Spotlight on The Duke She Despised by @AlinaKField

Here’s a closer look at Alina K. Field’s story in the Winter Wishes: A Regency Holiday Romance Anthology to be released October 15, 2019.

Winter Wishes graphic

The Duke She Despised
By Alina K. Field

Blurb:

The new Duke of Kinmarty has lost everyone who mattered and gained naught but a title, and debt, and an old pile of a castle. When a fetching new housekeeper appears on his doorstep frantic to ready the place for the Yuletide, he seizes the chance for a respite from grieving and pretends to be the new duke’s estate factor.

With her cousin’s children due to arrive from India, a vicar’s widow hides her identity and takes a position as housekeeper to their dreadful uncle, the man who years ago sabotaged her own chance for happiness. Overwhelmed by a castle understaffed and in disarray, she forges a bond with the new duke’s charming but not very competent factor, not knowing that he’s hiding something as well.

When allies become lovers, each senses the truth may rip them apart. Can their love survive when she discovers he’s the duke she despised?

Excerpt:

A faint pounding started up. Andrew rubbed at his temple. “Another one of the bloody banging shutters that kept me up all night, do you suppose? Or might that be one of the legendary ghosts?”

George raised an eyebrow. “Or might it be someone at the door?”

Andrew tilted his head to listen, bile rising in him. “I locked Haskill out not a quarter of an hour ago and barred the door. Did the bastard forget something?” He looked around for his castoff neck cloth.

Never mind. If this was Haskill at the door, he wouldn’t risk bloodying the thing when he kicked the man out on his arse again.

Cold air overwhelmed him in the hall, the sort of damp chill oozed by a medieval pile left unheated for years. He wished for his overcoat, flung over a chair in the study, since neither he nor George had brought so much as a groom.

They’d tended their horses themselves as well, and washed in the ice-cold buckets they’d had to carry up. George, though, had managed a shave and fresh linens, the pompous ass.

George wasn’t the one who’d been plunged into despair. George hadn’t just been encumbered with a crumbling castle and a bankrupt estate. George hadn’t just learned he’d lost his only brother months and months earlier to a fever.

Andrew rubbed at his chin. No neckcloth and two days-worth of beard—this had better not be a social caller.

He unbarred the door and yanked the heavy wood open.

In the half-light a woman stood, ramrod straight despite her shivering, swathed in dark wool.

“I beg your pardon,” she said. “I knocked at the servant’s door but no one answered.”

By God, she was an Englishwoman, and she didn’t speak like a servant.

Her wrap slipped, and he peered closer, his interest stirring. She was youngish, and from what he could see, attractive.

“I’m the new housekeeper.”

A blur of dark fur shot through the door and they both jumped.

“I believe that was a cat.” She peered around him.

“I’ve never seen it before.” The bloody thing scurried off toward the bowels of the Castle and out of sight.

“May I come in?” She cleared her throat. “No one is answering the servants’ door.”

A sharp gust of wind blasted him. He apologized, stepping back, watching her enter.

The heavy wrap outlined a shapely woman. She put him in mind of Mrs. Ramsey, Old Horace’s faithful housekeeper for so many years. ’Twas whispered that she had been more than a servant, and perhaps it was true given the old man’s sharp decline after her death.

The new housekeeper placed a valise and a basket on the black and white tile.

“Are these all your belongings, or have you left a driver out in the snow?”

“I walked and—”

“Walked? In this weather?” Either she was of hardy stock, or he’d soon have to call the apothecary to treat her.

“Yes,” she said. “I’ve a trunk at the inn, to be brought up when the weather eases.”

He scoffed. “Next spring, then, perhaps.”

She sent him an arch look and slipped the shawl back from her head, taking a bonnet with it and revealing errant dark locks that curled about her cheeks and dangled on her shoulder.

Her attention traveled over the dark paneling and up to the painted cornice with its scenes of medieval knights and their ladies. She gasped. “It’s astonishing. Like…like a fairy tale castle.”

A fairy tale castle? Was she mad?

The scenes might have once fascinated his childish heart, but he’d outgrown such nonsense.

She leveled a gaze at him. “What is your name, young man?”

His name? He blinked. Young man? He was likely older than her.

A chuckle bubbled up, the first moment of lightness he’d experienced in days. She thought he was a servant. A servant in a fairy tale castle.

