In Duke of a Gilded Age, Belle and Wesley have had a bit of a rocky start to their relationship. In this excerpt, the two manage to have a pleasant interlude as they tour 1890 Central Park.
At the center of Bow Bridge, Belle and Wesley leaned out over against the cast‐iron railing to watch the water rippling on the surface of the lake.
“I’m so glad you brought me here,” she said. “Do you suppose those men in the rowboats brought their lady friends here to propose?”
“It’s entirely possible. Let’s watch to see which boat tips over when the gentleman gets down on one knee.”
She laughed. “I admire your sense of humor. Errol is always so dignified.”
“Errol…is that your fiancé?”
“Yes. Sir Errol Blankenship. He’s a knight.”
“Does he have a white horse?”
“What? Oh, you’re joking with me again!”
“A bit. No offense meant.”
“None taken. I may seem serious on the outside, you see, but I like to laugh. I’m frequently filled with flights of fancy.”
“What marvelous alliteration! I solemnly salute your sagacious soliloquy.”
“Aha! I pay homage to the haste of your homily.”
Wesley doffed his derby hat and bowed from the waist. “I’m decidedly defeated by your deft debate.”
“You can’t be defeated until we conquer the castle together,” she said. “Lead on!”
Duke of a Gilded Age Blurb:
When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom in 1890, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her as a liar. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.
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