Tag: Sarah MacLean

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

The one woman he will never forget…Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

I was not prepared to love this book as much as I did because I was not a fan of Malcolm’s in any of the other books in this series. After the first book, I pretty much wrote him off as being a total scumbag but holy cow you guys, Sarah MacLean’s redeem game is strong because not only did I love the book but I hella loved Malcolm, too. Warts and all. By the end, I was a blubbering mess and my daughter laughed and laughed and laughed at how much crying I was doing over a fictional couple. More than my love of Malcolm though was my love and admiration for Sera.

Holy cow, Sera was one boss ass bitch.

She wasn’t going to let no punk ass run her life anymore. She walked up into that room with all of those Dukes and Marquesses and Earls and was like, “Y’all gon’ give me this divorce cause I ain’t playing the fool no more!” She was over being chattel to her husband and she was going after a future that was hers and hers alone, with the help of her best friend Caleb.

Malcolm, the Duke of Haven, on the other hand, has been searching high and low for his wife but she was nowhere to be found. Her sisters sent him on a merry chase all over the place but he wasn’t going to give up and when she showed up at the House of Lords, he was equal parts relieved and furious. Relieved that she was okay and furious because she was demanding a divorce. He knew that things had gotten out of hand and more than anything, he wanted to fix things. He had a long road ahead of him but he wasn’t going to let his wife go without a fight.

So he proposes that she give him the summer to help him choose his replacement and once that’s done, she’ll be free to go and he’ll grant her the divorce.

This book had me deep in my feels for a lot of the story. The scene that began The Rogue Not Taken is a scene that I have never forgotten. It’s still vivid in my head. I had Malcolm painted with the bad guy brush and I wasn’t sure I even wanted his side of the story but I’m so glad that we got it.

Getting to know both Sera and Malcolm before the scandal and then after the scandal was everything that I hoped to get once I found out they were getting a book. I wanted to know what happened that was so bad that it broke their marriage. I wanted to know why Malcolm behaved the way that he did and what Sera held herself at fault for. I got all of that and more.

Sera was such a strong heroine and one that I loved the hell out of. She wasn’t the same hurt woman from before. She was back and she was strong and she knew her own mind and had plans for her future. A future that did not include a husband. Sure, she still loved her husband but she also hated him and she just wanted to be free. She never wanted to be that scared and rejected woman again and the only way that she could secure a future for herself that was hers and hers alone was to get a divorce. She’s desperate to be free so she agrees to Malcolm’s request to give him the summer.

There was a lot of growth in both Sera and Malcolm’s characters but in this book, we see Malcolm’s growth. When we see Sera again, she’s already stronger but we actually see Malcolm realize where his marriage went wrong and how to fix it. When we first see him again, he just wants his wife back. He wants to forget the past and start anew but nothing is ever that simple and when he finally realizes that and the steps he takes to fix what he broke…holy cow, it broke my heart.

I cried so much reading this book but I also laughed and smiled and fell in love. Sarah MacLean really knocked it out of the park, IMO. This book had everything romance lovers want in a romance and so much more. A second chance story that will break your heart and then piece it back together with each passing chapter. Did I love it? Yes. Should you read it? Hell yes. This book was just flat out good. My favorite of the bunch!

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 13, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Lonesome Lily Turned Scandalous Siren

Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn't hesitate...until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.

Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke

The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.

Tartan Comes to Town

Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else's problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It's the perfect plan, until Lily declares she'll only marry for love...and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much...

A Scot in the Dark is the second book in the Scandal & Scoundrel series by Sarah MacLean and it was a book that I was looking forward to. I loved the hell out of the first book in this series so I jumped into this book with both feet. I was so ready for more of the same with Warnick and Lily but sadly, that didn’t happen at all. At least, not for me.

So this story is about Warnick (King’s friend from The Rogue Not Taken), the newly appointed Duke of Warnick and Lillian Hargrove, his ward. Alec becomes the twenty-something Duke of Warnick and he really wants nothing to do with the title. He inherits the dukedom and everything that comes with it, including the ward of the dukedom. A young woman who is under his care and he knows nothing about her until she lands herself at the center of a huge scandal. He hails to London to try to figure things out and help out in whatever way that he can. Now, he may not want to be a Duke but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a Duke. I’ll explain what I mean about that in a minute.

