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Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

4.1 25
by Samantha Grace

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The Naked Truth

Lady Vivian Worth knows perfectly well how to behave like a lady. But observing proper manners when there's no one around to impress is just silly. Why shouldn't she strip down to her chemise for a swim? When her betrothed arrives to finally meet her, Vivi will act every inch the lady—demure, polite, compliant.


The Naked Truth

Lady Vivian Worth knows perfectly well how to behave like a lady. But observing proper manners when there's no one around to impress is just silly. Why shouldn't she strip down to her chemise for a swim? When her betrothed arrives to finally meet her, Vivi will act every inch the lady—demure, polite, compliant. Everything her brother has promised the man. But until then, she's going to enjoy her freedom...

A Revealing Discovery

Luke Forest, the newly named Duke of Foxhaven, wants nothing to do with his inheritance—or the bride that comes with it. He wants adventure and excitement, like the enchanting water nymph he's just stumbled across. When he discovers the skinny-dipping minx is his intended, he reconsiders his plan to find Lady Vivian another husband. Because the idea of this vivacious woman in the arms of another man might be enough to drive him insane—or to the altar.

Beau Monde series:
Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel
Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half
Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie
Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

Praise for Samantha Grace:
"Evocative...There's a charm in Grace's prose that will delight readers."-RT Book Reviews
"Grace's fabulously fun debut will dazzle readers with its endearingly outspoken heroine and devilishly rakish hero."-Booklist
"Clever, spicy, and fresh from beginning to end."-Amelia Grey, Award-winning author of A Gentleman Never Tells
"A delightfully witty romp seasoned with an irresistible dash of intrigue and passion. Samantha Grace is an author to watch!"-Shana Galen, Award-winning author of Lord and Lady Spy

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Grace supplies another winning marriage of romance and wit in this delightful Regency. Lady Vivian Worth can be an obliging and gracious young lady when necessary—she is engaged to a duke and understands she must play the part—but her true nature is more wild and spontaneous. Luke Forest, Duke of Foxhaven, has never met her; he travels to Vivian’s home to dissolve their arranged betrothal and help her find another husband. What he didn’t count on was the instant spark and growing attraction between them, and soon it appears marriage might be a good idea after all. The tried and true will-they-or-won’t-they plot gets new life with Grace’s trademark humor and charm. Fans of Grace’s previous books will recognize familiar characters. This classic love story is absorbing and endearing. Agent: Nephele Tempest, the Knight Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"The characters shine and Grace's talents sparkle. " - RT Book Reviews

""Grace supplies another winning marriage of romance and wit in this delightful Regency." -STARRED Review " - Publishers Weekly

"Furthermore, the writing is skillful, the dialog is well done, the secondary characters are well-fleshed but not overwhelming, and the love scenes are nice and warm. " - All About Romance

"You won't be disappointed" - Pure Textuality

"I look forward to reading more from Ms. Grace and I can see myself reading this one again. " - Beyond the Squee Book Reviews

"Lady Vivian Defies a Duke has just the right ingredients blended together to give a marvelous vicarious experience that makes the reader gives a happy sigh that love wins again. Most enjoyable reading!" - Long and Short Reviews

"Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book!! " - Smitten Books

"Every Samantha Grace book I read has me laughing, smiling, and sighing with happiness and this one is no exception! Pure enjoyment!" - Rogues Under the Covers

"Lady Vivian Defies a Duke was a wonderful read. Romance lovers, this is a good one!
" - Imagine a World

"I thoroughly enjoyed this entry in Ms. Grace's booklist, and will eagerly continue to read her novels. " - Reviews By Molly

Product Details

Publication date:
Beau Monde , #4
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
921 KB

Read an Excerpt


Lady Vivian Worth folded the sheet of foolscap and sighed. Her older brother had always shown a flair for dramatics, often predicting disaster where no risk existed. He had no reason to fret over a nobleman's visit to Brighthurst House. Vivi knew perfectly well how to behave like a lady. She'd had nineteen years of practice. Observing proper manners when no one was around to impress, however, was silly.

She tossed Ash's weekly letter beside her discarded gown, petticoats, and corset, then tore off across the damp grass, her unbound hair flying behind her. The previous night's heavy rain had swollen the spring cutting through Cousin Patrice's property to the ideal depth, and Vivi had always been powerless to resist a good swim.

Reaching the rocky ledge, she leaped into the air with a whoop, drawing her knees toward her chest. She hung weightless for a second, then dropped to the spring below with a loud splash, the water sucking her to the bottom. Vivi burrowed her toes into the pebbled spring bed, then shot upward to break through the surface again as eagerly as a newborn babe bursting into a bright new world.

