I saved his life . . . and I had much to demand in return.
When he washed up on shore, I knew my prayers had been answered, and that I, Lady Chelsea Campion, need no longer fear poverty and heartbreak. To secure my family's estate, all I needed was a child. Handsome, clearly noble-born, and with no memory of his previous life, the mysterious man was perfect. All I had to do was visit his bedchamber and seduce him. I had expected him to be a skillful, scandalously wonderful lover, but once in his arms I was overcome by something more than mere passion. I had fallen hopelessly, desperately in love.
My plan has gone shockingly awry. But I will not give up a man who makes me feel such wicked ecstasy. No matter his true identity, no matter the secrets he struggles to remember, I will do anything in this world to make this stranger love me.
About the Author
Julianne MacLean fell in love with some of the classic romances—Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice—while completing her degree in English literature. Then she decided that she needed a "real job," but after a brief stint as a government auditor, she realized she just didn't care enough about numbers matching up. So a month before her wedding, she sat down and wrote the first paragraph of a romance. Now fifteen years, a husband, and a daughter later, Julianne is a happy, fulfilled, stay-at-home mom and a devoted romance writer.
Read an Excerpt
When a Stranger Loves Me
By Julianne MacLean
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Western tip of the Jersey Islands, 1874
My Dearest Lady Chelsea,
I shall presume this letter finds you well, or as well as can be expected under your unfortunate circumstances. It cannot be easy living in the manner in which you are forced to live—hidden away from the world on that cruel, remote island, like the lowliest of social offenders condemned to prison. It must be a bleak and lonely existence for you. How you must suffer day after day, alone and ashamed, unable to change your past or correct your mistakes, with no one to sit by your side and offer comfort, other than your aging, widowed mother.
My greatest wish is that I can relieve you of your misery, and provide you with some hope for what is presently a future without prospects. I shall be blunt. After ten years of marriage, your elder brother has not yet provided the family with an heir, and I have recently learned he has not been well. I was most distressed to hear it.
As I am sure you are aware, if he has no heir to succeed him, the Neufeld title shall pass to me, I will inherit all your late father's properties, and you and your mother will be without a home.
I realize I am many years your senior and that I am not the handsomest of men, but I am not without pity either. I believe incharity and forgiveness, and would therefore be prepared to overlook your disgrace and take you as a wife. You are a beautiful woman, Chelsea, and that shall be enough.
I will take the liberty of presuming that this generous offer has made you happy. I will await your prompt reply.
Lord Jerome Carruthers
Lady Chelsea stood on the grassy edge of the cliff and stared at the letter while she contemplated her "bleak and lonely existence" on this cruel island prison where she was forced to live, then threw her head back and laughed.
"He cannot be serious."
Lowering the letter to her side, she looked out at the raging sea below. A strong north wind whipped wildly at her skirts and tugged at her hat.
How fast, she wondered, would a letter, such as the one in her hand, fly through the air on a gusty morning like this?
She took a step forward, peered over the edge, and held the letter out. It flapped and fluttered between her fingers for a few desperate seconds, then the wind sucked it from her grasp. It soared upward, performed a few loop de loops, and swung down into the ferocious, oceanic abyss below.
"Quite fast indeed," she said as she stepped back from the edge, then retied her hat ribbons under her chin.
It was a violent morning—passionate and extreme. It seemed almost as if the ocean was ranting about the storm the night before. Waves crashed onto the coastline in magnificent explosions of spray and foam, and the sea roared its displeasure like an enraged lion.
It rather mirrored her mood, thanks to that exasperating letter, which suggested she was unhappy.
Chelsea breathed deeply of the fresh salty air and tried to push the letter from her mind. She looked up at the sky. There was not a single cloud in sight. The sun was shining and seabirds were circling overhead, frolicking on the wind, shrieking and screeching as they swooped down to the surging whitecaps below.
She envied those birds their freedom, their ability to float on the wind, or ride it straight down fearlessly at unthinkable speeds. She wished she could somehow soar like that.
But then she strove to remind herself that she did not need to fly. She was not bored. Contrary to what Lord Jerome had written, she loved it here on the wild Jersey coast. It fired her spirit and inspired her imagination, gave her just the material she needed to pour excitement and soul into her stories.
And that was what mattered most to her. Her writing. She did not need a husband to make her happy, and certainly not Jerome. The men she wrote about were far more handsome and exciting than that, and she was fulfilled. Truly she was. Prisoner, indeed. London society and her very "generous" cousin could go to the devil for all she cared.
The tide was on its way out, so she started down the hill toward the beach, wondering if the storm had washed some treasures ashore. She picked her way down the rocky path and was soon walking along the water's edge, dodging the foamy waves as they rolled in and slid back out again. The surf was deafening this morning. It was an incredible day. She would write about it. She would put a shipwreck in her next story, with a dashing captain who is washed ashore and falls in love with the young maiden who cares for him. Then what would happen?
Something shiny on the beach interrupted her thoughts, however, as it reflected the sun's rays. She squinted and walked toward it, kneeling down to pick it up.
It was a gentleman's watch on a fine gold chain, in pristine condition, though the hands had stopped at three-forty.
She rose to her feet and turned toward the sea, shaded her eyes and looked in all directions, as if there would be some clue as to where the watch had come from.
There was none, of course. There was nothing but blue water and clear skies. She turned the watch over in her hand and inspected the initials engraved on the back: B.H.S.
Slowly, she began strolling while she set the correct time at seven-thirty and wound the watch. She held it to her ear. Tick, tick, tick. It worked perfectly, and looked very fine. It was clean and shiny, without a trace of rust, which suggested it could not have been in the water long. She looked up at the tops of the cliffs, wondering if someone had simply dropped it while walking along this beach earlier that morning. But who? Her family's summer mansion was the only house for miles.
