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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Fling Blog Hop #Giveaway: Caroline Linden's IT TAKES A SCANDAL and Lori Wilde's MAD ABOUT YOU + #GIFTCARD

Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, love is in the air - it must be spring! We are very excited to be co-hosting the SPRING FLING BLOG HOP with these fabulous bloggers and I want to give a shout-out to the awesome Laurie for organizing this! We have three great giveaways to share with you today, including a grand prize giveaway of a $70.00 gift card! So check out these great new romances below, it is spring after all, and then enter away!



It Takes A Scandal by Caroline Linden
Avon Books | ISBN 9780062244901 | $5.99 | e-ISBN 9780062244918
Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle
Sometimes, it takes a scandal to reveal your heart’s desire…
Abigail Weston is a girl who has everything one needs to find a well-born husband: beauty, wit, a loving family, and a truly staggering dowry. Despite the fact that she comes from “new wealth” and working class stock, the odds that Abigail will marry well seemed stacked in her favor…but a cold, British marriage is not the way to this lady’s heart. What Abigail most desires is a man who wants her desperately and passionately…and manages to set her blood on fire in the same, wicked ways that are described in “50 Ways to Sin.”

That man is Sebastian Vane: the one man who is not blinded by her Midas-like wealth despite the fact that he has lost everything since returning from the war with a shattered leg -- to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. In short, he’s the one man she shouldn’t have. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation.

Then again, Abigail finds herself nearly as tempted by the charming earl-to-be, Benedict Lennox. The handsome heir is courting her—and doing a damn fine job of it. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want for her.


Excerpt:

