Did you hear about Romancing the Rogue, the new boxed set from esKape Press? You get these 10 books for $1.99:
Rose Gordon’s His Yankee Brides
Christi Caldwell’s My Lady of Deception
Ruth Hartman’s Love Birds of Regent’s Park
Katherine Bone’s Duke by Day, Rogue by Night
Patty Kiyono’s Searching for Lady Luck
Moriah Densley’s Song for Sophia
Kim Bowman & Kay Springsteen’s Something Like A Lady
Melissa MacKinnon’s Return to Me
Kristin Vayden’s Redeeming the Deception of Grace
B. G. Lashbrooks’ Olivia’s Journey
To celebrate the box set release, esKape Press is hosting a Book Blog Bonanza scavenger hunt & giveaway. There’s a $25 gift card and other prizes, including these handmade Victorian-style silver pearl & black crystal earrings! Want to play? Here’s how:
1. Read the excerpt from Song for Sophia below.
2. Answer the quiz question on the esKape Press Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/eskapeepress Be sure to check out the other blogs & prizes. Hurry—I’m pretty sure the contest ends either today or tomorrow. (Updated info will be on that Facebook page.) Good luck!
EXCERPT: Wil and Sophia’s first meeting does not go well:
Sophia felt a prickle on her neck, intuition alerting her she was being observed. She closed the book and slid it onto the shelf then gripped the railing of the ladder as she turned to look for Lord Devon.
He sat so still her eyes passed over him at first. Then she spotted him: Apollo’s coarser, meaner elder brother lounging in a leather armchair between two tall bookshelves opposite her, not twenty feet away.
“Vous faites des ravages partout où vous allez, madame.” You wreak havoc wherever you go, madam.
Sophia smirked then realized she’d given much away. He assumed she spoke French, and she’d confirmed it with her expression. Or if he had exceptionally good eyesight, he might have recognized Odes et Ballades by Hugo on the spine of the book she’d been caught reading. She grasped the ladder with both hands as she teetered on the rung, mortified. Sophia had last dusted a book more than a half hour ago, had spent the time reading instead.
He straightened, looking up from his book with an arched brow and one corner of his mouth pulled up in a sly smile. Not so patiently awaiting her response.
“Lord Devon,” she greeted dryly in the same tone she might say, “You impish prankster.”
He shrugged one shoulder to mean, “So you finally figured it out. Bravo.”
“The only havoc I see here is the dreadful cataloging. For one so meticulous, it strikes me as odd that the alphabet should be beyond you.”
He nodded thoughtfully. “Perhaps I had them organized chronologically by genre.”
“You have the Bible next to Homer.”
Sophia scoffed and made a show of looking up at the ceiling as though she expected lightning to strike him down.
“Keep waiting, madam. If there is a god, he is busy punishing the righteous.” A scoff escaped her throat, and he had the nerve to chuckle. “Does blasphemy offend my lady?” he mocked.
Sophia tried to stifle a rush of pleasure. A philosophical debate? Intelligent flirting? Don’t take the bait, Sophia! She couldn’t help it. She mirrored his cocked eyebrow and lowered her voice, purposely making the tone a bit purring. “It’s not my wrath you should fear, my lord, and I am not a lady.”
He stood and walked with a swagger to the base of the ladder, bent to retrieve her dusting rag from the floor, and held it out. She had no choice but to climb down and take it.
His storm-grey eyes narrowed. “Aber ich fürchte dich.”But I do fear you.
German. He was testing her. What he really meant was, Are you a worthy opponent? Can you match wits with me?
She pasted an innocent expression on her face and answered, “Warum sagen Sie dass?”And why do you say that?
“Hai tentato due volte di uccidermi.” You have tried twice to slay me.
Italian. Easy. Her mother was Italian, and Sophia had grown up spending summers in Florence. Her smile warmed, not the coy version she saved for flirting. The one she gave Lord Devon came from genuine enjoyment. “On the contrary, when I set out to slay a man, there are no failed attempts. Tenga cuidado, señor.” There, take that. Spanish.
One side of his mouth pulled into a flat smile, but his eyes beamed. “Theo̱ro̱ ton eaf̱to mou proeidopoii̱meno.”I consider myself warned, in Greek.
“Sapiens tui.” Wise of you, in Latin. Sophia would soon run out of languages and hoped he would, too, because she did not want to lose his little contest. “Where do you hide the novels? I missed the last Wilkie Collins.”
“Not so fast. Let us bargain, you and I.” He leaned closer and her throat tightened. “You tell me why you call yourself not a lady, and I will surrender Oscar Wilde’s latest.”
Throw in Trollope and you can have anything you want. Sophia bit her lip. This was not one of her mother’s decadent parties in Paris, and Lord Devon was no swain.
“Shall I say, answer my query, and you may have your pick from my secret cache of novels?”
“My lord, indeed you know how to tempt a bluestocking. I would have traded my soul for Trollope, alas you have surrendered the whole lot.”
Lord Devon did something utterly beautiful: he tossed his head back and laughed in loud tenor peals. Sophia couldn’t resist staring. His peppery leather-spice smell made her head foggy. Had he moved closer then, or had his scent drawn her in?
Wake up, Sophia. Flirtation was a game only the rich could afford, and for now, Sophia was a housemaid.
Here’s that link to the quiz question again: http://www.facebook.com/eskapeepress Good luck, and I hope you win some prizes!