Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne was taken in by a pretty face and even prettier lies, leaving her family's reputation at stake. When the man who made promises to her announces his engagement to another woman, she knows the only way to avoid a scandal is to marry the cad's brother, the cold, formidable Duke of Calydon.
Sebastian Thornton, the Duke of Calydon, is in need of a wife. Bored with the simpering ladies and overly-forward seductresses populating the ton, Sebastian longs to find a woman with fire and spirit. He never expected the perfect candidate to barge into his home, aim a derringer at his heart, and demand he marry her...
Each book in the Scandalous House of Calydon series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding
Book #2 The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell
Book #3 Sins of a Duke
Book #4 The Royal Conquest
About the Author
I am an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. I especially love romance and adore writing about people falling in love. I live a lot in the worlds I create and I actively speak to my characters (out loud). I have a warrior way "never give up on my dream." When I am not writing, I spend a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese Anime and play video games with my hubby. My strength is my love - Dusean Nelson, and I have a horrible weakness for ice cream.
Read an Excerpt
The Duke's Shotgun Wedding
A Scandalous House of Calydon Novella
By Stacy Reid, Nina Bruhns
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Stacy Reid
All rights reserved.
Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne's hand did not waver as she pointed the derringer at the Duke of Calydon. Eyes that were the color of winter blue, colder than the wind that whistled through the open windows, stared at her penetratingly. Jocelyn gritted her teeth and desperately hoped that he did not hear the pounding of her heart, or sensed her fear. He was reputed to be ruthless, and have one of the shrewdest minds in all London. But then, Jocelyn's papa had always called her his little Napoleon.
Long elegant fingers coolly caressed the card that she had presented to his butler to gain entrance, and those ice-blue eyes flicked to the note she had written. "I must assume that the house and name on this card are as fabricated as this dire situation your note hinted at?"
Jocelyn flushed as the husky rasp of his voice stirred deep within her. She was taken aback by how sinfully attractive he was.
She squinted at him as rage flared through her, scorching in its intensity. She was not about to be taken in by the man. Not ever again by a pretty face and prettier lies. Not that she could call the duke pretty. He was more raw and masculine, possibly handsome — if not for the rapier scar that had flayed his left cheek. But he was certainly compelling with his midnight black hair and mesmerizing eyes. His appearance was everything a powerful duke's should be as he sat behind his massive oak desk intricately carved with designs of dragons — dark, sensual, handsome, with just a hint of danger.
She gave an involuntary shiver, then scowled as his lips turned up as he noted her body's reaction. Thank goodness he could not see past her veil.
"My name is most certainly not fabricated, Your Grace," she said, and straightened her stance. "I am Lady Jocelyn, the daughter of the Earl of Waverham, and your brother has perpetrated the most heinous crimes upon my person and must be brought to justice!"
He relaxed in his chair as if she were not a serious threat. She gritted her teeth and ignored the cold flint that entered his eyes as she raised the gun a little higher, in line with his chest.
"Well, in that case, please take a seat." He gestured at the high-backed chair she was standing next to. His expression didn't waver.
She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of following his orders. But her knees were shaking so badly she thought it might be best. She sat gingerly on the edge of the chair.
"Now. What heinous crime has Anthony perpetrated that has you invading my country home and committing a crime that will certainly see you to the gallows?" His voice had gone flat and hard.
She leaned forward and slapped a copy of the London Gazette on his oak desk, sending it skidding across the polished surface, tumbling the inkwell. "The society page reports his engagement to Miss Phillipa Peppiwell of the Boston Peppiwells." Jocelyn's lips curled in derision as she spat the woman's name at him like it was one of her bullets.
"And this distresses you ... how?"
Her hands wavered slightly as the duke leaned forward, resting his chin in his hands, studying her as if she were a fascinating bug.
She drew herself up. "He seduced me!"
