Blog Tour ~ To Tempt an Earl by Kristin Vayden

 

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Title: To Tempt an Earl (Greenford Waters Legacy, #2)

Author: Kristin Vayden

Genre: Regency

Series: Greenford Waters Legacy

Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing

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Portrait of young beautiful girl. Fashion photo

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Synopsis

 

Tempting an Earl is not for the faint of heart.

Thank heavens Bethanny is anything but faint!

Now, honest, perhaps–too honest, but never faint!

After all, why flirt when you can tempt? And why the devil would a woman choose to swoon, when she could be kissed?

Of course, she’d never try something so…honest, on anyone but Lord Graham.

He’s the only one she wants.

He alone has her heart.

He hadn’t a clue.

So it was only polite that she tell him.

Now, if only her blasted guardian, the Duke of Clairmont, would see Graham as more of a suitor than his old friend.

Because Graham is anything but old and most certainly not just a friend, not after that kiss, or that touch.

Though, if she were to lay all her cards on the table–which any gently bred woman ought–he wasn’t completely aware it was her mouth, her lips, or her touch.

But that’s beside the point now, isn’t it?

 

Loving her was betrayal, resisting her was impossible.

 

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excerpt

 

“I wasn’t aware that this part of the house was open to the guests.” A rich masculine voice startled her from her musing.

“Pardon?” Bethanny immediately stood, straightened her posture, and felt the wild gallop of her heart.

This couldn’t be good.

She was alone, with a stranger, on a secluded balcony.

The duke was going to murder her.

If she made it out without being ruined.

Dear Lord.

“It is not. What, might I ask, are you doing here?” she asked in her firmest tone.

“I only just arrived, and, after the evening I’ve had, found I needed a moment to regain my composure. I’m a friend of the duke and am quite certain I’m allowed on his private balcony. What about you?” he asked, a slightly teasing tone to his voice.

Bethanny narrowed her eyes. They had adjusted to the dim light, and as recognition dawned, her heart hammered in her chest.

Graham.

“I’m quite certain I’m permitted to be here as well,” she responded, not quite knowing what to say. Did he recognize her? Was he simply teasing because he already had figured out who she was?

“Ah, a friend of the duchess then?” he asked lightly as he made his way toward her.

He definitely did not recognize her.

However, she couldn’t determine if this was a bad thing or a good one. And it was rather dark. After a moment’s deliberating, she decided to play along.

What could it hurt?

“You could say that.” She shrugged. Then, feeling mischievous, she lowered her gaze and offered her most flirtations smile, hoping his eyes had adjusted to the dark, and he could perhaps notice it.

At least she hoped it was flirtatious.

After a moment, she risked a glance up to his shadowed features; a playful grin was tipping his lips and showed off the fairest hint of those beloved dimples she so fondly remembered.

She sighed… inwardly, of course.

“It’s quite a nice view, peaceful, if I may say so.” He came to stand beside her.

He was taller than she remembered, and possibly broader as well, but she couldn’t be sure with the faint light.

“Exactly why I came to this very place.”

“Is it quite the crush inside then?” he asked. There was a slight lilt to his voice, not quite a brogue, but not the crisp English she was accustomed to hearing. He must spend quite a bit of time at his estate in Edinburgh to have taken on the faint accent.

She would have to thank Lady Southridge later for all the helpful information regarding her brother.

“Crush would be an understatement,” she replied too quickly, her tone a bit wry.

“Not a fan of the crowds?” he asked, his tone light. “Or were there far too many gentlemen seeking the attentions of so beautiful a lady?”

Even in the darkness, his gaze was powerful, spearing right through her causing a myriad of strange sensations to swirl around in her belly.

“Or perhaps I simply wanted a moment to myself.” she answered, her tone far more breathless than she would have liked.

“Perhaps.” He shrugged.

“You don’t believe me.” She narrowed her eyes.

“No,” he replied, unfazed.

“Why ever not?” Bethanny asked, turning to face him fully.

“In my experience, ladies do not visit deserted balconies unless they wish to be found.”

Slightly shaking her head, Bethanny replied, “Which is exactly why I choose to use the private balcony? The one closed off from the party?” she asked in a disbelieving tone.

“Well…”

“I thought not.” She shrugged her shoulder, a smile teasing her lips at besting him.

“You’re a cheeky one,” he replied, his tone holding a hint of awe.

“I prefer intelligent.”

“Yes, I believe you would.” He nodded, his grin widening.

