"Four Fabulous Summer Reads"
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Posted July 10, 2015
Romance Anthology | Romance Historical
Gerard Hammersley, the Duke of Hardcastle the hero of May
Have This Duke? is one of my favorite Grace Burrowes
characters. At first glance, Hardcastle is a typical Duke;
challenging, arrogant and managing. What makes him
He has a soft place in his heart for his nephew and he is
more than a little bit in like with Ellen MacHugh, his
nephew's governess. The Duke is feeling pressure from his
friends and relatives. His Grandmother is insisting that
find a suitable wife.
Ellen has given her notice which has
upset his routine and made him uneasy. And to make things
worse, Hardcastle's best friend, the Duke of Sedgemere,
has invited him, his nephew and Ellen MacHugh to a two -
week house party.
Ellen is asked to attend the house party
as a guest and Hardcastle's reaction is fabulous--he
requests or rather demands that Ellen and he pretend that
they are interested in each other.
Loved, loved these two
main characters their passionate romance. And the ending
the story was fabulous--it brought tears to my eyes! Just
I read author Shana Galen's Waiting For A Duke Like You in
one afternoon. The unlikely romance between the handsome
Nathan Cauley, the Duke of Wyndover and the indifferent
Princess Vivienne held my attention.
I loved that the two
main characters are a different from most regency novels.
Nathan is the beautiful, handsome Duke who longs for a
duchess who will love him; not just his handsome face.
Princess Vivienne is a fascinating character. She is a
survivor and very politically astute and trusts no one.
This fast paced opposites attracts story is extraordinary!
Fans of Ms. Galen will love the elements of suspense and
humor she has infused into this passionate and adventure
filled story! Loved, loved the ending and the epilogue is
A scheduling error has created a problem for Bentinck
Travers, the Duke Linton and Althea, his wife in Miranda
Neville's Duchess of Scandal. The couple ,who have been
separated for five years, are forced to spend time
at the Duke's country estate.
Their story appealed to me
and drew me in immediately. I wondered if the couple could
get past their past mistakes and misconceptions of each
other and make their marriage whole.
Loved the piano duet
scene where Linton notices that his wife has matured and
Althea silently reveals her true feelings for her reserved
Duke. Another stand out scene was the cleverly written
game where Nigel, Nick, Linton and Althea play whist.
Several of the characters true feelings and motivations
were revealed in this scene.
Loved the novel's noble and
reserved hero and his appealing Duchess, the minor
characters of Althea's brother Nick and Nigel Speck and
of the events leading up to the Dukeries Cup race. Enjoyed
reading every word in this novella and the ending was
Carolyn Jewel's An Unsuitable Duchess is a wonderful story
which blends the opposites attract and second chance at
Stoke Teversault, the Duke of Teversault
has a reputation for being cold, shrewd and calculating.
Stoke was attracted to vivacious Georgina "George' Lark
several years ago. He hesitated and missed his chance as
George married a friend. George, now widowed, and her
sister are staying at Stoke's home for two weeks to attend
the Dukeries Cup race and ball.
Teversault is very attracted to George and needed to come
to terms with his feelings for her before deciding to
pursue her. Loved the scavenger hunt scene when Stoke
a copy of the scavenger hunt map, outwits the rest of the
group and finds and hides the fact that he has found the
golden apple that George has offered as a prize. George
explains why she offered the golden apple as the gift and
Stoke's reaction is priceless.
I wondered if these two very
different people could find happiness with each other.
Enjoyed the many scenes with Stoke, George, William and
Kitty--great dialogue and insight to the characters and
their motivations. There were several surprises along the
way as the story reached it's conclusion --- and the
DANCING IN THE DUKE'S ARMS is a true collaboration. Each
author was true to their own writing style within the
anthology format. What stands out the most to me is that
each author contributed an original story written for this
anthology and that there was continuity within each of the
four novellas. Characters appeared throughout each of the
stories and there was a common setting and theme which
added to the feel of the stories. Kudos to the authors!!
Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?
Every summer the cream of society gathers at the
named for the ducal estates concentrated in one small
of Nottinghamshire. While the entertainments include
parties, balls, and a famous boat race, the ducal hosts
their guests find adventure, passion, and happy ever
Four heartwarming stories from four bestselling authors
MAY I HAVE THIS DUKE? by Grace Burrowes
The trouble with houseparties...
Gerard Hammersley, Duke of Hardcastle, is dragooned by an
old friend into attending a house party, though
refuses to fall prey to the matchmakers who relish such
gatherings. He recruits his nephew's prim, prickly
governess, Miss Ellen MacHugh, to preserve him from being
compromised by the conniving debutantes, and offers in
exchange to deflect the drunken viscounts who plague
Is that they must end.
