Publication date: April 30th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
At twenty-eight years old, the only men in lawyer Cate Jenkins’ life are her two cats, Thor and Loki, unless you count her not-so-secret love affair with Ben & Jerry.
Escape comes in the form of art classes, where life drawing model Joe provides a welcome distraction from the monotony of her job. Each Thursday for five weeks, she gets to lose herself in a world of twinkling blue eyes and chiselled abs.
Meanwhile, next-door neighbour Dane is determined to win her heart. Can his gifts of coffee and kitty treats win out against muscled perfection?
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“Ladies and gentleman.” Delores glanced over at Miguel, the sole male in the room. “We’ve got a treat tonight. The lovely Joe is going to model for us.”
She beckoned to someone behind us, and jaws dropped as Joe ambled to the front of the class, wearing only a sheet around his waist. He perched on the stool while Delores arranged the fabric to cover the good bits, and then he followed her directions to, “Lean forward a bit. Move your hand.”
Beside me, Marie’s pencil rolled out of her fingers and under Miguel’s chair, and it took him a second or two to snap his eyes away from Joe and retrieve it for her.
Finally happy with Joe’s pose, Delores clapped her hands. “This evening, we’re going to practice our sketching. Joe’s going to move every twenty minutes, which will give you the chance to explore various positions.”
From the way the other girls were salivating, I knew exactly which positions they wanted to explore. Even Marie, who had a boyfriend. I reached over and tapped her pad.
“We’re supposed to be drawing.”
“I’m committing his muscles to memory before I start. Wonder what would happen if I visited the ladies’ room and accidentally tripped over that sheet?”
With Marie, I could never quite tell if she was serious. This was the woman who’d once scrambled over a screaming crowd to clamber on stage with Justin Timberlake and managed to squeeze his ass before security hauled her away. I knew because she showed me the video on her phone. Loosening Joe’s sheet would be nothing for Marie.
What was your first job?
My first sort-of job was working at the local stables in return for rides. My parents said I couldn’t have a pony unless I proved I could look after it, so I slogged my guts out after school and at the weekends every day for two years, and eventually they gave in and let me buy Ollie. Ollie was a grumpy bastard of a horse, but he taught me a lot.
My first paid job was working after school as a filing clerk for an insurance company. I got pretty good at alphabetising things, and I was a wizard at un-jamming the photocopier. It was quite a small office, and most of the guys who worked there were gay, which made it a hoot. The staff parties were legendary.
What was the job you always wanted as a child?
After reading Swallows and Amazons, I wanted to be a sailing instructor, at least until school swimming lessons almost put me off water for life. Those books were awesome—tough girls who matched the guys in every way. Then I got a shiny knew bike and decided I wanted to be a professional cyclist, but then I realised how much effort that takes. Once I discovered horses (aged ten at the school fete), I wanted to to be a riding instructor. But that doesn’t pay much, so now I keep the horses as a hobby.
If you weren’t writing for a hobby, what could we find you doing?
Sleeping. Or possibly eating chocolate.
What one thing would you like to accomplish this year?
I’ve got a new series plotted out, eight books in total, and I’d like to get at least half of those written. I also want to get back to Egypt and go scuba diving, something the UK government and travel industry seem determined to make more difficult every year.
Hero or villain?
Neither. I like my heroes and heroines flawed, and to quote Tom Hiddleston, “Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”
What’s the last book you read?
I feel like I should say something high-brow and literary, but it wasn’t. I read Taking Turns by JA Huss. Filthy, dirty fun.
Do you have any phobias?
I hate parking on slopes. Can’t. Do. It. I’ll happily walk a mile if it means I can park somewhere flat.
If you were a cartoon character, which would you be and why?
Angelica out of the Rugrats. I actually did dress up as her once, for a fancy dress gymkhana (games on horseback). The rest of my team were Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil, which meant I was the only person trying to ride a horse in a dress. I’m pretty sure no photos exist, thank goodness.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Me—it’s my life, after all. But I’m pretty sure nobody would want to watch a movie about a ditzy blonde who sleeps a lot, takes three goes to get into a parking space, and burns everything she cooks.
Who are your top three authors to read?
Only three? I’d have to pick one from each of my favourite genres – Kristen Ashley for romance, John Sandford for thrillers, and Janet Evanovich for comedy.
Do you prefer sunshine or snow?
