- Cheryl Holt is giving away ten (10) print copies of the first release in her historical romance Trent Trilogy, LOVE’S PROMISE.
- The giveaway is open to US, Can, and INTNL Readers. The Rafflecopter and Tour links are at the bottom of the post. Good Luck!
Back Cover Text
New York Times bestselling author, CHERYL HOLT, will sweep readers away with the first novel in her new and breathtaking ‘Lord Trent’ trilogy…
With the death of his older brother, Michael Wainwright, Viscount Henley, has become heir to his father, Duke of Clarendon. The Wainwright men are renowned cads, and as his brother’s will is read, it’s discovered that he sired an illegitimate son and has left the eight-year-old boy his entire fortune. Michael decides to bring the boy to London so he can be showered with all the wealth and status guaranteed by his inheritance. But first, he has to gain custody from the boy’s aunt, who is determined to keep her nephew away from Michael’s dissolute family.
Frances “Fanny” Carrington has always lived in a small village in the country. As a newborn, she was left in a basket on the church steps and raised by the vicar and his wife. But they’ve died, and Fanny is in dire straits, struggling to raise her nephew, to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. When she begins to receive correspondence from Michael, asking for custody, she can’t help but be suspicious. For years, the Wainwrights have refused to claim her nephew or provide financial assistance to him. She’s alarmed by their sudden interest. What can it mean?
As Michael finally meets Fanny, their attraction is swift, blatant, and dangerous. He can’t fight the need to have her at any cost, and gradually, he lures her into his decadent life of affluence and privilege. But she’s never possessed the callous nature required to thrive in the cut-throat world of the aristocracy, so she can never understand the peril she faces from those who would do anything to keep them apart…
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“Where would you suppose I’ve been?” Michael replied.
“Fornicating with a harlot is more important than attending your father?”
“Yes, and much more pleasant, too.”
With the Duke’s latest fiscal revelation, they were constantly at odds, and they seemed on the verge of another argument, but evidently, the Duke was exhausted by their fighting. He bit down a retort and visibly reined in his notorious temper.
At age fifty-two, the Duke was a cunning and sly man, with a full head of white hair and sharp blue eyes that hadn’t lost their ability to intimidate. If there were any limits to his influence or authority, he hadn’t recognized them. He told others to jump, and they asked: how high?
He was a despot and bully, who’d driven four wives to early graves, and he ran his homes and estates like a dictator. Those around him were the walking wounded, staggering after him, weathering his petty rages and absurd demands.
Michael had joined the army specifically to escape the Duke’s machinations, and he had no idea why he tolerated the obnoxious tyrant, but the Duke’s pull was strong. Michael had tried but had never been able to completely sever the ties that bound them.
“What have you learned?” the Duke asked, moving on to the true reason for their meeting.
“Nothing good I’m afraid.”
“Will she give us the boy?”
“No. She’s refused again.”
“The mother or the aunt?”
“The aunt,” Michael said.
“The insulting jade!” The Duke stood and started to pace. “Who the hell does she think she is? I’ll see her ruined for this! Ruined, I tell you.”
Michael poured his own brandy and flopped down in a chair, eager to stay out of the line of fire as the Duke ranted.
Apparently, John had sired an illegitimate child, and he’d kept the secret for almost a decade. Though he and Michael had had a cordial and close relationship, Michael hadn’t had an inkling of the scandal until the morning John’s will was read. The news had certainly been a fascinating surprise.
On discovering how much money John had bequeathed to the little devil, Michael had wondered if the Duke would suffer an apoplexy.
The Duke had decided to bring the boy, eight-year-old Thomas, to live with the Wainwrights, but he was stymied by the frustrating reality that they hadn’t yet made contact with the mother. The aunt kept responding on the mother’s behalf, and she had no intention of relinquishing custody.
“Why do you suppose,” the Duke inquired, “that it’s the aunt who replies to your correspondence—rather than the lad’s mother?”
“Perhaps the mother can’t read or write.”
“Perhaps,” the Duke mused.
The door opened, and Michael’s sister, Anne, slipped in.
She was a beauty with Michael’s same black hair and the Wainwright blue eyes. But at age twenty-five, she was still a spinster, having remained unwed due to the Duke’s ridiculous insistence that there wasn’t a man in Europe with lofty enough blood lines to warrant a union. At least that was the story he told.
The actual reason was that Anne had no dowry—though she wasn’t aware of the dire situation. The Duke had squandered her fortune, and the property that would have gone to her husband was mortgaged to the hilt.
She puttered about in their many spacious mansions, with nothing to do but serve as their widowed father’s hostess. It was a lonely, useless existence, and she was growing bitter because of it.
“Have you explained to Father about the latest letter?” she asked Michael.
“What shall we do now?”
“I’ll get a damned writ,” the Duke threatened. “I’ll have custody like that!”
He snapped his fingers, the sound echoing off the vaulted ceiling with a sad finality.
“You will not.” Anne ignored the Duke’s outburst, and she gazed at Michael. “As usual, you’re the sane male of the family. How should we proceed?”
I’m at a crossroads with this book. One hand it is a brilliantly written book with a heroine that I was rooting for from the moment I met her and then when it had such vile, mean and nasty characters that I almost put it down.
I will explain it this way…
1. Fanny from the get go had my heart. She’s strong, not as naïve as you would think and while getting knocked down more that I would have liked, she kept getting right back up, dusting herself off and learned from her mistakes.
2. Michael was a hard hero to like at first. Typical historical rogue that didn’t care about anyone but himself…at first. When he first meets Fanny, he thinks that he will be able to just take Thomas and go home. Job done but he didn’t take into account that she might be the one person that would challenge everything that he was taught in life.
3. Anne, Michael’s sister grew on me, too. At first you would think that she was a simpleton but in reality, she was the typical sheltered woman of the time. Not realizing the true reason why her father won’t let her marry anyone, she soon learns that she doesn’t really matter to her father and is a pawn in his vile actions. When Anne finally has to make the decision on what is going to make her happy, I cheered for her. And then, she never looked back.
4. Camilla, Fanny’s sister/Thomas mother and Michael/Anne father…I have never read a more vile, mean, nasty set of characters. They saw everyone, including Thomas as a pawn in their game and that set a nerve with me. They are the reason that I almost didn’t finish the book. I guess that in all of my historical readings, most of the villains haven’t been this written. That said, Ms. Holt wrote them with no redeeming qualities so when it came time for their comeuppance, I cheered. I’m not a mean person but I really wanted this characters to die, go away or just get the “what goes around, comes around”. I wasn’t disappointed.
After I initially read the book, I wasn’t going to give it a high score but I thought about it for a couple of days and realized that the book was brilliant. Ms. Holt managed to turn this reader into a believer of the power of love no matter how long it takes. And yes, it does take a while. There is no sugar-coating when it comes to Michael’s trying to undo all the wrongs that his father and her sister have done to Fanny. He had the most to lose in the book and when he finally hits rock bottom, his growth isn’t fast but gradual.
There is a lot going on in the book but it makes sense in the end. You will root for Fanny and Anne. Trust me…you will cheer for Anne. When Michael decides to pull his head out, you will root for me, too. I can’t wait for book #2 and more Phillip. He’s quest to find all of his siblings.
Cheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-one novels.
She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.
Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year,” by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.
Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she’s celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women’s fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she’s also known as the International Queen of Villains.
She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.
Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.