NEW RELEASE: HIS PERFECT BRIDE
After the loss of her husband—and her left foot—Ophelia Shaw threw herself into running his distinguished cousin’s country estate, to great success. But managing the Duke of Montrose himself was never a task she’d anticipated…until he returns from London without a bride, determined never to search for another. Well aware of the gruff duke’s appeal, Ophelia is equally determined to change his mind and school him in the art of courtship—only to be swept off her one remaining foot!
Harry has returned home to the Widow Shaw in a very bad mood indeed, though not because he was jilted. In truth, the one woman he wants is not the lady who received his proposal. Now, Ophelia is resolute he should try again, insisting love doesn’t always happen at first sight. If she only knew… To placate her, Harry agrees, keen to have his “lessons” over and done with. They’ll either prove Ophelia wrong—or deliver his perfect bride right into his waiting arms.
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A steamy Distinguished Rogues novella.
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Read an excerpt…
At the door to the open carriage, she faced the interior with weary resignation. This was the tricky part. Climbing up two steps into a carriage was not always simple, but she refused to be lifted in anymore. No matter how well-intentioned that help might seem, Ophelia was tired of always feeling embarrassed afterward.
A pair of grooms rushed to stand at each side of her, ready to catch her should she become unbalanced and start to topple.
She handed one her cane and took hold of the newly added rails at each side of the carriage doorway and hopped up. On the first step, she wobbled. On the second, she grinned, but the harder step was still to come. She had to stretch farther forward without anything substantial to hold onto and hop inside to finally reach the carriage seat.
As she made an attempt, she wobbled—and then someone grasped her firmly around the waist from behind and steadied her.
“I have you.”
Ophelia fairly flew across the carriage then and landed horribly awry across one seat. Her skirts became wrapped around her legs, making it hard to straighten up with any sort of ladylike precision. She was embarrassed, her cheeks flaming.
The hands around her waist, the voice, had belonged to the Duke of Montrose.
The duke was back.
The carriage shook, and then gentle hands lifted her up and deposited her on the seat properly. She looked up at the Duke of Montrose’s stern face in utter surprise as he settled into the opposite seat.
“You are home,” she noted, then blushed even more. She had thought of him every day since he’d left her behind. It was such a relief to see him again that she fought to contain her overwhelming happiness. But contain it she must because the duke would likely not appreciate her making a fuss over him.
“Indeed. I should have known I would find you here again amongst the grasping rabble,” Montrose grumbled.
Montrose was not religious, they had that in common, and he had little time for the vicar, too. He’d never forbidden her from attending services on Sundays, but he never looked happy when she was on her way out the door.
He threw a thunderous scowl at the lingering grooms, who scrambled to return to their positions posthaste. Only with his nod of approval did the carriage begin to roll forward, driving them back toward the Sherringford Estate.
Ophelia wet her lips, suddenly nervous of him. “I wasn’t expecting you for some weeks yet.”
He grunted, scowled darkly, and Ophelia knew better than to ask another question straight away. The duke was a moody man. He could terrify his servants just by dropping a book too loudly.
She glanced out the window and spotted his larger closed traveling carriage following them home. So, he was only just back. Had he brought his bride with him already?
She lifted her hand, prepared to wave to the new duchess, until Montrose spoke.
“Don’t bother. There’s no one in the carriage,” he told her.
Ophelia met his gaze slowly, astonished by the news. Montrose had promised to return with his bride. He had sounded so sure that he would be a married man the next time they saw each other. “What do you mean?”
He scowled again. “She changed her mind.”
“Oh,” Ophelia said slowly—and was ashamed to realize she felt immense relief at the news Montrose was not married, or about to be. And then anger on his behalf. “But why?”
“Isn’t it explanation enough that she released me from the engagement?” he snapped, and then his jaw clenched. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Ophelia bit her tongue. She wouldn’t be getting any more conversation out of Montrose until he was calmer. She’d made a study of his moods and behaviors over the past months. If she pried, he’d throw up his defenses, and he’d tell her nothing at all.