Friday, December 8, 2017

Berkley Bookmas {+ Giveaway}



It is the season for fun and giving so I’m so excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I’m delighted to be hosting MARRY IN SCANDAL by Anne Gracie here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below.

Now join me for an excerpt from this tantalizing book.

Marry In Scandal ~ Anne Gracie
London, 1818
“I have secured a duke for the opera tonight,” Agatha, Lady Salter announced with an air of triumph. Bone thin and immensely elegant, her steely silvery hair intricately coiled, piled high and bound into a kind of turban, she fingered her lorgnette with long fingers and eyed her three nieces with a critical gaze.
Lily Rutherford, Lady Salter’s youngest niece, swallowed. She sat with her sister Rose on the chaise longue facing the old lady. George, technically a great-niece rather than a niece, lounged casually on the armrest of a nearby chair.
“Do dukes sing?” Rose idly twirled her fan. “I had no idea.”
Don’t be facetious, Rose,” Aunt Agatha snapped. “You know very well why I have arranged this opportunity—it’s for you in particular.” She added, “As well, he is bringing two friends, one of whom—”
She broke off, her eyes narrowed. Lily tensed as the old lady raised her lorgnette. It was a warm day and Lily’s thighs were sticking together, but she didn’t dare move. Aunt Agatha despised fidgeting.
But her gaze came to rest meaningfully on George, who gave the elderly dowager a bland smile in return and stayed where she was, one leg swinging in an unladylike manner.
Georgiana! Are you wearing breeches under that habit?”
George shrugged, entirely unrepentant. “We’re just back from our morning ride.”
The old lady closed her eyes in a ‘heaven-help-me’ expression, muttered something under her breath, took a deep breath and continued, “As I said, the duke is bringing two of his friends, and one of them might be interested in you, Georgiana—though not if you sit like that! Or wear breeches. No gentleman of taste—”
“And one of them might be interested in Lily.” Rose smiled warmly at her sister.
Aunt Agatha glanced at Lily. “Perhaps,” she said dismissively. She raised her lorgnette and raked it critically over the person of her youngest niece.
Lily, knowing what was coming, sucked in her stomach and held her breath. But it did no good.
“I see you have failed to follow my advice about the diet that was so effective for Lord Byron, Lily. You’re as fat as ever.”
“Lily isn’t fat,” Rose flashed angrily. “She’s lovely and rounded and cuddly. But not fat!”
“And besides, she did try that dreadful diet,” George said. “For two whole weeks and it made her quite sick for no result. Potatoes drenched in vinegar? Ghastly.”
“A small sacrifice for the sake of beauty,” Aunt Agatha said with all the complacence of a woman who had never had to diet in her life.
“Lily is beautiful as she is.” Rose squeezed her sister’s hand comfortingly. “We all think so.”
Aunt Agatha snorted.
“Better to be sweet-natured and cuddly than a nasty, well-dressed skeleton.” George gave a meaningful glance at Aunt Agatha.
Lily tried not to squirm. She hated this, hated people quarreling over her, hated it when Aunt Agatha examined her through her horrid lorgnette—as she did every time she visited. Under that cold, merciless gaze, Lily always felt like a worm—a fat, unattractive, stupid worm. And she couldn’t bear another evening of it.
“I’m sorry but I can’t come to the opera tonight,” she found herself saying. “I have a—a previous engagement.”
There was a short, shocked silence. Rose and George blinked and tried to conceal their surprise.
Aunt Agatha’s gaze, her eyes horribly enlarged through the lens of her weapon of choice, bored into Lily. “What did you say, gel?”
Lily swallowed but held her ground. “I said, I have a prior engagement.” She pressed her lips together. She was hopeless at arguing;, she always gave in eventually, so it was better to say nothing.
Aunt Agatha gripped her carved ebony stick in a bony grasp and stamped it on the floor. The floor being covered by a thick Turkish rug, the effect was rather lost. “Did you not understand me, you stupid gel? A duke and two of his friends have agreed to join our party at the opera. A duke! And two other eligible gentlemen. And you say you can’t come? What nonsense! Of course you will come!”
Lily eased her fingers out of her sister’s grasp. Now her hands were sweaty, as well as her thighs. She wiped them surreptitiously on her skirt and said with as much dignity as she could muster, “I was under the impression you had issued an invitation, Aunt Agatha, not an order.”


On to the giveaway. The winner will receive: one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating. You can enter by clicking HERE!

For next week’s fun, head to one of the following blogs on 12/11:
·         My Friend Amy
·         The Romance Studio
·         Booked & Loaded
·         Vampire Book Club
·         Coffee and Characters
·         Rantings of a Reading Addict
·         Diva Does 4 Good
·         Just Another Book Bitch
·         Literary Escapism
·         Reviews by Reds
·         3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog
·         Novel Grounds


Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and will check out the upcoming blogs in the Bookmas. Are you adding books to your Christmas list this year for giving (and receiving)?

13 comments:

  1. Such a short excerpt - and such a skilled one. I am already on Lily's side, and loathing the elegant Lady Salter.
    Books are the very best gift - to give or receive.

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    1. Thanks so much, Elephants Child (love the name, was a favorite story.) And thanks for being on Lily's side — her aunt has a very sharp tongue. But she's not all bad.

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  2. Love the sound Lily! Anne Gracie is a longtime favorite author who writes spirited heroines! Books are always a great gift for those who love to read.

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    1. Thanks so much for this recommendation, Virginia. All the best for the festive season. I hope you receive lots of wonderful books.

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  3. There's just something about the aristocracy as a setting for a romance novel, isn't there, Mason? This sounds like a good blend of them. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Margot, I suspect the aristocratic setting adds to the fun and fantasy.

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    1. I know, Alex, it's a good giveaway, especially at this high-spending time of year.

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  5. Anne Gracie's books are always a delight. Had not been keeping up and was not aware of a new release. Funny how life keeps one so busy.

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    1. Thanks for that lovely comment, Lil. This book comes out in April, so you're not behind.

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  6. Thank you for featuring my book, Marry In Scandal, and for joining in the Berkley Bookmas fun. All the very best to you and your readers for the festive season, and the best of luck in 2018.

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