The Duke's Masked Wife

The baron’s daughter, Alessandra Barrett, has worn a mask from a young age due to an injury. Many say if you were to see the face behind the mask, you would be cursed and die soon afterward. She is seen as a ghost, avoided by all who visit the baron's home until she becomes the duke’s wife. No one could understand why the duke would pick such a wife. Did he wish to die? What would become of the girl who once hid in the shadows but now had the spotlight on her as the duke’s masked wife? What would everyone say if they were to learn the truth that she was in a contracted marriage with the duke? Tales of Castro Nobility story timeline order - The King’s Unbreakable Wife The Knight’s Mysterious Maid The Duke’s Masked Wife

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I want your daughter (3)

Desmond tried his best to remain calm, refusing to show Rowan the fear he sought. Just like everyone else, he was aware of William's father-in-law's death, but the family had been secretive about it and claimed it to be from a cold. Desmond believed the story up until this point. 

Desmond knew he had done nothing to offend William to the point the man would want him dead. They were longtime friends for goodness sake and Desmond was handing William his daughter on a silver platter.

"You will eat those words one of these days," Desmond promised the shabby man.

"Tell you what Baron, I'll help you tie me up so you can shove those words down my throat. You should know, I am a man who enjoys pain," Rowan licked his dry lips.

"This conversation is over," Desmond no longer wished to carry on the conversation any further. He knew of Rowan to be a man with sick habits be it with a man or woman.

William was crazy for keeping such a person around, but Desmond had to admit, that Rowan was loyal. No one could successfully bribe him to betray William. They couldn't figure out what William had over Rowan's head to make him this loyal.

"You are an evil person, baron," Rowan said out of the blue.

"Says the murderer and have you forgotten who you work for?"

"I know my master and I are evil, but you are one of those people who play dumb to what they are. What kind of a good person hands his daughter off to a man his age? Tsk tsk," Rowan sighed.

"The silence is loud," Rowan sang as he enjoyed making Desmond feel guilty. "Or maybe that's a thing in the town I know nothing about. A man like me knows nothing about high society. Do you care to enlighten me if this is a normal thing?"

"Are you trying to tell me not to send my daughter to William?" Desmond asked.

"Of course not. William wants her therefore he shall have her but I was expecting a father to have principles you know. Stop looking down on me when you are not a good person. I kill people and you trade your daughter for money. We are evil brothers," Rowan chuckled, stomping his feet against the floor as he found himself to be funny.

'He's crazy,' Desmond concluded.

Alessandra was saving their house by becoming William's wife. He was setting her up to be the wife of one of the richest men in the town.

Duke Edgar must be playing with her feelings as Kate was a woman more suited for him. Desmond wouldn't put it past Edgar to propose to Alessandra only to make Kate jealous and Alessandra fell for his trick.

His poor daughter.

"Home sweet home," Rowan took a deep breath to inhale the air he believed to be sweeter than anywhere else. "There's nothing like the Lancaster mansion," he opened the carriage door before the carriage itself stopped.

Desmond scurried to the other end, afraid he would fall out of the door. His heart rushed while Rowan jumped out of the carriage laughing as if he couldn't have hurt himself.

He never wanted to see Rowan again after tonight for he could accidentally kill the both of them with recklessness. For the first time since he had left home, Desmond felt truly relieved when the carriage stopped.

"Baron, we are already late. Trust me, you do not want to upset him."

"I am coming," Desmond said. He made a mental note to have the doctor visit him tomorrow to check on his heart.

As Desmond exited the carriage, the gloomy atmosphere of William's mansion greeted him. It was no wonder Rowan liked the place so much. It was a place where you'd occasionally hear crows warning you to turn back.

Desmond cautiously followed behind Rowan regretting not listening to his wife telling him to stay and enjoy dinner. At least he would have eaten before William found and killed him for not showing up.

Desmond envied how grand William's house was as he entered. There was a time when he had more wealth than William but William somehow came out on top after the years.

Rowan and Desmond eventually came upon William sitting in a large chair similar to a king's throne at a dinner table with a woman by his side.

"I have brought the baron to you, master," Rowan announced their presence.

"Well done. Old friend!" William raised a glass filled with wine to Desmond. "It's been so long since we had a chat. Forgive me for being unable to wait until the morning to summon you. I sent Rowan to you as a kind gesture. He does not normally escort my guests. Normally, you kill them, Rowan," he chuckled.

Desmond faked a laugh to remain on William's good side. The William before him right now was nothing like the person he knew in the past. It was true money could change anyone.

William Lancaster who was once small and shy changed into a large buff man after his countless training. His head was covered in white hair and so was his beard, but that did not mean you should ever underestimate him because of his age.

'It has been three days since we last spoke,' Desmond said to himself.

"It truly has been too long," Desmond replied to William. "I should thank you for helping me escape my wife tonight. I might be able to go to the red light district to relax."

"Is that so? Had I known this, I would have called some of the women here tonight. I understand how tough marriage can be. I've been married two times already, but they eventually became boring. Have a seat next to me," William pointed to the chair placed dangerously close to him.

All the other chairs were spread out where guests were an arm's length apart, but this chair was right by William.

"If you insist," Desmond took a seat with caution. "How is the wife?" He asked, looking at the woman at the table.

"Somewhere in the house crying her eyes out," William sighed.

Desmond was now confused by the woman who sat at the table. It was so hard for him to remember what William's second wife looked like as she was rarely seen and there were no portraits of her around the home.

William had no children which meant this woman had to be his mistress.

"Why have you not brought your daughter to me, Desmond? I am not a patient man," William waved his hand, and without any words spoken Rowan appeared by his side to hold the glass of wine instead of it being placed on the table.

"I was meaning to but I ran into a problem. Duke Edgar Collins came by my home to ask for Alessandra's hand in marriage. He threatened me and I had no choice but to agree to it. Don't worry as I have a plan to make him marry my youngest daughter instead."

"Duke Edgar," William softly repeated the name with disgust. "That spoiled brat is trying to steal what belongs to me."

William hated Edgar from the bottom of his soul along with Edgar's father. They were always meddling in others' affairs, implementing too many laws, and having his companions thrown into jail.

"Alessandra will become your wife either way-"

"Wife?" William chuckled as the words left Desmond's mouth. "You misunderstood my words all this time, my friend? I do not wish to make your daughter my wife. I am a collector of many things. The rumored curse girl shall make an excellent addition to my collection of women and items."

"If I am bored, she shall perform as a mistress. I remember her being beautiful as a child therefore her face cannot be that bad. Bring her to me tomorrow," said William.

"B-But Edgar-" Desmond winced as William grabbed his left thigh and squeezed it.

"Desmond, you have two choices since you are my friend. One, you pay me back half of the money I have already given you by tomorrow. Two, you bring me your daughter and I will give you the rest of the money debt free. If you cannot pay me back what I gave you by tomorrow, Rowan shall pay you a visit. What is your decision?"

"I-I will bring her to you tomorrow," Desmond made up his mind. Edgar and Wiliam were both terrifying men, but Desmond was more afraid of William at this moment as he was looking to kill him right now.

"Good choice," William released Desmond's thigh. "Stay and have some food, my good friend."

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