☆♥.•The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma (The Hope Clinic Book 1) by Trisha Messmer•.☆♥.•
He never wanted renown. She longed to be free. Pressured by forces beyond their control, will they give in to forbidden desire?
I am pleased to announce a great book release by Trisha Messmer, a talented author I met during my journey! Her historical romance, The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma, book one of the Hope Clinic Series, officially released at the end of June!
Yay, that’s awesome! Congrats on your new release!
When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!
Trisha is giving us a look at her Regency romance novel, The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma, today.
This is the blurb for The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma:
England, 1823. After establishing a successful practice in America, Dr. Harry Radcliffe swore he wouldn’t set foot on British soil again. But when he’s named the Duke of Ashton after his callous brother’s sudden death, he begrudgingly returns to the pretentious world he detests. And his pledge to his dying mother to find a wife is thrown into chaos when he meets his stunning sister-in-law.
Margaret Radcliffe finally escaped her abusive marriage. Yet her late husband’s final cruel act left her penniless, with her only option to remarry… the one thing she vowed she’d never do. But the new duke’s startlingly familiar features awaken yearnings she thought long-forgotten, dangling the heartbreaking whisper of a passion impossible to fulfill.
Although convinced the accusations that she murdered her husband are only salacious gossip, Harry’s real torment comes when he wishes for a union that would make them outcasts. But even when they finally submit to their simmering attraction, Margaret’s dream of happily-ever-after may be derailed by society’s schemes.
Can a scandalous affair turn into a lifetime of love?
Here is an excerpt to entice you with!
Chapter 1 — Unexpected Freedom
Kent, England, July 1822
Margaret grabbed the balustrade and stared down at her husband, George Alistair Radcliffe, the Duke of Ashton. He lay face down, motionless, at the foot of the long staircase.
Candles from the wall sconces flickered in the late‑night darkness, casting dancing shadows across his body and playing cruel tricks on her eyes. The smell of burnt cotton from a single extinguished wick swirled in the air. But no breeze stirred.
She blinked, clearing her vision. Did his hand move? Instinct overruled reason, and she primed herself to run if he rose, knowing full well he would come after her and there was nowhere to hide. He had keys to every room.
“Your Grace?” she called, her voice barely more than a whisper.
Her grip relaxed—but only minimally. Breath still trapped in her lungs, she exhaled and forced out the name he forbade her to use. “George?”
The tension in her muscles eased, replaced first by a warmth, which spread through her body, then a giddiness as though a flock of birds had taken flight in her chest.
One by one, her fingers released their grip, and she compelled her feet to move. Reluctant to remove her gaze from the figure below, she backed up, one step at a time, across the hallway to the nearest room until she reached the bell pull to summon the servants. After giving it a strong tug with a shaking hand, she prayed her loyal butler, Burrows, would answer the call.
An eerie silence filled the massive house, the only sound her telltale heart pounding a rapid tattoo in her chest. She jumped as the clock in the entrance tolled two-o’clock, the noise reverberating its hollow echo.
All moisture seemed to have been pulled from her mouth, and she licked her lips, tasting the saltiness of her own perspiration. It beaded her forehead and trickled down her neck as she resumed her position at the balustrade and waited.
The clock chimed the quarter hour as long minutes passed until Burrows appeared. Remarkably put together for this ungodly hour, only his disheveled white hair betrayed his disrupted slumber. He shuffled toward the staircase, then jolted to a halt and lowered the candle he held to better illuminate the floor. After a quick glance up to Margaret, he bent down to the prostrate duke.
Margaret clutched the pale‑blue satin wrapper tightly to her slight frame and moved unbidden down the steps. Her breath once again remained trapped and unwilling to release, as her heart continued its unrelenting pounding.
She met Burrows’ eyes, grateful he didn’t give voice to the questions they held.
He placed a wrinkled hand on the duke’s shoulder and nudged his employer. “Your Grace?” After laying his candle down, he rolled the body over. Cold, lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling.
