Duchess by Deception

Duchess by Deception

by Marie Force

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Overview

In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title . . .
 
Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.
 
Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.
 
Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?
 
Praise for Marie Force
 
“Genuine and heartfelt. . . . Will have you swooning.”
RT Book Reviews on It's Only Love, 4.5 stars

An Official Military Spouse Book Club Pick

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781432864187
Publisher: Gale, A Cengage Company
Publication date: 07/10/2019
Series: A Gilded Novel Series , #1
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 790,659
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 70 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler,Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. All together, her books have sold 6 million copies worldwide. Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can, and to never be on a flight that makes the news. Please visit her online at marieforce.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

London, May 5, 1902

"I cannot bear another minute of this charade," Derek Eagan, the seventh Duke of Westwood, declared to his cohorts as they watched a simpering group of debutantes work the gilded ballroom. He tugged impatiently at his starched attachable collar and wished he could remove it and the tie that choked him without sending yet another tedious scandal rippling through the ton.

"What charade?" asked Lord Justin Enderly, his smile dripping with the charm that had endeared him to many a mother. "Watching nubile young things flit about with love and marriage on their minds?" As the second son of an earl, Enderly was much less desirable to the simpering debs than Derek, once again considered the Season's top prize — and Enderly knew it, of course.

"All of it." Derek gestured to the glittering scene before them in the Earl of Chadwick's enormous ballroom. Surely half the aristocracy was in attendance at one of the Season's most anticipated balls. Women in frothy gowns made of the finest silks and satins, dripping in exquisite gems. Men in their most dashing evening wear. "The balls, the gowns, the dance cards, the ludicrous conversations, the desperate mothers. I've grown so weary of it, I could spit."

Aubrey Nelson, the American-born industrialist who'd humored his English-born mother with a second Season, nodded in agreement. "The pomp, the ceremony, the rules." He shook his head. "I'll be back in New York — or banished from polite society — long before I master them all."

Unlike Nelson, Derek had been raised for the charade, but many of the rules escaped him, as well. "Utter drivel," Derek murmured. "I've half a mind to compromise a willing young maiden and be done with the whole nightmare."

"What's stopping you?" Enderly asked, crooking a wicked eyebrow.

"I'd have to attempt to converse with her for the rest of my days," Derek grumbled. His friends and the hangers-on surrounding them howled with laughter. "I've talked to every one of them and haven't found one who interests me enough to pursue anything further."

"Same as last year," Enderly said.

"And the year before, and the year before that," Derek said, the despair creeping in once again. It wasn't that he didn't want to find a wife. He would love nothing more than to have one person in the world who belonged only to him and vice versa. Not to mention he needed a wife, albeit for altogether different reasons. Yet he wasn't willing to settle.

Each year he approached the Season with a new sense of hope, and each year, as the young women got younger and he got older, the disappointment afterward became more intense and longer lasting. This year, however, the bloody deadline loomed large, coloring his view of the Season's limited options.

"This year's group seems particularly young," Enderly noted.

"Or perhaps we're just getting particularly old," Derek said morosely.

"No doubt," Enderly said. As a second son he was under much less pressure to marry than Derek and enjoyed his bachelor life far too much to give it up before he absolutely had to. For that matter, everyone was under less pressure to marry than Derek, thanks to the damned deadline.

"Is there one among them who cares about something other than her hair or her gown or her slippers?" Derek asked. Was there one among them, he wanted to ask, who looked at him and saw anything other than his title, his rank, his wealth or the looming deadline that had filled the betting books all over town?

"They all care about their dance cards," Nelson said dryly.

"Too true," Derek concurred. "Speaking only for myself, I've had enough. I'm returning to Westwood Hall in the morning."

"But the Season still has weeks left to go," Enderly said in obvious distress. "You can't go yet, Your Grace. What of your deadline? What will Lord Anthony say?" "He would hardly care. He's practically salivating, hoping I fail to marry in time."

"Whatever could your ancestor have been thinking, putting such an utterly daft provision in his will?" Nelson asked. "Enter into a 'suitable state of matrimony' — whatever that is — by thirty or abdicate your title? I've never heard of such a thing."

