Tag Archives: Sophie Barnes

Falling for Mr. Townsbridge Blitz

Falling for Mr. Townsbridge banner

Falling for Mr. Townsbridge cover

The Townsbridges, Book 3

Historical Regency Romance

Date Published: July 21, 2020

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

He knows he ought to forget her…

When William Townsbridge returns from Portugal and meets Eloise Lamont, the
new cook his mother has hired, he’s instantly smitten. The only
problem of course is that she’s a servant – completely off
limits for a gentleman with an ounce of honor. But as they become better
acquainted, William starts to realize he must make Eloise his. The only
question is how.

Eloise loves her new position. But William Townsbridge’s arrival
threatens everything, from her principles to her very heart. Falling for her
employer’s son would be monumentally stupid. All it can lead to is
ruin, not only for the present, but for her entire future. So then the
simplest solution would be to walk away. But can she?

 

Other Books in The Townsbridges Historical Romance Series:

 

When Love Leads To Scandal cover

When Love Leads To Scandal

The Townsbridges, Book 1

Release Date: February 2019

 

Two people fated to be together…

Recently engaged to the Earl of Langdon, Lady Bethany is content with the
knowledge that she’s made a wonderful match for herself. Until a chance
encounter with a handsome stranger makes her wish she was still unattached –
a sentiment that grows even stronger when circumstance causes her to spend
more time in this gentleman’s company.

And the duty that threatens to come between them…

Charles Townsbridge is not prepared to learn that the mystery woman he met
in the park, the very same woman he cannot get out of his head, is in fact
his best friend’s fiancée. Determined to do the right thing, he tasks
himself with quashing the attraction, only to discover that the heart cannot
be so easily controlled.

 

Purchase on Amazon

 

 

Lady Abigail's Perfect Match cover

Lady Abigail’s Perfect Match

The Townsbridges, Book 2

Release Date: October 2019

 

A kiss can cure any ailment…

Lady Abigail has been infatuated with Mr. James Townsbridge for three
years. But when she is finally introduced to him, she finds him arrogant and
rude. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop her heart from racing or her
stomach from flip-flopping while in his presence. In fact, being near him
makes her feel somewhat ill. Which complicates matters when they are
suddenly forced to marry.

James doesn’t like the aloof young lady to whom he has recently been
introduced. And since he has a blistering headache, he doesn’t have
the patience for someone who clearly doesn’t want to be in his
company. But when she lands in his lap and he accidentally rips her gown,
his duty is clear. Now James must try to get along with his awful
fiancée, or risk living unhappily ever after. But is that
possible?

 Purchase on Amazon

 

 

Falling for Mr. Townsbridge tablet

 

 Excerpt

A spark of awareness flared to life in his eyes, prompting her to drop her
gaze quickly. She finished preparing his plate and handed it to him. His
thumb brushed hers and her heart leapt. This was wrong, this response she
was having toward him. Nothing about it made sense when only moments ago
she’d been ready to hit him.

Avoiding further eye contact, she busied herself with putting the tin away.
“I have an early morning so I must be off now.”

“Won’t you keep me company while I eat?”

Eloise swallowed. “Non.” She closed the cupboard and forced her
feet to move toward the door. Reaching it, she paused to say, “It was
interesting to meet you, Mr. Townsbridge. I hope you enjoy your
snack.”

She turned away.

“I trust your husband is also in my parents’
employ?”

“No. I’m not…” Too late, she realized what
she’d revealed. Cooks were always referred to as Mrs., no matter their
marital status, and keeping Mr. Townsbridge in the dark about hers would
have served as a useful line of defense. If she’d been wise enough to
leave him wondering, that was, or even better if she’d lied.

“Duly noted.”

The comment chased her out of the kitchen and into the servants’
stairwell, all the way up to her room on the top floor of the house. She
didn’t pause for breath until she was safely inside with the door
shut. Good heavens. The way he’d said that, with seductive promise,
was enough to set her ablaze.

She patted her cheeks and expelled a deep breath.

No.

She absolutely could not allow herself to be alone with that man ever
again. Not only because of the threat he posed to her job but because of
what she feared he might want. And judging by how quickly he’d
replaced her indignation with amusement, she worried he had the skill to
acquire whatever he might desire.

Which meant she would have to avoid him at all cost.

About the Author

Born in Denmark, USA TODAY bestselling author Sophie Barnes spent her youth
traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s
lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks
Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian with various degrees of
fluency. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man
three times—in three different countries and in three different
dresses.