Her knees buckled, and she reached for the banister to steady herself.
“Is he . . .” Unable to utter the word, she waited for Burrows’ confirmation.
“Dead, Your Grace.” The butler’s words were liberating.
Hope expanded in her chest as it broke out of its prison. Tears of relief streaked down her cheeks, and a shaky laugh from deep within begged for escape. She was free.
Chapter 2 — Unexpected News
Boston, America, April 1823
Exhaustion threatened to overtake Dr. Harrison Radcliffe as he lumbered into his spartan office at the Boston Dispensary. Barely large enough to hold a desk and a chair, the room served as a respite when he wasn’t treating patients. He splashed his face with water from a bowl on a table, then collapsed into the chair at his desk, satisfied with a job well done.
An explosion on the docks the day before had required every available physician and surgeon to tend the wounded. Mr. Lampley had been the last of Harry’s patients from the disaster. The delicate operation shouldn’t have been difficult, but Harry had been awake for eighteen hours when it began. Lack of sleep adversely affected his concentration, and he had stilled his shaking hands more than once as he cut through the flesh.
Now, two hours later, he could rest.
He’d barely closed his eyes when a cacophony of voices erupted from outside his inner sanctuary.
“You can’t go in there!” Sister Ursula’s formidable voice rang through the air. “He’s resting.”
“I’ve got urgent news,” a man said. “I’m supposed to deliver it personally.”
“Give it to me, I’ll see he gets it.” Sister Ursula’s overly large frame blocked the office entrance.
“It’s fine, Sister,” Harry said, his voice calm, belying his annoyance at the interruption. He straightened to receive his visitor.
Sister Ursula swiveled to face him. “I tried to tell him, Doctor. You need your rest.”
Harry waved the overbearing, but lovable, nun out of the way. “Let the man in, Sister.”
Sister Ursula moved aside, her fists resting firmly on her hips, poised to hoist the man out at a moment’s notice.
The rail‑thin man’s clothes were in tatters. He reeked from the smell of alcohol mingled with the pungent odor of urine. Harry observed the slow-healing scrapes on the man’s hands—scabbed but still red and swollen—and his sallow skin and instinctively diagnosed malnutrition.
“What’s your name?” Harry asked.
As the man shuffled forward, the odor grew stronger, and Harry had the urge to spit out the foul taste the stench created.
“Jeremiah, sir.” He held out an envelope with an unsteady hand. “The postmaster told me to wait, said you may need to reply.”
The words Urgent, deliver immediately were scrawled on the envelope. Fingers breaking the seal, Harry opened the missive, and his eyes scanned the contents. The date at the top read July 16, 1822, the news—devastating.
The salutation alone caused him to stiffen and his heart to plummet.
My Lord Duke,
It is with utmost regret I inform you of the death of your brother, George Radcliffe, Duke of Ashton.
Harry raked a hand through his hair and slumped in his chair. His mind struggled to comprehend the remaining words as the correspondence dropped to the desk. Nine months. Nine months to get a letter.
He sighed and removed a sheet of foolscap from his desk drawer. After writing his response, he folded the letter, addressed it, withdrew a half dollar coin from his pocket, and handed everything to Jeremiah. “Use what they need for the postage and keep the rest.”
Jeremiah’s eyes bulged at the amount. “Thank you, sir, thank you.”
Harry grimaced at Jeremiah’s toothless grin. The man would most likely visit the nearest tavern rather than purchase a nourishing meal. “And Jeremiah, don’t spend it on drink. Buy some food.”
Sister Ursula scowled at the man before she turned her glare on Harry. “You need to go home and get some rest, Doctor.”
A heaviness borne from more than exhaustion weighed him down. His heart beat a slow, dull thud in his chest. All his hopes and dreams shattered in one cruel twist of fate. With nine months already passed, he could hardly delay the inevitable.
Harry dragged his body from the chair and rose. “I am going home, Sister.”
Satisfied, she crossed her arms over her vast bosom. “And don’t you be sneaking back here to check on Mr. Lampley. I’ll keep an eye on him.”
