Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren, ©2013

The Grand Tour Series, Book 3

Glittering Promises

First sentence: "If you spot him again, shoot him on sight," my father said. "I shall deal with the repercussions myself."

So, are you in? What do you think of that?

On a Grand Tour of Europe, Glittering Promises is set in Italy. After a kidnapping, any sighting of danger would be alarming.

With the intentions of bidding Pierre de Richlieu adieu, Cora Diehl Kensington and her silent guard, Pascal, step into the gondola for her last visit with him before he returns to France. Stopping, Pierre and Cora leave the gondola and Pascal.
   Pascal sought my eyes, silently asking me if I was all right. I gave him a firm nod, "We'll only be a little while," I said. Where could we go? I suspected what the men did—that the only way in and out of this tiny building was right here through this waterway entrance.
   --Glittering Promises, 26
How unwise can she be ~ to desert her guard! The gondolier could have been paid in advance to watch for Pierre as he said, "Your normal route" to his question of, "Where to?"

But they do return, with Pierre's words he will come to Roma before she departs for America. Cora has told him of her love for William McCabe. The Dunnigan mine outcome will not separate them.
   I lifted a hand to my temple and massaged it. How was I ever to marry my old life to my new one? Who was I anymore? More Kensington than Diehl? Was it even possible for me to return to my old life, my old thoughts, given all that I'd experienced? This trip had molded me, changed me, strengthened me as well as weakened me...
   --Ibid., 38
Puppets, yet. Wallace Kensington's children are to do his bidding, no matter the cost. May her character remain, a surety to rely on the Lord. An inheritance that will not destroy.
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
   --Psalm 119:111  
Espionage within plotting to destroy or bring freedom? Does Wallace Kensington plan on restoring his wealth to his daughter or is he using her for his own gain?
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3

~*Glittering Promises*~
Lisa T. Bergren’s popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.
America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

Excerpt ~ Chapter 1 ~ Glittering Promises, 9-14

Chapter 1


"If you spot him again, shoot him on sight," my father said. "I shall deal with the repercussions myself."
   I gently pulled off my gloves and felt Will's grip on my elbow tighten. I looked about the room―at my younger sister, Lil; my brother, Felix; and one of our guards, Pascal, standing with Antonio and my father.
   "What's this?" Will asked, leading me closer to the others, deeper into the Venetian palazzo's grand salon. I was thankful that the long windows were wide open, allowing the brine-laced breeze to waft through. "What's happened?"
   "Oh, Cora!" Lillian cried, rising and entering my arms. She clung to me a second and then pulled back to look at me. "It was Nathan Hawke! I'm certain I saw him across the piazza today!"
   "Truly?" I asked. "Nathan? If you're right, he's far less clever than I though." I looked to my father, his words about shooting him on sight making far more sense now. Nathan Hawke was dangerous, insturmental in our kidnapping a week past, thwarted only because Will and Art had used other nefarious men to double-cross him. I lifted a hand to my temple and shook my head. "It makes no sense. He should be on a steamer to Greece by now. Not lollygagging about where one of us might spy him, report him. He risks imprisonment!"
   "Unless he wants to be seen," Antonio grumbled, thick chin in hand.
   "For what purpose?" Felix asked. "
   To make certain that we know who is behind the next kidnapping," bit out my father, throwing up a hand in frustration. "So that we might pay the ransom without hesitation."
   "His partners are in jail," I said. "What true threat is one man when we are so many?"
   "It took only one to take our Lillian," my father said, his blue eyes steel cold as he leveled them at me. "And another to nab you as well."
   "We are far less naive than we were when we began this journey. We never go out alone―"
   "Not that that resolves our concerns," my father said. "What would you do if he leveled a gun at you? Or your sister? Or young William here?"
   "Presumably our armed guard would protect us."
   He paced back and forth, flicking one hand in the air. "So he draws his pistol, Antonio draws another, and you are caught in the cross fire?"
   I bit my lip, stymied by both his logic and the sudden reminder that he might care for me and my future, regardless of the bad blood that had passed between us. I pinched my temples between thumb and ring finger. "We've been through this, Father. We cannot live in fear the rest of our lives. Like it or not, after that Life article, we'll be recognized wherever we go. Even more so once the next issue is off the presses and reaches Europe."
   "Which will be soon," said Hugh Morgan, one of our traveling companions, his tone uncommonly gentle. "It'll be any day now."
   I looked back at my father. Here, at last, was the gauntlet he'd warned me of―the trials of leading, of making choices. I had to show him I was up to the task. "If it's not Nathan Hawke, there will be others, yes? You have enemies. I, apparently, have enemies. This is our present reality. And we all must deal with that threat, here, now, so that we can be done with it forevermore."
   "It would be easier at home in Montana," my father said. "We wouldn't be so exposed."
   I held a breath, defeated by the idea of turning tail and running after all we'd endured. We'd fought to be here, earned the right to finish our trip, even if it was against Father's wishes. Hadn't we? But I recognized his fear, his concern for the others―my siblings, Felix, Vivian, and Lil, as well as the Morgans―even if I couldn't trust what he felt for me. I sighed and looked to Will.
   "When is the earliest we could leave, if we wished to?" Father said.
   "The Charleston ships out in a couple of weeks from Pisa. We might secure passage on her. But given that it's high season, she's likely sold every stateroom, and getting us all aboard, even if you all agreed to travel second class..." Will shook his head. "No, it's highly unlikely we'd find anything above steerage. There's a slim chance we could find accommodations on the Charlemagne, the following week out of Naples."
   "Oh, but the Charlemagne's a miserable ship," Pierre de Richelieu said, entering the room, his keen eyes covering each of us but resting on me. "Trust me. You'd never wish to board her wretched gang-plank." His eyes narrowed as he took in the dour mood of the room. "What's happened?" he asked, his French accent growing thicker. "What is it?"
   Antonio bent to whisper in his ear, and Pierre's handsome green eyes shifted to me, his brows furrowed in alarm―and then his gaze traveled down to Will's hand on my elbow. I knew he'd remained, even once Will and I began openly courting, hoping I might change my mind. He pinched his lower lip, then turned to a chair and sat down, heavily, as if beaten. He was due to leave for Paris within hours. I knew that this was perhaps the last time I'd ever see him, which made me alternately relieved and sad.
   My father strode to the window and put a hand on the frame as he stared outward. "It is you that Nathan Hawke is after, Cora. An heiress, a millionaire in her own right, now. That's the story the press shall propagate. Luc Coltaire would've taken any of you. But a Montanan like Hawke? He's after you."
   I let out a soft scoffing laugh. My sole inheritance―my claim on a portion of the Dunnigan mine―was in dispute. Father wished to hold it out before me like a carrot before a horse, forcing me to go in the direction he wished. I had secured an attorney and discovered I might have a change at fighting for a portion, whether my father approved of my decisions―continuing the tour, allowing Will rather than Pierre to court me―or not.
   "Perhaps you can flag Hawke down in the piazza," I said. "Explain to him that you are doing your level best to keep me and my parents from earning one dollar of our mine's bounty. That trying to wring a ransom from my banker will be as difficult as squeezing blood from a turnip since I have about three dollars to my name."
   I heard the tiny gasp from my sister Lil. Everyone in the room seemed to take a collective breath, all eyes now concentrating on the two of us.
   "Cora, this all mustn't be so trying," my father said, his blue eyes shifting in agitation to the others in the room. "And even if we weren't at odds about the Dunnigan mine, you know he'd come to me. Appeal to me as your father. I'm the known quality."
   "And we both know how far that would get him." I took a deep breath and looked to Will, then back to my father, feeling a wince of regret now over my harsh words and the shadow that passed through his eyes. "But if you feel it's me that Nathan is after, perhaps we should part company for a time. I don't wish to endanger the others."
   "No!" Lillian cried, coming to me and taking my arm before looking back to our father. Her blonde ringlets by her ears bounced. "Please, Father. Don't allow her to go. It isn't safe!"
   "We only have a few weeks left before the Olympic sails back home," I said, patting her hand. "We wouldn't be apart for all that long."

