When Amanda McBride, takes a temporary teaching position in Dublin, she is also departing her comfortable, well-structured life in America. At a party she meets a charismatic, handsome filmmaker, Des Costello, whose unconventional style marks him as the kind of man she avoids. What she can’t avoid, however, is the strong attraction they have for each other.
Informed the pretty girl he’s set his sights on comes with an expiration date, Des finds the American even more desirable. He’s only interested in casual encounters and getting his career off the ground. He sets off determined to seduce Amanda, while she is just as determined not to fall prey to the advances of this charming but questionable suitor.
Succumbing to their mutual sexual desires, they find their connection is anything but casual, setting Des off on a new campaign of seduction. And he’s playing for keeps. Amanda is faced with losing him and returning to her secure and familiar life or risking all for the man with a mysterious past and uncertain future.
Targeted Age Group:: 20+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
One morning I woke up from a detailed and vivid dream. The couple in my dream were in the early phase of a romance, but beyond that I knew nothing about them. The dream stayed with me, and I created a novel around this glimpse of their story, fleshing out the characters, giving them back stories, and occupations.
The dream I had is almost word for word what the reader sees in what has become chapter 9 in the first book of the Selkie Series.
I included this chapter in the excerpt section on this page.
This is a scene where Des is surprised to see Amanda crossing the street to his house after they’d had a steamy exchange in the pub the night before.
Earlier in the book Amanda has had push/pull interactions with Des,who has been pursuing her. She is attracted to him, but wary.
In chapter 9, she’s decided to give into the inevitable and boldly goes to his house with the intent of starting a relationship with him.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted to make Des a man, who both by appearance and profession would set off Amanda’s alarm bells. At the time I was thinking about him, a friend, who is an independent filmmaker, was in the process of making a film. I watched her process and listened to her experiences.
I decided to make Des an independent filmmaker, which would put him out and about the city, working with a more flamboyant crowd than Amanda is comfortable with, and a man with an independent nature who likes to be in charge; but his career is also a precarious one. When he tells Amanda this is what he does for a living, she hears “unemployed.”
Des has such a big personality and presence, I decided to give him a physical stature to match. He is six foot, five with dramatic coloring from his long, black hair and dark blue eyes, to his full red lips. He’s the tallest of my male characters, incidentally.
With Amanda, I started with a reason she would be in Ireland for a limited time. I read about international teacher swaps and decided to make her an English professor.
Not only does she swap a teaching position, but she also swaps living arrangements, and so ends up with Nora, a close friend of Des’, as a flatmate, which is how they meet.
I wanted both my characters to have jobs where they’d have some flexibility and be not stuck at a desk all day long. And I wanted to make them interesting people, who would have things in common with each other beyond sexual attraction.
Then I gave security-minded, independent Amanda a personal history that would make Des be a little frightening to her. She is a more cerebral character who has moved around in circles where her looks are secondary. When Des goes after her so aggressively, she is taken aback at the sexuality he awakens in her.
“Ah, Des, you’re a love. I needed that coffee. I’m dying today,” said Nora. She plopped herself down dramatically at the counter of the island, wearing a robe over a scant slip.
“Sure,” he said, pouring her a cup. “Why so tired? Is your man Aiden keeping you up all hours, because if he is, tell him I can’t use you with big bags and dark circles under your eyes.”
“No, it’s that Kevin, knocking on our door in the wee hours, shouting and all. Do I have bags under my eyes?”
“What? Why would Kevin be making a scene at your door? And, yes, you look a fright.”
“Didn’t I tell you? Amanda gave him the boot last night. He didn’t take it well. I finally had to tell her I needed to find some place else to spend the night, so I could get some sleep.”
“No, you neglected to mention that fact. I just saw the two of them together last night at the pub. Interesting…” Des said, musing.
“It’s not that interesting. Why are you interested?” she said, warily.
“Well, you know, just as a filmmaker, I’m interested in all manner of the human condition. All the little dramas that unfold.”
