Title: How to Capture a Duke
Series: Matchmaking for Wallflowers #1
Author: Bianca Blythe
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 25, 2016
Cover Design: Dar Albert
All she had to do was find a fiancé. In four days. In the middle of nowhere.
One reclusive bluestocking..
Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.
One dutiful duke…
Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.
One fallen tree…
When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…
The two men stared at her, and Fiona shivered under their scrutiny. Her heartbeat galloped. They thought she was a highwaywoman. She’d tried to explain, but they hadn’t believed her. And they were pointing a gun at her. One that might go off at any moment.
She needed to seize control.
The driver grinned. “I’m sorry, darling, but you won’t be getting any money from us.”
“Not that we have any,” the handsome man added hastily.
A gun roared.
Fiona didn’t flinch—the peasants were still hunting. But the firm expression of the driver wobbled.
“You’re not alone!” The driver’s voice trembled.
Fiona was most certainly alone, but she could not permit the driver to keep on pointing gun at her. That was how accidents occurred.
This was her chance.
And she seized it.
Fiona forced her voice to remain steady. “Lay your gun down.”
The driver hesitated, and then, another gun shot fired.
Fiona narrowed her eyes. “You are surrounded. This is your final warning.”
The driver’s hands shook, and he set the gun down. Relief flooded through Fiona, and she grabbed the weapon, directing it at the driver.
The driver sank to the earth, holding his hands above him. “What do you want? Please, show us mercy! We’ll give you anything!”
“I—” An insane idea sprang into Fiona’s mind, and she took another glimpse at the passenger.
The fabric of his clothes was impeccable, and his hair color was perfect.
Chestnut colored like spun gold. Nothing like the red hair that crowned her figure like a flame. This man’s skin resembled buttermilk, with no freckle in sight, and his eyes were a deep blue color, as if she were staring into the heavens of an Italian painting.
He was an Adonis suited for the finest debutante, for a woman with a Grecian name and skin as flawless as his. No doubt such a woman would be able to sing like an angel, in between giving birth to tiny cherubic likenesses of himself, and then would paint the offsprings’ likenesses in beautiful, delicate watercolor renderings. Such a woman would never, ever have told her family that she had a fiancé when she had none. Such a woman wouldn’t have needed to do so.
He was just the man she required.
“Who are you?” the driver gasped.
This was the time to explain herself. This was the time to explain who she was and apologize for frightening them, even though the notion that she should scare large men like that was absurd.
But if she could only get the handsome man to introduce himself to Grandmother—she wouldn’t need to take him to the ball—it would be enough for Grandmother to be assured that she need not worry anymore. Perhaps the handsome man and the driver could help her move the tree. Cloudbridge Castle was a quick jaunt away, and they were going in that direction anyway. If they thought her a highwaywoman anyway, they would listen to her demands. Maybe no one would want to play a fiancé for a bluestocking, but they would listen to a highwaywoman.
Once they were at the castle, well then they would be so grateful she intended them no harm that they would help her. Neither the driver nor the gentleman appeared to be from Yorkshire. She could get away with this.
Something like hope fluttered in her chest. Perhaps, just perhaps, this would be worthwhile.
Fiona thought of mosaic fragments and ancient civilizations and her dear grandmother. She held the gun steady and flung her curls. She channeled every single story from Loretta Van Lochen and raised her voice. “They call me the Scarlet Demon.”
Both men’s eyes widened, and she attempted her very best snarl.
Born in Texas, Wellesley graduate Bianca Blythe spent four years in England. She worked in a fifteenth-century castle, though sadly that didn’t actually involve spotting dukes and earls strutting about in Hessians.
She credits British weather for forcing her into a library, where she discovered her first Julia Quinn novel. She remains deeply grateful for blustery downpours.
Bianca lives in California with her husband.