Sunday, 28 December 2014

Post #37: Reflecting on First Loves

The first cut is the deepest. If you've been there, then you know this cliched saying is so true.

Usually it's easy to forget, but Christmas at home always bring back memories because he was not only my first love, but also the only boy (or rather man) I ever brought home to meet the parents - to spend Christmas with us.

I'd gone all the way to England for school and uni only to meet a boy from down the road. His parents and my parents move in sort of the same circles, though they're not close. They may both be from old money, but his family live a simple rural idyll while mine tend to be extravagant and live it up (yes, apples and trees, I know already!) Clearly there was still enough solidarity between the families for eyebrows to be raised when I brought him home, though.

Let's just say that by the age of 23 Sébastien had already racked up enough of a reputation to warrant his parents uninviting him from Christmas dinner. He drove a motorcycle, drank too much, partied too hard, had his first tattoo. I still have a thing for tattoos and motorcycles.

But that wasn't why his parents all but disinherited him. What upset them most was that Bastien dropped out of university, stopped his music studies, and decided to live instead off the trust fund he'd just come into.

My parents, needless to say, were not particularly happy either.

He was the boyfriend who shared my twenty first birthday and we spent one magical summer together in Paris, living in a tiny apartment, screwing like rabbits and generally believing that the world began and ended with us. But the relationship didn't survive the following spring, and so we went our separate ways. He stayed in Paris. I returned to England. Devastated.

I'd had boyfriends before and I've had boyfriends since, but Sébastien was the only man I've ever lived with. The only man I've ever truly, madly, deeply fallen in love with.

It was inevitable we'd burn out, I guess, and probably for the best, but it's days like these, snowed in with my family with too much time to think and not enough to do, that I remember.

I heard through the neighbourhood grapevine that he's not so much of a party animal these days. He's reconciled with his family, and apparently he's even married with a kid on the way. I'm not jealous of her. Really, I'm not.

Courtesy of

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Post #36: Season's Greetings

It’s one of my favourite times of year, a chance to drink mulled wine, visit Christmas markets, decorate the house, and spend a small fortune on our loved ones. (Though I’ll admit to being a big traditionalist, so a string of coloured lights across the front living room window is about as far as I’ll go. Don’t expect gaudy lighting displays and reindeers on the front lawn in this part of St Johns Wood. I’m all about real trees and candles.)

The only thing I loathe about Christmas is that I can’t have all my loved ones together. Amelia, Olivia and Sophie all head home to their respective families, and I to mine, so we don’t get the chance to share this special time. Still, I get to see Fleur, and my ‘baby’ brother (who’s just hit his mid 20s, but will always be my little brother) Drew, Grandmaman, and our housekeeper Angelique who’ll make the world’s most divine English-style Turkey with all the trimmings followed by traditional Bûche de Noël (chocolate yule log) for le Réveillon. Angelique has been with our family since before my parents’ married so she’s almost as close to me as my own Grandmaman (and certainly far closer than my English grandparents whose geographical closeness bears no relation to our emotional distance).

My favourite Christmas tradition is attending Midnight Mass. Crazy, I know, considering we’re not the most religious family around, and we tend to be raucous rather than comtemplative even at the best of times, but there is something so magical about sitting in a church that is hundreds of years old, while the heavenly voices of the choir rise up to fill the rafters. The quiet inside yourself, being surrounded by people who know you better than even you know yourself, with whom there is no pretence, nothing but simply being. The peace that fills one up in a moment like that is more than magic. It is divine.

Then afterwards we crunch across the meadow, knee-deep in snow, heading home to sit beside a roaring log fire and exchange our gifts. We don’t go home to the main meal, le Réveillon, as many families do, but to a bottle of red wine from our own vineyard, a de Savoie family tradition, and we get merrily drunk together. And for that one moment in the year all our petty differences are set aside, and we are a family.

Bûche de Noël courtesy of Huffington Post

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Post #35: My First Time

June, and I'm home for the holidays. Not the house in Neuilly, where at least I’d have the shops and cinemas and buzz of the city to keep me entertained, but the house in the country. It’s too quiet and deadly boring. My friends are all across the channel, or away on way more exciting holidays, and I’m cooped up alone at home. My big brother, dull as always, has a summer job in Paris kissing someone’s ass, my little brother’s away with a school friend, my father’s working, as always, so it’s just me and my mother hanging around in this enormous house.

There’s not much to do but lie beside the pool and read. I’m working my way through Emma Holly’s books and the summer sunshine has nothing on the heat that’s burning me up from the inside out. God, I want to know how sex feels for myself. According to my best friend Olivia sex is nothing like it is in books or movies. She says it’s hugely over-rated. But it only has to be half as good as the scenes between the pages of Emma Holly’s books to make me happy. It would definitely be better than this boredom.

I’ve been home nearly a week when I see him for the first time. How could I have missed the new gardener? He is unmissable. All tanned, lean muscle, narrow hips and dark hair. Not just the lush mop on his head, but arrowing down beneath his waistband too…

I’m pretty sure Papi would have a heart attack if he knew the gardener worked shirtless. I’m pretty sure Mom insisted on it. And I’m pretty sure if I play my cards right, I can get him to notice me. He’s not that much older than me, after all – perhaps twenty two or twenty three to my sweet sixteen.

I always wanted to lose my virginity to someone older, someone who knows what he’s doing. It’s why I never let the boys back in England do more than have a kiss and a grope. I like kissing. I like the groping too. But of all the boys I’ve been out with, only Jonathan came close to being a good kisser, and even he fumbled the moment he had to use his hands rather than his lips. I don’t want my first time to be full of fumbling and sloppy kisses.

I watch the gardener as he prunes the hedge across the pool, the muscles in his shoulders and back flexing and contracting as he moves. He’s breathtaking to watch. My sunglasses slide down my nose and I’m barely aware I’m staring until he turns and catches me. He winks.
At least, I’m sure it’s a wink. It’s hard to tell from this distance.

I need to get closer, but I don’t want to seem too obvious or too desperate. Nothing screams ‘schoolgirl’ like desperate.

So I roll over onto my stomach and pretend to concentrate on my book. I lose all sense of time. Perhaps it’s only ten minutes, perhaps half an hour, before a shadow falls over me. I look up into a pair of eyes blacker than midnight.
“Be careful you don’t burn,” he says in French. “Your skin is very fair.”

I shrug. “I don’t burn.” Except perhaps for you.

“What are you reading?”

I hold up the paperback. The cover features a couple in a clinch. The content is unmistakable. “A sexy love scene,” I say, trying to look as if sex is an everyday thing for me, as if the mere thought of the word doesn’t turn me to mush.

He grins, brushing a curling lock of hair back from his forehead. “Aren’t you a little young for that?”

I work hard not to bristle. “I’m sixteen. And legal.”

His gaze slides down my body, and I move onto my side to give him a better view. I wish my breasts were fuller, my body more mature, but he seems to like what he sees. The front of his jeans is definitely fuller. I want so badly to reach out and touch that bulge. I know how boys like to be touched there, know how to rub them until they moan and push my hand away.

But this gardener isn’t a boy. He’s a man.

“I’m Lena,” I say.

“I know.” His eyes burn almost black in his tanned face. “I’m Paul.”

I nibble my lower lip, wondering what more I should say to keep him here. Not that he seems in any hurry to get back to his work.

“Turn over, and I’ll rub the sun cream on your back,” he says at last.

I oblige, and he picks up the bottle from the ground beside my lounger. I close my eyes as his hands begin to slide over the bare skin of my back. His hands are big and rough, and a little cold at first, growing warmer. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. No fumbling here.

When he’s done, he gives my bottom a playful smack. I roll up onto my elbow to see that he’s holding the bottle back out at me.

“Aren’t you going to do my front?” I ask, hoping I sound more coy than desperate.

He grins again and shakes his head. “You can reach there yourself.”

And he turns and walks away. He actually walks away. I clench my fists and grit my teeth to hold back the frustration. I turn back to my book, but I can’t see the words through my humiliated tears.

