I am revisiting Scandinavian Scandal, which is the first ever manuscript I completed. Originally entered into the Mills and Boon new Voices competition I completed it soon after, but didn't do anything more with it. I then entered it into Harlequin's SYTYCW challenge and I received some encouraging feed back. Spurred on I fiddled with it a bit and submitted it only two receive several rejections, one of them in an eye watering twenty four hours turnaround - Ouch!
So I did what you would expect me to do. I sulked, I pouted, I may even have shed a few tears and I am sure I ranted a bit too. This was my baby and whilst deep down I knew my writing had improved tenfold since then, I LOVED that story damn it and I believed in my sexy Swede and my sassy heroine.
My invaluable critique group advised me to put it to one side, to let it rest and to return to it with fresh eyes at at later date, so I did, albeit grumbling to myself. Having to rewrite the whole thing just seemed too daunting and I had no idea where to start to be honest.
So on the shelf it went and I got on with other things, but I had of course not counted on one very demanding Swedish hero, whose insistent whispers in my ear got louder and louder. I won't bore you with the details but the constant niggling of "You can make this better" "You did not do me justice" and more recently "I want to get in Sylvia's knickers" - ooeer - wore me down and I opened up a brand new word document with a certain amount of trepidation.
I had vague ideas of turning this into an Erotic Romance and that was as far as it went. I should have known Sven would not let me down. Inspiration struck with a vengeance and my fingers have been flying across the key board ever since. I am so excited to be back and I know I am finally doing this story justice.
The resident whip cracker of my critique group (you know who you are madam!) convinced me that a certain head butting scene had to stay in the story, but where to put it. In the original version which you can read here (it's a bit grim to be honest, but hey we live and learn) Sven meets Sylvia when her son literally runs him off his feet. In the feed back from Harlequin this was one of the things they didn't like. Not the scene in itself, just the whole cute meet after coincidental cute meet set up and of course they were right.
It seemed easier to just scrap the whole scene, even it was inspired by my very own three and a half year old whirlwind and men's instinctive reaction to cover their assets when he comes bounding towards them. He is just the right height to do some serious damage, something his eighteen year old brother just doesn't seem to get, but I am digressing ;-) Suffice to say the scene I am describing happens in our house quite often!
So, I didn't scrap it, I made it better and it is now at the start of chapter three. Judge for yourself if it works. Personally I was almost crying with laughter when I wrote it last night, but then I do have a strange sense of humour...
“At the bottom of the road turn right and you have reached your destination. Turn right, turn right. You have reached your destination.”
The disembodied voice of the satellite navigation system died a death, when Sven turned the engine off. Sylvia’s small house was in the corner of a quiet cul- de -sac. Trees lined the little green in the middle of the street, white picket fences surrounded tidy lawns, London suburbia at its very best. Sven’s lips curved into a smile at the amount of curtain twitching he had already observed in the few minutes he had been sitting here. Every window but Sylvia’s he noticed with wry amusement. His admiration for her went up another notch. With all the crap in the papers over the last week living here could not have been easy for her. Thankfully no reporters were lying in wait today. His restraining order had taken care of that, together with the protection of Timmy’s image. He had been livid when he had spotted the first few pictures of a terrified looking Sylvia trying to shield her son from view. Yet throughout it all she had held a dignified silence, ignoring the reporters clamouring for her story as best she could, whilst going about her daily business with a quiet strength he could only admire.
Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel his eyes narrowed in disgust at himself and his original assumptions. She was so far removed from his first impression of her as you could get. But damn it, if that hadn’t fuelled his interest in her even more. Clad in jeans and tank tops or pretty little summer dresses with barely any make up, her hair pulled back into a simple pony tail or just hanging free, she still looked goddamn sexy to him. Even more so than in the club in all her finery. He was beginning to wonder whether a man could give himself an injury from a permanent hard on.
Her front door was open, an abandoned football on the lawn, testimony to her son’s obsession with the game. A boy after his own heart, he could work with that, if he had to. One way or the other he was going to get Sylvia where he wanted her, in his bed, screaming his name. Shit those thoughts were not helping and he adjusted his jeans, stepping out of his range rover.
She hadn’t returned any of his or Vera’s phone calls and he wasn’t at all sure of the reception he was going to get, but here went nothing. He never shrunk away from a challenge and his mystery lady was certainly that and more. Running one hand through his hair, he clicked the lock for his car and strolled up her garden path, only for a little human missile to run head first into his groin before he had made it halfway to the front door.
“Shit that fucking hurt,” was one fleeting thought he had before he hit the ground face first, his groin on fire and him gasping for air.
Timmy burst into the kitchen with an urgency and agitation unusual even for him and Sylvia’s heart clenched for the second it took to reassure herself that he was indeed ok. So what on earth was all that screaming about then?
“Mummy there is a strange man on the floor in our garden and he’s breathing like our goldfish. Come and see.”
What in the world was Timmy going on about now. But if that was another blasted reporter, then God help him, breathing like a goldfish would be the last of his worries. Grabbing her heaviest frying pan she followed her son out of the front door only for her to make goldfish impressions at the sight of Sven Larsson spread eagled on her gravel path, holding his groin.
“See mummy I told you, he was breathing funny. All I did was run into him. Honest.”
Sylvia’s lips twitched in amusement and she had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop the bubble of laughter threatening to escape. Sven in the meantime was struggling to sit up, still clutching his groin, his voice a micky mouse impression of his usual deep tones.
“Your son … hard head.” He just about managed to groan out in between gasps of breath and
Sylvia couldn’t help it she did burst into laughter.
“Mummy, not angry?”
She tore her gaze away from the injured sulk in Sven’s features and drew Timmy in for hug.
“No, it’s ok but you may want to say sorry to Sven and in future STOP running!”
Timmy kicked at the gravel under his sandals, looking from her to Sven, his little nose screwed up in worry.
“Sorry Sven…Sorry mummy.”
“Ok, Timmy, now go and take your football and play in the garden whilst I talk to Sven, will you.”
Sven had managed to sit up a bit straighter by the time she turned her attention back to him and this time he was definitely glaring at her, his voice more his usual gravelly self.
“This is not funny, woman.”
“That depends where you’re standing, doesn’t it? What are you doing here anyway?”
The male groan as he shifted himself a bit more had her clamping her hand on her mouth to stop herself from laughing. Timmy did have a hard head, so perhaps she ought to be a tad more sympathetic. On second thought, nah, this was divine justice. How the mighty have fallen and all that.
“Once you have stopped laughing, woman, do you think you could give me a hand, please, being that is was your son who floored me or are you intending to finish the job with that frying pan.”
And just because I can - meet Sven :-)
Sylvia is so in trouble is all I can say...
And with that I best get back to writing about him, before he gets annoyed with me. Sheesh, give us a minute already. <grin>