Of course, he hadn't, Derek mused. The colonists had left such barbaric practices behind in England. "I suppose he was out to ensure the bloodline. Instead, he placed a matrimonial pox upon each succeeding generation."

"What happens if you don't marry in time?" Nelson asked.

"The title and all accompanying holdings transfer to my uncle and then later to Simon, who, as the heir, would also be required to marry post haste. That would truly be a travesty." If anyone was less suited to a life of marriage, responsibility and duty, it was Derek's happy-go-lucky first cousin and dear friend.

"Have any of your ancestors missed the deadline?" Nelson asked, seeming genuinely intrigued by the drama of it all whereas Derek was just weary — from thinking about it, dreading it and from imagining being married to a nameless, faceless woman just to preserve his title. He shuddered at the thought of shackles and chains.

"Not so far, and I have no desire to be the first. However, I refuse to pick just anyone in order to keep my title." His ancestor's efforts to ensure the dukedom had put Derek in a serious quandary. His thirtieth birthday was now mere days away without a female prospect in sight who sparked anything in him other than utter apathy, not to mention despair at the idea of having to actually talk to her for the rest of his life.

Naturally, the entire haute ton was captivated by Derek's plight, but not a one of them gave a fig about his happiness or well-being. He would almost prefer to surrender the title than be shackled for life to a "suitable" woman who did nothing else for him but ensure his place in the aristocracy.

Almost.

With his deadline the talk of the Season, every available young maiden had been marched before him — more than once. Judging his prospects by what he'd seen of the Season's available crop, he was in no danger of imminent betrothal. "What's the point of hanging around when I already know that none of them suit me?"

"They don't have to suit you, Your Grace," Enderly reminded him. "You only need one with the proper equipment to provide an heir — and a spare if you're feeling particularly randy."

"And you need her to say, 'I do,' by the sixteenth of May," Nelson added with a wry grin.

"Don't remind me," Derek grumbled. Was it just him, or was it exceedingly warm tonight? Or was it the reminder of his coming birthday that had him sweating? Perhaps it was the rampant wagering that had him on edge. He'd lost track of whom among his so-called peers and "friends" was betting for or against the likelihood of his securing a suitable marriage before his birthday.

Derek never would've chosen the title he'd inherited at the tender age of six when his parents were killed in a carriage accident. Over the years since his majority, however, he'd grown into his role as one of the most powerful and influential men in England. He didn't relish the idea of turning over his title and holdings to an arrogant, greedy, overly ambitious uncle who would care far more about how he was judged in polite society than he ever would about ensuring that their tenants had adequate roofs over their heads. Nor did Derek wish to see his cousin constrained by a life he had no interest in. Too many people depended on the dukedom to see it end up in the hands of someone who couldn't care less about it.

A vexing debate for sure, especially since Derek often dreamed of shedding his responsibilities and taking off to see the world as he'd always wanted to do. But then he thought, as he often did, of his late parents. Since their deaths, he'd aimed to live his life in a manner and fashion that would've made them proud. Losing his title, especially to an uncle his father had despised, would not make them proud, so Derek would do what was expected of him because that was what he'd always done — no matter what it might've cost him.

"What of all your meetings?" Enderly asked.

"I had the last of them today with the Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Company to pump some capital into their Neptune Bank Power Station. They're doing some intriguing work with three-phase electrical power distribution." The blank looks on the faces of his friends tampered his enthusiasm. Where he would absorb such information with obsessive attention to detail, he'd come to realize that others were less interested in the how of electrical lighting and other innovations. They were, however, more than content to fully luxuriate in modern conveniences without bothering themselves with the details. Electricity was making its way into wealthy homes and public buildings in town, but it would be a while yet before it reached the country.

"Wasn't there another one?" Justin asked. "Something with brothers?"

Derek nodded. "I'll be providing emergency financing to the brothers from America who believe they've found the secret to manned flight."

"You can't be serious," Nelson said. "The Wright brothers?"

