Fire & Ice Book 1
by Charlene Namdhari Genre: Contemporary Romance
Twenty-four-year-old virgin Samantha Harman longs to escape her boring life and overbearing father in South Africa. She gains temporary freedom when she visits a friend’s ranch in Arizona. Her father's price for letting her go? Return to an arranged marriage. But an unexpected attraction to a sexy cowboy is hard to fight and soon she's in bed with the devil.
Cody Bentley, a hardworking no-nonsense rancher, has been hurt before. To him, women are wanton troublemakers out for gold. Then his sister’s feisty friend comes for a visit and ensnares him in a white-hot passion that threatens to melt the icy wall around his heart.
Will Samantha dare to defy her father’s demands and convince Cody to take a chance on love?
Deborah cruised up to the house and parked outside the entrance. The ranch buzzed with activity. Despite the dust, noise, and utter confusion, Samantha stared enthralled as the ranch hands herded the cattle into the corrals, in perfect harmony. Muscles rippled with weariness while their tails swished in tune with the slight breeze. The horses were beautiful.
After her fifth birthday, her father allowed her to attend the local riding school. While it wasn’t vast open fields like this ranch, the confines of the city equestrian hadn’t stumped her passion to jump on a horse the first chance she got. Crazy as it sounded, the idea of mounting one of these large horses and riding off into the horizon grew steadily.
“There you are, girls.” Freda stepped out onto the porch and distracted Samantha’s wild fantasies. “Reece injured his arm.”
“What?” Deborah shot out of the pickup, her brow puckered in concern.
“Calm down, dear girl.” Freda touched Deborah’s hand lightly. “He’s his dandy self, cut his arm on a rock.”
“Where is he…?” Deborah asked and disappeared into the house.
It amused Samantha that, although her friend had three brothers, being twins, made for a stronger bond between her and Reece.
“Is he okay?” Samantha jumped out and skirted the pickup.
“Come, dear, let’s go inside and see for yourself.” Freda extended an arm to Samantha as they entered the house.
Samantha didn’t want to disturb Reece while he was busy with the doctor.
She headed upstairs for a quick shower after Freda announced supper needed another thirty minutes or so. Donning a pair of black denims, a baby blue shirt, and black boots, she pulled her hair into a loose ponytail. Given the heat, she decided against makeup and descended to dinner, humming softly. Back home, dinner was a formal affair where her father demanded etiquette, visitors or not.
Vibrant chatter emanated from the living room which ceased when she entered.
Reece, Jace, and another male looked up.
Deborah leaped to her feet and looped an arm in hers. “Reece, Jace, you remember Samantha, my college roommate?”
Reece jumped up and shifted his hurt arm with an indifferent grin. “Howdy, darlin’ sure is nice to see you again.”
“Hi yourself, long time.” Samantha kissed his cheek lightly.
Jace rose, nodded shyly, and followed with a bashful smile.
When Deborah guided her to the third male, an impulsive sensation of nerves crept up Samantha’s spine.
“And this charming guy is Chance, our ranch supervisor.”
“Howdy, Samantha. Sure is a pleasure to meet you,” Chance drawled accompanied by an attractive smile. He extended a hand, which Samantha accepted, warming to his touch.
“Hello, Chance. Nice meeting you too.” Her gaze roamed his handsome, lean physique and vibrant hazel eyes with interest. Thank goodness you didn’t call him Cody. Her gaze swept the room as she searched for the missing-in-action
brother. Part of her patiently waited to put a face to the brute. Soon, she forgot about Cody as Reece claimed her undivided attention. Several minutes into the discussion, Samantha stood with her back to the living room entrance. Deborah’s soft greeting caught her ear.
Slowly, Samantha turned and schooled her features into a polite mask, but shock momentarily widened her eyes… Impossible!
The floor suddenly morphed into jelly, she forced every effort to stay upright. Silently she prayed for it to open up and swallow her whole, while trapped by the disconcertingly blue stare of the rider she almost ran over. Samantha shut her eyes tight, willed away the sight, but when she opened them again, he was still there. For one totally indescribable minute, she experienced
the vulnerability of a small animal about to be devoured by a marauding jungle beast.
Deborah nudged her forward. “Cody, I’d like you to meet Sam—”
Confusion momentarily clouded his eyes and then, “You.” She watched the rigid muscles in his jaw work overtime as he stiffened. “What the hell are you doing here, boy…” Cody broke off almost immediately. “Wait a darn minute… you’re no boy, you’re…dammit you’re a woman.” Annoyance clearly masked his severe features.
Samantha recovered her poise, tilted her chin at a proud angle, and refused to break his gaze.
“So, I guess you’ve met?” Deborah’s soft words broke the silence.
“Met? This woman almost ran me over yesterday,” Cody muttered dryly, without taking his eyes off Samantha.
The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. Everyone else ceased to exist. “An honest mistake, Mr. Bentley,” Samantha sputtered and matched his hostile glare. She took an instant dislike to the man. Her fine body hairs rose up in protective self-defense.
“That, Lady, was no mistake…just careless drivin’.”
His rudeness infuriated her right down to her toes. “Well, I don’t expect you to understand. You’re not much of a gentleman. Tell me, Mr. Bentley, do you always treat your guests with such emphatic rudeness?” she retorted in one breathless statement. He pinned her with a gaze so intense, her knees shook.
“Dammit, Cody, Samantha’s a guest.” Reece forestalled any reply by stepping between them.
Swiveling, Cody stomped out of the room, his boots clicked tersely against the tiles.
“Sorry ’bout that, darlin’.” Reece winked.
Samantha offered a light smile at his attempt at lightheartedness. Her body simmered with raw anger. Of all the nerve. She never met anyone as horrible as Cody. A brute of a man if she ever met one. Deborah’s earlier explanation suddenly made sense.
“Hey, girl, I’m sorry.” Deborah stepped forward and interrupted her mental distress.
Samantha uttered a dry laugh. “That went off well, wouldn’t you say?” “The thing is, ’bout a month back, a ranch hand, while he exercised one of the mares, rode her out to the same crossing. A driver ignored the sign and ran the horse and rider over. The ranch hand broke an arm in the collision. The horse, however, broke one leg and injured another. Cody made the tough decision to have her put down. He loved that horse, and I guess the incident still
bothers him a little.” Deborah gave her arm a gentle squeeze.
“Geez, thanks, now I feel much better.”
“Supper is ready,” Freda broke their chatter.
Born and raised in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa and now living in the City of Gold, Johannesburg, Charlene's days are an energetic mixture of a full time job, a wife and Mom to two beautiful teenagers. She holds a Law Degree and is an avid events manager.
Believing writing is the wings to holistic escapism, she makes the time in her busy schedule giving life to her dreams of bringing together passion filled heroes and heroines in a happily ever after.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I tend to write in front of the television and come up with great scenes while watching a full movie.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
As an events manager, I had the pleasure of meeting various people that have gone on to become celebrities or high profile people. Example, Trevor Noah. Planned a function with him where he was to be the MC/Comedian for the night but a few months down the line, he headed off to New York and had to cancel our function. Now, he runs his own show. I’ve had the pleasure of coordinating functions where the current President of our country was in attendance and barbequing with him and I have photos of us.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Morning and evening traffic.
Where were you born/grew up at?
Born and raised on the sunny shores of Durban. A coastal city in South Africa.
Who is your hero and why?
I’d have to say J’Lo. A good looking (after kids as well), incredible actress (think Maid in Manhattan and the Wedding Planner – so romance orientated), dance with such grace and style then top it off with a spectacular singing record, I think she rocks. If only I had that much talent.
What are you passionate about these days?
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Watch a good comedy with a box of popcorn.
How to find time to write as a parent?
Not the easiest of tasks but hey if you love doing something, you’ll make the time. My writing hours are usually 11.00pm to 1.00am then I still have to get up at five for a full time job.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
I love a challenge.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still can’t believe I’ve published a book. So, I have to get used to the idea of being called an author. To answer the question though, English and Art were my two favourite subjects in school. In English it was the literature and comprehension and in Art it was drawing. I guess the creativity and love for writing essays in school combined itself to make try my hand at writing.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Miss Congeniality. I love Sandra Bullock.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Daredevil’s Mistress is my debut novel and a friend who beta read for me, said she could easily see it as a movie. I tend to agree with her. I know, I’m biased.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What inspired you to write this book?
