The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell

The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell

4.1 25
by Samantha James

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A cruel twist of fate changed Simon Blackwell's life irreparably. A man of intense passions, he resolved to deny his emotions and desires forever, taking refuge in the wilds of the moorlands and shutting himself off from the world. But on one extraordinary night, on a rare trip to London, the unthinkable occurs. An intoxicatingly beautiful stranger stirs the

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A cruel twist of fate changed Simon Blackwell's life irreparably. A man of intense passions, he resolved to deny his emotions and desires forever, taking refuge in the wilds of the moorlands and shutting himself off from the world. But on one extraordinary night, on a rare trip to London, the unthinkable occurs. An intoxicatingly beautiful stranger stirs the sensuous hunger he has sworn to resist. Simon Blackwell believed that no woman could tempt him.

No woman . . . save Annabel McBride.

Annabel knows nothing of Simon's secret pain. But one irresistible kiss plunges her into marriage with a man she scarcely knows, a man who hides a shattered past. She can feel the blistering heat of the fire that smolders within this exquisitely handsome man, making her yearn for much more than the union in name only he has promised her.

But Simon dares not love again—for fragile love can be lost in an instant. And now Annabel must find a way to open his heart to the most glorious risk of all . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Other than a secret that takes too long to reveal, this Victorian romance from James (A Perfect Hero) concerning the troubled union of fiery Annabel McBride and tormented Simon Blackwell is just about perfect: rich, meaty, sexy and honest. Upon meeting, the two immediately set to butting heads, but it isn't long before an instant of weakness finds them in a passionate lip lock. Just like that, their fate is sealed: Anne's reputation is compromised and the two are married. Simon, haunted by unmentionable heartbreak, refuses to consummate the marriage, planning to divorce her after a year or so; Anne is horrified at the prospect and determined to make a genuine husband out of him. Simon thwarts her every attempt until his past catches up with him, and she finds the way to bring him back from self-imposed emotional exile. Simon's dark secret, hinted at throughout, may frustrate readers, but it also lends the book an enticing gothic edge. James's writing is assured, her story moves well, and she has a fine pair of leads in Anne and Simon; their hard-won happily ever after will satisfy any historical romance fan. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Read an Excerpt

The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell

By Samantha James


Copyright © 2007 Samantha James
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-089645-4

Chapter One

It appears Aunt Leticia desires my presence on the occasion of her seventieth birthday. She and I are the only ones left on my mother's family. Despite the fact I detest London in the summer-indeed I detest London at any time-I am obliged to humor her. I shall depart in the morning. Simon Blackwell

* * *

London, 1848

Lady Annabel McBride slowed her stride as she strolled west through Hyde Park, accompanied by her cousin Caroline and Caro's two young children.

"Lud, but I must look a fright," fretted Caro. "The heat is particularly abominable for July, don't you think, Annie?"

Anne peered at Caro from beneath the round brim of her bonnet. Overhead the sun poured down in brilliant radiance. The hour was well before noon; nonetheless, Anne was aware of droplets of sweat gathering between her breasts. Her striped silk walking gown was de rigueur for the day, the bodice tightly fitted, trimmed with ribbons and lace; of course Mama was to that. But beneath, trussed up in stays, numerous layers of stiff petticoats and ruffled shirts, Anne felt much like a package to be tossed to and fro upon a ship and heaved to the farthest reaches of the sea.

Caro, on theother hand, despite her complaint, appeared fresh as a dew-laden flower, on this, surely the hottest morning of summer thus far.

How Caro managed to maintain her svelte trimness after two births in such close succession was a source of both envy and annoyance among society's ladies-a tiny waist, after all, was a thing much coveted by all.

Anne, of course, knew it had much to do with Isabella and little John, aged three and two respectively; there was but a scant year between them. Both resembled Caro, with sun-gold hair, deep blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. Lively and vigorous did not even begin to described the pair, known to the family as Izzie and Jack. Add to the mix decidedly impish bent-along with a child's eagerness to explore each nook and cranny of the world within view-the little ones were, in sum, a handful. Many a time their antics dictated that Anne hastily bite back the urge to laugh, lest the two be inclined to repeat whatever mischief had brought it on.

"Oh, pooh," Anne announced with a quirk of her kips and a sidelong glance at her companion. "You are divine, cousin, and well you know it." Anne was reminded of the myriad pins scattered throughout her hair. Already she could feel her coiffure drooping, thick and heavy, down the back of her head. Had she been at home in Scotland, she'd have dispensed with her bonnet, shucked off her petticoat's (in the privacy of her chamber of course), restrained her hair with a simple ribbon at her nape before venturing outside. But this was London after all, and admittedly the heat was much more bearable with her tresses swept high and off her face and neck. Oh, to be back at Gleneden, back in the climes of Scotland with a cool breeze swirling fresh from the waters of the loch.

