An American in Duke's Clothing
An American in Duke's Clothing
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- Lost Heir
- Fish Out of Water
When unexpected deaths leave Tad Wentworth as the heir to an English title, he leaves his American homeland to fulfill his duty. Upon arriving in the country, he discovers an arranged marriage is part of the plan. But when his affections guide him toward a different lady, he must decide if he will follow his heart or his head.
Violet Allen’s questionable past has left her with few friends. When she meets a dashing stranger who shows interest in her, she allows herself to dream of a future with him. Until she discovers the stranger is not only a Duke but is also engaged to her sister. As her feelings for him grow, she must decide if she will be loyal to her sister or her heart.
Intro. Into Chapter One
Intro. Into Chapter One
“We are clearly not in Pennsylvania anymore.” Tad
Wentworth rested his elbows on the ship’s railing, stretching his shoulders, and shaking out the tension lying under the surface. The Liverpool docks looked
similar to those of New York and New Orleans. He suspected it was his unique circumstances rather than the location, which intensified his anxiety.
Closing his eyes, he tried to calm his breathing. There is nothing to worry about. The phrase went through his mind as it had a hundred times a day since he left his family’s farm. It did nothing to relieve his doubts because he knew there was everything to worry about. So many people would be relying on him, their very livelihoods at stake.
The gangplank lowered—people jostled and elbows flew as everyone tried to make their way to the docks below. A large cathedral rose in the distance, its spire rising heavenward, while a smaller church stood next to the dock, dwarfed in comparison. This smaller church brought on a
moment of sentimentality, taking him back to the small church in Philadelphia. Both were rather simple in design and decoration. It was those similarities that brought a sense of peace.
The salty breeze blowing through the canals mingled with the stench of rotting fish, tar, and filth from both animal and human, forcing him to cover his mouth and nose with his handkerchief. But the same gust also calmed him, as if it blew away some of the burden weighing him down.
People stood below shoulder to shoulder, pushing and shoving to make their way through the crowds. Crying babes, bellowing
animals, and curses from men’s lips all flowed together to create pandemonium.
Releasing a heavy sigh, he ran his fingers through his hair. The stress mounted again. Did I leave home for this? He looked to the little church, trying to find the tranquility he’d felt only moments ago.
“Have you regained your senses and decided to return to Pennsylvania?” Dugray Dawson leaned on the railing next to him.
Tad removed the cloth from his nose, trying to breathe through his mouth. Cocking a brow at his friend, Tad shook his head.
“You have known me since I was three years old. Have you ever seen me quit before a task was completed?” Waving to encompass the chaos around them, he continued. “Besides, the smell is not so bad…once you get used to it.” Tears formed in his eyes. Looking at his companion, Tad’s lips began to quiver at
Dawson’s creased brow and half-closed eyes. A laugh pushed its way out. “You are right, the smell is terrible, but we will be away from the docks soon
“You have noticed the crowd down there, have you not?” Dawson sighed, shaking his head in agitation. “I believe you may be too optimistic.”
Tad picked up his trunk and valise, joining the throngs on the gangplank, slowly moving toward the chaos below. “Come, Dawson.
My uncle’s summons did say not to ‘dilly-dally.’”
Dawson trudged alongside him. The two began to shoulder and nudge their way through the mass of people. “If you were not so adamant about family honor, we would not be in this mess,” Dawson shouted over
“But we are in this mess, Dawson, so make the best of it.” Tad could barely make out his own words over the clamor surrounding
A sudden blow struck him in the eye, pushing him into Dawson. Barely a breath had been taken before a man came hurling at him, laying them both flat on the ground. He grabbed at a mop of hair, pulling it away from him, his brain slowly registered the insults spewing from the
“You dirty Yank. How dare you show your face on our shores?” A blow landed on Tad’s lip. The skin split and the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. The ache moved up his cheek, making it difficult to decipher where one pain ended and another began.
Tad brought his knee up hard, catching the man off guard, and sent him rolling off. He pushed himself up into a crouch. His vision closed in as one eye began to swell shut. His legs wobbled beneath him.
Dawson landed on top of the man with a loud and primal bellow and Tad finally took a breath.
Dawson wrapped his arms around the attacker, pushing him back to the ground and striking him repeatedly.
With pain burning in his ribs, Tad hauled himself to his feet, gasping for breath. He looked around frantically for any other
potential threats. Unsure what had prompted the attack, he was leery of anyone in close proximity. The crowd around them had moved back, giving them room. The people looked on, some bobbing in time to the fight playing out before them.
Others moved away, keeping a tight hold of their possessions. It appeared no one else intended to join the skirmish.
Shifting his attention to Tad, the thug shoved Dawson to the side. In a flash, the ruffian’s fist flew, but unlike the first time, the punch was anticipated and dodged. Instead, Tad landed one of his own sending the man stumbling into Dawson’s waiting arms.
“Break it up.”
Through his open eye, Tad could see a club glinting in the sunlight, slapping up and down in a man’s hand. The watchman stood alert and ready. He was not a large man when compared to Tad or Dawson, but the confident and steely set of his gaze proved intimidating. Tad motioned
to the watchman with a flick of his head. Slowly, Dawson released the man and moved to Tad’s side. The attacker jerked away, his fists clenching over and
“What seems to be the problem here, gentleman?” There was a hardness in the man’s voice.
Tad tentatively stepped forward, hands raised in front of him, palms out. Licking the blood dribbling from his lip, he pushed
his anger down; now was not the time for reaction. Before he could utter a word, the brute lunged for another attack.
“He’s a dirty yank. I recognize his kind from the
The watchman was quicker and reached out a hand, grabbing the man by the collar, but it didn’t stop the kicks and insults.
“Control yourself, Connell. Can we not have one day without an incident?” Shaking his captive, the watchman looked from Tad to Dawson with raised brows. “As you can tell, he has a problem with Americans.”
That was to be the way of it, then. Americans were not welcome in England. Tad took a deep breath, wincing in pain. Speaking flawless King’s English, he shrugged. “I figured as much after the second or third punch, sir.”
The guard narrowed his gaze at Connell, before turning it back on them. “Can you tell me what happened?” Suspicion creased his face.
“We were making our way through the crowd when out
of nowhere I was struck by this man.” Tad motioned with his head to the burly fellow.
Connell closed his gaping mouth several times before shaking his head adamantly. “He didn’t sound like no gentleman then.”
Tad smiled as if he were talking to a dim-witted child. “The man may have overheard my friend here. We have returned from the
war and he finds humor in mocking the American’s vulgar tongue.” Tad felt Dawson stiffen, knowing his friend in no way wanted to be identified as an
Keeping a firm hold on the ruffian, the watchman looked at Tad with appraising eyes. “And whom might you be?”
Tad stuck out his hand, pasting a wide smile on his face. “My name is Thaddeus Wentworth. I have come home at the request of my
uncle, the Duke of Shearsby.” From the stories his father had told, his uncle’s title should help in getting them out of this spot.