A Destitute Duke
The Heirs & Spares (Book Two)
Patricia A. Knight
Captain Duncan Worthington Everleigh had committed his life to king and country.
When he returns to London in 1814, a startling revelation about the legitimacy of his brother the Duke alters his future.
No discovery could be more life-changing than what he feels for Lady Florence Lloyd-Smith. To protect her, no sacrifice is too great, even if it costs him her love.
Too headstrong, independent, and beautiful for her own good, the widow Lady Lloyd-Smith isn’t the carefree lady of leisure she pretends to be. She has pulled herself from bitter poverty and through careful investment has amassed a substantial fortune. She has little time for men who treat all women as bubble-headed nodcocks or consider her tarnished because she’s in trade. She has little need for men at all, until she meets Captain Everleigh. The violence of her love for him leaves her trembling.
Captain Duncan finds in Lady Florence a woman he can love with unchecked passion. Lady Florence finds in Captain Duncan a man who will love, honor, and protect her, even if it’s from himself.
We can expect at least one more book from the series being as Ned's story (the youngest brother) won't be left out. I'm excited to read it on its release!
Strong women in a Regency Romance? The hell you say! But, yes please!
Florence is an unconventional widow living in a man's world with a head for business but no backing to expand into an opportunity overseas, becoming stuck in mediocrity. Ahhhh... a socialite's life problems.
Duncan figures he's a military man for life, until a family scandal reveals him as the heir to the Everleigh estate.
These two destined to be together meet when Florence feints into the arms of Duncan due to the injuries of his military companion. Duncan is immediately disgusted by the delicate waif.
And so the enemies to lovers begin!
If you are like me, and are captivated by learning new words and want to know the meaning of Regency slang and terms, bring your old dictionary and be prepared to learn! Or at least flip to the back of the book to the index. I'd buy the print specifically for this because I went back and forth, giddy at the latest insults I can fling at the Renaissance Faire (trust me, only the carnies that work there will know the History of these words).
However, if you are not a word sleuth never fear! Patricia's style of writing makes it easy to go with the flow. You will not need a dictionary because you will understand the meaning by her word placement.
Like the first book, this is another well researched masterpiece.
Charming, true to the Regency times and it's different type of lifestyle. Women had different problems then.
Strong characters carry this love story with laughter, tears and a happy ending! Be prepared for a ride that keeps you wanting more.
I would Recommend this to Readers of:
*there is one short sex scene that is not all that explicit
“Oh! Are you a spy?” Vivid blue eyes met his, and the slight woman in his arms shifted. “I am quite recovered. Please put me down.”
Duncan set his burden on her feet and stepped back to put the length of an arm between them. “Captain Duncan Everleigh, 12th Light Dragoons,” he said in a clipped voice.
“Lady Florence Lloyd-Smith.” The dark-headed beauty dipped into a slight curtsy. “So…are you a spy?” She studied him with open, lively curiosity as the men resumed their brisk walk down the manor’s carriageway—and she trotted beside them to keep up.
He frowned. “I would be a very poor one should I confess it.”
She gave a moue of disappointment. “Pity. Except for Lord Miles, who belongs to Eleanor, every gentleman I know is commonplace. Had you been a spy, it should have injected a moment of intrigue into my ordinary life, and I might have been tempted to further your acquaintance, perhaps so far as to allow you to call upon me in London.” Her voice became breathless and forced. “It should have enlivened the daily routine.” Her audible breathing came in rapid pants.
At his side, his half-brother laughed softly and offered a mild reproach. “I beg pardon, Lady Florence, but with all due respect, might I observe that the life you declare commonplace others would deem adventuresome in the extreme.”
Their conversation went uncomprehended. Her astoundingly arrogant assertion that she might “allow him” to call upon her, staggered him such that he might as well have been deaf to any further dialogue.
