The Duke's Promised Bride

Damsels in Breeches Regency Series

Book 4
Anne Marie Novark Books
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Fifteen years ago, a marriage of convenience was arranged between Quentin D'Arby and Vanessa Graham by their respective grandfathers. The union would unite the vast wealth and landholdings of the Graham Heiress and the Duke of Straithe. From a very early age, Vanessa has been trained and educated to be the duchess.

Now, as the wedding day fast approaches, she discovers she wants more than a marriage of convenience. Can she break through the barriers guarding the duke's impenetrable heart? Will she ever be able to win his love?


The duke approached the pianoforte and gave a little bow to Vanessa. "Please, be seated," he said, indicating the stool she'd just vacated. He searched through the stack of sheet music and handed her one. "Are you familiar with this piece?"

Vanessa sat down and nodded. Speech was impossible; the duke was standing extremely close, and she could feel the warmth of his big body. Her own body tingled in response. How was she ever going to accompany him on the piano without disgracing herself?

"Excellent." His arm brushed her shoulder when he reached over and arranged the sheet of music in front of her. Tiny slivers of awareness shot through her bloodstream, making it difficult to breathe.

"Are you ready?" The deep voice washed over her like a caress. Straithe gripped her shoulder, and she felt the hot imprint of his fingers through her thin muslin dress. He stayed but a moment, his touch lingering before moving away to stand at the side of the pianoforte.

Vanessa pressed her hands to her burning cheeks and tried to catch her breath. Goodness! What in the world was the matter with her? They were only going to perform together to entertain their grandparents. Vanessa scanned the music she was about to play, then glanced at the duke for the sign to begin.

He inclined his head, and she plunged into the introduction. As she ran her fingers over the keys, she speedily overcame her fidgets. Losing herself in the music, Vanessa listened as Straithe sang the old love ballad. How easy it would be to pretend the words were meant for her. She peeked at the duke and her eyes collided with his. He held her spellbound, and when he smiled, Vanessa blushed. For that one fleeting moment, she thought that maybe he was singing to her after all. A warm feeling floated through her as she broke eye contact.

When her fingers stumbled over several chords, she heard her grandfather harrumph in disapproval. Straithe slowly turned her way, inclined his head ever so slightly and smiled again, all the while continuing to sing.

Was the duke offering her encouragement? Could his heart be thawing toward her just a little?


KEYWORDS: alpha male, marriage of convenience, virgin, Regency romance, London Season

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Former bad boy Mitch Defalco roars into Stone Creek, Texas, on the back of a Harley with his newly discovered daughter riding behind him. Single mom Sarah Cooper cannot believe he's moved in next door.  She had a secret crush on him years ago when he dated her older sister.

As Mitch tackles the responsibilities of fatherhood, Sarah admires the way he's turned his life around. She asks him to help her with a personal problem: Her fear of men. Mitch knows he's bad news for sexy Sarah, but how can he refuse her dangerous request, when she's determined to move forward with or without his help?


Mitch didn't wait for permission. He moved in closer, touching his lips to hers, pressing gently, letting them both get a feel for the other. He'd sworn he wasn't going to kiss Sarah Cooper, but sitting next to her on the swing like this, she was a temptation he had no power to resist.

For a minute, she didn't respond and he worried that he'd overstepped his welcome. Then her lips trembled beneath his, and she exhaled a soft sigh. When he heard the little moan in the back of her throat, he put his arms around her and pulled her forward.

Mitch deepened the kiss, taking it to the next level, swiping his tongue against her lips. She opened for him, tilting her head for better access and he slid inside her mouth. She tasted of chocolate and vanilla and the sweet essence of Sarah.

KEYWORDS: Texas romance, cowboy romance, alpha male, reunion romance, single dad, single mom, small town, contemporary western romance, rancher, bad boy, biker


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Additional Information

Anne Marie Novark Books
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Published on
Feb 6, 2015
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Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Romance / General
Fiction / Romance / Historical / General
Fiction / Romance / Historical / Regency
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Content Protection
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As children, Arabella Trent and Gilbert St. John were best of friends. Wherever he led, she happily followed. Their friendship held fast until Gilbert went off to fight Napoleon and Bella stayed home. Years passed and their youthful camaraderie faded to pleasant memory.

Now Gilbert is home from the wars and Bella needs his help. From the moment she climbs in his bedroom window, he knows he's in trouble. Can this beautiful desirable young lady be the same hoydenish friend from his childhood? Can Gilbert rescue Bella from her desperate circumstances even if it means . . . marriage?


With both hands on the broad shoulders, Arabella shook with all her might. "Gilbert St. John! Wake up this instant!"

Strong arms clasped around her middle and pulled her down on top of the hard body under the sheet. "I'm awake, love. How about a kiss?"