“I know you will, Sister.”
Grabbing his medical bag, he moved away from his desk.
“Doctor,” Sister Ursula said, her expression softening. “The letter, was it bad news?”
“The worst, Sister.”
Hands back on her hips, she stood blocking the door again. “Well, are you going to tell me?”
Harry ran a hand down his face; exhaustion had displaced his usual exemplary manners.
“Forgive me, Sister. I’ll send word to Dr. Michaels to take over my patients, but I won’t be returning. When I said I’m going home, I meant to England. I’m the new Duke of Ashton.”
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mZKva5
Publisher: PAK Publishing
PRAISE FOR THE RELUCTANT DUKE’S DILEMMA
What a heartfelt story! The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma will keep your attention from the moment you begin the journey with Harry, the Duke of Ashton and Margaret until the very end! This is the first novel I’ve read by Trisha Messmer and her writing style I thoroughly enjoyed, she’s filled this story with characters that come off the pages and pulled me into their tale, a story that is well-written, with a good plot, and great dialogue. Margaret has just spent several years in an abusive marriage and has no plans in marriage again. Harry, now Duke of Ashton must marry and is not looking forward to it. But as both are drawn to one another, villains are lurking in the background to keep Harry and Margaret apart in the heart felt story filled with passion, drama, friendships, family greed, trials and tribulations, turmoil….and as tensions intensify and uncertainties abounds with twists and turns that will make you hold your breath until the end in this outstanding story! – Kindle Customer (Amazon)
Margaret finally has her freedom after being in an abusive marriage. Then a complication shows up when the new duke comes from America. Dr. Harry Radcliffe never wanted to step foot in England again but family responsibilities pulled him back. Knowing that he should marry, he is reluctant to engage with the young misses of town. Yet the young widow of his brother draws his attention. This one has action and danger and it was a really good read. There are some really good secondary characters in this book. I really enjoyed reading this piece and I highly recommend it.– Crystal Crossings (Amazon)
This is a lovely story treading in the illustrious footsteps of Georgette Heyer, but with that extra bit of fulfilment that you don’t get with Heyer because of the era in which she was writing. A handsome hero with a worthwhile profession, a beautiful but emotionally scarred heroine, a dastardly villain or two, and a twisting path leading to true love. What more could a lover of romance stories ask for? I really enjoyed this book.– Flicka (Goodreads)
This book has a great storyline. Two brothers, one good, one evil, and a widowed Duchess. The characters are wonderful. The author did a beautiful job of developing the sweet romance between the Duke of Ashton, Harry and the Duchess, Maggie. All in all, a most enjoyable read and delightful ending. – Catherine Burhans (Amazon)
An incredible story set up during the Regency Era. A dream… a forbidden love… surprises and hope.
A fantastic story for all that love romance…– Keti (Amazon)
Intriguing! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥
Thank you for telling us about your new book! It sounds great! 🙂
Trisha Messmer had a million stories rattling around in her brain. (Well, maybe a million is an exaggeration, but there were a lot). Always loving the written word, she enjoyed any chance she had to compose something, whether it be for a college paper or just a plain old email. One day as she was speaking with her daughter about the latest adventure going on in her mind, her daughter said, “Mom, why don’t you write them down.” And so it began. Several stories later, she finally allowed someone, other than her daughter, to read them.
After that brave (and very scary) step, she decided not to keep them to herself any longer, so here we are.
She hopes you enjoy her musings as much as she enjoyed writing them. If they make you smile, sigh, hope, and chuckle or even cry at times, it was worth it.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Trisha graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with a degree in Psychology. Trisha’s day job as a product instructor for a software company allowed her to travel all over the country meeting interesting people and seeing various places, some of which inspired ideas for her stories. A hopeless (or hopeful) romantic, Trisha currently resides in the great Northwest.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Trisha-Messmer/e/B07L6292MB/
Thanks again, Trisha! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
Happy reading, everyone!🙂 And have a great week! ♥