“That sounded dangerously like an insult, my lord,” she teased.

“No, no insult… simply… delayed respect.”

“Respect?” Bethanny asked with a dubious tone.

“Indeed. Certainly a lovely lady such as yourself has to be aware that social functions can be quite… tedious.”

“I’m sure the duke will be thrilled you think so highly of his party,” she replied, a smile tugging at her lips.

“You mistake my meaning. People can be tedious. Petty even. It’s simply… refreshing to speak with a woman who doesn’t fall into those categories.”

“I do believe that was a compliment.”

“It was, and you should take it as such.”

“Why, thank you.” Bethanny stepped back and performed a deep curtsey, as if being presented at court.

“And a sense of humor to boot. I might have to actually find out your name.” Graham chuckled, his dimples in full view.

“And ruin the mystery? I think not.” Bethanny rose from her curtsey, her heart pounding.

“I do love a good mystery.”

“Avid reader?” Bethanny asked.

“Yes… but that’s not what I was referring to.”

His posture changed, as did his expression, and at once, Bethanny’s heart took flight because some instinct, some feminine awareness told her with all certainty that he was no longer simply teasing an innocent.

He was pursuing.

“Oh?” Her tone was breathless to her own ears, and she silently scolded herself for the betrayal of weakness.

“So, mysterious miss of the duke’s balcony…” he teased, offering her a dramatic nickname.

“Is that the best you can come up with? Mysterious miss of the duke’s balcony?” she asked, a laugh escaping her restraint.

“I thought it was quite clever myself.” Graham paused his pursuit, his smile widening.

“It sounds like a Gothic novel.”

“You know, you’re quite right. I could have a future there if I ever so desire.”

“Writing?”

“Gad, no. Offering my service for creating titles.”

“I’m not sure that’s a lucrative endeavor.”

“Perhaps.” He shrugged and took another step forward. “But you must admit, you’d be curious hearing that title. I know my curiosity is quite piqued.”

Bethanny took a deep breath, as deep as her corset allowed, and drew up all her courage. “Perhaps. I might be curious… but there would have to be something more than a catchy title, my lord.” She knew she was playing a dangerous game, but it was a game she had dreamed of playing since she’d first seen Lord Graham.

The memory of him trading banter with Berty over dinner one night flashed to her memory. Most lords wouldn’t give a little girl the time of day, yet Lord Graham had traded wit with her, enjoying himself even. Bethanny had been envious of her little sister’s ability to bait him. She’d sworn that someday she’d have her turn.

That day had finally come.

It didn’t matter that he didn’t recognize her. Regardless, he was still there speaking with her.

And for now, that was enough.

She opened her mouth to speak, but her nerves got the best of her and, rather than speak, she dropped her fan.

Likely because she had forgotten she had brought it in the first place.

It clattered to the floor lightly, and she closed her eyes in embarrassment at her own clumsiness.

“Allow me,” Lord Graham spoke.

“No I’ve—” Bethanny’s eyes flew open as she knelt down to retrieve her fan.

As luck would have it, her elbow soundly clocked Lord Graham’s head as he rose from retrieving the offending object.

“Ow!” He reached up to rub the surely sore area.

“I’m so sorry!” Bethanny spoke, horrified.

“Blo—er… ah, that… is fine, miss.” He closed his eyes a moment, likely from the dull pain her elbow had needlessly inflicted on his person.

“I’m ever so sorry, my lord!” Bethanny felt her face heat with a scarlet blush that had to make her practically glow. She certainly felt like it. Without thinking, she reached up to his scalp and felt for the knot, her thumb grazing slightly over the skin as to not cause him discomfort, much like she had done a million times to her sisters.

But Lord Graham was most definitely not her sister…

Her hands stilled as she realized just what she was doing. “Forgive me, my lord.” She quickly withdrew her hands and took a step back, belatedly realizing just how close she had been to him. The scent of cinnamon and cedar hung in the air, wrapping a spell of enticement around her, beckoning her to come closer. She started to take a step back, away from the temptation, but his hand at her back stopped her.

Practically burned through her, or so it felt.

“I’m quite well. However, I thank you for your concern,” he whispered, his voice intimate.

“I—I’m usually not quite so… graceless,” Bethanny answered, her thoughts muddled by the intense gaze with which he captivated her. In the moonlight, his amber eyes were silver, his golden-hued skin a soft buttery gold. He was beautiful.

