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The Pirate’s Duchess by @katherinelbone is a Summertime Event pick #regency #romance #giveaway
Title: The Pirate’s Duchess
Author: Katherine Bone
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Prudence, Duchess of Blackmoor, has one desire—to be happy again. After struggling to overcome the horrifying death of her husband, she accepts an earl’s offer of marriage, confident she’s taking a step in the right direction. But demons, refuse to die, and Prudence finds herself caught in an intricate web of deceit that threatens the very foundations of all she holds dear.
Tobias, the Duke of Blackmoor, crosses the line when an assassination attempt on him fails. To restore the reputations of friends under attack by the same villain, and ensure his wife’s safety, he stages his own death, becoming The Black Regent, a notorious pirate bent on brandishing justice, never thinking he’d survive. But to his amazement, he has, and now the darkest-kept secrets are not worth losing the duchess his wife has become.
Prudence shivered. She wasn’t comfortable talking about ghosts.
“The Black Regent,” Chloe said breathlessly, eyes wide, “is as real as you and me, and thankfully so.”
“How naive you are. The brigand is an elaborate sham conjured by free traders to cover up their own tracks. Or worse, he’s been invented by your brother to veil his inability to catch the marauder preying upon my future father-in-law’s assets.”
“Do you really think my brother would be so cruel?”
Prudence arched her brow and cast Chloe a meaningful glare.
Chloe picked up her reticule with a soft huff, shoved her book inside it, and hugged the bag tightly to her just as the door to the room creaked on its hinges. She stepped forward expectantly as the gray-haired clergyman reappeared.
“Apologies for the delay, Your Grace,” he said. “We are ready for you.”
The old wooden door creaked more as it moved farther outward on its hinges, casting shadows on the wall beside it. Her father, Cyril, Marquess of Heathcote appeared. “The time has come, daughter. Are you ready?”
“Yes.” She nodded, determined to put the Black Regent and Lord Underwood’s financial difficulties out of her mind.
She and Chloe exchanged an emotional embrace, despite their quarrel. “Do not worry. It will be wonderful, Pru.”
“Indeed,” her father added. He took hold of Prudence’s hand and placed it in the crook of his arm, glancing down at her with genuine affection. “We mustn’t keep your young gentleman waiting any longer.”
“No.” The thrumming wings in her stomach dissipated at the thought of Basil. She’d been through hell and looked forward to spending the rest of her life with a loving friend.
He patted her hand. She leaned her head against his shoulder and squeezed his arm.
They followed Chloe toward the rectory, and as the chapel doors opened, Chloe flashed them one more smile before she disappeared through them.
Prudence stood at the threshold with her father, looking out into the chapel. The pews were radiantly lined with flowers in shades of white and green, all leading up to where Basil patiently waited. His handsome face was eclipsed, his thick dark hair illuminated by fragments of light shining through the stained glass.
Father patted her hand again and gazed down at her fondly. “Shall we do this, my dear?”
She nodded. “Yes. I am ready.”
Her father wasted no time guiding her to the altar, past faces she’d known long and well, servants devoted to her as a child and, since her husband’s death, Blackmoor’s tenants, as well as notable gentry.
“It’s been two years since the duke’s passing,” someone whispered to her left.
Prudence pressed forward, past rightful members of the ton seated near the front.
“Imagine being a widow at three and twenty,” another voice said softly.
Tobias’s face momentarily replaced Basil’s, and her slipper caught on the hem of her gown. Father’s quick reflexes kept her from falling flat on her face before Basil, God, and their guests.
He squeezed her arm reassuringly. “Do not listen to foolish hen prattle, my dear. The earl is waiting for you.”
Straightening her shoulders, she focused on Basil’s handsome face and light-blue eyes that glinted like Blackmoor silver, twinkling, promising years of fidelity and conveying assurances that all would be well. Tall, lean, and clothed in simple black and white, Basil gave her a pleasant smile that lured her to him, and warmth swept through her. He was her future now. No more sleepless nights lying awake, feeling helpless and alone. No more nightmares or thoughts of what could have been.
Her father stopped just before the altar and placed a kiss on her brow. “Your mother would be so proud of you if she were here. You are strong, my girl.”
“Thank you, Papa,” she whispered, her heart filled with gratitude.
He turned her toward Basil, who sketched a bow, then lowered his hand and helped her step up to the altar. When she finally stood beside him, he raised her hand to his lips, kissing the amethyst ring on her right hand before clicking his heels together with practiced ease.
He leaned down to whisper in her ear as he removed her veil. “No regrets?”
“I promise you’ll never have them.”
“I accept your challenge,” she replied, returning his smile.
Together, they turned to Mr. Leyes, who stood like a rotund badger in front of his den, a book held open in each hand. He nodded to Prudence and Basil, then began reading from the first book, a copy of Fordyce’s Sermons.
Throughout Leyes’s literal depiction of a woman’s character, Basil held her hand in his, gently rubbing her knuckles with his thumb as brilliant light filtered through the windows behind the vicar’s back, bathing them in prisms of color.
Leyes paused, then said, “Is anyone present who can justifiably object to the joining of this man and woman in holy wedlock?”
Someone cleared his throat, and Prudence’s breath hitched. When the vicar craned his head to find the instigator, the room fell silent. Then Leyes nodded, smiling confidently at Basil, who turned to take hold of both her hands and gazed into her eyes.
“Basil Halford, Earl of Markwick, do you take Prudence Denzell, Duchess of Blackmoor, to wed?”
The doors to the chapel slammed open.
“He does not,” came a deep, angry voice from the back.
That voice! It can’t be . . .
Prudence’s body tensed. Surely she’d heard wrong.
She turned away from the vicar and Basil to see a cloaked man standing in dark silhouette, holding a silver cane. There was something ill-omened about the way he stood and angled his head. Her heart clenched, then raced.
“What is the meaning of this?” Basil asked, anger rolling off him in waves. “How dare you interrupt our wedding?”
“No one is going to marry my wife today.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
“Love, secrets, lifelong friends, men of honor and a woman whose husband rises from the ashes to save her.” —Amazon Reviewer
“I loved, loved, loved this novella. It ticked off every single box in the category of what a good story ought to contain. There was high drama, best friends, loyalty, revenge, deranged villains, a dashing hero, a capable but confused heroine, lots of action and adventure, danger, pirates, a duke, a duchess, an earl and a second chance at reuniting two soulmates. This is a must read.” —Amazon Reviewer
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Addicted to history and romance, Katherine spent the better part of her childhood roaming the globe as an Army brat. Then while attending college, she was swept off her feet by a military officer. Yes, reader she married him, and they continued traveling the world. Four children, two Labradors and three cats later, Katherine put down roots in the south. Where, at last, she pursued her lifelong passion of creating vivid stories that came calling with abandon. Adventure. Mayhem. Swashbuckling heroes. Her books are pure escapism at heart.
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Bone/e/B009MO30MU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6535406.Katherine_Bone