Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden

When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden
Series: The Wagers of Sin #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
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In the game of love…

Georgiana Lucas despises the arrogant and cruel Marquess of Westmorland even before learning that he’s won the deed to her friend Kitty’s home in a card game. Still, Georgiana assures Kitty the marquess wouldn’t possibly come all the way to Derbyshire to throw them out—until he shows up, bloody and unconscious. Fearing that Kitty would rather see him die, Georgiana blurts out that he’s her fiancé. She’ll nurse the hateful man back to health and make him vow to leave and never return. The man who wakes up, though, is nothing like the heartless rogue Georgiana thought she knew…

You have to risk it all

He wakes up with no memory of being assaulted—or of who he is. The bewitching beauty tending him so devotedly calls him Rob and claims she’s his fiancée even as she avoids his touch. Though he can’t remember how he won her hand, he’s now determined to win her heart. But as his memory returns and the truth is revealed, Rob must decide if the game is up—or if he’ll take a chance on a love that defies all odds.

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So this was my first Caroline Linden book! I was intrigued by the amnesia plot and had to give it a try. I’ve been wanting to read one of her books for a while, and I’m glad to say I liked this one. There were a couple things I struggled with but I enjoyed the main characters and am curious about the previous two books in the Wagers of Sin series. If you’re going into this as a standalone like I did, you won’t miss anything even if you haven’t read the others in the series.

There’s something about amnesia romance plots that get me so invested. I HAVE to find out how the character with amnesia regains their memories and what happens when everything is revealed. In When the Marquess Was Mine, Robert loses all memory of who he is after an assault to the head. He’s taken in by Georgiana, who knows exactly who he is – the cruel, arrogant Marquess of Westmorland. But to save his life, she lies to her friend’s family and pretends he is her fiancé, who coincidentally shares the same name. When Rob awakens though, he’s not the insufferable man Georgiana expects. Rob’s charming, sweet, and very much into Georgiana.

Rob and Georgiana have a sweet and slow romance. There’s plenty of longing and tension between them, though the lies about Rob’s identity puts Georgiana in a sticky situation. I adored Rob and was thankful that he had quite the personality change because of his amnesia. No longer is he the mean, callous man who would make terrible remarks about others. He’s a lot more honorable, kind, and shows so much adoration and affection for Georgiana. I loved how determined he was to win her heart!

The main characters and the romance were the highlight of this book for me, but it was everything outside of it that had me struggling. We’re introduced to a heap of characters in the beginning, many who are involved in the gambling aspect of the story that doesn’t come up again until the end, which felt pretty overwhelming. The plot surrounding the gambling fell flat for me and the mystery towards the end felt like it came out of the left field. I was also really looking forward to Rob recognizing and atoning for who he was in the past (his cruelness) but that was never really discussed even after he regained his memories.

Overall, I’d say this was a good intro to Caroline Linden’s books for me. The pacing of the story was slow for me, but I liked the writing and the characters and am really hoping we get stories for Rob’s brothers!


lacey

Now here’s Chapter One from When the Marquess Was Mine! ❤

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Chapter One
1819

It was to be a bacchanal for the ages.

As Heathercote remarked, a man only turned twenty-nine once. Marlow pointed out that a man also only turned twenty-eight, or thirty, once as well, but they were well used to ignoring Marlow’s odd points of reason, and this one was promptly forgotten.

Heathercote planned the entire affair, inviting the most dashing, daring rogues and scoundrels in London. He declared it to be the invitation of the month, and that he’d turned away several fellows for lacking wit, style, or both. “You mean they aren’t up to your standard of mayhem,” said Westmorland, whose birthday it was, to which Heathercote mimed tipping his hat in acknowledgment.

After a raucous dinner at White’s, they decamped for the theater. The production was well under way when they invaded the pit in search of amusement. By the time the show ended, they had drunk a great deal of brandy, thrown oranges at the stage, and lost Clifton to the company of a prostitute.

Everyone’s memories ran a bit ragged after that, with vague recollections of singing in the streets and Marlow casting up his accounts somewhere in Westminster, but eventually they settled at the Vega Club. It was so late, the manager tried to dissuade them from play. Mr. Forbes knew every one of them could wager for hours, and the Vega Club closed its doors at dawn.

