Will's True Wish (True Gentlemen Series #3)

Will's True Wish (True Gentlemen Series #3)

by Grace Burrowes

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A USA Today Bestseller!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes continues her True Gentlemen Regency series in this enchanting "accidentally in love" romance

It's  a dog's life... 
Will Dorning, as an earl's spare, has accepted the thankless duty of managing his rambunctious younger siblings, though Will's only true companions are the dogs he's treasured since boyhood. When aristocratic London is plagued with a series of dognappings, Will's brothers are convinced that he's the only person who can save the stolen canines from an awful fate.

But the lady's choice... 
Shy, bookish Lady Susannah Haddonfield has no patience with loud, smelly beasts of any species, but must appear to like dogs so as not to offend her sister's only marital prospect. Susannah turns to Will, an acquaintance from her most awkward adolescent years, to teach her how to impersonate a dog fancier. Will has long admired Susannah, though he lacks the means to offer for her, and yet as they work together to rescue the purloined pets, it's loyal, dashing Will who steals Susannah's heart. 

True Gentlemen series:
Tremaine's True Love (Book 1)
Daniels' True Desire (Book 2)
Will's True Wish (Book 3)

Praise for Tremaine's True Love:
[A] fast-paced love story with nuances of humor and poignancy, astute dialogue, passion and sensuality".-RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!
"Burrowes's first True Gentlemen Regency is as thoughtful as it is romantic...The protagonists are brilliantly drawn, with plenty of romantic drama and witty repartee." -Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492621096
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Series: True Gentlemen Series , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 32,475
File size: 996 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances and Scotland-set Victorian romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Once Upon a Tartan have both won RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Two of her MacGregor heroes have won KISS awards. Grace is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Read an Excerpt

Will's True Wish

By Grace Burrowes

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2016 Grace Burrowes
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4926-2109-6


"We were having a perfectly well-behaved outing," Cam said, though Cam Dorning and perfect behavior enjoyed only a distant acquaintance. "Just another pleasant stroll in the pleasant park on a pleasant spring morning, until George pissed on her ladyship's parasol."

The culprit sat in the middle of the room, silent and stoic as mastiffs tended to be, tail thumping gently against the carpet.

"Georgette did not insult Lady Susannah's parasol all on her own initiative," Will Dorning retorted. "Somebody let her off the leash." Somebody whom Will had warned repeatedly against allowing the dog to be loose in public unless Will was also present.

"Lady Susannah wasn't on a leash," Cam shot back. "She was taking the air with her sister and Viscount Effington, and his lordship was carrying the lady's parasol — being gallant, or eccentric. I swear Georgette was sniffing the bushes one moment and aiming for Effington's knee the next. Nearly got him too, which is probably what the man deserves for carrying a parasol in public."

Across the Earl of Casriel's private study, Ash dissolved into whoops that became pantomimes of a dog raising her leg on various articles of furniture. Cam had to retaliate by shoving at his older brother, which of course necessitated reciprocal shoving from Ash, which caused the dog to whine fretfully.

"I should let Georgette use the pair of you as a canine convenience," Will muttered, stroking her silky, brindle head. She was big, even for a mastiff, and prone to lifting her leg in the fashion of a male dog when annoyed or worried.

"I thought I'd let her gambol about a bit," Cam said. "There I was, a devoted brother trying to be considerate of your dog, when the smallest mishap occurs, and you scowl at me as if I farted during grace."

"You do fart during grace," Ash observed. "During breakfast too. You're a farting prodigy, Sycamore Dorning. Wellington could have used you at Waterloo, His Majesty's one-man foul miasma, and the French would still be —"

"Enough," Will muttered. Georgette's tail went still, for the quieter Will became, the harder he was struggling not to kill his younger brothers, and Georgette was a perceptive creature. "Where is the parasol?"

"Left it in the mews," Cam said. "A trifle damp and odiferous, if you know what I mean."

"Stinking, like you," Ash said, sashaying around the study with one hand on his hip and the other pinching his nose. "Perhaps we ought to get you a pretty parasol to distract from your many unfortunate shortcomings."

Casriel would be back from his meeting with the solicitors by supper, and the last thing the earl needed was aggravation from the lower primates masquerading as his younger siblings.

More aggravation, for they'd been blighting the family escutcheon and the family exchequer since birth, the lot of them.

"Sycamore, you have two hours to draft a note of apology to the lady," Will said. "I will review your epistle before you seal it. No blotting, no crossing out, no misspellings."

"An apology!" Cam sputtered, seating himself on the earl's desk. "I'm to apologize on behalf of your dog?! I didn't piss on anybody."

