The Reluctant Duchess

The Reluctant Duchess

4.3 32
by Sharon Cullen
USA TODAY BESTSELLER • Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh and Eloisa James, Sharon Cullen’s seductive new historical romance ignites as a shy country girl and a hotheaded duke surrender to dangerous temptations.

Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be


USA TODAY BESTSELLER • Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh and Eloisa James, Sharon Cullen’s seductive new historical romance ignites as a shy country girl and a hotheaded duke surrender to dangerous temptations.

Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.

Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he’s drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the ton changes a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.

Praise for The Reluctant Duchess

“Riveting . . . The true depth of the characters is revealed through dialogue that eschews Austen-style witticisms for thoughtful discussion and quiet but determined clashes of will. Intense romance and intriguing mystery make this a tale to be savored.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Cullen allows the suspense to ebb and flow naturally between finding clues and hitting dead ends. She wisely uses the downtime to develop two strong main characters. Ross’s ability to see past Sara’s shy reserve and his admiration for her courage and strength will have readers rooting for the couple’s success. Highly recommended for historical romance buffs who prefer a little mayhem in the mix.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Many readers will enjoy this lively Victorian tale starring a protective hero and a quietly stubborn heroine.”—Anne Gracie, award-winning author of The Spring Bride

The Reluctant Duchess is a tale replete with sizzling tension and high stakes, as could only come from the pen of Sharon Cullen.”—Ashlyn Macnamara, author of What a Lady Requires

“Sharon Cullen’s best book yet! I stayed up late reading it, kept spellbound by the nail-biting mystery and riveting pace. The cherry on top was the sexy hero and spunky heroine. A keeper!”—Shana Galen, author of The Rogue You Know

“Sexy and smart with great historical drama and lush descriptions.”—It’s About the Book

“Tender and fiery, subtle and dangerous and so very satisfying . . . a lovely romance and a charming couple to root for.”—Keeper Bookshelf

“I recommend that fans of Regency Romance who enjoy a bit of mystery/thriller mixed in to the plot put this one on your lists.”—ReadingWorld

“A wonderful story that will leave you wanting more.”—I Am, Indeed

“I was delighted by this novel. . . . Ross and Sara are two characters that you just can’t help but fall in love with. They are just amazing and the story is great too! This is my first time reading Sharon Cullen but I am definitely going to be looking for more of her work.”—Live Laugh & Love Books

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/28/2015
Cullen’s riveting Victorian romance reveals a surprisingly forthright and intellectual heroine hiding behind a wallflower reputation. Lady Sara Emerson was accustomed to being overlooked while Meredith, her cousin, basked in the limelight of being betrothed to Gabriel “Ross” Ferguson, the Duke of Rossmoyne. Then Meredith was murdered, and the culprit was never found. Sara spent the following two years in the country, taking care of her uncle, while Ross gladly fled to India on an all-too-brief diplomatic assignment. When Sara starts receiving threatening notes, she travels to London to see whether Ross can help find out who’s sending them. Ross tries to take over the investigation, but Sara insists on being involved; unused to people who push back against his instructions, he reluctantly agrees. Soon he realizes that he enjoys their spirited conversations and no longer thinks of Sara as “plain.” After he demands that she stay with him and his mother so that he can protect her, their late-night talks quickly become romantic interludes. But Sara believes that she could never fulfill the role of a duchess: she detests the frivolity of London society and is long past her debutante days. The true depth of the characters is revealed through dialogue that eschews Austen-style witticisms for thoughtful discussion and quiet but determined clashes of will. Intense romance and intriguing mystery make this a tale to be savored. Agent: Jessica Alvarez, Bookends. (Nov.)

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Random House
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2 MB

Meet the Author

Sharon Cullen is the USA Today bestselling author of the Highland Pride series (Sutherland’s Secret, MacLean’s Passion) as well as many novels of Regency romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking, so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