It’s another two days before I see Paul again. This time he’s weeding the rose beds edging the south lawn. I ask one of the servants to carry a sun lounger out to the shady patch beneath one of the massive, spreading oak trees. Close enough that Paul won’t be able to miss me. Not so close that it will be obvious I’m stalking him.

I’m wearing another bikini. This one’s black and lacy and tiny. I bring another book. I want him to see me as more mature, to take me more seriously, so this time it’s not a bodice ripper but Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus. But I’m not reading. I’m watching him work.

He’s shirtless again. Even his broad back is muscled. His arms are so strong and beautiful, and he’s tanned to a delicious golden brown. He makes the English boys I know look like scraggly weeds.

He looks around and catches me watching, grins and waves his hand, but he doesn’t approach me. I’m prepared for this. And I’ve given a lot of thought to how I’ll behave now that I have his attention.

While he watches, I remove my bikini top, then I turn around and lie face down on the lounger and pretend to ignore him. It worked last time. Please god it works again this time.

Over the hum of the bees and the swish of movement in the leaves above my head, I can hear him working, hear the sound of his movements carry over the lawn on this incredibly still, hot summer’s afternoon.

In spite of the layer of sun cream I lathered in earlier, my skin burns, and I’m burning up inside too. I can feel myself growing moist between my legs and I have to resist the urge to rub my thighs together to ease the ache growing there. I want so badly to dip my fingers between my legs, but that’s not what today is about. I’ve had enough of rubbing myself as I imagine what sex will be like. I want the real thing.

When I can’t take the heat any longer, and the sweat begins to trickle between my breasts, I stand. Leaving my bikini top and my book where they are, I head towards the gate in the hedge which leads to the swimming pool. I have to pass close by where Paul is working.

“You look hot,” I say as I pass. “You should come for a swim.”

I leave the gate unlatched and ajar behind me as I enter the secluded pool area, hidden behind its high hedges. I dive into the cold, crystal clear water and begin to swim. The cold is a welcome relief against my heated skin, and the water feels so good on my bare breasts.

I’ve skinny-dipped before, but only at night, in the safety of shadows. This feels glorious, the sun and water and air on my skin. I want to be completely naked, to feel the water on my pussy, so I strip off my bikini bottoms and toss them to the side of the pool.

I do a lazy lap, and I’m on the return leg when I notice that Paul is standing at the pool’s edge. Not far from my discarded bikini, so he has to know I’m naked.
I pause mid-stroke.

“Come in,” I call as I tread water.

He hesitates a moment, uncertain, brushing his hand through his thick, dark hair. Then he strips off his jeans and dives in. It’s a perfect dive, cutting the water cleanly, and he resurfaces not far from me.

I swim towards him, until the water is shallow enough for me to stand with my breasts above the water.

“That’s not fair,” I say, putting on a pout as I finger the underpants he’s still wearing. “If I’m not wearing anything, you shouldn’t be either.”

He grins, and it lights up his dark eyes. “You are a wicked little temptress,” he says. But he makes it sound like a compliment, not like the way Jonathan says it, on a desperate sigh.

I shrug and wade closer. “Does that mean you’re tempted?”

“Of course.” His gaze strays to my bare chest, and I push it out a little further. My nipples are pulled tight from the cold water and the adrenalin pumping through me.

“Does your mother know you’re here?” he asks.

“My mother’s out for the day. It’s just me… and you.” I reach out and touch him, as I’ve wanted to since the moment I saw him. His cock is not yet completely hard, but it’s bigger than I’m used to, filling my hand. I rub along his length, and he grins, like a feral tiger.

Then he brushes my hand away and bends down to remove his underpants, tossing them out the pool to land close to mine.

I look and look. Even through the shimmer of the water, he’s gorgeous to look at. Big, growing bigger, the skin of his cock darkening as it becomes engorged.

I wrap my hand around it, and rub slowly up and down. I’ve never done this before, jerked off a guy in broad daylight, where anyone can see. Where I can see. I’ve only ever done this in the dark, in the back seat of Jonathan’s father’s Jag.

Paul moans, moving his hips with me as I massage his full length. After a while he gently removes my hand from his cock, and brings it to his mouth. He kisses my open palm. “No more. I don’t want to come before I’ve given you pleasure too.”

I shiver. “Are you cold?” he asks, concerned.

I shake my head, but let him lead me out of the pool, to one of the sun loungers. The sun prickles my wet skin. He lays me down on my back on the lounger, kneels between my legs and begins to caress my breasts. It’s a sensational feeling, and so much better than the gropings I’ve experienced before. I was right about Paul – he is the right man to take my virginity.

His hands are all over me, on my stomach, my hips, my thighs, even running down my calves. He skims my ankles, then heads back up, parting my thighs with his hands, pushing me open so he can see me.

I feel completely exposed, vulnerable, and yet so needy. I want this so badly, but I’m also scared. What if it hurts? He looks so big. Surely he can’t fit that erection inside me?

He dips his head, and touches his tongue to my pussy lips, and I freeze. I’ve never done oral sex before either. Not with anyone.

Oh god, it feels so good. His tongue licks up and down over my clit, where only my own fingers have ever been, and then he sucks, hard, on the little button that gives such pleasure, and my limbs start to melt with that boneless feeling I know means I’m coming. I’m so far gone I don’t realize his finger is at my slit until he pushes into me. My muscles clench around his finger, protesting the intrusion. His finger seems to fill me, but it feels so nice, and when he starts to move it in and out I want to cry from the pleasure.

“You’re so tight,” he says, and his voice is rough. Then his eyes suddenly widen. “Oh my God, you’re a virgin!”

“Not for much longer.”

He sits back, pulling his finger out of me, and I grab onto him. “Please don’t go. I want this. I want you to be my first.”

He sits back, gazing hard at me with those dark, deep, inscrutable eyes. I feel so naked, so lost. What if he walks away now? How will I ever be able to live with the humiliation of throwing myself at him and being rejected?

“You don’t know what you’re asking,” he says at last.

I shake my head. “I do. Please.” I’m not above begging.

Slowly he leans forward, until his mouth is so close to mine I can feel his breath warm against my lips.

“Then we need to do this right,” he says. “We don’t want to rush this, and I don’t want you to get sun burned.”

What does that mean? Is he brushing me off? Will he make me wait? Because I don’t think I can wait. I want him NOW.

He kisses my lips then, tender and soft at first, but when I kiss him back and he realizes I’m not a stranger to this, his kiss grows rougher, more insistent. He forces open my mouth with his tongue, and I let him in. He kisses better than anyone I’ve kissed before, and tastes somehow darker and more sinful.

We kiss and kiss until I’m squirming against him, pushing my body against his, but he pushes me back with a firm hand and breaks the kiss.

“Wait here,” he says, rising from the lounger.

Where the hell does he think I’m going to go, naked as I am?

He pulls on his jeans, not bothering with his underwear. He’s nearly at the gate before he turns back. “Touch yourself while I’m gone.” He winks, and then he’s gone from sight.

I do. I slip my fingers between my legs, rub in that way I know will bring the most pleasure, and I come almost immediately. But it’s not enough. I rub more, dipping one finger then another inside me, and that’s how I am when he returns. He stands over me, eyes burning bright. I can’t imagine the mess I must look, with my face red from the sun and the stimulation, but he looks at me as if he’s never seen anything more beautiful.

He holds out his hand and I take it, letting him pull me up off the lounger. He leads me to the small, shady patch of lawn on the far side of the pool, half-hidden behind the shed which contains the pool pump and other equipment, and he spreads out the blanket he’s brought with.

I lay on my back on the blanket and watch as he strips off his jeans again. He’s not as hard as he was when he left, but it’s still a magnificent sight. Now I can see his cock properly, I notice how the veins stand out, how the head is darker than the shaft.

He lies down beside me on the blanket, and I take him in my hands, stroking very slowly, admiring. A bead of white fluid gathers at the tip of his cock.

