Today I am so happy to have Sandra Sookoo here on the Journal to talk about her newest release, The Bride’s Gambit by way of the game of chess!
Thanks for having me on your blog today, Jenna. I’m excited to talk to you about my recent Regency release, The Bride’s Gambit.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of the game of chess. I absolutely love pitting my
smarts against my opponent and moving my pieces around the board, declaring a quiet sort of war against an enemy. It requires wit, skill and the ability to anticipate your opponent three moves down the line. Sometimes I win big; sometimes I’m defeated soundly, but every time, it’s the journey that’s enjoyable.
If you think about it, the game of romance is very much the same as chess. Opponents—lovers—move around each other in a dance, striking, retreating and then coming together again. It’s said whoever makes the opening gambit (move) holds control. Is this true? We shall see.
Here’s a dilemma for you: Imagine you’re a highwayman, minding your own business chasing down a coach headed for London, when one of the ladies inside a) doesn’t have a fit of the vapors being asked for valuables and then b) promptly asks you to thoroughly ruin her.
Such is the situation my hero Collin found himself in during the opining chapters of this new
book. Poor guy. Yeah right LOL Vanessa’s not exactly a stranger to the Marriage Mart. You see, she’s been engaged five times… and has fled the wedding ceremonies each time as well. She’s done with the poor bacon-brained men her father has picked out. Now she wants a man who will inflame her insides as well as engage her brain.
Will her gambit pay off in a big way? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Here’s the blurb for The Bride’s Gambit:
She wants a dashing, courageous man…Vanessa Underhill is on the run from her fifth would-be groom. She doesn’t care for any of the men her father has picked–none engaged her mentally or physically. Hunger for a man who will stir her imagination fires her virginal fantasies.
He wants understanding… When he’s bored with his role as Viscount Blackpool, Collin
Northington becomes a highwayman to gain anonymity and solace. With his face scarred
fulfilling his military duty in India, he hides behind the brigand mask and persona. What he
really desires is a woman who will look beyond outward appearances and take a chance.
If only for one night… In lieu of payment, Collin kidnaps Vanessa from the northern-bound
stage. The more time they spend together—and in each other’s arms—the more they find they have in common beyond heated desire. When Collin delivers an impromptu marriage proposal, Vanessa unmasks more than his scarred face, but will his true identity and her penchant for fleeing grooms ruin what could very well be love?
Opportunity threw them together but circumstances might tear them apart.
And a little excerpt to get you excited: (at the time of this interview I’m still waiting on final edits to come back so forgive any errors or awkward phrasing)
A blast of bitter laughter left Collin’s throat. “Love seldom is a component for marriage
in this day and age. People wed for class advantage and monetary gain. Perhaps boredom. Who knows?”
“Perhaps, but my father sets the matches regardless of what I want.”
“And what is it that you want, Miss Underhill?” His next steps put him a hairbreadth
from her. If he inhaled deeply, he’d touch her.
Vanessa licked her dry lips and tasted dust. “I want…” What do I want? “No one has
asked me that before.”
“Consider this ample time to ponder your answer.”
She looked into his face, held captive by his intense gaze, which sparkled like brandy in
the twilight. “I want to live, to feel, to experience everything I can, yet grandly, with no thought to whether it’s proper or not.” She warmed to her topic. “I want the freedom to paint landscapes and portraits if I feel like it, to scream at the top of my lungs should I desire it, or merely to be left alone if I don’t without having to answer to my parents’ dictates.”
“Ah, and running off to London will gain you these things?”
“Why would you want to go to London at this time of year? The air alone will kill you.
Country living is much more favorable.”
“God save me from Surrey’s countryside and the troubles therein.” She needed a whole
new outlook. “I’ll admit, I didn’t think my plan through. I simply wanted to remove myself from the church, those people, and the groom.” She shivered, but suspected it wasn’t due to disgust of Mr. Abernathy. She fought the urge to lean into Collin and investigate his apples-and-oak scent.
Did he smoke a pipe?
Wanting to say the rest of what plagued her, she rushed on, hoping for a kinship with
him. “In the silly recesses of my heart, I’d like to hope that a man will love me for me. Maybe he’ll overlook the woman of the rumors and gossip, ignore my faults and shortcomings.” She swallowed around a lump in her throat. She would not cry in front of him. “To date, this has only been a dream.”
“How well I understand that dream, as I’ve had similar ones, though they’re not silly.”
He placed a gloved finger beneath her chin and tipped it upward. “You should have stayed at the church, Ness.”
Hearing a shortened version of her name from such a figure captivated her senses and
propelled her into heightened awareness. “Why?” The question was little more than a breath of air. Everything seemed sharp and crisp and… more. Being so close to a man—this man—heated her insides and produced a curious dampness between her thighs. Why was he different from the others?
“Being in my company will be a disaster to your reputation and your innocence.”
“My reputation is already tatters, and perhaps I no longer wish to be innocent.” She
gasped at her daring. “I want adventure if only for a night.”
“Then you and I will suit just fine.” With a dip of his head, Collin fit his lips to hers.
Vanessa stiffened. The amount of times she’d been kissed she could count on one hand,
and even then, none of those meetings of mouths had made her feel as if she’d drown in a man’s presence or burn to a pile of ash simultaneously like she did with Collin. She relaxed, and though he didn’t put his arms around her, she slid her hands up his chest to clutch his broad shoulders and savored the warm press of his lips.
All too soon, he pulled away. He regarded her with a mix of desire and speculation.
“Good show.” He stepped aside and gave a shrill whistle that made her startle. Seconds later, a bay mare, saddled and ready, trotted out from the woods. Collin grinned, but this time the smile was cold. “Do you trust me?”
“I have no reason not to as you have not killed anyone in my company nor harmed me in
any way.” Oh, this course of action might be the biggest folly of her life… yet it might be just the thing to help her find the woman she’d always wanted to be.
The highwayman nodded. “Your ride awaits.”
You can purchase The Bride’s Gambit at the following links:
All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thebride039sgambit-1026072-160.html
I’d love to connect with you around the web! Here’s where you can find me:
Believing is Seeing blog: http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/
Also, the first book in the series, Lady Parker’s Grand Affair, is on sale for .99 cents through the end of the year if you’d like to pick that up.
Giveaway: One random commenter will receive a pretty ribbon and beaded bookmark with one of the above books on it plus some book swag. Please remember to leave your contact information.