He replayed last night’s events. When he looked up and saw the American, she looked so hot in tight jeans and a low-cut shirt, her hair hanging in loose curls. He’d wanted to scoop her up right then and there and bring her back here to his bed. All the anger he’d felt toward her after their patio encounter melted away at the sight of her.
“Look, there’s Amanda now!” cried Nora, pointing at the window behind him.
“What!” he said, taking in a sharp breath.
“Yes, there she is now. It looks like she’s coming here. Des, why would Amanda be coming to your house?”
He turned and looked out the window, and there she was looking both ways before crossing the street like she had materialized out of his thoughts. She looked left and then right before stepping into the street, making him wince. No, no, you’re not in America! Look right and then left. The traffic comes from the other direction. Oh, be careful, he thought, and then saw that she was indeed headed for his house.
“Oh, my God! You have to get out of here now! If she sees you like this, lounging around half undressed, she’ll get the wrong idea entirely. Off with you now! Go! Go! Upstairs,” he said, panicked, trying to push her on her way.
“Des! What’s going on? You like her don’t you? Is that it?”
“How could you miss that!?! Did you think I was coming around your flat so much to see you?”
“Yes, I was worried about that, actually. I thought we were going to have a problem.”
“What? God, no! Leave now, please,” he said, shooing her upstairs just as the bell rang.
He listened for the door closing upstairs, and then he looked in the mirror on the wall.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, I forgot to shower or shave today,” he said, running his hand across his face and then raking his fingers through his hair, trying to work his wayward locks into shape.
He frowned at the image of himself in the unwashed black t-shirt he’d thoughtlessly thrown on this morning, but there was nothing to be done about that now. He’d overslept this morning, which was rare. But his encounter with Amanda last night, had put him in an excited state, and he hadn’t slept well.
He took a quick sniff and groaned when he detected the whiff of sweat coming off his shirt. Closing his eyes, bowing his head, he took a deep breath, composed himself, and then and only then, did he open the door.
Facing the closed door, with hand poised over the knocker, Amanda took in a long, slow calming breath. The encounter with Des last night left her no doubt about where they were headed. She couldn’t fight the attraction she felt for this man any longer. The second she acknowledged that, Kevin became extraneous. She had cut Kevin free that very night, which hadn’t gone as smoothly as she had hoped. She grabbed the knocker and let it fall hard against the door with a loud report.
“Amanda! What a nice surprise,” said Des, opening the door to her faster than she expected.
She took him in for a moment as he stood in the doorway, one arm resting casually on the frame, the other holding the door open. He wore a simple black t-shirt, which showed his bare biceps. She realized she’d never seen his bare upper arms before.
His arms were all muscle. He had a tattoo of a Celtic interlacing design in a band around one bicep. The black t-shirt, the bulging biceps, the leather bands around his wrist, and the fact that he was unshaven all added to a man that was male with a capital ‘M’. His long eye lashes and red lips that a woman would die for didn’t feminize him in any way, but only added his sex appeal.
“Is this a good time? I’m on my way to the library, and you said if I was ever in the neighborhood, I should stop by.”
“Yes, absolutely. Come in. Come in. I just made some coffee. Would you like some?” he said, drawing her in and giving her a kiss on the cheek. His stubbled face felt rough on her cheek. She liked the way it felt, and the faint musky scent coming off of him definitely was a turn on.
“I’d love some coffee, thank you.”
“Look at all this stuff you’re always carting around. Here, let me unpack you,” he said, slipping one bag off her shoulder.
“That’s much better, thanks.”
“What are in all these bags you have with you all the time, I wonder?”
“It’s not like I carry them around all the time, but they’re full of books, my laptop, and my gym clothes.”
“Do you work out?” he asked.
“It might happen. I haven’t yet, but it’s something I think about doing every day. I’ll be ready if it comes up.”
“I work out,” he said.
“I noticed,” she said, running her eyes over his chest. His were strong arms and torso were shown to advantage in the tight t-shirt.