Well, well. How would a lackey behave toward an arriving housekeeper?

“Never mind.” She reached for her basket. “Just show me the way to the servant’s—”

He snatched up the hamper. The aroma of stewed meat escaped from under the heavy cloth, making his mouth water. “You must first be introduced. Come along. The duke conducts business in the study.”

Her hand went to her disheveled hair. “I must—”

“You are fine as you are.” As he nudged her along, a beam of light caught her features.

His prickle of interest bloomed into full-fledged awareness. Full lips, porcelain skin, and a determined little chin—his new housekeeper was more than fine, and she spoke like a Mayfair matron. A youngish one. The urge to become better acquainted overwhelmed him.

Except, he was a duke now. Blast it. Why did Evan have to die and leave him this burden?

He reached up to tug his neckcloth and found it missing. Her frown showed she’d noticed, and that made him smile again.

“No one expected a bonny housekeeper.”

Dark eyes glinted at his impertinence.

So much for the letter he’d sent to cancel her hiring. He was keeping her, at least through Hogmanay. “I fear we are all at sixes and sevens here,” he said.

She pursed her lips. “I see that. You’ve lost your neckcloth, your razor, and your comb.”

He squashed another grin. “I’ll just carry this basket along out of the way of the resident mice.”

Those full lips pinched tighter, raising his spirits even higher. She thought he was the duke’s naughty retainer. Well, he could be. He wouldn’t need her around for much longer than a few weeks, and as a footman…no, not a footman. He could play the new factor. A factor could spar with her the way a duke—or a footman, for that matter—never could. He’d do her no harm.

Winter Wishes coverPre-order Links (Release Date Oct. 15, 2019:

Apple US: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/winter-wishes/id1473205043

Apple GB: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/winter-wishes/id1473205043

Apple Canada: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/winter-wishes/id1473205043

Apple Australia: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/winter-wishes/id1473205043

Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winter-wishes-9?fbclid=IwAR2RZt4kkPmaxq9a34h6SHtDBvcrRawpC80gAUC82mZdQCZnDBQYvArOCqc

Kobo GB: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/winter-wishes-9?fbclid=IwAR0zicEERgzECEkj8nwgB-6Ggay76izIsItP9LpX99Fssgt8MzpUnoKAc98

Kobo Canada: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/winter-wishes-9?fbclid=IwAR3dYbi9Y_qrqcxyTVWYZqneLUbmYWrPRgLw4qYNEwpfUGrMEACC-xjmzSQ

Kobo Australia: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/winter-wishes-9?fbclid=IwAR3vCeSUyfy1i4HRx5JBoD5wL2VLHimvFxKUGqS0qfhhkqI9xqIvQm2j0ak

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VDFWHJ4/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VDFWHJ4

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07VDFWHJ4

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07VDFWHJ4

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/winter-wishes-by-cheryl-bolen

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1132526378

Author Alina K FieldAuthor Bio:

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Author Links:  

https://alinakfield.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield

https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Newsletter signup:  https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

Bedazzled by Madison Michael #free May 24-26

Bedazzled
The Beguiling Bachelors, Book 1
By Madison Michael

♥♥♥ ~ Free This Weekend Only ~ ♥♥♥
 
About Bedazzled:

She’s fiercely independent. He’s thwarted by tradition – Can a brush of her hand be their brush with fate?

A woman with everything to gain.
Keeli Larsen craves success on her own terms. She has no support and less money, but she has talent and big dreams. Determined not to return to the family farm, this is Keeli’s last chance to make it. It’s also her final opportunity to connect with the out-of-her-league, gorgeous man in the penthouse office – her very own Prince Charming. Although they have never spoken, a crowded elevator, a chance encounter, and a misplaced hand are about to change everything.

A man with everything to lose.
Billionaire and sexy hunk, Wyatt Lyons Howe IV is on track to inherit a family empire he doesn’t want. With dreams of his own, Wyatt is suffocating under generations of family expectations and traditions until a brief moment and a brush of a hand set Wyatt on a crash course with love. Can Wyatt turn his back on his heritage to pursue his goals following the lead of this fiery redhead. Can he forfeit his wealth for freedom? Fearing Keeli is a down-on-her-luck artist looking for a bankroll, Wyatt doubts her motives. He’s been burned in the past but can’t resist the temptation. He is bedazzled.

