on April 17th, 2018
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A WALLFLOWER WHO DIDN’T WANT TO BE A DUCHESS… An eccentric bluestocking with an affinity for hedgehogs, Eleanor Ward never had any dreams of grandeur when it came to making a good match. Perfectly content to become a spinster, she already had her cottage in the country picked out, complete with a barn for her menagerie of rescued animals. Until one night a lost hairpin and an arrogant duke ruin everything. Now she’s the Duchess of Hawkridge, the last thing in the world she ever wanted to be. And her husband? Well, he’s nowhere to be found.
A DUKE WHO DIDN’T WANT TO BE A HUSBAND… Furious at being tricked into marrying a woman who keeps a hedgehog in her pocket, Derek couldn’t get away from Eleanor fast enough after their vows were read. It’s been a year since he’s seen her, and he has no plans to change that anytime soon. Until his scheming cousin shows up and declares the union a sham. Now Derek has exactly one month to woo a wife he never desired and consummate a marriage he never wanted.
A MEANS TO AN END…OR A NEW BEGINNING? It seems like a simple enough task, especially for a man whose romantic conquests are the stuff of legends. But nothing is simple when two stubborn hearts are involved, especially when Derek begins to see Eleanor in an entirely new light. With time ticking down, can a cynical duke convince his unconventional duchess their marriage is worth saving? This spring, only one thing is certain…love is definitely in the air.
The Spring Duchess is a Regency novella of approximately 35k words.
“What the devil did you just put in your pocket?” The Duke of Hawkridge demanded.
“That was Henny. My hedgehog.”
“You have a bloody hedgehog?”
Eleanor’s lips thinned. “Have you listened to anything I’ve said?”
“I’ve done my best not to,” he drawled, an insufferable smirk toying with the corners of his mouth.
Odious man. One would think a duke would possess better manners.
“Now that I have found Henny, I am no longer in need of your services.” She gave a vague sweep of her arm, dismissing him as if he were nothing more than a lowly footman. But he didn’t leave. Instead, much to her general annoyance, he addressed her mother.
“I am sorry to make your acquaintance under such…straining circumstances, Lady Ward. But I should very much like you to believe me when I say that absolutely nothing untoward happened between your daughter and me, despite what it may have looked like. However, let it be known I do realize the gravity of the situation at hand, as well as the fate that awaits your daughter should any word of this ever escape the room.”
“Of course nothing untoward happened,” Eleanor burst out. “I’d rather kiss Mr. Haybeak!”
Mr. Haybeak was her pet duck.
“Eleanor, be quiet,” Lady Ward snapped. “Let His Grace speak.”
“Why should he be allowed to talk while I–”
“Fine,” she grumbled. “Henny and I will be over here.” Giving her pocket a reassuring pat, she retreated to the far corner of the parlor and pretended to look at the leather-bound books lining the shelves.
“Please let me apologize on behalf of my daughter, Your Grace. She has always been headstrong. I fear her father and I did not do enough to curb her willfulness when she was a child, and she has carried that willful nature into adulthood.”
“I can see that, Lady Ward. Your daughter is certainly…unique.”
“Thank you,” Lady Ward said, even though it was obvious the duke had not been paying a compliment.
“I take it she is unmarried?” he asked.
The book bobbled in Eleanor’s hand. Why would a duke care if she was wed or not?
“Yes, Your Grace. Although not for lack of offers. My daughter is very particular.”
“And she is not currently engaged?”
“No, Your Grace.”
The Duke sighed. It was a heavy sigh. The sort of sigh a man gave right before he stepped up to the gallows and stretched out his neck. “Then I am afraid I see no other recourse.”
No other recourse? Eleanor didn’t like the sound of that. She didn’t like the sound of that one bit. “What are you–”
“I will marry your daughter, Lady Ward,” said the duke, effectively rendering Eleanor absolutely and completely speechless for the first time in her entire life. “It is, after all, the only right thing to do.”
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