Prologue
1816

He came awake with a start, heart racing. The French were upon him—the tirailleurs leaping over the barricades, their long muskets gleaming in the hazy light as they tried to sweep his brigade from their position. His ears rang, deafened by the first shot that had shattered his knee. For a moment he struggled to breathe, waiting for the second shot that would end it all.
The deafness persisted; no second shot came. Belatedly he realized there had been no first shot—not tonight. He was not on the battlefield in Belgium, trying desperately to beat back the Emperor’s troops from a sunken lane. He was home in England, sleeping in a chair by the dying fire with his ruined leg splinted in front of him.
Sebastian Vane slumped back into the worn leather, exhausted, as his heart still beat a frantic tattoo against his breastbone. With a trembling hand he wiped the cold sweat from his face. There were no French here, only laudanum nightmares of them.
A soft bang made him start again. He looked toward the door, but it was closed. Another door had slammed, downstairs from the sound of it.
The housekeeper must be up and about. Mrs. Jones was running herself ragged nursing her husband, who’d been sick in bed for the last week, as well as caring for a madman and a cripple. The poor woman. Sebastian groped for his watch; it was late, after midnight. He’d been asleep for two hours, and now felt as though he wouldn’t sleep again tonight, which was a shame.
It had been a relatively good night thus far. His father’s madness seemed to have receded a bit, leaving him more like the parent Sebastian remembered and less like the deranged lunatic he’d found on his return from the war. Michael Vane had eaten a few bites of his dinner tonight before hurling the platter aside and muttering about poison. When Sebastian helped him out of his clothes, he hadn’t kicked, only cursed. And when Sebastian put him to bed, his father had gone as docilely as a child, wrapping his hand around the ragged strip of fabric that had once been Sebastian’s mother’s nightgown. That nightgown had been a Godsend; with it in his grasp, Michael grew calmer and more manageable.
Well. That wasn’t really the father Sebastian remembered—calm and docile, soothed by a worn-out nightgown—but it was a far sight better than the screaming madman he often was. Sebastian shifted his weight, trying to stretch his leg without reopening the wound. His father had kicked him the previous day, splitting open the scar over his knee and leaving him so faint with pain, Mrs. Jones had run for the laudanum. Nasty stuff, laudanum. He’d almost weaned himself off it, before the kick, and hated that he had to take it again.
The wind howled past the windows, rattling the panes of glass, and the door below banged again, harder. He raised his head and frowned. That sounded like the heavy front door. “Mrs. Jones,” he called. Perhaps she’d had to step out and failed to latch it on her return to the house. There was no reply from below, only a slightly softer thud from the door. Mrs. Jones must have gone to bed, and she wouldn’t be able to hear it from her rooms behind the kitchen.
He sighed. He could ring the bell and wake her, but he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon. Didn’t he want to be independent again? Gingerly he eased himself forward in the chair, setting his left foot on the floor. With a hard shove he was on his feet, unsteady until he got his crutch set.
The corridor was dark, only a faint light bleeding up the stairs. As he reached the head of the stairs, there was another great thump from below, with a gust of cold air. Alternating between cursing and holding his breath, he hobbled down the stairs to see the front door, unbarred and unlatched, swing slowly open as the wind caught it.
Puzzled, Sebastian propped his shoulder against the doorframe and caught the door as it blew toward him again. The heavy bar that should have held it closed lay across the threshold, preventing the door from slamming closed. Normally it fit across the jambs, to prevent the door was being opened from the outside. It was as if someone had removed the bar and simply dropped it.
The back of his neck prickled. Only one person in the house would do that … but Michael Vane was securely locked in his room upstairs. Sebastian did it himself, every night, for his father’s own good.
Still, he pushed the door open and peered out. The moon was a thin crescent, and the cold wind whipped the shrubbery and trees into frenzied waving. But the sky was clear of clouds, and there was enough light to see that the grounds were deserted. He shook his head; it must have been the housekeeper, who was no doubt exhausted to the point of delirium. He closed the door and dropped the bar into place before limping up the stairs to his room again.
He had barely settled into his chair, though, when there was another thumping from below. This time it wasn’t the door itself, but someone pounding on the door. “Vane!” cried a familiar voice over the moaning wind. “Damn you, Vane, wake up!”
The pounding continued as Sebastian made his way back down the stairs, cursing all the while this time as his knee burned. He wrestled the bar up and away, whereupon the visitor threw open the door and surged over the threshold.
