There’s something about a Victorian romance that makes the week a little brighter. Throw in some Highlander romance as well? That might just be the perfect week! To tie you over until that perfect week hits on July 17th, we’ve got an exclusive excerpt of One Season with the Duke by Addy DuLac! Find out where to pre-order it here.
Indignation burning in her chest, Hettie yanked away from him, but he jerked her back into place.
“Easy now, let’s not cause a scene.” His gaze sharpened.
“I want you to take me back to my aunt and uncle.” She couldn’t bear another moment in his presence. Anger, terror, and disgust chased each other in her mind, leaving her trembling.
“Not until I’m finished,” he said in a cool, sharp tone. “You’ve recently come into a rather tidy sum on top of the dowry your uncle secured for you. An extra hundred thousand pounds and an estate in the Lake District, if your late father’s will can be relied upon. It all could have been mine; it should have been mine. That estate has been in my aunt’s family for decades.”
Was that all this was about? He would ruin her life for coin? “You cannot be serious,” she said, staring at him in horror.
“Marry me or I talk.” His hazel eyes gleamed in the candlelight as if he’d already won.
Hettie tripped and caught herself before meeting his eyes again. Marriage? “No one would believe you.”
“I have evidence to prove my words. Evidence found among your father’s effects. My lawyer can confirm it.”
“Then why hasn’t he?” she demanded, her hand flexing against his grip in another bid for freedom. She glanced over his shoulder to see her uncle and aunt observing them closely. If only Alastair were here. He’d be able to step in and demand a dance, give her time and room to breathe or think without Phillip’s touch turning her stomach.
“He seems to have gone missing, poor chap. The voyage from India can be quite treacherous. As your parents’ untimely death can attest to.” He smirked as her attention snapped back to him.
Her entire body went cold and clammy, her knees weak at the implication of that seemingly innocent statement. Missing?
Had he murdered the lawyer? It had to mean something else. Why kill the person who could prove your words? Then she met his eyes again, and the grim determination in them made her ill.
He was depraved enough for anything. She was likely dancing with a murderer. But death at sea without witnesses wasn’t the same as blackmailing the niece of a marquis. He was going to destroy himself if he took on her uncle with this.
“Phillip, you cannot mean to go through with this. You are using the death of my parents to blackmail me.”
“Your point?” he asked dryly.
Did he think everyone was as unfeeling as he was? “Even if I agree, my uncle and aunt would never allow it. They have a keen eye for fortune hunters, and your financial problems are legend. Do you really think they’d give me away to a man without the discipline or common sense to live within his means?”
His eyes narrowed in warning, his lip curling into a sneer. “For your sake and theirs, I suggest you convince them. Unless you want to see them ruined by association with you.” So that was the game. Ruined. Raising her as they had was already a topic of gossip.
She’d always been a novelty among the ton, the African with a marquis for an uncle. Equal or superior, but not always welcome. Not even with family. Phillip was the proof.
Heiress Henrietta Monfort would never do anything to hurt her beloved aunt and uncle. But thanks to her cousin—who’s discovered a secret about her parentage that even she didn’t know—she is moments away from ruin…unless she marries him. Hettie has no choice. She must accept the villainous snake’s hand in marriage. So be it. But no man will ever own her heart, body, or soul.
Lord Findley has always had a soft spot for Hettie. Discovering that she’s being blackmailed into marriage is nothing short of appallingly outrageous. How could he allow someone unworthy to marry the gentle-hearted and bright-eyed Hettie—let alone a blaggard of the lowest order? To hell with it. He’ll marry her himself…even if it is the scandal of the season.
Now they’re racing for Scotland, praying they can outrun the jilted crook who seeks Hettie’s hand and her fortune. But ahead of them lies their greatest obstacle yet…and one unexpected—and damnably inconvenient—attraction that will turn both their worlds upside down.
Born in the tropical paradise of Trinidad and Tobago, Addy Du Lac moved to the US with her mother at the age of twelve. She began writing historical romance while she received a double major in History and Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. She enjoys writing books with diverse characters and steamy happy endings. When she isn’t plotting her next series, she enjoys watching movies and Asian Dramas, traveling, and tempting her fate with new recipes. Addy Du Lac lives in Florida with an eclectic library of books and a carefully curated wall of beautiful men.