The Duchess War - Courtney Milan

Robert Blaisdell, the Ninth Duke of Clermont, was not hiding.


True, he'd retreated to the upstairs library of the old Guildhall, far enough from the crowd below that the noise of the ensemble had faded to a distant rumble. True, nobody else was about. Also true: He stood behind thick curtains of blue-gray velvet, which shielded him from view. And he'd had to move the heavy davenport of brown-buttoned leather to get there.


But he'd one all that not to hide himself, but because - and this was a key point in his rather specious train of logic - in this centuries-old structure of plaster and timberwork, only one of the panes in the windows opened, and that happened to be the one secreted behind the sofa. 


So here he stood, cigarillo in hand, the smoke trailing out into the chilly autumn air. He wasn't hiding; it was simply a matter of preserving the aging books from fumes. 


He might even have believed himself, if only he smoked.


Ha! It's a good start when I'm chuckling in the first few paragraphs of the book.


Courtney Milan won't let me down.