Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Showcase-A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Today on the blog I'm showcasing Janna MacGregor's debut novel in her brand new Regency era The Widow Rules series, A Duke in Time.

ISBN-13: 9781250761590
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
Release Date: 6-29-2021
Length: 384pp
The Widow Rules #1
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/IndieBound



"If...looking for something new with Austen’s spirit, humor, and dashing heroes, they can’t do better than MacGregor." - Entertainment Weekly

A Duke in Time is the first book in a three-story arc that will have you rooting for leading heroines, searching for lost dowries, and falling for swoon-worthy heroes.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri's accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she's been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri's far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she's Meri's widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri's two other wives, Katherine doesn't have time for much else. But there's something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they'll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other's hearts and futures.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

London, 1815 The Office of Malcom Hanes, Esquire

“He was a good man.” Katherine patted the family solicitor’s arm while the poor man hung his head in grief. She didn’t belabor the point that her husband’s horse certainly didn’t share the same opinion. Not when the beast had thrown Meriwether into a mud puddle, where he’d drowned. Seems his steady steed didn’t care to participate in a midnight steeplechase during a deafening thunderstorm with a foxed Meriwether handling the reins.

That act meant she was now the widowed wife of Lord Meriwether Vareck, the second son of the previous Duke of Randford. Her chest tightened, making it difficult to draw a deep breath. Indeed, she was sad her husband had died, and equally regretful that most of her grief was for the end of her too-brief marriage.

“Thank you for your kindness, Lady Meriwether.” The distinguished solicitor, Malcom Hanes, bowed over Katherine’s hand as they stood at the threshold of his office. With a heavy, soulful sigh, Mr. Hanes murmured, “Please accept my deepest condolences. Such a shame you were only married for a year. I’m sure you’re at a loss.”

She nodded briefly. That was putting it mildly. Lost would have been a more accurate description. She had lost him. Katherine had last seen Meriwether on their wedding day. She’d always hoped he’d come home. Yet as the days between his infrequent correspondence had multiplied, the reality that he might never return had grown stronger.

Now it was a certainty.

“There are a few complications”—the solicitor pinched the bridge of his nose—“before we start the reading of the will.”

“Is anything amiss?”

“No,” he objected a little too quickly. “Absolutely not.” His lips pursed in an expression that reminded Katherine of a tightly fastened reticule. “We’ll begin shortly. I’m simply waiting for the Duke of Randford to deliver Lord Meriwether’s will. It seems His Grace had it in his possession the entire time he was in France.”

This time Katherine’s lips were the ones to press together. She would not utter a peep against the Duke of Randford, her brother-in-law. Newly arrived in London after three years fighting the French, the duke was Meriwether’s only family. Having the same father but different mothers, the duke and Meriwether were half brothers. Truthfully, a person couldn’t tell by the duke’s actions. Randford had treated Meriwether like a stranger.

Worse than a stranger really.

The duke acted as if Meriwether were a disease, one to be avoided at all costs. The fact that Randford didn’t even write to Katherine when he received word of Meriwether’s tragic passing, let alone call on her when he reached London, showed the selfish man’s true colors. Whether he was a decorated war hero or not made little difference. A man of integrity and good manners should have shown some respect for his brother and his widow.

One of Mr. Hanes’s clerks came to the door. With a flushed face reminiscent of a volcano ready to erupt, the young man frantically waved for Mr. Hanes to follow him.

“If you’ll excuse me, Lady Meriwether?” Mr. Hanes nodded before taking his leave.

Katherine walked to the window and gazed at the gray London morning. How fitting the heavens looked gloomy today. Though she didn’t love Meri, her husband’s preferred name, his larger than life personality had shimmered with a brightness and light that had drawn people near. When he turned his brilliant blue eyes your way, a whirlwind erupted and you were swept into his carefree world.

Certainly, she had been.

She fisted her kidskin gloves. No good would come from feeling morbid about her husband’s death. Meri certainly wouldn’t want anyone to feel that way, particularly when his end came doing what he loved best—riding in a horserace and gambling on the outcome. Though they’d only spent six hours together as a married couple, Meri’s infrequent letters informed her of his travels. First, he’d made his way to Portsmouth, then Cumberland, all in the pursuit of investments—or so he claimed. Katherine had a suspicion the “investments” were nothing more than racehorses.

