Scarlett Wynn’s tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues—and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other—if she can resist the attraction that draws them together . . .
As Duke of Aylesford, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett’s fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. But when the pair learn both mysteries they’re trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger—and lead them to search their hearts like never before . . .
DUCHESS IF YOU DARE - The Story Behind the Story
by Anabelle Bryant
What do you get when you cross Little Women with The Justice
The Maidens of Mayhem, of course.
This elite group of women is a force to be reckoned with although
they don’t have magical powers or fly around London. They possess fierce human skills
and extraordinary talents so you wouldn’t want to ignite their temper or get
caught while breaking the law.
Publishers Weekly recently called the Maidens of Mayhem,
“crime-fighting and wrong-righting heroines who are part Robin Hood and part
Batman”. Even more than that, they are strongminded women who believe everyone
deserves to be respected and protected no matter what level of society they
The idea for this new historical romance series came together
as I watched Captain Marvel with my husband and son. Captain Marvel is strong,
beautiful, and capable of saving the world. Only a fool would glance at her
pretty face and underestimate her power.
Yet even now in 2021, women are still fighting to be respected
and have their voices heard. Imagine how frustrating it was as a woman in 1817.
While society pressured females to accept their roles in a more passive way
back then, I believe there were many women of the time who wanted freedom to
make decisions, start a business, manage their own money – to be independent
and responsible, and in control.
Naturally, not everyone in the Regency era belonged to the
upper class or aristocracy. So, who helped women in need? Who took their ideas
seriously? What was their daily life like with no support from society?
These questions contributed to my concept for the Maidens of
Mayhem. I wanted to shine a light on the female spirit and how women are
resilient, emotionally strong, creative thinkers – back then and present day. I
also wanted to write about life outside the ballroom, to show parts of London
usually not depicted positively, and the challenges that existed for women. I
touched on this condition in my BASTARDS OF LONDON stories, but that series was
more focused on consequences for men.
Writing DUCHESS IF YOU DARE was freeing and exciting. Scarlett
is a woman in control of her own life until she meets the Duke of Aylesford and
matters become complicated. Perhaps she’s not in as much control as she once
believed. Perhaps her heart is the one thing she can’t command to listen. She
struggles with the choice between freedom and love until she realizes one
doesn’t exclude the other. I hope you’ll read her story and discover all the
emotion and excitement in her journey.
If You Dare excerpt
In this scene,
Scarlett and Aylesford are in a dark alley together keeping watch on a private
gaming hell. Their conversation eventually turns personal and the duke is both
surprised and impressed after hearing Scarlett reveal her tragic past.
still, you seek to make London a better place at the cost of your time and
didn’t reply to this comment. She’d never shared so much of her personal
history with anyone before, never mind a nob. Still, there was so much to tell,
she’d only offered a thimble’s worth. Nevertheless, she wasn’t inclined to
haven’t any connections to the underworld, this culture alive and thriving in
London away from Mayfair where I suspect the man with the ruby ring conducts
business.” Aylesford filled the silence. He moved closer and didn’t stop until
he stood directly before her. With her shoulders against the bricks, she had
nowhere to escape though she was profoundly aware of his attention. “And you
need access to some of society’s more exclusive events so you might discover
this nobleman who entices women away from the brothel never to be heard from
isn’t the man you mention one and the same?” She shook her head and raised her
eyes to match his. “Aren’t we both seeking the same person?”
course. Perhaps. Maybe,” he murmured, the air between them fraught with a
strange combination of disguised emotion and unspoken words. “Maybe not.”
stood that way a minute longer and the mood changed. Precarious questions hung
in the quiet. Their breathing paired in tandem. She relaxed by degree. The
gaming hell was forgotten. When he placed his gloved palm on the wall at her
back, she knew what he meant to do and despite her brain screaming an
objection, her heart began to flutter a faster beat. A rush of anticipation
swept through her. This was foolish. As foolish as throwing a knife blindfolded
and having it bounce back and slice into one’s brow. As foolish as she’d ever
behaved. And yet still she didn’t object.
was going to kiss her and bloody hell, she wanted that kiss.
Duchess If You Dare is about being brave and facing fears. When is a time when you had to be your most brave?
One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, March 5 will receive Anabelle Bryant's generous prize package below.
*Must be 18