Thornbrook Park by Sherri Browning
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Synopsis: In a world poised for epic change...
Disowned for marrying beneath her, Eve Kendal has returned to England destitute after her husband's death and the mysterious disappearance of their savings. She's looking for survival, not romance. But from London to the Yorkshire countryside to the elegant estate of Thornbrook Park, Eve's path seems destined to cross that of the dashing but violent Captain Marcus Thorne.
Anything can happen...
For Marcus, a return home means facing the demons that drove him to war in the first place. As he and Eve begin a steamy affair, tensions that had been simmering just beneath the surface threaten to explode and shake the very foundations of Thornbrook Park.
My review: I have to admit I am not quite done reading this book so I am just going to post a short review but will be back in a few days to post a longer one. I am chapter seven so maybe about a fourth of the way through the book and I am really enjoying this book. Eve is someone I could imagine being friends with - she is such a nice person and one of my favorite characters. Marcus so far so good with him as well, I am anxious to learn more about him and how his character develops Sophia I do not care for that much, there is just something about her that I just don't like. I think she thinks she is better than everyone. Agatha she is cracking me up and I hope she plays a part throughout the whole book. I can't wait to work my way through the rest of this book.
Sherri Browning Erwin, best known for critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations, also writes paranormal romance and historical romance as Sherri Browning. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in Massachusetts and Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Watch for her return to historical romance with the upcoming Thornbrook Park series.
Her books have been mentioned in People magazine, USA Today, Seventeen, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal blog, UK’s Telegraph and Argus, and once, as the subject of a New York Times cartoon. She remains a diehard Patriots fan, a proud member of Red Sox Nation, an adventurous eater, avid traveler, and a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World.
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“I love to hear you laugh.” He eased his chair closer to hers. She found herself leaning more toward him as well. “It has been too long since these old walls have echoed sounds of joy.”
“Instead of anger or sorrow?” She reached for his hand. “Life is too short for unrelenting gloom, Marcus. I think your coming to Thornbrook Park was a good idea, whatever happens with the farm. It’s not healthy for you to be left here alone with dark thoughts.”
“I don’t believe I ever confessed to having dark thoughts.” He arched a golden brow.
She caressed the rough calluses over his knuckles. “My apologies. I just assumed, with the prizefighting? A good prizefighter must have a fair amount of built-up tension to unleash in the ring. Ah, but you never said you were good.” She smiled, her voice taking on a teasing tone. “From the way you looked on the first night I saw you…”
He threw back his head and howled laughter. “I’m good, Mrs. Kendal. I’m very good.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it.”
“Instincts make a good fighter, the ability to read one’s opponent.” He eased his chair as close to hers as space would allow.
“What do you read in me?” she dared ask, her voice a sultry whisper.
“I would hope that you’re not my opponent.” He brushed a hand along the nape of her neck and trailed it around to cup her cheek. “But I do believe you’re issuing a challenge.”
“A challenge?” Her stomach tightened as his hand dropped lower to toy with the crystal beads along her décolletage. “What an idea. Show me.”
“Show you?” His mouth dropped open.
She laughed, jumped to her feet, and took his hand. “How to read an opponent in the ring. Let’s spar. Isn’t that what you call it?”
He remained seated.
She stripped off her gloves, balled her hands into fists, and hopped from foot to foot. “Afraid? I promise I won’t hurt you.”
He laughed, a low chortle, and got to his feet.
“I mean business, Captain Thorne. I’m eager to learn.”
“First, let’s work on your stance,” he said, studying her.
She dropped her hands to her sides. “What’s wrong with my stance?”
“Absolutely nothing, if your intention is to ornament the room. I daresay it looks a damn bit brighter with you in it.” He closed the distance between them and flashed the wolfish grin again.
“Men.” She rolled her eyes and placed a finger under his chin, directing his gaze from her décolletage back to her face. “Impossibly easy to distract. Perhaps this is how you ended up with a bloody lip this afternoon.”
“My opponent did not offer the slightest distraction. I simply looked away at the wrong time. Had you been my sparring partner, looking away would not have been an option.”
“Then I have my work cut out for me.” She jabbed him in the arm. “Or maybe not, if you’re just going to stand there and be a target.”
“We’re working on your stance.” He took her by the waist. “You need to bend a bit here. And your knees. Bend your knees. That’s it. Now bob a little back and forth.”
She held her breath, trying not to be the one distracted by the motion of their bodies swaying together, back, forth. “I think I’m catching on.”
He shook his head. “No, still too stiff. A fighter needs to be flexible. Try shaking your arms out and finding your stance again.”
“Like this?” She dropped her arms to her sides and waved them around a bit, then bounced from foot to foot and put her fists up again.
“Better. Much better. Now square your shoulders. You want to be flexible, but with a core of steel.” He ran his hands along her collarbone and in a line straight down the center of her body, flattening his palm against her abdomen. “That’s it, tighten up.”
“Tighten up? I’m coiled like a spring.” How could he be so serious when his slightest touch had sent her mind reeling?
“Indeed. You’re in fine form now.” He took a step back and mirrored her posture. Then he began to bounce from foot to foot in front of her, jabbing the air in her direction. “Ready?”
Without his coat and tie, he looked so much more imposing, as if to remind her that the bulk was all him, solid muscle, not the bunches of fabric that had covered him. Underneath the finery, he was a hulking specimen. As if she needed reminding. A lump rose in her throat. “I suppose.”
She forgot to move. She forgot to breathe. He landed a light jab to her bare upper arm.
“Try to hit me,” he urged.
She shook her head to clear it and bounced lightly on her toes. She swung a fist, aiming for his square jaw, and missed. He dodged it in time.
“You see? Instinct. Try again.” He spun a circle around her, bouncing from foot to foot all the while.
She swung again. And missed. “Oh, for goodness sake.”
He circled her again. And again. She kept up but began to feel a little dizzy. “You jab like a girl.”
“I am a girl,” she said, gritting her teeth. She began to sense a pattern in his movement. Left foot, sideways movement, left, right, back, left, moving a circle around her all the while.
“A fragile little—”
“Fragile?” That did it. She swung and knocked him right on the chin. “Ha!”
“Ow.” He staggered back.
“Are you all right? I didn’t mean to hurt you. I got carried away.” She reached for him, eager to assess the damage.
He laughed, slipping an arm around her waist. “I’m well, thank you. Good left hook. You got me.”
“I did.” She smiled. “Taunt me, will you?”
“Never again,” he promised, still holding her in his arms. “Any blood? I think you might have reopened my wound.”
She studied his full lips, her breath slowing. “No blood.”
“Are you sure?” She felt his heart hammering right up against her. “Look closely.”
She ran a fingertip along the edge of his lips, her knees weakening. “Not a trace.”
His gaze met hers, gold glistening in the amber depths. “Perhaps I’m not as good as I’d thought. I barely offered you a challenge.”
“I nearly gave up when you started going in circles.”
“Did I make you dizzy?” He leaned in, pressing his forehead to hers.
“You are good.” She remained against him, fighting the urge to kiss the lips only inches from her own. “I didn’t stand a chance.”
His eyes widened, studying her. “I warned you.”
“My downfall. I’ve never been much good at heeding warnings.” They stayed there, each of them daring the other to make the move that neither would make...