Ellen agrees to Hardcastle's scheme for two reasons.
she's been attracted to His Grace since the day she laid
eyes on him, and knows that behind Hardcastle's lack of
charm lies a ferociously loyal and faithful heart.
she's departing from Hardcastle's household at the
conclusion of the house party, and two weeks safeguarding
His Grace's bachelorhood is as much pleasure--and as much
torment--as she can endure before she leaves him.
WAITING FOR A DUKE LIKE YOU by Shana Galen
There's no such thing as the perfect hero...
Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, is so handsome
swoon--literally swoon. His blond hair and blue eyes
certainly draw attention at the Duke of Sedgemere's house
party, but Nathan doesn't want a fawning young miss for
duchess. He stumbles upon a bedraggled woman sleeping
Sedgemere's bridge, and his protective instincts stir.
he recognizes her as the princess he fell in love with
years before, he's determined to win not only her
but her heart.
Or is there?
After revolutionaries massacre Princess Vivienne's
she and the head of her guard flee to England. Before
can reach London to beg asylum, assassins kill the last
her defenders. Vivienne is alone and on the run when the
Duke of Wyndover comes to her rescue. She barely
meeting him years before, and isn't comfortable with
gentlemen who are more attractive than she is. Nathan is
more than a pretty face, though, and when the assassins
return, he might just prove to be the duke Vivienne has
DUCHESS OF SCANDAL by Miranda Neville
Too Many Scandals
After months of marriage, the Duke of Linton agreed to
apart from his wife. Thrown together due to a scheduling
error, Linton finds Althea still has the power to make
heart race. Linton seems different from the critical,
indifferent man Althea married. But though she burns for
as a lover, can she trust him to be the husband she
AN UNSUITABLE DUCHESS by Carolyn Jewel
Is she an unsuitable duchess, or the perfect lover?
The Duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his
for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed
Lark has no idea he's loved her since before her late
husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to
keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the
open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity.
yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive
at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away.
Georgina Lark has never thought of the Duke of Stoke
Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in
He's long disapproved of her, but she will be forever
grateful to him for his assistance after her husband
It's been a year since she's realized he's not the man
thought. Can she find a way to convince him to open his
heart to her?
ExcerptVivienne stumbled into the clearing and fell to her
knees. The wet grass soaked through her skirts, but she
barely noticed. Darkness still shrouded what she imagined
in the sunlight were rolling green hills and manicured
Daylight was long, terror-filled hours away.
And she was so very, very tired.
She’d been running all night, running and hiding. She
couldn’t afford rest. The assassins were right behind
her, hunting her. But for that hollow under the tree in
the woods, they would have her now. She could not pause,
not even for a moment.
She needed water. Her throat felt coated with sand, and
it took effort to swallow. Since Masson had been
murdered, she’d been constantly hungry and thirsty. She’d
come this way because she thought she smelled water, and
now looking out over the lawn that sloped down from the
woods, she spotted a small pond with a charming bridge
crossing it. The pond was not big enough to warrant a
bridge, but it was probably an idea one of the British
nobles had liked and commissioned. These nobles had more
money than they knew what to do with.
Once, she had been the same.
Looking left and right before moving farther into the
clearing, Vivienne made her way toward the pond. She had
to restrain the urge to rush to the water and gulp great
handfuls as soon as she reached the bank. Instead, she
circled the pond until she faced the woods and her back
was to the bridge. The shadows cast by the bridge in the
weak light from the crescent moon would hide her, shield
her, give her a moment to recover her strength.
With a last look at the woods, she removed her quiver and
bow, set them against the bridge. She knelt and cupped
the cool water, sniffing it and then drinking. She cupped
more water, drinking and drinking until her previously
empty belly roiled. Splashing water on her face, her
arms, she rinsed some of the mud from her skin. Vivienne
had hidden in a pigpen most of the day, and though the
sow and her piglets had not seemed to mind her company,
she was eager to leave reminders of the pigs behind.
She leaned against the bridge, bracing her weary body
against the smooth, round stones. She’d been safe hidden
under the pig muck. It wasn’t until she’d tried to sneak
away from the farm that the assassins had spotted her and
come after her. Vivienne harbored no illusions that if
the three men had caught her they’d leave her alive.
They’d slit her throat just as they’d slit Masson’s.
Poor Masson, she thought, closing her eyes against the
sting of tears. He’d given everything he had to save her.
