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She might look like an angel...
The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she's destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn't be more infamous...or less interested.
...but it takes a devil to know one...
A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?
...and Heaven has never been hotter.
When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart...and be brought to his knees by love.
When I set out to write any book, I consider it my job to draw my hero and heroine closer and closer, until they find each other almost torturously irresistible….then WHAM! Drive them what seems like irrevocably apart and make them earn that happily ever after. Take that, Ian and Tansy! I am the puppet master! (cue evil laughter). And for that happily-ever-after to feel truly satisfying to the reader, that barrier to love they overcome must be pretty profound. IN BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND IAN EVERSEA, there’s a powerful external barrier (which I’ll talk about in a minute), but the bigger, and almost insurmountable one is the gulf between what Ian and Tansy think they want…and what they really want.
Tansy even made a list of what she wants, and it in no way resembles Ian. When she arrives in Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, it’s with the understanding that the Duke of Falconbridge will fulfill the promise he made long ago to Tansy’s father: he’ll ensure she makes a spectacular marriage to someone who meets his approval. This suits Tansy just fine: she’s an orphan, and what she wants more than anything in the world is to love and be loved, to belong to someone and something again, to put down roots and have her own family. She wants to be married. According to her list, she’s looking for someone of fine moral character, intelligence (but not too much of that), and kindness, among other things.
Ian, on the other hand, is a renowned rogue, whom readers of the Pennyroyal Green series last met as he was being ushered out the window of the Duke of Falconbridge’s erstwhile fiancee at gunpoint, at midnight, naked, in WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE. And what Ian wants is to never be leg-shackled. The very notion makes him shudder. Why on earth should he succumb to matrimony when seduction is so easy? But he returned from the war with a restlessness he can’t seem to assuage through bed-hopping, so he plans to leave Pennyroyal Green to leave on a world tour.
In other words, he’s the last person on the planet of whom the duke would ever approve.
Which doesn’t seem like a problem, given that Ian at first thinks Tansy is everything he finds dull. Too innocent, too young. Or, as he says: “Very pretty and vapid and uninteresting. An awkward ingenue. Ought to excel at being a spoiled wife of a rich aristocrat. And no doubt will be given the opportunity to be one soon enough.”
But it takes a rogue to know one. And when the alleged wide-eyed innocent “wallflower” Tansy Danforth begins cutting a swath through Sussex, stealing hearts and beaux, Ian suspects there’s more to her than everyone else suspects, and he calls her on her game before someone he loves (like his sister Olivia) can get hurt. Sparks fly during that collision of wills.
And that’s when he begins to discover the real Tansy, and they each begin to suspect her recklessness has a source very similar to his own restlessness: she’s lonely and lost. His censure begins to evolve int something that unnerves the devil out of him—something fiercely protective and tender. And his formidable foe the Duke of Falconbridge is nothing compared to the foe Ian sees in the mirror every morning: he might have met the one woman who can bring him to his knees, but he won’t go down without a fight.
Ah, yes. Driving them together, driving them apart, and then rewarding them for all that angst with a happy ending…It’s good to be puppet master.
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