Time to share an excerpt from my latest Distinguished Rogues novel, The Duke’s Heart. Meet Sinclair…
Sinclair slathered butter on his fresh morning bread, frowning out the window of his large and very quiet bedchamber. He had not slept yet. He was still trying to figure out what his encounter with Kitty might signify. He had experienced a definite pull of attraction toward her last night, even before he’d known her identity. But her reappearance had completely thrown him off balance, and he’d spent the night thinking about the past endlessly. He’d lost someone dear to him when she’d married, and he could not stop the endless round of questions, why being the most frequently recurring.
Her return was also the worst timing possible.
How could he concentrate on hunting a bride for Teddy when he might run into her again? He had spent all morning trying to remember who she knew in the city and where they might meet by chance again. If he was not careful, Teddy might notice his distraction, and his heir needed to believe Sinclair’s only care was he at this time.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, striving for calm. Sinclair clearly remembered the day he’d learned Kitty had chosen to marry Lord Forbes, ending their association before he could make it permanent. Susanna had been scathing in her assessment of the match, but he’d been too shocked to pay attention to very much of what she’d said. All he’d known was that Kitty had left the country.
Her return unsettled him in the worst way.
Teddy strolled in, his hands full of the day’s mail. “Invitations upon invitations.”
“Charming,” Sinclair said then stuffed the last bit of bread into his mouth.
“You will want to look at this before you go out.” Teddy handed him a note that was not sealed. “Lord Wade sent it last night. The Earl of Acton will marry at last.”
“I see,” Sinclair said, even as he squinted at Lord Wade’s untidy scrawl. “To Miss Whitney Crewe.”
“I recall you mentioning her before, so I had the butler send a servant round to ask a few questions of his servants. It seems Lord Acton did follow her to the continent, as you surmised, but they have returned together to be married here,” Teddy told him, casting Sinclair a worried glance or two.
Sinclair had been meticulous in confiding in Teddy about his life. Sinclair had suspected too late that something was going on between Whitney Crewe, a woman he’d admired, and Lord Acton last year. But it was only after she’d rejected his advances that Acton had shown clear signs of interest and protectiveness toward the free-spirited artist.
It was a painful lesson that he was meant to remain a bachelor.
The only thing he’d not confided was his history with Kitty. Teddy was so set against taking the title, and making an early marriage, that Sinclair did not want his heir caught up in his own regrets. While he wanted Teddy to learn from his mistakes, he did not want to revisit a past that haunted him still.
He had not done the right thing where Kitty was concerned.
Sinclair handed him the paper. “What the pair does now is hardly my business.”
“Will you acknowledge them?” Teddy asked.
“Teddy, do stop worrying about nonsense.”
“You told me she rejected your affections out of hand. Of course I would worry about how you might feel, seeing the woman again.”
Sinclair sighed. “My delicate sensibilities recovered a long time ago. I had quite forgotten my disappointment over the woman until this moment.”
“Sure you did,” Teddy muttered under his breath as he turned away.
Sinclair balled up the note and tossed it at the back of Teddy’s head.