The Duke's Privateer
Fiction, Historical, Regency
January 5, 2021
When it comes to women, the Duke of Danby is an audacious rake... but when it comes to ridding the kingdom of smugglers, he's leading the charge. The Prince Regent has bankrupted the country more than once, and Danby isn't about to go down with a sinking ship. The Honorable Eleanor Kent hides behind the image of a self-proclaimed spinster... though in truth she's one of England's most sought-after privateers. When their paths cross at a royal dinner... Danby suspects the stunning redheaded woman is more than she seems. He engages her to consult on a chinoiserie remodel and Eleanor gladly accepts. Indeed, she'd rather keep her enemy close where she can watch his every move. Though neither duke nor lady has a clue of how tangled the web they're spinning will become. As the heat ratchets up, so does their unbidden attraction. Will they get burned before it's too late to run?
Oh a woman who is not doing as Society expects – but has to do it in private because women can’t run businesses – of course. And then the business that she runs just happens to have an illegal side to it. Smuggling!
Well Society likes its fine linens, silk, alcohol and so on, but wants it a really ‘good’ price. And there are, as always, taxes to pay on imports.
So if you can be a profitable importer, it pays to add a cargo without taxes!
Eleanor has managed to buy a ship – The King’s Jewel – which is fast and travels into exotic locations like Japan and China and brings back artifacts from these countries for Prinny – the Prince Regent. Who likes exotica and has furnished his palace in Brighton with a marvel of artifacts that did not come in through the usual ports… If you supply the Prince, it would be difficult to accuse you of smuggling as that would implicate the Prince. But if you need income for the Crown to pay for wars etc then there is are in a dilemma.
The Brighton Pavilion still stands mostly how Prinny furbished it and is really wonderful to go and visit.
This is a nice story, well written, with some solid economic and political points.
Forever Your Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas
December 18, 2020
From a New York Times bestselling author: A forbidden love, opposites attract romp between a meticulously proper duke and an impishly improper spinster in this witty, feel-good romance! This year, the Duke of Nottingvale's Christmastide house party doubles as a bride hunt. The handsome duke seeks a blue-blooded debutante as respectable as he is, and his parlor is brimming with paragons of propriety. Inveterate spinster and unapologetic hoyden Miss Cynthia Louise Finch does not fit the mold. Any mold. Her younger cousin is perfect for the duke! By matchmaking the two, Cynthia will save her favorite cousin from a horrific fate. The only problem? Cynthia has always held a tendre for the duke. And for the first time, she seems to have caught his attention... The Duke of Nottingvale knows his responsibilities: Duty and decorum above all else. A respectable lord would never sneak away for stolen moments with a fearless, audacious minx he cannot make his duchess. He definitely wouldn't kiss her. Or fall in love... The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!
Cynthia is a bit of a naughty spinster. She hasn’t waited until marriage as she is convinced that she won’t ever be married and therefore there is no point in waiting. But her affairs are always short and sweet – only at Christmas as that is the only time she is around the Christmas village and has access to suitable people.
This is the 12th book in the 12 books of Xmas series and the one that ties up the final Duke. The duke that holds an annual party for Xmas but never lives in Cressmouth at any other time, and as he is always hosting his party, never finds out what other delights the town has to offer.
Until he meets up with an ‘older’ spinster, who having endured many ‘Seasons’ and not having acquired any interest in marriage from suitors- and in fact rarely even been asked to danced – had decided that she could enjoy her herself in what would be termed scandalous pursuits if she were marriageable. She lures the duke out of his party and into Cressmouth delights, but has a number of accidents with him as she does – including skiing and almost breaking his legs.
This was as always light, stylish and fun to read.
12 Dukes of Christmas
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This book actually talks about the background history to Cressmouth and how it became a Christmas village
It tells you of the people who were instrumental in setting up the various elements that produced the final village and the rationale for how it was set up – so for instance the villagers paid for a 100 years lease with no further rent with one Guinea. This ensured that no greedy landlord could impoverish them in the future.
It was also agreed that the food and entertainment and so on would be free to all, but when you take into account the amount of rent that they were going to charge for the Castle apartments, in fact the food and all the entertainments would be paid for with a hefty profit. Because every time they talked about the rent for the Castle apartments, the price went up, until it was over a year’s rent for a London town house. So this meant that if you could afford to rent one of the Castle apartments you got bragging rights, and your name would be inserted into the regular newsletters that was sent out by the Christmas owners and management, which therefore would bring in money, rather than paying out for adverts in other people’s newsletters.
There was also to be an annual edition which would bring out all the annual highlights, and would be charged for as a picture book that would be kept.
We know about the stringent terms on which the shops were leased from the previous story about the jeweller in which there were seven years to pay back the loan or you lost everything.
All of which meant that Christmas was profitable and yet appeared to be free for all to enjoy.
It was therefore organised so that the nobility and the rich paid up and those with no money paid nothing.
I’m going to give this one five stars because I like the rational of how Christmas was arranged. Below are the 12 books that complete this series.