“You might have been tempted to further my acquaintance!” Duncan broke in with a loud snort and walked a little faster. By God, who did she think she was to infer he couldn’t fix her interest—if he chose to. Women routinely made themselves nuisances over him. He had to drive them away. He could hold her attentions—if he cared to. He didn’t. At the moment he had two priorities—Major Leeland Abernathy and the War Office. “But should I have welcomed yours? If you routinely engage in fainting spells in the midst of a carriageway, drawing attention away from a man who lies in sore need of medical care, you must be a vexatious and cumbersome female. Such hen-witted behavior would put off even the most sympathetic host or hostess and cannot be a character recommendation to any gentleman.” Duncan received an annoyed sideways glance as she picked up her skirts higher and increased her trot to almost a run as she scurried to keep up with the long, brisk strides of the gentlemen.
“My actions today were an exception. I am not the fainting type, which you would know if you knew anything about me, at all…which you don’t. Such quick, ill-informed judgment of another’s nature does not reflect well on yours, sir.” She inhaled in large draws to catch her breath as Duncan quickened his step yet again. “Regardless, I will make allowances for your rude behavior as you are probably distressed for your friend. Now…” She paused her speech for several gasping breaths as she exerted herself to keep up. “You side-stepped my question. Are you a spy?”
Well…he wasn’t about to address that subject with her. Duncan caught the attention of Miles, not hard to do as his brother observed the hostile exchange of words between Lady Florence and him with lively interest and an expression that suggested their discourse provided him high entertainment. “Is there someone who can go for a surgeon?”
“Yes, I’ll send a rider straightaway.”
He and Miles, with the bent over and gasping, but mercifully silent, Lady Florence Lloyd-Smith—there was a God in heaven—reached the forecourt of the manor house. A party of laborers and the property steward, a man introduced to Duncan as Mr. Welborn, greeted them. Lord Miles issued a number of quiet, concise orders and shortly a rider left at a gallop to fetch the surgeon while four men trotted down the carriageway with a door taken from the carriage house. A groom took the reins of Major Abernathy’s grey and his bay from Lord Miles and led the two horses to the stables.
Duncan clasped his half-brother on the shoulder. “Thank you. I greatly appreciate the calm dispatch with which you have dealt with what must be an upsetting development. It cannot be every day a man lies bleeding in the middle of your drive.”
Lord Miles shrugged off his thanks with a half-smile. “Add the unforeseen appearance of a brother I had feared dead and some unanticipated news my wife imparted to me earlier this morning,” he smiled broadly, “I’m to be a father... and yes, I’ll confess this day has been…out of the ordinary way.” Miles shook his head as if to clear his thoughts. “We will do our best for Major Abernathy… My memory didn’t deceive me, that is Major Leeland Abernathy?”
Duncan nodded. “Yes. It is important that I get to the War Office as soon as may be possible, but I don’t wish to leave Leeland until I know he is out of harm’s way. Oh, and all felicitations, on your good news.” Duncan smiled. “It really is good to see you, Miles.”
“Ah… thank you… I think between the Dowager Duchess, Lady Miles and Dr. Hickum—he’s the surgeon—Major Abernathy will have as good a chance as any man at a full recovery.”
Duncan opened his mouth to thank his half-brother yet again, but he was forestalled by a haughty female sniff.
“Though no one has inquired, my person is much recovered. I must change my gown. I fear it is badly soiled. After which, I am going to the dining room to finish my coffee. If anyone needs me, though I can’t imagine why anyone should as Eleanor and Her Grace have things well in hand, I can be found there.” Lady Florence bestowed a winsome smile on Lord Miles. With a curt nod of the head at Duncan, she turned smartly, and, there was no other way to describe it, glided off, head held high, with a decided sway to her hips.
Lord Miles followed Lady Florence’s departure with a quizzical look. “I can’t imagine what…” He shook his head. “I’ve never seen Lady Florence in such ill-humor. She is normally most pleasantly disposed.”
In spite of his irritation with the woman, Duncan’s eyes were drawn to the curvaceous body undulating beneath the sheer white muslin garments Lady Florence wore, now blown by the wind into hugging every swell of generous breast, tiny waist, and round buttock, of shapely thigh and trimly turned calf. “I’ve been too long without female company if I’m attracted to that mettlesome bit,” he muttered and turned toward the carriage drive to observe the progress of the four men who now carried the major toward the manor house, accompanied by Her Grace and Miles’ wife.