on April 21st 2017
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Tempest Manning knows exactly what she wants from life – or rather, who she wants: the dashing Duke of St. Helens. She only has to convince him that he wants her, too – a feat easier said than done. But an invitation to a house party meant to find the duke a wife means Tempest has more than enough opportunity to show him what a fine duchess she would make. If only the world would stop conspiring against her, she might have a fighting chance at making the duke fall in love with her.
Harrison Wright, Duke of St. Helens, is used to having young debutantes fall at his feet, though one girl does so quite literally, and on more than one occasion. He can’t quite decide if Miss Tempest Manning is clumsy or conniving, but either way, he can’t seem to get her out of his head. Or his life, for that matter. He isn’t certain what to expect when she accepts the invitation to a house party his mother is throwing, but he certainly isn’t expecting to fall for the dark-haired beauty, especially not with so many forces against them.
But as Shakespeare once said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
There was a bit of a chill in the large room. The sun had yet to show its face since earlier when the rain had begun, so the already drafty castle was even draftier and colder than before.
They settled onto the burgundy velvet sofa in front of the fireplace, and St. Helens handed over her journal.
“Have you any basic knowledge of French?” he asked.
Tempest shrugged. “A few words, I suppose. Escritoire. Toilette. Bonjour. But I’m afraid there isn’t much more to my vocabulary.”
“Then let us start with the easy things, shall we? Numbers or colors?”
“Colors,” Tempest said easily.
“Your journal, please.”
She handed it back to him, and then he began to write a list—presumably colors—upon the first page. When he was done, he handed it back to her.
“Now,” he said, sitting up straight and pretending to be all teacher-like. It was rather endearing, and Tempest found herself quite enjoying their game of Teacher-Student. “Repeat after me.”
She batted her lashes. “Yes, Your Grace.”
He smiled briefly and then resumed his strict persona. “Bleu.”
“Bleu,” she repeated, at which he made an odd face.
“Rouge,” she repeated him again.
“You must roll the r in the back of your throat.” He demonstrated a few times, though it wasn’t as if Tempest had never heard someone speak French. She knew what the r was supposed to sound like, she just wasn’t certain she could produce it herself.
“Rrrrr,” she tried.
“No, not rrrr,” he corrected. “Rrrrr.”
Tempest pressed her lips together and gave him an apologetic look.
“You can’t tell the difference, can you?” he asked, but there was a glint in his eyes, as if he was about to laugh, which, in turn, made Tempest want to laugh.
“Not at all,” she admitted.
“Oh, dear. Perhaps French isn’t for you.”
“No, no!” she cried, still wrapped up in mirth. “I will work on the rrrrr, I promise. Just teach me the words.”
He sat quietly smiling at her for a moment.
“What?” she asked. “What are you thinking?”
“I was just thinking that there are other things I would rather teach you.”