Stevie Sparks is a British author and long-time copy editor. She suffers from a terrible medical condition that has left her incapable of reading books without smut.
His brother’s wife. He loved his brother’s wife.
After losing his heart to Emmeline, the one woman he could never have, Michael committed himself to a life in the army, fighting for King and country in the Great War.
…Until his brother died, and Michael returned to Scarlett Castle as the Duke of Foxcotte.
Fed up with her lack of grandchildren, Michael’s mother hatches a plan to bring Michael and Emmeline together in a marriage of convenience. However, whilst Michael agrees to court Emmeline, they both secretly long for something more passionate than a business arrangement. But Michael could have never imagined that hidden trauma lurked beneath Emmeline’s emerald eyes.
Follow along as Michael and Emmeline ignite a flame that threatens to consume them both as they learn that all relationships come with risks both wanted and unwanted.
This story celebrates the nobility of passion, family bonds, desire-filled glances, and the prospect of finding forbidden love in a marriage of convenience.
Become entranced as Michael strives to win over the love of his life while trying to protect both families’ interests. Will their marriage of convenience be successful? Or will Emmeline’s traumatic past catch up to her and sweep her away?
If you’re looking for a steamy historical romance novel, then Surrender to the Duke today!
Surrendering to the Duke is a historical romance novel of approximately 99,000 words with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed HEA. It contains adult language and scenes that are simply scandalous.
The next photograph caught him unawares, plunging into his chest like a bayonet. A feeling he remembered all too well. Theo sat on a duckboard pathway, pretending to row through the ocean of rotting, stinking mud that surrounded him with two rusted entrenching tools. Each and every bomb crater was full to the brim—and would eventually become home to the poor souls that had failed to escape from them, doomed to a muddy grave.
And Theo would be one of them.
Michael was on his feet in the next moment, the photographs scattered around him. He shoved a hand through his hair, barely able to catch his breath. His heart hammered in his chest; Passchendaele had become a nightmare he had never woken up from.
The door’s lock being turned with a decisive thunk made him flinch, reminding him of the sound of a gun being loaded, a single shot that had left his life in tatters. He braced himself, sitting on the edge of his father’s desk, letting it take some of his weight as his legs stretched out in front of him.
A soft, warm hand slipped into his, smaller and more delicate than his own. “Michael?” Emmeline murmured. Her free hand stroked his back, as though attempting to comfort a panicked horse. “All the mud—was that Passchendaele?”
I died in hell. They called it Passchendaele.
He made a gruff noise, his head bowed in defeat.
“You were with him when he died, weren’t you?” Emmeline pressed her hand to his cheek. He trapped it there with his own, never wanting her to leave.
“Mm. They’d discharged me from the hospital tent after my injuries. Theo was helping me get used to the crutch. Blasted thing.” The heavy toll of the day weighed on him, even all these years later. If they’d discharged him a day later, how different would life be now? “Theo was terrified of drowning,” he said, misery constricting his throat with every word that passed through. “Did you know that?”
“I know he nearly drowned when you were younger.” Emmeline’s sigh was deep.
Michael opened his mouth, but words finally failed him in a pitiful croak. Emmeline showed no hesitation; she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him into a tight hug.
Home. He was home.
He responded in kind, his wide shoulders engulfing hers as he swept her up into his arms. Emmeline’s captivating violet perfume well and truly ensnared him, her silken chocolate hair brushing against his face, as gentle as a lover.
“Oh, Michael,” Emmeline said, her voice wobbling once more.
Hurried footsteps passing outside the room had him clearing his throat and wrestling his emotions back under control. He pulled back—only to see trails of tears running down Emmeline’s face.
Michael fetched a clean handkerchief from his pocket, rubbing his thumb over the embroidered family crest, before dabbing at her cheeks. “Blast it. I’m sorry,” he offered. “I didn’t mean to fall to pieces.” He shot a dark look at the photographs that lay scattered around the blood-red sofa.
“You have nothing to apologise for, Michael.” Her mouth pressed together in a hard line. “We all have terrible memories that pull the rug out from under us. We just need someone to catch us when we fall.”
“And you’ve always been there for me, Emmeline. Always.” He wiped away her final tear with his thumb, letting his hand linger on her cheek. “Don’t think I didn’t notice. Don’t think I did not appreciate you.” On the rack of guilt and grief, the last thing he wanted was to be comforted by Emmeline, the only woman he had ever loved, for his most shameful act. “The letters you wrote to me when I was at the front, especially in the months after he died… They were the only thing keeping me going. The photographs you’d send to me of the family, of Dora, of you. You were the only light in my darkness.” Guiding me home.
Emmeline gazed up at him, drinking in every word. His heart thudded as her eyes drifted down to linger on his lips.
“You’re so precious to me, Emmeline,” he murmured.
I worked as a copy-editor for a large publishing company for ten years before deciding to publish my first book. Eventually, I got sick of editing other people’s work and decided to write a book of my own.
I outline the book in 2,500-word increments, using different coloured fonts to track plotlines and character arcs. I then proceed to ignore this.
Read! I’m definitely on a dark romance binge at the moment, but I’ve read everything from aliens, billionaires, and faeries to regency, mafia, and cowboys.
By editing it. Thrilling, I know.
By curling up into a ball of nerves and frantically refreshing the ‘Reviews’ page.
Well I adore smutty regency romance, and I like Downton Abbey, but I haven’t found any 1920s-era romance series, so I wrote one.
This is probably a depressing picture into my life, but lots of the trauma that Emmeline has suffered is inspired by my own. That’s where our character similarities end, however.
Definitely the trauma side of things! But there are things that need to be included to make it realistic; the setbacks are always a massive part of healing. Just because a character gets their happy ending doesn’t mean their trauma is going to disappear.
The NSFW scenes. Definitely the NSFW scenes.
So many! Zoey Draven, Lisa Kleypas, Sara Cate, Ruby Dixon, Elle Thorpe, Eva Leigh, Grace Draven, Jennifer Ashley, Laura Thalassa, Grace Callaway, Raven Kennedy, Opal Reyne—I could go on forever.
I quite like:
She wouldn’t fall to pieces, not this time. She wasn’t that weak, pitiful creature that Uncle Murray had made her into. No longer was she Emmeline the orphan. She was the Duchess of Foxcotte, who was more than capable of standing on her own two feet.
It would either be meeting Emmeline (in which case I’d probably just give her a hug) or Michael. And my question to him would be: Will you marry me?