on July 24th 2017
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A dour duke and a wistful wallflower—an impossible match until fate intervenes one enchanted night.
A dour duke…
Jules, the Sixth Duke of Dandridge disdains Society and all its trappings, preferring the country’s solitude and peace. Already jaded and cynical since the woman he loved died years ago, he’s become even more so since unexpectedly inheriting a dukedom’s responsibilities and finding himself the target of every husband-hunting vixen in London.
A wistful wallflower…
Forever in her stunning sister’s shadow, Jemmah Dament has adored Jules from afar for years—since as children they were the best of friends. She daren’t dream she can win a duke’s heart any more than she hopes to escape the life of servitude imposed on her by an uncaring mother. Jemmah knows full well, Jules is too far above her station. Besides, his family has already selected his perfect duchess: a poised, polished, exquisite blueblood.
But one enchanted night…
A chance encounter reunites Jules and Jemmah, resulting in a passionate interlude neither can forget. Jules realizes he wants more—much more—than Jemmah’s sweet kisses or her warming his bed. He must somehow convince her to gamble on a dour duke. But can Jemmah trust a rogue promised to another? One who’s sworn never to love again?
Caution: This Historical Regency Romance contains a duke who literally thumbs his nose at society, a sweet and intelligent wallflower with a secret dream, a villainess worthy of a fairy tale, and two delightful match-making dowagers.
Buy this book for an emotional, entertaining, and romantic fairty-tale meets Regency world adventure you won’t want to put down.
Wending between the numerous pieces of furniture in the moon’s half-light, Jules smacked his shin into the settee. Pain spiraling from calf to knee, he softly cursed and bent to rub the offended limb.
“Dammit. Must Theo constantly rearrange this room? Two hell-fired times since December.”
A startled gasp, swiftly stifled, had him jerking upright, whacking his shoulder this time.
Silence met his inquiry. Had he stumbled upon a lover’s tryst? A thief? A wayward servant or inquisitive guest? He fingered his throbbing shoulder, pressing the pads against the pain.
“Reveal yourself at once.”
Running his fingers along the settee’s back, he located the pedestal sofa table.
Other than shallow breathing, the culprit kept quiet.
Squinting, he made out a light-colored form reclining on the dark blue and silver striped cushions. A woman, and by all the stampeding elephants in Africa, he bet his silver buttons, and the two new bruises he surely sported, he knew who laid there.
Like a slowly uncoiling rope, the tension eased from his taut muscles.
He fumbled a bit until he found the engraved silver tinderbox beside the candelabra and moments later, a wax taper flared to life.
“Hello, Your Grace.”
Miss Jemmah Dament, her rosy lips curved upward in a small closed-mouth smile and her face still sleep-softened, blinked groggily.
Hello, indeed. Adorable, sleepy kitten.
He lifted the candle higher, taking in her svelte figure, her delectable backside pressed to the sofa, one hand still cradling her cheek. Surprise and carnal awareness, pleasant and unexpected, tingled a rippling path from one shoulder to the other.
The plain, awkward little mudlark had transformed into a graceful dove. One who rivaled—no, by far exceeded—her sister’s allure.
“Well, hello to you as well, Miss Jemmah Dament.”
As if it were the most natural thing in the world to be found napping during a ball at her aunt’s house, and then awoken by a man crashing into her makeshift bed, she sat up and brushed a wayward curl off her forehead.
Jules set about lighting the other three tapers. Their glow revealed striking pale blue, wide-set almond-shaped eyes, fringed by dark lashes, and tousled hair somewhere between rich caramel and light toffee.
He hadn’t seen her up close in—
How long had it been?
Cocking his head, he searched his mind’s archives.
At least since last summer.
Yes, that afternoon in August; in Hyde Park, when she’d walked past wearing a travesty of a walking ensemble. A sort of greenish-gray color somewhere between rotten fish and bread mold.
Yawning delicately behind one slender hand, she smoothed her plain ivory gown with the other.
