One Day my Duke Will Come (The Wayward Woodvilles, Book 5) (Ebook)
One Day my Duke Will Come (The Wayward Woodvilles, Book 5) (Ebook)
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If he won’t give her his heart, she’ll just have to steal it…
Tatum Chance, Duke of Romney, wants nothing to do with love. So, getting married was the last thing he had planned. But when an innocent miss is seen mistakenly stumbling into his room while he is ensconced in a bath, he’s left with little alternative. Well, he might’ve been forced into marriage, but no one can make him surrender his heart—not even his new bride. No matter how utterly tempting she is…
Millie Woodville wanted nothing more than to find a love match when she came to London for a Season. Instead, she found herself wed to a grumpy, quarrelsome, and unnervingly handsome man. But Millie isn’t one to give up easily, so she’ll do whatever is necessary to make the most of her new marriage. Her husband will adore her. Even if she has to become a seductress to make it happen…
Will this battle of wills—and hearts—end in happily ever after, or devastation?
Read a Sample
Read a Sample
1809 Blackhaven Estate, Surrey
Millie Woodville glared at the Duke of Romney's back as he strode from the drawing room at her sister's new home in Surrey. They were here for a week-long house party before they were to return to London to start the Season.
Her parents, although, would not, having decided to return to Grafton to ensure their small estate continued to run smoothly. Not that they needed to be in London. With four of their five daughters married and matched very high in the peerage, her mama and papa were indeed well-situated.
"Why do you dislike the duke so much?" Paris Smith, her best friend since they were old enough to crawl about and get near each other, asked her.
Millie narrowed her eyes at the mere thought of the man. "He is so opinionated and correct all the time. Have you not heard him speak? He knows everything, you merely have to ask him, and he will tell you that fact himself."
Paris chuckled, covering her mouth with her cup of tea before taking a sip. "He's deadly handsome, however, which does blunt the barb of his mouth a little. Do you not agree?"
That was true, much to Millie's annoyance. The man with his dark hair that looked as soft as silk. He probably washed it daily. Dandy's tended to do that sort of thing.
Not that she could call him a dandy, in truth. He was too masculine, rugged, and hard about the edges to be so soft. But it would annoy him should she call him that, and that was good enough.
Aggravate the irritating man.
Paris cleared her throat. "He seems to enjoy sparring with you a great deal, Millie. Do you think he does so merely to be near you, speak to you?"
Millie scoffed. "I do not think so. I have given him no indication that I ever wanted to speak with him or hear his opinions. Even when he does give them ever so often." Like their discussion today on the Kiplingcotes Derby and whether or not that horse race is the oldest in England.
Everyone knew it was, even though Romney seemed to think because they raced over farmland, tracks, and lanes, it was not the same as a real horse race such as The Royal Ascot.
Such a snobbish, ducal thing to think.
And how dare he believe that he knew which fashion magazines women read more than most. The man was chuckle-headed and needed to stop making a fool of himself.
"Where has he gone, do you know?" Paris asked, looking at the door the duke had disappeared through.
"To have another bath, I'm sure. He's always so very clean, and he wears gloves. Do you not think that curious?"
"I think after smelling Mr. Thompson at last month's country dance in Grafton, hygiene should be the utmost priority for some men. I think it quite nice that His Grace smells so well."
"Sandalwood with a hint of lily, I believe," Millie said without thought.
Paris threw her a knowing look. Her lips twitched in amusement. "Have you made a study of it, Millie Woodville? Is there something more to your annoyance with His Grace that you're not telling your oldest and best friend?"
Millie laughed, shaking her head. "Of course not. Nothing of the kind. As lovely as he is to look at, and I will be the first to admit that I believe his angelic features are striking, he's just so, so…vexing."
"Well, at least after this house party, you will not have to have anything to do with him further," Paris said.
"The week cannot come to an end soon enough." She clasped Paris's hands, squeezing them. "I'm so glad we're going to have a Season together and that Ashley has agreed to sponsor us both. We will have the best of times, and I will not be so nervous making my curtsy to the queen with you there."
"I too." Paris smiled. "It'll be the best Season yet, and may we both find love."
"Oh yes, that is the priority above anything else," Millie agreed. A love match as grand as her sisters had found. That is what she wanted, and nothing else would do.
Tatum Chance, Duke of Romney, slipped into the bath, the pain in his hip excruciating after his ride out on the Blackhaven Estate earlier this morning. He had wanted to see the ducal estate for some years, but the duke and his son had been estranged. It wasn’t until recently they had formed a truce, and the house and lands been opened up again to society.
A duke also, he enjoyed seeing what advances in farming other estates employed. Not to mention he valued overlooking the tenant farming homes, all of which looked in good condition, clean and tidy. It was what he wanted for his estate and would use their methods in keeping ahead of maintenance if it worked, which it seemed to be doing here.
His hip sent a sharp pain down his leg, and he massaged the joint, trying to alleviate the ache. The memory of why he was injured made his gut clench, and he pushed the recollection aside, not wanting to think of Eleanor or her unborn child.