Lillian Hargrove has been a ward of the Dukedom since she was eleven years old. Her mother died when she was a child and her father died a few years later, leaving her an orphan. Her fathers employer, a previous Duke of Warnick takes over the care of Lily so while she’s got a roof over her head and food to eat, she’s still all alone in the world. She doesn’t fit in with the servants, she’s not a lady of the ton so she exists somewhere in the middle where nobody really pays attention to her.

Lily was really hard to take in the beginning of this novel. I understood her anguish and her humiliation but her attitude toward Warnick when he shows up on the scene to try to help her out of the jam, made me want to punch her in the tits. Lily is the ward of the Duke of Warnick. She has a house over her head, a bed to sleep in and food to eat because he allows it so I find it very hard to believe a ward in a historical romance who just got caught up in a scandal would speak to and treat their guardian with as much disrespect as Lily treated Alec. She was a freaking brat and she doesn’t have the excuse of being a kid to fall on since she’s a grown ass woman!

But things turned around with Lily. I understood why she acted out and while I didn’t agree with her lashing out at every turn, she does come around. She does let Warnick in and she does begin to trust him and then it was Warnicks turn to get on my hot damn nerves.

They fall in love with each other but Warnick has a secret that he’s not telling Lily. The main reason he can’t and will not marry her, even though he wishes that he were the kind of man that could marry her. [Insert eye roll emoji here] He won’t marry her because she deserves better. So he tries to push her on someone who doesn’t love her and is only marrying her for the large dowry he’s giving him. So…she doesn’t deserve him but she does deserve someone who is only marrying her for money? WTF? He wishes he were a better man, someone deserving of her? Then be a freaking better man for her! Stop crying about old shit.

On top of that stuff, there were so many other things that disappointed me in this book. I was sorely disappointed in King and Sophie in this book. King and Warnick are supposed to be friends, good friends from their school days but how close could they have been if Warnick didn’t get a heads up that Peg (someone that King knew about) was at the ball that King and Sophie threw? Why was Derek Hawkins allowed entrance into their ball as well? They didn’t want to cause a scandal? I call bullshit on that since Sophie is a freaking Dangerous Daughter. Her family thrives on scandal. I mean, wasn’t Lily hurt enough by that point? I mean, I guess maybe King didn’t know Warnick’s secret but by then, it didn’t even matter because so many other things bothered me.

Overall, this was a disappointing read all around. I started the book disappointed in the bratty behavior of the heroine and ended the book disappointed with how dumb the hero acted.

Grade: 1 out of 5


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Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 29th 2015
Pages: 419
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

LADY SOPHIE'S SOCIETY SPLASH

The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

ROYAL ROGUE'S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!

The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.

WAR? OR MORE?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

Holy cow, this book!

I think this book entertained the socks off of me throughout the entire thing. Right from the very beginning, I was wrapped up in Sophie and King. Their first conversation? LOVED IT. When he realizes that she’s still around? LOVED IT. All of the bickering, all of the sexual tension, I ate it all up. I’m hard pressed to find something that I didn’t like though if I had to choose, it would probably be King taking Sophie to meet his father at his childhood home. That wasn’t a bundle of fun but it wasn’t supposed to be. I should probably mention the initial scandal that Sophie was part of as well. I wasn’t a fan of that either. That freaking brother in law of hers was such a dickhead that I’m glad she pushed in the pond.

This book had everything that I love in my romances so of course it was a winner in my book.

Sophie Talbot is the quiet one. She’s the Talbot sister that nobody pays much attention to because she’s not as glamorous as her other sisters or as scandalous. She’s kind of a wallflower and she despises all things that have to do with the ton but she is loyal and when she comes across her brother in law doing some shady shit with someone not her sister, she does what any loyal sister would do. She pushes him into a pond like a boss and then tells him off…in front of an audience. Needless to say, after that whole drama, Sophie is not popular amongst the aristocracy. She’s also in big trouble with her mother. Trying to escape the ball is turning out to be a whole lot of trouble.

