All I Want for Christmas is a Duke
Christmas Anthology, Book The Duke and Duchess Trap
The holidays are a time for dining, dancing, and of course—dukes! Celebrate the Christmas season with this enchanting collection of historical romances featuring the most eligible bachelors of the ton…
The Duke and Duchess Trap by Valerie Bowman
A childish prank may have reunited the Duke of Hollingsworth with his estranged wife, but only the magic of Christmas will show this couple ‘tis the season of second chances…
Sophie and the Duke by Tiffany Clare
Sophie Kinsley planned to remain a wallflower at the Duke of Helmsworth’s ball. Yet when a dance with him leads to a stolen kiss, will the duke be willing to let her go? Or will Sophie’s Christmas wish be granted at last?
The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Vivienne Lorret
To the Duke of Vale, science solves everything—even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.
One Magic Season by Ashlyn Macnamara
Patience Markham never forgot the fateful dance she had with the future Duke of Kingsbury. But when a twist of fate brings them together for Christmas Eve, will the stars finally align in their favor?
Read an Excerpt
The Duke and Duchess Trap
When Elizabeth, the Duchess of Hollingsworth, welcomes her twelve-year-old daughter, Evie, home from boarding school in London, the girl isn’t acting quite . . . like herself. Elizabeth soon realizes that the wrong child came home for the holiday. Evie is actually her twin sister Gena. Clearly, the twins found each other at school and switched places. But despite her delight in spending time with the twin she had to give up, Elizabeth must send her wayward daughter back to her father, even if that means Elizabeth must face her estranged husband for the first time in nearly a dozen years.
Nathan Hollister, the Duke of Hollingsworth, is amused to discover that his daughter, Gena, has swapped places with her twin. While he’s delighted to meet the more prim and proper of his two girls, he and his duchess had an agreement, so he loads Evie in his coach and heads for his country estate to collect Gena. But when a winter storm strands them all together over Christmas, and Nathan finds that he likes having his entire family under one roof, will a childish prank convince the couple to give love another try?
London, September, 1810
“Lady Evangeline Hollister?” The headmistress’s voice rang out across the huge banquet hall.
Evie swallowed. Oh, she didn’t like this. Not one bit. She bit her lip. Being shy was such a curse. Why did she have to be the first to be called upon on the first day at her new school? Apparently, new students were first to be inspected and provided with a class schedule. She stared up at the monstrous carved chandeliers that hung like gargoyles from the wood-beamed roof of the hall. Attending the most exclusive school in London was her birthright. Mother had said she must be brave. She’d promised Mother. Never mind that the idea of leaving Mother, her home, her dog, her beloved horses, not to mention the servants, made Evie want to cast up her accounts.
She blinked away the tears that stung her eyes. Tears would not do. Mother said the daughter of a duke did not cry. Even at the tender age of twelve. Evie smoothed her blue skirts and glanced down at her perfectly clean and orderly white stockings which peeped out at the ankles. She pressed her palm against the thick wooden table, preparing to stand. She tucked her book under her arm. The book had been another recommendation from Mother. “One cannot be homesick when one is reading a compelling book,” she’d said. “When you’re reading, it doesn’t matter where you are.”
Mother was right, and Evie had been clutching her copy of The Canterbury Tales ever since she’d arrived at Miss Hathaway’s School for Young Ladies. But she somehow doubted that Headmistress Hathaway would take kindly to her reading during roll call.
“Lady Evangeline,” the headmistress called again. Evie pushed herself to her feet. The short heels of her leather slippers clicked against the polished wood floor, and the eyes of all the other girls swiveled to watch her. She gulped and stepped forward, forcing herself to take another step and another, shuddering at each smack of her heels. She pressed her hand to her book, clutching it so tightly her fingers drained of color.
“Present,” she managed to force from her dry throat.
The headmistress’s head snapped up, and she eyed Evie’s approach over the rim of her golden spectacles. It seemed as if hours passed before Evie arrived, trembling, at Miss Hathaway’s table that was perched on a dais at the front of the cavernous hall. The middle-aged lady lowered her spectacles and glared at Evie through narrowed dark eyes. She spoke in a pinched, unhappy voice. “I’m not amused, Lady Genevieve. I said Lady Evangeline Hollister.”
Evie gulped. “I beg your pardon, madam.” Her voice trembled. “I am Lady Evangeline Hollister.”
Miss Hathaway pursed her lips. It was an unfortunate look for her. She contemplated Evie with a suspicious glare while the giggles of the other girls grew louder. Evie swallowed and clutched the book to her chest, crossing her arms over it, desperately wishing she could disappear. There couldn’t possibly have been a mix-up, could there? Mother would have seen to all the details. Mother was kind, and beautiful, and full of laughter. And Mother never made mistakes. It was absolutely inconceivable.
The headmistress’s eyes narrowed further, if that were possible. “What have you done to your hair?”
Evie pushed her free hand up to her red locks. “My . . . my hair, madam?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean, Lady Genevieve. You’re forgetting that I was present when you decided to run off into the park without your bonnet, resulting in that unfortunate incident with the pine sap which led to Miss Lancaster having to cut your hair—and seriously displeasing your father, I might add.”
“My . . . my father?” Evie cocked her head to the side and stared at the headmistress as if she were speaking a foreign language. Evie hadn’t seen her father since she was a babe. Or so Mother had told her. Evie certainly didn’t remember him or their last meeting. What in heaven’s name did Miss Hathaway mean? And why did she continue to refer to her as Genevieve?
“I beg your pardon, Madam,” Evie managed, “but to my knowledge, I’ve never had the misfortune to get pine sap in my hair, and I have yet to make the acquaintance of a Miss Lancaster.”
There was more tittering from the other girls. Evie’s cheeks heated. She clutched her book even tighter in her slick palms, wishing she could disappear into the volume. She had the distinct impression she was about to be dismissed from the most exclusive school in London before she’d even begun. What would she tell Mother?
The headmistress tapped the end of her quill against the wide mahogany table in front of her. “Lady Genevieve, as usual, I do not find your behavior amusing in the least. Now, I shall ask you for your full name one final time. I warn you, your father will hear about this if you give me anything short of the truth.”
Evie swallowed and nodded.
Miss Hathaway’s nostrils flared. She raised her chin and pressed her spectacles farther up her beaklike nose. “Your name, if you please.”
Evie didn’t blink. “Evangeline Marie Sandford Hollister.” Her voice was low and weak as usual, and she silently cursed herself for it.
The headmistress’s hand cracked against the surface of the table, making Evie jump. She jumped a second time when the door to the hall slammed open and an urchin with short red hair, sagging stockings, and an askew bonnet came running across the wide expanse of wood flooring. She passed the banquet tables filled with girls and skidded to a halt in front of the headmistress, her hair flipped across her brow, obscuring her face. She smelled like sherbet lemons, reminding Evie of home. Mother’s favorites.
The girl was breathing heavily and seemed to be balancing precariously on one foot. Evie also noted with no small bit of wonder that the urchin was missing a button from the back of her gown, and one of her gloves appeared to be stained. Blood? Good heavens! Or was it chocolate? She wasn’t sure which was more alarming. Mother wouldn’t approve of Evie missing a button from her gown, let alone being in possession of a stained glove. What sort of mother did this urchin have? And how in heaven’s name had the creature managed to matriculate at Miss Hathaway’s School for Young Ladies?
“I was told you were looking for me, Miss Hathaway,” the urchin stated in a loud, clear voice. “I am sorry, ma’am, but I was in the science hall feeding the lizards and quite lost track of the time.”
The urchin turned to look at Evie. She swiped the unfashionably short crop of red hair from her forehead and her face came into full view.
Miss Hathaway gasped.
The urchin’s eyes (which were the exact same shade of blue as Evie’s) grew wide. “Oh, my. How wonderful. You must be my twin sister, Evangeline. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to finally meet you.”