BOOK BLURB: Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London’s single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.
Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she’d rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she’s impressed by Julian’s protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.
As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected… and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?
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Elizabeth Windham was a quiet presence at any meal, a polite conversationalist while waiting to take her turn with a bow and arrow, a dutiful companion to her aunt—and she was a walking, talking, smiling liar.
Were all women this good at dissembling? For the gracious, unassuming Miss Windham hid volumes worth of indignation and passion beneath her quiet exterior. If Julian were a betting man, he’d put money on lending libraries appearing in every village in the realm within ten years.
She had intrigued him with her demure composure, while this hidden ferocity fascinated him.
Miss Windham occupied the center of the room, dignity and ire crackling about her. Julian had offended a lady, and that was not an acceptable way to end his day—or hers.
“Madam, you place before me an impossibility. How can I have a pleasant evening, when I have so clearly upset you? At least finish your serving of cordial.”
She likely wanted to dash her drink in Julian’s face, but faultless manners were part of her duplicity.
Miss Windham retrieved her glass from him and tossed back the contents in one gulp, then began coughing. Julian dared not laugh, but he did presume to lead her to the rocking chair.
“That was foolishness,” he said. “That was rank, reckless foolishness and a waste of Lady Glenys’s favorite recipe. If you wish to become inebriated, then you keep a patent remedy in good supply, and when nobody is about, tipple to your—”
“Haverford, cease instructing me, or I will strike a blow where you will never forget it.”
She apparently referred—in deadly earnest and at close quarters—to his tallywags, or possibly to his pride.
Julian took a step back. “I apologize.” A safe place to start, though inadequate. “Whatever fellow or fellows led you to have such a dim view of marriage, or its intimate joys, or of life in general, did you a disservice.”
He passed her his handkerchief and realized too late it was less than pristine.
“I’ve considered that,” Miss Windham said, finding a clean corner and dabbing at her eyes. “I’ve considered that I chose poorly when deciding to cross the bounds of strict propriety—though how is a woman to develop a sense for such matters? All men adopt fine manners, charm, and good humor when they’re in the ballroom. That apparently means nothing in the bedroom.”
Welsh curses came to mind in quantity.
AUTHOR BIO: Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.
Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website or her social channels.