Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Showcase: Yours Truly, The Duke by Amelia Grey

Today I'm showcasing Amelia Grey's first in a brand new Say I Do, series. 

ISBN-13: 9781250850416
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
Release Date: 3-28-2023
Length: 368pp 
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



Yours Truly, The Duke is the first novel in the historical romance Say I Do trilogy about dukes needing to wed to tap into their wealth by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

Fredericka Hale needs a husband, and fast. She’s been caring for her deceased sister’s three young children, and now a childless cousin has petitioned the court for custody. Fredericka is powerless to stop her, but having a husband might sway the ruling. The last thing Fredericka wants is a hurried-up marriage to a man she doesn’t know—much less love, but she’ll do it for the children. So when the handsome Duke of Wyatthaven shows up with a proposal, she accepts. He'll help her, and in return, they’ll lead separate lives. But distance cannot keep them from their powerful attraction.

At the top of his game in London, the Duke of Wyatthaven has no interest in marriage. However, if Wyatt doesn’t marry by week’s end, he’ll lose a sizable inheritance from his grandmother. When Wyatt’s solicitor finds Miss Fredericka Hale, Wyatt considers this little hiccup solved. Miss Hale is lovely, and intelligent. Most importantly, she prefers country life to London, so he’s free to continue his life as usual. But when circumstances force Fredericka and the children to show up at the duke’s door, Wyatt can’t deny he’s always been under her spell. Will the duke give up his bachelor lifestyle and give into the fiery passion growing between them?

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Bold lettering on the stiff paper in his hand blurred asthe Duke of Wyatthaven tried to concentrate on the infuriatingmatterbefore him. Proposing marriage.

To a lady he’d never met.

That prospect, and sharing an overindulgence ofbrandy throughout the eveningwith his two friends, hadhim inwardly shuddering with indecision. A feeling thatwas new to him. In his defense, he had more than adequatereason for the hesitancy. Afterall, tying himself toa womanfor the rest of his life was something he hadn’texpected to do for many years to come.

Flames from the recently tended fire had the finelyappointed library of his London town houseteemingwith excessive heat, making the back of his neck damp.With its tall ceiling, packed tight with thousands ofbooks, old familytreasuresof porcelains and silver, andsome of his father’scherished inscribed marble tablets scattered about, the large chamber had always been asanctuary for him. Untiltonight.

But he’d get on with reading the letter to them.

“Dear Miss Fredericka Hale,” he read aloud.
“It has not been my pleasureto be acquaintedwith you as of this writing; nonetheless, I amcompelled to contact you. I am in need of a wife.Posthaste. You come with high recommendationsfrom your esteemed solicitor to fill that position. Iam assured you’d be agreeable to an offer of marriagefrom me and—”

“Wait, stop.” Rick shook his head in earnest whileholding up his hand. “That won’tdo at all.”

“It’s bloody awful, Wyatt,” Hurst mumbled in agreementwhile shifting his weight to rest an elbow on thearm of his black velvet chair. “That’s no way to start aproposal to the lady you want to marry.”

That was the problem.He wasn’tready to marry. Wyattlet the sheet of his official engraved stationery drop fromhis hand and fall soundlessly to the leather mat on top ofthe Louis XIV desk. His templesthrobbed, and the roomdimmed for an instant when he looked away from thethick parchment.

Muttering a curse, he cast a long glance from onefriend to the other. Their dour expressions said it all,making him glad he hadn’tmentioned he’d already spenthours on the letter.

Wyatt leaned away from the grandheirloom hisgrandfatherand fatheronce sat behind,picked up hisglass, and gave the amber liquid a swirl before throwingdown a swallow. Proposing marriage was no easy task.

He looked at Rick and Hurst and listened as early spring rain fell against the windowpanes. The fire crackled.He didn’tlike being pushed into a corner, as wasthe case this night. Which was why he’d summoned hislong-timefriends to come to his town housefor an urgentmatter.Sequestered in his library, he’d hoped thetwo dukes, along with an expensive bottleof fortifiedwine that was now nearing empty, would help ease hismind concerning the dreaded task of how to ask a ladyfor her hand. So far, neither was working.

