BOOK BLURB: New York Times bestselling author, CHERYL HOLT, will sweep readers away with the first novel in her new and breathtaking ‘Lord Trent’ trilogy…
With the death of his older brother, Michael Wainwright, Viscount Henley, has become heir to his father, Duke of Clarendon. The Wainwright men are renowned cads, and as his brother’s will is read, it’s discovered that he sired an illegitimate son and has left the eight-year-old boy his entire fortune. Michael decides to bring the boy to London so he can be showered with all the wealth and status guaranteed by his inheritance. But first, he has to gain custody from the boy’s aunt, who is determined to keep her nephew away from Michael’s dissolute family.
Frances “Fanny” Carrington has always lived in a small village in the country. As a newborn, she was left in a basket on the church steps and raised by the vicar and his wife. But they’ve died, and Fanny is in dire straits, struggling to raise her nephew, to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. When she begins to receive correspondence from Michael, asking for custody, she can’t help but be suspicious. For years, the Wainwrights have refused to claim her nephew or provide financial assistance to him. She’s alarmed by their sudden interest. What can it mean?
As Michael finally meets Fanny, their attraction is swift, blatant, and dangerous. He can’t fight the need to have her at any cost, and gradually, he lures her into his decadent life of affluence and privilege. But she’s never possessed the callous nature required to thrive in the cut-throat world of the aristocracy, so she can never understand the peril she faces from those who would do anything to keep them apart…
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Fanny spun around, smiling.
Thomas was an amazingly sweet and winsome child, and it was impossible to understand how he’d sprung from such an unpleasant mother. Luckily, he was nothing like her.
While Camilla was blond and blue-eyed, her face wasn’t flattering. Her eyes were too narrow, her nose too large, her chin too square. Previously, she’d been plump with good health, but her figure had gone to flab, and her forehead was creased with frown lines that were evidence of her dour temperament.
In contrast, with his rosy cheeks and pert nose, Thomas’s features were so appealing that he resembled a cherub painted on a church ceiling. His hair wasn’t blond, though, as an angel’s might be, but a dark brown that was almost black, and his eyes were very blue, traits that Camilla claimed made him the spitting image of his aristocratic father, John Wainwright.
“No, darling,” Fanny said, “you can’t come. You have to finish your school work.”
“But I’ve been at it for an hour already.”
“Yes, and you need to do another two hours before you’re through. Don’t you want to grow up big and smart like your father and grandfather?”
“No. I want to be a dangerous pirate like Captain Westmoreland.”
Westmoreland was currently the scourge of the Seven Seas, and boys all over England were enthralled by tales of his violence, daring and bravery.
“The Captain attended school, too,” she maintained, having no idea if the vicious criminal had or not.
“Yes. He can read and write better than anyone.”
Thomas digested this lie, then swallowed it.
“All right,” he ultimately grumbled, “but once you’re back, may we walk by the river?”
“Yes, we may.” She nodded to the cottage. “You go on now. Keep your mother company until I return.”
At the suggestion, he scowled, his distaste obvious, but he didn’t remark. He whipped away and went inside.
He was so obedient and clever, and he was astute enough to realize that his mother detested him. They both knew it; they occasionally skirted the edge of the issue, but there was no way Fanny could justify Camilla’s behavior.
At age sixteen, Camilla had accompanied their neighbors to London for the social season, but she had been poorly chaperoned. She’d thrived on the parties and gaiety, on the wickedness and immoral conduct. She’d fallen in with a bad crowd, had come home pregnant and in disgrace.
The scandal had ruined their family. Their father had been forced to surrender his position as parish vicar, which had cost them their income and house and status. If that weren’t punishment enough, Camilla had refused to exhibit any remorse, which had shocked rural sensibilities, so they’d been shunned.
Even after the shame had killed their parents, Camilla still wasn’t sorry for the catastrophe she’d wrought. She’d loved John Wainwright and had relished her indecent life as his paramour. All these years later, she could talk of nothing but London, and if she’d had any notion of how to manage it, she’d move to the city and resume her decadent habits.
Thomas represented all that Camilla had lost. Not her parents. Not her home. Not her reputation. She wasn’t concerned about any of those things. No, she mourned the loss of the whirlwind that was London, and Thomas was living proof of how she’d failed to retain what she craved.
Fanny sighed, wishing she had the temerity to leave Camilla to stew in her own juice, but she never would.
They had been reared as sisters, but they weren’t blood relations. Fanny’s own birth mother had been a young girl, much like Camilla, who’d been seduced by a great lord. As a tiny baby, Fanny had been left in a basket on the church steps, with a note requesting that she be placed with a good family.
The vicar and his wife had kept Fanny and raised her as their own daughter, so when her mother had begged Fanny—on her deathbed, no less—to watch over Camilla, it was a charge Fanny wouldn’t shirk.
She hurried on, wondering if there would be another letter in the morning post from pompous, horrid Michael Wainwright, which was the real reason she was walking to the village. His threats were aggravating in the extreme, and she often entertained herself by conjuring visions of the ugly, vile ogre he must be.
His last missive had imperiously informed her that they had begun legal proceedings to take Thomas, and Fanny was determined that they would never have him, although she hadn’t breathed a word of the situation to Camilla. She didn’t trust Camilla’s decisions regarding Thomas, and she was quite sure if the Wainwrights demanded custody, Camilla would be so flattered that she’d hand him over without batting an eye.
“Over my dead body,” Fanny muttered to herself, trudging on, murmuring oaths and prayers that she hoped would keep the Wainwrights at bay.
She approached the village, and her chores were swiftly completed. There was no new letter, and the vicar’s wife was out and had left her no money, so she wasn’t able to buy any food. Irked and disheartened, she started home, taking a shortcut through the woods.
At the stile in the fence, she climbed over and slid down the opposite side to follow the narrow trail that led back to the road. It was criss-crossed with blackberry brambles, and after a half-dozen strides, her skirt snagged on the thorns, snaring her as tightly as a rabbit in a trap.
Cheryl Holt is giving away ten (10) print copies of the first release in her historical romance Trent Trilogy, LOVE’S PROMISE.
The giveaway is open to US, Can, and INTNL Readers
AUTHOR BIO: Cheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-one novels.
She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.
Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year,” by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.
Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she’s celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women’s fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she’s also known as the International Queen of Villains.
She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.
Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.
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Blog Tour Schedule
5/13: Rambling from this Chic: excerpt 1 only/giveaway
5/14: Harlie’s Book Reviews: review and excerpt 2/giveaway
5/15: Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance: review and excerpt 3/giveaway
5/16: Confession of a Romaholics: review and excerpt 4/giveaway
5/17 Romancing the Book Reviews: review and excerpt 5/giveaway
5/20: Susana’s Parlour: review and excerpt 6/giveaway
5/21: bookworm2bookworm: review and excerpt 7/giveaway
5/22: Rockn’ the Muses: excerpt 8/giveaway
5/23: Saucy & Sinful Reviews: excerpt 9/giveaway
5/24: Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine Blog: review and excerpt 10/giveaway