Excerpt: Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Project Duchess
by Sabrina Jeffries

Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Zebra
eBook & Paperback; 352 Pages

Series: Duke Dynasty, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

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EXCERPT

PROJECT DUCHESS by Sabrina Jeffries (On sale June 25)

“Which dance shall I teach you next?” the Duke of Greycourt asked Beatrice Wolfe.

“I will do whatever you wish, Your Grace.”

Something dangerously enticing flickered in his gaze. “Every time you offer to do whatever I wish, you tempt me, Beatrice,” he murmured. “So don’t offer unless you mean it.”

Blast, she was in trouble. If he kept saying things like that, she’d melt into a puddle. The duke could seduce a saint, and she was no saint, just a woman caught in circumstances beyond her control, with a man who turned her knees wobbly.

Now he was looking at her as he had in the woods yesterday—with hunger in his eyes. As Grey’s mother continued playing music on the pianoforte, Beatrice forgot about counting the beats or feeling clumsy. She matched his motions, relishing the masterful way he led her, his hands clasping hers as they circled each other. His eyes flashed green or blue depending on whether he faced the windows as they turned, and the effect was hypnotic.

Dancingwith him was hypnotic. Every clasp of his hand as they came together was a pleasurable agony, every dark smile an invitation to debauchery. She could hardly catch her breath, her heart was pounding so. Surely he must hear it and think her the veriest pea goose he’d ever met, to be so flustered by a mere dance.

Suddenly, Gwyn, Grey’s half-sister, burst into the room. “Mama, Thorn is leaving for London!”

The music ended abruptly. “What?” Aunt Lydia rose. “But why?”

Grey and Beatrice moved a respectable distance apart as Gwyn stalked to the pianoforte. “My stupid brother says he has important things to do in town. That he shan’t waste any more time around here. He’s packing up right this minute!”

“The devil he is!” Aunt Lydia cried. “That boy will be the death of me yet.” She caught Gwyn by the arm. “Come with me. He’s leaving because of you, you know. And I’ve had enough of you two squabbling. We’re going to settle this right now.”

Halfway out the door, Aunt Lydia paused to say to Beatrice and Grey, “Keep practicing! The three of us will be back in a moment.”

“Somehow I doubt that,” Grey muttered. “Not even Mother can undo years of disagreement in a single moment.” He cast Beatrice a wry smile. “And I’m not sure how she expects us to dance with no music.” Calculation gleamed in his eyes. “You and I should just talk until they return.”

So he could ask more questions about Joshua and Uncle Armie to coax her into babbling her foolish fears? No thank you. “If I hum the music, we could continue to practice the steps.”

“I’m not sure you need more practice.” He eyed her uncertainly, as if trying to figure out her game. “You seem to have mastered the minuet well enough to pass muster.”

“Then perhaps you could teach me another dance.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Let me think.” She ran through all the dances she’d heard of until she hit on one. “How about ‘Jenny’s Market’?”

An odd look crossed his face. “‘Jenny’s Market’? Are you certain that’s one you wish to learn?”

“I’ve heard the dance is quite popular in high society. Do you know it?”

“I do indeed. Very well.”

Thank God.Now she wouldn’t have to talk about Uncle Armie with him.

Although the way he’d said, I do indeed, with a hint of suspicion, gave her pause.Because now he was gazing at her with a heat in his eyes that made her heart drop into her stomach.

Uh-oh. She might have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. And she really wasn’t sure how.

Grey had begun to think that Beatrice was as guileless until she’d mentioned wanting to learn “Jenny’s Market.”

Unless . . . “How do you know about ‘Jenny’s Market’? Have you ever seen it danced?”

She sighed. “I’m afraid not.”

That explained a great deal. He walked over to close the door leading to the hall. When he caught her gaping at him, he said, “Someone seeing us dance ‘Jenny’s Market’ without music could misinterpret what we’re doing, so it’s best to keep the servants from chattering. If we were wise, we’d also practice over by the pianoforte, since we’d hear anyone enter before they turned around to spot us in the musicians’ alcove.”

“Oh, dear.” Her face fell. “Then it must be quite a scandalous dance.”

“Without music, yes, it might be seen as something scandalous. In a ballroom with other couples, it’s perfectly acceptable.”

“Can I admit something to you?” she asked.

Absolutely. “We do have a bargain about saying what we think.”

“Well then, learning that the dance is scandalous sort of . . .” She leaned close and lowered her tone to a confidential murmur. “It makes me even more eager to learn it. Though I suppose it’s wicked of me to think such a thing, let alone speak it.”

His pulse beat a rapid tattoo. “Wicked? No. Let’s just say that your

grandmother was right—you area naughty saucebox. But it happens to be

something I like about you.”

Praise for Sabrina Jeffries’ previous novels

“Quick pacing, witty dialogue, and charmingly original characters set Jeffries’ books apart” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Master storyteller Jeffries is at the top of her game.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick on The Secret of Flirting

“Quick wit, lively repartee, and delicious sensuality drive the elaborate plot of this sinfully delightful addition to Jeffries’s latest series.” —Library Journal, starred review on The Pleasures of Passion

“With its irresistible combination of witty banter, well-defined characters, and a wonderful surfeit of breathtaking sensuality, the latest in Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series is a straight flush.” —Booklist, starred review on The Danger of Desire

“Lovely, poignant, and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Study of Seduction

About the Author

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 9 million books in print in more than 20 languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 24
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, June 25
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Review at Henry and Benny’s Book Nook

Wednesday, June 26
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, June 27
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, June 28
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Monday, July 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, July 2
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, July 3
Feature at Broken Teepee
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, July 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, July 5
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Feature at What Is That Book About

Giveaway

We have two paperback copies of Project Duchess up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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