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A Most Improper Duchess by Alanna Lucas is a Binge-Worthy Festival pick #regency #ku #giveaway



Title:

A Most Improper Duchess


Author:

Alanna Lucas


Genre:

Historical Romance- Regency


Book Blurb:


After their parents’ deaths, the three Grace sisters must leave their family home for their first season in London. But how will Alexandra, the eldest Miss Grace, fare in the ton’s infamous marriage mart? She’s determined to marry for love. If only she could find a husband like her childhood friend, Niall, Duke of Blackburn, but with added passion.


Caught up in Society’s whirlwind, Alexandra soon realizes eligible gentlemen may want to make suitable matches, but once wed, their true desires will be reserved for their mistresses. Enlisting her sisters’ support, she sets up secret salons with trusted female acquaintances at which they can discuss the conundrum of men’s true nature versus finding a happy marriage.


However, the salons raise more questions than answers, and realizing she will only gain the knowledge the ladies seek by talking with a man, Alexandra approaches Niall. But discussing matters of an intimate nature proves very different from talking about art and architecture, and the friendship Alexandra has always felt rapidly turns into something more. Can she really be falling for her very proper childhood friend?


Niall takes his role in life seriously. He’s a proper fellow, decided in his ways to stand up for those unable to protect themselves. That’s what dukes do—sustain traditions and serve with dignity. When an old friend from Eton asks Niall to watch over his three sisters, how can he refuse? If anyone can assist ladies in their entrance to Society, it’s a duke. Strict and timely, practiced, and nuanced, Niall knows just what it takes to master the ins and outs of civilization. But sometimes the most proper thing to do is give in.


Excerpt:


“Are you going to share your thoughts, or do we have to wrestle them from you?”


“I was thinking that we need to host a salon,” Alexandra said.


“Isn’t that what we did? Friends came, we discussed the weather and the latest on dits. There was nothing practical, realistic, or even useful about the gathering. Really, I don’t know if I can tolerate more occasions such as that,” Evelina sighed.


“This would be different.”


Both of her sisters turned an inquisitive gaze her way, but it was Theodora who spoke first. “How so?”


“We need to delve into forbidden topics.” Alexandra paced the room, mumbling through her thoughts until the words formed into cohesive sentences. “It would be a salon for helping us all master the complexities of the male mind. How else are we not to fall victim to loveless marriages simply acquired for advancement within Society and begetting heirs?”


“I don’t believe all marriages are so dispassionate,” Evelina started. “Look at our parents.”


“Look at Harold and his wife.” Theodora let out a long sigh as she shook her head. “I am not willing to take that chance. Rachel was agreeable before they married, and once she got what she wanted, she showed her true colors, and has made life miserable for our brother.”


“But how are we to discover the information we seek?” Theodora questioned, then before Alexandra or Evelina could answer, she quickly added, “And what exactly are we looking for?”


“We need more information before we begin. It’s not just enough to watch the men at social gatherings. And what about all the places men retreat to where women have no access?” Perhaps Niall could shed some light on the subject. He wasn’t the typical rake about Town—no, he wasn’t— but he would certainly know enough to answer questions. She would have to ponder this more.


“Like taking their brandy after dinner,” Evelina said with annoyance. “Or running off to their clubs and the devil knows where else.”


“Perhaps we could enlist the aid of servants,” Theodora suggested, interrupting their middle sister.


Evelina shook her head. “That would only work if we hosted a gathering here.” She paused for a moment, then with exclaimed with great exuberance, “I’ve got it! At the next dinner party, when the men retire, I will sneak away and discover what they talk about. I wasn’t even trying to eavesdrop at Lady Kirkwood’s and look at the information I gleaned just by passing the dining hall. Just think of what I could discover if I were trying to listen.”


“And how do you intend to do that?” Alexandra questioned.


“I don’t know yet, but I will think of something.”


“Perhaps there are more letters in the trunk that can shed light on the topic,” Alexandra suggested. She went to it and lifted the lid. Hopefully somewhere within the oak cocoon, they could find answers, ease their concern, and create a plan of action. She pulled out several stacks of neatly folded letters, then turned and handed a pile to each sister. “Let’s get to work.”


Not caring for propriety, the girls sat on the floor in front of the warm fire, just as they had done when they were little. Before long, they were sharing the contents of the letters in their particular stack.


“Mother wrote this one when she was pregnant with Harold and Papa was in London.” Evelina ran a gentle hand over the page. “She tells Papa about feeling the baby kick for the first time.” She handed the letter to Alexandra. “Oh, she was so excited.”


Alexandra longed for a friendship, a love, and a life—minus the illnesses—like her parents had. Would she ever find someone to share and experience these kinds of joys with?


“Oh my!” Theodora loudly exclaimed, startling Alexandra out of her musings. “This is not a sweet love letter. This is . . .”


Alexandra and Evelina turned their gaze to their youngest sister. “What?” they asked in unison.


“I had no idea . . .” Her words trailed away, and Evelina took the letter from Theodora’s hand, then scanned the sheaf as Alexandra edged closer and attempted to read it over her shoulder. Heat instantly filled her cheeks.


“A man would actually do that to a woman?” Evelina questioned in a breathy whisper.


“Even worse! Father wanted to do that to Mother!” Theodora exclaimed with shock as she stood and went to the window and opened it. The cold night breeze, carrying the scent of early springtime in the city, permeated the room. Clearly Alexandra was not the only one overcome by what they were reading.


Alexandra and her sisters opened other letters from the same pile, each scanning the contents. She didn’t know what they were looking for. Perhaps an explanation?


“And here’s another letter. This one is from Mother to Father,” Evelina said as she gently held the yellowed pages and read it to herself.


A moment later shocked green eyes met Alexandra’s. “What did Mother write?” she questioned, wanting yet not wanting to know the details.


“That thing . . . in the letter from Father to Mother. Well . . .” Evelina swallowed as her cheeks reddened deeper than a ripened strawberry. “It would seem that she wanted to do the same to him.”


Theodora plopped down on the sofa, shaking her head. A moment later, Evelina joined her. Both just stared at the letter in utter disbelief.


Alexandra was at a loss for words. Only a short time ago, Martha had broken down in tears over what she’d had to endure in the marriage bed. But clearly not every woman found the act distasteful.


“I . . . I don’t understand.” She paced several feet in each direction before stopping in front of her sisters. “What makes one woman cry in despair and another want to . . . you know—”


“Perform intimacies like these?” Evelina waved her mother’s letter.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):


Free to read on Kindle Unlimited!





What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?


A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I loved the characters and the twist with Lord Saxton (which I so did not see coming!).


What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?


Hosting a secret salon and attending forbidden gatherings, all while trying to avoid scandal is the perfect recipe for a binge-worthy read.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs August 1 – 31, 2023.


Drawing will be held on September 1, 2023.



Author Biography:


Bestselling, award-winning author, Alanna Lucas pens Regency-set historicals filled with romance, adventure, and of course, happily ever afters. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, tending to her garden, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband and children, and too many books to count.


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