Archive for August 16th, 2013

An Unexpected GiftKnown only as Lazarus to the band of cutthroats and thieves he leads, William Prescott will do anything to find his missing sister, even blackmail a fragile young woman into helping him. But he never plans to fall in love with this mysterious woman with a troubled past.

Haunted by the memories of war, Olivia St. Germaine wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But when her brother, a doctor, suddenly leaves town without a word, she is forced to use her medical knowledge to help an injured man who puts her life in danger. Can she keep herself safe as she tends Lazarus, or is her heart more vulnerable than she realizes?





When I first discovered romance novels in my late teens, I loved the books that had the “moody & broody” hero. While I enjoyed the lighter comedic stories, I was always drawn to stories where the hero was haunted in some way by his past. He could have been tortured by things he suffered through or by guilt or regret over things he did.


I don’t want to give the impression that romance novels inspired my infatuation with tortured heroes. It started long before then. When we were children (9 & 12), my brother would leave his X-Men comic books lying around and I would read them whenever I had the chance. If any of you are familiar with the Marvel comic book series, you know that a great number of the characters in the X-Men universe have haunted pasts. But the character I was drawn to the most was James Logan otherwise known as Wolverine. (This was, of course, long before Hugh Jackman first brought Wolverine to life in the X-Men movie. Although I’d be happy to just watch Hugh breathe, but that’s a subject for another post.)


For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Wolverine is tortured by a past he can barely remember, by the things he’s done, people he’s killed. And he’s killed a lot of people, but he will go out of his way to right a wrong or help an innocent. You could say he has his own moral code, and while he hasn’t always acted honorably and has done things that aren’t legal, he believes he did them for the right reasons or because of a sense of justice.


Once I learned there was a comic book just about him, where he was the main character and not a minor character among a cast of many, my allowance stopped being spent on Barbie and her various accessories. Instead I went to the comic book store with my brother and bought every issue of Wolverine I could get my hands on.  I collected the comics for years. I still have a number of them, all lovingly packed in acid free envelopes, in a trunk in the attic.


To this day, thirty years later, I can’t explain what it was about Wolverine that fascinated me. Could it be that he seemed like a knight in shining armor, tarnished though it was, to a young, impressionable girl? Or was it because he was haunted by all of the terrible things he did and lived the life of a loner? I can’t say for certain.


The strange thing is when I was writing my novella, The Muse, a secondary character named Lazarus showed up on the page very similar to Wolverine.  He was a loner, he was fiercely protective of the innocent, and he’d killed in the name of justice. After I finished writing The Muse, Lazarus lingered in my mind. Pieces of his story came out of nowhere, bits of dialogue, snippets of scenes. I knew then that I needed to write his story.


Perhaps reading all those comic books and romance novels with haunted heroes was a form of research in writing my own tortured hero, I just didn’t know it at the time.




“If you don’t leave, I shall have Jennings call the constable.” Olivia headed for the door.


“And how will you accomplish that?”


She halted in mid-step.


“Yes, I know there are no servants in residence.” Lazarus sauntered closer. “Did you play the benevolent mistress and give them the night off?”


Eager to keep him at a distance, she scooted around him and stood at the end of the bed. “What do you want?”


“What do you think I want?”


“Why don’t we dispense with the games, and you just tell me?”


Lazarus closed the space between them in two strides. He pushed her backward onto the bed. Olivia bounced against the soft mattress. She dug her elbows into the thick counterpane in an effort to scramble backward away from him.


Grabbing her ankles, he pulled her toward him in one quick jerk. He leaned over her. His hand closed over her hip, freezing her in place. The warmth of his hand burned through her clothes to her skin.


Feeling truly terrified for the first time since he’d announced his presence, she searched his gaze for some kind of sign this was all a great joke. No, it was no game. His eyes were as hard and cold as glass. “What do you want?” she repeated, her voice a near whisper.


“Stop asking questions about me. Forget you ever heard the name Lazarus.”



Buy Links:


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