Welcome to day seven of our Sealed with A Kiss event. Juliana Gray's hero can't seem to make up his mind as to how to word his love letter to his heroine.
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Ah, Valentine’s Day: that particular revolution of the earth set aside for lovers! But there are two people unlucky in Cupid’s books this time around, and I’m afraid their immediate prospects for amorous celebration are Not Good.
The Duke of Wallingford has decided it’s high time he abandoned his rakish ways and proved to his meddling grandfather that he’s quite capable of managing his life without bringing disgrace upon the family. Together with his brother Roland and his best friend Phineas Burke, he sets off to a remote castle Italy for a year of seclusion from the fashionable world and its temptations.
But temptation, alas, comes to him, in the form of the charming, lovely, and hilariously outspoken Miss Abigail Harewood, who’s come to Italy with her sister and cousin for a secret retreat of their own. Naturally, the sparks begin to fly, and when a certain private encounter ends in a cloud of goose feathers rather than a haze of ecstasy, both of them find it hard to apologize…
His Grace, the Duke of Wallingford, to Miss Abigail Harewood:
(crossed out with heavy black lines and crumpled into a ball)
(torn into very tiny pieces and tossed in the dustbin)
Oh, I’ve done my best to be a decent sort of duke. I’ve rescued the estate from my father’s mismanagement, I’ve treated my tenants and dependents with justice and—I believe I can honestly say this—an active interest in their affairs. By some lucky accident, I was chosen for riches and power and privilege, unimaginable to the rest of humanity, and for most of my life I have pretended to deserve it. I have pretended to be the almighty Duke of Wallingford, who takes what is offered him because it is his due.
Do you know what I thought when I first saw you? I thought you were a fairy, an otherworldly being, dancing into the inn with raindrops on your eyelashes and your smile illuminating the room. Too fine and precious for a man like me; so innocent and so worldly all at once. I gave up London and its rows of willing sycophantic women to see if I could make myself a better man, and then you arrived, and what am I to do? Take you, and fail myself? Fail the both of us? But I see your face turned toward me, and your patient eyes reading me, and all I want is you, Abigail: to know you perfectly, to kiss you, to lie with you, to wake with you, to laugh with you over the breakfast table. I am going mad with it…
(shredded into many, many minute pieces and tossed in the fire)
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 5, 2013)
Impatient with the strictures of polite British society, Miss Abigail Harewood has decided to live life on her own term — and the first thing she requires is a lover. When the commanding Duke of Wallingford arrives on the doorstep of her leased holiday castle, she thinks she's found the perfect candidate: handsome, dashing, and experienced in the art of love.
But tempting Wallingford into her bed proves more difficult than she imagined. Restless and dissatisfied with his debauched life in London, the formerly rakish duke is determined to spend a year chaste. But as Abigail tries her best to seduce him, Wallingford finds his resolve crumbling in the face of her irresistible charm... and her alluring secrets.
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Head over to Dani's blog for Abigail's unsent letters to Wallingford.
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