Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Never Doubt a Duke

Sounds like a good title for a blog post, doesn’t it? It’s also the title for my new release. This is one of those books of your heart. It has no publisher home (Edwards and Williams is my own imprint). It was blessed with a fabulous editor, a wonderful proofreader, and a talented cover artist. And now it’s out in the world.

After spending the last ten years following her late husband on campaign, the irrepressible Jane Kimball finds herself badly in need of a position to support herself. Marriage holds no appeal; she’s not likely to find a husband like her Jimmy again. But when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her a post with the Duke of Wey, Jane feels drawn to help the lonely widower with his three daughters. He may seem a bit aloof, but Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune approved of him. Why should Jane doubt a duke?

Alaric, Duke of Wey, commands his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, managing vast holdings in England and across the seas. Why is it he cannot manage his own daughters? As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature, her outspoken ways to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

Here’s a little taste:

Jane Kimball was the only person in the schoolroom as the duke and his butler entered. She was standing by the worktable, wiping a slate with a cloth.

“Everything all right?” Alaric asked.

As if the butler expected a confrontation, he faded into the background.

Mrs. Kimball glanced up at Alaric. “Lessons have been cancelled by a fit of pique. I had the effrontery to introduce arithmetic. Her Grace is consoling them with tea and cakes.”

She didn’t seem angry, though she certainly had a right to be. In fact, she seemed a bit downcast. Her dark eyes were shadowed, and her usually upright frame slumped. He moved farther into the room.

“I approved of the introduction of that subject,” he reminded her.

“You did. And I said I’d deal with Her Grace. I failed, at least for now.” A smile crept into view. “Don’t worry, Your Grace. This is no more than a skirmish. I refuse to surrender so soon in the engagement.”

She could not know the armament arrayed against her. No one bested his mother. His father had chosen his bride well. His mother wore the dignity and grace of a duchess like a coronation robe and exerted her power as a scepter.

“Focus on the girls,” he advised. “They are your calling.”

She stacked the slate with two others. “If only I could convince Lady Larissa that there is more to life than her come out.”

He pressed a hand to his chest in mock dismay. “No! How can you possibly say so?”

Her mouth twitched. “Perhaps because I’ve lived so much longer than she has.”

“Yes, I can see that you are ancient.”

She gave it up and grinned. “Takes one to know one, Your Grace.”

No one talked to him the way she did. He liked it. But as he grinned back, she sobered.

“Truly, if she has the idea that the only thing of any importance in her life is her come out, what has she to look forward to beyond it? If that is the best she has to experience, I feel very sad for her future.”

Put that way, so did he. “A come out is an important event, but I wouldn’t want her to focus on it to the exclusion of all else.”

“Too late,” she said. “But we may be able to get through to her.”

We? How surprising to meet someone who assumed he had a part in his daughter’s lives. His late wife Evangeline had held them close, convinced him it was in their best interests. His mother had stepped smoothly into the void his wife had left. With his father held up as the very essence of a duke, he had attempted to fill the same role. He had never questioned his duty.

Perhaps I should.

Dangerous thought. The House of Wey was built on centuries of tradition. Every role, every action was codified in the hearts and minds of his family, his staff, his tenants. He had been proud to step into his father’s shoes, for all he wondered about his ability to fill them. Perhaps that’s why he hadn’t argued against his arranged marriage to Evangeline. A duke’s daughter herself, she’d known exactly how to fit into his world. At times, her rigid adherence to tradition had eclipsed his own.

But she was gone now. And nothing he’d tried so far has helped his daughters.

He offered Mrs. Kimball his arm. “What say we make the first attempt at persuasion now?”

She stared at him. “It was fairly clear I wasn’t invited to tea.”

“Neither was I,” he said. “But they are my daughters, and they are your responsibility. It’s time we made that clear.”

She regarded him a moment more, then came to lay her hand on his arm. “Right beside you, Your Grace.”

Why did he have the feeling that was right where she belonged?

You can find Never Doubt a Duke in ebook at online retailers, with print available through Amazon:

Amazon   
Kobo 

4 comments:

Paula said...

The excerpt was very good. Makes me want to read it.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Paula!

QNPoohBear said...

Woohoo! A new Regency from Regina. I can't wait to read it. It's still another month until school gets out and I have time and energy to read again. I will be spending some of my Amazon or B&N gift cards on this one as a treat if I survive the rest of the school year. I think I will be able to relate to this heroine and her reluctant charges. Field Trips = Fun = We don't want to pay attentionitis!

Regina Scott said...

Thank you, QNPoohBear! Here's hoping the rest of the school year treats you well. Those last few days can be rough, especially as the weather gets nicer.