But Heathercote persuaded him to let them in and to give them the whist salon all to themselves. “We’ll leave by noon,” he promised, patting Forbes on the chest as he slid a handful of notes into the man’s hand. His words were remarkably steady for a man who’d been drinking for eight hours. Grim-faced, Forbes let them in, where they commandeered the main table and called for yet more wine.

A few intrepid souls followed them from the club proper. Forbes tried to stop them at the door, but Forester recognized one and waved them in. “We don’t mind winning their money,” he said with a hiccup.

They played whist, then switched to loo. One loser was dared to drink off the contents of his full flask in one go, which he did. The room filled with cigar smoke and ribald language, and the wagers grew extravagant. Marlow won a prize colt off Forester. Heathercote wagered his new phaeton and ended up with someone’s barouche. Sackville won the largest pot of the night, and everyone pelted him with markers.

And then one of the hangers-on spoiled it. He had the look of a country fellow new to London, with an arrogant bluster that was initially amusing but eventually turned annoying. He’d played well enough, winning a bit and losing with colorful curses that made the rest of them roar with laughter. But it became abruptly clear that Sir Charles Winston was in over his head when he wagered his house.

Marlow laughed. Heathercote picked up the scribbled note Winston had put forth and read it with one brow arched. “Can’t wager property, Winslow.”

The man was already ruddy from drink, and now he turned scarlet. “Can so! Your fellow wagered a horse.”

“Horses are portable,” said Forester, his Liverpool accent bleeding through. “Houses are not.”

“Houses are worth more!”

“Aye, too much more.” Heathercote flicked the note back across the table. “Markers.”

“I haven’t got any more markers,” muttered the younger man. For a moment everyone focused in surprised silence on the empty space in front of him. None of them had run out.

“Then fold your hand,” Forester told him. “You’re out!”

Winston’s chin set stubbornly. His mate tried to slide some markers toward him, but he angrily shoved them back. “Give me a chance to win it back.”

“All the more reason to walk away, if you’ve lost ‘em all.” Marlow waved one hand, nearly toppling out of his seat. Mr. Forbes, watching grimly from the corner, came forward. “Forbes, Windermere is done.”

“Sir Charles,” murmured the manager. “Perhaps it’s time to go.”

“Not yet!” Winston scowled at them all, shaking off his friend’s quiet attempts to get him to fold. “Not now, Farley! They got a chance to turn their luck. Why shouldn’t I?”

“Luck is like the wind,” said a new voice. Nicholas Dashwood, the owner of the Vega Club, stepped out of the shadows. “It rarely turns propitiously.”

Winston stubbornly sank lower in his seat. “I deserve ‘nother chance.”

Heathercote slung his arms over the back of his chair. “Well, West? What say you? Shall we let him stay and wager away everything he’s got?”

Lounging in his seat, the Marquess of Westmorland looked up in irritation. “Really ought to go, Winsmore.”

“Wins-less, more like,” snickered Marlow.

Winston sat up straighter in his seat. “Please, my lord.”

“Oh, let him ruin himself,” muttered Forester, shuffling his cards restlessly.

The marquess lifted one shoulder. “Damned if I care.”

“Sir Charles,” said Dashwood evenly, “do not wager what you cannot afford to lose.”

Winston scooped up the scribbled paper and added a line, signing his name with a flourish. “I won’t, sir.”

But he did. Within four hands, he’d won a bit and then lost it all—including the deed. Suddenly he did not look so belligerent or so stubborn. He looked young and quite literally green, staring at the winning hand, lying on the table.

“Should have listened,” said the unsympathetic Heathercote. “Should have left.”

Winston puffed up furiously. “Should have known better than to play with the likes of you!”

“Di’n’t y’know that before you sa’ down?” Marlow’s words slurred together. “Stupid bloody fool!”

“That’s my home!”

“And you risked it at loo!” Heath made a derisive noise. “Idiot.”

Winston was the color of beets. “Don’t call me that.”

Sackville raised one brow. “No? ’S not your home anymore.” He reached out and plucked the scrawled paper from the pile of markers and examined it, although his eyes never quite managed to focus on it. “It ‘pears to be West’s.”

His friends howled with laughter. “He doesn’t need it,” cried Winston. He made a convulsive grab for the paper before his lone remaining friend caught his arm. “He’s got a dozen houses!”

“Set it up as a brothel, West,” suggested Forester. “And give all your mates discounted fees.”

“Free!” yelped Marlow with a wheezing laugh.

