I am so excited to be sharing with you the story behind the story of my 50th book. I am a tea addict. I drink at least eight cups a day, starting with English Breakfast first thing, moving through to Earl Grey or Lady Grey in the afternoon and then back to English Breakfast at night. I have different cups for different times of the day. Yes, I know, very OCD, isn’t it? My husband just rolls his eyes and brings the right cup each time now. He knows I won’t ( can’t) drink it if it’s in the wrong one.
Here are my cups in order of preference for the day from breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and supper.
One of my most treasured possessions is my grandmother’s tea set. She came to Australia from Yorkshire in England in 1914 and brought the tea set with her.
And because of my love of tea and teacups, I absolutely adore tearooms, especially old-fashioned ones. One of my favourites is The Hopetoun Tearooms in the Block Arcade in Melbourne. Their lemon meringue pie is to die for!
My older sister Coralie (a wonderful baker who makes the most amazing apple pies and sponges) and I used to dream of opening our own tearoom one day but we never got around to doing it.
I wanted to write another trilogy and I wanted my heroine to love tearooms too so I gave her one. That’s the fun of being a writer- you can live out your own fantasies through your characters!
Poppy Silverton runs Poppy’s Teas in a sleepy Oxfordshire village but there’s talk a French-Italian super rich rake is about to turn the gracious and stately Dalrymple Manor in to a party central playboy mansion. Poppy lives in the manor’s dower house, bequeathed to her and her late grandmother by Lord Dalrymple. She refuses to sell her home but Rafe Caffarelli — along with his equally rich and ruthless brothers Raoul and Remy — has a credo: Goal. Focus. Win. There is no deal he hasn’t fought for and won.
Oh, and by the way– he hates tea.
Poppy handed him the menu to bridge the little silence that had ensured. ‘Um, we have a special cake of the day. It’s a ginger sponge with raspberry jam and cream.’
The dark-haired man ignored the menu and sat down. ‘Just coffee.’
Poppy blinked. She had forty varieties of specialty teas and he wanted coffee? ‘Oh… right. What sort? We have cappuccino, latte-’
‘Double – shot espresso. Black, no sugar.’
Would it hurt to crack a smile? What was it with some men? And who the hell went to a tearoom to drink coffee?
I love opposite attract stories, but in the case of Poppy and Rafe it’s more a case of opposites attack! Poppy might be a soft-hearted pushover when it comes to the locals in her tiny village, but when it comes to an arrogant rich man who thinks he can buy whatever he wants just because he wants it, she’s determined to teach him a much needed lesson.
Her eyes narrowed to hair-pin thin slits as she planted her hands on the table right in front of him so firmly the fine-bone china cups rattled in its saucer. ‘Let’s get something straight from the get-go, Mr Caffarelli. You can’t buy me.’
He took a leisurely glance at the delectable shadow between her breasts before he met her feisty gaze with his cool one. ‘You misunderstand me, Miss Silverton. I don’t want you. I just want your house.’
Her cheeks were bright red with angry defiance as she glared at him. ‘You’re not getting it.’
Rafe felt a quiver of primal earthy lust rumble through his blood that set off a shivery sensation all the way to his groin. He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had said no to him. It spoke to everything that was alpha in him. This was going to be much more fun than he’d thought.
He would not stop until he got that house, and her with it.
He rose to his feet and she jerked backwards as if he had just breathed a dragon’s tongue of fire on her. ‘But I will.’ He laid a fifty-pound note on the table between them, locking her gaze with his fiery one. ‘That’s for the coffee. Keep the change.’
I hope you enjoy reading Never Say No To A Caffarelli as much as I loved writing it. And I hope you’ll watch out for Raoul and Remy’s stories coming in October and November. I have an extra special giveaway to celebrate my 50th book. I have five signed copies plus a gift pack. Tell me about your favourite place for afternoon tea. Have you been somewhere extra special? I would love to hear all about it!
Update: Melanie”s giveaway is now closed — please check the comments to see who won!