The Duke Series by Sandra Masters
A True Regency Romance That Will Leave You Wanting More
After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?
Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.
Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness?
The fourth book the Duke Series is set in Porticio of Beckamhouse, London, England, 1820. The book opens with a romantic interlude between Thorn Wick and Alicia Montgomery.
Travel back into a period of time when men and women behaved elegantly and letters were more than mere words, they were the expression of one’s heart and soul. Let me draw you into the story with this quote:
“Chester announced that the visitor the Marquess of Montgate, had arrived, and he’d shown the gentleman into the room. She smiled a warm greeting to him.
“Dear, dear Alicia, I’ll be the envy of every man at the ball tonight. You look ravishing in that goddess-like gown. How will I keep all the men away from you?” He bent low and kissed her extended hand.
“I will assist by exhibiting the manner of a shrew if necessary. Now, Percival, give me a proper hug. I promise not to bore you about horses, but I will keep you engaged in conversation about my schoolmistress duties. I confess I’m worn out. I wonder how our tenants are able to cope with so many children without servants.”
Percival smiled. “We aristocrats do have some advantages.”
“That may be, but I look forward to our time tonight. Thorn gave you a letter for me?”
“Yes, he did when last we met.” He grinned. “He also gave me instructions that I was to protect you from any man who would try to woo you to a balcony or some such thing. Especially I’m to keep Claven, that scoundrel, a good distance from you. Please don’t encourage the rascal. I’m too young to die in a duel.” He walked toward her. “Thorn’s much in love with you, my dear.”
“And I am with him.”
“Alas, it’s my sad fate to relinquish you. Here is his letter.” He withdrew it from his breast pocket. “Now if you will direct me to the duke and duchess, I’ll extend my greetings while you read the contents.”
“Percival, you’re a good friend of his. I thank you. I’ll be with you shortly. Just follow the conversations, and they’ll lead you to the grand drawing room. Gordon is with them. I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
He turned to leave.
“Percival,” she called out. “Thank you for this wondrous gift. I shan’t forget you.”
“It’s my pleasure, Alicia. Thorn is my dearest friend. I know how much he loves you, and I’m happy to help him attain his goals.” He winked, and left.
She ran into the library where she could read his letter in private. She carefully opened it and her heart lifted at its prose.
You must read the book to find out what this letter said and how Alicia responds.
Theodocia McLean endorses The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard by Sandra Masters. One Night with a Duke, is promised for release in 2017. I purchased this book and reviewed it form a Kindle format. This review was completed on November 6, 2016.
Mini novella prequel to Book Four
At the age of seventeen, Thorn Wick made a promise to his dying mother that sends him sailing from Barbados to England to meet the man who sired him, the aristocratic Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his son’s existence.
Alicia Montgomery, ward of the Duke, develops a deep affection for the Anglo Indian who protects her from advances by other men. She wants him to acknowledge his feelings for her, but he insists on ignoring the chemistry between them.
Despite the intrigue, revelations, and revenge, will their passion and love for each other conquer all?
The third book (mini novella prequel to book four) in the Duke Series is here and Author Sandra Masters delivers another true regency romance with Thorn, Son Of A Duke.
The book opens with Thorn Wick aboard his Majesty’s Ship en route to England, 1817. “Thorn Wick leaned over the railing of the ship. A queasy sensation roiled in his stomach as he watched the swelling of the seas. He closed his eyes and hoped he’d wake up and find himself in his sunlit room in Barbados on firm ground listening to island chants.”
Enjoy regal characters and superb story telling that will keep you invested in the plot. Let me share with you a passage from the book as tension builds at ‘London Wharfside’.
“Thorn stood by the railing and scanned an old road that gave access to wharves and docks on the north bank of the River Thames. The panorama before him amazed. Busy docks men and porters hustled large cases and bales from the ships to the waiting warehousemen. Men shouted while clerks with inventory lists directed longshoremen to the appropriate buildings.
“Sir Tomas, what is that large building to the right of us? Never have I seen such a large structure.”
