Why can't the Duke of Lyndhurst remember why someone wants him dead?
eBook ISBN 978-1-60174-204-9
Claire entered, bearing a tray. "How is he?"
The concern in her voice touched his soul. It had been a long time since anyone besides his fellow soldiers had cared what happened to him. It was new and strange, something he needed to figure out. To hide his confusion he snapped at her. "He is right here and can answer for himself."
She set the tray on the table beside the bed. "All right then, Your Grace, how are you?"
He struggled to sit up. "Uncomfortable and thoroughly sick of being called Your Grace."
Claire quirked an eyebrow, and a playful grin tugged at her lips. "Get used to the Your Grace part. That is who you are, like it or not. As for the other, we will see if we can help you. I brought tea and gruel.
He slapped his hand on the mattress. "Gruel! I will not eat such pap. Give me beef and ale."
Claire glared at him. "Stop acting like a baby, Your Grace. Lord Peter behaves better."
Mrs. Clockwell stepped to the other side of the bed and adjusted the pillows. "Is that better, sir?"
Miles groaned. "Please, ladies. If we are alone call me Miles. Claire, we have been on a first name basis all your life."
"I have indeed but that was when you were Lord Miles Barclay, my brother's friend. Your current station requires due deference, Your Grace." Claire cast him a small smile and curtseyed. Her blue eyes twinkled.
"Fiend seize bloody deference. We have been friends for years. You are a guest in my home. You shall call me Miles."
"Au contraire, my friend. I am in your service." She chuckled. "You pay me well to care for your brother."
Miles squirmed, face drained of what color it had moments before. "What? But you are a gentlewoman. Whoever suggested such a thing ought to be hung. Ladies have no business changing nappies and chasing a baby."
"You may hang your uncle if you like, but I would not advise it. I hear Newgate is a most uncomfortable place, not to mention the hangman's noose. Women--" Gone was her teasing tone. "--are born to care for babies. I will not leave my post until a suitable nurse is employed. You cannot make me."
"Where is that bloody deference you decreed now?" he shot back.
"I shall be obsequious when you start acting like a duke!"
"This squabbling must stop right now," Mrs. Clockwell said. "Both of you are behaving like children. Claire, please go eat your luncheon while Lord Peter is sleeping. Lyndhurst, you will eat this food and take your medicine. We are trying to save your leg. If you do not cooperate, I shall call the physician to bring his bone saw and be done with it."
"Yes, ma'am." Miles said. "It appears I have been away from polite society far too long. I apologize to you both for my bad temper and deplorable language. I will try to remember you both are ladies deserving of respect, not troops under my command."