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Authors: Hazel Statham

Dominic

BOOK: Dominic
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DOMINIC

 

by

 

Hazel Statham

 

ISBN
:
978-1-77145-041-6

 

 

Books We Love Ltd.

Chestermere, Alberta

Canada

 

http://bookswelove.net

 

Copyright
2012
by
Hazel Statham

 

Cover art by
Michelle Lee
Copyright
2012

 

All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may
be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Chapter
One

 

London 1776

 

The
m
ain gallery of Blake House ec
h
oed with t
h
e clash of
blades
as
the
two f
r
iends
padded
backwards
and forwards in the throes of a
m
ock duel.

“For
pity’s
sake,
Do
m
i
nic,
put
up,
put
up,”
laughed Lord
W
roxha
m
,
half
way
between
a
m
u
s
e
m
ent
and genuine
terror
of
his
co
m
panion’s
blade.

W
e
are supposed to be sparring. You take it too far; your wrist is so
m
uch stronger than
m
ine.”

“You cry truce too easily,” scoffed the Earl of
V
ale, in no way relinquishing his attack, ever driving his friend back. “Have so
m
e energy
m
an, use more cunning and you will
f
i
nd
I
a
m quite
easily
ove
r
co
m
e.
I
no
m
ore
than
toy with you!”

“If this is toying with
m
e
I would dread
to meet
you when in earnest. Now have done, I tire.”
R
ecklessly
W
r
oxh
a
m
t
hrew
aside
his
rapier,
leaving
hi
m
self
open
to
att
a
ck.

He was no
m
atch for
t
he energetic young
earl
who, although
owning
no
more
years
than
he,
had
a
wealth more experience in his twenty-four years. His
h
eight and breadth
of
shoulder
alone
m
ade
him int
i
m
i
dating
without
taking in his dark, dangerously handsome countenance
and
m
ocking green eyes. Here was no fop or dandy. His dress, although cut by a
m
ast
e
r’s hand,
was casual
with
no sign
of
the
fripperies
affected by the Macaronis. However, when occasion dictated, he was known to dress to perfection as
m
any would attest. He had an assurance of
m
anner
brought
about
by
m
atter
of birth
but
even
at
an early
age was widely known as a wild youth. He was well respected
amongst his conte
m
po
r
aries
who
hailed
him as
a top
rate
fell
o
w
but
his
e
s
capades were
eyed aska
n
ce
by
t
h
e older
m
e
m
b
ers of the haut ton who la
m
ented his rakish ways.
So
m
e,
who
professed
to
be
in
the
know,
likened him to his sire, the Duke of Le
a
r
when in his pri
m
e. However, no such acc
u
sations could be laid at the d
uke’s door
now
as,
entering
his
fifty-sixth year, he represented the
epito
m
e of respecta
b
ility.

The
young
earl
put
aside
his
rapier,
placing
it
on
a s
m
all
table
set
against
the wall
and
stood
with
hands
on hips, laughing at his friend. “You were ever
w
eak livered, John,”
he
mocked.
“Too
easily
inti
m
i
dated.”
Looking
at his co
m
panion’s sullen countenance, he relented. “Co
m
e, don’t
hold
it
against
m
e, it
was just
too
te
m
pting.
If you could have but seen your
e
xpression. It was priceless.”

W
r
oxh
a
m
gave
a
reluctant
chuckle
as
he
rolled
down
his
sleeves.
“D
a
m
n
you,
D
o
m
i
nic,
you
always
know
how
to take a rise out of me. Though I swear you will take your scapes too
f
ar
one
of
t
h
ese days. Then
where will
you be? As like as not, up before the
m
a
gistrate on a
m
urder charge!”


You exaggerate,
my
friend
,
” continued
the
earl in
good hu
m
or. “You were never in any danger, I assure you. I was in full control of my blade at all ti
m
es. Now stop your
wittering
. I have a
m
i
nd to go to Ridley’s. Do you acco
m
pany
m
e?”

“If
I
m
ust,
though
I
can’t
help but deplore your taste.
Surely you could find a more suitable gaming hell to
enjoy your patronage
?

“Not one that
plays so high at this ti
m
e of day. By-the- bye,
I have
an
assignation
with La
Belle
tonig
h
t
so
I
needs be away before
m
i
dnight.”

“Another
of
your
affectations I deplore,” replied
W
r
oxh
a
m with so
m
e distaste. “
C
ould you not be
m
ore discerning in your choice of
m
i
stress?
I
would
have thought her artifice to have bored you.”


She
will
reign
only
as
long
as
she
amuses
me
,” a
ssured the e
arl, drawing on h
i
s well-fitting
boots.
“I
am well aware of her faults
a
nd promise you her days are nu
m
bered.
I
begin
to
tire
of her
alr
e
ady
and
will
not tolerate her foolishness for
m
uch longer.”

“Then pay her off now
a
nd have done with it.”

“Once I have a replace
m
ent, I assure you I will. So for pity’s sake, have done with your complaining.
Be certain
I know
what
I’m
at.”
T
a
king
up
his
coat,
Vale
shrugged
into
it
and
led
the
way
out
of
the
gall
e
ry
toward
the
sweeping
staircase.
“We
but
ca
l
l
at
m
y
roo
m
s
to
enable
m
e to change and then we
’ll be
away to Ridley’s
,
” he said, as
W
r
oxh
a
m
ca
m
e
abreast
of
h
i
m
.
“I
must
recoup
so
m
e
of my losses. I dropped enough blunt last night to buy a kingdom and
should
it
co
m
e
to
m
y
m
ost
esti
m
able
sire’s ears, he will try to rustic
a
te
m
e.”

BOOK: Dominic
9.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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