The War of the Roses


WIPWed-1024x427 WIP Wednesday

This is a bit from my novella for A Duke in Winter. The stories in the collection are all based on Shakespeare’s plays. Mine is tentatively entitled The Sixth Henry. You can guess the play. It features a beleaguered new duke and a longstanding feud between two families over roses. Mary is the duke’s sister.

***

Mary rolled her eyes. “But you know Margaret Ansel came to spy. You must know.”

“Our guest is Lady Margaret. Has she said she came to spy?”

“Of course not!”

Has she mentioned roses, red, white, pink or otherwise?”

“No, but—”

“Has she rifled through my files when my back was turned?”

“N… How would I know. You should protect grandfather’s secrets”

“I wouldn’t know where to look or what’s hidden away about this rose business. It doesn’t matter. She can’t. I have the keys.”

“If you’d let Jones bring you up to speed…” Mary started.

Henry waved her words away. “Don’t judge Lady Margaret until she gives you reason. Please, Mary. Aunt Blanche will say and do what she pleases no matter what I say. I’m asking you to be a buffer for our guest. Do you hear me? Guest.”

Mary tried to rise and sank back, casting a Henry a pathetic glance. He rolled his eyes and came around the desk to hold out a hand and help her rise. He peered down at her swollen belly with a smile. “It won’t be much longer, will it? Little Algernon with be running around the ancestral pile in no time.”

“Try to show some dignity. You’re Roseleigh now, Henry. Aunt Blanche may be a formidable old tartar, but she isn’t wrong.” Mary heaved a deep sigh, one Henry thought belonged on the stage. “Very well. I’ll be so sweet that Lady Margaret’s teeth will ache, but I’ll stick as close as a Scottish thistle. If she goes anywhere near the succession house or Jones’s workroom, I’ll have her out of here on her aristocratic bum and her white rose badge with her.”

“You have a succession house?” A muscle in Lady Margaret’s cheek twitched, as if she was holding back anger. Or laughter. She stepped further into the room. “A Scottish thistle?”

Henry wondered how long she had been in the doorway.

Mary blushed deeply. “Our aunt expressed some concern. She—”

“Let me guess. She thinks I’m here to steal the family secrets, the blood red rose? Or is it to be Cardinal Rose this year, or Ruby Queen, or—but wait, you wouldn’t tell me, would you?”

Her eyes danced. Definitely amused, Henry thought. He really ought to go to Mary’s rescue, but he was inclined to let her flounder in some well-deserved discomfort.

“I. We. That is you must admit…”

“That people at Edgecote would behave as rudely as you all have if you turned up unannounced? I fear that is likely. All for this foolish feud. Can we call truce, Lady Eckelston, and allow your brother to continue grappling with the strands of his newly acquired duchy?”

Note: excerpts from works in progress may have not yet been edited, will likely undergo change, and may not even make it into the final work!

About the Book

“It was a dark and snowy night…”

Winter has come and the holiday seasons have arrived. ‘Tis the season to be jolly for most, but beneath the joyous celebrations lurks moody, dark, and seductive dukes that make England’s most famous bard’s brooding lords look like charm boys. But this isn’t a tortured Danish prince or a tormented king with three conniving daughters. This is…

A Duke In Winter.

Ten of your favorite historical romance authors have come together for this wintery collection to set your pulse racing. Melt the snow a little with this collection of sexy tales of moody dukes and the women hot enough to warm them.

Indulge in the most unexpected of winter romantic tales!

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