A SUMMER SEDUCTION - Candace Camp
Legend of St. Dwynwen , Book 2
England - 19th Century
Alec Stafford, the Earl of Rowden, had been engaged to Jocelyn Morecombe, his best friend Gabriel's sister. When Jocelyn ran way and disappeared, it led to an embittered estrangement between the two friends and tainted Alec's reputation. This explosive situation culminated the previous Christmas and was covered in the first volume of Legends of St. Dwynwen , A WINTER SCANDAL. However, while in Chesley, where Gabriel and his new wife Thea now live, Alec met the flirtatious widow, Mrs. Damaris Howard. He hates to admit his attraction to her, but after leaving his sister to her London season, he first goes home to Castle Cleyre in Northumberland and, bored, he takes the very long way back to London going out of his way to see Gabriel, his wife, and their adopted son. Perhaps he might even see Damaris. While visiting Gabriel, Alec stops at St. Margaret's Church where there is a statue of Saint Dwynwen. Since Jocelyn's betrayal, Alec has been wary of marriage and women. Rumors claim that prayers to the saint will be granted to those who ask with a true and loving heart. While Alec doesn't pray or ask for anything, he ruminates over his life in comparison to Gabriel's.
Mrs. Damaris Howard is in London attending the theater when she runs into Alec Stafford and a beautiful young woman who turns out to be his sister, Lady Genevieve Stafford. Alec asks Damaris to the family ball on the following night. She knows she should not go, but something in Genevieve's attitude and her own desire to see more of Alec makes her accept. As a very beautiful woman, Damaris makes a great impression among the men at the ball. It also brings her face-to-face with her grandmother, who tells her to get out of London and never show her face there again. It turns out Damaris's father loved her and her mother, an actress, very much, but under pressure to do the right thing for the family name, married a socially acceptable woman. He left his unencumbered wealth to Damaris. However rich she is, she knows Alec and his sister and grandmother will never accept her social station, and she doesn't wish to become any man's mistress.
In A SUMMER SEDUCTION, Alec and Damaris try to avoid each other and the strong feelings engendered in their meetings. Her shameful birth isn't Damaris's only secret, but is it really her grandmother who takes such vindictive and dangerous steps to get Damaris out of England? Is Alec man enough to overlook her background? This is a very enjoyable read full of situations involving the seedier side of the era's culture.