New Series: The Harcastle Inheritance series is set in late-Victorian England and has at its heart a single ducal family. I think of them as the anti-Bridgertons.
The Harcastle family aren’t what they seem. Despite the ailing duke’s ancient title and vast estates, his true legacy is one of dark secrets, cruelty, and mountains of debt. Each of his three heirs—the son he raised, the daughter he abandoned, and the cuckoo in his nest—has learnt to live without affection, but as the weight of the Harcastle inheritance bears down on them, they must open their hearts again. To each other, and ultimately to love in the most unexpected places.
Book 1: The Madness of Miss Grey
The pitch: A sane woman imprisoned in a lunatic asylum for ten years tries to seduce her new doctor into helping her escape but falls in love instead.
Everyone thinks Helen Grey is mad. She certainly causes plenty of trouble at Blackwell, the gothic asylum where she’s been imprisoned for the last ten years. New doctor William Carter seems decent, honorable, and eager to help. Just the sort of man she can trick into helping her escape.
Will knows he’s being manipulated, but he also realizes Helen doesn’t belong at Blackwell. Getting Helen out won’t be easy, not for a mere housekeeper’s son educated above his station, and not when her mysterious benefactor is determined to keep her locked up forever.
Helen and Will need to work together if she’s ever going to be free. Neither suspects their uneasy partnership might turn to friendship, and that friendship could lead them to love.
Manuscript Status: Complete.
The pitch: When a duke falls in love with the medium he intends to expose as a fraud, he’s drawn into the web of a man who wants to destroy them both.
Alex Stanton just inherited a dukedom but his true passion is uncovering charlatans and frauds wherever he finds them. Spiritualist and medium Evangeline “Evie” Evans is the biggest fake of all and he’s determined to expose her lies for all of London to see. Her prim manner and ladylike airs don’t fool him. He sees the hunger beneath and recognizes a worthy opponent. He also can’t deny the dark undercurrents of lust between them.
Evie worked her way up from the gutter and she’s not about to abandon the life she’s built for fear of this aristocratic dilettante. She knows his type. She sees the attraction simmering beneath his animosity, and knows how to use it to keep him off balance. They strike a bargain. He has one week to prove she’s a fake. If he fails, he has to abandon all further attempts. If he succeeds, she’ll retire and make a public statement explaining her tricks.
Neither expects to find anything in common, not to mention anything to love in the other. Both are blindsided by the blossoming tenderness between them. But even if it were possible for a lowly charlatan to live happily ever after with a duke, more is going on than either suspects. Someone else has brought them together for a sinister purpose of his own.
Manuscript status: This is my current work in progress.
The pitch: A bored Victorian wife’s world is overturned when her staid husband is accused of murder. As they try to clear his name, she discovers an unexpected and passionate side to his nature that makes her wonder if she knows him at all.
Jude Ellis, now Duke of Harcastle has been in love with his wife Charlotte from the moment he saw her, but he’s never been able to show her. Just one word out of place, a single misstep, could bring his entire world crashing down onto both of them, so he keeps himself under rigid control at all times. But people are saying he committed murder to gain the dukedom he never wanted. He needs Charlotte’s help to prove his innocence.
When a stranger accuses her staid, rather dull husband of murder, Charlotte dismisses him out of hand. Jude might not be the most exciting man in the world, but at least she can depend on his honour and truthfulness. Theirs was a marriage of convenience but now, almost ten years later, she still barely knows him. Jude’s so reserved that no true intimacy is possible. Passion is out of the question.
The more time Jude spends working with Charlotte to clear his name, the harder it becomes to hide the man beneath the sedate exterior. Then, when his desire for her, stifled and suppressed for all these years, bursts free at last, she realizes everything she thought she knew about her husband might be wrong.
Manuscript status: My next project.
Book 4: I’m not sure if they’ll be a book 4. It depends of how Book 3 develops. Currently I have protagonists and a vague plot outline.
Ruled by Desire
The pitch: A defiant Victorian wife fights to escape a bad marriage, but her passion for a forbidden man jeopardizes her chance at freedom.
James Standish knows how to play society’s game. He’ll follow the rules, marry a virginal debutante, and inherit a massive fortune. At least, that’s the plan until he meets Francesca Thorne. She’s not the sort of woman a respectable gentleman like James could ever marry—not least because she’s married already.
Francesca is determined to flout convention and divorce her philandering husband. When James sweet talks his way into her life tasked with convincing her to abandon her dream of freedom, she’s unprepared for the passion that flares between them.
Torn apart by conflicting desires, James and Francesca must choose whether to keep chasing the lives they’ve always wanted or take a chance on a new and forbidden love.
Manuscript status: Complete.