Tag Archives: Sophie Barnes

The Forgotten Duke – Cover Reveal

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The Forgotten Duke

Diamonds in the Rough
by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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Preorder: Amazon – Coming in October! | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple Books

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.

About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world.

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

More Than a Rogue The Crawfords Series by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: June 25, 2019
 The Crawfords, Book 2  Historical Romance  Release Date: June 25, 2019 All she wanted was
Miss Compton’s Christmas Romance Blurb: Sometimes playing pretend can lead to the perfect romance… When
No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: October 30, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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More Than a Rogue by Sophie Barnes – Tour

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More Than a Rogue

The Crawfords Series
by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

More Than a Rogue cover

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

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

Griffin Nathaniel Finnegan Crawford stood in one corner of the crowded ballroom, conversing with his brother, Caleb, and Caleb’s friend, Viscount Aldridge.

“I cannot wait for this Season to be over so Mary and I can return to Montvale,” Caleb said. The couple had decided to build a cottage for themselves on the Montvale grounds so they could enjoy a simple life while away in the country. The manor itself would be turned into an orphanage so Mary could continue caring for children in need.

“It has only just begun,” Griffin remarked. Contrary to his brother, he missed the busy city life whenever he was away from it. He missed Vienna, with its culture and music and picturesque streets. By comparison, London felt like a grimy slum.

“And it will only get busier once parliament is in full swing,” Aldridge said.

“Don’t remind me.” Caleb crossed his arms. He glanced at Griffin. “At least Devlin had the foresight to escape while he could.”

Devlin was the third brother, born only five minutes after Griffin. All three were identical in appearance save for a few slight differences between them. But Caleb was the oldest, so he’d been the one burdened with the dukedom when their father and older brother had died. It was a responsibility Griffin didn’t envy, though he admired Caleb’s effort to find a balance between his duty and a less demanding existence. Mary’s love and support had undoubtedly helped.

“I plan to do so as well,” Griffin said. “I’ve already been away from my place of business longer than I ever intended.” Years ago, when he’d first left England after arguing with their father about not wanting to join the army, he’d gone to Germany where a chance encounter with a man in a tavern had put him in touch with a clockmaker named Herr Fritz.

Intrigued by Herr Fritz’s craftsmanship, Griffin had inquired about a position and had quickly become the man’s apprentice. Seven years later, when Herr Fritz had retired, Griffin had travelled to Vienna where he’d opened his own shop, selling not only clocks but mechanical toys to the marvel of all his customers.

“Who’s managing it right now while you’re here?” Aldridge asked.

“My assistant, Edvard Dreyden.” He was a serious and hard-working young man whom Griffin trusted to run things until he returned. But Griffin had to acknowledge that his extended stay in England was pushing the limit of how long he could afford to be absent. In Edvard’s most recent letter, he’d informed Griffin that the archduchess Marie Anne wished to place a special order, though only if Griffin himself was available to carry it out.

“If only you could relocate here,” Caleb said. “I’ve enjoyed your company immensely and will be sorry to see you go.”

“Yes, but you have a home to build now, a wife to take care of, and a child on the way.” Griffin snatched a glass of champagne from a passing tray and took a quick sip. “You’ll hardly notice I’m gone.”

“And you can come back to visit,” Aldridge pointed out.

“Or you could all come to Vienna,” Griffin suggested while glancing across the room.

A flash of blue caught his eye, and he followed the movement until a familiar face appeared from behind a cluster of guests. It was Miss Emily Howard, a close friend of Mary’s. Griffin had met her a few times already, most notably at Clearview when he’d gone in search of his brother back in November. She’d stolen his breath once she’d opened the door to admit him, for he had not been expecting to find the most beautiful woman in the world when Aldridge had told him where Caleb had gone.

He narrowed his gaze as she exited onto the terrace, escorted by Mr. Bale, who grinned in response to something she said. An uncomfortable squeezing sensation beneath his ribs had him straightening his posture. He didn’t like the way Mr. Bale’s eyes gleamed with the prospect of something illicit.