“Where is she?” demanded Benedict Lennox. “So help me, Vane, if you’ve touched her—“
“Who?”
“Samantha,” spat Benedict.
Sebastian’s eyebrows shot up. “Why would your sister be here, at this time of night? She’s only sixteen—“
“Which is probably why she’s gone and done such an idiotic thing!” Benedict lowered his voice. “Vane, if you just produce her now, I’ll take her home with no questions or arguments. No one else knows she’s missing yet—“
Sebastian’s mouth thinned. “She’s not here.”
Benedict glared at him. “No? She told me she’s in love with you, and has been for years.”
“Schoolgirl infatuation,” Sebastian said in a low voice.
“But a headstrong, impulsive schoolgirl could easily be persuaded to throw her lot in with a—“
He stopped abruptly, but Sebastian could fill in the rest: a madman’s son, crippled and destitute. “How flattering,” he said evenly. “I never guessed my personal charms would be strong enough to persuade an earl’s daughter to throw herself away on me, bankrupt and lame though I am.”
Benedict’s eyes flashed with fury. “You know she would elope with you if you asked,” he snarled.
“But I didn’t,” Sebastian pointed out. It made no difference. Benedict had already headed down the corridor, opening each door he passed. Sebastian stood listening to the search in impotent humiliation. He knew Samantha had once fancied herself in love with him, but it was calf love. Even if it wasn’t, she had to know that her father, the Earl of Stratford, would never allow her to marry the son of Mad Michael Vane. Everyone knew it. And it had made Samantha’s infatuation, once something amusing and flattering, into yet another source of mortification as her family made certain everyone knew such a match was utterly unthinkable.
And now Samantha’s brother, who had once been his dearest friend in all the world, thought he’d schemed to elope with her. Sebastian limped to the bottom of the stairs and rested against the newel post. Benedict was making a very thorough effort; he knew the house well. He’d practically lived here as a boy, fleeing the strict air at Stratford Court for the woods and hills of Montrose House. One upon a time, Benedict’s arrival in the middle of the night would have filled Sebastian with elation and excitement, and the two of them would have stolen off into the woods for a night of illicit adventure.
But that had been a very long time ago.
Benedict came back to the hall, his expression grimmer than ever. “I’m going upstairs.”
“I can hardly stop you,” Sebastian said under his breath. Benedict was already headed up the stairs, and this time he followed.
As expected, Benedict took more care up here. He opened the door at the top of the stairs, pausing when he saw the bottle of laudanum on the mantel. He gave Sebastian a wary glance, seeming for the first time to take in his splinted leg, his crutch, the dressing gown he wore. “You could help me look,” he said in a somewhat calmer tone.
“She’s not here.” Sebastian leaned on his crutch, still winded from going up and down the stairs so many times. “Whether I look or not, you won’t find her.”
Benedict set his jaw, and continued to the next door. He made his way quickly down the corridor; all those rooms were empty, even the linen cupboard. Everything in them had been sold. Only at the far end of the corridor did Sebastian stop him.
“That’s my father’s room,” he said as Benedict reached for the knob. “It’s locked.”
But it wasn’t. The door opened an inch under Benedict’s hand.
His former friend looked at him. Sebastian stared at the door in shock. He’d disabled the lock on the inside of the door himself. He stumped closer, clumsy in his haste, and reached up. The key hung in its usual spot on the wall, next to the door in case of fire. He was sure—certain—he’d locked it just a few hours ago. And yet the door opened, creaking softly as Benedict pushed it open.
It was as dark as pitch in the room. No fire or lamp of any kind was allowed, not since Michael Vane had tried to set himself ablaze. Sebastian hobbled to the window and threw open one of the shutters. Benedict made a noise of quiet shock at the sight of the bars crossing the windows, too closely to allow even a hand through them, but Sebastian was staring at the bed.
The empty bed.
He grabbed Benedict’s coat. “Why are you here?”
“To—to find my sister.” Benedict seemed rattled as well.
“Why the devil did you think she was here?” he demanded.
Benedict stared at him. “Because she said nothing would stop her from marrying you.”
Sebastian cursed again. “If her father wouldn’t—and I strongly assume he would—I would.” He thumped his crutch in illustration. “But why did you think she was here tonight?”
“I—She went missing,” said Benedict, finally appearing to grasp how thin his logic had been. “I couldn’t find her…”
“She’s not here—she never has been.” Sebastian limped from the room, the crutch digging into his arm. “And now, neither is my father.” His brain still felt a bit fuzzy from the laudanum; damn it, he must have forgotten to lock the door. How long had it been since Michael escaped? Between the cold and the darkness, time was of the essence in finding him.
