‘Blame It on Bath’ is a second book by Caroline Linden in her ‘The Truth About the Duke’ (available now at your nearest, dearest local bookstore or Amazon and B & N) series and for my review of it, please check Romantic Crush Junkies eZine. You all know how much I love this series, so I hounded Ms. Linden for some ‘inside’ info on Charlie’s (the Duke of Durham-or not!?) story, and she was so gracious to send us all an excerpt that didn’t make it in a book. Without further ado, feast your hungry eyes on it!
I hope you all enjoy this deleted scene from ‘The Way to a Duke’s Heart’. It takes place right after Charlie, the eldest son, learned his father’s secret past and needed to vent to someone about it, as well as search for a clear idea of what to do. I really liked it, because I really wanted to put Rhys (from I LOVE THE EARL) in the book, but in the end I had to cut it. So I am gifting it to all of you bookworms in hopes that you’ll will enjoy it.
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This time, though, instead of coming to trading wit and gossip with his aunt, he asked for his uncle. Family lore held that Dowling and Durham had once butted heads, quite hard; they had never been more than cordial to each other, and when Aunt Margaret visited Lastings, she came alone, with just her son Philip. Charlie needed someone who would understand the rage he felt at his father, and someone who would never reveal his feelings to another soul. Although no one had ever told him why, he sensed his uncle was that person.
Dowling already knew the entire story. ‘I heard,’ he said simply, when Charlie stepped into his study. ‘A damnable secret to keep from his own sons.’
His shoulders slumped in relief. ‘A damnable pity he died before we could tell him that.’
Dowling smiled wryly. ‘I daresay it wouldn’t have given you as much satisfaction as you think.’
‘No? I would still have liked the chance.’
His uncle waved one hand as Charlie prowled about the room. ‘Sit, Charles. Stewing in anger won’t help. The very worst thing you could do is spend your energy hating him.’
‘How could he?’ Charlie dropped into a chair and plowed his hands through his hair. ‘How? First to make such a foolish match, then to think no one would ever discover it, then to marry my poor mother knowing damned well it might be a bigamous match—’
‘Durham never learned anything but the hard way,’ replied his uncle. He leaned back in his chair, his mane of iron-gray hair glinting in the sun. ‘But when he did admit a mistake, it was usually with some degree of humility.’
‘Humility? Durham?’ He gave a bitter laugh. ‘How odd to hear those two words spoken together.’
‘I never said he came to it quickly or easily.’
‘Or ever,’ muttered Charlie.
‘I expect he did, at the end. Whatever else he might have been, your father was not a fool. The real question is, what are you going to do now?’
He sighed. ‘Edward engaged a solicitor, to attempt to secure the title before the scandal grows too big. Gerard’s gone off to Somerset in pursuit of the blackmailer who stirred up this trouble.’
‘What are you going to do?’ repeated his uncle. ‘You’re Durham, not either one of your brothers.’
He hesitated a long moment. ‘What can I do?’ he finally asked, evasively. ‘Edward and Gerard have it well in hand.’
Dowling sat forward, his expression serious. ‘Don’t keep up that pose with me, young man. I’ve seen how you conduct yourself—the shocking escapades to kindle Durham’s temper, the decent things you do when no one’s looking. It may have amused you to outrage your father, but that’s done with. He’s gone, and you answer only to yourself now. A dukedom is a great honor, but also a great responsibility.’
‘So I’ve been told,’ he said under his breath.
‘Your father would fight for it.’ Dowling gave him a probing look. ‘Do you mean to give it up just to spite him?’
Charlie glared at his uncle. Put that way, of course he wouldn’t. ‘Thank you for your counsel.’
Dowling grinned. ‘My pleasure, Charlie.’