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Friday, December 21, 2018

A Historical Christmas Event with Darcy Burke


Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

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Deleted Scene from The Duke of Ruin

This is a “deleted” scene from The Duke of Ruin. Simon and Diana were recently married at Gretna Green and are on their way back to his estate in the south of England. They are traveling over Christmas and stop in Oxford for a few days to celebrate the holiday. Enjoy! If you haven’t read The Duke of Ruin, grab a copy here: Amazon - B&N - Apple - Kobo


“It’s Christmas Eve!” Simon Hastings, Duke of Romsey leapt from the bed with excitement. And then promptly dove back under the covers where it was far warmer next to his new wife.

“Too cold?” Diana asked, smiling as he burrowed against her.

“Hell yes, what was I thinking?”

“That it’s Christmas Eve morning?” she offered helpfully.

He kissed her soundly and pulled her against him. “Our first one together. We have much to do. Did I mention I told Mr. Margrave that I’d help him bring in the greenery to decorate?”

“No, you did not.” She wriggled her body, shifting his arms so that they were face to face. “I thought we were going to take a walk to look at the spires and then watch the mummers?”

“All that too.”

She arched a single dark brow at him. “Do you ever rest?”

“Occasionally when I’m in bed. But only occasionally. And not when I have a beautiful woman in my arms.” He ducked his head and licked her neck then suckled her flesh.

“Simon! Last time you did that, you left a mark. Since that was just yesterday, it’s still there.”

Yes, he had done that. And it had been delightful. He kissed down her collarbone. “I do think I may be late to meet Mr. Margrave.”

“Pity,” she said, not sounding the least bit sorry.

He wasn’t late, however, because he wasn’t helping Mr. Margrave. After leaving Diana in their room, Simon stole from the inn and made his way down the lane. He’d found a goldsmith the day after they’d arrived and had commissioned him to fashion a wedding ring for Diana. The hammered iron band he’d bought her at Gretna Green was pretty, but temporary. His duchess should have gold and jewels. In fact, her ring would be a sapphire.

Simon entered the small establishment with a spring in his step.

The proprietor, a young man of small stature with large, round spectacles, looked up and immediately blanched. “Good morning, Your Grace.”

“Good morning,” Simon said a bit warily. “I trust you have my wife’s ring ready?”

Still pale, the proprietor, Mr. Abernathy, now winced. Then he burst into tears. Simon couldn’t help but feel sorry for the man.

Abernathy wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry, Your Grace. I’m afraid I’ve lost it.”

“Lost it?” Simon repeated.

“I stayed the night with my sister and her family last night—my brother-in-law has been ill. I was still working on the ring, so I took it with me to finish.” Abernathy wrung his hands together, sniffing. “Somewhere on the way to the shop this morning, it fell through a hole in my pocket. I retraced my steps a dozen times, but I wasn’t able to find it.”

Disappointment spun through Simon’s gut. “It isn’t your fault.”

“Oh, but it is, sir. Now you don’t have a gift for your duchess.” He started to cry again then abruptly turned and disappeared into the back of the shop behind a curtain. When he emerged, he held out a small pouch. “Here is your deposit.”

Simon accepted the money with a slight nod, his mind working as to what he could give Diana instead. He’d been so looking forward to slipping that ring on her finger tonight.

“I added a little extra,” Abernathy said. “For your trouble. And for my mistake.”

Simon eyed the man and could see that his coat was rather worn. He believed there could be a hole—or two—in the garment. “You needn’t give me extra. It was an accident. I am sorry you are out the commission.”

The man nodded but said nothing. He looked as if he might be holding his breath. Or trying not to cry.

Bloody hell.

Simon thrust the pouch back at him. “Take it.”

Abernathy’s dark eyes widened behind the glass of his spectacles. “I can’t—”

“Of course you can. Happy Christmas.” He offered the man a smile and left the shop.

As he made his way back to the inn, he wondered what he was going to give Diana now.

#

Diana accompanied the innkeeper’s wife, Mrs. Margrave, and her two daughters as they distributed breads and cakes they’d baked to some of the people in their neighborhood. To a person, they were in need, whether due to age or illness or something else. Diana was glad to help and only wished she’d had something to give.

