Thanks for having me on your blog again, Emma. I appreciate it.
Today, I’m talking about my latest historical release THE BRIDE’S GAMBIT (the second story in the Scandal in Surrey series). It’s an erotic Regency tale chock full of a runaway bride, a titled nobleman disguised as a highwayman with a little ruination thrown in the mix.
Vanessa has had a run of bad luck when it comes to men—bridegrooms specifically. She’s been at the altar five times and with each one, she runs away because she doesn’t think any of the men her father picks out are interesting, stimulating or sexy. While Collin holds a title, he’s a bit of a beast to look at so he hides behind a highwayman mask, all the while yearning for that one special lady who will rock his world.
Both are shocked when it’s Vanessa who asks him to ruin her, and what happens next is a series of oh so hot sexy tidbits that hurtle them both toward the main event. Of course, since this is a Regency, it can’t be that easy. Will she get her man in the end? You’ll have to read to find out.
Here’s the blurb:
She wants a dashing, courageous man…Vanessa Underhill is on the run from her fifth would-be groom. She doesn’t care for any of the men her father has picked--none engaged her mentally or physically. Hunger for a man who will stir her imagination fires her virginal fantasies.
He wants understanding… When he’s bored with his role as Viscount Blackpool, Collin Northington becomes a highwayman to gain anonymity and solace. With his face scarred fulfilling his military duty in India, he hides behind the brigand mask and persona. What he really desires is a woman who will look beyond outward appearances and take a chance.
If only for one night… In lieu of payment, Collin kidnaps Vanessa from the northern-bound stage. The more time they spend together—and in each other’s arms—the more they find they have in common beyond heated desire. When Collin delivers an impromptu marriage proposal, Vanessa unmasks more than his scarred face, but will his true identity and her penchant for fleeing grooms ruin what could very well be love?
Opportunity threw them together but circumstances might tear them apart.
And a little excerpt to get you excited:
She cleared her throat and put any scattered thoughts of potential danger from her mind. “Excuse me, sir, but have you a weapon? If so, perhaps showing it would persuade my travel companions to move more quickly.”
“I beg your pardon?” His question rang with incredulity.
She stifled the urge to shiver with pleasure. Did the highwayman’s voice affect the other woman in the same manner? Vanessa slid a glance to the younger woman. No, she still cowered against the seat. Is it the thrill of being robbed that plays havoc with my insides?
“While I dearly want to follow your order, I cannot access the doorway until this gentleman moves, and obviously, he’s not prepossessed of any sort of gumption to do so without incentive.” The fact she only wanted out of the vehicle so she could get a look at the ruffian caused her face to heat. Did his physical appearance match the authority in his voice? What sort of man chose thievery as a profession? What drove him to such desperation?
A rich chuckle came from the highwayman. “I do indeed possess a pistol as well as a dagger. If need be, I throw a tight right hook.” He stuck his head into the coach, but the gathering twilight as well as his mask and a worn, low-crowned hat hid his face from view. “Which one of you spoke?”
The words echoed with culture not in keeping with the picture she’d envisioned from such a criminal. Vanessa waved a hand. “I did, but if you’re hoping to gain valuable trinkets from me, I’m afraid I have none. I… I left rather suddenly.” She cursed her lack of preparedness as she traced her pitifully thin reticule on the seat.
“That is quite all right. There are other things of value you might possess. Fortunately, I know exactly how to make that assessment.”
What did he mean? What secret wealth could she possess? Surely she had nothing of value a highwayman could want. Flutters tickled her belly. No man of her acquaintance had provoked such a reaction, so why now, did an unknown, and a criminal at that, make her want to discover his secrets and hers?
He jutted a strong chin toward the man who still stood in the aisle. “This is your lucky day, sir. I’m letting you and your ladybird go without molestation.”
The man reclaimed the seat next to his wife. “What of her?” He pointed to Vanessa.
She shot him a glare, though she doubted he saw it, and her estimation of men sank another notch. Whatever happened to standing up for a woman’s honor on principle?
“That is not for you to know, but if I were you, I’d thank her until your dying day that I spared your life.” The highwayman extended a hand. “Let me help you out, miss.”
The next moments ticked by in pregnant silence. This was her choice, a step onto a new path. She could remain inside and stay safe for a while, or she could go outside into unknown danger and ruin. A slow smile parted her lips. It was time to live for herself, to discover who she was, outside of her parents’ wishes and home, and damn the consequences. If Papa couldn’t choose a decent man for her and she’d already proclaimed most dim-witted and uninteresting, maybe she needed an indecent one. She suspected the highwayman could do nicely.
“Thank you, sir.” She slipped her hand into his. The instant his gloved fingers closed around hers, warmth ebbed upward to her elbow. Heat continued to bloom when she moved to the door and he placed his hands on her waist before lifting her out. For one breath-stealing moment she was crushed against the hard wall of his chest. “Oh my.” She slid her hands over the wide breadth of his shoulders and past a scarlet waistcoat decorated with black embroidery then her feet found purchase on the road and he released her.
You can purchase The Bride’s Gambit at the following links:
All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thebride039sgambit-1026072-160.html
I’d love to connect with you around the web! Here’s where you can find me:
Believing is Seeing blog: http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/
Also, the first book in the series, Lady Parker’s Grand Affair, is on sale for .99 cents through the end of the year if you’d like to pick that up.