Taking the Lead

The blog title sounds like the positions that should be taken by those partaking in a spot of ballroom dancing, doesn’t it? In fact, there is even a movie of the same name with the delightful Antonio Banderas playing a dance teacher who uses his skills to turn around a group of urban youth (don’t the movies make it look so easy to improve the lives of those pesky kids).

Anyway, I know precisely nothing about ballroom dancing so I apologise if you were expecting a discussion about Strictly Come Dancing or some such programme. While it does lend itself to the discussion, it is not the main topic of conversation, which is domination. Much like in other walks of life, the man is the one to dominate when it comes to formal dances.

The discussion about why men always come out on top in the battle of the sexes is a pointless one as it has the potential to be endless, resulting in no good conclusion. A better discussion would be about what the world would be like if women were in charge—less war, reduced instances of traders taking banks down, less political scandal. Ah, what a dream!

In my experience, men who are powerful in their everyday life are happier to give up in ‘other’ areas, but that isn’t much use to the world. It seems that women will only ever get a chance to take the lead when they force the issue, which some do very well. It is the dominant women of the world that inspired my latest offering, Taming the Alter Ego, which has been released by Phaze.  

The heroine, Mariella, gives the mere appearance of subservience, she is actually very much in control. Not least when Lady Isis takes over. However, power is a fickle beast and it is all too easy to lose grip of it as Mariella discovers when she meets Tom.     

An excerpt follows.

Ask yourself, how much power do you hold and what would it take to make you let it go.


Tom silently passed me and I, in turn, offered no greeting. With hard fought restraint, I merely flick my gaze upward before looking back at my computer screen, seeing nothing as my fingers fly across the keyboard.

I savor his trailing scent before it dissipates, leaving me a teasing hint of him occupying the same space as me. Our connection was a strange one, possibly because in his two months at the company, we’d never been formally introduced. Neither of us took the initiative but regarded each other with civil silence. For a middle-class, white man in authority, he was unusually timid.     

I was free to admire the way his square shoulders tapered to a lean frame, wrapped in a well-fitting black suit. I yearned to mess up his dapper look. 

His dark hair perfectly suited his light tan, and I wanted to run my fingers through it. I wanted to grip the strands between my digits. To search his brown eyes, which I only ever got to see from afar.     

The mere sight of him could snatch away my self-control, leading me to absentmindedly tease my black curls as I speculated on how his passion manifested. I liked to think that he was submissive—at least he would be with me. With the strength of my will and the power of my figure, his body and mind would yield to my desire.   


The Summer Brief

What does it mean? It sounds like an itinerary for the summer season. “Right, summer’s here – this is what’s going to happen.” Yeah, right! I live in the UK, the land of notorious weather and the people that love to talk about it. Hence, my post.

Anyway, it isn’t about an outline of the activities that were undertaken over the summer, but rather an adjusted way for me to bemoan the distinct lack of the season without being too obvious about it. Well, it’s less depressing than a title that immediately screams of an inadequate summer season—even though it was.

Yep, I’m going there. Well, as I said, I’m from the land where the weather is a favoured topic of conversation so who am I to upset the status quo. The summer was so brief that it was practically non-existent. It’s true that there were a few days of unseasonably good weather during September—what should have been the start of autumn. However, I am both greedy and occasionally traditional, so I like my sun when I’m supposed to get my sun.

Still, there is one way in which it is possible to turn that grey cloud into one with a silver lining—make believe that summer is still here. There are several ways to achieve this, like turning up the heating and installing a sun lamp or filling your garden with sand reminiscent of the beach. If this is too much like hard work, you can always immerse yourself in a good book like Summer Spectacles. With sizzling tales by Gillian Archer, Maggie Nash, Imari Jade and myself, you can read all about the sights that can be seen beneath the heat of a burning sun.

The stories are conveniently available in both digital format as well as print so you can wrap yourself in the warmth of the written word whether you are techno-savvy or old school.

Summer Spectacles is available now at Total-E-Bound and an excerpt from my own contribution, Two With a View, follows.  

 The purr of his engine approached as she reached her front door. Looking back as she turned the key, she watched him get out of the car after parking in his driveway. In turn, he turned to her the moment he emerged from the car, offering a smile and a nod before leaning back into the car to gather his briefcase and suit jacket.

            Apparently unaffected by the heat, despite the early evening sun remaining strong, he looked pristine. He always looked good, and it always seemed effortless.  

