An Unfortunate Turn of Events
Cough, cough, cough. "So, you see, my boy, there isn't another option. I am at the end of my life and in need of this final boon in order to pass into the land of our ancestors."
Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, was determined not to roll his eyes as he squinted at his more-than-healthy aunt. "Forgive me, but I highly doubt the sniffles will be the death of you. Unless you have some other sort of illness that has you spouting off nonsensical death wishes. Oh wait, yes, did your dog bite you? And it's become infected? Yes, must be it. That's why you're dying, certainly not from sitting too near Lady Renwick when she was ill last week."
"Impetuous man, look at me!"
He was looking at her. And all he saw was a woman at the prime old age of one and seventy, with the uncanny ability to hug a man so tightly he nearly lost his countenance. Well, that and he had the sneaking suspicion that for one reason or another, she was lying through her teeth. For his aunt, of all people, to summon him wasn't normal. Nor was answering her every beck and call something he made a habit of doing.
For one thing, it was common knowledge that she was slightly mad, and the other complication was that he and his aunt hadn't been on speaking terms since last season when he decided he would not take her dog to Almacks — to her great disappointment. She'd been feigning death ever since.
Her coughing brought him back to the present. Peculiar that it was now changing to a more drastic coughing fit than before. "Is that all then? You wish for me to go find a girl and be done with this whole Devil Duke business?"
"Before I die!" Aunt Agatha interrupted, thrusting her hand into the air. "You are a stain upon the family name."
The witch didn't mince words, did she?