Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: All the Duke’s Sins #1
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Lady Edwina is hired to teach Rafe – the illegitimate son of a Duke – how to interact in polite society. In this opposites attract romance, Rafe is not interested in joining the Gentry and Edwina will do whatever it get Rafe there! The longer Edwina and Rafe are in each others company, the more their attraction grows. Will Edwina be able to get the job done as their mutual attraction grows? Find out in this new series from Christi Caldwell.
The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.
Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.
Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.
As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.
“Are you going to drink it or cradle it?” he asked, changing the subject. Rafe lifted his tankard, clarifying his question.
Edwina raised the steel cup to her lips and inhaled. Her pert nose wrinkled, and her face pulled in a grimace, and with that, Rafe managed another smile since he’d caught sight of his brother in all his happiness. “It smells horrid.”
Holding his tankard out, he clanged the ring against hers in a mock toast; challenging her.
He thought for a moment she intended to reject that challenge, he should have known better.
Taking in a deep breath, Edwina raised a glass, tipped it back, and chugged.
The long, graceful column of her neck moved rhythmically and quickly as she downed the contents of her drink.
“Whoa, you are not supposed to consume it quite so quickly,” he instructed, hastily reaching across the table, and resting a hand on the fingers cradling her mug.
Edwina set it down with a little splat, and then ever so gingerly, dabbed at the corners of her mouth. “That is…rather horrid stuff,” her shoulders and chest lifted as she hiccoughed, and he grinned.
Mr. Ward immediately reappeared and eyed Edwina’s empty tankard approvingly. “I knew I was right about this girl,” he said proudly. “Knows her spirits, she does.”
From over the top of the innkeeper’s hand, as he poured, Edwina caught Rafe’s eye.
“Do not say anything,” she silently mouthed, perfectly annunciating each syllable.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Rafe followed that assurance with a wink.
“What is that, Mr. Audley?”
“I was just saying to the lady I couldn’t dream of a more splendid ale,” he expertly substituted, and the already tall innkeeper grew several inches under that praise. Bustling off, Mr. Ward went to refill the tankards of the table of nearby patrons.
“You’re not horrified.”
Her tankard still in her hands, Edwina dropped her elbows on the table and leaned across the small, cylindrical surface. “That was your intention and plan.”
Rafe’s cheeks went warm.
Edwina’s eyes rounded. “Why…why…you are blushing, Mr. Audley.”
“That is p-preposterous,” he sputtered. “I would never do anything like… Like…”
“Blush?” she winged up an eyebrow and edged forward another fraction so that their elbows touched. “You needn’t worry,” she whispered. “Your secret is safe with me. The men and women who work for you will never learn about your blushing.”
And that brief good humor, ended with that reminder; the reminder of his brother’s new role. And their father’s determination to control Rafe’s life.
From ALONG CAME A LADY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christi Caldwell.