Monday, May 9, 2016

Virtual Book Tour of The Untamed Earl by Valerie Bowman




Lady Alexandra Hobbs, the daughter of the Duke of Huntley, has intended to marry Lord Owen Monroe since she first glimpsed him from the window of her bedchamber, back when she was just a girl. But the duke has already chosen Alex’s infamously spoiled elder sister, Lavinia, for Owen. And now there’s no turning back.

Owen has spent most of his bachelor years drinking, gambling, and skirt-chasing. He won’t see another pound from his parents, however, until he’s engaged to Lavinia. Desperate, he accepts an offer from her innocent and spirited—and absolutely beautiful—sister Alex: She will turn him into a perfectly tamed suitor, and show him how to woo the shrew. But when Alex’s true motives come to light, will their bargain lead to recriminations—or to a romance that defies everyone’s expectations?

London, October 1816
“You heard me, Owen, and this time I’m putting my foot down.” The stamp of a boot lent credence to that particular claim.
Owen tugged at his sleeve and did his best to keep from rolling his eyes. He’d been summoned to his father’s study for what was likely the sixth time in as many months. Only this time, Owen had the misfortunate to be completely … sober. Blast, he should have stopped at the club and been even later than he already was to his father’s favorite pastime, dressing down his son. At least it would be more palatable if he were half in the bottle.
“I understand,” Owen drawled, standing up from the leather-upholstered chair that sat in front of his father’s large mahogany desk. Owen inched toward the door. He had learned over years of such meetings that it was best to get out quickly before his father had a chance to toss more empty threats at his head.
“No. I don’t think you do understand,” the earl said, stamping his foot against the wooden floor again.
“I understand,” Owen drawled, standing up from the leather-upholstered chair that sat in front of his father’s large mahogany desk. Owen inched toward the door. He had learned over years of such meetings that it was best to get out quickly before his father had a chance to toss more empty threats at his head.
“No. I don’t think you do understand,” the earl said, stamping his foot against the wooden floor again.
Owen pressed his lips together to keep from saying something he’d regret. Which was usually everything he said. “I understand perfectly. You’re tired of my drinking?”
“Yes!”
“My gambling?”
“Yes!”
“My fondness for light skirts?”
“Yes!”
Owen picked an imaginary bit of lint from the front of his impeccably tailored blue coat. The garment had cost a small fortune, but then again, high fashion didn’t come cheap and Owen prided himself on being well dressed. Well dressed, well fed, well entertained. Well everything. He focused his gaze on his father’s red face. “There, you see? I’ve cataloged all my faults. You want me to find a wife and ‘settle down.’ I understand entirely.”
“No. You don’t understand, Owen.” His father clutched at the lapels of his own burgundy coat and tugged viciously. Owen winced. There was no need to take it out on the garment. “You don’t understand at all,” the earl continued. “How many times have we had this discussion?”
“Too many to count,” Owen muttered under his breath. He was already thinking of the hand of cards he’d be playing tonight at his favorite gaming hell.
“What was that?” His father narrowed his eyes on him.
Oh, devil take it. His father had heard his mutter. “Quite a few,” Owen answered in a clearer voice.
“And how many times have you left here and done absolutely nothing to comply with my wishes?” his father replied, still tugging on his lapels.
“Too many to count,” Owen muttered again, glancing down at the tabletop so he wouldn’t have to witness the assault on the garment.
“You’ve never complied with my wishes!” The Earl of Moreland banged his large fist against the desk. The inkpot bounced. “Damn it, Owen, you’re to inherit the title one day. You’re to be an earl, for heaven’s sake. You’re to take your seat in Parliament and be a productive member of Society. You cannot continue to comport yourself as if you’re nothing more than a gadabout.”
“But I am nothing more than a gadabout.” Owen sighed and scratched at the underside of his chin. “Haven’t you told me that ever since my days at Eton?”
“We’re not going to talk about that again,” the earl replied, a thunderous expression hovering across his brow.
That’s right. His father had never even asked him what happened. Just assumed the worst about his son. And Owen had set about proving him right ever since.
“And you’re not a gadabout,” the earl continued. “Or you won’t be.” He banged his fist on the desk again. At least he’d surrendered the poor, blameless lapels. “I’m tired of having this conversation with you to no avail. I’m tired of seeing you while away your days drinking and gambling. I’m tired of hearing stories about your exploits all over town.”
