I am not by nature a wicked woman. The Duke however was the devil incarnate. In the beginning, he was the perfect gentleman. My poor mother was speechless before his pomp and circumstance, his gold carriage, his team of stallions, his brocade jackets. I was a young girl, barely fifteen, when he took me as his bride. He savagely deflowered me on our wedding night. For hours I couldn't move. I was in such pain. My white eyelet gown stained in blood. He slipped out to join a pack of whores he kept waiting in the stables. I cried myself to sleep. And the next morning too shamed to ask for help, washed out the blood from beneath my fingernails, washed out the sheets.