An Impossible Duchess
This novel picks up a year after the events in The King's Mistress, completing the Clifton Hall trilogy.
Where has Lord Clifton been all these years? Who is the mysterious French woman arriving at Clifton Hall in search of the old duke - and why does the new duke seem unable to turn her away?
Since the restoration of peace in France, Lord Major Roger Clifton prefers Paris to London, and his French lovers to his English mistresses – for good reason. However, on the death of his father, Roger is forced to return to England to take up his ducal title and management of the Clifton Hall estates.
When a mysterious Frenchwoman appears at a Clifton Hall holiday party, claiming to have been promised assistance from his father, Roger cannot contain the scandal. The woman brings with her a child, and a claim on the Clifton’s largesse – yet no one has ever met her before.
Nor, it seems, can Roger deny her anything. Just who is she? And why does she haunt him so? With both his brother and sister determined to learn the truth, the new Duke of Carston is in for one of the most uncomfortable family reunions of his life.
Taster . . .
“If you want my help you must tell me the truth.” Roger stared at Geneviève, willing her to look at him. "Who is the child's father?"
She opened her lips and closed them again without uttering a sound.
“Geneviève, what is it?” he whispered though they were alone, the moment shrinking in around him, then telescoping out until he saw the years behind in France, the months with Virginie, and the time here, with her sister. A feeling, an inkling, a dawning awareness prickling the back of his neck like ice. No... It can’t be.
“Tell me,” he spoke urgently, roughly. “I need to know.” His demand lost all gentleness. “Now.”
“Non. I cannot say it.” Geneviève shook her head, staring back at him, so firm and so still. Her eyes shone with tears – and fear.
“I'm afraid I must insist.” Roger held his ground like the soldier he was, suspicion flickering in his heart. A dream he dared not credit... Could it be?
“I want to tell you,” she murmured. “So much, but I made a promise. I will not break it.” She bit her lip. “N-not even for you, Your Grace.” She shook her head, her eyes on her hands.
Roger read the message in her gaze, his eyes glistening. “You must.”