Today, I’m utterly delighted to hand over the blog to a writer of incredibly hot stories – the lovely Lucy Felthouse.
First Times by Lucy Felthouse
This blog post is all about first times. No, not the kind you’re thinking of! The kind where it’s the first time I’ve guested on Jenna’s blog, and the kind where I’m blogging about my first novella, out next week.
Said novella, Off the Shelf, appears in Silk Stockings from Xcite Books, which also features Jenna’s novella, The Lord of Summer.
When Xcite Books asked me to write a novella for their upcoming The Secret Library range of books, I jumped at the chance, then promptly panicked, because I’d never written one before. Short stories are well and truly my comfort zone, though I’m breaking out of it more and more. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to think of a storyline that was suitable for the word length, would it be erotic enough, or romantic enough?
I knew that dithering about it wouldn’t get the thing written, so when the hero wandered into my head, demanding to be written about, I was delighted. Although Off the Shelf is told from the perspective of the female character, Annalise, it was the delightful Damien that helped me decide what the story was going to be about, and things progressed happily from there.
I actually really enjoyed telling Annalise and Damien’s story from her perspective, because it meant that I got to see Damien through Annalise’s eyes and get to know him along with her. As a result, I have the biggest crush on Damien, and am pretty damn jealous of Annalise! He is just the sweetest guy, and so hot! 😉
Here’s a little snippet from where the two meet:
As she stepped over the threshold, Annalise did what she did every time she entered a bookshop: she took a deep breath. The delicious smell of new books always had a calming effect on her, which was why she was glad the shop was so close to the damn airport security. Her travel schedule was always the same: arrive at airport; check in; go through security; get stressed; dash to bookshop; alleviate stress before boarding flight.
Today was no exception. Annalise moved deeper into the store, wondering where to go first. A glance at her watch told her that she’d got through check-in in record time and had some time to kill before her flight. She smiled – extra time in the bookshop was never a bad thing. She knew it was sad, but hey, everyone has quirks, right?
Annalise made a beeline for the travel section, but just before she got there she was stopped in her tracks. Impeding her entrance to the aisle was a man. And, judging by the flutter of her heart and the heat coming to her face, a very attractive one. Annalise watched him as she waited for her rational thoughts to catch up with what her body was telling her.
Seconds later, it became apparent they were in total agreement. The man – who, judging by his attire, was a member of staff – was indeed cute. He looked to be around Annalise’s age. He was taller than her, even though she wore heels, and he had a slim build. His long curly hair was tied back, and something about the way he was cradling a book in his hands made Annalise suspect she’d found a kindred spirit. He wasn’t the usual tall, muscular type she went for, but she hadn’t had much luck with those guys, anyway, so looking at someone a little different couldn’t do any harm, could it?
She continued towards the travel section before someone saw her acting like some kind of weird bookshop voyeur. Annalise figured the guy was new here. She came into this shop often enough to know the staff, and she’d never seen him before. She’d definitely have remembered him.
He looked up as she drew close, a pair of intelligent green eyes behind dark-rimmed glasses adding to the guy’s bookish appeal. His lips curved into a smile and he shuffled forward to let her by. Annalise gave a polite nod of thanks, moved past him and put her bag down at her feet.
Standing next to him as they both perused the shelves, Annalise caught the scent of his cologne. She had no idea what it was or how to describe it, but she did know it smelt totally divine. Almost mouth watering. Could this guy be any more appealing?
Reaching forward, Annalise grabbed a book from the shelf in order to distract herself before she got into trouble for sexual harassment. The two of them flicked pages in silence for a few minutes, until the quiet was suddenly broken by the sound of his voice.
‘Do you know,’ he said, quietly, as though they were in a library, rather than a bookshop, ‘I’ve quite forgotten myself. I’m supposed to be working here, and here I am browsing books and completely ignoring the customers.’
He closed the book he was looking at and slid it back into place on the shelf. Turning to Annalise, he held out a hand. ‘I’m Damien. I’m so sorry, I’ve only just started working here and I seem to keep forgetting that part. I blame the books. They distract me.’
Annalise looked down at his outstretched hand and thought how odd it was that he was introducing himself. Bookshop staff – nice as they usually were – didn’t often make a habit of approaching customers and partaking in formal introductions. Not to mention the fact he was wearing a name badge, so telling her his name was completely redundant. She slipped her hand into his and shook it anyway, not wanting to appear rude.
‘I’m Annalise.’ She couldn’t think of anything witty or interesting to say to follow that, so she dropped Damien’s hand as soon as was polite and wondered whether she should grab her bag and head over to the fiction section until he’d gone. Before she could move, though, he said, ‘Sorry. I’m not crazy. I just talk rubbish when I’m nervous. And I guess I was just being overly nice to stop you from going to my manager and grassing me up for reading on the job.’
Annalise struggled to suppress a smile at Damien’s rambling. He was blushing, and kept touching his hands to his ears as if tucking his hair behind them, then remembering he had it tied up. She found it completely endearing, and the movement of his hands drew her attention to them, highlighting the fact that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. It didn’t mean he was unattached, of course, but at least she could plead ignorance if it did turn out he was with someone.
Finally allowing her smile, and a soft laugh, to escape, Annalise put poor Damien out of his misery.
‘I’m not going to tell your manager anything. I’m a fellow book lover, I totally see the attraction.’ She lowered her voice and leaned towards Damien a little, as if imparting a secret. ‘And to be honest, they distract me, too. Why do you think I’m here? It’s not exactly the most hip and happening place in the airport, is it?’
The two of them poked their heads out of the end of the aisle and looked around, noting the fact there was only one other customer in the shop. Aside from the bored-looking young girl on the till, that was it. Ducking back into the travel section, they laughed together, the ice thoroughly broken.
As Annalise watched Damien compose himself, she had a realisation. Despite the fact he wasn’t her usual type and that he was, well … a little odd, she really liked him. And he was hot. The dimple that appeared in his right cheek when he smiled cemented that fact. Annalise resolved to find out if they had more in common than their love of books.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jenna! And I’m delighted to be nestling between the covers of Silk Stockings with you. I can’t wait to read your story.
At 35, travel writer Annalise is fed up with insensitive comments about being left on the shelf. It’s not as if she doesn’t want a man, but her busy career doesn’t leave her much time for relationships. Sexy liaisons with passing acquaintances give Annalise physical satisfaction, but she needs more than that. She wants a man who will satisfy her mind as well as her body. But where will she find someone like that? It seems Annalise may be in luck when a new member of staff starts working in the bookshop at the airport she regularly travels through. Damien appears to tick all the boxes; he’s gorgeous, funny and intelligent, and he shares Annalise’s love of books and travel. The trouble is, Damien’s shy and Annalise is terrified of rejection. Can they overcome their fears and admit their feelings, or are they doomed to remain on the shelf?
More info and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/the-secret-library-silk-stockings/
Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story – so she did. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, House of Erotica, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Resplendence Publishing, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9
Great to learn a little more about Jenna and also to read Lucy’s excerpt. Loved this book shop meeting of minds with, ahem, doubtless many more pages to turn over.
Thanks for stopping by, Toni! I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt 🙂
I’m looking forward to reading your story, too! 😉
This was great. Book sounds wonderful.
Thanks Nichelle! I’m glad you like the sound of the book :))
A lovely extract, Lucy. I wish you every success with your novella.
Thanks Susan, I appreciate it! Thank you for stopping by 🙂