Today, I’d like to welcome Ayla Ruse to the Naughty Corner. Ayla’s story Raspberries And Wine is part of the Totally Bound Paramour collection, and she’s here with Graham, the story’s hero.
Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for having me stop to visit today. I’m thrilled we’re all part of the great Valentine’s Day collection, Paramour, from Totally Bound!
Among the goodies I’ve brought to share today (like the sexy excerpt from my own tale in the collection, Raspberries and Wine), I wanted to share an interview I had with Graham, the sexy restaurateur and hero of the book. I caught up with him at one of his restaurants where we chatted cosily over an amazing artichoke appetizer.
Me: Okay, Graham. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Ready for some deep, introspective questions?
Graham: Ask anything you want, but know that I may not answer some questions.
Me: Fair enough. Okay. Question number one. If I gave you an elephant and asked you to keep it a secret, where would you hide it?
Graham: (blinks) Seriously? Probably in a garage at one of my houses up the coast. (he leans toward me and lowers his voice) Then you’ll tell me why it’s a secret.
Me: (my face colours as I duck my head into my notebook). Ah, sure. Umm, okay. What is your favourite colour for socks?
Graham: (he sits back and smiles) I think I like these deep, introspective questions. Socks? Eh, whatever matches. Dark with suits, white with jeans. Socks are a shoe-necessity for me, I don’t over think it.
Me: Boxers or briefs
Graham: Boxers. But I honestly prefer neither.
Me: O-kay. Does Stacy know you’re doing this interview?
Graham: (nodding) She does. She’d be just as amused, too.
Me: Good to know. Let’s move on then. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Graham: Both. I don’t have any pets right now, but I can see having a loyal dog nearby, like a lab. Then, knowing Stacy, we’d definitely have to have at least one cat lazing around.
Me: Apart from Stacy, what other famous person would you like to get naughty with?
Graham: Hmm… it’d have to be Mary-Louise Parker. Definitely.
Me: Would you ever take part in a TV reality show? Which one?
Graham: Absolutely not. But, if it came down to life or death, it’d be one of those taste-testing cooking shows. Or better yet, the one where the guy goes around and tells restaurants what they’re doing wrong and how to make it right. Now that’s more up my alley.
Me: Tell us something we don’t know about Stacy.
Graham: She’s a closet mess. Don’t laugh, it’s true. She seems all organised and put together, but you don’t want to look inside her closets. Oh, and you don’t want to get too close to her when she’s on a new-recipe cooking spree. Food is everywhere.
Me: What will I find if I look in your fridge?
Graham: A lot of take-out. Stacy’s has all the essentials for putting together nearly any meal we’d want.
Me: What’s your worst quality?
Graham: I don’t give up. Some may call this good, but I’ve been told, on more than one occasion, to back off from a plan or project. When I see the end goal, I give it my all and go for it.
Me: What would you say was the best thing before sliced bread?
Graham: That’s easy. Fresh from the oven, still warm, melt-in-your mouth homemade bread. Even Stacy, when I cajole her enough, will break down and make a loaf or two.
Me: What’s the naughtiest thing you ever did as a kid?
Graham: (turns his head away and chuckles)
Me: C’mon, Graham. ’Fess up. Just one little naughty bit.
Graham: (relenting with humour dancing in his eyes) Just one? Okay. When I was about twelve I got mad because my mom wouldn’t send me to camp, so I mixed dirt in with all her spices.
Me: You didn’t!
Graham: Honestly did. And not only did I not go to camp that year, I spent my summer washing dishes at the restaurant and making sure my sore bottom did not touch a chair seat.
Me: (I mumble underneath my laugh) Better you than me.
Graham: What’s that?
Me: Hmm? Oh, um, what’s on your iPod?
Graham: (He gives me a hard stare, knowing I avoided his question. I can’t help but squirm in my seat. The moment lengthens before he relaxes and answers my question.) My music is pretty eclectic, so you’d find just about everything on there. Classical, rock, jazz, hip hop.
Me: Sounds vast. Well Graham, thank you for taking a few moments to talk with me today. I know you’re a busy man and restaurants don’t run themselves, so with that, I bid you adieu.
Raspberries and Wine blurb:
When Stacy opens her door on Valentine’s Day, it’s not to the man she expected, but to the man who’ll give her what she needs.
It’s Valentine’s day and newly liberated divorcee Stacy Dalton has a plan: seduce her former classmate and end the post-divorce intimacy drought. She’s cooked a meal, she’s dressed to the nines, and she is crossing her fingers that tonight she will not go to bed alone. There is a slight hiccup in the plan when it’s not her former classmate that shows up with an easy smile and a hungry look–but his drop-dead gorgeous son.
