Authors: Juliana Gray
Tags: #HistorIcal romance, #Fiction
Rave reviews for
“In the second delectable addition to her elevated historical trilogy, Gray pays tribute . . . to composer Verdi while again dazzling readers with scintillating wit, lusciously layered characters, and sizzling, sensual romance, proving she truly is the newest incandescent star in the romance firmament.”
“The charming plot, enlightening historical detail, breathtaking sensuality, and unusual 1890s Tuscan setting take a backseat to the exquisite characterizations, clever dialogue, and addictive prose that make this exceptional debut stand apart.”
“Buoyed by an abundance of deliciously tart wit, spiced with a generous amount of incendiary sexual chemistry, gifted with a setting right out of
, and graced with a cast of captivating characters, Gray’s impeccably crafted debut romance (which gracefully tips its literary cap to Shakespeare) is a complete triumph.”
“Gray debuts with a smart, witty tale that introduces readers to a marvelously unconventional, eccentric cast of characters and an enchanting Italian setting. Here’s a story that feeds readers’ hearts, minds, and souls and captures the spirit of the era, the beauty of the countryside and the magic of love.”
RT Book Reviews
“Charming, original characters, a large dose of humor, and a plot that’s fantastic fun make
A Lady Never Lies
a fabulous read. Prepare to be captivated by Finn and Alexandra!”
“Fresh, clever, and supremely witty. A true delight.”
New York Times
“A witty, passionate historical romance that readers will find hard to put down . . . The novel is an absolute delight and an auspicious start for Ms. Gray’s literary career.”
in this dazzling debut. Pour yourself some limoncello, turn off the phone, and treat yourself to the best new book of the year!”
—Lauren Willig, national bestselling author
“Extraordinary! In turns charming, passionate, and thrilling—and sometimes all three at once—
A Lady Never Lies
sets a new mark for historical romance. Juliana Gray is on my autobuy list.”
New York Times
“Juliana Gray writes a delightful confection of prose and desire that leaps off the page. This romance will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.”
New York Times
“Juliana Gray has a stupendously lyrical voice, unlike anybody else’s I’ve read—really just a gorgeous way with language. Some of the imagery made my breath catch from delighted surprise, as did the small, deft touches of characterization that brought these characters so vividly to life. The story feels tremendously sophisticated, but also fresh, deliciously witty, and devastatingly romantic.”
New York Times
Berkley Sensation titles by Juliana Gray
A LADY NEVER LIES
A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS
A DUKE NEVER YIELDS
HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author
Copyright © 2013 by Juliana Gray.
How to Master Your Marquis
by Juliana Gray copyright © 2013 by Juliana Gray.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.
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For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
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eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-61300-9
Berkley Sensation mass-market paperback edition / June 2013
Cover art by Alan Ayers.
Cover design by George Long.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
To the ladies of the Romance Book Club, and especially our sweet Emily, who gets a duke of her own.
And to all the men and women who have returned from battle no longer whole, and those who love them.
I started the month of May 2012 as an impatient writer-in-waiting. Now, with the release of
How to Tame Your Duke
in June 2013, I find myself the exhausted author of six books in print: four historical romances as Juliana Gray, and two general romantic fiction titles as Beatriz Williams. Such excess could not occur without the heroic support of a great many wonderful people. Among them:
My agent and personal superhero, Alexandra Machinist, and the entire team of professionals at Janklow & Nesbit who execute so flawlessly on every front: thank you, thank you for allowing me to focus on writing alone.
My Berkley editor, Kate Seaver, whose sound advice and excellent taste improve every book; her assistant, Katherine Pelz, a miracle of organization; my meticulous copy editor, who keeps my timelines straight and my hyphens invisible; Erin Galloway, publicist of boundless energy; and all the talented and enthusiastic teams in art, production, marketing, and sales.
My husband, children, and in-laws, whose patience and love are essential and unending.
The best readers in the world, whose emails and Facebook comments inspire me daily.
And the greatest gift of all this past year: those countless instances of breathtaking generosity from the writing and romance communities. You enrich my life. There are no words big enough to thank you.
t two o’clock in the morning, as a cold autumn rain drummed against the damask-shrouded windowpanes of his Park Lane town house, the Duke of Olympia was awoken by his valet and told that three ladies awaited him downstairs in his private study.
, did you say?” asked Olympia, as he might say
three copulating hippopotamuses
“Yes, sir. And two attendants.”
“I thought it best, sir,” said the valet. “The study is situated at the back of the house.”
Olympia stared at the ducal canopy above his head. “Isn’t it Ormsby’s job to take care of such matters? Turn the women away, or else toss them into the upstairs bedchambers until morning.”
The valet adjusted the sleeve of his dressing gown. “Mr. Ormsby elected to refer the matter to me, Your Grace, as an affair of a personal nature, requiring Your Grace’s immediate attention.” His voice flexed minutely on the word
. “The attendants, of course, are in the kitchen.”
Olympia’s ears gave a twinge. His sleep-darkened mind began to awaken and spark, like a banked fire brought back to life by a surly housemaid. “I see,” he said. He continued to stare into the canopy. The pillow beneath his head was of finest down encased in finest linen, cradling his skull in weightless lavender-scented comfort. Beneath the heavy bedcovers, his body made a warm cocoon into the softness of the mattress. He removed one hand from this haven and plucked the nightcap from his head. “Three ladies, did you say?”
“Yes, sir. And a dog.” The valet made his disapproval of the dog apparent without the smallest change of voice.
“A corgi, I believe. And the ladies: two auburn and one fair?”
Olympia sat up and heaved a sigh. “I’ve been expecting them.”
Eight minutes later, in a yellow dressing gown rioting with British lions, with his silvering hair neatly brushed and his chin miraculously shaved, the Duke of Olympia opened the door to his private study in a soundless whoosh.
“Good morning, my dears,” he said cordially.
The three ladies jumped in their three chairs. The corgi launched himself into the air and landed, legs splayed, atop the priceless Axminster rug, on which he promptly disgraced himself.
“I beg your pardon,” Olympia said. “Don’t rise, I implore you.”
The three ladies dropped back into the chairs, except the auburn-haired youngest, who scooped up the dog with a reproving whisper.
“Your Grace,” said the eldest, “I apologize most abjectly for the irregularity of our arrival. I hope we have not put out your household. We meant not to disturb you until morning . . .”
“Except that wretched new butler of yours, Ormsby or whatever the devil his name was . . .” burst out the youngest.
“Stefanie, my dear!” exclaimed the eldest.
Olympia smiled and shut the door behind him with a soft click. He stepped toward the center of the room and stopped before the first chair. “Luisa, dear child. How well you look, in spite of everything.” He took her hand and squeezed it. “A very great pleasure to see you again, Your Highness, after so many years.”
“Oh, Uncle.” A blush spread across Luisa’s pale cheeks, and her hollow blue-eyed gaze seemed to fill a trifle. “You’re terribly kind.”
“And Stefanie, my dear scamp. Do you know, I recently met another young lady who reminded me very much of you. It made my old heart ache, I assure you.” Olympia reached for Stefanie’s hand, but she instead released the dog, sprang from her chair, and threw her arms around him.
“Uncle Duke, how perfectly sporting of you to take us in! I knew you would. You always were such a trump.”
Stefanie’s arms were young and strong about his waist, and he patted her back with gentle hands and laughed. “You always were the most reckless girl in that damned cow pasture of a principality you call home.”
“Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof is not a cow pasture, Uncle Duke!” Stefanie pulled back and slapped his arm. “It’s the most charming principality in Germany. Herr von Bismarck himself pronounced it magnificent. And dear Vicky . . .”
“Yes, of course, my dear. I was only teasing. Quite charming, I’m sure.” Olympia suppressed a shudder. Bucolic landscapes made his belly twitch. He turned to the final princess of charming Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof, the middle child, quietly soothing the corgi, who was yapping and whining by turns. “And Emilie,” he said.
