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Archive for January 29th, 2009

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London’s most notorious rogue—decadent, depraved, forbidden

The ladies of the ton won’t stop whispering about deliciously wicked Jack Dodger—once a thieving street urchin, now the wealthy owner of London’s most exclusive gentleman’s club. There’s no pleasure he hasn’t enjoyed, no debauchery the handsome scoundrel won’t provide for the lords who flock to his house of carnal intrigue.

London’s most virtuous lady—honorable, uncorrupted, and all too human

Olivia, Duchess of Lovingdon, would never associate with such a rogue. So when Jack is named sole heir to the duke’s personal possessions, the beautiful, well-bred lady is outraged. Now, Olivia is forced to share her beloved home with this despicable man.

Caught between the devil and desire

But Olivia’s icy disdain is no match for Jack’s dangerous charm. His touch awakens desire. His kiss demands surrender. She will struggle to bar Jack from her heart . . . but her body, coveting divine release, will not let her bar him from her bed.

Hello, everyone. I’m simply thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with you again and talk about my latest release Between the Devil and Desire.

When the idea of writing a series of stories with the premise that the characters were the people on whom Charles Dickens based Oliver Twist, I knew that Jack Dodger—who represents the Artful Dodger—would be intriguing. His story is actually a bit Oliver Twist, a bit Great Expectations as he has an anonymous benefactor who provides him with the funds to open his own gambling establishment. While I originally envisioned his story involving his gambling establishment, characters tend to have their own opinions regarding how their stories should be told. In Between the Devil and Desire, one of Jack’s patrons—the Duke of Lovingdon—bequeaths Jack his London residence in exchange for which Jack is to serve as guardian of the duke’s 5-year-old son. Olivia, the duke’s young widow, is outraged that this scoundrel is charged with leading her son into manhood. And Jack, who trusts no good fortune, is working hard to discover why the duke would want him to be guardian. From the outset, however, he and Olivia are at odds regarding the best way to manage the upbringing of her son and fighting a sexual attraction that both know can only lead to disaster. Jack knows that Olivia is far too good for the likes of him. He grew up on the streets, spent time in prison, is a thief when it suits him, and believes he’s destined for hell so might as well have a good time getting there. Olivia has never even fantasized about doing anything improper—but with Jack in her life, she suddenly wants to be very improper indeed.

For those of you not familiar with Oliver Twist, it’s the story of an orphan who is lost on the London streets and taken in by a man who manages a den of child thieves. This was actually quite common in the early part of the Victorian era. The first book in my Scoundrels of St. James series is In Bed With the Devil. And that book assumes that the hero is Oliver. Oliver’s good mate was the endearing Artful Dodger. Oliver Twist paints a portrait of the criminal life of children on the streets. Because my characters grew up on the streets, they have a rough exterior and while they now move about among the aristocracy they are quite different. So their backgrounds allowed me to explore another angle of the Victorian period. While I love the balls and pageantry of the aristocracy, I’m more intrigued by the common man who has to fight to make his way to the top.

I’m not the first author to take poetic license with the classics. Marsha Canham did a wonderful series on the premise that her characters were Robin Hood and his merry band of men. Judith Ivory’s The Proposition ends with her heroine talking to Bernard Shaw who will pen Pygmalion, based on the heroine’s experiences. What other stories have you read that may have reminded you of the classics?

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a hardcover copy of IN BED WITH THE DEVIL or BETWEEN THE DEVIL & DESIRE. Winner’s Choice. Good Luck! 🙂

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