Dear Reader,

My latest book is a little bit different from the stories that I normally write. And yet it’s very much the same.  Does that sound confusing?  Well, let me explain.

Last year I was contacted by my editor who said that editorial had planned  a special mini series where Presents Authors took the themes of classics of romantic fiction - Jane Eyre, Emma, Pride and Prejudice - and Wuthering Heights,  and worked them into  modern Presents stories. I was thrilled to be asked to take part in it.  Specially when I learned that the book they wanted me to work on was my own favourite - Wuthering Heights. I've had an amazing time looking back at this great book and honouring it by using it as the inspiration for my own Presents version of  this amazing story

But then of course, I was not ‘rewriting’ Wuthering Heights – or copying the story.  I was taking the idea of that book and using it as the launch pad for a whole new story – one that perfectly fits into the  modern Harlequin Presents style romance.  You don’t have to have read – or even know the story of Wuthering Heights -  to enjoy The Return of the Stranger - you can read it entirely on its own and enjoy it.  I’ve  created a romance that stands on its own.  But it’s one that has all those wonderful themes of passion, possession and revenge  that we so love to read in romances – but giving this story the happy ending that the original book never had.

I was eleven when I first heard of Wuthering Heights – when, in order to distract us from a storm,  my junior school teacher told the class  the story of the beginning  of this  book.  We only heard up to the moment when Heathcliff runs away and goes to make his fortune. But then the  storm stopped, classes continued – and I never found out what happened next.  I wanted to know what would happen when Heathcliff came back – and how he and Cathy would be together when everything had changed. I spent  ages imagining what might happen –  and eventually I read the whole book and found out.  I don’t think I’m the only person who felt  disappointed that Cathy and Heathcliff didn’t get their happy ending.

But in this story, I’ve been able to give them just that. I've had to make changes of course -  so I’ve had to take wild, wilful Cathy and dark, dangerous Heathcliff and  let them learn how to love and give them the happy ever after ending that the original story never had.  Because I’ve created a whole new story – one that is  about a set of brand new characters, living a very different life  - and finding love at the end of it. I found it a challenge - but I loved doing it. I created the story I had always hoped for all those years ago.  After all, that’s what so much of romance  fiction is – reworking the themes from classic stories to bring them right up to date.

Lots of people have told me how much they’ve loved The Return of The Stranger – it was the #1 bestseller on  the Mills & Boon  website for the whole  month of August after its release here in the UK.  It also had a great five star review that said:

Mrs Walker triumphantly produces a powerful and intense novel which involves your emotions from start to finish. Heath is a super hero full of brooding passion and the delightful Katherine evokes your sympathy. Not to be missed - as they say they saved the best till last.

And now it’s released in America  in Presents Extra – though, sadly without that fabulous cover that has had 100% approval in the UK.  I hope you enjoy this new novel – whether you’ve read the story that inspired it or not.

With all warmest wishes –
Happy Reading!

Kate Walker



Excerpt from The Return of the Stranger

© Kate Walker


He had thought that he was over her, but seeing her had taught him, in the space between one heartbeat in another, that that thought had been desperately deluded.  There was no way he was ‘over’ this woman. It had nothing to do with revenge, and everything to do with passion, with the sexual hunger that ate him up from inside – and always had -  just from knowing that Katherine Nicholls existed.

If he had wanted her once when she was a girl, before she had developed into the full  power of her beauty, then now,  he felt that he would die if he didn’t have her  in his bed, just once.   If he didn’t know the full satisfaction  of making love to her, feeling her soft body underneath him, opening to him,  hearing her cries of  delight as she reached her climax. 

And she would come to orgasm; he had no doubt about that.  No woman could look at him in the way she had done in the first moment that he had walked into the room without a blistering connection between them on the most basic, most primitive level. The burn  of awareness that had been in his body had been reflected  in her eyes. He had seen it looking back at him from their once cool blue depths, turning them molten and cloudy, the pupils so wide they seemed to have darkened the whole of her eyes.

And he had known then that he couldn’t stick to his original plan and walk away.. He wanted her too much to do so. But then he had always wanted her.  More importantly he wanted her to want him as much  as he had ever hungered for her. And most of all he needed  her to acknowledge it.  Publicly. Only then would it heal the scars of the slashing wounds she had once dealt him.

