Would you mind answering my letters?

Michael, it has been months and it's getting ridiculous. You stormed back from France six months ago, waited for Papa's appointment as the new Duke of Ayeleborough and then just ran off to the North Country in your quality of Marquis of Danforth and haven't bothered to answer my letters, or Mother's or Sophie's. Did you even hear that Maddy is teething? Or that James is almost off to Eaton?


What's wrong, brother? TALK TO ME!!!!

And I won't apologize if I sound rude.

You better answer to me or you're dead meat. Derek already said that if you keep upsetting me, he's going for you and force you to answer to me.

He'll beat you bloody, if you make me go all the way to Sproule on my delicate condition. That's right. I'm pregnant. And you should know it, I wrote you about it last month! But still, you didn't spare me a line.

I know you're well enough to write, your steward told Papa and Mama that you reached Sproule fine, and that you have been working yourself to exhaustion setting the dukedom at rights. (And don't even dare to take it out on the poor man, he was just doing what Papa asked, and you might be a Marquis but you still answer to Papa).

So, anyway, before I get upset with, you better answer this letter, Michael, or I won't answer on what I might do.

Your sister,


From Gabriela, Countess of Penhollow to her brother Michael Evencort, Marquis of Danforth, six months after his return from France (without his fiancé)


Michael stared at the letter. It had been the first one he had opened since he had settled in the Ayeleborough ancestral home. The dukedom had recently passed from the Carderock family to the Evencort family, all on account of Lord Evencort's cousin dying without leaving an heir to his dukedom.

Had it really been six months already? For Michael it still seemed like it was yesterday when he had arrived to Paris, longing to see Adele and reassure himself that all what he felt for her was still strong and true. How did he ever fall in love with Adele Duval? Michael couldn't exactly remember. She had been the most beautiful woman at the ball his grandmother had forced him to attend. And she had been all interested in him, rich foreigner that he was.

Theirs had been a brief courtship, he had to return to England but he had been smitten with Mademoiselle Duval and had wanted to make her his… which he had, in the more biblical sense of the world, shortly before his return to England. Then his sense of honour demanded that he had to make her his wife. And he had been more than ready for it. He had been in love!

Many things happened after that, but he had been so sure his wedding to Adele would happen, it was just being delayed. And now he was more than happy for those delays for they had showed him the kind of deceiving whore Adele really was.

Now he understood better, like why Adele had positively got him drunk that time they had slept together. Drunken man, Michael hadn't questioned if Adele was an innocent or not, he thought not. But, by God, he couldn't remember much.

But there was something he did remember. Michael had not been the slightest bit drunk when he had arrived to Paris six and a half months ago. He had gone straight to Adele's home. The house was oddly empty, but he had managed to convince one of the few maids to let him in and point to Adele's room.

And Michael would never forget what happened next. How his best friend was ravishing the woman Michael loved, and how she seemed to be having the time of her life.

'You can't blame a girl for wanting more, Michael' Adele had taunted him.

Of course, Michael thought bitterly, he, a mere Mister, paled in comparison to Adam, Lord Drake.

Fate had the last world though. Upon his return to England, Michael had found out that his distant uncle had died and his father was now the Duke of Ayeleborough, which made him, Michael, a very wealthy Marquis. Far more wealthy that what Adam would ever be, and of far higher rank.

Michael had spent one night in London and then took the train to Sproule, taking over the dukedom since his father, Luke, had always been rather happy with merely being Lord Evencort, no more titles added.

Michael had pretty much cut himself from his family and everything, not wanting to give explanations on why he had returned from France so suddenly and without his intended fiancé.

But even he knew that couldn't last forever, mostly because he missed them, his family.

And so, settling down his empty brandy snifter – hadn't he refilled it two times already? Why it was still was empty? - He re-read Lita's letter quickly.

Then he pulled out a clean sheet of his stationary paper and took a quill.


Sister Dear,

Please, keep your husband safely in Cornwall, the last thing I need is an irate Earl storming into my new home.

I shall, as a dutiful son and brother that I am, write to mother and Sophie to further inquire on Maddy, Sophie and James. Thanks for the tip.

Congratulations on your baby news. I'm sure Penhollow is more than happy about it; Maddy always did like him so I assume he's good with children.

Once again, congratulations,


Your very much wonderful brother,


Ps. I know, little gossip that you are that you want to ask about certain person, since I love you I'll tell you this, I won't answer questions about it. She's as good as death to me. I'm sure you're happy about it, please do not gloat.

From Michael Evencort, Marquis of Danforth to his sister Gabriela, Countess of Penhollow; first letter after six months of silence.