Monday, May 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway for A Match For Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

We are excited to be the first stop on the excerpt tour for A Match For Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens.   Below you will find the first of 16 excerpts from the book.  Make sure to check out the schedule below for links to the rest of the tour stops!  Also make sure to check out the giveaway below!

Author: Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: Mira
Date of publication:  May 26, 2015

 Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?

Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.

Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.

Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.

Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.

Excerpt #1:


April 1849
The Carrick Estate, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

“Miss Niniver? Are you there?”
Niniver Carrick looked up from the silky head of the deerhound she was stroking. Recognizing the speaker’s voice, she inwardly sighed.
Crouched in a pen halfway down old Egan’s barn, she was hidden from Ferguson’s sight. For one fleeting instant, she was tempted to stay where she was, safe in her refuge surrounded by her hounds, but as ever, duty called. Called, hauled, and had her straightening, brushing pieces of hay from her riding habit’s skirts. The pens’ walls had been raised to keep the hounds contained; she lifted her head and peeked over toward the front of the barn. “I’m here. What’s the matter?”
Ferguson, the butler at Carrick Manor, saw her and strode deeper into the barn. A middle-aged man, upright and sober, he was one of the clan elders. “It’s Mister Nolan.”
Although Niniver’s older brother Nolan had succeeded to the title of Laird of Clan Carrick on the death of their father, Manachan Carrick, some ten months before, clan members had yet to change the way they referred to Nolan—a telling point, to Niniver’s mind.
Ferguson halted before the pen in which she stood and fixed his gaze on her face. “Sean sent word that Mister Nolan’s worse than ever. Ranting and raving like one possessed. Bradshaw, Forrester, Phelps, and Canning are there, too. They all think you need to come.”
Niniver stared at Ferguson while she absorbed his words and what they really meant. Shortly after their father’s death, Nolan had ridden up to a narrow ledge on the western side of the Coran of Portmark, one of the minor peaks in the range to the west of the Carrick lands. As that area was uninhabited, Sean, the head stableman, had followed at a distance; he’d reported that Nolan had sat on the ledge and stared out. As the ledge afforded a wide view over Loch Doon and the Rhinns of Kells, everyone had assumed Nolan had gone there to relax and think.
Initially, Nolan’s visits to the ledge had been infrequent, but when he’d started riding in that direction every week, and then twice a week, Sean had followed him again. The side of the ridge was ruffled with folds, making it easy to get close enough to watch Nolan without being seen—and to hear what he said when his visits became a daily occurrence and he’d started rambling aloud.
Then he’d started ranting.
Eventually, he’d taken to raging and raving.
The target of his fury was their eldest brother, Nigel—he who had been convicted in absentia of poisoning their father, and who was also suspected of killing two clan women. A hue and cry had been raised, but Nigel had slipped away without trace; it was believed he’d taken ship for the colonies and had escaped beyond reach.
“All right.” Niniver unlatched the pen’s gate. Carefully keeping the questing hounds back, she slipped out, then reset the latch.
She could guess why she’d been summoned. Like the others named, she’d been up to the ledge before and had heard the tone of Nolan’s ranting. He spoke to Nigel as if their brother was there, and he clearly blamed Nigel for all the difficulties the clan currently faced—the difficulties that, as laird, it was now Nolan’s responsibility to deal with. To improve and rectify.
Nolan had accepted the mantle of laird readily. If anything, Niniver would have said he’d been keen to show that he was up to the task. But as the weeks and months had passed…If she had to describe what she’d seen in Nolan, she would say he had crumbled under the weight.
She and Norris, the youngest of her three brothers, had never been that close to Nigel and Nolan, who were older by more than five years. Yet over the last eight or so months, Nolan had retreated even further from them, much like a crab backing deeper into its shell. The gulf between her and Norris, and Nolan, was now a gaping chasm, impossible to bridge. She’d given up trying.
Walking out of the barn, she glanced at Ferguson. The heads of four clan families—Bradshaw, Forrester, Phelps, and Canning—were already at the ledge. Ferguson was another clan elder. Five votes on the clan council constituted a majority. Niniver had a strong suspicion over why they wanted her there.
She pulled her riding gloves from her pocket. “Are you returning to the manor, or will you come, too?”
“The others asked me to come,” Ferguson said, “so I’ll ride along with you.”
And that, she thought, confirmed it. Unsurprisingly, the clan had grown skeptical of Nolan’s ability to manage and lead; they were preparing to confront him, possibly to take the lairdship from him, and they wanted her—his sister, but also the next oldest member of the main Carrick line—there as a witness. Pausing to lift her face to the spring sun, she closed her eyes, breathed in, then out. All she felt was a sense of inevitability, of being on a road from which there was no turning aside. With an inward sigh, she opened her eyes. Setting her lips, she strode for her big bay gelding, Oswald, waiting placidly by the fence. “In that case, let’s go.”

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About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

Connect with Stephanie

Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, May 11th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, May 12th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 13th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, May 14th: In the Hammock
Friday, May 15th: Broken Teepee
Monday, May 18th: Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, May 19th: Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, May 20th: Bibliotica
Thursday, May 21st: Bell, Book & Candle
Friday, May 22nd: Urban Girl Reader
Monday, May 25th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Tuesday, May 26th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, May 27th: The Romance Dish
Wednesday, May 27th: Read Love Blog
Thursday, May 28th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, May 29th: Written Love Reviews


Sharlene said...

Can't wait to read this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for featuring this book for the tour!

Carol L. said...

Loved this excerpt. The Cynster series is one of my favorites. Thank you for the post.Can't wait to read it.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com