I always enjoyed writing essays in school and one day decided to try my hand at writing for my own pleasure. Who knew it would be published today. Dream big and it can happen.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Book 2 and 3 of the Fire and Ice series and a few other fun stories.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Daredevil’s an integral part of bringing the two main characters together in their first sight of each other, their first kiss and their first love scene. He belongs to Cody who is adamant know can ride the horse but him, yet Samantha is all set to prove him wrong and it seems, Daredevil agrees with her and it seemed fitting to call her his mistress.
Who designed your book covers?
Diana Carlile. Hats off to this fantastic woman. She knows how to tell story with a cover and she’s depicted Daredevil’s Mistress perfectly.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I doubt it. I think the characters work perfectly together. If I made Cody less arrogant and sweet then we wouldn’t see Samantha as a feisty heroine and we’d end up with just another romantic love story. I was aiming for the ‘hate to want you’ with a little bit of sass from both characters.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My biggest lesson. Don’t procrastinate. This story was written a long time ago and I only worked up the courage to seek publishing recently. Had I done this sooner, I would’ve had more stories published now. Then again, they say everything happens for a reason, right.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
You may find Cody a little too arrogant but don’t give up on him too quickly. He can be a gentle lover too.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Their first kiss and the moment leading up to it. It’s intense, hot and I would certainly want my first kiss to be as good.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I think I was in control of the story and the characters played out exactly as I planned.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Every new author would like to believe they’ve written a good story and only a reader can be the judge of that. All I ask is for a moment of your time to show you I can be a writer. Some may enjoy it and some may not. I would really appreciate your feedback.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
The first time I was allowed to borrow books from the adult section of the library, I fell in love with the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner and made sure I read every single one of his cases.
My all-time favourite book was IT by Stephen King. It scared the hell out of me and to think I had to use my imagination to create the scenes. Stephen King is an awesome author and I love all his books.
Coma by Robin Cook another favourite and I’ve enjoyed all his books as well. Considering the books I read when I was younger it’s weird I ended up writing romance. When I was old enough for romance books, Penny Jordan was my absolute favourite; I read all her books followed closely by Nora Roberts.
What book do you think everyone should read?
Mine obviously. I’m joking. There are so many talented authors out there and such a diverse genre of books, it would be hard to suggest just one title given each person’s taste differs from the next.
How long have you been writing?
About fourteen years but only as a hobby and for my own enjoyment.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Depends on whether I’ve plotted the story through from start to end.
Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to see it as a career. While it’s no easy task, it is definitely achievable.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Since my book was announced, I’ve built relationships with a lot of published authors and they tell me it’s a tough market. I’m eternally grateful to The Wild Rose Press for giving me this publishing opportunity and to Judi Mobley, as my editor she also played the role of mentor and guide for which I couldn’t be grateful enough.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I enjoy crime, horror and romance. Recently I ventured into the paranormal genre by reading Resurgence by Sharonlee Holder and was pleasantly surprised. It was an amazing read which made me read book two, Renegade.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Noise. Music actually or while I’m watching a movie. I have no idea why but it seems to get the creative juices flowing.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Several going at a time but then tend to focus on one for a length of time when the ideas flow.
Pen or type writer or computer?
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I still can’t believe I’m an author. It’s an exciting moment when you’re given the release date of your book more so the signing of your contract. Whether it is the right decision or not will come later when readers have had a chance to read my book. But, I’m glad I did it.
What makes a good story?
An interesting plot with intense characters and a good flow.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I plan an outline first to gauge my characters and how they would interact. Then just write, chapters come later when I’m satisfied they fit the flow.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Not believing in themselves. Rather try and fail than fail to try. It’s no easy feat writing a book but when you’re done, the pleasure of seeing your name on a book is unbelievable.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Submit that book for publishing.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Making sure you speak like they’re supposed to.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It all depends on the idea. The quickest I wrote a complete story was one month and it’s sitting at 60k before proper editing.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I wouldn’t call it writer’s block but a moment in an author’s life when their brain works overtime to process all the ideas running wild into some semblance of order until they decide which one is perfect to put pen to paper.