“That’s the East India House owned and operated by the company. I would venture to say the wealth that passes within its portals is unsurpassed in the world. They are a powerful force with which to reckon. Fortunately, your forefathers had the good sense not to invest in India and chose Barbados.”
Thorn’s eyes widened at the activity; excitement overtook him. He didn’t know where to look first.
“Do you see that black coach with the Lion crest waiting?”
“Yes. Is that my father’s?” he asked with a bit of trepidation.
As they spoke, a tall aristocratic gentleman departed the coach, his beaver top hat and greatcoat an admission of his wealth. The coach driver was armed and one footman was on the back board. The other footman walked behind the man. A gold dome-topped cane glistened in the sunlight.
“Is that my father, Sir Tomas?”
“Yes, it is. He’s come to greet you personally.” Tomas grasped Thorn’s shoulder in convivial support. “Just be yourself, Thorn. Everything will be fine.”
The gangplank was lowered, and the passengers prepared to depart. Thorn and Tomas waited for the others to precede them.
“Courage, little lion,” Tomas joked.
“I will need more than that,” Thorn replied, unable to keep his eyes off the aristocratic gentleman who waited patiently on the dock.
I now understand what my mother saw in him.
Thorn took a deep breath. “I’m ready, Sir Tomas. Let us greet the great lion.” He smiled with an inquisitive stare at the man who gave him life and wondered what future awaited him.
I invite you to follow this father and son reunion and see what lays in store for this son of a duke. Read the entire Duke Series by Sandra Masters at Amazon. Each book stands alone for your regency romance enjoyment.
Theodocia McLean endorses Thorn, Son Of A Duke (The Duke Series Book 3) by Sandra Masters. I purchased reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on March 10, 2016.
Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.
The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.
Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?
Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?
Follow-up regency romance Once Upon A Duke with My Divinely Decadent Duke (Duke Series Book Two).
Back in London in 1822 arranged marriages of even royalty doesn’t mean the woman (seen as a possession) is secure in life or love, in fact the beautiful Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love.
At the ballroom “Cassandra turned to her brother. “Brent Montgomery, Earl of Stratton. May I introduce you to his Grace, Duke of Althorn.”
Later “The Duke stared at the sun-dappled ocean from his balcony residence as the evening hour approached. The ever-present restlessness was his companion. He took deep breaths, prepared to harness his energy and put it to work for him. His beloved dog Clayo lay at his side. He knelt to pet her head. She was one of his prized possessions; there could never be a doubt of the indisputable fact. The animal gave him a lick on his hand. His gentle creature with the name of a temptress Egyptian Queen was dedicated in her affection for him.”
“The Duke decided to walk the beach again. This time he took Clayo, and his attire was indeed informal. He’d left his jacket at the villa, but was still dressed in his waistcoat appropriate to his rank. Crop in his right hand, he strode quickly. Although he would be loathed to admit it, he wanted to see if his Enchantress of the Sea would be out and about. He invited her the night before to walk along the beach, but she didn’t present herself. In his heart, he didn’t think she would tonight, but nonetheless, it didn’t hurt to ask. Clayo plodded alongside him and wagged her tail. He kept at their “stick into the ocean” game, and she promptly retrieved. They played most of the time until either he became bored or Clayo tired.
His heart leaped when he saw Cassandra. This time the outfit was a dark azure skirt with the same white balloon sleeve blouse, a light blue jacket, and a fetching azure hat with her blonde hair tucked under it. The children were with her. Alicia, wearing a white ruffled dress with many petticoats, ran barefoot and giggled. A huge white bow accented her blonde braid so the wind wouldn’t whip hair in her face. Blue eyes that matched the sky, soft creamy white skin, and a delicate frame gave the girl an impish look. It then occurred to him how much Alicia resembled Cassandra. Could it be a coincidence? Or was there more to it? Was there a secret somewhere?
More than a romance story, it is an adventure told with remarkable storytelling, easy going to face paced reading, true to time period dialog and settings along with extensive research by Author Sandra Masters engages the reader in the search for true love between Lady Cassandra Montgomery and Duke Gordon Althorn.
