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Welcome to my post for the Always a Stranger book tour! I have an excerpt coming up, as well as a giveaway for a $20 gift card or copies of Always a Stranger. But, first, allow me to introduce the book:
Release date: May 15, 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
When two worlds collide, anything is possible. . .
An international affair, London's Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako's exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler--and he longs to learn more about her. . .
But Hanako's enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust--and save her from losing both body and soul. It's a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give. . .
"We need not continue this particular charade, Lord Ridgemont," she said sharply. "I am sure you have more important things to do than to lead me around."
"You wound me, Miss Sumaki. I thought I was being a more cordial host than to give you such an impression. Have I done something to offend you?"
"Not you, my lord. You do not see?" she said. The delicacy of her voice belied the harshness in her eyes, the tense line of her mouth. "Mr. Broek orchestrated our promenade through the Exhibition and the park as a form of advertising. You spoke of my likeness earlier but needn't trouble yourself about Mr. Broek's business. You have an unusual piece on your arm, a species so rare in these parts that it could be mistaken as one of a kind. Those who catch a glimpse will surely want to seek out more."
She gestured to herself grandly. He took in the exquisite vision before him. The red silk robe could not fail to draw one's eye. She was quite a picture of Far Eastern grace. The hard and bitter set of her face, however, destroyed the illusion of serene Orientalism.
"Do not insult yourself." He could not stomach her self-references as an object.
"I meant no actual claim to myself . . . only what people see. No doubt Mr. Broek will be in negotiations very soon."
"Negotiations for what, may I ask?"
"That is between him and those who seek to bargain with him. Tell me, how did these trees come to be part of the building?"
They'd come to a large elm, and he gestured toward a bench at its base. Relief and appreciation shone in her eyes as she sank down onto the seat.
"While some trees were cut down to make room for the Crystal Palace, the ones you see within the structure were here first. The Palace was built around them."
"How fascinating. As if nature could be contained."
"Well, to a degree. What is the Crystal Palace if not an enormous greenhouse? Do you see the yellowing of those leaves on the upper edges?" At her nod, he continued. Her attention focused above, he took the opportunity to enjoy the sight of her graceful neck and rapt fascination. "Some of the trees continue to thrive, but others, like this one, are showing signs of strain. This one does not seem particularly happy with its confinement. I do not know if it sustained an impact during construction or if perhaps it does not get enough light in this location. The trees are all watered regularly and equally."
"That is terribly sad. This poor tree had no control over its circumstances. It could not object to its confinement. It was entirely powerless, unable to move. Has nothing been done to assist it?"
Up for grabs are 2 copies of Always a Stranger and a $20 gift card.
About the Author:
She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master's degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania.
When she isn't writing, she's either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family. You can find her at www.amararoyce.com.