Their next to last visit was a family of five—the Browns. The father had been ill, but finally seemed to be on the mend. The wife was delighted to have two loaves of fresh bread, and the two smaller children were thrilled to have Shrewsbury cakes. The father thanked Mrs. Margrave profusely for her generosity. The oldest child, a boy who was maybe ten, didn’t take a cake until his younger sisters had each had two. He kept his head down and made fleeting eye contact with Diana who smiled at him warmly.

As she and the Margraves made their exit, Diana thought about the people they’d visited and wondered if she and Simon could help them somehow. She had nothing—she couldn’t even buy Simon a gift. Would he want to help? There were so many things she didn’t know about her new husband. And yet she felt certain he possessed a kind and generous nature.

They arrived at their final destination, which was a particularly small abode so Diana volunteered to remain outside. Mrs. Margrave assured her they would only be a moment.

“Your Grace?”

Diana started at the small voice that came from behind her. She turned to see the boy from the last house. “Where did you come from?”

He ducked his head shyly. “I came to ask you something, if I may.”

“Of course.” She squatted down to his level. “How can I help?”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of jewelry—Diana caught a flash of gold. “I have this ring. It...belonged to my grandmother. I wondered if you might want to buy it from me. My father hasn’t worked in over a month, and this would help us have food.” His cheeks flushed brilliant red, and he couldn’t meet her eyes.

Diana’s heart clenched. She might not have any money, but Simon did, and he would certainly help. “You are a kind and brave lad. Let me see it.”

He opened his hand to reveal a gold ring with a brilliant sapphire.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” she said. It seemed a very expensive piece for a family of their means, but how could she know their circumstances? “It belonged to your grandmother?”

He looked at her and nodded profusely. “It did, ma’am.”

“Are you certain your parents wish to part with it?”

He looked away again. “Yes, ma’am.”

Diana worried he was perhaps not telling the truth. What if his parents had no idea he’d taken it?

She took his hand and curled his fingers around the ring. “You keep this for now, all right? I will come around in a while to buy it from you. What is your name?” She would talk to Simon about what to do. At the very least, they needed to give the family whatever they might need. It broke her heart to see this boy resort to selling family heirlooms.

He nodded again. “Owen, ma’am. Thank you. I’ll be waiting for you outside.”

She wanted to tell him not to, for it was cold, but suspected he didn’t want his family to know what he was about. She felt rather certain his parents didn’t know he’d taken the ring. To feel so desperate... Diana had suffered many dark times in her past, but they didn’t compare to this.

The Margraves came from the house, and Owen dashed off.

#

Simon paced the common room of the inn, which was now festooned with enough greenery to resemble a forest. He was no closer to coming up with a replacement gift for Diana.

She came inside just then with Mrs. Margrave and her daughters. Garbed in a puce walking dress, her cheeks pink from being outside in the cold, she was absolutely ravishing and he was incapable of doing anything but stare.

Gliding toward him, her forehead creased. “Oh, Simon, you must help me.”

Worry clenched his gut, and he took her hand. “What’s happened?”

“Nothing to me, but I’ve met a family we must help. I hope you won’t mind. I have no money of my own.” She winced, and he stroked the back of her hand.

“My funds are now yours,” he said, smiling. “Tell me about this family.” He led her to the settee near the front window, and they sat down.

“They live around the corner. Mr. Brown has been ill for some time, and they don’t have enough to eat. Mrs. Margrave took them bread and cakes, and I suspect those will be the finest things on their table for Christmas.”

Simon frowned. “That’s a shame. Shall we take them supper?”

“Yes, please. I’d also like to give them money to help them while Mr. Brown continues his recovery.”

Simon leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers. “You have the kindest heart. Of course we will help them.”

She smiled and curled her arms around his neck in a tight hug. “Thank you, Simon.”

He stroked her back and would have continued the embrace had they not been in the common room of an inn. Instead, he pulled back with great reluctance.

