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The Duchess War

by Courtney Milan

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Duchess War: © 2012 by Courtney Milan.

Cover design © Courtney Milan.

Cover photographs © Anna Furman |

Smashwords Edition 1.1

All rights reserved. Where such permission is sufficient, the author grants the right to strip any DRM which may be applied to this work.

For Carey

who prefers beagles over bagels

Chapter One

Leicester, November, 1863

Robert Blaisdell, the ninth Duke of Clermont, was not hiding.

True, he’d retreated to the upstairs library of the old Guildhall, far enough from the crowd below that the noise of the ensemble had faded to a distant rumble. True, nobody else was about. Also true: He stood behind thick curtains of blue-gray velvet, which shielded him from view. And he’d had to move the heavy davenport of brown-buttoned leather to get there.

But he’d done all that not to hide himself, but because—and this was a key point in his rather specious train of logic—in this centuries-old structure of plaster and timberwork, only one of the panes in the windows opened, and that happened to be the one secreted behind the sofa.

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