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I love secret identity stories: Batman, Superman, Zorro, you name it. If there’s a man with a secret identity, I’m there! That’s why it was so much fun writing John Ready in my new book, Too Wicked To Love. It became evident in book one of the Brides of Nevarton Chase series that John Ready had a secret identity he intended to keep hidden. Naturally I couldn’t let him do that, so in book two, I sent curious, suspicious Genny Wallington-Willis to start poking into the dark corners of his life. After all, what fun is a secret identity that stays a secret?
Genny has been burned by love and distrusts men’s motivations, so when she first starts observing John, she believes he is an opportunist trying to better his own position. She quickly learns this is not the case, but she can’t seem to stem her curiosity about this humble coachman who carries himself like a gentleman.
Genny is a little different than other heroines I’ve written. She’s a bit immature when the book opens and maybe even a little bit of a know-it-all, but her heart is in the right place because she’ll do anything to protect the ones she cares about. A lot of her bad attitude comes from her sister eloping when Genny was only fourteen and never returning, since their father disowned her for marrying a ne’er-do-well. Genny missed and needed her sister, and a lot of her anger comes from that hurt feeling of being cast aside by this very important person in her life. Genny’s attitude is very real, especially for a teenage girl, and is based on something that happened in my own life. Luckily she grows in this story and becomes the strong woman we all know she can be.
The book is called Too Wicked To Love because both the hero and heroine have deep, dark secrets that could destroy their lives if they became known. Even the villain has a secret, which is what motivates his actions through the entire series. Let’s face it, Lord Raventhorpe has issues. He believes himself better than everyone else because he is an earl, but he spends money like water and has bankrupted his entire estate. This is why he goes looking for an heiress to marry and why he participates in illegal activities. He considers other people, especially women, to be disposable commodities that he can use or discard as he pleases. If he lived in today’s world, he’d probably end up spending a fortune in therapy—if he wasn’t in jail! But that’s part of the fun of historicals; you can take today’s problems and explore the possible solutions in a time when certain things haven’t been invented yet.
The supporting cast from Tempting A Proper Lady is back in Too Wicked To Love: the villainous Raventhorpe, the down-to-earth Baileys and their pretty daughter Annabelle, the jovial Sir Harry Archer, Admiral Wallington-Willis and his wife Helen, and, of course, Black Bill the highwayman. (And yes, gentle readers, I am planning a story for Annabelle and Black Bill!) I hope you enjoy this second visit to Nevarton Chase as Genny and John try to decide if either of them is Too Wicked To Love.
- Debra Mullins
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