A challenge accepted.
Wyatt is seduced by Keeli’s spirit and the sizzling chemistry between them. Used to getting what he wants, Wyatt determines to make Keeli his own. But first he must outsmart a scheming fiancé, oppose his family and friends, overcome his doubts, and walk away from his wealth and power. And, of course, he must win her heart.

If you love sassy women and strong sexy men overcoming all odds on their road to romance, buy this steamy page turner, and meet the first of the Beguiling Bachelors.

***Bedazzled has been freshly edited and revised ***
 
Bedazzled Buy Link:

An Excerpt from Bedazzled:

The chatter in the elevator lightened her mood immediately, reminding Keeli of all the people who had started with only a few dollars and a dream. In many cases, they had made it without knowing the language or customs of their adopted country. By comparison, she had many advantages and instantly felt better about her choice, more confident about moving forward on her own. Mr. Weinberg let her take many of her pieces with her when she left his employ. There had been no severance check, of course, but the ready inventory was a gift. Keeli let the renewed confidence surge through her body, standing straight and looking ahead. Watching her step, careful not to bump anyone with her parcel, Keeli stepped into the divide and moved toward the back.

That was the moment she saw HIM. He was the best thing – by far – about working in this building. She was standing face to face with the virile, gorgeous, sexy man she saw in the elevator regularly. Well, almost face-to-face since he was at least 4 or 5 inches taller than her statuesque 5’10”.

He was what she would miss most about this job – these random opportunities to ride the elevator and watch him, getting to stand close, allowing her imagination to run wild with fantasies – all starring him, of course.

Most of the time, he hid mysteriously behind a pair of Wayfarers, but the rain today afforded Keeli a chance to admire the intelligence and concentration in his azure eyes. He stood with his shoulders back, head towering over everyone’s Looking up, Keeli locked eyes with his, his mouth lifting in a half smile. Keeli shyly dropped her head as a blush rose to her cheeks and her heart sped up. She knew the smile was just politeness. She wanted so much more. She wanted him to notice her the way she noticed him, feel about her as she did about him.

If only he had the same visceral reaction that Keeli had to him, perhaps he would have spoken to her by now. She could not overcome her shyness to initiate a conversation, but if he longed for her as she did him…obviously, he was not interested. Now she would never see him again. Her disappointment was way out of proportion; he was a stranger. But he had this pull on her. Instead of thinking of him as a stranger, she thought of him as hers.

Hers. What a laugh. Wake up Keeli!

Everyone noticed him – man and woman alike. She saw it on elevator rides and when he traversed the lobby. Yes, he was particularly tall, a few inches over six feet. However, it was more than his height that drew the eye. He was compelling, confident, and assured. He was beyond handsome with his chiseled features, thick wavy hair and well-muscled body clad in custom suits. Keeli was drawn to him like a bee to honey. She had seen other women catch his eye, seen them smile and flirt easily. She was overwhelmingly shy when near him, preventing her from ever making him ‘hers’.

They crossed paths at the coffee kiosk or in the elevator at least once a week. She knew she was projecting her own desires, but sometimes it seemed to her that he was seeking her out. Even so, Keeli never exchanged more than a polite “hello” and he was always polite, but aloof. Although she longed for some reason to speak more than pleasantries, she was unable to move past that invisible barrier she felt between them.

Why, oh why is facing forward considered appropriate elevator etiquette? I just want to stare at him one last time. Today needs to be the day to think of something to say, some witty conversation opener. You are running out of time.

Her brain searched now for a reason to speak, knowing it was her last chance. Instead, she reluctantly turned to face the doors. He was standing so close, lazily leaning his shoulders against the back wall. She felt the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck, goosebumps traveling up her arms in response to the moist heat. She was rocked by her immediate, erotic reaction.

Reigning in her body’s response, Keeli reminded herself that the warm breath was a result of proximity, not desire. She was a non-entity to him and had been for the  16 months she had worked there. His polished appearance, custom suits and elegant leather briefcase contrasted with her wild red hair, shabby jacket, scuffed boots and faded Old Navy dress. He epitomized class and privilege; she embodied shabby chic. Maybe not even chic – just shabby. She could never bridge the gulf.


About the Author:

Madison Michael is an indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire Bachelor series.

A Chicago native and hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s elite society.

After receiving a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would return to the world of books.

Maddy writes from high above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing,, Maddy can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?

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