The New Duke's Affair
This novel picks up three years after the events in The Romany King's Mistress.
Where has Lord Clifton been all these years? Who is the mysterious French woman arriving at Clifton Hall in search of the old Duke -- and why does the new Duke seem unable to turn her away?
Since the restoration of peace in France, Lord Major Roger Clifton prefers Paris to London, and his demi-mondaine to his English mistresses – for good reason. However, on the death of his father, Roger is forced to return to England to take up his ducal title and management of the Clifton Hall estates.
When a mysterious French girl appears at the servants’ entrance to Clifton Hall, claiming to have been promised assistance from his father, Roger cannot contain the scandal. The girl brings with her a child, and a claim on the Clifton’s largesse – yet no one has ever met her before.
Nor, it seems, can the new Duke deny her anything. Just who is she? And why does she haunt him so? With both his brother and sister determined to learn the truth, the new Duke of Carston is in for one of the most uncomfortable family reunions of his life.
Taster . . .
“If you want my help you must tell me the truth.” Roger stared at Cristina, willing her to look at him.
She opened her lips and closed them again without uttering a single sound.
“Cristina, what is it?” He spoke in a whisper, though they were alone. The moment shrinking in around them, then telescoping out until he saw the years behind him in France, the months with Geraldine, and the time here, with her sister. A feeling, an inkling, a dawning awareness prickling the back of his neck like ice. No . . . it can’t be. It simply can’t.
“Tell me,” he said again, urgently, roughly. “I need to know.” His demand lost all gentleness. “Now.”
“Non. I cannot say it.” Christina shook her head, staring back at him, so firm and so still. Her eyes shone with tears – and fear.
He saw this and clenched his fist. “I am afraid I insist.” Roger held his ground like the soldier he was, suspicion flickering in his heart . . . a dream he dared not credit. Could it be?
“I want to tell you,” she murmured. “So much, but I made a promise. I will not break it,” she bit her lip. “N-not even for you, Your Grace.” Silently, she shook her head, keeping her eyes on her hands.
Roger read the message in her gaze, his eyes glistening. “You must.”