“If you’ll excuse me one moment,” Griffin told his brother and Aldridge. “There’s someone with whom I must speak.” Mr. Bale had always struck him as an amicable fellow. Harmless, by all accounts. But appearances could be deceiving. He’d learned that by falling victim himself to the cruelest form of trickery. Setting his glass on a table as he went, Griffin wove his way through the crowd. By the time he reached the door to the terrace and stepped outside, neither Miss Howard nor Mr. Bale was anywhere to be found. Griffin’s stomach tightened. Surely she would have more sense than to wander off with a bachelor? He glanced around, uncertain of where to look for her first. Voices emerged from the left, so he followed, heading straight for the corner where a cherry tree offered a canopy to the bench that stood beneath it.

The voices grew louder, though they could only be described as whispers. And although Griffin could not discern what was being said, he knew everything he needed to know the moment he saw Miss Howard in Mr. Bale’s arms, his face moving closer to hers until…

“What do you think you’re doing?” Griffin asked in his most authoritative voice.

Mr. Bale leapt away from Miss Howard and spun toward Griffin. His eyes were as wide as his mouth. “I, um…I…that is…” he sputtered.

Miss Howard’s hands fisted and Griffin saw she was glaring at him with extreme displeasure. “I think it’s perfectly obvious,” she told him.

Mr. Bale cleared his throat. “Miss Howard and I—”

“Are not affianced, as far as I know,” Griffin murmured. He could not explain why the possibility they might be grated as much as it did, but there was something about Miss Howard…something that tempted him beyond reason. He cleared his throat. “If that situation has recently changed, then I sincerely apologize for the intrusion.”

Mr. Bale stared at him. He then glanced at Miss Howard, who sighed as if she had no doubt of how he would answer. “It has not.” There was a pause, and then, “I was just—”

“Leaving,” Griffin bit out.

Mr. Bale stared back at him for a brief moment as if considering whether or not it was wise to argue. Don’t. As if hearing him, Mr. Bale turned and gave Miss Howard a curt bow. “Forgive me.” He strode off with an apologetic glance at Griffin.

“I’ve a good mind to hit you right now,” Miss Howard announced as soon as they were alone. “You were horribly rude to Mr. Bale, who was merely trying to be helpful’.”

“Helpful?” Ha! “He was certainly trying to help himself to something, I’ll grant you that. And you were not protesting.” He considered the sharp look in her eyes and the way her jaw tightened in response to his words. For some inexplicable reason he needed to know what her intention had been, so he took a step closer and gazed down into her upturned face. “Were you?”

“Of course not.” She averted her gaze, and he imagined that if it hadn’t been dark, he would have seen her blush.

Still, her blasé response shocked him. “Of course not,” he repeated in a low murmur.

She sighed. “Mr. Bale and I are friends. Nothing more.”

The relief he experienced in response to that statement caught him completely off guard. He had no romantic interest in Miss Howard himself. To suppose such a thing would suggest he was open to marriage. Which he wasn’t. Not anymore. Not after Clara had broken his heart.

The keen humiliation he felt whenever he thought back on how she had fooled him still smarted. He fought the urge to tug on his cravat as the air in his lungs grew hot, and forced his attention back to Miss Howard. A dalliance with his sister-in-law’s friend could only lead to the altar, and that was a destination he meant to avoid at all cost.

He tried to keep his voice steady so he wouldn’t sound too accusatory. “And yet I caught you embracing him as if you meant to—”

“My earring is caught.”

Griffin stared back at her, confused. “What?”

She turned the left side of her head toward him and raised her hand to point at the strands of hair tangled in a dangling collection of diamonds. “Mr. Bale noticed and offered to put me to rights.”

“But…” Griffin’s thought process stumbled as he considered her words. He’d seen her standing inappropriately close to Mr. Bale, so he’d made an assumption. But it was also dark. So dark, in fact, he could not discern her features very clearly. Which meant it was possible he’d imagined something that had not been there.

He inhaled deeply and accepted that he had been wrong. “I’m sorry.” His gaze slid to the asymmetrical mess at the side of her head. “If you will permit, I would be happy to offer my assistance. ’Tis the least I can do at this point.”

