Hello, today I am sharing an excerpt from the book Duchess if You Dare. I was very keen when I read the description of this, and I am looking forward to having a copy on my Kindle to enjoy quite soon. Thank you to Rachel and the author for allowing me to join this tour.
Duchess If You Dare
From the glittering ballrooms of the ton to the city’s grittiest corners, London has no shortage of wrongs in need of righting–and the Maidens of Mayhem are prepared for the challenge. United by secrecy and sisterhood, these daring women from all walks of life aim to fight injustice wherever it takes them–even into the arms of unexpected love. This feminist take on Regency-era Robin Hoods from USA Today bestselling author Anabelle Bryant is destined to storm readers’ hearts!
Scarlett Wynn’s tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues–and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other–if she can resist the attraction that draws them together…
As Duke of Aylesford, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett’s fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. When the pair learn both mysteries they’re trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger–and lead them to search their hearts like never before…
“A delightful historical romance with a liberal dash of adventure, plenty of sizzling heat, and a heart of pure gold. A superb start to Bryant’s new Maidens of Mayhem series”
–Lenora Bell, USA Today bestselling author
“Duchess if You Dare is a fantastic read that kept me up late and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.”
–USA Today Bestselling Author Renee Ann Miller
UK Amazon Link: https://rb.gy/emdsdw
Barnes & Noble : https://rb.gy/ebpuvi
DUCHESS IF YOU DARE
By Anabelle Bryant
Aylesford and Scarlett are drawn to each other and while the duke tries to find common ground, a way they can keep the association, Scarlett resists. In this particular scene, she makes her thoughts known in a unique and decisive manner.
He was a duke, a pillar of decorum and respectability and prime example of the gentleman’s code of honor, but all he could think of was stripping Scarlett bare, lying her down on the plush carpet in his study and finding sweet bliss between her creamy thighs. He would go mad from wanting.
His heart beat a dangerous rhythm in his chest. He yearned for more and smoothed his hands to cup her hips, her trousers composed of temptation, the fabric unable to disguise the softness of her curves.
Still he needed more and pulled her forward so she could feel the extent of his ardor, his erection hard and eager beneath his falls. Someday they would satisfy this aching desire. Someday they would see this through. That singular thought created the strongest desire and anticipation of all.
He kissed across her jaw winding a pathway to her ear while he played at her neckline. He heard her gasp as he swept his hand inside, his fingers brushing over the tip of her breast, the warm bud tight beneath his touch. She shuddered within his embrace, always so strong and at the same time so fragile. He would keep her safe always. Always.
The determined honesty of that thought startled him. He’d become too involved, fallen under her spell completely. And when a second realization struck him, that any harm could come to her, take her from him, it ignited a spike of anger too hot to ignore.
He broke their kiss, his words of promise urgent as he stared into her eyes. “Let me protect you.”
“Protect me?” She immediately stiffened and pulled from his arms, her voice a strange mixture of surprise and indignation as she backstepped toward his desk. “I don’t need your protection. I can take care of myself. Don’t you believe I can protect myself?” She brought her hands behind her back in what he assumed was a serious pose meant to emphasize her point. Then in a lightning fast flick of the wrist, she threw her knife. His eyes shot to the other side of the room where the blade was buried in some unfortunate ancestor’s portrait, right between the eyes.
“Not like that.” He glanced to the painting and back again. “Definitely not like that. But I can protect your name, your reputation. I won’t allow anyone to say something untoward of you. To disparage you in any way.” To hurt you. There will be no mercy for the fool who ever hurts you.
But he couldn’t tell her that.
“You can’t control the words that leave other people’s mouths, Ambrose, no matter how noble and…” She paused, her voice tentative as she continued, “generous you are. We may reside in the same city, but we don’t live in the same world.” She straightened her shoulders and her chin hitched a notch. “And what’s all this talk of always and forever? I’m nothing more than an interesting diversion, unlike the polished highborn ladies who grace the salons of the ton. Despite this wild spark between us it can never be more than what we have now. It is a firework, explosive, and entertaining, but fleeting and destined to burn away before one realizes its full beauty.”
“That’s not what this is.” He narrowed his eyes and pinned her with his attention. “That’s not what we have now.”
“A more appropriate label escapes me.” She answered softly, then continued in a stronger voice. “Besides, a label is unnecessary unless you’re taking an ad out in the Times.”
“You’re behaving contrary on purpose.” He didn’t wish to argue.
“You assume I need your protection when I’ve managed for nearly twenty years on my own.”
“I don’t discount that, but why continue to carry the weight of your past when I’m offering you support? Nothing more.”
“Of all people to talk about carrying the weight of the past. Your heritage and reputation take up room in the carriage. Your title is a living, breathing participant in this conversation.”
“And what of your past. If you wish to erase your heartache, I’m offering you a way forward.”
“You know nothing of my past.”
“Because you haven’t told me yet.”
“And I never will.” She faced him with resolve in her expression. “Our lives were never meant to intersect.”
“I disagree.” He reached forward and pushed a loose lock of hair behind her ear, trailing his fingertips across her cheek as he withdrew.
“My past is nothing but secret upon secret.” She inhaled deeply though she didn’t say more.
“There’s no sense looking back when there’s so much to look forward to.” He shook his head, her comments and complaints unexpected. “I can’t change my history, Scarlett, any more than you can.”
“Exactly. You’re just proven my point. Still that is no excuse for being insistent and overbearing.” She strode across the room and retrieved her knife. “I apologize for the painting.” She blinked hard. “I’ll see myself out.”
Author Bio –
USA Today Bestselling author Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab her suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel; especially imaginary jaunts into romantic Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn’t want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?
Anabelle’s books have been translated into several languages including Japanese and Russian, but writing isn’t all that keeps her busy. Building miniatures, baking and photography are other favorite pastimes. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle is just as happy in a room full of people. She enjoys meeting readers, attending conferences and book signings. She has earned her Master’s Degree and is ABD for her Doctorate Degree in education.
A firm believer in romance, Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn’t provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. Visit her website at AnabelleBryant.com
Social Media Links –
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