Tag Archive | Susanna Craig

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: To Tempt an Heiress (Runaway Desires #2) by Susanna Craig

to tempt an heiress
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After her beloved father dies, Tempest Holderin wants nothing more than to fulfill his wish to free the slaves on their Antiguan sugar plantation. But the now wealthy woman finds herself pursued by a pack of unsavory suitors with other plans for her inheritance. To keep her from danger, her dearest friend arranges a most unconventional solution: have Tempest kidnapped and taken to safety.

Captain Andrew Corrvan has a reputation as a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard—but those on his ship know differently. He is driven by only one thing: the quest to avenge his father’s death on the high seas. Until he agrees to abduct a headstrong heiress…

If traveling for weeks—without a chaperone—isn’t enough to ruin Tempest, the desire she feels for her dark and dangerously attractive captor will do the rest. The storm brewing between them will only gather strength when they reach England, where past and present perils threaten to tear them apart—even more so than their own stubborn hearts…

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EXCERPT

Near English Harbour, Antigua
October 1796

Captain Andrew Corrvan would never claim to have always acted on the right side of the law, but there were crimes even he would not stoop to commit.

Kidnapping was one of them.

This conversation ought to have been taking place in some dark dockside alley, not in the sun-dappled sitting room of the little stone house occupied by the plantation manager at Harper’s Hill. Andrew had never met the man before today, although he knew him by reputation. Throughout Antigua, Edward Cary was talked of by those who knew him, and by many more who didn’t, as a fool. As best Andrew had been able to work out, he had earned the epithet for being sober, honest, and humane—a string of adjectives rarely, if ever, applied to overseers on West Indian sugar plantations.

As the afternoon’s exchange suggested, however, even a paragon of virtue could be corrupted by a villainous place. Why else would Cary be attempting to arrange the abduction of a wealthy young woman?

“So, the talk of valuable cargo was just a ruse to lure me here?” Andrew asked.

“Not at all,” Cary insisted with a shake of his head. “Between her father’s private fortune, which she has already inherited, and Harper’s Hill”—he swept his arm in a gesture that took in the plantation around them—“which she will inherit on her grandfather’s death, Miss Holderin is worth in excess of one hundred thousand pounds.”

Despite himself, Andrew let a low whistle escape between his teeth. The chit would be valuable cargo indeed. “And how do you benefit from sending her four thousand miles away?”

“I don’t,” Cary said, and behind that rough-voiced admission and the mournful expression that accompanied it, lay a wealth of meaning. So the man had taken a fancy to his employer’s granddaughter, had he? “She has always been like a younger sister to me,” he insisted; somehow Andrew managed to contain his scoff. “When Thomas Holderin was on his deathbed, I gave him my solemn oath I would do all in my power to look after his daughter.”

“And now you wish to be rid of the obligation.”

“I wish—” he began heatedly. But apparently deciding his own wishes were beside the point, he changed course and said instead, “I believe she will be safer in England.”

“Then book her passage on the next packet to London.” Andrew thumped his battered tricorn against his palm, preparatory to placing it on his head and taking his leave. At his feet, his shaggy gray dog rose and gave an eager wag of his tail, bored with all the talk and ready to be on his way.

“If I could, I would. I have tried many times to reason with her. But Miss Holderin is…reluctant to leave Antigua. She believes she is more than a match for the dangers the island presents.” Cary turned toward the window. “She is wrong.”

Andrew followed the other man’s gaze. Fertile fields, lush forest, and just a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea where they touched a cerulean sky. It would have been difficult to imagine a less threatening landscape, but Andrew knew well that appearances could deceive. The dangers here were legion.

“Why me?” Andrew asked after a moment, folding his arms across his chest and fixing the other man with a hard stare. “Do you know the sort of man I am?”

Unexpectedly, Cary met Andrew’s gaze with an adamant one of his own. “I do. You are said to be a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard.”

Andrew tipped his chin in satisfied agreement. He had spent ten years cultivating that reputation.

“But of course, the sort of man you are said to be might not be entirely accurate, I suppose,” Cary continued, steepling his fingers and tilting his head to the side. “Your crew tells a slightly different story, Captain.”

Despite himself, Andrew shifted slightly. The movement might have gone unobserved if not for the dog, whose ears pricked up, as if awaiting some command.

One corner of Cary’s mouth curled upward as he glanced at the mongrel. “Most of the sailors on your ship were admirably tight-lipped, rest assured,” he said. “But then I happened to make the acquaintance of a fellow called Madcombe. New to your crew, I believe.”