DAREDEVIL’S MISTRESS is book #1 ofyour debutFire & Ice Series. Where did you get your inspiration for this series? How are the books tied together?
I think like most authors, inspiration for our books comes from some aspect of our lives or experiences we may have had as we grew. The inspiration for Daredevil’s Mistress stems from a facet of my life when living and loving was dictated by family norms. I was raised in a household where respect was important and you didn’t go against the wishes of the elders. The books are tied together by the lives of the Bentley brothers and their love connections.
DAREDEVIL’S MISTRESS is set in both South Africa and Arizona. Please tell us more about these places. What made you choose them? South Africa is a beautiful country where even winter is warm, sunny and not totally unbearable. I’ve only known this country as my place of residence and it seemed befitting to feature it in my debut novel. I’ve never been to the United States and Arizona as a choice of setting for my cowboy seemed appropriate after watching loads of western movies when I was younger. Yes, movies are a far cry from reality but I guess allowing a little escapism into our lives changes the perspective to what we want to see. Just my opinion really.
In the story, we meet heroine Samantha Harman. Tell us more about her. What kind of person is she? The perfect description for Samantha would be a feisty virgin with a will to explore and experience life outside the walls of her overbearing father’s directives. Some may see her as naïve and ungrateful but when you’re told how to live your life every single minute of every day, you’re bound to become a rebel. All she wants is a little bit of freedom and to find love not have it forced on her by her father’s wishes to marry the man he wants as his son in law. She believes everyone should be given a chance to learn what love is truly about. Is she too naïve and doesn’t understand her own sexual response to Cody? I’d say yes. Why? When you come from a sheltered background where every move you make is monitored, you tend to become surprised by the way in which your body responds to a sexy man. It’s only natural I would think.
What about Cody Bentley? How is he a swoonworthy hero? Cody is an alpha male. He’s arrogant, downright rude and sexy as hell. I love my men with a bit of arrogance especially when they’re confronted by the tenacity of a feisty woman who throws them completely off balance. Then they’re unsure how to handle said woman who gives as good as she gets. Both in love and war. He may come across as too arrogant but he has his reasons and if you give him a chance he’ll show you just how ardent he can love too.
What is their first meeting like? The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. Everyone else ceased to exist. “An honest mistake, Mr. Bentley,” Samantha sputtered and matched his hostile glare. She took an instant dislike to the man. Her fine body hairs rose up in protective self-defense.
What makes them perfect for each other? The opposites attracts both in their behavior toward each other, cultural backgrounds and discovering the meaning of true love. Cody is cold and arrogant. Samantha is hot and feisty. She already has one bully in her life and isn’t about to give into another without a fight.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? Cody. Let’s just say, I’d want to spend every minute behind closed doors with this man. Maybe even lock the door and throw away the key.
Which character is the hardest to write? Why? Cody. I had to make him arrogant without readers hating him from the get go. While some reader may find him a brute, you need to give him a chance. Let him find love.
What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience. Honestly, this entire writing experience was interesting for me. As a person who’s never been to the States, setting a book there was, I wouldn’t say difficult, but fascinating in building the desire to visit, soon. The American spelling of words is totally different to South Africa and I had to adapt my novel accordingly. So if you come across a word you don’t understand, forgive me, please.
Please give us a sneak peek at book 2 in the series. Based on Reece, Cody’s youngest brother. When it comes to sex, playboy Reece Bentley dictates the rules of how when and why. He’s easy going, cocky and believes being serious isn’t a prerequisite for being responsible. Love and relationships don’t feature in his black book, just sex. That is until a one night stand with a sexy, sassy stranger leaves him hot, mystified and a definite desire for round two. Her disappearance, however, puts and ends to his erotic fantasies, more so the discovery that she’s married.
What’s up next for you? Currently focusing on book two and three.
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