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Monday, March 31, 2014

Never Courted, Suddenly Wed Feature

Christi Caldwell
With only one month until the release of Never Courted, Suddenly Wed, Book 2 in my Scandalous Seasons series, I thought I'd share the cover, an excerpt, and a free copy to one guest who stops by and comments!

Never Courted, Suddenly Wed
The Blurb
Christopher Ansley, 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.

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?

The Excerpt!

The front door opened and the butler greeted her with a bored yawn. “Miss Winters,” Ralston said, as though it were entirely commonplace for the viscount’s sister to be carried through the front door, by a gentleman, sans chaperon.

She sighed. “Hullo, Ralston.”

Her heart fell somewhere in the vicinity of her toes. Geoffrey stood with his arms folded across his chest, alongside Mother. His black stare conveyed brotherly disapproval. Had she really expected anything else? She wanted to bury her head in the front of Christopher’s jacket. Just then, it didn’t matter that he’d been her childhood nemesis. “It’s not my fault, Geoffrey.”

Geoffrey ignored her protestations of innocence. “Thank you so much for seeing to my sister, Waxham.”

Her mother sighed. “Whatever have you done now, Sophie?”

Geoffrey scooped her out of Christopher’s arms. “We are indebted to you. I’m sorry she caused you trouble.”

Christopher inclined his head. “It is not the lady’s fault. I’m afraid I was galloping where I shouldn’t have been and spooked her dog.” 

Her eyes widened at his lie. The boy she remembered would have delighted in telling Geoffrey the trouble she’d caused at Hyde Park. She didn’t know what to do with this unexpected kindness. It shamed her. Made her wish she’d been more gracious when Christopher had merely wanted to help.  

“Thank you,” she mouthed.

He gave the faintest nod.

Mother rang her hands together. “Regardless, you have returned Sophie to us in a most gentlemanly manner. May we extend an invitation to you and your father to dine with us?”

The earl’s hesitation was a palpable force. All Sophie’s oldest insecurities, the feeling of being nothing more than a polite obligation resurfaced. She cleared her throat. “Lord Waxham is busy.”

“Mother failed to mention a specific evening,” Geoffrey said, drolly.

She bit the inside of her cheek. Drat. He had her there.

As if on cue, Mother spoke. “Tomorrow evening?”

“Lord Waxham has plans tomorrow evening.” Sophie directed her attention toward Christopher. “Don’t you, my lord?”

He dusted his hands together. “Actually, I do not.”

“See, Mother. He…” What? Sophie’s words trailed off. “You don’t?”

“Splendid!” Mother exclaimed, clapping her hands.

Christopher caught and held Sophie’s gaze. “In fact, I can’t think of any way I’d rather spend my evening than with your family.”

Did she imagine the way he paused overlong on those last two words?  She narrowed her eyes. What was this about? She’d learned when they’d been small children to be very cautious where Christopher was concerned. There was certainly more to his gentlemanly response.

And Sophie didn’t trust it.

Didn’t trust it one bit.

She tried once more. “You are merely being polite.” Sophie looked to her mother. “On the ride over he mentioned he had a prior commitment.”

Mother’s face fell. “Oh, do say you’ll come another evening then?”

Christopher folded his arms across his chest. “Your daughter is mistaken.” He looked to Sophie. “You are mistaken,” he said, more emphatically.

“I am?”

“You are.”

Three pairs of faintly accusing eyes landed on Sophie. A telltale heat flooded her cheeks. “Really? I’d thought…that is to say, I believe we’d spoken of your plans for tomorrow evening.” She discreetly crossed her fingers and stole an upward glance at her brother.

Geoffrey’s black glower indicated that he knew Sophie wasn’t being altogether truthful.

Or in this case, at all truthful.

But really…why would Christopher want to join her family for supper? He’d made his feelings for her quite clear over the years. This gentlemanly side of him, his chivalrous attempt to shield her hoydenish behavior at Hyde Park from Geoffrey, was so very uncharacteristic.

