I love historical romance. I love everything about it, from the clothing to the social norms to the rules—god, there were so many RULES! I love the way saucy, smart heroines skirt those strict rules, risking social ruination if they get caught doing something as innocent as kissing a man in the moonlight. After such a scandal, the only way back to salvation would be to marry the man and THEN figure out whether or not they suit each other. Delicious! Because I’m such a rabid reader of historical romance, I suppose it was only natural to want to write one of my own. I started Duchess by Deception in 2010, which was early days in my career as a contemporary romance author. After writing the first half of Duchess, I realized the time wasn’t right for me to introduce a new genre and shelved the book to stay focused on building my contemporary brand. Fast forward to a luncheon in 2017, attended by my Kensington Books Editor Martin Biro, during which I mentioned that unfinished historical romance I had on my computer. Martin asked to see it, he loved it and wanted to acquire it. Then *gasp* I had to finish it, which I did while on vacation in March 2018. Yes, I know, I have a funny definition of the word “vacation,” but it was fun to return to the world I’d created such a long time ago and revisit characters I’d always loved and wanted more of. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the latter part of the book, so the words flew off the fingers during my beach trip. And now, Duchess by Deception is coming to readers in January 2019. That nine-year incubation period was the longest of any of my more than 70 books.

Funny thing happened on the way to publication. Early readers asked me about the legality of a duke having to forfeit his title and holdings if he didn’t marry by the age of 30. For those who might be wondering, yes, I do know that titles can’t be handed off to the next in line like a pair of hand-me-down pants, but I didn’t explain that well enough in the initial draft. So we’ve added this exchange to clarify my original thinking on the matter of Derek’s matrimonial deadline:

“Whatever could your ancestor have been thinking, with such an utterly daft provision?” the American, Nelson, asked. “Enter into a ‘suitable state of matrimony’— whatever that is—by thirty or abdicate your title? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Of course, he hadn’t, Derek mused. The colonists had left such barbaric practices behind in England. “I suppose he was out to ensure the bloodline. Instead, he placed a matrimonial pox upon each succeeding generation.”

“Is it even legal?” Justin asked.

“Probably not, but the previous dukes married young, so it was never an issue for them, and I chose not to contest it with Anthony waiting in the wings drooling all over the duchy.”

The change was made last-minute to the ebook version but didn’t make the print or audio versions—sorry about that. I hope the historical purists will forgive me this lapse in the original version. Sometimes we get so far inside a story we forget that we can’t assume that everyone is following our logic!

I set Duchess and the next book, Deceived by Desire, in the Gilded Age of the early 20th century, and the action moves to Newport, RI, for book two when Aubrey Nelson invites the cast of Duchess to be the guests of his family in the seaside resort the following summer. Deceived is out in September and available for preorder now.

I hope you enjoy both of my new Gilded books! To read the first two chapters of Duchess by Deception, go to marieforce.com/duchessbydeception, and to preorder Deceived, go to marieforce.com/deceivedbydesire. Thanks for reading!

 

In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title. . .

Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.

Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.

Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?

Praise for Marie Force

“Genuine and heartfelt. . . . Will have you swooning.” —RT Book Reviews on It’s Only Love, 4.5 stars