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 a paranormal 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 had no earthly idea what she would say to her husband when she saw him again after nearly a year apart. Perhaps she would carry on as if nothing had happened, simply pick up where they’d left off before everything had gone so wrong between them. By now, what else was there to say?
“Oh, sorry I kissed Lord Ralston, by the way. How was Italy?”
She took a deep breath as the cab pulled up in front of Averford House. To mask her trepidation at surpris- ing her husband, she put on the imperious face she wore when dealing with the servants and smiled coolly at the driver as he opened the door for her to step out.
“Thank you. A footman will see to compensating you when he comes to retrieve my luggage.”
Before the driver could protest, she walked by him, up the steps to the door, and entered. No one was there to greet her, as expected since she hadn’t called ahead. She proceeded to the parlor and rang for Sutton.
“My lady.” His cheeks reddened in surprise as he rounded the corner. “I—we weren’t expecting you.”
Finch, their Yorkshire butler, had the good sense to appear unruffled at all times. Sutton occasionally slipped and revealed himself to be...human, she supposed. The man was only human. Why would she expect otherwise? Times were changing, as her friend Eve never failed to remind her. Perhaps it was time Sophia softened her expectations. A little. But allowing the servants to be human meant that she might slip and expose herself as human too. She wasn’t sure she wanted to make herself that vulnerable.
“Of course not.” She loosened her lace gloves one finger at a time and pulled them off. “I came on a whim. I’m sorry if I’ve startled you. I hope it won’t be much trouble to make my room ready, considering Lord Averford is already in house.”
It was the first time she’d ever apologized to a servant that she could recall, and she supposed that she could do it again. The foundation hadn’t rocked beneath her feet, and Sutton remained standing before her awaiting further instruction. Surely Gabriel might see it as a sign that she was making an effort.