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Teasing Miss Atherby by Sandra Sookoo is a Love and Romance Festival pick #Regency #giveaway

Title: Teasing Miss Atherby (a Willful Winterbournes novella)

Author: Sandra Sookoo

Genre: Historical romance, Regency romance

Book Blurb:

Life is quite dull unless adventure is in the offing… Miss Louisa Atherby is back in London, but she’d rather be flitting about the world, poking into hidden places of mystery, doing something worthwhile. Though she’s a distant cousin, she is part of the Winterbourne family, and since her parents are dead, she yearns for the connection only family can bring. Yet the shocking news she’s discovered might tear that apart and destroy everything she’s ever wanted.

Without purpose, a man is useless… Major Hugh Pritchard has experienced a run of misfortune since the war ended. Thwarted in love, he still wishes to settle down and put a spark back into his existence. When his sister suggests attending a Valentine’s Day ball, he agrees with alacrity especially since the mysterious Miss Atherby will be there. As he sets forth to possibly win her heart or fall into scandal, her less than savory mission might devastate those plans.

Love is a messy prospect at best… While Louisa is against marriage and the restrictions it will bring, an old flame from Hugh’s past surfaces to add complications to an already tempestuous romance. As the Winterbournes scramble to make sense of Louisa’s shocking discovery, the desire simmering between her and the major ignites into an inferno, adding yet another possible on-dit against the family name. But Cupid is nothing if not persistent, and by the ball’s end everything will change. Only choosing love will make the difference.


“Though if a lady were to choose a man solely based on his worth, she might miss out on love.”

“Love.” Louisa sighed. “I wouldn’t know, for my heart has never been engaged, but I do know—for I have seen too many instances of this—that marriage is a veritable prison for a woman. Her life is no longer her own and she simply disappears into her husband’s existence, with nothing else for her to do but keep his house and bear his children.” Though she watched the geese, and he couldn’t see her expression well, the distaste in her voice was readily apparent.

“I am sorry you feel that way, but to my thinking, it doesn’t need to be such.” Was that why she wasn’t marriage minded? Could he change her mind? He didn’t know but he looked forward to the challenge. “There are men who support their wives’ endeavors and dreams. Not every man is an ogre.”

“Of course not, but I suspect those men are few and far between, and even more difficult to find.” She turned her head, met his eyes but didn’t appear convinced. “Present company excepted. I’m sure you are a lovely person, Major.”

“Thank you.” Warmth went through his chest, and inordinately pleased with her assessment, he offered a grin. “There is a bench just there. Would you wish to sit with me? Or if it is too cold, I can take you home.”

Louisa shook her head. The anemic winter sunlight caught in her wheat-blonde hair and made the strands glimmer beneath her bonnet. “Home is rather a fluid notion at this point. I don’t feel as if I truly belong anywhere just now, but sitting would be lovely.”

His chest tightened at her confusion and restlessness, for he felt much the same. Leading her to the wrought iron bench, Hugh waited until she’d settled before seating himself beside her, close enough that her warmth seeped into him but with a modicum of space between them that the maid wouldn’t tattle. “If you had the chance, would you continue to travel?”

“Of course.” She turned her head, and once more a small smile curved those lips he couldn’t stop staring at. “The world is constantly changing. There is always something new to learn and discover, but then you already know that from being away in the war.”

“Indeed. It seems so long ago now.”

“Do you miss being in the military?”

“I miss some aspects of it. The schedules. Knowing how my life was ordered for every possible moment. Having clear direction of tasks. Understanding that the men beneath my command were also very much like a family to me.” A sigh escaped him. “I do not miss the mud and the cold and the hunger. Nor do I miss the fighting or the never knowing if survival would last until the next day.”

Yes, he’d been damned fortunate to return home to England without being maimed or critically injured, but that didn’t mean there weren’t scars on his mind or heart.

“I can only imagine what you went through on those battlefields,” she said in a soft voice. When Louisa touched her gloved hand to his, heat streaked up his arm. “Are you glad to be home?”

“In moments like this I am.” There was something about this woman that tugged at his soul, made him feel as if that particular fight had been more than worthwhile. Or perhaps it was wishful thinking, for he had a bad habit of falling tip over tail for a woman too quickly. Had he learned nothing from the debacle over Gilbert’s wife? But this is not the same, he argued with himself. Concentrating on her face, he said, “I am glad to renew my acquaintance with you, Louisa.”

Her smile could rip open the heavens and show him the way to God. “As am I. It’s one of the unexpected treasures I have found upon returning to London.” Then her chin trembled slightly, and a wave of protection welled for her. “You give me strength to do what I must; that means more than you’ll know.”

Well, damn.

Despite the presence of the maid not ten feet away or the fact they were in a public place, Hugh threw caution to the wind, for he refused to let this moment of connection pass. Watching Louisa the whole time, he slipped a hand upward to cup her cheek then he pressed his lips to hers in a chaste kiss that lingered much longer than perhaps propriety would allow.

Had he lost his mind? Would she slap him for taking a liberty?

As soon as he pulled away, heat crept over his collar. “I apologize. That wasn’t well done of me.”

A blush stained her cheeks, but she hadn’t lost that smile. “I don’t accept your apology, Major.” With mischief dancing in her eyes, she tugged on the lapels of his greatcoat and before he knew what she was about, she returned his overture, and though it was just as chaste, he swore the implications of it rocked the foundations of his soul.

When a discreet fit of coughing from somewhere behind them caused them to separate once more, Hugh blew out a breath of frustration.

“It would seem such behavior isn’t becoming,” he whispered and followed it with a chuckle.

Louisa snickered. She waved to the maid. “Would that we could continue this particular conversation elsewhere.”

Hope mixed with desire in his chest. “Shall I call on you tomorrow, then?”

“I think you should. And escort me somewhere exciting in which we could perhaps lose our chaperone for a few minutes.”

“I shall do my level best.” Anticipation buzzed at the base of his spine. He stood, offered his hand, and brought Louisa to her feet. “Allow me to escort you home, else being in your company will prove too much of a temptation to tease.”

“As if that would be such a bad thing,” she murmured quietly for his ears alone.

Hot desire circled through his gut, and he reminded himself he wasn’t merely seeking a physical relationship from this woman. The end goal was a companion for the rest of his life. Would she see things the same? Only time would tell. “Patience, Miss Atherby. It is a marathon, not a foot race.” But so far, he was enjoying the process immensely.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?

I can send my readers on adventures and give them hope, an escape, entertain them. Remove them from reality for a bit.

Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:

Never underestimate the power of a sense of humor. There is always room for laughter.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.

Runs February 1 – 28, 2023.

Drawing will be held on March 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. She’s written for publication since 2008. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in the Victorian era, or historical romantic suspense complete with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating chocolates—you can’t just have one book. Good thing they don’t have calories!

When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards, Sandra spends time with her real-life Prince Charming in Central Indiana where she’s been known to bake cookies and make moments count because the key to life is laughter. A Disney fan since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.

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Feb 19, 2023

My best romantic tip is to stay honest!


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Feb 14, 2023

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing your new release in our Love and Romance Book Festival!

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