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The Devil and the Duchess

Novel By: teaganpaytonhunter
Romance



At age thirteen Eliza Winton, third child and only daughter of Earl Montrose was sent away to a ladies boarding school because the earl preferred his sons over her. On her seventeenth birthday, Eliza found out she is betrothed to a duke. Her only female cousin was suppose to marry the duke but met her death with the sweating sickness. Eliza is the only Winton female left to fufill the marriage between her family and the Duke of Valentia. The Duke did not wish for the marriage but had to abide by it because his dead father had willed it. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4

Submitted:May 29, 2010    Reads: 239    Comments: 2    Likes: 0   


At the entrance of Duke Valentia's townhouse..............................

The carriage ride to the duke's townhouse was pointless. The butler informed Eliza and her escorts about the duke's sudden departure to France. Eliza's father was furious and so was Viscount Dubrey. The earl's jaw was set and his eyes flared angrily. Eliza did not dare to look at him. She knew part of his anger was targeted at her.
"Well Rawthorne is a day's ride from here." Dubrey said out loud to whoever wants to hear. "Are you up for another journey?" he straightened his coat and aimed this at the earl. Richard Matthew Lisburn was a handsome fellow with chestnut hair and blue eyes. He was a little under six feet but still lean and tall. Eliza heard from her father that viscount Dubrey is five years younger than his cousins (Treymayne and Aidan).He was still a bachelor and somewhat of an errand boy to the Duke of Valentia (he and Aidan cover up a lot of Treymayne's tasks). Montrose raised his eyebrows and turned away from the townhouse entrance.
"I won't have him shame me any longer. I've tolerated his scandals and escapades but I will not let him do this to me!" The earl's face was still red and Eliza thought he would pass out. But he was stern and tough as he looks, so he won't.
"You," Montrose pointed his finger at Eliza. "Get in the carriage!"
Eliza did as she was told. Quickly shutting herself inside the carriage; she inched toward the window to look at the two men. There is no point in hesitation or having second thoughts when dealing with a mad Montrose. Whatever the earl demands, he gets it. Montrose then turned to Dubrey, "Where is the Hensley townhouse?" he asked.
"A forty minute ride south from here," Dubrey replied casually. He was surprised that the earl thought of Aiden at a time like this. "What do you have in mind Lord Montrose?" He asked the older man. The earl was grim, "I'm sending my daughter to stay with them until I fish out that foolish arse from France."
"Oh ho!" Dubrey raised an amused eyebrow. "So you're going to drag him back here? What a fierce father-in-law! You'll be a match for Valentia!" But the earl did not seem to share the viscount's humor.
"We leave right now to Hensley." He said sternly and they departed.
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Meanwhile…..near Cornwall, Asthorne estate…..
Going to France was another one of Trey's enormous pack of lies. He decided instead to stay at his Ashthorne manor which was the smallest of all his other estates. He had no intention of telling anyone what he was up to. He did not want to see this duchess. She might be a plain mouse like her many relatives. There is no other reason why old dog Montrose would send his daughter away like she was a plague. Trey heard that this daughter had been kept secret until recently. He wondered what was wrong with her. But in the end he thought that no suitors would take her. The Wintons have a lot of plain females. The previous Winton girl who was supposed to wed him was too nervous and stuttered herself into a stupor. Too bad she caught an illness and passed on. When Trey heard of her unexpected death; he finally thought he would be free from the betrothal. Unfortunately his dead rotting father had completely manipulated the will to make Trey marry no one other than a Winton female. As much as he want to change his father's will; it was useless. A wife was useless, unless an heir is needed, and there are plenty of women for that. To him, women were all the same. A wife is no different from a mistress, concubine, or whore. Speaking of women, Trey downed another glass of brandy. He had to get ready for tonight's meeting for the Hell Eros Club. Tonight there will be plenty of wenches there to entertain him.
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Hensley Townhouse……………………..
At the Hensley Townhouse Eliza was literally dropped on the doorstep of the duke's brother's townhouse. Her father left without even saying good bye. He was too angry to speak and wanted to dive into the hunt of the Duke Valentia. Viscount Lisburn stood by her side and escorted her inside the Hensley townhouse.
"Don't worry your grace. Hensley and his wife will be kind to you. Aidan is as kind as he is pretty…even though he denies it….besides they are your family now too." Lisburn said trying to brighten up her face. The chit was still gloomy and pale as death since he met her. She was so young. And insanely beautiful, Lisburn thought. Trey was a fool to let this one go. The duke has been known to be around the most beautiful women, and this is by far one of the loveliest redheads Lisburn had seen. He didn't want to dwell on the thoughts for too long. So he escorted Eliza inside the building. They were waited on by Hensley's butler, Simmons. They waited in the parlor while the butler went to inform Earl Hensley of his unexpected guests.
Eliza sat in a soft armchair near the fireplace. Her legs were still cramped from the carriage ride. A maid appeared and set out a tray of tea and snacks on the table for her and Lisburn. Studying the viscount from the corner of her eye; Eliza noticed that he was quite at ease in the earl's townhouse. Did he visit here often? The appearance of the earl made Eliza's heart almost turn. He was indeed unreal and handsome. Eliza had seen pale blonde hair on girls before but never on a man. The earl's hair was almost a white blonde. It ended at his nape and the side swept bangs complimented his unreal looks. His pale blue eyes glanced at her in question and then at Lisburn.
"This is a surprise Rich, you visiting at this hour. I thought you were standing in for Trey's wedding?" Aidan finally spoke. His gaze once more fell on Eliza again.