They sought the Margraves’ help in assembling a supper for the family, which had included a visit to some of the market stalls. Simon had joked that it was their walk to see the spires of Oxford University, which were of course visible just about anywhere in town.

Carrying the food they’d gathered, they made their way toward the family’s home.

“Thank you for doing this,” Diana said. “I felt so bad for this family’s plight. They have three children. The oldest is a boy—Owen—who can’t be more than ten. He tried to sell me his grandmother’s sapphire ring, but I’m certain his parents didn’t even know he’d taken it. The poor dear.”

Simon’s ears pricked at the word sapphire, and his mind worked through what she said. “A sapphire ring?”

She nodded. “It looked quite valuable. I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t want to buy it from him. They should keep their family heirloom.”

They approached a series of houses, and a small boy loitered near the end of them.

“There he is,” Diana said.

They went to the boy, and Diana introduced them. “Owen, this is my husband, the Duke of Romsey.”

Owen bowed and did not raise his eyes.

Simon tried to give the boy a warm smile of encouragement, but it was difficult since the lad wouldn’t look up. So Simon sank down. “Owen, I understand you have a ring to sell me.”

Diana nudged him with her leg, but he didn’t turn his head to her.

“I do, Your Grace.” He put his hand in his pocket and withdrew the ring that had been meant for Diana—Simon recognized the sapphire and puzzled the pieces together.

“Is your uncle a jeweler?” Simon asked softly.

The boy’s gaze lifted then, and there was surprise as well as a bit of fear. “Yes.”

Simon nodded. “Well, I would be delighted to buy your ring. How much do you want?”

Owen chewed his lip then gave Simon a dubious look. “Two pounds?”

“That is far too little for such a valuable piece. Here, take this.” Simon reached into his pocket and pulled out a good deal more than the boy had asked for. Simon picked up the ring and held it between his thumb and forefinger. “Are you certain you can part with this?”

“I am, Your Grace.”

“Very well.” Simon put the money into the boy’s hand and rose.

Owen’s eyes widened with wonder and his cheeks turned bright pink. “Thank you. God bless you, Your Grace.” He bowed to Diana. “And you, Your Grace.”

“We have this for you, too.” Diana handed him her packages, and Simon handed him what he’d been carrying. “It’s Christmas Eve supper. Or Christmas Day.”

“Thank you, Your Grace.” Owen blinked rapidly.

Diana smiled at him. “Take care, Owen.”

Simon clutched the ring in his hand, and put his arm around Diana as they watched the boy run to his door and disappear inside.

“That was very generous of you,” she said softly. “But you shouldn’t have taken the ring. It belongs to their family.”

He turned to face her. “No, it belongs to you. I commissioned it from his uncle who lost it this morning.”

Diana’s eyes widened, and her mouth opened. She lifted her hand to her lips. “Owen stole it? He seemed like such a sweet boy.”

“I’m sure he is,” Simon said. “The ring fell from the jeweler’s pocket. I suspect Owen found it and saw an opportunity to provide for his family. I must say, I can’t fault him for that.”

“Still, he should have returned it to his uncle.”

“Yes, but all’s well that end’s well. Isn’t that how the saying goes?”

She nodded. “Shakespeare.”

“Your Grace?”

Simon turned, along with Diana, toward the voice. It was the jeweler. “Mr. Abernathy, allow me to present my wife, the Duchess of Romsey. Diana, this is the man who made your ring.” He held it out to Abernathy, who gasped in surprise. “Would you believe I found the ring just here a moment ago?”

“It’s a Christmas miracle!” Abernathy crowed in delight.

“It is indeed,” Simon said.

The jeweler turned to Diana. “I hope you like it, Your Grace.”

“It’s beautiful. Thank you very much. Are you on your way home?”

Abernathy blushed. “I’m going to my sister’s house.”

Simon reached into his pocket. “Now that I’ve found the ring, I must compensate you for it, Mr. Abernathy.”

Holding up his hand, Abernathy shook his head. “You already have, sir.”

“Nonsense. That was just a deposit.

“Let the difference be my gift to you, for your kind understanding when I thought it was gone.”

