The Secret of Flirting, the fifth and final book in Sabrina Jeffries' The Sinful Suitors series will be released March 27. This has been one of my favorite series by Jeffries and while I'm sad for it to come to an end, I'm also excited for this next release. I'm intrigued by spymaster Baron Fulkham, especially after reading book 4, The Pleasures of Passion, and can't wait to finally read Fulkham's story in this new historical romance by one of my favorite authors. And let's talk about that cover for a minute. Don't you want to know what she's whispering in his ear? Those colors are simply gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, how about Fulkham? Am I the only one drooling on my keyboard?
Update: I started reading an ARC of The Secret of Flirting last night. I finished at 2:00 this morning. What a wonderful send-off for this series. I loved it!
The Secret of Flirting
When they reached the garden, Monique’s heart sank to see it so deserted. Apparently she hadn’t been the only one to think dinner might soon be served. Even the band they’d heard playing out here earlier had packed up and moved inside, closer to the banqueting room.
You can handle this, she told herself. You’re an acclaimed actress, for God’s sake. This is what you do—play roles. Why, you’ve even played a princess before. So get to it, and show this pompous gentleman what you’re made of.
With that in mind, she went on the offensive. “Please forgive me if this is rude, Lord Fulkham, but I’m confused by what my uncle said concerning your part in these negotiations. I was unaware that undersecretaries were of such profound importance in English political matters. I thought they were little better than clerks.”
If she’d thought to insult him, his laugh showed that she’d failed. “Some of them are. It just so happens that England has two kinds. I’m the political kind. Especially these days, with the foreign secretary laid up in bed.” He cast her a searching glance. “You have a better knowledge of English affairs than I would have expected.”
She had her half-English father to thank for that. He’d always kept up with politics in his mother’s country. “And you, monsieur, have a better facility for ‘diplomacy’ than I would have expected. I think my uncle is right. You do have a silver tongue.”
“I hope not. It would make it awfully hard to eat,” he quipped.
A laugh sputtered out of her. Curse him. She didn’t remember him having a humorous side. “You are very droll, monsieur.”
“And you are very . . . different,” he said.
She tensed. “From what?”
“From what I expected. I’d heard that the Princess of Chanay was a rather haughty young lady.”
She had no idea if Anne was haughty. Though it would stand to reason. Weren’t all princesses haughty?
Not the way Monique played them. And it didn’t matter how Anne really was. According to the count, no one outside Chanay had ever met the princess, so Lord Fulkham couldn’t be sure what she was like. He was merely trying to catch the woman he had met in an error.
Which meant she must be as different from Monique Servais as possible, to throw him off guard, make him doubt his eyes. Monique Servais had given him the sharper side of her tongue, so Princess Anne must be engaging, flirtatious.
“A man like you should know better than to listen to rumor,” she told him.
“Actually, rumor is my life’s blood. There’s generally a bit of truth in every piece of gossip. It’s my job to find out which bits are true and which bits are trumped-up lies.” He led her down a path. “For example, I heard that you were partial to theatrical entertainments. Is that the case?”
Curse the fellow, he’d heard no such thing. He was just baiting her again.
She fought the urge to stiffen, keeping her grip of his arm deliberately loose. “I enjoy the occasional play, yes. Doesn’t everyone?”
“It depends. I like plays, but only tragedies.” He shot her a veiled look. “Comedies set my teeth on edge.”
She remembered only too well his ridiculous opinion of comedies. “I prefer operas,” she said lightly. “Doesn’t matter to me what the story is about as long as there’s singing. Do you enjoy the opera, monsieur?”
That seemed to catch him off guard, for he frowned. “Not at all, I’m afraid. In real life people don’t speak to each other in arias.”
“In real life people do not wear elaborate costumes to go to the market either, but one can still enjoy seeing such attire in that setting on the stage.”
“Yes, those powdered wigs are quite entertaining,” he drawled. “Especially when the actors and actresses are running in and out of the boudoir.”
She could feel his eyes on her. Clearly he was referencing Le Mariage de Figaro directly. Silly man. As if that would make her lose her control and spill her secrets. “Oh, I do like that kind of opera myself. Otello is so dramatic. And that scene in Desdemona’s boudoir makes me weep every time.”
He halted to eye her closely. “You’ve seen Rossini’s Otello?”
“Of course. In Paris. It was quite moving.”
A triumphant look crossed his face. “I thought you rarely left Chanay.”
Too late she remembered what the count had told her about Anne’s secluded life. She scrambled to cover her error. “That’s true—I rarely do. But Maman took me to Paris to see Otello once when I was a girl. It’s her favorite opera.”
“You said that it ‘makes me weep every time.’ That implies you’ve seen it more than once.”
Her heart thundered in her chest. “I meant ‘every time I think of the scene.’ I misspoke. English is not my native tongue, you know.” She tipped up her chin. “And why do you dissect my words so, monsieur? Is it necessary for the prospective Queen of Belgium to speak your language perfectly?”
“That’s not why I ‘dissect’ your words, as you are well aware.”
