Tuesday, June 18, 2013

THE SECRET OF MIA DANVERS by Robyn DeHart ~ Excerpt & Giveaway

Robyn DeHart’s latest book, THE SECRETS OF MIA DANVERS is out today.  Read Your Writes Book Reviews is the second stop on her blog tour.  I’m excited to be able to introduce you to Robyn and give you a peek at an excerpt from the book.

Robyn has a life-long love of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ's and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn't be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers' Weekly claims her writing to be "comical and sexy" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." Robyn is an award-winning author as well as being a four-time RT Bookclub Reviewers' Choice award nominee, and a three-time RomCon Reader's Crown nominee. Robyn lives in Texas with her brainy husband, two precocious little girls and two spoiled cats.

Places to find Robyn DeHart:

A lone witness finds her protector...

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Alex Foster, eighth Duke of Carrington sat in his newly acquired study and glanced at the desk littered with mail from the last few months. Technically he was still in mourning after his eldest brother, and the seventh Duke of Carrington, got himself killed during an illegal duel. Alex had scarcely had time to do little else other than bury his brother and try to quiet down the scandal that had surrounded his death.
What kind of damned fool had an affair with the wife of a marquess, then challenged said marquess to a duel, and promptly lost said duel? Stephen had been a fool of the first order.
As Duke, Alex had new priorities in life. As a retired military officer he’d been inclined to a quiet life with some books and a position with the state department. Now he was getting acquainted as a lord in Parliament. And he had a task that was quite tedious—securing a wife. A duke needed his duchess. Luckily the mourning was affording him the chance to move more slowly on the wife hunting.
It was something Stephen had failed to do so there had been no other heir but Alex. Alex had been to more soirees and balls in the last two months than he had at any other time of his life. He found bride shopping, as it were, to be incredibly frustrating, especially since his parents had already preselected someone to be the new duchess.
But his mother and the girls’ parents had wanted to keep up appearances, make it look as if he were introducing himself as a bachelor, when in reality they all knew eventually he’d propose to Juliet Beckinsale. She’d been groomed to be his wife. Well, the wife of the Duke of Carrington.
“Your Grace, I am sorry to disturb you, but there is a woman here to see you.”
Alex Foster looked up from his book and eyed the butler standing in his study doorway. Rain pattered against the windows and lightning momentarily flashed through the room. “In this weather?”
“I’m afraid so. I tried to dismiss her, but it seems she won’t be dissuaded.”
“Very well, but don’t go far, you’ll be seeing her out again in but a moment.” Alex stood and waited for Hodges to withdraw, and then return.
Behind the butler came a tall and lithe and very wet creature. She was not familiar to Alex, yet he sensed he should know who she was. As if at some point they had met.
He waited for her to speak, but she did not. Instead she stayed precisely where she was and seemed to stare right at him.
“Madam, what is it that you think I can assist you with? I do not like being disturbed this late in the evening. Nor do I appreciate you soaking everything in your wake.”
She blinked and took a few shuffling steps forward. “My Lord, my name is Mia Danvers, I live in the cottage at the edge of your estate.”
“My God.” He’d never met her before, at least he did not remember if he had, but she’d lived on their property for nearly eight years. An agreement between his late father and her parents, an agreement that had been written into his father’s will. Alex remembered his mother saying once that the poor girl was mad. But up until now they’d never had any trouble with her. In fact, she’d kept to her own and out of sight, so Alex had never questioned her living arrangement. He studied her now, taking in the frantic, almost crazed, expression on her face. It might be time to reexamine the situation, search for a way around his father’s odd demand.
“Miss Danvers, what are you doing away from your cottage?” he asked, voice firm and authoritative. She needed to know this sort of behavior would not be tolerated, regardless of what his father had agreed to.
She craned her neck awkwardly to the right, then moved in that direction, heading straight for the fire crackling in the hearth. But she ran right into a chair. With her hands she felt around the piece of furniture, moving around it as she did until she stood directly in front of the fire. She silently warmed herself for several moments before she spoke.
“I witnessed a murder tonight. On your property.”
He inhaled sharply at her admission, but before shock could take hold of him, he considered the source. Her pale skin was in sharp contrast to her dark, wet hair that was pulled severely away from her face in a tight bun. No fashionable curls framed her face or hung delicately at her neck. Her dress was devoid of all fashion as well. Instead, she wore a dark brown wool frock that hung loosely against her thin frame.
She turned her face toward him and it was then that he understood, for while she looked in his direction, she did not meet his eyes. Her painfully beautiful blue eyes stared sightlessly at the bookshelf behind him.
“Unless I am mistaken it is impossible that you could have witnessed a crime, madam.” He took several steps so that he stood next to her. With his right hand, he waved in front of her face.
Long, delicate fingers grabbed his wrist. “It is true that I am blind, sir, but the rest of my faculties work properly, I can assure you.”
She released his hand.
“Could you be so kind as to offer me some tea?” she asked. “I’m afraid I lost my dinner on your front lawn and am still feeling rather shaky.”
She was not going to go away, of that he could be certain. She might be mad, but she was also persistent. He exhaled loudly, but rang for a tea service nonetheless. “Now that your tea is on the way, might you proceed with your story? You may sit if you are more comfortable doing so. Though I would prefer, if you do that, you select the wooden chair so you do not ruin the imported leather.”
“I’ll stand, thank you.” She faced the fire and he noted her skin began to take on a warmer tone. She was still impossibly fair, but looked less pallid now. “Normally I am in my cottage long before dark, but tonight I was on an errand on Bond Street and got delayed. I was walking home, along the stone wall that borders the property.”
At that moment Hodges brought in the tea and set the tray down on the side table. Alex waited until the man had retreated before he said anything. “You were walking alone?”
“Rachel takes one evening off a month to go and visit her aunt. Otherwise she would have been with me,” she said. “Normally, during her visits away, I simply stay at the cottage, but there were two new pieces in the statuary garden and then temptation was too great for me to wait. So I went. It was only when I heard the low hiss of the gaslights that I knew it had fallen dark.”
Alex nodded, then remembered the woman could not see him. “Go on.”
He watched as she methodically found her way around the tea service, then poured her tea, adding precisely one lump of sugar and enough cream to color the liquid a warm brown. She took a sip, then clutched the cup close to her chest before dragging in a ragged breath. Her hands shook as she held the teacup, Alex was unsure if it was from her nerves or the cold.
“I heard footsteps in the distance and I moved in closer to the stone wall, putting myself between it and the shrubberies. I could tell whoever had been behind me was struggling. It was a woman and then I heard the man. I froze.”
Her sightless eyes widened as if she’d seen something terrifying in the flames.
She continued and began to explain how she’d stayed hidden and proceeded to hear the man murder the girl. Alex watched Mia’s movements; they were small and controlled, a gentle lifting of the teacup to her lips and a delicate swallow, then a brittle blinking of her eyes. She was beautiful in a fragile sort of way, much like the delicate cup in her hand.
But he knew every word out of her mouth was imagined. Somehow in her broken world she’d conjured this terrible happening and now she was here standing in his study, dripping on his fine Persian rug and staring into his fire as she regaled him with her tale.
A murder? In Mayfair? It was madness, nothing more. And he would allow her to finish, then he would send her on her way and hope his acceptance of her story would pacify her.
One shiny tear escaped from her right eye and rolled down her now-pinkened cheek. “I just stood there. I couldn’t move, my dress had caught on the shrubs. And I couldn’t call out.” Her head shook. “I was immobilized by my own fear and now that poor girl is dead.”
“What is it that you would have me do?” he asked, unmoved by her show of emotion.
“I cannot very well go to the authorities. They would think me mad,” she said, earning a tight laugh.
“Go out there.” She turned to face him. “Find her body and make certain her family is notified. Then I can help you find who killed her.”
“Miss Danvers, I am not with the police, in case that has missed your astute observation. I am a duke. I am not in the business of tracking down killers.”
“But this was on your property, sir. It must be your duty to address such a crime. You cannot ignore it.”
“I will investigate matters. But suffice it to say that if there is a crime to be solved, we shall leave that to the fine gentlemen at Scotland Yard.”
Her hand reached out and grabbed onto his arm. “Thank you. If you establish the meeting I will gladly speak with the inspectors. With your support then they will be more likely to believe my account. I want to do whatever I can to bring justice to that poor girl.”
There was such earnestness in her features he found himself wanting to agree. But, of course, that would be impossible, he could not risk his family name by aligning himself with such a woman. “Let us see how things play out. I’ll have a footman walk you home.”
She nodded, then set down her teacup perfectly on the awaiting saucer.
Purchase THE SECRETS OF MIA DANVERS in eBook from:

