by Stella Riley
Publication Date: November 22, 2018
eBook; 380 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance
The performance finished in a flourish of technical brilliance and the young man rose from the harpsichord to a storm of applause.
Julian Langham was poised on the brink of a dazzling career when the lawyers lured him into making a catastrophic mistake. Now, instead of the concert platform, he has a title he doesnít want, an estate verging on bankruptcy… and bewildering responsibilities for which he is totally unfitted.
And yet the wreckage of Julianís life is not a completely ill wind. For Tom, Rob and Ellie it brings something that is almost a miracle… if they dare believe in it.
Meanwhile, first-cousins Arabella Brandon and Elizabeth Marsden embark on a daring escapade which will provide each of them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The adventure will last only a few weeks, after which everything will be the way it was before. Or so they think. What neither of them expects is for it to change a number of lives Ö most notably, their own.
And there is an additional complication of which they are wholly unaware.
The famed omniscience of the Duke of Rockliffe.
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About the Author
Readers’ Favorite award-winning author and B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree Stella Riley trained as a teacher in London and now lives in Kent. She enjoys Amateur Dramatics, dancing, reading and travel. She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. She loves the extravagant fashions of the mid-Georgian period, likes men with long hair and her current passion is for Baroque harpsichord music.
The first 5 books of the Rockliffe series (recommended in The Times newspaper!) are also available in audio, narrated by Alex Wyndham. And Rockliffe Book Six – CADENZA – is currently available for pre-order and will be released on November 22nd.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, November 22
Feature at Passages to the Past
Friday, November 23
Feature at What Is That Book About
Sunday, November 25
Excerpt at Old Timey Books
Monday, November 26
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Tuesday, November 27
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Thursday, November 29
Excerpt at Among the Reads
Monday, December 3
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Monday, December 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, December 18
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 19
Interview at Passages to the Past
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away eBooks from Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series – The Parfit Knight, The MÈsalliance, The Player, The Wicked Cousin, or Hazard! 5 eBooks are up for grabs!
To enter, please see the Gleam form below.
- Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
- Giveaway is open to US residents only.
- Only one entry per household.
- All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
- Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Excerpt 2 from Cadenza:
For the space of a heartbeat, the long-lashed green eyes flicked to her face before going back to studying the carpet. He said, ‘I don’t keep a carriage.’
That possibility hadn’t previously occurred to Arabella. On the other hand, she suspected that if Lord Chalfont had come to Newark himself, she might currently be on her way back to Yorkshire. Annoyance began tugging at the edges of her mind. Forcing herself to ignore it, she said pleasantly, ‘I understand you have only recently inherited your title, my lord.’
‘Six months ago,’ said Julian, managing not to add, Six months and a bloody lifetime. ‘The estate has been … neglected.’
A maid came in and set a tureen of soup on the table. Casting a brief yet oddly indulgent glance at the earl, she said, ‘Milord, ma’am … if you’d like to be seated, I’ll serve.’
Remembering just in time that he was supposed to pull out a chair for his guest, Julian did so before walking the length of the table to take his own place. The maid ladled soup into bowls and offered each of them the basket of rolls, saying cheerfully, ‘Fresh-baked this afternoon, sir.’
‘Yes. Thank you … er … Rose?’
‘Violet, sir,’ corrected the girl. And on her way from the room, sounding as if she wanted to pat him on the shoulder, ‘Now, you just have that while it’s hot. I’ll bring the beef when you’re ready.’
Silence fell again. They ate – or at least, Arabella did. The earl, so far as she could see, spent the time stirring his soup and reducing the bread to crumbs. He still didn’t look at her. Finally, laying down her spoon and letting irritation get the upper hand, she said, ‘I’m not a basilisk, you know.’
Julian’s eyes flew to hers and the spoon slipped from his grasp, sending soup splashing on to his fingers. ‘I beg your pardon?’
‘I said I’m not a basilisk – or a Gorgon or Medusa – or any of those things in mythology one can’t look in the eye without dire consequences.’ She offered him a cool smile. ‘I just thought I’d mention it.’
Colour crept across his cheekbones and, picking up his napkin, he concentrated on wiping soup from his hand. ‘Forgive me. I didn’t mean to be rude.’
Light finally dawned. Eyes widening in fascination, Arabella thought, He’s shy. Painfully, miserably shy. Oh dear. She said quietly, ‘Of course not. It’s a bit difficult isn’t it – sitting down to dine with a complete stranger?’
‘Yes.’ Janet had told him he must get to know Mistress Marsden. He just wished she’d also told him how he was supposed to do it. ‘Yes, it is.’
‘I daresay you have a lot of questions.’ She smiled encouragingly. ‘Under the circumstances, it would be amazing if you didn’t – so ask them, by all means.’
God, he thought dismally. There are probably a dozen things I ought to ask but I’ve no idea what they are. Staring into the soup, he muttered, ‘I haven’t thought about it.’
‘Oh. Well perhaps we might try it the other way around. Since I’m here to oversee your household and your children, I shall need to understand your exact requirements.’
Not having any requirements, exact or otherwise, Julian temporised.
‘I’ll trust your judgement.’
Arabella didn’t find that helpful but could hardly say so. Fortunately, Violet replacing the soup with beef and an array of vegetables temporarily suspended the need for conversation. However, as soon as they were alone again, she persevered.
‘Perhaps you could tell me a bit about the children?’
‘Such as what?’
‘Well … how long is it since your wife died?’
‘Wife?’ For the first time she had his whole attention. ‘What wife? I’ve never been married. What on earth made you think –?’
‘The fact that you have three children,’ cut in Arabella acidly, before she saw both the alternative explanation and the pit yawning at her feet. ‘Oh. I see. They – they’re –’
‘Not mine,’ blurted Julian. ‘Illegitimate, yes … but not mine.’