At seventeen years of age, Cam was still growing into his height, still a collection of long limbs and restless movement that hadn't resolved into manly grace. He had the Dorning dark hair and the famous Dorning gentian eyes, though.

Also the Dorning penchant for mischief. Will snatched the leash from Cam's hand and smacked Cam once, gently, for violence upset Georgette and was repellent to Will's instincts as a trainer of dumb beasts.

"Neither of you will take Georgette to the park until further notice," Will said. "If you want to attract the interest of the ladies, I suggest you either polish your limited stores of charm or take in a stray puppy."

"A puppy?" Cam asked, opening a drawer into which he had no business poking his nose. "Puppies are very dear."

Nature had intended that puppies of any species be very dear, for they were an endless bother. Ash, having attained his majority, occasionally impersonated a responsible adult. He ceased his dramatics and perched beside Cam on the desk.

"Shall you apologize to Lady Shakespeare or to Effington's knees?" Ash asked. "At length, or go for the pithy, sincere approach? Headmaster says no blotting, no crossing out, no misspellings. I'm happy to write this apology on your behalf for a sum certain."

Ash had an instinct for business — he had read law — but he lacked the cunning Cam had in abundance.

"Ash makes you a generous offer, Cam," Will said, stowing the leash on the mantel and enduring Georgette's but-I'll-die-if-we-remain-indoors look. "Alas, for your finances, Ash, you'll be too busy procuring an exact replica of the lady's abused accessory, from your own funds."

"My own funds?"

Ash hadn't any funds to speak of. What little money Casriel could spare his younger siblings, they spent on drink and other Town vices.

"An exact replica," Will said. "Not a cheap imitation. I will expect your purchase to be complete by the time Cam has drafted an apology. Away with you both, for I must change into clothing suitable for a call upon an earl's daughter."

Into Town attire, a silly, frilly extravagance that on a man of Will's proportions was a significant waste of fabric. He was a frustrated sheep farmer, not some dandy on the stroll, though he was also, for the present, the Earl of Casriel's heir.

So into his finery he would go.

And upon Lady Susannah Haddonfield, of all ladies, he would call.

* * *

"A big, well-dressed fellow is sauntering up our walk," Lady Della Haddonfield announced. "He's carrying a lovely purple parasol. The dog looks familiar."

Though dogs occasionally accompanied their owners on social calls, men did not typically carry parasols, so Lady Susannah Haddonfield joined Della at the window.

"That's the mastiff we met in the park," Susannah said. "The Dorning boys were with her." A trio of overgrown puppies, really, though the Dorning fellows were growing into the good looks for which the family was well-known.

"Effington said that mastiff was the largest dog he'd ever seen," Della replied, nudging the drapery aside. "The viscount does adore his canines. Who can that man be? He's taller than the two we met in the park."

Taller and more conservatively dressed. "The earl, possibly," Susannah said, picking up her volume of Shakespeare's sonnets and resuming her seat. "He and Nicholas are doubtless acquainted. Please don't stand in my light, Della."

Della, being a younger sister, only peered more closely over Susannah's shoulder. "You're poring over the sonnets again. Don't you have them all memorized by now?"

The genteel murmur of the butler admitting a visitor drifted up the stairs, along with a curious clicking sound, and then ...

"That was a woof," Susannah said. "From inside this house."

"She seemed a friendly enough dog," Della replied, taking a seat on the sofa. Della was the Haddonfield changeling, small and dark compared to her tall, blond siblings, and she made a pretty picture on the red velvet sofa, her green skirts arranged about her.

"She's an ill-mannered canine," Susannah said, "if my parasol's fate is any indication."

Though the dog was a fair judge of character. Lord Effington fawned over all dogs and occasionally over Della, but Susannah found him tedious. The Dornings' mastiff had lifted her leg upon Lord Effington's knee, and Susannah's parasol had been sacrificed in defense of his lordship's tailoring.

Barrisford tapped on the open door. One never heard Barrisford coming or going, and he seemed to be everywhere in the household at once.

"My ladies, a gentleman has come to call and claims acquaintance with the family."

The butler passed Susannah a card, plain black ink on cream stock, though Della snatched it away before Susannah could read the print.

"Shall I say you ladyships are not at home?" Barrisford asked.

"We're at home," Della said, just as Susannah murmured, "That will suit, Barrisford."

She was coming up on the seventy-third sonnet, her favorite.

"We can receive him together," Della said. "If Nicholas knows the Earl of Casriel, he very likely knows the spares, and Effington fancied that dog most rapturously."