Secrets of a Duke’s Daughter
The Duchess’s Investigative Society, #1
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
March 8th 2021
A duke’s daughter must be prepared for whatever life—and love—throws her way…
Lady Cassandra Fallon is finally ready to take control of her life and join her late mother’s investigative society. She’s more than confident she can do the job—even when her first case involves a potentially deadly scandal. What she’s not quite prepared for is her brother’s attractive (and increasingly distracting) friend acting as her self-appointed bodyguard…
When Lord Luke promised his best friend he’d keep an eye on Cassie, he meant it. But the brazen and entirely too alluring woman she’s become is a far cry from the mischievous, freckled girl she used to be. Luke knows a lowly viscount has no business longing for (or touching) a duke’s daughter. But against all reason…he does…
She craves independence. He only craves her. An epic battle of the sexes is at hand. But will love be enough to get them to happily ever after? Cassie and Luke will soon find out…
A duke’s daughter must be prepared for whatever life—and love—throws her way…
USA Today Bestselling author @samantha_and_duke is back with a new series, The Duchess’s Investigative Society! Book 1, Secrets of a Duke’s Daughter, is out NOW! Get it FREE on #KindleUnlimited ➞ https://amzn.to/3kLvM2F
“Anton will not be pleased you are keeping secrets.”
“Anton is not here, and even if he were, he would not be as tiresome as you are being.” She shook her head. “I know you mean well, Luke, but I am not going to get into trouble as my brother fears and it is rather tedious to be treated as though I am still a little girl.”
Oh he well knew that. If she were, he would not have to dwell on how womanly she appeared in her powder blue pelisse. More slender than technically fashionable, her figure still teased, the coat hugging under her breasts and offering a hint of curves.
Luke prided himself on being an equal opportunities sort of a man, finding himself attracted to a variety of traits but there was something about the tall length of Cassie that made him want to claw at his gut to rid himself of the itch there.
If he had a penny for every time he’d thought of her naked over the last year or so he’d be, well, still too poor to afford Cassie’s upkeep but it would certainly buy a decent meal. His desire to see her long legs, bare and spread out on his sheets, or those delicate breasts free of their confines bordered on the obscene.
He clenched his jaw and watched their progression through the busy London streets. Drivers cursed one another and pedestrians darted between the vehicles, slowing the journey to an agonizing pace. He needed it over as soon as possible so he could breathe Cassie-free air and rid himself of this madness.
Because, damn it, she was Anton’s little sister.
“I will never understand why you do Anton’s bidding. Surely you have better things to do with your time?”
He allowed a tight smile. Cassie had little idea quite how wild he had been back in his college days and how close he had come to ruining his life forever. He considered that perhaps he should tell her and frighten her away for good, but he couldn’t bring himself to see the disappointment in her gaze.
“I gave Anton my word to protect you, Little Cassie, and I am a man of my word.”
She made a dismissive noise and lifted her gaze to the roof of the closed carriage. “You men and your word. I would rather see action than words.”
Luke’s throat tightened and he swallowed hard, but the knot did not budge. She wanted action. He wanted to give it to her. By some miracle, he managed to remain on his seat and resist the desire to leap across the gap between them and pin her to her chair, ensuring they went absolutely nowhere while he showed her exactly what sort of action he was capable of.
“I am here, in your carriage, escorting you to your friend’s house.” He forced a relaxed smile that felt borderline fraudulent. “That is action, Cassie.”
The redness in Cassie’s cheeks deepened. “Must you be so…relentless.”
“Well, I do not care what anyone has told you, it is a frustrating trait.”
Luke smirked to himself. Frustrated by him she might be, but he doubted Cassie felt even half of the frustration he suffered by simply being in her company.
Today would be a long day.
Book & Author Details:
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Samantha Holt is known for fun, witty, and usually steamy historical romances. She’s been a full-time writer for longer than she ever thought possible having originally trained as a nurse and an archaeologist. She’s a champion napper, owner of too many animals, mum to twins, and lives in a small village near the very middle of England.
She’s usually writing (or napping) but when she’s not, Samantha is plotting (books of course!) with her husband, drinking coffee, climbing hills that are far too high for her fitness levels or visiting stately homes and pretending she’s posh.
Once upon a time there were a series of books about women living in the Regency period who dared. Who dared each other to do something somewhat scandalous in that period of time. There are 12 books in this series – and another series just starting about their daughters. [You should be aware that due to timing of babies and that one marriage had 8 children, daughters were being born just as the oldest daughters were being married – not that wasn’t unusual in those days, it happened to my own grandmother!]
The books are of course rather feminist in tone and include women who dare to break the conventions – to begin with because the original set of ladies were unconventional – bookworms, unmarriageable due to birth circumstances, and so on. So they formed a club – The Peculiar Ladies. Note that birth circumstances in that time included being Irish or Scottish as well as partly Indian, illegitimate, without a dowry etc etc and definitely including having some intelligence and showing it. Remember, this was a time when the law made women effectively chattels. Once married they were ‘owned’ by their husbands. There was no law to protect them from any abuse, their property was controlled by their husbands unless it was legally tied up before their marriage as some fathers did, and opinions were things they should not have. Some men went so far as to forbid their wives to read because it meant they might form their own opinions rather than accepting his.
Now 12 books is too many to review. Suffice to say they are all fun, include some naughty Bridgerton scenes, and I shall indicate by an image for each one, the denouement or a keen clue.
I thought I would just add a rider about marriage and the 3 ways you could marry in Regency times.
According to the Marriage Act of 1754 you could:
Call Banns in a church where you were a congregant. as now.
Have a Special Licence – which enabled you to marry in haste. Archbishop of Canterbury and allowed a marriage to take place anywhere, not just within a place of worship licenced for marriages. A handful were granted each year, usually to members of the upper reaches of the aristocracy. See Jane Austen’s London for more details of Marriage in Regency times.
Obtain a Commons Licence. this was normally issued by one of the following – an Archbishop, an Archdeacon, the Minister of a named parish such as St Paul’s. You went to Doctor’s Commons in London for the Registry. There needed to be no impediments. You had to be over age of consent for marriage. Sometimes you had to provide a money bond. And in theory you needed to be resident in the Parish where you were to be married, for 4 weeks – but often ignored.