Owen rubbed a knuckle against his forehead. “Oh, come now. They aren’t all over town, are they?”
His father’s jowls shook as he clutched his lapels even more tightly again. “Don’t be impertinent.”
“I’ve long since passed impertinent. And please have a care for your jacket, Father.” Owen smoothed a hand over the thigh of his coffee-colored breeches. Also not cheap. Living the lifestyle to which he’d grown accustomed was, in fact, quite expensive, and his monthly allowance from his father was the means by which he maintained his lifestyle. Hence Owen’s willingness to come here regularly and receive his dressing-down. It was a means to an end. He kept his father happy, and a large bank draft was deposited into his account each month. Of course, he sent a sizable portion of his allowance each month to an orphanage near one of the gaming hells he frequented, but he’d never tell his father that. Why spoil the man’s bad opinion of him? Besides, Owen wasn’t in the business of untarnishing his reputation. In fact, he’d been doing the exact opposite for years. It was a sport for him, really, much like training his beloved horses.
“Damn it, Owen. You must care about something.
Owen did care about something. He adored his younger sister, Cassandra, and his horses. In that order. Neither had ever let him down. Neither had ever believed the worst of him. “I care about the damage you’re wreaking on your lapels,” he drawled.
The earl lifted his chin. “That’s it. I’ve given you plenty of opportunities. I’m officially finished putting up with your behavior. You will return here one month from today with an affianced bride or else!”
Owen’s gaze flicked over his father. Was that spittle on his chin? The old blighter really had his back up this time, didn’t he? But Owen couldn’t help himself. “Or else what?”
“And you’re not a gadabout,” the earl continued. “Or you won’t be.” He banged his fist on the desk again. At least he’d surrendered the poor, blameless lapels. “I’m tired of having this conversation with you to no avail. I’m tired of seeing you while away your days drinking and gambling. I’m tired of hearing stories about your exploits all over town.”
Owen rubbed a knuckle against his forehead. “Oh, come now. They aren’t all over town, are they?”
His father’s jowls shook as he clutched his lapels even more tightly again. “Don’t be impertinent.”
“I’ve long since passed impertinent. And please have a care for your jacket, Father.” Owen smoothed a hand over the thigh of his coffee-colored breeches. Also not cheap. Living the lifestyle to which he’d grown accustomed was, in fact, quite expensive, and his monthly allowance from his father was the means by which he maintained his lifestyle. Hence Owen’s willingness to come here regularly and receive his dressing-down. It was a means to an end. He kept his father happy, and a large bank draft was deposited into his account each month. Of course, he sent a sizable portion of his allowance each month to an orphanage near one of the gaming hells he frequented, but he’d never tell his father that. Why spoil the man’s bad opinion of him? Besides, Owen wasn’t in the business of untarnishing his reputation. In fact, he’d been doing the exact opposite for years. It was a sport for him, really, much like training his beloved horses.
“Damn it, Owen. You must care about something.
Owen did care about something. He adored his younger sister, Cassandra, and his horses. In that order. Neither had ever let him down. Neither had ever believed the worst of him. “I care about the damage you’re wreaking on your lapels,” he drawled.
The earl lifted his chin. “That’s it. I’ve given you plenty of opportunities. I’m officially finished putting up with your behavior. You will return here one month from today with an affianced bride or else!”
Owen’s gaze flicked over his father. Was that spittle on his chin? The old blighter really had his back up this time, didn’t he? But Owen couldn’t help himself. “Or else what?”
AUTHOR INFO

VALERIE BOWMAN was an RT Reviewers Choice Award nominee for Best Historical Novel 2013 in the category of Love and Laughter for SECRETS OF A RUNAWAY BRIDE, and in the category of Best First Historical in 2012 for SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT! She has been featured as a bride on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, and in guest posts for USA Today’s Happily Ever After and Publishers Weekly’s Beyond Her Blog. She’s received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist while also becoming a top pick for Romance Reviews Today, Fresh Fiction, and BN.com (Bookseller Best Picks) with SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE. Valerie has recently been nominated for the 2014 Kirkus Prize with THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS

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