Let me explain. The fall of my sophomore year of college, a guy asked me out. He was athletic and funny, crazy about sports and always ready with a smart remark—basically my complete opposite. He was also a graduate student in the Harvard Mathematics Department, and he had taught more math than I would ever learn. I wasn’t sure what to expect—frankly he was a little intimidating. He had helped me with a few problem sets and I thought the “date” might be his attempt at telling me I should consider a new field of study, after seeing how I cursed at everything topology.
My friends told me to go for it. Boy, were they right.
It’s 100% true that the sexiest part of a man is his brain. We went on dates to the Science Museum. He even won me over to sports. His field of mathematics was probability theory, so he showed me all his tricks…card tricks. He could do so much math in his head, and then prove the theorems that motivated it.
Reader, I married him! Going strong on happily-ever-after, more than twenty years later. Not only was he my exact complement, rather than opposite, he was a true keeper. So if you ask me, math can lead to romance and true love and HEA in a pretty direct line.
Each book I write contains a little piece of my own hero, usually in the book hero but this time I did it a little differently. A common setting in my new trilogy (called The Wagers of Sin, a stroke of brilliant titling courtesy of the late, great Miranda Neville) is the Vega Club, an elite gambling club in the heart of Regency London that daringly admits both men and women. Gambling was very common, and—thrillingly for novelists—any given game could be life-changing, depending on the stakes.
The gambling rake is a common character in historical romance (and a historically accurate one, too) but this time I wanted my heroine to be the one calculating the odds and counting cards. Sophie’s good at it, and she has to be; it’s how she supports herself, as an orphan with no family or fortune to fall back on. Her goal is to build up a decent nest egg and hopefully parlay that into a friendly marriage with a decent guy. She plays carefully, trying to maintain as much of her reputation as she can while still winning.
And Jack, the Duke of Ware… is more like me. He has no clue what he’s doing at the hazard table. He thinks gambling is the sure path to ruin and avoids it. And Sophie, gambling so confidently and laughing about it as she wins everything in sight, he knows she’s dangerous and not like him, and yet he can’t help but go for it. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it pays off beyond his wildest dreams.
Just like it did for me.
Caroline’s first book in the Wagers of Sin series is My Once and Future Duke. AAR’s DIK review is here.