She would not diminish his sacrifice by failing now. She
had to reach London and the king. How far was
Nottinghamshire from London? Hours? Days?
At the moment, London seemed as far away as the moon.
She leaned her head back, eyes still closed. She would
rise in a moment. She would keep moving south, south
toward London. She would not rest until she reached the
Nathan Cauley, the Duke of Wyndover, swirled the port in
his glass. “I already have more money than I need. What I
don’t have is an heir. How I envy Hardcastle that nephew
of his. Why can’t I find a nephew and heir? Instead, I’ve
a cousin in the bloody Americas. My mother is on the
verge of faking her collapse in order to hurry me along.”
His host for the house party, the Duke of Sedgemere
smiled. “There are worse things than matrimony, Nat.”
“Says the man already leg-shackled. Besides, Elias, your
duchess is one in ten thousand. Where am I to find a lady
“Do you know what your problem is?”
Wyndover drained the last of his port. “I’m sure you will
“You’ve had it too easy. You’re a duke, and not just a
duke, a young duke. Add that pretty face to the package,
and the ladies faint at your feet. All you need do is
crook your finger.”
“On what grounds?”
“I have never crooked a finger at a lady.”
Elias inclined his head, conceding the point. “My
argument still stands. You have never had to woo a woman,
never had to work to make one take notice of you.”
“And you have? You’re a bloody duke too, you know.”
“If you think Anne merely fell into my arms, you don’t
know her very well. She led me on a merry chase, and I’m
a better man for it.”
“I’m too busy for chasing. Love and all that rot is fine
for the likes of you, Elias, but I have estates to
manage, solicitors at my door, stewards with rapidly
Wyndover waved a hand. “I need an heir, not romance.”
“Then you haven’t found the right woman yet. When you do,
you’ll welcome both the romance and the chase. You
wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Nathan shook his head, but Elias did not stay to hear his
protest. He stood. “I see Greenover is retiring for the
night. There was an incident with a maid earlier. I think
I’ll make sure he finds his room without incident. I
shall see you bright and early for the scavenger hunt,
Nathan gave his old friend a pained expression.
“Scavenger hunt? Will your bride be very offended if I
“Try it and I’ll call you out,” Sedgemere said in a tone
Nathan thought only half joking. “This is her hostessing
debut. You will cheerfully attend every single event and
activity, be it archery, embroidery, ices in the garden,
or a scavenger hunt.”
“Be there with needle and thread.”
Nathan gave a mock salute and watched his old school chum
follow the lecherous Greenover out of the Billiards Room.
If he’d been an intelligent man, he too would have sought
his bed. Instead, Nathan poured another glass of port and
settled back to watch Viscount Ormandsley lose yet
another game of billiards.
The next morning came too early, and despite his tacit
agreement with Sedgemere to act the dutiful guest, he was
late for the start of the scavenger hunt. By the time he
made it to the breakfast room, the other guests had
already departed, all but a Miss MacHugh. He relaxed when
he saw her. She had not fainted at his feet upon meeting
him the day before. The same could not be said of two
other ladies at the party—a Miss Frobisher and a Miss
Pendleton. Miss MacHugh, however, had not seemed
particularly impressed by him, but then he’d seen her
gaze slide to the Duke of Hardcastle one too many times.
Best he left Miss MacHugh to find her own amusements this
He exchanged pleasantries with her, then made his way to
the drawing room to ask after the rest of the party. The
butler informed him they’d already embarked on the
scavenger hunt and handed him a sheet of foolscap on
which had been listed a number of items he was to
“They have not been gone long, Your Grace,” the butler
said. “I am certain you will have no trouble catching up
to one party or another and joining their ranks.”
But that was the trick, Nathan decided. If he
accidentally encountered the Frobisher-Pendleton party,
he’d be stuck catching fainting ladies all morning and
afternoon. He scanned the first items listed on the
paper. A horseshoe, a feather, a pink rose, a smooth
round stone for skipping.
The list went on and on.
He could find these items on his own, find them and
complete the scavenger hunt without assistance or
fainting ladies. He’d start with the skipping stone. It
was in the middle of the list, and he imagined the teams
would either begin with the first or last item and work
He remembered crossing a small stone bridge upon arriving
the day before. Several ducks had been swimming in a
pretty little lake. He’d start there in his search for
the stone. While everyone else swarmed the stables or
gardens, he’d have a nice walk by the water.
Nathan started in the direction of the pond, encountering
the Duke of Linton and Sedgemere’s great-aunt, Lady
Lavinia, returning to the house.
