I fell in love for the first time when I was nine years old, and it proved to be a love affair that has lasted the rest of my life.
At school, we were doing a project on tea and coffee. We looked at tea production, the botany and how it is sold. Then we did the same for coffee. After that, we looked at the history of tea and coffee.
That was when I fell in love.
We had a slide show, always a fun thing, because we had to go into the hall and use the slide projector there. And of course, it was in the dark, so we could giggle and play games. I went to a junior school with 75 pupils. There were 14 people in my class. So we had plenty of room. I sat next to my best friend Beverley, and the teacher started her talk. She put up a picture of a coffee house.
And I fell deeply in love. That was the only way I can explain it. My life changed right then and there. I don’t even know what it was about the picture, since it was a simple engraving. But I wanted it, wanted to be there, and to know as much as I could about the people, how they lived and why they lived that way. I went home and started reading.
We had a big house and no money, so my mother used to go to auction rooms and buy books by the tea-chest full. We had huge bookcases that sold cheaply, because most houses were too small to acommodate them, but they fit fine in our cavernous spaces. I gathered all the books I could find on the Georgian era, and set them next to my precious Dickens collection and my Enid Blyton books. However tiny the print, however hard the words, I read those books, and then looked around for more. I was a member of the library. They thought I was strange, because I’d get my Enid Blytons and then go to the adult part and gather books by the like of Macauley. But I’ve never much cared what other people thought. I went home and read.
When I was 13, I discovered Georgette Heyer. She wrote 41 Regency romances, and I read them all. I still have all 41, because I bought my own copies. However, since I’d started on the history first, I never confused Heyer’s books with the “real” Regency era, which was much more complex and fascinating. Not to mention naughty. If Heyer was all anyone read, they’d think the era was populated by well-behaved perfect ladies and gentlemen, which was about as far from the truth as anyone could get!
Eventually my main interest centered on the period before then, mid-century. Clothes were beautiful, the politics was gorgeous, and oh, did these people know how to live! They crammed every minute of their lives with experiences, and learning, gobbling up everything that came their way. By this era most people could read, and that led to an explosion in printed matter, from cheap broadsheets sold in the streets to elaborate, leather-bound tomes. The three volume novel came into existence, taking everyone by storm. Johnson wrote his Dictionary. Law reform began to take hold, so did the movement to abolish slavery (yes, that early!). The King Over The Water was still a potent threat. People began to travel more, as the roads became better and vehicles improved. The age of organised crime began, specifically in the areas of smuggling, poaching and counterfeiting. It was the true beginning of the modern era, when people started to think differently to the way they thought before, reflected by the philosophers of the age.
I read the novels of the period, the newspapers, the scurrilous literary works. I studied the seedier side of life, the way poor people lived, the demi-monde, the things people did for a living. I discovered that in this era women could, and did, have their own businesses, some of them quite substantial. I wrote them down.
Then I started writing my own version. I took people who had an interesting facet to their lives, one that would be complicated by their falling in love. And I made them fall in love with each other. That was fun.
An Excerpt from Seducing Laura by Lynne Connolly
“Poor Laura!” he said, entirely in sympathy with her. She let his familiar use of her Christian name pass without comment. “What you must have gone through!”
“Yes, but I had my family. A real strength, when I needed protecting. I owe them a great deal.”
He looked at her without speaking for a few minutes. Then he said, “They must have been. I wish I’d been here!”
Her heart beat a little faster. “So do I, my friend.”
One hand gripped the arm of his chair until the knuckles showed white. Abruptly, he stood up, went over to the window, then turned around.
His expression made her breath catch in her throat, though she told herself sternly, she couldn’t imagine why. True, his gaze was warmer than she was accustomed to seeing in company. Laura suddenly felt the impropriety of their situation, alone, unchaperoned, and tension prickled her spine. She’d invited this intimate conversation by inviting him in. Had she gone too far? Did she want more?
Moving over to where she sat, he held out his hand, and without thinking, she placed her own in it. He drew her to her feet and gazed at her, warmth filling his light eyes until she felt herself flush.
Then he drew her closer and bent his head. Laura knew what was coming, but she didn’t try to pull away. If this was all she would know of him, then it might warm her lonely bed in the time ahead. It could not be wrong.
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Eight Scandalous Tales of Love & Seduction
Eight Scandalous Tales of Love & Seduction
Through the ages, where there has been society there have always been norms and, conversely, scandals when love gets in the way of propriety.
From the ancient Celts to medieval Cornwall, from Regency and Victorian England to the American west after the War Between the States, eight stories by multi-published, bestselling authors explore the triumphs of love between a man and a woman—even scandalous love—over what’s considered “proper” in their time.
Wilder’s Thief by USA Today bestseller, Josie Jax
Robbing a bank wasn’t what reformed pickpocket Rachel Conroy had in mind. Yet when the lyin’ banker entangles her in one helluva financial fix, she finds herself in the bank of Diamond Bluff, Missouri, disguised as a lad and holding a gun on an unfamiliar teller. But the handsome man is so distracting she can’t keep her sex-addled brain on the task at hand—until he threatens to turn her over to the authorities to be hanged if she doesn’t return the money.
