Fiction Fest: Final free sample of Paula Kremser’s ‘Sophia’

Sophia 2x3 WEBThe blog tour for Paula Kremser’s “Sophia” ended last week and got many positive reviews, including this blogger, who described the novel as “a cute book that I would feel comfortable recommending to romance readers of all ages.”

And this blogger called it, “A PERFECT afternoon or weekend read!”

“Sophia”–though gone from the Fiction Fest rotation after today–is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

EXCERPT:

From the author: This scene takes place just outside the church where Sophia and Alex, who are still practically strangers, are about to be married. Sophia has only seen the worst in Alex and is dreading the wedding.

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As they walked past the row of carriages standing outside the church, Sophia saw something that triggered a memory. It was a trunk with crisscross straps. She stared at it for several moments before realizing that this was Mr. Huntley’s trunk; she had counted those very straps to fall asleep in his room. As she stood gawking, two servants carried her trunk and set it on the back of Mr. Huntley’s carriage, right next to the trunk with the crisscross straps. Her very own trunk was being tied to the back of Mr. Huntley’s carriage.

Her emotions were so wrung out that she should have been past feeling by now, but seeing her trunk on Mr. Huntley’s carriage was like a sharp slap of reality. She was about to walk into the church, and when she walked out, she would be leaving in Mr. Huntley’s carriage. Just as her trunk was tied to his carriage, she would be tied to him.

“Sophia, come along!” Sophia looked up from where she had stopped on the pavement to stare at the trunk. Aunt Nora was at the door of the church walking in. The door slowly closed after her, and she heard Aunt Nora’s voice growing fainter as she said, “She’s ready now. She’ll be right in. Let’s get started, shall we?”

Sophia was less ready than ever, but there was nothing else she could do. Mr. Huntley’s parting words replayed in her head: “We either get married or your reputation is ruined.”

Slowly, Sophia looked up as the realization dawned. We either get married or your reputation is ruined. Mr. Huntley had said there was no choice, but that sounded like a choice to her. She didn’t have to marry Mr. Huntley! Sophia knew that a ruined reputation meant she couldn’t marry anyone, but wasn’t no marriage better than an awful one? Could she do it? Could she be a ruined woman? It wasn’t an ideal situation, certainly, but it had to be better than marrying that man.

Yes, if her choice was Mr. Huntley or nothing, she chose nothing. She felt a sense of freedom expand in her chest as she seized the thought and began walking quickly. Within a very few steps, she started to run. Slippers and her long gown weren’t ideal for running, but Sophia did her best not to let them slow her down. Within moments she was out of sight of the church. When she first stopped to catch her breath, she looked back and couldn’t even see the church spire.

She knew she couldn’t go home. There was only one other family she knew in London apart from Aunt Nora, and that was Lord and Lady Fitzgerald.