Spotlight + Prologue Excerpt: One for the Rogue by Charis Michaels

One for the Rogue by Charis Michaels
Series: The Bachelor Lords of London #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
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Beauregard “Beau” Courtland has no use for the whims of society and even less for aristocratic titles. As a younger son, he travels the world in search of adventure with no plans to settle down. Even when the title of Viscount Rainsleigh is suddenly forced upon him, he will not bend to duty or decorum. Not until an alluring young woman appears on the deck of his houseboat, determined to teach him propriety in all things and tempting him with every forbidden touch…

Lady Emmaline Crumbley has had a wretched year. Her elderly husband dropped dead without naming her in his will and she’s been relegated to the life of a dowager duchess at the age of 23. She has no wish to instruct a renegade viscount in respectability, but desperate to escape her greedy stepson, Beau’s family makes her an offer she cannot refuse: teach the new lord to behave like a gentleman, and they’ll help her earn the new, self-sufficient life of her dreams. Emmaline agrees, only to discover that instructing the viscount is one thing, but resisting him is quite another. How can she teach manners to the rakish nobleman if he is determined to show her the thrill of scandal instead?

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Now here’s an excerpt from One for the Rogue! ❤

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This is the tale of two brothers.

No, allow me to go back. This is the tale of two half brothers, a distinction that does not affect the brothers as much as it creates a place for the story to begin.

They were born deep in Wiltshire’s Deverill Valley, less than a mile from the River Wylye, in a crumbling manor house called Rossmore Court.

Although the Rainsleigh title was ancient and the family lands entailed, the boys’ parents, Lord Franklin “Frankie” Courtland, the Viscount Rainsleigh, and his lady wife, Este, were not held in high esteem—not by their neighbors in Wiltshire nor by members of London’s haute ton. Instead, they were known mostly for their predilections: recklessness, coarseness, drunkenness, irresponsibility, and deep debt.

Their notoriety did not curtail their fun, however, and they carried on exactly as they pleased. In 1779, the viscountess became pregnant, and Lord and Lady Rainsleigh added “woefully unfit parents” to their list of indiscretions. Their firstborn was called Bryson—the future viscount, Lord Rainsleigh’s heir. Young Bryson was somber and curious, stormy and willful, but also inexplicably just and kind.

In 1785, Este and Frankie welcomed a second son, favored almost immediately by his mother for his sweet nature and easy manner, his angelic face and smiling blue eyes. The viscountess named him Beauregard, known as “Beau.”

On the whole, the boys’ childhood was not a happy one. Lord Rainsleigh was rarely at home, and when he was, he was rarely sober. He managed the boys with equal parts mockery and scorn. Lady Rainsleigh, in turn, was chronically unhappy, petulant, and needy, and she suffered an insatiable appetite for strapping young men, with a particular preference for broad-shouldered members of staff.

Money was scarce in those years, and schooling was catch-as-catch-can. The brothers relied on each other to get along.

Bryson’s hard work and good sense earned them money for new coats and boots each year, for books, and for an old horse that they shared.

Beau employed his good looks and charm to earn them credit in the village shops, to convince foremen to hire them young, and to persuade servants and tenants to stay on when there was no money for salaries or repairs.

And so it went, each of the boys contributing whatever he could to get by, until the summer of 1807, when the old viscount’s recklessness caught up with him, and he tripped on a root in a riverbed and died.

With Frankie’s death, Bryson, the new viscount, set out to right all the wrongs of his father and cancel the family’s debts. He moved to London, where he worked hard, built and sold a boat, and then another, and then another—and then five. And then fifteen. Eventually, he owned a shipyard and became wealthier than his wildest dreams.

Beau, on the other hand . . .

Well, Beau had no interest in righting wrongs or realizing moneyed dreams—he wasn’t the Rainsleigh heir, thank God. His only wish was to take his handsome face and winning charm and discover the delights of London and the world beyond.

For a time, he sailed the world as an officer of the Royal Navy. For another time, he imported exotic birds and fish. He spent more than a year with the East India Company, training native soldiers to protect British trade. His life was adventurous and rambling, sunny if he could manage it, and (perhaps most important) entirely on his own terms.

Until, that is, the day the Courtland brothers received, quite unexpectedly, a bit of shocking news that changed both of their lives.

The news, which they learned from a stranger, was this: the boys did not share the same father.

