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The Duke She Despised by @AlinaKField is a Christmas in July Fete pick #regency #romance #giveaway



Title: The Duke She Despised, The Upstart Christmas Brides Book 1


Author: Alina K. Field


Genre: Regency Romance


Book Blurb:



With her cousin’s children due to arrive from India, a vicar’s widow hides her identity and takes a position as housekeeper to their dreadful uncle, the man who years ago sabotaged her own chance for happiness. Overwhelmed by a castle understaffed and in disarray, she forges a bond with the new duke’s charming but not very competent factor, not knowing that he’s hiding something as well.


When allies become lovers, each senses the truth may rip them apart. Can their love survive when she discovers he’s the duke she despised?


Excerpt:


Cold air overwhelmed him in the hall, the sort of damp chill oozed by a medieval pile left unheated for years. He wished for his overcoat, flung over a chair in the study, since neither he nor George had brought so much as a groom.


They’d tended their horses themselves as well, and washed in the ice-cold buckets they’d had to carry up. George, though, had managed a shave and fresh linens, the pompous ass.


George wasn’t the one who’d been plunged into despair. George hadn’t just been encumbered with a crumbling castle and a bankrupt estate. George hadn’t just learned he’d lost his only brother months and months earlier to a fever.


Andrew rubbed at his chin. No neckcloth and two days-worth of beard—this had better not be a social caller.


He unbarred the door and yanked the heavy wood open.


In the half-light a woman stood, ramrod straight despite her shivering, swathed in dark wool.


“I beg your pardon,” she said. “I knocked at the servant’s door but no one answered.”


By God, she was an Englishwoman, and she didn’t speak like a servant.


Her wrap slipped, and he peered closer, his interest stirring. She was youngish, and from what he could see, attractive.


“I’m the new housekeeper.”


A blur of dark fur shot through the door and they both jumped.


“I believe that was a cat.” She peered around him.


“I’ve never seen it before.” The bloody thing scurried off toward the bowels of the Castle and out of sight.


“May I come in?” She cleared her throat. “No one is answering the servants’ door.”


A sharp gust of wind blasted him. He apologized, stepping back, watching her enter.


The heavy wrap outlined a shapely woman. She put him in mind of Mrs. Ramsey, Old Horace’s faithful housekeeper for so many years. ’Twas whispered that she had been more than a servant, and perhaps it was true given the old man’s sharp decline after her death.


The new housekeeper placed a valise and a basket on the black and white tile.

“Are these all your belongings, or have you left a driver out in the snow?”


“I walked and—”


“Walked? In this weather?” Either she was of hardy stock, or he’d soon have to call the apothecary to treat her.


“Yes,” she said. “I’ve a trunk at the inn, to be brought up when the weather eases.”

He scoffed. “Next spring, then, perhaps.”


She sent him an arch look and slipped the shawl back from her head, taking a bonnet with it and revealing errant dark locks that curled about her cheeks and dangled on her shoulder.



A fairy tale castle? Was she mad?


The scenes might have once fascinated his childish heart, but he’d outgrown such nonsense.

She leveled a gaze at him. “What is your name, young man?”


His name? He blinked. Young man? He was likely older than her.


A chuckle bubbled up, the first moment of lightness he’d experienced in days. She thought he was a servant. A servant in a fairy tale castle.


Well, well. How would a lackey behave toward an arriving housekeeper?


“Never mind.” She reached for her basket. “Just show me the way to the servant’s—”


He snatched up the hamper. The aroma of stewed meat escaped from under the heavy cloth, making his mouth water. “You must first be introduced. Come along. The duke conducts business in the study.”


Her hand went to her disheveled hair. “I must—”


“You are fine as you are.” As he nudged her along, a beam of light caught her features.


His prickle of interest bloomed into full-fledged awareness. Full lips, porcelain skin, and a determined little chin—his new housekeeper was more than fine, and she spoke like a Mayfair matron. A youngish one. The urge to become better acquainted overwhelmed him.


Except, he was a duke now. Blast it. Why did Evan have to die and leave him this burden?


He reached up to tug his neckcloth and found it missing. Her frown showed she’d noticed, and that made him smile again.


“No one expected a bonny housekeeper.”


Dark eyes glinted at his impertinence.


So much for the letter he’d sent to cancel her hiring. He was keeping her, at least through Hogmanay. “I fear we are all at sixes and sevens here,” he said.


She pursed her lips. “I see that. You’ve lost your neckcloth, your razor, and your comb.”


He squashed another grin. “I’ll just carry this basket along out of the way of the resident mice.”


Those full lips pinched tighter, raising his spirits even higher. She thought he was the duke’s naughty retainer. Well, he could be. He wouldn’t need her around for much longer than a few weeks, and as a footman…no, not a footman. He could play the new factor. A factor could spar with her the way a duke—or a footman, for that matter—never could. He’d do her no harm.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):




Nook:


Apple Books:



Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/38Z7YV





What I love most about the holiday season:


I love the wonders of the Christmas story, gathering with family and friends who are like family, and of course, the food!


Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?


This is a story of redemption and finding family, with a heart-warming happily ever after. Perfect for holiday reading!


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.



Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.


Runs July 1 – 31


Drawing will be held on August 1.



Author Biography:



Social Media Links:


7 Comments


andreadrake1
andreadrake1
Jul 23, 2022

I love watching my kids open gifts on Christmas it’s magical!

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Unknown member
Jul 22, 2022

The cover is very pretty

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Barbara Bettis
Jul 08, 2022

Loved the excerpt, Alina. Off to download the book. Thank goodness Amazon is one book store that's open at all hours LOL>

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Unknown member
Jul 08, 2022
Replying to

Thank you Barbara! Yes, Amazon is my go-to also!

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Unknown member
Jul 07, 2022

Thank you for hosting me, and thank you kid3247 for stopping by!

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Rita Wray
Rita Wray
Jul 07, 2022

Sounds like a good story.

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