Welcome to the Drawing Room

Hello! I assume you are here desiring an audience with Lord Heartless? He is out at the moment but I anticipate his return at any time. Until then, find a comfortable chair, settle in, and enjoy a spot of tea. Browse through the available reading material, learn what you can of the heartless duke, and decide if you really want to meet him. Please leave your calling card in the form of a comment.

It was lovely to see you! Please stop by again.

***Please BEWARE*** If you have yet to read Heartless, certain aspects of the story may be inadvertently spoiled for you here. Please take care while exploring.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

~Getting to Know the Duke~ How Rude!

Ready for another example of Lord Derringer's character? Here's an additional excerpt from Deception, where Aurora and the duke officially meet. As for the formal introduction...I don't think that ever happened. 

A rude chuckle reached Aurora's ears. Cheeks heating, she turned and beheld his grace, the Duke of Derringer, watching them with open amusement. Apparently, he thought it was quite a lark to watch the two argue like wronged lovers.

Levi turned on his friend. “This is not a farce for your entertainment, Hart,” he bit out in an undertone.

“Ah, but I think it is,” was the duke’s lazy reply. “Why else would you dare to argue like wronged lovers in Almack's? Besides, Vi, unlike those other gentlemen, I don't fear you and I find I’d like to dance with the lady even if I have to meet you come dawn. Adds a certain something to the exercise.”

Levi bowed, a scowl settling on his boyish features. “Have at her, my friend. I care not.” And he walked away.

“Sometimes that man makes me want to scream,” Aurora said without thought. She blushed and glanced up at the duke. “I apologize, your grace, for that embarrassing scene. It was ill done of me to indulge in it.”

“What has my large and not overly bright friend done to incur your wrath?”

Quite sure she should be insulted by his impertinence, Aurora simply stared at him for a moment. Then she shrugged, saying, “He has done nothing, actually. I am not usually so quick to anger, I assure you.”

Lord Derringer ignored her comment and asked her to dance.

“I have only the waltzes, as Lord Greville pointed out.”

Derringer looked around. He caught sight of Lady Jersey. “Sally,” he called, “a moment.”

Aurora stared, dumbfounded, when that lady hurried over at the imperious call of the duke. She was even more surprised when Lady Jersey flirted with him shamelessly before granting his request to waltz with Miss Glendenning.

Aurora curtsied to the patroness and murmured her appreciation. The duke signed his name beside a waltz and took his leave without so much as a goodbye. Aurora watched him go, perplexed. The man was rude and a most uncomfortable person to be around. She wondered how a cheerful flirt like Levi Greville could even bear being friends with such a man.

The preceding is (c) copyright 2010 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

*Deception is available for pre-order from TreasureLine Publishing. Actual release date is July 15, 2010.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

~Getting to Know the Duke~ Excerpt from Deception

Lord Derringer's introduction takes place in Deception, where he dominates a few scenes. This is a scene between Deception's heroine, Aurora and her companion, where she is warned to avoid him as he would not make a suitable husband. Enjoy! 

“The one on his left,” Ellie continued quietly, “with the unfashionably long black hair is the Duke of Derringer. Beware of him, my dear. It is said he is a rake of the first order. There are, in fact, so very many unsavory rumors about him that I would hope you would avoid him altogether.”

“What rumors?” Aurora asked in spite of her dislike for harmful gossip.

Ellie pursed her lips for so long a moment, Aurora didn’t think she would tell her. “It is believed that he has killed two men in duels, ruined more than one innocent, drinks heavily, gambles only in the most disreputable of gaming dens, and keeps several mistresses. His grandfather, the first duke, made his fortune in piracy. It is said that he amassed so much wealth, the King, for fear of the man, granted him the dukedom in a bid to keep the man loyal to the crown. Lady Watson said that the present duke is involved in some illegal activities just like his grandfather. No one dares to ask him outright, or accuse him of anything, but the rumors abound anyway.”

To Aurora, none of it mattered. The man was a handsome gentleman, to be sure, and appeared every bit as dangerous as rumor claimed. Why, he wore nothing but black. Even his linen was black. To match his soul?

Perhaps that would be to her advantage. Many a man would think twice before tangling with a peer of such appearance and reputation.

She had to wonder, however, if such a man could be made to fall in love.

“Why is he accepted here?” Aurora asked curiously.

“Oh, his mother was bosom bows with Lady Sefton and he is very powerful for all he is only seven and twenty, nearly as powerful as his grandfather was. Lady Watson said none of it matters since the duke will die soon,” Miss Ellison told her young friend sotto voce. She was rewarded with a gasp at this little tidbit. “Apparently, his grandfather was killed by highwaymen when he was five and thirty. The second duke was four when he ascended to the title. He died in a boating accident when he was two and thirty, a year after his wife was found dead in their home near Folkestone. The present duke has held the title since he was seven.”

“But his father and grandfather died in accidents. Why would that suggest he will die young, as well?” Aurora asked, frowning.

Miss Ellison shrugged. “It is the way of gossip, I suppose. One will find intrigues where none exist.”

“Oh,” was Aurora’s enlightened reply.

The preceding is copyright (c) 2010 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

*Reserve your copy of Deception now for only $9.95! Click here for details.