Saturday, July 16, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston ~ Excerpt + Giveaway

I pre-ordered this book before it came out and started reading it the same day. It was a very good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I was approached to be a part of the blog tour I jumped at the chance. I really hope the lot of you give this book and North and South in general in chance.

Book Blurb: There is nothing like a long walk in the rain to guarantee a little privacy… unless the last person you wish to encounter happens also to be in search of solitude.

John Thornton is a man of heavy responsibilities who has many things on his mind, but the most troublesome of them all is Margaret Hale. She wants nothing to do with him, and he wishes he could feel the same. When a moment of vulnerability allows her a glimpse into his heart, she begins to see him very differently.

 Is something so simple as friendship even possible after all that has passed between them? Thornton has every good reason to move on, not the least of which is the lovely Genevieve Hamilton and her wealthy father. Will Thornton act according to duty and accept an opportunity to save his mill, or will he take a chance on love, hoping to change Margaret’s mind?

Excerpt
Thornton had finally collapsed into his bed in the small hours of the morning, but even then he had been tormented by wild, incomprehensible dreams. Fanny’s words, Mr Hale’s inexplicable melancholy, and Margaret’s hesitant welcome captured even his unconscious thoughts.

Was it possible… No! Of course it was not. Margaret could never care for him. She had told him so! She simply needed a friend, and he was the only one at hand.

His common sense warned him to leave well enough alone- that there were young ladies enough in the city to fill that void without risking her respectability. Heavens, she did not even like him! Then the more valiant part of his soul would whisper again his fears for her.

What would become of her if Mr Hale’s health were to fail? Had she anyone to turn to who could provide the assistance she would need? Certainly she would not trust in him unless he had first taken the time to befriend her. He could only hope that some part of her would not reject his olive branch.

That was his greatest fear. His heart was in agony that she would reject him again, even in so simple a thing. He tossed in his bed, tangling himself in the blankets until it was late enough to rise without disturbing the household. How would she respond? He could not wait even a single day to find out.

Unfortunately, it was midafternoon before he was able to escape from the mill. He had, he thought, a plausible excuse for his call, and he walked the three miles to Crampton with a light but nervous heart. It beat to a crescendo as he knocked upon her door, and nearly burst in relief and joy when Margaret herself answered.

“Mr Thornton!” she offered him a bashful smile. “We did not expect the pleasure today. Do, please come in.”

This was better than he had hoped! His errand could have been accomplished from the doorstep, but he gratefully doffed his hat and followed her into the house.

Margaret was surreptitiously glancing at the hat rack and the little side table near the door, perhaps expecting him to say he had left some article and had come to retrieve it. “It is a pleasure to see you again so soon, sir. I am afraid my father is with a pupil at present, but I am certain he would not mind….”

“No, thank you, Miss, Hale, I do not wish to interrupt. I only came to bring him this.” He extended a small brown box, which she took hesitantly.

“Tobacco?” she asked, her forehead dimpled.

“Uh… yes, it was given me. It is a very fine aromatic blend… if I am not mistaken it is of the kind your father prefers, but I do not smoke.”

Those clear, bright eyes searched him curiously. “I think you are the first gentleman of my acquaintance who does not! I thought all gentlemen did so, at least occasionally.”

Her use of the word ‘gentleman’ brought an immediate light to his face. Here was something of note! Perhaps his was not a hopeless effort. So great was his pleasure that he was a little slow to respond. “I… I never cared for either the odour or the expense, Miss Hale.”

A genuine smile warmed her features, drawing his eye to a delicate little dimple below her cheekbone- just the right size to be kissed. “I suppose,” her words stole his attention back where it belonged, “that is the reason my father so seldom indulges. He does not often purchase luxuries for himself.”

She waited for some response, but Thornton merely gazed back in hypnotized silence.

“I… I do not mind this sweet pipe tobacco,” she continued uncomfortably, “but I find cigar smoke most objectionable.”

Thornton blinked back to reality. “Indeed, Miss Hale, I quite agree. Unfortunately, most of the gentlemen in Milton do not share your opinion. My jacket, when I come home from our monthly masters’ dinners, can testify to that fact. My mother forbids me to sit in her furniture until I have removed it.”