"Effington fancies all dogs." The viscount fancied himself most of all. "You'll give me no peace if I turn our caller away, so show him up, Barrisford, and send along the requisite tray."

"I've never drunk so much tea in all my life as I have this spring," Della said. "No wonder people waltz until all hours and stay up half the night gossiping."

Gossiping, when they might instead be reading. Was any trial on earth more tedious than a London Season?

"Mr. Will Dorning, and Georgette," Barrisford said a moment later. He stepped aside from the parlor door to reveal a large gentleman and an equally outsized dog. Susannah hadn't taken much note of the dog in the park, for she'd been too busy trying not to laugh at Effington. The viscount prided himself on his love of canines, though he was apparently fonder of his riding breeches, for he'd smacked the dog more than once with Susannah's abused parasol.

Barrisford's introduction registered only as the visitor bowed to Susannah.

Will Dorning, not the Earl of Casriel, not one of the younger brothers. Willow Grove Dorning himself. Susannah had both looked for and avoided him for years.

"My Lady Susannah, good day," he said. "A pleasure to see you again. Won't you introduce me to your sister?"

Barrisford melted away, while Della rose from the sofa on a rustle of velvet skirts. "Please do introduce us, Suze."

Della's expression said she'd introduce herself if Susannah failed to oblige. The dog had more decorum than Della, at least for the moment.

"Lady Delilah Haddonfield," Susannah began, "may I make known to you Mr. Will Dorning, late of Dorset?" Susannah was not about to make introductions for the mastiff. "Mr. Dorning, my sister, Lady Delilah, though she prefers Lady Della."

"My lady." Mr. Dorning bowed correctly over Della's hand, while the dog sat panting at his feet. Like most men, he'd probably be smitten with Della before he took a seat beside her on the sofa. Only Effington's interest had survived the rumors of Della's modest settlements, however.

"Your dog wants something, Mr. Dorning," Susannah said, retreating to her seat by the window.

Mr. Dorning peered at his beast, who was gazing at Della and holding up a large paw.

"Oh, she wants to shake," Della said, taking that paw in her hand and shaking gently. "Good doggy, Georgette. Very pleased to make your acquaintance."

"Georgette, behave," Mr. Dorning muttered, before Susannah was faced with the riddle of whether manners required her to shake the dog's paw.

Georgette turned an innocent expression on her owner, crossed the room, and took a seat at Susannah's knee.

Presuming beast, though Georgette at least didn't stink of dog. Effington's endless canine adornments were the smelliest little creatures.

"My ladies, I'm here to apologize," Mr. Dorning said. "Georgette was in want of manners earlier today. We've come to make restitution for her bad behavior and pass along my brother Sycamore's note of apology."

"Do have a seat, Mr. Dorning," Della said, accepting a sealed missive from their guest. "At least you haven't come to blather on about the weather or to compliment our bonnets."

Bless Della and her gift for small talk, because Susannah was having difficulty thinking.

This was not the version of Will Dorning she'd endured dances with in her adolescence. He'd filled out and settled down, like a horse rising seven. Where a handsome colt had been, a warhorse had emerged. Mr. Dorning's boots gleamed, the lace of his cravat fell in soft, tasteful abundance from his throat. His clothing fit him, in the sense of being appropriate to his demeanor, accentuating abundant height, muscle, and self-possession.

Even as he sat on the delicate red velvet sofa with a frilly purple parasol across his knees.

"This is for you, my lady," he said, passing Susannah the parasol. "We didn't get the color exactly right, but I hope this will suffice to replace the article that came to grief in the park."

Susannah's parasol had been blue, a stupid confection that had done little to shield a lady's complexion. That parasol hadn't made a very effective bludgeon when turned on the dog.

"The color is lovely," Susannah said, "and the design very similar to the one I carried earlier."

Susannah made the mistake of looking up at that moment, of gazing fully into eyes of such an unusual color, poetry had been written about them. Mr. Dorning's eyes were the purest form of the Dorning heritage, nearly the color of the parasol Susannah accepted from his gloved hands.

Willow Dorning's eyes were not pretty, though. His eyes were the hue of a sunset that had given up the battle with night, such that angry reds and passionate oranges had faded to indigo memories and violet dreams. Seven years ago, his violet eyes had been merely different, part of the Dorning legacy, and he'd been another tall fellow forced to bear his friend's sisters' company. In those seven years, his voice had acquired night-sky depths, his grace was now bounded with self-possession.

Though he still apparently loved dogs.

"My thanks for the parasol," Susannah said, possibly repeating herself. "You really need not have bothered. Ah, and here's the tea tray. Della, will you pour?"

Della was effortlessly social. Not the reserved paragon their old sister Nita was, and not as politically astute as their sister Kirsten. Both of those ladies yet bided in Kent, either recently married or anticipating that happy state.

Leaving Susannah unmarried and abandoned as the Season gathered momentum.

Exactly as she'd felt seven years ago.

"Georgette likes you, Susannah," Della said, pouring Mr. Dorning's tea. "Or she likes that parasol."

The dog had not moved from Susannah's knee, though she was ignoring the parasol and sniffing at the sonnets on the side table.

"Georgette is shy," Mr. Dorning said, "and she's usually well mannered, save for occasionally snacking on an old book. Her mischief in the park was an aberration, I assure you. Lady Della, are you enjoying your first London Season?"

For the requisite fifteen minutes, Della and Mr. Dorning made idle talk, while Susannah discreetly nudged the sonnets away from the dog, sipped tea, and felt agreeably ancient. Without Nita or Kirsten on hand, Susannah had become the older sister suited to serving as a chaperone at a social call.

And upon reflection, she didn't feel abandoned by her older sisters. She was simply taking her turn as the spinster in training before becoming a spinster in earnest.

Thank God.

"I'll bid you ladies good day," Mr. Dorning said, rising.

"I'll see you out," Susannah replied, because that was her role, as quasi-chaperone, and having Barrisford tend to that task would have been marginally unfriendly. Mr. Dorning, as the son of an earl, was her social equal, after all.

"Georgette, come." Mr. Dorning did not snap his fingers, though Effington, the only other dog lover in Susannah's acquaintance, snapped his fingers constantly — at dogs and at servants. He'd snapped his fingers at Della once, and Susannah had treated Effington to a glower worthy of her late papa in a taking.

Georgette padded over to her master's side, and Susannah quit the parlor with them, leaving Della to attack the biscuits remaining on the tea tray.

"You didn't used to like dogs," Mr. Dorning observed.

"I still don't like dogs," Susannah replied, though she didn't dislike them. Neither did she like cats, birds, silly bonnets, London Seasons, or most people. Horses were at least useful, and sisters could be very dear. Brothers fell somewhere between horses and sisters.

"Georgette begs to differ," Mr. Dorning said as they reached the bottom of the steps. "Or perhaps she was making amends for her trespasses against your parasol by allowing you to pat her for fifteen straight minutes."

Susannah took Mr. Dorning's top hat from the sideboard. "Georgette ignored the new parasol. I think my wardrobe is safe from her lapses in manners, though the day your dog snacks on one of my books will be a sorry day for Georgette, Mr. Dorning."

Despite Susannah's stern words, she and Mr. Dorning were managing, getting through the awkwardness of being more or less alone together.

"You're still fond of Shakespeare?" Mr. Dorning asked as he tapped his hat onto his head.