He turned back toward the stairs. Behind him he could hear Benedict opening the last few doors, all of which led into rooms that were completely empty. Benedict caught up to him in the hall below, as Sebastian was putting on his hat and coat. “Where else could she be?” he asked, only slightly subdued.
“I’ve no idea. She’s your sister.” Sebastian pulled open the front door and gestured. “Go home, Ben. She probably went to the library for a book, or to the kitchen for some warm milk.”
Benedict scowled, although with real worry this time. “I looked there. I looked everywhere. She was gone, I tell you. And you—and she—“
Sebastian shrugged. He was fond of Samantha … as a brother or a cousin might be. With her promise of beauty and her father’s position and wealth, she would marry much better than him, a crippled soldier whose father had laid waste to his estate because he thought the Devil was after him. Sebastian himself had told Samantha that he wouldn’t be a good husband; he’d only meant to let her know, gently, that her affection for him was misplaced. He was needed at home to care for his father, and now he’d been proven negligent even at that.
“Why were the windows upstairs barred?”
Sebastian raised his eyebrows at the hesitant question. “Because he’s gone mad—hadn’t you heard? He’s a danger to himself and must be locked in every night.”
Benedict glanced up the stairs. “But the door was unlocked. Perhaps Samantha …”
“Crossed the river, in the dark, climbed the hill, found a way into the house, unlocked his door, and then left, without anyone seeing her?” Sebastian finished when Benedict didn’t. “How likely is that? And what would it gain her, in any event?” He shook his head, fumbling with his buttons, cursing the laudanum that made him clumsy—and forgetful—tonight.
“No,” murmured Benedict. “I know that even if she thought … That is to say, there would still be …” He flushed, stopping short of saying what they both knew.
“Even if he died, it wouldn’t change anything?” Sebastian gave him a hard look. “I suggest you go home to find your sister.”
Benedict hesitated, then jerked his head in a single nod. He went out and untied his horse from the post. With a quick, easy motion that gave Sebastian a pang of useless envy, he swung into the saddle and wheeled his horse around. “Good luck,” he said after a moment’s pause.
Sebastian nodded once. “And to you.”
Benedict disappeared into the night. It would take him close to an hour to get home on horseback. He would have to ride through Richmond and rouse the ferryman, although perhaps he’d paid the man to wait when he came across the river the first time. He’d be cold and stiff by the time he reached home—which must say something about how strongly he feared his sister had been persuaded to run off with Sebastian. Just another bit of proof that their friendship was irrevocably over.
Sebastian glanced longingly toward his dark and empty stables, wishing he, too, had a horse. It would searching for his father much easier, if he had to go into the woods. Of course, he couldn’t ride anywhere. Thanks to his ruined knee, mounting a horse would be agony, and thanks to his father’s delusions, they didn’t have any horses anyway. He went to rouse the Joneses, unable to answer their alarmed queries about how Mr. Vane had got out. When a quick search of the house and stable revealed nothing, he struck out for the woods.
As he limped down the uneven path, the echo of his own words followed him. Even if he died, it wouldn’t change anything. That wasn’t quite true. If his father died, he wouldn’t have to sleep in his chair, ready to spring into action if another fit seized Michael. He wouldn’t suffer any more injuries trying to keep his father from harming other people. He wouldn’t have to watch his once intelligent, practical parent become a distorted shell of himself, filthy and insane and raving about the demons pursuing him. In many ways, Sebastian knew it would be a mercy when death finally claimed his father.
But it wouldn’t make him any more eligible. Samantha had to know that as well as anyone. Benedict would find her safe at home, and feel like an idiot for rushing to Montrose Hill. For a moment Sebastian wondered if his one-time friend would apologize for his accusations, and then he shrugged it off. The odds were highly against it, and if not for Benedict’s visit, he wouldn’t have known his father was missing until morning. Perhaps he should thank Benedict for being so suspicious. He raised his lantern higher and tried to think where his father might have gone.
At dawn, Mr. Jones found him and half-carried him back to the house for a few hours of sleep. Together he and Mr. Jones combed the meadow and dragged the pond, an exercise which put Mr. Jones back into bed with chills and a cough.
Two letters arrived that day. One was from Benedict, apologizing for troubling him. Samantha had indeed been safe at home. The other letter was from Samantha herself, urging Sebastian to call on her. He supposed Benedict had told her what happened, and she also wanted to apologize. He hoped that was all she wanted to say; the sooner she redirected her affections, the better for all of them. Sebastian threw both notes on the fire.
But no trace of Michael Vane was ever seen again. And instead of making anything better, his father’s disappearance only made everything much, much worse.

