A Duke of Her Own

( 31 )

Overview

Lady Louisa longs to marry for passion and love—but will she find happiness in the arms of the duke?

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A Duke of Her Own

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Overview

Lady Louisa longs to marry for passion and love—but will she find happiness in the arms of the duke?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061129636
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 809,145
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Lorraine Heath wrote her first story at seven, and it involved a fisherman who fell in love with a mermaid. She has since moved on to writing about sexy cowboys and dashing English lords (and sometimes, cleverly, in the same book!). Publishers Weekly says she is a "master of her craft." She is, indeed, and along with being a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she has won the RITA® Award, three Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, and a Career Achievement Award.

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Read an Excerpt

A Duke of Her Own


By Lorraine Heath

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Lorraine Heath
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061129631

Chapter One

London
1888

Gentlewoman of noble birth offers to chaperone genteel American lady in need of social guidance. References provided. Send inquiry to the attention of Lady Louisa Wentworth, in care of this publication.

The Lady's Quarterly Review

"What in the devil is this?"

Lady Louisa Wentworth jerked her head back slightly to avoid having her nose bruised by the publication her brother was flapping furiously in front of her face. She'd been enjoying her usual breakfast of porridge laced with butter, milk, and an abundance of sugar before he'd come storming into the morning dining room as though he were some avenging angel. Delicately pressing her linen napkin to each corner of her mouth, she summoned up every ounce of fortitude within her in order to confront his belligerence with serenity.

"It appears to be a magazine," she said.

"Not this!" he shouted, frantically jerking the periodical up and down, before slamming it on the table. He pressed a blunt-tipped finger beneath a particular block of words. "This!"

Glancing at the familiar phrasing, she took a calming breath. "My advert."

"Your advert," he repeated with an unnatural calm that caused a frisson of unease to travel the length of her spine. Then he quite simply erupted in anger. "Your advert! You'readvertising for a position as a chaperone?"

"Yes, and I have an interview later this morning, so I would appreciate it if you'd cease your shouting so my digestion is not unduly upset."

"You are not taking a position as a chaperone. I absolutely forbid it."

Her stomach tightened into a painful knot. Having made her decision after much agonizing, carefully scrutinizing her options, weighing the benefits against the disadvantages, and accepting the enormous consequences that would ensue after effectively changing the direction of her life, she wasn't about to allow him--or anyone else for that matter--to deter or forbid her from seeing her plan through to the finish.

"I'm twenty-six years old, Alex, old enough to do as I please. Serving as a chaperone is a respectable position for the daughter of a peer--"

"Unmarried ladies younger than thirty require a chaperone. How in God's name can you be a chaperone when you need a chaperone?"

Shoving back the chair, she came to her feet, tossed the linen napkin into her bowl of porridge, and steadfastly met her brother's blistering blue glare. She wondered if her blue eyes darkened as much as his did when challenged.

"A lady requires that her reputation remain pristine when there is some chance in hell that a gentleman will seek her hand in marriage. No gentleman is going to ask for my hand, and you damned well know it." His jaw had dropped at her first bit of profanity; his eyes had bulged at her second. "I have no dowry at all. It is time that I face reality, that you face reality. We have nothing of value--"

"We have ourselves."

"Then allow me to rephrase and be perfectly clear. You have value; you have a blasted title. I have nothing. No dowry, no property, no hope of ever enticing a man into looking past my impoverished state--"

"Somewhere a man of rare intelligence exists who can see your true worth."

She laughed bitterly. "Dear brother, how long shall I wait? I've never been courted. Oh, a few men have dallied with me here and there, but it was more for sport than any serious consideration. No one sends me bouquets of flowers. No one sits beside me in the parlor, chatting aimlessly. No one dreads running the formidable gauntlet of asking you for my hand. I'm not seriously sought after--not at all. The reality is that I never shall be. Not as a wife anyway, and I will not stoop to becoming some man's mistress--"

"I would kill any man who even entertained the notion of using you thusly."

Yet she knew he had no compunction whatsoever about keeping a mistress for himself. Men were such odd creatures. Still, she thought it sweet that he would jump to her defense so quickly.

"Alex, I'm weary of being without funds, of not being in charge of my life or my destiny, of waiting in vain for some man to decide I'm worthy of his affections or his attentions when I come with nothing."

Alex looked down at his shoes, slightly worn, a sight that tore at her heart, because he'd always taken such pride in his appearance. Their situation was becoming very sad indeed when he went so long without replacing his shoes.

"You are worthy of a great deal more, Louisa," he said quietly. He lifted his gaze to hers, and she could see how he suffered because the truth of their lives was not as either of them would wish it to be. "But to take a position, to be seen as someone's servant--"

"A chaperone is not considered a servant."

"Semantics. You will serve at their pleasure."

"I shall have pin money." Making light of the situation was the only way that she could avoid weeping every moment of every hour of every day. She was no happier with her decision than Alex was, but honestly, what choice did she have? She was well past her prime, and now that American heiresses had descended on London like ravenous vultures and were taking the choicest among the lords, she had no desire to settle for the scraps--not that any had ever been tossed her way. But still she had to allow for the possibility that it might happen, that some aging lord might see her as a last resort.