Fancy Heath? You have to be joking! she had said to Arthur Charlton and the scathing note on her tongue still burned like acid in his memory.  I mean – look at him?  No money, no job – no class!  The Nicholls may have fallen on hard times, but we do have some pride. How could anyone want him?

He had come here for revenge but  his vendetta  had been against her brother and her husband  and that was being worked through just as he planned.  The financial dealings that had yet to be revealed might  have given him a darker satisfaction, one of the mind, but  this was personal. This would bring in  a very  different sort of fulfilment. A heated, sensual carnal satisfaction. One that already had his body tightening and hardening in anticipation of the delights to come.

‘You did that once before,’ she said now, her voice unexpectedly  rough at the edges. ‘The walking away bit.  When you left I thought that was for good.’

 ‘So I did – and if I had had my way, had any sense, I would have stayed away.’

He’d meant to stay away. Meant to sever all connections with Hawden and the life he had had here but  Fate had intervened. The  dirty tricks and bad deals  Charlton and Nicholls had tried to pull on one of his  companies,   not knowing who owned it,  had revived so many bitter memories.  Once and for all he had resolved to deal with the two men who had made his early life such a hell. But he had taken some time to put his plans into place, make them watertight. And in that time Arthur Charlton  had  fallen victim to his decadent, sordid lifestyle so that now there was only Nicholls left to deal with. That was why he was here now.

But he hadn’t reckoned on the fact that Kat would still have this devastating hold over  him. That he would take one look and find himself incapable of walking away
‘But other matters brought me to Hawden. . .’

‘What other matters?’

Heath smiled down into her face.

‘I have scores to settle, as you must know.’

Looking into her  defiant, long-lashed eyes, Heath suddenly knew a twist of the double-edged sword that  his plan for revenge now offered him. All he had to do was to tell her  why he was here. Reveal all the cards he held in his hand – and he did hold all of them; he had made damn sure of that before her had even left Brazil. Everything was signed, sealed, tied up so watertight that there was no chance of even a single item in this house, on this estate sliding out of his grasp.  He had the Charltons and the Nicholls exactly where he wanted them and all he had to do was to call in their debts ...

But where was the satisfaction in using  that against Kat?  What sort of gratification could he get from taking a sledgehammer to  this situation when  he could do things so much more subtly.  Much more enjoyably.  No, he didn’t want her to know yet why he was really here.

Joe and Arthur had robbed him  of money and position,  they had treated him like  an animal, not  a human being. Kat’s betrayal, her rejection of him, had been something different.  A betrayal of the heart, of the soul.  He would show her how it felt to  have your heart taken  and stamped on.

He would make her want him as much as he wanted her. After all, if she fell for him now it was only because he was wealthy, because of who he had become. She had never wanted the Heath he had been.

But he didn’t want to blackmail her into his bed. He needed her to come to him willing – wanted her to come to him wanting, needing, hungry. Because she couldn’t help herself.  As he couldn’t help himself where she was concerned.

She already did; he could see it in her eyes. But she was dammed if she’d admit it. She would admit it before he was done. She’d admit it and come to him and beg him to take her. But she had to come to him.  And she had to be willing. He had never forced a woman in his life and he didn’t intend to start now.

The youth he had once been would have thrown any caution to the winds and reached for her, grabbed her . . . But he was no longer that adolescent.  Time and experience had taught him the wisdom of holding his counsel hiding his true feelings. Once he had told this woman how he felt and she had laughed in his face. There was no way he would ever risk  that again.  This way he would get what he wanted and more.


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Contest!


Kate is really excited about her new release and to celebrate, she's hosting a contest just for you! For a chance to enter, just visit Kate's website  and find the answer to the following question:

How long has Heath been away?

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer by midnight on October 17th, 2011. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject heading as 'The Return of the Stranger'.

1st prize: A $20.00 gift certificate from Amazon and a copy of The Good Greek Wife and The Proud Wife.
2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes: A copy of The Good Greek Wife and The Proud Wife.

Good luck!

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