It wasn’tso much Wyatt minded marrying or beingmarried. He had to take a wife one day. It was thethought of being a husband that had him twitching like afly-bittenhorsein the height of summer. By his father’sown admission, the man had never been any good at beinga husband. Wyatt had no reason to think he would beeither,given that everyonealways said he was just likehis fatherin many ways. Wyatt accepted that assessmentand lived by it.

The Duke of Stonerick, called Rick by only a handfulof people,was the first to break the silence. “Staring usdown isn’tgoingto make drivel better.”

A muscle in Wyatt’s cheek twitched. Rick had alwaysknown how to rile him. Or anyone elsefor that matter.He reached over and slowly pushed the letter towardhis friend. “What would you say?”

“That you bloody well leave out ‘posthaste’ and ‘highrecommendations.’ Womenare looking for . . . somethingmore.”

“Exactly.” Hurst cleared his throat and frowned.“They want to hear thingsthat make them swoon. Startwith a gentler nature, as in calling her My dearest, MissHale.”

Wyatt grunted ruefully and grimaced in earnest.“She’s not my dearest,” he stated impatiently, and then proceeded to drain the last sip of his drink before plunkingthe heavy crystal back onto his desk.

“And she’llnever be if you send that rubbish.” Rickpointed to the paper with the hand that held his glass.“That’s no way to ask for a lady’s hand. It sounds like ablasted demand.”

Hurst shrugged and brushed his pale-blondhair awayfrom his forehead. “To be fair, it reads more like a businesscorrespondence.”

“It is,” Wyatt said, dismissing the comments. Perhapsthey weretoo deep in their cups to be of much help. Hewasn’tgoingto pretend he liked this intrusion of marriageinto his life. “I’m trying to enter a contract with her,not a romance.”

“You best think twice about romance,” Hurst encouragedin his usual patient tone. “No doubt you’ll need toconsider it one day if you plan on having an heir to carryon the title.”

An heir. That would mean being a father.

And that scared the hell out of him too.

Wyatt settled deeper into the back of his soft leatherchair. This entire processwas a damned nuisance. Hedidn’twant to think about having a son. That was likemarriage. Something he always thought he’d prepare formuch later.

His fatherhadn’tmarried untilhe was near forty andhad managed to produce a healthy heir. Wyatt was livingproof of that, so why had his grandmothertaken it uponherself to rush him to the altar by leaving the codicil inher will?

Damnation, he was only twenty-eight.He’d want ason—an heir—oneday. Maybe even three or four of themfor good measure.And a daughteror two, as well.Wyatt scoffed and pressed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and middlefinger,trying to ward offthe throbbing ache that was beginning to pound at theback of his head. He knew better than to drink too muchbrandy and seldom did anymore, but it had been a difficultday.

His solicitor, who had been his father’ssolicitor, hadblindsided him with news the codicil had to be read today.Twenty years afterhis grandmother’sdeath. When Wyattquestioned why he wasn’tnotified earlier,Epworth repliedthat he’d been duty bound to do everythingper the instructionsof her last willand testament. She’dmade thesepeculiar changes shortly before her death. In the addendum,she’dstipulated that if Wyatt wasn’tmarried by thatdate, he’d have to marry within seven days or lose his inheritancefrom her.

Which was considerable. But it wouldn’tmatter,ifonly it weregoingto a worthy cause.

It wasn’tthe possibility of losing the property thathad spurred his need to marry—it was the fact that hisforfeiture would mean the four square blocks of land andbuildings in London’s fashionabledowntown would goto The London Society of Poetry.


The most useless of skills he’d ever been taught. Hewould rather rot in Newgate than see the valuable assetsfall into the hands of thosestuffy old snoots. Andworse, watch it be mismanaged and gutted by men whohad eagerly accepted into their elite society and lavishedpraise on Wyatt’s old professor from Eton, Mr. PercivalBuslingthorpe. The man who’d given him his only failingmarks in all his studies.That wasn’tthe main reason Wyatt detested the man.He’d force shy, nervousboys to stand up and recite a selectedamount of lyricsday afterday. If he didn’tlike the way they performed he’d ridicule them without mercy infront of everyone.Should one dare make a stutter, he’dcruelly rap the boy’s knuckles untilthey bled as he muttered,“Discipline, son, discipline.”

Writing verse had never come easy to Wyatt—nordid it for most lads. But being a duke’s son gave Wyattprivileges others didn’treceive. Buslingthorpe wouldnever have dared lay his thick stick to the son of a duke.But he’d certainly put the strength of his beefy arm ontothe hands of many students, causing them to whimperfrom pain for days, and sometimes longer.

Wyatt stared into the glow of lamplight on the edgeof his desk as memories swirled before him. He wouldnever forget the sound of the crack of wood on bone orthe sniffle of agony in the cold dark of night when boysthought no one would hear. Discipline should never makeanyone cry in pain.

Brushing the haunting memories aside, Wyatt murmuredlowly, “This wholeidea of forcing a man into marriageis archaic.” Wyatt sent a sidelong glance to bothmen. “Especially when it comes from the grave.”

“Your grandmotherisn’tforcing you to do anything—fromthe grave or otherwise,”Hurst assured him. “It’s yourchoice to remain a bachelor for as long as you want—evenunto death.”

“Just forfeit your grandmother’sfortune, and thehigh-nosepoetry gents get to spend its rich rewards anyway they choose,” Rick added underhis breath beforesipping his drink.

Hurst grunted and seemed to study on that beforesaying, “It would be easier than trying to find a bride ina few days.”

“Good point,” Rick admitted candidly as he roseandleaned a hip against the desk.

Wyatt would marry the devil himself before he’d allowpoets to gain control of his grandmother’sfortune.

“No,” he said emphatically, once more giving in to theinevitability of what had to be done. “You both knowhow I feel about poetry. I’d rather take a wife.” Thewords rang hollow in his roaring ears as he grabbed holdof the brass caps at the ends of his chair. “And there’slittletime to do it. I must dispatch a messenger to MissHale with an offer by morning.”

“Why Miss Hale?” Hurst asked, extending his longlegs out and making himself comfortable by crossing hisbooted feet at the ankles. “Why not ask Miss Delamere?Her voice is so soft she makes everythingsound heavenly.Or Lady Betina? There’sa wildness about her thatmight keep you interested in her long afternuptials aresaid. Both are lovely and in London now. I daresay eitherof them would marry you before sunup.”

“With a host of otherswaiting by the garden wallshould eitherone be stricken with a fit of the vapors andnot be able to say, ‘I do,’” Rick offered with a laugh ashe picked up the decanter and added another splash toWyatt’s glass.

“Both ladies are enticing to be sure,” Wyatt answeredwith all honesty. “As are most suitable misses, but theywould be expecting a long wedding journey aftertheceremony which would cause me to miss our upcomingBrass Deck tournaments. Upon return, they’dwantto stay in London with me and be escorted to parties,Vauxhall, parks, and the like during the week and nodoubt church on Sunday morning.”

Rick nodded in agreement as he added brandy toHurst’s glass and then his own. “I’m told wives do expecta lot from husbands.”

The thought of a lady depending on him for a commitmentthat would last longer than an afternoonridein the park or an eveningenjoying the theatre oropera made his head pound all the harder. His fatherhad drilled that into him about his motheroften enough,declaring he could never do enough to please her. Shealways wanted more from him than he was capable ofgiving. More of his time. More appreciation for her feelings.More of his love.

She insisted her happiness depended on her husband.Wyatt couldn’trefute anything his fatherhad said. Hismotherdied in her sleep before he took his first step. AllWyatt knew was that he didn’twant to shoulder that kindof responsibility for another person.

“I need a duchess who willbe little,if any, bother tome,” he explained further. “Epworth swears Miss Hale isnot only suitable but ideal in everyaspect that would beof importance. Her familylineage is good. She’s lovelyin countenance, intelligence, and disposition.”

Rick cleared his throat rather loudly and left a longpause before saying, “So, you think she’llbe manageable,grateful, and dutiful becauseyou chose her?”

Wyatt hadn’tthought of it that way. “I do. More so,though, I’m told she prefers country life to London,which suits me perfectly as I have no plans to be a dotinghusband.”

Nodding in agreement, his friends continued to enjoytheir drink.

“Epworth says the letter willbe a mere formality,”Wyatt added aftera few moments of silence among thethree.

Rick gave a knowing chuckle as he poured the lastof the brandy into his own glass and set the empty containeron the tablebetween his and Hurst’s chair before retaking his seat. “I’m sure that’s true. What lady declinesan offer of marriage from a duke?”

“Indeed,” Hurst agreed. “Country girl or city lass,she’dbe insane to do so.”

The throb at the back of Wyatt’s head and neck continued.“Apparently, Miss Hale is in need of a husbandquickly too.”

Rick and Hurst looked questioningly at each other.

“Not for indiscreet reasons, I’ve been assured,” Wyatthastened to add.

“Glad you clarified that for us,” Rick added as hethrew another glance Hurst’s way.

Wyatt could always count on Rick to jump to conclusions.He was usually fast acting in any situation andreckless to a fault.

“She has a young nephew and two nieces she’s incharge of. Apparently, she’s quite attached to the children.An older relative who has remained childless in her marriagerecently went to Chancery Court with an appealto take the childrenfrom Miss Hale. With only a modestallowance, she has littlechance of winning her petitionto keep them from her wealthier cousin unlessshemarries.”

“The two of you should suit adequately then,” Rickoffered in a tone that seemed to suggest the matterwassettled. “Since she’s well-appointedwith beauty, a pliantdisposition, and has childrento occupy her in the country,what more could eitherof you want?”

Hurst drummed his fingerson the arm of the chair ina thoughtful manner. “I agree. As much as you loathe thethought, I think you’vefound the ideal wife.”

“Does Miss Hale have others seeking her hand?”Rick suddenly asked.

“Not that Epworth mentioned. Her reason for needingto marry isn’tas pressing as mine. Courts aren’tusuallyin a hurry to settlethesemattersunlessa child’s welfareis at stake. They’drather see families have time to workthem out if possible.I, on the other hand, only have a fewdays.”

“Which brings us back to—” Hurst roseand thumpedthe letter with his middlefinger.

The men weresilentfor a moment as they looked atone another.

“You can’twin a lady’s hand with simplepersuasionof the facts,” Hurst stated as if no other argumentwerenecessary. “Ladies aren’tsensible when it comesto matterssuch as marriage, romance, and the rest of it.They want to be wooed, even if they know false intentionsare behindthe excitement of it all. Swallow yourdistaste for such thingsand say them in your letter to her.”

“He’s right. Working on borrowed time as you are,you must romanticize your proposal with thingsa ladywants to hear.”

“Please.” Wyatt puffed out a laugh and sipped fromhis newly refreshed drink. “This willbe an arrangementof conveniencefor both of us. You can’tbe serious aboutromancing.”

“We are.” Hurst leaned forward, resting both handsdown on the desk. “We’llput our heads together andwrite a proper proposal asking for her hand. Ladies arefond of moonlight, flowers, flowing brooks—thatsortof thing.Between the three of us, we should be able tocome up with something romantic.”

Stifling a groan of frustration, Wyatt picked up hisglass again and downed a hefty swallow while he shovedaside the letter he’d written. “I can’tbabble on aboutmoonlight and roses. She doesn’thave long to make up her mind. She’llhave to send a response immediately. Ineed to wed by Friday.”

Rick shook his head. “Impossible. The Brass Deck isscheduled for a card tournament Friday evening.We’llhave no chance of winning without you. We’ve alreadycommitted. Other groups have too.”

“Let’s think about this.” Hurst rubbed his forehead asif it werepounding as hard as Wyatt’s. “You could marryby noon, have the afternoonto accept congratulations,and still be at Lord Tartanville’s for the tournament Fridayevening.”

