She didn’t need him to save her, only to love her…
After losing her husband in the Napoleonic wars, Melody Balfour is left alone to run the Gentle Rose Inn. In a world built for men, she fights tooth and nail to stay afloat and love is the last thing on her mind. Until the day a dashing Duke strolls in…
A Duke that believes in women’s rights is rare, even more so one that advocates for them. Tired of the vapid girls he meets in high society, Zachariah Livingston, the Duke of Sandorne, is looking for more. And he finds her in the form of a strong-willed innkeeper.
When Zachariah goes missing, a ransom note is the only thing that maintains Melody’s hope of finding him. A hope, however, that seems futile when his family find themselves unable to pay. Desperate, Melody employs help that comes with strings attached. Strings that come in the form of the chain of a broken locket…
Zachariah Livingston, the Duke of Sandorne has a problem with his mother the dowager Duchess. She wants him to marry, and produce an heir quickly. Now Zachariah doesn’t want just any bride, he wants someone he can converse with and not about frippery. One particular young lady has high hopes, but poor Zachariah can’t stand her vapid conversation.
Since his mother has started all this he has agreed to go to some balls, and at least make an effort to find a suitable young lady to wed. Zachariah and his steward Caleb Ridlington left the Dukes’s estate late in the day and decided to stop for the night a the Golden Rose Inn. The Duke is intrigued to find the proprietor to be a woman. They invite both the innkeeper Melody Balfour and her chef Betsy Lovell to join them for dinner and conversation. Caleb is quite charmed by Betsy as Zachariah and Betsy speak about her running the Inn. Although they leave early the next day in order to attend on of the ball’s they promise to return.
The Duke’s fascination and Caleb’s infatuation have them stopping once again at the Inn instead of traveling the full way back to the Duke’s estate. They enjoy lunch then retire to their room until dinner. As they are enjoying a before dinner drink some chaos ensues.
This just one of many favorite scenes.
“You need dinner first, Obadiah,” Melody had pleaded with the drunk.
“I am sick of you women trying to manage my every move,” he slurred.
“You have been in here all day, drinking away all of our sherry without more than a few mouthfuls of food,” Melody protested, shaking her head.
“Do you not know your place?” he huffed.
Obadiah gave her a challenging look before a disgusting grin dominated his old face. Melody took a deep breath and once more, tried to reason with him. “I know my place, Obadiah. I am the innkeeper of this establishment—”
A firm hand gripped her bottom, a gasp escaping her and those at the surrounding tables. “You may be parading as an innkeeper, but you are nothing more than a sweet piece of—”
Melody pinched his ear and raised him from the table, “I will not be disrespected in my own inn. You have clearly had too much sherry to use your senses.”
Obadiah’s grin only grew, “You cannot keep your hands off me, can you, Melody?”
“It is Miss Balfour to the likes of you,” she hissed.
Before she could say more, Obadiah bravely pressed his hands to her chest with a hungry, ravenous look in his eye. She gasped and reared back a hand, slapping him across the face.
“How dare you! I have been nothing but kind to you, Obadiah. You must leave at once,” she ordered, pushing him to the door. “You do not come back again. You need to sober up and return to your senses before you find yourself in anymore trouble. I have never been more offended than I have in this moment! You have embarrassed me in front of a dining room full of paying customers.”
“You act so coy,” he grumbled, fumbling to fight against her pushing. “You know you want me, Melody. Do you want me to slither into your room tonight? Warm those sheets in ways they have not been in years?”
“You are a sick old man,” she spat, pushing him to the door. “I once again say, do not return! I have had enough of your antics, Obadiah. You have now gone too far. You have caused me enough embarrassment for one day. One lifetime!”
Two footmen sitting nearby jumped to her assistance, grabbing the arms of Obadiah and dragging him through the door and carrying him out to the street. When they returned, Melody expressed her thanks and ordered a maid, “Bring these good men a drink of their choice.”
Melody turned on a heel and headed back into the dining room, cheeks reddened by the display which her lovely patrons had borne witness to. Never, in all her years of being an innkeeper, had she faced such horrible embarrassment than Obadiah had just forced her to endure. She headed for the kitchen, needing to voice her frustrations and humiliation to Betsy. As she headed on her path, she witnessed the Duke staring in her direction, wide-eyed as he scrambled to his feet.
In her confused haze, Melody turned around. She gasped at the sight of Obadiah rushing toward her with a vase in hand. Her hands raised to block her face as he closed the distance. Then, in a dizzying fashion, she witnessed Zachariah grab the vase from Obadiah and push him back with a single shove on his chest.
“I suggest you leave at once before I have you arrested for public indecency and harassment,” the Duke stated to the man, more evenly than Melody would have been able to vocalize in such a calm manner.
Obadiah eyed Zachariah, huffing in disbelief. He began toward Melody once more, and the Duke put a hand on his chest to stop him.
“Leave. At once!”
Stumbling back, Obadiah eyed both of them before hurrying out of the building. Melody smoothed her skirt, her eyes fixated on Zachariah as his stance relaxed slowly and his gaze fell to her. “Thank you, Your Grace.”
“As I said, call me Zachariah,” he muttered. He sniffed and straightened his shoulders, clearly trying to shake the unsavory scene from his body. “Would you and Betsy join us for dinner?”
“Of course,” she nodded. “Drinks shall be on the house.”
“That is not necessary—”
“It is after what you have just done,” Melody insisted. “I will not take no for an answer.”
“Very well,” Zachariah muttered. “We shall await your company.”
Patricia Haverton. Desperately Inn Love with the Duchess: A Historical Regency Romance Novel (Kindle Locations 684-716). Patricia Haverton.
While they make stopping at the inn a habit, Zachariah’s mother enlists the aid of a matchmaker, this leads to many amusing scenes. Zachariah learns much about both the inn and innkeeper and help her out in small ways. Things change however when the duke is abducted.
A delightful read with suspense, intrigue and a Duke who is very much ahead of his time.
5 Contented Purrs for Patricia!
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Born the oldest of three children, Patricia Haverton grew up believing that she’d follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue a career in science. However, her worldview changed when she decided to explore her British mother’s roots. The trip to her ancestral lands solidified her conviction that she had found her true calling in the romanticism of the Era of Kings and Queens.
A hopeless romantic and a firm believer in the idea of soulmates, Patricia changed the course of her life and decided to get her degree in Creative Writing and Psychology. As she jokingly says ever so often, “she lives in the past now, where love shows the way and Dukes save the day!”
When she’s not weaving tales of love that prevails, Patricia enjoys spending time with her husband, roaming the British countryside, where they have been living in for the past decade.
Now would be the time to let yourself go and experience the true magic of the Regency Era! Let your imagination run wild, live amazing adventures through the eyes of brave heroes! Like the legendary wise wizard, Patricia will be your guide!