If I talk about the weather, does that make me English? – Michele de Winton

So today I’m jumping on a plane back to the other side of the world, husband, newly walking one year old and three new pairs of shoes tagging along. Wish me luck. I’ve been on what I like to call a ‘Grandchild socialisation tour’ and what has had the biggest impact, apart from the inlaws and hubby’s work commitments, has been the weather. It was supposed to be summer, but it turns out we came to England for the wettest summer in 100 years. Yep. 100 years. Awesome.

It got me thinking though about the weather in Contemporary Romance Novels. In my first Indulgence it’s pretty much sunny ALL the time. I mean, if you’re going on a cruise through the Pacific Island it would be rude not to have the sun out wouldn’t it? And other than the occasional tempestuous storm where Hero and Heroine are thrust together under an umbrella, or need to cower in a doorway, everything I’ve read lately has had a distinctly sunny weather pattern.

Are we Contemporary Romance readers simply fair-weather people do you think? In love with the sun, its warmth, its restorative qualities, or do we just enjoy the fact it enables our Heroes to take their shirts off liberally?

I guess for me sunshine is a prerequisite for my ideal day, and as my perfect contemporary romance fantasy is likely to include my ideal day, or a series of them, it makes sense that the sun is often out in Romance-land. I have to add that I’m only referring here to Contemporary Romance, the paranormal title I’m about to release has storms and rain a plenty.

But what do you think? Do you agree? Sure it might snow if it’s Christmas or hurl a sandstorm if a sheik is lurking, but mostly the outlook for Romance-land is fine. All day. No Wettest summer in 100 years. No conversations about what a shame it is that the weather is so terrible. No more tears from Mr. One because his pushchair rain-cover doesn’t fit and his feet are getting wet. Damn, booked the wrong trip didn’t I?

Thanks for stopping by

x Michele

Image: Freedigitalphotos

SUNDAY SNIPPET

Today’s Sunday Snippet is from NOT THE MARRYING KIND.

Beck has deliberately stayed away from his house in Red Rock Canyon where Poppy, his ‘inconvenient’ wife is staying.

Even with his shadow looming over her she didn’t stir, so he bent down and brushed a soft kiss against her lips.

Her eyelids snapped open and before he could react, she’d leapt up and simultaneously shoved him.

Beck teetered on the edge of the pool for a second, long enough to see the dawning horror spread across her face before he toppled backward. He fell in, submerged, grateful for solar heating. Not so grateful he was wearing an Armani suit and a Rolex.

He surged toward the surface in time to see her hovering on the edge of the pool, concern twisting her mouth into a grimace.

“Nice day for a swim.” He frowned.

She winced. “Sorry, I thought you were some sicko sneaking into the backyard.”

“That’s what the alarmed walls are for, if you turned them on.” As he tread water, a glimmer of an idea shimmering into his subconscious. A very naughty idea. “You were pretty out of it.”

“Working hard.” She jerked a thumb at her laptop.

“What are you doing here?”

“Didn’t want my wife pining away for me.”

“As if.” She towered over him, hands on hips, utterly delectable.

“Go on, admit it.”

“What?”

“You missed me.”

She blew him a raspberry in response. “Your ego’s as big as your fortune.”

“I was hoping you’d say as big as something else.”

A hint of a smile tugged at her mouth. “You’ve got a filthy mind, too.”

“It’s a guy thing.” He swam closer, her dainty ankle within tempting reach.

Something in his expression must’ve alerted her to his nefarious intentions, because she edged back a little. “I’m putting the finishing touches on Lou’s party. Why don’t you dry off and we’ll catch up later?”

“Why don’t we catch up now?”

Before she could move, his hand snaked out, grabbed her ankle, and tugged. She shouted an obscenity—several in fact—as she toppled into the pool beside him. Her hat floated to the surface a second before she did, sputtering and coughing.

“You play dirty.” She shoved him away as he reached for her, and he laughed.

“You love it.”

“Smug bastard,” she muttered, her glare softening when his hands spanned her waist and tugged her closer.

“I love it when you call me names.” He claimed her mouth before she could respond, the latent heat between them igniting in a fiery instant. 

Because chocolate is good for you – Michele de Winton

When I was pregnant last year, my iron levels dipped. Imagine my delight to learn that chocolate was good for me. Yes. Dark chocolate has bountiful iron, well maybe not bountiful, but there’s iron. And that’s good for you.

So in the spirit of helping out those Olympian athletes (international male swimmers we salute you) with a snack rich in iron and (ahem) energy, I thought I’d share my friend Tamara’s lusho-licious chocolate brownie recipe that I’m whipping up today.

Warning – excessive consumption may be hazardous to your health (unless you’re planning on burning it off in a 1500 meter dash)

You’ll need:

250g butter

1 and a half cups of cocoa

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup of standard flour

1 tsp of baking powder

Melt the butter (if you do it in a saucepan now you can do the rest in the same pot). Add cocoa. Stir over a low heat for one to two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Sift flour and baking power together and then stir into the mixture. Pour into a greased and lined shallow 20 tin. Bake at 180C/350F for thirty to thirty five minutes. Leave in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a rack. This leaves it pretty gooey. But gooey on the inside is good right? If you like things a little firmer, leave it in the oven a little longer.  Cut into Olympian sized pieces. You could dust with icing sugar, or you could go for gold and serve with cream.