It was his fault for his current discomfort. At home, he often used a cane to help him get around. Here, however, at the Blackhaven Estate, he could not. Not without gaining interest from others as to what was wrong with him, and he needed to appear fit and healthy, not some lame excuse of a duke who could not keep the love of his betrothed and their unborn child.
He certainly did not need to give Miss Millie Woodville any more excuses to hate him or poke fun at his abnormalities. What an obnoxious, knows-everything chit if ever he had met one. She had driven him to the point of distraction only an hour ago. The Kiplingcotes Derby being the oldest horse race in England indeed.
The woman was absurd.
He clasped the lily soap, scrubbing his hands and feet before letting the hot water soothe his aching bones. A bath always helped his soreness, and once finished, he would have a tisane and rest for the remainder of the day.
The muffled sounds of guests going to and from their chambers floated into his room. A piano played somewhere in the house, and laughter rang out now and then.
He had enjoyed his time here, seeing friends he had not since last Season, and it was good to see Howley happily settled with Miss Ashley Woodville. The sisters all, even the menacing one Millie, too beautiful for words.
If only the little hellion knew when to stop arguing.
How unlike she was to anyone he had ever met in the past. Eleanor never argued with him; for some time, he thought he had found the perfect bride to be his duchess. How wrong he had been. Women, he concluded the day he was humiliated in Gretna, were not to be trusted, even forthright ones like Miss Woodville.
The door to his chamber burst open and feminine laughter that he knew as well as his own filled his room.
"I'll change and meet you by the river," Miss Woodville yelled over her shoulder to her friend before closing the door of his room. Leaving them alone.
Tatum gained his wits and struggled to his feet, reaching over to a nearby chair that housed his towel.
Miss Woodville gasped, and he cringed, knowing she had turned and had seen him. All of him. Every little naked part of him.
"What are you doing bathing in my room?" she accused, her wide eyes taking him in but halting when her attention landed on his cock.
"Your room?" he said, covering his dick with his hand and fumbling for his towel. "Are you sure this is your room, Miss Woodville, and you are not incorrect for the first time ever? I know it would be a novel thing for you to be mistaken, for you are always right, but there is a first time for everything."
"Oh, you're so irritating. It would help if you left and," she gestured to his attire, or lack thereof, "you need to cover yourself and go."
A point he was trying to achieve. Cover himself, that was. Leaving his room, he would not do. "This is my chamber." He stepped out of the bath, wrangling his towel about his hips and covering himself. He strode over to her if only to tower over the woman and intimidate her a little. Damn, she was pretty and alluring and righteous.
She glanced about, and he saw the sickly shade of gray her countenance changed to the moment she realized her mistake. "Oh, dear. This is your room. I must go before I'm seen."
She spun about and wrenched the door open, and both himself and Miss Woodville came face-to-face with Mr. and Mrs. Woodville along with Lord and Lady Bridges. They had traveled down from London, especially to support the Dowager Duchess of Blackhaven in her reappearance in society.
Mrs. Woodville gasped and promptly fainted at Mr. Woodville's feet. Without checking on his wife, Mr. Woodville's gaze alternated from his to his daughter’s, clearly unable to fathom what was happening.
"This is utterly innocent, and nothing untoward has occurred, I assure you, Mr. Woodville," Tatum said, holding out his hand when both Mr. Woodville and Lord Bridges took a menacing step toward him.
"Papa, I entered the wrong room, that is all. I have not ruined myself."
A pain-riddled moan came from the floor, and they looked to Mrs. Woodville, who was coming to her senses. "Oh, my daughter. My precious Millie is ruined," she mumbled before collapsing a second time.
Lady Bridges bent down, helping Mrs. Woodville just as Lord Howley joined the fray and took in the scene.
"What has happened?" Howley asked, pinning Tatum with his unnerving stare.
"Miss Woodville entered my room believing it was hers as I was taking a bath. I have not touched one hair on her head. I promise you all," Tatum said again, hoping they believed him.
"She's ruined. My darling, most beautiful girl, whom we all had such hopes for, is ruined," Mrs. Woodville cried into Lady Bridges' lap, who looked up at everyone, at a loss.
"Mama, truly, I'm not ruined at all. See?" Millie said, holding out her arms. "I'm dressed, and you know a woman cannot be compromised with clothing on," she said.
Tatum barked out a laugh at the absurdness of that quote. He would be more than happy to explain to Miss Woodville later that what she said was indeed inaccurate. A woman could most certainly be compromised while fully dressed, and the mocking glances of every gentleman present proved his point.
"There is nothing for it. You've been caught in Romney's room, and he is naked, and you're an unmarried woman of a good family. You must marry," Mr. Woodville stated, his tone brooking no argument.
"Marry," Tatum and Miss Woodville shouted in unison.
The room spun, and his life flashed before his eyes. This could not be happening was his last thought before his vision went blissfully black, and the crack of his head hitting the floor was the last thing he heard.
- Forced Marriage
- Regency Romance