New Release | When a Duke Desires a Lass by USA Today Bestseller Collette Cameron #historicalromance
Title When a Duke Desires a Lass
Author Collette Cameron
Genre Historical Romance
Publisher Blue Rose Romance®
The only thing these opposites have in common is a desire to not marry…
Tobias Forsyth, Duke of Heatherston, owes his niece a proper Come Out. But as a confirmed bachelor, he has no idea how to fulfill his commitment. Fortunately, to his astonishment and intense pleasure, the gorgeous widow he’s admired from afar for so long is willing to help. Now, if only he could convince the reluctant object of his affection to give him a chance…
Emily Grenville is bored. But that doesn’t mean she ever intends to marry again. Not with the ugly secret her husband saddled her with before his death. So, she’ll have to continue rebuffing the advances of every interested man—even the ruggedly handsome Scot who has somehow managed to occupy her every waking thought…
It’s not long before their time spent in forced proximity leads to much deeper feelings and desires. But when Emily’s secret is divulged, can the fragile romance she’s only started to enjoy with Tobias survive?
“I would like to have had children.”
Resoluteness transformed her features. “However, that ship has not only sailed. It was scuttled and sank to the bottom of the sea.”
Wisdom decreed Tobias not push the subject. One that obviously made her distraught.
Look at the progress he’d made already. Emily sat in his office, pouring tea and conversing with him without flinging verbal barbs or skewering him with visual daggers.
Yes, things were coming along splendidly.
“I think we ignore that tripe.” Tobias flicked his fingers toward the clipping now lying on the table.
“Really?” She furrowed her forehead, her misgivings on full display. “You think that is wisest?”
He gave a single nod.
“I do. Anything we say in our defense will only fan the gossip—like wind to a fire. It’ll give the chinwags a reason to believe there is substance to the twaddle. If we ignore it and go on as if ignorant of the rumors, what can anyone say or do? Take the word of a toadying reporter trying to make a name for himself over our powerful circle of friends and me?”
Sugar tongs in hand, Emily chuckled, her eyes alight with merriment and not umbrage for a change. “I shall concede it’s most convenient to have several dukes in your inner circle.”
Lord, she was breathtaking when she permitted herself unfettered joy. And it only confirmed what he’d suspected from the moment he’d met her…There was much more to Emily Grenville than she allowed people to know.
“I believe you like three lumps but no milk?” she said.
“Indeed, I do.”
So, she’d noticed how Tobias took his tea. Why such a trivial thing should infuse him with satisfaction didn’t bear examining. Nonetheless, he tucked that inconsequential detail into the back of his mind.
After adding the lumps, she stirred his tea, then passed him his teacup.
“Thank you.” He took a sip before placing the cup on the table.
“I say we increase our outings and attendance.” Helping himself to a cucumber and dill tea sandwich, he gestured between them. “We—ye, Avery, and I—shall attend the same functions.”
In two bites, he’d consumed the scrumptious morsel.
“I presumed that would be the case,” Emily said, adding three almond biscuits to her plate, then tilting her mouth into an abashed smile. “I’m rather fond of almond biscuits.”
“I ken.” He waggled his eyebrows.
Her fair eyebrows shied high onto her forehead in astonishment. “But how could you?”
“The same way, leannan, ye ken that I like three sugar lumps in my tea.”
“Oh.” She didn’t sound entirely convinced. Probably because women were trained to notice such details while most men were oblivious.
While at the San Sebastians’ the other day, Tobias had observed Emily eating three almond cakes. He asked Mrs. Cakebread to impose upon San Sebastians’ cook to share the recipe.
Emily gave him an arch glance—somewhere between amused and cynical before turning the subject back to the matter at hand. “We’ll need to see to Avery’s wardrobe at once. A heavy purse will ensure the completion of a few gowns is expedited.”
“Exactly so.” Tobias took another sip, inordinately pleased by her cooperation. “Our smiling, composed presences will quash any unsavory gossip like an ant beneath a boot heel.”
Once more, Emily raised a skeptical eyebrow.
“I admire your optimism, Tobias. Even if a trifle misplaced. Surely you know the ton believes what the ton wants to believe, regardless of facts.”
Another blast of wind rattled the windows. The weather grew quite ugly.
“That is true.” He rubbed his jaw. “But it is also true that scandals abound amongst the upper ten thousand, and I’ll guarantee ye that something more salacious than your bare legs or Avery nearly trampling ye will arise.”
“I suppose your confidence is admirable.” Doubt tinged the half-compliment.
“I’d wager I’m right.” Tobias rolled his shoulder and helped himself to another sandwich. A wicked urge overcame him. “Ye wouldn’t care to wager on it, would ye?”
The forfeit when he won could be another kiss.
“Certainly not!” Her affront was genuine. “I do not gamble.”
Because she’d needed every half-penny to keep a roof over her and Justina’s heads and food in their bellies.
San Sebastian had been helpful in imparting information in that regard.
“I but teased, Emily.”
Emily’s brow cleared, and she gave him a considering look before nibbling her almond biscuit. “I suppose we shall see and pray you are correct. My main concern is Avery. I don’t wish to see her hurt.”
“Any more than I do.” Tobias sobered, staring into his teacup. “I promised her parents that she would have at least one Season. If she wants to return to Scotland afterward or stay in London, I’ll support her.”
“Tobias?” Emily notched her impertinent chin upward.
Sudden wariness overtook him. “Aye?”
“About our kiss.” She brought her gaze up to meet his. “I must apologize for asking you to kiss me. I said our relationship would be strictly professional, and I overstepped. It was beyond the pale of me.”
She would take all of the responsibility upon her small shoulders?
“I didn’t mind, lass.”
“Well, that was obvious,” she retorted with more heat than he’d have expected.
What really went on?
She had regrets. But why?
They shared a pleasurable kiss. Tobias heartily hoped they’d share more in due time.
“Nonetheless, it mustn’t happen again. I want to fulfill my commitment to Avery, but I shall have to renege if you cannot promise me that it will not happen again.”
Giving her a side-eyed glance, Tobias scratched his forehead.
“Ye want me to promise that ye will never ask me to kiss ye again?”
“No, you obtuse buffoon.” Emily dragged in a breath, and something near panic shone in her fern-green eyes. “I want your assurance that you will not kiss me again. That our time together will focus strictly on Avery’s Season.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)
Amazon - https://collettecameron.com/WADDALam
USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author COLLETTE CAMERON® scribbles Scottish and Regency historical romance novels featuring dashing rogues, rakes, and scoundrels and the spirited heroines who reform them. Blessed with an overactive and witty muse that won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she’s lived in Oregon her entire life. Although she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. A confessed Cadbury chocoholic, you'll always find a dash of inspiration and a pinch of humor in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances®.
Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/collettecameron.com/
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