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The Duke of Wicked

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Elizabeth is certain that the rumors about the Duke of Wicked are completely fabricated. After all, she has encountered him before. He is courteous, intelligent, and gentlemanly, nothing like the perverse rumors suggest. Even so, she finds herself being inexplicably drawn to him.

It is only when she finds herself bound spread-eagle to his bed that she realizes just how wrong she was.

~~~~~ PG Excerpt ~~~~~

“You were very unkind towards Mr. Gautier,” I gasped as soon as I was certain he was out of earshot.

“As I should be!” she countered, fanning herself with her red and black oriental fan that her father had acquired for her earlier that week. The little paper decoration cost a small fortune, but she was fast wrinkling and tearing it already. I tried not to flinch when she whipped it shut in one smooth motion that no doubt shortened its already short life.

She huffed, being her usual over-dramatic self, then glared at me as she waited for me to respond.

“You shouldn't be associated with the likes of him!” she said in a quick, angry burst when I said nothing.

I smiled weakly, knowing she was just bursting to share her gossip about the kind gentleman.

“What has he ever done to incur your wrath, my dear Josephine?” I asked.

She gasped, feigning surprise at my lack of knowledge, then proceeded to flip open the folded paper fan and wave it at herself even harder, pushing hair out of her slightly chubby face. I couldn't help but giggle at her reaction.

“Don't you know who he is?!” she asked, looking so incensed that I started to wonder if he was some sort of con man and I had just agreed to give up all my family heirloom to him.

I shook my head and ignored her when she glanced around surreptitiously to ensure that there was no one around us to eavesdrop. There was nobody around us at all, not after she had been so rude to Mr. Gautier and basically shooed him out of the cafe.

In a hushed whisper, she said, “He's the Duke of Wicked!”

I stared at her for a moment, then burst out laughing. “The duke of what now?” I said between giggles, certain that she was making things up to make our mundane morning more interesting. “What an entirely ridiculous name!” I said. “Wicked is not a district that I know of, Josephine. In fact, I'm fairly certain there's no such district!”

She puffed indignantly and said, “I didn't come up with that name.”

“What has he done to deserve such an awful name?” I asked, a hint of mirth wrinkling the corner of my eyes.

She smirked, pride filling her at the thought that she knew more than me. I didn't mind that in the least. She prided herself in knowing just about everything in town. For example, she had known about the gender of the neighbors newborn twins (a boy and a girl) even before it was announced, whereas I hadn't even known that Anna was pregnant.

“Wait, don't tell me,” I interrupted before she could say a word. “The duke of wicked…” I murmured contemplatively. “The 'duke' part is quite self-explanatory. He's a duke who's done something wicked…” I stared at her face for some sort of clue.

When there was none, I hazarded a guess. “Did he sleep with the queen?” I asked.

Her smirk faltered slightly and I held back my surprise that I had been even a little right.
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Boruma Publishing
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