“Wyndover, join us,” Lady Lavinia said, after the initial
pleasantries. “I remember quite fondly a scavenger hunt
with your late father. This was before he met your
mother, and I rather think we spent more time flirting
“Yes, do join us, Wyndover,” Linton said hopefully, his
voice raised so the deaf older lady could hear him.
“I wouldn’t want to intrude,” Nathan shouted. “I have my
own plan of action.”
Linton scowled, and Nathan made his escape, Lady
Lavinia’s voice carrying over the lawns. “Who is the
object of his attraction?”
Nathan chuckled, crossing the lush green lawn quickly.
Sedgemere’s estate was well tended. As a man of property
himself, Nathan noticed the details—the manicured
flowerbeds, the way the land sloped away from the house
to aid in drainage, the gravel paths that were free of
weeds. He would have liked to see some of the surrounding
land and meet a handful of Sedgemere’s tenants, but that
would have to wait until he’d played dutiful guest a few
Sedgemere had mentioned archery as an activity, Nathan
remembered as he neared the lake. God in Heaven, anything
At the edge of the water, he scanned the stones on the
sandy bank. Several were quite smooth, but they were too
round to skip well. He needed a flat and oval stone. He
followed the edge of the water, head down, eyes narrowed
for any sign of the perfect skipping stone. A duck
quacked, and he looked out at the water, glinting in the
morning sun. A drake, his mate, and a line of ducklings
swam in the middle of the water, looking quite aimless.
Doubtless the ducks were hunting insects for breakfast.
He watched them for a moment, but when he might have gone
back to his search for skipping stones, his attention
caught and held on a flutter of something brown near the
base of the gray stone bridge.
It looked like a clump of brown cloth. A coat a
groundskeeper had set aside and forgotten? He almost
returned to his quest for the skipping stone, but
something made him stare just a little longer. The coat
was not empty. Someone was inside it.
Wyndover stuffed the sheet of foolscap into his coat
pocket and walked rapidly toward the bridge. His long-
legged gait ate up the distance quickly, and the
indistinct shape became clearer. It was a body lying on
its side under the shade of the bridge. As he neared the
form, he made out the mud caked on the coat and the
matted hair falling over the person’s face. Probably a
vagrant who’d fallen asleep there the night before.
At least Wyndover hoped the man was only sleeping. The
last thing the Duchess of Sedgemere needed was a dead
body to put a damper on her house party.
“Excuse me,” he said as he walked the last few steps.
“Are you hurt?”
The body didn’t move. The wind ruffled the brown material
again, but now Wyndover all but stumbled. It wasn’t a
coat whipping in the breeze. Those were skirts.
Where he might have nudged the body with his foot had it
been a man, now he hunched down and examined the form.
She did wear a coat—a man’s coat—which was far too large
for her small form. Beneath the hem of the coat, skirts
covered with dry mud lay heavy against her legs, which
were pulled protectively toward her belly. Her long dark
hair covered her face, the muddy strands making it
impossible for him to see her features.
Still, this was no lady nor a guest of the house party.
She stank of shit and farm animals. Wyndover looked back
toward the house. Should he fetch one of Sedgemere’s
servants? He winced at the thought. He could already hear
the taunts from the other guests.
Leave it to Wyndover to find a girl on a scavenger hunt.
That desperate for a bride, Wyndover?
He might not need to involve the servants, but he
couldn’t leave her here. “Miss.” He shook her shoulder
gently. It was surprisingly pliable under the stiff outer
clothing. He’d expected to feel little more than bird-
like bones. So perhaps she was not as malnourished as
“Miss,” he said a little louder. He shook her again.
She moaned softly and then came instantly awake. He stood
just in time to avoid her swing as she struck out. She
scrambled up and back against the bridge, her arms raised
protectively, as though she expected him to attack. The
matted hair fell to the side of her mud-streaked face,
but her large green eyes stared at him with undisguised
Wyndover raised his own hands in a gesture of peace. “I
won’t hurt you.”
Her eyes narrowed. Such large eyes and so very green.
They were the color of myrtle, a plant he knew well as
he’d had to approve a hundred pounds for the purchase of
myrtle at Wyndover Park. He’d stopped at his nearby
estate before continuing to Sedgemere House, and the head
gardener had insisted on showing him the myrtle, which
had been in bloom with white flowers.
“Do you understand?” he asked when she didn’t answer and
continued to look at him in confusion. “Do you speak
“Yes.” She rose, using the bridge for support. “I
Her voice held a faint exotic quality, a lilt that was
both familiar and foreign.
