Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wicked Wager Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Wicked Wager 
Author: Beverley Eikli
Series: N/A
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
A dissolute rake, a virtuous lady, a ruthless society beauty, and a missing plantation owner with secrets – just another day in Georgian England…

Wealthy Jamaican plantation owner, Harry Carstairs has disappeared – and everyone wants to know where he is…

Celeste Rosington knows her place in society, and while she may not be overjoyed at her upcoming wedding to her detached cousin, Raphael, she nonetheless hopes the marriage will be successful. When Raphael asks her for her help to save Harry, she agrees. But her decision costs her more than she knows…

Celeste’s clandestine visit to Harry’s home is witnessed, and her connection to Harry misconstrued. Harry’s secrets put Celeste into more danger than even Raphael understands, and throws her into the path of the ruthless, cunning, beautiful Lady Busselton and the dissolute, dangerous Lord Peregrine.

Raphael is invested in keeping Harry alive. Lady Busselton is invested in keeping him quiet. Lord Peregrine is invested in anything that staves off boredom. And Celeste is becoming increasingly invested in Lord Peregrine.

After all, what resistance does an innocent young woman have against something so deliciously wicked?
~Try an Excerpt!~
The shrill enticements from the orange sellers to buy their wares faded as Celeste put her head close to her cousin’s to murmur in his ear, a dull sense of dread permeating her soul. Never had she known anyone as determined as her cousin, Raphael, but now he was custodian of her happiness and she didn’t fancy her chances that he would relent. Since they’d been children Raphael had to prove himself the best, the one in charge, and his honeyed tongue and sharp wits always won the day.

‘Please, Raphael, it’s not fair to hold me to this marriage if you cannot love me as a wife would wish to be … at least revered,’ she whispered, the familiar grief clawing its way up her gullet.

Since Celeste could remember, they’d been destined to marry. As a child, this knowledge sat comfortably with her. Raphael was handsome and accomplished. She knew she had to marry someone with the wealth and lineage to satisfy her parents, so it might as well be the cousin who was generous and handsome in a careless sort of way. He’d always taken a general interest in her wellbeing and defended her on occasion during their childhood games. The marriage made sense for so many reasons, not just dynastic, and Celeste had had no objections.

That is, until Raphael’s tinderbox revelation three weeks ago.

With a glance over her shoulder to reassure herself that her elderly chaperone was still gently snoring away in her seat in Raphael’s opera box, Celeste returned to the topic that had been at the forefront of her mind every waking moment since Raphael had told her that his heart belonged to another.

‘For the hundredth time, I’m begging you to release me. Let me find someone who will place me first in his heart.’ As the words spilled out, she realised how pathetic she must sound. Her arguments had no basis in the decision agreed upon by Raphael and Celeste’s uncle, her guardian since her father’s death five years before. But she had to try; to say what was in her heart. ‘Don’t tell me I seek a fairytale that doesn’t exist. I know I’m surrounded by men and women bound together in marriages that are hateful to them, but I would want to begin mine with hope.’

He was restless as usual, his dark, moody eyes scouring her face as if searching for her chink, her weakness; confident, ultimately, that the force of his will would mean her ultimate acquiescence, in words at least.

His thin lips pursed and his glance made no secret of his contempt. ‘How many women would dream to be in your position,’ he muttered. ‘I am offering you the chance to take any lover you choose. All you have to do is what our parents, custodians—and I—wish. Marry me. Once you have done your duty, you can follow your heart, indulge your passions, explore a world of sensuality you have no idea even exists. ’

‘As you have?’

‘I know what I want, I’ve explored it and I like it. Do you not see, marriage to each other is more than just expedient, it offers us everything we want: companionship and respect for each other, and ultimately the freedom to pursue our every desire beyond the domestic arena.’

‘My desire is to be loved by my husband.’ She spoke woodenly, despite knowing it would inflame him. Fortunately, he was more on show here. He had to temper his responses.

