Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #1 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #1 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for book one in the Secrets at Thorncliff Manor late Regency historic romance series by Sophie Jordan. Be sure to check out the excerpt below and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win one of 3 paperback copies of Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires from the publisher, and look at  the other tour stops to see what other readers thought of the title.

Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires

Sarah’s desire is to live her own life, with a man of her choosing.  Unfortunately a youthful mistake nearly ruined her reputation and severely limited her chances for an acceptable match, a fact that her father and stepmother will NOT let her forget.  To avoid further temptation for his willful daughter, her father has moved her and her stepsisters to Thorncliff Manor in an effort to ease the match between her and Mr. Dennison, her father’s choice for her husband.

Unimpressed by her chosen suitor, Sarah is chafing under the responsibility of a ‘good daughter’ and is not thrilled with the match.  Unfortunately, despite her own wishes, she is very solidly a creature of her time, and her life is not her own.  But then, a new and intriguing opportunity arises, to at least remove the boredom and sameness of her life at Thorncliff.

Christopher, Lord Spencer is obligated by position to marry, but it’s an obligation he plans to put off to the last possible moment.  An affair of the heart gone wrong, he is not interested in tying the knot, until the sharp-tongued Sarah challenges his person, position and humor with her forthright manner and often inappropriate utterances.

Seeing the sadness and sense of resignation that follows Sarah, already in a courtship, has Christopher alternately wanting to help and knowing he should stay away. But Sarah has thawed the ice around his heart, and that is a rarity for him.

Interactions between these two are often closer to fireworks than polite conversation: as Sarah realizes that Christopher is interested, she allows her own thoughts to stray to the potential for more than the match her father has decided on.  Slowly (actually quite slowly) their connection builds for readers to see just as they discover the growing affections.  Written with a patient hand, Barnes allows the characters to grow toward one another before they kiss, and the long wait makes it sweeter. I honestly wanted to reach in and push them together – they are well-suited and it took them long enough to see it!

Secondary characters are clever and add to the budding courtship and add life to the story away from our couple, setting up potential matches for future stories with a sense of anticipation.  Thorncliff Manor itself is also well-described and detailed with nods to history and mystery within, and the addition of a pet hamster with a Houdini complex gave a touch of fun and whimsy to the story.  A great start to a new series.

Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #1 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires
Author: Sophie Barnes
Series: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #1
Also in this series: The Earl's Complete Surrender, His Scandalous Kiss
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 0062358855
Published on: 28 April, 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 17 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Get Your Copy: Amazon AllRomance Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour IndieBound Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London's elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart's desire...

There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff's conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?

Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer—if not for a tarnished past that she's hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher's kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?

See the Secrets at Thorncliff Manor Series on GoodReads

 

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

 

Offering  a curt  nod,  her stepmother said nothing further  as she turned  her back on Sarah and followed her  husband into  their  bedroom, closing  the  door behind  her and  leaving Sarah  alone  in the corridor. She took a breath, trying to relax and ignore the way her insides shuddered in response to her stepmother’s resentment. “Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?” she heard Alice remark.

Entering her room, Sarah had to confess that she certainly had not, for as it turned out, they were to share an entire suite of rooms with a comfortable sit- ting area in the center.

“Never,” Juliet replied, echoing Sarah’s thoughts. Ignoring  her  sisters,  Sarah  walked  across  to  the window  and  peered  out  at the vast lawns,  the intricate flower gardens,  the maze in the distance and the massive lake upon  which, if her eyes did not deceive her,  was  a sailing  ship—a  frigate,  to  be exact.  No doubt   Thorncliff   surpassed   every ancestral   home she’d ever visited.  Nothing compared. Perhaps that was the point of the Thorncliff estate.

Sarah resisted the urge to explore Thorncliff for an hour—longer than she’d ever thought possible. Then, with the intention of taking a look around, she left her slumbering sisters to Hester’s watchful eyes.

After  descending  the  stairs,  she wandered down a corridor and  soon  discovered  that  Thorncliff  was filled with  guests and  servants  to the point  of over- flowing.  Her  first impression  upon  visiting  a salon wrapped in Chinese  décor,  where  some ladies were having  tea,  was  that  she’d  probably be  unlikely  to discover a private  space she could claim as her own. This  suspicion  grew when,  after  passing  a series of other  rooms,  she found  each one to be occupied  by somebody  else. Though she did recognize a few faces and made sure to offer polite greetings, she had no desire to engage in conversation with anyone, fearing it would only result in unpleasant prying.