Lisburn sighed. "Well Hensley, we have a bit of a problem. The young lady to my left is the Duchess of Valentia." He introduced Eliza to the surprised Earl Hensley. The earl was silent for a moment. Lisburn added another shock.
"Montrose and I escorted the duchess to Trey's townhouse only to find out he fled to France."
"Damn," Aidan cursed and swiftly apologized to Eliza. "Pardon me your grace, apparently my dear brother always manages to bring out my temper."
Eliza only shrugged. She didn't know what to say about that.
"I understand that you have gone through a long and tiring ordeal today." Aidan continued, "I must apologize for all my twin's misdeeds."
"Hensley, Montrose won't take her back, so he suggested the duchess should stay with you and the countess." Lisburn directed at Aidan.
The earl sort of frowned at this. He knew Montrose was a hard man but to leave his daughter like this is very uncaring. Abandoning her off to her husband's estranged relatives…the girl must be scared to death.
"I request the countess's presence at this moment." Aidan said to the butler standing near the doorway.
"Tell her our new sister is here." Bowing, the butler left at the given command. Turning back to his new sister-in-law, Aidan tried to make her feel welcome. It wasn't her fault that Trey ran off; Aidan knew it was something else.
"Your grace, have some tea. It will calm you." Aidan said to Eliza. "T-thank you." Eliza nodded. Holding the cup of tea, her eyes were directed to the floor while the two men talk about her missing husband and other matters.
"Welcome your grace," a soft gentle voice entered the room moments later. "I am your sister-in-law, Mischa Rawthorne, Countess Hensley." Eliza turned to gaze at a beautiful sable haired woman with lavender eyes. Her belly was round with child but she looked so radiant and beautiful that Eliza was awed by her presence. She and the earl looked perfect together. Mischa was a little apprehensive about meeting the new duchess, afraid that it was another snobby woman of Treymayne's taste. But upon seeing the lost little lamb sitting in the parlor room; Mischa realized that the new duchess was just a young and scared girl. The young duchess reminded her of how she used to be like that. Scared. Afraid of what is to come. And Mischa wanted to help her.
"And this is her grace Elizabeth Anne Winton Rathorne, Duchess of Valentia." Aidan introduced Eliza to his wife. "P-please, call me Eliza." Eliza replied. "I am honored to meet you Lady Hensley. Thank you." She blush a little because she was a little embarrassed by her shabby appearance and lack of speech at the moment. The countess looked so pretty in her sea green day dress and Eliza's outfit was all rumpled. She felt so out of place. Mischa gave a radiant smile in return, "Your welcome, you can call me Mischa, we are sisters now. You must be tire, come with me." The countess replied.
She turned to the earl and viscount, "I will escort Eliza to a guest room if that is alright with you." Mischa said.
Both men agreed and so the countess led Eliza by the hand and gave her a tour of the Hensley townhouse.
"I'm certain he's not in France." Aidan said after his wife and sister-in-law's departure. Richard raised an eye brow and added.
"I thought the same thing."
"I know him more than anyone else, his liaisons, estates, and even the man himself," Aidan got right to the point. "I heard that the Hell Eros Club is gathering together again and that is where Trey went."
Aidan was disgusted by his brother's membership with the club. It was illegal and immoral. The club was formed by bored and debauched aristocrats and it soon grew dangerous over the years. The things they do were disgusting and unspeakable. But Aidan knew his brother enjoyed it. Trey had always liked to tread in danger and sin. But unlike other rakes and debauchers, Trey is cold and ruthless in what he does. He treats his women like dogs and scares the ton with his escapades and scandals. His friends pale in comparison; at least they like to laugh at a little joke here and there. Trey, however is like an ice prince. He rules over everything with an iron fist. His emotions are unstable. He can be cynical and rude when he wants to be, and murderous, cruel, malicious, and arrogant the next. Truth be told, Trey is almost worse than a devil, he is really hell itself in human form. Aidan and Lisburn continued their conversation of finding the duke's whereabouts. They were also worried about how the new duchess will fare against the hellish duke.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ashthorne Manor……………..
"There's a spreading rumor that you left your wife at the altar this morning." Draco Darcy, Earl Kendwell smirked towards his longtime rival, Valentia. Trey frowned at him and said nothing. Draco Darcy owns the neighboring estate and lands next to Trey's. Trey was busy saddling his own horse in the stable when Kendwell paid him a visit. "Tell me; was she horse-faced with rot on her teeth? Is she fat? I know how you like your women." Kendwell lazily teased the duke. "Get out of my stable Kendwell. You have one and a half minute." Trey warned him. "I'll shoot you after that if you're still lingering here." Draco gave him a grin. "Murder me and the law is upon you Valentia. I only came here to inform you that your beloved father-in-law is looking madly for you. He really thinks you're in France…well should I meet him and tell him that you're actually here?" A bullet whizzed past Draco's head nearly grazing his hat. The horse beneath him was startled but did not lose control. Trey had actually shot him with a loaded pistol. The duke purposely missed to scare Kendwell. "I suggest you should stop sticking your nose into people's business. Return to your territory Kendwell. Your presence is a disease here." Trey informed with a bored expression. Kendwell gave a heated glare. "This place is already diseased with your debauchery Valentia." And with that, the earl rode off before Trey could say another word. And truthfully, Trey didn't want to say more. He return to his horse to retreat a black cape and mask from the saddle bag and donned them on. He was late for the meeting of the Hell Eros Club, which is another five mile ride away from here. To Be Continued……..




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