“I’m quite thankful you are… you see, I was trying to find some excuse to hold you, and you neatly provided me with the perfect opportunity,” he murmured, his gaze leaving hers and traveling down the line of her jaw and the curve of her nose before resting on her lips.

Dear Lord, he is going to kiss me.

“I do think you could have done without the knot I gave you at the top of your head,” she replied, her words teasing but her tone far from it.

“A small price to pay.” He shrugged. “However, I do believe there is a custom, when one gets an injury.”

“Oh?”

“Indeed, usually, the injured party is given a kiss.”

“Is that so? Silly me. I thought that was only practiced in the nursery.” Bethanny raised a challenging eyebrow as her heart raced, beating an excited rhythm that hoped he would make good on his word and, indeed, kiss her. However, it would never do to appear too eager.

“I have it on good authority that it is still practiced outside of the nursery as well… so, being with tradition and all, I would appreciate a kiss.” His dimples deepened as his smile widened then relaxed as his gaze once again became deep and soulful, searching hers.

“I cannot see the harm in upholding tradition. If you’ll simply bow your head—” Bethanny began, knowing full well that was not his intention.

“Of course.”

And before Bethanny could even close her eyes, his lips caressed hers. The touch was soft, lingering and velvety. His warm breath tickled as he drew back slightly. Her eyes, which hadn’t closed, gazed directly at his. As if spoken out loud, his gaze asked for permission to kiss her again. At her slight nod, his lips met hers once more; however, this time, Bethanny closed her eyes, not wanting anything to distract from her first kiss, and as she had always hoped, it was from Lord Graham.

 

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Trailer

 

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Green ford Waters Legacy

 

The Only Reason For the London Season

Prequel Novella to What the Duke Wants

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To Tempt an Earl will captured me right from the beginning. I loved how the author decided to open this novel up between a young and awkward Bethany and Graham.  This in my opinion gave the story a good insight in how both of the characters opinions started of each other. Now we are present day and they each have flourished. Bethany has finally turned the age of where her debutante ball is being held, her guardian is at his wits end with stress on all the men that will flourishing to her. Little does he know she has only eyes for one,  and he is a close friend to her guardian. I loved her independent along with feisty behavior and how when she knew what she wanted she went for it. Graham is notorious for his rakish past; however,  he has decided to finally settle down.  He is handsome and every woman will flock to him, but when he sees how Bethany has filled out they may be out of luck.  There stands only one problem his friend and hee Guardian!  The bantor between these characters will have you laughing hard; while at others I had the swooning phase moments. The characters are a perfect blend to make this recency romance a perfect novel to pick up and get lost in. You will become invested and fall not just for the main characters but also some of the others involved.  The plot was flawlessly written in my opinion and brought a mixture of comical bantor and recency romance.
I loved this novel and will have to go back to read about how the duke and the governess fell in love. This is a stand alone but is part of an amazing series you will not want to miss! Love to see what she has coming next.

 

About the Author

 

Kristin Vayden

 

Kristin’s inspiration for the romance she writes comes from her tall, dark and handsome husband with killer blue eyes. With five children to chase, she is never at a loss for someone to kiss, something to cook or some mess to clean but she loves every moment of it! She loves to make soap, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and gluten free muffins. Life is full of blessings and she praises God for the blessed and abundant life He’s given her.

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Connect with the author

 

 

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON

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***HAPPY RELEASE DAY*** CAPTURED BY A LAIRD BY MARGARET MALLORY

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Captured by a Laird

SERIES – The Douglas Legacy #1

AUTHOR – Margaret Mallory

GENRE – Historical Romance/ Highland Romance

PUBLICATION DATE – September 15, 2014

LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 319

PUBLISHER – Amazon

 

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BOOK BLURB / SYNOPSIS

THE DOUGLAS LEGACY

The Douglas sisters, beauties all, are valuable pawns in their family’s bitter struggle to control the Scottish Crown. But when powerful enemies threaten, each Douglas lass will find she must face them alone.

CAPTURED BY A LAIRD

Haunted by his father’s violent death, David Hume, the new laird of Wedderburn, sets out to make his name so feared that no one will dare harm his family again. The treacherous ally who played on his father’s weakness is dead and beyond David’s vengeance, but his castle and young widow are ripe for the taking. The moment David lays eyes on the dark-haired beauty defending her wee daughters, however, he knows this frail-looking lass is the one person who could bring him to his knees.

