Blame It on the Duke(94)

By: Lenora Bell

“Thank you.”

“Shall we be going, my love?” Nick said.

Alice rather thought they should. The two scholars still appeared shocked and dazed by the news that a woman had written about such enthusiastic subjects.

As they left, Nick reached behind her and squeezed her bum.

“Nick! We’re in a public building. There are learned professors about.”

“I forgot.” He leaned down. “I’m so completely and utterly in love with you, Dimples, that sometimes I forget I can’t make love to you whenever and wherever I please, and spectators be damned.”

They emerged from the cool, stone building into the humid heat. “I think we’ve shocked everyone enough for one day,” Alice said.

Nick threaded his fingers through hers as they walked along the banks of the River Hooghly.

“Why did you do it, Nick? It wasn’t what we agreed upon.”

“Because someone needs to know that the most brilliant linguist in the world decided to marry the likes of me.”

Later, lying in bed, with Nick’s arms twined around her, Alice dissolved into giggles.

“What are you laughing about, Dimples?”

“I was remembering the look on Mr. Carey’s face when I began reading from the Kama Sutra.”

“You were magnificent.”

She kissed his cheek. “So were you.”

“Does that mean I’m forgiven?”

“I didn’t say that.”

His mouth claimed hers with an urgency that took her breath away.

“How about now, Dimples?” he asked, several minutes later.

“Not yet.”

Several hours later they lay exhausted, slick with sweat and breathing heavily, limbs tangled together in the center of the bed.

“Now?” Nick asked.

“I’m not sure . . .”

Nick groaned. “You’re insatiable, Dimples.”

Alice’s heart sang with happiness as she drifted to sleep in Nick’s arms.

They were in love.

They had a whole wide world to explore. And Alice was ready for their next grand adventure.


“Begin at the beginning,” says the King in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Thanks to my parents for reading out loud to me as a child. Thanks to my dear family and my wonderful friends for all the support and encouragement during the rough patches. Big hugs to my husband, who always knows just what to say—it’s my turn to clean the cat boxes, sweetie.

To my editors, Carrie Feron and Amanda Bergeron, I’m so very fortunate to be able to learn from you and grow as a writer with your guidance. My everlasting gratitude to the entire fantastic, dedicated, and passionate team at Avon Books.

Huge thanks to my dream agent, Alexandra Machinist, and to all the friends who read early versions and didn’t laugh too hard, especially Charis, Rachel, Lisa, and Neile.

Finally, to the Facebook commenter who wrote, “Please tell me Book Three is about Miss Alice Tombs . . .” Hope you enjoy!