She shook her head. “Thank you, but it would probably be best if I returned inside before someone else mistakes your assistance for something it isn’t.”

She stepped around him, moving so close he managed to catch a hint of the sweetest perfume. Honeysuckle perhaps? Or peonies? He wasn’t quite sure, but there was no mistaking the heady effect it had on him or how it beckoned for him to pull her close and press his nose to her skin.

He quashed that foolish idea as immediately as it had formed.

“I shall ask Mama or Laura for help,” she said as she started strolling away.

He followed behind while wondering how he could make her stay. Which was silly since there was no point in furthering their acquaintance when he would depart for Vienna soon. Nothing good could come of it. If anything, the longer they stayed out here together alone, the greater the risk of others imagining they’d had an assignation. But he found he regretted their rendezvous ending so quickly. And with him having ruined what would probably have been an enjoyable walk for her and Mr. Bale.

“Can you forgive me for thinking the worst?” he asked.

She drew to a halt and turned to him, her face more visible now that they were nearer the light from the terrace. A polite smile captured her lips. “Of course. It was an understandable mistake.”

“You’re not upset?”

“No.”

He registered the mistruth because of how bluntly it was delivered. “Are you sure?” She’d always seemed honest and forthright, so it bothered him that he’d somehow caused her to put up a barrier between them now. “I am not so sensitive that I can’t handle a set down.” Or at the very least an honest response.

Her chin rose and she crossed her arms, affecting the pose of a woman who was rapidly reaching the end of her patience. Griffin braced himself in anticipation of what she would say. Her words, however, where most unexpected. “You ought to know me well enough by now to realize that I am not the sort of woman who would ever invite a man to ravish her at a social event where anyone might happen to see.” Her eyes were almost black, shimmering fiercely in the moonlight. “The fact that you did so is a testament to your opinion of me, which is frighteningly low.”

“I did not think you’d let Mr. Bale go quite so far as to ravish you, Miss Howard.” And now that she’d put that picture in his head, he was having a damned hard time dislodging it again. Which added a terse element to his voice that she did not deserve.

She marched forward, closing the distance between them “Nor would I throw away a kiss so easily, without a thought or a care in the world.”

Griffin did his best to come to terms with her statement. There was something in what she had said. Something meaningful just beyond his grasp. “I take it the men you have kissed in the past were important to you, then?”

A sudden dislike for these men swept through him, and his desire to learn their names and discover who he would have to avoid in the future was particularly unsettling.

She stared back at him for a long, hard second and eventually snorted. “No such man exists, Lord Griffin, which is rather the point, don’t you think?” Spinning about, she started toward the terrace once more. Griffin blinked, the relief easing the tension within so soothing, it took him a second to respond. He hastened after her without even thinking and grabbed her wrist before she reached the stairs. She turned, eyes wide with surprise and wonder.

“Kisses are overrated,” he murmured, his voice almost breathless. What was it about her that made him so desperate to keep her out here with him and away from the ballroom? He did not know and wasn’t even sure it mattered. But the fact that she’d never been kissed…that was important. And yet, the only thing he could think to say, most likely in an effort to make her feel better, was, “You have not missed much.”

A soft little scoff conveyed her derision. “What a comforting sentiment from someone who’s likely enjoyed the experience a dozen times by now.”

Griffin raised an eyebrow and watched her surprise sink deeper. “Two dozen times?” His lips quirked. “Three dozen?”

“I believe the number’s so high it would take you a while to reach it at this rate,” he muttered.

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Her gaze found his and he was surprised to find humor there. “I suppose you’re just as roguish as all the ladies claim then?”

He knit his brow. “I was not aware such a rumor existed.”

“I’m sure it arose because of your scar,” she said as if this was so evident that his not knowing it surprised her.

“My scar,” Griffin echoed flatly. He’d allowed himself to forget about that while they’d been talking, to forget the way it slashed his left cheek in an ugly red line. It was thick and uneven, puckering his skin in a way that was most unappealing.

