One of the weird – and kind of delightful – things about writing for a big house like Bantam is that I don’t write my own back-cover copy. There’s apparently a stable of back-cover-copy specialists there who handle that task (I imagine them all sitting in a room pitching ideas around, like the hired-gun joke-writers for the old Sid Caesar show), and it’s always interesting for me to see what they come up with. Eye-opening, too: “Oh, that’s what someone else thinks this book is about!”
Here’s their latest product: the blurb for my June 2012 release, A Gentleman Undone:
A seductive beauty turns the tables on a gentleman gaming for the guiltiest of pleasures in this rich and sensual Regency romance from beloved newcomer Cecilia Grant.
Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.
A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind with a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.
Okay, did we all catch the fact that this is a book set in the world of gambling?
Seriously, my editor sent me the blurb and said, “I’m not sure… do you think all the gambling imagery is over the top?”
And I said “YES. And I LOVE it.”
(Actually I don’t love the part where it says I’m “beloved,” because, yeesh. Beloved by whom? I mean, besides my mom. But I decided not to make an issue of that.)
I did make a half-hearted pitch for them to change the “seductive beauty” part, because my heroine is not beautiful. She’s sharp-featured, with drab brown hair and a prominent nose. But my hero has a thing for not-conventionally-beautiful women, as opposed to the kind who “air their attractions like laundry on a line, flapping for all the world to see” (as he puts it), and soon enough he’s decided Lydia really is beautiful, in her own special hatchet-faced way. So when Bantam said they’d rather keep “beauty” in there, I said okay.
I do wonder if it’s clear to the reader that this isn’t one of those “If I win this wager you have to sleep with me” plots. I think the “unspoken promise of fleshly delights” phrase makes that clear, because if it were that kind of wager, there wouldn’t be an “unspoken promise,” right? But maybe I’m too familiar with the plot to judge. Let me know what you think!