I'm getting pretty excited. My new release - Wild For You - is up for pre-order and is released just one week from today.
In every book, there are always a couple of scenes that are really, really fun to write. Today I thought I'd share a couple of snippets that make me smile. In the following scene, my hero Daniel Black (an ex-military man who runs a walking company) doesn’t think there is any way that Madison (an American fashion designer) could have packed properly for a walk through the Tasmanian wilderness, so he's checking her backpack. He comes across something unexpected. I like this scene as it is a bit cheeky…
‘Hi.’ He extended his hand. ‘I’m Daniel Black.’
She took his hand and shook it with surprising firmness.
‘Madison Mills. Pleased to meet you. I—’
‘Sorry Maddie, but you aren’t appropriately dressed for this trip.’ He employed his best commander voice. The one he’d always used with new recruits to make sure the question of who was in charge never needed to be asked.
‘As you can appreciate, we have strict stipulations about the appropriate gear and this . . .’ He indicated to her outfit. ‘It is . . . well . . .’ He wanted to say ‘ridiculous’. ‘It’s not suitable for this rugged terrain.’
That should do it. Bye bye Ms Millionaire.
But she didn’t flinch. She didn’t move. Instead she gave him a sweet, sweet smile that made his guts flip.
‘First.’ She held up her index finger. ‘It’s Madison, not Maddie. Second.’ Another delicate finger. ‘My assistant booked this trip and, knowing her as I do, I’m sure that backpack over there has everything I need.'
Her American accent possessed a New York edge with a touch of Southern belle. It enveloped him like the light, refreshing spray from a waterfall. He took a step away from her intoxicating mist.
‘And third, if you could outline exactly what I need to do to meet your criteria, I’ll be ready in five minutes.’
He narrowed his eyes. Okay, that was unexpected. He had been sure she’d capitulate. She didn’t belong here. And ready in five minutes? Yeah right. They’d be halfway to the plateau before she’d be ready to leave.
‘Well, let’s start with your gear check. Your pack should weigh no more than seven kilos. You’ll have to be changed in five minutes; that’s when we’re leaving. Unfortunately, Madison, if you’re not ready, I’ll have to arrange transport to take you back to Launceston. I’m sure you understand we can’t delay the trip for one person.’
‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she said, flipping her lush blonde hair over her shoulder. A hint of spicy perfume teased his nostrils. ‘I’ll be ready.’
He took up her pack. Yup, definitely about four kilos over. ‘Do you mind?’
‘Be my guest,’ she said, with a flourish of her hand.
He walked over to a picnic table, unzipped the pack and slid the contents on to the table. This shouldn’t take long. Assistant packed!
‘At a minimum, you need leather or Gore-Tex boots, two sets of easily washable walking clothes and something comfortable for the evening and to wear to bed.’ He grabbed the item on top of the pile of clothes and held it aloft.
‘Let’s start with . . .’ His fingers were tangled in a pair of black lace knickers. His skin prickled with absolute horror.
‘They’re from my 2015 summer intimates line.’ Madison sounded close behind him. Too close.
He dropped the offending garment as though it had caught ablaze.
‘Are they regulation enough?’ she asked, her tone coated with sugary mockery. ‘Or should I have brought high-waisted granny pants?’ She picked up the strip of lace and casually fanned it in front of his face. ‘Is the style of underwear outlined in your strict stipulations?’
Damn. No other gear check had begun so horrendously.
But a few minutes later in the story, Daniels gets his own back:
‘So, what will you be changing into?’ he asked inserting a false brightness into his voice.
She quickly selected some clothes. He handed her the boots, re-stowed her belongings in the way that would be most comfortable to carry and handed her the pack.
‘See you in five,’ he said.
She looked about. ‘Ah, where can I change?’
‘This is the great outdoors, Maddie. Lots of lovely trees to hide behind.’
‘It’s Madison,’ she said and marched off towards the lush undergrowth.
‘Watch out for snakes,’ he called.
She stopped as though she’d slammed into a glass wall.
‘Snakes?’ she asked, not moving, looking wildly about.
‘Tiger, Lowland Copperhead and White-lipped snake’ he said. ‘But don’t worry.’
Madison relaxed and kept walking.
‘Only the Tiger and Copperhead are deadly.’ He strode away, unable to contain a smile. She was perfectly safe. At this time of year, the snakes were hibernating. But he wanted to knock off a little of that sass before he took her into the beautiful natural domain. The remote Australian rainforest was no place for the likes of Madison Mills.
He snatched a stick from the path and threw it into the bush. In a lifetime of long days, the next six days could be the longest of his life.
* * *