The horrible old viscount—the man who had beaten them and mocked them, who had driven them into debt and allowed their boyhood home to fall into ruin—was not, in fact, Bryson’s father after all. Bryson’s father was another man—a blacksmith’s son from the local village with whom their mother had had a heated affair.

Beau, as it turned out, was the only natural-born son of Franklin Courtland.

Beau was the heir.

And just like that, Beauregard Courtland became the Viscount Rainsleigh, the conservator and executor of all his brother had toiled over a great many years to restore and attain.

It made no difference that Beau had no desire to be viscount, that he was repelled by the notion, that the idea of becoming viscount made him a little ill.

In protest, Beau threatened to leave the country; he threatened to change his name; he threatened to commit a crime and endure prison to avoid the bloody title—all to no avail.

He was the rightful Viscount Rainsleigh, whether he liked it or not.

His brother, now simply Mr. Bryson Courtland, shipbuilder and merchant, set out on a new quest: to train, coach, and cajole Beau into becoming the responsible, noble, respected viscount that he himself would never be again.

To answer that, Beau seized his own quest: resist. He could not prevent his brother from dropping the bloody title in his lap, but he could refuse to dance to the tune the title played.

He would carry on, he vowed, exactly as he had always done—until . . . well . . .

“Until” is where this tale begins.

But perhaps this is not a tale of two brothers or even the tale of two half brothers.

Perhaps it is the story of one brother and how the past he could not change built a future that he, at long last, was willing to claim.

Reading Order: The Bachelor Lords of London series

  

#1 ~ The Earl Next Door: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Viscount and the Virgin: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ One for the Rogue: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads

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CHARIS MICHAELS is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

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Blog Tour + Early Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels!

The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels
Series: The Bachelor Lords of London #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 1st 2016
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Charis Michaels makes her Avon Impulse debut with the first book in her new historical romance series, The Bachelor Lords of London…featuring a brooding earl and the American heiress who charms him.

American heiress Piety Grey is on the run. Suddenly in London and facing the renovation of a crumbling townhouse, she’s determined to make a new life for herself—anything is better than returning to New York City where a cruel mother and horrid betrothal await her. The last thing she needs is a dark, tempting earl inciting her at every turn…

Trevor Rheese, the Earl of Falcondale, isn’t interested in being a good neighbor. After fifteen years of familial obligation, he’s finally free. But when the disarmingly beautiful Piety bursts through his wall—and into his life—his newfound freedom is threatened…even as his curiosity is piqued.

Once Piety’s family arrives in London, Falcondale suddenly finds himself in the midst of a mock courtship to protect the seductive woman who’s turned his world upside down. It’s all for show—or at least it should be. But if Falcondale isn’t careful, he may find a very real happily ever after with the woman of his dreams…

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I love reading historical romances every once in a while in between the contemporaries I usually read, and when I saw the blurb for The Earl Next Door, it called to me. I was surprised by how charming this book was – the characters, especially the heroine, were an absolute delight to read. The slow pacing of the story though, made it a little difficult to get through the book, but I enjoyed this overall. There’s humor, a slow-burn romance, and adorably quirky characters – I’m glad I didn’t give up on this book when I wanted to early on!

Piety Grey has just moved to London to save her fortune as an American heiress from her forceful mother and step-brothers. She’s moved into a home in need of repair, and next door to Trevor Rheese, the Earl of Falcondale. Whereas Piety is bubbly and light and so full of goodness, Trevor is a recluse and a sarcastic, moody man. All he wants is peace and solitude, but all his hopes for a quiet life are dashed the second Piety moves in next door. Not only does she invade his home through their connecting passage, but the desire she awakens in him can’t be ignored.

“I don’t want anyone but you,” he said, kissing her. “You are the beginning and the end for me. More than enough. You are far better than I deserve. No one could ever exceed you, ever, and I will take these memories with me to my grave.”

Piety is absolutely my favorite part of The Earl Next Door. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more adorable heroine! She’s sweet, cute, sassy, independent, and can definitely hold her own against Mr. Go-Away-I-Want-To-Be-Alone. She’s not the type of girl to give up taking down the walls around Trevor’s heart, and I loved her for it. I also enjoyed the secondary characters Jocelyn, Joseph, and Lady Frinfrock, who brought so much humor and light-heartedness to the story. The romance, despite its slow pace, is also wonderful. Even when I wanted things to hurry up, I appreciated how sweet everything turned out between Piety and Trevor. Trevor falling for Piety against his wishes is swoon-worthy and seriously so sweet to read.

