Please welcome Jenna Jaxon, author of Only Scandal Will Do and genuinely warm and awesome person who doesn’t run from me at RWA meetings.
I think the topic of seduction and history is fascinating, because people have been seducing each other since before recorded time. We find great seducers and seductresses in ancient civilizations (Cleopatra) and pretty consistently up through history (Casanova, Catherine the Great, Lord Byron), into today’s society. But what is it about seduction and remote historical periods gives rise to great romantic novels?
My first thought is that seduction in general appeals to the rebel in all of us. We know who the bad boys and girls are from their reputations. We ought to stay away, we really should. But we can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be pursued and to succumb to the charms of our seducer. Because, deep down, we want to rebel and be bad. It’s exciting to have caught the attention of someone with a reputation and we want to experience that thrill ride just once.
Oscar Wild’s quip, “I can resist anything except temptation,” comes readily to mind.
What makes seduction even more appealing in an historical setting is that the stakes are higher. Today’s society is much more morally lax than even one hundred years ago. We are interested in who’s hooked up, but we rarely think badly of them when we find out.
Go back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and you find there were dire consequences for such misbehavior. Women’s reputations could be ruined simply by being seen talking alone with a known rake. And reputation was everything during those periods. If a woman lost her reputation, it had an impact not just on her, but on her family as well. Remember Pride and Prejudice? Lydia’s misconduct threatens the futures of all her sisters.
So the trope of the ‘bad boy” trying to charm a virtuous woman into his bed in an historical romance has more tension, more urgency to it because the magnitude of the possible loss for the woman is extraordinary. And as most readers identify with the heroine, there is then more for them to lose, vicariously, as well.
In my novel, Only Scandal Will Do, my hero is quite an accomplished womanizer and seducer. He’s able to skillfully manipulate the distraught heroine into believing he’s a caring protector who will try and save her from the dire circumstances that threaten her reputation. Charm, charisma, and magnetism are several traits that these seductive characters possess. They have a silver tongue, great intelligence and wit and use it unashamedly to their advantage. And as much as we fear for the heroine’s virtue, we do love to see these men operate.
Perhaps my favorite “smooth operator” in an historical (other than my own wonderful rake), is Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons. Played to perfection in the movie by John Malkovich, he is the epitome of the heartless, but supremely skilful seducer.
Seduction throughout history has been a game of cat and mouse, the mouse most often getting the worst end of the deal. But we, as readers, love the chase, love the thrill of the hunt when the stakes are high. With the result that historical romance and seduction are intimate bedfellows. But that’s the point, then, isn’t it?
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she’s a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he’ll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who’ll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family’s name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He’s betting their future he’ll capture her heart, but does he have what it takes to win the wager?
WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.
- Title: Only Scandal Will Do
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Author: Jenna Jaxon
- Find it @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe | iTunes
Only Scandal Will Do | Excerpt
His touch, like fine silk drawn over her skin, sent a pang of longing through her. Could she permit someone else to be strong for her, just this once? He understood the fears she faced tonight and sought to vanquish them, as any knight errant would seek to make amends. He continued to stroke her cheek, her jaw, her chin, his touch feather light. A powerful, unreasoning desire assaulted her to feel his strong arms around her, sheltering her from the harsh world. She was hardly surprised, then, to find him gathering her against his broad chest.
“Lean your head just there, sweet.”
She could hear the strong beat of his heart, smell the clean, comforting citrus of his cologne. The fresh scent reminded her of home.
“You will be all right now,” he whispered, holding her securely to him. Safe at last. She closed her eyes and leaned into his caresses, contentment stealing through her for the first time since leaving Virginia.
With a finger beneath her chin, he lifted her face up to his. Her eyes flew open and peace fled as he pressed her mouth with a gentle kiss that stole what breath she had left. His lips–soft, warm, insistent–generated heat all the way to her toes. A sensation so overpowering she forgot everything around her, giving herself completely to the pleasures of that kiss.
Somehow his tongue slipped through her quivering lips, stroked her tongue, and caressed the depths of her mouth. She groaned, her face aflame at this unexpected intimacy. No man had ever kissed her this way, plundering where he would and denying her the will to protest. Raw power leaped from his mouth, streaked through her body, inflamed her craving even more.
Every magnificent swirl of his tongue resonated, not only in her mouth but in the deep, private places of her body as well. She moaned into his mouth, the low, guttural sound rising from some unknown reservoir of need. Pressing against him, she slid her hands up the steely hard muscles of his back evident even through his cloak and clothes.
All she wanted was his hands on her, his tongue in her. Of its own accord, her tongue thrust into him, bringing a growl of approval that encouraged her to frenzied explorations of his warm, wet mouth. He slipped a hand down and rested it on the swell of her breast, impudently nudging a finger inside the gown’s low decolletage and brushing it against her aching nipple.
Blue fire shot directly from his finger through her breast, causing Kat to gasp and arch against him. With a chuckle the man released her lips, but before she could protest, lowered his head and seized her nipple through the sheer white cloth. The gauzy fabric might as well not be there, for she could feel every lash of his circling tongue. The crest contracted into a small, tight bud. Another streak of fire leaped straight to the vulnerable core between her thighs. An unexpected bloom of heat raced through her and she moaned louder.
About Jenna Jaxon
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published this year as a series of three novellas. The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.
Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
How lucky is this day? You get not one but TWO giveaways!
Free copy of BETROTHAL
If you’d like a free copy of Betrothal, simply leave a comment with your email address and Jenna will send one your way. Amazeballs, right?
Paperback giveaway of ONLY SCANDAL WILL DO
If you’d like a paperback copy of Only Scandal Will Do, head over to Goodreads to enter the giveaway. (By the way, this book is absolutely gorgeous…it’s well worth buying the print copy if you don’t win!) Click here to enter