The Lost Duke of Wyndham (Two Dukes of Wyndham Series #1)

The Lost Duke of Wyndham (Two Dukes of Wyndham Series #1)

3.9 131
by Julia Quinn
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Jack Audley has been a highwayman.

A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate,

Overview

Jack Audley has been a highwayman.

A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine . . . until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she's not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Quinn (The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever) embarks on a new series with Grace Eversleigh, companion to the dowager duchess of Wyndham, unwillingly helping the dowager kidnap a highwayman. The dowager believes Jack Audley, a former Army Captain, to be her grandson, the son of her long-deceased favorite son. But the current Duke of Wyndham, Thomas Cavendish, Jack's ostensible cousin, learns that he could be disposed of a title if it is proven that Jack's parents were married in Ireland before their untimely deaths. Jack attempts to overcome his tortured past with a quick smile and easy wit, and sparks between Jack and Grace result in a number of sizzling scenes that are made more powerful by the intensity of emotions involved. In her strongest effort to date, Quinn delivers complex, multifaceted characters who come vividly to life. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Soldier-turned-highwayman Jack Audley is stunned when the noblewoman whose coach he waylays claims he looks like her dead son and might be the real Duke of Wyndham. He eventually goes to Belgrave Castle to get some answers, but his existence creates quite a stir, especially for his cousin Thomas, the current duke, and Thomas's betrothed, Amelia. Amelia's father intends for her to marry the titleholder, so if Jack should end up with it, this would be a problem not only for Thomas and Amelia but also for Jack and Grace Eversleigh, the dowager's companion, who were drawn to each other at first sight. This sexy, witty tale is typical of Quinn's light historicals and is the first in her Dukes of Wyndham duo; Mr. Cavendish, I Presume is scheduled for an October release. The popular Quinn (The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever) is best known for her Bridgerton series.


—Kristin Ramsdell
Booklist
“All of the signature elements that delight Quinn’s legions of dedicated readers—her wit, wonderfully entertaining characters, and sensual love story—are neatly in place in the first of a pair of delicious historical romances.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061737275
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Series:
Two Dukes of Wyndham Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
26,507
File size:
764 KB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Lost Duke of Wyndham

Chapter One

Grace Eversleigh had been the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham for five years, and in that time she had learned several things about her employer, the most pertinent of which was this:

Under her grace's stern, exacting, and haughty exterior did not beat a heart of gold.

Which was not to say that the offending organ was black. Her grace the dowager Duchess of Wyndham could never be called completely evil. Nor was she cruel, spiteful, or even entirely mean-spirited. But Augusta Elizabeth Candida Debenham Cavendish had been born the daughter of a duke, she had married a duke, and then given birth to another. Her sister was now a member of a minor royal family in some central European country whose name Grace could never quite pronounce, and her brother owned most of East Anglia. As far as the dowager was concerned, the world was a stratified place, with a hierarchy as clear as it was rigid.

Wyndhams, and especially Wyndhams who used to be Debenhams, sat firmly at the top.

And as such, the dowager expected certain behavior and deference to be paid. She was rarely kind, she did not tolerate stupidity, and her compliments were never falsely given. (Some might say they were never given at all, but Grace had, precisely twice, borne witness to a curt but honest "well done"—not that anyone believed her when she mentioned it later.)

But the dowager had saved Grace from an impossible situation, and for that she would always possess Grace's gratitude, respect, and most of all, her loyalty. Still, there was no getting around the fact that the dowager wassomething less than cheerful, and so, as they rode home from the Lincolnshire Dance and Assembly, their elegant and well-sprung coach gliding effortlessly across the midnight-dark roads, Grace could not help but be relieved that her employer was fast asleep.

It had been a lovely night, truly, and Grace knew she should not be so uncharitable. Upon arrival, the dowager had immediately retired to her seat of honor with her cronies, and Grace had not been required to attend to her. Instead, she had danced and laughed with all of her old friends, she had drunk three glasses of punch, she had poked fun at Thomas—always an entertaining endeavor; he was the current duke and certainly needed a bit less obsequiousness in his life. But most of all she had smiled. She had smiled so well and so often that her cheeks hurt.

The pure and unexpected joy of the evening had left her body humming with energy, and she was now perfectly happy to grin into the darkness, listening to the soft snore of the dowager as they made their way home.

