The Lady is Daring
by Megan Frampton
Series: The Duke’s Daughters
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
The duke’s five daughters have beauty, breeding, and impeccable reputations. Or at least, they did. Now that two have chosen to follow their hearts, can the others be far behind?
It was easy for society to overlook Lady Ida Howlett; they found her bookish, opinionated, and off the marriage mart. But little did they know that behind a calm exterior beats the heart of an adventuress, one who, determined to discover her runaway sister’s whereabouts, steals a carriage and sets off on a daring mission. Then she discovers she’s not alone! Bennett, Lord Carson, is inside, and he refuses to leave.
Lord Carson’s plans had always been to find a soft, gentle wife who would run his home and raise his children. Still, he makes a bargain with Ida—he won’t desert her during her mad adventure. He’ll make sure she’s safe, and then find a suitable lady to fall in love with. But when rules (and garments) become discarded during this long, intimate journey, it’s soon clear that this surprisingly daring lady is the woman he’s needed all along.
“This room is for the young lady,” Mrs. Hastings said, opening the second door on the right-hand side.
Ida looked inside, almost unable to process what she was viewing as the tumult of emotions swirled inside her brain. She shook her head, trying to clear the fog of whatever it was she was feeling.
He’d held her hand. And she had held his.
Her skin tingled where they’d touched.
And he’d joked with her. In Latin. No wonder she was all tingly.
The room was small, but tidy, the bed in the center made up with a floral counterpane. There was a table beside the bed, a screen in the corner, and a chair in front of one of the two windows.
“It’s not much, but it’s quiet,” the innkeeper said. “I’ll send someone up to help you with your gown, since your own servant hasn’t arrived yet. Do you expect them tonight, my lord?” she said, twisting to look at Bennett.
“Likely not. I told them to find lodgings elsewhere if they could not get here by this evening.”
“Ah, then you’ll be needing my Mary’s help. She’s Eustace’s younger sister, and she’s been helping out in the inn.”
“That would be excellent. Thank you for thinking of it,” Ida replied. She drew a coin from her purse and began to hold it to the innkeeper, who waved it aside.
“You’ll pay me tomorrow morning for the food and rooms. You can save that for Mary, if she serves well enough. And you’ll let me know if she doesn’t.”
The innkeeper stepped back out into the hallway. “I’ll show you your room, my lord, and then wish you and your sister good-night. It’s just two doors away,” she continued, gesturing to a door on the opposite side. “If you need anything in the night.”
He would be leaving her. Alone.
“Good night, Ida,” Bennett said. He stepped forward and gazed down at her face, an intense expression on his face.
“Good night,” she replied abruptly, shutting the door as she spoke.
She leaned against the door, her shoulders sagging. In fatigue? Relief?
For a moment, he’d looked at her as though he . . . appreciated her.
In a way she’d never been appreciated before.
In a way that looked as though he wanted to kiss her.
Ida had never been kissed. Obviously. Not only that, but she’d never even had the opportunity—she had yet to meet a gentleman she’d like to kiss, much less had one want to kiss her.
But she could imagine, just for a moment, what it would feel like to have Lord Carson kiss her.
To have all that sleek handsomeness focused on her, on her mouth, on her reactions to what their lips were doing.
She hadn’t been kissed, but she did know the mechanics of it all. She’d taken a peek at some naughty books her older sister Eleanor had in her possession, and had done some further research when Eleanor had turned bright red and refused to explain.
So she knew technically what it entailed, but she knew full well that knowing something and experiencing something were two entirely different things.
For example, one could describe the deliciousness of strawberry shortcake covered with freshly whipped cream, but one couldn’t understand just how delicious it was until one had tasted it.
Lord Carson wasn’t precisely strawberry shortcake. But Ida had the worrisome thought that kissing him would be altogether far more enjoyable.
Shortcake left crumbs, and there was never the correct balance between cake, fruit, and cream.
Lord Carson would likely know how to achieve the best balance in kissing. And there’d be no crumbs.
She jumped as there was a knock on the door. She turned to open it, hoping she wasn’t blushing.
It was him. Of course it was him. Lord Shortcake.
“Oh,” Ida said in what she hoped sounded like a surprised voice. “I thought it would be the girl come to help me with my gown.”
“I wanted to—look, might I come in for a moment?” he said, glancing down the hallway. “Just for a moment,” he repeated as she held the door open wider for him to step inside.
“Of course.” She closed the door. And then they were alone. Again. In the room that was technically, for this evening at least, her bedroom.
Nothing she had ever read could have prepared her for how much she felt. She felt everything at this moment, so keenly aware and alive of the distance between them, how his eyes were focused on her, how much she longed to launch herself into his arms.
No launching, Ida, she admonished herself.
He leaned against the door, similar to her own position just moments before. “I just wanted to ask if you have everything you need to be comfortable.” He frowned in thought. “You don’t have any clothing with you, do you? What will you sleep in?”
Ida felt her cheeks heat. A gentleman was inquiring about her nightclothes.
Somehow, that felt more shocking than stealing a carriage and running away in search of an errant sister.
So much for her personal perspective.
“I’ll just—” she began, and gestured toward her body.
“We’ll buy clothing tomorrow. And not library clothing either,” he said with a grin.
She tried to laugh—she did find him humorous—but her mind was too engrossed in the current situation to actually emit any kind of chuckle at all.
Because she wanted, quite desperately, to kiss him.
Well. There it was.
And so here she was. And he was right there, so why shouldn’t she?
Ida’s first thought should have been, What am I doing?
But it wasn’t.
It should also have been the second, third, and fourth.
But it wasn’t.
Why haven’t I done this before? was what went through her mind as her mouth found his.
Dear lord, so this was kissing.
Historical roadtrip romance FTW!
I loved Ida and Bennett’s story–finally, one of the duke’s daughters actually falls in love with Bennett 😉 Their banter was great–“hedgehog” and “leopard” LOL–and the forced proximity of their rescue mission felt spot-on for both of them (plus was a whole lot of fun…) Bennett being able to see and appreciate Ida for her Ida-ness was wonderful, and seeing the relationships that both of them had with their families (the families that count, anyway) was wonderful.
The reasons why they can’t be together aren’t the strongest–initially they make sense, but the longer they cling to them the weaker they seem–however, the way they overcame their obstacles was lovely, and that made all the difference.
You don’t have to have read the other two books to appreciate this one (confession–still haven’t read Eleanor’s book!), but if you have, then the “finally falls in love with Bennett” comment will make a lot more sense…
Two more Howell sisters to go–can’t wait!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About Megan Frampton:
MEGAN FRAMPTON writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction under the name Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
Tour Wide Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of LADY IS DARING, we’re giving away one paperback set of LADY BE BAD and LADY BE RECKLESS by Megan Frampton!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback set of Lady Be Bad & Lady Be Reckless by Megan Frampton. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 10/8/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!