The Duke of Dark Desires
The Wild Quartet # 4
By: Miranda Neville
Releasing December 30th, 2014
Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours…
Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified-to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation … without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.
Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation…
Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family-and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.
But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?
Excerpt: Things hadn’t been quite that bad. The Fortescues would have provided, grudgingly, for the widow of their black sheep, just as they later paid for Julian’s education. At the age of eleven Julia’s son had deeply resented her remarriage; the adult Julian could now concede that marriage to Frederick Osbourne had been a rational move for a young widow ill-suited to life without the support of a man. It wasn’t her fault Osbourne and Julian loathed each other on sight. The pious Protestant Irish lawyer and his wild stepson had been oil and water.
“My father wouldn’t have demanded mourning but I’m sure Osbourne expected it. I daresay he’s trying the angels’ patience complaining about that fine green gown.” He couldn’t disguise his lingering hostility toward a man who was, after all, quite dead and presumably in heaven. Julian thought heaven must be a devilish dull place, filled with disagreeable bores.
Unabashed, Julia nodded serenely and scanned her son from head to toe. “Why do you still wear nothing but black?”
“To frighten old ladies and small children.”
“Really? Is that what you do?” she asked with a short laugh.
“No man is a sinister brooding presence to his mother,” he said with the twisted smile that he was sure would terrify housemaids, if he had any. He’d test the theory as soon as he recruited some.
“I don’t care for the style but I’ll grant it suits you. You’re a fine black Irishman, just like my father. But are you happy? Something troubled you when last I saw you.”
Julian paced over to the tall windows overlooking the square. On the off chance his mother had actually noticed something, he’d prefer to avoid her scrutiny. During that last visit to Dublin, the French business had still been fresh in his mind. Time had dulled the impact of horrors he could never entirely forget.
“I worry about you, Julian. A mother can always tell when something is wrong. I wish you would confide in me.”
The pretense that she ever gave him more than a passing thought when he was out of sight annoyed him into a retort. “If I was unhappy during my last visit, you may look no further than the presence of your late husband. Since it is much, much wiser for us to avoid that topic, I have a convenient way to account for both my costume and my gloomy countenance. Let us say that I am in mourning for all your husbands.”
“Not all.” She spoke so softly he almost missed it.
“Don’t tell me you’ve married again?” But of course she had. Julia Gore without a husband was as incomplete as a Rembrandt canvas without a frame. She defined herself by the devotion of a man. Demurely lowered eyes couldn’t disguise their triumph. He was pleased for her—especially since it meant she wasn’t coming to live with him—and hoped her newest spouse was a better specimen than the last. “Let me raise my glass to the new Mrs. … Or have I underestimated you. Are you a duchess after all, Mother? Did you at least catch a lord?”
“I am now Mrs. Elijah Lowell and very happy to be so. Captain Lowell is a better man than any lord I’ve encountered.”
“With a name like that he must be a nonconformist.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
Her lips curved. “I can assure you the captain is no Methodist.”
“A naval man?”
“Let’s say more in the private line.”
“A lucrative profession, judging by the elegant bonnet and the Pulteney Hotel. Well done, Mother. May your pursuit of happiness be true and lasting. When do I meet this paragon?”
“He should be here in a few minutes. I wanted to speak with you first so I sent the hired carriage back to the hotel for him.”
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/the-duke-of-dark-desires-wild-quartet-4.htmlGoodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21857130-the-duke-of-dark-desires?from_search=true
MIRANDA NEVILLE grew up in England before moving to New York City to work in Sotheby’s rare books department. After many years as a journalist and editor, she decided writing fiction was more fun. She lives in Vermont. She loves hearing from readers and may be reached through her website.