“Pre-come,” he says, wiping it away with his thumb. Then he lifts his thumb to my mouth and I lick it off. The taste is saltier than I imagined. Not so bad, though.

“The greatest thing you can do for any man is to swallow that when you’re giving him a blow job.” Then he grins. “The next greatest thing, after offering him your virginity.”

“Would you like me to give you a blow job?” I ask shyly. I’ve only ever tried once, and I’m not sure I’m any good. But I plan to be, if Paul will teach me.

He takes my face between his hands. “Not today. Today this is all about you.”

He kisses me again, and it sets a low fire burning inside me. Again, his hands seem to be everywhere on my skin, both rough and gentle at the same time.

I stroke his back, his arms, his chest, his buttocks, exploring the feel of his hard, naked muscles. I run my hand through the fine dark hairs on his stomach, which arrow down to the pale skin where his tan doesn’t reach.

His hand dips between my legs and I widen them for him. He takes his time, exploring me, pleasuring me, until I’m moaning against him.

“Quiet,” he warns, but I don’t care who hears me.

His thumb circles my clit, and then his finger is inside me again. Gently he strokes in and out, the glide sending delicious waves spiraling out from my lower back. Then he slips another finger into me, and another, stretching me. It’s a strange feeling, so good, so alien. He’s preparing me for his cock, I realize, and flinch against the thought of that enormous erection inside me.

“Relax,” he whispers. “This will be a lot less painful if you’re relaxed.”

I’m so far from relaxed, it’s unbelievable. Every bit of my skin prickles, and my pussy is so wet I’m almost embarrassed.

He rolls on top of me, holding his weight off me with one arm. His muscles stretch and flex like poetry. He kisses my breasts, my stomach, my clit. And then, just as I’m wondering if he’s ever doing to do anything more than kiss me, he presses the head of his cock between my legs.

Instantly, my body tenses.

“Relax,” he says again. He strokes the head of his cock up and down over my engorged pussy lips. It feels so wonderful and my body reacts of its own accord, pushing up against him. And then I gasp as he thrusts inside me. Not far, just the tip, and he waits, waits for me to adjust to him.

By slow increments, he pushes inside me. I stretch to take him in, and it’s painful, and he feels so big and there’s so much of him. At last his balls are pressed up against me and I have all of him inside me. I didn’t even feel my maidenhead break, but I suppose it must have.

I’m so tense. I ache with the unaccustomed pressure.

“God, you’re so tight,” he says. “So fucking tight. It feels so good.” I can see the strain in his face. It’s costing him to hold back, to take this gently, and I really owe him for that.

I owe him a good experience of this too, so I shift beneath him, moving my hips, like they do in movies, and he groans.

“I’m okay,” I say to encourage him. “Don’t stop.”

He moves in and out, slowly at first, then thrusting harder and wilder as he loses control. His balls slap against me as he rocks into me. His soft moans of pleasure become grunts. His face pinches with the strain. I bite my lip against the pain, wondering why the hell everyone thinks this is so great and so pleasurable. Then he comes, withdrawing out of me so suddenly that his ejaculate spurts onto my stomach, thick and sticky.

“I’m so sorry,” he says. “I didn’t think to fetch a condom.”

And neither had I. Geez, how much more stupid and naïve could I be, setting out to seduce him and not even remembering the one thing that’s been drummed into us since we started high school?

He rolls off me. He’s breathing hard, and his eyes are still wild, a little glazed. He turns to me, looking abashed as he returns to himself. “I’m so sorry,” he says again.

“Don’t be.” Then, as an after-thought, “thank you”.

He helps me to my feet and into the swimming pool, where we wash ourselves clean. I feel raw between my legs, sore. When we get out, he dries me with the blanket. He dresses, and then he fetches my things from under the old oak tree. He watches as I put my bikini on. I feel awkward and don’t know what to say.

When I’m done, he takes me in his arms, holding my head against his chest. His skin is still sun-warmed, and he smells of sweat and sex. It’s a scent I could easily get addicted to. He kisses me, gently this time, a mere brush of our lips. Then he holds my face in his hands, and tips his forehead down to mine.

“Next time will be better,” he promises.

And it was. That was a glorious week, before my little brother came home from visiting his school friend and the whole family travelled down to the villa on the south coast for the summer holidays. I didn’t want to leave.

In that one week Paul taught me so much. He taught me how to give him pleasure, and how to take my own. He taught me that sex wasn’t all pain, and that it could bring immense pleasure. He gave me my first real orgasm, not hidden in a corner of the garden behind a hedge, but in my big bed in the frilly pink bedroom I’d had since I was a little girl, with servants moving around the house and my mother entertaining visitors for afternoon tea downstairs in the salon.

We returned home at the end of July. I ached to see Paul again, to feel him inside me again, but he was gone.
“To Paris,” the housekeeper said, when I finally screwed up the courage to ask for him. “Something about needing to do a summer course before the new semester starts.”

I didn’t even know he was a student. We’d never talked about our lives, or our interests, or about anything other than our mutual pleasure.

That was the last I heard of Paul. I was too proud to go looking for him, and he certainly never came looking for me. Do you know how hard it is to find someone on Facebook when all you have is a first name?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Post #34: Christmas Market

What Christmas gifts do you buy for your family that they might want, when they already have everything?

The truth is, you don't give them what they want. You give them what you think they need.

Throughout the year I'm always picking up little things I think will make excellent Christmas gifts for my family. Mostly I remember to give them, but sometimes I find them stashed in the back of a cupboard sometime around March.

For my little brother Drew, the only one in the family with a sense of humour, novelty boxer shorts and geeky t-shirts. For my mother, vintage porcelain (which she seriously doesn't need, but she collects). For my sister-in-law, The Lollipop, sexy lingerie that I sincerely hope for my brother's sake she actually takes out of the tissue paper once in a while.

The easiest person to buy for is my niece, Fleur. And not because I can buy out half of Hamley's for her, but because we're so much alike. At the tender age of six, Fleur already has an appreciation for clothes, which makes shopping for her such a pleasure.

So there is absolutely no need for me to go Christmas shopping at the markets in Innsbruck. No reason at all, except for glühwein, marzipan and a fun weekend trip away with my BFFs. Every year we visit a different European Christmas market. It's our gift to ourselves.

See you next weekend!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Post #33: Beautiful Bastard

So I finally got around to reading Beautiful Bastard, the first in Christina Lauren's Beautiful series.

I think I avoided this for so long because I was sure it would be a disappointment. After all, how could it possibly match Beautiful Stranger? But it did. If anything, I even liked this book better.

The sex sizzles from page to page without ever getting boring, and the sparky dialogue between these two had me laughing out loud.

The magic in these books lies in that quirky mix of erotica and humour - it's so intense and so clever, and these ladies' writing leaves me in awe.

It's reading books like this that makes me wonder if I should quit messing around with trying to write my own erotic romance and find  a new hobby. Except this doesn't feel like a hobby. It's something I've always done, without realising it. I've been telling myself stories since I was a kid, and I've always loved working with words - and it's perhaps the only thing (aside from partying) that I do well. Which is why I get to draft all the press releases at work. Just not as well as Christina Lauren. Yet.

I'll leave you with this delicious quote from the book:

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Post #32: First Attempt

What does a girl do when her house mates are out on dates, and she's not interested in going out alone to score her own? She lies in bed with a bottle of Californian sparkling wine and her laptop, and starts to write a book.

So what do you think of my first attempt?