In The Boss and Her Billionaire Michaela is more interested in cocktails than chocolate. Not so her BFF Felicity:

“You were thinking of that delectable guy from admin and giving yourself a firm telling off for having unprofessional thoughts, weren’t you?” Felicity’s grin was devilish.

“Admin?” Michaela blushed, the green-eyed new staff member springing to mind. The green-eyed dancer.

She almost laughed as the realization hit her. Come on, he’s a male dancer! Might as well be attracted to a tropical palm tree for all the good it would do. “Oh, yes, the dark one from admin,” she said. “I was probably letting him seduce me subconsciously.” She winked at Felicity, hoping that would be an end to it.

Felicity smiled. “It was a good cover. No one is going to suspect you when he’s found tied up in his stateroom with whipped cream covering his chest.”

“Felicity!” Michaela felt the blush right down to her toes. “You know very well I would never! And he’s not all that edible, anyway.”

“Rightio.” Felicity chortled. “If you don’t want him, be sure and let me know. He gave me a filthy little smile in the middle of your tirade. I’m sure I can find space for him within my male menu. And I think his chocolate good looks would go perfectly with cream.”

What do you think? Are you a Michaela or Felicity – do you like your heroes with cream? Or should food and sex be pleasures sampled separately? Hope you enjoy the brownie 😉

xMichele

BFFs

When I read, I’m a sucker for relationships. Predominantly the hero and heroine but there’s another I value almost as highly. That between the hero/heroine and their BFF.

It’s no great surprise women like to talk.

We talk a lot.

And I love giving my heroines a good sounding board, a BFF they can chat to how I’d chat to my best friends.

In NOT THE MARRYING KIND, Poppy’s BFF is Ashlee (who also happens to be her assistant in the party planning business.)  They have some super fun conversations in the book. This is one of them:

“Where do I start?” Poppy took a deep breath and blew it out, glad she could trust Ashlee. She couldn’t talk to Sara, not about this, and if she didn’t tell someone, she’d burst. “The part where he agreed to my pitch?”

Ashlee squealed and clapped her hands like a hyperactive kid.

“Or the part where I agreed to marry him?”

Ashlee collapsed into the seat opposite, her mouth a perfect O as she stared at Poppy as if she’d announced she was a finalist for American Idol. “Crazy, huh?”

Ashlee’s lips moved but no words came out.

“He needs a wife for business, I need money to save Sara’s business, so apparently we’re a good fit.” Poppy resisted the urge to squirm in her seat at the memory of exactly how well they fit together.

When he had her backed up against that wall, his hands everywhere, she’d been so turned on she could’ve gotten naked right there and then. Funny how fast thoughts of kneeing him in the groin had turned to wanting to grope his groin. “It’s a temporary arrangement. Twelve months, tops. Not so bad.”

The silence grated on her nerves. “Say something.”

“Are you nuts?” Ashlee shook her head, cleared her throat. “Did he slip you a roofie? Were you drunk and dreamed up this crazy idea?” She pointed at Poppy’s sunglasses. “And take those off. I can’t see your eyes.”

“So?”

“I can’t see if you’re being serious or getting back at me for borrowing your fave Choos that one time.”

“Twice.” Poppy slid her sunglasses off and Ashlee recoiled.

“Ballet flats and no mascara? Gross. You’re either sick or The Hottie kept you up all night. Before he proposed, that is.” Ashlee rolled her eyes and folded her arms, less than impressed with what she assumed was her fabricated story. “What really happened?”

“I told you.”

Her serious tone took a few seconds to penetrate Ashlee’s disbelief, as her friend went from dubious to dumbfounded. “You’re marrying the guy?”

Ashlee made it sound like she was heading on a one-way trip to Mars on a defective shuttle.

“Yeah, it’s good business sense.”

“Good business sense,” Ashlee parroted before smacking her forehead. “What do you think this is, a freaking romance novel? Fictional characters get married for convenience, not people in real life. And certainly not you.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re not the marrying kind.”  

I loved Poppy’s BFF so much that I’m planning Ashlee’s story as we speak.

Now I’m throwing it over to you. Who’s your favourite heroine/BFF combo in movies or books?

Sunday Snippet – Michele de Winton

And here’s a little more from The Boss and Her Billionaire – out now!

“Had she really just offended the guy who now knew her stupid secret? The guy who was a wonderful listener, gave good advice and…and what? And made her feel like more of a woman than she had in a long time.

“Welcome again, anyway,” she said.

Welcome again? What sort of lousy line was that?

Don’t make this more than it is.

“I won’t tell anyone,” Dylan said.

Breathe in, breathe out, you’re in control, you’re in charge. She recited her mantra.

“I should hope not. You promised you wouldn’t.” Michaela tried to convey authority with her tone, but it was a little hard after she’d just spilled her guts to him.

She thanked the gods again that it was dark.

“I never break a promise.”

“Good.”

Deep breath in, deep breath out, no need to go into a spin because he’s a wonderful listener, insanely hot, and apparently available.

“See you tomorrow, first thing.” Michaela threw the comment over her shoulder as she walked off with as much dignity as she could muster. She’d just have to hope he was true to his word—and that, in the future, she could keep her reactions more under control.”