“There are those who find such things attractive.”

What about you? he wanted to ask.

He dropped his gaze to her lips and wondered if she would retreat if he made an advance. “We should probably go back inside.” Anything else would be a mistake. He meant to return to Vienna, to live a peaceful life there without the complications of marriage. The last thing he needed was to kiss Miss Emily Howard out in the open where anyone might see.

And yet, Griffin desperately wanted to chase away all the anger and pain her comment had stirred by distracting himself in the simplest way possible. She wants her first kiss to matter. You cannot take that from her. But when she licked her lips and whispered, “Yes,” his restraint took off like an army fleeing a battle. Because the truth was he’d wanted to kiss her since the first time he’d seen her at Clearview. So he did the only reasonable thing he could do when she was standing right there, stunning and utterly tempting.

He leaned in closer and pressed his mouth to hers.

About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world.

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

 The Crawfords, Book 2  Historical Romance  Release Date: June 25, 2019 All she wanted was
Miss Compton’s Christmas Romance Blurb: Sometimes playing pretend can lead to the perfect romance… When
No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: October 30, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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More Than a Rogue – Blitz

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 photo More Than A Rogue_zpsfncgwphb.jpg

 The Crawfords, Book 2
 Historical
Romance
 Release
Date:
June 25, 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
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.
Other
Books in The Crawfords Series:
 photo No Ordinary Duke Book One_zps2h99zdyh.jpg
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.
About
the Author

 photo More Than A Rogue Author Sophie Barnes_zpsf43ajvw5.jpg

Born
in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful
places all around the world and has lived in five different countries on three
different continents.
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, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and,
of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.
Contact
Links
Purchase
Links
B&N 
iBooks  
RABT Book Tours & PR
The Forgotten Duke Diamonds in the Rough by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: January 28, 2020
More Than a Rogue The Crawfords Series by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Miss Compton’s Christmas Romance Blurb: Sometimes playing pretend can lead to the perfect romance… When
No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: October 30, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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Miss Compton’s Christmas Romance – Tour

Miss Compton's Christmas Romance Tour Banne

Miss Compton's Christmas Romance cover

Miss Compton’s Christmas Romance Blurb:
Sometimes playing pretend can lead to the perfect romance…

When Miss Leonora Compton decides to go to Sheffield and spend Christmas with her sister, she finds herself travelling with a man she cannot afford to like. But as their journey progresses she enters an unexpected partnership with him and realizes that things aren’t what they seem. Because Mr. Dalton is not only tempting. He may in fact be precisely what she needs.

When Philip believes his travel companion requires protection, he immediately steps in to help by pretending to be her husband. For although the last thing he wants is to form an attachment, Philip is irrevocably drawn to the stunning red-head. And as they become better acquainted and their paths increasingly intertwined, he must decide if risking heartache again is worth the chance of finding true love.

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KGDR9FP/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/miss-comptons-christmas-romance-sophie-barnes/1129868541?ean=2940156352814
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/miss-compton-s-christmas-romance
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1442118819

 

Miss Compton's Christmas Romance  Meme 1

EXCERPT

The Bull and Mouth coaching house was bustling with travelers buying tickets and preparing for departure while others climbed out of newly arrived coaches. Horses neighed and people shouted, pushing and shoving their way past each other, the loud noise occasionally drowned out by the sound of a horn.

Her mother would likely have a fit if she ever found out that her daughter had chosen to travel alone on public transportation. In the past, Leonora had always taken a hired carriage, but that was before she’d become aware of the need to save every penny – back when her parents had paid the expense. In hindsight, she should perhaps have asked one of her parents’ maids to accompany her as chaperone. Except she’d been leading an independent life for the past eight months and had little desire to suffer the constant presence of someone insistent on making her follow a long list of rules.

So Leonora clasped her belongings and wove her way through the crowd on her own. She’d purchased her ticket a week earlier just to be sure she would get one. “Where’s the coach for Sheffield?” she asked a team of hostlers who were in the process of switching out horses.

