Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Goodlooking? Yes. But Does He Smoulder?

Is it me? (Probably). I can't help feeling today's leading men have lost something.

I mean, they have the good looks and they work out, have biceps on their triceps (or is that the other way round?), have six packs, permatans and sparkly teeth so white you need sunglasses. But, I ask you, in all seriousness...

Do they smoulder?

You know what I mean. Gable had it. When he looked into Vivian Leigh's eyes and swept her up in his strong, manly arms, he smouldered so much women in the cinemas fainted. Has Brad Pitt ever made you faint? Didn't think so, and I do so love a good smoulder, don't you?
The one who started the Art of the Smoulder has to be the Sheikh himself, Rudolph Valentino. All across the land, wherever his films were played, could be heard the sounds of women sighing, swooning - while another sound, that of grinding teeth, emanated from their frustrated boyfriends. They couldn't smoulder. When Valentino died at the tender age of just 31, from peritonitis, thousands of women were left devastated and inconsolable. For some, it was all too much.

But in true Hollywood style, the studios lined up worth successors to his crown. Over the years, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Ramon Navarro would send female hearts (and a few male ones too) fluttering, pounding and skipping a beat. Girls would dream of a kiss with the suave Cary Grant and a night of delicious debauchery with the ever-so-wicked Errol Flynn. I can't imagine the sophisticated and thoroughly nice Mr Clooney debauching, can you?

The demise of the smouldering male lead seems to have gone hand in hand with the end of cinema's Golden Age. Not that there aren't some gorgeous looking guys up there on our screens and, as an added bonus, many of them are far better actors than their forebears. More realistic and true to the characters they are portraying and herein may lie the answer. Real men don't smoulder. Johnny Depp plays an astonishing array of larger than life characters, but he plays them for real. Brilliant, versatile actor and great cheekbones. But if I was awarding him a smoulder factor, it would be a 1 (out of 5).

Higher up the smoulder stakes (for me anyway) and deserving of at least an A- for effort come Antonio Banderas (it's the dark Latin looks and those deep brown eyes) and (one for my friend, Shehanne, here) the ever hunky Josh Holloway. These guys don't smoulder, but they are more than easy on the eye - and they can act.

So, could today's generation of hearthrob actors once again recapture those magical seductive smouldering moments? Or are they gone forever, along with Garbo's amazing eyes and Dietrich singing Lilli Marlene? I fear so. But you never know...Any candidates?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Keep Calm When You Love A Bad Boy - with Shehanne Moore

Today, I'm delighted to hand over to my friend and fellow author, Shehanne Moore, whose two historical romances - The Unraveling of Lady Fury and His Judas Bride are absolute must-reads. In the New Year, her third - Loving Lady Lazuli - will be published, and promises to be just as rollercoaster riveting as her previous stories. So, over to you Shehanne - but first here's a taster: 

“No. Lord Hawley it’s all right. I’m going to stay.” Her gaze edged to what stood on the bedside cabinet. “If we pour some of that brandy there in the basin, we can at least clean that wound with it. Maybe even get some down his throat.”
“’E will be all right in the morning, Miss. Truly.”
Why did Charlie hesitate? His face turned a little paler in the candlelight?
“’E always is. But I don’t think you should give ‘im any of that. Knowin’ Dev, ‘e’s probably ‘ad a bucketful already. Do you want ter make ‘im worse?”
“Whether he has or not, I don’t see it would do any harm to clean this wound up, Charlie. We can’t leave him like this.”
Reaching for the bottle she pulled the cork off. The smell wasn’t exactly what she expected. It was brandy. Yes. But there was an underlying odor she couldn’t quite place. She sniffed. Then she held it to her nose and sniffed again.
Before Charlie could stop her she yanked the cabinet drawer open. Why she reached for that particular one she didn’t know. Only that she did.
What greeted her, clinking about inside, the bottles, were things she did not need to have had any personal experience of to know what they were and why Charlie didn’t want her seeing them. She lifted her chin.
“Just how long has Lord Hawley been an opium addict, Charlie?”

I wish I didn’t have this "oh give me a Rhett Butler" fascination for bad boys--in literature anyway. I really wish I didn’t write them. I especially wish I didn’t have this need to make them even badder. A drug addict? For a hero?  No kidding. 

Did I also say he drinks like a fish and has more women than Primark has bargain wooly jumpers?  Well, I have now. There is, of course, a plot here. A notorious jewel thief trying to escape her past. A lost inheritance. A man bent on wreaking revenge on the family who fed him to the wolves.  But what this book is really about is how two people—he is a drug addict, she self harms—can save each other, through the healing power of love –it is a romance after all—a love each would rather die than let into their lives. Personally I do like a challenge. 

So there’s Devorlane, addicted to sex, addicted to drugs—drop dead gorgeous by the way. 

There’s Sapphire...

....stubborn as a mule, with a huge belief in her own abilities –I do think it’s important when you write the ruthless anti alpha you find the reason a man like that might fall in love. In this instance there’s unfinished business between them. 

The scenario between them.