This was too good to be true. The doorman asleep downstairs, the usual security detail absent, and now the door to the penthouse stood wide open. She hadn’t expected to make it this far.
Lexy tapped tentatively on the door. “Mr Sinclair?”
A stifled moan answered her. Anger burned through her trepidation. Oh great, the legendary Lothario was no doubt at it again. At this hour of the morning!
A grunt.
She stepped across the threshold, shutting the door quietly behind her, and followed the sound. If he couldn’t be bothered to keep the door closed when he had company, then she wouldn’t be bothered to wait for an invitation.
Her heeled boots reverberated across the white marbled floor. The walls were white too, and the high ceiling. The only splash of colour in this vast entrance hall was the modernistic painting hanging on the far wall.
Jasper Sinclair’s art collection was almost as notorious as his love life. It was the art collection that had brought her here today. She couldn’t give a damn about his love life.
She’d come to retrieve what was hers, at any cost.
The door across the hall stood slightly ajar. She pushed it open. Another palatial room all in white, but this one she recognised. This was the living room where he’d been photographed for the article on his foundation’s charity fundraiser. The view beyond the windows was unmistakeable.
The armchair he’d posed in wasn’t in the same place, though. The photographer must have re-arranged the furniture. She frowned. The painting she’d spotted at the edge of the photograph wasn’t here either.
But at least two paintings were missing. Against the stark whiteness of the walls, the marks showing where they’d hung were unmistakeable.
Oh God, he couldn’t have moved them, could he? If he’d put that painting on display, or sold it to a gallery, she’d cut off his balls and feed them to him.
Another low moan. Closer this time. She didn’t care if she interrupted him in the middle of the throes of passion. He deserved it. And she wasn’t leaving without her painting.
She strode across the room, through double doors that stood wide into another living room, smaller, cosier but still that cold, impersonal white. Another painting had been removed in this room. She pushed open the door across the room, the final door, and froze.
Jasper Sinclair. Blindfolded and tied to a hard-backed, spindle-legged wooden chair that looked like it could be an antique, in the middle of a bedroom the size of her entire flat. The white sheets on the bed behind him lay rumpled as if he’d just got out of it.
His hair looked rumpled to, as if hands had run through it.
His head seemed heavy as he tried to lift it, as if he was just waking. Or coming around. He moaned again. It shouldn’t have sounded so sensual. It shouldn’t have sounded do arousing. But it did.
He was even better looking in person than on TV. He wore nothing but long black silk pyjama pants. His arms had been tied behind him, forcing his chest forward. And what a chest he had. Strong, tanned, almost hairless but for the dark arrow above his waistband.
As for those abs...her fingers itched to stroke across that smooth, solid flesh.
“Who’s there?” His voice rasped, dry and weak, and he licked his lips.
This wasn’t some kinky game she’d walked in on. She glanced up at the walls. Another painting gone.
He’d been robbed.
Fury bubbled up. He’d been robbed and her painting was gone. How could he keep such valuable works of art in an apartment with so little security? Did he value them so little?
“Who’s there?” he asked again, his voice stronger now. Almost cocky. Definitely more like the Jasper Sinclair she knew and loathed. “No one you need know,” Lexy answered.
He lifted his head, looking straight at her, and she was relieved the thieves had the forethought to blindfold him. She’d been afraid of what he might say, or do, if he recognised her. This way was so much better.
“What do you want?” He bit out. “I don’t keep cash in the apartment, and if you so much as touch one of my paintings, I’ll hunt you down and kill you.”
“I haven’t touched any of the paintings.” Yet. “How long have you been out?”
He licked his lips again, a movement that drew her gaze to them. She didn’t normally notice lips on a man, but God, he had a beautiful mouth, full and sensual. She licked her own lips.
“You’re not one of them?” he asked. “What time is it?”
“A little after seven.”
Jasper shook his head, as if trying to clear it. “It was still dark when I woke. Someone was in the room. I think he must have knocked me out.” He looked straight at her again. “Untie me.”
Not if her life depended on it.

And now we're getting to the really interesting stuff... what would you do with a gorgeous, naked, blind-folded man who's tied to a chair?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Post #31: Pinterest

I'm on Pinterest!

Please come join me for many happy hours of pinning pictures of expensive clothes, frivolous cocktails, hot (mostly) naked men and Paris.

I'm here: Lena on Pinterest.

PS: You can also come find me on Wednesday at the Giovanni Battista Moroni exhibit at Burlington House. I'll be the one with a drink in my hand.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Post #30: Remembrance Sunday

Nothing much happening this weekend. With the sun actually peeking through the clouds, it's really pleasant just to sit in the garden for a change and drink tea and read a good book. Also fitting to enjoy the stillness and take a moment to enjoy being alive, since it's Remembrance Day today.

Image added 12 November from the Evening Standard

100 Years since the start of the first world war. Check out Alan Ranger's poppy field pictures.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Post #29: Halloween weekend in NYC!

Image courtesy of

Awesome! I joined my little brother Drew in Manhattan for a weekend, so I packed my Halloween costume and headed to NYC. God, I love my little brother! He's the only one in my family who knows how to party.

He also surprised me by being really organised. On Friday night, we joined a group of his friends for champagne on the rooftop of a swanky hotel (see, I'm picking up the local lingo!) before we headed to the Sinners & Saints gala at Guastavino's where Drew had organised us all VIP access and bottle service.

Naturally we slept in really late on Saturday, then that night we headed to Bleecker Street for pizza and clubbing, ending up at the Bowery Ballroom. I managed to get in a little shopping at Bergdorf's on Sunday morning before catching a flight home, and I'll admit I slept pretty much the entire flight.

Image courtesy of

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Post 28: Lady Gaga and the Pop Tarts

So this weekend was all about Lady Gaga at the O2 and a visit from my cousin Marie-Madeleine (and yes, the similarity in our names is because we share a family name). Mimi and I are both named for our Grandmaman, Madeleine, who is quite literally the Grande Dame of our family.

We both also take after her, to the horror of our mothers. Grandmaman is the most elegant woman I have ever met, and everything I ever learned about clothes them that is worth knowing I learned from her. She also says what she thinks, doesn't suffer fools (hence her daughters-in-laws' horror) and believes champagne is the cure for all ills. An incredible woman.

Mimi works in advertising and brought with her half a suitcase of the product du jour: pop tarts. Did you know that this American staple turned 50 last month? Yeah, we can all die happy now, knowing this important fact.

Now if you'll excuse me, I only have Mimi here for one more night, and there is still one bottle of unopened champagne chilling in the fridge...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Post #27: Late night ramblings

My father says I'm more English than French. He makes it sound like that's a bad thing. But really it's their own fault - my parents are the ones who sent me to school in England, not me. So I've never read Moliere or Dumas or Flaubert, and I've only read Guy de Maupassant in English. I did read Sartre once - but that was only in my very brief pretentious period back in uni days.

Actually, I don't think it's the fact that I default to English that disappoints my father. It's what I read.

Personally, I don't think I've done too badly. I mean, I may not have majored in English Lit, but I've done alright. I've read Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen, and some of them even for fun. Okay, so these days the books I read tend to come with naked torsos on the covers, but hell, I'm reading aren't I? Most people my age haven't even cracked open a book since they left school.

I'm self-actualised enough to admit that I'm not highbrow, and I'm okay with that.  And yes, I know I'm rambling. It's late. I've got to be up for work in a few hours, and the only reason I even cracked open this laptop was because there's a fucking expensive bottle of champagne at the end of all this. I need my beauty sleep. The bags-under-eyes look really doesn't work on me.

Good night.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Post #26: My favourite time of year - London Cocktail Week!

Work hard, party hard - that should be my motto. (Not that I tend to work very hard. I chose PR because it feels more like play than work).

Me and my girls (or at least Sophie and Amelia; Olivia joins us less often now she's living with Stu) go out at least a couple of nights of every week. But when London Cocktail Week rolls around, it's every night, thanks to those nifty little armbands and a jam-packed calendar of events.

Image courtesy of
Now in its fourth year, this event spans bars and pop-ups across the city. The idea is to introduce punters to new venues and new cocktails. Since we have a tendency to stick to our favourite haunts, it's kind of nice to go out of our comfort zone now and then.

The 'week' (actually about 10 days) started on Monday night with an event made for me: Le Grand Charme, the 'Paris in London' event hosted by Grand Marnier. French barmen, French music & Crêpes Suzettes.

Next night was the Burleigh's Gin pop-up at Merchant House, followedon Wednesday by the Malibu beach party at Maggies in the Fulham Road, where we met a group of cute guys who agreed to meet us again on Friday night for dinner and drinks.