Emilie looked up and smiled at him behind her spectacles. “Uncle.” She placed the corgi on the rug and rose.
How old was the girl now? Twenty-three? Twenty-four? But her eyes looked older, round and owlish, improbably ancient amid the clear skin and delicate bones of her face. Her hair gleamed golden in the light from the single electric lamp on Olympia’s desk. The other two were handsome girls, constructed on regal lines that showed well in photographs, but Emilie’s beauty was more subtle. It ducked and hid behind her spectacles and her retiring nature. A scholar, Emilie: She could parse her Latin and Greek better than Olympia himself. A strain of genius ran through the family blood, and Emilie had caught it in full.
“My dear girl.” Olympia caught her hands and kissed her cheek. “How are you?”
“I am well, Uncle.” She spoke quietly, but there were tears in her voice.
“Sit down, all of you. I have ordered tea. You must be exhausted.” He motioned to the chairs and propped himself on the corner of his desk. “Did you make the crossing last night?”
“Yes, after sunset,” said Stefanie. “I was sick twice.”
“Really, Stefanie.” Luisa was sharp.
“It was the licorice,” said Stefanie, sitting back in her chair and looking at the gilded ceiling. “I never could resist licorice, and that little boy at the quayside . . .”
“Yes, quite,” said Olympia. “And your attendants?”
“Oh, they were quite all right. Sturdy stomachs, you know.”
Olympia coughed. “I mean, who are they? Can they be trusted?”
“Yes, of course.” Luisa shot a reproving look—not the first—at Stefanie. “Our governess, who as you know has been with us a thousand years, and Papa’s”—her voice quivered slightly—“Papa’s valet, Hans.”
“Yes, I remember Hans,” said Olympia. He focused his mind on the memory: a burly fellow, not the most delicate hand with a neckcloth, but his eyes burned with loyalty to his master, whom he had served since before the prince’s marriage to Olympia’s youngest sister. “I remember Miss Dingleby, as well. It was I who sent her to your mother, when Luisa was ready for schooling. I am relieved to hear she has escaped safely with you.”
“So you have heard the tale.” Luisa looked down at her hands, tangled tightly in her lap.
“Yes, my dear,” Olympia said, in his kindest voice. “I am very sorry.”
“Of course he’s heard,” said Emilie, in an expectedly brisk voice. Her eyes, fixed on Olympia’s face, gleamed sharply behind her spectacles. “Our uncle knows about all these things, often before the rest of the world. Isn’t that so, Uncle?”
Olympia spread his broad hands before them. “I am a private man. I simply hear things, from time to time . . .”
“Nonsense,” said Emilie. “You were expecting us. Tell us what you know, Uncle. I should like, for once, to hear the entire story. When one’s trapped in the middle of things, you see, it’s all rather muddled.” She looked at him steadily, with those wise eyes, and Olympia, whose innards were not easily unsettled except by bucolic landscapes, knew a distinct flip-flop in the region of his liver.
“Emilie, such impertinence,” Luisa said.
Olympia straightened. “No, my dear. In this case, Emilie is quite right. I have taken it upon myself to make an inquiry or two, in hemi-demi-semi-official channels, about your case. After all, you are family.”
The last word echoed heavily in the room, calling up the image of the girls’ mother, Olympia’s sister, who had died a decade ago as she labored to bring the long-awaited male heir of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof into the world. The baby, two months early, had died a day later, and though Prince Rudolf had married thrice more, applying himself with nightly perseverance to his duty, no coveted boys had materialized. Only the three young ladies remained: Princess Stefanie, Princess Emilie, and—bowing at last to the inevitable four months ago—Crown Princess Luisa, the acknowledged heir to the throne of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof.
But their mother still hovered, like a ghost in the room. Olympia’s favorite sister, though he would never have admitted it. His own dear Louisa, clever and handsome and full of charm, who had fallen in love with Prince Rudolf at court in the unending summer of 1864, during the height of fashion for German royalty.
