Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Welcome, Barbara Burke

I always say we fall in love with our brains, not our bodies. A lot of romances focus on the physical manifestations of attraction. The hero and heroine are so hot for each other that they’re swept away by passion and act in ways that seem to go against all the tenets they hold true as well as the constraints of society. Not that I have anything against being swept away by passion! But if you want something to last there has to be more to a relationship than just being caught in the moment and losing the ability to think straight. 

And that was the jumping off point for my latest romance. Could I write a romance in the twenty-first century that had about as much sex in it as a Jane Austen novel and still keep the reader’s interest?

Counterfeit Viscountess is the story of a man and a woman, Christopher Hawkins and Caroline Saxon, who must pretend to be married in order to save her reputation. To do so, of course, they must seem to be living together, but while they share a roof, they definitely don’t share a bed chamber. In fact, when Christopher is brought to realize what a vulnerable position Caroline is in – she’s completely in his power, a risk she had no choice but to take - he vows not to touch her. Even a kiss would ruin everything. It’s a situation that grows increasingly difficult for them as the story progresses and they find themselves more and more attracted to each other. But a promise is a promise.

So, through the course of the novel Caroline and Christopher slowly fall in love, using their brains, not their bodies and they leave it up to me, the author, to figure out how to untangle the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.

What happens when they both start wanting a real marriage?


Practical Caroline Saxon must travel to London for the season, when all she really wants is to stay in Ireland and breed horses. But a carriage accident leaves her unchaperoned at a posting inn.

Dashing Christopher Hawking just wants a bed for the night. He didn't expect to find it occupied by a beautiful woman or to be caught sneaking out of her room. In the light of day, a London-bound member of the ton finds them together. 

Attraction flares between the two in spite of themselves. But how will they save Caroline's reputation and calm the storm of the ton's gossip?


When they were alone again and the tea distributed, Christopher and Caroline did their best to explain to Eleanor the events of the morning and the evening before.

Eleanor listened without interruption, contenting herself with the occasional raised eyebrow as her only commentary on the convoluted tale. When they had finished she turned to Christopher and remarked, "I must say, it seems quite foolish to have allowed Annabelle Winthrop of all people to discover you. She's a complete pea goose and she won't take kindly to Miss Saxon's appearance on the scene. She's been setting her cap at you forever."

"I didn't exactly do it on purpose," Christopher was stung to reply.

"On purpose or not, it's got you into a great deal of difficulty which could have been avoided if you had taken more care."

Recognizing the signs of temper on Christopher’s face, Caroline interjected quickly. "Indeed, Lord Saxon did everything he could. If not for his quick thinking, we would have already come to ruin. You really cannot blame him for the presence of Miss Winthrop in the same inn where we were staying."

"Nonsense, I can blame him for anything I wish. I've been doing it since he was a baby and very handy it's been as well. It's one of the only advantages of having a younger sibling."

The fond smile she bestowed on her brother precluded any sting Caroline, less used to the ways of siblings, might have imagined such a comment implied, as did Christopher’s bland acceptance of her outrageous assertion. Though she had watched, and frequently envied, the comfortable, if often fractious, interaction between the brothers and sisters she’d played with as a child, she clearly had much to learn about family relationships when adulthood was achieved.

“However, I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it now,” Eleanor conceded, magnanimously. “But mind, Christopher, I’ll expect you to take a great deal more care the next time you break into a respectable woman’s bedroom.”

Author Bio: 

Barbara Burke’s peripatetic life means she’s lived everywhere from a suburban house in a small town to a funky apartment in a big city, and from an architecturally designed estate deep in the forest to a cedar shack on the edge of the ocean. Everywhere she’s gone she’s been accompanied by her husband, her animals and her books. For the last ten years she’s worked as a freelance journalist and has won several awards. She was a fan of Jane Austen long before that lady was discovered by revisionists and zombie lovers and thinks Georgette Heyer was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. She lives by the philosophy that one should never turn down the opportunity to get on a plane no matter where it’s going, but deep down inside wishes she could travel everywhere by train. Ironically she now lives on an island that doesn’t have any trains at all.

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  1. How intriguing, Barbara! Wishing you all the best with your new release! And I adore Jane Austen!