Today I’m going to share with you an excerpt to this ridiculously gorgeous book by the amazingly talented A.G. Howard!
I LOVE her YA series, which is a Alice in Wonderland retelling, so I can only imagine how amazing this one is going to be!
Plus, THIS book trailer ♥
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.
New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.
Today, I’m sharing not just one, but two excerpts set in the cemetery from The Architect of Song, each dedicated to the two men who play opposite one another in Juliet’s story.
(pic attribution: ABSfreepic.com)
Excerpt one revolves around Juliet’s first encounter with Viscount Thornton, the eccentric architect who she soon comes to suspect played a role in her ghostly friend’s untimely death:
Ribbons of water drizzled from my umbrella. I wove through crumbling headstones, past two life-sized angels of masculine granite perfection: one carved and ravaged by time, the other youthful and smooth. Despite their subtle differences, they both stood tall and stalwart, protecting the living from the dead.
Or perhaps the dead from the living …
That unbidden thought made me shiver. My mood soothed as the rain softened to a gentle mist, and the scent of earth, damp and clean, drifted upward. The clouds parted and I closed the umbrella. Sloshing through puddles so deep my stockings soaked to the ankles, I stopped at the furthest end of the graveyard. Tentative rays of warm sunlight curled around my shoulders, illuminating a scene a few feet away at a fenced-in enclosure.
A man dressed in black stood with his back to me, built with the same tall stature and muscular grace as the angel monuments. A governor’s cane crooked around his elbow as he clenched the outside of the ivy-wound gate with gloved hands. Glistening through particles of mist, a sunbeam fell upon a lone headstone centered inside the fence, spotlighting it. The man’s shoulders shook as if he wept.
I glanced behind me. The carriage was hidden from view by a six-foot wall of English hedgerows. I considered reaching out to the mourner, knowing his pain intimately. Instead, I tugged my veil down and started to leave, stopping only when his head began to jerk back and forth, banging on the bars, as if a rage had broken loose—so intense, the thuds of metal against his skull shuddered through the ground and into the soles of my shoes.
I couldn’t move, nailed in place by morbid fascination.
His hat flipped off. The wind carried it to my feet and he turned my direction. Gasping, I dropped my umbrella and backed up. My heel caught on the edge of a headstone, and I fell on my rump. The large crinoline cage that held my skirt’s hem aloft so I could walk protruded like a bowl turned on its side and impeded my view. I couldn’t see the stranger until his gloved palm appeared next to my shoulder.
A groan scalded my throat. I accepted his help, replaying his emotionally unstable outburst at the gate. I was alone here; would Uncle be able to get to me in time if I had cause to scream?
Upon standing, I sought the man’s face, wondering if his forehead had suffered any bruises or gashing. The sun met the horizon, and in a final searing display, it burst behind him, blinding me. He’d replaced his hat over his thick, dark hair. The brim’s shadow obscured his eyes, and lush whiskers blurred his squared jaw. For all intents and purposes, he remained faceless.
Only his lips stood out … full and lovely. They formed words I couldn’t read clearly through my lace veil, so I remained mute to hide my deafness. He crouched to wipe mud from my shoe with a hanky. His gloved fingers gently grazed my stockinged ankle and stirred a hot flush of sensation that tingled in my abdomen and rushed to my cheeks. I jerked away.
As if oblivious he’d touched me, he handed over my umbrella, tipped his hat, and left. His off-set gait might have been awkward on another man, but he held his spine straight, his shoulders and chest forming a counterbalance. His weight eased from the governor’s cane to his good foot with a meter so rhythmic, he appeared to glide on the waves of an ocean.
Excerpt two spotlights Hawk, Juliet’s ghostly companion—owner of the first voice she’s heard in eleven years—whose loss of memory has motivated her to come out of her solitude and solve the mystery of his demise:
It dawned on me that my ghostly companion might have a wife who missed him. And children that adored him. And I’d earlier wanted to kiss him … to savor the mouth that gave me such beautiful songs and sounds. Shame splashed through me, hot and scalding. Enya would say I was a trollop … that only men should have such carnal thoughts.
“No.” Hawk squinted toward the tomb centered within the fence. “I would remember, had I given my heart to someone. This much I’m sure of.” His eyes—glittering to match the mist-dampened stone that marked his grave— came to rest on mine. “And having desire to be close to another person is natural. Intrinsic, not only to a man, but to any human. Such attraction goes beyond the physical, and reaches into the spiritual, as I know now. For although I’ve no need for food or sleep, those other appetites still beg appeasement.” His gaze ran the length of me and I basked in the huskiness of his voice, remembering the night before when he had tried to touch my necklace. When I had melted beneath a phantom caress.
Hawk offered his hand. And though we could not touch, I removed my glove and hovered my palm over his.
“We’re playing make-believe.” His free hand reached up as if to tuck a wayfaring lock of hair into my hat. I leaned forward, pretending he could. “I am inaccessible. I am safe. You are a perceptive young woman, more attuned to your senses than most, and curious about the intimacies between two people, after having witnessed the great love of your mother and father. We live in a society that stifles emotions. It is no wonder you would allow your thoughts free reign now that you are provided such an outlet. I’m honored, to have inspired such a restricted spirit’s attempt at flight.”
I regarded every exotic angle and turn to his beautiful face, stopping at the bow of his lips. In truth, this was the first time I’d ever longed so much for wings.
Hawk mimed a kiss along my wrist, at first rushing my skin like a tender breeze. Then something changed. His mouth vanished and his spirit became part of my flesh, in much how a droplet of rain on a window merges with another. His lips reappeared with a slight tug as he stepped back, as shocked as I.
A breath burned in my lungs, locked in place. Though not tangible, not in the way of a physical touch, we had connected. So fleeting … so brief … yet purely sensual—as if I were a lake, and he immersed himself in me.
Today’s showcase prize is this lovely journal, representative of the journal Juliet stumbles upon that aids in solving Hawk’s identity and death.
Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win this and other awesome prizes!
Open INTL. 13 Separate Winners.
(2) signed The Architect of Song paperbacks; (3) The Architect of Song e-books; (1) heart locket necklace; (1) Architect of Song poster; (1) faux leather journal; (1) 5X7 musical print; (3 The Architect of Song swag packs; (1) LitCube surprise box
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Who is excited for this one?