Only One Chance Bonus One
“Ever pulled the trigger?”
That’s a loaded question. But I can’t resist asking it when I find out the suave billionaire opposite me is no stranger to aiming a gun to someone’s head.
And what’s his answer?
A broad grin and, “You don’t wanna go places that don’t concern you.” But his copper-colour eyes flash a warning, and I know I’ve hit a mark.
That’s Damon. Easy charm on the outside. Dark mystery on the inside.
The first time I met him, he was drinking beer in a village pub. Surprising because he’s more fast-paced. Think cities and high-rises. But he wasn’t in Appleby on holiday that day. He’d stepped out of his luxurious haunts and landed himself deep in the English countryside just to help out Jake, his sort-of-adopted brother.
And that’s also typical Damon. If he loves you, if he’s taken you into his heart and made you his own, he’ll do anything for you.
Even fire a bullet.
He spent a childhood among gangsters, so perhaps it’s not surprising he’ll do anything to protect his loved ones. He knows all about the world where if you’re not useful, you don’t deserve to live. Death comes too easy. But to live and even escape takes a rare spark. And I see that spark in Damon. I see it in the steely determination glinting behind his every warm smile.
Now, he may have survived hell’s pit and made himself the man he is today, but he didn’t leave every attitude of the gangs behind. There’s a little thing called trust. Lose that and you’ve lost Damon forever. Like the gangs he loathes, he’ll give you only one chance.
And that one chance was all Lilayni had.
She just didn’t know it.
I could feel sorry for Lilayni. She fell in love with a man more guarded than the Bank of England. She had no leeway to place even a foot wrong because Damon has no mercy for mistakes.
But Lilayni doesn’t need my sympathy. Not at all. She’s a red-headed French girl, fiery and more stubborn than an oil tanker. Nothing turns her from her course.
And that’s what I like best about her: her determination. She loved Damon and she was hell bent on getting him back, even if she had to seduce him until he couldn’t think straight anymore.
He didn’t stand a chance, and you know, that was a lot of fun to watch.
Grapevines Bonus Two
I love firework sparklers. I love watching them spit and sparkle gold and white. And sometimes, just when you think they’re all sparkled out, they burst to life again and sparkle on with a vengeance as if determined to never die.
Second-chance romances are like that, aren’t they? They’re fiery and passionate the first time around, but then as you sadly watch the fire dim, they blaze up again to burn hot for a lifetime.
I love writing second-chance romances, and Lilayni and Damon’s story in ‘Only You’ let me include all those little things that make a second-chance deeper than other relationships. My favourite are the grape vines Damon let flourish on his penthouse balcony in the city.
Grapevines in Manhattan. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind.
When I imagine vineyards, I’m more likely to think of sunny California and the green and gold fields in Lilayni’s home country of France. But grapevines in the city?
But yes, there are grapevines in Manhattan.
And they’re not weedy, spindly things either that can barely hold a leaf let alone a grape. No, these are bulging green monsters, the plant version of the Incredible Hulk, and they’re bursting with fat bunches of red and purple juiciness.
And they were perfect.
Because Damon, being the hard-headed city rat he is, wouldn’t allow his and Lilayni’s story to take place anywhere else but in Manhattan. There was no way I could drag him back to Appleby Village in England or even to Lilayni’s French Riviera. So Lilayni had to corner him in Manhattan.
That had me feeling sorry for her. Because although she loves Manhattan, I didn’t want her missing France too much. So the grapevines in the heart of the city turned into a little touch of home for her in ‘Only You’.
It wasn’t entirely my idea though. It was something Damon did for her back when their relationship was perfect, just before Bruno messed them up. And I think Damon keeping those grapevines says more about his love for Lilayni than words can.
So now when you pass those high-rise penthouses in Manhattan, remember the secret grapevines they’re sure to have tucked away up there. And know there might be a special love story blooming through each one.
Unstoppable Bonus Three
What’s your most deletable moment in life?
I bet every one of us has moments we’d live differently if we could.
This was Lilayni’s dilemma in ‘Only You’. And she began her story cursing the day the wrong choice dressed in right clothes arrived at her door. It even said the right words to make her destroy her relationship with Damon.
But Lilayni doesn’t give up easily, and that’s what I like about her. She could have said ‘bye-bye’ to it all. She could have stayed back in France. But when faced with forever losing the man she loved, she got on the first plane to Manhattan to win him back.
Not that it was going to be easy for her to win Damon back. And she knew him well enough to steel herself for the tough reception awaiting her in Manhattan. But Lilayni is all determination and action. I mean, any woman who can take a steel-tipped stiletto heel to a baddy’s shin isn’t going to let a mere ’no’ stop her, is she?
So I never doubted her ability to get her man back. But the fun while writing her story was seeing just how she did that.
Talking about baddies, the yacht in ‘Only You’ was very much a sticky web with a bloodthirsty spider waiting right in the middle of it.
‘Only You’ began as Lilayni and Damon’s love story, but when I met Bruno on his yacht, the story deepened into something else.
His need for revenge, his plan to break all trust between Lilayni and her Damon, took what had started as a simple love story and set it teetering on a razor’s edge. At times I watched the web tighten inexorably around Lilayni and wondered how she’d survive it. But hey, this is Lilayni, and her sheer single-mindedness guided my pen. Sure she gave me some hairy scary writing days as she fought for what was hers, but luckily it all worked out in the end, and my pen and I live on to write another tale.
GET ONLY YOU
OTHER APPLEBY BOOKS
(Sophie and Marc)
Appleby Book 3
No man has ever chosen Sophie Harrington. Then one day fate throws the hottest man ever at her. But wealthy Marc Lewis needs a wife. A duchess or countess will do, but village girl Sophie will not. Can Sophie win him for a lifetime rather than just a few nights?