Relax into a deep, hot bubble bath with a glass of red wine (or drink of your choice) and relax with romance as it should be. Author Sandra Masters states it best: “Every woman should have a divinely decadent Duke in her life.”
Theodocia endorses My Divinely Decadent Duke by Sandra Masters as book two in this Regency Romance. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on February 6, 2016.
Serena, an artist and widow, has no desire for another husband. When she meets Geoffrey Austen, attraction sizzles to a scorch. Stolen days and nights ignite forbidden passion. Geoffrey asks Serena to be his mistress, but she wants commitment, love, and marriage, not an affair with a notorious rake.
Geoffrey realizes Serena might be the one woman who can care for his tortured soul, and maybe release his demons. The magic they shared is shattered when he learns she has been forced into an engagement with another. He vows to save her even at the cost of his own life.
Will Geoffrey’s gallantry prove he truly loves Serena?
If he survives, will Serena surrender all to him?
When a seductive beauty meets a rake, passions ignite …
If Lady Serena could be granted one wish, it would be to ride off into the morning mist and never come back. These sunrise rides were an escape for her now that she was free of her fiend of a husband. Hoof beats disturbed her peace. A vision of syncopated grace, man and steed, which moved as one caught her attention. She blinked to see if he was real. He was almost God like.
“Good day, my lady,” the vision spoke, drew the horse to a halt, got off his stallion and tethered it to a tree away from the mare. “It is a beautiful day and to come across a woman such as you makes it only better.”
“Yes, it is a welcomed morning, sir. But you flatter and my head is not turned easily.” Serena raised her hand to shield the sun and eyed the well-dressed handsome stranger. Alarmed, she contemplated a reach for her riding crop, but then checked the impulse. After all, this was her brother’s land and well-guarded. She dismissed the momentary threat of fear.
Serena assumed the vision was one of noble birth if he ventured on her brother’s land, since Henry was an unbearable snob and would never allow an outsider to encroach. “Allow me to introduce myself, Lord Geoffrey Austen at your service.” He swept off his hat and bowed with a flair of pretentiousness. “I am Henry Worthington’s hunting guest for the week.”
“I am Lady Serena Worthington, the sister of your host. I would rise and curtsy to you, but I am far too comfortable. You may however, consider that I have proffered the appropriate respect if you would indulge me.” Her smile charmed.
Geoffrey laughed at her effrontery. “I would be happy to humor you in any manner you prefer.” His voice stayed low and husky. Without permission, he moved closer and sat next to her on a log fashioned into a seat. He had seen her before, but their paths never crossed the many times he visited her brother’s estate. He thought Henry wanted to keep his sister away from him because of his reputation as a rake. The few times he had seen her, he wanted to be introduced but thought the better of it to admire her from afar. What wonderful god caused him to come upon her this auspicious morning? Whichever one it was, Geoffrey would drink a toast to it.
Bring regency romance into your life with Once Upon A Duke. Each book in the Duke Series stands alone for your reading pleasure.
Warm, realistic characters in book one bring the reader back to London 1817. Lady Serena Worthington Durand is a strong independent woman ahead of her time, but she faces demons from the past. I quote: “If Lady Serena could be granted one wish, she would ride off into the morning mist and vanish. That, of course wasn’t possible, but here in her favorite lakeside retreat, she could relax in safety.”
Legendary Duke of Sutton, Geoffrey Austen has a chance encounter with Lady Serena and I quote: “Allow me to introduce myself, Lord Geoffrey Austen, at your service.” He swept off his hat and bowed. “I am Henry Worthington’s hunting guest for the week.”
More than a romance story, it is an adventure that will make your heart pound, your emotions run wild and your spirit soar.
The combination of remarkable storytelling, easy going to face paced reading, true to time period dialog and settings along with extensive research by Author Sandra Masters engages the reader in the life and times of Lady Serena Worthington Durand.
I invite you to light a fire, pour a glass of red wine (Sandra Masters would join you in the wine, but hers would be a white fruity glass) and relax with romance as it should be. Author Sandra Masters states it best: “Every woman should have a divinely decadent Duke in her life.”
