Tag Archive | Destiny Romance

Sasha Cottman: The Duke’s Daughter

From the Regency Kitchen

Lemon Cheesecake

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This lemon cheesecake recipe dates all the way back to Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, published in 1747.

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 12 eggs (12 egg yolks and 6 egg whites will be used in the custard part of the recipe)
  • 225 g brown caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar instead).
  • 6 tablespoons of cream (save a little for serving with the lemon cheese cake)
  • 225g butter
  • Shortcrust pastry sheets (or, you can make it, see below).

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/374F.
  2. Grate the lemon zest. Put the zest and the juice of 1 lemon into a mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix with a wooden spoon. Beat the egg yolks and add them to the mix.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy. This must have been a hard task in the 18th century when it would have to have been done by hand! Fortunately I could reach for my trusty electric beater. Add the frothy egg whites to the rest of the cheesecake mix.
  4. Combine the butter and cream and over a low heat, until the butter is melted. Add the butter and cream to the rest of the cake mix and beat it for a minute.
  5. Pour combined mixtures into a medium sized saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This takes about 8 minutes on my stovetop.
  6. Place the pastry sheet over a flan pan (or pie dish), making sure the pastry covers the sides of the pan (there is quite a lot of custard mix).
  7. Take the mix off the heat and pour over the pastry base. You may have some left, so feel free to pour this into a bowl and eat it before anyone else notices.
  8. Bake the lemon cheese cake for 30 mins or until the filling has set. In my oven it takes about 35 minutes. Cool and serve with cream.

Shortcrust pastry (if you want to make from scratch) 

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 225 g chilled butter
  • 1 1/3 cups of plain flour

Method

  1. Process flour and butter in a food processor. Add the egg yolk and 2 tsps. of cold water.
  2. Once mix is worked through, take it out of the bowl and knead it on a board. Roll into a ball and let rest in the fridge for 30 mins. Then roll out flat when preparing to use it in the pie.

The Duke's Daughter - hi res cover copy

About The Duke’s Daughter

When handsome army officer Avery Fox unexpectedly inherits a fortune, he instantly becomes one of the season’s most eligible bachelors. More accustomed to the battlefield, he has no patience with the naive debutantes who fill the ballrooms of London.

Honest and impetuous Lady Lucy Radley is a breath of fresh air, guiding him through the season and helping him to avoid any traps. So when Avery is left with little option but to marry Lucy, he can’t help but feel he’s been manipulated. Nor can he shake the feeling that a duke’s daughter should be out of his reach.

From the wildly beautiful Scottish Highlands to the elegant soirees of Paris, Avery and Lucy go on a journey that is full of surprises for them both.  But will their feelings for each other be strong enough to overcome the circumstances of their marriage and survive the ghosts of Avery’s past?

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The Duke of Strathmore Series:

Letter from a Rake

An Unsuitable Match

The Duke’s Daughter

Excerpt

Chapter One

By every measure of her own behaviour, Lady Lucy Radley knew this was the worst.

‘You reckless fool,’ she muttered under her breath as she headed back inside and into the grand ballroom.

The room was a crush of London’s social elite. Every few steps she had to stop and make small talk with friends or acquaintances. A comment here and there about someone’s gown or promising a social call made for slow going.

Finally she spied her cousin, Eve. She fixed a smile to her face as Eve approached.

‘Where have you been, Lucy? I’ve been searching everywhere for you.’

‘I was just outside admiring the flowers on the terrace.’

Eve frowned, but the lie held.

Another night, another ball in one of London’s high-society homes. In one respect Lucy would be happy when the London social season ended in a few weeks; then she would be free to travel to her family home in Scotland and go tramping across the valleys and mountain paths, the chill wind ruffling her hair.

She puffed out her cheeks. With the impending close of the season came an overwhelming sense of failure. Her two older brothers, David and Alex, had taken wives. Perfect, love-filled unions with delightful girls, each of whom Lucy was happy to now call sister.

Her newest sister-in-law, Earl Langham’s daughter Clarice, was already in a delicate condition, and Lucy suspected it was only a matter of time before her brother Alex and his wife Millie shared some good news.

For herself, this season had been an unmitigated disaster on the husband-hunting front. The pickings were slim at best. Having refused both an earl and a viscount the previous season, she suspected other suitable gentlemen now viewed her as too fussy. No gentleman worth his boots wanted a difficult wife. Only the usual group of fortune-hunters, intent on getting their hands on her substantial dowry, were lining up at this stage of the season to ask her to dance. Maintaining her pride as the daughter of a duke, she refused them all.

Somewhere in the collective gentry of England there must be a man worthy of her love. She just had to find him.

What a mess.

‘You are keeping something from me,’ Eve said, poking a finger gently into Lucy’s arm.

Lucy shook her head. ‘It’s nothing. I suspect I am suffering from a touch of ennui. These balls all begin to look the same after a while. All the same people, sharing the same gossip.’

‘Oh dear, and I thought I was having a bad day,’ Eve replied.

‘Sorry, I was being selfish. You are the one who needs a friend to cheer her up,’ Lucy replied. She kissed her cousin gently on the cheek.

Eve’s brother William had left London earlier that day to return to his home in Paris, and she knew her cousin was taking his departure hard.

‘Yes, well, I knew I could sit at home and cry, or I could put on a happy face and try to find something to smile about,’ Eve replied.

Eve’s father had tried without success to convince his son to return permanently to England. With the war now over and Napoleon toppled from power, everyone expected William Saunders to come home immediately, but it had taken two years for him to make the journey back to London.

‘Perhaps once he gets back to France and starts to miss us all again, he shall have a change of heart,’ Lucy said.

‘One can only hope. Now, let’s go and find a nice quiet spot and you can tell me what you were really doing out in the garden. Charles Ashton came in the door not a minute before you, and he had a face like thunder. As I happened to see the two of you head out into the garden at the same time a little while ago, I doubt Charles’ foul temper was because he found the flowers not to his liking,’ Eve replied.

It was late when Lucy and her parents finally returned home to Strathmore House. The Duke and Duchess of Strathmore’s family home was one of the largest houses in the elegant West End of London. It was close to the peaceful greenery of Hyde Park, and Lucy couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

As they came through the grand entrance to Strathmore House she was greeted by the sight of her eldest brother David seated on a low couch outside their father’s study. He was clad in a heavy black greatcoat and his hat was in his hand.

‘Hello, David; bit late for a visit this evening. I hope nothing is wrong,’ said Lord Strathmore.

‘Clarice?’ asked Lady Caroline.

‘She’s fine, sleeping soundly at home,’ he replied.

Lucy sensed the pride and love for his wife in her brother’s voice. He had found his true soulmate in Lord Langham’s daughter.

David stood and came over. When he reached them, he greeted his mother and sister with a kiss. His dark hair was a stark contrast to both Lady Caroline’s and Lucy’s fair complexions.

He turned to his father. ‘Lord Langham’s missing heir has been found, and the news is grave. My father-in-law asked that I come and inform you before it becomes public knowledge. A rather horrid business, by all accounts.’

‘I see. Ladies, would you please excuse us? This demands my immediate attention,’ Lord Strathmore said.

As Lucy and Lady Caroline headed up the grand staircase, he and David retired to his study. As soon as the door was closed behind them, David shared the news.

‘The remains of Thaxter Fox were retrieved from the River Fleet a few hours ago. His brother Avery, whom you met at my wedding ball a few weeks ago, has formally identified the body. Lord Langham is currently making funeral arrangements,’ David said.

His father shook his head. It was not an unexpected outcome of the search for the missing Thaxter Fox.

He wandered over to a small table and poured two glasses of whisky. He handed one to David.

‘Well, that makes for a new and interesting development. I don’t expect Avery Fox had ever entertained the notion before today that he would one day be Earl Langham,’ Lord Strathmore replied, before downing his drink.

‘Perhaps, but he had to know the likelihood of finding his brother in one piece was slim at best. From our enquiries, it was obvious Thaxter had a great many enemies,’ David replied.

‘Including you,’ said the duke.

David looked down at his gold wedding ring. It still bore the newlywed gleam, which made him smile.

‘He and I had come to a certain understanding. If he stayed away from Langham House and Clarice, I would not flay the skin off his back. No, someone else decided to make Thaxter pay for his evil ways.’

The Langham and Radley families held little affection for the recently deceased heir to the Langham title. After Thaxter had made an attempt to seize Clarice’s dowry through a forced marriage, both families had severed all ties. Thaxter had disappeared not long after.

David would do everything in his power to protect Clarice. With a baby on the way, he was fully prepared to stare down the rest of the town if it meant keeping his wife safe. As the illegitimate, but acknowledged, son of the duke, David had overcome many of society’s prejudices in order to successfully woo and wed Lord Langham’s only daughter.

‘Unkind as it sounds, I doubt many at Langham House will be mourning the demise of the eldest Mr Fox,’ his father replied.

‘No.’

About the Author

sasha cottman author pic copyBorn in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.

Her first published novel, Letter from a Rake, was a finalist for the 2014 Romantic Book of the Year. 

Sasha lives with her husband, teenage daughter and a cat who demands a starring role in the next book. She has found new hiding spots for her secret chocolate stash. On the weekends Sasha loves walking on the beach while trying to deal with her bad knee and current Fitbit obsession.

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Elyse Huntington: My Dark Duke

Elyse Huntington Interviews

the Duke and Duchess of Trent

As the clock in the hall chimes, I try not to fidget. The most famous couple in the beau monde had finally agreed to be interviewed and they had chosen me over all the other publications; most of whom had many scores more readers than my modest ladies’ magazine. I could scarce believe my good fortune. Yet the expensive furnishings in the room do much to convince me that this is in truth reality, and not just a dream.