Andrew jerked his chin in affirmation. There was no denying Timmy Madcombe was a talker. He might have told Cary anything, and probably had.

“He seemed most grateful to find himself aboard a ship captained by what he called a ‘r’al gent,’ you will be pleased to know. ‘Good grub, a fair share, an’ no lashin’s, neither,’” Cary added, mimicking Timmy’s voice—right down to the boyish crack. “If that proves true, such a style of shipboard management would make you rather unusual among your set.” This time, Andrew was careful not to move, offering neither acknowledgment nor denial. Still, Cary seemed to read something in him. He nodded knowingly. “Yes. Madcombe’s story, and the vehemence with which the rest of your crew attempted to keep him from telling it, made me wonder whether you are quite as ruthless as you wish to seem.”

“If you are willing to take the word of that green boy, you must be desperate, indeed,” Andrew said, pushing back against Cary’s probing.

“I am.” Cary flicked his gaze up and down, taking in every detail of Andrew’s appearance. “Desperate enough to hope that in some ways at least, you are as ruthless as you look—despite any assurances I may have received to the contrary. For it will take a ruthless man to succeed.”

“I take it Miss Holderin’s is not the only resistance I can expect to encounter if I take her away.”

“Hers will be formidable,” Cary warned. “Do not underestimate it. You may be required to use some rather creative measures to get her aboard your ship.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

susanna craigA 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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susannacraigauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusannaMCraig
Web: www.susannacraig.com

To Kiss a Thief (Runaway Desires #1) by Susanna Craig

to kiss a thief'
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In this 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…

Publisher and Release Date: Lyrical Press, August 2016

Time and Setting: Georgian England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by: Heather C.

Sarah thought that her marriage to St. John would make her the happiest of women, but little did she realize that it would all quickly be snatched away from her, and she would have no idea how or why! Within a day of their nuptial ball she is accused of theft and is whisked away to a small seaside village where she is left to survive on her own. Several years later, St. John finds his wife and is determined to prove she stole from his family, but what he finds makes him question his views on Sarah and everything he has known.

The bulk of To Kiss a Thief takes place once St. John has found his wife again on the shores of a poor fishing village. There is a very short introduction which details the events that transpired on the night of the ball, and the reader will be left just as confused as Sarah about what exactly transpired. While this is sometimes confusing, it keeps the reader on the same level as Sarah, who doesn’t know what happened either, partly she was in an inebriated state, and St. John, who knows what he saw but which clearly wasn’t all it seemed at the time.

The relationship between Sarah and St. John is rocky throughout the novel. They did not know each other very well prior to their marriage and the accusations against Sarah have further pushed them apart. They don’t trust each other, they question the other’s motives and vacillate back and forth as to whether they are going to be able to have a real chance at a relationship. I loved the back and forth that occurred between these two, which was funny and real. Right up until the end I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able resolve their issues or not – and I think I would have been happy regardless of which way the book ended as it was well crafted.

The question as to whether Sarah took the expensive family necklace lingered throughout the novel and we don’t get the answer to the question until the very end of the book. I didn’t exactly predict the outcome – although I was on the right track – so it’s not entirely predictable and made sense given the events which took place during the story without being obvious. While this was the main point of conflict within the story, it wasn’t the main plotline; that would go to the romance between Sarah and St. John.

The main characters could sometimes be infuriating. Sarah was a tad too naïve at the beginning of the novel – and in some ways throughout – although she does grow and adapt to her new way of life and I really liked her by the end. St. John is a little bit all over the place. He was very willing to accept that his wife was a thief and stole the jewels, but continually questions that conviction while still holding on to it like a lifeline. He alternately wants her to be guilty and innocent, and struggles against those conflicting ideas. With that said, his conflict kept him an interesting character.

I was very satisfied with this novel as there was an excellent mix of romance, a little intrigue, action, and character development. To Kiss a Thief was a well-written and evenly balanced read and I am excited to see what comes next from this author.

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: To Kiss a Thief (Runaway Desires #1) by Susanna Craig

to kiss a thief'

Purchase Now from Amazon

In this 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…

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EXCERPT

Mayfair, June 1793

Sarah Pevensey Sutliffe had never before noticed how much light was cast by candles thrust into a darkened room.

It seemed two wax tapers were more than sufficient to illuminate her total humiliation.

As the library filled with light and people, Sarah leapt to her feet and immediately made two more regrettable discoveries.

First, the glass of wine she had drunk—or had it been two glasses?—made the floor pitch rather alarmingly, and second, her gown felt oddly loose about the bodice. Clutching the ivory silk to her breast with one hand, she waved the other behind her back, searching for something against which she might steady herself.

