Darling Duke releases in less than a month! I can’t wait for you to read Bo and Spencer’s story. Their road to happily ever after is long and winding and full of sizzle, and I hope you’ll love it! While it is undergoing edits, I’m about to serve you up another sneak peek to tide you over till release day.
But first: some news.
Those of you awaiting Her Deceptive Duke will be happy to hear that it’s getting an official release date of September 18th. The pre-order will go live later this month. And those of you who are fans of Regency romance may be happy to hear I’ve signed on with Kathryn Le Veque’s Dragonblade Publishing for a 5-book series set during the Regency era. Let’s just say that the series has spies, dukes, and a prince of the underworld, and I think you’re going to love it.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled sneak peek of Darling Duke (unedited so please do forgive any errors my overtaxed brain didn’t catch):
“Why are you here?” she demanded, holding the book to her bosom in a protective grip.
He raised an imperious, ducal brow. “Lady Boadicea, you are in my chamber.”
She tipped up her chin, defiance taking charge as her displeasure for his high-handedness replaced her momentary stupor over his unexpected appearance. “I am in the first chamber I could spy after rounding the corner thanks to the jailer you planted at my door for the last few days. Had I known it was yours, I would have taken the risk of managing a few extra steps and landing myself in the next one.”
He stalked toward her, making her resist the urge to retreat to the far end of the chamber. She would not show him her weakness. No. She would be strong. Unyielding. Above all she would not allow him to weaken her resolve or once again take possession of her book. Now that she had it back, she was not giving it up any more than she was flying to the moon.
Bainbridge stopped only when he was so near that his riding boots brushed her skirts. She knew she should wonder if he was transferring mud to her silk, but she couldn’t be bothered to look away from his arresting face.
“You took a great fall,” he said slowly, his tone cool. “Being the stubborn, wrong-headed wench that you are, you seemed to have no concern for your wellbeing and recovery. Therefore I, being possessed of sound reasoning, endeavored to make certain that you would rest.”
“I am not yours to order about,” she argued, trying not to notice the strong cords of his neck or the breadth of his chest. Allowing her weakness for him to get the better of her just would not do. “Nor am I a wench, wrong-headed or otherwise. I am a woman fully grown, and if I require rest I shall take it. If I do not, I will not. What I most assuredly do not need, Duke, is a man who thinks he knows better than I making my decisions for me.”
There. Let him stew upon that.
“I care for your wellbeing,” he said quietly. “You are stubborn to a fault, and I did not wish to worry about you wandering the halls at midnight or stealing my horses.”
He’d rather ruined the first bit of what he’d said with the second. She frowned at him. “You are the most vexing man I have ever met. Your unfortunate personality aside, I never stole your horse.”
His expression remained imperious as ever, revealing nothing. “I will not argue semantics with you, my lady. You are, as seems to be your singular talent, once again trespassing where you are not welcome. I need to change. Leave the bawdy book and go.”
Ah, so he had noticed. “This is my book, and I want it back.”
“It is filth.” His lip curled.
“Such filth that you threw it into the fire?” If her tone was arch, it couldn’t be helped. Something about the man before her irked her in ways she could not fully comprehend. He was cold and reserved and forbidding, and yet he also made her melt.
He tilted his head, considering her in an intense manner that left her feeling flushed and exposed. “Perhaps I wished to know what to expect from my future wife, having already been cursed with one unfaithful duchess. Tell me, Lady Boadicea, what manner of bride will I bring to my bed?”
Something inside Bo froze. His wife had cuckolded him. It should not come as a surprise, she supposed, for marriages in which husband and wife sought comfort in the arms of lovers was commonplace in their set. And so it would seem he intended to paint her with the same brush.
The gauntlet had been thrown. She stepped forward, straight into his large, unyielding body, and she didn’t care. “What do you mean to ask, Duke? You have only to ask, and I will answer.”
“Why do you read such smut?” His hands settled upon her waist.
Smut. She did not like that word. But she studied him, unable to resist the smug grin that curved her lips. She could see right through his pretense. “Because I like it. And so, I would wager, do you, else it would not have been so readily available alongside your bed. It would seem that you did not burn it in the library grate after all.”
“As you can see, the thing is still in fine fettle.” He was solemn. “In spite of my strong inclination to destroy it.”
“And it is mine.” Her grip upon it tightened. She didn’t know why it should matter to maintain possession of a small, unassuming volume of erotic literature. Some of the stories it contained were frankly profane, some silly, and others still quite intriguing. Bainbridge clearly shared her opinion, or he would not have kept it at his bedside. There were layers to him, hidden depths, which intrigued her. And still, she could not be certain if she was better off leaving him intact or attempting to find the very, pulsing heart of him.
Did he have a heart?
The icy Duke of Disdain—the man she’d thought him—would have her believe he did not. But she had glimpsed more than the façade he showed the world. More, even than the façade he had initially showed her. He possessed passion and fire. He was not an immovable iceberg at all. Rather, he was an enigma, a man who had known pain and hurt, who had perhaps loved a wife who had betrayed him and taken other lovers to her bed. The more she knew about him, the more she suspected that her opinion of him was altogether wrong.
“Take it, then.” His voice was a low, decadent rumble to her senses. His eyes had dipped to her mouth, and she felt that gaze like a kiss. Her lips tingled.
That’s all for now. You can pre-order Darling Duke here. Sign up for my newsletter right here. And definitely do join me and some fabulous steamy historical romance authors over at Historical Harlots on Facebook for fun, hot guy GIFs (from Hiddleston to Heughan, we’ve got your back), giveaways, and more.
Until next time, don’t behave!