby. Sexy. Think like a man. Men are attracted to women because they have all the bits and pieces they don’t have. They couldn’t give a monkey’s what state your bits and pieces are in as long as you have the opposite bits to them. Variety is the spice of life— especially for Aquarians like Fergus. Strut your stuff in the bedroom and he’ll go wild for you.”
“Okay! Okay! Strut my stuff. Maybe I should play some music to get us in the mood.”
“Sure why not. Leave it with me. I’ll load some up in the iPod — just leave it to me. All you’ll have to do is push play. I’ll cobble together a few appetisers for you too. Just to help get things in the mood. The way to a man’s hot spot is through his stomach.”
“Ohh, you mean to serve him food like asparagus and other aphrodisiacs.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of edible underwear and chocolate tattoos with erotic words etched in tantalising places!” Chanel says.
“Gosh, there really is a lot to do, isn’t there. When Jon and I had sex we’d just roll into bed, wham bam three minutes it would be over, thank you, mam.”
“Bad sex is easy to whip up—like instant noodles that still leave you unsatisfied. If you want great sex, that takes planning. You need to create an atmosphere, you need to create some mystery, some excitement, some sense of longing and lingering—not plunging in like some kid diving in a pool.”
“Gotcha. But where am I going to get the edible underwear?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll handle that. We can go together if you like. There’s a great sex shop on Columbus Street.”
“I don’t know, Chanel.”
“Put it down to research for your blog. You may even find a naughty nurse’s uniform. Didn’t you say that you thought Fergus was coming down with a cold?”
“Look, I’ll try the edible underwear, Chanel, but only because I’m curious, but there’s no way you’re going to get me to dress up as a nurse,” I say half-seriously as I gather up my things. “I have to fly. I’ve got an important press conference for work.”
“One last piece of advice before you go . . . Enjoy yourself! ” Chanel passes me a bottle of oil. “This will help the passion flow and anxiety go. It’s my special seduction blend. Ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine and cedar wood. It will help loosen you up and turn him on. But be warned—a little goes a long way,” she says.
I kiss her and head out the door.
“Don’t forget to make some noise!“ she yells. “Men like to know a woman is having a good time. Grunt, groan—do the lot. Tell him how good it feels. And be sure to enjoy those orgasms.”
Well you could have heard a pin prick a balloon. The whole bar came to a stop as people turn and stare at me. I stand as still as a startled deer in headlights, too mortified to move.
“She’s having sex for the first time since her divorce,” Chanel crows proudly as she hands out her business cards. “This will be the second man she’s ever done it with. I’ve been helping her master how to have sex with strangers.”
So much for discretion and the confidentiality of the coaching relationship, I think as a round of applause cracks through the air.
I throw Chanel my best I’ll get you for this look and run from the bar.
I arrive at work thirty minutes later to finish a few last minute things, followed by creepy Matt Loews.
“I was at Deliciao…I couldn’t help but overhear—hell they may as well have used a loud hailer. So, you’re going to score? Who’s the lucky man. Anyone I know?” he moves towards me. “I’ve always had a thing for you Ruby, I’d be happy to give you some first hand coaching, if you get my drift,” he says, pinching me on the bum.
I spring back and slap him. “Thanks but no thanks, Matthew, my husband has taught me very well. Now, if you don’t want to end up with a harassment suit, I’d suggest you keep your hands to yourself.”
“Word on the street is your ex-husband was the three minute noodle—laziest shag on the block,” Matt says dropping his hand casually. “I feel sorry for you.”
“You know what they say, longer’s not always better, Matt. You of all people should know that.”
Matt scowls briefly then snickers. “If I were you I wouldn’t make an enemy out of me, Evans.” He places a short stubby finger on my chin and slowly traces it down my neck, then dips it under my collar and brushes his hand close to the cup of my lacy bra.
“Before you get any ideas, Evans, this never happened,” he says pinching my nipple before withdrawing his hand.“Nobody believes a jilted woman, especially a single mom. We all know you’re horny for it. My advice is don’t fight it. I know you want me.” He steps away and stops in the doorway, smiling lecherously, “and I know you want to do well in your career.”
That slime ball is proving to be a real problem. The worst thing is he’s already sprung me surfing a porn site I’d been referencing for my blog. At a drop of a needle he could call in computer forensic people and I’d be kicked out of here so fast my feet wouldn’t touch the asphalt. I’m not sure what is worse. Being jilted by Jonathon or the lecherous advances of my boss.
My mind wanders to Fergus. Handsome, funny, unpredictable Fergus. I can’t wait for the end of the day. He makes me feel like a princess and I can’t wait to sample more of what life with him tastes like.
Actually, if I’m honest I can’t wait to taste him.
I rush home and scoot up the stairs. Only one hour before Fergus picks me up. Finally, he is going to tell me what he does for a job. I can’t wait.
The official description reads:
44-year-old Ruby Evans doesn’t want to be a ‘leftover girl.’ But finding a ‘forever’ man is proving impossible.
Suddenly single after 20 years of marriage, her husband is the only man she has ever slept with. But the one bit of security she always thought she’d hold onto for the rest of her life is brutally ripped from her.
Humiliatingly and cruelly ex-ed when her husband trades her for a younger model, Chanel Zest, a long-time friend and motivational life coach, comes to her rescue. Together they embark on a quest to reclaim and rebuild Ruby’s shattered life and begin the gruelling process of dating again.
Once in a pink moon, Ruby has to play dirty…
If you loved Brigette Jones’s Diary and enjoy romantic comedy, you’ll love Sex With Strangers.
Full of quirky humour and the promise of a happily ever after.
Sex with Strangers is a clean romantic comedy with a few spicy bits.
I hope wherever you are, whoever you are with, the sun is shining in your heart and all your wishes come true. And if they don’t – you can always escape into a great love story with a guaranteed happy ending:)
Posted in: Mollie's Blog