To support her young sister and herself, Florence Petrie desperately needs employment. Through the agency of an unexpected and valuable find, she ends up as companion to the dowager in the household of Jerome, Viscount Langriville. The violent attraction between them brings Flo to the brink of the abyss she fears most. Is she doomed to repeat her mother’s history?
Freed from the hideous scandal of the past by his wife’s death, Jerome is horrified to find himself in thrall to a new threat: an impossible liaison. Can he withstand Florence’s allure, when his desire can only mean her ruin?
Targeted Age Group:: women
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’m intrigued by the difficulties of women in Florence’s situation in the Georgian and Regency period. The worst thing was to lose your reputation. And what happens to a wife who runs away with another man? She is ruined socially and scandal ensues. I wanted to see if I could find a way to overcome these problems – as love conquers all!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I had an image of a man and woman with dark hair entangled in the moonlight, which gave me the look of the hero and heroine. Once I have a picture, they kind of leap to life in my head!
Jerome eyed her with an edge of puzzlement under the deep distrust he could not overcome. What game was she playing? Impossible she would go, denuded and profitless. What woman ever had no eye to the main chance? He tried again, with a vague notion of taunting her into revealing herself.
‘You would have done better to keep it than to bring it to me. Or have you no idea of its worth?’
‘I have every idea of its worth.’
Ah, but there was steel in her voice. She did have a motive. ‘Then you took time to check. Admirable, Miss Petrie. Do you tell me even then you had no thought of selling it?’ Deliberately, he allowed his gaze to travel down her gown and up again. ‘I am sure you could make excellent use of several hundreds of pounds.’
To his secret satisfaction, she flushed. But her response took him unawares. He watched her turn to the mantel and set the gem down—with, he thought, elaborate care. Next instant, she had stepped up close. He saw the flash of her hand too late to perceive her intent, and the stinging blow caught him full on the cheek.
‘That, my lord Langriville, is my reward!’
He heard the furious words through a haze, but instinct sent him plunging after her as she made for the door. He seized her shoulder and dragged her about to face him, grabbing at her wrists to prevent her from striking him again.
‘Let me go,’ raged Florence, dragging away from his iron hold. Beside herself, she wished to be gone from his presence, from his house, and from the menace of his cruel suspicions.
‘Be still, for the Lord’s sake, you foolish female!’
‘You have no right to hold me here. Let me go!’
‘No right? After such treatment as you have just dealt me?’
‘It is only what you deserved,’ she threw at him, past caring what she said. ‘How dare you impute such dreadful things to me? How dare you judge me and taunt me, when you know nothing of me, nothing of my life? You may call yourself a gentleman, but let me tell you, sir, no gentlemen I ever knew would behave as you have done.’
About the Author:
Elizabeth Bailey grew up in Africa with unconventional parents, where she loved reading and drama. On returning to England, she developed her career in acting, theatre directing and finally writing. Elizabeth has 18 novels published by Harlequin Mills & Boon and recently began a Georgian historical crime series of which the first two books, THE GILDED SHROUD and THE DEATHLY PORTENT, were published by Berkley Books (Penguin US). But since she still loves romance, Elizabeth is delighted with the opportunity to publish her work independently.
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