Love Under The Mistletoe is officially released this week, and to mark the occasion I’ve invited my fellow authors in the collection to talk about their stories and share an excerpt. Today I’d like to welcome Alice Raine, author of Xcite Cariad’s best-selling Untwisted series.
Firstly, I’d like to say a big thanks to my host today, the lovely Elizabeth Coldwell. I’m thrilled to be included in the Love Under The Mistletoe Christmas anthology with you, and it’s a pleasure to be here today 🙂
I thought I’d talk briefly about the inspiration behind my Christmas short story Snowed In.
Have you ever fantasied about being locked in a room with the man of your dreams? Marooned on an island with a film star? Or perhaps stuck in a lift with your favourite celebrity crush? Admittedly the idea of being unable to leave the space may ignite issues of claustrophobia for some, but in my more romantic notion it would be all about getting to know the other person, and then if the chemistry was right, perhaps inventing some rather creative ways to fill the time.
For me the whole ‘stuck in a room’ scenario is slightly different though. I’ve always thought that getting snowed in somewhere with a handsome man would be rather romantic. Visions of roaring fires, hot chocolate and snuggling up to keep out the cold all spring instantly to my mind, and quite simply it was that fantastical idea that sparked me to write Snowed In. Being ensconced in a warm toasty cabin whilst snow falls outside and piles up at the doors could possibly be one of my ultimate romantic ideals. Providing there was plenty of food, wine and wood for the fire of course!!
If you want to get in touch, or find out about my other books, then you can check out any of the pages below:
Thanks again to Liz for having me!
Here’s a small exert from Snowed In to hopefully whet your appetite. (This scene occurs just after the main female character, Allie, has discovered that she is stuck at a strangers’ house because a snowstorm has rapidly descended and rendered her car useless.)
The snow was already falling quickly as I emerged from the house, and judging by the eerily silent white landscape around me it had been doing so for quite a while. Annoyed at myself for not noticing the layer of snow earlier I threw my bag onto the passenger seat, slid into my car, shoved the key into the ignition and turned it preying that it would start. It did, and I’ve never been more relieved in my life.
Ramming it into first gear I went to pull away when my front wheels immediately started to spin uselessly below me. Lightening my touch on the accelerator I tried again. After several more failed attempts the only progress I had made was a marginal skid to the right. “Bugger it!” I yelled, whilst banging my hand on the steering wheel.
Jumping from the car I slammed the door as hard as I could and then yelled a stream of expletives to vent my frustration as I stomped around my useless hump of junk. I knew I should have had the tires changed at the last service, but the mechanic had told me they had a bit of life in them yet. It seems he was wrong.
I spent a good ten minutes getting soaking wet trying to build ramps by the tyres out of pebbles that might help me get some grip, but the snow was falling so quickly that they were covered by the time I unsuccessfully tried them. What to do? Glancing back at the house I grimaced. There was no way I was asking the house owner for help. He’d been so moody. Whoever he was. So instead I rooted around in my boot and produced my sleeping bag and thermal survival blanket. Thank god I’d been too lazy to clean out my car since my camping trip last summer. I’d wait it out. It couldn’t snow forever, so as soon as I saw it start to clear I could have another attempt.
Settling myself in the drivers side again I wrapped myself up as best I could and prepared for a rough few hours ahead, at least I had a fairly full tank of petrol so I could keep the engine running and my decrepit heater on.
After ten minutes I had pretty much lost the feeling in my toes, I was shivering uncontrollably and my wet gloved fingers were stinging so much that they felt like they had been bitten by a thousand wasps. Huffing out a breath I yelped loudly as someone knocked briskly on the window to my car sending snow cascading to the ground and clearing the glass.
The nameless owner of the house was stood there in a snow jacket, waterproof trousers and boots looking annoying warm and dry and was holding a mug of something which was sending plumes of steam into the air.
Reluctantly I drew the car window down a few inches. “What’s the problem?” he asked conversationally, as if he didn’t know! If I could have felt my legs I swear to god I would have jumped out and punched him.
“It’s much heavier than I thought and my car can’t handle it, I just keep skidding. I’m going to wait it out, I’m sure it will pass over soon enough.” Although judging from the colour of the clouds that might be wishful thinking on my part.
“You can’t stay out here, you’ll freeze. Come inside.” He told me in a presumptuous tone that rubbed me right up the wrong way, but somehow made me feel all pathetically melty inside too. Sneering at my pathetic female hormones I dug deeper into my sleeping bag and turned away from him. Seeing as I seemed to have some strange sort of attraction to this equally strange man I was decidedly unwilling to go back inside with him. He made my insides feel warm and gooey when my brain was telling me that he was a rude, pompous prick. It was an imbalance I didn’t like at all, so I decided to play it safe and stay away. “I’m fine here, thank you.” Although I wouldn’t mind whatever warm beverage was in that cup he was holding.
“Have it your way.” He murmured, then taking a teasing sip of his drink he turned and walked back into the house.
What a bastard! I was slightly stunned that he was just going to leave me out here in the cold, even if that was what I’d told him I wanted. So he was a chauvinist pig and ill-mannered. My treacherous mind was midway through trying to remind me of his good points, like his muscular build and startlingly handsome face when the door to my car was wrenched open and I was literally dragged from the seat and tossed over his shoulder like a rag doll.
Kicking my car door shut he then strode into the house ignoring my kicking, yelling and flailing, toed his boots off, climbed the stairs and deposited me roughly onto my feet by the side of a large bed. Being carried from the car had made my legs wobbly, or perhaps that had just been the affect that touching this man had had on me, but suddenly my knees gave way and I plonked down onto the bed like a rag doll.
“I’m not having your frozen corpse on my conscience. This is my spare room, dry off, warm up and when it is safe to leave you can. Not before. No more ridiculous stubbornness. Understand?” He was actually rather imposing, I realised as I took in his huge frame and steely eyes again. His tone or stance didn’t leave me any room for refusal so I licked my lips nervously and then nodded.
Without another word he turned and left the room, leaving me sat on the bed blinking at his retreating back. What a turn of events. And I still didn’t know his bloody name!
Love Under The Mistletoe is available from Amazon. Come back to the Naughty Corner tomorrow when I’ll be talking about my own story, Christmas for One.