If he would have stayed by her side, they could have started their marriage.

Nor would he have been dead.

“If you’ll follow me, ma’am.” Another of Mr. Hanes’s numerous clerks, a young man with bright red hair, escorted a woman heavy with child into the room.

The woman caught Katherine’s gaze and smiled slightly.

“May I offer you something before we begin?” the clerk asked.

The woman nodded. “If it wouldn’t be too much bother, a glass of water would be lovely.”

Katherine’s eyes widened when the young man glanced her way then darted out of the room like it was on fire. But what caused her the most amazement was that the woman stood in Mr. Hanes’s office at all.

Dressed in a dark mauve muslin gown, she was elegantly attired. Whoever she was, she looked uncomfortable with the weight she carried in her middle since she was rubbing her lower back. Though Katherine was no expert, the stranger before her had to be in the last couple months of confinement. What would cause her to venture forth on such a dismal day?

Surely, the woman was in the wrong office. She couldn’t be there for the reading of the will. It was only for the immediate family, Katherine and the Duke of Randford.

Nevertheless, the petite woman stood before Katherine. With an ethereal beauty enhanced by bright blue eyes and wisps of escaped hair, she exhibited a calmness in direct contrast to Katherine’s stomach, which swooped endlessly like a bat hunting in the wee hours of the morning.

“Would you mind if I sit?” the young woman asked as she waved a hand to one of the chairs in front of Mr. Hanes’s desk. Mountains of paper were stacked on top with more mounds on the floor, a troubling sign that today’s proceedings could last well into the evening.

“Of course not,” Katherine answered. She quickly scooted one of the chairs toward the woman. “Please, let me help you.”

“Thank you.” The woman lowered herself into the chair.

“Are you somehow related to the deceased?” Katherine asked gently.

The young woman nodded. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Lady Meriwether Vareck.”

Katherine’s heart skipped mid-beat. Struggling to keep her bearings, she reminded herself she wasn’t the type of woman to faint. “Pardon me? I must have heard you incorrectly.”

Another Lady Meriwether Vareck?

Before the woman could answer, a different clerk escorted another beautiful woman into the office. Tall, thin, and elegantly attired, the lady tilted her head in a manner that was the embodiment of pure grace. It was difficult to see her since her hat hid most of her face.

With his mouth gaping, the clerk stood motionless while his gaze darted between Katherine and the other two women.

The red-haired clerk who had left to fetch the first woman a drink appeared with a full glass of water. When he saw the scene before him, his face paled. “You weren’t supposed to bring the third one here. Not until Mr. Hanes had a chance to talk to the duke.”

The clerk who had brought in the last women huffed in revolt. “And you weren’t to bring the second one here”—he waved his hands in the direction of the pregnant woman—“until Mr. Hanes had a chance to talk to the duke. Who escorted the first one”—he nodded in Katherine’s direction—“in here?”

Seeking purchase to keep from falling to her knees, Katherine reached for the closest chair and dug her fingers into the supple leather, clinging to it like a safety line in rough seas.

It was inconceivable. Meri had another wife. She shook her head, hoping it was all a bad dream.

No. Not another, but two.

Copyright © 2021 by Janna MacGregor

Excerpt from Rules of Engagement copyright © 2021 by Janna MacGregor


"Mesmerizing! Janna MacGregor pens enchanting characters and passionate romance that offers the perfect escape.” — New York Times bestseller Lorraine Heath

"If...looking for something new with Austen’s spirit, humor, and dashing heroes, they can’t do better than MacGregor." - Entertainment Weekly

"[A] saucy Regency-era romp...[that] will melt readers' hearts." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Superbly conceived and smartly executed...with a brilliantly rendered cast of characters, including a resourceful, resilient heroine and a heart-of-gold hero, as well as a captivating story line that splendidly celebrates female friendship." - Booklist review

About the author:
Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of the Cavensham Heiresses series, which begins with The Bad Luck Bride.
Janna credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers.


  1. Oh boy, three widowed wives? Sounds like an exciting start.

  2. The description sounds great. That dress she's wearing on the cover is so pretty. I just love the dresses on covers for this genre.

  3. This sounds like a delightful series! Thanks for putting it on my radar :)

  4. Certainly comes highly recommended doesn't it. Very promising.