Derek nodded, used to his peers finding his investment decisions questionable at best. They couldn't, however, argue with his results.

"Has everyone in America finally said no to them?" Nelson asked.

"I didn't ask that. I simply wish to be a part of what they're doing. I believe they will attain success, perhaps before the end of the decade."

Nelson rolled his eyes. "It's your money to throw away."

"What's next?" Enderly asked, his tone tinged with sarcasm. "Motorcars?"

"As a matter of fact, due to my involvement in Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company, I was asked to back a venture with Lord Austin and his brother that will bring production of motorcars to England in the foreseeable future."

"Why am I not surprised?" Enderly asked with a smile.

One of the most annoying of that year's debutantes, Lady Charlotte something or other, flashed Derek a suggestive smile full of invitation. As he'd learned early in his first Season, he didn't make eye contact unless he wished to encourage attention, which he most assuredly did not.

"All you'd have to do is snap your fingers, and Lady Charlotte would say 'I do,'" Enderly said.

Derek could have been mistaken, but it seemed as if his friend was enjoying baiting him. "If I'm going to shackle myself to a woman for life, she's got to have more than the proper plumbing." Derek tugged again on the collar that poked at his neck and the strangling tie. His valet Gregory had been rather rigid in his knot tying that night, as if he too were out to constrain Derek to his husbandly fate.

"What is it exactly that you seek, Your Grace?" Nelson asked with a kind smile.

"Damned if I know. I just hope I'll recognize it when I see it, and I hope I'll see it soon." She was out there somewhere. He had no doubt of that. If only he knew where to look.

"You're holding out for a love match then?" Enderly asked.

"I don't necessarily yearn for the mess that accompanies a love match, but is it too much to hope for some intelligent conversation with my after-dinner port?" The utter despair of his situation came crashing down as he viewed the gay scene before him. "What in the world would I talk about to any of them?" Apparently, neither of his friends could supply a satisfactory answer.

Enderly shifted with discomfort from one foot to the other. "What are your plans, Westy?" he asked softly, reverting to Derek's nickname from their years together at Eton.

"I need to spend some time riding Hercules and thinking. I can't think here. Just a few days, and then I'll come back and bite the proverbial bullet." He'd have no other option but to choose one of the young women flitting before him unless he wanted everything he had to slip through his fingers to an uncle who didn't deserve it. But the thought of being stuck with a wife who didn't suit him made him ill.

"You'll be the talk of the ton," Enderly declared, scandalized.

"Let them talk. I won't hear it in Essex."

"But it won't be any fun without you, Your Grace," Nelson said mournfully.

Enderly nodded in agreement. "Nor will the ladies flock about us with quite the same ..."

"Desperation?" Derek asked with a grin. His friends laughed. As usual, they had kept this dreadful experience from being a total loss.

"Lady Patience will wish to visit," Enderly said with an evil grin. "She's apt to follow you to the country."

"She won't gain an audience with me even if she does give chase," Derek said of the Duke of Devonshire's daughter, who had pursued him with relentless determination. "She holds even less appeal than the others."

"Why is that?" Nelson asked.

"She brays like a donkey when she laughs."

"Ouch," Enderly said, chuckling.

"I quite fear that no woman will meet the discriminating requirements of our dear, distinguished friend," Nelson said to Enderly.

"That's just fine with me," Derek said, happier than he'd been in weeks now that a decision had been made. "I'd rather be a lonely commoner than be shackled for life to a 'suitable' braying donkey."

* * *

Lord Anthony Eagan, son of a duke, brother of a duke and uncle to the current duke, reclined on a red velvet chaise and took a sip from his glass of port. Always on the outside looking in, just barely on the fringes of tremendous wealth and power. Thankfully, all three dukes had provided handsomely for him, allowing him the freedom to pursue his own interests.

But what interested Anthony, what seduced him more than anything else ever could, was the power of the title. When the Duke of Westwood entered a room, people noticed. Society noticed. No one paid much heed, on the other hand, to the duke's second son, his brother, or his uncle. In the fifteen years he'd served as his nephew's guardian, he had sampled a generous helping of power. Having to cede it to a boy just barely out of leading strings had been demoralizing, to say the least. The subsequent years had reduced Anthony once again to the fringes. He didn't much care for the fringes, and he never had.