 

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys
spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching
romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

 

 

Contact  Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Promo Link

 

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

RABT Book Tours & PR

3 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

Her Seafaring Scoundrel Blitz

Her Seafaring Scoundrel cover

The Crawfords, Book 3
Regency Romance
Date Published: April 28, 2020
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The last thing she wants is a husband…
Least of all one determined to win her heart…
Lady Cassandra has no desire to marry. But when Captain Devlin Crawford brings scandal to her doorstep and offers salvation, she cannot say no. Not with her daughter’s future at stake. So she decides to accept Devlin’s offer, provided he agrees to never being intimate with her. For although Cassandra is drawn to Devlin, she refuses to dishonor the memory of her one true love.
Devlin knows he’s made a mess, but now that it’s done, marrying Cassandra doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. Far from it, though it will take serious effort on his part to convince her of this. Especially since she’s never stopped mourning the man she was meant to marry over a decade ago. So once they set off on a grand ocean voyage, Devlin embarks on his greatest adventure yet – the wooing of his wife.
Other Books in The Crawfords Series:
The Crawfords Series:
No Ordinary Duke
No Ordinary Duke
The Crawfords, Book 1
Release Date: August 2018
He’s everything she’s trying to avoid…But somehow precisely what she needs…
Caleb Crawford doesn’t want to be a duke. He’d much rather build houses for a living. So when fate disrupts his peaceful life and burdens him with the responsibilities of a newly inherited title, he does what any sensible man would do by fleeing London, disguising himself as a laborer, and seeking refuge with three young spinsters who need his help with a leaky roof.
Ruined by a marquess who promised her the world, Mary Clemens has sworn to avoid marriage forever. Instead, she intends to live out her days with her friends and the orphaned children they’ve taken into their care. But when Mr. Crawford comes knocking, Mary finds herself in real danger of risking heartbreak all over again. Especially when she discovers that he’s not at all what he seems.
More Than A Rogue
More Than A Rogue
The Crawfords, Book 2
Release Date: June 25, 2019
All she wanted was a kiss…
What she got, was fiery passion…
Emily Howard knows she is destined to be a spinster. She has accepted this fate, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to experience kissing. What she doesn’t expect, is for Griffin Crawford, the handsomest man in the world, to do the honors. Or for all her female relations to discover her in his embrace. Naturally, marriage is instantly mentioned, but since Emily knows this is not what Griffin wants, she tries to escape him, her family and the ensuing scandal.
When Emily flees the Camberly ball in the wake of their kiss, Griffin goes in pursuit. He will not allow his sister-in-law’s determined friend to risk her safety for any reason. And risk it she will if she means to return to her countryside home by herself. But the longer he remains in her company, the more he is tempted to kiss her again. If only he could risk falling in love and remain in England forever.
Excerpt
“I cannot believe the duke and duchess would think to invite her.” The speaker had just stepped onto the terrace a few yards from where Devlin stood.
“It is my understanding that she and the duchess are dear friends,” another voice gently advised.
“Well yes. There is that, I suppose. But to not consider the Vernons’ feelings really is bad form.” There was a small sniff. “Can you imagine having your scandalous daughter make a spectacle on the dance floor for all the world to see? I mean, honestly! She practically threw herself at him, poor man.” There was an outraged snort. “As if Lord Devlin would ever consider marrying the likes of her. The mere thought of it is—”
“What?” Devlin asked stepping forward. He set his glass aside anven if that meant forcing the horrid baroness to choke on her own words.
“Yes?” he inquired in an eerily quiet voice that managed to turn his own stomach. “You were saying?”
“Um…merely that…er…” She glanced at her friend while fidgeting with her gloves but when she found no help there, she surprised Devlin by raising her chin and looking him dead in the eye. “You are a duke’s brother for heaven’s sake and she is nothing but a—”
“Lady DeVries,” Caleb snapped.
“—trollop,” the baroness finished, punctuating her statement with a victorious smile.
What she couldn’t see was the blood rushing through Devlin’s veins or the tight strain of his muscles. Never in his life had he been so livid, and if Lady DeVries had been a man, he would have called her out by now so he could have the pleasure of shooting her dead.
“Devlin,” Caleb murmured from somewhere nearby. “Don’t do anything rash. I beg you.”
But the middle-aged woman who stood before Devlin, dripping with smug maliciousness, had pushed him past all reason. “And what makes you so much better?” he asked.
Lady DeVries gasped. Her friend gulped, took a step back, and then fled back inside the ballroom, abandoning the baroness to her fate. Caleb groaned and Monty managed to get in a weary, “For God’s sake, Dev,” before Lady DeVries recovered and said, “I will not be spoken to in such a rude manner. I deserve better.”
“So does Lady Cassandra.”
The baroness crossed her arms. “Don’t be absurd. She might have been born into the nobility, but she threw all of that away the moment she chose to—”
“Madam,” Devlin seethed, “I would advise you to choose your next words wisely.”
“Or what?”
“Or I shall have to ask you to leave,” Caleb said.
The baroness scoffed – scoffed! – in response to her host’s statement, but Caleb apparently chose to let it go without comment. “Why am I not surprised?” she asked as she turned away and started toward the French doors leading back to the ballroom. But just when Devlin thought that might be the end of their quarrel, she turned back to face him with all the arrogance Devlin despised about the aristocracy. “Lady Cassandra is a fallen woman. When even her parents can see that, I don’t understand why you find it such a hard concept to grasp.”
“Oh, Jesus,” Monty murmured.
Devlin speared Lady DeVries with his hardest glare. “You will not speak of her in that manner.”
“As much as I respect your family, I hardly think it appropriate for you to advise me on how I may or may not refer to a person of such low moral standing as Lady Cassandra.”
Maybe it was the fact that he’d just gotten off a ship after several months at sea, maybe it was the champagne—though he seriously doubted it, or maybe it was the fact that he’d really enjoyed seeing Cassandra again that finally made Devlin come up with something completely unplanned and, quite possibly, cataclysmic. What he did know was that he could think of only one way in which to give Cassandra the stamp of approval necessary to make this woman regret her words.
Blind with rage and as he’d later admit not entirely clear-headed, he ignored Caleb’s words of warning and leaned toward the baroness. Meeting her gaze with all the hatred he possessed for her at that moment, he said, “It bloody well is when she is to be my wife.”
About the Author

