His Scandalous Kiss: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3 by Sophie Barnes with Giveaway

His Scandalous Kiss: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3 by Sophie Barnes with Giveaway

I’ve read many of the titles in the Thorncliff Manor series, a grand house that has offered many a happy ever after for people of all levels in life.  Sophie Barnes is on the blog today with the latest installment in the story, and if you have liked the others in this series, you will want to order your copy now. If you don’t know the series – now is the perfect time to grab the earlier titles as you wait for this release. Don’t forget to check out my review and excerpt, check the tour stops to see what other bloggers have shared, and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win an eBook copy of THE EARL’S COMPLETE SURRENDER. But first

His Scandalous Kiss

Returning to Thorncliff Manor for a Masquerade Ball provides the perfect backdrop for intrigue, mystery and clandestine assignations.  It’s also a wonderful diversion for Richard Heartly, a distraction from the endless time spent consumed with revenge. He’s been out of society since returning from the war, and with no real intentions to immerse himself, a ball is the best way to gather intelligence, gossip and dip his toes in. The house is, after all, the purview of his grandmother’s dearest friend, Lady Duncaster.  Surely this is the opportunity he should not miss.

Mary Bourneville is utterly real and fabulous – thoughtful, generous, kind and wholly determined to live her own life on her terms. She’s also doing her utmost, with her own scandalous secret, to finance her elder brother’s life and home.  She’s a wonderfully complex woman, full of moments that juxtapose her own innocence with the worldliness that comes from struggling to take charge of her own life without being hampered by a controlling family or husband.

Oh the secrets and revelations! Scandalous, deadly, shocking and even cowardly the layers of reveals and deepening of an underlying mystery involving a group of peers seeking to influence and control history, the story just glides from one moment to the next.  Mary and Richard are delightful together – her far more confident and optimistic approach to life and the people she encounters are tempered only by her kindness and wish to cause no harm.  Richard’s immersion in his quest for revenge and subsequent isolation from society, combined with his own fears of how he will be perceived with his injuries keep him on edge and carefully dissecting every utterance, insecure in his own approach to items that are not in line with his quest for revenge.

The story is slowly building to a conclusion of the underlying mystery at Thorncliff, with rumors of treasure and connections to earlier generations of the major characters in this story.  Lady Duncaster, the current resident and owner, has brought the players together again, requested their assistance and silence, and hopes to close this chapter.  A wonderful installment that keeps interest and excitement for the next book.

His Scandalous Kiss: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3 by Sophie Barnes with Giveaway

Title: His Scandalous Kiss
Author: Sophie Barnes
Series: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3
Also in this series: Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires, The Earl's Complete Surrender
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 006235891X
Published on: 26 July, 2016
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes

Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .

Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .

See the Secrets at Thorncliff Manor 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.

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Richard grunted disagreement. “I have lived a solitary life these past five years,” he said slowly. “My brother and secretary have been my only contacts to the outside world since my return.”

“Which is why I am so honored to have the pleasure of your company. Truly, it is greatly appreciated.”

“Even if I am not as polished as I once was?”

Her mouth tilted a little. “You are just a little rusty.” She patted his arm with her gloved hand. “It will come back to you soon enough.”

He wasn’t so certain. “I feel as though I no longer belong.”

“Nonsense. But if we can find your brother then perhaps you will feel more yourself. Hmm?” She looked around.

“I must confess that he is unaware of my attendance this evening.” When she turned to him, eyes wide in question, he said, “I should like to keep it that way.”

“May I ask why?”

Breaths came and went in slow succession before he settled on the right words. “The last thing I want is for him to get the wrong idea—to presume that I have come for the purpose of socializing or, God forbid, dancing.”

Her eyebrows rose in two sharp points. “Dancing is not so bad and neither is socializing.”

“I am only here because of your insistence. As Grandmamma’s dearest friend, it would be difficult for me to deny you. Which is not to say that I am unhappy that I came.”

“She would be proud of you, if she were still alive.”

“I hope so,” he muttered. “You have offered me a refreshing change, but I am afraid that dancing and socializing would serve no purpose.”

“I suppose that explains why you have not asked me to dance,” Lady Duncaster said as they moved toward a shadowy corner where a stone bench stood vacant.

“You see! My manners have completely deserted me.” He waited for Lady Duncaster to sit before lowering himself onto the empty spot beside her. “Perhaps a minuet would not be too appalling, if I can still recall the steps, mind you.”

“Forgive me, but was that an invitation?” In spite of her advanced years, it was impossible to deny that she had spirit.

Richard grimaced. “Lady Duncaster, would you please do me the honor of dancing the minuet with me?” As much as he dreaded it, he owed her the courtesy of asking.

“I would be delighted to,” she said, looking pleased. “See, that was not so difficult, was it? But if you step on my toes I shall slap you.”

Although Richard feared that she might have to follow through on that threat, her words eased his tension. “In public? Surely not!”

“I find that the older I get, the less I care about protocol, or the opinion of others, for that matter.”

“Then we are of like minds, my lady.”

Lady Duncaster snorted. “My dear boy, you are entirely mistaken! If you were really as indifferent as I, then you would not feel inclined to hide away as you do. That said, however, I must compliment you on your choice of costume. The complete concealment of your face beneath your Bauta mask and tricorn does add a distinct air of mystery to you.”

“I am not the only one here who has chosen to dress in traditional style,” he said as he watched a couple strolling in their direction. Both wore full masks with silver lips and eye-slits outlined in blue. Just like Richard, their hair and necks had been covered by tightly fitted silk hoods, revealing not an inch of skin and making it impossible to discern their identities.

“True,” Lady Duncaster agreed, “but unlike everyone else here this evening, there is a certain darkness about you that I am sure the ladies will find compelling.”

“I have no interest in attracting any woman’s attention.” The evening black had been a given. He could not imagine himself in anything else. And the mask . . . well, he had his reasons for that as well. “I am not a coward,” he told her gruffly. “I am just not ready for all the attention my return to Society will likely incur.” She nodded in understanding, but said nothing further. He was grateful for that.

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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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