But Captain Brice, on whose knees she had been so precariously perched just moments before, was no longer within arm’s reach. He had stood in the presence of ladies.

The Marchioness of Estley. The Honorable Miss Eliza Harrington. Mama.

Ladies—among whom she was no longer to be classed, if the expressions on the faces now confronting her were any indication.

Five sets of eyes took in the disorder of her gown and the darkness of the library and drew the inevitable conclusion. Only Mama looked away, her face turned into Papa’s shoulder. Beside Sarah’s parents stood her father-in-law, the Marquess of Estley, a thundercloud darkening his brow. Lady Estley’s wide eyes darted to and from the fan she was fiddling with, as if she had witnessed some horrific accident and was trying to make herself look away. Next to the marchioness, Miss Harrington clutched the brass candelabra in a steady hand; the flickering candlelight danced across her deep red curls, flame against fire.

Sarah’s startled gaze fell last on the impassive face of St. John Sutliffe, Viscount Fairfax. Her husband of just two weeks. His pale blue eyes betrayed not even a glimmer of surprise.

It had only just occurred to her to wonder what could have brought them all there at once when Captain Brice spoke. “Lady Fairfax felt a bit faint. I was merely offering her some assistance,” he drawled in a tone that quite clearly said he expected no one to believe such a preposterous tale.

Horrified that she had allowed Captain Brice to set the tone of her defense, Sarah closed her eyes. But rather than settling her nerves, she was instantly assaulted by the memory of the scene that had sent her scurrying for safety.

The leaf-screened alcove outside the ballroom. Eliza Harrington’s long, pale fingers spread possessively over her husband’s chest. Plump red lips curled in a wicked smile against his ear. Whispered words Sarah longed to unhear.

“Your father may have made you marry her, Fairfax. But he cannot make you do more.”

“No. She will never have my heart.” Her husband’s hand coming up to clasp Eliza’s where it lay. “And you know why.”

A throaty, suggestive laugh. “I do.”

Captain Brice had found Sarah fumbling blindly with the stubborn knob on the library door, although it had proved to be unlocked. The wine he had offered had been cool and crisp, a balm to her hot, angry tears. His whispered consolations had been more welcome still. “Who would dare to distress the bride at her nuptial ball?” he had murmured, drawing her against the breadth of a shoulder made somehow broader by his regimentals.

Sarah jerked herself back to the present and met her husband’s eyes. She suffered no illusions that his indiscretions would excuse her own. As their eyes locked in mutual distrust, her field of vision narrowed and everyone else fell away. For a moment, it was just the two of them. She stretched out her hand, grasping for words of explanation. “My lord, I—.” But the wine seemed to have hobbled her normally quick tongue.

“Lady Fairfax.” So cold, so formal. Had she ever heard his voice sound otherwise?

“This is not what it seems, my lord,” she insisted. “I swear I am innocent.”

St. John cut his gaze away.

Forgetting the state of her gown, Sarah took a step toward him. Her slipper caught the hem and jerked the neckline even lower.

“Innocent?” Lord Estley’s eyes—ice blue, like his son’s, and capable of freezing the object of their gaze with a single glance—darted over her rumpled skirts and gaping bodice. “Not precisely the word I would have chosen.”

Sarah felt a traitorous blush stain her cheeks.

Just then, Miss Harrington whispered something in the Marchioness of Estley’s ear. That lady’s eyes grew wider still, and she gave a soft, shrill sort of scream. “My sapphires!”

Sarah swept her hand across her throat, expecting to brush against the heavy, old-fashioned collar of gems her father-in-law had placed on her neck earlier that evening, proof to the dazzling assemblage of titles to which he had been about to introduce her that this merchant’s daughter was now one of their own. “Presented to my ancestor by Queen Elizabeth herself,” Lord Estley had said proudly, drawing her attention to a portrait of a man in doublet and hose, posed with one foot on a globe and a cache of blue gems spilling from his hand. “Only a Sutliffe lady wears these jewels.”

Sarah’s icy fingertips encountered nothing but an expanse of gooseflesh.

“Those sapphires have been in my family for eight generations. Where are they?”

Try as she might, she could not remember when she had felt the gems last.

GIVEAWAY

ENTER TO WIN AN eCOPY OF TO KISS A THIEF. THE GIVEAWAY IS OPEN FOR SEVEN DAYS AND THE WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED SHORTLY AFTER THE CLOSING DATE.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

susanna craigA 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. Visit her at www.susannacraig.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susannacraigauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusannaMCraig