A Good Duke Is Hard to Find by Christina Britton (Isle of Synne #1)
English | 2020 | Historical Romance | ePUB | 3.5 MB
Get swept away by a Regency romance of broken engagements, second chances, and stolen kisses from the author whom Publishers Weekly calls “irresistible”.
After her third fiancé leaves her at the altar, Lenora Hartley is beginning to think she’s cursed. One thing’s for certain: she needs to escape London and her father’s tyrannical attempts to find her yet another suitor. The Isle of Synne, an isolated and idyllic retreat off Britain’s northern coast, is blessedly far from society’s gossip, but it also carries haunting reminders of her first fiancé. Letting go of the past to find happiness seems impossible — until Lenora is thrown in the path of a gruff, mysterious blue-eyed man who makes her pulse race.
Next in line for a dukedom he doesn’t want to inherit, Peter Ashford is only on the isle to exact revenge on the man who is responsible for his mother’s death. Once he’s completed the task, he’ll return to America where his life can finally be his own. Yet when he meets the beautiful and kind Miss Hartley, he can’t help but be drawn to her. Can Peter put aside his plans for vengeance for the woman who has come to mean everything to him?
“I can and I will,” he said, his voice as icy as she had ever heard it. He leveled a hard stare on her. “I’ll give you the rest of the summer, Lenora, to lick your wounds. At the end of that time you’d best be ready to do your duty and marry where I say you shall. And you’d best do all in your power to keep it from falling through this time around. Or you shall be cut off without a cent to your name.”
That devastating proclamation was still ringing through the air when the coach arrived at the townhouse. The servants were ready and waiting, their faces wreathed in smiles. Those cheery expressions were quickly wiped, however, as her father stormed through the front door. “Lock up the house,” he ordered, “and don’t let a damn person through the door. Unless it’s Lord Landon. Then I will be happy to see him so I might wring his damned neck.”
He headed for the stairs. Lenora, stunned, watched him go. She willed him to turn back to her, to say one kind thing after the devastation of the day. At the top he finally looked back. Lenora held her breath, hope filling her.
His eyes swept past her to settle on the garlands of roses that decorated the front hall. “And have these damn flowers taken down at once. The smell is making me sick.”
As he stalked out of sight, a roaring filled Lenora’s ears. He had never been one to indulge in softer emotions. Yet after the upheaval of the morning, his refusal to offer even one kind word made her feel as if she’d been punched. It was several long seconds before that miasma of shock was broken by Margery.
“Please send some of the wedding breakfast up to Miss Hartley’s sitting room, Mrs. Clark,” she murmured to the housekeeper. “And some champagne as well. We could use something to fortify us.”
“Of course, Mrs. Kitteridge,” the housekeeper said, rushing off.
Lenora felt a hand beneath her arm, and then she was being guided up the gleaming staircase. She shook her head sharply, trying to regain control of her thoughts.
“You should not have ordered up the champagne,” she managed through the fog of shock. “What will the servants think?”
“I think, dear heart, the servants are the very last thing you should worry about.”
Of course Margery was right. Lenora’s whole world was imploding. In the grand scheme of things, a little champagne in the morning was not of concern.
They made it to her suite of rooms in short order. As Lenora collapsed into an overstuffed chair, she became aware of how quiet it was. This house should be ringing with voices and laughter, the rooms bursting with people, the wedding cake in all its frosted decadence gushed over.
Instead she was locked away in her sitting room, dressed in a creased silver wedding gown and surrounded by trunks full of belongings that now had no set destination, while the food went to waste down below.