Born in Denmark, USA TODAY bestselling author Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian with varying degrees of fluency. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.
When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

Comments Off on Her Seafaring Scoundrel Blitz

Filed under BOOKS

The Forgotten Duke Tour

The Forgotten Duke banner

The Forgotten Duke cover
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 5
Regency Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
From USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes….The Forgotten Duke. Book 5 in the Diamonds In The Rough Regency Series
He never imagined he’d be the man he was born to be, or that one woman’s faith in him would change his life forever…
When Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St. Giles, encounters a runaway bride, he offers to help her. Not out of kindness, but because she’s the Earl of Hedgewick’s daughter. Using Regina to exact his revenge on her father seems like the perfect plan. Until Carlton starts to fall for the innocent beauty.
Seeking refuge with a notorious crime lord, was never part of Regina’s plan. But in her blind attempt to escape the fate her parents have planned for her, options are limited. What she doesn’t expect, is to pull aside Carlton’s facade, and to find a tormented man who makes her feel safe and cherished – a man she could easily love, if he’ll let her.
The Forgotten Duke tablet, phone, book
Other Books in the Diamonds In The Rough Series:
A Most Unlikely Duke cover
A Most Unlikely Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Published: June 2017
He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love…
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
The Duke of Her Desire cover
The Duke of Her Desire
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Published: December 2017
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . . .
When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable temptation.
Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of her desire . . .
The Illegitimate Duke covers
The Illegitimate Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Published: August 2018
United in a common cause…
Lady Juliette Matthews longs to be much more than just another pretty ornament in society. But using her recently acquired fortune to do some good is more complicated than she anticipated. Young ladies are not expected to risk their safety in helping the less fortunate. And the one gentleman who could help in her mission is stubborn, infernally handsome—and far too honorable to act on their mutual attraction.
And in a desire impossible to deny…
Florian Lowell has suddenly been made heir to the Duke of Redding—a far cry from his status as a dedicated physician. Yet even with his new role as the country’s most eligible bachelor, the beautiful, fearless Juliette is utterly beyond his reach. The scandalous circumstances of his birth would destroy both their reputations if they became known. But when a more urgent danger threatens Juliette’s life, Florian must gamble everything…including the heart only one woman can tame.
The Infamous Duchess cover
The Infamous Duchess
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 4
Publisher: Avon
Published: March 2019
A woman with a shocking past…
Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.
And the man who can promise a future filled with love…
Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?

EXCERPT

Chapter One

London 

September, 1820

Everything in Regina’s life had always gone according to plan. She’d been born on March fourteenth, exactly as the physician and midwife had predicted. Since then, her sole purpose had been to become an accomplished lady. She’d been educated in a manner befitting the daughter of a British peer. And so, it was not surprising that she could play the pianoforte, embroider monograms on handkerchiefs, converse in French, and dance as if floating on air.
Her life was as it should be, as it had been designed to be, and she had no illusions about the duty that would one day be required of her. As a female, she would have to make the best possible match. Love would not factor into this eventuality since her marriage would without doubt be one of convenience. 

Her parents had spent the last eighteen years preparing her for this. And yet her father, Charles Berkly, Earl of Hedgewick, still managed to surprise her when he interrupted tea one afternoon to inform her that she and the Marquess of Stokes were to be married. 

The very next day.

By special license.

Apprehensive and slightly dazed, Regina told herself that all would be well. Her father had made a magnificent match – one that would elevate not only her but her entire family. She trusted him to have her best interests at heart, so she did not think to protest the hasty union or to remind her father that she and Stokes had never met. Instead, she breathed a sigh of relief when he described the marquess as a handsome youth with a fondness for poetry and music. She imagined herself enjoying his company, of entertaining him in the evenings with music and song, and of giving him children as duty required. She convinced herself that in time, love would blossom between them and that they would be happy together.

But when Stokes arrived that same evening for an introductory dinner, and was shown into the parlor by Plath, the butler, Regina realized that everything she’d imagined was but an illusion. Instead, she was expected to walk into hell and live there.

The resolve required to maintain her composure as Stokes approached her, to drop into an elegant curtsey and not run screaming from the room, was extraordinarily difficult. Like sitting still while a swarm of bees tried to sting you. But she now understood why she’d never met the marquess before and why she had to marry him faster than she could blink. Most likely, her father hoped to complete the task before she realized she was marrying a child.

