Historical Fiction

Date Published: 12th May 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

A sensual, heartbreaking, romance

The sounds and scents of the Crimean War are strangling Harry Marlow, shutting him off and silently smothering his soul. But he is a soldier and that is his life, and he can see nothing else besides that. So why should he care when a woman watches him? His life is not one to share with a woman, other than for a few moments in his bed.

When a woman is already drowning so deeply in sin she is without any fear of judgement – what can it matter if she chooses to begin a new affair? It is like escape to choose her own man and Captain Marlow is the perfect candidate for a dalliance. All she has to do is obtain an introduction…


 


Jane began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. 

Now Jane has been shortlisted for three reader awards, and become a bestselling author in the UK and the USA.

 


Excerpt

The Tainted Love of a Captain Excerpt One

She was there, with her maid. They were on the path at the head of the beach, a few yards away. He crossed the street. She walked towards him and intercepted his path. ‘Captain Marlow!’ she called. ‘Well met!’ She spoke as though she had not written and he therefore presumed the maid did not know that this interchange had been orchestrated.

He bowed, slightly. ‘Miss Cotton.’ What was the etiquette for a man’s mistress? He knew how to behave with whores and with respectable women, but a mistress was somewhere in between. ‘Would you care to walk with me?’ He lifted his arm, in the way he might have offered his arm to one of his sisters or cousins.

The maid held back to walk a few paces behind them as Ash looked up at him with eyes that asked why he had not walked on to the pebbles. Harry clicked the fingers of his free hand and tapped his leg to tell Ash to stay at his side.

‘I like your dog. What is her name?’ Miss Cotton said loudly. He presumed for the benefit of the maid as much as for an answer.

‘Ash. She was named by my niece.’

She looked at him as though the fact that he might have a niece was a bizarre thought. ‘Oh.’

He smiled. Her colour had been high since the moment they had faced each other, but now it became even redder.

‘Your dog has a very pleasant nature.’

‘Yes, she does.’

‘I am glad you came,’ she said in a quieter voice, leaning closer to him as he’d seen her do when she spoke to her maid. ‘It took me so much courage to write. But you have never looked at me here. Then you looked at me last night and I wrote in a rash moment because I have had a great desire to know the man with the lovely dog. I hope you do not think me too forward.’ Her back straightened when she had finished her conspiratorial whisper and her chin lifted high. There was a sense of dignity in her posture, no matter her status.

‘I was not sure that I would come.’

Her head turned and she looked at him about the rim of her bonnet, her fingers pulling on his arm a little. ‘I admire you as much as your dog. I have wanted to meet you as well as Ash.’

‘I am aware. I have seen you watching me.’ He breathed in. ‘It was flattering.’ He had not thought so a day ago and yet having seen the woman up close. Yes, the interest and attention of such a beautiful woman was flattering. Her large, expressive eyes, within the shadow of her bonnet’s brim, were particularly fascinating and the curls of her vibrantly coloured hair peeked from beneath the edges of the bonnet, providing a temptation to touch it.

She smiled. ‘I think it is lovely how you play with the dog. There seems such regard between you as you play. So, yes, I have been watching your games and admiring you and your affection for Ash, from a distance. It is very charming to watch. Your friend has looked back at me, but you have no more than glanced. You have given me no opportunity to compliment you before.’

‘I thought you were…’ He had been about to insult her and say that he’d thought her respectable, which would tell her that now he thought she was not. ‘I thought you someone different.’

‘Who?’

‘No one in particular, simply a young woman looking for a husband and I would make a poor candidate for that.’

The Tainted Love of a Captain Excerpt Two

‘Hello!’ he called from a few feet away.

The pace of her heart beat lifted in a fluttering sensation.

Since they had been talking each day, her heart felt as though it had grown the wings of a butterfly. ‘Hello.’

‘How are you?’ he asked as he joined her.

Charlie glanced back along the path at the maid who’d walked with her. She had left Tilly a few feet away to mind her own business and Tilly had not come nearer to listen, which was what Charlie feared. But if anything had been said to Mark about her liaisons with Harry, which it probably had, he had not complained to her about it.

She looked at Harry, again, turning her back on Tilly. ‘I am well. How was your game last evening?’

‘Must you ask?’ He threw the stick out into the sea. ‘Do you not know?’

‘No.’

‘Then do not ask.’

She laughed as Ash returned with the stick.

Harry looked at her after he’d thrown the stick again. ‘I have a question to ask you, though.’

‘Then you must ask it.’ She was very forward with Harry. She kept surprising herself. But it was the atmosphere he exuded. He always spoke so liberally it made her more confident to reply. But she had been forward with him from the beginning because she had been desperate to know this man with his dog. So desperate she had dared to write. But she had told herself that a woman of her status need not worry over what was right or wrong or fear the judgement of others. She had transcended those things. It was the one benefit of her status—she might do as she wished and she had wished to meet Ash and speak to Harry. That was not a crime.

Her chin lifted and her back straightened in denial of the accusation of forwardness that continued charging at her in her head.

Harry turned and faced her fully as Ash ran into the shallow, frothing ripples, chasing the stick as the tide pulled it out on a retreating wave. ‘If I hired a room in an inn, would you come there with me?’

‘Now?’ To… Oh… She had not thought about where this might lead. She had thought of nothing other than that she admired him and she had wanted to know him. But. ‘My maid is with me.’ Her heart had jolted suddenly into a sharp pace.

‘Tomorrow. Would you meet me there?’

Her heart was pounding as hard as her father had used to pound a hammer on a straight bar of iron to twist and curve it to make a horse’s shoe. She had not imagined, and yet she had in daydreams sometimes thought about what it would be like to kiss Harry.

But to make this a sin…

Ash shook the sea water off her coat, spraying them both. Then Harry took the stick from Ash’s mouth, lifted it and held it out of Ash’s reach. The dog barked and leapt around, waiting for it to be thrown again, then it was and Ash went racing after it.

Harry looked at her. ‘Will you?’


If you enjoy historical romance stories full of sensory details transporting you back in time, then you should give Jane Lark’s series a try. I signed up to review this book accidently but am glad I gave it my attention. This is a smooth read with the traditional milestones and payoffs you would expect. I haven’t had a chance to read the other stories in the series, but there are several and will keep you with summer reading material for quite a while!

This story unravels around Harry Marlow and his struggles between a stalwart but loving family who sees him as a bit of an outsider, and his chosen profession as a Captain, recently returned from the Crimean war. Harry meets a young woman, or rather, he is watched by a young woman and their introduction is quite unconventional. However, this woman is not all she appears to be, and regardless of recent revelations about the woman, Captain Marlow’s interest is not so easily squashed. The woman is full of secrets but has an obvious attraction and sense of security around the Captain, and his beloved dog, Ash. As the story unfolds truths are revealed, lives are broken apart, and those seeking redemption or a truer way of life struggle across the page. I detest when someone ruins plot points in a review, so I will leave it there and let you discover more for yourself.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, give this series a chance. If you do, please consider leaving the author a review, they value your opinions!

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Comments
  1. janelark says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time read and review! Best wishes

    Jane.

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