Robyn DeHart will be giving away winner's choice of the following:
·         Amazon Paperwhite
·         Nook Glow
·         $120 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Open for US shipping ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
~~You can follow Robyn’s blog tour below~~

6/19 - Ex Libris

6/25 - The Romance Dish  

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  1. While this would not be my normal choice of period story, I find myself drawn to it and will most likely try and find a copy for myself and my daughter in law to enjoy.

    1. Hi Nora.

      Thanks for stopping by. I will be honest with you, I haven't ventured into the world of historical romances, because I can't seem to grasp the change from the past to the present. But this story does sound intriguing.

  2. Wow, what a great excerpt. Off to purchase so I can continue reading immediately.

    1. Hi again Kim.

      I'm glad you liked it. Hopefully you didn't forget to enter into the giveaway.

  3. thanx for the giveaway!!

    what's next for you, Robyn?!?!?!

  4. Love the excerpt!!! I really need this book now.

    1. Hi. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Robyn –

    I read a little of your book on Amazon and immediately fell in love with Mia! She;s such a strong character which I love! I can’t even begin to imagine how she survived her mother sending her away from home with her governess to live in a cottage on the Duke of Carrington’s property ad since I didn’t read the entire chapter was wondering when she found out that he was the “new” Duke?

    I loved your Legend Hunters series but wondered if it was your choice of your publishers to wait and print it after the Legend Hunters series was released?

    1. Hi Jeanne,

      Thanks for stopping by, checking out the excerpt and then looking at the book on Amazon.

  6. I love Robyn's books and this sounds like another winner. I really enjoyed the excerpt. It must have been difficult to write about a blind person.


    1. Thanks for stopping by Cathy. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  7. Thanks for the excerpt. It was an interesting introduction to these characters.

  8. Thanks for the giveaway, looks like a great book

    1. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the book.

  9. Wondering what made you write a book about someone blind. I love the idea. Although my husband is only legally blind, there are always issues to overcome. For instance, now days, it'd be how to get places and such. I think this would be a great read for me.
    Michelle Tucker

    1. Hi Michelle.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out Robyn's post.

  10. Robyn,
    I and my family are unfamiliar with your writings but it is a type of book we enjoy reading as a family. We would love to win.
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post on Robyn's book H.D.


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