The Ice Duchess
Scandalous Regency Widows: Book Two
Amy Rose Bennett
The Ice Duchess (Scandalous Regency Widows, Book 2) by Amy Rose Bennett:
Georgiana Dudley, the ‘Ice Duchess’, has just emerged from mourning after a nine-year marriage of convenience to the Duke of Darby, her twin brother’s lover. Deeply hurt by a scoundrel a decade ago, Georgie swore she would never turn her head for any man, let alone another rakehell. But then she encounters the wickedly handsome and all too charming Rafe Landsbury, the Earl of Markham and against her better judgment, her interest is reluctantly aroused. An affair may be impossible to resist but dare she trust Lord Markham with her most intimate secrets... and her heart?
Society believes Rafe to be a diplomat but for many years he has been working on the Continent as a spy for the Crown. Leaving the shadowy world of espionage behind, he returns to London with the intention of finding a wife. When he is paired with the frosty yet fascinating Duchess of Darby at the piquet table during a ton ball, he is intrigued. Do-or-die man that he is, he’s certainly not going to let her cool demeanor dissuade him from pursuing her.
When Rafe’s dark past returns to endanger Georgie, he is determined to protect her at all costs, even if that means hiding who he once was. With the stakes so high, both Georgie and Rafe must decide if love is a risk worth taking...
Length: Novel (109,500 words)
Heat Level: Steamy to hot. This story is a Regency romance with open-door love-making scenes and frank language is used.
Additional information: This novel can be read as a stand-alone but is part of a loosely linked series, Scandalous Regency Widows.
Georgie took her seat at one of the piquet tables in the card room and removed her gloves, hoping that Phillip, Lord Maxwell, wouldn’t notice her slightly trembling fingers when he joined her. It seemed absurd to be so nervous. Where was her famous sang-froid?
It probably didn’t help that a hush had descended over the card room as Jonathon had escorted her in, and at this very moment, she could feel at least a dozen pairs of eyes, if not more upon her. The unvanquished Ice Duchess—the woman who barely ever lost a game—was about to play cards again. Of course people were going to notice.
Curse her brother and Helena. She would have attracted much less notice if she had simply decided to dance after all. Lemonade in the ladies’ retiring room seemed more appealing by the second. And where in heaven’s name was Phillip? She glanced about the room but could not spy Helena’s husband anywhere.
Not only that, she could see Jonathon disappearing out of the card room, no doubt chasing the dapper young buck he’d been making calf’s eyes at earlier.
If Phillip didn’t appear within the next thirty seconds, she would cut and run.
“May I join you, Your Grace?” A soft baritone drew Georgie’s attention away from the ornately arched doorway of the card room and back to the table.
She glanced up. And it was all she could do not to gasp.
A dark-haired, lean-jawed rake was smiling down at her. Her dastardly brother and friends had set her up after all.
Blast them all to hell.
Drawing in a steadying breath she summoned a slight smile. Her well-practiced, cool duchess’s smile—a smile that had sustained her for almost a decade in the face of such obvious raw masculinity. Thank God she still had it.
“And you are?” she asked smoothly, arching an eyebrow. “I believe we’ve never been introduced.” She thought she knew most rakes of the ton and she had only been away from London for a year. But this tall, handsome man with smoke-gray eyes and a dark velvet voice, she didn’t know at all.
The corner of his wide, well-shaped mouth lifted into a smile. “Forgive my boldness, Your Grace. I am Rafe Landsbury, Lord Markham. Lord Maxwell has been... detained and offers his apologies. He asked me to stand in, in his stead.” His eyes held hers—a question or perhaps it was a spark of challenge flared in their gray depths. “If you don’t mind of course.”
As if she could refuse with everyone watching. She’d gleefully strangle Phillip, Helena and Jonathon later for putting Lord Markham up to this. They probably thought she’d build up a rapport with the man over cards. Then he’d suggest they dance or perhaps peruse the supper table together. His large hand would touch her elbow, the small of her back. His fingers would brush against hers as he passed her a glass of champagne... She knew all the ploys he would use to try and get her hot and bothered. But she wouldn’t fall for any of them. Never again. Just because she was a widow, it didn’t mean she was fair game.
Lord Markham was still watching her expectantly so she affected a small tinkling laugh and shrugged a shoulder. “Of course I don’t mind. Please, take a seat.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
Georgie tried not to stare as the nobleman folded his long, lean frame onto the damask covered Adams chair opposite her. Markham, Markham. No, not a memory of him stirred at all. Where had such a man been hiding for the last decade? He exuded such a quiet self-assurance as he watched her reach for the deck of cards, a completely unexpected and most disconcerting wave of heat swept over her face.
She hadn’t blushed in years. What is wrong with me?
Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has been a speech pathologist for many years but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.
Website and Blog: http://AmyRoseBennett.com
An Amazon gift card of $20 (USD) and a KINDLE copy LADY BEAUCHAMP’S PROPOSAL: Scandalous Regency Widows, Book 1 will be gifted to a random commenter/participant during the tour.
The Giveaway runs from September 30th to October 11th. Starting and ending at 12:00AM EDT. Best of Luck to all contestants!