Duke du Jour
by Petie McCarty
GENRE: Regency Time-Travel Romance
..a reverse Kate and Leopold…a light-hearted time travel romance where a bewildered modern-day duke ends up in Regency England and meets the girl of his dreams…
Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor–the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.
Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo–only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.
Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain–before Seven shows up–so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.
Jared quietly closed the door and snicked the feeble lock into place.
“That wouldn’t keep a child out,” he muttered.
“Are you worried Dexter can get past the lock?” Ari asked, her cheeks flushing bright pink.
“Now, you are going to accuse me of ungentlemanly behavior, too?”
Even the dim candlelight could not hide the guilt in her eyes. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“You’re right. I have given you no reason to think—”
She raised skeptical brows.
“Well, except for those few kisses.” He cleared his throat. “You liked them, too. You cannot deny it.”
Her lips twitched as she fought back the smile that angered him for some reason, and he felt like an errant schoolboy and probably looked like one with his brows indignantly bunched.
“No, I cannot deny it.”
Instead of feeling smug at being right, her words sent his blood racing to places off-limits—at least for now.
“But that doesn’t mean—”
He held up a hand. “Please, no more swipes at my character. I’ve had all I can take this evening.”
She snapped her lips together, then grinned.
“Best take your boots off to be comfortable.” She opened her mouth to object again, and he added, “Since you are unlikely to remove anything else with the two of us locked in here.”
The opportunity to tease him in his misery must have overwhelmed her. “Well, actually I could, but I won’t.”
He groaned. “Do not leave me with that particular movie running in my head and my two-hour first watch to face.”
“Movie? What do you mean? What is a—”
“Did I say movie? I meant movement,” he said before she could finish. He scrubbed a palm over his face. His head had begun to ache.
“Are you all right?”
“Fine,” he bit out. “Just leave—”
“Leave you alone? Fine.” She went over and sat on the bed.
“What I was going to say was just leave your boots by the bed. Close by in case we need to leave in a hurry.”
“That is a lie, but it was sweet of you to be concerned about my feelings. The old Jared wouldn’t have given a baker’s tart about them. Or any other kind.” She giggled at her own humor.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh nothing. Just that we seem to have made a mull of things, I suppose.”
“I do not see anything funny about it,” he grumbled.
“You wouldn’t, but I cannot get these boots off without help. They belong to Aidan, our stable boy, and the fit is a bit too tight.”
“Yes, of course.”
Jared came over and knelt next to the bed, then took her booted foot in his hand. He swore he could feel the warmth of her leg right through the leather, but that was impossible. Tell that to the blood raging through his veins and heading south, like the River Kennet at flood stage.
What can I say? Another historical homerun for me. Plus, its got time travel, too. I hate to offend Ms. McCarty but I never did like the movie Kate & Leopold but I did love this book. Especially that it was about the hero going back in time. Score for me.
Jared is one of those heroes that just grabbed me from the start. He was caring, a bit of rakehell in the present but knew that he wouldn’t marry any woman because of his title. Dealing with the mess of becoming unengaged to a cheater, they way that he ended up in 1816 is a delight. A fountain? With statues? Oh, my…later in the book, I was laughing when he made references to all the statues that he kept seeing. He’s keen eye for history really helped him in 1816 but it didn’t give himself away too much. In fact, he realized that with his knowledge of the period, he could blend in better. Losing his memory was genius, too. It allowed for some madcap moments when it came to Bullen, Ari, and even Dexter. My heart broke a bit when he made his decision to leave in the end.
Ari is such a strong heroine for the time period. She is no damsel in distress and to say that she was in love with the old Jared and scared of the “new” Jared would be stretching it a bit. Needless to say, she fell hard for the “new” Jared and kept wondering when the old Jared was going to show up. But what really stood out for me with her was her ability to be true to herself and in the end Jared. She loved him too much to truly let him go. Of course, her father had a hand in that, too.
Dexter and Bullen are two secondary characters that really stood out for me. Normally, I don’t pay attention to them in a historical romance but Ms. McCarty wrote them so that I would care about them and like them right from the start. Everyone should have these two in their corner. The mystery and intrigue that holds this book together is divine. Normally in historical romance, its fairly simple but Ms. McCarty delivered it in spades. My head at one point was spinning with all the twists that she kept throwing at me. *shakes head* I love a good intrigue when I CAN’T figure it out. Well done.
Overall, I just flat out loved this book. Everything about it. The romance, humor, intrigue and best of all…it’s NOT a fish out of water tale. Jared knew what had happened. He just couldn’t figure out why. With the help of his newfound friends and the love of his life, he finally figured out his place in his lineage. I will definitely re-read this book again. Yes, it’s that good.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-elements-of-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.
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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Petie McCarty will be awarding 3 ebook copies of Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty
(US and International) to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.