Wed at thirteen to a man who tried daily to break her spirit, Lady Alison Douglas is looking forward to a long widowhood. But when the fearsome warrior known as the Beast of Wedderburn storms her gates, she finds herself, once again, forced to wed a stranger. Alison is only a pawn to serve his vengeance, so why does this dark warrior arouse such fiery passion and an unwelcome longing in her heart?

With death and danger looming, these two wounded souls must learn to trust each other . . . for only love can save them.

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EXCERPT

David strode through the battle raging between his men and the castle defenders in the courtyard and headed straight for the keep, intent on his goal.

The castle would fall quickly. The defenders lacked leadership and were in disarray. His only concern was whether the castle had a secret tunnel for escape. During the siege, he had spread his men out through the fields surrounding the fortress to keep watch. But he had concentrated his forces for the attack and most were now inside the castle. If there was a tunnel, he must secure the widow and her daughters before they had a chance to escape. He did not relish the idea of having to chase them down through the fields with dogs.

The defenders had foolishly waited too long to withdraw to the keep, and most were caught in the courtyard when David’s men burst through the gate. He barely spared them a glance as he ran up the steps of the keep.

With several of his warriors at his back, he burst through the doors brandishing his sword. He paused inside the entrance to hall. Women and children were screaming, and the few Blackadder warriors who had made it inside were overturning tables in a useless attempt to set up a defense.

“If ye hope for mercy, drop your weapons,” David shouted, making his voice heard above the chaos.

He locked gazes with the men who hesitated to obey his order until every weapon clanked to the floor, then he swept his gaze over the women. Their clothing confirmed what he’d known the moment he entered the hall. Blackadder’s widow was not in the room.

“Where is she?” he demanded of the closest Blackadder man.

“Who, m’lord?” the man said, shifting his gaze to the side.

“Your mistress!” David picked him up by the front of his tunic and leaned in close. “Tell me now.”

“In her bedchamber,” the man squeaked, pointing to an arched doorway. “’Tis up the stairs.”

David caught a sudden whiff of urine and dropped the man to the floor in disgust. The wretch had wet himself.

“Take him to the dungeon,” he ordered. The coward had given up his mistress far too easily.

David started up the wheeled stairs to the upper floors with his sword at the ready. He expected to encounter Blackadder warriors, protecting the lady of the castle. But there were none on the stairs and none guarding the door on the first floor.

Damn it. She must have escaped. He gritted his teeth as he envisioned the lady’s guards leading her through the tunnel.

He was about to open the chamber door to make sure it was empty when Brian, one of his best men, came down the stairs.

“Laird, I checked all the chambers while ye were in the hall,” he said.

David’s jaw ached from clenching it.

“There’s one door on the floor just above us that wouldn’t open with the latch,” Brian said. “Shall I break it down?”

David waved him aside and pulled the ax from his belt as he raced up the stairs.

“Open it!” he shouted and pounded on the door.

He did not wait. She could be escaping through a secret door this very moment. Three hard whacks with his ax, and the door split. He kicked it until it swung open, then stepped through.

At his first sight of the woman, his feet became fixed to the floor. He felt strange, and his vision was distorted, as if as if he had swallowed a magical potion that narrowed his sight. He could see nothing in the room but her.

She was extraordinarily lovely, with violet eyes, pale skin, and shining black hair. But there was something about her, something beyond her beauty, that held him captive. She was young, much younger than he expected, and her features and form were delicate, in marked contrast to the violent emotion in her eyes.

David knew to the depths of his soul that a brute like him should not be the man to claim this fragile flower, even while the word mine beat in his head like a drum. He had no notion of how long he stood staring at her before he became aware that she held a sword. It was longer still before he noticed the two wee lasses peeking out from behind her like frightened kittens.

Anger boiled up in his chest. Every Blackadder man in the castle who could still draw breath should have been here, standing between him and their lady. Instead, she faced him alone with a sword she could barely lift with both hands.

It was a brave, but ridiculous gesture.

There was no defense against him.

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AUTHOR BIO

MARGARET MALLORY surprised her friends & family by abandoning her legal career to write tales of romance & adventure. At long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad & rewarding the worthy–in the pages of her novels.

Margaret lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, goofy dog & crabby cat. With her two children off to college, Margaret spends most of her time working on her next Scottish historical romance. Visit her website for Book Group Discussion Questions, photos of Scotland, excerpts, & other info. Margaret loves to hear from readers!

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