Published by Quillfire Publishing on March 27th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Death is just the beginning in this dark, chilling Gothic Regency Romance...
After the death of her beloved guardian, Miss Felicity Fields is left adrift, her future uncertain. Grief-stricken, she launches a plan to use her knowledge of alchemy to build a Philosopher's Stone, and bring back to life the woman who was like a mother to her. The last thing this blunt bluestocking needs is the return of Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe and rightful owner of her home on the wild coast of Cornwall. He stirs an unexpected passion within her, and Felicity has had enough change in her life.
When they were children, Nicholas never understood his aunt's brilliant but unemotional ward, or her many strange scientific studies. He ought to take her back to London, so she can make a proper society match--except he can't stop thinking about her. But with the line between life and death blurred by Felicity's macabre experiments, can he convince her that she's no longer alone, and her proper place is by his side?---Previously released in CHARMED AT CHRISTMAS
The Gothic Brides series: edgy, atmospheric Gothic Regency Romance, exploring the dark, twisted corners of England--these books are not for the faint of heart. The Gothic Brides battle tortured past and face dangerous, suspenseful circumstances on their road to a hard-won happily ever after. Each book stands on its own.
THE MAD COUNTESSTHE DETERMINED DUCHESSTHE SCANDALOUS WIDOW
Felicity closed the distance between them. She now knew the perfect way to distract him and get him to leave her laboratory. “Never mind that. There’s a different experiment I’d like your help with.”
“What’s that?” Nicholas’s eyes widened as she put her hand on his shoulder.
She did not blame him for his surprise—she’d never initiated such contact with him before. Not like this. That’d been a mistake because his muscles nearly rippled under her touch. She cataloged the firmness of his body and the way her heart sped up as she touched him, reminding herself to add it to her notes later.
But now she had to proceed to the experiment. She drew a breath to steady herself. Considered closing her eyes, and then decided that was illogical, because what if she missed his lips? Eyes wide open, Felicity rose up on the balls of her feet, and let her lips brush against Nicholas’s.
There! She had kissed him.
A second later, she pulled from him, weight going back down on the balls of her feet, studying him for a reaction. Now what? When did the distraction happen? He didn’t seem very affected—he kept staring at her, slack-jawed, eyes wide.
Fine then. She’d inform him he had to leave, and if he didn’t agree, she’d…she’d chase him out with the burner. Or something.
Except, as she watched him, contemplating this, a sea change occurred over his features. She was not good at reading expressions, but even she could tell this was different. She could practically feel the tension crackling in the air.
Then he tugged her to him, holding her so near she fell against his hard, muscular chest. She ought to protest, because she had not begun this contact. Yet the words wouldn’t leave her mouth. Her breath came faster, and there was a rising heat within her.
She liked him being this close.
That was unusual, indeed.
She had no time to examine that sensation. Because in the next instant, Nicholas’s fingers slid underneath her chin to tilt her head up, and then his lips smashed down upon hers.
It was nothing like the kiss she’d given him. She had obviously not received proper instructions from Tressa. Because this, this must be a kiss. Even she, who remained resolutely determined to never feel passion, could recognize the danger of this.
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The Determined Duchess is the second book in the Gothic Brides series by Erica Monroe. Although part of a series it can be read as a standalone story.
Miss Felicity Fields is grieving the loss of her guardian, who had been more like a mother to her. She has preserved the woman’s organs and body for six months while attempting to develop a way to bring her back to life. She doesn’t believe in Galvanism and is attempting to produce a Philosopher’s Stone. Time is running out, not only because the body can’t last much longer, but also because of the unwelcome arrival of the rightful owner of her home in Cornwall.
Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe is that person. He pretty much grew up with Felicity and they never got on particularly well. He believes it’s his duty to step in as her guardian now and to offer her a ‘season’ in London in order for her to find a husband. He’s baffled when she turns his offer down point blank and can’t fathom why she is so against it. He, of course, knows nothing of what she’s planning to do with her alchemy. It’s not just that though; Felicity doesn’t like crowds, she doesn’t like change, she is content in Cornwall and will be even more so if she can resurrect her old guardian.
This is a short story but full of interesting content not least information regarding a person who has ‘visions’, Felicity’s alchemy, and even embalming (don’t worry it’s not macabre). Add to that the blossoming romance between Nicholas and Felicity which shocks both of them, and you have an intriguing, exciting story. Easy to read in one sitting and with a fabulous ending.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.