Margaret’s taper fingers flew to her mouth and the most glorious laugh he had ever heard bubbled forth. Her eyes sparkled and she looked more at ease in his company than he had ever seen. He could not help a pleased chuckle of his own. He had made her laugh! By Jove, this was going to work!

Margaret quieted, still smiling. “Mrs Thornton is not a woman I would like to annoy. I imagine you do not often dare to do so!”

He shook his head. “Not if I wish for anything but porridge for dinner, Miss Hale.”

Margaret laughed lightly again- not as freely as before, but neither did she hide that beautiful smile behind her fingers. He gazed on in rapt adoration. Mission of mercy though this might be, it would surely be the most rewarding labour of his life.

Margaret glanced down and cleared her throat gently, composing herself. “I am sure my father thanks you, Mr Thornton.”

He drew a long, satisfied breath. “Certainly he is most welcome, Miss Hale. I am afraid I must get back to the mill.”

“Oh, yes, of course. It was good of you to call.” They exchanged real smiles once more- smiles of camaraderie which warmed the cheeks and touched the eyes. Perhaps the spell of awkwardness between them had at last been broken.

Thornton started for the door, but Margaret’s hesitant voice stopped him just before he reached it. “Sir… if I may….” He turned back, blue eyes twinkling, and watched her open a small drawer in the little entry table. She drew out a pair of thick leather gloves which struck him at once as agonizingly familiar.

Biting her lip, she came forward, her fingers smoothing over the gloves. “You left these here once,” she murmured softly, extending them within his reach. “I am afraid I… forgot to return them.”

He blinked several times, his euphoria crashing down. He took them from her hand and dropped his gaze. “Thank you, Miss Hale. I would not have had you go out of your way…” his mouth tugged into a vulnerable, sorrowful expression. “I believe you had cares enough at the time. I ought not to have troubled you.”

His eyes still down, he stroked the rich leather, then looked curiously back up to her. “Have these been oiled? As I recall, I had been out in a rainstorm only the evening before… the… the riots, you remember.” His voice was low and miserable.

Margaret was nodding, her eyes too still on the gloves. “They were stiff… it was no trouble, my father’s gloves required the same treatment.”

He took a significant step closer to her, forcing her to tip her head up. He gazed long into those brilliant eyes, softened now with humility. “Thank you, Miss Hale. I have missed these gloves.” How he longed to say more! The only expressions he possessed were those of the heart and not the tongue. He could only hope she could read his contrition, his gratitude, and his joy at reconciliation.

Margaret’s lashes fluttered and her lips quivered once more into a tender smile. “You are welcome, Mr Thornton.” There was a shift in her posture, and then her hand was extended to him- not palm down, in the fashion of fine ladies, but forward and strong, as he was accustomed to greeting his equals.

He took it with a crooked grin, marveling at the strength in her slim fingers. He grasped her hand as long as he dared, still holding her steady gaze. “Good day then, Miss Hale,” he spoke huskily. She dipped her head graciously in reply as he released her hand.

Fearing what he might say or do if he stayed longer, he reached immediately for the door and closed it behind himself. He did not see the door crack open again as he descended the steps, nor did he sense the watchful eyes which followed him as he strode briskly up the street.


Author Bio: Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools. She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don't ask).

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole's books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Contact Info
Website
Goodreads Author Page
Goodreads Blog
Facebook
Amazon Author Page


Blog Tour Schedule:
7/8-9: Launch Vignette & Giveaway at Fly High
7/ 10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/11: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/12: Author Interview at More Than Thornton
7/14: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
7/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/17: Vignette & Giveaway at Laughing With Lizzie
7/18: Author/Character Interview at From Pemberley to Milton
7/19: Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway at So little time…
7/20: Vignette & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
7/21: Vignette & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life
9/10: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

3 comments:

  1. Oh!! So delightful!!! What a touching reminder of the slow burn romance that's so beautifully written by Nicole. I loved this book as highly recommend it to all N&S fans.

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  2. When I read the book, I loved this part, but then I cannot think of any part that I didn't love! Thank you for posting this Tina and Nicole. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the Northern Rain, too. Tina!I hope to read it again in the very near future! :)

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  3. Lovely excerpt! Reading about John Thornton in state of half agony, half hope is delightful:)

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