Worth a thousand words…

1 Dec

Tonight, I finished the final draft of Undercover Lover–the follow up novel to Sheet Music (published by Ellora’s Cave in August of 2010).

In deciding upon scenes to share with you, I came across some of the photos from my trip to Oxford, England in 2009. I used these pics to inspire me as I wrote, and thought it might be fun to post them for you along with the scenes they helped inspire.

I hope you enjoy the magic of Oxford (and Gunter and Jenny!) as much as I do.

~* Scene I *~

He quirked a lopsided smile at her as they neared the tumbled ruins of Godstow Abbey. “Did you know this place was a nunnery and an infamous brothel?”

“Was it now?” she asked, stopping to take it in with an apprising look. “Fancy a look inside?”

Godstow Abbey, Oxford

Godstow Abbey, Oxford

Günter glanced over her shoulder into the abbey’s main enclosure. Their eyes met again and he read her thoughts. She wanted that kiss, and she wanted it now. His belly tightened in a pleasurable rush at the thought of tasting her again.

When he’d kissed her at the range, it had been a test of sorts—to see if he could make her back away from the rough handling she might experience when posing as his lover. That she’d leaned into the experience, relished it with a wild abandon that left her sagging against his knee, had excited him almost past the point of no return. If she hadn’t spoken he would have taken her against the cinderblock wall of the gun range without remembering they had company.

He crowded her through the crumbling stone entry into the wide expanse of winter landscape that had long ago replaced the abbey floor.

Godstow Abbey, Oxford

Godstow Abbey, Oxford

Wide eyed, she stared at him, breath quickening, pulse visible along the expanse of creamy skin where her cherry red scarf had slipped away from her jaw.

His payment might be late, but he’d make it with interest.

Sunlight broke through the clouds, illuminating the abbey’s gray enclosure. Over the centuries, fallen stones had given the walls a crenulated toothiness which the season decorated with rivers of ice and frothy peaks of snow. The place couldn’t have appeared more like a fairyland, glistening as it did in the precious winter light.

~* Scene II *~

Cradling her cocoa in mittened hands, she brushed away her gloomy thoughts and tried to enjoy what little freedom she’d managed to snatch in the past two weeks. Living in utilitarian conditions under veritable martial law, she’d conformed to every demand MI-5 and Günter made of her. But why?

The man was a martinet. He worked her until she had bruises on her bruises. For what? Not a scrap of praise when he knocked her down five times in a row with the same maneuver, and she managed to dodge him on the sixth go round.

Oxford Doorway

Oxford Doorway

All he said was, “Don’t get cocky. You should have had that on the third try.”

Then he knocked her down again as she stared at him, triumph turning to sawdust in her mouth.

Rounding a corner near the uniquely round Radcliffe Camera building, she took in carved wooden doors sporting burnished brass pulls. Mythical forms and faces peered at her from buildings across the way. The Green Man stared out from one, while Pan—in two carvings meant to support the vestibule roof—played his pipes on either side.

The snow fell more thickly now and she ducked under the tiny shelter to look out over a wrought iron enclosed courtyard. Watching the sun slip behind medieval roofs of green tarnished copper and mossy slate, she knew if there was magic anywhere on earth, it was here.

A bell tower chimed five o’clock, reminding her that Günter probably searched for her. She’d sighed, knowing she’d have to face his wrath when she returned. He expected her to live like a soldier. React like a soldier. But she couldn’t. Not always. Especially not with him.

~* Scene III *~

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford England

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

They exited the little doorway and climbed noiselessly down the iron stairs into the now clear night. She paused and looked up as they reached the beautiful Bridge of Sighs and made a wish. Looping his arm through hers, he pulled her closer.

“What are you thinking?” he asked, his breath a curl of frozen smoke against the night.

Smiling, she looked up at the Bridge—a glassed-in walkway curving elegantly between two buildings—and answered, “That I want you to kiss me.”


Stay tuned on on my blog, where I will be posting details on the book release along with more photos, my playlist, and other inspirations in the coming months.

~ Tibby

5 Responses to “Worth a thousand words…”

  1. MichelleKCanada (@AnotherLookBook) December 1, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    What a great post to include your inspirations. I love that. I have to say, your descriptions and the feelings really match your pictures. Well done.

  2. Madison J Edwards December 1, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    I agree with Michelle – Well done. Setting the scene doesn’t have to be heavy handed in order to ‘put’ the reader there, and this was an excellent example.

  3. Paul (@princejvstin) December 1, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I love the pictures, Tibby 🙂

  4. Marilyn Campbell December 1, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    Great post & pics Tibby!

  5. naramalone December 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Beautiful. Beautiful, Beautiful. Oh, and I loved the pictures too.

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