Image courtesy of
Thursday night was Cointreau Fizz Fest in Chelsea, and Friday we headed to Holborn to meet the guys at the House of Peroni pop-up. A fun evening, but when Amelia went home with the cutest of them, Sophie and I took off by ourselves to share a bottle of Prosecco at one of our favourite bars.

Saturday was Oivia's birthday, and another reason to celebrate. This time with a quiet little girls only party of our own at home - a couple of bottles of wine, a romantic comedy (Laggies, with Keira Knightley) and comfortable clothes. The perfect night in!

We wrapped up London Cocktail Week on Sunday with a trip to the Angostura Butterfly House, a tropical garden created especially for LCW in Shoreditch. This was by far the highlight of the week for me. The setting was sultry, the butterflies were magical, and I fell in love with the Owl Butterfly cocktail, a delicious mic of rum, passionfruit and mint.

The only problem with LCW is that there was not enough time to see and do everything. We popped into a few of the other bars taking part, but there were some events we had to skip. Hopefully they'll be back nexy year! (5-11 October 2015 - diarise it now!)

But the fun never stops... tonight we have tickets for Ed Sheeran at the O2.

Image courtesy of

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Post #25: Manon and My Parents

My favourite childhood memories are of going to the theatre with my mother – ballet, classical concerts, even the occasional opera. Looking back, I realise now she took us kids less because she wanted us to be culturally sophisticated (though that was true too) but because my father was usually too busy with his own life to go with her.

I’m pretty sure my parents love each other. I mean, they’ve never fought, or even argued in front of us. They seem to enjoy one another’s company enough when they’re together. They’re just not together that often. Between my father’s work (and his girlfriends, though the only place that’s ever been acknowledged is here on the anonymity of this blog, and please god no one in my family works out this is really me!) and my mother’s hectic social and charity schedules, they seem very rarely to be in the same place at the same time.

 Maybe that’s the secret of a lasting marriage? What do you think?

Anyway, I think they’ve done pretty well considering they come from different cultures and countries. Though to be fair, I’ve noticed that people with money and background, no matter where in the Western world they come from, aren’t much different from one another. My father may have been raised in France, but most people would probably call him ‘worldly’, and my mother, born and raised English, has become more French than anyone else I know!

What they have in common is a love for the comforts in life, an almost fanatical belief in the importance of outward appearances, and champagne. So basically, this apple didn’t fall very far from the tree!

Anyway, this is all way off topic. What I really wanted to say, was that I’m really looking forward to seeing Manon at The Royal Ballet this coming week.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Post #24: Mykonos Mayhem

"So did I get sea, sun and sex?" you ask.

My friends tell me I only go for guys who are (a) completely unsuitable, or (b) unavailable. They tell me I only ever fall in lust so I don’t have to fall in love.

I disagree. And just to prove that my Beautiful Stranger (who still hasn’t called, or in any way shown that the night at Battersea meant anything to him at all) is now nothing more than a vague memory, I went out of my way to prove my friends wrong.

Picture this:

We're at the hotel near Mykonos, in a suite with a private pool and an unrivalled view of the sea.

The day started out dull, so Sophie and Amelia have gone out shopping. I stay at the hotel, curled up with a book. As the weather improves and the sun comes out, I take my novel outdoors to the private pool deck. It's a lazy autumn afternoon and the hotel seems quiet, asleep.

I remove my bikini top and stretch out on the lounger. The sun heats my skin, heavy and dry and sensual. I lie half asleep, the book forgotten beside me. I don't hear the knock at the door.

"Room service," he calls.

I look up. He is crossing the living room, carrying a silver tray and two cocktail glasses. Even from here I can recognise muddled lime when I see it. I lick my lips, but I'm not sure if it's the iced mojitos or the torso evident beneath his golf shirt that I appreciate most.

"I didn't order room service." I sit up, straddling the lounger, shoulders back, letting him enjoy the view.

He shrugs, dark eyes sliding over my crotch before fixing firmly on my chest. Then finally he looks up, and there's amusement in his eyes. I like a man with a sense of humour.

"Someone ordered two mojitos to be delivered to the room at this time."

It doesn't mattter whose idea this was, Amelia's or Sophie's. I'll thank them both.

I wave around at the empty pool deck. "I'm on my own, and I couldn't possibly drink both. Do you have somewhere else you need to be, or would you like to stay and have a drink?"

His eyes flash again to my bare chest. I arch my back, ensuring he gets a prime view. "I'm at the end of my shift," he says.

I smile, amping up the seduction. He's wearing dark trousers, tight enough that I get my own prime view. Oh yes, this is going to be fun. Did my BFFs have any clue just how large a gift they were arranging to cheer me up?

He offers me a glass from the tray, then sets it down. I pat the lounger between my legs. He grins, radiating confidence. I like that in a man. I'm not keen on hesitant men. Hesitant men make much harder work.

He takes the other glass, and sits exactly where I indicated, straddling the chair inappropriately close. Confirming that we both know the score. We know what we want and we're not going to waste any time taking it.

I sip the mojito, eyeing him over the rim of the glass, trying to guage the body beneath the white golf shirt with its monogrammed logo. "Damn, it's good." I could be talking about the mojito or the body.

"Of course it is. I made it."

So he's the hotel bartender. But he's more than that. There's a lively intellience in those dark eyes. He's young still, perhaps mid twenties. He doesn't strike me as a man content to be a bartender all his life. I'm guessing he's ambitious, but he also likes to have fun. Another thing I like in a man.

He takes a drink from his glass, tipping his head back. He's good looking enough to be a model. A little more rugged perhaps, with a five o'clock shadow already smudging his square jaw.

"Dimitri," he says.

We don't need names. I don't plan for this to go anywhere beyond this weekend. But I oblige. "Lena."

He smiles, and something hot and volcanic shoots through me. We sip our drinks slowly, saying nothing, letting the chemistry sizzle between us. And there is definitely chemistry.

He places his hand on my thigh, resting it lightly there. The touch might be light, but it's effect is not.

When our glasses are empty, and the rum is buzzing deliciously in our veins, he sets both glasses aside and leans towards me. His lips are hard and demanding, and I sigh, parting my mouth for him. He's a glorious kisser. I hope there are a few more things he's glorious at.

He reaches a hand up to my bare breast, feeling its weight in the palm of his hand. His palms are rough, perfect against my sensitive skin. He tweaks a nipple, rolls it between his fingers. I moan. My panties are already wet for him. I want him to touch me everywhere.

And he does. Taking it slow, while we kiss and kiss and kiss. He tastes of mint and lime, and it's sexy as hell. His hands are in my hair. They trail down my spine, circle over my stomach. God, I want his fingers there more than I want air to breathe or champagne to drink.

Then at last his hands are on my inner thighs, stroking upwards. I part my legs, inviting him in. He brushes aside the scrap of fabric that covers me, rubs his thumb across my slit. I feel his smile against my lips. I'm so wet and ready for him.

But he doesn't hurry. He knows exactly what he's doing, knows perfectly how to play a woman's body. His thumb circles and slides, teasing my clit, until I'm arching into his hand, begging for relief.

He slips a thick finger into me and it's almost as much as I can take. But of course that's silly. I plan to take a whole lot more. I'm not some virginal teenager and I plan to get the most out of this experience.

His finger pumps in and out of me, moving faster, as the heel of his hand rubs my clit. I lie back on the lounger and close my eyes so I can enjoy every sensation. With his other hand he carefully holds the fabric of my bikini aside, parting my folds for a better view. When I risk opening my eyes, I see hunger in his expression and it makes me even hotter than I already am.

He adds another finger, and I'm writhing now, milking his hand for all its worth, and I'm close, so close. I come, arching my back and crying out. I don't care who can hear me. I don't care who knows that a man who is to all intents and purposes a complete stranger, just brought me to orgasm.

