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When the Duke Was Wicked

When the Duke Was Wicked


Description : When the Duke Was Wicked
Dedication

In loving memory of our sweet Duchess, who became a member of our family after surviving Katrina. She never met a stranger, never had a harsh bark for anyone, and taught us that dogs do indeed smile.

Prologue

From the Journal of the Duke of Lovingdon

On the morning of February 2, 1872, I, Henry Sidney Stanford, the seventh Duke of Lovingdon, Marquess of Ashleigh, and Earl of Wyndmere, died.

Not that my death was apparent to anyone other than myself.

I continued to breathe. I still walked about. On occasion, I spoke. I seldom smiled. I never laughed.

Because on that morning, that dreadful morning, my heart and soul were ripped from me when my wife and precious daughter succumbed to typhus within hours of each other—and with their passing, I died.

But in time I was reborn into someone my mother barely recognized.

All my life I had sought to do the right and proper thing. I did not frequent gaming hells. I did not imbibe until I became a stumbling drunk. I fell in love at nineteen, married at twenty-one. I did the honorable thing: I did not bed my wife until I wed her. On our wedding night she was not the only virgin between our sheets.

I was above reproach. I had done all that I could to be a good and honorable man.

I was brought up to believe that we were rewarded according to our behavior. Yet the Fates had conspired to punish me, to take away that which I treasured above all else, and I could find no cause for their unkind regard.

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