He gave her a smile, cocking his head. “I notice you noticing,” he said, wagging his finger at her.
He led her over to the island in the kitchen and pulled a mug out for her. Then in his attempt to appear cool and composed, he sent a spoon flying off the counter. They reached for it at the same time bumping heads.
“Sorry! I may have had too much coffee already today. It makes me jittery. So, how are you? What brings you here today?” he asked, pulling a stool out for her.
He remained standing, but put his elbows on the counter, leaning in close to her, smiling encouragingly. She took in a deep breath.
“You know, I’ve been doing some thinking about, well, thinking about how I only have a limited amount of time here, and I’d hate to leave without getting to know the Irish people better. I think you’re someone I’d like to spend more time with. I mean, not necessarily in a romantic way. Maybe, only in a friendly way. I don’t know. I’m just trying to say I enjoy spending time with you, and I’d always regret not taking the time….” She stammered now, feeling the heat rising in her cheeks.
Des took her face in both his hands and looked into her eyes steadily. He moved in as if to kiss her. She looked at his sexy lips, softening her own mouth in anticipation. And then, he kissed her gently, very near, but not directly on her lips. His kiss landed near the corner of her mouth. His soft lips on her face combined with the rough feel of his stubble gave her a charge that went right through her heart and directly between her legs.
“That kiss was maybe a romantic kiss. Maybe a friendly kiss. I don’t know,” he said, a smile crinkling around his eyes and mouth. “Thank you, for singling me out in your campaign to get to know the people of Ireland better. I’m glad you did. I, also, enjoy spending time with you, and I want to know you a lot better,” he said, taking both her hands in his.
“Good,” she said, relishing the feel of her own smaller hands, encased in his large, warm grip.
“Listen, I was going to make a nice meal for myself tonight, and I bought too much food. How about later you come back by here and join me?”
“I’d like that,” she said, and they leaned in toward each other again, the tension strong, her lips trembling.
“Des! You’re needed up here,” suddenly someone from above shouted.
Amanda looked up and saw Nora in a slip and robe on the balcony above them, and then she glanced again at Des’ unshaven face in horror, remembering Nora had left their flat last night to spend the night elsewhere.
“Did I interrupt something?” she said, drawing back.
“Hiya, Amanda,” said Nora, waving to her.
“Oh, no, no, no, this isn’t at all what it looks like! There are loads of other people up there,” Des blurted out.
“That sounds even worse,” she said, alarmed.
“Yeah, no, this isn’t what it looks like,” offered Nora, not especially concerned about how it looked.
“Everyone is up there going through boxes of clothes, trying to put together their wardrobes. For a scene. In a movie,” he said. “You can go up and see for yourself if you like.”
At that moment, a man laughed and someone else whooped from somewhere in a room above.
“No, that’s all right. I believe you. But, I have to get going,” Amanda said, smiling, standing up to leave.
“But, you’ll be back, right? Are we still on for dinner?” he asked.
“Yeah, we’re still on for dinner. What time do you want me back here? And, can I bring anything?”
“How about 7? We should be done here by then, and this lot will have cleared out. And, no, you only have to bring your appetites, I mean, your appetite. Okay, off you go now. I have to get back to work. Here, let’s pack you up and load you down again,” he said, helping her with her bags again. Then he gave her a hug, and she took the opportunity to put her hands around the solid muscles in his upper arms. He buried his face for a moment in her hair and kissed her ear with a loud smacking noise, before turning her around toward the door and giving her a little smack on the bottom.
“It looks like you’re in a hurry to get me out of here,” she said, teasing.
“I’m strict about work. Besides, the sooner I get back to it, the sooner we’re done here, and then I get to move on to the part of the day I’m, now, really looking forward to,” he said, letting his eyes move up and down her body, not hiding his appraisal.
“Okay, 7 o’clock. That gives me time to go home and change into…something else. Different clothes.”
“I’m not really bothered about your clothes.”
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