It’s always exciting when a writer friend has a release! So, I’m thrilled to share with you a little about Susanna Craig’s latest Regency romance, The Companion’s Secret, book 1 in her Rogues & Rebels series.
Rebellious hearts prove hard to tame—but can England’s most dangerous rake be captured by a wild Irish rose?
About the book
They call him Lord Ash, for his desires burn hot and leave devastation in their wake. But Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, knows the fortune he’s made at the card table won’t be enough to save his family estate. For that he needs a bride with a sterling reputation to distract from his tarnished past, a woman who’ll be proof against the fires of his dark passion. Fate deals him the perfect lady. So why can’t Gabriel keep his eyes from wandering to her outspoken, infuriatingly independent Irish cousin?
Camellia Burke came to London as her aunt’s companion, and she’s brought a secret with her: she’s written a scandalous novel. Now, her publisher demands that she make her fictional villain more realistic. Who better than the notorious Lord Ash as a model? Duty-bound to prevent her cousin from making a disastrous match, Cami never meant to gamble her own heart away. But when she’s called home, Ash follows. And though they’re surrounded by the flames of Rebellion, the sparks between them may be the most dangerous of all…
Now, aren’t you intrigued?
“Why do they do it? Why do they all call you ‘Lord Ash’?”
Camellia was studying him again, her head tilted ever so slightly to one side. She seemed to be one of those women who was drawn to his darkness. But what drew her? Some misguided hope to save him from his sins?
Or a far worldlier—and more interesting—desire to share in them?
“I believe the general consensus is that I earned the name by blackening reputations and charring hopes.” Would the answer warn her off, or intrigue her? Which effect was he hoping to produce?
In fact, Fox had fallen into the habit of addressing him as “Ash” when they were boys at school and “Ashborough” had seemed a pretentious mouthful. At the time, Gabriel had been glad of the respite from the weight of a title he had never expected, and certainly had not wanted, to bear so soon.
Others had taken up the nickname afterward, for far less genial reasons. He might have challenged them, called out their blatant disrespect, but why trouble himself to deny such a fitting soubriquet? Everything he touched turned to cinder.
He was Ash.
Her skirts rustled as she uncrossed her ankles and sat more upright. Her right forearm flattened against the table. She was preparing to take flight.
As she should.
Unwilling to let her go, however, he lifted his chin and said, “My father had me christened Gabriel. Perhaps you think that better suits?”
He could feel her eyes on him, accepting his invitation to study his profile. “I—I cannot say, my lord.”
“‘My lord’? Come now, Camellia. We are to be cousins, after all, are we not?” Ridiculous, really, how he longed to hear his name on her lips. It was courting an intimacy on which he dared not act.
“I—” The catch in her voice tugged his chin back into its proper place, and he lowered his gaze to hers. She did not blush at having been caught in her inspection of his face. He could almost fancy she liked what she saw. “I believe an angel’s name is entirely fitting, my lord.”
“Oh?” More breath than speech. He cursed the hopefulness in the sound.
“Of course. After all, even the devil was an angel once.”
Damn her. Even hardened gamblers did not trick him into letting down his guard. A familiar wave of cynicism swept over him like a domino at a masquerade, hiding what he never meant to reveal, curling the corners of his lips. “I see. By all means, call me Ash, then. All the best people do.”