Even though it was rather difficult not to notice such a thing, considering Stokes’s appearance. He had the typical rounded features of a young adolescent with a lanky body to match. Regina supposed he could be fifteen, if she were lucky, but rather feared he might be much younger than that. His face was regrettably covered in pimples of varying sizes, though this was the least problematic aspect since he would likely be rid of those within a few years. Of greater concern was his difficult gait, which suited an aging old man much better. And when he extended his hand to Regina, the stiff rigidity forcing his fingers to curl at odd angles was more than she could bear.

With a gasp, she looked up, only to be met by pain in his eyes. The heartbeats thumping fast inside her slowed, easing a path toward sympathetic understanding. He did not want this marriage any more than she did. 

So Regina smiled. Not because she was pleased on either of their behalves, but because it was what Stokes deserved. However difficult this situation was for her, surely it must be worse for him, not only because he was so much younger but because he probably thought she would spurn him.

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, my lord,” she said as she placed her hand in his.
Behind him, his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Windham, looked on with a mixture of hopefulness and concern. 

“The pleasure is entirely mine,” Stokes told her politely. He gave her hand a gentle pull and she let him create the appearance of helping her rise. “Perhaps the two of us can take a turn about the room together before we’re called in for dinner?”

“I’d like that,” Regina said. She deliberately avoided looking over at her brother Marcus, whose glower she could feel as acutely as the heat emanating from the fireplace. He would undoubtedly have some choice words with their parents later, but for now, Regina believed the best policy would be to make the most of an already difficult situation. 

So she placed her hand lightly on the arm Stokes offered and forced her steps to match his as they moved toward the far end of the room. 

They reached the bay window looking out on the dusky garden and drew to a halt. Giving her a sideways glance, Stokes spoke in a low whisper. “I am sorry about all of this. When my parents told me of their intention to see me wed, I did my best to dissuade them. But Papa is determined to secure the lineage of his title and with the undeniable progression of my illness, he sees Hedgewick’s offer as the only hope of doing so.”

His comment caused numerous issues to poke and prod at Regina’s mind, like how her father had apparently started all of this by approaching Windham. And the idea that she would have to lie with him tomorrow after the wedding. 

Forcing all her aversions to this aside, she chose to get to know this boy whose life must be unbearably difficult, and asked, “Do the physicians know what it is that ails you?”

He inhaled deeply, as if this subject required additional strength. “They say it is primary asthenic gout.” He looked at her directly. “Incurable, by all accounts.”

“I am sorry.” It was all she could think to say even though she knew it was not enough.

“Apparently, it is rare in children, which makes me special according to some physicians.” He gave a low snort. “I must say I’ve never felt so myself.”

Regina winced. The physicians were idiots if they believed that Stokes would find comfort in such a notion. “How long have you suffered like this?”

“The symptoms began five years ago and have been progressing since.”

Hoping he wouldn’t detect the pity she felt for him, she casually asked, “And how old are you now, if you do not mind my asking.”

“Fourteen.” The edge of his mouth lifted and for a second she caught a glimpse of the fun-loving boy he might have been if he’d been granted good health. “It is the age of consent for a boy, provided his parents approve.”

Regina nodded. The duke and duchess were hoping to marry him off as expediently as possible before he got worse and lost his chance completely. 

Determined to put a positive spin on the situation, Regina said, “You’re probably the most eligible bachelor I’ve ever met. A pity you’re going to be squandered on an old woman like me.”

He grinned with what appeared to be genuine amusement. “I doubt there’s a woman in all of England as beautiful as you.”

She nudged him slightly while giving him a sly smile. “Top points for charm and for not inquiring about my age.”

Affecting a debonair look, he said, “No proper gentleman would ever think to do so.”

“I am eighteen,” Regina confessed with a chuckle. 

“And entirely wasted on me.”

Regret flickered in his eyes and Regina’s heart squeezed painfully in response. “Don’t say that. You and I—”

“Have no hope of happiness.” His blunt statement, as obviously simple as it was, jarred Regina’s soul.

“Don’t say that,” she whispered.

“Why not?” He gave her a quizzical look. “It is the truth, when you think of it.” When she said nothing in response to this, he added, “My illness will not kill me for at least a couple of decades.”

 With a gulp, she met his gaze head on. “I should hope not.”

“You say that now, but as I deteriorate with time, you will regret being my wife, just as much as I will regret ruining your life.”

Regina stared at him and as she did so, it occurred to her that she had to find a way to save them both. Perhaps they could have the marriage annulled immediately after? It was an option, though not a very good one when she considered the vicar who would be conducting the ceremony. He ought not be able to do so unless she and Stokes gave their consent. And yet, it was becoming increasingly clear that they would be pronounced husband and wife no matter what they said or did. Their parents were powerful people. What chance did she and a child stand against their determined wills?

Fear started to drip through Regina like freezing rain. “I’ll find a way out of this,” she assured him. 

He raised an eyebrow. “How?”

“I don’t know.” Short of running away…

Her nerves tightened in response to that thought. It went against the obligation instilled in her since childhood. It felt wrong and disobedient and…wonderfully freeing, all things considered. 

