I am Lydia Lloyd and today is release day for my debut historical romance, WHEN THE DUKE LOVED ME. It is a steamy, tropetastic, enemies-to-lovers road trip romance and, hopefully, a whole lot of fun to read. My hero, John Breminster, and my heroine, Catherine Forster, first meet at a ball and soon find themselves in the gardens sharing a kiss…but soon discover that, due to a mix-up with their identities, they have stumbled into an embrace with the enemy. As it turns out, their families hate one another due to a scandal that disgraced both the Breminsters and the Forsters years before. John and Catherine are only drawn back together when John realizes that he has a big problem that only Catherine can help him solve. In need of cash, Catherine agrees to help him for a price. They set off across the English countryside together—with only their enmity and a whole lot of sexual tension between them.
Along the way, there a LOT of steamy moments between John and Catherine; this is a Regency romance with spice! If you’re interested in hearing about some of those scenes, head over to my Instagram @LydiaLloydRomance, where I’ve been highlighting the extra sultry interchanges between John and Catherine. For this blog post, though, I wanted to do another kind of list—while this book IS steamy, it also has a lot of sweet moments (and some of those steamy moments are super sweet!!). That said, I thought I would use this opportunity to describe my five favorite sweet moments in WHEN THE DUKE LOVED ME. So, here it goes…
#1) The letters between John and Ariel
When Catherine first agrees to work with John, her chosen family isn’t sure what to think. Catherine’s parents died years ago and she has lived since the age of eleven with her father’s friend, Lady Wethersby, and her son, Ariel. When the book opens, Ariel is ten years old and only starting to understand the world around him. When Catherine explains that she will be traveling with John, Ariel is very suspicious. He is super protective of Catherine, who he sees as kind of a combination between a sister and an aunt. So, Ariel sends John a letter threatening to duel him if he does anything to insult or harm Catherine. His letter is hilarious—it is shown on page with all of the misspellings that a ten-year-old would make—and it not quite as scary as Ariel intends. But it does show John how beloved Catherine is to Lady Wethersby and Ariel. And then, when John shows his letter back to Ariel to Catherine and she sees how kindly he responds to his concerns, it totally melts her heart.
#2) When John cleans Catherine’s fingers
Catherine is a scholar and so she is always taking notes, drafting, and editing. Because this book takes place in the Regency period, that means that she frequently has ink on her fingers…and it totally drives John wild. Seriously, he has a total fetish for her ink-stained fingers! When he is trying to resist his attraction to her and they are stuck in a small carriage together, they have a quick luncheon of bread and cheese…and John can’t stand the sight of Catherine’s ink-stained fingers any longer. He also can’t believe that she would eat with such dirty hands. He brusquely commands her to give him her hands and he cleans each of her fingers with the whiskey from a flask in his pocket. It is the first time that they have touched since their kiss in the gardens seven years before!
#3) Catherine and John in the apple orchard
When Catherine and John travel back to his estate, they are both forced to encounter the ghosts of their pasts. Catherine grew up on the estate that borders John’s, but it has long since been sold. After they have fallen for each other, Catherine and John walk in the apple orchard that marks the boundary between his estate and her old one. As they share an early-season apple, they trade stories about their childhoods and recall glimpsing each other at rare intervals when they were kids. Catherine tells John that she once saw him and his father walking together and remembers a snippet of conversation that she overheard. Her memory is super meaningful for John because his father has recently died and he remembers their walks in the orchards together, but he can’t recall what he and his father actually said to each other. Catherine gives him back a piece of his childhood in this scene and it really shows how they complete each other on so many levels.
#4) The Extra £500
When John and Catherine are traveling for hours in the carriage, they, of course, end up talking quite a bit. As John fails at containing his feelings for Catherine, he begins to ask her quite a few probing questions about her past, including whether she has ever had ~carnal relations~ with anyone. Of course, she refuses to dignify this question with a response…that is, until he offers to pay her £500 for the answer. With so much money on the table, she does answer (and you’ll have to read the book to hear her response!!). Much later in the book, when so much has happened since this moment and Catherine thinks that she and John can’t be together, he sends her the payment he promised her at the beginning of the book. She notices, however, that he has paid her an extra £500 and, at first, she is confused. Then, she remembers their conversation in the carriage and has to laugh—he has remembered his absurd promise to pay her a truly ungodly sum to answer his invasive question. It gives her a little bit of hope that they’ll find their way back to one another.
#5) John’s Grand Gesture
Okay, I am going to leave this moment a little bit of a mystery because I don’t want to spoil it. But I can say that this grand—and it’s quite grand!!—gesture happens in the epilogue. Let’s just say real estate purchases might be one of John’s love languages.
Well, that concludes my list. Thank you so much for reading. If you want to learn more about WHEN THE DUKE LOVED ME, the whole Rake Chronicles series, or just want to talk historical romance, I encourage you to come over to my Instagram. I hope you enjoy this book—and come back for the second in the series, WHEN THE VISCOUNT WANTED ME, in January!
About the Author
Lydia Lloyd writes high-heat historical romance set during the Regency period. She enjoys creating love stories between roguish heroes and complex heroines that are driven by authentic conflict and steamy encounters. Lydia holds a PhD in nineteenth-century British literature and, when she isn’t writing historical romance, works as a teacher and scholar.