Stephanotis of Whipped Cream Reviews said of Taking It Off, "I [liked] the uniqueness of the setting, various changing rooms and all the clothes, shoes and underwear Lucy tries on. It made me think of Sex and the City."
And really, that sense of fun, that feeling anything can happen in a big, buzzing city when you've got the right outfit to pair with adventure, is exactly what I wanted to capture in this story!
For a showcase of the clothes that Lucy models during the course of the story, you can check out this graphic art I made. Warning, it does contain very general spoilers for what the story's about as well as lots of gorgeous shots of Tom Hardy, who I cast as my Valentine. Taking It Off, however, begins with Valentine's obsession with Lucy's pretty ankles and feet, so here's the image that sparked my centrepiece red soles!
I shared this picture on Shermaine Williams' blog when I talked about how watching waiting boyfriends outside the ladies' changing rooms had inspired me to write the story. For me, it's still the number one image I have in my head when I think about Valentine and Lucy. So delicious and provocative! I have to admit, I did try the clothes hanger as nipple clamp myself...for verisimilitude, you understand ;)
When I cast Taking It Off, I imagined French actress Audrey Tatou as Lucy. I love the fashion spreads and magazine shoots she's done--she's a very beautiful woman, but she's not afraid to play up the masculinity of her striking dark features either. This was one of the photos I couldn't tear my eyes away from -- I like it because it's a great example of the confidence that Valentine finds so instantly appealing about her. She's trying on this sexy lingerie and she's using that feminine power to take charge. I like the role reversal implicit here -- can't you just picture her waiting impatiently for Valentine to finish trying on suits?
Speaking of traditional role reversal and power exchange, this is another image that inspired me. When I look at it, I see what's definitely going on in their hotel suite...but I also see how easily it might be Valentine on his knees between Lucy's spread legs! Yum.
Okay, this is something I found after I wrote Taking It Off, but it's definitely keeping Valentine and Lucy in my imagination. Can't you just picture young Valentine about eight years before the events of His Christmas Present and Taking It Off, shagging his way around Amsterdam in the days when he lived on a boat on one of the quieter canals?
I'll be catching up with Valentine and Lucy with a free "sequel" story in the Total E-Bound monthly newsletter later in the year...in the meantime, I hope you enjoy their adventures in Taking It Off!