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SPOTLIGHT TOUR: The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes

Welcome to our spotlight stop for The Duke’s Disaster, a brand new historical romance from award-winning author Grace Burrowes. We’re HUGE fans of her stories, so we’re thrilled to be able to share this one with our readers. Check out the expanded excerpt as well as an amazing giveaway. Happy reading!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Duke's DisasterNoah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he’s infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea’s mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn’t expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

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Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance

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CLICK HERE FOR OUR REVIEW OF THE DUKE’S DISASTER

EXCERPT:

The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…

“Your tea, Duchess.”

Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.

Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.

“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.

“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”

“Because?”

“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”

“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”

“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”

Drat. He’d given another order.

“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”

“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?”

Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”

“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”

“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”

“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”

“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”

“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”

“A little of both, please.”

“Feeling carnivorous?”

“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”

Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Grace BurrowesNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s IndiscretionThe Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

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The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes

The Duke's DisasterRelease Date: April 7, 2015
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Copy from NetGalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Noah Winters, Earl of Anselm, spent months sorting and courting the year’s crop of debutantes in search of an ideal bride. When the sweet, biddable young thing he selected accepts another’s proposal, Noah decides to court her companion instead.

Thea Collins, though, is anything but biddable. She has learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted, especially the handsome ones. When she reluctantly accepts, Noah rushes Thea to the altar before she can reveal her deepest secret. Can she finally move on from her past, or will it come back to haunt her?

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OUR THOUGHTS:
I just finished The Duke’s Disaster, and my heart is singing. Grace Burrowes pens a clever tale featuring the very best characters, romance and all the entrapments and scandal that plague the Ton. It literally warms my heart to see the way she creates such moving, passionate love stories, even between the unlikeliest of pairs. The Duke’s Disaster is a story that will have you reading with rapt attention while transporting you through a myriad of emotions ranging from abject horror to absolute bliss.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy this story to the extent I do is that it’s familiar yet different. The trope of married strangers is one often found in historicals, so this gives it a comfortable feel. It’s easy to think you know what to expect, but that kind of anticipation can lead to complacency which is never a good idea when reading a Grace Burrowes novel. She has a tendency to change the rules by introducing elements which are just a bit outside the norm. In this situation, I find the circumstances surrounding Noah and Thea’s betrothal to be unusual. It seems more common for a duke to overlook someone who’s in service, even as a companion, in order to seek a higher match for his duchess. Noah’s on somewhat of a personal deadline, but he just seems weary of the hunt for a wife. Thea’s an acceptable choice, but I feel almost like I do about shopping with my husband – he goes into one store and sees what options are available. If he finds something suitable, he simply buys it and ceases looking. Burrowes gives us the impression Noah’s done a bit more searching than that, but all the same I feel like he was just settling for what’s easiest and available. With that kind of start, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

There are many story lines at play, but the main, most entertaining is the relationship between Noah and Thea. This is a romance novel after all, so that shouldn’t really be a surprise. Burrowes gives this couple the daunting task of building a connection from the ground up, and I really love watching them go through each and every phase – getting acquainted, awkward friendship, resentment and finally budding romance. It all happens at a steady pace with plenty of conflict, tension and affection to keep things interesting. I find I’m equally as enamored with Noah and Thea as they are with one another by the time it’s all over.

While attempting to navigate marriage to a stranger, Noah and Thea make personal journeys of growth and maturity that are awe-inspiring. Each is troubled by events in his/her past that must be overcome. In some ways I feel like dealing with their personal issues allows them to build a more solid connection as a couple and vice versa. What’s that people often say about needing to love yourself before others can love you? A bit of that is true here. Noah and Thea battle to overcome their pasts in order to feel worthy of the happiness and affection in their futures.

From what little I could discern online, The Duke’s Disaster is the first of many True Gentleman stories. Several of the books are tied to characters in Grace Burrowes’ Lonely Lords series –  a series I adore – and I’m absolutely dying of anticipation.  Who am I kidding? I pretty much love every series by Grace Burrowes, and I’m sure True Gentleman will be very much the same.

RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO