Refuge for Masterminds by Kathleen Baldwin | Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to the REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS Blog Tour!

Whet your reading appetite with an excerpt. Check out the book (and the first ones in the series). Enter the giveaway!
The sound of chirping insects and piping tree frogs fills the night. A shrill whistle cuts through the noise of the woods— a poor mimic of a hawk screech. The traitor answers with a light trill meant to sound less like a predatory bird and more like an innocent sweet songbird. Ha! There is nothing innocent or sweet about our Judas. 

At the edge of the trees farthest from me, a man emerges cloaked in a brown greatcoat, wearing a dark hat pulled low over his brow. She approaches him and mumbles a greeting. 

I draw my knife and clasp it tight. The weight of it in my fist makes me feel a little stronger, a little braver. I press against the tree, straining to hear. If I can catch a clear snippet of her voice. I’ll know who it is, but the dead leaves and the foliage seemed to swallow up the sound. “What’ve you learned?” He speaks low as if he fears being overheard. 

Her voice is higher, much softer, making it far more difficult to hear than his. I only catch a word here and there. I think I heard her say, “Ship.” 

“When?” he demands. “Where?” 

Her answer is impossible to distinguish. She speaks rapidly and 

gestures toward the coast. I cringe when he asks, “To London?” 

She nods. 

“Two days.” He rubs his chin. “ Doesn’t give us much time.” 

It’s wretchedly dark and I’m too far from the spies. A smaller tree stands directly in front of me, a narrow alder. It is an enticing two yards closer to them. I hunch low, preparing to dart forward unseen. 

Someone grabs me from behind. He claps a hand over my mouth. “ Don’t,” he whispers in my ear. 

Instinct takes over. Without a second thought, I move into the training I’ve practiced with Tess and our defensive arts master, Madame Cho. I jab backward with my elbow and strike him squarely in his ribs. Extending my leg, I clamp hold of his arm and heave him over my shoulder. Immediately, I pounce on the villain with my knife at his throat. I blink, unable to believe my eyes. 

Alexander Sinclair! It can’t be. 

It is him. Those are his disorderly blond curls. It’s his broad chest I’ve pinned to the ground, his rumpled shirt and worn coat. 

What in heaven’s name is he doing here? My breath catches. He must be in league with the traitor. I never should have trusted him. Never. I let my guard down and what happens, the blighter turns out to be a common spy. I dig my elbow into his ribs. 

“What are you doing?” he says under his breath, as if I am the one making a blunder. 

“Me?” I press the knife closer to his treacherous throat. “What are you doing here?” 

“Following you,” he whispers heatedly. 

I don’t believe his innocent act. “You grabbed me.” 

“Yes, because you were about to give yourself away.” 

I ease up with the knife and glance over at the traitor and her accomplice. Too late. I groan. They’ve seen us. 



(Refuge for Masterminds by Kathleen Baldwin. Tor Teen. pgs. 16-18)
Refuge for Masterminds
Stranje House #3
Kathleen Baldwin
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Genre: YA Historical, Fantasy
Lady Jane Moore has a secret. A secret that must be kept buried. For if anyone discovered the truth, her life at Stranje House would crumble. And with Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of England underway, everyone at Stranje House is already in danger. Mortal danger.

Jane knows it. She may not be like Tess, who has the advantage of prophetic dreams. Nor is she like Sera, who notices every detail no matter how miniscule and draws conclusions based on the smallest thread of evidence. She doesn’t possess Maya’s ability to soothe the tempers around her with a few well-spoken words. Neither is she a brilliant scientist like Georgie. According to Miss Stranje, Lady Jane Moore is a mastermind.

Nonsense!

Jane doesn’t consider herself a mastermind. Quite the contrary, she believes herself to be an ordinary young lady. It’s just that she has a rather excessive bent toward the practical. She tends to grasp the facts of a situation quickly, and by so doing, she’s able to devise and implement a sensible course of action. But that’s all there is to it. Well, there is the fact that she also organizes the players in her plans with quiet efficiency. So much so, that occasionally Lady Jane’s friends tease her for being a bit managing.

Do they expect her to sit back and do nothing when trouble is brewing? Not likely. Not when the people she cares about are at risk. Call it being a mastermind if you must, it is a trait that comes in rather handy in a world full of spies, sabotage, and double-dealing. Especially now that Lady Jane and Sera have rooted out the truth: There is a traitor at Stranje House.

Someone is sneaking information to Lady Daneska and Ghost, Napoleon’s spies. Jane is determined to find out who it is before the bonds of friendship at Stranje House are ripped apart by suspicions. Her desperate hunt for the traitor ensnares Robert Fulton’s nephew, Alexander Sinclair, a brash American inventor, in an ambush that puts his life in danger. Sinclair may well be the most maddening man in all of Christendom, a wicked-tongued rascal with boorish manners, but for some reason, Lady Jane cannot bear the thought of the golden-haired genius being harmed.

Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save Alexander, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

Other books in the series
About the Author

Award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin loves adventure in books and in real life. She taught rock climbing in the Rockies, survival camped in the desert, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, enjoyed way too many classes in college, fell in love at least a dozen times, and married her very own hero. They’ve raised four free-spirited adventurous children.

Awarded 2016 Spirit of Texas, A School for Unusual Girls , is her first historical romance for Young Adults. It is a Junior Library Guild selection. Publisher’s Lunch listed it in their 2015 Young Adult BookBuzz. Kansas State NEA Reading Circle gave it a starred review in their 2016 “Best of the Best” for High Schools. Scholastic licensed it for book fairs, and New York Times Book Review called it “enticing from the first sentence.”

Kathleen is also an avid reader and adores the wit and humor of Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, and Jane Austen. Her eclectic reading interests range from Frank Herbert to Meg Cabot, and on to the delightfully imaginative tales of Diana Wynne Jones.

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