The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior
Dukes Behaving Badly # 1
Dukes Behaving Badly # 1
By: Megan Frampton
Releasing November 25th, 2014
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All of London knows the Duke of Rutherford has position and wealth. They also whisper that he’s dissolute, devilish, and determinedly unwed. So why, everyone is asking, has he hired a governess?
When Miss Lily Russell crosses the threshold of the Duke of Rutherford’s stylish townhouse, she knows she has come face to face with sensual danger. For this is no doting papa. Rather, his behavior is scandalous, and his reputation rightly earned. And his pursuit of her is nearly irresistible—but resist she must for the sake of her pupil.
As for the duke himself, it was bad enough when his unknown child landed on his doorstep. Now Lily, with her unassuming beauty, has aroused his most wicked fantasies—and, shockingly, his desire to change his wanton ways. He’s determined to become worthy of her, and so he asks for her help in correcting his behavior.
But Lily has a secret, one that, if it becomes known, could change everything . . .
Marcus felt his lip curl as he surveyed the signs of debauchery in his ballroom. Which was not, he knew full well, used for parties, balls, or social events of any kind.
Empty brandy bottles lingered to the sides of the chairs at random angles around the room; various articles of women’s clothing were scattered around, including one cleverly-placed corset on a statue of one of his very male ancestors; a few plates of half-eaten food were on the tables, one of the cats that refused to leave (or more correctly that he didn’t have the heart to make go) nibbling delicately on them while a second cat twined about his ankles.
“So you were saying how difficult it is to be a duke?” Smithfield’s tone was as dry as--well, as Marcus’s throat.
He could fix that. He drained his glass, then attempted to scowl at Smithfield, one of his two new boon companions. The other, Collins, was currently fast asleep on one of the sofas, the results of imbibing a substantial amount of the brandy one of Collins’s ships had brought in. Marcus himself had fallen asleep earlier, so he wasn’t entirely exhausted. Not entirely, at least.
“It sounds ridiculous,” he said, then felt himself smile as Smithfield looked at him pointedly. “It is ridiculous. I am a duke, I have no no financial issues, I am unmarried, in prime health, and can do nearly whatever I want.”
“But?” Smithfield said as Marcus paused.
“But all that is required of a duke is that we wed properly and start fathering little dukes-to-be, and that particular scenario is enough to make me want to wrap that corset,” he said, gesturing to the statue, “around my throat and strangle myself. Bad enough I have to live a life I had never planned on; to do it at the side of a woman I would, in the best case, amicably dislike, in the worst case, utterly loathe, is not to be considered.”
“That is terrible,” Smithfield replied, still in that dry as Marcus’s throat used-to-be tone. “To have to marry and swan about being a duke when you could--well, what did you do six months ago, before you inherited? Or better yet, what would you rather be doing?”
Disappearing. Leaving. Being free of all responsibilities and cares. Never having to answer to anyone. “I used to walk a lot, just...walk. That made me almost happy.” Marcus knew, in the back of his mind, that he wouldn’t be talking this frankly if it weren’t for the quantities of Collins’s brandy he’d drunk. But Smithfield was asking, and maybe, if Marcus was lucky, neither one of them would recall just how he’d bared his soul so pathetically. Again, thanks to Collins’s brandy.
“Is that what you did before inheriting? Walk?” Smithfield’s tone was now...less dry. As though he understood that what Marcus was saying was nearly important. Even if it still felt as though it wasn’t really what Marcus wished to say.
But that would require that Marcus knew what he wished to say, and that would require that he know what would make him happy. He could say, with certainty, that it was neither drinking, gambling, nor fornicating. Even before he’d come into the dukedom so unexpectedly, Marcus had searched for satisfaction through drinking, gambling, and fornicating. He’d traveled to other countries, where he’d drunk, gambled, and fornicated. He’d returned to London where he’d at least had the comforts of his own home while he drank, gambled, and fornicated.
Except for the quality of the brandy, and the soft, luxurious fur of the inherited cats he seemed to have grown fond of, he’d been disappointed.
“Walking, yes,” he replied, then glanced over to Smithfield. Who had fallen asleep. Marcus shook his head, drained his glass, and reached out to scratch the black and white cat on the chin. The cat was far more interested in the food on the table, however, which left Marcus to his own devices. As usual. As he preferred, he assured himself.
“I used to walk all the time, just on my own, with no-one looking for me, no-one worried about me, no-one caring for me,” he said, speaking to the uninterested cat. The dukedom had included the cats, whom the previous duke had acquired. Sometimes he thought they were the best part of inheriting the title. He poured another measure of Collins’s brandy in his glass, but didn’t drink. “Until my father told me to stop ‘wandering about like a vagabond,’ that it wasn’t suitable, even for me.”
He took a sip. “And then my father died, and my brother died, and suddenly I was next in line to inherit when the duke died. A man I’d barely met. And here I am, living in his house, with his title, with his cats, spending his money.” His throat tightened. “I don’t even feel as though I belong here, even though there is nowhere else I belong better.”
The cat, wisely, did not respond.
He felt a surge of anger, at what he wasn’t entirely certain--just as he didn’t know what he wanted.
But meanwhile, he knew what he did not want, and that was for the two sleeping men in his ballroom to be there any longer. The cats could stay.
"The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior" by Megan Frampton. What an enjoyable read! This one is the newest addition to my favorites shelf. Throughout I was smiling and chuckling, even when there was heartbreak. Lily and Marcus are thoroughly entertaining. The though processes each go through while figuring things out are quite humorous. Marcus, the Duke, really has no clue how to be a Duke and yet, he encompasses all the qualities that a true Duke should. Lily, his governess and not of the same social class, is not only sweet and kind, she has no qualms of stating her opinion to the Duke about the Duke. Watching the relationship grow and bloom is endearing as it happens. The only thing that I was slightly disappointed (and I mean slightly) in was the ending (epilogue) - I suppose it's because I didn't want the story to end and was hoping to read a bit more about Lily and Marcus. For a light and romantic read, don't miss out on this one! (Received copy for honest review)
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.
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