Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Showcase - Excerpt - The Worthington Wife by Sharon Page

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and you're ready to pick out some new books for 2107 I have a historical novel that just releases today that looks like a great pic for a cold winter's day.

ISBN-13: 9780373788545
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: 12-27-2016
Length: 448pp
Buy It: B&N-Amazon-Kobo-IndieBound-Publisher

Lady Julia Hazelton is the most dazzling among 1920s England's bright young things. But rather than choosing the thrill of wanton adventure like so many of her contemporaries, Julia shocks society with her bold business aspirations. Determined to usher the cursed Worthington estate into a prosperous, modern new era, and thus preserve her beloved late fiancĂ©'s legacy, the willful Julia tackles her wildest, most unexpected adventure in Cal Carstairs, the reluctant new Earl of Worthington. 

The unconventional American artist threatens everything Julia seeks to protect while stirring desires she thought had died in the war. For reasons of his own, Cal has designed the ultimate revenge. Rather than see the estate prosper, he intends to destroy it. But their impulsive marriage—one that secures Julia's plans as well as Cal's secrets—proves that passion is ambition's greatest rival. Unless Cal ends his quest to satisfy his darkest vendetta, he stands to ruin his Worthington wife and all her glittering dreams.

Read an excerpt courtesy Harlequin: 

