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To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna Craig - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Susanna Craig 

Pub date: 4/11/2017
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. . .

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Mama laughed again, but the sound was suddenly strange to him. 
“I fear for his life, Mrs. Henderson.” 
The boy crouched lower in his hiding spot, careful not to disturb the orderly ranks 
and files of soldiers at his feet.

“Dear God in Heaven! Do you mean—?”

“I mean that if left to his own devices, my husband will raise his son in his image. 
So now, while I can, I intervene. His mother’s influence may be the only stay 
against a violent nature.”

A violent nature? Did Mama believe he was fated to turn out like Father? 
People seemed to delight in telling him how he took after the man.
In looks, certainly—he was big for his age, and dark where his mother was fair. 
Mr. Cummings insisted that must be where his quickness came from, too. 
Neither Latin nor algebra required much effort. But what if—the boy 
glanced down at the soldier still clutched in his hand—
what if that is not all I have inherited?

“When he’s sent to school, however,” Mama continued, “I will leave. 
A visit to my sister’s—an extended holiday, we shall say.” 
He had never heard his mother use that tone of voice. 
It was something more than angry, more than stubborn.

“Oh, my lady.” Mrs. Henderson clucked her tongue. “But in the meantime . . . ?”

Mama rose to her feet and crossed to the door, opening it wide. 
The sudden gust of air through the room swirled the dust on the floor at his feet. 
A sneeze threatened, tickling deep in his nostrils, 
but he pinched the bridge of his nose to keep it at bay. 
“It was kind of you to call, Mrs. Henderson.”

The sofa protested once more as the vicar’s wife stood, 
and he heard her shuffle into a curtsy. 
“I am at your service, your ladyship.” 
They left, and the boy was alone again in the dusty silence. 
He rubbed his thumb back and forth over the figure he held, 
as if it were some sort of talisman. 
When the other boys had teased little Molly Keating about her freckles, 
Mr. Cummings had told him it was a gentle- man’s duty to protect a lady.

How he wished he were a pirate captain! 
What wouldn’t he do then to keep his mother safe? 
He would whisk her away across the seven seas, take her somewhere his father 
could not harm her again.

Alas, he had no ship, no cannon, not even a cutlass. 
He shoved angrily, impotently at the sewing basket, 
which plowed into the soldiers lining the shore, breaking their ranks. 
She could leave when he did, she had said. 
But he would not be going away to school for more than two years. 
Terrible things might happen in that time. If only it were in his power to leave now.

He studied the pirate’s painted face. 
Father was fond of saying that every Bristol merchant was a pirate at heart. 
And they had ships, the boy knew. 
He had seen them once when Mama had taken him to the harbor on an outing. 
If there were pirates so near as Bristol, he could run away and join them.
He supposed Mama would worry about what had become of him. Mothers did 
worry, he knew. But she would forgive him if she were able to leave this place.

Away from his mother’s gentle guidance, he risked becoming more like his father. 
But what choice did he have?

His shoulders rounded under the weight of his decision, 
the boy began to pack up his soldiers. 
Perhaps his father had been right all along, 
for he suddenly felt far too old for such playthings. 
At the least, he would try very hard to be grown-up enough not to long for the day 
when he could come home.

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

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