I first met Rosalie Ash many years ago when we were both writing for the same publisher. Some of her early Presents/Modern books are a available in vintage Harlequin editions at Amazon but some she has rewritten to bring them totally up to date and it's a great delight to rediscover her books and introduce her to a new audience via the wonderful world of ebooks.
I've prompted her to tell you a little about her writing, her book, herself.
Who or what was the inspiration for your story?
The theme of a cold, embittered, emotionally damaged man meeting a warm, impulsive, naive girl, and their subsequent relationship. The idea that being with the right person can effectively change someone’s whole life and outlook. I like the idea that both main characters grow and change over the course of the story, and finish up much nicer people by the end. (As well as passionately in love with each other, of course!)
What made you want to re-write MELTING ICE?
This was my first book, originally published in 1989. I felt so much affection for the characters. And then odd small things happened, like coming across an old 2001 5-star USA review of MELTING ICE on the internet. This reader had bought my book in a ‘thrift shop’, and wrote things like ‘an emotional trip’, ‘a refreshing break from the average cheesy romance’. She went on to say she’d tried to find other Rosalie Ash books but discovered most were out of printWhen I got the copyright back from Harlequin Mills and Boon, I could have just re-published MELTING ICE digitally as a Rosalie Ash Classic, but when I re-read it I felt the urge to give my characters a bigger story. Their love story, the location of rural Warwickshire, all felt very personal to me. I decided the book just needed a few more characters, a couple more plot twists, and it would turn very well into a longer book, and into part one of a trilogy.
Tell us about the setting:Rural Warwickshire is where I’ve lived all my life. The village and farmhouse setting create aneffective ‘crucible’ where the characters all live and work in a close-knit environment. Harbridge is fictional, but is typical of many small South Warwickshire villages, not too far from the border with the Cotswolds, where the farms and cottages are built of mellow stone. Warwickshire is known as the leafy heart of England. The scenery is not dramatic, but timeless rolling English countryside.
What is it about your hero that will make the reader fall in love with him?
Matt‘s tough, cool exterior hides his vulnerability. He seems cold and uncaring, but inside he is honourable, kind, caring, all traits that Victoria eventually discovers. He’s part Danish, with icy grey eyes, blond hair and olive skin - what’s not to love?! :)
Who would play your hero and heroine in a movie?
Daniel Craig as the hero, MATT. Liv Tyler as VICTORIA.(Or possibly Julia Roberts?) I was visualising these actors as I was re-writing the book.
Where do you write?
In my study. It’s on the ground floor of our 3-storey townhouse, with desks all along one wall, and wooden blinds over the French doors to stop me from getting distracted by what’s going on in the square outside.
What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you?
Eloping. When I got married second time round, we sneaked off to the Registry Office at 9:00 am one morning, then immediately flew to Florence for our honeymoon. We rang our families to tell them the news, on our way to airport. We felt like two naughty children playing truant from school.
If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?I’d always have to own somewhere in England to come back to. I’d be too homesick to become a proper ex-pat. But although we own a house in South West France, and spend happy holidays there, I wouldn’t want to live there. I’d choose to spend part of each year in Devon or Cornwall, and the rest of the time in Italy. We’ve recently discovered the Cilento region, south of Naples. We stay in a stone-built cottage high on a hill, overlooking the Bay of Cilento and the Amalfi Coast. It makes you feel almost literally ‘on top of the world’. You can see the sun set over Capri. The weather, the scenery, the food, the people, are all wonderful. The only downside is the death-defying Italian driving!
Which author would you love to meet?
Nora Roberts. I am in awe of her prolific output, and her brilliant characters. I read somewhere that she has several sons, so maybe that’s why her heroes in particular are so ‘real’.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I’d like to have been a doctor, or a judge. Or any profession where people are forced to take you seriously. Being a writer is a very serious profession, but tell people that you write romantic fiction and there is sometimes a degree of eye-rolling at supper parties...
Thanks for sharing, Rosie. Daniel Craig - is there any other man on the hero list at the moment? :)
Here's the book!
‘Men with those half-hooded eyes always look as if they’re inviting you to bed with them,’ Jessica gave an enjoyably exaggerated shiver, ‘But Matt is so deliciously detached. All steely reserve and suppressed passion. I think he’s gorgeous!’
Victoria hunched her shoulders in a casual shrug. ‘I’d hardly describe him as gorgeous.’
‘Decided that while you were gazing at him longingly on the terrace, did you?’
When Victoria meets Matt she is instantly infatuated with him. But he makes it clear that she’s not his type, and in any case she is far too young for him. But everything changes one night, forcing them both on a journey of self-discovery that transforms their lives forever.
And here's an excerpt -
'Will you please go?' she said, ‘I don't want you to come here again.'
Matt rose to his feet in a fluid, powerful movement, and the pale, lidded gaze was so scathing she longed to drop her eyes under the onslaught. Only pride and fury kept them level.
'Don’t be so fucking ridiculous, Victoria.' he said tautly, 'I'll go, but not before I've proved that you're lying to me and to yourself.'
Before she could duck him, he had pulled her into his arms. He controlled her furious struggles with easy strength. His fingers were hard as he twisted her chin up until her mouth was beneath his, and then he kissed her.
In the midst of her anger, Victoria felt a wave of despair. She knew that her body was going to betray her. She wanted to fight and struggle and scream, but instead she circled his neck with her arms and ran her fingers into his hair, pulling his mouth down harder on her own and returning the kiss with a shudder of passion she had forgotten she was capable of feeling.
When their lips parted for a moment she drew in a breath that sounded like a sob, but her whole body was on fire, as if all her anger and resentment were transformed into heightened sexual desire.
In response he swung her into his arms and took her to the sofa in front of the fire, trapping her on his lap as he kissed her more deeply. Victoria couldn't think any more. All she wanted was to be closer, closer, to surrender to this glorious melting feeling in her bones, and this fiery ache in her stomach. Her struggles to escape had changed to struggles to be as close to Matt as possible, and with a groan he pushed her full length on the sofa and responded to her urgent movements by flicking open the buttons on her jeans and pushing up the soft fabric of her jumper.
Then at last she felt his lips on her skin, her throat, and his hand could flick open the clasp of her silky lace bra and expose her breasts to receive the caresses they ached for.
felt his tongue on her hardened nipples, and he drew back for a moment, his face shadowy and almost unrecognisable above her, the pupils dilated with desire.
'Victoria,' he breathed unevenly, stroking the softness of her with an almost reverent gentleness, his eyes narrowed as he gazed down at her, ‘Did I ever tell you that you have the most perfect breasts I’ve ever seen?’
‘No,’ her voice was muffled with emotion, everything melting into surrender, ‘You didn’t…’ Not even when she’d flashed them at him on their first meeting, she thought dazedly, almost finding the strength to giggle but dissolving instead into quivering desire.
‘And you’ve gained some curves,’ he said, ‘In all the right places. God, Victoria…’
He was peeling down her tight jeans and sending another convulsion of desire through her. Lost in sensation, she hungrily moved one hand up inside his T-shirt, felt the warm hardness of his abdomen and chest, trembled over the flat hard nipples and the coarseness of his chest hair, all her long years of needing and wanting pooling into one hot, liquid tug of desire low down in her stomach.
'Matt, oh God…,' she heard herself whispering against his mouth, as her body strained towards him. He slid the jeans down further, tugged them so that he could pull them right off her. He slipped his hand inside her lacy briefs and cupped her already damp sex with his hand. He groaned, sliding two fingers inside her until she whimpered with need.
‘You smell and taste gorgeous, I’ve never forgotten the scent and flavour of you,’ he said, running that same hand up the length of her body, putting his fingers into his own mouth and then into hers.
That was all it took. Something raw and elemental in Matt’s sexuality ignited a desire in her so powerful, so overwhelming she couldn’t stop herself, couldn’t fight it. She needed him, hungered and thirsted for him, in a mindless, blind way that had her fingers ripping at his white T-shirt, wrenching it over his head, allowing her hands the luxury of stroking and exploring the irresistible lines of his body.
In front of the fire, on the warmth of the sofa, he lifted her to straddle him, stroked the soft fullness of her breasts, moulded her small waist and the flare of her hips, his eyes dark as smoke as they hungrily scanned her body.
‘You’re stunning, but completely crazy,’ he murmured huskily, ‘I don’t have a clue what goes on in your head!’
‘Right now, nor do I,’ she whispered breathlessly, ‘I don’t have a clue how you do this to me, if I did I’d know how to stop you.’
‘Don’t. Don’t stop me.' His voice was thick with desire and laughter. ‘If you knew how much I’ve been wanting to do this to you again, you wouldn’t be so cruel.’
She slid a trembling hand to the fastening of his Levis, moved her fingers over the long hard bulge under the button-fly with a rush of heat all over her. Slowly, she eased open the top two buttons, her eyes caught and held in his narrowed gaze.
The only sound was dull tick of the grandfather clock in the shadows, the hissing of the logs in the hearth, and their combined ragged breathing.Download in the UK HERE
Download in the US HERE