The crackling of the fireplace hushed as if waiting for an explosion, but her hand did not waver. Not even when the elegant royal blue drapes billowed under a sharp gust of the winter wind.
"I beg your pardon?" His voice was so low she was not sure if he'd really spoken, or if she'd simply imagined a response. He gazed steadily at her, his expression betraying not the slightest flicker of reaction.
She swallowed. "He seduced me, promised me marriage, and even gave me this as a token of his affection. An engagement token."
She sent the locket skidding across the desk to be halted by a finger. The chain of the necklace slid through his hands slowly. A muscle ticked in his forehead as he glanced at the golden locket.
"Anthony gifted this to you?" His voice was chillingly polite, but his eyes had gone from wintery to glacial as he tracked her movements, missing nothing.
"Yes, as a promise of his commitment to me," she assured him. "Yet now I read that he is engaged to be married in fewer than three weeks." She shifted in the high-backed chair, straining to keep her hand from trembling as she aimed the derringer.
He cocked his head as he considered her, and she desperately wished to have just an inkling of his thoughts.
"Could this, by chance, be a desperate ploy by the impoverished Earl of Waverham?"
Jocelyn flinched at the soft question and forced herself to hold steady under the ruthless intelligence that shone in his eyes as he studied her carefully. Again she was grateful her eyes were covered by the veil. Her hair was also hidden, completely stuffed under her top hat, giving her partial anonymity, albeit useless since she'd told him her name. She fought not to squirm under his stare. "My father might be impoverished, Your Grace, but he does not plot, nor is he desperate," she said, lifting the gun for a better aim. "Is this your desperate ploy — to lay the abominable behavior of your brother at my father's door step?" His brows flickered.
"Despite my weapon's fragile appearance, Your Grace, it is not easy to aim a derringer at a man this long. My hand tires ... I may accidentally pull the trigger."
"Ah, so it is not your intention to shoot me, Miss Rathbourne?"
She ignored the eyes that roved over her. "It's Lady Rathbourne. And most assuredly, my intention to shoot you is genuine, if I do not receive justice. I would hate for my shot to be accidental. It will be done very deliberately when I choose to fire."
The duke unlocked his hands from under his chin and leaned back in his chair. He drummed his fingers on his desk with a click clack sound, possibly hoping to unnerve her as he studied her. She had to admit she was slightly intimidated by the glare from his eyes.
Despite being an Earl's daughter, due to their dire financial straits she had not received the chance to have her season, her foray into society. Today was the first she'd laid eyes on the formidable duke, knowing him only by reputation and Anthony's recounts.
"Are you with child?" he asked evenly.
She spluttered, a wave of heat blossoming on her entire body at his unexpected question. Mortified, she gazed at his expressionless face, uncertain how to answer.
"A seduction does not necessarily result in a child, Your Grace." At the slow raise of his eyebrows, she hazarded a guess that what Anthony had told her was correct. "As you are a man of the world, I am sure you are aware that the outcome of a child can be prevented?" She posed the question, and her lips tightened in a moue as she awaited his answer with heart pounding.
"You may lower your weapon, Miss Rathbourne. And do not presume to correct me of your title, as a lady would not barge into my home under false pretense and threaten me at the point of a gun." His fingers halted their drumming. "Indeed, I am uncertain as to what you require of me."
Her eyes narrowed at the insult of him referring to her as Miss. A scathing reply formed on her lips, but she had to remind herself of what her aim was. After a brief hesitation, she lowered her arms, but she did it slowly, and rested the derringer in her lap, continuing to point it directly at him. For some unfathomable reason, she liked the amused twitch of his mouth as his wintry gaze thawed. He shifted, his jacket stretching over his very broad shoulders. His blue waistcoat was the finest she had ever seen.
"I have no pretenses, Your Grace, and everything I said in my note is the absolute truth."
He looked skeptical. "Your note claimed a dire situation of grave misfortune that threatens scandal and death for my family — namely my wicked brother Anthony Williamson Thornton."
