It’s with great pleasure that I invite Marie Laval to my site with her ‘Opening Lines,’ from Little Pink Taxi!
Thank you so much Jenny for welcoming me on your blog today and share the first 500 words of my romantic comedy LITTLE PINK TAXI, which was released a year ago – already! – by Choc Lit.
People often ask me where I find my ideas, and what inspired me to write LITTLE PINK TAXI. Was it a holiday in the Cairngorms of Scotland, a stay in a beautiful old castle, or perhaps a past experience of driving a taxi?
I can say straight away that my inspiration was not driving a taxi! I have never driven a taxi, although ferrying my children between school, home and various friends and activities often felt like it indeed. Regretfully, I have never stayed in an old castle like Raventhorn, although it would be one of my dreams to do so one day.
I have however holidayed in Scotland, and loved the wild landscapes, lochs and forests, as well as the breathtaking architecture and atmosphere of Edinburgh where I went on a couple of city-breaks.
What really inspired me to write LITTLE PINK TAXI was a series I very much enjoyed watching on television a few years ago. You may remember it, because it was a big success at the time. It was called ‘Monarch of the Glen’, and was set in Glenbogle Castle in the magnificent Cairngorms National Park, in Scotland. In my mind, Raventhorn castle – Rosalie Heart’s childhood home – is very similar to Glenbogle. There is a loch and a forest nearby, and of course, the dramatic backdrop of Cairngorms.
My other source of inspiration was a pink taxi I saw a few years ago in Manchester city centre. I know that they are quite common these days, but at the time, it was the first I had ever seen, and I thought it would be fun to have my heroine drive one of them. It gave me ideas about Rosalie’s personality too. She is fun and bubbly, very loyal to her friends and family, and she loves singing but can’t carry a tune! The story developed from there.
First 500 words…
‘I believe you’re waiting for me. I’m Petersen.’
Startled by the deep voice with the hint of a French accent, Rosalie spun round, and tilted her face up to meet a pair of serious grey eyes.
‘Welcome to Scotland, Monsieur Petersen.’
She gave him what she hoped was her most dazzling smile, but Petersen only looked down at her and said, ‘I was expecting McBride.’
Rosalie tucked the heart-shaped board on which she’d written Petersen’s name in pink under her arm. ‘I’m afraid Geoff was taken ill. I shall be driving you to Raventhorn.’
Petersen frowned. ‘I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it’s nothing serious.’
It was nothing that a cup of tea, a couple of headache tablets and a few days away from the malt whisky wouldn’t cure, but Rosalie couldn’t tell him that.
‘A head cold, that’s all. He will have recovered by this evening, I’m sure.’ Her cheeks grew warm. Lying had never come easily to her, but it was even harder when a giant of a man with eyes as cool and uninviting as the winter sky stared down at her.
She pointed at his leather holdall and laptop case. ‘Would you like me to carry your bags to the cab?’
Arching his eyebrows, he gave her a sardonic stare, which made her feel even smaller than her five foot one. ‘No. I don’t think so.’
‘Ah. Very well. Shall we go then? The weather is horrendous today. At least I found a space near the terminal so we won’t get too wet.’
Her last words were drowned in gusts of icy wind and rain as the terminal sliding doors opened. She pulled her key fob out of her pocket and strode towards the cab. ‘Here we are.’
‘Is this McBride’s idea of a joke?’
Droplets of rain clung to Petersen’s dark blond hair and the broad shoulders of his navy coat. He gestured to the bright pink metrocab on which Love Taxis was painted in large letters, then to her matching anorak.
‘I hope you’re not planning to take your clothes off and squirt whipping cream all over me.’
Although his voice was quiet, there was a steely edge to it that made his French accent more pronounced.
She started to laugh. ‘Take my clothes off, in this weather? No thank you! You don’t seriously think I am one of those strip-o-grams people hire to embarrass their colleagues at birthday parties, do you?’
He didn’t smile. No spark of humour lit his eyes. He’d meant what he’d said. The laughter died on her lips, and she pulled the zip of her pink anorak right up to her chin.
‘You have the wrong idea about me. I’m your taxi driver, nothing else. And for the record, the only way I like my whipping cream is on a chocolate brownie or a very large ice-cream.’
Although she tried to sound blasé, her face felt like it was on fire and she stumbled over the last words…
Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.
Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.
On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for a number of years. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors, she writes contemporary and historical romance. Her native France very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!
LITTLE PINK TAXI is Marie’s second contemporary romance and is published by Choc Lit. It is available here.
Many thanks for your great opening lines, Marie.
Happy reading everyone,