Excerpted from When a Stranger Loves Me by Julianne MacLean Copyright © 2009 by Julianne MacLean. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1874 on the Western tip of the Jersey Islands, Lady Chelsea is besides herself after receiving a note from Lord Jerome Carruthers. He coldly informs her that her brother Lord Neufeld has no offspring after a decade of marriage and is ailing; he will inherit leaving her and her mom homeless unless she marries him, a man many years her senior. When she finds a man lying on the beach having been washed from the sea, she thinks she has the answer to finding an heir. She will seduce the stranger who has no idea who he is as he suffers from amnesia. Her pregnancy will keep the estate and her from odious Carruthers.
However, Chelsea¿s plan goes astray when she falls in love with the kind amnesiac. His family arrives to bring him home and he realizes how his nurse used him. As he learns more about the cause of his memory loss, he too is in love, but no longer trusts his hostess.
Though readers might assume Chelsea¿s risky plan as inane, her desperation will convince the audience that she sees no alternative unless she marries the despicable Jerome. She and her amnesiac make for a fun Victorian tale although his mystery memory loss seems too easily resolved. Still historical romance fans will appreciate Julianne MacLean¿s fine Victorian romance (see MY WILDEST FANTASIES and THE MISTRESS DIARIES).
Lady Chelsea Neufeld knew allot about life ¿ well not allot but enough to know what she didn¿t want and that was an arranged marriage to her cousin the lecherous Lord Jerome Cauthers. She was a woman who knew familial obligations but she was also a woman who had known passion and did not want to give that up. While her past indiscretions had created ¿the scandal¿ for her family Chelsea knew her decisions made seven years ago were ill advised and she also knew that she would do anything to help her family short of marrying Jerome. So it would take some quick thinking on her part but if there was a way to save everything she cared for and not have to marry her horrid cousin Chelsea was going to find it.
But what Chelsea found instead was a man - not just a man but a naked injured man. Chelsea was ill prepared for what would transpire once she literally stumbled him in the infamous Cannon Cave by her secluded seaside home. This unknown man was seriously injured and Chelsea was not sure he would live but she knew that her family would do their best to make sure he did. While her family was caring for him Chelsea began scheming a way to save her from marriage to Jerome and assist her brother and sister-in-law in their unsuccessful pursuit of an heir. The surprise they did not expect but one that aided Chelsea in her plans was that when the man awoke from his coma the accident he had dislodged his memory and he did not know his name, how he had been injured, who he was or where he came from. All this information made Chelsea more determined with her plan to seduce this stranger and make every attempt to get pregnant and have her brother and sister-in-law be provided with an heir. This all made sense to Chelsea in every conceivable way except her heart ¿ while having him love her passionately all night long the more time she spent with him the harder it would be to let him go and even harder to give up a child she might have with him. Was it possible at all to love someone so passionately and let him go?
What transpired behind the scene was the family that this man did not remember was searching for him diligently and that family knew this stranger as Lord Blake Hawthorne. When they finally found him to take him back to his home all the secrets that Chelsea had been hiding from Blake had come out and he knew that she had deceived and used him for another purpose other than affection or so he assumed. Little did he know that Chelsea wanted and desired a child but no longer for her brother and sister-in-law but for she and Blake but he did not believe her and felt that she was using him as only a means to an end. But the damage she had done with her secrets and lies were something Blake was not sure he could overcome but regardless Chelsea may be having his child and she would return to his home with him until it was determined whether she was pregnant or not.
What awaited Blake at home besides relatives he did not know was something he never could have anticipated a wife. But was she really his wife, was everything she and her brother saying true and if so why could he not remember any of something so important as a marriage and still have been with Chelsea. Too many questions and not enough answers but when those answers are revealed the truth is more than shocking for all concerned especially Chelsea and her love for Blake.
This is Book Three inn Julianne MacLean¿s series and while it is not necessary to read t
Highly recommend!!! Enjoyed the book from beginning to end!!!!
This was the story of the 3rd Sinclair brother from Pembroke, Blake. He had gone missing in the 2nd book (Vincent's story). His story is an engaging as the stories of his two older brothers. His heroine is another sexy hellion... she is a perfect match for him but he doesn't realize it for a time. No mention of Iris in this book and I was so hoping to learn more about her. (Hint, hint... to the author). This was another very engaging read... I didn't want to put it down once I started. Action was occuring on land and over the water... Enjoy!
Humph. Julieanne MacLean is a talented writer. Her prose flows beautifully and her characters are memorable. Unfortunately, the plot in "When a Stranger Loves Me" was just a bit too outre FOR ME. Chelsea lives a life of freedom now that she's disgraced. However, she's perfectly content with her writing and her rambles about the seashore. But since her brother and his wife have been unable to have a child, he and her mother are looking to marry her off to the presumptive heir--a nasty, smelly old man. Desperate to save herself, when a stranger with no memory washes up on the seashore, Chelsea's inventive mind begins to spin a plot.He has no memory, no clothes, and almost no life! Since he woke up, 'Jack' has clung to the woman who saved him. Their time together is increasingly special and passionate. But when he discovers Chelsea's plot...nothing can convince him of her true feelings.Chelsea is a truly unusual heroine. But even understanding her reasoning didn't wash the foul taste from my mouth. And the complicity of her mother and brother was the last straw. For me, there were just too many things that didn't make sense. I understand they were needed to progress the story, but I just flat out didn't like or believe them. That made the whole book more of a chore than an enjoyment.On the plus side, everything else carried Ms. MacLean's normal great writing--pace, tension, relationship--all were there for me with the big exception of a few plot devices. The good news is, if this doesn't bug you, then "When a Stranger Loves Me" will be another winner for you!
I wish that i had read this series earlier