Winston drew a furious breath, but instead of continuing the fight he turned and rushed from the room, rather unsteadily; he wrestled with the door, and then almost tripped on his way out, causing more howls of laughter from the table. His friend helped him back onto his feet before the door closed on them both.

“Who invited him?” asked Heathercote in disdain.

“Marlow.”

“Ballocks,” mumbled Marlow, putting his head down on the table. “Never did. Was Forester.”

Forester made a rude gesture. “I vouched for the other man, Farley.”

“Your friends are all bad ton,” said Sackville.

Forester’s face tightened. He rose and swung his wineglass into the air in a toast, spilling some. “Thank you all for a most exciting evening, gentlemen.” Pointedly he bowed only to Viscount Heathercote and Lord Westmorland. Sackville repaid him with a rude gesture at Forester’s back.

Heathercote protested, but Forester waved him off and left. With Marlow asleep on the table and Sackville still giggling drunkenly to himself, Westmorland placed his hands on the table, hesitated as if gathering strength, then heaved himself to his feet. “The carriages, Dashwood.”

Stone-faced, the owner left. Westmorland surveyed the table. “Did I win the last?”

“Aye,” said Heathercote with a wide yawn.

“Credit it all, Forbes,” said the marquess. “God above, I’m tired.”

As expressionless as his employer, the manager stepped forward. With an air of distaste, he picked up the deed promise and held it out. “I cannot credit this, my lord.”

West stared at it. “Damn. Right.” He stuffed it into the pocket of his jacket and staggered out into the morning sunlight with Heathercote, never guessing the trouble that wagered deed was about to cause him.

Reading Order: The Wagers of Sin series

 

#1 ~ My Once and Future Duke: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ An Earl Like You: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ When the Marquess Was Mine: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

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Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a degree in mathematics from Harvard University and worked as a programmer in the financial services industry before realizing writing fiction is much more exciting than writing code. Her books have won the NEC-RWA Readers’ Choice Award, the JNRW Golden Leaf, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award, and have been translated into seventeen languages around the world. She lives in New England.

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Blog Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden! We have an excerpt from the book on the blog!

Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden

Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden
Series: Scandalous #3 (full reading order below)
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Avon
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The third book in a deliciously sexy series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Caroline Linden, in which an utterly shocking book–Ffty Shades of Grey for the Regency era– has all of London talking and gives more than one young miss a mind for scandal.

Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can’t forget how he abandoned a friend in need-nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He’s the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn’t feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel…

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. But, though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father’s control, spirited Penelope just doesn’t suit his plans for a model marriage — until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope’s. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful…beguiling…and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

Buy Links:
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Now here’s an excerpt from Love in the Time of Scandal! ❤

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Prologue
1805
Stratford Court, Richmond

Perseus lay in pieces on the floor. His arm, divorced from his body, held out the severed head of Medusa as if to ward his attacker off, and indeed, Benedict Lennox thought it might well have turned him to stone.

Before he fell, Perseus had held the head aloft, poised in mid-stride. The Gorgon’s face was twisted with rage and her eyes seemed to follow a person. It was hideous, even frightening, but Benedict’s father said it was a masterpiece, and Father knew art. As such it was displayed in a prominent position on the landing of the main staircase of Stratford Court, with a large mirror behind it to display the rear. Benedict always tried not to look right at it when he passed, but there was no avoiding it now. The base rested against the remains of the mirror, while Perseus and his trophy were scattered in pieces across the landing, amid the glittering shards of broken glass.

“Do you know anything about this?” The Earl of Stratford’s voice was idle, almost disinterested.

His son swallowed hard. “No, sir.”

“No?” The earl rocked back on his heels. “Nothing at all? Do you not even recognize it?”

Oh no. That had been the wrong answer. He searched frantically for the right one. “No, sir. I didn’t mean that. It’s a statue of Perseus.”

Lord Stratford made a soft, disappointed noise. “Not merely a statue of Perseus. This is one of the finest works of art by a great sculptor. See how exquisitely he renders the god’s form, how he encapsulates the evil of the Gorgon!” He paused. “But you don’t care about that, do you?”

Benedict said nothing. He knew there was no correct answer to that question.

Stratford sighed. “Such a pity. I had hoped my only son would pay more attention to his classical studies, but alas. Perhaps I should be grateful you recognized it at all. Our entire conversation would be for naught otherwise.”

