All the Duke of Dunfallon wants this holiday season is a respite from the machinations of the matchmakers. When pursued by a particularly determined would-be duchess, he ducks into the West Bartholomew Street Lending Library. Librarian Emerald Armstrong sees a dapper gent in a bit of a hurry and mistakes Dunfallon for a curate overdue for his assignation with West Bart’s theological collection.
Dunfallon is intrigued by Emmie’s love of books, her disdain for society’s games, and her ferocious generosity of spirit toward all of the library’s patrons. She has no patience with posturing, and thus he takes the risk of admitting his true identity. To his surprise, Emmie doesn’t mind all that much that he’s a duke—some things cannot be helped—but she is far less willing to keep silent about Dunfallon’s other secret, the one he has been guarding from even his fellow peers.
If an honest woman is worth more than rubies, what will a duke sacrifice to earn her love?
Note: This story was half of Yuletide Gems, a novella duet originally published as a web store/library exclusive in 2022.
A Gentleman Worthy of Kisses–A Republished Regency Novella Duet
A Kiss by the Sea
He’s not really a blacksmith, and she’s not really an heiress…
Thaddeus Pennrith finds a way to recover from multiple griefs when he accepts the blacksmith’s post at Fenwick on Sea. Village life gives him a sense of belonging that Polite Society never could, though he must resume his aristocratic duties soon. Along comes Lady Sarah Weatherby, refugee from an engagement gone badly awry, and Thaddeus is faced with both a compelling reason to reveal his titled antecedents, and a longing to keep them forever hidden….
NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Bluestocking Belles’ anthology, Storm and Shelter, where you will find more tales of romance by the seaside!
When His Grace Falls
The very proper Duke of Emory, lampooned in the popular satire How to Ruin A Duke, suspects that the author of his misfortune is Lady Edith Charbonneau. He sets out to ruin her before she can write a sequel, except… what if he’s wrong, and she’s not his enemy after all? Edith, formerly companion to His Grace’s difficult mother, has plenty of reasons for her dim view of the duke’s household, but the man himself has never been one of them. Will they learn to trust another, or embark on a war of words, wit, and wanton kisses?
This novella originally appeared in the novella duet, How to Ruin a Duke, published in 2019 and no longer available as a duet (alas!).
When looking for true love, sometimes it helps to wear a disguise!
Rupert, Earl of Esterly, kits himself out as a footman, hoping to avoid the matchmakers’ notice at a masquerade. His lordship catches the eye, not of the proper lady he’s supposed to start courting, but of Mary, a chamber maid who has no use for titled men. He’s not what she thinks he is, but then, she’s not what she appears to be either!
(This story was originally published in the anthology, A Midsummer Night’s Romance.)
Henning, Duke of Clonmere must marry one of the Earl of Falmouth’s three giggling younger daughters, but Lady Iris — Falmouth’s oldest, who is not at all inclined to giggling — catches Clonmere’s eye, and his heart!
NOTE: This story originally appeared in the (now de-published) anthology, Dukes by the Dozen. At present, it’s available exclusively through the web store as a free download.
What happens when the proprietress of Siren’s Retreat discovers the charming romantic she’s been corresponding with is same villain turning her beloved property into a gaming hell? Find out in LOVE LETTERS BY THE SEA!
When not responding to advice column letters, entrepreneurial widow Mrs. Deborah Cartwright runs bright, beautiful Siren’s Retreat, legendary for helping her lovelorn guests find their perfect match. Deborah experienced love years before, and lightning does not strike twice. Although there might be a light flirtation with a certain anonymous letter-writer she’s definitely not falling for, there’s no time for romance. Not whilst a heartless blackguard is in town to wrest her beloved inn out from under her!
Clever, career-minded Mr. Patrick Gretham is the trusted man-of-business for a powerful lord, who is eager to turn this perfectly situated property wasted on lovebirds into a gambling hell the likes of which no one leaves with their fortunes intact. Over Deborah’s dead body! The beautiful proprietress hates everything Patrick stands for and will fight him every step of the way. Except when they find themselves on opposite sides of a plume. Or falling into each other’s embrace…
What happens when a wallflower’s extremely make-believe fake suitor appears in the flesh just in time to ruin all her spinsterly plans? Find out in AN AFFAIR BY THE SEA!