One of the men pointed toward a coach on the opposite side of the courtyard, and Leonora thanked him before hurrying toward it. Her breath misted in the chill morning air as she stepped around the vehicle and prepared to show the coachman her ticket. But then she spotted him, and her entire body froze in place. Mr. Becker was here, and he was standing next to her coach, which only made Leonora’s heart beat harder. Because if there was one person she did not wish to spend one more second with, it was him. Least of all if they were to be confined to a place from which there could be no escape.

Her chest tightened and she realized then that she was holding her breath. She inhaled sharply, the frigid air rushed down her throat and into her lungs where it started to burn. She hesitated briefly, torn between choosing to face him and walking away. He was speaking with a younger and much taller gentleman with dark brown hair. Mr. Becker smiled, his countenance far more pleasant than when he’d come to call on her earlier. The younger gentleman nodded politely and offered his hand which Mr. Becker promptly shook before tipping his hat, adding a comment, and walking away. The younger man watched him go before turning toward the coachman. The two exchanged a few words, and the younger man pulled out his pocket watch to check on the time.

Leonora stepped forward. Thankfully, it did not seem as though she would have to endure Mr. Becker’s company. Just that of his friend. Determined to ignore him, she walked straight past the spot where he stood, her entire focus on the coachman. Reaching him, she set down her valise and retrieved her ticket from her reticule.

“Thank you, miss,” the coachman said when she handed it to him. He glanced at her luggage. “That will have to go on top of the carriage or in the boot. Which do you prefer?”

“I’ll put it in the boot,” Leonora told him. She picked up her valise and turned, only to find her path blocked by what had to be over six feet of solid masculinity. Leonora looked up and immediately bristled upon realizing not only that the man was Mr. Becker’s friend, but that he, upon further inspection, had eyes that weakened her knees and lips that quickened her pulse. He was, as it were, impossibly handsome, and that was almost more annoying than anything else that had happened that morning.

“May I help you with that?” he inquired.

Oh Lord, his voice was lovely too – like plush velvet sliding over her skin.

Leonora squared her shoulders. “No thank you. I can manage perfectly well on my own.” She stepped around him quickly, before his angular jaw and broad shoulders could cause her to change her mind, and went to the boot. It already contained a trunk and a couple of other valises, which meant she would have to heft her own up and over in order to secure it. She glanced around. Surely there must be some Bull and Mouth employee available to help?

If they were, none came to offer assistance. Leonora blew out a breath and proceeded to lift her valise, bringing her other hand underneath it while her reticule dangled back and forth from her wrist. Feeling the weight in her arms, she steadied herself against the carriage, bracing her body while struggling to push the darn thing toward the top of the boot.

“Are you sure you don’t need help?” the handsomest man in the world inquired.

“Absolutely,” Leonora panted. She was now holding her valise at shoulder level, supporting it against another valise that was in her way. Just a few more inches…

“Have you always been this stubborn?”

“I am not stubborn…just…” Ugh! She managed to wedge her shoulder underneath the valise, but its size and shape made it unstable, and before she could manage to steady herself properly, she felt the entire thing lean to one side. Oh no. She reached up attempting to grab it, but that only quickened the inevitable outcome.

Her valise slipped from her shoulder and started to fall, until it was caught by a pair of large hands.

Like Thor wielding his mighty hammer with seemingly little effort, Mr. Becker’s friend lifted the piece of luggage with infuriating ease and placed it securely in the boot. He stepped back and turned to face her, his toffee-colored eyes catching a ray of rare winter sunshine in the process. The effect was dazzling. More so when the edge of his mouth lifted to form a crooked smile with a perfect dimple placed right at the corner.

Leonora swallowed. For heaven’s sake, her hands were trembling, though she quickly decided that this was from her recent exertion and not at all because of this handsome man’s attentions. She had no interest in him, she reminded herself. Not when he kept company with the sort of man who would happily force a woman from her home and place of business during Christmas.

Deciding she would not allow him to divest her of her manners, she raised her chin and met his gaze boldly. “Thank you, sir.”

His smile broadened. “Mr. Dalton.” He glanced aside for a second before returning his attention to her. “Mr. Philip Dalton. How do you do?”