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The Reluctant Duchess 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sara and Ross's story.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I read three chapters, got bored so I jumped to the last chapter and couldn't even read all of that chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good plot and well written. My only groan was herr name at the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed characters and good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are an amazing writer!
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book - just the right combination of romance and mystery. The characters draw you in and the story keeps you hooked. I would highly recommend this book.
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
When Lady Sara Emerson starts to get mysterious creepy letters, she goes to London and turns to the only person that might help, Gabriel Ferguson Duke of Rossmoyne. The once fiance of her dead cousin had once offered to help her with anything if she needed, so she was taking him up on his offer. Gabriel Ferguson had literally just returned from a journey to India when Lady Sara barges in, asking for his help. He reluctantly agrees when she refuses to go back to her family home. the more he’s around her, he can’t help but be drawn to her quiet strength and beauty, even as the danger gets worse. This was a really good story. I don’t get to read too many historicals that have some suspense in them. I really loved the interactions between Sara and Gabriel as they both get to know the real person they are that they never have been able to let others see. Great plot and characters. I highly recommend to anyone that likes this genre. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review
Theardentreader More than 1 year ago
Lady Sara Grandview needs help and the only person she can turn to is Lord Rossmoyne. Her murdered cousin's betrothed. Sara has not seen him since the gruesome murder of her cousin, but before the family and he parted ways, he told her if they ever needed anything, to contact him. So she is taking him up on that offer. Someone has started sending Sara letters. Notes concerning her cousin and her tragic end. Sara is beyond frightened but has no idea how to find this person. She travels to London to consult with Lord Rossmoyne. Lord Rossmoyne "Ross" has just returned from an assignment in India issued by the Queen. He is woken abruptly by his butler telling him that Lady Sara has arrived and this is the 5th time she has called. Ross doesn't want to be bothered, but his curiosity gets the better of him. He never really paid much attention to Sara, She is shy and keeps to herself. Her cousin, Meredith, always outshone anyone in the room and Sara was happy to sit on the sidelines and observe. After reading the notes left for Sara, Ross becomes worried for her, feeling he must protect her since he thinks he failed to protect Meredith. Ross asks Sara to stay at his home, his mother is there so propriety is not an issue, but she will be safer with him. This lends itself to the two of them getting to know each other better. Which could lead to setting propriety on its ear! This was a very intriguing story, trying to figure out who was sending the notes, and if that person is responsible for Meredith's murder. The two main characters are sort of contradictory. Sara was a mouse in social situations, but when alone or in a group of only a few that she knew, she was a very strong-willed woman. Ross was the opposite. socially outgoing but in private more closed off and introspective. I liked these two very much. The times they talked alone were very well written. I felt a great connection developed between them. Greif changes people, sometimes so much that the things they wanted change drastically. I think the author shows this very well! Fantastic story written very well! I felt like I was there! *Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not this writers best work. Sara is very very shy but comes to the duke for help about letters she recieved. It was easy to figure out the bad guy but worst was waiting and waiting for anything besides letters to happen. Sara is so shy it is annoying, but with ross she is great. Ok book, but read better from the this author.
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Lady Sara is the quiet wallflower, while her cousin. Meredith, is the belle of the ball with her dashing fiance, Ross. But when Meredith is murdered she retreats to the country to take care of her family as they deal with the loss. Two years later, Sara begins to get threatening letters. Not wanting to burden her family in their grief, she turns to Ross for help. Ross never noticed Sara next to her shining cousin Meredith. But after two years abroad, he's changed and now he's noticing how well Sara fits into his life. This was a sweet, romantic regency story. The evil villain, if you will, was obvious fairly quickly. But the two main characters seemed to mesh well together and I enjoyed the little side stories. I was a little off put by the determination the female protagonist had to never marry. It seemed to go against the rest of the story. But overall, it was an entertaining story that I enjoyed reading. I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
When Lady Sarah Emerson started getting letters about her cousin's death, she could think of only one person to go to for help, her cousin's former fiancee Gabriel Ferguson, the Duke of Rossmayne. She soons finds herself living with the duke and his mother in order to protect her from the letter writer. Having always thought the Gabriel was an intimidating man, she is confused by her attraction to him. Having never really noticed his former fiancee's cousin, Gabriel soon wonders how he could have missed seeing the beautiful and smart woman that was right in front of him. Planning to help Sarah and go back to India, he soon realizes that he might have a reason to stay. But he can't even begin to analyze his feelings until he knows that Sarah is safe and they find the person responsible for the letters. Could the madman that brought so much pain be the reason these two find an everlasting love? I loved this story!! I like that we have a wallflower that ends up blossoming! Sarah had always stood in the shadow of her more outgoing cousin. She didn't like going to parties and mingling with the ton. She really made