"I lurch around to face the driver of the black van, leaning casually against his vehicle.

“He’s tall, his hair is dark blond and wavy, maybe a little too long. He’s dressed in what my mother would have described as smart casual, expensive-looking black jeans with a thick leather belt, and a grey shirt unbuttoned at the collar.

“His sleeves are rolled up, his arms deeply tanned. His biceps bunch and shift under the fabric of his sleeves as he folds his arms across his chest. He regards me silently, offering nothing further by way of introduction. He has no need to, I know who he is. Cain Parrish.

“I make to step around him, but his hand on my elbow stops me. He’s not rough, I couldn’t claim he manhandled me, he just touches my elbow with his fingers, but I jerk away as though he’s burnt me.

“I turn to face him. My heart is thumping in my chest, my breath catching in my throat. He’s been nothing but polite, but he terrifies me. His size frightens me, as does his strength.

“He’s affluent, as evidenced by his casual elegance, even down to the designer stubble, and that unsettles me. But most unnerving of all is the fact that no matter what I say or do, he’s pursued me relentlessly. He wants something, and he’s determined to have it.”

So begins the sizzling relationship at the heart of Ashe Barker’s latest erotic novel, The Three Rs. This being a family newspaper, it’s one of the less racy excerpts of the novel, released on eBook on Valentine’s Day.

Partly set in Bradford, it centres on Abigail Fischer, who inherits a construction firm and discovers her new “handsome as sin” business partner is “everything she desires – and most fears”. Cain Parrish is attuned to Abigail’s “most secret desires” and “quickly finds his way past her defences” – but can he discover her shameful secret?

Ashe Barker is a town councillor and a mum, living in Denholme. She writes erotica between school runs at her kitchen table, surrounded by a menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises and a hamster.

Until 2010, she was a director of a regeneration company before becoming self-employed. Running a community development consultancy from home has given her time to write novels – a passion ignited by reading EL James’s erotic phenomenon 50 Shades Of Grey.

“I’d never thought about writing, but reading that got me thinking ‘I wonder’,” says Ashe. “I started writing in September 2011 and had no idea if I’d finish it. I set a deadline for Christmas and I finished it at 9.15pm on Christmas Eve! Over the festive break, I tidied up my manuscript then sent it to Totally Bound Publishing.

“I didn’t have an agent, they just accepted it and suggested writing a trilogy. I went on to write mostly trilogies.”

Ashe’s next trilogy, The Hardest Word, is out in April. A short story, Re-awakening, is released on Friday as part of a collection.

Her books are published by Totally Bound Publishing, Europe’s leading eBook publisher of erotic romance fiction which releases up to nine UK books a week to a worldwide readership.

An avid reader of women's fiction, Ashe says erotic novels are more mainstream now, with women reading them by the pool on holiday, or on the train.

“The rise of Kindle means people can hide what they’re reading!” she smiles. “My book covers are quite subtle; I have a say in them and I go for sensual images, rather than overtly sexual.

“50 Shades Of Grey wasn’t the first erotic novel I’d read. It just made me think ‘get on and do it’. It brought erotic books into the mainstream, you can pick them up in the supermarket now, with tins of beans.

“There are all kinds of themes in erotic fiction – historical, contemporary, fantasy, romance. I write about modern scenarios, but I love to read paranormal erotic romance, about vampires and werewolves. With erotica there are no set rules, apart from a happy ending, or the promise of one. I wouldn’t write anything aggressive; it’s more erotic romance. I find the dynamics of relationships and the way trust develops fascinating.”

Ashe says her writing style is organic, with characters and scenarios developing gradually. “I have an initial idea of where characters are headed, but often I’ll end up going down a totally different path and don’t know the ending until I get there,” she says.

Her men are strong and enigmatic and her women are sassy and smart. Is it a misconception that heroines in erotica must be submissive?

“The central character in my first book has an IQ of 180, so she ain’t daft. My women are strong, albeit struggling with bad luck, and the boundaries are consensual,” says Ashe. “Sex is an essential ingredient but if a book disappoints, it’s because it’s all sex and no story. It’s important to me to have a strong undercurrent of something meaningful. My first book dealt with mental health issues, my second with domestic violence and my third is about a physical disability. Tackling issues like grief, loss and mental health issues prompts online discussions.”

Ashe, who grew up in Bradford, draws on familiar settings for her books. The Three Rs is set on two Bradford council estates and previous novels are set in “a fictional Haworth”. Working with developers Urban Splash on mill conversions, she visited a showcase apartment at Lister Mills in Manningham and came across a teak bath which appears in one of her books!

She also has her own romantic past to draw on. Her husband, John, was the best man at her first wedding. “I was only 18 when I married the first time. We were young and it didn’t last long. John and I have been together 30 years,” says Ashe. “He doesn't read my books; he knows what they’re about but hasn't so far ventured into turning the pages. He’s very supportive though.”

Not all her subject matter is familiar. “Music features heavily in my first book, as the heroine is a musician, but what I know about music can be written on a stamp. I did some research, and I’m part of an online network of authors who all help each other.”

Ashe writes 10,000 words a week and completes a book every six weeks or so. “I drop my daughter, Hannah, off at school and I’m at my laptop by 8.45am. I work right through, pick her up from school then put a couple more hours in, “ she says. “My characters become like real people, I get very protective of them.”

For more about Ashe Barker’s books, visit ashebarker.com or totallybound.com.