"Despite what polite society would have many believe, a seduction does not have only one perpetrator, Miss Rathbourne. Now, let's get down to business. What is it you want? Money? A house?"
Affront flared through Jocelyn and she raised her weapon with such speed he froze in the act of opening his top drawer.
"How dare you!" She breathed deeply to contain the rage that burned through her. "Do you not have a sister enjoying her first season? If a cad had used her, enticing her with promises of love and marriage, then abandoned her, what recompense would you demand? Money? A house? A duel? Or a marriage?"
"Only death would suffice."
She flinched at his unwavering response, the derringer jerking in her clasp. "I do not desire Anthony's death." Her stomach churned at the mere thought of it. "It discredits you to speak so easily of your brother's demise."
Once more, amusement twisted his sensual mouth, infuriating her.
"I spoke to the demise of a hypothetical cad who had seduced and abandoned my sister. Not of my brother, Miss Rathbourne."
"But it was your brother who seduced and abandoned me. I demand marriage!" she said, trying to keep her voice from trembling.
She felt her back go ramrod straight and she vibrated with rage. "I beg your pardon?" He held up a hand. "I do not deliberately stoke your scorned woman's wrath, but I am afraid Anthony is already married."
She darted a gaze to the Gazette with a frown. "You lie!"
The smile that twisted his lips at her slander was not one of amusement.
She flushed and swallowed. No. It couldn't be true. "I —"
"Let me be clear. Money is all that will be offered. Do I believe my brother seduced you? Frankly, yes. Only a madwoman would storm my estate with such an elaborate story that can be so easily verified. And make no mistake, it will be verified." The muscle in his forehead ticked again. "However, Anthony and Miss Peppiwell had the brilliant notion to abscond to Gretna Green with a special license two weeks past. Ergo, they are now married and she may be enceinte. Thus the reaffirmation of vows in three weeks that will appear to polite society as their actual marriage."
Jocelyn blanched, lowering the gun as her mind sifted through her options with dizzying speed. Despair made her voice hoarse when she responded. "I will need proof."
It was the Duke of Calydon's turn to throw a paper onto his desk, one he pulled from the top drawer. She reached for it, and gasped as she read the document. Dear God, it was true. Anthony was married. Pain squeezed her chest tight and her hands trembled as she lowered the paper. She slid it back across the desk with infinite slowness.
"One hundred thousand pounds is my first and final offer." He rose from his chair and stalked around the desk toward her. She scrambled up from her seat and her reticule fell from her lap, spilling its contents on the lavender Aubusson carpet.
"Come no farther!" she cried, the words echoing off the library walls. She pressed her back against the bookshelves that lined them and stared at him with wide eyes. She did not like the duke's smile as he detoured to the sideboard and poured ruby liquor from a decanter into two glasses.
The crumbled ruin that was her father's estate flashed in her head. A hundred thousand pounds would put him on the path of removing the unrelenting burden of debt that was entailed with his property, and possibly give him a fighting chance.
She almost took it.
But then the voices of her sisters rushed in, crowding her mind.
Do you think I will ever have a season, Jocelyn? Her beautiful younger sister Victoria.
I wish not to be so cold all the time, but I think I would prefer to have pretty dresses like Lady Elizabeth. Don't you wish for pretty things, Jocelyn? Her twelve year old sister Emily, more bookish and enraptured by Latin, Plutarch, and Socrates — as was Jocelyn — but sometimes wholly feminine in her desire for dresses and pretty trinkets.
Jocelyn's throat tightened as the voices that affected her most blared in her head. I wish for warm milk on Christmas morning. Loevnia says every Christmas her mama and papa give her presents under a Christmas tree. They eat roast duckling! Pudding! And Christmas punch! Yum! If we could only have such things ... The eight year old twins Emma and William had danced together as they fantasized, yet Emma's voice had rung hollow for someone so young. But it was William's sad smile as he said, I would be so happy if you were warm, Emma, which had decided everything for Jocelyn.