Theodocia McLean endorses Once Upon a Duke by Sandra Masters as a true Regency Romance that will leave you wanting more. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on October 7, 2015.
Soon To Be Released:
One Night With A Duke:
Duke London Regency Series Book 5
Masquerade For A Duke:
Duke London Regency Series Book 6
Almost A Duke:
Duke London Regency Series Book 7
Josephine, My Fair Lady:
Duke London Regency Series Book 8
From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.
She wrote her first book at the age of fifteen and since then she has always traveled with pen and notebook and writing experiences. It has been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. It was a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.
Sandra also has contemporaries in the pipeline. That said, she loves to write. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.
Not being able to time travel, she now writes about what she loves and it has been worth every headache and heartache. She has been blessed with a great content editor, Cindy Davis, and a lot of helpful The Wild Rose Press staff. For a new author, it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed.
Sandra is prolific writer and continues to hone her craft. She devotes some of her time to writing novels of contemporary romance geared to the older heroines and believes that romance is not necessarily the province of the young. Not The Last Dance and Someone I Used To Love are two such novels.
However, her first love will always be for Regency Romance. There are five books in process in her DUKE series. ONCE UPON A DUKE, New Release from The Wild Rose Press available now.
When Sandra is not in front of her computer writing her passionate novels, she studies to hone her craft. When she does take a break, she finds herself in the kitchen cooking way too much food that she is happy to share with friends and family. One of her specialties is Rusticana Italiano Meatballs and Red Gravy from scratch. Yes, made the way her mother taught her–they are baked first.
P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.
In Her Varied Career:
- Functioned as Contributing Editor to Apparel World Magazine dedicated to the International Association of Clothing Designers
- Contracted advertising with the Women’s Wear Daily for articles on the fashion trade
- Lectured and produced seminars yearly at the Textile Industry’s highly rated Bobbin Show in South Carolina
- Employed as Vice President of Administration, Risk Management and Human Personnel for a NASDAQ listed broadcasting company.
- Established a consultant business as a life coach to career minded business professionals.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Coarsegold, California? Living in Coarsegold, California in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Mountains, we are in the gateway to Yosemite National Park. Coarsegold is considered a village with a population of about 7,000 people, where people know each other. I live in a home owners association managed by a General Manager and a Board of Directors. I was a former President of the Board and a few other associations so I have a network of many friends and acquaintances. It’s exciting to have people proud of me. When I was President of Ladies of the Lakes, a non-profit organization, the gals got used to my reading a chapter or two from one of my novels, year after year, after year. So in many ways, they took this journey with me. My Book Signing at the YLOA Clubhouse this past July 2015 was a magical moment. Our five star Chef Dave Pol of The Blue Heron Restaurant prepared an amazing appetizer tray for my guests. Local newspapers and online news people carried my story. In addition a local TV station, Channel 26, featured my new release when the moderator, Bonnie Hearn Hill told the story of my feature couple, Lady Serena Worthington and His Grace, Geoffrey, Duke of Sutton. Oh, what a thrill it was. Best of all, I became an example of what perseverance can do not only for my family, but my associates and my friends. I NEVER GAVE UP.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? My English teacher in East Side High School, Newark, New Jersey. His name was Dr. Julius Bernstein. My current husband, Ronald, as I mentioned has supported me all the way. He used to read mystery thrillers, but when I asked him to proof my chapters, I hinted he could help me more, if he read the genre. So he started with Nora Roberts, and now reads mostly Regency novels at the rate of one every four days. We agreed that OUR goal was to see me published and we made it happen, along with a lot of other wonderful people.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2011, I decided it was time to hone my craft and do whatever it took to get published. My parents were first generation immigrants and they thought college was a waste of time for a woman. Marriage and babies was what they envisioned for me, so I did not attend college. But I worked hard at a career, raised my children, and went to school nights and got various degrees. Each was a step along this fabulous journey.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes and No. There is a future story that ruminates in my mind about immigrants from Italy, my grandparent’s home town, and things I’ve gleaned along the way. As I mentioned above, the short stay at the convent was a memorable experience in my young life. I thought I was dedicated and eventually decided, I was meant for another career.