Title: The Great Estate
Author: Sherri Browning
Series: Thornbrook Park, #3
Pubdate: August 4th, 2015
Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.
Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford…and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she’s determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love… before they’re lost to each other forever.
It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love…and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.
Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with aparanormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Find her online at www.sherribrowningerwin.com.
Sophia, Countess of Averford, ended up exactly as she always suspected she would: completely alone. She glanced up at her enormous portrait, hanging larger than life over the drawing room’s marble fireplace, and sighed.
“We’ve done it now, darling girl,” she said, looking into her own eyes fixed in an imperious stare. “We’ve really done it.”
What she had done was to give in to a kiss. No more than that. One passionate, toe-curling kiss. With a man who was not her husband. Didn’t she deserve at least one kiss? Her husband hadn’t kissed her in the longest time. When the Earl of Ralston had declared himself impossibly, irretrievably in love with her and had taken her in his arms, how was she to have resisted him?
Unfortunately, Gabriel, her husband, had walked in at the precise moment when she’d stopped pushing Ralston away and had pulled him to her instead. That one second of pull was all she’d needed, what she’d craved. In the moment, it didn’t matter who’d taken command of her senses. But afterwards? Looking up over Ralston’s shoulder and straight into the direct gaze of her husband, in time to see his bright eyes cloud over with icy darkness, she knew that she had broken something in Gabriel, perhaps irreparably. He didn’t storm, rail, or threaten murder, as she’d always suspected he would in such circumstances. He’d simply dropped his arms and walked away before she could regain her bearings to run after him.
They’d never spoken of it. They barely spoke at all. Her marriage fell to shambles and, after months of few words and mounting hostility between them, Gabriel had packed his things and had joined his mother in Italy, leaving Sophia alone at Thornbrook Park. To add insult to injury, he hadn’t entrusted her with command of his beloved estate. He probably didn’t believe her capable of organizing much beyond her own closet, and that only with the assistance of her reliable lady’s maid. Gabriel’s land agent, Cornelius Kenner, reported to Gabriel by letter once a week, and then executed all of Gabriel’s orders as they came in by telegraph. Or so Gabriel had been led to believe.
In her husband’s absence, Sophia had taken charge. Why shouldn’t she? Thornbrook Park was her home, too, and Cornelius Kenner was dreadfully not up to the task.
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