No Dukes Allowed
Who doesn’t love a duke?
Three Regency ladies share a temporary seaside residence in Brighton to escape the London season’s gossip and matchmaking. Even if these women were interested in a light flirtation, they’d still agree that dukes are a perishing lot of bother. Fortunately for the ladies, some gentlemen who are not dukes come along with more than casual flirtation in mind…
Enjoy An Excerpt
Adam Morecambe has good reasons for keeping his distance from titled society, and yet, when it comes to Eugenia, Dowager Duchess of Tindale, distance is the last thing on Adam’s mind. He’s an architect, and even though he knows better, when it comes to Genie, he’s building a castle in the air…. So why is she lowering the drawbridge, just for him…?
A sharp rap on the parlor door startled Adam from dreams of carved wooden flowers and freckled geese. His boots dropped to the floor, nearly clobbering an indignant marmalade cat.
“Where did you come from?”
The cat squinted, and the knock sounded again, more firmly.
The Duchess of Tindale presented herself, looking as feminine and pleasing as she had in Adam’s dreams, but wearing a good deal more clothing. He rose from behind the desk, holding his unfinished sketch in a manner that hid the evidence of his wayward imagination.
“Mr. Morecambe.” She popped a brisk curtsey. “I’m looking in on you, as a hostess ought to. Do you have all you need to make your sketches?”
“I apparently needed a nap,” he said. “That is a diabolically comfortable chair.” He shrugged into his coat as casually as he could, though Her Grace had been married. A man in dishabille would hardly shock her.
“I have remarked the same on the occasion of tending to my ledgers,” she said. “The combination of accounting and that chair induces sleep even first thing in the morning. I’ve sent off a note to Petworth House.”
Petworth was the finest collection of interior woodcarving in all of England, possibly in all the world.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I hope Friday suits your schedule. Godmama’s gardener vows the weather will hold fair for the rest of the week. We can make a picnic of the outing.”
She was inviting him on a tour of Petworth. Also a picnic.
On the occasion of Adam’s first encounter with the duchess, he’d swept her into his arms to spare her a soaking. The contact had startled him. He’d not held a woman closely for ages, hadn’t wanted to. His every spare moment and thought went to building his business, and he liked it that way. Her Grace had tolerated the embrace for exactly two instants before she’d righted herself and shaken her skirts, but they had been lovely instants.
She was sturdy, lively, and friendly. None of which explained why Adam wanted to kiss her.
“I trust Lord and Lady Egremont will not be in residence?” he asked.
“Off to Paris. We’ll have the place to ourselves.”
To themselves and an army of servants. “Friday, you say?” Adam mentally rearranged lunch with friends as well as four other appointments to see properties for sale.
“Have you a conveyance? We can take my traveling carriage or the landau if the weather’s fine.”
“I’ll drive,” Adam said, lest he find himself plodding through the countryside, when the time could be better spent marveling at the wonders of Petworth. “Shall we leave around eight in the morning?”
“Earlier,” she replied, tidying his sketches and handing them to him. “We have the long hours of daylight, we might as well use them. Leave the picnic basket to me, and plan on a lovely day.”
“The crack of dawn then,” he said, bowing over her hand as best he could with his sketches tucked under his arm. “I’ll look forward to it.”
The prospect of a day bouncing along the lanes of Sussex had her beaming at him, and her pleasure turned an unremarkable countenance luminous. Her eyes lit with such benevolence, that Adam held onto her hand longer than was strictly proper. She had a subtle beauty, not the boring, cameo-perfect appearance of her friend, but a personal loveliness that would make the hours until Friday morning long.
And busy. She saw Adam to the front door, where no servant sat in attendance collecting gossip and spying on the walkway.
“Do you know,” Adam said, “I do believe you are my favorite duchess in the entire world.”
“How many duchesses do you know, Mr. Morecambe?”
“Two.” Not strictly true. As a youth, he’d once been introduced to the Duchess of Seymouth, who’d regarded him as so much dung clinging to her slipper.
“You are my favorite architect.”
“How many do you know?”
She went up on her toes and brushed a kiss to his cheek. “One, and I am looking forward to getting to know him better.”
Adam tapped his hat onto his head, accepted his walking stick from her, and left the house without even taking the time to examine the fine Palladian window above the lintel.
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End of Excerpt
This book will begin shipping on May 15, 2018
No Dukes Allowed is available in the following formats:
Grace Burrowes Publishing
May 15, 2018
Print order links coming soon!