Swallowing, she glanced sideways. Assembled on the sofa and in the armchairs were their family members, all watching with syrupy smiles painted on their faces.

Except for Marcus, who looked rather grim. His eyebrows were drawn together, one partially obscured by a dark blonde lock of hair. Jaw tight, he appeared to be holding a great deal of anger in check. If she were to flee, she would miss him the most, which was something she contemplated a great deal as the evening wore on. 

When the time eventually came for Stokes and his parents to depart, he stepped close enough to Regina so he could whisper next to her ear, “Time is running out.” He leaned back and gave her the sort of sad smile that quickened her pulse with the knowledge that only she had the power to act.

“We shall see you again in the morning,” Lord Windham said as if they were preparing to start a joint venture together, which Regina supposed they were, in a way.

Hedgewick smiled with the satisfaction of a lion who’d just caught a fat gazelle. “Eight o’clock sharp.” He smiled again and bowed toward Lady Windham. A few more parting words were spoken and then Stokes was helped down the front steps of Hedgewick House and into the awaiting carriage. The front door closed with a deep thud and Regina expelled a long breath.

“Well,” Hedgewick said, turning about so he could regard his family. “That went rather splendidly I’d say.”

“The Windhams are delightful people,” Louise said in support of her husband. “Very proper and most elegantly attired.”

Marcus stared at them both as if they’d just performed a series of cartwheels. “Are you serious?” Apparently he’d decided the time had come to speak up. “That is all you have to say?”

“What else is there?” Louise asked her son in that timid voice that had always been so comforting and soothing. Now it just sounded weak and devoid of character. Like tepid tea.

“I don’t know,” Marcus clipped in an acrid tone that warned Regina of the argument to come. “How about the fact that you’re planning to foist Regina off on a decrepit child?”

Hedgewick’s eyes darkened to storm cloud grey. “Your sister is going to be a duchess one day.”

“At what cost?” Marcus asked. He swung around to face Regina. “You cannot go through with this. I won’t permit it.”

“You. Won’t. Permit. It?” Hedgewick’s voice trembled while fine flecks of spittle flew from his mouth. His face had turned beet red. Leaning forward, he glared at his son. “Perhaps if you were head of this family you’d have a say in the matter. But you don’t.” He turned his attention on Regina whose skin began to prick in response to his anger. She’d never seen him like this. He’d always been loving and kind. “Everything has been arranged, so the wedding will proceed as planned.” Leaning back, he puffed out an agitated breath through his nose. “I suggest you get some sleep now so you can be well-rested and ready.”

“Yes, Papa,” she obediently murmured while Marcus gave her a stupefied look of concern. Pretending to be agreeable seemed like the simplest option while coming to terms with the fact that not even her brother was able to sway her father’s decision.

“I do not understand you,” Marcus told her moments later when both of their parents had retired. “You cannot seriously want this for yourself.”

“Stokes isn’t so terrible.” She started up the stairs while Marcus trailed behind. “He and I will get along well with each other, I think.”

“But he’s…I mean…how will you…” His words were blown away on a heavy sigh of frustration.

“I have always known that I would marry for convenience. This isn’t much different than the women who have to marry men thrice their age.”

“It’s different in the sense that Stokes might stay alive for some time yet.”

“Good God,” Regina gasped as she halted halfway up the steps and glanced back at her brother. “I should certainly hope so.”

Marcus lifted one shoulder. “Forgive me. That comment was in bad taste. I just wish you could marry the man of your choosing and not be a pawn in whatever it is Papa’s trying to achieve.”

“You think there’s more to his wanting this marriage than social status alone?”

“Considering how angered he was by my mere suggestion that you not go through with the wedding, I’d say so. But I cannot imagine what it might be.”

Regina pondered this as she resumed her progress. When she reached her bedchamber, she paused. “I love you dearly, Marcus. You know that, right?”

Tilting his head, he gave her an odd look. “Of course.”

She forced a smile. “Good.” She pressed down the handle and opened the door. Telling her brother she might not be there by morning would be a mistake. He’d only want to help her escape and thus implicate himself in her disappearance, which was something she could not allow. Besides, she still wasn’t sure she’d go through with it.

“I love you too,” he told her gently, and she was glad for the darkness because it stopped him from seeing the tears in her eyes. “Sleep well.”

Echoing his parting words, she entered her bedchamber, closed the door and leaned against it. Could she really run away? Her parents would not expect it, which would make the task so much easier. This was a benefit to being the dutiful daughter, the proper young lady who never strayed from protocol and always behaved with decorum. She could simply walk out the front door and vanish.

Glancing at the white lace gown hanging from a hook on the wall, Regina allowed the idea of running away to capture her imagination more fully. She’d worn the dress when she’d made her debut at the Coventry ball three months earlier. It had been altered slightly this afternoon by a maid tasked with turning it into her wedding dress. In Regina’s opinion, too much lace and silk netting had been added, but she supposed it would do. She stepped forward and touched the fabric, letting it slide between her fingers. The bonnet she would wear sat on her dressing table, with additional silk netting sewn onto the brim to create a frothy ruffle that descended toward the back where it fell away in a big voluminous tail.

Regina allowed a sad chuckle. She would look like a cake in this. 

Her brow puckered even as she pulled the gown into her arms and pressed it against her chest. What would life be like for her if she married Stokes? It wasn’t as if she loved some other man. And yet, the realization that they wouldn’t dance with each other or ride together or enjoy the sort of active life that was meant for people their age was a blow. Instead, they would live like old people, imprisoned in some large manor somewhere. 

She laughed bitterly. What good would her title do her then? What solace would she find in having done her duty when even Stokes had made it clear that he had no desire to marry? Indeed his features had softened with gratitude when she’d said she would find a solution. But could she go through with it? She clutched her dress tighter. If she sought refuge with friends her father would find her. The inevitable would only be delayed. So where would she go?

She pondered these questions for hours while pacing her bedchamber floor, until she was sure she must have worn out the sheen. Each question left her more indecisive and unsure than the last. At some point during the night, she’d put on her wedding gown and matching bonnet for no other purpose than to confirm how ridiculous she would look. She still wore it now as the darkness began to recede to the corners of her room. Dawn was breaking and she’d soon lose her chance to leave. 

Could she be brave and do the unexpected? Could she face the unknown alone?

“I have to,” she murmured. It was time to put herself first for a change. Only then would she stand a chance of building the sort of future she wished for – a future she hadn’t even known she wanted until today. But the truth was that she dreamed of falling in love and of being loved in return. She longed for compatibility with a man strong and healthy enough to be her partner for life. 

Glancing at her cheval glass, she considered the woman reflected back and made her decision. “I have to save myself and Stokes from misery.”

But first, she had to get changed.

So she reached for the end of the ribbons that held her bonnet in place and prepared to give them a pull when the sound of an upstairs door closing caused her to pause. The servants were already rising. There wasn’t any more time. 

Giving a resolute nod, she abandoned the thought of putting on a more practical dress, eased her bedchamber door open and stopped to listen. The clock in the hall chimed five. Soon the maids would start cleaning the downstairs rooms.

With this in mind, Regina stepped into the hallway and headed toward the stairs. Descending them on her tiptoes, she made her way into the foyer. No one was about yet. The front door was right there. Unguarded. 

Regina moved toward it, unbolted the lock, and opened the door to cool morning air. Mist sat low in the street, concealing most of the buildings. Heart pounding, she glanced back over her shoulder once before stepping outside, closing the door behind her, and breaking into a run.

She wasn’t sure where she was going exactly, but she had to get out of Mayfair before someone saw her and forced her to go back home. The wrath she would face there would likely surpass what her father had shown toward Marcus last night.

Turning onto Piccadilly, she raced toward a side street and almost skidded into it in her haste to escape the clatter of hooves from a carriage somewhere behind her. This was madness. Good God, what was she thinking? Perhaps she ought to go back before anyone realized she was missing. But her feet didn’t slow, they just kept going as if propelled by the part of her brain that refused to accept what her parents were doing. Why would they force such a hasty wedding upon her or Stokes? Why was her father so unrelenting? It was almost as if this match mattered more to him than she did.

Regina’s chest tightened against the air being forced in and out of her lungs. She had no idea where she was now, she reflected as her slippers struck the pavement with increasing speed. The streets and buildings were unfamiliar, though still somewhat respectable.

Something clanged behind her, causing her to dart down a street to her left where she almost smashed into a man. He staggered sideways, his hand briefly touching her elbow as she swerved around him. 

“Looking for a groom?” His drunken voice turned to lewd laughter. “I’ll help you out!”

Ignoring him, Regina continued on her way with increased determination. The silk netting and lace billowing out around her merged with the thickening fog in a ghostly effect. Three streets later, her toe caught an uneven spot on the ground and she tripped, stumbling forward with a gasp. Her arms cartwheeled as she made a desperate attempt to maintain her balance. But her body was angled too far forward, and her speed only added momentum to the fall that now seemed inevitable.

Until her entire front connected with something warm and wonderfully solid that instantly stopped her descent. An arm came around her, bracing her against the person who’d caught her, and Regina instinctively started to struggle.

“What the devil?” a masculine voice muttered. “Be still, damn it!

Regina gasped and looked up at the man who now held her. 

A pair of coffee-colored eyes stared down into hers with mesmerizing intensity. Raven locks protruded at haphazard angles from beneath the brim of a velvet top hat. Expressive eyebrows drew together in wonder, puckering a prominent forehead and drawing Regina’s attention toward the man’s nose. It was elegantly shaped in a chiseled straight line that slanted toward a neatly trimmed moustache. The dense hair hovered above a wide mouth that presently smirked at her with what could only be described as lethal amusement.

Recognizing him from all the sketches she’d seen in the newspapers over the years, she blurted the first thing that came to her mind. “I know who you are.” Carlton Guthrie’s notoriety was such that not knowing who he was would have been impossible. His smirk became more pronounced as the edge of his mouth curled upward. “You’re the Scoundrel of St. Giles.”

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places around the world. Born in Denmark, she has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses. While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.
Contact Links
Purchase Link
RABT Book Tours & PR

2 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

The Forgotten Duke Blitz

The Forgotten Duke banner

 photo The Forgotten Duke_zpslulquotj.jpg

Diamonds In The Rough, Book 5
Regency Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
From USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes….The Forgotten Duke. Book 5 in the Diamonds In The Rough Regency Series
He never imagined he’d be the man he was born to be, or that one woman’s faith in him would change his life forever…
When Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St. Giles, encounters a runaway bride, he offers to help her. Not out of kindness, but because she’s the Earl of Hedgewick’s daughter. Using Regina to exact his revenge on her father seems like the perfect plan. Until Carlton starts to fall for the innocent beauty.
Seeking refuge with a notorious crime lord, was never part of Regina’s plan. But in her blind attempt to escape the fate her parents have planned for her, options are limited. What she doesn’t expect, is to pull aside Carlton’s facade, and to find a tormented man who makes her feel safe and cherished – a man she could easily love, if he’ll let her.
 photo The Forgotten Duke print iphone and ipad_zps9wfftfos.jpg
Other Books in the Diamonds In The Rough Series:
 photo A Most Unlikely Duke - 1_zpsw9n2fthk.jpg
A Most Unlikely Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Published: June 2017
He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love…
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
 photo The Duke of Her Desire - 2_zpslbp81m1d.jpg
The Duke of Her Desire
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Published: December 2017
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . . .
When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable temptation.
Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of her desire . . .
 photo The Illegitimate Duke - 3_zpsffpmtvpx.jpg
The Illegitimate Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Published: August 2018
United in a common cause…
Lady Juliette Matthews longs to be much more than just another pretty ornament in society. But using her recently acquired fortune to do some good is more complicated than she anticipated. Young ladies are not expected to risk their safety in helping the less fortunate. And the one gentleman who could help in her mission is stubborn, infernally handsome—and far too honorable to act on their mutual attraction.
And in a desire impossible to deny…
Florian Lowell has suddenly been made heir to the Duke of Redding—a far cry from his status as a dedicated physician. Yet even with his new role as the country’s most eligible bachelor, the beautiful, fearless Juliette is utterly beyond his reach. The scandalous circumstances of his birth would destroy both their reputations if they became known. But when a more urgent danger threatens Juliette’s life, Florian must gamble everything…including the heart only one woman can tame.
 photo The Infamous Duchess - 4_zpsh6vwrnrn.jpg
The Infamous Duchess
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 4
Publisher: Avon
Published: March 2019
A woman with a shocking past…
Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.
And the man who can promise a future filled with love…
Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?
About the Author

 photo The Forgotten Duke Author Sophie Barnes_zpsikzlqlpq.jpg

USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places around the world. Born in Denmark, she has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses. While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.
When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.
Contact Links
Pre-Order Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

4 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

Lady Abigail’s Perfect Match Tour

Lady Abigail’s Perfect Match banner

Lady Abigail’s Perfect Match

The Townsbridges Series
by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

Lady Abigail’s Perfect Match cover

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple Books

A kiss can cure any ailment…

Lady Abigail has been infatuated with Mr. James Townsbridge for three years. But when she is finally introduced to him, she finds him arrogant and rude. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop her heart from racing or her stomach from flip-flopping while in his presence. In fact, being near him makes her feel somewhat ill. Which complicates matters when they are suddenly forced to marry.

James doesn’t like the aloof young lady to whom he has recently been introduced. And since he has a blistering headache, he doesn’t have the patience for someone who clearly doesn’t want to be in his company. But when she lands in his lap and he accidentally rips her gown, his duty is clear. Now James must try to get along with his awful fiancée, or risk living unhappily ever after. But is that possible?

 

EXCERPT

What a horrid man.

Abigail still couldn’t fathom how poorly Mr. James Townsbridge had treated not only herself but her parents. By contrast, his sisters were a delight. Even Mr. William Townsbridge, who seemed to be quite a bit younger, had proven far more courteous than his older brother. He’d even signed her dance card, for which she was very grateful, since she’d always enjoyed dancing.

But Mr. James Townsbridge…

She’d seen him for the first time three years ago when she and her parents had spent a brief time in London while Parliament was in session. Her father usually came to Town by himself whenever business required it, but that time, he’d brought his family with him. And during one warm spring day while riding by carriage through Hyde Park, Abigail had spotted him – the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. 

He’d been walking with his sisters she realized now after having met Miss Townsbridge and Lady Athena. And he’d been smiling in response to something they were saying, which had instantly caused a bubbly sensation in the pit of Abigail’s belly. At fifteen she’d been smitten, and had looked for Mr. Townsbridge again when she’d come to Town last Christmas.

This time, she’d encountered him at the theatre where he’d been seated in a box almost directly opposite her, together with his entire family. Since then, she’d daydreamed about her coming out and him gallantly inviting her to dance. But of course this was just a dream, because when it actually came to meeting the man, her stomach had starting flopping around until she’d feared she might be sick all over him or one of his siblings. And her heart had been pounding too, while a wave of uncomfortable heat crept over her skin. Putting on a smile and pretending she was all right had proven a challenge. Speech had been near impossible.

