TO SEDUCE A STRANGER
by Susanna Craig
Pub date: 4/11/2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Desire waylays the plans of a man with a mysterious past and a woman with an uncertain future, in Susanna Craig’s unforgettable series set in Georgian England.
After her much older husband dies—leaving her his fortune—Charlotte Blakemore finds herself at the mercy of her stepson, who vows to contest the will and destroy her life. With nowhere to turn and no one to help her, she embarks on an elaborate ruse—only to find herself stranded on the way to London. . .
More than twenty years in the West Indies have hardened Edward Cary, but not enough to abandon a helpless woman at a roadside inn—especially one as disarmingly beautiful as Charlotte. He takes her with him to the Gloucestershire estate he is determined to restore, though he is suspicious of every word that falls from her distractingly lush lips.
As far as Charlotte knows, Edward is nothing more than a steward, and there’s no reason to reveal his noble birth until he can right his father’s wrongs. Acting as husband and wife will keep people in the village from asking questions that neither Charlotte nor Edward are willing to answer. But the game they’re each determined to play has rules that beg to broken, when the passion between them threatens to uncover the truth—for better or worse. . .
When I began mapping out the Runaway Desires series, I imagined Edward Cary, the hero of To Seduce a Stranger, as its moral center. As we learn in To Kiss a Thief, Edward is the sort who proves that one man can make a difference in the world around him. And in To Tempt an Heiress, we’re told that Edward is “sober, honest, and humane.” Without question, he’s a good man.
But he’s also been keeping a dark secret for most of his life.
To Seduce a Stranger marks Edward’s return to England to claim both his true identity and his inheritance. He certainly doesn’t need the added complication of a desirable woman. Enter Charlotte, who has a few secrets of her own. Their performance as husband and wife tests Edward’s resolve at every turn.
One of my inspirations when writing this story was the BBC/PBS series, Poldark—I mean, who wouldn’t be inspired by a shirtless Aidan Turner wielding a scythe? Plus, the show beautifully captures the desperate circumstances of many at the close of the eighteenth century, as well as the dramatic scenery of Britain’s West Country, both important elements of To Seduce a Stranger. Like Edward, Ross Poldark (played by Turner) returns from abroad to find everything in turmoil. The estate he left behind has fallen into ruin, but he doesn’t shy away from the hard work that must be done to restore it. And just as Ross has Demelza (played by Eleanor Tomlinson) to help him, Edward has Charlotte. In each case, she might be entirely the wrong sort of woman for our hero, but sometimes, the wrong choice turns out to be oh-so-right!
A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat