Anthony, oh Anthony!

Anthony Weston and Meriel Linton of A TASTE OF SEDUCTION

Anthony Weston came to me as I lay on the hospital bed waiting for the first of three surgeries that would lead to a hysterectomy six weeks later. There I was, tucked into an oversized blue and white print hospital issue with an IV in one arm, beeps, buzzes, and scuffing footsteps pushing me toward a migraine. Without glasses or contacts, I could see about three inches in front of me and that’s a generous estimation generous. I didn’t even have the calming voice of my husband next to me as he’d been shuttled to the waiting room.

I did the only thing a writer can do at a moment like this – I closed my eyes and thought of my next book, or more to the point, my next hero. I love creating heroes, the wounded kind that ‘bleeds hurt and been done wrong’ – the kind every woman wants to heal. My mind wandered, the noises quieted, and there he was, Mr. Anthony Weston, in his proper attire and perfectly tied cravat. When he popped into my head, I didn’t know the details of his painful history, the lowly beginning as a stable boy with an empty belly and grimy hands, the father who beat him, the mother who didn’t love him enough to save herself. I knew none of Anthony’s story, but then I began to think about what would make a man like this avoid anything that smacks of emotion and what kind of woman could change his mind and heal his heart. Enter Meriel Linton, a carefree spirit who runs barefoot, dons men’s breeches and loves animals and people with innocent abandon and boundless energy.

This is Meriel’s first impression of Anthony Weston, from A TASTE OF SEDUCTION:

The door clicked behind her and Meriel forced her gaze in the direction of the voice. A man sat behind a large desk, writing. He was somewhere in his thirties, with closely clipped black hair, save an errant cowlick above his left brow. He had rough, hard features: thick, bushy eyebrows, a straight, firm nose with a slight crook to the left, high cheekbones and a jaw that was too square. There was nothing soft about him, except perhaps his mouth which boasted a pair of well-formed lips.

But when he looked up, the frown on his face pulled his lips into a thin straight line and Meriel changed her initial opinion. There was nothing soft about the man. She met his stormy silver gaze, cold as a winter’s chill, and just as biting.

And then there was the scar. It ran down the right side of his face in a jagged path, from the edge of his bushy brow trailing halfway down his cheekbone.

She swallowed. This man was most definitely not Lord Montrose. Besides being much too young, Uncle Bernard had told her that Lord Montrose loved her mother beyond reason. She doubted this man had ever loved anything in his life.

And then there’s Anthony’s thoughts on Meriel . . .

What the devil! He ran his hands over his face and thought of his encounter with the red-headed stranger. She was beautiful, of that there was no doubt. With her tumbling fiery mane and brilliant blue eyes, the woman was the type who could weave truths from lies and capture the heart of any unsuspecting fool. Not him of course. He’d never been considered a fool.

I made it through the surgeries and recuperation period with the love and support of my husband’s quiet strength, my children and stepchildren’s humor, my mother’s cooking that included green leafy vegetable and liver to build up my depleted iron supply, my dog, Molly, who stayed at my side when I was too weak to sit up, and of course, Anthony Weston, who had a story to tell and needed me to tell it.

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