The Estate of Brideswell Abbey
June, 1925

“I don’t care about scandal, Nigel.” Lady Julia Hazelton marched up to the desk in the study of her brother, the Duke of Langford, and set her palms on the smooth oak edge. “These women lost their husbands to war and now there is nothing for them. If they have farms or stores or homes, they are being turned out of them, despite having children to feed and clothe. I can help them. What do you think I will do? Do you really think I’ll be inspired, after spending time with a fallen woman, to stand outside the village public house, plying the trade?”
“Good God, Julia!” Her brother, startlingly handsome with raven-black hair and brilliant blue eyes, jolted in his chair. Fortunately he had a secure grip on the very precious bundle he held. Nigel wore his tweeds, but a lacy blanket hung over his shoulder. Napping on his shoulder was his eleven-month-old son, holding his father’s strong hands.
Nigel blushed scarlet. “The fact you know so much about such things speaks for itself.”
“I thought Zoe finally cured you of your stuffiness, Nigel,” Julia said.
Zoe was her brother’s American bride, the “American Duchess” famous in the British newspapers—once famous for her wild style of living, now famous for her brilliance in investing and in turning Brideswell into the most modern yet beautiful house in England.
Cradling his son, Nigel said, “Julia, I agree that the plight of the war widows is terrible. But the responsibility for it doesn’t rest on your shoulders. You have been loaning money to them out of your pin money—”
“What I am supposed to do? Simply pretend I don’t see the women who look as if they’ve lost their souls, because they are hoping some man gives them a few pennies to—to poke at them?”
“Julia! Where, for the love of God, did you learn expres­sions like that?”
“Nigel, there was a war on. I’m afraid that one of the casualties of war is innocence. You were there. You know how brave those men were, and how wrong it is that they are dead.”
“I know that. As a result, Zoe and I have given to many charities—”
“But once these women sell themselves, they don’t go to charities for help. Some of these women were left alone, with babies even younger than Nicholas. I would go to terrible lengths if my child was starving.”
“Yes, but—”
“These women do not have a choice. With money, they would!”
“Yes, but—”
“Many of them have skills—they have run households and farms.”
“Yes, but—”
“They could start businesses. They could better them­selves. They could give futures to their children.”
This time her brother didn’t bother with a yes, but.
“Julia, this work is not helping your marriage prospects.”
“Oh, that’s what you all are worried about.”
Now that Zoe and Nigel were married and Julia’s dowry was restored—from the investments made from Zoe’s for­tune—her brother, her mother and her grandmother wanted to see her wed.
“I’ve lost two men that I loved, Nigel. I lost Anthony to the Battle of the Somme. And Dougal to the idiocy of our class system. Frankly, I’ve given up on getting married.”
Nigel shifted his son in his arms. “Don’t, Julia.”
“Well, I have.” Julia crossed her arms over her chest de­fiantly. “But I can still do something worthwhile. I have the power to help these women. No bank would loan them money. But—”
She knew people thought her to be a cool, controlled, reserved English lady, but there were times when her heart hammered passionately and she was willing to fight to the ends of the earth if she had to. Two years ago, accompanied by her American sister-in-law, Zoe, Julia had begun to be daring. She had put mourning behind her and taken risks, only to have her heart broken again, this time by the bril­liant Dr. Dougal Campbell, who believed they could never bridge the divide between their positions. She’d retreated back into the world she knew. She’d hidden all her emotion behind ladylike behavior.
Until now. Last week, she had seen a woman named Ellen Lambert struck by a brute of a man on the village street.
The man had run when Julia approached, waving her um­brella and shouting for help. She’d learned Ellen’s story and Julia had seen, with horror, how insulated her life had been.
“But?” Nigel prompted.
“But I would. I want a loan against my dowry, Nigel. I can use that to provide money to widows like Ellen Lambert of the village. They can pay it back over a reasonable time and with a reasonable interest.”
“Julia, your dowry is there—”
“To bribe men to marry me.”
“That is not true. For a start, no man would need a bribe to propose to you.”
“Really? No gentleman looked at me twice when the es­tate was close to bankruptcy and I didn’t have the dowry.”
Nicholas stirred. Nigel ran his large hand over the baby’s small back, gently soothing. “That had nothing to do with it. Everyone knew you were still grieving Anthony and you weren’t ready to move on.”
Oh, how Julia’s heart gave a pang as her brother stroked his son. Without marriage, she would never have such a mo­ment with a child of her own.
Was it worth marrying a man she didn’t love to have a child she could love?
Once she would have emphatically said no. Now, with adorable baby Nicholas in the house, a strange madness would sometimes overtake her. She had to fight the dangerous idea that marriage without love could somehow work. She knew it didn’t. She knew that from living with unhappily mar­ried parents.
And she didn’t believe she could ever fall in love again. She had been in love twice—she’d lost Anthony to war, and Dr. Campbell when he’d left her to go to the London Hos­pital. Her heart had been broken twice. She didn’t think she could survive a third time.
Nigel looked up from his infant son. “Julia, promise you will not give up on the idea of marriage.”
“Nigel, I—” She broke off. Suspicion grew at the hopeful look in her brother’s blue eyes. “Oh no. Say you didn’t—”
“Did not what?” he asked innocently.
“You didn’t invite a prospective husband to the house…again?”
“No, no. We are dining at Worthington Park tonight. But a friend of mine is going to be there. A friend from Oxford. An admirable chap. He’s now the Earl of Summerhay.”
“Nigel, I am not exactly out of love with Dougal yet.” She had just received a rather devastating letter from Dougal, but this would give her an excuse. “I am definitely not ready to fall in love with anyone else.” That was certainly true. She didn’t even think it could ever be possible.
Her brother lifted an autocratic brow. “Dr. Campbell did a sensible thing. You couldn’t be a doctor’s wife. You should be running a house like Brideswell.”
“I think I would have been very happy as a doctor’s wife.” True, but it was pointless now, wasn’t it? “But Dougal be­lieved we could not circumvent the difference in our so­cial positions.” In fact, like her brother, Dougal thought she needed a grand estate and a title. “Grandmama and Mother worked at Dougal until he went away to London. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Grandmama paid a gamekeeper to escort Dougal to the train station with a rifle at his back.”
“She wants you to be happy.”
“No, she does not if her only objection was that she didn’t want her oldest granddaughter married to a mere doctor. But Dougal has saved lives. I don’t want an earl or a duke. I’verealized that I want a hero. When I saw what Dougal could do, I was struck with awe.”
Nigel frowned. “But I do not think Dr. Campbell is wor­thy of you. He should have stayed and fought for you. You are worthy of a dragon slayer. Your doctor may have saved lives, but I don’t know if he has enough courage for you, Julia.”
“Is your earl a dragon slayer?”
She was surprised by how serious Nigel suddenly looked. “I know what he did in the War, Julia. I think he is.”
“So you won’t give me my loan?”
“I cannot distract you, can I?”
He sighed. “I want to see you happily settled, Julia. So my answer has to be no.”
She could argue. And fight. Or she could be smart about this. “I will ask Zoe for a loan.”
“In this, Zoe will not disagree with me.”
“Maybe not. But I can at least try.” She turned and walked away.
She paused at the door.
“Summerhay will not be the only eligible man there. Lady Worthington has invited the Duke of Bradstock, my friend from Eton days. Along with Viscount Yorkville. Three in­telligent, interesting men.”
James, the duke, she knew quite well. One of his many houses was only an hour away by motorcar, and he would visit on school holidays. He had been born to be a duke—he could be rather arrogant. Yorkville, she’d never met.
“Nigel, you can’t push me at eligible men at Worthing­ton Park.” She sighed. “It’s bad form when Lady Carstairs will want to do that with her three unmarried daughters.”
“Julia, all I am asking you to do is be polite,” her brother protested.
“That is all anyone wants me to do. Be polite and lady­like and boring. But I am not giving up.”
Then she swept out of his study. But it was not such a dra­matic exit—she was leaving to do what was expected of her. To dress for dinner.
But she longed to burst out of her shell. To do something that was more than just wild and frivolous, like dancing and drinking cocktails.
Her sister-in-law, Zoe, could fly airplanes. There were women doctors, singers, artists, clothing designers. A mod­ern woman could now grasp almost any opportunity, take hold of life and become something.