Benedict Lennox gripped his hands together until his knuckles hurt. He stood rigidly at attention, mesmerized by the shattered glass and stone before him.

His father clasped his hands behind him, rather like Benedict’s tutor did when explaining a difficult point of mathematics. “Now, what else can you tell me about this statue?”

“Something terrible happened to it, sir.”

“Was it struck by lightning, do you think?” asked the earl in exaggerated concern.

The sky outside the mullioned windows was crystal clear, as blue as a robin’s egg. “Unlikely, sir.”

“No, perhaps not,” his father murmured, watching him with a piercing stare. Benedict longed to look away from that stare but knew it would be a mistake. “Perhaps it was a stray shot from a poacher?”

Stratford Court was set in a manicured park, surrounded only by gardens, graveled paths, and open rolling lawns. The woods where any poachers might roam were across the river. Benedict wished those woods were much closer. He wished he were exploring them right this moment. “Possible, but also unlikely, sir.”

“Not a poacher,” said Stratford thoughtfully. “I confess, I’ve quite run out of ideas! How on earth could a statue of inestimable value break without any outside influence? Not only that, but the mirror as well. It’s bad luck to break a mirror.”

He stayed silent. He didn’t know, either, though he suspected he was about to be punished for it. Bad luck, indeed.

“What do you say, Benedict? What is the logical conclusion?”

His tongue felt wooden. “It must have been someone inside the house, sir.”

“Surely not! Who would do such a thing?”

A flicker of movement caught his eye before he could think of an answer. He tried to check the impulse, but his father noticed his involuntary start and turned to follow his gaze. Two little girls peeped around the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. “Come here, my lovely daughters, come here,” said the earl.

Benedict’s heart sank into his shoes. Suddenly he guessed what had happened to the mirror. Samantha, who was only four, looked a little uncertain; but Elizabeth, who was seven, was pale-faced with fear. Slowly the sisters came up the stairs, bobbing careful curtsies when they reached the landing.

“Here are my pretty little ones.” The earl surveyed them critically. “Lady Elizabeth, your sash is dropping. And Lady Samantha, you’ve got dirt on your dress.”

“I’m sorry, Father.” Elizabeth tugged at her sash, setting it further askew. Samantha just put her hands behind her back and looked at the floor. She’d only recently been allowed out of the nursery and barely knew the earl.

“Your brother and I are attempting to solve a mystery.” The earl waved one hand at the wreckage. “Do you know what happened to this statue?”

Elizabeth went white as she stared at the Gorgon’s head. “It broke, Father,” piped up Samantha.

“Very good,” the earl told her. “Do you know how?”

Elizabeth’s terrified gaze veered to him. Benedict managed to give her an infinitesimal shake of his head before their father turned on him. “Benedict says he does not know,” Stratford said sharply. “Do not look at him for answers, Elizabeth.”

In the moment the earl’s back was turned to them, Elizabeth nudged her sister and touched one finger to her lips. Samantha’s brown eyes grew round and she moved closer to Elizabeth, reaching for her hand.

Stratford turned back to his daughters. “Do either of you know?” Elizabeth blinked several times, but she shook her head. “Samantha?” prodded their father. “It would be a sin not to answer me.”

Samantha’s expression grew worried. Benedict’s throat clogged and his eyes stung. He took a breath to calm his roiling nerves and spoke before his sister could. “It was my fault, Father.”

“Your fault?” Fury flashed in the earl’s face though his voice remained coldly calm. “How so, Benedict?”

What should he say? If the earl didn’t believe his story, he’d be whipped for lying, and then his sister would be punished for the actual crime, the nursemaid would be sacked for not keeping better watch over her charges, and his mother would be excoriated for hiring the nursemaid at all. And all over an ugly statue that everyone tried to avoid seeing.

Reading Order: Scandalous series

   Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden

#1 ~ Love and Other Scandals: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ It Takes a Scandal: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ All’s Fair In Love and Scandal: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Love in the Time of Scandal: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (May 26, 2015)

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Caroline LindenCaroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, three Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at www.carolinelinden.com.

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Grand prize: A journal to keep track of all your own scandals, plus print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, LOVE AND OTHER SCANDALS, and IT TAKES A SCANDAL
Runner Up: print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, LOVE AND OTHER SCANDALS, and IT TAKES A SCANDAL

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