Today I am happy to host Carly Carson, author of Duke of Devonwood, one of the 14 novels and novellas in the contemporary romance anthology,
Please join me in welcoming Carly.
Carly Carson is a contemporary romance author with a collection of unusual awards, including: Romance Junkies Debut Author Award, Red Sage Publishing Readers contest winner, and eFestival of Words nominee for Best Romance.
Carly will probably never marry into the British nobility, as she is already happily married to Traveling Man. But there's nothing wrong with a little fantasy in one's life, right? She has three children, who provide a daily dose of reality. Being married to Traveling Man, Carly gets to do a lot of traveling.
Here, she shares some pictures of London that might be appropriate for a duchess.
Miranda is not about to let some English duke tell her what she can do with her own inheritance. This is, after all, the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, her father appointed the duke her trustee. Fortunately, she's determined, hard-working, and maybe a touch devious. She vows to do whatever it takes to foil the duke...
The Duke of Devonwood could handle Miranda and her schemes...if only she weren't so enticing.
"Our lawyer explained that you could petition the court for these requests," Miranda said.
"I suppose I could." Mr. Yummy, aka the Duke of Devonwood, leaned back in his chair. "But why would I?"
"Why wouldn't you? It's not your money." Miranda placed her laptop on his desk. "I've drawn up a plan to show you that we can cut back on our living expenses in the future if we get the advance we need now."
"You know," he said, "most people prefer to spend today and save tomorrow. Such a plan cannot recommend itself to me."
She pressed her lips together to force herself to think before blurting out a rude retort. How would he know anything about saving money?
"I understand," she said carefully, "that you might find our need for money to be frivolous, but it's important to us."
"What is this important need? I seemed to have missed that."
"Sharmie, my step-mother, is getting married."
"So soon?" He shifted his gaze to Sharmie and lifted his dark brows.
Miranda sprang to her feet and leaned over the desk. "Don't you dare criticize her! My father had Alzheimer's for six long years, during which time Sharmie stood by him, took care of his every need, and raised his two children. Have you ever done the like?"
"As I am unmarried, and unlikely to bear children, the issue is moot."
"Don't pretend to misunderstand me. Whom do you care for? An expensive mistress? A pack of bloodhounds? A princely inheritance bequeathed to you as an accident of birth?"
His brows rose higher. This time, she thought his mouth was curling up in amusement.
"A tigress," he said. "Reversing the natural order."
"Do not make a step-mother joke," she warned. "Sharmie and I are—are—" What were they? She wanted to say as close as sisters.
She glanced over. Maybe Sharmie didn't feel the same way. Yes, they spent a lot of time together. They got along well. But maybe—Miranda tried to banish the thought. It was too frightening. Maybe, now that her father, the man who'd brought them together and turned them into relatives was dead, maybe Sharmie would move on. She could take the twins and disappear from Miranda's life.
Miranda couldn't bear the thought. And it would be all this man's fault for refusing to give her the money that would glue them all together. Cement them as a family.
Miranda pressed a hand to her thumping heart. She couldn't let it happen. If she did, she'd be all alone in the world. Unthinkable.
"Sharmie and I," she said fiercely, "are family." She hoped he didn't notice the quiver of her lip.
His gaze was uncomfortably acute, though. "No step-mother jokes," he said. "I apologize."
Drat the man. Why did he have to keep her so off-balance?
"Thank you," she muttered. "The point is that we need the money for her wedding."
The chair he'd been leaning back on crashed to the floor. One of the dogs yipped.
"A wedding?" He stared at Miranda.
She'd finally managed to shake him out of his calm.
"Yes," she answered. "A wedding is required in order to get married."
"Perhaps some kind of ceremony is required, although I believe a justice of the peace could handle the matter for a negligible sum. But you can't seriously be considering spending one hundred thousand dollars on a wedding."
"Not only am I considering it, I intend to do so."
"Not with any funds under my control."
Miranda stared at her adversary. His chiseled mouth had a stubborn set to it, as did his strong chin.
"Fine then," she snapped. "Plan B."
"How many plans are there?" he asked. His eyes had a certain wariness in them now.
"As many as it takes."
He raised a hand. "I think Plan A was enough for me for today."
"No, please listen." She leaned forward. "You don't want to have to bother with us and we don't want to have to keep pestering you."
"Finally," he muttered, "we're in agreement." ~*~