Emilie, he thought, as he gazed upon the young princesses, had Louisa’s eyes.
“And?” she asked now, narrowing those familiar eyes.
The electric lamp gave a little flicker, as if the current had been disturbed. Outside, a dog barked faintly at some passing drunkard or night dustman, and the corgi rose to the tips of his paws, ears trembling. Olympia crossed his long legs and placed his right hand at the edge of the desk, fingers curling around the polished old wood. “I have no inkling, I’m afraid, who caused the death of your father and”—he turned a sorrowful gaze to Luisa, who sat with her eyes cast down—“your own husband, my dearest Luisa.” This was not entirely a lie, though it was not precisely the truth; but Olympia had long since lost all traces of squeamish delicacy in such matters. “One suspects, naturally, that the murder must have occurred by the hand of some party outraged by Luisa’s official recognition as heir to the throne last summer, and her subsequent marriage to . . . I beg your pardon, my dear. What was the poor fellow’s name, God bless his soul?”
“Peter,” Luisa whispered.
“Peter, of course. My deepest apologies that I was unable to attend the ceremony. I felt I would not be missed.”
“By the by, that was a jolly nice epergne you sent,” said Stefanie. “We absolutely marveled on it.”
“You are quite welcome,” said Olympia. “I daresay it has all been packed safely away?”
“Miss Dingleby saw to it herself.”
“Clever Miss Dingleby. Excellent. Yes, the murders. I thought to send for you myself, but before I could make the necessary arrangements, word had reached me . . .”
“So quickly?” asked Emilie, with her clever eyes.
telegraphs, my dear. Even in the heart of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof, I’m told, although in this case the necessary communication came from a friend of mine in Munich.”
“What sort of friend?” Emilie leaned forward.
Olympia waved his hand. “Oh, an old acquaintance. In any case, he told me the facts of this latest crisis, the . . . the . . .”
Luisa looked up and said fiercely: “My attempted abduction, do you mean?”
“Yes, my dear. That. I was gratified to learn that you had defended yourself like a true daughter of your blood, and evaded capture. When the papers reported the three of you missing with your governess, I knew there was nothing more to fear. Miss Dingleby would know what to do.”
“She has been a heroine,” said Luisa.
Olympia smiled. “I had no doubt.”
“Well then,” said Stefanie. “When do we begin? Tomorrow morning? For I should like to have at least a night’s sleep first, after all that rumpus. I declare I shall never look at a piece of licorice in quite the same light.”
“Begin?” Olympia blinked. “Begin what?”
Stefanie rose from her chair and began to pace about the room. “Why, investigating the matter, of course! Finding out who’s responsible! I should be more than happy to act as bait, though I rather think it’s poor Luisa they’re after, God help them.”
“My dear, do sit down. You’re making me dizzy.” Olympia lifted one hand to shield his eyes. “Investigate? Act as
? Quite out of the question. I shouldn’t dream of risking my dear nieces in such a manner.”
“But something must be done!” exclaimed Emilie, rising, too.
“Of course, and something
be done. The Foreign Office is most concerned about the matter. Instability in the region and all that. They shall be conducting the most rigorous inquiries, I assure you. But in the meantime, you must hide.”
“Hide?” said Emilie.
Stefanie stopped in mid-pace and turned to him, face alight with outrage. “A princess of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof does not
Olympia lifted himself away from the desk and gathered his hands behind his back. “Of course, there’s no point hiding in the ordinary manner. These continental agents, I’m told, are unnaturally cunning in seeking out their targets. Simply sending you to rusticate in some remote village won’t do. Your photographs are already in the papers.”
Stefanie’s hands came together. “Disguise! Of course! You mean to disguise us! I shall be a dairymaid. I milked a cow once, at the Schweinwald summer festival. They were all quite impressed. The dairyman told me I had a natural affinity for udders.”
“Nonsense. A dairymaid! The very idea. No, my dears. I have something in mind more subtle, more devious. More, if you’ll pardon the word . . .”—he paused, for effect—“. . .