There’s also the fact he never wants a woman again after he’s had her. Unfortunately he’s never had a stubborn cuss like Cass - which is what she calls herself - whose determination not to surrender to him, even when she does, makes for open war. Her determination to pour his opium out the window too. . 

Opium and opium mixtures such as laudanum (tincture of opium) or paregoric was of course readily available in Regency England. This advert is from later and for a different substance but I think you get the drift. 

This one too. 

Nice little reference there to His Holiness—His Jolliness no doubt after a few glasses of cocaine wine.  

Heroin—that was a 'non addictive' substitute for morphine. 

I chose opium for Devorlane—what a kind author I am – because many who were in chronic pain would develop an addiction.  And he is in pain...of every sort really. 

Does he sort himself out? Does she? Do they save each other? 

Sorry, you’ll have to read the book. 

Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door. 

Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life. Now she’s dead and buried, all the respectable widow, Cassidy Armstrong, wants is the chance to prove who she really is.

 But not only does her new neighbor believe he knows that exactly, he’s hell-bent on revenge.  All he needs is the actual proof.  So when he asks her to choose between being his mistress, or dangling on the end of a rope, only Sapphire can decide…

What’s left for a woman with nowhere left to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

And hope, that when it comes to neighbors, Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

You can connect with Shehanne here:

Furious Unravelings
Shehanne Moore 
Kilting The Book 

Antonia, thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely blog today.

Friday, 1 November 2013

It's All About Chemistry...All Fired Up with Nikki Dee Houston. Win a Free Copy!

 I'm delighted to welcome a new author. She's Nikki Dee Houston, with a sizzling new erotic romance, All Fired Up. It's published today (November 1st). Now, the story centres on the relationship between the two main characters - Firefighter Cindy Reece and Fire Captain Dave Johnson, who has featured in a certain calendar...

He's hot and macho, and she's a woman determined to make it in a man's world. So what is it that draws these two very different characters together? Well, as Nikki Dee says:

It’s all about chemistry.

What’s going on with Cindy?

Cindy is captivated by the bright green eyes peering out at her from the male firefighter calendar laying in the mess on the table. She picks it up to take a better look—then she sees the body.  Her heart races, her loins flicker. She just has to study the gorgeous torso properly. While she’s ogling it, she gets caught out by some red-necked, red haired, loud mouth. Heck, she might as well have a trickle of drool running down her chin, for the way he’s carrying on. She’s annoyed and embarrassed by her reaction.

But it gets worse. She spins around to see the real life version of the pinup standing behind her. And – it turns out he’s her new boss!
Great start! Heat creeps up her face. She better take care that she keeps her hankering for hot fire fighters in check.

What’s Dave thinking?
Captain Dave Johnson has been mentally preparing for the new rookie’s arrival at Hillwood. He never wanted any female fire fighters at his station. Not because he doesn’t think they’re as good at their job as a man, but because of the distractions it would cause to his men. OK, so he admits that it would be a big distraction to him too.
His job is everything. That’s why he’s still single. No woman could ever understand the utter devotion he has to doing his job well. Unless, perhaps, that woman is a firefighter herself. 

He’s about to enter the room when he hears Warner mention his name: “Ah, it’s Dave—Mr. April himself.” 

The first thing he sees when he walks into the day room is a distinctly female ass clothed in dark blue drill work trousers. The horizontal indentation across the back of the tight white T-shirt confirms his suspicion. This is the new female fire fighter. 

A spark of anxiety courses through him. Trust Warner to act like an ignorant fool right now! Trouble in the camp already! 

When the rookie turns to face him, his peripheral vision acts on auto-pilot, and scans the fullness of the breasts contained in her T-shirt. His groin tingles. He forces himself to look into her eyes. Her face is pink, and red blotches mottle the delicate skin of her throat. She’s blushing? Already? Oh great!

He forces a friendly, welcoming smile to his lips.

OK, are you ready for the blurb?

Fires aren’t all that’s sizzling at Hillwood Station… 
Cindy always wanted to be a fire fighter. When she tops the class in the rookie academy, she takes her first job at the small but busy Hillwood Fire Station—as their first female firefighter. Some of the crew don’t appreciate a woman trying to do a man’s job. But when the crew risks their lives in a series of factory fires, Cindy’s determined to not just keep up, but to excel. 

But the fires aren’t the only thing smoldering at Hillwood. When Cindy comes face-to-face with the real-life, fireman-calendar pinup, she’s left feeling shaky and gasping for breath. Their attraction is white-hot, the sex is sizzling, and there’s no such thing as enough when it comes to their lovemaking. But things turn nasty when a dark past comes back to haunt Cindy, jeopardizing her career before it’s even really begun…
Buy Links:


Win a Free Copy of All Fired Up!
Just leave a comment below and you could be the lucky winner!
(Don't forget to let us know how we can contact you)

Wow! Well, I'm off to take a cooling shower. Meanwhile, here's how to contact Nikki Dee:

Twitter  She tweets under @NikkiDeeHouston

And now, why not pop over to my friend and fellow author, Shehanne Moore's lovely blog. Nikki Dee is also there and the subject is - you've guessed it - firemen. Only...well see for yourself. It's fun! Just click HERE