What I Did for a Duke

February 22, 2011
978-0061885686
Avon/HarperCollins

FIFTH book in the Pennyroyal Green series!

For years, he’s been an object of fear, fascination…and fantasy. But of all the wicked rumors that forever dog the formidable Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, the ton knows one thing for certain: only fools dare cross him. And when Ian Eversea does just that, Moncrieffe knows the perfect revenge: he’ll seduce Ian’s innocent sister, Genevieve—the only member of the powerful and wealthy Eversea family as yet untouched by scandal. First he’ll capture her heart…and then he’ll break it.

But everything about Genevieve is unexpected: the passion simmering beneath her cool control, the sharp wit tempered by a gentleness that coaxes out his deepest secrets… And though Genevieve has heard the whispers about the duke’s dark past, and knows she trifles with him at her peril, one incendiary kiss tempts her deeper into a world of extraordinary sensuality. Until Genevieve is faced with a fateful choice…is there anything she won't do for a duke?

If you'd like, you can preorder it now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or the other terrific retailers listed below!



And be sure to check out the prior books in the Pennyroyal Green series (in order):

1) The Perils of Pleasure
2) Like No Other Lover
3) Since the Surrender

4) I Kissed an Earl

 

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SPECIAL Early BONUS SNEAK PEEK!

Read the ENTIRE first chapter of WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE in the new Amazon Kindle Version and the Nook version of TO LOVE A THIEF! :)

Or check below for a brief excerpt!

 


 

 

 

Genevieve Eversea tells herself the reason she's wandering the house after midnight is that she's in search of just the right book to help her sleep. It's of course just a coincidence that she'd accidentally discovered a few nights earlier that their houseguest, the notorious Duke of Falconbridge—who has gone from dark legend to unnervingly observant nuisance to wry ally to a source of sensual fascination in a matter of days—never sleeps until after midnight.

She found him in the gray salon.

He was standing at the window, looking out at nothing again. Arm upraised to hold the curtain aside. The line of him was eloquent, fine as any sculpture. Perfectly shaped, from shoulder to waist to thigh.

She halted in the doorway.

And as if he could actually hear her heart beating, he turned. Very slowly.

Good heavens. The front of him was in disarray. His slightly-too-long hair was every which way. His sleeves were rolled up to the elbow. His cravat was untied and hung unevenly. His shirt seemed to have been unbuttoned and then rebuttoned crookedly, exposing a good deal of burnished bare skin and curling dark hair at the throat. His whiskers had gotten a good start on a beard.

"Good heavens," she blurted on a whisper. "What have you been doing this evening?

Moncrieffe stared. The muscles of his stomach tightened, and his lungs tightened, too. Her hair was down. She had miles and miles of it, all shining like dark water. Her face was small and delicate and white admist all of it. And yet she'd clearly never undressed for sleep; her dress was rumpled.

"Rescuing baby orphans," he said softly. "What does it look like I've been doing?"

"It looks like you've been set upon by thieves."

He winced. "No need to scream, Miss Eversea. I was set upon by thieves, euphemistically speaking. I prevailed. I generally prevail over five-card loo." He grinned crookedly.

"I spoke in a perfectly ordinary conversational tone. Mother says you've turned the withdrawing room into a Den of Iniquity."

She was teasing him. And she was whispering now to protect his sensitivities, which he suddenly found unbearably touching. She was always so thoughtful.

He also found the soft voice unbearably sensual. It was another texture of her, like that silken hair, and her luminous skin, and those hands that hinted she was everywhere soft. Whispers were the proper language for the dark, after all.

"I divested a group of gentleman of a good deal of money in five-card loo. Harry included," he said with a certain mildly cruel satisfaction. "He's a surprisingly determined and bold player, and I would warrant he oughtn't be playing at all, given what you've told me of his straightened finances, but that could be the reason he does play. He does lose as often as he wins. We're in the country, for God's sake. Outside of shooting and walking about, what is there to do?"

He was half serious.

And it occurred to him, a thought that slipped through his defenses as they'd been weakened by brandy, that she was the reason he was staying in the country at all. That, and ensuring Ian Eversea went pale every time he saw him and flinched at every loud noise.

He became aware that she was smiling.

"We might have had a good deal to drink throughout the game," he conceded. "And a good deal to smoke."

