Two Notorious Dukes

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Authors: Lyndsey Norton
die.’ She looked so sad right then and
Elizabeth wished she’d not spoken. ‘And when you love
them it’s devastating to lose them.’
‘Did you love the old Duke?’ Elizabeth asked
curiously.
‘As a matter of fact, I did. But it was the innocent
love of a child, not the love a woman can have for a
man. But it was still devastating when he died.’ She
sighed deeply. ‘Poor John was thrust into the ducal
duties as well, but I had already been preparing him for
the day when it would happen. He’d not long finished at
Cambridge and his father died very slowly. It was painful
to watch him fade away like that, but John didn’t see, as
he was away. I sent for him in the night, as his father’s
breathing got worse and worse. By the time he reached
Goring Hall his father was already dead and all we could
do was mourn his loss.’ She was quiet for a few minutes
as she fought the tears. ‘You and Robert have a lot in
common, actually. Maybe you could help each other
come to terms with your pain. Lord knows he needs
somebody to help him.’
Elizabeth rummaged in her bag and fetched out
a book to read and Verity rested her head back on the
seat and closed her eyes.
    Argyll waited for the dogs to flush the pheasants
again and suddenly there was the croak of the cock and
the hens flew up into the air. He let go with the musket
and watched two hens fold their wings and plummet to
the earth. The dogs brought the two birds back and he
carefully took them and put them in his game satchel.
‘Come along, Hetty.’ He said to the spaniel and ruffled
her ears as the Labrador fell in at his knee.
    ‘Are you finished for today, Your Grace?’ the
gamekeeper asked.
‘Yes, thank you, Willoughby.’ He set off back to
the mansion; there was no other name for the
sprawling monstrosity that was the ducal residence. It
had started as an Elizabethan Manor and been added to
so many times that the whole building was a hodgepodge of styles and designs. The only thing that saved it
from disaster was the beautiful gardens his father had
had Capability Brown design. From the smallest rose
bed under the library window to the three mile long
lake, it had taken Brown a month to draw it and five
years to complete. It had taken twenty gardeners a year
and a half to dig out the ground for the lake and all the
soil had been piled up to make an undulating landscape.
There were trees and bushes from all over the world in
the different aspects, but Argyll’s favourite place, was
the terrace over looking the formal lawn, in the evening
as the sun was going down.
As he arrived at the kitchen door, he handed the
game bag to one of the boys, the dogs were taken for
feeding and he sat on the stone bench to remove his
boots.
‘Your Grace?’ Harrison the butler poked his head
out of the door.
‘Yes, Harrison.’ Argyll said as he stifled a yawn.
‘There is a gentleman to see you, Your Grace.’
‘I’m not sure I like the way you said that,
Harrison?’ Argyll said quizzically.
‘I’ll use the term loosely, Sir. He looks like a
gentleman, but I don’t think he is one.’ He sighed. ‘I’ve
put him in the drawing room, Sir.’
‘Very well, Harrison. Tell him I’ll be there in a few
minutes.’ He took a stiff brush and scrubbed all the
dried mud off his boots, slipped them back on his feet
and went into the house. He threw his hat on the hall
table and proceeded into the drawing room to be
confronted with Alexander Audley.
‘Hello, Audley. What are you doing here?’ he
asked cheerfully.
‘Where is she?’ he demanded brutally.
‘I’m sorry, who are you asking for?’ Argyll said
placatingly.
‘Elizabeth, she was at your London house, so
where is she?’
‘I suppose she’ll be with Lady Verity, where ever
she is.’ Argyll said as if surprised that he was there.
‘Would you like some refreshment?’
‘No, I wouldn’t. All I want is what I’m due!’ he
spat.
‘Well, I’m not a legal expert, but I think you
already have everything

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