You’re in love with your best friend. What would that be like? Fabulous if your love is returned, not so good if it isn’t! Don’t you just love ‘friends to lovers’ romances?
In my, soon to be released third book in the Invitation To series, INVITATION TO PASSION, that’s the situation my heroine, Madeline Knight, finds herself in. She’s in love with her best friend, Richard John Craven, the twin brother of Anthony James Craven, Lord Wickham; from book one, Invitation to Ruin.
Richard and Maddy have a very unconventional relationship considering it’s the early 1800’s. Richard has been Maddy’s friend and protector since she was a child of thirteen, when he saved ‘the traitors daughter’ from the neighboring bullies. He is ten years older than her and sees her more as the little sister he never had.
Madeline’s only sibling, Rufus Knight, Lord Strathmore, is Richard’s best friend. Rufus was never home while she was growing up as he was off trying to clear their father of treason (read book two, Invitation to Scandal). Richard was her substitute brother until she turned seventeen and became a woman. That’s when she viewed Richard in an altogether different light!
I tried to imagine what it must be like to suddenly have deeper and inappropriate feelings for a best friend. If you act on those feelings and they aren’t reciprocated, it could ruin everything. But if you don’t, you might miss out on something wonderful.
I took that decision away from Maddy. Richard and Madeline are forced to marry (read the book to find out why). It was scary, but also fun, wondering how they both would act on their wedding night. Madeline was nervous but excited, Richard was..? What would he have felt?
I asked a couple of my male best-friends how they would feel if faced with having to bed their female friends. What do you think they said? A very typical response from all of them.
“Is she good looking?”
I said, “Of course – she’s beautiful.”
“No problems at all then.”
“What about if it ruined the friendship?” I asked.
They simply shrugged! “We’d work past it.”
Men! I wonder if it says more about my male friends!
Anyway, here’s a snippet of INVITATION TO PASSION, due out April 2013…
…Richard moved and retook his seat opposite Madeline. “That’s my girl. Are you feeling up to discussing our situation?”
“I’m quite composed, thank you.”
He nodded. “Good.” Sitting forward in his chair he leaned his elbows on his knees and cupped his chin in his hands. Earnestly he spoke. “I will try to make the next few days as painless as possible for you. The wedding will take place here at Hascombe, in two days time.”
“Rufus thinks that is best.”
“My brother is probably happy to see me wed and off his hands. Now he can have Rheda all to himself.”
Richard sighed. “That’s a bit mean, Maddy. Rufus loves you and is only thinking of your reputation.”
“You must think me very ungrateful.”
“Not at all. You forget, sweeting, I know you very well. I’ve watched you grow in to a beautiful young woman.” He heard her breath hitch.
He chuckled. “I remember telling you many years ago that one day I’d have to protect you from the male of the species. I just didn’t think it would be me.”
A gorgeous flush raced up her décolleté, but a frown marred her features.
“Go on. You know you can always ask me anything. Nothing will change our friendship. I won’t let it,” he added sternly.
“That’s part of the problem. Friendship. I am rather curious about how our relationship will be after we marry.”
“I suspect it will be much the same as it is now…”
Her pinkish flush turned into a full blush. “Umm, I’m not sure you fully understand my concern. We will be husband and wife…Will you expect us to behave as such?”
Richard let a wolfish smile envelop his lips. “Are you referring to the fact that you will have to share my bed? I’m sure I’ll cope, sweeting. I have had a bit of experience in this area.”
She raised an eyebrow. “A bit?”
He had to laugh at her affronted reply. That’s what he loved about his relationship with Maddy. They had always been able to talk about anything. His laugh died. He hoped their marriage would not change that. “I know you. You’re not one to hide your thoughts from me. What is it you’re really concerned about?”
Her eyes became pleading. “I want children. I want a lot of children.”
Richard shrugged. “I still do not grasp the problem…”
“You won’t expect the marriage to be in name only then.”
“Bloody hell. Where on earth did you get that idea? I suspect we will live as most husbands and wives do.”
She sat up straighter and looked him in the eye. “I don’t want to be bedded out of obligation or duty”-
-“You think I’d bed you because you’re an obligation? A beautiful woman? Come now, Maddy. You know me better than that.” She remained silent. Where in God’s name would she have got this absurd notion from? “You’re beautiful. Bedding you will be no obligation. It will be my pleasure. Our mutual pleasure.”
“Mother and Rheda have already told me I’ll have nothing to worry about on my wedding night. That I should leave everything to you and that no doubt I’ll enjoy your attentions.” She wrung her hands. “But you mentioned that our marriage will be like most other marriages. What if I don’t please you?”
“Please me? As in the bedroom?”
She nodded seriously.
“I taught you how to shoot and ride astride. You’re better than most men I know. You’re a fast learner. How can you not please me when you’ll have the best teacher?” he hoped his teasing tone would allay her fears.
“I know your heart belongs to another. What if… what if you grow tired of bedding me?” She raised a hand at his sound of outrage. “Promise me one thing.”
“Maddy you’re being silly”-
-“I know your reputation, Richard. You have enjoyed a lot of women. I don’t see how I’ll hold a man of your—appetites—interested when I don’t own your heart. Promise me that when you no longer enjoy my bed that you’ll tell me. I couldn’t bear to hear you’ve taken a mistress from anyone else. The one thing I’ve treasured most in our friendship Richard, is the fact you’ve never lied to me or hidden the truth from me—even if the subject was unpleasant. Rufus would most likely hit the roof if he knew some of the things I’ve asked and you’ve answered with no hesitation. Being stuck in the country, growing up alone, I can’t tell you what your honesty meant to me. It gave me the world even if I couldn’t see it, or be a part of it.”
“I’ll show you the world if you’ll let me.”
Isn’t the cover beautiful? Thanks, Carrie of Seductive Designs.
INVITATION TO PASSION is out in April 2013…