The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the Flower

by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the Flower

by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss



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New York Times bestselling author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss debut romance…

The Flower

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

The Flame

A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061743696
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Series: Birmingham Family Series , #1
Format: eBook
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 20,875
File size: 799 KB

About the Author

About The Author

(1939 - 2007) Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, creator of the modern historical romance, died July 6, 2007 in Minnesota. She had just turned 68. Her attorney, William Messerlie, said that she died after a long illness.

Born on June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana, Mrs. Woodiwiss was the youngest of eight siblings. She long relished creating original narratives, and by age six was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss at a dance, and they married the following year. She wrote her first book in longhand while living at a military outpost in Japan.

Woodiwiss is credited with the invention of the modern historical romance novel: in 1972, she released The Flame and the Flower, an instant New York Times bestseller, creating literary precedent. The Flame and the Flower revolutionized mainstream publishing, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and impassioned sex scenes. "Kathleeen E. Woodiwiss is the founding mother of the historical romance genre," says Carrie Feron, vice president/editorial director of William Morrow and Avon Books, imprints of HarperCollins Publishers. Feron, who has been Woodiwiss's editor for 13 years, continues, "Avon Books is proud to have been Kathleen's sole publishing partner for her paperbacks and hardcover novels for more than three decades." Avon Books, a leader in the historical romance genre to this day, remains Mrs. Woodiwiss's original and only paperback publisher; William Morrow, Avon's sister company, publishes Mrs. Woodiwiss's hardcovers.

The Flame and the Flower was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers, who deemed it as "too long" at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Mrs. Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel and arranged an initial 500,000 print run. The novel sold over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication.

The success of this novel prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The romance novels which followed in her example featured longer plots, more controversial situations and characters, and more intimate and steamy sex scenes.

"Her words engendered an incredible passion among readers," notes Feron. Bestselling author Julia Quinn agrees, saying, "Woodiwiss made women want to read. She gave them an alternative to Westerns and hard-boiled police procedurals. When I was growing up, I saw my mother and grandmother reading and enjoying romances, and when I was old enough to read them myself, I felt as if I had been admitted into a special sisterhood of reading women."

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a leading voice in the women's fiction arena, says, "We all owe our careers to her. She opened the world of romance to us as readers. She created a career for us to go into."

The pioneering author has written 13 novels over the course of 35 years, all New York Times bestsellers. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss's final literary work, the upcoming Everlasing, will be published by William Morrow in October 2007. "Everlasting is Kathleen's final gift to her fans," notes Feron.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who was predeceased by her husband and son Dorren, is survived by sons Sean and Heath, and numerous grandchildren.

Date of Birth:

June 3, 1939

Date of Death:

July 6, 2007

Place of Birth:

Alexandria, Louisiana

Place of Death:

Princeton, Minnesota

Read an Excerpt

With her first book, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss forever changed the nature of romance novels. Feisty heroine Heather Simmons—young and captivating, thrust into the care of a spiteful aunt first meets Captain Brandon Birmingham after an occurrence that leaves her believing she has killed a man. The chemistry between them is instantaneous, and readers everywhere gasped at this explosive introduction to the special world of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

As they entered the captain' s cabin, a man rose from the desk where he had been sitting and, had it not been for her bruised state of mind, Heather would have noticed his tall, muscular build and piercing green eyes. Fawn-colored breeches were fitted snug about his narrow hips and a white ruffled shirt, opened to the waist, revealed a chest wide and firmly muscled beneath a mat of crisp black hair. He had the look of a pirate about him, or even Satan himself, with his dark, curly hair and long sideburns that accentuated the lean, handsome features of his face. His nose was thin and straight except for a slight hook in its profile just below the bridge. His hair was raven black and his skin darkly tanned. White teeth flashed in contrast as he smiled and came forward, sweeping her with a bold gaze from top to toe.

"Aye, you've done a handsome night's work with this one, George. You must have searched hard and wide for her."

"Nay, cap'n," the old man returned. "We found her walking the streets of the waterfront. She came most willingly, cap'n."

The man nodded and walked slowly, deliberately, completely around Heather as she stood rooted to the floor, not touching her with anything but those emerald eyes and they were enough. He pausedbefore her for a moment, smiling, but her eyes would not meet his. She kept them cast downward and stood humbly awaiting some indication of her fate. Behind her the two men grinned, extremely pleased with themselves.

The tall man moved aside with them and the fellow, George, spoke in a low voice. Heather' s eyes moved about the cabin but saw nothing. Outwardly she appeared calm, but the emotional strains raging within her further sapped her strength. She was exhausted, bone tired, confused. She found it difficult to reconcile a magistrate of the law on board a ship, but knowing little of the processes of justice, reasoned that she was probably to be sent to some penal colony, for in her own mind she was guilty of murder.

"Oh God," she thought, "that I should be raised from a sty by the temptation of a life of ease and for my sin plunged into a prison. I killed a man and I've been caught and I must now accept whatever fate decrees for me."

Her mind stopped and held and was trapped by these final facts. She was guilty. She was caught. Justice had done with her and she had no further word. She did not hear the door close behind her as the seamen left, but words from the man who stood before her roused her from her thoughts. He laughed gently and made a sweeping bow.

''Welcome back, m'lady, and I repeat, what is your name."

"Heather," she murmured softly. "Heather Simmons, sir."

"Ah," he sighed. "A small, tempting flower from the moors. It's a most lovely and fitting name, m'lady. Brandon Birmingham is my name. Most of my friends call me Bran. Have you dined this evening?"

She made a small nod.

"Then perhaps some wine, a very fine Madeira," he asked.

She shook her head slowly, dropping her gaze to the floor. He laughed softly and came forward to stand close before her. He took the bundle she clutched and tossed it in a nearby chair as he stared down at her, dazzled by her youthful beauty and the gown that seemed only a sparkling veil over her body. Her ivory skin glowed softly in the candlelight, and by the golden flames he saw before him a small woman, gracefully slender with breasts full and round, generously and temptingly swelling above her gown. They rose and fell slowly.

He moved closer and in a rapid movement slipped his arm about her narrow waist, nearly lifting her from the floor, and then covered her mouth with his, engulfing Heather in a heady scent, not unlike that of a brandy her father had been fond of. She was too surprised to resist and hung limp in his embrace. She saw herself as if from outside her body and felt with mild amusement his tongue parting her lips and thrusting within. From a low level of consciousness there grew a vague feeling of pleasure and, had the circumstances been different, she might have enjoyed the hard, masculine feel of his body against hers.

()1972 by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss)

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