Authors: Ruby Royce
the teenage girl in all of us
An Apple Pie for a Duke (A very romantic
Regency by Ruby Royce, Vol. 1
2012 by Ruby Royce
photo “Ruby” by Karolina Fritz
book is a work of fiction. Names and characters, other than
historical persons, are fictitious and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
St.Yves, His Grace the Duke of Surrey, opened the wooden door and
entered the Red Mill's stable. Coeur de Lion, the Duke of Surrey's
favourite horse, whinnied as he heard his master's footsteps
have you gotten yourself into?” Dominic inquired of the exquisite
animal, which immediately began to investigate the pockets of its
aristocratic proprietor with hungry anticipation.
you any treats, you vile creature,” that very proprietor snarled.
“We could be hunting at Longmore today had you not gotten it into
your head to escape poor Woodrich. Can you actually imagine how his
never-ending declarations of guilt are getting on my nerves? He’d
throw himself into his sword, if he owned one.”
de Lion blew hot air into the duke's face and seemed to regard the
issue as closed.
what can one expect from---” he stopped and held his breath.
thinking, Dominic climbed up a bolder leading into the hayloft. He
hoisted himself over the edge just as he heard the door creaking. He
had no intention of being found in a dirty stable, discussing his
groom's suicidal tendencies with his renegade horse. The duke was one
of the richest and most powerful men in England. One of the most
feared! He had a reputation to maintain.
hayloft was dark but there were gaps between the planks through which
Dominic could see. He pressed his forehead against the wood to take a
look at the intruder.
was a young girl of fourteen or fifteen. Quite pretty, small and
maybe a little on the chubby side, but nonetheless, quite pretty. She
was dressed simply yet of fine cloth and she had an air of
confidence. It led Dominic to believe she was the innkeeper's
daughter. No mere serving wench would stroll about so nonchalantly.
girl opened the door to an empty stall and sat down in the straw.
pulled something from her pocket. It was a bottle of wine or some
other alcoholic beverage.
she coming here to drink?
was shocked. He had four younger sisters of his own and he had always
believed them to be innocent of all things worldly. Did young girls
regularly steal out of their homes to take a secret sip from the
bottle? Of course they did not, not those of high birth. Or did they?
girl lifted her head and listened. Dominic listened as well and
indeed, he heard the sound of hooves approaching rapidly. The rider
halted in front of the stable.
time, the door was flung open violently. An exquisite pony trotted
in, saddled and bridled. Without hesitation it entered the stall
where the young girl had been waiting.
anyway, a young corsair or pirate,
wearing his hat in an extremely rakish angle, swaggered into the
stable carrying a sabre in one hand an some bundle in the other.
tried not to laugh. Had he hit upon a secret
The pirate cried out dramatically with an absurdly rasping voice. “I
shall not force thee to be mine, but I swear, by the end of this
kiss, thou wilt be mine willingly!”
girl laughed and held out the bottle.
You did not!” the pirate gasped, took the bottle, pulled off the
lid and sniffed. “What is it?”
I brought apple pie!” The pirate hugged the innkeeper's daughter.
was rather spellbound by now. Not only did the pirate speak in a
well-bred manner but also, the voice was not at all that of a young
man, rather that of a--- In that very instant the pirate pulled off
his hat and let it fall to the ground. Out came a head of golden
curls, braided and pinned up in what Dominic found to be quite an
golden head turned as it sheathed the sabre.
felt his cheeks grow hot and other body parts even more so.
was the most
beautiful and bewitching face he had ever seen in his thirty-one
years of life! And he had seen quite a lot of beautiful faces of the
female variety, in all shades and colours, but not one had ever
into his soul as the
face of this young creature wearing men's clothes in a stable
am I? Right, Yorkshire. What am I doing in Yorkshire?
you bring the book, Gigi?” the innkeeper's daughter asked.
beautiful angel nodded.
could not yet quite decide what it would be.
golden hair and the shape of her face were most definitely angelic,
but her slanted, bright green eyes were those of some terrifying
demon come to earth to lure him down into the deepest abyss of hell.