herself invisible to those around her. But when she found something in which she had a passion for, she was a completely different person. She needed to find the person responsible for killing her cousin, who was like a sister to her. Breaking out of her comfort zone was much easier to do when she had something to fight for. I really liked Gabriel. He was reluctant to have Sarah participate in the investigation, but soon learned that there was no stopping her. It was better for her to be with him, than have her go off on her own. He soon learned that she wasn't as meek as he had thought. He allowed her to grow into the woman that she was meant to be. I'm really hoping that Montgomery will get his own story, but whatever Cullen puts out next will be on my must read list!! Thanks go out to Random House via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lady Sara was orphaned as a child and led a good life with her uncle and his family. Tragedy struck again, causing the family to separate; it also led to grief in the young Duke of Rossmoyne. Years later the horror has returned... A frightening mystery and budding romance lead to an enjoyable read. (Would like to learn how Sara's dream turned out!) Received book free thru Netgalley for honest review.
Sissymae1 More than 1 year ago
Sharon Cullen is another one of my favorite authors and this was another great read from her. Our heroine, Lady Sara Emerson has found that someone is out to hurt her just as they seem to have done with her cousin. Sara goes to her cousin former fiancé , Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne for help. Gabriel has been out of town and overseas, so he is a little taken back by seeing Sara again and the town. Gabriel decided to help Sara but plans to go back overseas after getting her the help she needs. This starts the story of their love and it grew. I really enjoyed this book and hope that you will too!!
gaele More than 1 year ago
I’m a fan of Cullen’s Secrets & Seductions series, using spies and romance to wind a tale. In this story, we meet Sara, reeling from her cousin’s murder and now receiving some threatening letters of her own. She turns to Gabriel, Duke of Rossmoyne, her cousin’s former fiancé for help, and the stage is set. Sara was an interesting character: less sparkly than her cousin, she is a shy and calming presence, not demanding of bow and scrape. When his fiancé was murdered, Ross told Sara’s family they could turn to him for assistance, and now it appears that the murderer is targeting Sara. So, he takes action, moving Sara into his home and contacting his friend who specializes in investigation. Ross is brash, forward moving and not always careful with his words: all fitting of a man of his title and station. He’s not uncaring however, he just wants to be at sea and not tied down to the constraints of society and the tonne. These two are adorable together: we find a solid sense of Sara through interior monologue and concise observations. She’s truly the lynchpin in the story, even as Ross brings some flash and the occasional kerfuffle. He’s intrigued by Sara the more they get to know one another, and that reliance becomes one of desire and enjoyment of one another, rather than a dependence for protection. Twists and turns with plenty of questions surrounding the threats and why, this is a wonderful story that will leave you wanting more. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! A great period romance story with a nicely developed mystery. Interesting to watch Sara cope with her social anxiety in an era where being seen at the right functions makes or breaks the rest of your life. I enjoyed the references to actual historical events and social issues. It made it easy to be absorbed in the era as I read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent historical romance/mystery written by a craftsman or should I say craftswoman. The tale revolves around a shy and retiring lady except when confronted by a demanding Duke. She refuses to back down to what she considers to be his unreasonable demands and expectations. Two years after the murder of her cousin and his fiance she starts to receive threats and turns to the Duke for assistance. While there is initial animosity there is also a mutual attraction which builds as the story unfolds. There are a couple of mild sex scenes but they do not ramble on for pages. It is indeed refreshing to read an author who can write a story that keeps the readers interest without having to resort to sex to do so. I gave this book a five star rating and would gladly read other offerings by this author. I received this ARC from Netgalley for my unbiased review.
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
I was given the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. I fell in love with Sara and Ross. Sara is very intelligent but lacks the confidence for social situations. She had lived in the shadow of her cousin, Meredith, who was murdered prior to the beginning of this story. She turns to Ross, the Duke that Meredith had been betrothed to, for assistance with a stalker. Ross reluctantly agrees but enjoys the time spent with Sara as she wants to stay involved in the investigation. Her doubts almost keep the two apart. I loved the suspense part of the story just as much as watching Ross and Sara struggle to come together. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Sharon Cullen.
RomanceJunkie30 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book and it was very well written. It's a very good romance and a mystery- loved it. I don't want to tell you the story because others already have, so I'll just say what I think. I love the chemistry between Ross and Sara, I cared about both characters. The story draws you in right from the beginning and doesn't let you go. The story doesn't lag or bore you, it runs very smoothly. I recommend this book highly and I'm looking forward to her next book.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Lady Sara’s cousin is murdered and 2 year later Sara begins receiving strange letters. She goes to the man that was betrothed to her cousin for help. Gabriel is a Duke and takes Sara under his protection while he hunts down his betrothed’s murderer. As the chemistry grows will these two find a way to make a relationship work? An enjoyable historical read. Lots of drama and suspense. The characters have plenty of depth and lots of emotion. The story is entertaining throughout.