Merde, obviously he’d figured her out. She would have to tread carefully, or else he would swallow her up, and with her, all her hopes for her and Grandmamma’s future. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Come now, mademoiselle.” He leaned close enough to show the hardening planes of his face. “It’s time that you relinquish this pretense. Because you and I both know that you are Monique Servais and not the Princess of Chanay at all.”
Readers, do you enjoy plays, operas, or musicals? Do you have a favorite?
Have you read any of the books in Sabrina Jeffries' The Sinful Suitors series?
One randomly chosen person posting a comment before Midnight (Pacific Time) today will receive a print ARC (advance reader copy) of The Secret of Flirting. (U.S. addresses only)
I always love Sabrina's books & series. I only read the first book in series so far. But now that I'm over the flu I will be going back to it. I have listened to the 3 Tenors and Pavarotti but have never been to an Opera.ReplyDelete
Lucky4750 at aol dot com
I love all of Sabrina's books. I haven't read this series yet but they are on my TBR list. I love musicals. My favorite is Hamilton which I have seen twice.ReplyDelete
I've enjoyed her stories but have not read this series as yet. I'm not sure I have a favorite but I remember The Sound of Music - I think I say it at the movies 3 or 4 times!!!ReplyDelete
Sorry - that was "saw it at the movies"ReplyDelete
I loved Phantom of the Opera, which gave me chills. Spies, love, intrigue, sizzling chemistry and romance are what I adore in a good historical romance. I have read some of Sabrina's books and enjoyed them.ReplyDelete
I haven't read this author, but I enjoy plays and musicals. In the last few years, I've seen the musicals, Wicked and Beautiful. As for opera, I don't enjoy listening to opera, yet I like them as a setting in a romance novels.ReplyDelete
I love Sabrina's books, but haven't started this series yet. I enjoy plays and musicals when something good comes on. I can't think of a favorite right now, unless it would be Sound of Music and River Dance.ReplyDelete
I never miss a Sabrina Jeffries book. I am looking forward to The Secret of Flirting. I like some plays, some operas, some musicals.ReplyDelete
I grew up watching old musicals. Always love a Ginger Rogers and Doris Day musicalReplyDelete
I do love the theater and musicals - sadly I haven't been in years. I really don't have a favorite either. As far as the Sinful Suiters series goes, I haven't read them yet, but do own several of the books.ReplyDelete
I love musicals - my favorite is 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' - I like a happy ending.ReplyDelete
I haven't read this series yet.
I love a good musical, it can be a movie or play. My favorite muscial movie would be Sound of Music and my favorite play would have to be Phatom of the Opera. I have read this entire series by Ms. Jeffries and can't wait for this book!ReplyDelete
I've read this entire series and am so excited to read this one! I do love a good musical. We're going to see Waitress next week and Hamilton in the fall with a few others in between. I'm lucky my hero loves going to the theater just as much as do. 😊ReplyDelete
I have read her books in the past but none in this series yetReplyDelete
I used to keep up with all of Sabrina Jeffries' books, but I'm way behind on this series. Thanks for the post and giveaway.ReplyDelete
The Phantom of the Opera is my all time favorite! It is simply captivating on stage. I love all of your stories. Historical Romance just wins every time :)ReplyDelete
I’m not a fan of plays or musicals I have read one book in the series and that’s The Study of Seduction I have to catch up on the restReplyDelete
I have read many of Sabrina Jeffries books. Love them all. I haven't got to the sinful suitors yet.ReplyDelete
Looking forward to this next book in the series. And I love plays, opera, and musicals!ReplyDelete
I love musicals and plays and concerts and the whole thing. I was fortunate enough to read this book and I think it is one of the best in the series....but I love her books and I always think the one I just read was the best one.ReplyDelete
Please do not put my name in the pot to win the book. I loved the conversations between the Monique and Lord Fulkham ....they are both so bright and funny.
I haven't read this series, but it sounds really good.ReplyDelete
I've read all of Sabrina's books including all of the books in this series so far. Don't cry to hard...she has a novella coming in July that will finally end this series. It's titled The Risk of Rogues. I didn't not just read this excerpt...I want to wait until I get the book in hand to read it all right then.ReplyDelete
Now for your question: I love the musicals from the 40's and 50's. That's when Hollywood really knew how to produce a musical film. Anything they try to do now doesn't hold a candle to West Side Story or Holiday Inn.
I've read books from other series by Sabrina but have not read any in this one. Thank you for sharing the excerpt.ReplyDelete
I have read the rest of this series. Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favorite authors. I was lucky enough to meet her a year ago and she is so sweet in person. I love plays and musicals. I am not a big fan of opera. I was fortunate growing up to be able to go to several Broadway musicals. Don't go to as many plays or musicals now. Chorus Line is one of my favorite musicals.ReplyDelete
I've read several in that series. My favorite series is the Hellions of Halstead HallReplyDelete
Spamalot, The Producers, Singin’ in the Rain, Wicked are tops but I really love musicals- stage and screen. I’ve read all of Sabrina’s books.ReplyDelete
I love musicals but have never been to the opera. I have yet to read any in her new series, sad, very sad.ReplyDelete
I love musicals, serious plays, and would love to attend Verdi's opera Aida. It is a spectacular production if staged completely. I have attended Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Hairspray, Grease, and several others.ReplyDelete