   "But I agree with your family," Will said, surprising me. "It's far safer for you to be with the others, under guard, than on your own."
   "Will, I―"
   "No," my father said. "Listen to him. If we are to tarry here in Italy rather than return home immediately, it is imperative that we remain together."

   Rising voices, floating down the marble staircase, drew our attention to the open doors. Vivian. And Andrew. They were getting closer, bickering, and then Vivian arrived, flushed and wringing her hands, Andrew directly on her heels. She looked up, belatedly realizing that so many of us had gathered and overheard them arguing.
   I splayed out my hands and forced a smile, eager to relieve the pressure of the group's attention. "We were just discussing the possibility of parting ways for a time."
   "Parting ways?" sputtered Vivian, her small features drawing together in a frown. "Who of us wishes to part ways with you?"
   I almost laughed at Andrew's steady gazed behind her. he was one, for certain. Somehow, he seemed ready to pin their growing dissonance on me.
   "I believe we are past that idea," my father said quietly. "Now we must plot our safest course."
   I considered him and then cast my eyes about the room, thinking. "What if we changed course again? Get off the Grand Tour track. See Antonio's Italy together?" I gestured toward our guide and then folded my arms. "Nathan Hawke is resourceful, but I wager it was Luc Coltaire that kept them on our trail before. If we up and disappeared in the wee hours, this very night, would we not likely slip from the city without him knowing where we'd gone? And if we kept to the smaller towns and villages, rather than the grand cities, would we not be far less likely to encounter those that knew the first thing about us?" My father's gaze shifted to me, his gray mustached twitching as he considered my plan. And it was then that I knew he agreed with me.
   "But what of the big cities?" Nell whined. "I do so want to see Milan. Turin. And Florence!"

Lisa Tawn BergrenLisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.
Find out more about Lisa Tawn at lisatawnbergren.com/.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for having a copy of Lisa T. Bergren's Glittering Promises sent to me to review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Glittering Promises by @LisaTBergren | Win an Italian feast delivered to your door & RSVP for Facebook Party!

Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Glittering Promises" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa's next book.

So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

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