Still, it was clear he was irritated. Only the fall of lace at his sleeve softened the severity of his expression as he raked his fingers through his hair, though he was careful not to disturb his well-groomed queue. ‘Celeste, it is all very well to ask me to release you, but do you suppose your uncle and your Aunt Branwell would countenance your absurdities? Why can you not simply go through with what’s expected of us, provide the necessary heir, and then you’re free to do whatever you wish—within reason?’

Tears stung her eyes and her throat thickened, making it hard not to choke on the sob she must hold at bay. In a low voice she muttered, ‘Three weeks ago, I proved my love, Raphael—’

She was not expecting the vituperative response. Raphael’s eyes blazed with a different intensity now, though his voice was a controlled hiss. ‘Yes, but where is Harry Carstairs now, my love?’

She’d heard it before. Unable to bear his reproach, she squeezed shut her eyes and clenched her fists. ‘All right,’ she whispered, ‘if it matters neither way to you, and it’s my uncle whose absolution is required, would you agree if I found a match that would exceed even a match with you?’ Somehow she had to hear him give ground. Ignoring his barb, his reproach that she’d failed in the mission he’d sent her on three weeks earlier, she continued to plead her case. ‘What if a contender suddenly emerged with title and estates that eclipsed yours, and I loved him and wished to marry him, what then, Raphael? Would you release me?’

Her cousin made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a snort as he tossed his handsome head and fixed her with his compelling gaze; the gaze she’d once thought indicated his unconditional affirmation for her and her best interests. Now it was hard, though she knew it wasn’t anger at her, but at the situation that had suddenly ensnared them so recently. ‘That’s not very likely within a month, is it, my dear?’

She shook her head, sadly, and her shoulders slumped. ‘No,’ she replied, defeated. ‘It isn’t.’
~Meet Beverley!~ 
Beverley Eikli wrote her first romance when she was seventeen but discovered that killing her heroine on the last page was death to her burgeoning romance writing career.

She became a journalist, occupied for many years with life’s newsworthy - but often, unhappy - events until romance finally trumped after she met a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a camp fire in Botswana’s beautiful Okavango Delta where she was running a safari lodge for a couple of months.

Unhappily, Beverley was due to return home the following day to marry her Australian boyfriend.

Happily, though, that fell through and after a whirlwind eight-month courtship based on regular 18-page letters between Botswana and South Australia, Beverley returned to live with her handsome Norwegian bush pilot in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest beside a flood plain of lurking wild animals, marrying her handsome bush pilot in Norway shortly afterwards.

Twenty happy years—and 12 countries later—Beverley is now back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne.

She writes traditional Regency romance as Beverley Eikli and sensual historical romance as Beverley Oakley.

Beverley will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for the chance to win :)

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  2. Love the picture with your dog!

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    1. Yeah, that's a beautiful animal.

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    2. Thanks, Matthew. It's our second Rhodesian Ridgeback and he's absolutely gorgeous. Extremely handsome and loyal :)

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    1. Thanks. I hope you give the series a gander. The prequel, which should be read first, is available free at most major book sellers: it's entitled "Drasmyr."

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    2. Thanks Rita. I was thrilled when Escape Publishing revealed it. As you'd know, authors don't get to have much a say in their covers unless they're self published. I love to do both, which means I have a bit of fun with covers, myself, sometimes :)

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  4. I don't know how, but I've been commenting on the wrong page. Sorry everybody. Please delete my comments.

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    1. Never mind, Matthew, these things happen and you're certainly a polite 'gatecrasher' ;) Good luck with your book too :)

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  5. I enjoyed learning more about you and your book! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Betty. I used to write Georgian-set stories, then moved to the Regency so this is my first foray into the 1780s for a long time.

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  6. Sounds like an awesome book, thanks for sharing.

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  7. Thanks Victoria. It's a pleasure :)

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  8. Again I loved the excerpt and cannot wait to read more! Thank you.

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  9. Sounds great! Excellent excerpt!

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  10. Thank you to Andra for introducing me to Beverly and her writing. I am so excited to read this book.

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