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To Dare a Duchess (Lords of London, Book 5) (Ebook)

To Dare a Duchess (Lords of London, Book 5) (Ebook)

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After five long years trapped in the country, newly widowed Nina Granville, Duchess of Exeter, has returned to town to start over. But it was here she committed an indiscretion—one stolen night of pleasure—that would threaten all she holds dear if revealed.

Byron always loved Nina from afar—until the house party that turned his world upside down. Guilt saw him flee England’s shores, and Nina wed to a man old enough to be her grandfather, but now the handsome rogue is back…and ready to claim what is his.

Yet Nina has kept a secret from Byron, one that could threaten their sizzling attraction and sever their longstanding friendship forever. With Byron’s brother determined to reveal the truth, Nina must use her power in the ton to ensure her secret is kept safe. Even at the expense of love…

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Edwina Granville, Duchess of Exeter, sat in a carriage on her way back to Granville Hall, a large and imposing estate that resembled a castle. With its impossibly high walls and turrets, and its location on top of a steep hill, the only architectural elements missing were towers and spiralling staircases. The building loomed over the town of Minehead, Kent and looked as superior as the duke she’d just married.
From this day on, now that their vows were spoken, this was her home. She looked back out the window and watched the church disappear from view, her parents still standing outside and greeting the few guests who had attended from London.
A rumbling snore sounded from beside her and she turned to see the Duke of Exeter asleep, his head lolling about and his mouth drooping as if he’d had a stroke. She sighed, having not thought this would be her husband at the end of her second Season, but here she was, a duchess and wife to a man who was old enough to be her grandfather.
Her stomach roiled at the idea of bedding him, but she would bear it, and she would tolerate it with a formidable strength, because that was her duty, what she’d been brought up to expect upon entering the marriage state. The carriage lurched as it started up the steep hill toward the Hall. Edwina, Nina to her friends, would play the obliging, attentive wife for one reason and one reason only.
Because anything was better than to be seen by the man she loved as a pitiful, sad gentlewoman who had lost her head with the worst outcome. She narrowed her eyes, fisting her hand in her lap as she recalled the reason she was in this predicament.
Mr. Andrew Hill, a gentleman who had made her believe she meant more to him than she truly did. A bastard and flirt if ever there was one, and a man whom she should’ve stayed the hell away from. But she did not, could not if she were honest with herself. And now she was married to a duke, would have his children and be an upstanding woman of rank whenever they travelled to town.
Nina supposed she should feel guilty marrying a man she did not love, but she could not. The leech beside her was only too willing to marry a woman so many years beneath him in age it ought to be illegal, but her money and her family made her too much of a temptation. So when he’d offered, in her desperation about being slighted, she’d said yes. The one saving grace, she supposed, was the fact that the duke already had a son. One who was older than herself, which made for awkward meetings, especially because his wife, the marchioness, hated Nina with more passion than she loved her husband.
Nina stared at the grey velvet upholstery seat across from her. The decision to marry the duke had been made with such haste on her part, she hadn’t considered in depth what it really meant for her.
Her time in London would now be curtailed somewhat, due to the fact the duke disliked town so much and left the entertaining to his son. A silver lining, perhaps, to the awful situation in which she now found herself. At least she wouldn’t have to face the man who’d ruined all her dreams, and her in the process. Wouldn’t have to face Society and their snickering snide looks because she’d sold herself into a loveless marriage and to a man twice her age.
The way she had fooled herself that she would be different from her parents, that she would have a grand love match when she took her vows, now mocked her to her core.
Nina sighed, staring down at her fingers. She would miss her friends, and one more than most. Byron, twin brother to Andrew, the blaggard who’d taken what he wanted with no iota of remorse. A man who could up and announce his engagement to someone other than herself could never really have cared for her. She would miss Byron though. He had left for the continent before her wedding and she wasn’t sure when she’d see him again. She hoped it would be soon, but she wouldn’t fool herself. She would probably never see him again.

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Unrequited Love
  • Regency Romance
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