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The Mysterious Lord Millcroft by Virginia Heath - Book Blitz + Giveaway

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The Mysterious Lord Millcroft

Life as a duchess…

Or something much more dangerous…?
Part of The King’s Elite. Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…

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The Mysterious Lord Millcroft by Virginia Heath Extract
Thanks for hosting me here on Jazzy Book Reviews. Here’s a little extract of The Mysterious Lord Millcroft just for you. To set the scene, my painfully shy hero has been through the wars at the start of the book. He’s been shot, nearly died as a result and now has to recuperate like an invalid. To make matters worse Lady Clarissa Beaumont, the beautiful sister of his hostess has come to stay and she had just made a fool of him over dinner. So much so, he barely ate a thing. Hours later, feeling weak and emasculated and unable to sleep, Seb decides to struggle downstairs for a snack only to find the object of his insomnia doing exactly the same thing…

He shook his head despite the pain etched on his expression. “No!” He jabbed the air with his finger, ferocious once again. “Brandy! Lots of it!”
Clarissa scurried over to the decanter and sloshed as much over her quivering hand as she did in the glass. She pressed it into his, the touch playing yet more havoc with her bouncing nerve-endings, holding it steady as he brought it to his mouth and then severing the contact as quickly as she could because her uncharacteristic reaction frightened her.
It wasn’t like her to be so flustered around a man. Being a flirt and charming them was probably the only thing she truly excelled at, yet here she was, more flustered than she had ever been in her life. Mr Leatham had managed to make her feel off-kilter since the first moment she had laid eyes on him this morning. With his clothes on he was disconcerting. Without them he thoroughly disorientated her. In such close proximity to his breath-taking presence, Clarissa was uncomfortably lost for words.
Mute she watched him gulp down the brandy, trying to ignore the way his Adam’s apple bobbed with each swallow or how his ridiculously broad shoulders rose and fell in time with his laboured breathing. He rested his head on the back of the settee and closed his eyes, the empty glass still clasped limply in his hand.
“Would you like some more?”
He nodded without opening them and held out the crystal balloon. “Don’t be stingy with it. There’s a good girl.”
Clarissa made sure no part of her hand touched his as she took it, refilled it and passed it back. For a moment, she seriously considered pouring herself a glass to steady her nerves, then decided against it because her wits were quite scrambled quite enough already. There was no telling what they would do under the influence of fortifying spirits. This time he sipped the brandy more slowly and she was relieved to see the colour begin to return to his face. Only when he had eventually drained the second glass did he open his eyes and look at her.
And good gracious did he look at her. His dark eyes slowly raked her body from the face down, then darkened as they laboriously climbed back up to meet hers.
Then he chuckled. The sound more intoxicating than any brandy.
“You look like Medusa.”
The chuckle turned into a laugh which had him wincing as he held his bandaged bare abdomen. “And is that jam all over your front?”
One hand went to her head and her bosom ineffectually. “You caught me by surprise. I dropped my biscuit!” A true gentleman would never have mentioned it. Not outright at any rate. The fact that he had made her feel silly and exposed. “What do you think you are about slamming through doors in the dead of night? It’s your fault I look a fright.”

He glanced to the stain on her front then back to her head. “Then I apologise for frightening you- but that still doesn’t explain your hair. What the blazes have you done to it?”
Both hands now shielded the brightly coloured array of rags sticking up from her head, as if covering them now would erase the mortification she experienced at having him see them. Attempting haughty indifference, Clarissa returned her hands to her side. “The rags set the curls.”
“I knew they weren’t natural.” More evidence of his lack of gentlemanly manners.
“No ladies’ curls are natural. We all go to bed like this.”
“Because curls are becoming.”
“Ah. I see.” Although he plainly didn’t. Still smiling he leant forward and flicked one of them. “They look painful. Do they hurt?”
Yes. “No. I barely notice them.”
“But they are dragging your eyebrows up. You look permanently startled.” His lips twitched again. “Do you wake up with your face aching?”
“Oh go ahead. Laugh. Have your fun. I doubt a mere farmer from Norfolk would understand the world I live in.”
She had meant to offend him, remind him his manners were sadly lacking and to put him back in his place, yet he didn’t appear the slightest bit offended. “You poor thing! I never realised how the other half suffered. I’m curious- without those…” he gestured to her head, “monstrosities, what does your hair really look like?”
“It is as straight as a poker. Just like my sister’s.” Why had she confessed that?
“Bella has lovely hair.”
“Yes of course she does but…” Having to justify her choice of hairstyle was ridiculous, so she clamped her mouth shut in case she said things she would rather he didn’t know. Bella didn’t have to be persistently beautiful every waking minute of the day. She had her man. And her enormous brain and copious talents.
“But you are the incomparable, therefore your hair has to curl. Your clothes have to be perfect. Every nuanced movement has to convey your sheer perfection. A diamond of the first water.” He wafted his meaty hand in the air like a ballet dancer. Mocking her. Earlier he could barely string two words together, and now suddenly he was capable of the most cruel and cutting insults. More cruel because they were completely accurate. The insufferable, insightful man.
“Go back to planting your turnips!” Clarissa stomped to the door.
“It was turkeys actually, not turnips. But mostly geese, if you must know. Norfolk is famous for its poultry. Every year my grandfather would walk them to London wearing little leather boots to protect their feet. Always made me laugh as a child. Birds in boots.” He said this conversationally, his deep voice slurring slightly. Clarissa turned against her better judgement and saw him slumped a little and smiling soppily. It was the brandy loosening his usually tied tongue, she realised. She had given him rather a lot of it...

Author Bio – Virginia Heath lives on the outskirts of London with her understanding husband and two, less understanding, teenagers. After spending years teaching history,she decided to follow her dream of writing for Harlequin. Now she spends her days happily writing regency romances, creating heroes that she falls in love with and heroines who inspire her. When she isn't doing that, Virginia likes to travel to far off places, shop for things that she doesn't need or read romances written by other people.
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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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