Gigi, the insufferably beautiful pirate, produced a book from her
horse's saddlebag. “The Princess and the Privateer, but you must
finish it by tomorrow, else my mother will know I took it when she
gets back from London.”
the girl Lizzy sighed. “I wished
could go to London
and be a debutante...”
can go in my stead,” Gigi declared while she unwrapped her bundle.
The strong smell of apple pie rose into Dominic's nostrils.
only into Dominic's nostrils, unfortunately. Coeur de Lion sniggered.
And again. Then he beat his hoof against the door of his stall. Gigi
the pirate looked up.
thought all the horses were out today?”
yes,” Lizzy said. “Ours are out. But we have an injured horse
stabled. You must take a look. He's magnificent. A stallion!”
rose and walked towards Coeur de Lion who looked longingly at the
apple pie she had brought along.
almighty!” Gigi sighed. “What a beauty! What's he doing here?
Whom does he belong to?”
who had begun devouring her apple pie, swallowed and explained.
was on the way to Longmore last week for the earl's great
end-of-season hunt but he escaped his grooms and jumped a fence not
too far from here. He must have landed in a rabbit hole. He was
limping a lot when he came, but he’s fine now. Somebody should be
coming today or tomorrow to bring him back to Seventree.
Gigi the pirate took a step back.
she had heard of the Dominic's home; but then again, who had not?
Lizzy nodded enthusiastically. “It's the duke's favourite horse!”
Gigi walked back up to Coeur de Lion's stall. “You know, I met him
once. The duke.”
was flabbergasted. Had he seen this creature before? That was
When?” Lizzy asked.
immediately forgot how undignified he felt, hiding in a hayloft,
watching young girls at their play. He was simply staring down
through his little gap, mesmerised.
was a long time ago. Five years, maybe? I spent the summer with my
aunt and uncle at Hayford. They never knew I was there when he
arrived. I hid behind a curtain.”
was he doing there? Why was he there?”
why on earth have I been to Viscount Whatwashisnameagain at Hayford?
threatened to shoot my cousin John.” Gigi stroked Coeur de Lions
head. “Apparently John had made some overtures to one of the duke's
sisters. His grace arrived in the raciest phaeton I've ever beheld.
He didn't even wait to be announced, he simply stormed into the
drawing room and coldly told them that if John was ever to be seen
near his sister again, he'd shoot him dead.” She smiled to herself.
“I wish he had. I can't stand my cousin John.”
felt his stomach churn.
giggled. “The duke?”
course not. The Duke of Surrey is the most handsome man in England.
Everybody knows that.”
I have not met too many men, but he is the most handsome specimen
I've ever seen.”
he is very scary. And he's quite old I think. ”
Dominic felt as if somebody had hit him with a frying pan.
I'm not old. Although I must be old to a silly girl of seventeen or
whatever age they let them come out nowadays.
he’s very beautiful and so dangerous and so manly, oh!”
duke felt a little better.
he rushed by, all cold rage, I was so afraid he might discover me and
instead! But I also
wanted him to rescue me from my boring relatives and take me away to
his castle where he’d do all sorts of unspeakable thinks to me!”
to the flustered Dominic's absolute outrage, she fed her apple pie to
his prize stallion.
you can't!” Lizzy shrieked.
going to find out?” Gigi laughed. “Do you think the horse will
tell its master? Imagine! Do you think he'd punish me? Oh, I wish he
would! Like in the novels... “ She lowered her voice to interpret
that of a man. “Eugenia... I will let you dwell in eternal agony.”
threw herself down to the ground.
Dominic,” she pleaded in her own voice. “Oh no, forgive me! I
never meant to feed this delicious apple pie to your horse! I know it
was wrong! Oh, no, NOOOOOO!!! Oh YES!!!” She stretched out and
raised her arms towards the ceiling.
entranced Dominic noticed that the pirate possessed quite an
astonishing body. For a moment he feared he might drill a hole into
the plank where his hips were pressing against it as he witnessed
that young siren offering herself up to him.
will be my slave, Eugenia...” Gigi roared on. “And every night I
shall devour you!”
laughed helplessly as Gigi rolled back and forth on the floor,
moaning and pleading. “Oh, Dominic, yes, punish me! Punish me!