Blackmail – it’s a nasty word, first recorded in 1552 when it referred to the practice of ‘persuading’ farmers on the borders of England and Scotland into paying tribute to freebooting chiefs. Payment meant that that particular chief would spare the farmer and his land from plunder and possible death. Today it’s a crime that’s despised.
So how did it turn up in the title of a twenty-first century romance?
In THE RICH MAN’S BLACKMAILED MISTRESS Kain Gerard doesn’t demand money from Sable Martin. He wants something much more important. His younger cousin Brent — like a brother to him – has just sold his interest in an internet empire. And now Brent is spending up large on Sable. Is she a suitable prospect for a wife? It doesn’t seem so; hints of a scandal involving blackmail swirl around her. And in New Zealand a partner of two years is entitled to a half share of the assets – so Sable could well be intent on plunder, and Brent might be heading for a costly broken heart.
What’s an affectionate cousin to do? For Kain, there’s one sure way of finding out just what the lady wants. Fighting fire with fire – turn the lady’s penchant for blackmail against her. She’s eager to become an events organiser, and for that she needs an irreproachable reputation. So Kain blackmails her into his life.
With unexpected results for everyone.
Blackmail is a tricky subject to write about – like revenge. To be successful, both have to be used carefully, and for reasons that are understandable. And Kain might have taken a different course if he hadn’t seen Sable, and realised just how very wrong she would be for Brent. And how very right for him…
Do you think blackmail is ever defensible in novels when used by a hero or heroine?
As with so many of my novels, this book is set in New Zealand. Sable and Kain meet in Auckland, a city I lived in for some years. Kain’s glorious old house is set on the Mahurangi estuary, part of the beautiful coastline close to where I grew up, and his holiday house and refuge is above one of Auckland’s wild, dramatic west coast beaches, known for their black volcanic sand and crashing surf. And it’s set in summer, my favourite season.
Actually, I set each of my books in the season I’m writing it in. So I’m writing about summer right now – and because in New Zealand over the past few years St. Valentine’s Day has become more and more popular with lovers of all sorts, I may well refer to it in the one I’m working on now. So what did you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day?