Saturday, 12 May 2012

Cover contest

I'm proud to say that the North American edition of Swept Off Her Stilettos is up for the Cover Cafe's 2011 cover contest!

Now, while I can't claim to have had anything to do with the design of the actual cover, it did straight from a description I filled into my Art Fact Sheet, and the artist interpreted it pretty faithfully. I really like it when my covers are recognisable as a scene from the book.

If you want to vote, you can find the page here. Be aware that you have to vote in three categories for your vote to count. I just went and had a look and picked my faves in each one. Once I'd got started I just couldn't stop.

The 'Worst Cover' category is always a hoot. Lots of naked flesh. The titles are almost as good as the covers. My Life As a White Trash Zombie, anyone? There's German cover with a man and a strategically-placed Christmas tree. (Seriously? Someone's big-headed. Surely a pot plant would have been ample coverage...) There's a crazy-eyed bare-chested man that I almost voted for, but one was just so scrappily designed that it had to get the wink. What do you reckon?

Anyway, here's the scene that my cover was from. A pretty good match, right?

Everything about dancing with Nicholas was perfect.  His hand was warm and sure on my back as he guided me round our impromptu dance floor.  He talked easily to me, all the while looking effortlessly drool-worthy and smiling into my eyes. 

It was perfect.  It was.


I was reminded of those cakes in the coffee shop display case that I always yearned for but never seemed to fit the bill.  Finally I’d found one that matched what my taste buds craved.  It had all the right ingredients, looked divine, but now I’d taken a bite I’d discovered that it tasted all…wrong.

Dancing with Nicholas wasn’t a dream come true, it was an effort.  What surprised me most was that I wasn’t bitterly disappointed.  Instead I had that horrible, warm scratchy feeling you get when you know there’s somewhere else you need to be, something else you need to be doing.  I was almost grateful to Louisa when the track on the gramophone changed and she nabbed the opportunity to cut in.

When I stepped out of Nicholas’s hold I knew Adam was standing behind me, waiting for me to turn around and glide into his arms.  And I couldn’t stop myself.

‘I didn’t know you could sing like that,’ he whispered into my ear and a whole series of teeny-tiny fireworks detonated up the back of my neck. 

I controlled the resulting quiver well enough to answer him.  ‘You’re not the only one to have secrets, Conrad.’
But I couldn’t keep the banter up.  The air around us seemed too heavy for our usual frivolity.
Adam didn’t smile at me as we danced.  He didn’t even talk.  If he had, I might not have heard him.  All I was aware of was his strong, capable fingers holding mine, of his broad palm at the small of my back.  I couldn’t hold his gaze.  It was too intense, too full of things I was too scared to label, so when the needle on the gramophone scratched its way onto a slower song, I rested my temple against his cheek and closed my eyes.

I have no idea how long we swayed and turned like that.  Eventually, though, I noticed the air on my bare arms had become cooler, that the light behind my closed eyelids had dimmed to almost nothing.  I flickered my lashes apart and opened my eyes.

We were on the terrace.  In the moonlight.  The warm yellow glow of the drawing room was only feet away, but it felt as if we were in a different world.  The sheer curtains over the doors fluttered and curled in the light breeze, beckoning us back.  Silently, by mutual agreement and the meeting of eyes, we ignored their call.

Had we stopped dancing?  I wasn’t sure.

The way Adam looked at me…it brought tears to the backs of my eyes.  Such gentleness.  Such openness.  Such acceptance.  I couldn’t breathe with the intensity of it.  Something deep down inside of me turned over.  It felt like a door being opened.

Adam brought his hand up to the side of my face and his fingertips traced the line of my cheekbone then threaded up past my temple into the soft waves of my hair.  I knew what was coming, and yet I didn’t know.  Couldn’t quite get myself to believe it was true, that it was Adam and I standing here in the moonlight like this.  I stayed completely still.

He dipped his head forward and our lips touched, just for a moment, and then he pulled back slightly so he was only millimetres away.  I closed my eyes and let the weight of my head rest in his hand, and then I waited, a well of longing rising up within me.  I didn’t tease or taunt or dare.  I surrendered.  Maybe for the first time in my life.

And, as a reward, I got what I’d truly been longing for, because Adam really knew how to kiss.  His lips brushed over mine slowly, teasing me, and then he deepened the kiss so swiftly I hardly knew what to do with myself.  I felt as if I was falling and being caught all at the same time.

I lost myself.  Along with the sense of time and gravity and reason.

And that’s why I had to put an end to it.

That’s why I had to push him away gently, my palms flattened on his chest.

Even so, it was my lips that clung as he drew away, my hands that bunched his shirt up into wrinkles before the cotton slipped through my fingers.

I blinked and looked at him.  ‘What was that for?’

Eyes of warm espresso with caramel running through them.  I didn’t have to look at his mouth to know he was smiling ever so faintly.

‘You know why.’

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