The raise of the derringer to Calydon's chest was slow and deliberate, as was the cool smoothness of her voice as she said, "If Anthony is unavailable for marriage, Your Grace, an offer from you will do. That is the only thing that can atone for your brother's reprehensible conduct."CHAPTER 2
Ah, yes. She would do.
Sebastian Jackson Thornton, the twelfth Duke of Calydon, Marquess of Hastings, and Earl of Blaydon had decided on Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne the instant she drew the derringer from her reticule and pointed it at him so determinedly. Or it could have been when his butler Thomas announced her entry. Her walk had been militant yet provocative and graceful, stirring something that had withered to a cold nothing over the years. He doubted those qualities were natural, as chits like her were trained from the schoolroom how to walk, talk, and entice a man to marriage.
Even though, Sebastian had to admit, she did not appear like many of the simpering misses and ladies of the ton who thought they had only to bat an eyelash and wield their fan to be captivating.
"Marriage?" he asked blandly, as his eyes tracked the pulse that beat so frantically at her throat.
He held out the glass of sherry. "Drink," he commanded, expecting her to obey without question. He suppressed an impulse to smile as her lips flattened, and from the slight spasm of her jaw he surmised she was gritting her teeth. She would make a poor gambler.
He wondered at her eyes — their color and shape. The dark veil that covered them was a source of irritation he meant to remedy. Her hand trembled as she pressed her back closer into the shelves that lined his library walls, filled with thousands of books and tomes. He hoped her bravado was not failing her. It would not do for him to turn around and offer marriage so easily.
"Yes, marriage." Her voice was a hiss as she straightened her spine and took a tentative step forward. "And I do not desire refreshment."
Ah, there it was. The spirit that had stoked his intrigue, the sheer boldness that had rushed from her as she confronted him with Anthony's folly, so different from the simpering flowers the mamas of the ton had been throwing in his path over the years. She vibrated with passion and fire.
Her gaze slashed from his to the glass of sherry he placed on the desk. His chuckle when it rumbled from his throat surprised even him. The unthinkable deed that he had been contemplating with part rage and sometimes icy detachment suddenly seemed intriguing as he studied her. Slowly, he closed the distance between them.
"Come no farther!"
He halted inches from her, the barrel tip of the derringer brushing against his waistcoat. He ignored her gasp as he reached out deliberately and drew the hat from her head.
"What are you doing?" she demanded, grabbing for it. He held it behind his back.
He liked that her voice did not lose its husky timber even though she appeared rattled, so unlike the high-pitched nasal tone of the many debutantes of the summer season.
He was even more relieved that her voice was not pure throaty seductiveness, or else his disgust would have been instant. Stripped of its veil, her delicate face had blushed crimson, and her gray eyes were like saucers. He feared she may be in danger of fainting.
"It is normal, Miss Rathbourne, for a man to fully gaze upon his intended before committing to marriage, especially under such unorthodox circumstances."
Excerpted from The Duke's Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid, Nina Bruhns. Copyright © 2014 Stacy Reid. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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’s shotgun wedding was a thrilling read. It pulled me in from the start with Lady Jocelyn storming the Duke’s country home, and held me till the end. I loved the character of the heroine; she is bold and unconventional relative to the women of her time. And her background supports her unconventional character. I loved the clash of the Jocelyn and Sebastian characters. I had several laugh out loud moments. That last scene in the library was a pretty good one. Sebastian’s reaction was identifiable and Jocelyn’s actions were true to her character, quite reminiscent of my wife. The book was a fun read. And, it had great steamy love scenes. The hero was cool and collected a man in every way and the heroine was fiery and bold. I would recommend this book for sure to fellow romance lovers.
