by Lucy Ellis, author of Pride After Her Fall (Harlequin Presents, February 2013)
My heroine Lorelei from Pride After Her Fall came to me as a visual of a naked girl lying face down on an art deco bed, swathed in silken sheets, like a scene out of a 1930s Hollywood film. She was blonde of course — Harlow-esque. And when she emerges from the bedroom to sashay down some steps into the courtyard, where my hero Nash is seething over a banged up vintage car, she”s wearing a 30″s style evening gown, champagne silk, and no underwear. From that point on I was utterly entranced by her.
Happily for a Presents novel so was Nash, a big, bold, straight-talking Australian ex-racing car legend who goes toe-to-toe with this little irresponsible Monegasque princess. Nash is staging a comeback and he doesn”t need a trouble-magnet like Lorelei getting in the mix. Lorelei has a freight-load of her own problems and a rather more vulnerable heart than her seductive, man-eater appearance suggests. Peeling away Lorelei”s secrets and uncovering the generous woman underneath brings the real Nash Blue out into the open. It”s a story about two people who appear to have it all, but actually have nothing until they find one another.
He continued to watch her, a quiet smile conveying so much more than words. In that moment Lorelei knew she was in trouble.
Oh, she knew how to deflect a man, make it clear despite sitting across from him, sharing a meal with him, she was not on the menu.
But right now, she felt like every dish he might like…
Finally Nash spoke.
“We”ve got a lot in common.” He settled back, angled in his chair, all shoulders and lean, muscular grace.
He seemed to be saying, take a good long look, it could all be yours.
But for how long, she wondered.
“How do you gauge that?” she asked aloud.
“I like to compete. You”re a serious trophy.”
He gave her a lazy once over she should have found insulting after the “trophy” description, instead she felt it like a direct hit to her sleeping libido.
“You”re smart and seriously sexy and I haven”t been bored since I sat down with you. Like I said, you”re a serious trophy.”
Lorelei inhaled sharply.
She knew it, this was how some men saw an attractive woman, she had just never met a man who had the nerve to say it to her in so many words.
“Nash, a trophy is an inanimate object you sit on a shelf.”
“A trophy can be anything you want to win,” he countered, sitting forward and Lorelei had to remind herself not to edge back. He fairly emanated thumping male entitlement. “I don”t get in the race, Lorelei, unless I”m fairly confident of the outcome.”
And yes, motor racing metaphors in this story
abound! What do you think about Princess heroines, the kind of girl who initially seems to have it all — or gets it taken
from her — does she engage your sympathy or leave you cold?