The hero of THE UNLIKELY DUKE, Jeffrey Graham, came to the aid of a young woman assaulted in a dark garden. They were able to spare that young woman’s reputation but the perpetrator, for pur spite at having his actions thwarted, spread rumors that another young woman, my heroine, had been caught in a compromising position with Graham. He can’t be allowed to get away with it.
Clarion accompanied Graham to pay an early morning call on Lord Harry Carrolton in his disorderly rooms at the Albany. Clarion’s brother, Sir Robert Benson, member of an elite security force well known to the aristocracy, went with them. Filled with overstuffed furniture and stained carpets, the place smelled of food left to rot and, if the empty bottles cluttering the table were any indication, cheap gin and expensive French brandy.
A harried looking manservant who had obviously dressed hastily tried to turn them away; they pushed past him.
“Kindly tell your master the Earl of Clarion wishes to speak with him,” the earl demanded. When the man stared back, mouth agape, he barked, “Now!”
“How long will we give him?” Benson asked, clearly amused.
Graham would have given the dog no time at all. He would have yanked him from his bed with his bare hands. They were clenched tightly at his side as it was.
A loud roar came from the back room, and the servant returned, bobbing and bowing, fear in every line of his face. “His lordship is not receiving this morning,” he muttered.
Graham swept past him and slammed open the bedroom door.
“I said tell them to go to hell,” Carrolton murmured without lifting his head from the pillow.
Graham yanked back the covers. Lord Harry, naked as the day his mother bore him, rose up, put a hand to his head, and leaned back against the headboard. “I’m going to be sick.”
“You’re going to be sicker before we’re through,” Graham said.
Benson tossed him the sheet over his lower body. “So are we if we have to look at your skinny arse. Don’t you own a nightshirt?”
Clarion calmly handed him a basin. Just in time. Clarion gestured to the servant, lurking in the corner to take the mess away.
Carrolton blinked. Suddenly alert, he moaned, “What do you want?”
“We want to shut your vile mouth. Permanently.” Graham loomed over him.
“You’ve maliciously harmed Gemma Burke’s reputation,” Benson said. “Not well done.”
“It isn’t my fault if the chit fancies uncouth…”
Graham’s fist silenced him.
“Easy Jeff. There are more civilized ways,” Clarion said. He ruined the effect by grinning at his brother-in-law.
“I’ll have you transported,” Carrolton shrieked. “You can’t attack a peer of the realm!”
“Your title is an honorary one, you damned fool,” Benson said.
“Quite right, Sir Robert.” Clarion moved to stand on the side of the bed opposite Graham and glared down at Carrolton. “You’ll be pleased to know that Miss Camden was returned home safely. My countess plans to speak with her parents later this morning.”
“The girl you assaulted last night, you jackass,” Graham spat.
“Mousey thing,” Carrolton mumbled. “Thought she’d like it.”
Graham almost hit him again. “You should be shot. That being illegal let us explain what is about to happen.”
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!