First loves. Sigh... Right?
That first glance, the first smile, the first touch, the first bolt of electricity, the first time you see the same intrigue and attraction in his eyes that you feel zooming through you. That's what I love most about writing romance novels. Getting to experience those moments again and again with every book I write, and every book I read. Well, that and the fact that I get to google gorgeous guys and can call it work-related research!
And that brings me to my pair of Male on Monday men. The guys behind the heroes. The heavenly bodies who inspired me in some way in the writing of my first loves - my first Harlequin Romance, and my first ever Modern Heat - both of whom slid happily, blissfuly and warmly back into my mind when I discovered they were getting re-released with two weeks of one another next month.
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS and THE WEDDING WISH both hold huuuuge places in my heart and for good reason. They were the times when I first found myself in my writing. When I let go of everything I'd ever heard or read of thought and just let my voice shine. And isn't that what all great first loves should do?
From the very beginning of my writing career I cast my heroes. Probably comes from my screenwriting abckground when I always wrote parts for someone in particular in the hopes they'd one day be in my movies!
My first hero in my first book - THE WEDDING WISH - was written with the lovely Chris Noth in mind. In fact he was one of my first Male on Monday highlights back when PHS first began. I loved him in Law and Order, was and forever am Team Big, and even adore him enough to be able to handle him on The Good Wife even though in that case I don't trust the guy one bit!!!
As Jacob Lincoln he was my first published love. He gave me my first cute meet, a classic - they bang into one another on the street and her papers going flying. My first first date - a blind date that starts horribly wrong. My first heroic realisation that he was a gonners. My first experience of a man's man breaking out from behind the long-held bastion to declare his undying love.
Best of all he gave me my book first kiss. I can still see the mist on the driveway, the swoosh of faraway traffic, and taste the cognac on his lips. Mmmm. Here's a little taste just for you:
Jacob leant over and placed a light kiss on her open mouth succeeding in shutting her up. His hands remained in his pockets and her hands held her gloves in front of her at chest height. And since his toes were a couple of feet from hers, the only points of contact were their four, warm, amenable lips.
It took the merest moment for the unexpected tenderness of his kiss to wash its magic over her. On impulse Holly closed her eyes and tilted her head only ever so slightly. But it was enough.
Jacob took her hint and he leant that little bit closer to explore the warmth and thrill as unexpected yearning lit between them. And what started as little more than an overly friendly goodnight peck deepened into something very different. It was delicate. It was yielding. It was lovely.
Yeah. The guy wears a suit, and a flirtatious line, so very very well. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
Though when I think about my first Modern Heat - GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS - my mind goes straight to the hero, Flynn Granger, I feel less warm and fuzzy and more hot and tingly. I'm thinking now that while Jacob was my first love, Flynn my first red-hot love affair ;).Flynn was the man who took me from sweet and light to hot and heavy. And he did so by way of the delicious Jeremy Northam.
Jeremy Northam has that lazy laid-back charm that gets me each and every time. No time more than as a beautifully repressed Englishman in The Winslow Boy. The moments when you see the man beneath the suit - the warmth, the humour, the heat - are breathtaking.
Flynn gave me my first sex against a wall, on a bear skin rug and more wild and wonderful places than I'd ever gone before! No wonder my love for Flynn took my breath away just the same:
‘Do you want to come inside?’ The words left Abbey’s mouth before she had conjured them in her mind. It was too late before she remembered that the done thing was to finish that sentence with the words ‘for coffee’.
‘I want to come inside,’ Flynn said, his deep voice rumbling through her and she knew that he wasn’t after coffee any more than she was contemplating offering it.
Abbey took three steps inside on completely numb feet. All the blood in her body had rushed... Not to her head, it felt light as a balloon. Not to her hands, for they were suddenly so cold they almost hurt. And not to her lungs, as they felt so tight she could scarce draw breath.
She turned to check that Flynn had followed and found his large form filling her doorway. Moonlight spilled through the trellis backlighting him, but his face was in darkness. He slowly closed the door behind him, and as the moonlight slid away, she caught a light in his eyes. A gleam. A need so strong it lit him from within.
Picture me tilting my hat to the two gorgeous men who let me be who I needed to be in order to write my two breakthrough novels. I love you both. Maybe even more now. With time. And distance. And no memory at all of how stubborn you both likely were to wrangle onto the page!!
THE WEDDING WISH comes out next month in a collection entitled Blind Dates and Other Disasters. The collection in which GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS will appear is called Boardroom Hot-Shots: Real Men Collection.