He kept his eyes closed just in case his ridiculous plan would work.
Another throat cleared. He stopped his prayers and opened one eye, then two. His aunt's icy blue stare seemed to penetrate his body with such irritation that his head began to hurt again, or was the throbbing merely a happy coincidence with getting hit by Lady Katherine? Saints alive, she was going to be the death of him.
“Look what you’ve done.” Aunt Agatha shook her head and sniffled. Well at least she was over her imaginary head cold, now it seemed she had nothing but tears and outrage.
“I did nothing wrong, I merely fell after being struck by a blunt object. You cannot fault me in the matter!”
“You compromised that woman! What the devil is wrong with you! Have I not raised you to at least woo a woman before you lift her skirts! Heavens, we are in public!”
“I was accosted!” he yelled.
“You were seducing her!”
“I was unconscious!” He blinked his eyes and cursed. Pain was now throbbing at his temples. Truly, if God were to call him home, he wouldn’t fault Him one bit. He’d merely lift his arms heavenward and thank the Lord for taking him. Then again his thanks would be twofold, for he would be grateful to even be near the pearly gates, let alone given free entry.
Aunt Agatha sighed. “Well either way, it was bad form, Benedict. Truly bad form. I shall announce your impending marriage at once. Now run along and have yourself some brandy, you look awful. Hmph.” With swift movements, she left him on the cold ground, alone, and upset. One thing was for certain, he wasn’t going to marry the girl. He would rather jump into the Thames in the dead of winter! Although, on second thought, jumping into the Thames would mean he would die of a head injury considering it was frozen over. Perhaps he could cut out a little hole and jump into it. Sadly, the smile on his face was entirely brought on by his suicide plan, an unfortunate circumstance that. Was marriage truly that ghastly to him?
Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, has one thing on his mind and it isn't mar-riage. But things take a turn for the worse when his menacing aunt throws a hitch in his plans to remain the most sinful and talked about man in the ton. After all, a man cannot keep the reputation of being The Devil Duke when he is leg-shackled to some simpering spinster.
But his aunt, bless her heart, thinks she's dying, and believes her nephew’s be-havior is the only thing standing in the way between her entrance to heaven or hell. So she very lovingly and selflessly sets him up. With his childhood nemesis. A young woman who, though she claims it was an accident, has nearly killed him thrice through her lack of grace and manners. It matters not that the minute he sets eyes on her at the Christmas ball, his blood boils with lust. He refuses to al-low himself to fall prey to his aunt’s ministrations.
That is, until he is compromised and stuck in an engagement to a girl who claims she'd rather jump from a moving carriage than marry him. Funny thing that, for the very minute she says no, he finds his heart very much wants to say yes. When she doesn't leap at the chance to marry him, he sets about to not only prove that he's worthy of her favor, but also worthy of her heart.
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Rachel Van Dyken is the USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contem-porary ro-mances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandyken.com