His Scandalous Kiss
Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes
Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .
Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .
Today, we are happy to welcome Historical Romance author Sophie Barnes! Sophie, would you care to share a short bio with us?
Sure! First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me on over to your blog. I love what you’ve done with the place 🙂 Do you know that purple is my favorite color?
Well, a bit about me…I was born in Denmark, spent most of my childhood in Spain where I attended British international schools, and have studied fashion design in Paris and New York. After meeting my husband, I spent six years living in Africa, which is where I (after picking up a copy of JQ’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton at a local bookshop) decided to try writing a historical romance novel of my own. I now live on the East Coast of the Unite States with my husband and kids + an African bush dog.
Please tell us a little bit about His Scandalous Kiss. What inspired the themes in your story?
His Scandalous Kiss features a wounded hero who hides from the world, devoting himself to seeking revenge on the man who once betrayed him. It’s a story of trust, loyalty and devotion, of loving a person for who they truly are rather than for their physical attributes. It is essentially a Beauty and the Beast story inspired by The Phantom of the Opera. With that theme in mind, a large part of it takes place in a mysterious subterranean cavern – a place where the hero and heroine dare to open up to each other and hope for love while sharing their mutual fondness for music.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a fluid plotter. In other words, I need to have some sort of structure – an outline with a general idea of where the story is going to go – but it’s never so rigid that it can’t easily change course. Sometimes my characters just decide that they want something other than what I had in mind.
If you were to attend a masquerade party, what costume would you wear?
Ooooooh…I would absolutely love to attend the yearly masquerade in Venice! And I think I’d want to dress traditionally, with one of those extravagant over the top costumes they wear – like the one in the picture below.
What qualities do you look for in a book boyfriend?
Confidence, intelligence and a good sense of humor. It’s great if he’s strong-willed while still being capable of setting aside his pride or his arrogance in order to recognize his mistakes. Being humble in the end can be really endearing.
And speaking of book boyfriend, tell us about yours and if you have more than one 🙂
Well, Collin Bridgerton will always hold a special place in my heart, but I also liked Elizabeth Hoyt’s Captain Trevillian. I found him to be a really memorable and admirable character.
If you could travel back in time to Regency England, what is the one place you would visit first and why?
I would go to Jane Austen’s house, knock on the door and ask if she might be willing to have a cup of tea with me, because that would definitely be something to write home about!
Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading?
There are many, but right off the top of my head, I’d say: Julia Quinn, Sophie Jordan, Sarah MacLean, Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, Grace Burrowes, Vicky Dreiling, and many, many, more. Right now I’m reading Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt – I caught a few random books in her Maiden Lane series so now I’m going back and trying to fill in the ones I missed.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
For first names, it’s usually something that I personally like and that I feel is a strong name for the hero or a feminine name for the heroine. For titles, I often think of seasons or animals or places and then I just add ‘by’, ‘ton’, ‘borough’, e.t.c. on the end, or I look at the keyboard and try to think of something with a letter that I haven’t used in a while and that hasn’t already been taken by another character.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’ll be giving Secrets At Thorncliff Manor a rest and moving on to a new series for which I’ve written the first book. It’s a ‘clash of the classes’ type of series with the first book being something along the lines of My Fair Lady in reverse. In other words, it will feature a bare knuckle fighter/dockyard worker who suddenly finds himself the only heir to a duke’s title.
Sounds interesting Sophie! Thanks for joining us today, hope you come back soon 🙂 (Oh, and purple is my favorite color too 😉 )
Richard is a hero I can definitely write home about. Well, to my mom anyway. His mysterious, only comes out at night and only attends masquerade parties attitude, exudes a certain sexiness that really had me peg him in book boyfriend territory early in the story. Although, his main mission is for revenge (usually not a good trait for a hero to have), I couldn’t help but be drawn to his character. I absolutely loved the Phantom of the Opera type theme of this story. Yes, he does wear a mask. I love a disfigured hero, it makes them all the more realistic and the fact that their path to love becomes more meaningful.
I love first kisses in every romance story, and this one had me sighing. If you love the mysterious sexy stranger in the night kiss, then this scene in the book is for you. Wow, after that kiss, Richard surely could do no wrong in my book. Because of his character, he needed a heroine who would have a robust character, full of love, compassion, and hold similar interests in common.
Music plays a major role in the storyline, and Lady Mary’s secret singing is the tie that will bind them together. It held all the romantic qualities that I was looking for in a Historical Romance. It kept me turning the pages because of the pompous butt of man that kept harassing Mary and also of the sub plot that was going on in the background. The missing box of heirlooms and the mystery behind the deaths of Lady Duncaster’s father-in-law and Richard’s grandfather is a continuing theme throughout the series.
Since this is the first book that I’ve read in the series, I found sub plot interesting, but I felt that I missed something. However, with that being said, the reader will get the gist of it overall. It can be read as a standalone, but I will backtrack and read the first two of the series. This is also the first book that I’ve read by this author. Her style of writing is fun to read. The character dialogue and back stories were well done.
*I received a ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*