Saturday, June 4, 2011

Philippa Ashley Guest Blogger


Hi there and thanks for having me here at Sweet n Sexy Divas!

My new release from Sourcebooks, Wish You Were Here, is about a holiday love affair; something that combines my twin loves: travel and romance.

Every Sunday we get a huge newspaper. It’s my weekend treat, along with the lie-in, tea in bed and French croissants. And every Sunday, I flip straight to a feature called Confessions of a Tourist where writers reveal all about their holiday romances.

There are sexy flings in France, naughty nights in New York, steamy affairs on tropical islands; you get the picture! Some of the stories have happy endings and even result in marriage. Mostly, the couple just part at the airport, having had a passionate interlude in an exotic location that has changed their life.

I think holiday romances are so intense precisely because they’re not part of everyday life. There are no friends to judge or pass comment, no reputations to worry about (as long as you’re single and your roll in the surf doesn’t end up on You Tube!)  So maybe it’s better to end them at the airport... and leave them as just a memory.

But what if you don’t want to say adios? What if you really believe your vacation lover is The One?

The young Beth Allen, heroine of Wish You Were Here, was sure that Jack Thornfield was going to be the love of her life. He was the gorgeous guide leading her hiking trip on the island of Corsica. He seemed strong, tender and capable and she gave him her virginity. She fell completely in love with him and she was convinced Jack felt the same because he proposed at the end of the trip.

But then she got home to England and the harsh reality of life. She never heard from Jack again and although she was devastated, she had to move on. Wish You Were Here opens eight years after that trip. Since then, Beth has lost her mother to cancer, her father is recovering from a serious accident and her younger sister needs money to take up a place at college. She needs a job fast and is thrilled to land an interview for a great position at a London travel company.

But she’s in for a shock when she finds out who the new CEO is...

The doors opened onto a corridor. Trotting behind Martha, she tried to read the brass plates on each door they passed. At the end, Martha pointed to a pale beech panel that looked broad enough to admit ten executive directors. She noticed the brass plaque was missing; only screw holes showed where it had been.

‘Well, we’ve finally arrived at the inner sanctum,’ said Martha.

‘Some sanctum. Mrs. Arnold certainly knows how to choose her office.’

‘Ah, but this isn’t Mrs. Arnold’s sanctum. Mrs. Arnold is at a conference. This,’ said Martha rapping smartly on the door, ‘is our managing director’s sanctum. He’ll be conducting your interview.’

Before she had time to reply, a voice thundered through the beech panel.


Beth didn’t care too much for the way the word was barked out. It sounded far too dictatorial for her liking. There wasn’t even a please, for goodness’ sake. Maybe applying for a job at Big Outdoors wasn’t such as good idea, with an old ogre like that at the top. Yet Martha was gazing at her kindly, rather like the school secretary had when she’d been hauled up in front of the headmistress for carving graffiti on her desk.

‘In you go, then,’ whispered Martha, as she dithered, ‘and please, don’t look so worried. His bark really is worse than his bite.’

Outside the sanctum, Beth heard the call. Unclenching her fist, trying to ease the tension in her fingers, she pushed the door tentatively. The panel swung inwards, making her blink against the light. A sudden blast of air-conditioning dried out her throat. Her nose twitched as the scent of rich, expensive coffee filled her nostrils.

As her eyes adjusted, she noticed a man standing against the huge floor-to-ceiling windows opposite her. It was hard not to notice him—he had to be well over six feet. His broad shoulders were almost straining against the white cotton shirt. His strong back tapered to a lean waist and a rather firm backside. But just as she was telling herself that it was deeply wrong to be ogling bits of her potential new boss, he turned round.

She let out a tiny gasp as the sun blasted in through the window behind him.

Once upon a time, lying alone in bed, sometimes in tears, sometimes twisted with fury, she had planned what she would say if she ever came across Jack Thornfield again. That was years ago and now all of her well-planned responses rushed from her mind as fast as a beck over a crag face.

‘Hello, Beth. Please come in.’

She flinched. Jack wasn’t shouting now. He said her name confidently and gave her a professional smile as if they’d never met or ever shared anything extraordinary at all.

Have you had a holiday romance and vacation fling? Do you think they can last?


Tina Donahue said...

I love the cover of your book. Sounds like a great story. :)

Phillipa Ashley said...

Tina - thanks!

I've actually got two books out this summer. This first one with Sourcebooks has made number 13 on the Kindle Literature charts.

Next month I have a sexy release called Fever Cure with Samhain. So I hope it's going to be a hot summer for me!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Like everything else in life, you never know when love comes knocking at your door--at home, at work, in the park or on vacation.
Wish You Were Here sounds like a wonderful story. That the heroine has lost so much, now the only way to go has got to be up--and maybe a lost love from an vacation long ago will give her a kick-start. I think your book is going to be a great success, Phillipa.

Delaney Diamond said...

Wow, this sounds juicy! What's going to be his explanation for never getting back in touch with her and how can they possibly work together?

I think vacation flings can last, but like all relationships, the couple involved needs to have a real connection beyond the "fling" aspect.

Phillipa Ashley said...

Hi Delaney - you're right, what *is* his 'explantion'? And also about having a real connection. I read another 'Confessions of a Tourist this morning, and the relationship is still going on a year later. It can happen. :)

Phillipa Ashley said...

Sarah - thank you. You've inspired me to write a piece on unusual places to meet the love of you rlife. A writer friend knows someone who married the bailiff who came to repossess their stuff after her husband had run off, leaving them in terrible debt.