Grace closed her eyes, even though she did not think herself sleepy. There was something hypnotic about the motion of the carriage. She was riding backwards —she always did— and the rhythmic clip-clop of the horses' hooves was making her drowsy. It was strange. Her eyes were tired, even though the rest of her was not. But perhaps a nap would not be such a misplaced endeavor—as soon as they returned to Belgrave, she would be required to aid the dowager with—

Crack!

Grace sat up straight, glancing over at her employer, who, miraculously, had not awakened. What was that sound? Had someone—

Crack!

This time the carriage lurched, coming to a halt so swiftly that the dowager, who was facing front as usual, was jerked off her seat.

Grace immediately dropped to her knees next to her employer, her arms instinctively coming around her.

"What the devil?" the dowager snapped, but fell silent when she caught Grace's expression.

"Gunshots," Grace whispered.

The dowager's lips pursed tightly, and then she yanked off her emerald necklace and thrust it at Grace. "Hide this," she ordered.

"Me?" Grace practically squeaked, but she shoved the jewels under a cushion all the same. And all she could think was that she would dearly like to smack a little sense into the esteemed Augusta Wyndham, because if she were killed because the dowager was too cheap to hand over her jewels—

The door was wrenched open.

"Stand and deliver!"

Grace froze, still crouched on the floor next to the dowager. Slowly, she lifted her head to the doorway, but all she could see was the silvery end of a gun, round and menacing, and pointed at her forehead.

"Ladies," came the voice again, and this time it was a bit different, almost polite. The speaker then stepped forward out of the shadows, and with a graceful motion swept his arm in an arc to usher them out. "The pleasure of your company, if you will," he murmured.

Grace felt her eyes dart back and forth—an exercise in futility, to be sure, as there was clearly no avenue of escape. She turned to the dowager, expecting to find her spitting with fury, but instead she had gone white. It was then that Grace realized she was shaking.

The dowager was shaking.

Both of them were.

The highwayman leaned in, one shoulder resting against the door frame. He smiled then—slow and lazy, and with the charm of a rogue. How Grace could see all of that when half of his face was covered with his mask, she did not know, but three things about him were abundantly clear:

He was young.

He was strong.

And he was dangerously lethal.

"Ma'am," Grace said, giving the dowager a nudge. "I think we should do as he says."

"I do love a sensible woman," he said, and smiled again. Just a quirk this time—one devastating little lift at the corner of his mouth. But his gun remained high, and his charm did little to assuage Grace's fear.

And then he extended his other arm. He extended his arm. As if they were embarking at a house party. As if he were a country gentleman, about to inquire about the weather.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Lost Duke of Wyndham (Two Dukes of Wyndham Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 131 reviews.
Maitrakh More than 1 year ago
This was definately not one of Julia Quinn's best pieces. The book was just plain dull. The characters were good, but the excitement just wasn't there.
Faye71 More than 1 year ago
The male lead was most unlikable and I did not find anything admirable about him. The female lead was weak and very predictable. The storyline had soo much potential but she didn't pull it off. I was very disapointed. I so enjoyed her other books. I would not recommend this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know what everyone else was talking about this book was so good, just as good as any of her other books. I can not wait until the next one! The characters were funny and down to earth, very entertaining!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julia Quinn is one of my favorite romance writers but this book was a disappointment. I felt like I never got to truly know either one of the main characters and the development of their relationship was nonexistent. There was a considerable lack of romance and sexual tension. Both characters did not excite me and I didn't really care what happened to either one of them. I agree with other reviewers that Quinn resorted to a lot of telling instead of showing, which does not draw the reader into the hero and heroine's world. The dialogue was extremely weak, which is uncharacteristic of Quinn. There were a few humorous/awkward trademark Quinn scenes but those were the only highlights of this book. Overall it was an OK read but I could definitely put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a little slow to start with but in the end another great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A comfortable and enjoyable read. Jack and Thomas are average but thoroughly humorous heros. The Dowager, unfortunately, reminds me of several very testy women I have known in my lifetime. Grace and Amelia were more than tolerant. LORRAINE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked this one- can't wait to read the second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Louisa_Mills More than 1 year ago
The dialogue was whip-sharp, the characters rich & real. The unusual plot twists supported the characters as they found their way to the answers, themselves and the partners who changed their lives. Georgette Heyer would be proud! It's definitely a Do-Over! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not even finish it, dont waste your time or money!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago