I’m really excited about Sarah MacLean’s upcoming release, The Rouge Not Taken. MacLean is sharing annotations of a map, specially made for her series. Plus anyone who orders a signed, print copy of the book from WORD Bookstores will get a gorgeous printed copy of the map! I also have an excerpt.
Lady Sophie’s Society Splash
When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.
Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!
Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.
War? Or More?
He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .
Great North Road Map Reveal-Destinations and author annotations:
Stop #1: “Sophie Stows Away” (English Country Estate near London)
There are moments in life when you know that you just can’t go on without a change. Lady Sophie Talbot, the youngest of the infamous Talbot Sisters (darlings of the gossip rags and nicknamed the Dangerous Daughters) knows this is the case when she lands her odious, philandering brother in law backside-first in a fish pond at a major event of the London Season. And so, Sophie does what’s necessary. “I simply need conveyance home,” she requests of Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, notorious rake and her only chance of escape. Sophie’s desperate, and in possession of the Marquess’s boot, so she thinks she has a leg up, so to speak. King has other ideas.
Stop #2: “The Carriage”
Lady Sophie Talbot, youngest and least interesting of the scandalous Talbot sisters (think 19th Century Kardashians) isn’t so uninteresting once she’s decided to stow away atop a carriage belonging to the Marquess of Eversley — notorious rogue and her recent nemesis. Indeed, she cannot wait for the horrible man to discover that she’s disguised herself as an outrider and stolen conveyance home to central London. There’s just one problem…
Stop #3: “The Fox and the Falcon Posting Inn”
By the time Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself outside the Fox & Falcon Posting Inn, miles from her home in London, she’s realized she’s made a huge mistake. She only ever intended to hitch a ride home to Mayfair–and simultaneously stick it to the arrogant, handsome, horrible Marquess of Eversley, who happens to be minus a boot, thanks to Sophie. Suffice to say, things got out of hand. And now, dressed as a male servant in the drive of a roadside inn, things are about to get much much worse.
Stop #4: “Beware Highwaymen!”
Suffice to say, being on the road with an arrogant aristocrat is no fun at all, so Lady Sophie Talbot does what any self-respecting woman would do, she “borrows” his money, and gets herself on the next mail coach north. All seems fine — until Highwaymen arrive, and that arrogant aristocrat arrives just in time to see her entire plan go pear-shaped.
Stop #5: “The Warbling Wren”
Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.
Stop #6: “Mossband”
Lady Sophie Talbot, youngest and least interesting of the infamous Talbot sisters, has decided that her best bet to escape London and the aristocratic life for which she’d never been intended is to take herself home — to the small village on the Scottish border where she spent the first ten years of her life. And perhaps, after a disastrous journey north, something would go right, and her childhood friend Robbie, now the village baker, would make good on their silly youthful promises and marry her. Of course, Sophie isn’t alone. She’s saddled with the horrible, handsome Marquess of Eversley. Who has done everything to ruin her plans. Until now.
Stop #7: “Lyne Castle”
The Country seat of the Dukes of Lyne, Lyne Castle is the childhood home of Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley, who left home at eighteen after a terrible tragedy and never returned. Summoned home by his ailing father, King finally returns–with the unexpected addition of Lady Sophie Talbot, irritating and somehow irresistible. The estate boasts one of the most complicated labyrinths in Britain…where King and Sophie find solace, and heartbreak, and each other.
Sophie would want love. She’d want it pure and unfettered, given freely, along with all its trappings. She’d want the marriage and children and happiness and prom- ise that came with it.
King could see it, the life she wanted. The line of little girls, blue-eyed and brown-haired, in love with books and strawberry tarts. For a moment, he imagined them smiling at him the way their mother did, filled with happiness and hope.
For a moment, he let himself believe he might be able to give it to her.
But she would want love, and he would never be able to give it.
He didn’t have it to give anymore. And those children, they would never be his.
He set her down on the edge of the fountain, coming to his knees, as though she was Ariadne and he the Minotaur, worshipping at her feet, adoring her even as he knew she could not survive in the labyrinth, and he could not survive beyond it.
“Tell me about last night,” he said softly, looking up at her, his hands at the hem of her skirts.
“What—” She caught her breath as his fingers explored the skin of her ankles. “What about it?”
“I hated it,” he said. “I hated stopping.”
She pressed her lips into a thin, straight line. “I hated that you stopped.”
His hands were beneath her skirts, pushing them back, farther and farther, up and over her knees. He pressed his lips to the inside of her knee, swirling his tongue there, loving the little gasp of surprised pleasure that came at the touch.
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