Title: A Duke to Remember Author: Kelly Bowen On Sale: July 26, 2016 Series: A Season for Scandal, #2 Publisher: Forever Format: Mass Market Paperback Price: $5.99 USD Add to Goodreads
Love takes the stage . . .
Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.
Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He’s managed to avoid any complications or entanglements-that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there’s more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity-and her true feelings for him-the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.
But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
READ AN EXCERPT:
“You’re not going to die on me, are you?” The voice came from lower, almost directly in front of her this time, and Elise opened her eyes, staring up at a collection of clouds scudding across the blue sky.
“Not yet, I think.” She struggled to sit, her tired muscles still refusing to obey.
A warm hand caught hers and pulled her forward, and Elise was suddenly presented with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen.
They were smoky green, the color of pine wreathed in mist, the color of still waters that hid great depths. They were ringed with blond lashes, set in a strong, rugged face that spoke of hours spent outdoors. Pale blond hair fell around his ears in careless waves, the ends damp where they brushed his bare shoulders. Incredible shoulders, wide and powerful, droplets of water sliding over the ridges of muscle to disappear down the front of his chest.
Her mouth went dry, and whatever breath she thought she had caught deserted her once again.
He was crouched before her, a look of concern tempered with a half-smile stamped across his striking features. “Hmmm. Well, if you die, can I have your horse?” he asked. “As fine an animal as I’ve seen in a long time.”
“My horse?” she repeated. Good Lord. Her wits had completely scattered under that smoky gaze.
He glanced over her head up in the direction of the road. “One of the boys brought it off the bridge for you.”
Elise struggled to draw a normal breath and formulate a thought. The man was trying to put her at ease. It wasn’t his fault that he looked as he did. It wasn’t his fault her body was threatening to make an utter fool of her because of it.
But clearly, it had been too long since she had invited a man to share her bed because she was shamelessly staring at the way his body moved as he shifted. Subtle shadows carved their way across his torso, created by lean muscle rippling under golden skin. A scattering of dark blond hair covered his chest and trailed down past his navel. Her eyes dropped further south, and she let her gaze wander over the sharp ridges of muscle that formed a V over his hips before disappearing into the front of his breeches. His free hand rested on a powerful thigh, long, capable-looking fingers spread out over the top of his knee. She imagined what those fingers would feel like against her bare skin. Because she already knew what his arms had felt like beneath her, the hard strength of his body against hers.
When he was pulling you from the water like a drowned river rat, you fool, not drawing you into a lover’s embrace.
A terrible realization struck her with the completion of that thought. Without needing to check, she knew her cap was gone. Her braid had come unpinned, and she could feel the heavy weight of her sodden hair on her back. A glance at her water-logged clothes plastered to her body confirmed her worst suspicions. When she’d bound her breasts tightly beneath her loose, baggy shirt, they were unnoticeable, but there was nothing unnoticeable about them now. The bindings had come loose and slid down to bunch at her waist. Worse, the threadbare fabric of her worn shirt was almost transparent, and stuck to her skin as it was, she may as well have been wearing nothing. The curves of her breasts were clearly visible, as were the dark areolas of her peaked nipples.
The man’s eyes were still on her face and not on her chest, which Elise was choosing to interpret as a testament to his chivalry, but no one in their right mind would mistake her for anything other than what she truly was. A woman dressed as a boy.
“No, you can’t have my horse,” she muttered, attempting to peel her shirt away from her breasts with her free hand. “I need it to flee a lot of awkward questions.”
The man was watching her again. “They are going to want to know who you are,” he said quietly, jerking his chin in the direction of the voices beyond them. The understanding she saw in those incredible eyes made her blink.
She managed a weak smile. “Do you suppose anyone will notice if I just swim back to where I came from?” She was trying to make her mind work, but like her muscles, it seemed lethargic, her usual ingenuity depleted. “You can tell them that I was a mermaid.”
As a child, Noah Ellery, son and heir to the Duke of Ashland, was ridiculed and abused by his cruel father. His fear was so strong that it affected his speech, causing him to jumble his words, and incensing his father even further. In self defense, Noah stopped speaking altogether. The Duke, enraged at his imperfect son, has him taken off to be committed to an asylum, where he is tortured for years, until he and a friend are able to escape. The two boys learn to live on the street, until Noah has an opportunity to start a new life, living quietly in the country as a farmer. He assumes a new name, and has no intention of ever going back to his family or claiming his heritage.
When the Duke of Ashland dies, most people assume his son and heir is dead, since no one has seen him for years. The heir-presumptive, Francis, Noah’s cousin, is making his bid to claim the title. He has had Noah’s mother committed to Bedlam, where she is kept drugged, to keep her from saying that her son is alive. Noah’s sister Abigail is the only family member who ever showed Noah any love, and she knows that he is alive. She needs to find him so that he can have their mother released, and save the dukedom from the ruin Francis will bring if he takes the title. There is an agency that discreetly helps people with insurmountable problems – Chegarre & Associates – and Abigail enlists their services.
Elise de Vries is an agent for Chegarre, and she is given the assignment to find the long lost ducal heir, Noah. A lucky break allows her to find him almost immediately, and much to her surprise, she finds herself strongly drawn to this attractive man living a quiet, unassuming life. Despite the horrors he endured in his childhood, Noah has become a magnificent man. He is strong, compassionate, caring and kind. He, too, feels the instant pull of attraction to Elise, who is there to bring an end to his contented life. Elise is also a compassionate woman of great character. Her heart hurts, knowing that she will be causing Noah pain by forcing him to leave his peaceful life, and that he will be hurt that she initially met him under false pretenses. Basically honest, Elise tells Noah the truth, and refuses to leave until he agrees to return to claim his title.
I totally fell in love with both Noah and Elise right from the beginning. They have endured and seen some awful things, yet retained their humanity and their capacity for kindness and love. Their immediate attraction, while admittedly steamy, also just felt so right, as their emotions and feelings were involved. The story is so engrossing, that I had to read it all in one sitting. There is so much happening, the danger to Noah when he returns, the drastic changes in his life, and the huge difference in station between him and Elise. A DUKE TO REMEMBER is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year – it has it all – great story, fantastic hero and heroine, steamy heat, and a breathtaking romance, and I’m happy to give it my very highest recommendation. I guarantee that you will be left with a smile and a satisfied sigh.
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