Today I have Toni Sands with us as Romance Book Craze. Toni, take it away.
My novel, Orchid Pink, features a bisexual heroine. This isn’t an apology for choosing to write about someone who can’t decide whether she prefers boys to girls. It’s an apology for not providing my readers with a luscious hero. I enjoy creating gorgeous fictional males so please let me explain why Orchid Pink’s main male character needs to be a six pack short of a Daniel Craig or a George Clooney.
Unfortunately for her, Adelaide Beauchamp is cajoled into marrying a well-heeled widower. Her father’s not short of money either but he’s worrying about his only daughter being left on the shelf. Hence the pressure on her to conform and marry someone he considers a sensible, safe, option. (I can hear your groans already.)
Adelaide, in her turn, recognises her Sapphic tendencies but also wonders if, had she been pushed into the whole debutante thing, she’d have married a young gentleman and never been tempted by lipstick lesbians. I doubt that expression was in usage around the year 1900 but stay with me, please. So, full of self-doubts and very conscious she’s pushing the boundaries by getting her naughty jollies ‘below stairs,’ she agrees to matrimony.
I’m including a short extract from Orchid Pink so you know the kind of stuff Adelaide’s suitor, Thomas, gets up to while wooing her. I love that word, don’t you? For sure, this guy’s no Mr Darcy but he knows how to push a lady’s buttons.
I shook my head in confusion. I didn’t know whether to feel relief or disappointment when Thomas ceased fondling my breast; an action which, should he continue, could only heighten my uncertainty. So why hadn’t I wrenched away his hand in disgust? Why did the bulge nudging my stomach intrigue me so? Was I some sort of bizarre hybrid that I welcomed both the master and the maid?
He moved close again, stealthy as a cat, just enough to make me want him to venture lower. Our height difference was a few inches. The scent of something a gentleman might purchase in Old Bond Street drifted from him. Lulled, I closed my eyes, recognising a turning point. Then, with the rhythm of his breathing hastening like mine, he distanced himself, leaving me with what I realised was a twinge of regret.
I think I gave a little moan of pleasure because, on opening my eyes again, I saw the triumph in his; saw his awareness of my awakening. My needs were unmistakable. Intense and all too raw. I felt his fingers stroke my cheek. ‘I think we’ll do very well, wouldn’t you agree, Adelaide?’
Daisy, the maid Adelaide mentions, is a source of temptation to more than one of my characters and plays a big role in this sensuous historical romance. There’s also a cheeky young odd job man called Jimmy. He’s very tasty and Adelaide enjoys herself with him but only in a big sister, little brother way. Writing their outing by motorcar is just one scene where my heroine reveals her fun side but I’d love to know what you think of her. Orchid Pink has dark repressed passions simmering away but it contains plenty of light-hearted moments. I could not write without some humour filtering in. Isn’t that how we get through life?
How did I happen to write about Adelaide? Somehow, the words mistress and maid resonated and I decided to write a short story that began life as Adelaide’s Journal. A friend read it and felt there was much, much more to tell. That’s why the book is written in the first person and the reader gets right inside the heroine’s head as well as her bed.
Researching this novel really hooked me into that era and I’m told my book gives a good flavour of the time when women were on the brink of a life style much more fulfilling than the role of ‘domestic angel.’ Who knows? One day maybe Adelaide’s adventures will continue …
Demure Adelaide hides a passionate nature beneath her elegant gowns. After hiring a delicious new maid, Daisy, she can’t wait to initiate her into the delights of the orchid house. Though resenting paternal pressure to marry businessman Thomas, Adelaide finds excitement in his touch and his erotic whisperings. Yet, when he reveals his sinister side, she seeks solace elsewhere. Christmas brings snowflakes, also a vivid reminder of a heart-wrenching past. Intrigue and obsession rock this Victorian household as Adelaide’s poignant search for love leads her into storms. Will she ever bask in the sunshine?
Orchid Pink is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and All Romance eBooks, as well as other good eBook retailers.
Toni Sands lives near the Black Mountains in Wales. Many of her ideas arrive while she’s walking by the river or travelling by train and she also finds inspiration when visiting London. This is where she enjoys roaming galleries and gazing at colourful window displays. She drinks too much coffee and often talks to strangers. Her erotic romances feature in collections by Virgin Black Lace and Accent Xcite, both paperbacks and e-books. She writes to entertain, sometimes finding, as in the case of her new heroine, a character will pop into her head, demanding to have her story told. Toni enjoys networking and belongs to the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She’d like to keep on writing as long as her readers keep on reading.