Except for a yellowish-tan sash below her breasts, the garment lacked any adornment. The ribbon didn’t suit her coloring, and although he couldn’t claim to be an expert on feminine apparel, the frock seemed rather lackluster for such a grand affair.
Another of Adelinda’s cast-offs?
As he closed the tinder box, Jules canted his head.
He couldn’t recall ever seeing Jemmah wearing anything new. And yet her sister always appeared perfumed and bejeweled, attired in the first stare of fashion. Such blatant favoritism wasn’t uncommon amongst the elite, nor did it shock him nearly as much as appall.
He, too, was his mother’s least favorite child, but by all the candle nubs in England, if he ever had children—in the very distant future—they’d not know the kind of rejection and pain he and Jemmah had experienced because of their parents’ partiality.
He’d love and treat his offspring equally as any good and decent parent should.
“Ah, Your Grace, you’re surprised to see me, I think.”
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~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Jules, Duke of Dandridge, had to drag himself to attend his godmother’s birthday ball, and he tried to make a hasty exit, because of all the marriage-minded mamas that follow his every step, such as Mrs. Dament and the gorgeous Adelina. But it’s Adelina’s sister, Jemmah and Jules’ childhood friend, whom he hopes to see. It’s been too long, two years, and luck has it at that birthday ball, when Jules happens to enter a room and finds Jemmah who had been napping. Jules rarely goes out, and Jemmah even less so. She has been forever in the shadow of her beautiful older sister Adelina; Jemmah is the forgotten daughter, the one always neglected in favour of the golden child, Adelina who as gloriously beautiful as she is, has an ugly soul and a mean mouth: Adelina is her mother’s daughter.
Jemmah wears hand-me-downs from the beautiful one, and her life recalls Cinderella’s in small ways. Jemmah has always had a crush on Jules, but as her mother and Adelina had their eyes on the duchy, Jemmah stayed in the background, as always. What she didn’t know is that Jules had always liked her a lot, and now he sees the beautiful and caring woman she has become, and even though he hadn’t thought of marrying for a good while yet, reconnecting with Jemmah just changed Jules’ mind.
Jules of the sombre mien and serious demeanour comes alive once again when he gets to see his friend Jemmah; he knows what it is to be to be neglected, to be left in the shadow of another sibling. Jules also knows what it is to have his love taken away, and he had the misfortune that the woman he thought he would marry turned out to be otherwise than she appeared; she was not unlike the horrid Adelina. He knows Jemmah, and she is even lovelier inside than she is outside.
Jemmah is little more than a servant to her mother and older sister, and the reason behind Jemmah’s mother acting the way she does, is understandable and logical in her own mind, albeit still unforgiveable; Jemma’s mother is not nasty or storyline purposes, in her twisted way, she’s acting as she should.
I love the fairytale on which A DIAMOND FOR A DUKE is based, a French classic by Jean Perreault, because it is about looking beyond appearances, that all that glitters is definitely not gold, and what a joy to have Collette Cameron give it an lovely Regency twist. The writing is brilliant, so colourful and eloquent, and I love how Ms. Cameron again comes up with original and often quite hilarious epithets and exclamations. The characters feel genuine, and I absolutely adored Jemmah’s Aunt Theo! I could picture her in every little detail, so formidable and decisive, and fair. The romance between Jules and Jemmah is simply a lovely person; they truly like each other, nothing is rushed; it’s just a progression of how they felt towards each other since they were children, and since neither got out much, they just didn’t see each other all that much for a long time. Jemmah thought she was undeserving of someone like Jules, a duke no less, she of the tattered clothes and what she thought were her plain features. She is charming, and Jules is a wonderful man: honourable, kind, and so protective of his friend and of his true love, Jemmah.
A DIAMOND FOR A DUKE might be short in length, but it is long on charm, the writing is exquisite as ever, which is not surprising from Collette Cameron. A DIAMOND FOR A DUKE is a wonderful read that will take you away for a bit and have you dreaming of finding your own Jules and a romance as true as Jules’ and Jemmah’s. I wonder if we will get to see Sutcliffe’s and Pennington’s stories…
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.