While Derek had stepped nobly and with infuriating independence into the position he'd been born to, Anthony had been relegated to watching and seething and planning. Now, on the eve of Derek's thirtieth birthday, came opportunity. If Derek failed to marry by the sixteenth of May, the title would revert to Anthony, and he would finally be the Duke of Westwood. The way it always should have been.

And while he had come to grudgingly respect his nephew's acumen with finance and his bearing among the haute ton, he disdained the boy's inner softness. That softness, Anthony mused, would be his downfall, just as it had been his father's. Perhaps it was because Derek had lost his parents at such a tender age or maybe it was the guilt that came from being the twin who'd survived the journey into this world. Regardless of the cause, Derek lacked the inner fortitude that Anthony possessed in spades.

Anthony wasn't afraid to use that fortitude to gain what should've been his all along. Derek was supposed to have been in that carriage the night his parents had been killed. They had planned to dine as a family at a neighboring estate. No one had bothered to tell Anthony that the boy had been left behind in the nursery when he showed signs of fever.

No one had told him until it was far too late, until he'd been saddled with an orphaned young nephew and vast holdings to "oversee" until that nephew gained his majority.

The holdings were supposed to have been his. Instead, he became the steward rather than the duke. Instead, it was left to him to nurse his grief-stricken nephew through those dreadful months after "the accident." Since another "accident" so soon after the first would've raised suspicions, he had nursed when he'd wanted to strangle. He'd mentored when he wanted to stab. If only the boy had been where he was supposed to be, Anthony would've had what was rightfully his for all this time.

Soon, Anthony mused. That softness within Derek wouldn't permit him to marry for the sake of his title. Like the fool he was, Derek wanted more. The softness would be his downfall. Anthony was betting on it and breathing a bit easier after realizing that none of the Season's debutantes had caught his discerning nephew's eye.