Modern women could change the world. That was what she wanted to do.
Editorial reviews:
Publishers Weekly
Page offers those jonesing for Downton Abbey a supplemental dose of unconventional British jazz age characters in this vibrant sequel to An American Duchess. Lady Julia Hazelton has poured herself into her charitable work with war widows since the death of her fiancĂ©, the future earl of Worthington. When the new earl, Cal, arrives and promises to destroy the estate to avenge his lower-class mother, who was spurned by his father’s family, Julia feels compelled to change his mind. As the two grow closer, Julia attempts to expand proper roles for ladies, and Cal realizes the selfishness of his vengeance. Frustratingly underdeveloped minor characters, including tenants, servants, Julia’s other love interest, and mysterious gangsters from Cal’s American past, enter and leave the story with dizzying speed. With this cast and the additional plot involving the deaths of three possibly murdered local women who strongly resembled Julia, the work veers dangerously close to overstuffed and uncontrolled. Page manages to hold it together through her captivating portrayals of Julia and Cal, beautifully capturing the tension between desire and responsibilities and allowing the two protagonists room to evolve. This work will delight fans of melodramatic period pieces. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Sharon Page shines with this riveting tale of true love... The rip-roaring plot kept me turning pages far into the night." -New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries on An American Duchess
"Fans of Downton Abbey should reach for An American Duchess... Page's captivating prose evokes the Roaring Twenties with skillful and vivid details and creates a searing romance with a timeless message." -International bestselling author Pam Jenoff
"Merging the flavor of Downton Abbey with her own special touches, Page crafts a vibrant novel and a dramatic love story [that] completely captures the angst and glamour of the era." -RT Book Reviews on An American Duchess
"THE CLUB was fantastic! Great mix of sexy with a dynamic story line." -Sue Grimshaw
"With danger and erotic intrigue at every turn, THE CLUB is a fast paced, blistering page turner that evokes the emotional and erotic with every scene." -USA TODAY bestselling author Kathryn Smith
"A Winner." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review on The Club
"[A]n intensely emotional love story. It isn't only the sizzle that rivets readers, it's the true passion and love that [Page] infuses into the story that makes it a deep-sigh read." -RT Book Reviews on Engaged in Sin (Top Pick)
"Anticipation...smolders on every page." -RT Book Reviews on Deeply In You (Top Pick

Connect with Sharon - Website - Facebook - Twitter

MEET Sharon:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sharon Page is author of more than 20 books. Sharon has won two RT Bookreviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Award of Romance, and the Golden Quill.
The mother of two children and wife of a terrifically supportive husband, Sharon has a degree in Industrial Design and worked in structural engineering before fulfilling her dream of becoming an author.

Today's Gonereading item is:
Did someone say Clearance!
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  1. Thanks so much for sharing the excerpt, hope your Christmas was a good one!

  2. Oh yes. This certainly sounds like a worthy read! Going on my TBR.

  3. That cover is just so pretty! I've enjoyed hers in the past, too. Looking forward to this one :)