Ah, sweet ecstasy. This was much better than mindless needlepoint.

Smiling, she stretched out on her back to admire the white clouds soaring like mountains into the sky. Today the sun was brighter, the trees more lush, the birds harmonious in their songs.

Lucas Forest, the twelfth Duke of Foxhaven, was showing interest in her at last, even if he was sending an emissary to call on her.

Vivi had never been a patient person, and waiting for Foxhaven to claim her had been difficult indeed. Yet, she had not faulted him for postponing the final signing of their marital agreement. He had just lost his father suddenly, and she'd understood the magnitude of that kind of loss. By age seven, she was already an orphan and quickly becoming a burden to her brother.

She could also appreciate Foxhaven's shock upon learning of the secret negotiations between her brother and the former duke. She hadn't been consulted prior to their discussions either.

Nevertheless, thirteen months had proven to be a torturously long time for her to exist in a state of uncertainty. She was ready to have the matter settled between them and leave Bedfordshire behind.

When the duke's representative, Lord Ellis, arrived next week, she would give him no reason to find her lacking. She would be everything her brother had promised Foxhaven she would be: a gracious hostess, a proper lady, and an empty-headed ninny with no opinions.

Vivi flipped onto her stomach and swam with the current.

Claiming she had no opinions was perhaps unwise of her brother. Her opinions tended to sprout up like dandelions in a field, and she was often eager to share her thoughts when others were not so eager to listen. But she would hold her tongue, even if she must bite it in the process.

Swimming to shallower water, Vivi stood and wobbled on the slippery rocks, her hands thrust out at her sides to find her balance. She had best make her way back to the house. Cook was still awaiting her approval of the meals for Lord Ellis's stay. Since Cousin Patrice had taken to her bed with a chill, the task had fallen to Vivi.

Were a gentleman's occupations as mind-numbing as a lady's? Likely not. Their reading selections certainly proved more entertaining. Perhaps she could afford to sneak in another chapter of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur before addressing the kitchen staff.

She trudged upstream, her mind already preoccupied with the story she had abandoned earlier. She often lost herself in daydreams about handsome knights and being adored by one. It made her lonely days feel less... Well, lonely.

She is attending a tournament. Sir Launcelot stops his charger in front of her and declares himself as her champion. Vivi pulls the scarlet ribbon from her hair and presents it to him. Her brave knight holds her offering to his lips, his eyes shining brightly.

"My dearest Lady Vivian, you honor me with your gift. Might I beg of you a kiss as reward for my victory?"

Vivi touched her fingers to her lips. "Yes, my brave knight." She laughed, embarrassed to still be engaging in girlish fancies. Her imagination was rather brilliant, however. She had been so lost in the moment she could have sworn she'd heard the whinny of Sir Launcelot's horse.

The smooth rocks shifted and she landed in the water with a plop. As she struggled to her feet, the snort of a horse-real, not imagined-made her head snap up.

A horse and rider appeared through the tree line ahead and approached the spring's edge.

She froze.

The man sat casually in his saddle, seemingly unaware of her presence, while his horse lowered his head for a drink. She sloshed around in search of someplace to hide, but there was nowhere to go. No bush, boulder, or tree near enough to shield her.

"Damnation!" The gentleman's surprised exclamation echoed off the stone ledge lining the opposite bank.

"Oh, look away. Please, look away." She attempted to run for deeper water, but her chemise twisted around her knees. Pitching forward, she landed face-first into the water, then came up coughing and sputtering, her hair in her eyes. The sounds of boots hitting the gravel and splashing made her heart leap into her throat.

She staggered to her feet, sweeping aside the curtain of hair obstructing her view. Hastily, she crossed her arms over her breasts. "Stop!"

The stranger drew to a halt, the water up to his knees. Dark brows lowered over the most striking blue eyes she had ever seen. "You aren't in need of rescue?"

She snorted. "Not from swimming."

His intense stare bathed her in heat, making her forget the affront he had just served her. She slowly began to back away. Water dripped from her nose, but she didn't dare expose herself to swipe at it.

If anyone discovered her half-nude in the presence of a gentleman... Well, it would be a million times more disastrous than the situation with Owen, and that debacle could ruin her if word ever reached London.

His gaze didn't waver.

"Will you please stop gawking at me?"

"Sorry." He covered his eyes and his lips twitched upward. "Now that we have established you are in no danger, perhaps you can answer a question. Are you a water sprite or a manifestation of my overactive imagination?"

His voice sounded like he was holding back a smile. He wasn't taking their situation seriously enough in her estimation.

"The second one, so go away."

The gentleman laughed, but kept his eyes covered. "You seem real enough. Perhaps you're a milkmaid from a local farm. Does your employer know you are attempting to drown yourself instead of attending to your duties?"

"I wasn't drowning, and I haven't time to chat with unwanted trespassers."

She continued to ease toward the opposite bank, watching him for signs of pursuit. Her pulse slowed a fraction when he held his position and still didn't peek.

"Are there any other kind?" he asked.

Reaching deeper water, she submerged herself to her neck. "Any other kind of what?"

"Trespassers. Are they ever wanted? By definition trespassing implies-"

"I know what it means. Now good day, sir."

He laughed again and dropped his hand by his side. "You're a cheeky one. What is your name?"

Vivi's eyes widened. A true gentleman would have pretended he had never seen her, and if he did by chance discover her half-nude in a spring, he wouldn't insensitively request her name.

"I am no one of importance. Please just go away."

The last thing she needed was a guest of the neighboring estate spreading word of their embarrassing encounter. She would be the talk of Dunstable.


And Ash would be livid with her.


The man flashed a grin. "Spoiled your fun, did I? Perhaps before I go, you might assist me."

"I am certain I have no skill in whatever it is you require." She swam backward, putting more distance between them.

"It requires no skill."

He waded out of the spring, stood on one foot to tug off his boot, and poured water from it. "I just purchased these and now I've ruined them coming to your rescue."

"I didn't need rescuing." Truly, she was an excellent swimmer. Why wasn't he listening?

"Of course you didn't." His sarcastic tone got her back up, but before she could deliver a scathing set-down, his magnificent eyes locked on her again. "I require directions to Brighthurst House. Do you know the way?"

"Brighthurst?" All the air rushed from her in a whoosh as her gaze swept over him. His expensively cut burgundy coat was dusty and his Hessians-well, they were likely ruined as he had said-but he was attired more fashionably than most gentlemen in the county.

Dear heavens, no!

This gentleman couldn't possibly be Lord Ellis. The earl wasn't due for several more days. Perhaps she had misheard him.

She cleared her throat. "Did-did you say Brighthurst House?"

"I must be close if the blacksmith is to be trusted."

Sweet strawberry jam! He had to be the earl. What was he doing at Brighthurst House this early? And where was his coach? "Uh, I-I don't-"

He frowned as he mounted his horse. "Don't tell me you are unfamiliar with Lady Brighthurst."

She wouldn't say she was unfamiliar with her, for it was best to avoid speaking falsehoods whenever possible. "You might have gone-" She waggled her finger. "Go that way."

His gaze followed her wavering finger. "Which way? The way I came?"

"Yes, I think. Maybe."

"Yes or maybe?"

"Uh... Perhaps you should find someone else to ask."

He raised a brow and looked pointedly around the area. "Ask someone else? Who, pray tell?"

"Forgive me, sir, but I really must go." She swam for the opposite bank, reaching her destination and clinging to the rocky ledge.

"Just a moment. I require an answer. Do I go back the way I came or not?"

"Um, yes!" Dear Lord, she had just lied after all. To an earl. Vivi's heart pounded in her ears, blocking out his reply. She blinked. "Pardon?"

"I asked if you would like something for your trouble. A shilling or two?"

"No!" Good heavens, no. She couldn't take his money, too. Her knuckles ached as she fought against the current trying to sweep her downstream.

He walked his horse a little ways into the water. "Are you certain you don't require assistance? You appear in danger of drowning again."

"I know how to swim," she said through clenched teeth.

The gentleman rubbed his forehead, appearing to mull over the wisdom of leaving her.

She eyed the steep incline on her side of the creek. It would take a bit of effort, but she could scale the hill. If the gentleman would leave. "Thank you for your concern, but you may go now."

A slow smile eased across his mouth like honey dripping from a spoon. "You are too cheeky by half, chit. Take care when climbing to the top. I wouldn't like to see you hurt."

"I will be fine, but thank you again."

With a shake of his head, he flicked the reins and turned his horse back toward the trees.

Lud! She didn't have much time. As soon as rider and horse disappeared from sight, Vivi levered her elbow against the rock ledge, flopped her leg on top, and then climbed from the water with a soft grunt. Pushing to her feet, she kicked free of the chemise tangled around her legs and grabbed a large tree root dangling down the side of the embankment. She scurried up the hill hand over hand, her mind awhirl.

