I love history, as anyone who knows me will tell you—usually as a whispered warning not to get me started on the topic! I’m particularly fascinated by the way people adapt to the changing expectations of society, although our very human needs and desires haven’t seemed to change through time. The earliest tales of humanity have themes we’re still writing about—lust for power and money, the ability of desire to overcome good sense, the search for self, just to name a few.
And, of course, the need for love and acceptance.
That last is infinitely captivating to me. If there is a theme in my books, I would say it’s that universal desire to find the person who will accept you—love you—exactly the way you are. No matter the warts, past, quirks and shortcomings every person has. Sometimes I find myself watching couples and making up stories as to why they are perfect for each other. The awkward guy in the buttoned-up shirt is an introvert that keeps the bubbly, giggling cutie grounded, while she’s a goodtime girl that stops him from shutting himself away from the world. Or maybe he’s the only one who knows the deep, dark secret hidden beneath her laughter—the only one she can trust not to tell, and to hold her on those nights it seems too much to bear.
If there is one thing I hope readers take away from my books, whether contemporary, historical or fantasy, it is that everyone deserves acceptance and love. In my Regency-set erotic romance, Breaking Free, society says Claire isn’t deserving of either. Thankfully the hero, Xavier, begs to differ. Now, if he can just convince Claire…
Journeys Through Seduction
For Claire Montjoye, widowhood is no release from scandal. Used as sexual currency by her libertine husband, she longs for a life of quiet respectability. But the ton’s disapproval ensures she will never be truly accepted—and any man openly seeking her company will be tainted.
When Xavier Westbourne pulls her away from peril, his touch fills her with yearning for unattainable dreams. Accepting his invitation to the opera is not only unwise for him, but dangerous to her lonely heart. But perhaps taking him as a lover will be enough.
Xavier knows propriety as a cold, brutal master. Having endured one loveless marriage, he refuses to repeat the mistake, even for his motherless son. Yet Claire easily breaks through his wall of reserve, and her offer of private instruction in the sexual arts is irresistible.
Consumed by passion, overwhelmed by ecstasy, they discover something neither thought existed—the freedom to open their hearts. Yet not all the horrors of the past are content to remain hidden by the mists of time. And suddenly their very survival depends on trusting their love really can conquer all.
“What is this room Claire?”
He did not know why it was important for him to ask, but suddenly it was. He recognized his transience in her life, realized the gift she offered him, yet felt a strange reluctance to share her with the ghosts of her past.
Claire’s chin rose at an almost combative angle, her eyes shuttered against his intrusion, and he thought she would refuse to answer, or ask him to leave. Then her face softened and one shoulder shrugged in a self-conscious motion.
“It is a play room, a place where fantasies can come to life. It was here I began to truly understand myself, to learn what I was, and what I could be when necessary.”
She looked around, as if seeing it for the first time, and smiled.
“There is nothing to fear here, for it is a different world from that which exists outside the doors. Once it was my world, and now…” she turned in a circle, arms flung wide, “…I give it to you.”
There was a forced note to her explanation, which did little to soothe the final misgivings he harboured. But somehow they faded when she spoke again, an odd mixture of confidence and hesitancy in her voice.
“I promise, if you decide to return after tonight, this room will be completely ready for you. I will see to it tomorrow, but tonight…” she shrugged and smiled, “…tonight the bed cannot be slept in and I am not in the mood to wait. There is something I long to do, something perhaps selfish, although I hope it will be pleasurable for you. Will you indulge me, Xavier?”
Her low voice, flushed cheeks and gleaming eyes begged for his trust. Wordless, rooted to the spot, he found the strength to nod, once, and her smile lit up the room.
Time fractured, stretched and contracted in turns, each movement of her approach taking a year, but each touch of her fingers far too fleeting.
Caresses flowed from her naturally. The soft stroke of his cheek with the back of her hand, his lower lip with the pad of her thumb, were as inevitable as sunlight, or rain. The passage of her hands down his neck to his chest left a river of heat in their wake. Sensitized to the lightest contact, even her easing of the evening coat and waistcoat off his shoulders and releasing his suspenders caused spasms of desire. When she found his nipples through the thin lawn shirt, made a sound of pleasure at the back of her throat as they hardened beneath her fingers, it was as intimate as a kiss.
Pushing him back against the wall, her fingers cupped the length of his erection. The heat of her palm penetrated through the fabric. Arching into her hand, desperate for more, he moaned.
Claire laughed then. A sultry, siren’s laugh, filled with joy, captivating. He reached for her, wanting to touch her as intimately as she touched him, but she grasped his hands, raising them to place a soft kiss on each before tugging them down to his sides.
“Tonight, just let me touch you, Xavier.”