When village newcomer and winery owner Dierck Wilder mans his uncle’s small-town bank for a few fateful moments, he’s suddenly staring down the barrel of a revolver. His life veers off on a tumultuous path after he pursues the robber and uncovers a sexy diamond in the rough. Now to unearth the truth and tame Wilder’s bandit…
Aphrodite’s Necklace by Anh Leod
Exiled by her husband to staid, Victorian England, the goddess Aphrodite is determined to spice up life for a mortal couple by giving them a magic necklace that opens their minds and hearts to passion. Can she teach innocents to delight in sensual love?
Emily Rogers is in the marriage mart, but once the necklace is in her hands, she enlists William Coxe, her family butler, to help find its owner. As Aphrodite intended when she dropped the priceless piece at a ball held in Emily’s home, desire overwhelms Emily—and also William, whom Emily’s parents would never countenance her marrying.
Good sense prevails when the two return the necklace to the goddess, but by this time love has caught the lovers in what seems an impossible situation. Can improper love survive the loss of Aphrodite's necklace? Only with the goddess’s help can they find a way toward lasting happiness.
Madamoiselle Makes a Match by Kate Rothwell
An original novella, never before published!
Victorian virgins meet at an inn.
In a village where work is hard to find, virtuous Sally must at last “entertain men” or lose her job at the local inn. The young man she agrees to entertain is Jasper, a visiting gentleman who’s appalled that he’d accidentally forced Sally into this predicament. Yet despite their peculiar meeting and the enormous differences in class and education, the maid and gentleman discover passion and something even more precious, intimacy. Their lovely interlude is interrupted, reality intrudes, and Sally faces another choice…
Seducing Laura, a Regency novel by bestselling British author, Lynne Connolly
When a fortune hunter attempts to steal her niece’s heart, Laura Wickenham makes every effort to prevent the ill-fated match. But the appearance of charismatic Ross Stansfield, the fortune hunter’s handsome uncle, throws her off balance. Instantaneous and combustible, their attraction makes her question her decision never to love again. When the young couple elopes, Laura sets out in pursuit, and fearing for her safety, Ross loses no time chasing her. Thrown closely together, their attraction becomes impossible to resist.
Ordered to find a master spy in the maelstrom of Regency London, Ross finds duty is a distraction any time he’s near Laura. He can’t make his need for her real until he discovers which of her suitors is a threat to Britain. As desire flares between the two, a world of spies and family scandal threatened to thwart a lifetime of happiness.
The Brass Octopus by Maeve Alpin
Spinster Librarian Piety Plunkett is happy alone with her books, until her sister transforms her with a bras octopus beautifying machine. With her new look, the librarian catches the lusty attentions of a notorious rogue. Blake Blackmore enjoys the favors of beautiful women from the brothels of London to high society's most fashionable debutantes, but only the spinster librarian consumes his mind night and day. Piety insists she will not wed but devote her life to her position as head librarian.
Blake takes matters into his own hands. In three passion filled lessons, he tutors Piety in carnal pleasure. Now that she is sharing her body, instead of just her books, Piety is shocked yet pleased at how naughty she can be. But if anyone finds out about what goes on in the library after closing time her reputation would be ruined. Is that Blake' ultimate plan?
Beneath a Cornish Moon by Ann Jacobs
A dying man's last wish: Protect Lea. Make her your bride.
Marrying the lovely, sensual Lea will be no hardship for Alain, Earl of St. Vincent. Keeping her safe may be another matter, for a curse lies upon the St. Vincent lands.
Unless Alain can convince Lea to join with him in the fertility rites of the Winter Solstice, her life and his lands may be forfeit.
Alain's dark passions seduce Lea's heart and body, but it will take more than passion to bring St. Vincent back from the dark side of the moon.
Timeless Voyage by Cornelia Amiri
As the pirate Anwen, presses her dagger against the throat of, Kaeso, her Roman captive, he s captivated by dreams of a woman he loved in a previous life, the mirror image of Anwen. Can Anwen and Kaeso steer their timeless voyage to a happy destiny or will they be robbed of love again?
As the Celtic pirate, Anwen, presses her hard iron dagger against a Roman's throat, memories of fated lovers, druids and sacrifice, stay her hand.
Wooing the Librarian by Jane Leopold Quinn
After a spectacularly failed romance left her devastated, all Isis Garrett wants is to start her library in this California town. The last thing she wants is another man, not even the handsome preacher who offers his church for her books.
Pres MacKay is starting a new life as a preacher. He can’t hide his attraction to the sweetly rounded new librarian even as she pushes him away. Can he discover the way into her closed heart and prove to her he’s one of the good guys?
Pres isn’t about to give up on Isis, though. The question is can she forget the pain of the past and see a future with him?
Books will also be available at barnesandnoble.com and iTunes (Apple), but buy links are not yet available for them.