An unexpected duchess proves that behaving
badly isn't exclusive to the Dukedom.
MY FAIR DUCHESS
Dukes Behaving Badly #5
Releasing Feb 28, 2017
In Megan Frampton's most recent installment of The Dukes Behaving Badly series, an unexpected duchess proves that behaving badly isn't exclusive to the Dukedom.
The Unexpected Duchess
Archibald Salisbury, son of a viscount, war hero, and proficient in the proper ways of aristocratic society, has received orders for his most challenging mission: Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley. How she inherited a duchy isn’t his problem. Turning her into a perfect duchess is. But how can he keep his mind on business when her beauty entices him toward pleasure?
It was impossible, unprecedented…and undeniably true. Genevieve is now a “duke”, or, rather, a duchess. So what is she to do when the ton eyes her every move, hoping she’ll make a mistake? Genevieve knows she has brains and has sometimes been told she has beauty, but, out of her depth, she calls on an expert. And what an expert, with shoulders broad enough to lean on, and a wit that matches her own. Archie is supposed to teach her to be a lady and run her estate, but what she really wants to do is unladylike—run into his arms.
Excerpt1845, Lady Sophia’s Drawing Room“There’s only one solution,” Lady Sophia said, passing the letter to Archie as he felt his stomach drop. And his carefully ordered life teeter on the verge of change. “You’ll have to go to London to sort my goddaughter out.” She embellished her point by squeezing her tiny dog Truffles, who emitted a squeak and glared at Archie. As if it was his fault.He resisted the urge to crumple the paper in his hand. “But the festival is in a few weeks,” Archie said, hearing the desperate tone in his voice. He did not want to ever return to London. That was the purpose of taking a position out here in the country after leaving the Queen’s Own Hussars a year prior. His family was there, and his father, at least, had made it clear he never wanted to see him again. What’s more, he did not want to assist a helpless aristocrat in some sort of desperate attempt to bring order to their lives. Even though that was what he was doing in Lady Sophia’s employ. But working for her had come to have its own kind of satisfactory order, one he did not want to disrupt.“There is work to be done,” Archie continued, hoping to appeal to his employer’s sensible side.Although in the course of working for her he had come to realize his employer didn’t really have a sensible side, so what was he hoping to accomplish?“Didn’t you tell me Mr. McCready could do everything you could?” Lady Sophia asked. “You pointed out that if you were to get ill, or busy with other matters, your assistant steward could handle things just as well as you.”That was when I was trying to get one of my men work, Archie thought in frustration. To help him get back on his feet after the rigors of war. And Bob had proven himself to be a remarkably able assistant, allowing Archie to dive into Lady Sophia’s woefully neglected accounts and see into her investments, neither of which she paid any attention to.Lady Sophia placed Truffles on the rug before lifting her head to look at Archie. Who knew, in that moment, that he was doomed. Doomed to return to London to help out a likely far-too- indulged female in the very difficult position of being a powerful and wealthy aristocrat.Perhaps it would have been easier to just get shot on the battlefield. It certainly would have been quicker.“It’s settled.” She punctuated her words with a nod of her head, sending a few gray curls flying in the air. “You will go see to the new duchess and take care of her as ably as you do me. Mr. Mc-Cready will assist me while you are away.”Archie looked at the letter again. “This duchess is your relative?” he asked. That would explain the new duchess’s equally silly mode of communication. An “unexpected duchess,” indeed. What kind of idiot wouldn’t have foreseen this circumstance? And done something to prepare for it?“She calls me aunt, but she is not my actual niece, you understand,” Lady Sophia explained. “She is my goddaughter; her mother married the duke, the duchess’s father. It is quite unusual for a woman to inherit the duchy.”“Quite,” Archie echoed.“But it happened, somehow, and since I don’t know anything about being a duchess . . .” Because I do? Archie wondered. But there wasn’t anybody else. She wouldn’t have asked Lady Sophia, of all people, unless there was nobody else.Or if she was as flighty and confident as her faux-aunt. A scenario that seemed more and more likely.“The only thing Mr. McCready can’t do is attract as much feminine interest as you do, Mr. Salisbury.” She sat back up and regarded him. “Which might make him more productive,” she added. She leaned over to offer Truffles the end of her biscuit.Archie opened his mouth to object, but closed it when he realized she was right. He wasn’t vain, but he did recognize that ladies tended to find his appearance attractive. Lady Sophia received many more visitors, she’d told him in an irritated tone, now that he’d been hired.Bob, damn his eyes, smirked knowingly every time Archie was summoned to Lady Sophia’s drawing room to answer yet another question about estate management posed by a lady who’d likely never had such a question in her life.Archie responded by making Bob personally in charge of the fertilizer. It didn’t stop Bob’s smirking, but it did make Archie feel better.“And you will return in a month’s time so you can be here for the festival.”“Sooner if I can, my lady.” If this duchess needed more time than a month, there would be no hope for her anyway. Country life suited him; he liked its quiet and regularity. It was a vast change from life in battle, or even being just on duty, but it was far more interesting than being the third son from a viscount’s family. A viscount who disowned his third boy when said boy was determined to join the army.Meanwhile, however, he had to pack to head off to a new kind of battle—that of preparing a completely unprepared woman, likely a woman as flighty and often confused as Lady Sophia, to hold a position that she was entirely unsuited for.Very much like working with raw recruits, in fact
Megan Frampton’s My Fair Duchess is a very sweet role reversal of the “unlikely duke scenario.
When the death of her father leads to Genevive’s inheritance of her family dukedom. She also inherits
the help of her eccentric Aunt Sophia’s steward.
One Archibald Salisbury.
While Archibald may be well acquainted with the rules and niceties of English society, the heaven sent good looks and confident demeanor of the former Army Captain, are just a few of the niceties that the young duchess-in-training can’t help wanting firsthand knowledge of.
For his part. It is very clear from the start that the details of his directive start off as nothing more to Archibald. Another chance to break the monotony of endless questions from his elderly employer. When she is not engaged in in-depth heart-to hearts with her beloved Truffles. Or leaving him to serve as eye candy for her elder salon set.
What he did not expect is the beauty and spirit of his new charge.
Or that by teaching her the ways of society, he would himself learn the true meaning of both family and love.
This is a very quaint and charming romance.
Meaning that Miss Frampton chose to keep her cast small he and her plot refreshingly simple. Concentrating instead, on building quirky and highly entertaining characters and a heartfelt , emotionally engaging plot.
The “woman in charge” plot element is carried off by our leading lady with great panache.
While Mr. Salisbury is the perfect patient and attentive leading Mr.
Though the attraction between the two is immediate, things progress from thoughts to deeds at a very well-paced speed. With the character’s getting to know each other as friends first. Thereby, giving readers a chance to invest in the permanence of their relationship.
The one “fly in the ointment” to be found here is the author’s need to have the characters remind
themselves and the reader that Mr. Salisbury is, or was a Capitan in the army.
Almost as if we would forget, and all his maleness would somehow fade into the ether if we were not
contently reminded of his war-time prowess.
That being said. This is the perfect romance for those leading lady lovers who really want to see the
Duchess bring home the bacon and still manage to be a lady while getting her man.
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her on her website, @meganf, and at Facebook.