Engaging the Enemy is the first novel in my new regency series, The Wild Randalls.
No matter how much time had passed since his last visit to Hampshire, Leopold Randall, heir to the young Duke of Romsey’s title, would rather return to exile in India than beg help from Romsey Abbey. If not for his quest to locate his family, Leopold would never have set foot on Romsey soil again.
He stared across the mist shrouded valley to where Romsey Abbey, a sprawling mish mash of architectural foolishness, glowed boldly in the early morning light with a growing sense of foreboding. All his life he had gazed at the place that had been the home of his ancestors and wished he might have been born into another family.
The stench of betrayal lay thick upon Romsey Abbey. Even when the duke in question was too young to understand the power he would wield one day, his existence was far from innocent, steeped in lies. Born and bound in deceit. The Romsey duke’s crushed those that stood in their way without a passing thought for the pain they would inflict. Leopold’s side of the family had suffered such a fate, scattered to the four corners.
Leopold had been denied any return to England in the past five years. His existence considered both a threat and a commodity for the old duke’s schemes. The last time he had been summoned into His Grace’s presence, Leopold had made a bargain with the old devil to keep his sister safe. Even if he’d not had any choice in the matter, the memory of that night still haunted his dreams and robbed him of any peace.
Behind him, in humble white washed cottages, the sleepy village came to life. They were happy, secure in their lives, confident in the benevolence of the Duke of Romsey, and the continuation of years of endless tradition, pomp and ceremony. Going about their days with no idea of the ugly, calculating power of the family he was sadly a part of.
Leopold slipped a pistol into his hand, finding reassurance in the familiar weight, and then let it go in disgust. Three months ago he’d been sweltering in Surat on the banks of theTapti River, unaware of the changes at Romsey, going about the old duke’s business with no idea he was free. The news he had died a year and a half ago had pleased him. But it was only by chance that he’d heard the duke’s only son, his cousin Edwin Randall, had died six months after acceding to the title. To say he was shocked was an understatement. Now, only a child stood between him and gaining the title of the Duke of Romsey.
Somewhere in the depths of hell, the old Duke of Romsey must be writhing in agony.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a sneak peek into Engaging the Enemy. The book releases February 14.