Wednesday, September 3, 2014


This post originally appeared on Blue Rose Romance, August 27, 2014:


Tell me, dear reader, do you think you could fall in love with someone without being able to see them? What if it was someone you’d met before, and didn’t like in the least—could you change your mind by sound, or touch, or scent?

Allow me to introduce Stephen Ives, the hero in WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES. He’s honest, gentle, kind, and charming. As a diplomat and soldier, he has learned to use first impressions to make decisions about people and situations. He’s been trained to observe, and he’s used to being in charge. Without the honor and his ability to see, he has nothing left. Nothing. Nada. He’s completely broken.

Do I hate him? Not at all—I adore Stephen, and I think he deserves the best.
I’m not really mean—I rescue injured birds in my garden, even take spiders and icky bugs safely outside and release them when I find them in my house. I truly have a very soft heart, so please bear with me.

I’ve found that in the case of people who are set in their ways, who are very sure of themselves and are smugly content with their life just as it is, sometimes it takes a huge catastrophe to shake them out of their complacency and bring out the gentler, kinder qualities they already possess.

So I took a perfectly charming gentleman, sent him into one of the most brutal battles in history, wounded him horrendously, and tossed him back on the heroine’s doorstep. He already had a broken heart before the battle even started, poor thing, but I added blindness and even took away his honor when I had him accused of terrible crimes, including theft and cowardice. Worse, everyone he knows deserts him. I left him in languishing in the care of the one woman on earth he truly doesn’t like. Surely it can’t get any worse than that!

Of course it can! What if the loathed Lady Delphine St. James touched you gently in your blindness, mopped your brow, soothed your pain, quieted your nightmares, and did everything necessary to nurse you, all without a word of distaste? What if she was the only person willing to be honest with you, to describe the world to you, to be your eyes and your guide through the darkness, and to treat you as a man instead of an invalid? And how would you feel about her when she bullied and tricked you into action, appeared cruel in her methods until you finally understand that she’s using every ounce of her strength to help you? Could you fall in love with her then?

Now some of this meanness of mine comes from the fact that I am truly as blind as a bat, dear reader. Take away my powerful contact lenses, and the glasses that go on top of those for reading and driving, and I am mere points from legal blindness. As my prescriptions increased year after year when I was a teenager, I was afraid I’d eventually lose my sight entirely. I thought a lot in those days about how it would feel to lose the ability to see nature, or color, of the faces of the people I love. Thankfully, my vision has continued to be correctable, and I am very, very grateful for that. I will see my daughter as a bride someday, and look into the faces of my grandchildren, and see my husband’s smile long into my old age.

But back to Stephen, who unlike me must learn to depend on his other senses. Imagine how frightened he’d be! Gradually, though he’s surly and depressed and in pain, he comes to know Delphine by the sound of her footsteps, to be able to read her emotions in the tone of her voice. He begins to live for the scent of her perfume and the touch of her hand. He discovers she’s witty and intelligent when they talk or read together, and he feels her strength as she guides him along the paths in the garden he can no longer see. Her kisses are sensual explorations of taste and touch.

Ah, but you had to know any author as mean as me has yet more torment in store for Delphine and Stephen, don’t you? A lady like Delphine is bound to have other suitors, and family pressure to marry someone better than a blind and accused coward. I wondered what Stephen would do to avoid losing her. Would he betray his own sense of honor to keep her by his side, or do the right thing and let her go? And if she fled from him, betrayed, and chose the arms of another man, what would Stephen do to win her back, to prove to her that he truly is WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES? And don’t think an author like me—and any heroine worth the name would make it easy for him!

Well, perhaps in the end I’m not so mean after all. Until the next book, that is.

I hope you enjoy WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES! I love hearing from readers. 
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