Geoffrey’s words brought her back to the moment. “We really would be honored to have you and your father for company tomorrow evening, Waxham.”

Christopher bowed. “The pleasure will be all ours. Miss Winters, I wish you a swift recovery.”  With a long, undecipherable look for Sophie, he took his leave.

Sophie stared after him, frowning. Yes, there was more to Christopher’s actions this day…and Sophie had every intention of getting to the heart of it.


Just as soon as she dealt with her Mother and Geoffrey.  

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  1. I seriously love the cover and title Christi. I like your writing, but I would probably buy the book for the title. The coverwhore in me would get the book cause of the pink. Lol.

  2. LOL a coverwhore...that's great! Thank you so much, Melody. I'm such a sucker for blue, so this was hard moving away from the blues for me. : )

  3. Cover is gorgeous and love the excerpt!

  4. Thank you, Nancy! I'm a sucker for lovely gowns...just one more thing exciting about having twin girls! ; )

  5. I love all of your covers!! And you know I loved the book. Shared and tweeted.

    1. Thank you very much, Collette! I'm thrilled you'll be joining us at Lady Scribes tomorrow...I'm excited to share your stunning cover and excerpt!

  6. Jumping on the cover bandwagon, Christi. Can't decide which I like best, this one or your Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride one. Great excerpt, too.

  7. LOVED the excerpt! April needs to fly by so I can read all of it. The cover is beautiful, even if I am not a lover of pink. Do you have the sparkly dresses for the twins to wear on release day?

  8. LOL OMG Sarah, I thought the same thing...I'm dying to get a set of dresses like this for the girls. Whenever I feed them, to strike up conversation, I'll tell them about all the sparkly gowns I'll get them someday. : ) I DO have a special set of dresses that I'm putting on them today...I'll share them on FB so you can see them! And thank you for the kind words about the book. I'm also not usually partial to pink, (blue is my favorite color). But I fell in love with the cover when I saw it.

  9. I really loved the excerpt, and would love to read the story in it's entirety. I have to agree with the others, the cover is simply gorgeous, and the dusty rose is to die for. I would love a gown like that.

  10. I'm so flattered. Thank you, Diane! And I hear you...I keep waiting for the ballgown to make its way back into fashion. ; )

  11. Loved the excerpt. Poor Sophie sounds like she's forever getting into scrapes!

    1. I have a special place in my heart for the imperfect heroine, Linda. : ) I like my heroes and heroines more human.

  12. I thought I was anxiously awaiting the release before but now after reading the excerpt I'm even worse! Simply cannot wait to read this one. Such a treat to read this piece today! Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Katerina. : ) That is incredibly sweet of you. I'm wishing away April, eager for the release, and warmer weather here in Connecticut!

    2. Oh boy me too! The snow this morning threw me for a loop, I wasn't expecting it!

    3. And it was a lot of snow...especially when they had us believing it was going to be 55 degrees today!

  13. Remember going to pick out your dress for your high school senior prom oh what I wouldn't have given to be in that dress its like a sugary cotton candy with all the hidden surprises I love it

    1. One of the benefits of a high school sweetheart throughout high school was that I was able to go to four proms! Oh the joy of dress shopping! My favorite was a lime green chiffon... I digress!

  14. Love the cover! Great excerpt! Tweeted & shared!

  15. Love the cover and great excerpt!

  16. Nice excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  17. I loved the excerpt and I think this sounds like a delightful story. I can't wait to read Never Courted, Suddenly Wed to find out how it all turns out.

  18. Im kay from manila. I've loved reading books ever since. Saying I've read a hundred books in a span of 2 years is an understatement. There are only a few stories that make up my top 20, and to make it means it is unnerving to me. The first book "forever betrothed, never a bride" is in that top 20. I finished it in a span of 7hours. I couldnt put it down and had my life wrapped up on its story. I'm so thrilled to find out that Sophie has her happily ever after (though I thought it would be with Mallen). I cant wait to read it! Thanks for the wonderful stories and unforgettable characters!