Distracting the Duke
by Elizabeth Keysian
Publication Date: February 20, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Historical Romance
Devonshire, England, 1820
Determined to avoid the strife-filled marriage of his parents, Marcus, the Duke of Ulvercombe, wants an amenable, biddable wife, and has set his cap for a certain pretty miss. Unfortunately, her vastly opinionated, frustrating, and lamentably beautiful guardian, Lady Clara Tinniswood, keeps distracting him, tempting him to consider a far more tempestuous—and passionate—union.
Recently widowed Lady Clara Tinniswood wants only to organize a quiet new life for herself, beyond the control of any man. But one shockingly unguarded moment while confronted by Marcus’s gloriously naked body catapults her headlong into a forbidden passion and threatens to undermine all her well-laid plans.
Even if Marcus abandons his sweet ideal and surrenders to his growing desire for Clara, there’s one unalterable issue which could destroy their hopes forever…
Worn out by the effort of restraining his wayward thoughts and trying to both battle with and be polite to Lady Clara, Marcus turned back to his inhaling.
A few minutes later, he heard someone bring in the items they’d asked for. After taking in a few more soothing lungfuls of steam, he lifted the towel and turned round.
His mouth went dry. Clara had just pulled the neck of her gown away from her breasts and was blowing down the front of it.
“I would be most happy to assist you with that,” he murmured before he realized what he was saying.
Good God, was he really trying to flirt with this woman, in his current pitiful state?
She removed her hand immediately and gave him a quelling look. “You’re supposed to be steaming yourself. Pray continue, for the sooner you’re done, the sooner we can conclude our business.”
Unabashed, he ran the towel over his face and hair, and remarked, “I’m done now.”
It really was getting horribly hot in here, but he needed to sweat out the fever if he could. He was so weary, too. The bed looked very tempting. How was he going to get rid of Clara so he could lie down and sleep?
“Are you still determined to remain in this room until I change my mind about the duel?” he asked.
She clasped her hands tightly together. “I am.”
“Then you may wish to turn away.”
To hell with the compromising position he was placing himself in. She was not a conniving miss out to trap him into marriage, and he was about to fall over from exhaustion.
He stood up, grasped the edges of his nightshirt, and pulled it up and over his head. Casting it on the floor, he padded across to the bed, slid beneath the linens, and glanced at Clara to gauge her reaction.
Her hands were over her eyes, but he knew she’d been looking at him. Her cheeks, visible between her fingers, were bright scarlet. Had he not had a sore throat, he’d have laughed outright.
There. Maybe she’d see sense and leave right now.
His foot came into contact with her bottom as he eased himself down the length of the bed, and she shot up like a jack-in-the-box, propelling herself speedily across the room.
“Come now, spare me your blushes,” he drawled as she peeped at him between her fingers. “You’re a widow. You know what a man looks like without clothes on.”
She removed her hands slowly, her eyes flickering over his bare chest and shoulders before they came to rest on his face once more. “If you mean to scare me away, you won’t succeed,” she said. “A man’s naked… A man’s naked—”
She swallowed, poured herself another cupful of water, and drank it down so fast some of it escaped and trickled down the front of her bodice. He watched its progress with avid interest.
He coughed, then coughed again. Damn this chill! Why did his body have to let him down when he wanted to appear in perfect control?
MUSIC PLAYLIST for DISRACTING THE DUKE with commentary by author Elizabeth Keysian
- 1. The Kiss by Trevor Jones from Last of the Mohicans movie soundtrack– it floats me away and I travel back in time to the Eighteenth Century
- What a Beautiful Day by The Levellers– catchy and uplifting
- The Firth of Fifth by Genesis– just an amazing piano instrumental
- The Bells of Rhymney by Oysterband– stirs the blood
- Mr. Blue Sky by ELO– a cheering reminder of the fun parts of my teenage years!
- No Man’s Land by June Tabor– I can’t sing this without a catch in my throat and a tear in my eye.
- Amoureuse by Kiki Dee– evokes the magic of “The First Time”
- Ramble On by Led Zeppelin– departure and loss
- Blowin’ Free by Wishbone Ash– poetic and atmospheric
- Thank You by Led Zeppelin– eternal love
- Lady Fantasy by Camel– love, magic and atmosphere- something every good HEA romance should have!
ABOUT ELIZABETH KEYSIAN
Elizabeth Keysian felt destined to write historical romance due to her Cornish descent, and an ancestral connection to the Norse god Odin. Being an only child gave her plenty of time to read, create imaginary worlds, produce her own comics, and write sketches and a deplorably bad musical for an amateur dramatics group.
Three decades spent working in museums and archaeology fired Elizabeth’s urge to write, as did living on a Knights Templar estate, with a garage full of skeletons, a resident ghost and a moat teeming with newts.
Elizabeth lives near Bath in England with her partner and cats.