Miss Compton's Christmas Romance Meme 2

Giveaway

Sophie Barnes

Auhor Bio:

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. 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. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.sophiebarnes.com

Newsletter: http://www.sophiebarnes.com/sb1/?page_id=2538

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSophieBarnes/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarnesSophie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophiebarnesromancewriter/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sophiebarnes/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sophie-barnes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5400052.Sophie_Barnes

Dark Paranormal Fantasy Date Published: 4/28/17 Publisher: Story Bound Publishing Centuries ago ten powerful vampire
 The Crawfords, Book 2  Historical Romance  Release Date: June 25, 2019 All she wanted was
No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes Publication Date: October 30, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes – Blog Tour

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No Ordinary Duke

by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

No Ordinary Duke cover

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

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.

No Ordinary Duke meme1

EXCERPT

Smiling fondly at the five children who played nearby, Mary hung another pillowcase on the clothesline. It was a sunny autumn day with a brisk breeze, so the laundry would dry quickly.

Reaching inside the basket beside her, she pulled out a sheet, struggling a little when it billowed and flapped against her hold. Her life was so different now from what it had once been, before she’d fallen in love and allowed herself to dream. But dreams, as she’d learned, were fickle things easily torn apart.

Inhaling deeply she forced the sheet to comply by pinning it with a couple of pegs. She then grabbed the now-empty basket and marched toward the house.

“Come help me prepare the tea,” she called to Bridget, Daphne, Penelope, Peter, and Eliot whose scruffiness proved a fondness for the outdoors. Their laughter danced through the air as the kitten they played with toyed with a piece of string. His name was Raphael, and he’d been gifted to them by Mr. Townsend, a gentleman farmer whose interest in Mary had recently increased.

Daphne swept the kitten up into her arms and raced past Mary with the rest of the troop close on her heels.

“Remember to wipe your shoes,” Mary called.

The reminder caused quite the ruckus in the narrow doorway, and Mary could hear her friend Cassandra on the opposite side, issuing threats to anyone who dared bring dirt inside the newly swept kitchen.

“Do you ever have any regrets?” Mary asked when she reached Cassandra. She cleaned her own boots with a brush and entered the boisterous interior where cups and saucers clattered together as the girls helped each other prepare two trays. Eliot, the youngest of the boys, reached for the tin filled with biscuits, and Mary charged toward him. “Clean your hands before opening that, or you’ll not have a single one.”

“Never,” Cassandra grinned, answering Mary’s question. “This is where happiness lives. I would not trade it for anything else in the world.”

Agreeing, Mary filled the kettle with water from a jug and hung it over the fire. Despite the various challenges they’d faced over the years, they’d acquired their freedom in this tiny corner of the world. They could walk about as they pleased and keep the company they chose without causing a stir. Now that she and her friends had been labeled spinsters, nobody seemed to care what they did, which was, to be honest, rather liberating.

Reaching for the tin filled with tea, Mary spooned a little into a strainer and glanced across at where Peter was sitting. The twelve-year-old boy had moved in with them six weeks earlier after his parents had died. He’d kept to himself ever since, his eyes always downcast, his mood always somber.

No matter how hard they all tried, they’d failed to reach him so far, and while Mary knew he would need time to heal, she wished there was some way to help him.

“I’ve finished cleaning the grates and polishing the brass tools,” Emily told Mary and Cassandra as she came to join them. A wallflower whose fondness for sweets had been evident in her figure, Emily had never secured a dance and had eventually given up trying after enduring her third failed season.

It was a pity really, for the active lifestyle she now enjoyed had helped her shed enough weight to reveal a woman many would likely call pretty.

“Well done,” Cassandra said. “The weather is unusually pleasant for this time of year. It will likely turn sooner than we expect, and when it does, we’ll need to be ready.”

“Which means we’ll need firewood too,” Emily said. She glanced at Mary. “Do you suppose Mr. Townsend might be willing to offer his assistance with that?”

