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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without permission in writing from Virginia Henley.

Chapter One

"Stop!" Joy Ashley cried, fleeing across the big kitchen.

"Don't you mean: Stop, my lord?" corrected the young man who'd had far too much to drink.

Astonished, she blurted, "You're not a noble of the realm!"

"'Ods balls, Richard, there's insolence for you," drawled his friend Carlton. "A scullery maid with the airs of a lady."

"I warrant a lady would be more forthcoming with her favors than this little baggage," Dick Humphries complained, cornering the maid once again.

"Leave me alone!" she bade both young men in her sternest voice, knowing from experience it would do little good. They had come home for the weekend from the University, and had had more than their share of drink this night.

"I only wish to share a little Joy with my friend," Richard said. "Where's the harm in that?"

Carlton St. Clare laughed at the witty word-play on the little wench's name and moved across the kitchen to aid his friend. "And I want the same, to share Joy with Dick," he added lewdly.

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