            Closing the door as he approached his house, she didn’t see him look back at her again before disappearing inside. 

            Her smile remained when she got inside, the sudden shade making her skin tingle. Natalie Vaughan had only lived opposite Cyrus Perdue for a little over five months, but they had quickly become more than friends. On moving day, he brought her a welcome basket, which thoughtfully included a bottle of wine as well as fridge staples.

In a street mostly made up of families and elderly people, they had bonded further at a neighbourhood watch meeting. Gravitating to each other, they spent the evening in shared amusement over the fervour with which dog fouling and graffiti was being debated.

It quickly became clear that they were kindred spirits, appearing to be normal civil neighbours when, really, nearly every flirtatious conversation would gradually descend into pure lust.

If Cyrus had his way, they would be a couple but Natalie resisted despite realising how good they would probably be good together. She had thought the same way with her previous boyfriend. Moving home had come with the end of a long and bad relationship, which left her only wanting to enjoy the single life.

Both good-looking and successful, he was everything her ex-boyfriends aspired to be, which meant that the good times would never last. 

Kicking off her sandals, she padded along the hardwood floor to the living room, feeling the stifling heat as she advanced further. Dropping her bag and portfolio, she opened a window before heading upstairs. The temperature gradually increased as she ascended the stairs, the air seeming to become thicker with every step.

It’s a Small World

‘It’s such a small world.’ Words that are usually uttered on seeing someone from the past, often originally known from a different location, but not usually thought about for a while. It’s a bit of a throwaway comment that we don’t consider that deeply.  

 However, when you really think about the phrase, it is easy to see the truth in it.

Recently, a woman I know met with someone she hadn’t seen in over 20 years and she used the phrase when relaying the story to me. She was quite right as in addition to there being the extended period of time, the was also a distance after they’d moved to different locations. Aw, doesn’t this small world help to create heart-warming stories?              

 However, the opposite can also be true, which can come about from the world appearing small through the flood of information we receive. I must confess that the television is one of my favourite inventions. I’m not quite at the stage of the Simpsons siblings who physically hug the set, but I’m a couple of paces away.   

We can watch the news and see things happening on the other side of the world, we can watch travel programmes and dream of all the places we want to visit. I like the programmes where westerners visit remote tribes and attempt to follow their ways. See? All that and you don’t even need to be au fait with the latest technological advances.   

 Technology has played a major part in making the world smaller, no matter what form is being used. It is easy to make written, spoken or visual contact with the far reaches of the world. Our ability to travel further has been improved and it makes a mockery of this strange postcode loyalty that has been the cause of ructions between young gang members.  

 In Art of the Written Word, the heroine, Yvonne, discovers that she has a link with the quietly enigmatic hero, Garvey. His lilting Caribbean accent reminds her of her childhood in the west Indies. Though they didn’t know each other when she was a child (in fact, he wasn’t yet born when she was a child!), they both still ended up in London and meet each other through happenstance.

It truly is a wonderfully small world.     

An excerpt of Art of the Written World follows – for your chance to win an ebook copy, check out the fun and games at the Year End Splash event at The Romance Review

“You don’t use your own experiences for book ideas?”

“Um, yes.” A vein in her neck began to throb uncontrollably, making her hand drift upwards as if to hide the sudden affliction. “Some experiences can inspire a good story.”

She mentally began to create the story he would inspire, the opening of an erotic tale forming in her mind, with the hero closely resembling Garvey. She had no doubt the book would take a significant amount of time to write—even if it was a short story, each chapter would certainly leave her spent. Rather than it simply being a story from which she was somewhat removed, she would experience every word.

Just by looking at him, she could tell he possessed a level of energy that would leave her exhausted and satisfied. She was sure that he knew more than she did, a few tricks to show off his prowess in commanding a woman’s climax. 

“What are you thinking about?” he asked after a pause. “You look deep in thought.” 

Jolted from her daydream, the realisation that he might have been watching her for an extended period mortified Yvonne.

“Er, nothing.” The ridiculousness of the reply made her shake her head. “I mean, I was considering the similarities in our jobs. Both very creative.”  

Get a Chance to Win at The Romance Review


Over at The Romance Review, there is a fun event taking place where readers will get a chance to win lots of great prizes – and who doesn’t like winning prizes?!

I will be taking part and my blog will host a clue for the answer to the question that will be on TRR, all for a chance to win an ebook copy of Art of the Written Word.

For your chance to win, go over and help celebrate The Romance Review’s Year End Splash!

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