But of course, he's not done. His erection strains against his trousers. Awkwardly, perhaps even a little painfully, he stands and strips off his shirt and his shoes, then his trousers and pants. God, he's beautiful. Tanned, strong and firm. He has tan lines, the skin of his butt a few shades paler than his strong, muscled legs. But his erection isn't pale. It's dark and throbbing, arching all the way up to his stomach.

I may just have come, but already I want that sweet cock inside me. He bends down and shimmies my bikini bottoms down over my hips. I lift my bottom so he can pull them down, sliding them down my legs and over my ankles. I don't see where he tosses them.

I part my legs wide for him, and he licks his lips. I know exactly how he feels. My temperature has spiked, my blood pounds in my ears, and my breathing is heavy.

He's come prepared. He rips open the condom packet and sheathes himself, stroking up and down his length. I want to do that too, I want to feel that erection throbbing in my hand, about to come. But not now, not yet.

He grasps my hips and pulls me down on the lounger, positioning me. I watch, breathless, as the tip of his cock caresses my entrance. Then he plunges, buring himself hilt deep. I moan and move against him, and we begin the ultimate dance.

The sun is baking down on us. His body grows slick with sweat. He's no slacker, that's for sure. He knows how to move and he's strong and supple. He pounds into me, no longer taking it slow or easy, and my second orgasm is already building, building.

I come before him, my internal muscles gripping him, rippling around that magnificent erection which fills me so completely. He grunts, rocking harder into me, his eyes unfocussed, and then he comes, with a final push and a shout.

He collapses on me, and I shift aside a little on the lounger to make room for him. He opens his eyes and looks at me, smiling. Yes, it was good. Better than good. It was mind blowing. We don't need words to tell each other that.

When he has recovered a little, he sits up, reaching for his shirt.

"What's the hurry?" I ask. "The afternoon isn't over yet."

"We're going to get sunburnt."

"Then let's go inside."

We leave our clothes strewn across the deck and I lead him inside to the bedroom. Already his cock is stirring, coming back to life, and now I take the chance to feel it for myself. His cock is big, filling my hand. I rub it between my breasts and cup his balls, and he moans, lying back on the bed, at my mercy. I stroke and play, and then I suck until he comes, squirting his hot seed over my breasts.

We swim together, naked in the private infinity pool, and then we have to search the hotel room for another condom so we can make love again. We lie on the bed, and I ride him this time, and it feels so wonderful, the friction so perfect that I never want it to end. But of course, everything has to end. He releases inside me before I come, but he's not an inconsiderate lover. He sucks me to completion, his tongue deep inside me.

I am sated, sleepy. I curl up on my side, the cool breeze blowing in through the open doors onto my flushed and heated skin. I already have stubble burn on my chin and my cheeks.

When I wake he is gone. The sun is setting, and I hear the muted voices of my friends in the living room. I slip on the hotel robe and go through to the living room to join them.

"Feeling better?" Amelia asks, eyes bright with mischief.

"Much," I answer. I've now had a very different Beautiful Stranger in my life, and this one's memory will bring no regrets.

Okay, so maybe I proved my friends right. This had absolutely nothing to do with love, and everything to do with lust. And he may not have been suitable, but he sure was fun.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Post #23: Sea, sun and sex

I've had twelve dry weeks (unless you count a little firelit groping, but since my own 'Beautiful Stranger' hasn't called in two weeks, I'm not counting it) which definitely calls for a little end of season indulgence: a girls' weekend away at the Petasos Beach Resort on Mykonos.

The sea and sun are pretty much guaranteed. The sex? I'll let you know...

While I'm gone, feast your eyes on this:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Post #22: Busy, busy, busy

It's London Fashion Week (or at least, Fashion Few Days), press night for The Play That Goes Wrong tonight, and The Script tomorrow night, so blogging takes a back seat this week. And since Amelia and I need to be at Somerset House for Marios Schwab's show in a couple of hours (and I'll be the first to admit I need more than ten minutes to get ready) I'll leave you with this profound thought:

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Post #21: The Fire Garden

So my very own Beautiful Stranger, with whom I danced a mesmerising tango at the Festival of Love a few weeks ago, called out of the blue and invited me to Battersea Power Station. Not the most romantic of date nights, right? Wrong! It was a damned near perfect date.

Because it was the venue of the Fire Garden by Carabosse.

In the words of Totally Thames:
"Fire alchemy at its very best: the smell of wax, the hiss of steam, and the heat and glow of thousands of points of fire acknowledging and celebrating this iconic site's gritty, smoke belching industrial past."

My Beautiful Stranger is damned near perfect too.  He's charming without being a douche, clever and funny. He's well educated (St Andrews) but not so posh that he thinks he's god's gift. He looks after himself too - works out, dresses well, and those abs...!

The only thing that stopped this from being The Perfect Date was that he had an early flight out for business this morning and there was no sleepover. God, I definitely want to wake up beside those abs one lazy Sunday morning!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Post #20: Beautiful Stranger again

Because it's been a week of meetings, work, and late nights out, and because this weekend is all about devouring Beautiful Bastard (and because Max is still haunting me), here's another teaser from Christina Lauren's Beautiful Stranger:

Monday, 25 August 2014

Post #19: Summer bank holiday weekend

I have to admit, I love London in the summer time. Yes, it could do with a little more sunshine and blue skies, but there's always just so much happening. If you like to work hard and play hard, then this is the place to be. (Well here or Manhattan, but NYC just gets too stinking hot for me!)

My girls and I kicked off the bank holiday weekend with Imogen Heap at the Roundhouse, a performance art show on Saturday, and yesterday we avoided the Notting Hill crowds and headed instead to the South Bank for the Festival of Love. Teasing tangos in the ballroom, and a partner who made The Argentinian's moves look like amateur hour. Yum!

Not so much planned for next weekend - just a quiet dinner party at home and I'm hoping for some great weather and a great book. And lots of great wine.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Post #18: Beautiful Stranger

Would that this blog title applied to my life, but sadly that wasn't meant to be. Seven weeks since I gave The Argentinian the "it's not you" speech and I'm almost regretting it. Okay, only late at night or when I've been reading something thoroughly igniting.

Beautiful Stranger is the Christina Lauren book that kept me entertained on the cross-Atlantic flight last weekend. The perfect read for a trip to New York, though it would have been even more perfect if life had imitated art just a little.

Sexy, funny, darkly intense, thoroughly igniting. I loved it! Only after I read it did I realise this was actually book 2 of a series. I've already downloaded Beautiful Bastard to my Kindle and can't wait for a quiet few nights to read it. Accompanied by a dark red and even darker chocolate, of course.

My favourite quote:

"And then everything in the moment became about the feeling of his mouth on me, his tongue moving over me, his lips pressing words into my skin."

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Post #17: The Prat and the Lollipop

Okay, I’ve recovered now. The problem with my big brother (aside from the fact that he’s a prat) is that I can only take him in small doses. He’s the perfect son and does everything well, follows the rules, does everything society (and my parents) expect of him. He was one of those kids who always coloured inside the lines. You know the type… school prefect, straight As… yes, yes, I know this probably sounds like we don’t get along because I’m jealous of him. I assure you, it’s not.

After all, when we were at school, Olivia was always a straight A student, and she was my best friend and I still love her to bits.

It’s just that The Prat is so sanctimonious. He constantly tells me what I should do, loves to point out every mistake I’ve ever made, and seems to think I’m somehow lacking as a person because I’m not exactly like him.

Thank heavens my parents (exasperated as they get with me) and baby brother Drew still seem to kind of love me as I am or I’d be a complete basket case!

His wife, The Lollipop, isn’t much better. But in her case, I think it’s because she’s always hungry. No one can live on nothing but salad and be happy with life. Yes, she’s skinny enough to be a model, but when last did you meet a truly happy model?

Just in case you haven’t already guessed how she earned her nickname, it’s because of her shape: stick thin with a great big head.

How these two people made such a gorgeous, happy child as my niece Fleur, I’ll never know. Grandmaman says I like Fleur because she’s a lot like me. For her sake, I sincerely hope so!