A carriage clattered nearby as they advanced along the walkway. The warmth of the morning had not kept Londoners behind shutters and doors, closed tight against the heat.


Excerpted from The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell by Samantha James Copyright © 2007 by Samantha James. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

It was Samantha James's love of reading as a child that steered her toward a writing career. Among her favorites in those days were the Trixie Belden and Cherry Ames series of books. She still loves a blend of mystery and romance, and, of course, a happily-ever-after ending. The award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many romances and one novella, her books have ranged from medieval to Regency.

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The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The handsome Simon Blackwell has lived for years with the emotional and physical scars of losing his wife and son in a horrific fire. He broods for years surviving in unhappiness and pain, working to push those close to him away so that he can forget, while at other times overcome with memories and how he was unable to save them. When the beautiful and vivacious Lady Annabel McBride attempts to save the son of her friend Caro from running out in the street and being run over by a horse, she meets the enraged Simon who believes Annabel to be the reckless mother of the young boy. The grateful Caro invites the handsome hero over for dinner and it there that Simon and Annabel meet once again. As the weeks go by they keep meeting at society events and sparks of what is thought to be mutual dislike and mistrust turn into flames of desire. One evening in a moonlit garden they are caught in a passionate embrace. The compromised Annabel soon finds herself walking down the aisle, beginning a marriage with Simon of desire, longing and pain. The last thing Simon wants to do is hurt Annabel, but what can there be but hurt when he announces on their wedding night that he wants a marriage of convenience with no children and will arrange for a divorce within a year? Annabel attempts to resign herself to a marriage of convenience, but it is Simon that finds it most difficult, as his true secret is the intense passion that he has for Annabel. No matter how much he tries to avoid Annabel and his desire, he cannot, and they come together for several nights of intense passion. Will Simon be able to overcome his emotional scars so that he can forget the past and give into his intense desire and love for Annabel? Will Annabel's growing love be strong enough for both of them in order to have a true, lasting marriage? The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell is an intense sexually charged story that delights while pulling at the heartstrings. Samantha James once again has written a well-developed story with characters that struggle with life's disappointments and find true love and happiness.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 1848 Simon Blackwell has learned to distrust passion after what happened five years ago. Though declared to have survived his ordeal by his physician, Simon knows otherwise as he hides in the moorlands especially from aristocratic females. Only for his remaining maternal relative Aunt Leticia will he venture to odious London and this is because she begged him to attend her seventieth birthday bash.--------------- In London, Simon meets Annabel McBride and is unable to resist a kiss. She burns from his touch and he feels likewise. Forced to marry he vows for convention and convenience only while she vows for passion and friendship. Simon refuses to open his heart as love hurts while Annabel refuses to accept anything less than his hear as love liberates.---------------- THE SECRET PASSION OF SIMON BLACKWELL is in many ways a typical Victorian romance with a disturbed dark protagonist and a courageous heroine willing to risk her soul to more than just help him as Annabel knows that is not enough. She will do what it takes to earn his eternal love as nothing less is acceptable. Their relationship makes for a fine historical tale as readers will root for Anne to achieve what seems like a bodacious unattainable goal: winning the heart and soul of her beloved.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 9 months ago
I found the book to be kind of boring. The two characters dont come together till the end. The book was just ok.
ExArkie More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful love story. I read all the time and this book really captures the time and place as I envision them to have been 200 years ago. Congratulations to the author - I LOVED it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very good book
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bookluvngal More than 1 year ago
My first Samantha James book was not disappointing! I love the fact that she stays factual on how women were treated during the era and their place in society, many authors do not. Simon Blackwell is a tragic hero, but you learn to love him. He comes off in the beginning as a bit gruff, and you wonder how the book is going to be, but he grows on you as a reader. Annabel was a strong, fascinating female lead. My only complaint with the book is that is a bit slow on the love scenes. They don't start until about 3/4 through the book. But, if they would have started sooner I don't know that it would have followed the plot line. Defintely recommended!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. I have to say, it is the ONLY book I have sat down and read straight through in one day. I couldn't stand to put it down. This book is amazing! The storyline doesn't just jump to the sex. Granted they were great, but the pages before the scene is what made it so great. The book has a powerful presense in overcoming adversities that people face in everyday life and how if someone is willing, a person can overcome their fears and love again. This is a book that will be around for a long time. It will be treasured for years to come as a book about hope, love, lust, and life. It shows that there is something to live for out there. I will definately read this book many times again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was great. I think the author gradually developed Simon and Anne's relationship rather than things happening so suddenly. This book made me cry and smile. Its a really great read and I highly recommend it to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do not waste your money on this book. BOY! It was boring. I kept waiting for something to happen, but sadly, nothing ever does. I love to read good romance novels and such, this hardly qualifies as one of them. It lacks humor and passion.