Last night my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. Over dinner we discussed our unusual romance which got me wondering how much of my own experience I pour into my books.
I've been lucky, though life's not always been plain sailing. (Lots of stories for another time, there!) And of course, a romance demands a HEA.
But back to Eivind's and my story.
We’d been in each other’s company only two weeks when I accepted Eivind’s marriage proposal. I’d met him eight months previously around a camp fire in Botswana the night before I was due to fly home to my boyfriend of eight years who, as it turned out, had just met someone else.
My sister was due to fly to Botswana to follow my footsteps and run a safari lodge, also, so I thought I’d write and ask this nice Norwegian bush pilot to whom I’d chatted for four hours, if he’d meet her at the airport.
So began eight months of letter writing. The old fashioned snail-mail variety. It was in the early 90s and we had no other means of correspondence as he lived in a thatched cottage in a mopane forest with no telephone about 14km out of town. Only the offices in Maun, the frontier town we called The Dirty, Domestic Donkey Den had telephones and, at that stage, fax machines.
In our letters – eight to 18 pages of laborious long-hand – we talked about our lives and our values and what we did, not knowing if the other had a partner, but just getting to know one another.
Even when Eivind flew into Adelaide airport (South Australia) on his first holiday visit, we weren’t sure about each other’s romantic status though I had an inkling he’d come to visit me for more than just a few kangaroo sightings.
Well, last night over crispy fried prawns in the Thai restaurant we went to Eivind recalled with some amusement how I’d corralled my great friend, Tim, to act as chaperone during our visit to our family’s weekend property in the Clare Valley where we were to stay for two nights.
On the second day I told Tim he was no longer needed, and within ten days Eivind and I were organising our wedding. It’s been the happiest 18 years I can imagine and I think that getting to know one another through correspondence was the key in our case.
So now about my Regency Historical Romance – A Little Deception – which was nominated Favourite Historical of 2011 by ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) and features a couple who are destined for just such a long and happy marriage. That is, once the interfering family members are dealt with.
Here’s the blurb and below is an extract:
A one-night charade to save the family sugar plantation wins loyal and determined Rose Chesterfield more than she bargained for – marriage to the deliciously notorious rake, Viscount Rampton.
"A love match!" proclaims London's catch of the season who happily admits he has been hoist on his own petard.
But when his new wife is implicated in the theft of several diamond necklaces he wonders if her deception goes beyond trapping him into marriage. Is she the innocent she claims, or a scheming fortune hunter with a penchant for money, mischief and men?
Below is a scene featuring my arch villainess. Oooh, but I just love a good villainess!
‘YOU HAVE THE money?’ Helena’s breath felt like the caress of a feather against Oswald’s cheek as she leaned into him. A waltz was playing and couples milled nearby but Helena and Oswald were hidden from view in a small curtained alcove with a large, obtrusive pot plant placed near its entrance.
In the dim light, the blush of her anticipation descended to her décolletage, swallowed up by a froth of lace. He’d once been fool enough to mistake the signs for sexual desire.
Just as he had thought to do her bidding only once.
But Helena was only interested in the fruit of his labour – not the fruit of his loins.
‘Mmm,’ he murmured, taking advantage of their seclusion to caress her breast. Let her think he wasn’t on to her game, he thought, and take his rewards while he could.
‘Where is it?
Did she not have the finesse to at least pretend? Or was he that repulsive to her?
‘I have it,’ he murmured reassuringly, dropping a line of kisses down her neck.
She pushed him away, irritated. ‘You can’t imagine I’d reward you before you prove you’ve discharged my request?’
The flint he recognized in her eye sent his senses into complete revolt. What was he? An errand boy? One so beneath contempt that she couldn’t bear that he should even touch her? When the terms of their bargain went so far beyond that?
With an effort he reined in his uncertain temper. It would serve no purpose to draw attention to themselves. But as he faced her down he realized that Helena had as much intention of honouring their agreement as she did of returning to the West Indies with her husband.
He caught her to him, roughly covering her mouth with his.
‘You’re hurting me!’
He enjoyed the way she wriggled against him, furious yet afraid to scream. Her outrage as he ran his hands all over her, then pushed against her, making her all too aware of his arousal, was almost worth it.
‘Enjoying yourself, Helena?’ he panted. ‘You like it rough? You certainly aren’t afraid to dish it out, are you?’ His hands, filled with bank notes, thrust into her bodice.
‘There’s your money,’ he grunted.
‘Get away from me!’ she hissed, finally freeing herself. Swinging back after she’d feverishly counted the bills, she burst out, ‘That’s not nearly the agreed sum.’
‘And this is the closest I’ve got to being rewarded.’ His eyes blazed. ‘Do you take me for a fool, Helena?’
‘You’ll be rewarded when you’ve fulfilled the terms of our agreement—’
‘Three times I have thieved for you. Granted, it was a lark the first time and the thought of my just reward creamed the deal. But,’ he gripped her shoulder and shook her, ‘do you really imagine I’ll be satisfied with smouldering looks and empty promises?’
‘You’ll get your rewards when—’
‘When what? I’ve set you up like the bloody Queen of Sheba … only then you’ll be far too good for me!’
‘I just need—’
She was too stupid to see the signs. All she cared about was the money.
After throwing in her secure job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.
Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland's ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne. She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.
Buy A Little Deception here: http://www.amazon.com/A-Little-Deception-ebook/dp/B009HKKCKM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0