He won so frequently it had almost become dull. But then all the men present were able to go home with a story about how the Duke of Falconbridge bet chillingly large amounts and raked in astonishing winnings. Fearless, they'd called him. Ruthless. Cold. And etcetera.

She took a step closer and was about to take another one when she paused with her slipper hovering off the ground. Then stopped abruptly and moved the candle pointedly away from him.

"If I come closer you'll ignite. I shouldn't like you become Duke Flambé. Did you drink the brandy, or bathe in it?"

He gazed at her. "You're so solicitous of my welfare." He was again touched that she didn't want set him alight.

"I'm more concerned about my mother's curtains. That particular shade of velvet cost a fortune and I shouldn't like to tell her I used a duke for kindling."

He smiled broadly at her.

She smiled in return.

And all at once it felt like a bright light had entered the room, though illumination was provided only by her candle and the gray light that managed to push its way through the window.

And after a moment. She settled the candle down on a tiny table.

It was a tiny, fraught gesture.

It meant she intended to stay. For a moment or two, anyhow.

Suddenly his heart was beating rapidly. He was cautious of moving too quickly, lest he frighten the moment away.

"What makes you so certain it's brandy?" he was genuinely curious. "Can you truly identify it just by the smell?"

"You've met my brothers."

The word "brother" was unfortunate in his weakened state, when he was less capable of filtering feelings. His hand twitched as though it would still have loved to close it around Ian Eversea's throat. The very room seemed to tighten around them like a steel band, such was the new tension.

"They really did, you know," he said softly, suddenly.

"Did?" she was puzzled.

"The roses. Remind me of you. They're precisely the sort of flowers you ought to have."

Those spectacular, throbbing, lush blooms that now stood guard over her bed.

With petals unconscionably soft.

Something like pain or joy flickered over her face. His words had penetrated deeply. And for a moment all either of them heard was the soft, soft sound of swift breathing.

"Well, I wish you an easy night of it, though there seems little hope of that," she said quickly, suddenly. "I'll ring for a footman and send him down to…help you. Good ni—"

"Please don't go."

Words as unbidden as her presence, and shaken loose by brandy.

And the hand he would have used to choke Ian Eversea reached out and landed just above her elbow and closed.

Firmly stopping her from leaving him.

Motionless, they stared at each other, and then they both stared down at his hand, as though it belonged to someone else, had naught to do with them.

And then his hand slid slowly up her arm as if it were a road he had no choice but to follow. Up the soft skin of her arm. It was so cool, such a silken, heartbreakingly soft path.

She tensed beneath his hand.

And when it touched her hair lying draped over her shoulder, he exhaled softly. He sank his fingers into it, then drew it slowly, slowly out, in aching wonder.

"It's what this night would feel like if I could seize hold of it."

More words loosed by brandy and darkness and foolishness. He wasn't sober enough to feel embarrassed by their lyricism or to wonder how that sort of poetry got inside of him and kept emerging around her. They merely struck him as accurate.

She gave a breathless, astonished laugh.

The laugh excited him. And he knew very well what short breath meant.

He knew that Genevieve Eversea was excited.

Her eyes were shadows in her pale face, but he didn't sense fear, only fascination. Her breath came swiftly through parted lips. She didn't move to test whether he'd release her.

He wondered if he would release her if she tugged.

He decided he wouldn't.

But she didn't tug.

"Genevieve," he murmured speculatively, landing hard on that first syllable, gliding over the next, as though they were soft rolling Sussex hills, as though each syllable had its very own character and deserved equal attention. ["Gideon" is the code word for the February '11 contest]

He wound more of her hair in his fist, again, and again. So soft. And this manner he reeled her absurdly closer to him.

And she came to him.

She was so close her breath landed softly was on his chin.

She looked up at him. Their gazes fused.

"What did you think would happen, Miss Eversea, if you ever encountered me alone in the dark?" he murmured.

And then he eased her head back with a final tug on her hair, and brought his mouth down to hers.

{end of excerpt}


You can read the entire first chapter in the e-book version of TO LOVE A THIEF! Or if you'd like, you can preorder it now at Amazon,
Barnes and Noble or the other terrific retailers listed below!

 


 





A Desert Isle Keeper from ALL ABOUT ROMANCE!

