Falling for the Duke

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Chapter 1

London 1854...

Lord Richard Arnold ascended the servants' stairs to his mother's home at Westonhigh, she appeared to be more insistent for the past weeks about him getting wedded, not that she is not often insistent, it is just that it was way worse if that is even still feasible.

Lady Amber Arnold was one of those society mothers who wanted every child of theirs married and providing them with more grandchildren, her strategies at matchmaking were quite frustrating sometimes, she could make a thirty-two-year-old man go crazy (that was him), there were times when Richard discreetly wondered about how many grandchildren would be required to stop her constant hearsay.

Richard loved his mother, he loved his family more than any other thing in the world not excluding himself sometimes, and his fondness made him quite protective of them.

When he was twenty years old,

His father had died of a lung infection that had been uncontrolled, therefore it was his sole responsibility to provide for his family, although they lacked nothing.

His second sister Daphne, now Lady Daphne Mayfair married to Lord Fabian Mayfair, earl of Hartsfield and Richard's best friend, now lived in the country and adored her spouse, and of course, he returned the feeling.

Daphne had given birth to two children already and is entirely prepared to deliver ten if given a chance.

Therefore, she was free of her mother's persistent mischief.

His two younger sisters Arabella and Anabelle just turned eighteen and were entering their first season, and since they are barely out of leading-strings, they are hardly prey to their mother, as they still have time to make respectable matches.

As for Richard, he had plans to marry, every man had plans to marry eventually, therefore he could say he was waiting on 'the one', Lord knows after what he had seen between his best friend and sister Richard could not help but hope for something more than just a title. He did not even expect to find someone he adored so much, he just wished to find someone he cared deeply for, and who is not as bird-brained as the ladies of the ton that flocked around him.

Richard usually used the servant stairs to avoid his mother, he felt he had the right to at least ten minutes to clear his mind and sneak in a bunch of hot biscuits from Mrs Cook.

As he strolled into the deserted kitchen, he bumped into a maid he quickly made to catch her, but he could barely hold himself up as she took the impact she landed with a loud “humph...” on her rear

“Ow......” She winced as he offered his hand to help her up.

“I apologize for my tardiness” he apologized realizing she wasn't dressed as a maid, she looked more like a governess or a companion, she should be his mothers' new companion.

* * *

Ann had not expected to find anyone in the kitchen, as she had been there when the cook added the last batch of biscuits in the oven, and She had come to collect them for her charges. She had been hired a week earlier as a companion to Lady Arnold, but she sometimes chaperoned the twins and even help them with their hair, as they had not yet hired a lady maid and so far she liked the family as unusual as they could be sometimes.

She was allowed to take tea with them, in the private drawing room of cause, since it was informal.

They were a quite peculiar family and their conversation, mostly arguments on the twins' part, made her so warm she sometimes wished she had sisters too.

She had worked for the dowager duchess of Cynedon park the previous year and had been at her service until she died due to old age, then her grandson came back, as he was almost done studying at Oxford at that time, he assumed his responsibilities properly.

Since she didn't have a charge anymore, she resigned and was given proper recommendations, she had secured a job here with the help of her uncle's friend, whose wife was acquainted with Lady Arnold.

“Pardon me, miss...?” She heard the gentleman say.

“Miss Ann Liverbert at your service sir,” she said taking a brief bow.

Looking up, he had piercing grey eyes and light brown hair that looked rumpled yet stylish. With his clothes, Ann could tell easily that he was an aristocrat. Aristocrats usually had too much good look for some of the younger crowd, pride, and a lot of attention to go with them. So, she reminded herself mentally, not to have too much to do with them. Not that he would even find her so irresistible, and even if he did, she would end up as his concubine, and believe me, Ann had been called lots of names, but she still had too much of pride in her not to insult herself too by giving birth to an illegitimate child, which could cause pain to the child as well, and so, these were enough reasons for Ann to not be involved with the gentry if that is a word. Ann knew she might never get married with so many requirements, she did not wish to spend the rest of her life with a servant, and she knew she was expecting too much, but she just did not think she could live forever with a man who could barely speak correctly, not meaning to be offending, and when she had pondered marrying a clergyman, she recalled some moments that she had crawled her way out of attending service and how sleepy she had felt during most church sermons, she felt she was not up to the task.

“Ahem....” Richard cleared his throat loudly, pulling her out of her thinkings again. “Please pardon my woolgathering sir, what would you like for me to do?” she asked peering into his eyes again, it was then that she realized he must be related to the Arnold family, he could be Lord Richard, take that back, he is Lord Richard.

“Oh...” She mumbled she had not believed him to be so handsome and young-looking, though she knew he was thirty and two, she had visualized something more.....maybe intense? with no smile...but his lips looked liked they could stretch up too easily, adding more light to his face, if that could still happen, as he was already glowing.

“Did you say something?” He inquired carefully scrutinizing her face.

“Lord Richard,” she said flushing with embarrassment at the way he was gawking at her.

“I just craved some biscuits, it is delicious when it all warm-up,” he said bestowing on her one of those lopsided boyish grins.

“It's right here,” she said thinking his smile did brighten his face.

She hastily packed some for him and another tray for herself.

“Thank you,” he said grinning as he had a bite.

“Do you mind for some?” he invited smearing some biscuit particles on his face.

“Um....you have a speck on your face,” she said edging at his cheek, he touched his cheeks causing more to smudge.

“ You are adding more she said nearly grinning at the look on his face.

“Here?” He asked brushing his hands on a dishrag and reaching for his face again.

“Yes! You're nearly done, on the left, no! on the left” She snap when he reached for his eyes. He looked at her lifting one of his brows.

"Sorry sir" she added akwardly.

"Why don't you help me out?" He asked lowering his hands.

" it will be alot easier" he added when she did not reply.

"okay" She muttered as she touched the spot.

"There you go" she added as if speaking to a child.

* * *

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