Twenty-nine year old Graham Rosen has always been attracted to older women. So making last-minute plans to take out his father’s cancelled date seems an effortless and enjoyable task–especially when he sees the sable-haired beauty who opens the door. Unfortunately, Stacy seems hung up on their age. Even after giving in to Graham’s erotic attentions, the beautiful cook refuses to acknowledge any possible future to their relationship.
Some women need a strong man–with an even stronger hand. Graham is no mere boy to shy away from a challenge and he is more than willing to show Stacy he’s serious about his desire for her beyond just one lustful night. But will his erotic discipline succeed in dissolving Stacy’s hesitations and bring her closer to him? Or will it scare her away?
“Hold on, I’ll be right there,” Stacy Dalton called out when her doorbell rang. “Good Lord,” she muttered, snagging her heel on a throw rug, “he’s early.”
She double-checked the little details as she hurried to the front door. “Dining room table set, check. Dinner almost ready, check. Wine out, check. Dress, hair and make-up…” she trailed off as she inspected herself in the hall mirror. “Check. Well,” she whispered to her reflection, “here goes nothing.”
She opened the door and her smile froze. Damn, he’s not early after all. It’s not even him.
“Um, hi? Can I help you?” she asked the young man at her doorstep. She peered around his wide shoulder to see if Martin had pulled up yet.
“I hope so,” he said, his deep voice instantly capturing her attention. “Are you Stacy Dalton?”
She paused and gave him a more thorough inspection. He stood tall, maybe six feet, and wore an expensive suit. His short dark brown hair was neatly styled, but it was his eyes, deep hazel and intense, that held hers once she stopped looking all over the place. Captivating. He smiled then, and she thought she might melt. She trailed her gaze over him again and blushed when he cocked a smooth brow.
“I am,” she finally answered.
He held out his hand and she gave him hers, momentarily surprised because he placed a kiss on the backs of her fingers. “It is a pleasure to meet you. I’m Graham Rosen. Martin Rosen’s son.”
“Oh,” she sighed, then registered what he’d said. “Oh! Oh, please come in.” She wondered what had happened.
He stepped over the threshold and she closed the door, turning at the same time as Graham.
“How is your dad, is he okay?”
“He’s fine, but didn’t you get his message?”
She shook her head, confused.
“My dad sent his regrets. He…well, he apparently ran into my mother yesterday. They’ve been divorced for several years, but it seems like they hit it off again. He went to the mountains with her today. I’m sorry, I thought you knew.”
“Why did you come here if your dad already left a message?”
He smiled and didn’t speak until she met his gaze full on. She was struck again by his height, his sharp looks and by the subtle, but intense way he seemed to study her. She didn’t want to look away.
“Stacy, I felt bad for my dad cancelling on you like he did. He also mentioned he’d not seen you in many years. I’m only in town for the day, and it is Valentine’s, so I thought to take you to dinner.”
She blinked up at him. He wanted to take her to dinner? She almost said okay, then remembered where she was, who she was, and that this man before her was barely older than a boy. If he were Martin’s son, he couldn’t be more than in his mid-twenties. She studied the hint of laugh lines around his eyes. Okay. Maybe late-twenties. But that’d be pushing it. Martin must have had Graham right out of school. She shook her head to focus her thoughts.
“Sorry, but no thank you. Your father and I weren’t going out anywhere. I was making dinner here.”
A smile bloomed across his face, lighting up his eyes. “I thought I smelled something delicious.”
He stroked his thumb across her cheek. His touch startled her, but as soon as he pulled back, she strangely wanted him to touch her again.
“Since I’m here and your date cancelled, invite me to dinner.”
Handed a historical romance at the age of twelve, Ayla fell in love with love and with happy endings. Having grown up living life tasting a little of this and a little of that has not changed this attitude, but it’s expanded her views. Love isn’t always happy and it isn’t always the way a person “thinks it should be.” Sometimes it’s outside the box, and it’s always a challenge.
The challenge of finding and holding onto this love is what drives Ayla in her fiction. She likes stories that strip love—among other things—down to the skin and tests the attachment and beliefs of the participants. Sometimes that test can come in the form of multiple partners, overcoming a desperate fear or even being sexually inventive.
Ayla loves to hear from her readers. You can find her contact information and website at https://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=product/author/info&author_id=159