She was no child; he could see that now. Although the
coat hid her figure, he could see by the way she held
herself that she was a woman and one of some standing.
She held her chin high in a haughty manner, and her gaze
swept down him with an imperiousness he recognized from
more than one ton ballroom.
She obviously decided he was no threat, because her gaze
quickly moved past him to scan the area around her. She
reminded him of a hunted animal, a fox cornered by
hounds. He wanted to reach out, lay a hand on her and
reassure her, but he didn’t dare touch her. The look in
her eyes was too feral, too full of fear.
“Where am I?” she demanded, her eyes darting all around
her, searching, searching. What was she looking for? What
was she scared of?
“Sedgemere House,” he answered. ‘The residence of the
Duke of Sedgemere.”
“Are you he?”
If she didn’t know Sedgemere, she wasn’t local. But if
she didn’t live in the area, then how had she come to be
on Sedgemere’s estate? He saw no evidence of a horse or
conveyance. She must have walked. Another glance at the
state of her clothing confirmed she must have been
traveling for some time. Or perhaps not traveling but
running. But from what or whom?
“No. Miss, you look as though you need some assistance.
May I escort you back to the house?” Damn the taunts and
teasing. The woman needed help.
She shook her head so violently that flecks of mud
scattered in the breeze. “I must be going.”
She turned in a full circle, obviously trying to decide
which way to travel. Her muddy hair trailed down her
back, almost reaching the hem of the thigh-length coat.
Sections of it were still braided, indicating at one time
it had been styled in some fashion or other.
“Which way to London?” she asked.
He almost answered. Her tone was such that he felt
compelled to snap to attention, as though he were the
butler and she the master. Something else was familiar
about her. The way she spoke, that accent. She wasn’t
English. Not French or Italian. He’d traveled the
Continent years ago, when he’d been about two and twenty.
He knew that accent, just couldn’t place it at the
“Why don’t we discuss it inside over a cup of tea?” he
said. “If you’ll follow me—”
“I don’t have time for tea. I have to run. Hide. They’re
looking for me. If they find me…” She shuddered, and that
one gesture said more than any word she’d spoken.
“Let me help you.”
Her gaze landed on him again, ran quickly over him, and
dismissed him just as quickly.
“If you want to help, tell me which way to London.” She
shook her head. “Ne rien! I’ll find it on my own.”
She swept past him, obviously intending to go on without
his assistance. She might have climbed the embankment
beside the bridge, but Wyndover suspected the exertion
would have been too much for her. She would probably take
the easier path around the pond and then double back and
Ne rien. He’d heard that before, and quite suddenly he
knew exactly where she was from. Ne rien was a Glennish
phrase meaning never mind or forget it. Glennish was the
mix of Gaelic and French spoken in the Kingdom of
He’d read reports of recent unrest in Glynaven. Another
revolution ousting the royal family.
“Oh, bloody hell,” he muttered as another thought
occurred to him. He turned just in time to see her
stumble. In two strides he was beside her, his arms out
to catch her as she fell.
He lifted her unconscious body, cradling her in his arms.
She’d barely made it three feet before she’d collapsed
from what he’d hoped was only exhaustion and not
something more serious. She might smell of manure and
rotting vegetables, but with her head thrown back, he
could see her face more clearly now. The high forehead
and sculpted cheekbones, the full lips. She had all the
features of the royal family of Glynaven.
But the unusual color of her green eyes gave her away—Her
Royal Highness, Princess Vivienne Aubine Calanthe de
“Welcome to England,” he said as he started back toward
the house. She was light as a spring lamb, but he knew
under the bulky clothing she had the full, supple body of
A beautiful woman.
She hadn’t even recognized him. Other women might swoon
at the sight of him, but her gaze had passed right over
him, just as it had when they’d first met.
“You’re in danger,” he remarked to himself as he left the
pond behind and started across the lawn. Not toward the
house. He didn’t dare take her to the house. One of the
outbuildings. His gaze landed on a small shed, most
probably a boathouse. He’d tuck her there and then fetch
Sedgemere or his duchess.
“Princess Vivienne.” He gave a rueful laugh. “Bet you
never thought I’d be the one to save you.”
What do you think about this review?
3 comments posted.
Re: Four Fabulous Summer Reads
Great review and a great a book!
(Kristina Birch 11:37pm July 10, 2015)
I enjoyed the review and I really enjoyed the book as well. Four great stories
by four fantastic authors.
(Barbara Elness 11:39pm July 10, 2015)
Thanks so much!
(Shana Galen 6:45am July 11, 2015)
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