In my latest book, Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper, my hero and heroine, Maggie and Marco, find themselves holed up together for an unexpected festive break. The break in question is Marco’s leg, and he finds himself housebound and humbled – at the mercy of his health, his carers, and his newfound friends.
It’s not a typical role to cast an alpha male character in – and I must admit I had my doubts. Romance heroes are usually fit, healthy, energetic men who can leap buildings in a single stride. They’re strong and tough and protective, and capable of tremendous acts of passion.
Being laid up in bed coated in plaster, chomping down painkillers and unable to fend for themselves sounds, on the surface, weak – something we don’t associate with our romantic heroes.
But here’s the thing: this book is set at Christmas. For me, Christmas is about family, and warmth, and that sense of contentment and cosiness that makes it so special. After the excitement of the presents, and the gluttony of the lunch, that lovely feeling you get when you’re collapsed in front fo the telly with a glass of something alchoholic, drowsing away and knowing you don’t have anything else left to do for the rest of the day.
Maybe I’m just weird, but that’s one of my very favourite parts of Christmas – slouching around in my own home with my loved ones!
So while Marco might not be in a traditional hero’s circumstances, he is, in my opinion, one of the sexiest heroes I’ve ever created. He’s tall, dark and handsome, sure, but that’s the least of it – he’s also funny, caring and incredibly sharp. The fact that he’s trapped in a foreign land, in the home of a woman he finds attractive but barely knows, allows all of these more subtle shades of character to emerge – he’s not whisking Maggie off on glamorous city breaks, or wooing her with expensive dinners, or even throwing over his brawny shoulders like a sexy caveman. In fact, he’s barely capable of walking, can’t take a shower without help, and is completely vulnerable.
As a result, the two of them spend nights in. Lots of nights in. They watch TV together. They play X Box games together. They drink beer and eat pizza together. Maggie pushes him around Oxford in his wheelchair, and takes him with her to work – her wedding dress boutique. This big, macho male is plunged into a world of chiffon and taffeta and nervous brides. He’s not only getting to know Maggie, but her 18-year-old daughter, who is frankly a sarcastic cow.
Christmas with Marco in the house is like none Maggie has ever experienced – and like none that Marco has ever experienced either. It’s the slow, gently sexy ‘getting to know you’ phase, full of will-they-won’t-they, that makes this story so special for me – it starts warm, and it ends up scorching hot.
I won’t be spending Christmas with a sexy stranger with a broken leg – because this is fiction. Instead, I’ll be spending it with my own family, hopefully without any broken legs – which is just as good!Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson
Also by this author: Cold Feet at Christmas, Pippa's Cornish Dream, Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe
Published by HarperImpulse UK on 5th November 2015
Genres: Chicklit, Christmas, Humour, Love & Romance
Amazon UK, Amazon US
You’ve seen Mark Darcy in the reindeer jumper his mother gave him, now meet Marco Cavelli in this season’s hottest Christmas knit!
For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it.
But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner.
Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.
Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper?