Marcus Stafford, the honorable eighth Duke of Dunsbury, was on his custom pilgrimage to the capitol. No matter how luxurious his transportation, the discomfort that the three day trip caused was akin to days worth of army drills. Or was that weeks?
The Duke, with his curly hair the shade of rich mahogany and eyes were a vividly clear blue, was known as the catch of the Season, though some would classify him as being too young to be looking for a wife. This didn’t stop his lady mother from pestering him into searching for a life mate.
Marcus was a skeptic when it came to love, even more so when it came to true love. He wasn’t old enough to remember his parents’ marriage. He had inherited the dukedom at the young age of five. Supposedly, his parents were a love match. According to some, disgustingly so. It was cut short, though, by the untimely death of the seventh Duke of Dunsbury, in a riding accident. There had been a rumor that the duke had been murdered but it was neither confirmed nor denied. No true investigation was ever done nor would it ever happen, thus said the magistrate.
Marcus settled his thoughts on how to thwart his mother’s plans. He was sure that being two and twenty, he was still years away.
“Your Grace, there’s a block in the road. We can’t go around. From what we see, there isn’t a way around it, sir.”
“Smith, what exactly is blocking the road? And, why can we not get around it.”
“Your Grace, it’s an overturned carriage. The driver and footman appear to be dead, sir. There does appear to be a young lady inside but she is not responding.”
“We need to get the girl out and quickly. Have you sent our tiger out to get a doctor?” asked Marcus as he climbed out of his carriage and strode with purpose toward the overturned hulk.
“Your Grace, the first thing I did was send the tiger to the nearest village. He had to walk, so it may take some time for him to get back. Until he gets back, I can use my training to, at least, keep her alive.”
Smith had been Marcus’s bat man during the war. It was Smith’s expertise that kept Marcus alive more than one time during his one year stint under Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. The scars, of which, could still be seen...ugly and red, as they were.
Marcus looked through the broken window to see a young girl starring at him. Her emerald green eyes shone with unshed tears and pain. Her face was stark white. The urgency to get her out was the only thing that consumed his thoughts.