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Stages of Desire: Exclusive Excerpt

An exclusive excerpt of a selected scene from Julia Tagan's Stages of Desire (January 5, 2015) is available on Heroes and Heartbreakers to members.

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Stages of Desire by Julia Tagan

To be or not to be — in love . . .

As a ward of the Duchess of Dorset, Harriet can hardly expect more from a match than the ringing endorsement of “from what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular.” After all, she’s only the lowly daughter of traveling actors, not the actual daughter of the duchess.

William Talbot, Earl of Abingdon is set to marry the duchess’s daughter. After his elder brother’s scandalous death, his family’s reputation is paramount, and he’ll allow nothing to damage it again. But when Harriet disappears to save her father from debtor’s prison, the scandal threatens William and his intended’s family.

The simple task of fetching the duchess’s runaway ward turns complicated when Harriet insists on traveling with her father’s acting company. William’s forced to tag along, and finds himself entranced. The stage transforms Harriet into a free-spirited, captivating beauty. But someone’s been sabotaging the theater company, and instead of facing scandal, William and Harriet discover a threat not only to their growing passion, but to their lives…


He pushed opened the door and came to a halt. Inside, a tall woman dressed in blue leaned over an open book on the mahogany table, a lamp at her elbow.

“Excuse me, madam?”

The woman jumped and bumped into the table, almost knocking over the lamp. She steadied it, then threw him an irritated look. “You startled me. I was reading.”

Her reaction threw him off guard. After leaving the door wide open for propriety’s sake, he drew closer. She was handsome and tall, coming up to his chin, and her wide shoulders served to accent her tiny waist. The lady’s thick, dark hair was dressed in a simple knot and her gown was plainer than most, but her eyes were arresting. Even in the dim light, they blazed with rich color. Like the cobalt blue of an apothecary bottle.