A Good Rogue is Hard to Find
The Lords of Worth # 2
By: Kelly Bowen
Released April 28th, 2015
HE THOUGHT HE'D SEEN IT ALL . . .
The rogue's life has been good to William Somerhall: He has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom. Then he moves in with his mother. It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion. Now home to keep his mother from ruin, William intends to learn what's afoot by keeping his friends close - and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still. . . .
UNTIL HE MEETS HER
He's tall, dark, and damnably intelligent - unfortunately for Jenna. She and the duchess are in the "redistribution business," taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it's going great - until he shows up. But even as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Jenna jumped, nearly tripping backwards.
The Duke of Worth strode into the room from the doorway. “I asked you what you’re doing in my mother’s rooms. Rifling through her things.” His voice was hard, and his expression even harder. He looked furious and dangerous, and Jenna could feel her pulse pound.
“You startled me.” She was relieved her voice came out evenly. She curled her fingers around the diamond and pushed her hand into the folds of her skirts.
His eyes narrowed. “I would imagine most thieves say the same thing when they are caught.”
Jenna would have laughed if it weren’t for the fact she was struggling to formulate a good excuse for what the duke had thought he’d seen. “I am not a thief.” At least at the moment, she added silently.
“Yes, I believe all thieves say that as well.”
Jenna rolled her eyes. “There is no need for fuss, Your Grace,” she said. “Your mother asked me to fetch her spencer for her. She is going out.”
The duke didn’t look convinced. “And she keeps her spencer in the bottom of her wardrobe?”
“No. It would seem she does not. Now, if you would be so kind as to move out of the way, I can continue my search.”
Worth took a menacing step towards Jenna. “And why did she send you to find it? Surely she has a maid who looks after these things?”
“Of course she does,” Jenna agreed. “But I was closer. All of your mother’s staff have multiple duties. Speaking of which, how are the accounts coming?” She edged away from the duke.
“Don’t think you can divert me,” Worth growled. “I take a break from ledgers that seem to have been creatively tallied by a drunken jester, only to find you skulking about in my mother’s rooms. I want to know what you were doing.” His gaze flickered to her hands still clenched at her sides. “Show me your hands.”
Jenna forced herself not to react. The diamond suddenly felt like it was the size of an apple against her palm. “Are you accusing me of something, Your Grace?”
Worth let out a bark of what sounded like bitter, disappointed laughter. “I’m fairly certain I already did.”
“Of course. You believe me to be a thief, based on the fact you discovered your mother’s hired companion looking for an article of clothing in her rooms.” She was stalling, and they both knew it.
The duke closed the distance between them again. “I don’t believe, I know. Show. Me. Your. Hands.”
Jenna swore inwardly. If she handed the diamond over to the duke, that would open a whole barrel of questions she had no interest in answering. Like why a supposedly dead marchioness had left a supposedly lost fortune in diamonds with a supposedly eccentric duchess to sell. And what that money was used for. And why Jenna was sneaking one out of the house. Goddammit, but the Duke of Worth was beginning to make life difficult.
“Very well.” In a swift motion, Jenna brought her hands up in front of her chest, dropping the diamond down the front of her bodice even as she opened her fingers to him.
For a moment, Worth looked stunned. “What the hell did you drop down the front of your dress?” he snarled.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Jenna replied placidly. She had gotten herself out of stickier situations than this. Distract and deflect. She dropped her hands again.
“I demand to know what you took.”
“Nothing, Your Grace.”
“You have something in the front of your dress,” he snapped.
“I have since I was twelve years old.”
Worth started in shock before he swiped his hands through his hair angrily. “You think this is funny?”
“A little.” She was forcing a sangfroid she didn’t feel.
The duke let out a string of expletives better suited to the London docks. “You have five seconds to produce whatever you have in the front of your dress, or I swear by all that is holy, I will rip your bodice in half and retrieve it for you.”
“Ah. Is this your area of expertise?”
That stopped him short. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Jenna smirked at him and cocked a brow. “I thought bodice ripping might be part of your overwhelming charm.”
Worth’s eyes darkened even further. “Very well, Miss Hughes, have it your way.”
God’s teeth, he was calling her bluff, and in truth, he had every right to do so. Though she’d be damned if she conceded. “Do your worst then,” she dared.
Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.
But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.
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