Pippa Croft remembers back to all those first times …

I could be wrong but I think we can all remember our first times.

Like that first kiss – when, where, who it was, how it felt. (At a Christmas disco with a guy in the sixth form who was a gorgeous GB team athlete and all the girls had a huge crush on him. Unfortunately, there were tongues involved and I was 14 and horrified.


How about your first day at university? (Totally overwhelming). Everyone seemed super confident and ultra cool except me. I thought I’d got in by mistake and still do.

The first time you drove a car on your own? A pootle around the village where I live after the instructor had dropped me home – it was terrifying and surreal.

The first time I knew I wanted to be a novelist (after watching a BBC TV drama on a dark night in November 2004, it’s a long and very peculiar story…

As for THE first time. Hmm. I think I’d rather keep that one to myself!

But how about your second time? I have to confess my second times have faded into the mists of time so I got to thinking: what exactly makes first times so memorable? Is it the anticipation, or the excitement or the fear of the unknown? All of those combined?

In the First Time We Met, the new romance series I’m writing for Penguin, Lauren Cusack experiences all of these emotions at once. The book opens with her arriving at Wyckham College, Oxford, with two aims: to plunge herself into her History of Art master’s degree and have a lot of fun but within five minutes of arriving, she glimpses a man who’s going to blow her plans sky high.

Even though Lauren is the daughter of a US senator and is outwardly confident, she’s had to go against her parents’ wishes to study at Oxford. The man she meets – Alexander Hunt – is also so obviously the wrong sort of guy for her. She has to deal with feeling like a fish out of water, homesickness, finding her feet in an alien world and of course, falling in love. On top of that, Alexander has some extra issues to deal with arising from the loss of his mother and his job in the Army…

That’s some first time, isn’t it, and the drama doesn’t stop there. In Book #2 in the series, The Second Time I Saw You (published May 22nd) Lauren’s journey isn’t about to get any easier. She has new experiences to deal with, mostly involving Alexander, which are even bigger and scarier than leaving home and going abroad to study…


Pippa Croft Series (2)-002It’s the beginning of a new term at Wyckham College, Oxford, and a fresh start for Lauren Cusack. Her fingers were badly burnt when a whirlwind romanwith gorgeous English aristocrat, Alexander Hunt, became too hot to handle – and now she’s determined to keep her distance. Her resolve is shaken when Alexander appears on her doorstep – he’s been completely torn apart by some devastating news. Lauren knows that she should stay away, but their chemistry is undeniable and she soon finds herself back in Alexander’s arms. Can Lauren handle the drama that comes with Alexander Hunt? Or will she have to sacrifice the most exhilarating passion she’s ever known . . .


Pippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA’s New Writers’ award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.

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