Sunshine. Always sunshine. I don’t do cold. I firmly believe I was born in the wrong country, and I have a very large collection of scarves and polo necks.
Chocolate, ice cream, or french fries?
French fries. I’m a sucker for potato-based products.
What’s your life motto?
Learn from your past, but live for the future.
What’s your favourite place to write?
Dahab in Egypt. The people are lovely, the weather’s always hot, and there are any number of beach-front restaurants with free wifi that are happy for me to sit and work with my MacBook. Back in the UK, I like to write on my iPad in bed.
Where do you get inspiration for your characters?
I usually get inspiration for a story, and the characters evolve from it. And that inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Trouble in Paradise came out of a real-life murder in Dahab, Egypt—I was talking to some friends about it while we were horse riding in the desert, and by the time I got back to the stables, I knew I had to write that story. My current WIP, Cursed, is a paranormal romantic suspense inspired by a building I worked in for a while—a beautiful but spooky old manor house. Joker in the Pack came from the Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. I wondered what would happen if there really was an old lady who died that nobody knew. And I came up from the idea for Shallow Graves when I was feeding my friend’s goldfish. She had a little plaque hanging next to the thank that said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
What’s your favourite word?
Fuck. That’s probably no surprise to anybody that’s read the Blackwood Security series. It’s so fucking versatile.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
I have two—my horse and my Aston Martin. I’ve had Trev, my Andalusian gelding, for seven years now. He’s supposed to be a dressage horse, but mostly he’s a big fat pet who eats all my money. Still, he’s pretty. The Aston is my summer car—I’d wanted a sports car since I was a teenager, and the first time I drove an Aston, I knew it was the one I wanted to own. I didn’t realise it was such a man’s car until I’d bought it. I’ve only seen two other women driving them, and one of those was a convertible. But I don’t care—the V8 sounds so damn good.
What’s the one word your best friend would use to describe you?
What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
Wifi, a hotel, and Chris Hemsworth.
What’s your pet peeve?
People who don’t pick up doggy poop. Seriously, it takes ten seconds.
What’s your favourite animal and why?
Difficult. I’d need to pick two—horses and dogs. Horses have been such a big part of my life since I learned to ride at the age of ten. Galloping across a pasture on half a ton of sheer power is a feeling like no other, and just spending time with my horse cheers me up like nothing else. But dogs also have a special place in my heart, and because they live in the house, they provide companionship and love, as well as hoovering up any food I happen to drop and scaring off burglars.
What’s the one thing in your life that makes you most proud?
Publishing Pitch Black. It was the first book I started writing, although it evolved so much little of that original story remains. It was also the first story of mine that I let anyone else read, and Emmy will always be my favourite character to write. But knowing now how much effort goes into actually publishing a book makes me amazed I managed it at all.
What’s your idea of happiness?
Sleeping. Because when I sleep, I can dream. And when I dream, I can do anything.
Why did you start writing?
Two reasons. Firstly, I’d read some slightly ropey books on Amazon and figures I could do better *Newsflash – writing was a lot harder than I thought* It took me years and a whole heap of learning to finish something good enough for other people to read. Secondly, even though there were millions of books available for sale, I couldn’t find the one I wanted to read. I was looking for a kick-ass heroine who didn’t rely on a dude to save her, an assortment of hot guys along for the ride, a twisty plot, and a bit of humour thrown in. In the end, I gave up and wrote my own—the Blackwood Security series.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
Quit a well-paid job in IT to start at the bottom again and become a chartered accountant. Why? The recession was looming, and I remembered that old saying: The only things certain in life are death and taxes. I didn’t fancy becoming an undertaker, so accountancy it was. The gamble paid off, and now I work for a large accountancy firm who let me take a couple of months off outside of their busy season so I can write.
What would it say on your grave marker?
Dammit! There’s no wifi down here.
Who would you most like to have dinner with?
I think the more appropriate question here is “Elise, do you ever have time to eat?”
Elise Noble is an English rose with a few thorns who loves chocolate, sleep, and well-defined abs. Not hers, unfortunately. She lives near London with a sexy chef, a horse who eats all her money, and a dog who eats her car keys. Always a reader, she took up writing after inspiration struck in an old manor house, and still pinches herself at the fact that people read her books. She spends her days working in an office and her nights dreaming up new characters for you to fall in love with. Elise currently writes the Blackwood Security series of romantic thrillers and the Trouble series of romantic comedies.
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