Lucy Dexter, one of London's most accomplished courtesans, crawled from the foot of the chaise to envelop him in soft curves and sweet scent. Silky dark hair cascaded invitingly over his chest.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Duchess by Deception"
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Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Duchess by Deception 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
really enjoyed this story and hop to read the ext
Anonymous 7 months ago
A v dry typical light romance
Anonymous 11 months ago
I cannot wait till the next one comes out! How long do I have to wait)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel in love with this story and could not put it down. Such a testament of love at first sight and true love. The story takes you in and makes fall in love with them. Hate the villain and want to see them win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I+don%27t+typically++read+historical++romance%2C+but+when+my+favorite++author++writes+one%2C+how+can+I+resist%3F%3F++Marie+Force+does%0Anot+disappoint.++Her+characters+are+real+and+easy+to+fall+in+love+with.++I+already++pre+ordered+the+next+book%21
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first historical romance book I've been ever read. It's never been my thing . However, in true Marie Force fashion, this book was amazing. I was hooked in the first chapter . Can't wait for the next one.
MegO1233 More than 1 year ago
As a lover of all of Marie Force's other titles, I wasn't sure what to expect as she jumped into historical romance but I wasn't disappointed. Marie Force transports readers back in history where times were different (ie, arranged marriages). I loved how she made you feel like you were back in time!! I also loved just like her other books, how relatable the characters were. I totally felt for Catherine and Derek and the situations they found themselves in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was disappointing-characters were unbelieveable and the slow pacing killed my interest about half way through. Will not be coming bacjk for more.
judiOH More than 1 year ago
i have been a fan of Marie's for a long time, but her new series of historical romance is such a pleasant surprise that i am eagerly waiting for the next story. i wondered how the transition would be. it is wonderful. a really good read. if you miss this story, you will have missed alot.
anneinaz More than 1 year ago
The Duchess by Deception by Marie Force is an entertaining book about two people who fall in love without knowing anything about one another. Catherine was found on Derek's property digging, as if looking for something. She expressed her dislike for the Duke so Derek immediately assumed the name of his estate manager and sent him on a "vacation." Things progress in their relationship and eventually they fall in love and confessions are made on bother sides. This is an entertaining story with an interesting plot. It is not easy to come up with a new and different plot but Force has succeeded with entertaining characters and a moving, somewhat possible storyline. It is a happily-ever-after romance with some clever twists and turns. Certainly worth your time and trouble. I recommend it. I received a free ARC of the Duchess by Deception in exchange for a fair and honest review. #netgalley #duchessbydeception
KivicCT140 More than 1 year ago
Marie Force does it again. Duchess by Deception is one of those books you pick up and can't put back down. Trust me you'll be reading into the wee hours with this one. #DuchessByDeception #NetGalley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book transports you back to a time of Lords and Ladies. To a time of honor and dignity. Marie takes you on a journey where love and trust are put to the test. Catherine puts her trust in Jack, a meager stable manager. Falling hard and fast, she finds herself madly in love with him. But when Jack's true identity is revealed to that of a Duke, named Derek, she feels betrayed and deceived. Can she forgive him and change her life completely for a title in which she doesn't want? I loved it! A completely different kind of story that I'm used to from Marie. But all the sizzle and romance we've come to love!
PhoebesGrammy More than 1 year ago
Dutchess By Deception by Marie Force Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. But true to form Marie snagged me right off the bat! I felt as though I was magically drawn back through time, landing in the midst of a Thomas Kincaid painting! Marie's word portrait was so vivid that I could hear music, feel the woosh of ball gowns, touch the soil, smell the flowers, see the horses and become completely enraptured by Derek and Catherine. (Sigh...) Their crazy and TOTALLY captivating love story elicited both laughter and tears from this reader. Villains and betrayals abound but loves wins out!!! (Hooray for love!) This is a story you will want to savor and not rush so you can enjoy every delicious moment. (Still sighing...) Oh, that everyone could have a Derek! Solidly 5 stars!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an interesting period of time to read about. So much happening and yet so Victorian. The one thing that remains the same is love. It does conquer all and Marie made sure of that in her own unique style. Fantastic read.
NICUnurseWCF More than 1 year ago
