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Posts tagged ‘Santorini Sunset’

Romantic Gestures

SantoriniSunset_w6096_300Valentine’s Day. The day every single woman on the planet despises. The day every man dreads. The day every woman in a relationship prays her significant other gets right. A day when the girls with the perfect boyfriends/husbands gloat.

Yeah, not my favorite holiday.  Why? Because I think there is too much pressure. Romance isn’t once-a-year thing. It’s an always and forever thing.

I’m reposting a blog I wrote back in May about romantic gestures. I think it sums up my thoughts on romance and love.

Since I write romances, people often ask me to define what makes something romantic. That’s a really good question. Let’s review a couple of scenarios, then discuss.

Your lover knows you enjoy reading. Valentine’s Day rolls around and he decides to show he understands you, cares about you and wants to make you happy. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. When you come home, you walk into a cozy den. A fire crackles in the fireplace. A fluffy blanket drapes over the arm of your favorite chair. On the table, a pot of Darjeeling swirls steam into the soft glow of the reading light, the fragrance of dozens of roses mingles in the steam. A pile of crisp, never creased books by your favorite authors and the recommended reads from Amazon sit at the foot of the chair waiting to take you on adventures.
  2. Your lover e-mails you a $50 off coupon for a new Nook.
  3. Your man takes you to Barnes and Noble, buys you a triple mocha frappe and waits patiently while you shop to your heart’s content.

You’ve had a really stressful week full of meetings, demanding phone calls, schedule changes and budget overages. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. At 5 o’clock Friday afternoon, your lover meets you in the lobby of your office building with an armful of roses. He whisks you off to the honeymoon suite at the nicest hotel on your area, champagne, chocolate, roses and bedding spun by angels are the last thing you notice before he pulls you close and you get lost in his kisses.
  2. When you get home on Friday night, he tells you to go ahead and order takeout. He had burgers and beers at the bar.
  3.  When you arrive home, your man has run a bath for you and sent the kids to his mother’s for the night.

You have the flu and can’t go to work. Shoot, you can barely get out of bed and wish the bathroom wasn’t fifteen miles from your bedroom. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. Your boyfriend calls his grandmother to get her homemade chicken soup recipe. After shopping the farmers’ markets for organic carrots and fennel, he spends all afternoon simmering the healing broth.  He delivers the meal to you on an antique silver tray complete with roses and a lace doily.
  2. He sleeps on the couch to avoid germs while you convalesce.
  3. He goes to the store, buys chicken soup and several different cold/flu remedies, hoping one will relieve your symptoms. He rents your favorite movies and watches chick flicks with you while you recover.

Okay, so what do you think? I’m sure Option #1 led to swooning. Option #2 resulted in groans and possible recognition. Option #3 caused some “aahs.”

There are three elements to romantic gestures: 1) Caring and understanding 2) Thinking of another more than yourself and 3) The slightest bit of effort.

Sure, Option #1 sounds absolutely divine. Who wouldn’t want someone putting that much thought into a gesture, but honestly, wouldn’t everyone be just as happy with option #3?

But do you want to know the secret to romance? Do you really want to know?  Here’s the secret. It’s really very simple.  When a man cares about and understands you, thinks of you more than himself and goes to the slightest bit of effort to please you, say “thank you.” Guess what? If you say “thank you,” he’ll probably do it again.

Santorini Sunset by Claire Croxton—now available in print at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. E-book available May 18, 2012.

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=4870

http://www.amazon.com/Santorini-Sunset-Claire-Croxton/dp/1612171508/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1336425266&sr=8-3

Blurb:  Caroline Clayton’s sister, Gabriella, is getting married . . . to Caroline’s former fiancé, Albert. Instead of drowning her sorrows in a vat of ice cream, Caroline recruits her sultry co-worker, Raul Sobrevilla, to be her wedding date. Showing up with Mr. Hotter Better Sexier has the desired effect. Both Gabriella and Albert are jealous and Caroline’s mother is speechless for the first time in history. Even Caroline’s dad is happy with that result.

Raul Sobrevilla hired on at Synergy so he could work with the best, Caroline. When she asks him to attend the wedding in Santorini, Greece, he sees it as an opportunity to prove to her that he’s her perfect partner both at the office and in the bedroom.

Excerpt: This is the day after the Gabriella’s wedding. Caroline has spent all her time in Santorini working for the caterer and organizing the reception and seating charts. Raul does this romantic gesture for her. Do you think Caroline appreciated it?