Mary glanced at Cassandra and then back at Emily. “I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige.” Especially if she invited him back to the house for tea after church on Sunday. She hesitated on that thought and bit her lip. “I just don’t want to take advantage.”

“And you wouldn’t be, as long as he’s happy to oblige,” Cassandra told her.

Mary gave her a quelling look. “You know what I mean.” Mr. Townsend was a nice man, but it had also become alarmingly clear that he was in the market for a wife and that he favored Mary for this position. The only problem was she had no intention of ever marrying anyone. Because if her time as a debutant had taught her anything, it was that even the most honorable gentleman was not to be trusted.

“Perhaps we should set our minds to matching him with a lady who’d be more appreciative of his advances,” Emily suggested.

“Good heavens,” Mary protested. “No man would wish for three spinsters to involve themselves in his search for a bride. Not even a man as charismatic as Mr. Townsend.”

A knock at the front door interrupted their conversation. Cassandra frowned. “Who could possibly be calling at this hour?” She made her way toward the front of the house while Mary and Emily trailed behind.

“Perhaps it is Mr. Townsend who’s come to call on Mary,” Emily suggested. “How convenient would that be, considering we were just discussing the need for his help?”

Not bothering with a response, Mary rolled her eyes and followed Cassandra and Emily out into the front hallway. Another knock sounded and Cassandra opened the door to reveal a tall, broad shouldered man with dark, windswept hair and a shrewd gaze.

“Lady Cassandra?” he inquired. His eyes searched each of their faces, and Mary instinctively retreated a step. “Viscount Aldridge’s sister?”

Cassandra raised her chin. “I am she. And you are…?”

Again his gaze drifted from one to the other, this time with a hint of expectation, as if he waited for them to guess his name. When none of them added anything further, he said, “Mr. Crawford, at your service. Your brother sent me to inspect your home and to make any necessary repairs.”

Mary drew a sharp breath, because just as he said that, their eyes locked. Not for too long, but for long enough to unsettle her. Unwittingly, she assessed his age, which had to be close to her own though perhaps slightly older, the perfect shape of his mouth with its broad lower lip, his angular jaw line and aquiline nose. All combined to create the most handsome face she’d ever seen. It also provided a sharp reminder of a similar pair of eyes a few shades lighter. Those eyes had gazed upon her as if she’d been special—as if she’d mattered. Except she hadn’t. At least not enough.

“I’ll fetch the tea,” she said and turned away, deliberately breaking eye contact. “Just in case you decide to invite Mr. Crawford inside.”

Returning to the kitchen, Mary took comfort in the peace that had settled over the children because of the biscuits they’d all procured from the tin. They halted in the process of chewing the moment they saw her, their anxious eyes waiting to see if she’d scold them for starting on their snacks before they’d been invited to do so.

“We have a guest,” she told them, ignoring the issue as she went to fetch the kettle. The water was already boiling, so she grabbed a dishrag, pulled the kettle off the hook above the flames, and poured the water through the strainer into the teapot. Steam rose in thick swirls, filling the air with hot humidity. Glancing over her shoulder, she narrowed her gaze just enough to remind the children of who was in charge. “I hope there are still a few biscuits left for him.”

“There’s three,” Cassandra’s daughter, Penelope, said before wiping her hands on her skirt. “One for you, Emily, and Mama.” The little blonde girl stared back at Mary with big round eyes. “We didn’t think to save one for a guest.”

Mary bowed her head to hide her smile and nodded. “Very well then. No biscuits it is.” She picked up the tray and started for the door. “But this will cost you when the tickle monster hears what you’ve done.” And then she swept out into the hallway with a grin while squeals erupted behind her.

She could still feel her lips twitching with mirth when she walked into the parlor. Cassandra and Emily were both seated on the only sofa the room had to offer while Mr. Crawford filled out one of the armchairs. His bright blue gaze latched on to Mary with intense interest, and in spite of her conviction that she’d never respond to any man ever again, her stomach tightened and her hands began to tremble.

A slight dimple puckered the edge of Mr. Crawford’s mouth, affording him a humorous expression. Mary’s pulse quickened and she hastened forward to set the tray down, eager to be rid of it before she dropped it.

