I am so, so incredibly excited to be able to say that THE PROBLEM WITH SEDUCTION is finally available! SEDUCTION is my favorite of all of my books so far, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. Go on and grab yours; I’ll wait.
Back? This all started with THE TROUBLE WITH BEING WICKED, my debut novel released last December. Two of my favorite books of all time are Mary Balogh’s MORE THAN A MISTRESS and NO MAN’S MISTRESS. I loooooved the idea of a virgin hero falling in love with an ex-courtesan. WICKED pairs a hero who is not a rake (although he’s also not a virgin) with a woman who isn’t currently a courtesan (although she hasn’t entirely given up the craft). I spent months researching courtesans before I wrote WICKED, and after investing all of that time and brain space, I figured I would carry on the series by writing about another courtesan in the follow up novel.
THE PROBLEM WITH SEDUCTION is the story of the heroine’s best friend from the first book, and one of the hero’s handsome, rakish—did I mention FLAT BROKE?—neighbors. The story continues where WICKED left off, although it is a standalone novel. Here is the back cover copy:
AN OUTRAGEOUS PROPOSITION
Elizabeth Spencer needs a man. Preferably one who won’t be too picky about the morality of her proposition, or his reputation. Lord Constantine Alexander can’t afford another trip to debtors’ prison, which makes him the perfect candidate. She doesn’t expect him to have a heart of gold, or to hold up his end of the bargain—particularly when his high-in-the-instep family gets involved. Nor does she expect to find him irresistible, because while she needs a man, she doesn’t particularly want one.
A WICKED BARGAIN
When a beautiful courtesan offers to satisfy his creditors, Con leaps at the opportunity. Never mind his mother and brothers are suspicious of his newfound fortune—being with Elizabeth is intoxicating enough to wipe any thought of scruples away. He soon realizes it’s not just his future he’s been gambling, but his future family. How can he convince London’s premier courtesan he’s more than a callow rake?
Elizabeth Spencer has been a courtesan ever since she ran off with an officer at the tender age of 15. She is very independent, and just a little bitter. I loved writing about a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go to any lengths to get it. I also loved her vulnerability, because when a woman is as mechanical as Elizabeth is at the beginning of SEDUCTION, she falls really, really hard.
Constantine is the classic middle child. I wanted to write about a hero who wasn’t the responsible heir (or the irresponsible heir) or the indolent younger son. Constantine is just Constantine. Easily overlooked, not too visionary with his outlook and really pretty happy where he is, right in the middle. Meeting a headstrong woman like Elizabeth makes him question his keep-your-head-down, stay-out-of-trouble existence.
Later, I’m going to write up some of the more interesting research I came across while writing these three courtesan books (THE ART OF RUINING A RAKE will be out in the spring!), but for now I’ll leave you with an excerpt. Two lucky readers in the comments will win a electronic copy of either THE TROUBLE WITH BEING WICKED or THE PROBLEM WITH SEDUCTION (reader’s choice!).
She pulled her rose shawl more tightly around her and turned toward him. “I wasn’t expecting you.”
He inclined his head sheepishly. A roguish smile twitched his lips, though he still wore that slight frown between his eyes. “If you’re referring to your suggestion that I leave your house and go hang myself, well, I thought about it, but I didn’t want to waste perfectly good rope. I’m not exactly flush in the pockets to be misusing it like that.”
She could have smiled, but she didn’t want to be amused. She just wanted to know his reason for coming. “I’d be more than happy to lend you a bit of braiding, after you tell me why you’re here.”
“Generous as well as beautiful.” His hand settled on the mantel. The proprietary gesture made him seem even larger than he was. And he still hadn’t answered the question.
She frowned. “What do you want?”
He tilted his head to one side as though she were an unfamiliar specimen. “I assumed a woman as renowned for entertaining as you are would have mastered the art of small talk. Is there no room for pleasantries in your world?”
At any moment, Oliver would wake from his nap. She was being harassed by two men, each with enough power to destroy her. Now Lord Constantine was playing games. Of course she had no time for idle conversation. “I see no reason to waste words. I’m not exactly flush with time to be misusing it.”
Approval lit his eyes. “Touché.” He rested one elbow on the mantel and leaned his cheek into his hand. He regarded her from beneath heavy-lidded bedroom eyes. Oh, no. She didn’t need him to desire her. Or was this part of his game?
What could he possibly he want?
She winced. That was a name that had never belonged to her.
His voice lowered an octave. “May I call you Miss Spencer?”
“No.” She didn’t flinch this time.
He watched her a moment. She prayed he wouldn’t try the other name. The one she’d all but put from her memory.
“Elizabeth, then,” he said, his frown inescapable. “Elizabeth, I believe we have a few things to talk about.”
He hadn’t provoked feelings she’d assured herself were long-dead by using her other name. Good. Nevertheless, his tone riled her. She glared at him angrily. “I have nothing to say to you, my lord.”
“Please, call me Con. All of my family does.”
Her body froze in horror. “We are not related.”
He shrugged. “Families come in all forms. And I think I got ahead of myself.” Suddenly, he left the mantel and approached her. He dropped to one knee. She took a step back, but he grabbed her hand. “Elizabeth Spencer, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
Other books in The Naughty Girls Series: