The Formidable Earl

 

Diamonds In The Rough, Book 6  

Regency Romance  

Release Date: November 17, 2020 


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He's breaking the rules for one woman, and coming dangerously close to falling in love...   

Simon Nugent, Earl of Fielding, knows he's flawed. He's arrogant, possessive, and haunted by a terrible choice he made long ago. So when a former friend's daughter gives him the chance to do a good deed, he grabs it. Except he'd like to grab her as well and teach her a thing or two about kissing. If only she weren't so damn stubborn.  

Ida Strong wants one thing - justice on behalf of her father. She has no room for anything else, in spite of her growing and (at times) inexplicable attraction toward a certain earl. But for a woman who knows what betrayal tastes like, placing her trust in others is hard. Risking her heart, would be downright foolish. Until it's the only thing that seems to make sense. 

Excerpt:


London
May, 1821
WEARY OF TRYING TO FIND an acceptable
bride, Simon Garrison Nugent, Earl
of Fielding, had ceased all attempts at marriage
and was currently avoiding debutantes much as he
would a leper. By keeping his distance. Instead, he
chose to pass his evenings with friends.
At his age of three and thirty, marriage was
expected. He knew it had to happen soon if he
was to maintain his dignity. After all, the longer
he remained unattached, the more it looked like
he’d not yet recovered from losing his fiancĂ©e to
another man.
It had been three years since the incident yet it
still rankled.
Gabriella, now the Duchess of Huntley, would
have made the perfect countess. The very idea of
her choosing an ill-bred ruffian, even if he did
happen to have a prestigious title, was bad enough
without Simon having to worry about what people
would think of the next bride he picked. She
would have to be at least as pretty, graceful, and
accomplished as Gabriella. Preferably more so,
which brought him back to the inadequacy of the
women currently available for marriage.
Seated in a quiet corner of White’s together with
Baron Hawthorne and the Earl of Yates, Simon
sipped his brandy and tried to force his thoughts
away from the past by focusing on what Yates was
saying.
“It was never meant to get this out of hand,”
Yates explained while looking precisely like the
sort of man whose neck was being squeezed by a
noose. He was a good fellow – one of the few who
seemed to tolerate Simon’s company – though
sadly too kind for his own good, seeing as he’d
gotten tangled up with an untitled woman who
lacked a dowry and connections. “All I meant to
do was help the girl. She’s a friend of my sister’s
after all.”
“If every man with a sister offered to step out
with all her unremarkable friends, he’d have gotten
himself engaged a dozen times over,” Baron
Hawthorne muttered. He tossed back the remainder
of his drink and poured himself another. “It’s
your own damn fault for being too nice.”
“He’s right, you know,” Simon said.
Stretching out his legs, he crossed them at the
ankles and cradled his snifter between his hands
while pondering Yates’s dilemma. Apparently
there had been a compromising situation which
just happened to have been witnessed by a group
of matrons hoping to find a reprieve from the
stuffy ballroom.
Simon sighed. “The trouble is,” he said, deciding
to meet Yates’s gaze dead on, “hell, the
trouble has always been, that she’s not your equal.
Socially, I mean.”
“Well done, Fielding.” Hawthorne said with a
smirk. “It’s always good to know you’ll remind us
of what’s acceptable.”
Simon fought the urge to roll his eyes. “Tell me
I’m wrong.” His demand was, as expected, met by
silence. Not even Yates attempted to argue. “Miss
Harlowe is not countess material. This doesn’t
mean she cannot be perfectly lovely, but no matter
how you turn it, she’ll always be born into the
wrong family.”
There was a heavy moment of silence, and then
Hawthorne asked, “Has your outlook on life
always been this sunny?”
Simon snorted. “I’m just trying to be realistic. If
Yates marries Miss Harlowe, he will no longer be
welcome in certain circles, people will talk, and
his life as he knows it will be forever changed,
which I very much doubt is something he wants.”
“From determined wife hunter to cynical
loner,” Yates murmured, his narrowed eyes fixed
on Simon with interest. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten
your eager pursuit of Gabriella Matthews.
Hell, you were even engaged to her for what, ten
seconds or so, roughly four years ago?”
“The Duchess of Huntley?” Hawthorne
inquired with wide eyes. “I don’t recall that at
all.”
“Three,” Simon clipped. “It was three years
ago.”
“You must not have been at the Coventry Ball
that season,” Yates said to Hawthorne. “Fielding
announced the betrothal – even kissed Gabriella
before one and all – only to let the whole thing
fizzle away into nothing. A short while later,
Huntley and Gabriella were married and you,”
Yates tilted his almost empty glass in Simon’s
direction, “haven’t proposed to anyone since.”
“Perhaps because I haven’t met anyone else
worth asking,” Simon said.
Yates leaned back, his expression suddenly distant
and thoughtful.
“I think you need to fall in love,” Hawthorne
told Simon with a grin.
“God forbid,” Simon muttered. Worrying over
his future was difficult enough without throwing
love into the mix.
“I don’t think he believes in love,” Yates said.
Simon gave his friend a deadpan look. “Of course
I do. There have been so many blissful unions of
late, I’m inclined to believe we live in a world full
of rainbows where cupids lurk behind every bush.
Hell, even Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St.
Giles – a man I would have sworn had no heart –
is smitten with his young wife.”
“Sounds like an epidemic.”
Simon snorted in response to Hawthorne’s comment
and took another sip of his drink.
“By the by,” Yates murmured in a more discreet
tone than earlier, “I’ve promised Celeste I’d try
and find her a new protector, in case this thing
with Miss Harlowe doesn’t blow over and I end
up marrying her.”
“I don’t understand why you’d want to give up
your mistress if you’re not in love,” Hawthorne
said.
“Out of respect for my wife,” Yates said. He
emitted a heavy sigh and looked at Simon. “I
don’t suppose you would be interested?”
“I’m afraid not. In my experience mistresses are
demanding and hard to get rid of.” His last one
had even made a spectacle, chasing after him on
Oxford Street when he’d tried to end things with
her. It had been most embarrassing.
“Celeste isn’t like that. She’s quite agreeable and
sweet.”
“Nevertheless,” Simon said.
“No wife or mistress,” Hawthorne said with a
pitying look that put Simon on edge. “You must
be in need of a good tup.”
“It’s not so bad,” Simon said.
Hawthorne raised an eyebrow. “Really? How
long has it been since you last had a woman?”
Simon shrugged. He hated this – hated being
made to feel lacking in some way. Attempting to
show indifference, he busied himself with refilling
his glass. “Three months or so.”
“Damnation,” Yates murmured.
“Hell, it’s no wonder you look so tense.” Hawthorne
reached inside his jacket pocket, retrieved
a card, and handed it to Simon. “If I may, I suggest
you stop by Amourette’s on your way home
tonight.”
“It’s a brothel, is it not?” Simon asked. When
Hawthorne nodded Simon instinctively winced.
“I don’t think so.”

 


  

Other Books in the Diamonds In The Rough Series: 

   

 A Most Unlikely Duke  

Diamonds in the Rough, Book 1   

 

The Duke of Her Desire  

Diamonds in the Rough, Book 2   

 

The Illegitimate Duke  

Diamonds in the Rough, Book 3   

 

The Infamous Duchess  

Diamonds in the Rough, Book 4 

   

The Forgotten Duke  

Diamonds In The Rough, Book 5 

  

Series Link 

 


 

About the Author

Born in Denmark, USA TODAY bestselling author Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.  

When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.  

             

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Comments

  1. Pretty cover. I like that it is a series. The blurb sounds good. Thanks for the chance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the cover! The colors are amazing.

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