This romance read started with a feisty Jocelyn pointing a derringer on the cold & unfeeling Duke of Calydon, Sebastian. All Sebastian sees is a hellion with an inner fire that gets him hard! She is pissed off because his brother (book #2 in the series), Anthony, teased her with marriage & her dad's estate is falling around her young siblings' ears. Sebastian sees what he wants & totally agrees to marry her. Sebastian believes all females are lairs & unfaithful, courtesy of his mom, her lover, that she marries after only 3 months after his Father's death, & the discovery of his brother & sister's true father. These 2 have absolutely no problems in the bedroom, desk or even a couch, as Jocelyn inner HO is unlocked by Sebastian's lips, tongue & glorious hands. When they are out of the bedroom, it sucks royally! I read this book after The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell, which is book #2 in this scandalous series, but I think I enjoyed it that way. Either book stands alone, but Ms. Reid teases you with her writing style & she make you CRAVE the next book. I think Ms. Reid could write cliffhangers for TV shows, like Sleepy Hollow or the scandalous Scandal! Ms. Reid gifted me with so many "PULL THE FIRE ALARM" & pantie melting scenes that I needed a chocolate fix ASAP! I loved both of her books in her Scandalous House of Calydon series & I am waiting, NOT SO PATIENTLY, for Connie's story. I must give my top score of 5 fingers up & 10 toes & I am even adding my furry reading buddy's 4 paws into my score because she had a derringer as a fairy Godmother & that my peeps takes writing talent!
When lady Jocelyn stormed the house of a Duke with a derringer I know I was going to love her. She is probably one of most "modern" historical romance leading ladies I've seen. Not afraid to speak her mind and demand what she wants - she's sometimes surprised to find out she just may get it. Sebastion, the Duke of Calydon, is fascinated with the angry and passionate woman holding a gun on him. So different than the meek little flowers of the ton, he is instantly captivated. What starts as a very strained and confrontational relationship quickly escalates into one with mutual respect, but with the Duke not willing to share the reasons for some of his decisions, it may just all fall apart around them both. This was a great romance with a lot of fire and passion in both characters. (But Jocelyn really made the book click for me). *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
I fell in love with this book from the beginning and it kept me hooked until the end. I loved how she described things in a way it felt like you were there. I will definitely be reading more by her.
This is a charming quick read by a debut writer. The heroine is determined and the hero is jaded and let the fun ensue. There isn't a lot to this novella but the Reid has a promising voice and I am excited to see what she might be able to do in a longer format. I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.
The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding is a short and sweet, fast read for any of you historical romance lovers looking for a quick fix. I really would have almost put this in the novella category. But, as a result, don’t look for a deep plot or any big connection with the characters. There were times when I found Sebastian’s wit amusing, but there were also times when I felt the banter between Sebastian and Jocelyn was a little silly. I also want to add that if you like books that are on the realistic side, then this wouldn’t be for you. But, it can be quite entertaining if that’s not a problem for you. So, I give this one 3 stars. My review is short and sweet like the book. This is Stacy Reid’s debut novel, so I give her a thumbs up. It’s a great start, and I’ll look forward to what she brings next. Warnings: language, sexual content *I received a copy via NetGalley and Entangled:Scandalous in exchange for my honest review.*
THE DUKE'S SHOTGUN WEDDING by Stacy Reid is an delightful Victorian Historical Romance. A quick read, a novella! A fast paced tale of romance, secrets, passion and finding your HEA, hopefully, with a few side trips first. What a delight to read! The two main characters are entertaining as well as engaging. Follow, Sebastian Thornton, Duke of Calydon,and Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne on their journey to their HEA. With a bit of laughter and lots of passion, you will not regret your choice to read THE DUKE'S SHOTGUN WEDDING! Well done! Received for an honest review. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: HOT REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
A short (~100pgs) story but full of emotion & lovely characters in the hero & heroine whom I totally fell in love with from the beginning. Jocelyn is a lovely heroine. Spunky, passionate & full of life. Determined to save her impecunious family & provide for her younger siblings she threatens the Duke of Claydon at gunpoint never expecting him to propose marriage. The chemistry between is palpable from the start. Sebastian has blocked all emotion from his life after catching his mother with her lover when only 6 years old. His father thereafter alienates his mother from his & leaves him to blame his mother not knowing that all the while it’s his father to blame for her supposed abandonment of him. The story of how Jocelyn brings Sebastian back to life is warm & lovely. "Love was something he had banished from his life years ago out of necessity, but she made him yearn to be loved." I loved how Anthony, Sebastian's brother describes Jocelyn which is so very embodies her personality: “It’s no laughing matter, Sebastian.” Anthony grimaced in chagrin. “She rode her horse astride, her skills with her bow surpassed any I had ever seen. She hunted, Sebastian. And I don’t mean for fox. After a few weeks, I realized how different she was from the women of the ton. She made no effort to be demure, and her energy left me dizzy" *Complimentary copy received from publisher for an honest review.