Raul took my hand and I followed him. Mother and Daddy smiled as we walked past them. They were moving very slowly. People milled around the yard, taking down tents and cleaning up the evidence of a party well appreciated. Raul helped me in the Jeep, even though I was no longer hindered by the confining dress. At the harbor, he pulled a picnic basket out the back the Jeep and we walked to Daddy’s sailboat.

Oh cool, a picnic on the boat. How nice. I was floored when he maneuvered out of the slip. Daddy never let anyone touch his boat. We sailed around the western point of the island and when we turned back eastward, I smiled.

“You said Red Beach was one of your favorite places. I asked your dad about it and he said that driving to it, like we did, was good, but sailing to it was much better. He agreed that you didn’t have any fun this trip, so we arranged this little outing for you.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you. Thank you so much.” I wasn’t sure what to say. We were going to miss our ferry back to Athens, but I didn’t care. A few more hours of pretend sounded good to me. We moored in the cove and took a dinghy to shore where we feasted on wedding food, wine and, honestly the best wedding cake ever made, if I did say so myself. The red volcanic cliffs soared behind us. The mixture of red and black sand was warmed by the sun and counteracted the cool breeze. The contrast of the deep blue sea against the dark sand and red cliffs could only be experienced in person. Even the most skilled photographers were unable to capture the magnificence of the beach.

My mind raced with questions for Raul, but I didn’t even know where to start. Hung over and dreading the long trip back to the States, plus the fear of what the answers would be kept me silent. I breathed the salt air, watched the seagulls ride the breeze and threw my head back so I could catch all the rays of the warm sun that I could. For the first time in a week, I relaxed.

My first impulse was to cry. There were so many pent up emotions in me that needed releasing and only a sobfest would purge me, but I didn’t want to subject Raul to any more of my emotional outbursts. Instead, I sat silently and felt the splendor of the magical place repair my soul. All the negative events were washed away and I was left with a future of happiness and levity. Raul didn’t say a thing. He let me revitalize. Something else to admire about him, he knew when to be quiet. When it was time to go, Raul took my hand and helped me from the coarse, rocky beach.

We sailed back to the harbor in companionable silence. At the house, we threw things in our suitcases and met

Daddy, who drove us to the airport. He and Raul had rearranged our itineraries to allow for the sailing trip.

Book trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpqlJumrDA4

Contest: free copy of Santorini Sunset

Website: www.clairecroxton.com

Shakespeare, Dickens and the Song of Solomon

Shakespeare, Dickens and the Song of Solomon.

Shakespeare, Dickens and the Song of Solomon

Yep. Santorini Sunset has been compared to all of the above.  Check out the latest review on Amazon or read it here:

Now available on Amazon!

Santorini Sunset by Claire Croxton is the first romance novel I’ve ever read. Shakespeare, Dickens, and biblical literature are more my taste and background in reading. Yet, I found myself turning page after page, eager to see what the next turn of events would be. Caroline, the main character, was made more interesting by having her thoughts juxtaposed to her actions. Readers can find this technique used by the Bard himself in such characters as Hamlet and Iago. Ms. Croxton also found use for Dickens’ technique of switching points of view, as in A Tale of Two Cities. Besides Caroline, there’s Raul, her love interest. Moving from Caroline’s view of a situation to Raul’s perspective gives readers insights into the psyches of both characters. Finally, there is sex. What I suspect all readers of this genre anticipate. Ms. Croxton understands its importance in this novel, but doesn’t abuse it, or the reader, by making it tawdry. When love-making occurs, the author portrays it with a sensuality that is enticing and more reminiscent of passages from Song of Solomon than porn magazines.

Santorini Sunset is a fun read. Claire Croxton has done a wonderful job of portraying characters in a meaningful fashion. That doesn’t mean that this novel is one melodramatic moment after another. It’s FUN! Caroline’s views, actions, and relationships are often hilarious, which adds to the page turning effect this book had on me. For such a curmudgeon of classical literature, I found I enjoyed this novel, and I think many others will as well…even if you don’t care for romance novels!

Santorini Sunset Gets 5-Star Reviews!

