Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell
All the Duke’s Sins #1
Releases August 24, 2021
USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell makes her Berkley debut this summer with ALONG CAME A LADY (Berkley Mass Market; August 24, 2021), a sparkling, banter-filled, enemies-to-lovers tale about letting go of society’s preconceived notions and finding love.
In a reverse retelling of My Fair Lady, ALONG CAME A LADY follows the budding romance between the irascible son of a duke and the lady hired to teach him the ways of a gentleman. As the lessons go on, the two engage in a battle of wits and passion. Rafe Audley detests his father, the Duke of Bentley, for abandoning his family. Born illegitimate, Rafe has worked the mines his whole life to care for his younger siblings. Edwina Dalrymple has spent her life making a name for herself as an instructor in etiquette, and she has yet to fail in preparing her charges for Polite Society. Edwina soon learns that Rafe is no ordinary charge. He is wholly uninterested in joining the Gentry, making his lessons Edwina’s most difficult undertaking yet. Taming the foreman would surely elevate her status, but can Edwina put her own feelings aside in order to get the job done? As the bold teacher and stubborn pupil work to sabotage each other at every turn, Edwina and Rafe will learn that while opposites attract, the unlikely pair have more in common than they think.
“Are you going to drink it or cradle it?” he asked, changing the subject. Rafe lifted his tankard, clarifying his question.
Edwina raised the steel cup to her lips and inhaled. Her pert nose wrinkled, and her face pulled in a grimace, and with that, Rafe managed another smile since he’d caught sight of his brother in all his happiness. “It smells horrid.”
Holding his tankard out, he clanged the ring against hers in a mock toast; challenging her.
He thought for a moment she intended to reject that challenge, he should have known better.
Taking in a deep breath, Edwina raised a glass, tipped it back, and chugged.
The long, graceful column of her neck moved rhythmically and quickly as she downed the contents of her drink.
“Whoa, you are not supposed to consume it quite so quickly,” he instructed, hastily reaching across the table, and resting a hand on the fingers cradling her mug.
Edwina set it down with a little splat, and then ever so gingerly, dabbed at the corners of her mouth. “That is…rather horrid stuff,” her shoulders and chest lifted as she hiccoughed, and he grinned.
Mr. Ward immediately reappeared and eyed Edwina’s empty tankard approvingly. “I knew I was right about this girl,” he said proudly. “Knows her spirits, she does.”
From over the top of the innkeeper’s hand, as he poured, Edwina caught Rafe’s eye.
“Do not say anything,” she silently mouthed, perfectly annunciating each syllable.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Rafe followed that assurance with a wink.
“What is that, Mr. Audley?”
“I was just saying to the lady I couldn’t dream of a more splendid ale,” he expertly substituted, and the already tall innkeeper grew several inches under that praise. Bustling off, Mr. Ward went to refill the tankards of the table of nearby patrons.
“You’re not horrified.”
Her tankard still in her hands, Edwina dropped her elbows on the table and leaned across the small, cylindrical surface. “That was your intention and plan.”
Rafe’s cheeks went warm.
Edwina’s eyes rounded. “Why…why…you are blushing, Mr. Audley.”
“That is p-preposterous,” he sputtered. “I would never do anything like… Like…”
“Blush?” she winged up an eyebrow and edged forward another fraction so that their elbows touched. “You needn’t worry,” she whispered. “Your secret is safe with me. The men and women who work for you will never learn about your blushing.”
And that brief good humor, ended with that reminder; the reminder of his brother’s new role. And their father’s determination to control Rafe’s life.
From ALONG CAME A LADY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christi Caldwell.
About the Author:
Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides Series and the Heart of a Duke Series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. She enjoys torturing her couples before they earn their well-deserved happily ever after. Originally from Southern Connecticut, Christi now resides in North Carolina, where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to an energetic little boy and mischievous twin girls who offer an endless source of story ideas. Learn more at christicaldwell.com.
*Author photo by Kimberly Rocha