Yes, I'm reviewing another Marie Force book. What can I say? I’ve adored her writing since I first read Maid for Love several years ago. I’ve read about 80% of her books (and still working on catching up on one series!) and have loved them all. But before I dive into the review, I have to let you guys know that historical romance isn’t my favorite genre. OK, in all honesty, it’s at the very bottom of my list. But I know there are SO many of you that love historical romance, and well...Marie Force wrote this...so I jumped right on in. And I tried. I tried really, really hard to LOVE this book enough to give it 5 stars. So, I’m totally prefacing this review with the warning that historical romance is NOT something I love. Therefore, I’m calling this a biased review instead of nonbiased. So Marie, if you read this...I’m sorry I didn’t love it! But it truly is me and not you! The writing, as always, was fabulous. She’s got a talent for storytelling as evidenced by the fact that this was something like her 70th book release. It was just really hard for me to get lost in the story. In true Marie fashion, her heroine is a strong-willed, free-thinker that is not going to let anyone own her or run her life. She’s smart, feisty, and adventurous. And our hero is no ordinary duke. He’s looking for someone that’s going to be more his equal than a pretty thing on his arm. There’s intrigue, passion, a few fisticuffs, and even a mystery or two within these pages. NICUnurse’s Rating: I’m giving the story 4.5 stars because it’s a well-written story. I didn’t love it, but if YOU love historical romances, I have no doubt that you WILL love this story. So please don’t let my “eh” feelings about this book. I promise it has nothing to do with the storyline, the writing, the characters, or the author. Simply the genre...and me.
CarissaR More than 1 year ago
I think this was a great start to the beginning of a historical series. Marie did a great job for her first historical. I think some of the good points is that the book starts out with our Hero's pov. I'm glad for the variety. The beginning sucked me in especially with the 1st few chapters. The way how the story progressed was a bit unexpected. You also get 2 love stories in 1 after the 50% mark. This story has mystery, mistaken identity, secrets, and of course romance.
RobinLovesReading More than 1 year ago
Derek Egan, Duke of Westwood, is about to turn thirty, and there is the unfortunate stipulation that he must marry before his next birthday. If he does not marry, he forfeits his title as well as his inheritance. Meanwhile, Derek discovers a woman on his property in Essex. She is feverish and he takes her in with hopes of saving her life. She is mostly unconscious that first night , and then Derek makes the choice to not tell her of his title. He instructs his staff to do the same. Catherine has a single purpose which explains why she was on the property of the Duke of Westwood. However, she is totally unaware that the man who announces himself as Jack Bancroft, estate manager, is actually the Duke. Catherine reveals to “Jack” that she is on the run due to a violent man her father plans on marrying her off to. From the moment their eyes met Catherine and Derek were smitten with one another. Will the man pursing her locate Catherine? What’s more, how long will Derek keep his true identity and need to marry a secret from her? No doubt these revelations will bring angst to her and may just color her newfound feelings towards him. Duchess by Deception is a love match of two people that found one another at the perfect time in their lives. Danger ratchets up when the man pursuing Catherine gets too close and Derek shows his protective nature. They marry without her knowing he is the Duke. Their story is sexy, warm and tender. There was an enjoyable side story with his cousin Simon and her sister Madeleine. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this is Marie Force's first historical romance, and that is being published now! I think something that was written years ago that brings in such a romance as well as the turn of the century technology that was being developed will go far in the hands of other readers. As always, I am definitely a fan of this prolific author's work. Many thanks to Marie Force, Zebra and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book!!
georgia1 More than 1 year ago
A delightful debut for this author's foray into historical romance! A case of mistaken, albeit, intentionally, identity when Catherine and Derek, the Duke of Westwood meet. She is on his land digging for a treasure dressed as a boy and he rescues her when she faints. Of course she thinks he is just the estate manager! The story takes off and so does the romance as there is an instant attraction. Love at first sight? Both have their issues but they manage to maintain their lies for a bit but eventually it all comes out. What I did not mention is that Cat despises the aristocracy because her father is trying to marry her off to a loutish Baron! She wants that treasure so she can be independent. There is a lot going on with this story and many secondary characters that come into play. Really enjoyed the intrigue and the romance and you will have to read to see how it comes out! I read this through NetGallery Lori D
georgia1 More than 1 year ago
A delightful debut for this author's foray into historical romance! A case of mistaken, albeit, intentionally, identity when Catherine and Derek, the Duke of Westwood meet. She is on his land digging for a treasure dressed as a boy and he rescues her when she faints. Of course she thinks he is just the estate manager! The story takes off and so does the romance as there is an instant attraction. Love at first sight? Both have their issues but they manage to maintain their lies for a bit but eventually it all comes out. What I did not mention is that Cat despises the aristocracy because her father is trying to marry her off to a loutish Baron! She wants that treasure so she can be independent. There is a lot going on with this story and many secondary characters that come into play. Really enjoyed the intrigue and the romance and you will have to read to see how it comes out! I read this through NetGallery Lori D
Terri_C More than 1 year ago