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? The manuscript was written and it had many titles along the way, but one night I woke up, and I had a vision of a title on the ceiling of the bedroom. Once Upon a Duke was born. All my subsequent books have had a similar metamorphous. I’m sure I drive my editor crazy, but when something hits you in the gut, you know you have to react.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My introduction to romance was no accident. As a little girl, we liked to stage imaginary plays and scenes, and I loved swashbuckling heroes and heroines. That naturally led to reading such books. I tried other genres, but I always returned to Romance. Regency Romance intrigued me because it was such a large landscape to write about. While I also write Contemporary Romance, and have a number of books ready to polish, my first love is and always will be Regency England, France, Italy, Spain, in the 1800’s. That era is so rich in intrigue, betrayal, conflict, redemption, and of course, ultimate love.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? I’m a visual person and I tend to look at a portrait or a picture, and I’m drawn into it as if I were that person. I write about strong, independent, high spirited woman who buck the trend. During the Regency period, women were no better than chattel—a horse, a cow, a sheep. These women do not want to walk behind their men, they want to be alongside as helpmates. Sometimes my alpha heroes don’t realize it, but reformation does take time, and the romance helps it along the way.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? I believe I’ve demonstrated to my children and grandchildren, if you never give up your dream, you can achieve it. My younger son, Sam, said to me at one time, before I got published, “Mom, I can’t remember when you ever stopped writing.” And here I am, decades later, having this fantastic experience. I laugh sometimes about my rules, which I may have borrowed along the way.
- Rule Number 1: Never Give up.
- Rule Number Two: Remember Rule Number One.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? A bad marriage at the time and a difficult divorce. The emotion tears you apart and you have to pick yourself up and start anew. I tend to be an optimist, and have been brought to my knees. And then I think: This is a good place to pray from.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The turnaround my current husband Ron took when it recognized it was no longer a hobby for me, but a PASSION to keep on going, not to let anything deter me. I have many writer friends who say that their husbands couldn’t care less. It took a good many years and now he is as ardent as I am. In many ways it has enriched our marriage of over twenty years and is a journey we both share and love. I know he’s proud of me, as I am of him. The acknowledgment from friends who knew how long it took me to get to this place warms my heart. Not to mention, the positive book reviews. Your first book is like “your first baby.” So precious.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I had written a trilogy contemporary three books and it involved the casinos of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Many, many years ago. I sent the manuscript to a possible agent and she was so negative about a lot of things. Decades ago but I remembered when she criticized the fact that I didn’t even know what I spoke of. She said my writing about the hero bringing the heroine a blueberry bagel was ridiculous. There weren’t such things. Turns out, bagels are available in many flavors and variations and I’d purchased them. Plus I was married to a Jewish husband. To reject an entire novel on the basis of that premise hurt. I stopped writing for a while, but then climbed back on board. A few years later. I still have those books and one day they will see the light of day.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Work hard to hone your craft. It is a career. If you wanted to be an engineer, you’d go to engineering school. Likewise with writing, never stop learning and become an example to others. Never give up.
Who is your favorite author and why? There are so many, but if I had to choose it would be between Judith McNaught and Mary Balogh. From Judith, her style and her phrases draw you into the story with the first paragraph. You become the heroine. From Mary, the sense of history, the brilliant characterization and the wonderful plots. I admire Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, Jane Porter, Sarah Richmond, Debra Salonen and so many others.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I am always amazed at the generosity of spirit of most romance writers. I expected that there might be some who would not offer any help for fear of competition, but I was SO pleasantly surprised. I was blown away with the encouragement of my own editor and my publishing company. They want me to succeed and do what they can, but it is up to me to write good novels and to also promote them.
Please add questions and the answers to any questions that you believe your readers would like to know.
Q: Who am I? I am and always have been an incurable romantic and I have paid heavily for it.
- Life’s lesson I’ve learned. “I don’t need anybody’s permission to be ME.”
- Another life lesson: “I can’t control what people do or say about me. I CAN control how I react to what they say or do.”