What was Lord Ellis doing at Brighthurst this early? And why did he have to arrive at this exact moment? She had the worst luck of any person she knew.

Her feet slipped on the dark dirt, stirring up an earthy scent. She held tighter, ignoring the burn in her palms, and continued her climb. When she made it to the top, she dashed for her clothes.

Lord Ellis couldn't reach the house before her. He just couldn't. She needed a moment to think, to sort out what to do before he arrived. She had to find a way to salvage her situation, because she couldn't bear to be a disappointment to Cousin Patrice again.

In the distance, someone called her name. It was her maid.

"Lady Vivian, here you are. I have been searching everywhere for you." Winifred marched through the meadow in her direction. "It looks like another storm is blowing in. You better come back to the house."

A gust of wind sent the meadow grass into a frantic dance. Vivi snatched up her crumpled gown from the ground. "Winnie! Come quickly. Something awful has happened."

Her maid broke into a run. "My lady, what is it? Have you been injured?"

"No, nothing of the sort, but please help me with my dress." Winnie grabbed her corset and petticoats, but Vivi waved them away. "There isn't time. You may dress me properly once we reach my chambers."

"I don't understand, my lady. What happened?" Her maid draped the undergarments over her shoulder and tossed the gown over Vivi's head, yanking the skirts down her body inch by inch as the Indian muslin stuck to her wet skin.

When her head emerged, she saw a thick cloud dull the bright sun. The air seemed stagnant and heavy. In the distance, foreboding storm clouds hovered on the horizon as if getting into formation to launch an attack. It was moving in quickly, catching her unawares, much as Lord Ellis had.

Before her maid could fasten her gown, Vivi linked arms and dragged her through the meadow back toward Brighthurst House.

"Lady Vivian, what are you about?"

"Oh, Winnie. I'm in a real pickle. Lord Ellis will arrive at our front door in a matter of moments. We must hurry."

"Lord Ellis? But he isn't expected until next week." Winnie planted her feet, jerking Vivi to a stop. Her brow furrowed as she captured Vivi's face and peered into her eyes. "You didn't knock your head, did you?"

Vivi brushed her maid's hands away. "I haven't lost my senses. Let's go."

Fingers of lightning streched toward the ground, and thunder made the earth below them shudder.

Her maid clung to her arm. "We should hurry, my lady."

"That is what I've been trying to say. Lord Ellis ambushed me at the spring, and he is on his way to Brighthurst House."

Winnie's eyes grew as round as shillings. "Merciful heavens, the earl discovered you in your chemise? Oh dear. This is beyond horrifying."

"You're not comforting me." Clasping hands, they ran for the dower house as the wind whipped through the meadow and plastered Vivi's wet gown against her. The first raindrops splattered the dirt as they reached the house and slipped inside.

Vivi shivered, and her maid put an arm around her shoulders. "Come upstairs, Lady Vivian, before you catch your death."

At this point, death might be the easier solution. "Ash will send me to the nunnery for certain this time."

Winnie squeezed her tight. "Well then, he will have to send me too. I'll not let you wreck havoc on those poor Sisters of Mercy alone."

Vivi almost laughed, but it was hard to find much humor in her complete ruin. "You would do that for me, Win? Perhaps it wouldn't be terrible if you were with me."

"Phoo!" Her maid flicked her hand. "We'll come up with some way to get out of this. But first, let's change you out of these wet clothes."

They ascended the stairs side by side and bustled down the corridor to Vivi's bedchamber. Once the door closed, Vivi wrestled with her damp gown. Winnie hurried forward to assist. With her soiled gown discarded and a dry one donned, Vivi rushed to the window to search for signs of Lord Ellis. The gravel drive was deserted.

"Egads. It's raining like the devil."

A blinding flash and boom caused her to jump back with a scream.

Rain pinged against the glass, deafening with its intensity, and dark clouds blotted out the sunlight.

"Tell everyone we must put lights in every window."

"Yes, my lady."

A deep rumble vibrated the windowpanes. Her heart hammered against her ribs.

Surely Lord Ellis would throttle her for deceiving him.

If he survived.

Meet the Author

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney's Robin Hood. She didn't care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn't want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher's Weekly describes her stories as "fresh and romantic" with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest. Visit her at: www.samanthagraceauthor.com.