But not the young and virile ones. No, they were taking advantage of the wealthy Americans, marrying their daughters when they could come to terms on a generous settlement. Why shouldn't the British ladies take advantage as well? Why should only the men benefit from this madness of Americans wanting to elevate their status by becoming titled?



Continues...

Excerpted from A Duke of Her Own by Lorraine Heath Copyright © 2006 by Lorraine Heath. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Disappointing!

    What a shallow story line. Too fake and lacking in depth for my liking. How can the chaperone be compromised yet still retain her job and how does a loving brother suddenly turn rogue without the writer showing some possible traits he could be so?
    I think the author should have worked harder at making the story more believable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Mvl

    I liked most of this book but i just didnt like that the two main characters didnt have money. I want fiction not reality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Where have I been? Why did I think Lorraine Heath wrote only abo

    Where have I been? Why did I think Lorraine Heath wrote only about Texas? I LOVED this book!! It's exactly the kind of historical romance I look for. Great characters (and chemistry between them). The hero seemed to be a selfish, irresponsible rake, but as we (and the heroine) learned more and more about him, that was not the case at all. Ms. Heath does a fantastic job at creating sexual tension; I especially loved the way the hero would try to fantastize about the rich American girl he needed to marry and was so annoyed because the heroine kept taking her place in his fantasies. I read the first 145 pp before work. I read the rest straight through when I got home. And I wish I hadn't finished it so I could keep reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2006

    Sexy Passionate Heartache Romance

    London during the late 1800's was a time of change. Many titled gentlemen with no money were scouting the ballrooms looking for the many rich American heiresses that wanted to purchase a title. Where does that leave someone like the lovely Lady Louisa Wentworth, the daughter of an Earl with no dowry? Refusing to become a gentleman's mistress she advertises to become a lady's chaperone to one of the many heiresses, promsing to make only the best match. She is accepted by the Rose family, who have two daughters Jenny and Kate. Soon her brother Alex, the sixth Earl of Ravensley, and his friends, Michael Tremayne, the fourth Marquess of Falconridge and Randolph Selwyn, the fifth Duke of Hawkhurst want to be in the running. They all want the beautiful Jenny Rose, but Louisa knows this trio of rogues only want the money and does not trust them with Jenny or Kate who are looking for passion and love in a relationship. Immediately Jenny and Kate's mother, Mrs. Rose knocks the Marquess and Louisa's brother, the Earl out of the running, as only a Duke will do for her daughters. Louisa is relieved, but then it soon becomes difficult because the handsome Duke of Hawkhurst is definitely in the running and he is one who she not only mistrusts and dislikes, but she finds herself uncomfortably drawn to him. Likewise, Hawkhurst cannot get Louisa out of his thoughts. When he is with Jenny Rose, all he sees, smells and wants is Louisa. His lust finally spins out of control when he sets up a plan to catch Jenny in marriage so he can get away from her chaperone who is driving him out of his mind with lust, when it is Louisa that shows up instead of Jenny Rose to spoil the plan. The lust he feels for Louisa can no longer be held back and he compromises her. They are found by her brother Alex and the Rose's son Jeremy Rose. He is then forced to marry the penniless Lady Louisa. The struggle then begins between both Louisa and Hawkhurst because there is such passion that is quickly turning to love in this relationship, but also disappointment, as Louisa realizes Hawkhurst really did need Jenny Rose's money not only for his estates, but for his mother and an illegitimate sister he has kept secret for years. The story is a true delight from the courtship, lust, passion, love, stuggle, and sacrifices that must be made in love. The ending is a near heartbreaker, but has all the components of a true romance that is as old as time. Boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. A truly wonderful heartwarming read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    Well done...

    Set in London, 1888. Lady Louisa Wentworth is now twenty-six years old. With no dowry and only her breeding to offer for anyone considering marriage, Louisa decides to forget wedding and takes matters into her own hands. She places an ad within a lady's paper offering to chaperone a genteel American lady in need of social guidance. With all the recent American heiresses entering town, in hopes of marrying into titles, it is not long before Louisa is hired by the Rose Family. ................. Alexander 'Alex' Wentworth is the sixth Earl of Ravensley and Louisa's brother. He is NOT happy about his sister hiring out as a chaperone, but admits they are in need of the money. Alex wants Louisa to help him wed one of the two Rose daughters, but his sister does not believe it would be a good match for either of the girls. ................. The Duke of Hawkhurst 'Hawk' is one of Alex's close friends and also wants a good word put in with the Rose daughters. Louisa has feelings for Hawk, though she tries to keep it hidden. Besides, Hawk also needs to wed for money. But then Louisa and Hawk are caught in a compromising position. ................ **** A well done regency romance that will certainly capture your attention quickly. There is nothing truly new or original in the story however, it is well worth your time and money. This is a terrific way to spend a rainy afternoon! ****

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Great story!

    I enjoyed reading this book so much. I laughed out loud and cried, too. Reading what the characters are thinking and feeling made the book hard to put down. I was riveted to the end.

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