Did you ever do something foolish, only to have it thrown back at you days later? Doesn’t the reminder make it seem even worse? In Barbara Metzger’s latest novel, The Duel, the consequences are life-altering.
Why, oh why, did he ever bed the voluptuous Lady Paige? This is the question Ian, Earl of Marden, is asking himself. Why did he believe her when she said that her husband did not care about her lovers? Well, there is safety in numbers, or so Ian believed, and yet, here he was, with pistols at dawn. Of course, he is not worried for his safety; Lord Paige is a horrendous shot. He is more dismayed that his life has taken this turn and is doing some soul-searching when the field of honor becomes a farce. His honorable shot into the trees has somehow injured a young man who was riding in the area. Ian is horrified. He may have caused grave harm to befall a total stranger!
As Ian makes amends the only way he knows how, by bringing the young man home to recover, he learns that the boy, Troy Renslow, has a sister - someone who is bound to be worried when he does not return home. He calls on Athena Renslow immediately, and invites her to his home to attend her brother. She is a tiny little thing, but loyal, and proves to be a Trojan in the sickroom. Ian is relieved when Troy slowly begins to recover.
Athena Renslow is tiny, a family trait, however, she is not the young girl that Ian believes. She is actually Troy’s older sister at nineteen. She is ever so grateful to handsome Lord Marden, who rescued her brother and saved his life with his quick-thinking action. Troy has struggled with his health his whole life, and while the wound is not grave, his recovery will be slow. Staying in the lovely Marden home, with its score of efficient retainers, is no hardship. Surely no one will think anything of her presence, with so many people about. Will they?
Ms. Metzger has once again given her readers a gift. The Duel is a lively, lovely romp, filled with devotion aplenty, a touch of mystery and a dash of humor.