Fortunately for me, my brother and sister-in-law live far away in France. Perfect son that he is, The Prat is being groomed to take over the family vineyard one day. So at least I only have to make nice with them a few times a year. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Post #16: Summer bank holiday family-style

Since my father's 60th birthday coincided with the bank holiday weekend, I had no choice but to head home and see the family this weekend. Don't misunderstand me: I love my parents, and our family home is the closest thing to paradise on earth, but...
  1. I'm not blind to my parents' faults, and somehow these faults are magnified when they have company. Since birthdays are always reasons for celebration, company was a given this weekend. A 'quiet little family party' usually means about 100 people and this was definitely no quiet, little party. As a result, the greatest entertainment to be had all evening was wondering if my father's latest mistress was there, if his previous mistress was there, and if Mother had yet identified which was which.
  2. My brother Drew (so named for the purposes of this blog thanks to Tangled) wasn't there, nor was my favourite cousin Mimi (both in New York this week) so I had no one to share the more farcical moments of the evening with.
  3. Who was there, however, was my older brother The Prat and his lovely wife, The Lollipop. Neither have any sense of humour. More on them another time because after a weekend spent under the same roof as them I'm afraid I've reached my limit.
Undoubtedly, the best part of the weekend was taking my little niece Fleur fishing in the goldfish pond. We didn't catch anything, but that hour was easily the most fun I had all weekend!

A pond not unlike this one by Eve Livesey on Deviantart

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Post #15: Thoughts on an airplane

This last week I did a mad dash to Dublin for work. Didn't see much, apart from the airport, the view from the taxi, and the interior of the venue we'd booked for the installation, but I did get to share a couple of cocktails with a potential client in the hotel bar last night, which is never a bad thing. Business only - get your mind out of the gutter!

Speaking of gutters, I spent the entire journey there and back reading erotica on my Kindle (gotta love the anonymity of an eReader when you're travelling business and the guy across the aisle keeps looking at your legs!)

For the entire duration of theevening flight back I read a series of office menage stories that were quite frankly only good for one thing, much to the delight of the man across the aisle when he got to watch my hand go beneath the blanket. But it was really, really crappily written. I wrote better essays in high school.

Maybe I was spoiled by reading Emma Chase's books, but I've struggled to find something equally engrossing since then. There's a lot of amateur erotica out there. I'm sure I could do better! Perhaps I should give it a try?

So can anyone out there recommend another great erotic romance author with a similar style?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Post #14: The One

After spending the better part of the last week in a haze of champagne as one of my oldest friends Olivia celebrated her engagement to Stuart at this amazing venue, I'm now pondering this crap about The One.

Olivia's been calling Stu her 'One and Only' since they met years ago at Pembroke. Personally, I think she's wasted some of the best years of her life and should have at least played around a little more in her twenties before settling down, but hell, life would be dull if we all did the same things.

Do I believe in The One? You are kidding, right?

I thought I did years ago when... let's not get into that, okay? It didn't work out and there's all the proof I need that if the universe meant for you to be with only one person then you wouldn't connect on such a deep level only to go off in different directions.

Have I found anyone else I had that deep a connection with since? No, but the ongoing search for another connection like that has been one hell of a ride, and I've had some amazing fun, and met some incredible people along the way. And the sex has yet to get boring.

But what do you think? Is there one special person out there meant for each of us, or do we randomly connect with people at certain times in our lives and some last and some don't?

For Liv and Stu, I really hope this works out for you guys. Thanks for the opportunity to drink copious amounts of imported champagne, and I look forward to what will no doubt be The Wedding of Summer 2015. I love you guys.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Post #13: London Summer Time

13th post on the 13th.

It's been a busy couple of weeks. We had a look in at the new Beavertown Brewery Tap Room in Tottenham Hale, caught Monty Python live at the O2, got wasted in a new club in Shoreditch and last night was opening night of the Ealing Comedy Festival. This afternoon we're off to Big Dance.

And I was so enraptured with 'Tangled' last week I didn't even mention the little trip to Henley for the regatta.

Catch you next week.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Post #12: Tangled Book Review

What does a girl do when she's no longer having rampant, regular sex with a wild Argentinian? She curls up in bed with a bottle of French red and a good book, in this case Emma Chase's Tangled. Scrap good book. This book was what the Americans would call "friggin' awesome".

If you haven't already read Tangled, then you should. It's funny, hot, and best of all, it's written entirely from a snarky man's point of view.

I might have loved it a little more though if the book's hero didn't remind me quite so much of my little brother. They even live in the same city. Change his nationality and his profession, and Drew Evans could be my player petit frère. And there's the fact that my little brother is NOT going to be settling down any time soon. As he'd be the first to tell you, his life is "freaking perfect" just the way it is.

So for the purposes of this blog, I'll be calling my little brother 'Drew' from now on.

My favourite quote from the book? Hard to pick one, but I'll go with:
"Her warm, soft hand slides perfectly into mine, and two thoughts enter my head simultaneously.

The first is: God hates me. The second is: I have been a naughty, naughty boy for most of my life, and this is my payback. And you know what they say about payback, right?

Yep. She's one hairy bitch."

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Post #11: The Argentinian - part deux

Dating Rule #7: Holiday romances belong on holiday.

The Argentinian might be adventurous, and very creative in his use of furniture, but there is a lot to be said for having a brain as well as brawn. I've decided four weeks is as long as an intelligent woman can survive on a big cock alone without being able to make stimulating conversation.

Which is my way of saying that I am once again single, without my Facebook status ever having changed.

No matter. I'm too busy this weekend anyway to give him much thought. Wasn't yesterday's Pride Parade fun? And tonight I'm heading to Southbank to see the Symphony of a Thousand with Amelia.
Roll on a glorious, busy summer!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Post #10: Royal Ascot 2014

Ascot Week - and trust me, we weren't there for the horses.

Day 1 was all work, but Ladies Day was all play.

I went monochrome in a Donna Karan pants suit with Rene Caovilla heels and not a feather or flower in sight. Dignity is my middle name (or it was, until about the fourth glass of champagne).

While my own personal style doesn't extend to festooning my head with wildlife, if you are going to wear a florist shop on your head, it might as well be one of these:

From International Business Times. See more here.

From Vogue Italy

Classy look (love the gloves!) from VogueUK

But the Class Award goes to....

Juliya Shelepova, also from Vogue UK

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Post #9: Far from home

I don't often feel homesick, but this weekend I'm missing Paris. Perhaps it was spending the bank holiday weekend at Antibes. Perhaps it's because I've done nothing but work all this last week and I'm tired. Or perhaps because it was Grandmaman's birthday this last week and I wasn't there.

So to cheer me up I did the next best thing. I opened a bottle of Bordeaux and went online, and I stumbled across a blog that should be a must read for anyone travelling to Paris who isn't interested in the package tour end of the market: Messy Nessy Chic.

I particularly enjoyed this post on 12 places to dine a la Belle Epoque. I am sad to say I have only ever visited two on the list. I will need to rectify that on my next trip home. Which might not be any time soon if work or my eldest brother have anything to do with it. (Long story and best left for a time when  haven't had half a bottle of wine).


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Post #8: The Argentinian

Summer is always a busy time at work for me, but this last week feels like it's been the busiest ever. Free cocktails, lots of free product samples, a reason for a new dress, and a chance to show off the Argentinian at a client's summer party (God, he's so gorgeous. That chest! Those arms!), and last night he took me to Dralion, the Cirque du Soleil show at the O2 - but it's also been a week of long hours at the office. And anyone who knows me knows that long hours at the office are really not my thing.

The one thing that made the entire week worthwhile? Let's just say that lingerie I've been saving for a special occasion finally got to see the light of day.

And now you also know why this post is mercifully short and has no pictures. It's time for the teddy to come off.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Post #7: Book Review - High

Thank God. A quiet weekend at last. (Aside from the Katy Perry concert at the O2 on Friday night. Yes, I'm a fan. Don't mock me.)