  “This is the first book [Santorini Sunset}I have read by Croxton and it will not be my last! Her style of writing is so easy to read as the story flows well, the writing is so descriptive, and the characters are so real and lovable. ”

“This book [Santorini Sunset} is filled with humor and romance. It has been a long time since I have read a book of this genre that truly please me. I wasn’t familiar with the name Claire Croxton: now that I am, I will be watching for more books by her.”

“This [Santorini Sunset] is a funny, sexy book. It is full of twists and turns! . . . Whatever could go wrong does. It’s a comedy of errors and you will not want to put the book down.”

For the full reviews on Readers Favorites, go to: http://readersfavorite.com/review/6231

Please leave a comment.

Visit me at Laurie’s Thoughts

You can’t possibly be tired of reading about me. It’s been a couple of months since my last interview and this is an interview about a different book. Woohoo!!

Laurie at Laurie’s Thoughts has great interview questions and you get to read an unreleased excerpt from Santorini Sunset–kind of like the director’s cut of a move.  I’m telling you folks, excitement abounds.

Oh, and don’t miss an opportunity to win a free digital copy of Santorini Sunset.

Hope to see you there.

Santorini Sunset Now Available on Kindle

Now available on Amazon!

Santorini Sunset is now available on Kindle!  Buy it now. It’s a light, fluffy romance filled with humor, sarcasm and lots of steamy sex. It’s the perfect beach read.

BLURB: Caroline Clayton’s sister, Gabriella, is getting married . . . to Caroline’s former fiancé, Albert. Instead of drowning her sorrows in a vat of ice cream, Caroline recruits her sultry co-worker, Raul Sobrevilla, to be her wedding date. Showing up with Mr. Hotter Better Sexier has the desired effect. Both Gabriella and Albert are jealous and Caroline’s mother is speechless for the first time in history. Even Caroline’s dad is happy with that result. Raul Sobrevilla hired on at Synergy so he could work with the best, Caroline. When she asks him to attend the wedding in Santorini, Greece, he sees it as an opportunity to prove to her that he’s her perfect partner both at the office and in the bedroom.

 

 

EXCERPT:

A simple, knee-length, black dress with a plunging neckline was my choice for the cocktail reception. Black pumps and a strand of pearls completed the look. I felt comfortable in my dark, gothic dress. Maybe I had latent vampire tendencies—Raul’s neck was very tempting.

I sat at the bar thumbing through the plenary session schedule, drinking a cosmopolitan when Hiroyuki Watanabe strolled up to me. As strong and warrior-like as a Samurai of old, and as hip and stylish as any anime, Hiroyuki and I haphazardly dated when I lived in Japan. Until Albert and I were engaged, we had a same-time-next-year arrangement centered on the annual conference.

He pulled me out of my chair into a giant hug. “Konbanwa,” he muttered into my hair. He was warm and smelled like spicy oolong cha. For a second, I let myself melt into his embrace and inhale.

I pushed him away. “Konbanwa, yourself,” I said, smiling. “It’s good to see you.”

As I sat in my chair I felt his hot gaze on me. I looked up to see him studying my left ring finger.

“You’re not so liberated that you kept your maiden name and refuse to wear a wedding ring, are you?” He sat next to me and ordered whiskey.

“I’d wear a wedding ring, if I had one, but the name stays the same. Caroline Clayton. Can’t beat that.”

“What do you mean, if I had one?”

“I didn’t get married.” I took a swig of my cosmopolitan.

Hiroyuki’s eyes widened and his face lit with a huge smile. He wagged his eyebrows. “Does that mean we can get back to our little arrangement?”

“Hiroyuki. I just told you I didn’t get married and all you can think about is sex?”

“Well, yeah.” He looked at me confused. “Oh. Sorry. Are you okay? Brokenhearted? I can comfort you through that if you need.”

I laughed. Hence our previous haphazard dating routine. Smart, funny, great in bed, but compassion, understanding and empathy were nonexistent in his body chemistry.

He interpreted my laugh as an invitation and moved in for a kiss. I held up my hand. “Whoa there,big boy, I didn’t agree to anything.”

“Come on, Caroline. Broken engagements are great for makeup sex.”

“How do you figure that? We weren’t engaged.”

“Yeah, but you’ll be making up for all the great sex you missed while betrothed.”

“Oh my God. I stepped right into that one, didn’t I?”

“Yep.” He leaned forward, attempting another kiss, to which I was going to surrender. After all, I did refuse the first offering and I didn’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings. Seconds before his lips touched

mine, he was yanked away.

