I think every girl dreams of Prince Charming. The idea that one day the perfect guy for you will sweep you off your feet and you will both live happily ever after is certainly not new.
Neither is a Cinderella story. I doubt many other stories have been re-spun and retold quite so many times, yet still I was drawn to the idea for my latest book. I love the idea of the downtrodden and ill-used heroine being transformed into a princess after meeting her Prince Charming- but I wanted to do it a bit differently. Cinderella with a twist. I called it Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal.
You see, its Prince Charming I have always taken issue with. He was always so one-dimensional. Vanilla. Meh. Or as a good friend of mine would describe him, a wet lettuce. We never really get to know him. The original fairy tale of Cinderella basically revolved around Cinders and her magical fairy godmother- leaving the poor prince a convenient prop with no more personality than the pumpkin. Let’s face it, apart from being handsome, what else can you say about him?
I decided my Prince Charming was going to be as far away from charming as was possible. I created a surly, rude and tortured soul. A man who was as insular as he was private. Handsome, yes, but not in a pretty-boy, vapid kind of way. My Prince Charming works hard and speaks his mind.
His name is Finn Matlock and I adore him.
It stood to reason that my Cinderella had to be a bit different as well. The trouble with Cinders, in my humble opinion, is she is far too perfect. The most beautiful girl in the world with a saccharine personality to match.
And she’s a victim.
Surely if the woman had any sense she would escape her miserable life of indentured servitude and work for actual wages elsewhere without all of the grief? I certainly would.
Evie Bradshaw is my Cinderella. She is an heiress who has been left on the shelf, her confidence worn down by her sponging, malicious step-mother and her beautiful, catty step-sisters. Evie is more of a doormat than a servant and, thanks to a particular set of circumstances, was trapped in this life for years. However, since the death of her father Evie’s circumstances have dramatically changed and she hatches a plan to escape. In the absence of any real suitors, she pays a dissolute marquis to pretend to be her fiancé in order to run away to the North and begin her life afresh. Her own house. Her own rules. Completely independent and free for the first time in her life.
Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as Evie has planned them and she finds herself, and her octogenarian great aunt Winnie, abandoned in the North instead. Wholly reliant on the hospitality of her fake fiancé’s surly brother.
Hence the doormat and the surly curmudgeon are thrust together. There are no glass slippers in my story. No balls and definitely no pumpkins either but there are lots of laughs, a few tears, a field full of wildflowers, an unexpected fairy godmother and a horse called Horatio.
And sexual tension. Lots and lots of delicious sexual tension…
Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal is published by Harlequin Mills & Boon and is out now
She'd done it! Plain, invisible Evelyn had escaped…
Fed up with being a doormat to her evil stepmother, heiress Evelyn Bradshaw pays a dissolute rake to pose as her betrothed so she can secure her freedom. But then her fake fiancé leaves her with his estranged brother Finn Matlock and disappears!
Having withdrawn from the world, Finn knows the last thing he needs is the temptation of a woman, especially one like Evie. She has an irritating habit of causing chaos wherever she goes and being in places she shouldn't…including, as he soon learns, his heart!