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Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion.
For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another if one is to believe the rumors. But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love…with his own wife?
Eloisa made up these gorgeous collectible cards for readers to celebrate the Desperate Duchesses, Original Six series. And this isn't the only gorgeous card to be had! In describing relations between characters, I may wreck a book for you by making it clear who someone marries, or the outcome of a book.
Please do not read about The Inside Take if you're wary of knowing who is paired with whom! Chess lies at the heart of the plot of this novel. In collaboration with a very talented illustrator, Eloisa created paper dolls complete with extravagant hairpieces and two Georgian fashion dresses to go along with her Desperate Duchesses, the Original Six heroines. With the template drawn only in outline so readers could DIY, Eloisa then issued a challenge: make one and send it in, and she'd have a drawing to pick the ones that fit the heroines the best.
To see all the winning dolls and more, as well as to download the template, click over to Eloisa's Design-A-Duchess Paper Doll feature. This is the dress Eloisa selected for Jemma. Click through to see it bigger in all its wonderful detail. No one dressed to please a husband. Or, if one were so inclined, to invite a seduction…to engage in an affaire. Which made it all the harder for Jemma, the duchess in question, to decide what to wear to seduce her spouse.
After all, Elijah had been her husband for years. They had come to that decision a year ago. When she first returned from Paris, she was too angry to contemplate marital intimacies, but then somehow the fury drained away. Still they kept to separate bedchambers. Too busy to seduce the Duchess of Beaumont? It had been her experience that men were driven by lust above duty.
And she had been assured by male attention from age sixteen that she was precisely what a lustful man would like to find in his bed. She had blue eyes, hair of a deep golden color, a very elegant nose Jemma particularly liked her nose and crimson lips.
True, the crimson color resulted from lavish applications of lip rouge, but if one were lucky enough not to have a thin hard mouth, one might as well draw attention to it. And at twenty-eight, she still had the allure of youth, together a sheen of sophistication and wit that no sixteen-year-old could command. There was nothing sensual about the word wife. Jemma gave a little shudder. Wives nagged and complained. Wives wore little caps on their fading hair and suffered from broadening hips due to child-bearing.
It was mortifying to be a wife. Even worse, a wife whose husband was reluctant to take her to bed. It was definitely a new, and rather disconcerting, sensation, to feel that she was more interested in bedding a man than the opposite. She was used to men trying to seduce her. For the years she lived at Versailles, gentlemen considered her ripe for the plucking, given that her husband lived in England.
They swiveled before her to display a powerful thigh, flaunt an embroidered coat or an enameled snuff box, drop roses, plums and poems at her doorstep. She smiled, enticed, laughed, dismissed. She dressed to amuse herself, and to dazzle the court. She dressed for power and admiration.
She wanted all the passion and energy her husband devoted to the House of Lords, to the fate of England. She wanted him to look at her with the same hunger that he showed for a new bill in Parliament. She wanted Elijah at her feet. Brigitte, her femme de chambre, popped into the chamber with a fistful of cards.
Delacroix and Lord Piddleton. A woman with three maids, each with such decided opinions, can hardly bemoan her lack of guidance! Perhaps you plan a special toilette for this evening. Shall I inform the gentlemen that you decline their counsel? Servants talked…servants knew. She suspected that the house knew of her embarrassing, humiliating infatuation with her husband. In the last month or so, she had taken to sitting in the library with a chess board before her, waiting for Elijah to return from the House of Lords.
She was…. She was a dunce. She should behave as if there was nothing untoward about the evening. Her husband had been in the country for several weeks; that meant nothing to her. A fashionable wife would never even note the absence or presence of something as insignificant as a husband.
If only Villiers were here. Despite herself, Jemma smiled. For one thing, I suspect that it takes him longer to dress than it takes me. I suppose I must needs admit Corbin, at least. How do I appear? Jemma was wearing a honey-pale corset, adorned with daring bows of sheer black ribbon. Brigitte darted about, pulling a lock of hair over her shoulder so that it emphasized her white skin, dusting a touch of powder onto her nose.
Her hair, of course, was already built into a formidable pile of curls, though it awaited ornamentation and powder. One of her three French maids, Mariette, was a genius in that area and had spent two hours in the afternoon constructing a style fit for a royal occasion. Jemma looked at herself again in the glass over her dressing table.
To her mind, nothing suited her quite as much as dishabille, to be with her face painted, but her hair unpowdered, her legs showing through the frail lawn of her chemise. If only Elijah visited her at this time in the afternoon…but he never did. Only strangers — or at best, acquaintances — thronged below in the drawing room, begging for the favor of being asked to help her place a patch, or choose a gown. Presumably husbands were uninterested in seeing their wives dress; their secrets were all known and the thrill of the unfamiliar was lost.
The last time they slept together she had been a gauche and, comparatively speaking, flat-chested twenty-year-old. Villiers was everything Corbin and Delacroix were not. He was a chess master, for one thing.
His mind was as nimble as hers, and his machinations were not trivial and —. Brigitte sighed, and the sigh said it all. Brigitte was right. The French blood Villiers received from his mother was definitely enough … put together with an English manliness and strength.
Generally, a lady allowed two, three, even four gentlemen into the dressing room to help her choose patches and lace. To invite only Corbin would invite a scandal, but who could really believe that she was instigating an affaire with Corbin? He was her favorite partner for the minuet, her comfortable gossip of an evening. A brilliant dancer, an exquisite dresser, a notable wit. And she had a shrewd feeling that he had as little interest in her as she had in him.
What if affairs of state kept him from affairs of the heart? Explore many more international editions by country or by language. Stay Connected to be the first to know when new editions are added. Elijah , Duke of Beaumont, did believe those rumors. Read an E xcerpt. Husbands were just there, like coals in Newcastle and pigs in the sty. Have a baby. Produce an heir, or at least do the motions that would produce one in nine months. Go to bed together.
She even had all her teeth, to reduce the subject to the level of cattle. The problem, it seemed to her, was that to Elijah she was a wife , not Jemma.
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This Duchess of Mine
Summary: Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another if one is to believe the rumors. But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. Why did I read the Book: this is my top 1 historical series and this book, this book I have been waiting for a long, long time. You can read more about the series here. This Duchess of Mine was one of my most anticipated reads for
Book Review: This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James
Except her own husband! Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another if one is to believe the rumors. But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love.