Ripe for Pleasure
Book 1, The League of Second Sons
4-Stars (RT Book Reviews)
“Carr is a born storyteller. She enriches her sensual tale with colorful details, suspense, a treasure hunt, and charming, delightful characters…The fast pace and added humor will have readers eagerly awaiting the next novel in the League of Second Sons series.”
London's most sensual former courtesan, Viola Whedon, is incapable of being seduced-she does the seducing. Until she meets Leonidas Vaughn. Her salacious memoirs have made her the target of half the lords in England, and Vaughn is the only man she can turn to. When he promises to protect her-and to make her beg for his touch-the alluring beauty finds both offers impossible to refuse.
Leonidas Vaughn secretly believes Viola possesses a fortune given to his family by the King of France. So the strong and sexy Vaughn charms his way into Viola's life . . . and her bed. But when their arrangement is consummated, he'll experience pleasure far beyond his wildest fantasies-and realize his heart may need the most protection of all.
Read the first 3 chapters ...
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I'm lucky enough to have a good girlfriend who's also a professional illustrator. Jess not only did my header for me, but she did portraits of all my heroes. Here you have Lord Leonidas Vaughn, my horse-mad Scotsman. He's the younger son of a duke, and is about to get himself into all kinds of delicious trouble by attempting to seduce his way into the house of the most infamous courtesan in London ... in the book he's auburn-haired, but we all know that's code for flaming redhead, right?
Praise for Ripe for Pleasure
"With sensual and witty characters, sexy love scenes, a hint of mystery, and evil-doers, Ripe for Pleasure is simply intoxicating ... An exciting start to a wonderful series. I will be eagerly looking forward to the next one."
--The Romance Readers Connection
"Charming ... filled with adventure, action, a treasure hunt, and romance, Ripe for Pleasure is the perfect summer romance book ... One of my favorites! A quick read that will have you turning the pages. I cannot wait to read comes next in the series.
"Fun and steamy ... if you're in the mood to leave the reality of life for a while, you just might want to pick up this book and lose yourself within its pages. I found it a delightful read."
--Seduced by a Book
"Delightful ... Tense throughout yet fully 'ripe' with humor. Sub-genre fans will enjoy with charming late-eighteenth century tale."
--Genre Go Round Reviews
"This book is worth every cent if you are looking for ... lots of steamy sex. Seriously, this is one amazing debut ... I can't wait to get my hands on [the next book]."
Enticingly intoxicating ... Jealousy, scandal, gossip, and passion is what this book delivers. A must-read ... I'm so looking forward to the next book."
--Historical Romances Books
A bit of fun ...
This was the original cover concept ... I'm much happier with the final version, but you can still see a bit of this one (the good part!) preserved on the back of the book.
Five Fun Facts...
The treasure Leo and Viola are looking for is real. The King of France really did send a fortune to support Bonnie Price Charlie in his bid for the English throne, but the rebellion collapsed before the money reached him and no one knows what happened to it.
There’s a lot of Joan from Mad Men in Viola.
The idea to give all the kids in Leo’s family historical names was inspired by real men from the era named Hannibal, Achilles, Hercules, and Perseus.
The heroine’s dog was inspired by my own dog, Clancy, a Bullmastiff/Neapolitan Mastiff cross and two of his littermates, who are owned by my best friend and my little sister. And yes, that means there’s a minimum of 500 lbs of dog at every dinner party and holiday.
The idea of a man marrying his mistress in the Georgian era wasn’t all that far-fetched. The famous politician Charles James Fox, the famous Whig politician, did it (and they lived quite happily at Strawberry Fields; yes, that Strawberry Fields) as did the 5th Duke of Devonshire, the 1st Baron Carteret, the 1st Earl of Orford, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, and Sir Robert Wilmot.
I lucked into a copy of The Complete Dog-Fancier’s Companion; describing the Nature, Habits, Properties &c. of Sporting, Fancy, and other Dogs from 1819 a few years ago. It talks about various breeds, instructions for rearing, training, and basic care (the veterinary advice is quite frightening), and has an amazing rant about the evils of blood sports that ends with: "For the sake of humanity, it is to be hoped, that the cruelty exercised on the animal, had- been repented of by his master, the greater brute of the two [emphasis in original], and that there are none at present who could be guilty of a similar outrage."
One of the breeds featured is the Mastiff. Now, you know I’m prejudiced, as I own one, but they truly are magnificent dogs. My first book, Lord Sin, featured an Italian mastiff (a Neapolitan in modern terms) named Caesar. Ripe for Pleasure features a mongrel mastiff or butcher’s dog (basically a Bullmastiff) that was inspired by my dog and my sister’s dog, Slag (a littermate of my Clancy).
Here is what the magazine has to say about Mastiffs: “The mastiff is much larger than the bull-dog, and every way formed for the important trust of guarding and securing the valuable property committed to his care. Houses, gardens, yards &c. are safe from depredations whilst in his keeping. Contained during the day, as soon as the gates are locked, he is left to range at full liberty: he then goes round the premises, examines every part of the them, and by loud barkings, gives notice that he is ready to defend his charge.”
Well, my boy sleeps all night (ok, he sleeps most of the day too, LOL), but he does snap-to at the slightest hint of intrusion or danger and I’ve no doubt that he’d defend me and his “turf” if there was ever a need to do so (and let me tell you, the UPS man and the occasional religious evangelists are in no doubt of this either; though now that Jorge the UPS man has been introduced he no longer gets anything more than a tail-wagging hello through the window).
Much of what the author of my little magazine says elsewhere is surprising either for its prescience or its enduing common sense. At one point he notes that people commonly suppose dogs to be the civilized descendants of wolves! Remember this is 1819, before Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Under the training section the author advises: "When you correct him to keep him in awe, do it rather with words than blows . . . When he hath done any thing to your mind and pleasure, you must reward him with a piece of bread." Sounds just like puppy training class to me, LOL!
Another book published in 1800, the Cynographia Britannica, said about the breed: "What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race."
I’m simply drawn to these giant dogs like no other I’ve ever encountered, and after owning one of my own, I can’t imagine ever owning anything else (ok, I can imagine owning most giant breeds, but they’re basically a type of mastiff or a mastiff spin-off). I certainly find my love for them popping up in my books.