Greta Zwieg forges masterpieces. With her copies on their walls and the original paintings safely hidden, the noble families of Austria can rest assured their treasures will survive Napoleon’s advances. But now Greta’s uncle is changing the rules, selling her counterfeits as originals. Greta abhors the deceit. Anxious for her family’s safety in a perilous time, she is nevertheless determined to put things right.
Oliver Doerger is living a lie of his own. Acting as valet for his aristocratic half brother, Oliver thwarts an attempt on Greta’s life and is overwhelmed by the forbidden passion that flares between them. Although he’s not truly a servant, he is a bastard and a spy–certainly no match for a woman of such exquisite quality.
Though both fear discovery, they cannot resist each other. When the truth comes out, and the city falls into chaos, Greta and Oliver will be forced to choose: love or duty?
Rarely in publishing does an author’s original title make it all the way through from idea to release day. The demands of marketing and the preferences of editors–even advice from art departments–can necessitate a change. For that reason, I try not to get too attached to the titles I settle on while drafting a manuscript.
But Portrait of Seduction was a little different.
Not only did I keep the title, but the title inspired the book.
Last year in June, when my Austrian-set tale of passion and music, Song of Seduction, helped launch Carina Press, I was already thinking about the possibility of a sequel for enigmatic, reliable Oliver Doerger. Oliver was ostensibly a footman for a the hero’s noble patron, but he also wore military boots and handled tricky situations with unusual aplomb. Oh, and he was that same nobleman’s half-brother. Hmm….
Of course he needed his own happy ending!
The title clicked almost instantly. Song meant music. Easy enough. And I suspected that Oliver’s lady love would an artist–more specifically, an art forger. During the Napoleonic Wars, art forgers were in high demand as wealthy households tried to maintain the dignity of their previous decor while protecting valued treasures from Bonaparte’s armies. Thus, Portrait of Seduction happened in one of those instant kismet moments when tiny pieces of ideas come together in one big explosion.
And the strangest thing? Not only did the title inspire the book, but it stayed the same throughout its entire journey to publication. Unusual! But then again, any romance set in Austria could be classified as unusual! I hope you’ll take a sweeping, exciting, romantic, trip to Napoleonic Austria with me as we watch young Oliver blossom into a fantastic hero–one who is calm yet strong, highly skilled yet modest, and fully in command of his base desires. That is, until one particular woman grabs his heart and won’t let go…just as the city of Salzburg falls.
PS — If you haven’t read Song of Seduction yet, no worries! To help get you started on Oliver’s journey, Carina Press is selling Song of Seduction for just $.99, now through the end of May. Don’t miss out!
Born in California and raised in the Midwest, Carrie Lofty met her English husband while studying abroad–the best souvenir! Since completing her master’s degree in history, she has been devoted to raising their two precocious daughters and writing full time. Her latest historical romance, Portrait of Seduction, is available now. Later this year watch for her new Victorian series from Pocket, as well as her “Dark Age Dawning” romance trilogy from Berkley, co-written with Ann Aguirre under the name Ellen Connor. “Historical romance needs more risk-takers like Lofty.” ~ Wendy the Super Librarian