It’s RELEASE DAY for
ONLY SEDUCTION WILL DO!!
I’m so very happy to be releasing book 4 of The House of Pleasure series! I now have all five books in the series released as indie titles, with new covers that reflect the steamy nature of the books.
Only Seduction Will Do relates intricately to the three previous books before it, although it can be read as a stand alone novel. The hero is Jack Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Manning, the heroine is Miss Alethea Forsythe, a spirited woman who has failed to secure a husband after two Seasons. Jack and Alethea actually meet (or their meeting is reported) in the first book, Only Scandal Will Do, but the two only finally come together on stage in their book, with a startling interview that changes them both.
I hope you enjoy Only Seduction Will Do as much as I have. (I remember vividly writing the scene between Jack and his brother-in-law in the huge lobby of The Swan Hotel at Disney World during an RWA conference, laughing my butt off as I wrote it.)
Alethea Forsythe has been desperately in love with the Earl of Manning since they first met last summer and although the earl has made it clear he doesn’t return her regard, Alethea fights to keep her dreams of him alive. However, in a moment of despair, she is seduced by a married man and, when she discovers she is with child, fears she is now undone. With her reputation about to be ruined, she has the choice of accepting an arranged marriage to a stranger or taking matters into her own capable hands.
Jack Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Manning, is out enjoying a little Christmas revelry with friends—which ends in a visit to The House of Pleasure. After an unusual encounter there, he winds his way home to discover a late night summons to Miss Forsythe’s home. His evening becomes even more bizarre when the lady in question throws herself on his mercy and begs he take her to wife. At twenty-three, Jack has many more wild oats to sow, but his innate sense of honor will not allow him to shirk the duty of a gentleman.
Radiantly happy, Alethea vows to be an exemplary wife to Jack, however, his acceptance of her proposal comes with its own set of unexpected conditions. In exchange for the protection of his name, Jack vows his marriage to Alethea will be in name only. Desperate to touch her husband’s heart, Alethea battles to win his trust and love. When a trial by fire tests her love and Jack’s honor, will the passion that suddenly blazes between them temper their love or consume them?
Only Seduction Will Do is now available for purchase on Amazon! Click this link.
Intrigued by Miss Forsythe’s obvious distress, his inner knight sought to rescue this damsel as well. “Can you tell me the circumstances whereby you must marry?”
A deep blush returned to her cheeks, and she pressed the handkerchief there. “I fear I cannot reveal the reason, my lord, unless you agree to accept my proposal.”
“And I cannot accept it without further information, Miss Forsythe. You must see that,” Jack snapped. Did she take him for a fool to jump at her offer without a word of explanation?
“I understand that, my lord.” Her tone had hardened, as had her eyes. They glittered in the firelight like a pair of faceted sapphires. “However, I do have a reputation to maintain.”
“And you believe I would be indiscreet should you place your confidence in me, Miss Forsythe?” The temerity of the chit. Jack shot to his feet. “This alone makes it obvious we would not suit as a couple. Trust, I gather, is one of the most basic foundations of marriage. One that we do not seem to possess between us. I will wish you a good evening.” A curt bow and he headed for the door. Time wasted save for Braeton’s excellent whiskey.
“I am increasing.” The whisper of sound caught Jack with his hand on the door latch.
He whirled back toward her. “I beg your pardon?”
She had bent forward, her back bowed, her head on her knees, her entire body shaking with silent sobs.
Releasing the handle, he strode back to her, then stopped abruptly. At a loss, he shifted from one booted foot to the other, trying to think of something to say. Poor Braeton. No wonder he had looked haunted. For such a thing to happen to a woman under his protection could prove a blot on his reputation not easily erased in the ton’s eyes.
Not to mention the cost to Miss Forsythe herself. At the merest breath of such a scandal, her reputation would be in tatters. Circumstances mattered not at all. If she married the father, however… “I will not insult your intelligence by asking if the father knows. If you have come to me, he is obviously dead.”
Gasping in a breath, Miss Forsythe raised her tear-stained face to him and shook her head. “No, not dead.”
“He is married.”
Jack hissed and sat hard opposite her. Gently, he took her hand. “Did he assault you? I assure you, if that is so, I will make it my business to see this man dance on the end of my sword.”
“No!” She clung to his hand with chilly fingers, as ferociously as if to stop him this moment from going to the duel. “You must not endanger your life because of my folly.”
“Your folly?” His fingers became as cold as hers. She had willingly lain with a married man? The narrow respect he’d had for Miss Forsythe vanished like the mist in the dawn’s light.
“I…I was—” She wiped her tears and tossed back coppery hair that had begun to straggle into her face.
It should have made her look more forlorn, more vulnerable. It did not.
“He approached me to comfort me and…in a moment of weakness I succumbed to his advances.” Haunted eyes stared straight into his soul. “There is no assault to be avenged, my lord.”
So, there it was. She had frolicked and now must pay the price. “Have you informed this man of the consequences of your weakness? He is as much if not more at fault for these wretched circumstances. Perhaps he might take the child after it is born.”
“No.” Miss Forsythe shook her head vehemently. “There is nothing he could do. I have no intention of telling him anything, now or ever. I will bear this shame as best I can myself.” She eyed Jack, a sliver of hope in her face. “Unless you can find it in your heart to keep me from it, my lord. That is why I begged my cousin to allow me to present my plea myself.” She hung her head, her voice low. “Ever since we met you have been kind to me. You more than any other gentleman of my acquaintance have shown me respect and compassion.” She dropped her voice to the barest of whispers. “I would be a good wife to you, I promise.”
Jack sank back into the chair, his head reeling with Miss Forsythe’s confidences. Trust him she must, implicitly, to have confessed so much to a man she barely knew outside the ballroom. Yet even on such short acquaintance she had read him right. He could no more divulge her story than he could his sister’s disgrace in March. This woman’s secret was safe with him. Regrettably, he could do little more than offer his sympathy and silence. “I am aware of the great trust you have placed in me, Miss Forsythe, and you may be assured my silence on this matter will be absolute. Unfortunately, I will be unable to assist you further than offering my sword in revenge or swearing my complete silence on the matter.”
Her face paled to the sickly color of new cheese. She clutched the chair once more to steady herself. “You will not marry me?”
Sadly, he shook his head, suddenly touched by her drooping countenance as hope fled. “I cannot. I am already betrothed to another.”
Now, for the party aspect of my post!!!
Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite thing to do for celebrations is! I will choose a winner at random and send them a $20 Amazon gift card. (Giveaway will run thru next Tuesday. The winner will be announced on my blog next Wednesday.)
Mine is to have cake and a cookout (indoor grill in the winter). So here’s my cake to celebrate my book’s birthday!
Thank you so much for coming by to help me celebrate
Only Seduction Will Do‘s birthday!
THE HOUSE OF PLEASURE SERIES