My first novel, Pure of Heart, starts during the French Revolution where Contesse, an English woman adopted by a French Bourgeoisie as a young girl (Gasp!) embarks on a journey throughout the English countryside after her adoptive father's death at the Bastille to find her familial roots. Contesse is special--she has albinism, having been shunned by her people years ago, she's not very trusting--of anyone. Her "Papa" was her entire world, and his death nearly crushes her. In his will, her Papa begs her to embark on an adventure to find her ancestral roots, and Contesse has no choice but to follow his wishes.
Upon crossing the Channel, Contesse meets Eric McEwan, an aspiring surgeon, when he nurses her back to health in London after a bout of travel sickness. In the midst of falling in love with the enchanting French girl, Eric has his own set of troubles with his domineering grandfather and father. He can never seem to please either of his patriarchs, and after being expelled from Cambridge medical school for practicing without proper licensure, he is cast out by his family. However, fate always intervenes, and Eric finds himself aiding Contesse on her journey to the northernmost depths of the England.
To make matters more interesting, Contesse is escorted to her ancestral home by two rather "unique" individuals: Madame Claire Carmadie, an old druidic woman (read--pagan, not paranormal) who knows and keeps secrets and Talon Barberry, a Romani man (Gypsy for those who aren't familiar with the term) familiar with the terrain. Along the way, Contesse and Eric discover the truth, leading to some shocking revelations about life, family, and love. Will Contesse truly be able to overcome her hidden past to marry the man who saved her life?
In my second novel, Pure Temptation, I continue this series in a different way: after writing Pure of Heart, I fell in love with my secondary character, Talon Barberry, and I decided he needed his happily ever after as well. His story begins about five years after leading the adventure with Contesse and Eric, and this story is more of a Historical Romance with Suspense. Talon finds himself bored, tired of his Romani father's expectations to take over the family's horse-breeding operations that the Barberry's have done for centuries. Setting out to find his own way in the world, Talon is hired by a radical Jacobin Frenchman to travel to the West Indies and kidnap the daughter of a prominent New Orleanian politician.
By nature, Talon is a suspicious man--for good reason. Not everything is what it seems with the Frenchman, and Talon uncovers a creole spy aboard the ship bound for the Americas. The "spy", Talia Montrose, was sent undercover by the Cabildo Government in New Orleans to find out exactly what the Frenchman has planned.
A young, beautiful woman of French and Spanish descent, Talia masquerades as the mayor's daughter and uses her gifts--her "feminine wiles"-- to find out why Talon is hired to "kidnap" her. Talia has always been the adventurous sort, but this time, it's personal. Her best friend is the mayor's daughter, and she wants nothing more than to save her friend from the devious "interloper" sent to kidnap her dear friend.
Talon is attracted to Talia from the start, although he has a constant, internal battle with himself over his intense feelings for the woman because she isn't Romani--it's forbidden in his family to marry a Gadje--white woman. While Talia has only used her beauty and brains for her work, there's something about the tall, brooding interloper that intrigues her. As the adventure wears on, Talon and Talia find it increasingly difficult to distance themselves from one another.
Soon, Talon and Talia both realize they've been used as pawns, and the Frenchman has something more sinister up his sleeve. They enlist the help of a little slave boy, Marcus, and Talia's childhood friend, Captain Alex Lafitte (yes, one of THE infamous, Lafittes, albeit fictitious), to try and take down the Jacobin leader hellbent on stoking a Revolution in the colonial territories by orchestrating slave rebellions throughout the West Indies and Louisiana--including Talia's childhood home, Temptation Hall. When push comes to shove, can Talon help Talia save her home and vanquish his reserved Romani traditions in order to finally accept her undying love?
Next Week: Join me as I return to continue the Pure Escapades saga with Captain Alex Lafitte, little Marcus (now a grown man), and my heroine, Zaria St. Clair.