In the first book of a captivating new series set in Georgian England, a disgraced woman hides from her marriage—for better or worse…
Sarah Pevensey had hoped her arranged marriage to St. John Sutliffe, Viscount Fairfax, could become something more. But almost before it began, it ended in a scandal that shocked London society. Accused of being a jewel thief, Sarah fled to a small fishing village to rebuild her life.
The last time St. John saw his new wife, she was nestled in the lap of a soldier, disheveled, and no longer in possession of his family’s heirloom sapphire necklace. Now, three years later, he has located Sarah and is determined she pay for her crimes. But the woman he finds is far from what he expected. Humble and hardworking, Sarah has nothing to hide from her husband—or so it appears. Yet as he attempts to woo her to uncover her secrets, St. John soon realizes that if he’s not careful, she’ll steal his heart…
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.
Author website and social media:
Just then a rogue wave broke high against the quay, driving water over its surface and thoroughly wetting them both. As she belatedly attempted to jump out of its path, Sarah’s feet slipped out from under her. She began to flail, but St. John pulled her to safety and set his other hand around her waist to steady her.
She glanced down at the churning foam and then up at him. “It would be a terrible fall.”
Seizing the opportunity the forces of nature had provided him, St. John allowed himself to look, really look, at the woman he had so reluctantly married.
Sarah was not beautiful. At least, not in any conventional way. Her features were quite unremarkable—nothing striking, not even singular. But the moonlight leant her skin an ethereal glow. Her shadowed eyes were dark as pewter, and her hair hung loose, teased and tangled by the salty wind.
No, she was not beautiful—any more than the steely waters of the north Atlantic crashing below them could be called beautiful. Mysterious, yes. Potentially treacherous.
But compelling, nonetheless.
Perhaps it would not prove such an uncongenial task to pretend to woo her, after all.
Keeping one hand at the small of her back, he lifted the other to sweep the hair from her face, stroking his fingertips along her cheek as he did so. He realized he had never seen her hair unbound before. Even on their wedding night, she had worn it in a long, tight braid. If he had taken the time to undo that braid, to find out what she hid beneath its taut twists, how differently their lives might have turned out.
“It occurs to me that the good people of Haverhythe will begin to suspect something’s amiss if we don’t spent more time in one another’s company, if we don’t show one another a little—affection,” he murmured, lowering his mouth to within an inch of hers. “After all, we have been separated for three long years.”
Whatever warmth the words had held was quickly cooled by the steely look in Sarah’s eyes.
“The good people of Haverhythe are either still in the pub or have long since taken to their beds. I’m quite sure this little display will be lost on them.” She glanced over her shoulder at the village, as if seeking confirmation of her claim. “In any event, I’m surprised you care for what they think.”
“I don’t.” With the pressure of his palm, he tilted her face so she could not avoid his gaze. “But you do. Would you rather your friends cast our reunion as fairytale or melodrama?”
“What they imagine will depend at least as much on whether you play the hero or the villain,” she tossed back. “Good night, my lord.” Slipping free of his embrace, she turned to walk back along the quay, her damp skirts clinging to her long, slender legs.