Today, I welcome the fabulous Alice Raine, author of the bestselling Untwisted series, to my blog. Alice is another of the authors in our anthology, Love Under the Mistletoe, out now. Here, we get to know one of her characters in a fascinating way.
Firstly, a big, huge thank you to Demelza for hosting me today!
For this blog I thought I’d write a short chat between myself and the lead male character in Snowed in, called Sean. Snowed In is my festive short story which appears in the Love Under the Mistletoe anthology along with stories by the awesome Demelza Hart, KD Grace and Elizabeth Coldwell.
I arrive at Sean’s swanky house in the English hills promptly at 10am, and then once I’m comfortably sat on one of the leather stools in Sean’s fancy kitchen we begin to chat.
Sean: Hi Alice, welcome to my house. [Extends his hand to me]
Alice: Hi Sean, thanks for the invite. [I shake his hand, attempting not to swoon at how strong his grip is]
Sean: Can I get you a drink at all? [Indicates to a flashy coffee machine on the kitchen counter]
Alice: Oooh… I’d love a cappuccino if you can do one?
Sean: Of course, how do you like it?
Alice: 2 shots, a little milk and no sugar please.
Sean: I see you’re a woman who likes her coffee. I’d almost put myself down as a coffee connoisseur, so I like it when others appreciate a good java too.
[After a minute or so Sean places our beverages in front of us and takes the stool opposite, bending one long leg at the knee so he can rest his foot on the rung of the stool]
Sean: So, I’m curious, why did you choose me to be the main character in Snowed In?
Alice: [I take a sip of my delicious coffee to briefly stall my embarrassing answer] Well, I wanted someone who would, um … [My cheeks flush] who would be … attractive to the readers. [My face is now redder than a tomato] The majority of downloads of my books are by women, so I try to describe characters that appeal to that market.
Sean: [Smirking] So, you think I appeal to the female audience?
Alice: [rolling my eyes at his cocky manner] Yes, Sean, I do. You’re tall, broad, dark haired and handsome. What’s not to like?
Sean: Some people say I’m arrogant and moody.
Alice: [I give a little shrug] Yeah, well, in an erotic romance book a certain degree of arrogance can be an attractive trait too sometimes.
Sean: [Chewing on his lower lip] Really? So all that treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen shit is actually real?
Alice: Well, not specifically no. I just mean that from a readers’ point of view having a male character who is handsome and sure of himself, but a little closed off emotionally can make for interesting challenges in the storyline.
Sean: Right … So I’m handsome but emotionally unavailable? Is that what you’re saying?
Alice: Umm … well … basically, yes. [Sean’s eyes narrow at my response, so I have to quickly think on my feet] I know you have your reasons, but you can be a touch brusque at times, but like I said earlier, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sean: [Looking sulky] I’m not sure I want to be the main character anymore.
Alice: It’ll be fine, honestly Sean, take my word for it, the female readers will love you.
Sean: Whatever floats your boat I guess, I’m not sure I get it, but you’re the writer. Send me over a copy of the book when it’s done.
Now you’ve had a small taste of what Sean is like, get to know him better by reading the full story!
Thanks again to Demelza for having me!
Small excerpt from ‘Snowed In’
(This scene takes place as the female character ‘Allie’ is covering a cleaning shift for her friend Sarah, in a supposedly empty house).
Halfway through my mammoth vacuuming session I was building up quite a sweat when the Hoover suddenly cut off. Assuming I had pulled the cable from the wall I spun around to remedy it before letting out an ear-piercing shriek and leaping backwards several steps, clutching at my chest as my heart beat frantically against my ribs.
The hoover hadn’t pulled itself from the wall. No, instead, as I followed the trail of the cable it led me to the hand of a very large man standing in front of me with his arms folded and an incredibly angry expression on his face.
Even in my shock my body noted that he might be angry, but this man was also undeniably handsome, and on top of that, he was only semi-clothed, wearing nothing other than a pair of navy blue pyjama bottoms.
Crikey, what a sight.
Licking my lips my eyes definitely lingered on his well-muscled abdomen for longer than necessary, not to mention his broad chest, but I couldn’t seem to pull my gaze away as I gulped desperately and tugged my ear buds out.
‘You’re not Sarah,’ the man stated grouchily, completely bursting my bubble. Of all the words I’d briefly imagined coming from his beautiful lips, those were not the ones I’d hoped for. Although exactly what I had hoped for I wasn’t sure – his mere presence seemed to have completely thrown me. His bluntness however, did bring me somewhat back to earth and raised my hackles, so instead of asking the obvious question of who he was – the house owner, I hoped – I instead opted for a sarcastic response.
‘Good observation, you must be a genius,’ I said dryly, rather glad I didn’t sound as shaken or breathless as I felt. My reply caused his dark eyes to narrow in annoyance as he rolled his lips repeatedly between his teeth. Hmm … there was something about that look that suddenly made my knees feel a little weaker and to my surprise I felt a low ache of arousal settle in my belly.
Crikey, this was all very unexpected. I hadn’t dated for a while, a long while, I’d been too busy to even notice men, but apparently right now in a strange house, with an equally strange and apparently irritable man was the moment that my body was deciding to react. Just frigging typical.
‘Look, I’ve been up for the last forty-eight hours, I don’t need sarcasm. You’re in my bloody house, who the hell are you?’ he demanded in a low, gritty tone, which while causing goosebumps to rise on my arms, also indicated that perhaps now was not the time to push this guy with my runaway mouth.
Keeping it short and sweet I tried to soften him with a smile, but it didn’t seem to have any effect whatsoever. ‘Sarah’s ill, I’m covering for her. I’m Allie.’
Nodding once he rubbed a hand through his short, dark hair, leaving it spiky and messy and pulling my gaze to the tightness of his bicep as he moved his arm. Gosh, he was so well built it would almost be criminal not to look.
‘Well, Allie, as I just said, I’ve been up for the last two days and I really need to sleep so leave the damn hoovering and just have a tidy up instead.’ Any random attraction I had been feeling was doused by that remark – he spoke as if I had turned on the hoover deliberately to wake him!
His condescending tone had my annoyance building again and I narrowed my eyes at him as I straightened my spine. ‘You weren’t even supposed to be here today, so don’t have a go at me for trying to do what I’ve been asked,’ I replied tightly.
As hard as I tried to ignore it, I noticed that he was doing that lip-rolling thing again, and in response I found myself licking my own lips. What the heck was I doing? This guy was acting like a stuck-up idiot and I was here appreciating his good looks? I seriously needed to get a grip!
‘Yeah, well, I’m back early and I need to sleep and eat, so just make some food and leave it in the fridge.’
Apparently he was lacking in manners too, so I raised my eyebrows at his rudeness like I did with the children in my class, ‘… please,’ he added wearily and I nearly smiled at his foul temper. Watching him, I briefly thought that perhaps he looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I knew him from and I’d certainly remember if I’d ever been to a house like this before.
Shrugging it off I decided it was probably just his good looks that were continuing to confuse me, because even if he was a moody bastard I had to grudgingly admit that he was definitely a very attractive guy. With his minimal clothing there was no disguising the raw appeal of his well-muscled body either – the light covering of hair on his chest looked soft, filling me with an urge to touch it, and the angles of his stubble-covered chin were very manly and particularly sexy. All in all it was a rather nice view, if I’m honest.
In the space of two minutes in his company I felt like I was well on the way to losing my mind, so drawing in a shaky breath I tried to clear my head before looking back at him. To my annoyance I found him watching my appraisal of his body with apparent amusement. From the smug smirk on his face I realised with horror that my goofy expressions must have made it pretty obvious what I was thinking.
Damn my traitorous body, damn this bloody job, and damn this man.
Annoyed at my own lack of control, I refused to show him that I was bothered by his presence and so turned in the direction of the kitchen without so much as a backward glance, ‘Fine, I’ll make you some food and leave,’ I muttered. Unconsciously I realised I had crossed my arms over my chest as I strode from the room – clearly I was feeling a little defensive from my run in with the nameless, and shirtless, handsome stranger.
Thanks for popping over, Alice! And thanks for the great ‘interview’ and extract. I think we all want to get to know Sean a lot better now! 😉
Enjoy this and three other fab festive stories in the Love Under the Mistletoe anthology!