Learn more at: http://www.carolinelinden.com



GIVEAWAY:
One reader in the US will receive a print copy of the first book in the series, Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden from the publisher. Enter through the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Mad About You: 
License to Thrill/You Only Love Twice 
by Lori Wilde
ebook, 672 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Forever
Goodreads | Amazon
Two Lori Wilde romances together for the first time in print!

LICENSE TO THRILL

Las Vegas private eye Charlee Champagne is absolutely fearless. But when handsome Mason Gentry strides into her office, demanding to know where his grandfather is, she can't control the goosebumps. It's not like Mason to be in Sin City while the biggest deal of his banking career wraps up without him, but one moment with Charlee brings out his wild side. Before he knows it, Mason is on a mission, driving pedal to the metal across the desert with the toughest, sexiest woman he has ever met . . .

YOU ONLY LOVE TWICE

Comic book creator Marlie Montague's life isn't as exciting as her heroine's . . . until someone points the business end of a pistol right at her. Now she needs help from a real-life action hero: her rock-hard Navy secret-agent neighbor, Joel Hunter. Soon he and the beautiful Marlie are blowing the doors off a full-blown conspiracy with more double agents than a Bond flick. But the real mystery is: How does Marlie manage to leave Joel both shaken and stirred?

EXCERPT:

Marlie studied him. Physically, they were so different.
He was one hundred percent mesomorph. Lots of lean
muscle tissue, hard, sculpted. She was little Miss Endomorph.
Round and soft and small- boned. But mentally
they were more alike than she’d first assumed.
They believed in truth and justice and standing up
for the underdog. They were both loyal and protective.
And they both liked being in control, although whereas
Marlie took evasive action to ensure her safety, Joel ruled
the space around him with his physicality.
Maybe this relationship could work, if they lived to tell
the tale.
“Stop worrying.” He reached over and pressed the pad
of his thumb between her eyebrows, smoothing out her
frown line.
“I can’t. It’s my nature.”
“You need a distraction.”
“What kind of distraction?” she asked hopefully, eyeing
his lips.
“The best kind,” he answered, draping one leg over hers
and pulling her closer. His deep, rumbling voice, combined
with the pressure of the back of his knee against her
thigh, sent an electrical charge tumbling down her spine.
“Oh?” she murmured. “And what’s that?”
His eyes narrowed seductively. He looked more handsome
than any man had a right to look.
He drew his thumb down the end of her nose. Their gazes
met. She dared him with her eyes. Dared him to kiss her.

You can learn more at: LoriWilde.com 



GIVEAWAY:
One reader Internationally will receive an eCopy of Mad About You: License to Thrill/You Only Love Twice from the publisher. Enter through the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY:
One winner from the hop will receive a $70.00 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner's choice compliments of the hop's hosts. To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Hop along to the other participating blogs and make sure to show some love for our fellow hosts! 

16 comments:

jodi marinich said...

would love to read either of these books

Cheryl S. said...

The covers are great! The books sound like amazing reads :) Thank you for the giveaway!

Barbara E. said...

Both books sound wonderful but I'm really looking forward to Caroline Linden's book.

Di said...

I think spring may finally really be here!

erin said...

these sound fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

Joleene Naylor said...

Both look like good reads :)

Sandy Xiong said...

I'm excited for both books. It's almost spring break and I will be adding these books to my TBR list

jmcgaugh said...

I enjoyed the excerpts. Thanks for the giveaways!

Ari T said...

Private eyes and secret conspiracies! Sign me up! Thanks for the giveaway!

Judy said...

Thanks for your participation in the giveaway. Your books really looks like a very good reads.

Mins72 said...

Thanks for being a part of the hop ! This books looks really good :)

Jill Prand said...

Happy Spring!!! Both these books look good!! Thanks for the giveaway

Glenda said...

Awesome covers and sound like great books!!! Happy, happy springtime!

Ada said...

I love Caroline and Lori's books, they're such great writers!

Anita H. said...

I can't wait for spring, too much snow this year. And reading Lori's book is the perfect way to celebrate! Thanks for the giveaway!

Elise-Maria Barton said...

Thanks for participating in the Spring Fling!

ilookfamous at yahoo dot com