Please help me welcome the lovely Christi Caldwell! Christi is here today to promote her next release, Never Courted, Suddenly Wed. She is also giving away one copy of the book. You know the rules to win, just leave comment saying you want the book.
Here is the cover.
Next the blurb.
Christopher, Earl of Waxham, has constructed a perfect image for the ton–the ladies love him and his company is desired by all. Only two people know the truth about Waxham’s secret. Unfortunately, one of them is Miss Sophie Winters.
Miss Sophie Winters has known Christopher since she was in leading strings. As children, they delighted in tormenting each other. Now at two and twenty, she still has a tendency to find herself in scrapes, and her marital prospects are slim.
When his father threatens to expose his shame to the ton, unless he weds Sophie for her dowry, Christopher concocts a plan to remain a bachelor. What he didn’t plan on was falling in love with the lively, impetuous Sophie. As secrets are exposed, will Christopher’s love be enough when she discovers his role in his father’s scheme?
And finally an excerpt!
Sophie crested a small grassy incline and stood arms akimbo, scanning the area. She froze. Duke, her fawn-colored pug, ran in circles about an enormous black mare. “Oh, Duke,” she groaned and raced down the slight hill.
Her race ended with a sharp gasp as her foot became entangled in the lace trim of her ivory gown. She threw her arms out to steady herself but it was too late; she tumbled forward, bouncing, and sliding until she landed with a thump at the base of the rise.
A coarse, salty tongue lapped her cheek. she turned her head to face the troublesome dog. “Oh, Duke. This is bad. This is very bad.” She could just imagine what Lady Ackerly’s Tattle Sheet would read tomorrow morning.
A towering figure leaned over her, blotting out her unfettered view of the late spring sky. “Are you hurt?” The gentleman dropped to a knee alongside her.
She swallowed. “No. I…” Sophie shoved herself up on her elbows and groaned. Of all the riders in Hyde Park, it would be her misfortune that Duke should stumble upon,
Christopher, Earl of Waxham; her childhood nemesis and the man her mother and brother intended to see her wed.
She’d rather accept help from Lady Ackerly. “You.”
Christopher frowned. It was certain he wanted to be there even less than she wanted him there. “I should have suspected when this unattended fiend,” he jerked his chin in Duke’s direction, “nearly unseated me, that you were somehow behind it.”
Duke sat back on his haunches. His little pink tongue lolled out the side of his mouth and he yapped happily at the earl. Apparently the dog was a far worse judge of character than she’d credited.
“I’m certain your beast spooked him,” she said in defense of her precocious pug. After all, that fiend, as Christopher had referred to him, was a good deal more loyal than most people.
Christopher patted her dog upon the top of his head. And just as suddenly, yanked his fingers back, no doubt remembering his unreasonable abhorrence of poor Duke. She watched, stunned as he grasped the edge of her skirts.
“What are you doing, Christopher?” she hissed, stealing several glances at the nearby voyeurs. She could only imagine how the scandal sheets would report on this latest scrape she’d managed to land herself in.
Christopher followed the direction of her stare, and glowered at the people staring at Sophie’s prone form. “I’m inspecting you for injury,” he said, after their observers scurried off.
Her skin tingled from where his long fingers still clasped her ankle. She slapped his hand away, her heart hammering in the oddest way. “You mustn’t touch me. Not in public.” Not with said touch causing all the strangest, unfamiliar little sensations in her stomach.
Christopher grinned, and his attention shifted from her leg to her eyes. “Is that an invitation to touch you in private?”
Sophie slammed a hand over her mouth. Her eyes widened. “You sir, are no gentleman.”
He gave a slow wink. “And running disheveled through Hyde Park, you hardly epitomize ladylike gentility.”
Well, he had her there. She wondered what the highly proper earl would say if he knew she was half seas over from alcohol she’d pilfered with a mystery gentleman the previous evening?
He cocked his head.
“What?” she blurted.
“I’m merely trying to interpret that mischievous glimmer in your eyes.” Christopher didn’t allow her an opportunity to respond, instead, leaned over her leg, and again reached for her ankle.
“I said, you mustn’t touch me.” Sophie was already going to be in a good deal of trouble with Mother and Geoffrey when she returned home. It wouldn’t do for them to find out she’d allowed Christopher to handle her person in a very public manner.
He glanced up with such alacrity, a black lock escaped the queue at the nape of his neck, and fell over his eye.
It was merely because he was trying to help her… and because it must be so very difficult for him to see…and the fact that he’d been surprisingly gentle with Duke, but Sophie gave in to the urge and brushed the lone strand back from his forehead.
Christopher’s whole body went still.
The heat of a virulent blush suffused her. “I…uh…imagined it was difficult to see and thought if I moved the hair from your eyes that you’d be able to see a good deal better and…” Be silent, Sophie. Be silent. She promptly closed her mouth.