I opened my eyes to see Raul holding Hiroyuki by the collar.

“Caroline, are you okay?” he asked.

Hiroyuki slammed his elbow into Raul’s rock hard stomach. Raul didn’t even flinch.

“Of course, I’m okay, Raul! This is my friend. We worked together when I lived in Japan. Let him go.”

“Oh sorry,” he said insincerely. He loosened his grip on Hiroyuki who turned and looked at Raul his eyes glaring with anger.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Hiroyuki demanded.

“Caroline’s date. Nice to meet you.” He offered his hand to Hiroyuki.

Hiroyuki stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I’d already lied to my family, friends and co-workers, might as well add lying to former lovers to the list. Besides, if we couldn’t pull off our fake dating scam at a conference, how would we manage at a

wedding?

“Raul Sobrevilla, I’d like to introduce you to Hiroyuki Watanabe. Hiroyuki, this is Raul.”

In deference to each other’s cultures, they shook hands and bowed to one another.

“Sorry about the misunderstanding, man,” Raul apologized. “You know how it is with Caroline. Every time we go somewhere, she’s accosted by leering men. She’s hard to keep out of trouble.”

Over the course of the three seconds it took to get the situation resolved, Raul and Hiroyuki went from feuding foes to bosom buddies. Male bonding never made sense to me.

“Oh, I know. Did she tell you about the incident

in Thailand?”

Raul’s eyes lit with curiosity.

“No! We’re not going to try this,” I declared.

Hiroyuki held up his drink and said to Raul, “I’ll get with you later.”

 

 

Romantic Gestures

Now available on Amazon!

I’m the featured blogger on Romancing the Book today. My post is all about romantic gestures.

http://romancing-the-book.com/2012/05/guest-contest-claire-croxton.html

This is an example of a romantic gesture from Santorini Sunset–now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The e-book should be available this week as well.

Excerpt: This is the day after the Gabriella’s wedding. Caroline has spent all her time in Santorini working for the caterer and organizing the reception and seating charts. Raul does this romantic gesture for her. Do you think Caroline appreciated it?

Raul took my hand and I followed him. Mother and Daddy smiled as we walked past them. They were moving very slowly. People milled around the yard, taking down tents and cleaning up the evidence of a party well appreciated. Raul helped me in the Jeep, even though I was no longer hindered by the confining dress. At the harbor, he pulled a picnic basket out the back the Jeep and we walked to Daddy’s sailboat.

Oh cool, a picnic on the boat. How nice. I was floored when he maneuvered out of the slip. Daddy never let anyone touch his boat. We sailed around the western point of the island and when we turned back eastward, I smiled.

“You said Red Beach was one of your favorite places. I asked your dad about it and he said that driving to it, like we did, was good, but sailing to it was much better. He agreed that you didn’t have any fun this trip, so we arranged this little outing for you.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you. Thank you so much.” I wasn’t sure what to say. We were going to miss our ferry back to Athens, but I didn’t care. A few more hours of pretend sounded good to me. We moored in the cove and took a dinghy to shore where we feasted on wedding food, wine and, honestly the best wedding cake ever made, if I did say so myself. The red volcanic cliffs soared behind us. The mixture of red and black sand was warmed by the sun and counteracted the cool breeze. The contrast of the deep blue sea against the dark sand and red cliffs could only be experienced in person. Even the most skilled photographers were unable to capture the magnificence of the beach.

My mind raced with questions for Raul, but I didn’t even know where to start. Hung over and dreading the long trip back to the States, plus the fear of what the answers would be kept me silent. I breathed the salt air, watched the seagulls ride the breeze and threw my head back so I could catch all the rays of the warm sun that I could. For the first time in a week, I relaxed.

My first impulse was to cry. There were so many pent up emotions in me that needed releasing and only a sobfest would purge me, but I didn’t want to subject Raul to any more of my emotional outbursts. Instead, I sat silently and felt the splendor of the magical place repair my soul. All the negative events were washed away and I was left with a future of happiness and levity. Raul didn’t say a thing. He let me revitalize. Something else to admire about him, he knew when to be quiet. When it was time to go, Raul took my hand and helped me from the coarse, rocky beach.

We sailed back to the harbor in companionable silence. At the house, we threw things in our suitcases and met
Daddy, who drove us to the airport. He and Raul had rearranged our itineraries to allow for the sailing trip.