Book excerpt from Charming the Duke by Holly Bush

Today’s post is part of a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for Charming the Duke by Holly Bush.

Holly will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky commentor during her tour. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.
1849 . . . Matilda Sheldon, the middle daughter of the sixth Earl
of Bisset, has never been interested in the fashionable society events that so
preoccupy her parents and siblings. Her loving, albeit, daft family cannot
understand why. But Matilda has little use for silly rules and dramas. She
would rather occupy her time with a worthwhile cause such as opening The
Sheldon Home for Orphans, much to the chagrin of her mother and grandmother.
They are quite certain a venture of this nature will discourage suitors.
Matilda is quite certain that if suitors are discouraged it is because she is
clever, plain, a bit clumsy, and inevitably compared to her beautiful sisters.
The Duke of Thornsby is in tight spot. After receiving the title
on the death of his father, he discovers the inheritance is to be gifted
elsewhere if he does not marry before his thirtieth birthday. Unfortunately,
our man-about-town is embroiled in a scandal, not of his own making, and the
marriage mamas won’t let any eligible misses anywhere near him. What’s a Duke
to do? Get invited to a house party hosted by the notoriously absent-minded
Earl of Bisset, who just happens to be Papa to some young ladies of
marriageable age!
Thornsby finds himself fascinated, not with the two Sheldon
debutantes actively seeking a husband, but rather with the ‘brown wren’ he
first mistakes for a servant. Matilda is counting the hours until the house
party ends when the necessity of conversing with the guests will be over, and
ridiculously handsome men go far away. Can a worldly Duke convince a sensible
girl to accept his court? Find out in Charming
the Duke
Our hero can’t resist a kiss . . .
“Thornsby!” Matilda hissed. People
from one end of the room to the other were staring. Oddly, the glimpse Matilda
caught of her mother revealed a smile.
“What is wrong with you, Thornsby?”
Matilda asked when he finally released her after pulling her into the first
deserted room they came to.
“You said yourself that Altry has
never asked you to dance. What do you imagine prompted him now?”
“Heavens, I don’t know. Why would I
care? It was just a dance,” Matilda replied.
“Just a dance? That young pup was
nearly drooling.”
“Drooling? Whatever are you talking
about?” Matilda asked.
“Miss Sheldon! You are no fool.
Don’t presume to tell me you don’t understand. Altry asked you to dance because
of this damned outfit you’re wearing.” Thornsby shouted.
“You’re only angry you can’t compare
me to a maid or a washwoman.”
Matilda supposed the Duke was right
though. Altry would have never paid her court if she hadn’t been wearing this
dress. It all supported her notion that the glasses, brown dresses, and scruffy
boots separated the chaff from the wheat. Those that deemed her worthy enough
to speak to when dressed that way, and those that chose this evening to address
her. The Duke had apparently noticed her gown.
Thornsby stared at her as if in a
trance. She wondered what was going through his mind. “Don’t make Altry to be
any more the cad than you, Thornsby. You’ve never noticed me either. Unless to
insult me.”
His eye twitched. “That is untrue.”
“Far from it,” Matilda said.
“Don’t presume to know what is in my
mind,” Thornsby said and grabbed Matilda’s bare shoulders.
The moment was charged with sparks,
shooting through the air, connecting him to her. Matilda felt, well, she didn’t
know what she felt. Fluttery and female. Angry. Aware. The touch of his
fingertips drifted down her arms leaving her hands numb. Her voice came out
barely above a whisper.
“What is on your mind then?” she
“I’m thinking of kissing you, Miss
Matilda batted her lashes. “Is it
the dress?”
Thornsby touched his lips to hers. A
feather’s touch. He inched back to gaze over her face. “I don’t know. But I
don’t think so.”
His breath was warm on her cheeks.
She’d never been this close to a man before. She could see the lines around his
mouth and the bristle of his beard. He touched his lips to hers again.
“What do you imagine it is?” Matilda
whispered into his mouth.
Thornsby slipped his hand around her
waist and pulled her close. He tilted her head up with his finger. “I haven’t a
clue,” he said. Then he kissed her. Really kissed her.

Author Bio
and Links:
Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania
to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full
bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for
twenty years. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and
has done public speaking on the subject.
Holly has been writing all of her life and is
a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly
political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in
the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences,
and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and
former vice-president of her local library board and loves to spend time near
the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more
than a few years her junior.

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