He’s her secret fantasy, but can she turn her dreams into reality?

Mary loves the internet but is surprised to find herself falling in love over it.

Will is a mysterious, sexy American she meets on a forum and soon it becomes apparent they have Chemistry. Part time waitress and full time author Mary is thrilled to find out her online crush is visiting England on business and plans to seduce him.

But will the heat that freely flows from monitor to monitor be present in the cold reality of Manchester in winter?

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It’s amazing what you can find online, especially when you’re not really looking for it. I was bored, blocked and searching for inspiration for my latest romance tale when I came across Thirty-Something, a forum created specifically for those folks slipping genteelly into middle-age.

I joined out of curiosity and boredom really, but I found myself amongst like-minded procrastinators from the world over. Within a matter of days, I’d created hundreds of posts. After a couple of months, I had established friendships with people throughout the globe.

I kept strictly to the nice threads and questions on the board and avoided controversy and debate. It seemed they always turned nasty. I’m more of a “give peace a chance” kind of girl. So, it was a bit of a surprise to find a full-fledged debate raging in an innocuous thread started by a friend. Just a thread about preparations for Christmas. One person stated that October was far too early to be thinking about Christmas and the thread totally derailed into a discussion of commercialism and the apparent exploitation of the purchasing public.

I was intrigued. Normally such in-depth debate would send me scampering to a safe, fluffy thread on favourite colour or bands or simple word association. However, I found one of the posters in this argument fascinating. William Blake was not a name that I’d run across before and with it being the Internet, I was pretty certain it was neither his real name nor the eighteenth century poet resurrected. The little picture beside his post, something I knew was called an avatar, or AV for short, was a smug-looking handsome young man, gazing into a camera.

“Hot,” I exclaimed, fanning myself. As I continued to read through his posts I found him intelligent and witty, too. Unfortunately, the end of the debate had changed from intellectual exchanges of opinion to open mud-slinging. In an effort to calm the situation, I took a long time composing my opinion. I incorporated a plea for a return to intelligent debate, since posturing whilst slinging insults was not helping anyone prove their point.

I was delighted when a little box flashed up on my screen, proclaiming, “You have a new Private Message from William Blake.”

You’re right. I lost my temper, will cool down before posting there again. Thanks.

It was not the most exciting PM ever. The words and message were unexceptional. Only the identity of the sender made it extraordinary. I spent several minutes composing a reply, as I knew it was an opportunity to get to know the handsome rebel better. I sent my message masterpiece off into the ether and settled down to wait for a reply. To bide the time, I read through his past posts.

“No wonder we never crossed paths,” I Mumbled, as I read yet another contentious political debate thread. “He posts on everything I don’t.” I was disappointed not to receive a reply straight away, but people have lives away from the computer. So I waited patiently. I enjoyed looking through his old posts, anyway.
I was intrigued to find he was significantly younger than the thirty years stated in the forum name. He’d stumbled across the forum while researching something for his latest company. He was a whiz kid, a successful businessman and a sharp debater; my complete opposite. I waited tables in a local café to make ends meet whilst I pretended to have a career in writing. I was getting stories published, but I wasn’t challenging JK Rowling is the sales stakes.

I couldn’t get the guy out of my mind and, as we’d barely interacted, it was kind of worrying. I logged off the Internet and attempted to concentrate on the novel I was working on at the time. As I tapped away at my laptop keys, I found myself placing William’s features on the character I was writing. The scene twisted into something completely unsuitable for a non-erotic historical romance.

“Why, Sir, you flatter me.” She giggled and hid behind her fan.

“But you are the most beautiful and desirous female her,” he replied, his dark, almost black eyes fixing her in their gaze. “I want you, Mary and I want you now. Right here on this dining table. Push away the cutlery, candlesticks and napkins and lie down for me, whilst I undo all your layers and bury my face in the sweet musky smell of your muff.”