“—so with that in mind,” he continued, returning his attention to Cassandra and Emily, “it could take anywhere from a week to a month before the roof is completely intact.”

His voice…

Mary placed the tray on the low table between the sofa and the armchair and tried to ignore the rich cadence of it. Swallowing, she sat in the remaining chair before pouring tea for each of them.

“Milk and” –she cleared her throat which had suddenly gone quite squeaky—”sugar?”

Mr. Crawford turned his gaze toward her, and all of her strength seeped out of her limbs as they instantly turned to jelly. Determined not to let it show, she stared back at him and did her best not to blink. But his eyes were like azure blue lakes on a hot summer’s day, and for some inexplicable reason, she found herself leaning toward him.

A grin tugged at his lips. “Neither.”

Mary took a sharp breath and leaned back. Averting her gaze, she set Mr. Crawford’s cup before him and then offered tea to her friends, who both watched her with curious expressions. No. She would not let this handsome stranger addle her brain. This was a path she’d been down before, and it had broken her heart and denied her the chance of marriage.

On that sobering thought, she returned the teapot to the tray and took a sip from her own cup. Mr. Crawford was a laborer, a man sent by Cassandra’s brother to patch up the roof. She didn’t care how handsome he was or how well he looked in those beige colored breeches that hugged his thighs. Sighing, she slumped back in her seat and almost spilled her tea in the process. Of course she’d noticed. She’d have had to be dead not to.

“We cannot offer much in the way of accommodation,” Cassandra said. “To stay with us in the house would be inappropriate, and even if it weren’t, I’m afraid all the rooms are occupied.”

“I understand.” The deep timbre of his voice stroked its way along Mary’s nerves as he spoke. She shuddered slightly and reminded herself once again to take control of her senses. “But your brother mentioned a caretaker’s cottage. Is that still available?”

“It is,” Cassandra said. “In fact, it was vacated by the caretaker only a week ago, so it should still be somewhat clean and ready to move into, though I must warn you that it is pretty sparse.”

“That’s quite all right.” He smiled warmly at Cassandra, and Mary felt the oddest pang in her chest. “My needs are few. As long as there’s a roof and a bed, I’ll be content.” He picked up his cup and cradled it carefully between his large hands. Sipping the tea he then asked, “Why did the caretaker leave?”

It was so to the point Mary felt like she’d just been pushed into the path of a charging carriage. “Because he accused us of squandering our money on others instead of seeing to Viscount Aldridge’s wishes.”

The room fell silent in the wake of her sharp response. Mary took another sip of tea, not daring to look at any of them while heat warmed her cheeks.

“Not a very sympathetic man then, I take it,” Mr. Crawford murmured.

Heart pounding, Mary raised her gaze to his and stiffened her spine in an effort to maintain at least some of her composure. “He did not understand why we would feel any responsibility toward children who aren’t our own.”

“He was a very plain-spoken man,” Emily added while Mr. Crawford’s gaze remained fixed on Mary. It took a moment for him to turn slowly away in order to face her friend, leaving Mary’s insides in a jumble and her head slightly dizzy. “Too plain-spoken, in the end.” Emily grinned and jutted her chin in Mary’s direction. “Miss Clemens put him in his place. I’ve never seen a man pack up and leave so quickly.”

“I’m sure you haven’t,” Mr. Crawford said. His voice was soft and his eyes trained on Emily, and yet Mary felt her insides quiver as if he spoke only to her.

Reaching up, she pinched the bridge of her nose and muttered a gentle reminder to herself about not letting any man tempt her.

“You probably want to take a look at the damage and at the cottage where you will be staying,” Cassandra said. “Mary can do the honors while Emily and I start on supper. You are welcome to join us for our evening meal if you like, unless of course you prefer the tavern in the village.”

“Thank you, but I do believe a hearty home-cooked meal would be just the thing this evening,” Mr. Crawford said. He stood and lowered his gaze to Mary. “Shall we proceed with the tour, Miss Clemens?”

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About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world.

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.

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