Sourcebook is doing this really cool Teaser Tour and they have a neat contest to go along with it! Enjoy the teaser and I hope you have fun with the contest!
Sourcebooks is offering 10 readers the chance to attend a LIVE online event with Susanna Kearsley. To enter, find the HIDDEN MESSAGEwithin the excerpt below and use it to crack the SECRET CODE. Email the correct answer to email@example.com. Winners will be announced on March 20th.
Excerpt from A Desperate Fortune:
It should have been a simple thing. Mary Dundas had told me so herself, in words so plain I could not misinterpret them:
“And she observing I was writing private thoughts advised me there were ways to write in secret, and when I replied I had no head for ciphers she assured me any person could devise one using anything to hand, whereon she crafted one upon the spot so simple in design that I do presently intend to follow her advice and practice it.”
“So simple in design,” the diary promised, yet three days had passed and I had come no closer to unraveling the cipher that another woman had devised “upon the spot” while drinking tea. It drove me to distraction.
I had barely noticed Jacqui leaving Monday. She had smiled and kissed me lightly on the head and given me a hug and seeing I was well absorbed in work, had tiptoed quietly away to drive herself back to the airport. If the house felt slightly different with her gone, I’d scarcely noticed it. I’d socialized when necessary, sharing an aperitif with Claudine every evening before joining her at dinner, where I’d let her take the lead in conversation, which so far had touched on local wines, the euro, and photography, three things that I knew little of myself, so it was natural for me to be the audience for her impromptu and impassioned lectures.
If I had not seen Luc Sabran—which to be honest I had noticed slightly more than other things—it was because he had returned to work after the holidays, and truly it was just as well to not have the distraction.
It was bad enough the cat had found a way to sneak into my workroom when he wanted to, and even though he was a cat and therefore understood the rules of solitude, it still was disconcerting to glance up and find he’d settled in his favorite spot atop the box of files by the windows and was watching me, the way cats did, with steady and unblinking eyes.
I felt the weight of his stare now and raised my head to meet it with my own. “Well then, you try it. See how you get on,” I challenged him.
He twitched an ear and wisely did not answer.
“Fine then. Don’t be so judgmental.” In frustration I turned back to the first entry of the diary and read through it for what seemed the thousandth time in search of clues. What cipher could a person craft that would be “simple in design” and “using anything to hand”? What would a person have “to hand” in those days in a house belonging to a man of some estate? I didn’t know what room they had been sitting in, for Mary never mentioned it. The drawing room, presumably. There was no way to tell. They’d been drinking tea, which meant there’d been a tea service: a tea tray, teacups, lumps of sugar. Totally unhelpful. A design upon the teacups? It was possible. There would have been a fireplace, with its andirons and tongs and pokers. And because Sir Redmond was a man of means and education, there might have been books.
If there’d been books, I thought, and if they’d used one as the basis for their cipher, I was in deep trouble, for the key they’d chosen could be anything: a passage from a poem, or some rare religious tract. Odds were I’d never track it down.
Not giving in to that depressing thought, I pulled my mind back forcibly to focus on the other possibilities. The dog, I thought. Or something that the dog had with it. Or the number of wood panels on the door…
[WIN a chance to attend a LIVE online event with Susanna Kearsley! To enter, go to: http://books.sourcebooks.com/adesperatefortune/ and find the preview chapters posted there. Break the code: 8.24.9 and email the correct word firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The knock that interrupted didn’t fully register at first. I knew Denise’s knock by now—she usually knocked lightly in an effort not to startle me, not wishing to intrude.
I said, “Come in,” in French, and she put her head round the double doors.
“How does it go this morning?”
“Oh,” she said. “Well, anyway, I’m leaving in a minute. If you want a little lunch before I go…perhaps some soup…”
“No, thanks. I’m fine.”
“You have to eat.” That was the mother in her talking now, I knew. She stood with hands on hips in the same stance that my own mother struck whenever she was getting set to tell me that I’d been indoors too long.
Denise, predictably enough, said, “You have been too long in this one room. You need a change of scene. Your brain can’t work without fresh air.”
Which from a scientific standpoint was debatable, I knew, but her suggestion of a change of scenery struck me suddenly as something that might be a good idea. Often when I labored on a tricky bit of programming, I found if I switched tasks to something simpler for a little while, my brain had time and space to better concentrate upon the more important problem.
And ever since it had been first suggested to me Sunday morning, there was one much simpler task I’d added to my list of things that needed doing. “Is it very difficult,” I asked Denise, “to get from here to Saint-Germain-en-Laye? Is there a train?”
She nodded. “Yes, the RER. But you don’t have to take it. I can drop you on my way, it isn’t far. I’m nearly ready. I just have to make a phone call first, then we can go. All right?”
The cat Diablo stared down from his perch atop the box of files and dared me to.
“I’ll get my coat,” I said.
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
9781492602026 * $16.99/TP * ON-SALE: April 7, 2015
For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has lain unread. Now, amateur code breaker Sara Thomas has been sent to Paris to crack the cipher.
Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.
As Mary’s gripping tale is revealed, Sara is faced with challenges that will require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women will be united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the coincidences of fate.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Firebird (a RITA winner) as well as, The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden (both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards). Other honors include National Readers’ Choice Awards, the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, and finaling for the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Her popular and critically acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audiobooks. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.