A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor #excerpt

Excerpt from A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

“You can’t leave me with this situation.” Lady Meriwether’s soft tone didn’t dull the steel in her voice. Then she added, “Your Grace,” almost as an afterthought.
Christian Vareck, the Duke of Randford, surmised by her stance that she was a no-nonsense individual, but the twisting of her hands revealed her understandable anguish at discovering she was one of Meri’s many wives.
The slightest twitch tugged at one of her red lips. They reminded him of a rose his mother had grown in the conservatory of his ancestral seat, Roseport. As a boy, he’d stood by his mother’s side as she pruned and grafted Roseport’s famed roses into works of art.
Lady Meriwether’s mouth definitely resembled one of those crimson masterpieces. Under the spectacular color of a perfect bloom lay the thorns designed to skewer any hand that dare threatened. He’d lay odds on it.
Lady Meriwether tilted her head and peeked down the hallway seeing if anyone could overhear them. “You just proved why many believe that chivalry is dead.”
“I only speak the truth,” Christian countered. “My brother and his estate aren’t my concern.”
She brought her smoldering gaze back to his.
“I meant to say half brother,” Christian corrected.
The slight tap of her toe indicated her patience was waning. “Half, step, or whole. He was your family.”
“I’m agog you’re defending him after what he’s done, particularly to you, Lady Meriwether.” He shouldn’t be astonished that she upheld Meri’s memory. Christian’s half brother had possessed a certain finesse and appeal that women loved.
“My name is Katherine. Katherine Greer before I married your brother.” She released a long-suffering breath. “As the Duke of Randford, surely you can help sort out the details.”
“You would assume wrongly. This isn’t my problem to fix. It’s Meri’s estate which Mr. Hanes supervises. He asked if I could stop by. I’ve done my duty. Now I’ll be on my way.” He deftly placed his hat on his head, then adjusted it with a tug. “An honor to make your acquaintance, Lady Meriwether.”
His insufferable half brother had made a fine pickle of these marriages, but Christian Vareck’s duties lay elsewhere. Namely, settling into his position as the Duke of Randford and trying to help his men who came home to nothing after returning from the war.
However, before he left Lady Meriwether standing in the hall, he stole a long gander at her person. She honored Meri’s passing by wearing a mourning gown with a short gray silk spencer. Meri’s tastes must have changed since Christian had been at war. His half brother normally favored light-haired women with full bodies and voluptuous bosoms.
Katherine Greer possessed none of those features. She had a lithe form that Christian had always preferred. It had to be her gaze that had first drawn Meri’s attention. Her large resolute hazel eyes fit perfectly with her heart-shaped face. The finishing touch of a delicate, refined nose made her pretty. However, her calm, steadfast demeanor at the situation signaled a woman who would not crumble at the first sign of trouble.
Christian had been back in London for a week, and since the war, he could appreciate beauty in the most unusual of places, even the family’s solicitor’s office and under such a tenuous situation. A man had to find amusement where he could since there was none on the battlefield. Plus, there were no guarantees a man would have enough time on earth to find other pleasures or even happiness.
Meri’s demise offered proof of that fact.
Christian moved toward the exit.
“Your Grace, please wait.” She took several steps forward, blocking the pathway. “Two women in Mr. Hanes’s office need your guidance. If this isn’t handled prudently, then we’ll all be ruined. You, above all others, know this is an impossible situation.”
“My half sibling was a virtuoso of the impossible.” He delivered his most sincere smile. “For instance, he was forever finding improbable and impossible situations to land in . . . just like that mud puddle.”
“That’s a little glib, even for a duke.” She clasped her gloved hands in front of her in a stance better suited for a governess with a wayward charge.
“Lady Meriwether,” he said patiently. “I asked Hanes to sort things out. Like you, I’ve just discovered what your husband has done. We can’t expect answers immediately.” He dipped his head once to indicate he was leaving again.
“You can’t leave. We”—she waved a hand between them—“are in this together. If word leaks what Meri has done, we’ll face real scandal. Those women in Mr. Hanes’s office need help. They’ll be ruined.” She took a step closer. “I hate to be crass, but you’re the duke, the head of the family, which makes it your mess. You need to clean it up.”
Without hesitating, he took one step back for safety. He groaned dramatically. “Lady Meriwether, lucky for you, I employ people to clean up messes. This office for instance. They’re the best legal minds in London.”
She laughed softly, but her eyes sparkled with a renewed aggravation. “Your brother retained the same people too.” She lifted one perfect eyebrow. “The best legal minds in London apparently don’t have a clue how to proceed.”
Her gaze pinned him in place.
He narrowed his eyes. “You wear sarcasm well, Lady Meriwether.”
“I take that as a compliment,” she purred, then tilted her head in challenge. “What are you afraid of?” she asked softly. “Me? The others?”
“Madame . . .” He lowered his voice. “I’ve faced Napoleon’s finest infantry in conditions that would curl your toes. I’ve seen fires and horrors on the battlefields that make hell look like a well-groomed park.” He allowed his gaze to rake over her form again. “Trust me. I highly doubt you or this dilemma can scare me.”
Instead of being offended, she smiled slightly. “We shall see, Your Grace.”

A Duke in Time
by Janna MacGregor

Publication Date: June 29, 2021
St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Series: The Widow Rules, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

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“Janna MacGregor dazzles her readers with sexy stories that are also endearingly tender. Her characters tug at your heart-strings and make you sad to turn the last page.” – New York Times bestseller Eloisa James

“Mesmerizing! Janna MacGregor pens enchanting characters and passionate romance that offers the perfect escape.” – New York Times bestseller Lorraine Heath

“Janna MacGregor’s stories positively sparkle. Filled with heart, humor, and passion, she is an absolute must read!” – USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell

“If…looking for something new with Austen’s spirit, humor, and dashing heroes, they can’t do better than McGregor.” – Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 5
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Tuesday, July 6
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Wednesday, July 7
Excerpt at Probably at the Library
Review + Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Friday, July 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Saturday, July 10
Excerpt at Reading Is My Remedy

Monday, July 12
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read

Tuesday, July 13
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, July 14
Review at Anna’s Book Blog

Thursday, July 15
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, July 16
Review at andreajanel_reads


Enter to win a paperback copy of A Duke In Time by Janna MacGregor!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on July 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

A Duke in Time

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