Today I finished reading High by Zara Cox and she's just shot up to the top of my favourite authors' list. Who would have thought that an erotica that doesn't have sex for probably the first quarter would be able to hold me so gripped?

The sexual tension between these characters is so hot, hot, hot that quite frankly the book doesn't need sex to be one of the most erotic books I've read. The scene in the airport where Zachary pats Bethany down is incredibly intense, and it just keeps getting better from there.

I bought the book on my Kindle. You can find it here: Amazon UK.

This is the first in the Indigo Lounge series, and there's another book out, Higher. Bring it on!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Post #6: Antibes

What a crazed, fab, champagne-fuelled bank holiday / birthday weekend that was! Turns out the villa was closer to the rather more fashionable Juan-les-Pins than Antibes, suitably private, protected from view by those famous pines.

It was a busy weekend, what with the Cannes festival in full swing on one side of town and the Monaco GP on the other, so we spent a lot of time just hanging out at the villa. The weather wasn't quite as hot as I'd have liked but we did get a small chance to lie around by the pool. The combination of champagne and sunshine makes for the most wonderful memories!

Amelia took one for the team and kept Stu's friend Simon happy, though by the look on Mel's face the morning after I don't think she lost on the deal. Apparently Simon is very skilled in the use of his tongue.

As for me? I got lucky too. But because I'm not the kiss and tell kind...
who am I kidding, of course I'm the kiss and tell kind!

He's Argentinian and very fit, works with Simon - and he gave me the best birthday present a girl could want. Let's just say that sex outdoors has always done it for me and leave it at that.

On Sunday we travelled up to Monaco for the race and the vibe was crazy and fun, though our balcony wasn't well placed to see much of the race. We would have been better off avoiding the traffic and staying home to watch the race on television.

And now it's home and back to the grind. Though I'm seeing the Argentinian again tonight - he's taking me to opening night of the new two-hander play at the Duchess Theatre, Bakersfield Mist, with Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmaid. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bonus Post: Off to the beach

Woot - Spring Bank Holiday weekend is coming, and first thing tomorrow we're off to the Cote d'Azur. Stu's friend has a villa outside Antibes (at least his mommy and step-father do) and since he's hot to get into Amelia's pants, we all get an invite for the long weekend.

So I'm packing my Saint Laurent Paloma flats and hoping for sunshine. (After the last couple of days, the Camden Crawl on Tuesday followed by La Femme at Scala last night, I need a little R&R).

La Femme

Scala's a tad battered and not my usual choice of venue to hang, but fab concert. La Femme's brand of music requires more words to describe than I'm capable of this morning. Let's call it edgy.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Post #5: This last week and hint to the cute guy at the Tate Modern

Hello....? Is there anybody out there? No, okay well I still have to do this. There's a bottle of Clos d'Ambonnay at stake.

Thank heavens spring is here at last. I'd rather be in the south of France but England isn't half bad when there are daffodils or blossoming cherry trees, or even just new leaves on the trees.

This last week we went to see the Havana Rakatan show at the Peacock Theatre, and Sophie dragged me off to see the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Tate Modern. Met a cute guy there though, which made it worthwhile. Would have been more worthwhile if he'd actually called since then.

Hint for the cute guy at the Tate Modern (not that you're going to see it since I write this blog under another name): I don't call you. You call me. Because life is too short to waste it on any guy who's 'Just Not That Into You'.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Post #4: About Me

The girls (aka The Cuplrits) tell me I can't gossip about them until I've told you about me first. So here are twelve completely random facts about me.
  1. My father's French, my mother's English. Gallic charm vs English stoicism - not a pretty mix.
  2. I have a boring older brother who's in training to take over the family business, and a fun younger brother who now lives in new York. Both of them dutifully followed my father to the Sorbonne. I am the only disappointment who didn't go along with The Plan.
  3. I was thrown out of two schools in France before they finally moved me to an English boarding school. Best. Decision. Ever. That's where I met my BFFs Sophie and Olivia.
  4. I'm still in love with my First Love. (He wasn't my First, though!) He just doesn't know it, and I haven't seen him in years.
  5. I work in PR. Even I don't know what that means. But it's fun and I seldom get bored.
  6. I'm a Gemini, and I share a birthday with Lenny Kravitz.
  7. My favourite food is veal ragoût, like my Grandmaman makes. Followed by a classic lemon soufflé.
  8. My favourite drink is... champagne, a good Bordeaux, a Pimms in summertime, cocktails, a decent craft beer... hell, as long as it contains alcohol, I'm happy.
  9. I hate exercise. But I do (occasionally) use the gym equipment we have at home, and do yoga classes because, well, one has to - and because The Culprits make me.
  10. I'm not good with discipline of any sort, which is most likely why I don't like to exercise. I think it's a reaction to the fact that I did ballet for many years.
  11. I like to read. A lot. It's kind of my guilty secret, since everyone thinks I'm such a party animal and they can't imagine me sitting still for so long. But I do.
  12. Oh, and last Wednesday Sophie took me to see the the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. Yes, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Post #3: Bank Holiday Weekend

Ow, my head hurts. We went large last night. And now Amelia's playing Muse full blast downstairs.

Saturday night me and my girls went to see 'Wolf Hall' (the play at The Aldwych based on Hilary Mantel's book, which I have yet to read).

Then yesterday, after a late start to the day, we finally made it to Little Venice for the Canalway Cavalcade. The combination of beer, sausages and sunshine was so good we allowed ourselves to be tempted into something of a pub crawl. Continuing the beer theme, dinner was at House of Peroni, before a private party with some of Olivia's work friends until the early hours.

So today it's fried food and chasers all the way! And maybe a long quiet session with my Kindle.

What did you all get up to this bank holiday weekend?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Post #2: The Culprits

The only reason I'm doing this blogging thing is to win a bet. So who are the cuplrits behind the bet, these so-called friends who think I can't stick with anything?

At uni we were the four musketeers and we're still pretty inseparable.

Olivia is the grown up. She goes to work with a briefcase, and is the only one of us who's settled down. Not quite domestic bliss (unless you're planning on popping the question anytime soon, Stu?) but they have a nice little apartment near Hampstead Heath and a dog. Doesn't get more domesticated than that.

Sophie, Amelia and I share a house in St John's Wood. Amelia's a fashion buyer for one of the more pretentious department stores in the Big Smoke, and Sophie's an artist (the bona fide kind who puts paint on canvasses for a living). Between us we get invites to pretty much every big event in London - fashion shows, art gallery cocktail parties, nightclub openings. Fun times!

So there you are, ladies. You want me to blog? [Cue evil laughter] Just wait until I dish all the dirt...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Post #1: The Dare

Yeah, yeah, I know that posting anything online when you've been drinking is a bad idea. But this doesn't count. This is a dare.

My friends (and you can thank the Easter chocolate that you still are!) tell me I'm useless at seeing things through. In fact, they seem quite adamant that I don't finish the things I start. Apparently I flit from idea to idea and project to project like a butterfly high on pollen (or whatever butterflies get high on).

So...this blog.

I am going to blog once a week, every week, for the next 52 weeks. That's one year for the numerically challenged.

And if I do it, there's a bottle of Krug in my future. And not just any Krug. The winner gets a bottle of Clos d’Ambonnay. Yes, please!

52 posts. That's do-able.

Monday, 7 April 2014

One life

Anyone who knows me knows I don't do newspapers. And unless it's to catch the results of the boat race (yesterday was a sad, sad day) I don't watch much television news either. There's enough misery in the world without dwelling on it.

Besides, I figure the important stuff will get through, and today it did. Today someone younger than me died tragically. Okay, so people die every day but this one touched me. Our lives may have been nothing alike, but she's someone I've met. Maybe not to talk to, but close enough to wave to during London Fashion Week.

About a year ago someone I worked with died suddenly. It was only after she was gone that I realised how little I knew her and how much I'd have liked to know her better.

Today just reminded me what I promised myself then: we only have one life to live, so let's damn well live it the best we can. Let's drink the vintage champagne, let's rock the party, let's hold nothing back.