Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blog Tour: Guest post and Excerpt of How to Handle a Scandal by Emily Greenwood

We are really excited to have a guest post from Author Emily Greenwood today.  She shares with us her favorite scene in her latest book, How to Handle a Scandal.  Enjoy it after my thoughts on the book.

Author: Emily Greenwood
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 9781492613688
Release Date: February 2016

Miss Elizabeth Tarryton was the toast of the London Season the year she was seventeen and spurned young Tommy Halifax. A careless flirt who didn't know what she wanted, she was startled into laughter by his public proposal of marriage. Furious and heartbroken, Tommy promptly left home for a life of adventure in India.

Seven years later, Elizabeth has much to make up for, but the methods she chooses for doing good are as shocking as her earlier wanton behavior--should the ton ever find out. Tommy returns to England a hero, with no intention of allowing himself to be hurt by a woman ever again, but he's fascinated nonetheless by Elizabeth, now widowed and more alluring than ever.

My thoughts:

How to Handle a Scandal is the second book in the Scandalous Sisters series.  I thought it did well as a stand alone as it takes place several years after the events of the first book.  I never felt like I was missing anything. I will be honest, I have kind of mixed feeling about the book.  On one hand, I really liked Eliza.  I thought her heart was in the right place most of the time.  She just needed to learn how to balance the serious and the fun times.  The secondary characters added a lot of color to the story. What I didn't like was Tommy.  He really rubbed me the wrong way through most of the book and I had a hard time wondering why Eliza would fall for him.  He did redeem himself in the end, so at least it ended on a good note for me.    I hope that the author writes Meg's story,  I look forward to reading it.

My Favorite Scene from How to Handle a Scandal

By Emily Greenwood

What I like about this excerpt is that there are things happening on a number of levels. Eliza Tarryton Truehart, a respectable widow, is masquerading as a high-class prostitute in order to gain some information at a brothel. But with the threat of discovery imminent, she has hidden herself in one of the unused rooms. It isn’t empty for long, because Sir Tommy Halifax, with whom she has a difficult history, enters. Because Eliza is wearing a mask, he doesn’t recognize her. She tells him her name is Victoria, and that this is her first night working as a prostitute.
Tommy, who doesn’t like Eliza at this point in the story, has no idea that he’s flirting with her. Though she was a scandalous young woman when he knew her six years before, she’s changed, and now she strives to be virtuous. This night at the brothel is sort of a one-time return to the kinds of outrageous things she used to do, but she has an unselfish reason for being there. Though the scene is playful, it’s poignant too, because they used to be good friends, and Eliza yearns to know Tommy as the man he has become.

“Would you like to practice your boldness a little before you become a professional? I propose a kiss. As one who has something of a history of kissing, I believe I might offer you an estimation as to how well you will fare.”
She ought to resist. She knew there were costs to indulging herself, and she made better choices now. But tonight she’d begun to see that maybe there were experiences she’d missed.
Temptation, thy name is Tommy Halifax.
She stared down at the wicked tilt teasing the edge of his mouth and knew that whatever he was proposing was a terrible idea. He’d said a kiss, but who knew if he meant to stop there? And even if he did mean just a kiss, was she insane, to be tempted to kiss him when she was probably the last woman in the world whose lips he’d want to touch with his own? She’d read hatred in his eyes that night years ago, and though he’d said he accepted her apology, she wouldn’t be surprised if some of that feeling still lingered, hidden by a polite veneer.
Yet, she yearned to touch him. She wanted him to enjoy her company as much as he once had—as much as he was clearly now enjoying Victoria’s.

And how could Victoria decline his request anyway? She was supposed to be a woman seeking to be a strumpet—wouldn’t he be suspicious if she turned prudish?
Mischief sparkled in his eyes and her heart thumped in thrilling reply. Mischief was something she’d never been able to resist.
“Of all the nerve,” she said lightly, smiling. His invitation had given her permission to be bold, and she placed her palm along the hard jaw that had so fascinated her.
One black eyebrow rose in a pirate’s misbehaving slant, and the white of his teeth flashed as he grinned. “If there’s one thing that I’ve never been said to be lacking, it’s nerve.” With a tug on her arm, he pulled her sideways onto his lap.
Her heart stuttered and she thought for a moment she might swoon. He smelled extremely good, a little like sandalwood, a lot like something that, if she’d had to name it, she would have called, with a giddy sigh, swashbuckling.
“I can see that,” she said. She didn’t even need to summon Victoria’s breathy voice because her own had turned soft and hushed.
He looked at her intently, the color of his eyes indistinct in the semidarkness that would fortunately leave the color of her own eyes indiscernible to him, but the warm glow in his gaze made her light-headed.
“Do you feel shy, Victoria?”
She nodded slowly. It was true—she did feel shy and a little overwhelmed by him, but the feeling was exciting. And also surprising; she was hardly virginal—she’d kissed more than a few men, though none since Gerard had died, and she’d experienced the ultimate joining many times with her husband. But in each of those encounters, she’d been certain of her own power, of the upper hand she’d always held as the one pursued, the one allowing the attentions of an admirer.
For the first time ever, that wasn’t how she felt. She knew Tommy no longer admired her. He might find Victoria attractive, but Eliza Truehart’s beauty was nothing to him, and he certainly didn’t admire her as a person. She felt shy and off-kilter, a new sensation for her.
He smiled, managing to look both kind and wicked, and her heart did a somersault.

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About the Author

Emily Greenwood worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures, but she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance novels are the chocolate of literature. A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

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