"Hi everyone and thanks to Stacey for inviting me to visit today. DEDICATION is a book I'm very fond of--it was my first book and I was fortunate enough to get back the rights, rewrite, and have it published with this gorgeous cover--very appropriate for a book about second chances!"
Genre: Regency historical
Heat level: sensual
Adam and Fabienne came of age and fell wildly in love during a time of revolution but times have changed. Now he’s a respectable country gentleman and she’s a powerful patroness of the arts and they have little in common … or do they? She’s falling in love as she exchanges letters with a reclusive female gothic novelist, and Adam can’t help responding, but surely she knows who he really is, a man writing women’s books under a woman’s name? As their lives become entangled again after two decades apart, dark secrets and betrayals from the past are revealed, threatening them and others they love.
EXCERPT (The heroine, Fabienne Craigmont, has traveled to the country to find an authoress with whom she has exchanged passionate, intimate letters. The writer isn’t home, but she meets instead her former lover Adam, who reluctantly invites her to stay at his house. She goes in search of a book to read ...)
Inside the library, she paused and looked around carefully. A candle burned on a desk heaped with papers, and she saw a coat and waistcoat tossed onto a nearby chair. Their owner could not be far away. She hesitated, looking into the darkness of the far end of the room. Nothing stirred. Well, there were plenty of books at this end, and with any luck, she could find something. She gathered her shawl more closely around herself and moved forward.
As she lifted her candle to view the nearest books, Adam’s voice came from the shadows, a sinister growl.
“What are you doing here, Mrs. Craigmont?”
She stifled a shriek and dropped her candle. It fell to the floor and rolled away, the flame extinguished. “What are you doing here?”
“I beg your pardon. This is my house, my library, madam, and I ask you again, what you are doing here.” He moved toward her.
“I am looking for a book. I wish to read something.” Her words sounded inadequate and foolish.
“I see.” He took his spectacles off and tossed them onto his desk. Now he was between her and the desk, tall and forbidding in shirt and breeches.
“Well, why do you lurk in the shadows to frighten me so?”
He held a book up. “I was fetching this when I heard you make your not particularly discreet entrance, Mrs. Craigmont. I snuffed my candle to see what you were about.”
“Oh, do not be ridiculous. What else would I do in a library but look for a book?”
“That is what I wondered too.” He paused in front of her, a little too close.
“What do you mean—” Oh, God. She was here, alone, wearing only a nightgown and shawl, her hair loosened. Did he think she had come here to seduce him? She backed away from him. “I think I had better leave. I see this is not a convenient time for you.”
“Oh, please, Mrs. Craigmont. It is not at all inconvenient. On the contrary, I think we both know what you seek.” His smile was taunting and predatory.
Fabienne stared back at him, determined not to show any fear. She was no longer a terrified girl who would beg for mercy, a victim of casual lust, Adam’s or any other man’s. She reassured herself, trying to think rationally. Once she thought she’d known this man; she’d even fancied herself in love with him.
His easy, sarcastic smile and arrogant stance angered her. “Good night, Mr. Ashworth.” She stepped back, and her heel touched the base of a bookshelf, her shoulders brushing against the uneven ridges of books. He followed her that one step back, adept as a dancer or fencer, and placed one hand on the shelf at her shoulder, half entrapping her, daring her to move.
“One moment, Mrs. Craigmont.” He trailed his fingers along her jawbone and splayed his fingers into her loosened hair, drawing her face to his.
The word had hardly left her lips before his mouth blocked further speech in a kiss that was surprisingly gentle, despite his threatening aspect. There was strength there, certainly in the force of his embrace and the press of his hips, but it was as though he knew that sweetness would disarm her more than any show of force. His lips withdrew, then brushed hers, posing a hesitant question, a promise of passion withheld—for the moment.
Her body arched toward his, returning that implicit message as her mouth opened to his, and years and pain and her common sense faded away.
“Damn you!” She wrenched away from him.
He raised his eyebrows and fingered a lock of hair that fell on her neck, his touch as potent as it had been at Tillotson’s house, as it had always been. “Well?”
“Damn you, Adam Ashworth.” Rage made her breath fast and shallow. She hoped it was only rage. “Damn you. So you still know how to kiss. And you’re still a bastard.”
He stepped back and bowed. “Your servant, madam.”
She swung her hand back and slapped his face as hard as she could. “Good night, Mr. Ashworth.”
“Good night, Mrs. Craigmont.” He crossed to the library door and opened it, a mocking smile on his face.
Head high, she walked out of the library, willing herself not to hurry. Once he could no longer see her, she ran through the dark stone passage, blundered into something that stood in the way, and reached the staircase. Safe in her room, she flung herself into bed and waited for her pulse to return to normal, the bedclothes pulled over her head. The thunder of her heartbeat, she assured herself, was only attributable to her flight upstairs.
It was nothing to do with Adam, damn him.
Nothing at all.
Damn him, she thought, damn him, God rot him, and lay awake for what seemed like hours before falling into a restless sleep.
Thank you, Janet for that great excerpt ~ I wish you the best of luck with your book!
Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy.
Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2758x2zKV1I
Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2758x2zKV1I
And you can find Janet at:
Janet Mullany, granddaughter of an Edwardian housemaid, was born in England but now lives near Washington, DC. Her debut book was Dedication, the only Signet Regency to have two bondage scenes (and which was reissued with even more sex in April 2012 from Loose-Id). Her next book, The Rules of Gentility (HarperCollins 2007) was acquired by Little Black Dress (UK) for whom she wrote three more Regency chicklits, A Most Lamentable Comedy, Improper Relations, and Mr. Bishop and the Actress. Her career as a writer who does terrible things to Jane Austen began in 2010 with the publication of Jane and the Damned (HarperCollins), and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion (2011) about Jane as a vampire, and a modern retelling of Emma, Little to Hex Her, in the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen headlined by Mary Balogh. She also writes contemporary erotic fiction for Harlequin, Tell Me More (2011) and Hidden Paradise (September, 2012).
Stacey Joy Netzel