"Long is a first-rate writer and her use of language is superb. Her descriptive powers are formidable; she has a knack for imagery and dialogue. She's also very funny....Iíve enjoyed all the Pennyroyal Green books, and What I Did for a Duke is my favorite thus far."
—Dabney Grinnan


*****

a perfect TEN STAR topper!

"A stunningly spectacular romance sure to be one of the best of 2011...Brilliant characters, a near perfect romance, and a very well written story make this book one of the best books I have read in a very, very long time. "
—Danielle, The Season for Romance


*****


FIVE STARS! from The Romance Dish!

" I was hooked by the first chapter ... one of those this close to perfect books. I give it my highest recommendation. Now Iím going back to read it again. "

—Janga, the Romance Dish

*****

TOP PICK from Romantic Times!

"As the fifth in the Pennyroyal Green series, this deliciously delightful romance shines with Long's charming storytelling and appealing characters. Fast paced and brimming with engaging dialogue, readers will smile with joy and pleasure as the arrogant hero meets his match. "
Kathe Robin, Romantic Times

*****

Praise for Julie Anne Long's books:

"Julie Anne Long reinvents the historical romance for modern readers, delivering intense, passionate characters and high adventure. Her writing glows."
Amanda Quick, NYT Bestselling Author

"A fresh voice that stands out in a chorus of Regency historicals, Julie Anne Long entrances with deftly woven humor, strong and believable characters, and a genuinely rich and emotional resolutions. Delicious and delightful!"
Karen Hawkins, NYT Bestselling Author



 

 




 


 


So what's this Pennyroyal Green series about?

The Pennyroyal Green series takes us through the lives, passions, adventures and misadventures of the denizens of Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, England, a town anchored by the wealthy Eversea and Redmond families —whose relations are civil on the surface, but seethe beneath with ancient secrets and grudges and —naturally — attractions. :) We'll follow these folks wherever their passions take them —whether it's London, the gallows, a ballroom, a bedroom, the high seas, or the Sussex downs. I have major plans for these people. :) The stories are loosely connected and characters recur, but not in every book. A number of Pennyroyal Green characters will get their own stories—not just Everseas and Redmonds—and each story can be read independently of each other. Collect 'em all! LOL. The first book in the series is The Perils of Pleasure. You can find alittle background on the legend of the town and the origins of the feud between the Everseas and Redmonds in the prologue of POP, too. :)

Here's a quick Pennyroyal Green series "cast of characters." When characters are featured prominently in a specific book, I'll link to the book or make a note of it. This list will grow over time, may even sprout more branches and family names, and I'll expound a little more on each character in this space as we get to know each of them a little better throughout the series.

The Everseas
The Redmonds
     
Jacob Eversea—Patriarch   Isaiah Redmond—Patriarch
Isolde Eversea—Matriarch   Fanchette Redmond—Matriarch
Marcus Eversea—oldest son (POP)   Lyon Redmond—oldest son

Colin Eversea (Madeleine Greenway)

  Miles Redmond (Cynthia Brightly)
Ian Eversea   Violet Redmond
Chase Eversea   Jonathon Redmond
Olivia Eversea   Lisbeth Redmond (cousin)
Genevieve Eversea   Roland Tarbell (cousin and deceased; see POP)
     
Other Pennyroyal Green Denizens:
     
Ned Hawthorne—owner and proprietor of the Pig & Thistle, ancient pub   Louisa Porter
Polly Hawthorne—Ned Hawthorne's daughter    
Martin Culpepper    
Frances Cooke    
Miss Marietta Endicott— headmistress of Miss Endicott's Academy for Young Women (referred to as the School for Recalcitrant girls by the townspeople)    
     
Other Series Characters
     
Mr. McBride, apothecary we first meet him in To Love a Thief, which isn't a Pennyroyal Green book)    
Mr. Croker, scalliwag    
Eleanor, Countess Malmsey    
Harry the Footman    
Dr. William August    
Horace Peele (and Snap the dog)    
Madame Marceau, Modiste (we first net her in TO LOVE A THIEF, which isn't a Pennyroyal Green book; she also had a cameo in THE SECRET TO SEDUCTION)    
     
Pennyroyal Green Series Places
     
The Pig & Thistle, pub   The Mercury Club (in London)
Miss Marietta Endicott's Academy for Girls (The School for Recalcitrant Girls)   The Velvet Glove (in London)
The Church    
The Gypsy encampment