She tried to push away. "Let go of me, you big oaf! You don't want to kiss me. I'm not one of your bits of muslin." She wiggled and pushed, and wiggled again.

Gilbert grabbed hold of her wrists, and rolled over, reversing their positions. "Just one kiss. One kiss, love. That's all I want."

Before she could protest, Arabella found herself being passionately kissed like she'd never been kissed in her whole life. Of course, she'd never actually been kissed at all. It was a sad reflection, really. She was twenty-two years old and practically on the shelf.

She surrendered to the onslaught of Gilbert's kiss. Just a few seconds more, then she would call a halt. Maybe another second . . . the sensation was pleasurable. No, that didn't describe what she was feeling. She shouldn't be feeling anything, because this was Gilbert for goodness sakes.  The pressure of his mouth on hers was making her melt inside. And a warmth in her stomach began to flame into something bigger, stronger . . .

KEYWORDS: Regency romance, England, historical romance, novella, short story, heiress, marriage of convenience, second chances, reunion, kidnapping

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a “thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal.”*

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

*Library Journal

Praise for Before We Were Yours

“A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.” —People

“Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you’ll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann’s legacy.” —Parade

“One of the year’s best books . . . It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel.” —The Huffington Post

“Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun
AUTHOR'S WARNING: This is the hotter and sexier version of Lone Star Heartbreaker. The love scenes are steamier and more graphic. For a sweeter read, check out Lone Star Heartbreaker in The Diamondback Ranch Sweeter Series.


Tyler McCade is the youngest McCade brother in Salt Fork, Texas, and the biggest heartbreaker of them all. Or he was--until a plane crash wrecks his body and sends his crop-dusting company into a tailspin. Needing time to heal and form a new business plan, he retreats to the Diamondback Ranch, where he spends too much time alone tormented over the possibility that the accident might have been his fault.

Caitlyn Ross lives to fly planes. Accepting the job as pilot for Lone Star Wings seems like a dream come true. But when she packs up everything she owns and finds herself working for the brooding Tyler McCade, her defenses go on high alert. The sexual tension sizzles, but does she have what it takes to help him heal? And is she even brave enough to try?


"It's getting late and it's been a long day," Tyler said. "I'll see you in the morning."

He started past her toward the door.  Before Caitlyn could think better of it, she grabbed the sleeve of his shirt to stall his departure. "Wait."

He stared at her hand on his arm, then at her, but didn’t pull away.  “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked in a dangerously soft voice.

Obviously playing with fire, that's what.

Caitlyn quickly dropped her hand.  She didn’t know what had prompted her to touch Tyler, but that brief contact left her fingers scorched and her heart racing. "Ignoring the situation isn't going to make it go away," she said.

"What the hell’s that supposed to mean?" His voice went softer, more dangerous. His hot blue eyes lasered in on her. "What situation?"

She swallowed hard. Anger mixed with the strong sexual vibes pulsated between them. “I’ve been here for almost a month,” she said.  “Except for that first day when we had dinner together, you’ve been avoiding me like the plague."

He stepped toward her, his big body seemingly growing, expanding with his anger. Irritation. Something. “I taught you what you needed to know to be an ag pilot, didn't I?"

Caitlyn stepped back. "Yes."

Tyler took two steps forward. "I didn't avoid you then, did I?" he said between gritted teeth.

"No. Not exactly." God, the man was tense. And now he was invading her personal space. How could she have thought for a moment that she'd imagined those sparks of awareness shooting between them? They were brighter and more intense than fireworks on the Fourth of July. "But you can't deny you've been avoiding me since then, can you?"

Tyler stood directly in front of Caitlyn and stared into her eyes. He was close enough to smell her fragrance, feel the heat from her body. Her windblown hair tumbled around her face in wild disarray.  His fingers itched to run themselves through the silken tangles.  He wanted to feel her body close to his.

Unable to help himself, he reached out one hand and touched her soft cheek. She closed her eyes and her dark lashes made feathery crescents against her creamy skin. He'd been dying to touch her again. To feel her warmth and vitality.

He rubbed his thumb across her bottom lip. Back and forth. Back and forth, until her eyes flew open. Keeping his gaze locked on hers, he leisurely traced his finger down her jaw line and the curve of her neck, only stopping when he reached the top of one rounded breast. 

"This is why I've been avoiding you . . ."

 KEYWORDS: Texas romance, cowboy romance, small town, alpha male, tortured hero, rancher, western romance, contemporary romance


“A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Caleb Carr’s rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us.”—The Detroit News

When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Praise for The Alienist

“[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Mesmerizing.”—Detroit Free Press

“The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller—way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.”—The Buffalo News


“A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride.”—The Arizona Daily Star

“Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining.”—USA Today

“A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller.”—Los Angeles Times

“Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.”—San Francisco Chronicle 

“Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs.”—The Flint Journal
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