The story behind the story #4 – Creepy Colin, rampaging cows and skinny dipping

The story behind the story #4 – A Very Rural Affair – Book 2

Continuing with the theme of sharing which of my own real-life experiences have influenced my steamy books, I bring you ‘A Very Rural Affair – Book 2’; the second book in the ‘Village Affairs’ trilogy.

This book is a continuation from Book 1 of the series, with only a few hours gap in the timeline between Books 1 and 2. The intimate relationship between the main characters, Patrick and Fen, continues to blossom, but there is plenty more going on in this quintessential English village than just their sexual exploits! And thanks to mad neighbours, media intrusion, a violent ex boyfriend, wedding preparations and the irrepressible Sally, life at Hawksbury Hollow is destined to never be quiet.

So, which parts of this story are personal to my life experiences?

1. A rural background
I am lucky enough to have spent almost my entire life living in various rural English villages. During my childhood, we lived opposite a dairy farm with beautiful black and white Holstien-Friesian cattle grazing in the fields. It was a common sight for them to stop traffic on the narrow lane, to allow the farmer to move his cattle from field to field for grazing. I can’t say I ever particularly trust cattle, certainly not like I trust and understand horses. I always think cows tend to have a sense of humour failure where dogs are concerned, and given I always had one of those with me, I became permanently cautious. Indeed, I have been chased out of a field on more than one occasion by what felt at the time like a herd of rampaging cows! However, there is still something very calming about listening to moo-ing cattle very slowly and methodically chew grass!
Even today, my next door neighbour is a farmer with a beef herd, sheep, horses, chickens and four very unruly dogs! So it is probably of little wonder that most of my stories take place in rural England.

2. Creepy Colin
Until I started writing this blog today I didn’t realise it, but the very first guy who asked me out was called Colin. And he was seriously creepy. I wonder if that’s why I named a similar character “Colin” when I wrote the book. If so, it was unconsciously done – isn’t it funny how the brain works and what it chooses to remember?
I was thirteen, seriously horsie without a single thought of getting a boyfriend. I used to work in a stable yard every spare hour of my week and one evening, I was cycling out of the establishment back towards home. There was a guy doing building work on the adjoining house for a few days, who had to be in his late twenties. We hadn’t really spoken, just vaguely nodded at each other in passing. Anyway, on this evening he blocked my exit and asked me out for a drink. I do remember explaining that I was only thirteen but being twice my age didn’t seem to worry him – that was one of many red flags. In the end, I said something ridiculous to try and turn down his offer nicely and cycled back home that evening like I was trying to win a race in the Olympic velodrome!

‘Good morning!’ called Fen brightly, correctly assuming this stranger was Colin.  Given they hadn’t met yet, it seemed the right thing to do, to introduce herself.  ‘I’m Patrick’s fiancée, Fen.’

Looking incredibly uncomfortable, the man walked slowly towards her, giving Fen plenty of time to observe him.  He was tall, lanky and rather scruffy and gave the impression that he wasn’t a massive fan of soap.  With a scraggly beard and wild hair, tamed only by a cap stained with oil and what looked suspiciously like sheep shit, Fen wasn’t keen on getting as close as a handshake.  Instead she nodded at him, smiled winningly and raised her hand in a wave.

‘Colin,’ he grunted, his facial expressions giving nothing away.

3. Skinny Dipping
I was just about to write “It probably makes me very boring, but unlike the characters in this book, I have never been skinny dipping.” And then a memory I’d long since buried came unhelpfully creeping back into my mind, reminding me that I did actually go skinny dipping with an ex, on a warm Summer’s day, in a garden that could potentially be overlooked by neighbours. So I guess I can’t write that! More than just skinny dipping went on in that pool too, but I digress….
A much more amusing experience concerning a swimming pool happened when I was about fifteen. I went to the birthday party of a guy I seriously fancied and his parents had a swimming pool (that wasn’t the reason I fancied him, but I guess it didn’t hurt). Anyway, one of his mates dared me to jump in the pool – I think it was probably done as a joke, assuming I’d bottle. What they didn’t account for was quite how pig-headed (and stupid!?) I was as a teen. Seconds later, I’d hurled myself into the water, fully clothed, with no spare clothes to hand. From memory, I was wearing a shirt, jeans, and Doc Marten boots which squelched unpleasantly with every step I took for the remainder of the night. I think I was offered some of his mum’s clothes to wear, which I declined – dressing up as a guy’s mum might be one way to get him to notice you, but not necessarily in a good way!!! Ha ha, what it is to be young and crazy!

Talking about getting naked, what’s your opinion of skinny dipping in Patrick’s pool tonight?’

‘Favourable,’ smiled Fen.  ‘Fancy it?’

‘Definitely.  I bet you can’t get the others into the pool with us though.’

‘Another bet?  Is this just so you can get a look at my boyfriend naked?’

‘Am I that transparent?’ laughed Duncan. 

‘So, what’s the bet?’

‘A monkey,’ he replied.

‘Come again?’ said Fen in confusion.  Her alcohol-addled mind was currently imagining a mayhem-making primate swinging from curtain rail to light fitting.  The last thing she needed in the house was a monkey; Patrick already kept her fully occupied.

‘Five hundred quid.’

‘Ah…Deal,’ she nodded, shaking his hand.  That kind of monkey.  ‘Hey everyone!’ called Fen up the table, standing up to unbutton her shirt.  ‘Duncan here is going to put five hundred pounds into Sally and Tim’s honeymoon fund if we all go skinny dipping.  I trust you’ll join me, given that it’s for such a good cause!’

And with that, a laughing Fen turned and winked at Duncan before sprinting towards Patrick’s indoor pool.  Without exception, all of her friends followed closely behind, displaying varying degrees of sobriety.

‘Sounds like a perfect end to a perfect evening to me,’ giggled Sally as she unzipped her dress and cannoned off the wall into an unsuspecting Ficus tree.


‘A Very Rural Affair’ is available from and It can either be purchased, or read via a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Here are the links to sign up to a free 30-day Kindle Unlimited trial on  or


The latest news from Fenella Ashworth can be found at
Fenella is a British author of contemporary steamy romance for 18+. All of her stories are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Her most popular books are ‘One Hot Wynter’s Night’, ‘To Love, Honour and…Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson Series.

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