Giveaway & Guest Post: An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser 51

Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he’s back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife’s love may be the greatest battle he’s faced yet.

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While An Infamous Marriage is my third book, its hero, Jack Armstrong, is my first rake.

His motivations for rakish behavior are fairly straightforward. You know how there’s generally a boy or two in your high school class who still looks about twelve at sixteen or seventeen, and has a bad case of acne in the bargain? At the time he seems like the least attractive guy imaginable. And that’s if you look at him all–you probably don’t, much, because the poor kid hasn’t gotten his growth spurt yet and is still half a foot shorter than you and your friends.

Fast-forward five, ten, or twenty years. You see the same guy again as a grown man, maybe at a reunion or when you run across him on Facebook, and you’re shocked to see how well he grew up. He’s tall and muscular, and that long nose or wide mouth that looked so silly on an undergrown, pimply sixteen-year-old is ruggedly handsome and sensual on the grown man.

Well, that’s what Jack lives through–just replace high school with village society and then an army regiment, since he was born in 1779 rather than 1979. He gets so used to being overlooked and sneered at by women that he can’t believe it when, at age 21, he’s seduced by an older woman who tutors him in the arts of love and lets him know he’s grown up very attractively indeed.

Naturally once their affair ends he has to prove it wasn’t just a fluke, and that other women find him desirable as well. And after all those years of embarrassment, he can’t help flaunting his beautiful lovers and mistresses.

When a deathbed promise leads him to marry his best friend’s widow, only to promptly leave her behind in England when he rejoins his regiment, it doesn’t occur to him until it’s too late how far gossip can travel, nor how much pain he’s causing his bride.

But when at last he returns to England, she’s ready to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.

What about you, dear readers? Who are some of your favorite rakish heroes? And have you ever been surprised–for better or worse–by how much a childhood friend changed over years of separation?

I’ll be giving one copy of An Infamous Marriage to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s Books to one commenter on the tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.