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley meets Sophie Talbot when he’s climbing down a trellis of the very same ball where she caused quite a commotion of her own. He’s running from a woman’s fiance’ and she’s running from everyone else. Sophie asks King for a ride home and he said no. He thought that would be the end of his association with Sophie but haha, yeah right.

These two had me in fits throughout the entire book. They bickered like champs and the adventure they went on had me bent over laughing my ass off more than once. I loved watching them fall in love with each other at the same time that they were fighting with each other. They got on each other’s nerves but they couldn’t stay away from each other and I seriously adored the both of them.

This was a wonderfully written and completely charming historical romance that entertained the socks right off of me and made me want more from this world. I couldn’t wait to start the next book in this series. I’m hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Sera, Sophie’s sister. Highly recommend for fans of MacLean’s other works and for fans of the lighter historical romances like Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and others like them.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

five-stars


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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Author Sarah MacLean

Posted December 20, 2015 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today we have historical romance author and all around awesome person, Sarah MacLean, here to share her list of Five Books.Sarah MacLean


When Holly asked me to do this, I thought for sure the list would be all romance. But when I thought about it, I realized that would be preaching to the choir over here on Book Binge! So, here are five books (only one romance!) that I adore — and the reasons why. Maybe there’s something here you haven’t tried?

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
1. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

At the heart of this panoramic, multidimensional narrative is the compelling struggle of a young woman to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Faber leads us back to 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape to a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society offers us intimacy with a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters.

This is a beast of a book, 900 pages and completely riveting. In short, it’s the story of Sugar, a Victorian prostitute and her rise to power from the streets of London, but that barely scratches the surface of it — it’s Dickensian in scope, revealing all the remarkable nooks and crannies (even the disgusting ones) of Victorian London. Sugar is a glorious, complex character, and when she rises to the position of mistress to a wealthy businessman whose wife is her opposite (though equally complex) — a moneyed woman being treated for hysteria. Apparently, Faber researched it for 20 years, which is probably why there’s nothing about this book that I don’t love.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams
2. When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

“I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won’t look at them until after I’m gone.” This is what Terry Tempest Williams’s mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, told her a week before she died. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as it was to discover that the three shelves of journals were all blank. In fifty-four short chapters, Williams recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own faith, and contemplates the notion of absence and presence art and in our world. When Women Were Birds is a carefully crafted kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question: What does it mean to have a voice?

I read this book this year after hearing about it again and again from friends. On its surface, it’s a memoir about a woman who has lost her mother. The author is bequeathed her mother’s 50 journals, only to discover that every journal was empty. Just pages of blankness. Of course, this discovery leaves Tempest Williams thinking about issues of identity and womanhood and voice and purpose. It’s a magnificent, lyric book of 54 short essays about relationships mothers and daughters and women and faith and grief and identity. And it changed my life.

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
3. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

When shy and secluded author Sara Fielding ventures from her country cottage to research a novel, she inadvertently witnesses a crime in progress—and manages to save the life of the most dangerous man in London.

Derek Craven is a powerful and near-legendary gambling club owner who was born a bastard and raised in the streets. His reputation is unsavory, his scruples nonexistent. But Sara senses that beneath Derek’s cynical exterior, he is capable of a love more passionate than her deepest fantasies.

Aware that he is the last man that an innocent young woman should ever want, Derek is determined to protect Sara from himself, no matter what it takes. But in a world where secrets lurk behind every shadow, he is the only man who can keep her safe. And as Derek and Sara surrender to an attraction too powerful to deny, a peril surfaces from his dark past to threaten their happiness . . . and perhaps even their lives.

Together they will discover if love is enough to make dreams come true.

I mean, I’m still Sarah MacLean, you guys, so there’s no way this list is complete without a romance novel. I know that there’s some disagreement about which Lisa Kleypas novel is the most hero-iffic, but to all the Devil in Winter fans, I say, St. Vincent is fine, but Derek Craven would eat him for breakfast. I think of Dreaming of You as a near-perfect romance, in part because it busted down Ducal doors when it came out — Derek isn’t just untitled, he’s a cockney, up-from-the-gutter, son of a prostitute, rough-and-tumble hero who is the ultimate self-made man. And man, has he self-made. He’s the owner of a tremendous gaming hell, and a king of the dark corners of London.

