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  1. Oxthorpe stood. He could do nothing else. Her hands stilled, and her smile faded away. She stood and dropped into a curtsy. What did one say in such situations, when one knew a lady disapproved? Miss Clay, he said. Duke. She’d given the field laborer a happier smile than she gave him. Most everyone else had stopped smiling, too. This was the effect he had on others. He was the Duke of Oxthorpe, and though he did his duty by his title and his estate, he was not beloved. He did not know how to be beloved the way Miss Clay was.

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