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Exclusive Excerpt: The Duke Knows Best by Jane Ashford

CVR The Duke Knows Best
They’re wrong for each other, for all the right reasons…

Lord Randolph Gresham has come to London for one reason only-to find a suitable wife. Verity Sinclair may be intelligent, beautiful, and full of spirit, but her father knows a secret about Randolph that makes her entirely unsuitable as his bride. Not right for him at all, never, not a chance.

Verity knows that Lord Randolph lives in a country parish, and she wants nothing more than to escape to town. He may be fascinating, attractive, rich, and the son of a duke, but she’ll never marry him, nor will she talk to him, flirt with him, walk with him, or dine with him. She’ll sing a duet with him, but only this one time, and only because everyone insists.

But one duet invariably leads to another.

Check out our exclusive excerpt below! 


Randolph enjoyed the performances right up until the moment when the hostess said, “A little bird has told me that we have some other talented singers among us tonight.” She marched up to Randolph and took his arm, then pulled him over to Miss Sinclair and did the same with her. Ignoring their protests, she hustled them over to the pianoforte. “Now, now, no false modesty. I’m told that both of you are quite out of the ordinary.”

Randolph was proud of his musical skills. He even enjoyed showing them off, on certain occasions. This was not one of them. He glared at his brothers. Robert and Sebastian shook their heads, disavowing any hand in this development.

“We must have a duet,” Lady Tolland said, maintaining her grip on her captives. She turned to her guests. “Don’t you think?”

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Jane Ashford’s Favorite Parts of Writing Historical Fiction

Lord Sebastian's Secret Jane Ashford

There are lots of things I enjoy about writing historical fiction. In terms of plot, I appreciate the social constrictions of earlier times, because they provide so many opportunities for complications.

I love research. I can happily dive into sources, drawn from one fascinating fact to another until I surface hours later with a treasure trove of material. There’s so much to learn!

The clothes are great, too. Gloves and cloaks and bonnets. Ballgowns and walking dresses. Half boots and dancing slippers.

But if I have to pick one favorite thing it’s the language, particularly in the Regency period where I hang out, with a huge shout-out to Georgette Heyer for showing us the way in this regard. Who could resist the phrases?

A stupid or silly person can be — bacon-brained, beef-witted, bird-witted, a chucklehead, a fatwit, a nincompoop, a rattleplate, a slowtop, or scatter witted.

They called gin blue ruin, Flash of Lightning, Old Tom, and Stark Naked. The latter presumably because of the state in which you might find yourself after a drinking bout. And the wonderful terms they had for those who’d overindulged — drunk as a wheelbarrow, in your cups, castaway, disguised, eaten Hull cheese, foxed, jug-bitten, properly shot in the neck, tap-hackled, and top-heavy. And if you tried to lie about your condition, you were telling bouncers or Canterbury tales or plumpers, cutting shams, or pitching the gammon.

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