The heroine? A lady novelist who is interested in those dark corners for research. Of course, she has no idea how to navigate them, and she awakens his gentlemanly side, if it can be called that. It’s a beautiful beautiful book.

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
4. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci — clues visible for all to see — yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion — an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory’s ancient secret — and an explosive historical truth — will be lost forever.

And now…for something completely different. I love this book. I love it as a reader because it is ridiculously good fun, and it makes me turn pages without a care in the world for how ridiculous it is…and all the cares for what good fun it is. Robert Langdon is outrageous and the plot is bananas and I care not a bit. It’s exactly what commercial fiction should be. And that brings me to why I love it as a writer. Let me repeat. It’s exactly what commercial fiction should be.
Dan Brown knows how to write a book that people will devour. The bones

of this book are so carefully structured…everything about it builds so carefully on itself…and everything is designed so that the reader solves the puzzles about thirty seconds before Langdon himself does.
It makes readers feel clever and smart and keeps them gleefully turning pages. The first time I read it, I was on a boat in the middle of a stunning California lake, and I couldn’t even look up at the beautiful day because I was so thoroughly enjoying my book. Ever since, I’ve strived to write a book like that.

The Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay
5. The Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

The 1956 Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay finds new life in this beautiful new P.S. edition from Harper Perennial Modern Classics. Alongside Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and E. E. Cummings, Millay remains among the most celebrated poets of the early twentieth century for her uniquely lyrical explorations of love, individuality, and artistic expression. This invaluable compendium of her work is not only an essential addition to any collection of the world’s most moving and memorable poetry but an unprecedented look into the life of Millay. An extensive P.S. section includes personal letters, never-before-seen photographs, information about Millay’s homestead at Steepletop, and an original essay by leading Millay scholar Holly Peppe.

Full disclosure, I’m not a poetry person. I don’t entirely understand it and I always feel like I’m missing the point. That is, for every poet but Edna St. Vincent Millay, who writes the most beautiful, heartbreaking love poems I’ve ever read. Strike that. She writes the most beautiful, heartbreaking love I’ve ever read. I read her almost exclusively when I’m at the end of a book, writing the black moments.

“Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain.”

That exclamation point slays me every time.

About Sarah:

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare and never looked back. She is the author of historical romances and a monthly romance review column at The Washington Post, and the recipient of back-to-back RITA Awards for Best Historical Romance. Sarah regularly speaks about the romance genre, its history and its intersection with feminism in both academic and consumer settings. A lifelong romance reader, she is the creator and moderator of the 1500 member strong Old School Romance Bookclub on Facebook. Sarah lives in New York City.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Check out her upcoming releases:

The Rogue Not Taken

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Available December 29, 2015. Preorder it now:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Books-a-Million | Indie Bound


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Blog Blitz: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted November 17, 2015 by Rowena in Promotions | 6 Comments

News Flash: Announcing a sublime – and scandalously wonderful – new series from New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Sarah MacLean!

The author aroused immediate interest when she announced this high-concept affair: “I’m thrilled to announce my next project — the Scandal & Scoundrel series, which I pitched to my editor as ‘Old School TMZ,’” says MacLean. “It’s modern celebrity gossip with a pre-Victorian twist. Basically, this is my way of convincing my husband that all those glossy magazines in our house are ‘work necessities.’

The first novel in the series, THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN (Avon Books; ISBN 9780062379412; eISBN 9780062379399; on-sale 12/29/15) is a riff on a certain elevator incident made famous at a Met gala several years ago. But in MacLean’s imagination, the scurrilous turns absolutely sensational, as a ballroom imbroglio sets off a very heated carriage journey along the Great North Road. It’s a long way from London to Scotland…you would be quite amazed at how much drama can ensue between a seemingly ill-matched duo on such a wild ride!

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD –

Sarah MacLean/THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN Blog Blitz

Great North Road Map Reveal: Destinations and excerpts from novel:

Map designed by Amy Solomon
Map designed by Amy Solomon

Stop #1: “Sophie Stows Away” (English Country Estate near London)

Author Commentary:
There are moments in life when you know that you just can’t go on without a change. Lady Sophie Talbot, the youngest of the infamous Talbot Sisters (darlings of the gossip rags and nicknamed the Dangerous Daughters) knows this is the case when she lands her odious, philandering brother in law backside-first in a fish pond at a major event of the London Season. And so, Sophie does what’s necessary. “I simply need conveyance home,” she requests of Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, notorious rake and her only chance of escape. Sophie’s desperate, and in possession of the Marquess’s boot, so she thinks she has a leg up, so to speak. King has other ideas.

Stop #2: “The Carriage”

Author Commentary:
Lady Sophie Talbot, youngest and least interesting of the scandalous Talbot sisters (think 19th Century Kardashians) isn’t so uninteresting once she’s decided to stow away atop a carriage belonging to the Marquess of Eversley — notorious rogue and her recent nemesis. Indeed, she cannot wait for the horrible man to discover that she’s disguised herself as an outrider and stolen conveyance home to central London. There’s just one problem…

Stop #3: “The Fox and the Falcon Posting Inn”

Author Commentary:
By the time Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself outside the Fox & Falcon Posting Inn, miles from her home in London, she’s realized she’s made a huge mistake. She only ever intended to hitch a ride home to Mayfair–and simultaneously stick it to the arrogant, handsome, horrible Marquess of Eversley, who happens to be minus a boot, thanks to Sophie. Suffice to say, things got out of hand. And now, dressed as a male servant in the drive of a roadside inn, things are about to get much much worse.

Stop #4: “Beware Highwaymen!”

Author Commentary:
Suffice to say, being on the road with an arrogant aristocrat is no fun at all, so Lady Sophie Talbot does what any self-respecting woman would do, she “borrows” his money, and gets herself on the next mail coach north. All seems fine — until Highwaymen arrive, and that arrogant aristocrat arrives just in time to see her entire plan go pear-shaped.

Stop #5: “The Warbling Wren”

Author Commentary:
Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.

Stop #6: “Mossband”

Author Commentary:
Lady Sophie Talbot, youngest and least interesting of the infamous Talbot sisters, has decided that her best bet to escape London and the aristocratic life for which she’d never been intended is to take herself home — to the small village on the Scottish border where she spent the first ten years of her life. And perhaps, after a disastrous journey north, something would go right, and her childhood friend Robbie, now the village baker, would make good on their silly youthful promises and marry her. Of course, Sophie isn’t alone. She’s saddled with the horrible, handsome Marquess of Eversley. Who has done everything to ruin her plans. Until now.

Stop #7: “Lyne Castle”

Author Commentary:
The Country seat of the Dukes of Lyne, Lyne Castle is the childhood home of Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, who left home at eighteen after a terrible tragedy and never returned. Summoned home by his ailing father, King finally returns–with the unexpected addition of Lady Sophie Talbot, irritating and somehow irresistible. The estate boasts one of the most complicated labyrinths in Britain…where King and Sophie find solace, and heartbreak, and each other.

Sophie would want love. She’d want it pure and unfettered, given freely, along with all its trappings. She’d want the marriage and children and happiness and prom- ise that came with it.

King could see it, the life she wanted. The line of little girls, blue-eyed and brown-haired, in love with books and strawberry tarts. For a moment, he imagined them smiling at him the way their mother did, filled with happiness and hope.

For a moment, he let himself believe he might be able to give it to her.

But she would want love, and he would never be able to give it.

He didn’t have it to give anymore. And those children, they would never be his.

He set her down on the edge of the fountain, coming to his knees, as though she was Ariadne and he the Minotaur, worshipping at her feet, adoring her even as he knew she could not survive in the labyrinth, and he could not survive beyond it.

“Tell me about last night,” he said softly, looking up at her, his hands at the hem of her skirts.
“What—” She caught her breath as his fingers explored the skin of her ankles. “What about it?”
“I hated it,” he said. “I hated stopping.”

She pressed her lips into a thin, straight line. “I hated that you stopped.”

His hands were beneath her skirts, pushing them back, farther and farther, up and over her knees. He pressed his lips to the inside of her knee, swirling his tongue there, loving the little gasp of surprised pleasure that came at the touch.

“I hate that I will have to stop today, as well.”


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