Orphaned pianist Allegra Brown is a poor relation with nothing much to recommend her, save a minuscule dowry and a very big imagination. She has spent the past several years as governess to her younger cousins, who are now ready for their come out—and want Allegra to marry, too. Specifically, they eagerly await the return of Allegra’s dashing, handsome, swashbuckling, conveniently absent and secretly fictional fiancé, the dread pirate Captain L’Amour.
The only place Mr. John Sharp strikes fear is in the courtroom, where his neat, ordered mind is renowned for winning every case he presents. John loves predictability and longs to be a chef. Unfortunately, every time he puts on an apron, the entire kitchen catches fire. Much like passion burning between him and a certain wildly unpredictable spinster, who seems to have confused him for a dashing, exciting pirate. By fulfilling her fantasies, can his dreams come true…together?
Heiress Anne Baxter seeks a repairing lease by the sea after she’s left standing at the altar for the second time. To her utter mortification, the best man, Augustus, Duke of Tindale, has been invited to a house party at a nearby estate, and comes upon Anne trying to enjoy some solitude along the shore.
Augustus believes Anne is far better off without the buffoon who jilted her, but knows polite society will hold the lady accountable for the failed wedding,… weddings, rather. He proposes to show Anne marked attention at the house party, in hopes that a ducal suitor will prove to the gossips just how lovely Anne is. Alas for Augustus’s brilliant scheme, the best laid plans of dukes of damsels, oft go awry!
Vergilius, Viscount Summerton, has watched his wife of ten years grow more and more distant, and he’s determined that this year the marriage will start moving in a better direction. Penelope, Lady Summerton, is also determined that this year will be different. She slips off to a seaside cottage, intending that to be her first step toward a new life free of marital difficulties. Gill ends up at the same seaside inn, where he hopes to plot a wooing no wife can resist.
He’s determined to reconcile; she’s determined to pack his bags, but then the magic of the Siren’s Retreat begins to steal over them both…
Two PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED novellas connected to the Windham family series.
Morgan and Archer
Morgan James, sister-by-marriage to the Windham ducal heir, has spent several Seasons dutifully trooping with her in-laws to every ball and musicale in Mayfair. The glittering London society she never thought she’d be part of has begun to pale, while solitude and quiet have grown enormously attractive.
Morgan’s longing to withdraw from society is cut short when she crosses paths with Archer Portmaine, a distant family connection who is is investigating a plot against the Crown. Archer must foil a dangerous scheme, and Morgan, with her quick wits and unusual ability to blend into any crowd, has the perfect skills to help him capture the villain–and to capture Archer’s heart!
Jonathan and Amy
Jonathan Dolan, a wealthy Irish quarry nabob, has done the unthinkable for an otherwise sensible widower and fallen in love with his daughter’s governess. If he’s to win the heart of proper, pretty Miss Amy Ingraham, Jonathan must turn to his former brother-in-law, the Marquess of Deene, to help him woo the lady. Despite Deene’s willingness to aid the course of true love, Jonathan must be clever, determined, and– above all else–honorable if he’s to win not only Amy’s hand, but also the respect of a society only too willing to judge him harshly.
Two PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED Regency novellas. A is for Amorous (originally published in Love by the Letters) and Architect of My Dreams (originally published in No Dukes Allowed.)
A is for Amorous
Adalicia Beauvais has no use for children, and even less use for most men. Plato wasn’t a bad sort, and Euclid was bright enough, but the modern variety of male holds no appeal for her. To earn ownership of a lovely country estate with a delightfully well stocked library, Ada must raise funds for an orphanage full of noisy, malodorous urchins.
As if that isn’t challenge enough, her only ally in this endeavor, is the headmaster, Lord John, who loves children, referees cricket matches, and plucks Ada’s very, very last nerve, even though she knows his devotion to the children is genuine, as is the orphanage’s need for funds. Opposites don’t always attract, but in this case, they must work together for thirty days, or neither Ada’s nor John’s dreams will ever come true.
Architect of My Dreams
Eugenia, Dowager Duchess of Tindale, travels to the Brighton shore for a respite from London’s din and crowding. She is both dismayed and curious to find that Adam Morecambe, the very architect whose building project has rendered her London street unbearably noisy, has also journeyed to Brighton. Adam is traveling on business–he’s always on business–though he’s also pleased to bump into the duchess who has the loveliest smile he’s ever seen.
Genie has no intention of ever remarrying–once was bad enough–and Adam would never allow a romantic frolic to interfere with his busy schedule, but then he learns that Genie’s kisses are as sweet as her smiles, and all of his fixed notions about what the future might hold go flying out the nearest bedroom window.