A lovely, enjoyable read, The Duke's Shotgun Wedding was a wonderful historical romance novella. I really liked this short and sweet read. Both characters were good, though I had a small issue with each. Jocelyn was strong and determined to ensure her family's future. However, she was also mindblowingly impulsive, in a way that was just bewildering and somewhat selfish in the way that she didn't consider the consequences. Sebastian was sweet and honorable to a fault, but he could also be a real ass. Overall, though, I liked them both. The romance was great. The sparks were constantly flying, whether these two were arguing or ripping each other's clothes off. But, they were also sweet together, when they took a minute to calm down. I thought they were a lovely couple. The plot was quick and I was kept hooked the entire way through. I really liked the story and the ending was very sweet. The Duke's Shotgun Wedding was a wonderful historical romance novella that I truly enjoyed reading. Romance lovers, if you want a quick, sweet read, then you'll want to check this book out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Duke's Shotgun Wedding was a quick, very enjoyable, historical romance. This novella begins with the spirited and intense first meeting of Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne and the Duke of Calydon. To say it wasn't under the best of circumstances would be understating the terms of the meeting. However, there really is a meeting of minds of sorts and their tumultuous marriage commences. Oh my! Lady Jocelyn is to put it mildly, quite impetuous and fiery. The Duke is a dark figure, jaded and intriguing. I found the story of their first meeting and marriage quite fascinating. Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished. The author's writing was polished and she covers a lot of territory in these few pages. :-))) I would highly recommend this to anyone who desires a very good, short romantic read. 4 stars!
Headstrong heroin and handsome duke. Perfect!
This story explodes with passionate , pleasurable ,and seductive .excellence story lines, deftly some interlacing plots of surrendering to the pleasures of the flesh ,and romance of win someone else heart. A unforgettable, wonderful love story that's exciting!!!
...I liked the heroine, but the plot and other characters were not enough to save the book.
Really loved this story. Great characters and wonderful story. My only complaint would be it's not long enough. I would love it to have more story line with these two. Great chemistry! Loved it!
82 pages. Can be read as a stand alone. Rated R. Occasionally a good, quick, to the point read is nice. I must say, I did enjoy a good story beginning with a woman demanding what she wants and waving a gun around to get it. I also appreciate that it works and she's not written off as a hysterical little chit who's acting ridiculous and is ultimately not taken seriously. I loved when he capitulates more quickly than she expected she tells him she believed she was at least going to have to shoot him in the arm! lol
I usually don't care for novellas, just too short to develop much of a story. However, this writer used the short time to create a wonderful story and surprisingly was able to develop the characters very nicely.
?eep you wanting to finish the book to see how it turns out!
A very fast paced, original, and passionate read about how a lady resorts to an unconventional way of snagging her duke. Wish it was longer. 89 pages
Short..wish it had been longer.lots of passion.
Loved the story. Just the right amount of everything.