If ever there was a perfect image to reflect a scene from Hard as Mason, it would have to be this photo of David Gandy. As I write the second book of the Sultry Tides series, I can’t help but think of this super stud model’s image as the embodiment of Mason’s character.
Yes, I confess, Mr. Gandy is my celebrity crush…and why the hell not? It’s difficult not to swoon when looking into his eyes. Frankly, I don’t think I’d be able to speak if I ever met the man. I might feel weak in the knees like Laura did when Mason…oh, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happened.
I write contemporary romance because it is downright fun; especially when imagining someone like Mr. Gandy in a sexy scene accented by bodies colliding, passionate kisses, and guttural moans. You must admit, he serves as perfect muse to inspire words to flow; words, quickened pulse, tingling sensations…*sigh* (whoops, hubby just walked into the room. Back to the scene…)
Okay, so I know David has blue eyes, but damn, don’t they look green in this photograph?… Just like Mason’s gorgeous eyes. Add the sweater on the handsome Mr. Gandy, and…well, read the following excerpt from Hard as Mason, and you’ll understand what I mean.
After a lazy lunch, the pair left to explore the village and saunter through shops and galleries. Laura purchased a pair of sapphire earrings beautifully sculpted in platinum by a local artist. Mason found a book he had been looking for in an aviation store packed with a large selection of quirky items.
In a shop that sold exquisite cashmere goods, Laura found a reversible Italian cashmere wrap with chocolate brown on one side, and a paisley design on the other. While Mason was browsing in another part of the shop, she purchased the wrap for herself, and a sweater with which she would surprise Mason. It was a handsome navy blue, ribbed cardigan with a wide shawl collar.
Mason was chatting with a silver-haired woman who was stylishly dressed and perfectly groomed. He had been looking through some winter scarves featuring various tartans. “Have anything that would go with the name Paladino? It means, knight.”
“I’m afraid we have a limited selection. Do you know what your family crest colors are?” she asked.
“I remember seeing it as a child when we visited some relatives in Italy. I was more impressed by the knight’s helmet than the colors. I think it had a lot of blue,” he recalled.
“How about…this one?” The woman tugged one of the scarves loose from the pile and handed it to him. It may not have been his family’s colors, but she was a good salesperson. Complimenting his coal-black hair and green eyes, she selected a scarf with blue and green lines set against muted dark blue.
Mason ran his hand over the soft material. “Perfect,” he said and handed it back to her before removing his wallet from a pocket and selecting a credit card.
“Wonderful. I’ll wrap it up for you.” She turned around and processed the sale. Laura returned to his side just as the woman was handing over the bag with his purchase. “Here you go. Thank you, Mr. Paladino.”
“Ah, here you are,” he greeted Laura. “And what did you find?”
“I got you a little something.” She opened the bag and drew forth the sweater.
“Oh, this is beautiful. Thank you, love,” he kissed her before removing his jacket and donning the sweater.
“Well, aren’t you a lucky man,” the saleswoman spoke to Mason before turning to Laura. “That’s a lovely sweater, isn’t it? Nice selection.”
“Ah, but wait.” Mason dug into his bag and pulled out the neatly folded scarf. He wrapped it around his neck.
“You look like a movie star,” Laura raised a hand to her heart and tilted her head. She wasn’t exaggerating. He really did look gloriously handsome.
“You certainly do,” the saleswoman added. “Thank you, again,” she said as they gathered their belongings and left the shop.
Down another side street in one of the many galleries they strolled through, they paused in front of a contemporary painting of an ocean scene from the perspective of a house along the shore. The colors were vibrant and beautiful.
“It looks like the view from our room,” Laura tilted her head as she studied the colors. She turned to Mason. “Why is it that people whisper in galleries like they are libraries?” The couple chuckled. A man approached them asking if he could assist them. “No, thank you. We’re just browsing.”
“Do you like this piece?” the man asked. He didn’t wait for an answer. “It was painted by a local artist who lives in Big Sur.” He continued describing the woman, her work, and how she is inspired by the local scenery.
“It’s lovely,” Laura spoke in a dreamy tone. Mason looked at Laura’s face. She appeared to be ignoring the man and day dreaming her way into the scene.
The man stopped speaking, but Laura had not noticed. “Thank you,” Mason told the man.
“Sure. Let me know if I can help you with anything.” The man walked away.
Mason stepped behind Laura and wrapped his arms around her. She leaned against him like it was the most natural place to rest her body. He kissed her head. She turned to him and gently kissed his lips. He noticed her cheeks were hot. Laura had been thinking of the morning’s activities in their room overlooking the bay.
“Come on. Let’s get out of here,” he whispered.
“Okay,” she looked up at him with a content grin.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and will share it with your friends. Please buy the book by clicking here, and don’t forget to leave a review! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you are first to find out when more Sultry Tides books are released. If you, too, are a Gandy fan, you should check out my Pinterest board, “A hunk of…Yes, Please!”