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Lady Vivian Defies a Duke 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone in this book falls madly in love at first site. The characters are annoying and do the most rediculous things. Nothing is believable and it isn't even close to being entertaining enough to over look the stupidity of it all. I only wish i could get my money back and the time i wasted reading this garbage. If you are looking for a good book, keep looking.
ornerylibrarian More than 1 year ago
Lady Vivian Worth is a bit on the wild side and became involved in one scandal too many, so her brother has arranged a marriage for her to Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven. Luke has issues of his own and decides to meet Vivian in person to see if she will call off the betrothal. Mishaps and mistaken identities ensue as the story unfolds. This is a great story, with a nice plot and intriguing characters. This is a romance that's sure to be remembered and treasured. Sexy and sweet all at the same time.
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I liked both characters but didn't love them. Lady Vivian's behavior was not so much atrocious as annoying. However, I was content to follow the story without complaint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was, overall, a much better story than this author's last effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pleasant read. Very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick, witty, and engaging. I fell in love with the characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found myself reading as fast as I could to finally finish this book. Didn't find anything in particular that I like about the characters. Extremely boring I might add.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HappyEndings More than 1 year ago
You just have to love a free spirit that knows their own mind. It is nice when you see two characters come together that compliment each other. Fun and lively story.
Mirabelle8 More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE by Samantha Grace. It is the charming story of Lady Vivian Worth and Luke Forest set the Regency era. It's starts as Luke meets Vivian, an unconventional lady with a touch on the wild side! He is not sure what to expect of her and decides not to marry her. But, he never thought of seeing her in the arms of other men would upset him. But sparks will flare near him! Will he get jealous and want to keep her for himself. If you love historical romance, then this book is perfect for you. This is the first book that I read by the author and I am going to watch her other books. The story is very well written! I won't write a complete review, because other have done it! Thank you, Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE by Samantha Grace is an interesting Regency Historical Romance. #4 in the "Beau Monde Bachelor" series,but can be read as a stand alone. See, "Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel","Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half",and " Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie". Join Luke Forest,the Duke of Foxhaven and Lady Vivian Worth as they find a most revealing discovery and the naked truth about life and love, as they navigate through the waters of passion,reveal secrets, with a bit of humor and lots of fun. Romance readers will enjoy the lively Lady Vivian and the determined Duke of Foxhaven. Fast paced with engaging,witty characters and an interesting plot. Written with depth and subtle humor you will be engrossed as the "Beau Monde Bachelor" once again captures your heart. Ms. Grace does not disappoint in her writing,or with her characters. An enjoyable read from start to finish. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
susiehomemaker More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gonna post mah bio sometime soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to the old place. Don't feel lik typing it up again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: are you blind? Age: 18 Discription: curly, shoulder length carmel hair, tan skin, playful blue eyes, currently a cheerleader for Azkedelia, works at Aeropostale, loves to sing and do gymnastics, playful, loves to have fun, toned and fit body, runs 5 miles everyday as a warmup, red pruis, single (and crushing) lives in a aparment at phish res.6
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:Cheslea Tomas <p>&#9828 <p>Gender:&female <p>&#9828 <p>Age:12, turning 13 on November 2nd <p>&#9828 <p>Date:None, not allowed until 16 <p>&#9828 <p>Crush:None <p>&#9828 <p>Hair:Caremel-gold, shoulder-length, straight <p>&#9828 <p>Eyes:Blue <p>&#9828 <p>Skin:White/Tan <p>&#9828 <p>Others:Pink glasses, freckles, hot pink long-sleeved shirt with a purple heart on the front, long blue jean skirt, white sneakers <p>&#9828 <p>Personality:Impatient, friendly, nerdish <p>&#9828 <p>Grade:7th <p>&#9828 <p>School:At 'nr' all results
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Noooo i cant cuz im locked out of the old camp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name** Greyling Vicole <br>Age** 16 Years of Age <br>Height and Weight** 6'2 and 125 pounds.. <br>Build** Somewhat slender but well muscled. <br>Hair** A dark gold with almost black streaks, it goes to his neck. <br>Eyes** A deep gray with amber flecks. Heavily framed. <br>Personality** Quite formal with people he isn't friends with, he has patience, though when purpously tried he will snap. With friends he often relaxed and open. <br>Relationship** Single and without a crush. <br>Other** He carries a thin silver sword, his favorite weapon, it's hilt is laced with carvings. He doesn't use it against humans. <br>Signature** &lambda &Lambda &rho &Rho
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:samantha (awesome right lolol). Gender: female (duh lolol). Looks like: dark brown hair with blue highlights i have blue eyes and i wear dark makeup sometimes no makeup at all. I have naturally tan skin and im very fun to hang with. Personality: fun spunky loves everyone lolol (just dont piss me off). Im 17 btw lolol but ya thats me in a nutshell XP YALL COME BACK YA HEAR!!!!