Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
No man can resist Jemma's sensuous allure . . . Except her own husband!
Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another (if one is to believe the rumors).
Elijah, Duke of Beaumont, did believe those rumors.
But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. Jemma laughs at Elijah's cool eyes and icy heart—but to her secret shock, she doesn't share his feelings. In fact, she wants the impossible: her husband's heart at her feet.
But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love . . . with his own wife?
As a well-known barrister and the son of a duke, Ives confines his passionate impulses to discreet affairs with worldly mistresses. A twist of fate, however, has him looking for a new lover right when a fascinating woman shows up in his chambers, asking him to help save her father from the gallows. Unfortunately, he has already been asked to serve as the prosecutor in the case, but that only ensures close encounters with the rarity named Padua Belvoir. And every encounter increases his desire to tutor her in pleasure’s wicked ways...
Having always been too tall, too willful, and too smart to appeal to men, Padua Belvoir is shocked when Ives shows interest in her. Knowing his penchant for helping the wrongly accused, she had initially thought he might be her father’s best hope for salvation. Instead, he is her worst adversary—not least because every time he looks at her, she is tempted to give him anything he wants…
Q & A with the author
How would you describe this series?
It's Regency England with a dash of magic. I hope to take readers on a journey from the glittering ballrooms of the aristocracy to the dark underbelly of Regency England—with passion, danger, adventure, romance, and a little magic thrown into the mix.
I think the series could also be labelled Regency Noir, because it falls on the darker, grittier side of the romance fence, although each book contains humor, too. The stories are emotional, but not sweet (there’s sex, violence, and my heroes do swear at times!).
Why did you write this series?
I wanted to get my well-bred heroines out of the drawing rooms and put them in the way of adventure and romance. But I didn’t want to write a series where magic is common; I wanted to write a series where only a few characters have magic, and it’s a deep, dark secret, and no one else knows.
But ... do magic and Regency England go together?
Definitely! Many, many years ago I read Sorcery and Cecelia (or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot) by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, and totally loved it and ever since then I’ve thought that Regency England and magic go very well together.
What was the catalyst for this series?
A magazine article I read in which celebrities were asked what magic power they’d choose and why. That got me thinking! (I’d choose shapeshifting, by the way.)
How would you describe your writing?
Several reviewers have likened my writing to Georgette Heyer, which is the hugest compliment ever. I adore Georgette Heyer! She’s why I write historical romance, and I reread her books over and over. (If you’ve not read The Grand Sophy, please do so!) I’ve also had readers compare my writing to Courtney Milan and Mary Balogh, which are also massive compliments.
Who would like this series?
This series will appeal to readers who enjoy the historical backdrop of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, the dark and sensual ‘noir’ feel of Anna Campbell, the emotion of Mary Balogh or Courtney Milan, and the magic of Patricia Rice and Mary Robinette Kowal. Quite a broad range, really!