The door opens and I leap to my feet as the Duke and Duchess of Trent enter. It is difficult not to stare. They are an extraordinarily handsome couple, both possessing dark hair and eyes, both tall and lean. The duchess smiles at me as I curtsy and waves for me to sit. Trent is more reserved; however, I detect nothing but good humour in his eyes.

We exchange greetings and after we have settled on our respective sofas, I compliment Her Grace on the magnificence of her cream-coloured silk gown which is heavily adorned with lace. She laughs. “Why, thank you. It is one of James’ favourites. It brings back a fond memory for both of us.”

Intrigued, I ask what that memory is.

“Why don’t you tell the tale, darling?” says the duchess.

Untitled“I met Alethea in a library at a ball her godfather was hosting.” The duke’s voice is a baritone, silkily rich and smooth. I could have listened to him for hours. He chuckles, surprising me. The smile softens the severity of his features, making him appear even more attractive. I am beginning to see why the duchess had married him after previously refusing six offers of marriage. “Actually,” says the duke, “it would be more accurate to say that she fell upon me as I was trying to save her.”

“He was most heroic,” teases the duchess while her husband shakes his head, looking amused.

“What was it about His Grace that attracted you?” I ask.

“Hmm . . . He is a very handsome man, as you can clearly see.”

I hear the duke clearing his throat somewhat uncomfortably and bite back a smile.

The duchess continues. “It is hard to say. There was something between us from the start, what I do not know. James has this presence that makes it difficult for you to concentrate on anything other than him. And he can be very charming. Indeed I found I could not say no to him.”

“I beg to differ,” interrupts Trent, arching an eyebrow at his wife. “You could say no, and you did.”

I can’t help but smile when the duchess sighs and gives me a look as if to say ‘men’.

“I saw that,” drawls the duke and she flashes him an impudent smile in reply. The obvious love in the look they exchange makes my heart contract.

I turn to Trent. “And you, Your Grace, what drew you to Her Grace?”

“Her independent spirit, her intelligence, her skill in fencing, her love of reading. Everything about her made me want to spend more and more time with her until I realised that I wanted nothing more than to spend every minute of the rest of my life with her at my side.”

“James,” whispers the duchess, tears in her eyes.

He takes her hand and kisses it before turning back to me. He looks faintly embarrassed. “I am not normally so expressive.”

It is enormously sweet and I feel privileged at being able to witness this intimacy between them. I remind myself to continue. “Would you care to address the rumour that you were forced to marry?”

It is the duchess who replies. “I will neither confirm nor deny that rumour, but as you can see, we are blissfully happy.”

“And what about His Grace’s past,” I venture, wondering if the duchess would even deign to answer my impertinent question. “Did that not give you pause?”

“Yes, of course it did,” she replied, surprising me with her candidness. “But I knew that James was not guilty of what he had been accused of. And I was right.”

“I see.” I wanted to ask the next question, but from the duke gives me a speaking look and I know my time with them has come to an end. As I thank them for their time and take my leave, I can’t help wondering if I will ever find the kind of love that the Dark Duke has found with his duchess.

About My Dark Duke

A steamy Georgian romance about desire, the importance of staying true to yourself and the power of the past to cast a shadow on the present.

Since his notorious wife died in mysterious circumstances, rumours about James, the handsome Duke of Trent, have scandalized society. Now, he must marry again—but finding an eligible woman willing to overlook his past won’t be easy.

Defiantly single, Lady Alethea Sinclair has already turned down six offers of marriage. She prefers living on her own terms and refuses to answer to any man. Yet when Alethea meets the seductive and enigmatic Duke she finds herself strangely drawn to him.

Intrigued by Alethea’s defiance of society’s expectations, James is instantly taken with the willful beauty and soon they are enjoying a playful flirtation. And when circumstances force them into a comprising situation, he does the honourable thing and marries her.

But adjusting to the constraints of marriage doesn’t come easily to the rebellious Alethea and, despite their growing feelings for each other, the Duke’s troubled past keeps getting in the way. Can they learn to trust each other and give love a chance before it’s too late?

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Also available on iBooks and Google Play.

About the Author

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Elyse spent her childhood years in Borneo. She moved to Australia when she was a teenager and was an avid reader of romances. It was her love of historical romance that led her to write My Dark Duke, which finaled in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award contest in 2014.

A lawyer by profession, Elyse is a self-confessed compulsive buyer of any books featuring dukes. She also loves reading stories featuring alpha billionaires—undoubtedly because they are the embodiment of modern-day dukes. Elyse spends her free time (and perhaps a little too much of her not-so-free time) fantasising about wickedly handsome heroes and the strong heroines who ultimately tame them.

Elyse loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her via:

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Check out the bonus epilogue for My Dark Duke at her website.