Romance: REGENCY ROMANCE: The Duke of Hearts (Historical Regency Victorian Duke Romance) (Historical Regency Fantasy Romance)

Romance: REGENCY ROMANCE: The Duke of Hearts (Historical Regency Victorian Duke Romance) (Historical Regency Fantasy Romance) by Lisa Andersen Read Free Book Online

Book: Romance: REGENCY ROMANCE: The Duke of Hearts (Historical Regency Victorian Duke Romance) (Historical Regency Fantasy Romance) by Lisa Andersen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Andersen
and dozens – or hundreds and hundreds – of books. Perhaps it was the wine, or the shock, but Elizabeth threw herself down in a nearby chair and looked around at the books.
    “This is incredible,” she said. “This is absolutely incredible. How many are there? There must be thousands!”
    “You like it?” the Duke said. “I am glad. This library is yours, if you will accept my proposal.”
    “Your proposal?”
    The Duke stood behind her and rested his hands on her shoulders. “I wish you to be my wife, Elizabeth Hawk. Yes, we do not know each other well at all, but that need not hinder us. How many men and women become husband and wife simply through the exchange of letters? We are steps above them already, as one hour spent in person is worth one-hundred letters. I also believe it will be beneficial for your family. Of course I will settle your father’s debts.”
    “But why?” Elizabeth blurted, the only thing she could think to say. “You could have anybody.”
    “I do not want anybody.” The Duke’s voice had not altered from the crisp deadpan monotone, in which no emotion was heard. “I want you. You are not like other women. You have not got their pretentiousness, their entitlement. You enjoy the quiet and nature and that is enough for me.”
    Elizabeth knew she should say yes, but for some reason the word simply wouldn’t part her lips. She didn’t feel comfortable marrying a man she had only known for two days, no matter how fine of a match it was. She knew he was right; marriages were often built upon the man and wife never having met once. But she had never wanted a marriage like that. In fact, had she ever wanted a marriage? She couldn’t recall fantasizing about it, like other girls must have done.
    “I need to think,” she said. “May I give you my answer at the end of the week?”
    The Duke bowed slightly. “Of course. Now, let us enjoy the books.”
    Together they walked through the stacks of books, occasionally picking one down and reading, sometimes just looking at the worn, ancient covers. Elizabeth found masses of French novels, which she picked up and looked over. She had enough French to read sentimental novels – some of her favorite novels were French – and she had a grand time reading over these. She began to amass a pile of a nearby table, which she would take back to her bedroom to read later. The Duke watched her with a sort of pride as she navigated the books. Whether it was pride for the books or pride for her, Elizabeth didn’t know. All she knew was that she liked the look in the Duke’s eyes. It was almost human. And a slight smile touched his otherwise straight-line lips.
    “Are you having fun?” the Duke said, when she had piled up around ten books.
    “Yes, yes!” Elizabeth beamed. “I have never seen so many books. Even if I lived a hundred years I would never be able to read so many books!”
    “I know,” the Duke said. “It is a travesty, that people must go without books when I have so many which I rarely read.”
    “You have lived it, though, haven’t you?”
    “I have lived through much which is present in novels, yes,” the Duke said. “But I have not experienced all there is to experience. Who has?”
    Elizabeth nodded and was about to pick up the books when the Duke rushed over and picked them up for her. She led him to her bedroom, and he walked in behind her and placed the books on the desk. “May I sit?” the Duke said.
    Elizabeth nodded and the Duke sat on the chair; she sat on the bed. They looked at each other for a time in silence. Elizabeth was feeling as though she had known this man her whole life. Perhaps it was because she so rarely attended social functions, or perhaps it was God’s interjection, but she felt as though she were not getting to know a person for the first time, but reacquainting with an old friend. The Duke regarded her with his hard face. “I hope the room is to your liking,” he said.
    “Very much so,”

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