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The Shy Duchess!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I am soooo excited to be launching my new book, The Shy Duchess, because it’s a return to the Welbourne Manor family. After working on The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor anthology with Diane and our friend Deb Marlowe (whose own Welbourne book, How to Marry a Rake, is out in May!), I felt like these characters had become my friends. I wanted to know what happened to them, if they were happy, if they were having more adventures. With The Shy Duchess, I got to do that! I had so much fun catching up with them all, and getting to know Lady Emily Carroll, who was a very special heroine to me after my own childhood battles with deep shyness…

“McCabe knows her time period, the mores and expectations of her characters…her stories have made her a fan favorite and she does not disappoint” –RT BookReviews

Our hero is Nicholas, the eldest (legitimate!) son of the rambunctious family, and now the Duke of Manning. The heavy responsibilities of being duke and taking care of his family have been weighing on Nicholas, making him take life much more seriously. He’s also burdened with a tragic secret in his past–a secret, youthful marriage that ended after less than a year when his beloved wife died in childbirth. He mourned her alone, not even telling his siblings what happened, and he’s determined never to hurt a woman like that again. Never to give her the “cursed” title of Duchess of Manning.

But of course he can’t quit thinking about our heroine, Lady Emily Carroll, can’t quit wanting to make the too-serious young lady smile. Even though she seems all wrong for him…

Emily was born with the gift of great beauty–and the curse of paralyzing shyness. She freezes whenever she tries to talk to a man, stumbles when she tries to dance, and ends up hiding in the corner at every ball. The only time she feels comfortable is when she is doing her secret charity work with “fallen women” trying to make new lives for themselves! Her silence has earned her the nickname The Ice Princess–and no offers of marriage. She knows her penurious parents are counting on her to marry well, but all she can do is long for Nicholas from afar.

Until a masked ball at Vauxhall reveals an explosive passion, which leads to a scandal and a forced betrothal, which leads to a Welbourne honeymoon–and Nicholas begins to thaw his ice princess’s heart as well as heal his own.

If they can get past a blackmailer, Nicholas’s protective family, and Emily’s mother’s terrifying pre-marital advice…

“Come sit by me for a moment, Emily dearest. I want to speak with you about something very important.”

Emily’s stomach clenched. Whenever her mother had that tone in her voice, Emily knew she wouldn’t like what she heard. “Oh, Mama, I am very tired, and tomorrow is such a busy day. Can it not wait?”

“No, it cannot,” her mother said sternly. “This is very important. Now, come sit by me on the bed and listen to me carefully.”

Emily went with her in silence, letting her mother hold onto her hand. Her fingers were very tight, pressing the heavy emerald engagement ring into Emily’s skin. “Now, my dear, a wife has many duties, especially a wife who is a duchess,” her mother said. “I have taught you to run a house properly, to dress fashionably and to remember to be charitable and kind. But there is one last, most important duty I must tell you about, as my mother did for me the night before my wedding.”

Emily very much feared she knew what was coming next. “Oh, no, Mama.”

“Yes.” Her mother’s lips pressed together grimly. “You will have your duty in the bedchamber. Now, Emily, I warn you it will not be pleasant. It will hurt, and be rather messy. You must lie back and do as your husband tells you, and it will soon be over.”

“Mama!” Emily groaned. “I don’t really need to know…”

“Let me finish. There are ways to make it easier. I used to close my eyes and plan a party.”

Emily stared at mother numbly. “A party?”

“Yes. I would choose the china and the silver, and design flower arrangements and guest lists. Then I would devise a menu and decide on my gown. By the time I knew what to serve for dessert, it was all over and I scarcely felt a thing! As a duchess, you could plan very elaborate parties indeed.”

Emily closed her eyes, trying not to shudder. She knew the rudiments of anatomy, of course; she often visited galleries full of classical nude statues. And she knew the basics of the marriage act, what went where and so forth. But… “Mama, what exactly happens that I must fear?”

“Oh, my dear, you needn’t fear! It is our natural duty and we must bear it. The duke will show you what to do, and I am sure he will not demand anything–extra of you.”

“Extra?” Emily choked out.

“Yes. You must not touch things, or move about too much. That just makes it last longer. You are his wife, not a hired mistress. All will be well, Emily dearest, and in the end you will have beautiful babies, as I did. That will make everything worthwhile.”

Emily was utterly stunned. Pain, and–and mess? It sounded utterly appalling. She could hardly reconcile it to the pleasure she felt when Nicholas kissed her. “Is that all, Mama?” It was surely quite enough…

Please visit my website for more excerpts, plus a Behind the Book glimpse at the history of Vauxhall Gardens! You can also see more about the book on eharlequin. I will be giving away an autographed copy of The Shy Duchess (so you can see for yourself what actually does happen on the wedding night!) to one commenter on today’s post.

And who else is excited to watch the Oscars tonight????

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Virginia C
11 years ago

Oh, my! Poor Emily’s misguided mother was one of the original multi-taksers. So efficient, too–especially at misinforming Emily!

From chilhood on, I have adored watching awards shows. I am a glamour glutton! The Oscar Awards is the biggest, bestest show of all : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

I loved this book!! I was lucky enough to read it early (so I can write Leo’s story, which I am right now)

I can’t wait for the Oscars tonight!

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

Now see what you’ve done! I have my copy of The Shy Duchess sitting on my desk and I was determined not to read it until I had finished more of my revisions. Now you are forcing me to snatch it up and begin at once! How could you do this to me?

And I do love Emily’s mother’s “lie back and do it for England” advice! I wonder how many daughters received similar advice during the Regency and especially during the Victorian era!

I’m working 11 to 8 today and I have a feeling The Shy Duchess will be going to work with me!

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

Oh and I will definitely be following the Oscars on the internet when I get home!!

Elena Greene
11 years ago

Congrats on the new book, Amanda, going to the top of the TBR pile!

The Oscars are tonight????!!! See, I do live under a rock! I will watch of course, now that I’ve been reminded. 🙂

Margay
11 years ago

This book sounds absolutely fabulous! And I can’t wait for the awards – it’s always been a tradition of mine to watch them, even if I haven’t seen the movies, because it inspires me to get writing and get my work out there!

Kirsten
11 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Grace Elliot
11 years ago

What a wonderful cover and the book sounds such an absorbing read.
Grace x

Alyssia
11 years ago

Oh, heavens! This sounds absolutely delicious, Amanda; I can’t wait to read it. Love your inspirational photos, too. That handsome one of Rupert makes me wanna watch Persuasion all over again. 🙂 ~

Margay
11 years ago

Alyssia, ironically, I did last night,then I saw this post in my Google reader this morning!

me
me
11 years ago

OMG! I can’t wait. It sounds like it’s going to be a good one.

Barbara E.
11 years ago

I don’t recall ever reading a romance with such a shy heroine, I’m looking forward to reading The Shy Duchess.
I’ve always enjoyed watching the Oscars. Even though I haven’t seen many of the movies up for the awards, I’ll be watching.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

The excerpt made me smile. I’ve heard, “Close your eyes and think of England,” but never, “Close your eyes and plan a party.” LOL!

bonnieblue@wowway.com

Danielle Gorman
11 years ago

I can’t wait to read this book. I have not read many books with shy heroine’s.

I can’t wait for tonight’s Oscars. I am anxious to see how Anne and James do hosting. Plus, I love all of the fashions. Can’t wait to see what everyone is going to wear.

iqb99@yahoo.com

Virginia
11 years ago

I want to read this book, it sounds awesome, got to find out what happens.

Amanda
11 years ago

Wow! This sounds absolutely amazing! 😀

Also that actor is just the right visual aid.

chey
11 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

chey
11 years ago

This book sounds great! I’m looking forward to finding out more about The Shy Duchess!
chey127 at hotmail dot com

Amy Kathryn
Amy Kathryn
11 years ago

I am excited about returning to Welbourne Manor with the follow up stories coming from you guys…that book brought me to the Riskies and I haven’t looked back!

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Hello everyone!! I’ve been knocked out with allergy meds most of the day, but am now watching Oscars red carpet and catching up on blogs. Will definitely have opinions on fashions this week. 🙂

“Also that actor is just the right visual aid.”

I definitely thought so, Amanda! 🙂 I did not like that version of “Persuasion” but I have enjoyed Rupert Penry-Jones in other stuff (like “The 39 Steps”) and he looked so much like Nicholas in my mind. And Emily has the same icy, classic beauty as January Jones.

My favorite thing about writing this story was how the characters surprised me. Nicholas was able to help Emily blossom and gain confidence in herself, and she brought him new joy in life again. I actually cried a wee bit when I got to the end…

librarypat
librarypat
11 years ago

I am sitting here trying to catch up on a week and a half of blog visits, since I have been out of town with limited internet access. I’ll be turning in for the end of the Awards.
Love the sound of this book. Her mother’s little talk makes me happy I never had one. What a terrible send-off to a marriage.

I will be looking for this one.

Gail
Gail
11 years ago

I was a shy child/teenager and can’t wait to read your next book.

My daughter and I are watching the Oscars together this evening. We are paying close attention to hair. We’re collecting ideas for Prom. Her eighteenth birthday and Prom are on the same and I want her to have a special evening. (So far, Reece Witherspoon’s hair has caught her attention.)

Lorraine
11 years ago

I love the Diamonds, and I can’t wait to read this one, too!

pageturner
11 years ago

Now, of course, I’m dying to find out what happens on the wedding night. Althought that actually was quite a useful tip about planning a dinner party menu…

pageturner345@gmail.com

azteclady
11 years ago

Oh those “wedding night talk” scenes can be so much fun!

*chuckle*

As for the Oscars, not only I’m a day late (and several dollars short, alas) but I don’t have a functioning TV so… nope, didn’t watch them.

pixzlee
11 years ago

*snicker*
I must know what happened with that advice…

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