From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams—but is she brave enough to open her heart…?
Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.
Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamored with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up...
Finding Those Characters…
For a lot of romance writers, each new book starts with the characters…which is logical as romances are, more often than not, character driven. For me, being logical is a stretch too far and many of my stories start with a premise, or situation, and everything grows from there. The problem with this process is finding the right characters to tell the story.
Worse, I have to find the perfect main characters – the hero and heroine who will not only find their happy ever after, but be interesting, complex and amusing enough that the reader wants to follow them through every one of their 90,000 word journey!
So how do I do it? Well, it all begins with the tiresome (!) job of browsing the Internet for my hunky hero…and then the inevitable job of finding my heroine. When I started planning What A Woman Desires, I was lucky enough to have my premise given to me by Monica Danes, a secondary character in the previous book (The Temptation of Laura), being inspired by Emily Blunt and established in my mind. I loved Monica and was determined to give her a book of her own.
But who would be her hero? Monica is middle class but working as an actress. I wanted to take her back to her roots, back to her home and family, forcing her to confront all the issues from her childhood that have shaped the woman she is today. So, by taking her back home, I took her back to a man she had loved from afar…the family’s groom, Thomas Ashby.
Working class, ruggedly handsome and a man of the world, Thomas was inspired by Tom Hardy in Lawless. Yum! The two come together in push/pull situation of Monica wanting to return to Bath and Thomas needing her to stay for his own family’s stability.
The two of them were a joy to write and I hope that shows on the page––as an author I have to have faith that my process will work and, continue to work, as long as I continue to write.
What are your most memorable fictional characters and why? Your answers might inspire a new book the right way around for me this time!
Monica stared at the man’s partially revealed profile, obscured by the shadow of his hat. Familiarity she couldn’t place swept over her. He was tall, almost a foot taller than her, his shoulders broad and his biceps thick. Her gaze drifted along the sinewy forearms revealed by his rolled shirtsleeves. A laborer. She lifted her gaze to his face as he glared at their attackers. His jaw was chiseled despite the stubble that grazed it. She swallowed as shameful intimidation and attraction rolled through her. She imagined his eyes were the deepest blue. . . .
The sound of his deep, rough voice a second time sliced through her appraisal and Monica stiffened.
“Get up now,” he growled.
Her breath knotted in the center of her chest. “Thomas?”
He turned and their gazes locked for the briefest moment before he looked to the men once more. It was barely a second, maybe two, that he’d looked at her, but the intensity of his gaze lingered on Monica’s skin, burning white-hot heat through her clothes to sear deep into her flesh just the way it had years before. Her heart picked up speed and her body warmed with a desire she hadn’t known in so very long. To trust a man implicitly, to know he cared for her and those closest to her was a rarity she’d taken for granted throughout the years she’d lived in Biddestone.
Her time away had taught her more than Thomas would ever understand. Shame pinched hot at her cheeks. No matter her previous connection with him, the men she’d met since had made her doubt her instincts and not dare to trust again. Yet, the life lessons she’d endured would do nothing to soothe the undoubted scar she’d left on Thomas’s sense of loyalty by leaving Marksville and not once looking back.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013, followed by a second in January 2014 and the third is released Jan 2015.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
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