“And no reason you can’tmake the fencing match onSaturday, as it isn’tuntiltwo in the afternoon.”

“Both of you are forgetting that I must first get her toaccept my offer.” Now that he’d decidedto go throughwith this, he wanted to get the job done.

Hurst held up his hand. “In the letter, say you’ll bearriving late on the morrow to hear her answer.”

“Excellent idea,” Rick praised. “All ladies want tothink a man can’twait to marry them.”

“Epworth can take care of posting banns, gettingnecessary documents ready to sign, and speaking to hertrustee,” Hurst added, brushing his too-longhair fromhis forehead again.

“Did you get more details about her?” Rick asked.“The color of her eyes? Are they icy blue, summer green,or golden brown?”

Wyatt’s sight blurred again. His head had begun tospin and his ears wereringing louder than church bellson Christmas morning. He felt like a wolf caught in ahidden snare.

“Brown, I think,” Wyatt answered in an offhandmanner. “Dark-blondhair.”“That’s a start.” Hurst walked behindthe desk. Patting Wyatt on the shoulder, he plunked down his glass. “Letme have your chair. I’ll do the honors. My hand is betterthan yours.”

Wyatt willingly gave up his seat and Hurst grabbeda clean sheet of fine parchment and dipped the quill intoink. Hurst was the clear, levelheaded one of the trio ofdukes. He’d kept them from participating in outrightfoolish endeavors that would have surely gotten themkilled during the daring days of their youth.

My dearest and lovely Miss Hale,” he wrote quicklyas he said the words aloud. “The thought of meeting youbrings fondest remembrances of starlit spring eveningsin London when night birds chirp from their nests in thebudding trees and velvety flowers, newly opened, bowtheir blossoms to await morning’s first ray of light.”Hurst stoppedand looked up at them. His green eyesnarrowed as if he werelooking into the sun. “Is that poeticenough?”

“Damned good.” Rick inclined his head and tippedhis glass towardhis friend before taking a swallow. “Howabout adding ‘the scent of lilacs danced on the air’?”

“Excellent.” Hurst hastily plunged the quill into theinkpot again and continued to write. “I’ve never met alady who didn’tadore the smell of lilacs. And we shouldadd something about a roseamong the thistles.”

“And moonlight sparkling in her blue eyes.”

“They are brown,” Wyatt corrected.

“Even better. And she must have enchantingly dewylips with blushing cheeks.”

“Wait.” Hurst held up the quill and blinked quicklyseveral times as if trying to clear his muddled thoughts.“Best we don’tmention the color of her eyes or hair. Wecan’tafford to get the particulars wrong.”

Did Wyatt reallyneed to put all this frippery into the letter? It sounded much like the poetic verse he’d beenforced to recite while at Eton. He rubbed the back of hisneck and rolled his shoulders restlessly, trying to loosenthe tight knot of tension that had gathered at the top ofhis spine.

“You best have another bottleof your finest openedfor us, Wyatt,” Hurst said without looking up from hiswriting. “This might take all night.”

And it almost did. Thereweremany starts, stops, andarguing about the use of words and the true way to actuallyromance a lady into saying yes untilthe entire processofwriting a proposal of marriage felt wrong and ridiculous.

The next morning, Wyatt woke seated at his desk. Heblinked dry, grainy eyes and tried to ignore the fierceheadache his overindulgence had gifted him. Regardlessof his condition, he was thinking a littleclearer. He readthe pages of garbled words and winced.

How the hell had they come up with such blather intheir drunken state? It was pure rubbish!

Without questioning himself, he tore up the finaldraft his friends had proclaimed as the perfect letter towoo a lady and plucked the quill from its cradle. On afresh sheet of paper, he wrote:

Dear Miss Hale,

I willarrive late in the afternoon with an offer of marriage.

Yours truly,
The Duke

About the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of over twenty-five books, including the Heirs' Club trilogy and the Rakes of St. James series. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.