“She has become . . . She has become life itself to me, and without her—ill, fine, injured, whole—I hardly care to live at all.”

Despite all I loved about this book, it was a bit of a struggle to get through the whole thing, because of its length and slow pace. I skimmed a bit at the parts that didn’t involved the romance, which was actual a lot more than I expected. There’s a lot going on in The Earl Next Door, but if you focus on the romance, it’s much more enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re a fan of historical romances, like your stories slow, and you have a lot of patience.

3.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from The Earl Next Door! ❤

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“Such traffic in the street today,” mumbled Miss Breedlowe.

“Nonsense,” said Lady Frinfrock, her eyes pinned on the carriage. “There is no traffic in Henrietta Place. Not on this day or any day. Such recklessness? A conveyance of this size? It’s wholly irregular!”

“Indeed. Perhaps a neighbor is expecting out-of-town guests?”

“No relation to the occupants of this street could afford a vehicle so grand,” she said. “Except, of course, for me. And I have no relatives.”

“Not even the new earl, Lord Falcondale?”

The marchioness harrumphed. “He cannot even afford a gardener.”

The carriage door sprang open, and Lady Frinfrock leaned in.

“Oh, look,” said Miss Breedlowe, cheerful interest in her voice. “It’s a young woman. How beautiful she is. And her gown. And hat,” she marveled. “Oh, she’s brought someone with her. A companion. Hmm. Perhaps a servant?” Her voice went a little off, and she crooked her head to the side, studying the two women collecting in the street.

“Is that an African?” Lady Frinfrock nearly shouted, planting both gloved palms on the spotless glass of the window.

“I do believe her companion is an…aboriginal woman of some sort,” croaked Miss Breedlowe, herself moving closer to the glass.

“But whatever business could they have in Henrietta Place?”

Miss Breedlowe reached out a hand to steady her. “Do take care, my lady. Perhaps we should return to the comfort of the chairs.”

“I shall not be comfortable in chairs,” said the marchioness, swatting her away. “But has the young woman come alone?” She tapped a bony finger on the glass. “Where is her family? Her husband or parents?”

“Perhaps the men who have accompanied her are her—”

“Servants, clearly,” interrupted the marchioness. “Look, Miss Breedlowe. Trunk after trunk. Crates and baskets. Oh, God.” Her breath fogged the glass. “They are conveying it to the former front door of Cecil Panhearst’s old house. It’s been sealed like a tomb for the better part of a decade.”

“So they are. Perhaps you’re to have a second new neighbor.”

“A lone young woman and an African?” She moved closer to the window.

“Highly likely, I’d say. It would appear they are…? Yes, they are unpacking.

“Well, that cannot be,” Lady Frinfrock declared, shaking her head at the street. “I won’t stand for it. Not without knowing who she may be, or where she came from. And why she is accompanied by an African.”

“Oh, do not worry,” chuckled Miss Breedlowe, “the servants will learn her story soon enough. If she has any staff at all, they will talk with the other servants on the street.”

For the first time since the carriage arrived, the marchioness lifted her eyes from the window and turned to stare at the nurse.

“Why, what an excellent idea, Miss Breedlowe.” She raised her cane and jabbed it in the direction of the startled younger woman. “How resourceful you are. The servants will talk.” She raised one eyebrow. “They will learn her story soon enough.”

As Miss Breedlowe stared in disbelief, the marchioness scrunched her face and then swung the tip of her cane in the direction of door.

“Oh, no, my lady,” said Miss Breedlowe, backing away. “You cannot mean me.”

“Oh, yes, ‘tis exactly what I mean. Finally, a suitable application for your indeterminate hovering and resigned sighs. We shall devise a reason for you to approach her, and you will discover her business in my street. It is our duty as mindful, responsible residents to know.”

“But I was speaking of the maids, my lady. The kitchen boys. I…”

“The maids are unreliable. The kitchen boys are inarticulate. You, however, are ideal for this sort of thing. Steel yourself, Miss Breedlowe. We cannot know what manner of objectionable thing she may say or do. Better fetch your gloves. And your hat.”

Reading Order: The Bachelor Lords of London series

 

#1 ~ The Earl Next Door: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Viscount and the Virgin: Ebook • Goodreads (July 5, 2016)
#3 ~ Untitled: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads (Sept. 15, 2016)

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CHARIS MICHAELS is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

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