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Duchess By Night

Cover of Duchess By Night

Duchess By Night

Desperate Duchesses Series, Book 3
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A Mischievous Charade...Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants...More
A Mischievous Charade...Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants...More
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Description-
  • A Mischievous Charade...

    Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants is to attend an outrageous soiree where she can unleash her wildest whims and desires. But to attend such an event—especially if the event in question is Lord Justinian Strange's rollicking fete, filled with noble rogues and rotters, risqué ladies and illicit lovers—would be certain scandal. That's why she must disguise herself...

    Looking forward to a night of uninhibited pleasure, Lord Strange is shocked to discover that beneath the clothes of a no-good rake is the most beautiful woman in the room. Why is a woman like her risking her reputation at his notorious affair? And can he possibly entice her to stay...forever?

 
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    In Which Cinderella Dresses for the Ball and Her Fairy Godmother Brings a Goose Instead of a Pumpkin

    January 6 (Twelfth Night), 1784

    A Costume Ball

    The Country Seat of the Duke of Beaumont

    Nursery tales are full of fascinating widows, although they aren't always the nicest characters. Cinderella's stepmother likely put on a dazzling gown for the prince's ball, even if her daughters did inherit her big feet and sharp tongue.

    Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, realized soon after her husband died that there are glamorous widows, and then there are widows who live in shoes with too many children, like poor Loveday Billing. There are widows who dance all night with younger men, and then there are dowdy widows who are offered only pinched smiles.

    Harriet had no illusions about what kind of widow she was. She was the kind who lived in a shoe, and never mind the fact that she had no children and her estate was much larger than a shoe.

    Her husband had been dead for two years and no younger—or older—men were lining up to ask her to dance. Most of her acquaintances still got a tragic sheen in their eyes and promptly moved away after greeting her, as if sadness was catching.

    Apparently, if one's husband committed suicide, one automatically became the unappealing type of widow.

    Partly it was her fault. Here she was at the Duchess of Beaumont's impromptu costume ball—but was she dressing as a glamorous character? Or even an evil one?

    "Who are you?" her friend Jemma (the aforesaid Duchess of Beaumont) asked.

    "A nursery rhyme character. Can you guess which one?" Harriet was wearing a motherly nightgown of plain cotton that her maid had recruited from the housekeeper. Underneath she had three petticoats, as well as four woolen stockings in her bodice. Just to show off a bit, she arched her back.

    "A nursery rhyme character with big breasts," Jemma said. "Very big breasts. Very very—"

    "Motherly breasts," Harriet prompted.

    "Actually you don't look motherly as much as wildly curvaceous. The problem will be if one of our houseguests lures you into a corner and attempts a cheerful grope. Wasn't there some nursery rhyme about lighting the way to bed?"

    "I'm not on my way to bed," Harriet said, somewhat deflated. "And no one ever tries to grope me. What character are you?"

    Jemma's gown was made of a clear pale pink that looked wonderful with the dark gold color of her unpowdered hair. There were small silk poppies sewn all over her skirts, and poppies tucked in her hair. She managed to look elegant and yet untamed, all at once.

    "Titania, Queen of the Fairies."

    "I'm Mother Goose. Which fairly sums up the difference between us."

    "What are you talking about!" Jemma scolded, wrapping an arm around Harriet. "Look at you, darling. You are far too young and fresh to be Mother Goose!"

    "No one will know who I am," Harriet said, pulling away from Jemma and sitting on the bed. "They'll think I'm a fat white ghost."

    Jemma started laughing. "The ghost of a murdered cook. No, all you need is a clue to your Mother Goose status, and people will admire the cleverness of your costume. Wait until you see Lord Pladget as Henry VIII: he has a hearth rug tied around his middle and he looks as big as a barn."

    "I already look as big as a barn, at least on top."

    "A goose!" Jemma said. "Of course, you need a goose and I know just the one!"

    "Oh, but—"

    Two minutes later, Jemma was back. With a goose.

    "Is that real?" Harriet asked warily.

    "In a matter of speaking. I'm afraid it's a little stiff. It usually flies along the wall in the south parlor. My mother-in-law has a morbid attitude toward decorating that involved arranging all kinds of...

About the Author-
  • Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is an honest-to-goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa's website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence.

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    HarperCollins
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Duchess By Night
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Desperate Duchesses Series, Book 3
Eloisa James
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Eloisa James
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