I jumped at the chance to read an ARC by Marie Force (thank you to Netgalley). I've seen the author's name a lot on line, but had not read her before. I didn't know till I had finished it that it was her first historical romance. What a treat! Her characters are wonderful...Catherine is full of spunk and determination and Derek is strong but willing to bend in order to win Catherine's trust and love. I really thought that it would just be another marriage of convenience in order for Derek to keep his title, but this took a different turn. It took a turn I really enjoyed. It was reversed into a marriage of convenience for Catherine, but with immediate attraction thrown in. The entire story flowed gently and kept me interested and turning the pages. Ms. Force did a fantastic job in transitioning to historical. I'm looking forward to more!
Readaholic19 More than 1 year ago
I have mixed feelings about this book. It definitely kept my interest throughout the whole book, but parts of it seemed unnecessary (such as Simon & Madeline's side love story). I liked the romance between Derek (or should I say Jack) and Catherine, but the dialogue felt forced and wooden at times. The book didn't flow as well as other historical romances I've read. The plot was pretty straight forward and there wasn't much in term of conflict/heartache. The steamy scenes were done well and brought a lot of heat to the book. I would consider reading another historical romance from this author and I also look forward to reading her contemporary novels. **ARC provided by NetGalley. All opinions are my own**
paytonpuppy More than 1 year ago
Ms. Force has done it again and in another genre; regency romance. Derek Eagan, the Duke of Westwood, is tired of the debutantes in London and heads to his country estate. He must be married by his thirtieth birthday or forfeit his title and holdings to his Uncle Anthony who has long coveted the title. As he arrives at his estate, he sees a young boy digging a hole in his land only to be confronted by a young lady. Catherine is ill and running from an arranged marriage to an odious Lord. She is looking for a key that her grandmother buried in a specific area on the Duke’s estate. This key would open a chest containing the funds that she needs to get away. She hates the aristocracy and has no idea that Derek is the Duke and not the estate manager as he claims. Will Catherine forgive him when she learns the truth? Will Derek be able to keep her safe when they are searching for her? Will he be married in time to save his title? What a fun, thrilling and hot romantic story as Derek tries to keep his secret as he falls in love with Catherine. Ms. Force is one of my favorite authors…she knows how to write a story that will keep you reading until the very end. I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to give an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
KelsieAL More than 1 year ago
Duchess by Deception by Marie Force is the first book in her new Gilded series. Force is well-known for her romantic suspense and contemporary romance, so this historical romance is a departure for her. Derek Eagan, Duke of Westwood, must marry before his thirtieth birthday, or he’ll lose his title and inheritance. The problem is that his birthday is eleven days away and none of the high-brow debutantes he’s met this season appeal to him. Catherine McCabe, daughter of the new Earl of Brisbane, despises the aristocracy. She’s fleeing an arranged marriage with a viscount thirty years her senior and has no desire to be involved with any titled gentleman. When Derek finds Catherine on his property he pretends to be Jack Bancroft, his property manager. Catherine is devastated when she learns that her beloved “Jack” is actually a duke. Derek must now find a way to win back Catherine’s love, while protecting her from the danger posed by the rejected Viscount. Marie Force has done an admirable job in her first foray into the historical romance genre. She cleverly injects references to newly-developed technology, such as electricity, motorcars, and manned flight. I found Duchess by Deception hard to put down and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to all readers of historical romance. Those who dislike descriptive sex scenes will want to give this one a pass. My thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
London - 1902 Derek Eagan, the seventh Duke of Westwood, age 29, is attending yet another ball for the second year in a row as he pursues the number of debutantes making their debuts. The soirees, fancy gowns, and eager mothers have become just too much for him. In all this time, he has yet to find a woman who interests him. But time is running out because an ancestor of his once decreed that he must wed by age 30 or lose his title to his wretched Uncle Anthony. That gives him only a few more days to accomplish this feat. Derek’s parents died in a carriage accident when he was just a small child. Thus, he has had the responsibility of his title for many years. Derek decides to take a break from town and head to his home, Westwood Hall, for a few days. Upon arrival on his land he sees what looks like a young man digging. The person turns out to be a beautiful young woman who is burning up with fever. Taking her home, he nurses her himself. In her delirium, she says she is does not trust the aristocracy, so he tells her he is Jack Bancroft, the Estate Manager, and that the Duke is currently away in America. She says her name is Catherine. Derek soon learns that Catherine's parents were planning to wed her to a viscount that he knows to be a rogue. The man had already tried to rape her. Therefore, she ran away. Finding himself falling in love with her and she with him, they decide to head for Gretna Green to be married. However, they are still being followed. Who is after them and why? In many ways, this was a good story with a good plot. I really liked Derek but Catherine is a total pain. She is very immature and self-centered. How can two people meet, immediately fall in love, and jump in bed together? This premise happens often in romance novels but this just felt so rushed. However, I feel it merited 4 stars because of the plot itself. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.