What do a virgin, a vegetarian, and a hangman have in common?
Absolutely nothing unless you’re talking about Jack Campbell, the hero of MY LORD JACK, my Scottish-set historical reissue with Carina Press.
“Her hero’s a hangman!” author Patricia Potter exclaimed back in 2002 when she was asked by my then editor at Berkley to blurb the book.
Pat went on to read MY LORD JACK, and I’m happy to report that ultimately she decided “Jack will steal your heart.”
In the spirit of literary risk taking, or why parasail when you can skydive, I made my heroine, Claudia Valemont a former courtesan. And French. Conventional wisdom, at least back in 2002 was, “France doesn’t sell.” And romance heroines were supposed to be virgins with the occasional widow sprinkled in. A lot of times the widows were virgins, too. Go figure.
To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times, they are a-changing. Today I can publish, or rather republish, my virgin-vegetarian-hangman hero meets French-former hooker heroine without anyone so much as blinking. How cool is that?
In MY LORD JACK, Claudia Valemont has fled Revolutionary France where she’s witnessed the guillotining of both her mother and protector. (FYI, the protector isn’t much of a loss). She’s en route to Edinburgh to find her Scottish father—actually she’s only half-French, so maybe that makes it better—when the mail coach in which she’s traveling breaks a wheel. With no money left, stealing a horse from the inn yard seems like a solid plan—until she gets caught.
At her trial, she realizes the handsome red-haired hunk with whom she’d shamelessly flirted at the inn is the local hangman. Fortunately her sentence is six months’ hard labor, not death (which would have been entirely legal at the time, a horse being worth a lot more than the paltry death penalty minimum of six shillings under The British “Bloody Code.”). Remanded to Jack’s custody, living with him in his isolated cottage, Claudia fights against falling in love. Jack is an executioner, a borreau, and yet he is also the same gentle soul who takes in injured animals, rescues a child’s kite from the branches of a tree, and reads poetry by the evening fire’s light.
I could go on, but I’d much rather you stop by my web site where you can read an excerpt and visit my blog. Per the blog, between now and August 15th, post a note mentioning you found me on the Carina Press web site and be entered to win an autographed copy of BOUND TO PLEASE, my Harlequin Historical Blaze also set in Scotland. This blog-driven contest will be in addition to my regular monthly contest, so while you’re there why not enter both?
Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of thirteen historical and contemporary romance novels, including THE TUTOR (Harlequin Blaze, July 1, 2010). Look for A ROGUE’S PLEASURE, her next Carina Press historical romance release, starting August 16th. Visit her online at www.HopeTarr.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter.