A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .
Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .
“Anyone who loves romance must read Sabrina Jeffries!”
—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
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London, September 1808
One fine autumn afternoon, Fletcher Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, strode up the steps of his Mayfair town house, caught up in thinking through his business affairs. Which was probably why he missed the speaking look on his butler's face as he stalked through the doorway.
"Your Grace, I feel it is my duty to make you aware that —" "Not now, Johnston. I've got a dinner at eight, and I hope to catch old
Brierly at his club before then. He's unloading property near my Devon estate that I must have if I'm to continue my improvements. And I have reports I have to peruse before I can even talk to him."
"More land, Grey?" said a decidedly young, female voice. "Sometimes I think you shop for properties as eagerly as women shop for gowns. Judging from your reputation for shrewd dealing, you probably pay less for them, too."
Grey whirled toward the sound. "Vanessa!" He scowled over at Johnston. "Why didn't you tell me she was here?"
His butler lifted his eyes a fraction, as close as the man ever came to rolling them. "I did try, sir."
"Ah. Right. I suppose you did."
Grey smiled indulgently at Vanessa Pryde. At twenty-four, she was ten years his junior and more like a little sister than a first cousin.
He removed his hat, driving gloves, and greatcoat before handing them to the footman. Grey didn't recognize the servant, who was gawking at Vanessa like a pauper at a princess. The footman's fascination was understandable, given her heart-shaped face, perfect proportions, and wealth of jet-black curls, but it was also most inappropriate.
Grey cast the fellow one of the quelling glances at which he excelled.
When the footman colored and hurried off, Johnston stepped up to murmur, "Sorry, Your Grace. He's new. I will be sure to speak to him."
"See that you do." Then he turned his attention to Vanessa, who didn't even seem to have noticed the exchange. "I wasn't expecting you."
"You ought to have been, Cousin." With an elaborate curtsey, Vanessa flashed him a mischievous smile. "Or should I say, 'prospective fiancé'?"
"Don't even joke about that," he grumbled. Every time he tried to think of himself married to Vanessa, he remembered her as a babe in swaddling, being held by her father, his uncle Eustace Pryde, and he knew he couldn't do it. He'd seen her grow up — he couldn't imagine her as his wife.
Fortunately, she had no desire to marry him, either. Which was why whenever her ambitious mother sent her over here with instructions to get him into a compromising position so they could be forced into marriage, they spent most of the time drumming up a plausible reason for why Vanessa had "just missed him."
"Don't worry." Vanessa gave a little laugh. "My maid is with me. As usual, she will swear to whatever excuse we concoct for Mama. So come join us for tea and cakes in the drawing room."
Leave it to Vanessa to take charge of his household. As they strolled down the hall, he said, "You look well."
Preening a bit, she danced ahead and whirled to face him, forcing him to halt as she swished her skirts about her legs. "So you like my new gown? I won't tell Mama. She picked it out herself to tempt you. I told her yellow was your favorite color."
"I hate yellow."
Her blue eyes twinkled at him. "Precisely."
A helpless laugh escaped him. "You, my dear, are a hoyden. If you would put a tenth of the energy you expend in provoking your mother into hunting down a husband, you'd have twenty men begging to marry you."
Her spirits seemed to droop. "I already have that. But you know how Mama is. Until you are off the table, she won't allow me to accept a lesser man's suit." She wagged her finger at him. "So will you please get married? To anyone other than me? Or I shall surely die an old maid."
"That will never happen to you, and we both know it." He narrowed his gaze on her. "Wait a minute — is there someone in particular you have your eye on?"
Her blush alarmed him. Vanessa had terrible taste in men.
"Who is he?" he demanded.
She tipped up her chin. "I'm not going to tell you."
"Because you know I'd disapprove, which means he's entirely wrong for you."
"He is not. He's a poet."
Damn. Vanessa needed to marry a poet about like he needed to learn to cook. Then again ... "A famous poet?" he asked hopefully. If the fellow had money, it could work. Anyone who married Vanessa would need pots of money, if only to keep up with her gown purchases.
She turned and marched on to the drawing room. "He will be. With my support and encouragement."
"God help us all." He almost felt sorry for this poet, whoever he was. "I suppose your mother disapproves."
"As if I would ever tell her," she scoffed as she entered the drawing room.
Vanessa's lady's maid sat erect on the settee, her expression bland. No doubt she was used to being the foil to her volatile employer.
"Then things have not progressed to a serious interest," Grey said, relieved not to have to deal with that, too. He was still hoping to get to Brierly's club before the man left.
"How could things progress at all?" Vanessa picked up a teacake and devoured it with her usual gusto. "Mama is so focused on my marrying you that I cannot get her to bring me to events my ... friend might attend." She shot him a dire look. "And thanks to the latest on-dit about you, she's on a tear again. She actually believes all that rot about your running a secret cabal of licentious bachelors."
He snorted. "I'd never run anything so tiresome and predictable. I don't have the time or inclination for it, and that level of discretion requires too much effort to maintain, people being who they are. I hope you told her I'd rather focus my energy on my estates."
"I did. She didn't believe me. She never does."
"Yet she sent you over here to engage the leader of this secret cabal of debauchery. She makes no sense."
"The gossip only made her more eager to marry me off to you. Hmm."
"She's probably afraid I'll spend all my wealth on 'licentious' living before you can grab me and my dukedom for our progeny."
"Or she thinks that a man with such ungoverned desires would be easy to manipulate. She ought to know you better than that. I certainly do. There isn't a single ungoverned thing about you." Vanessa tapped her finger on her chin. "Then again, there's another possibility — that Mama started the rumor about the cabal herself."
"To what end?"
"By making you sound unappealing, she hopes to eliminate my competition."
"I hate to tell you, my dear, but rumors of a man's wickedness rarely seem to eliminate the competition. If that was your mother's plan, it's a foolish one. And it proves my opinion about gossip: Rumors are nothing more than entertainment for the bored. If people in society would put a tenth of the energy they expend in —"
"I know, I know — we're all frivolous, with not a whit of usefulness between us," she said archly. "You're the only one with any sense."
When her maid looked as if she might explode with holding in a laugh, he shot Vanessa a rueful glance. "Do you think me as pompous and arrogant as all that, pet?"
"Worse." Then she softened the accusation with a smile. "And on that note, I shall leave you." Her maid cleared her throat, and Vanessa said, "Oh, I almost forgot! I have this for you." She fished a sealed letter out of her reticule. "It came to us rather than you. Which is curious. Perhaps your mother heard you hadn't been here in weeks. Though why she thought we would see you any more often is anyone's guess."
He ignored the sudden tightness in his chest. "You know perfectly well why."
With a sigh, Vanessa stepped nearer to speak in a low voice meant only for his ears. "Must you still punish your mother?"
"Don't be nonsensical," he said lightly, to hide the guilt that swamped him. "I'm not punishing her. Besides, she has her other children to keep her company. She doesn't need me fawning over her."
Vanessa sniffed. "As if you would ever fawn over anyone. And yes, you are punishing her, whether you admit it or not."
The pity shining in Vanessa's eyes made him regret having said anything about his mother.
He reached for the letter, but Vanessa wouldn't release it. "She does love you, you know."
"I do." What else could he say? He loved her, too, in his own way.
Grey started to shove the letter into his coat pocket, then paused. The missive seemed awfully thin for one of Mother's. With a sense of dread, he opened it to find the briefest of messages:
My dearest Grey,
I regret to inform you that your stepfather has passed away. The funeral is at Armitage Hall on Tuesday.
With much love, Mother
P.S. Please come. I can't do this without you.
Grey stared numbly at the words. Maurice, the only father he'd ever really known, was dead.
Please come. I can't do this without you.
Holy hell, Mother must be devastated.
Apparently, his distress showed in his face, for Vanessa snatched the letter and read it, then lifted a horrified gaze to him. "Oh, Grey, how awful. I'm so very sorry."
"Thank you," he muttered, though he felt like a fraud. He'd barely seen Maurice since the family's return from Prussia a few months ago. He had let his bitterness keep him away, and now it was too late.
She was now rereading the letter with a furrowed brow. "Maurice ... that would be Sheridan's father, right? I suppose he will now become duke."
The odd note in her voice arrested him. "Sheridan? Since when are you so chummy with my half brother? You only met him once."
"We've met thrice actually," she murmured. "We even danced together twice."
Uh-oh. Sheridan had best watch himself around Vanessa. When she fixed her affections on a man, she could really dig her teeth in. "Don't tell me he's the 'poet' you have your eye on."
His sharp tone made her glance up. "Don't be ridiculous. Sheridan doesn't have a poetic thought in his head."
She was right, but how had she known that? "You'll have to call him Armitage now that he's duke."
"All the more reason for me not to have an interest in him. I will never take a duke for my husband, no matter what Mama wants. You're all too ... too ..."
"Pompous and arrogant?"
As if realizing she shouldn't be insulting a man who'd just lost a close relation, she winced. "Something like that." When he said nothing, she added, "You certainly have a number of dukes in your family."
"That's what happens when one's mother marries well three times."
"She'll be leaving quite a dynasty behind her. Some would say that's excellent planning."
"She didn't plan on being widowed thrice, I assure you," he said sharply.
Vanessa looked stricken. "Of course not. I'm sorry, Grey, that was most thoughtless of me."
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "No, it's ... I'm just unsettled by the news."
"I'm sure. If there's anything I can do ..."
Grey didn't answer, his mind having already seized on the reminder that Sheridan had become Duke of Armitage. Maurice had only been duke a few months, and now Sheridan was being forced to take up the mantle. His head must be reeling. Grey needed to be at Armitage Hall, if only to help Sheridan and Mother with the arrangements for the funeral on Tuesday.
Wait, today was Sunday. But which Sunday? Damn it, had he already missed his stepfather's funeral?
"When did this letter arrive?" he asked.
It was the maid who answered. "I believe it was this past Friday, Your Grace."
"That's right," Vanessa said. "Friday."
Armitage Hall was near the town of Sanforth. If he caught the footmen before they unpacked his trunk, Grey could be changed into his mourning clothes and back on the road in an hour. He'd easily reach Lincolnshire by tomorrow. "I must go," he said, turning for the door.
"I'll go with you," Vanessa said.
"Don't be absurd," Grey snapped before her maid could protest. "You will go home as usual and tell your mother I wasn't here. You have the perfect excuse for missing me this time. Just say I'd already been notified of my stepfather's death and had left for Lincolnshire. Understood?"
"But ... but how could you have been notified if I hadn't yet brought you the letter?"
"Say that the servants told you I'd already received one here." His common sense finally asserted itself. "Indeed, I probably have, since I haven't looked at my mail yet. Mother wouldn't have left anything to chance. She would have sent multiple notices." No matter how distracted by grief she might be.
Vanessa laid her hand upon his arm. "Grey, you need someone with you. You're clearly upset."
"I'll be fine." He would, damn it. "Now go on with you. I have preparations to make before I can leave."
"Of course." She nodded to her lady's maid, who joined her. "I shall tell Mama of your loss. Perhaps that will keep her machinations to a minimum for a while."
"Somehow I doubt it." He leaned close to whisper, "Take care with your poet, my dear. You deserve better."
She made a face. "I don't suppose I'll get a chance at him, anyway, now that you're in mourning. Mama will make me wait to see anyone until you're available again."
"Good. I shouldn't like to think of you marrying someone beneath you while I'm not around to prevent it."
Tossing back her head, she walked toward the door. "There's something to be said for marrying for love, you know. I swear, sometimes you remind me of Mama in your opinions about marriage."
With that parting sally, she waltzed out, with her maid trailing behind her.
How ridiculous. He was nothing like Aunt Cora, that grasping harpy. He was merely sensible. Love didn't enter his equations because it had no monetary value. When he married, it would be to some sensible woman who'd be content with having a wealthy dukedom at her disposal, who had no dreams of cloud castles and no hope for sentiment or love or any of that romantic nonsense from him.
He had learned the hard way to guard his heart.CHAPTER 2
The Honorable Miss Beatrice Wolfe stood outside Armitage Hall surveying the entryway with a critical eye. The funeral escutcheon had been hung on the door — not crookedly this time — and the arches and windows were draped in black crape. It looked proper, the way it ought for a duke.
She hadn't taken such care with her uncle Armie, as she and her brother Joshua had always called the previous Duke of Armitage. Just the thought of Uncle Armie's last years, of how he'd tried to paw at her or slap her behind every time she'd come to the hall, chilled her.
By contrast, Uncle Maurice, who had inherited the dukedom after Uncle Armie's death, had treated her with respect and kindness. He and her aunt Lydia had brought light and laughter and good times back to the hall.
Now death hung over the place again. Tears welled in her eyes. Why, they'd only a week ago removed the black crape and funeral escutcheon signifying Uncle Armie's death! Two dukes dead in a matter of months. It was a blasted shame. It really was.
Her cousin Sheridan appeared in the doorway, looking like a wraith after the past few days. He'd been close to his father, and was taking his death harder than anyone except Aunt Lydia. No doubt it had hit Sheridan's brother Heywood hard, too, but since Heywood was in the army and probably hadn't even received word yet of his father's demise, she wouldn't know.
Sheridan flashed her a wan smile. "Forgive me, Bea, for troubling you, but Mother asked me to check again to see if Grey has arrived." He surveyed the drive beyond her. "I can see he has not. If he had, there'd be a monstrous grand traveling coach out here."
Beatrice laughed. She liked her cousin. At twenty-eight, he was only two years her senior, so she felt comfortable with him. None of the family stood on ceremony, but Sheridan in particular did not, though that would undoubtedly change. "You'll have a monstrous grand coach yourself now that you're Duke of Armitage."
"Probably not, actually." A bleak sadness crept over his features. "The dukedom is in a bad state, I'm afraid. No money for grand coaches. With any luck, I can improve that, but it will take time. And I wasn't expecting to inherit so soon."
"I know. I'm so sorry. How is Aunt Lydia faring?"
He sighed. "Not well. This has taken us all by surprise." Shifting his gaze to the wood beyond the expansive lawns, he tensed. "Is ... um ... your brother planning on attending the funeral?"
She swallowed. Joshua was difficult, to say the least. "I'm sure he will." That was a lie. She couldn't be sure of anything with him.
But her words seemed to relieve Sheridan. "Good. We don't see as much of him as we'd like."
"I wouldn't see him if I didn't live in the same house as he. Joshua isn't fond of people." To put it mildly. Not that she blamed him, given his circumstances, but she'd do her damnedest to convince him that attending the funeral was the least he owed to the new residents of Armitage Hall.
Particularly to Sheridan, his new landlord, who could toss them out of their home, the former dower house, whenever he wished. Especially since Sheridan's mother was now the dowager duchess and might prefer to live in the house that was hers by right.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Project Duchess"
Copyright © 2019 Sabrina Jeffries, LLC.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Duke and Bea are a good couple. The mystery element is rather far fetched and unsolved at the end of this book. It was not compelling enough to guarantee that I will purchase the next installment.
Fletcher Pryde, the Duke of Greycourt, is estranged from his family. He hasn't forgotten that his mother let his cruel uncle raise him. Now she needs him. Her 3rd husband's death has left her broken. Reluctantly he goes to her. Suddenly he finds himself facing a spirited beauty who speaks her mind and a murder investigation. What happens next is a romantic adventure. Can he help find the truth and get Beatrice to be his? Grey is a bitter man. His fears haunt him. I wanted him to find love. He deserves to be happy. Beatrice has suffered. What she endured angered me. It's an all to familiar occurrence. I wanted her to realize that she's a beautiful woman who deserves to be treated with respect. She and Grey have powerful chemistry. I hated that their circumstances make a relationship difficult. Their flirtation pulled me into their romance. The dialogue is sharp and sassy. Each of their encounters are interesting especially since he considers her brother a suspect. Grey's interaction with his mother and siblings add more drama. The setting and the death of his stepfather kept me reading. I wanted resolution and a HEA, but I wasn't sure I would get it. I enjoy the writing of Sabrina Jeffries. She never disappoints. I can't wait to see what happens next in The Duke Dynasty series. I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed. My comments are my honest opinion.
1808 Lydia Fletcher has been married to, and widowed by three Dukes. They are the 4th Duke of Greycourt. the 2nd Duke of Thornstock, and the 3rd Duke of Armitage, who has just passed away. Lydia has been able to give children to each of these men. London Fletcher (Grey) Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, age 34, has returned to his London home to find his cousin, Vanessa Pryde, waiting to see him. She is a lovely woman whose mother, Grey's Aunt Cora, would like to see the two of them marry and won’t even hear of Vanessa marrying anyone else. But Grey and Vanessa disagree with this. They are just friends and wish for their relationship to stay that way. Grey learns that his stepfather has just passed away and his mother needs his help with assisting his stepbrother, Sheridan, age 28, as he takes up the mantle of the 4th Duke of Armitage. Lincolnshire Miss Beatrice Wolfe has not cared for the Duke of Armitage as he always tried to make passes at her. She is supposed to help her cousin, Sheridan, as he deals with his grief at losing his father. Beatrice and her brother, Joshua. live in the former dower house on the Armitage estate. He aunt Lydia had promised to give her a debut in London. She looks upon Beatrice as her project. Sheridan has inherited an estate with debts whereas Grey’s estate is very wealthy. When Grey arrives and he and Beatrice meet, she feels he acts arrogant and she doesn’t care for him. But as Grey and Beatrice get to know one another, they spark an attraction. Sheridan thinks his father had been murdered and he thinks that Beatrice’s brother, Joshua, may be the guilty one. This book was complicated and confusing. Too many characters to keep up with. The first part of the book throws lots of characters at the reader, slows down in the middle, and picks up in the end. The attraction between Grey and Beatrice was so fast and sexual that it was huge turn-off. Sabrina Jeffries is a prolific and popular author. I have read several of her books, some of which I enjoyed, and others not so much. I’m not sure that I will stay with this series as it just isn’t my cup of tea. However, I’m sure that others of her fans will love it. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Fletcher Pryde, the Duke of Greycourt, is called to the country after his stepfather dies quite suddenly. He meets Beatrice Wolfe visiting Lincolnshire helping her Aunt (Grey’s Mother) plan her husband’s funeral. Beatrice gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Grey with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind no matter how attracted to him she is. He agrees to help his mother and the hoyden and unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. He can’t help but be attracted to her, but they have wounded hearts to heal. I loved this romance story of two wounded souls I voluntarily read and reviewed this excellent book.
Enjoyed reading this book and looking forward to the next in the series
The murder.plot that runs through the story, and I'm assuming future stories is intriguing. The main character interaction is good because they leave nothing unsaid or left to misinterpretation. Can the author please find another adjective to use besides "arse"? Way overused!
This is exactly what I expect from a historical romance. There is a meeting, instant attraction and instant dislike. A problem arises, forcing the two primary characters and love interests to work together, then that attraction cannot be denied. But can it be attraction alone? Is love possible? What's great about this book is the original spin Sabrina Jeffries puts on how the couple falls in love. While it is common to have a confident woman who is able to see the good in a man, and a business focused man who doesn't want to fall in love. Here, once love is ignited, Beatrice's secrets create an almost insurmountable obstacle. I especially loved the murder mystery aspect to this series. Without giving too many details, let's just say that the plot is very intriguing once the characters are firmly introduced. I really enjoyed reading Beatrice and Grey find each other and love. The dialogue was written very well, with what I can only assumed to be practiced ease. Sabrina Jeffries is very good at using her characters and their words to move the story forward. I'm so glad this is a new series and can't wait for the next installment. This is a suspenseful but enjoyable romance that will have your heart racing, in more ways than one.
A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . . Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . . This is the first book in a new series from one of my favorite authors. I really loved all of the characters from this new series. I tore through the book as quickly as I could. I really loved everything about Grey and Beatrice as the author unraveled them and their painful pasts. I can’t wait for the next book in this series. I highly recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Emotionally thrilling, sexy, fun, witty and engaging journey for two intriguing charters that were not looking for forever and no longer believe in love for different reasons. Really enjoyed this engaging and exciting reading experience.
This Rebel Reviews Fletcher Pryne, 5th Duke of Greycourt aka Grey's step-father Maurice has passed and his mother has begged him to come to comfort her and go to his funeral. When he gets there he meets the lovely Beatrice the cousin of his step brother Sheridan who is poor and lives in the Dowager house. Greycourt's mother has decided to help her prepare for her come out into society to find a husband and Grey is going to help. He doesn't expect to find himself drawn to Beatrice but Grey has sworn never to give his heart away. Will he finally be able to get over the past or will he lose the women he loves? I was in love with Grey very soon into the book and his cousin Vanessa(she isn't in it much but have my fingers crossed she gets her own book in the series and I already ship her with one of Grey's half brothers(she is the cousin on his fathers side, his mother is the one who was married to three dukes and had children with them all). I love books with sibling and cousin or close family relationships. I loved Grey and his brother and sister and how they teased and laughed and just reminded me of my own family. I love Beatrice and Grey's first meeting. I felt there connection from that first meeting. There is a mystery running though this book and from what I am deducing the whole series. I love Beatrice and Grey's bargain that they always be themselves around each other. Both Beatrice and Grey have hurts and traumas from their past and I love watching them open up to each other about them and start to heal. Grey doesn't want to marry for love because of his past. He is so scared to show his past to anyone. I loved the heat and the sexy times in this book. In this book Sabrina Jeffries delivered everything I love in a romance, relateable realistic characters, steamy scenes,and a hero and heroine who understand and love each other flaws and all. I can't wait for the next book in the series. I want to give a thank you to whoever designed the cover. It is so classy and romantic unlike some covers that I feel are more smutty then romantic. I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Net Gallery and Kensington Books. Heat Rating: Hot Rating: 5 stars
3.75 stars--PROJECT DUCHESS is the first instalment in Sabrina Jeffries’ adult, DUKE DYNASTY historical romance series focusing on the children of a multi-widowed dowager Duchess. This is Fletcher ‘Grey’ Pryde, Duke of Greycourt, and Beatrice Wolfe’s story line. Told from dual third person perspectives (Grey and Beatrice) PROJECT DUCHESS follows the search for the truth. The mysterious death of his step-father Maurice finds Fletcher Pryde, the fifth Duke of Greycourt and his step-brother Sheridan Wolfe, the fourth Duke of Armitage struggling with what happened and why but duty called and Grey found himself preparing his mother’s latest project, Beatrice Wolfe, for her social debut. When information about the last person to have possibly seen his step father alive comes to fruition, Grey begins an investigation of his own. What ensues is the building relationship between Grey and Beatrice, and the potential fall-out as family secrets reveal a more sinister and heart breaking possibility at work. The relationship between Grey and Beatrice begins acrimoniously as Grey’s reputation as a womanizer precedes his introduction to our story line heroine. From the outset, Beatrice doesn’t trust Grey’s attention or ministrations, and the not so veiled accusations against Beatrice and her brother, of potential involvement in his step-father’s death. The $ex scenes are limited but passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. We are introduced to Grey’s step-siblings: Sheridan Wolfe, Heywood Wolfe, Marlow ‘Thorn’ Drake and his twin Lady Gwyn; Grey’s cousin Vanessa; their mother Dowager Duchess Lydia Fletcher, and Beatrice’s brother Joshua. PROJECT DUCHESS is a story of family, betrayal, secrets and lies. The premise is engaging; the characters are colorful and energetic; the slow building romance struggles with issues of trust and presumptive guilt.
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC in return for an honest review of this book. I am not a reviewer that likes to rehash the plot. I figure you're already read the publisher's blurb, not to mention several of the other reviews that will do likewise. What I can tell you is that I read for enjoyment and entertainment. I found this book to be just as entertaining as the rest of Sabrina Jeffries books. She's launched a new series that I will be eagerly looking forward to. I found Project Duchess to be a good read with some new Regency tidbits that I was quite unaware of. Grey and Beatrice both have issues from their past that they're dealing with, but it doesn't make the book so dark or overly dramatic as to put one off. It's a spicy romance with the HEA that I'm looking for when I pick up a ROMANCE novel. I recommend this book if you are a fan of Regency romances.
Fletcher "Grey" Pryde has been called back to his mother's home after her third husband, and a third Duke, has died. Grey experienced hardship as a child and was separated from his family. Although reluctant to return home now, he knows he must see to his mother's well-being. Things are not going so well for Grey at the moment. Although a very rich duke, he has established quite a reputation, albeit undeserved. Meanwhile his aunt is pressuring him to marry his cousin, and that is something neither of them wants. Beatrice Wolfe is the cousin of Grey's half-brother, and Grey's mother has offered to help her by giving her a Season in London. With the family mourning now, the debut must be delayed. However, Grey's mother wants him to school Beatrice in certain matters, like proper dancing. Meanwhile, Grey's brother Sheridan is quite certain that his father, and also his uncle, previously, were murdered. The man he thinks guilty is none other than Beatrice's brother Joshua. Sheridan wants Grey to investigate the cause of both deaths. Grey elects to spend time with the delectable Beatrice, leaving Sheridan to sort the more serious matters himself. However, Grey has very good reason for not wanting to become romantically involved. Beatrice herself gave up on romance, but she is very concerned for her and her brother's future so she has agreed to the tutelage offered by her aunt. It only takes a few glances at Grety for Beatrice to realize she is smitten. What a delightful romance by Sabrina Jeffries! I loved all of the conflict involved with this story while the foundation for a heartwarming romance was being built. This made this become a multi-layered story that flowed smoothly through the pages. While this is my first read by Sabrina Jeffries it certainly will not be my last. I am eager to continue on with this series. The next book is Duke Dynasty and is slated for release in February, 2020.
A new series by one of the Queens of historical romance, Project Duchess takes you into this series with all the dynamics of a whirlwind that is sure to set your heart ablaze! Prepare to get lost in the first of a sure to be amazing series if this first story is any indication! A mother who has several children by different husbands and one of those sons Grey, having lived through several of those stepfather's, find's that she is a widow one more time. At her request he leaves London and heads to Armitage Hall. What he finds is his destiny, he just doesn't know it yet, in the form of Beatrice Wolfe, a cousin to Sheridan, the New Duke of Armitage. She is helping with the funeral arrangements for her uncle who was married to Grey's mother, the duchess. Got that? Yes a lot of characters are introduced in this story but it all begins to form a picture of what's to come! Grey's mother wants to help Beatrice launch into society and have him help her with her "project." I loved these two! Bea is not afraid to speak her mind and she and Grey have a lot of great banter and it seems he is attracted to her but really should be beyond his touch. Filled with a myster, trying to find a murderer, oh yes it seems the Duke may have been murdered and some steamy attraction made this a wonderful romance. I cannot wait to read the rest in this series and see what happens with all of the siblings!!! Lori D. I read this through NetGallery
3.5* Review originally published at Romancing Romances. I received an ARC through a giveaway, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. This is the first book in a brand new series about... Dukes! Grey was a great character, I liked how fierce he was, how he grows throughout the book, how he deals with some things that are problematic (although here I do think some things could have been different, but I’ll expand on that next). I wasn’t a fan of Beatrice… I didn’t connect with her. I understood some of her reactions, I think she had to go through a lot, and she handled herself the best she could, that’s not the point. I just… didn’t like her. I liked the middle part of the book the best. The beginning felt a bit slow, and the end was rushed without actually having much happen… It did leave me with enough interest to read the next book in the series, especially since I liked the secondary characters more than the main ones. Joshua and Gwyn have a great chemistry, and I can’t wait to read their story. Now, this is important. This book handles forms of abuse. Abuse from men towards women. Not rape, but still sexual abuse. Unwanted touching, blackmailing, disgusting comments… Beatrice did have to endure a lot from someone she should have been able trust: her uncle. Grey is super concerned if the heroine was raped – spoiler alert – she wasn’t. And, of course, he is relieved but, at the same time, it ends up being a bit of a dismissal of the other things Beatrice had to go through. Heroes, especially in (today’s) historical romance, seem always ready to go and defend the heroine’s honour (“let’s go and punch/hurt/kill the aggressor” kind of thing) and, even if it’s something protective, in a way it almost diminishes Beatrice’s role in standing up to herself – which she does. Apart from that, I did enjoy the book enough to want to keep reading the series.
So many new and wonderful characters in this new series and I can’t wait for more; each more interesting and dynamic than the next. The first book in the series has the Duke of Greycourt, or Grey for short, and Beatrice, the poor relation who is in charge of organizing his step-father's funeral. The moment they meet, sparks fly, and not the types of sparks that lead to passion...yet. He is rude and takes her for an undertaker's daughter trying to scam his family, and she doesn't let his rudeness go unchallenged. Loved their first interaction and it sets the stage for each one after that, where passionate sparks fly. She is outspoken, independent, witty, and intelligent and he doesn’t know how to handle a woman who isn’t cowed by him. She finds him pompous and arrogant, and rude, but also can’t keep her eyes off of him during her coming-out lessons. And they can’t keep their hands to themselves, either. Together they have to figure out if his step father was murdered; her uncle, who died months ago, was murdered; and if so, by whom? I enjoyed their story, it is classic Sabrina Jeffries Regency: passionate, with strong characters and plot and it is the start to what is going to be a great new series. I look forward to more.
If you’ve read any of Emily March’s novels taking place in Eternity Springs novels, you’re ready for this new series that takes place in the town or Redemption, Texas. Celeste and quite a few of March’s Eternity Springs characters show up in this novel. The premise revolves around Jackson, a songwriter who has been devastated by his celebrity wife’s denying him shared custody of their daughter. He comes to Redemption where he and his two cousins have inherited property that includes a ghost town and some historic buildings. They decide to build a resort and it seems to get built pretty quickly. Jackson is totally heartsick until he meets Caroline whose husband had tragically died after suffering from early-onset dementia. She’s also heartsick and ready, like Jackson, to start over in Redemption. So we get a typical March novel with angels, a bit of spookiness, romance, and camaraderie among a collection of people all ready to be the subject of future romance novels. If you enjoyed her other novels, you’ll enjoy this. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.
I enjoyed the humor and the secondary characters very much, but found the plot lacking in pace and the love scenes lacking their usual heat. I think this is no where close to the best the author can do.
Two and a half stars. Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt is summoned to his stepfather's estate when he receives news that his stepfather Maurice has died unexpectedly. His mother had married three Dukes and had five children, three of whom were now Dukes in their own rights (following the deaths of their respective fathers). Grey has never forgiven his family for sending him to England to live with his abusive uncle when he was only a young boy, leaving him to grow up alone. When Grey arrives he mistakes his stepfather's niece Beatrice Wolfe for a maid or a representative from the undertakers, he is arrogant and abrupt for which Beatrice cuts him nicely down to size. Originally Grey intended to spend only a night with his family before returning to London, but when his stepbrother Sheridan shares his suspicion that Maurice was murdered, and indeed that his brother Armie was also murdered before him, Grey feels compelled to stay and help with the investigations, especially when suspicion falls on Beatrice's older brother Joshua. Meantime, Grey's mother is determined to present Beatrice at court when she presents her own daughter Gwynn, ashamed that Maurice's brother Armie didn't do more for his niece. She forces Grey and his brothers to help in coaching the girls in the etiquette of high society, including teaching them to dance. At first Grey cultivates Beatrice's company to further his investigations into Joshua but soon he is intrigued by her honesty, her beauty and her wit. But his childhood has made him slow to trust others, especially with his heart, and a lowly woman with no dowry is not a suitable candidate for the role of Duchess of Greycourt. I really enjoyed the start of this novel, the idea of a woman who had been married three times, the hint of mystery, the feisty heroine and the supercilious hero - catnip I tell you! Unfortunately, all too soon the focus of the novel turned to page, after page, after page of heavy petting and sexual encounters with little to no plot development. On and on it went, full of florid language like his 'large staff' and references to 'ravishing' and 'plundering', it felt repetitive and frankly derivative. I was also massively disappointed by the end(view spoiler). This felt 'wrong', also the heavy-handed use of historical words alongside the modern sexual attitudes just didn't sit right for me. Even the cover doesn't fit the novel, given that the family is in mourning and Beatrice is a poor relation. I have only read one novella written by Sabrina Jeffries which I really enjoyed, maybe her writing style is more appealing to me in a shorter format. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Project Duchess is the first book in the latest series by the phenomenal Sabrina Jeffries. And it shows what a master of her craft Ms. Jeffries truly is. Imagine a family where three of the brothers are Dukes. (You’ll have to read the book to see how this could be possible!) Imagine a family, or two, with dark secrets. Imagine some unexplained accidents. Imagine if those accidents, and some other deaths that happened before now, are really murders. Imagine a man afraid of emotions falling for a woman who speaks her mind. There is heartache and laughter; mystery and assumptions; love and misunderstandings. It’s all here waiting for you to come pick it up and read. And this is just the beginning!
Project Duchess Project Duchess is the first book of Sabrina Jeffries’ new series, Duke Dynasty. And if this book is any indication, I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! I was given and ARC of this book for my honest review and here it is. I always enjoy reading a Sabrina Jeffries book. Her stories are well–developed with suspense, romance and vivid scenes. They evoke, laughter, tears, frustration, and happiness. The characters are likeable – or not! In addition to mystery and witty dialogue, I always learn something. Sabrina usually includes a custom or protocol from the time period. Funeral protocol dictated that women were not allowed to attend funerals, even for their spouses or children! Only men could attend! A major part of the story centers around a funeral. Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, is called to attend his step-father Maurice’s funeral. This is his mother Lydia’s third husband and the man who raised him. While Grey is happy to see his many siblings, he can’t forget the resentment and pain when his parents sent him away to live with his uncle. Beatrice Wolfe is his brother Sheridan’s cousin and lives on in the dower house with her brother Joshua. They were orphaned when she was 10 and taken in by their grandparents. Bea helps Lydia with projects and takes over the funeral arrangements. At first, Grey and Bea disliked --- and distrusted --- each other. Both are wrapped in the bad memories of living with their uncles. Attraction, secrets, possible murders and romance unfold. I am hoping future book sin the series will include more of the same characters!
I really loved Grey and Beatrice’s story. Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt had a very difficult childhood. He was sent away to live with his aunt and uncle where he was treated horribly. This resulted him to become cold and distant with everyone around him. But when he meets Beatrice Wolfe, who has become a sort of project to Grey’s mother, something about her draws him to her. Unfortunately, due to Beatrice’s own difficult upbringing she is very leery of Grey’s interest in her. There are many obstacles that makes their road to their happily ever after very bumpy; secrets they are keeping from each other, interfering secondary characters and a murder mystery. But the close proximity and chemistry they feel towards each other is very strong which makes them inevitable. Overall I really did enjoy this book. There were parts that I felt were a bit slow and the back and forth from Grey did get a bit tiresome, especially with his suspicions, but all in all the chemistry, the banter and the murder mystery kept me interested. I am definitely looking forward to reading the future books in this series, especially with the secondary characters and unanswered questions lingering.
This is book 1 in the Duke Dynasty series. In it we meet Fletcher "Grey" Pryde and Beatrice Wolfe. Grey has had a hard life and it has left him distant from his family. But when his stepfather passes away unexpectedly, he goes to where his family is to help them handle any issues that may arise. He doesn't expect to walk into what could be a conspiracy. His brother believes that his father was murdered. And asks for his help in figuring out who the culprit could be. Bea has lived on the estate with her brother since her parents passed away when they were children. She has also been through a lot, but she tries not to let things bring her down. When her aunt asks her to help with the funeral arrangements for her uncle, she doesn't feel as if she can say no. But she doesn't expect to meet the arrogant Grey. Or for him to decide to help her when his mother decides that she need's to debut and find a husband. And spending more and more time together just shows them how much they truly have in common. And how much secrets can hurt in the long run. I really enjoyed this one. I usually do like this author's books and this one was no different in that respect. The characters were different and interesting enough to keep your interest. I especially liked how the side characters make you want to know more, like Bea's brother especially needs a HEA! Bea is this take woman who has been through a lot but never lets it bring her down, or to change the path she is taking in order to have some happiness in her life. Grey had a bad childhood that he has never left behind him. Until Bea helps him understand that, and helps him find clarity in what happened. They definitely are the right people for each other, and I really liked how their romance played out. The only drawback for me was that there wasn't a resolution Grey's stepfather's death. I hope that is because it will play out in the next book because otherwise I was left hanging and I don't like that LOL! Otherwise, definitely a great read and I can't wait for his brother's books!
Brilliant start to the new series. Sabrina Jeffries throws in just the right amount of saucy to hook her readers. Grey is a gentleman trying to do the right thing by his family. Beatrice is trying to hold herself together and protect her brother. She is witty and smart and has a sharp tongue that intrigues Grey. All the major players for the series are introduced and the mysterious death are yet to be resolved. The ladies are independent and sharp and should be able to give their suitors a run for their money.