Excerpted from Will's True Wish by Grace Burrowes. Copyright © 2016 Grace Burrowes. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Will's True Wish 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had to read the first discussion between the dognappers twice. The names were vaguely familiar. Disney should give you a clue. A joy to read, I have about 20 of Grace's books and look forward to many more.
gaele More than 1 year ago
The spare to the heir, Will seems to have a life that is all the drudgery of the earldom without many of the benefits. Acting as virtual bodyguard and factotum to the Earl, he also is wrangling his younger brothers, searching for a suitable woman to be an earl’s wife and finding time to engage in his true passion: his dogs. He’s not only a fan of his dogs, he’s steadily gaining a solid reputation as a trainer and breeder, and would like nothing more than to spend all of his time with the furry creatures that seem to be his only friends. Susannah is one of those women who didn’t capture a husband during her season, and now wants nothing more than to aid her younger sister in making an advantageous match. Convinced, and fairly content with the thought that she is ‘on the shelf’, her books and her own interests are enough, or were until she sees potential in a match with Will’s family. Knowing each other for years provides a point of interest, even as Susannah isn’t quite sure she can tolerate the dogs. While not completely “afraid’ of them, she’s unsure and doesn’t quite ‘get’ Will’s fascination, she does appreciate their camaraderie and comfortable times together. But soon, dogs are disappearing for inclusion in the night crawler gambling festivities, Wil is unable to silently bear witness. He wants to find the culprit behind the thefts, but worries that he may be placing himself and his family in the middle of a scandal with the Tonne. Can he actually manage to solve the puzzle AND keep his family (and Susannah’s) free from the taint of scandal should the culprit be titled? I loved Will: he’s an introvert while dedicated to his family, he also wants to lead his own life, as so many ‘spares’ are allowed to do in families like his. A bit inside his own head, Will isn’t selfishly following only his own path, he’s dedicated much of his life to the family and seeing everyone settled. Susannah had fewer options open as a woman, but she’s a solid match for Daniel: the two are well-suited and while she doesn’t think love and marriage will be for her, she is enjoying her time with Will, and possibly starting to see new possibilities. With the mystery and potential pitfalls, the sweetness of Will and the dogs, this is another solid installment in the series. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haddonfields and Dornings...What's not to love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually Grace Burrowes deliver an interesting read. This book did not hold my attention. The writing style was convoluted and didn't flow like her other books. It was hard to be invested in either character-both were boring as all get out. There was no plot and no actual storyline and I love dogs! Save your time and money and skip this book or check it out at your local library,
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is book 3 in the True Gentlemen series. Will Dorning has always been he keeper of his rambunctious brothers. He is the one to get them out of trouble when needed and to make sure they have what they need. Knowing that he can never give up his duty, he is destined to never marry. But when he reconnects with childhood friend, Lady Susannah Haddonfield, he wonders if there might be something else in store for his future. Susannah is worried about her sister's prospects. The one man that has taken a liking to her sister, holds a distain for Susannah for her dislike of dogs. She turns to Will for help, the one man that came to her rescue during her coming out. Already having a crush on Will, her feeling for him grow as they spend more time together. Will knows that he can not support Susannah in the custom she is use to and refuses to let things go too far until he is capable of supporting her. Can Susannah get Will to realize that their love can survive anything? I really enjoyed this story. I love Will and need to make sure that his brothers had what they needed even if it meant that he went without something. That really tells you what kind of man he really is. Then we have Susannah, who will do anything for her sister, even try to like something that she has never enjoyed. I think another reason I really enjoyed this story was that Will and Susannah were friends first. We see them getting to know one another again and even thought each is attracted to the other, they don't act on it for some time. The love grows from the friendship and that was awesome to watch happen. The next book in the series comes out this summer. I for one, can't wait to read it! Thanks go out to Sourcebooks via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this True Gentleman series the Haddonfield sisters find their happily ever afters with men who truly qualify as caring and respectful gentlemen. After following the Haddonfield brothers and sisters through six books, three in the Lonely Lords series plus three in this one, I came to love each one and their extended families. Now I am a little saddened because it is possible that this book will be the last to feature a Haddonfield sibling. Guess I will now look forward to reading about the Windham cousins in books Ms. Burrowes plans to release later this year.
MaggyBerlin More than 1 year ago
Grace, thank you for a terrific read!
GHott More than 1 year ago
Hott Review: ​I loved every word of Will’s True Wish! I love to read Grace Burrows and this is going at the top of my favorites list! I’m not an animal ~lover~ yet the focus of Will’s True Wish being animals didn’t deter me at all. Lady Susannah Haddonfield isn’t a dog lover either and she is esteemed greatly by Mr. Will Dorning and his mastiffs. I was very empathetic towards Susannah. She’s given up on a good relationship because she’s still half in love with her first crush. Her sister’s having a rough come out because of some ugly gossip and her only suitor is nasty and hates Susannah. Plus, her only chance at love thinks he hasn’t enough money but also refuses to find the thief taking the pets from the gentry. Oh, what’s a girl to do? Will had been following Susannah around for years only to make sure she’s been happy and not realizing what that really meant. Now he’s finally become her friend but won’t propose because he has such little income. More… Author: Grace Burrowes Source: NetGalley Publisher & Date: February 2nd 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca Genre: Historical Romance ISBN: 1492621080 (ISBN13: 9781492621089) Pages: 384 Grade: A+ Ages: 16+ Steam: ​Adult – one short night cut short be a conversation and a few steamy kisses. Setting: England Series: True Gentlemen
def618 More than 1 year ago
This book is part of Grace's "True Gentlemen" series which features wonderful heroes. Willow Dorning is my favorite, probably for his love of dogs. As well as his constant love and caring for bookish Susannah Haddonfield. They have known each other for several years and reconnect as she comes to London for her younger sister's debut. Her sister, Della, has some issues of her own and both Susannah and Will look out for her. Will and his brothers are also looking into the thefts of some dogs. I don't read or write plot spoilers. I hope you'll read this very good book! I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I generaly like this ajthors work. She does not write men very well and there is usually a very heavy handed amount of cheese. But usually the interesting plot make up for it.this rea like a short story in dog fancy magazine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your money.