Simon pressed the money into his hand, knowing it would go to good use for this man and his sister’s family. “I insist. Happy Christmas, Mr. Abernathy.”

The man beamed. “Happy Christmas, Your Grace!”

Simon offered his arm to Diana and they started back toward the inn.

“Let me understand,” she said. “You paid Mr. Abernathy even though he’d lost the ring?”

“Yes.”

“And you bought a ring from Owen that you’d already paid for—at least partially?”

“Yes.”

“Then you didn’t tell Mr. Abernathy that his nephew had taken the ring and tried to profit from it?”

“Heavens no.”

She stopped and turned, putting her gloved hand against his cheek. “I have nothing to give you on this Christmas Eve, while you have this lovely ring and your amazing generosity.”

“You gave me the greatest gift of all, Diana. You’ve given me hope for a future I never would have imagined. Not after all that’s happened.” He pushed the familiar pain of loss away and clung to this joyous moment, to this woman standing before him.

“Happy Christmas, Simon.”

“Happy Christmas, Diana. Shall we pretend there’s mistletoe?”

She curled her hand around his nape and stood on her toes. “Yes, let’s.”




Frances Snowden can hardly believe her good fortune when she’s whisked away from her boring life by her sister who is now a duchess. Instead of becoming the third wife of her parents’ stuffy neighbor, she can be anything she wants: a doting aunt to her newborn niece, a debutante in London, or even an independent spinster. But when she meets and kisses a mysterious man on a walk in the countryside, she knows exactly what she desires—him.

David Langley, Earl of St. Ives, is resigned to marrying the dull woman his parents chose when he was a child. His future is suddenly, and happily, diverted when he encounters a captivating young woman who shows him everything he’s been missing. Ready to embark on a blissful life together, a long-buried feud between their families makes their marriage impossible. Nothing is more important than duty and family, but can he turn his back on love?

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38 comments :

  1. I enjoyed the deleted scene. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I haven’t read the book so I skipped the deleted scene. Otherwise I’ll be on it like a wick on fire, lol. But thank you for sharing - I’m gonna get back to this once I read the book.

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  3. Ooh,sounds like a good series!

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  4. It sounds like my kind of book, and I love the pretty cover.

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  5. Wonderful scene. I just love a happy ending!

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  6. Such wonderful a writing. Thank you for sharing.
    Thank you for the chance to your Giveaway.

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  7. I love the deleted scene! Simon has such a giving heart. I can’t wait to read the series.

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  8. I love this series! Thanks for the deleted scene!

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  9. Wondering, what is your favorite book?

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  10. Good excerpt; thanks. And thanks for visiting with us today.

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  11. I loved the scene. They are such a lovely couple from a wonderful book. ❤️

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Darcy, I love your books. I can't wait to read The Duke of Ruin,
    Merry Christmas

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  14. Great scene! :) Looking forward to reading more.

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  15. How perfectly delightful! They are such a wonderful couple! Thank you for this lovely Christmas scene!

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  16. Sounds good can't wait to read this book.

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  17. What a wonderful book! Thanks for sharing the deleted scene.

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  18. Which was your favorite book in the series to write? Thanks for the chance to win!

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    1. I don't really have a favorite but I truly LOVED writing The Duke of Ruin!

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  19. Hi Darcy:) I so enjoyed reading that deleted scene and it was sooo good, why was it deleted? Inquiring minds want to know! lol

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    1. Carole, it wasn't deleted. I cheated and wrote it just for this blog, lol. Hence the word deleted in quotes!

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  20. You have such colorful book covers! Happy holidays!

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  21. Historical romance is my favorite genre. How have I missed this series? It's going on the TBR ASAP. The covers are fabulous too!

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    1. Thank you so much Artemis! At 11 books, you have a lot of reading ahead so yay!!

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  22. Thanks for sharing the deleted scene!!

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  23. Was wondering what made you delete this scene from the final copy?

    Merry Christmas 🎄💗!

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    1. I cheated! I wrote this specifically for this blog. But I did always think about what they were doing in Oxford over Christmastide!

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