Eventually,   Sarah  decided  to  head  out  into  the garden  in search of a secluded corner  where she and Snowball  would  be able to enjoy  each other’s  company.  The  poor  little  creature  had  spent  the  better part  of  the  day  confined  to  her  reticule  and  was surely  growing  restless.  But,  before  arriving  at  the French  doors   that   would   take  her  outside,   Sarah came upon  another door  that  piqued  her interest.  It was made almost entirely of glass, and beyond it, she could see nothing but greenery—trees, bushes and ferns mostly, all planted on either side of a tiled path that wound its way between them before disappearing from view.

Reaching out, Sarah pressed down on the handle until the door swung open.  A  humid  heat  blending with  the  smell of wet  soil greeted  her,  and  she stepped  quickly  inside,  closing  the  door  behind  her with care. Silence, and the relief that came with solitude, washed over her as she reached inside her reticule and retrieved her furry companion. Snowball squeaked, wriggling between Sarah’s fingers as she stroked him gently across his back.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.  “I know you’d love nothing better than to scamper about between these plants, but if I set you down, I’ll never find you again.”  Stepping forward, she started along the path while her gaze leapt from one massive glass window to the next.

Andover  Abby  didn’t  have  a  conservatory,  and Sarah  had  always  wanted  to  visit a house  that  did. She just hadn’t imagined finding one of such incredible size. Why, it had to be at least one hundred yards long, and the width  . . . perhaps twenty or thirty? Thinking  herself alone and lost in her attempt to calculate an accurate  square footage, Sarah instinctively leapt  at the sound  of a very loud  grunt,  startled  by it to such a degree that  she let go of Snowball,  who tumbled to the ground and, as one might expect from a curious hamster,  chose not to sit and wait for Sarah to pick him up again but raced off along the path  as fast as his tiny legs could  carry  him. Forgetting the sound she’d just heard, Sarah hurried after him, desperate to catch him before she lost him forever in the small jungle.

“Snowball?” Sarah hissed, as if the creature would actually come walking back to her when summoned. Pushing  past  some  wide  leaves,  she  finally spotted the little fellow, sitting  quite  happily  on the edge of the  pathway.  Heart   pounding  in  her  chest,  Sarah dropped to  a  crouch  and  eased  her  way  forward, desperate  to  prevent  him  from  leaping  off between the bushes. Good heavens, she’d never find him then! With measured breaths,  Sarah moved with the silence of a wraith—at least to her own  way of thinking— and as tedious and strenuous as the endeavor  proved, she knew  she had  to avoid  startling  Snowball  at all cost. Eventually, she reached him, her hand moving toward him, ready to snatch him up, just as another grunt shook the air.

Snowball darted   off beneath   a fern, and Sarah swore with vigor. Hands clenched into two tight fists, she prepared to rise and give whatever creature it was that had produced the sound a proper set down, when a voice spoke, saying, “Aren’t you a bit too old to be crawling about on the floor?”

Sarah froze. If the grunt had belonged to a pig, she might have understood. A pig would not have been clever enough to know what Sarah was trying to accomplish, but then again, a pig would not have been roaming around a conservatory either. Her irritation grew.  Of course her efforts had failed because of a man. Brilliant!

Expelling a deep breath,  she unclenched  her fists, closed  her  eyes for  a  brief  second  and  rose,  deter- mined to avoid a quarrel  with the foolish individual behind  her. She prayed that somehow she’d find the ability to be polite in spite of her annoyance. “Sir,” she started to say as she turned toward the dunce, “I will have you know that I . . .” Her words trailed off as he came into view.

Heaven  above  if the  addlepated dunderhead had not  been  graced with  looks  that  could  easily make a roomful  of women  swoon.  Sarah steeled herself. She would not allow his handsome face to affect her. “Where else should I be, all things considered?”

“On your feet?” he suggested, as if he were speaking to a child.

Sarah glared at him. “Obviously,” she said. “Why on earth didn’t I think of that?”

Idiot.

The man’s eyes widened as he leaned back a notch,  and  Sarah  realized  to  her  horror that  she’d  spoken the insult out loud.

 

 

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About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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