And her illusion about James Townsbridge himself had shattered.

She’d sensed his dislike of her right from the start. With one singular glance he’d found her lacking. Well, she disliked him as well now, though this acknowledgement didn’t make her feel any better. On the contrary it was rather depressing.

“You must excuse our brother’s deplorable manners,” Miss Townsbridge said as they made their way along the periphery of the room.

“He was being a twit,” Miss Athena added with such forceful certainty that Abigail had to press her lips together in order not to laugh. She liked the youngest member of the Townsbridge family very much, even though she would never confess to sharing her opinion of her brother. 

“It’s a pity you had to experience him like this,” Miss Townsbridge remarked. “He’s usually agreeable and a great deal of fun to be around. Which probably explains his immense popularity.”

At this, Abigail snorted. It happened involuntarily and caught her by surprise. Like a sneeze. “Sorry,” she said, except the word did not leave her mouth with even the slightest bit of sincerity. Instead, it was mumbled under her breath while heat rushed into her cheeks. 

Miss Townsbridge and Miss Athena looked at her with raised eyebrows. And then Miss Athena said, “Do you have any brothers, Lady Abigail?”

Abigail nodded. “Lance is three years older than I,” she said, hoping to leave it at that. But of course the information she’d supplied wasn’t enough for her two new friends. They wanted details. And as Abigail provided the answers to a seemingly endless list of questions, her annoyance with their brother faded and she began to relax.

“So he’s not without flaws, then, is he?” Miss Townsbridge politely inquired when they’d all finished laughing over Abigail’s account about Lance’s once swinging a door open so hard it hit their younger sister, Petra, smack in the face.

“Of course not,” Abigail said. 

Miss Athena smiled. “Perhaps you will keep that in mind before you judge our own brother too harshly. Poor judgment doesn’t necessarily denote poor character.”

And just like that, having been put firmly in her place, the calm sense of ease Abigail had enjoyed for the last few minutes abandoned her completely. Her face burned with shame and her eyes began to prick with the realization that she had ruined the chance she’d had of being friends with these women. They thought her too critical of others, and perhaps they were right. 

Perhaps it hadn’t been her but something else that had caused him to act as he had.

“I’m sorry,” she said while embarrassment snaked its way around her, squeezing her until she knew she had to escape. So she took a step back, and then another. “Please forgive me. I meant no offense.” 

“Oh indeed, we did not mean to imply…” Miss Townsbridge began. A look of concern marred her features.

But now that Abigail was already fleeing, it seemed there was no stopping her retreat. Without waiting to hear the rest of Miss Townsbridge’s sentence, she spun around and quickened her pace. The nervousness Mr. James Townsbridge had evoked returned, and the supper she’d had at home earlier in the evening began climbing up her throat. It was much too hot and overcrowded; the thick smell of perfume mixed with candle wax and roses put on display, making the air hard to breathe. 

Desperately, Abigail glanced toward the doors leading out to the terrace. Fresh air and privacy existed beyond them. But only if she managed to circumvent the crowd blocking her path.

Her skin pricked in response to the sheen of moisture that started to gather between her shoulder blades. She sucked in a breath and felt her throat constrict in response to the stuffy heat.

Guided by her reflexes, she hurried through an archway leading out to the hallway beyond the ballroom. The air was better out here but the need to find solace in a place where she could gather her thoughts and her composure without being disturbed made her head toward a closed door a little farther along. 

She tried the handle and the door gave way, opening toward a room where black shadows hid the walls. Only a purple hue entering through a tall window offered some semblance of light. Fearing the sanctuary she had just found would be snatched from her grasp if she lingered in the doorway, Abigail slipped quickly inside and closed the door. 

A wave of relief washed over her, cooling her and offering comfort. Her muscles relaxed, teasing away the nausea she’d felt since coming face to face with Mr. James Townsbridge. The silence that filled the room was blessed indeed, and she savored it as she crossed to the window and opened the latch to a welcome waft of cool air. She inhaled deeply through her nose and was instantly rewarded with the fresh smell of jasmine from the garden beyond. 

With a sigh, she smoothed the white muslin skirt of her gown and turned her gaze on the room behind her. The furniture stood silhouetted like irregular shapes emerging from the darkness. Identifying what appeared to be a sofa, Abigail made her way toward it, muttering lightly beneath her breath when her shin connected with a corner table. She went around it, moving her feet with small careful steps in case there were other obstacles in her path.

Locating the sofa’s armrest, she walked her fingers along its length until she was certain she had a solid hold. She then turned and sat, momentarily caught off guard by the uneven lumpiness beneath her. Until the lumpiness moved and a low voice muttered a curse. 

Before she could leap to her feet, something grabbed her and pulled her close, like an octopus dragging its prey down into the depths of the ocean. 

Startled, Abigail acted on instinct and screamed.

About Sophie Barnes


USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places around the world. Born in Denmark, she has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses. While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Newsletter | Instagram | Bookbub | Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 Comments

Filed under BOOKS