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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Loyal (1)

"Besides the baron, everyone else has retired for the night. Once the kitchen is cleaned up, all of you may return to your quarters. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Run along," James clapped his hands, dismissing the servants he gathered in the kitchen. 

"Every day we have a lot of work. Have you spoken to the baron about getting more workers? At least one more maid and person to help out in the kitchen," Mario spoke up. He was tired of working two jobs, but only received one.

"I have brought it up to the baron and it will be further discussed in the morning. The baron will not want to hear of it when he returns. Let's wait and see how tomorrow goes. Sally!" James called the previously fired maid. "You are to be by Alessandra's door early in the morning."

"Is there no other work I can do instead of being her maid? I can-"

"Stop right there," James held up his hand, a signal he made to stop the workers from going against what he told them to do. "You should be thankful you aren't working under Kate. Matter of fact, you should be thankful to still have a job. Welcome to the real world where you have to do things you do not like."

"But there are many rumors surrounding her. How can I be her personal maid?" Sally was deeply worried about her future with Alessandra. "What if others start making up rumors about me? They'll say I am cursed too."

"That is nothing for you to concern yourself with. Either accept Alessandra or Kate. Keep in mind that Alessandra is engaged to the duke and there is a possibility you will follow her to his residence until he shall hire her a personal maid he trusts. Hold out till then as the payment will be better," said James.

James knew Sally came from a fallen household so she was new to recognizing the opportunities presented to her and how to use them to her advantage. Alessandra was no longer just the baron's daughter. She would soon become a duchess if she successfully married the duke.

This was a time to latch yourself unto Alessandra so you could follow her to the duke's home. If he could, he would follow her in a heartbeat.

"But still…" Sally trailed off unsure if that was worth it. She already has many people talking about what happened to her family.

"If you fail to be by her door when morning comes I shall have you working under Kate again. Keep in mind Kate is not happy with you. You've worked under her for a year, do you wish to go back to her?" James knew this would persuade her.

"No. I'll be with Alessandra in the morning," Sally replied.

"Good," James turned on his heels to retire now that he checked off everything he needed to do before bed. "Why is everyone here so draining?" He rubbed his temple as he walked. "I need to find another job first or maybe I should just quit."

James didn't care that the job wouldn't be a butler position. Anything was better than working for the baron as his talents were being wasted here. He was not appreciated and was overworked.

In the corner of his eyes, as he was about to turn into the hallway leading to his bedroom, James thought he had seen a shadow move, but as he stared at where the shadow had been, no one seemed to be there. He blamed what he saw on how tired he was and continued to walk on.

"Why is my door open?" James muttered as he found the door of his bedroom slightly opened as if someone had been in it and as they left, the door had not closed all the way. "Did someone steal my money? Baroness?"

"Hello James," Katrina said, sitting up from his bed. "I have been waiting a long time for you to return."

James didn't understand why Katrina would enter his bedroom this late into the night. He had never seen her visit the servant quarters before. "Is there something you are in need of? I shall fetch it right away, baroness."

"Where has my husband run off to? I know you saw the name. I do not enjoy it when secrets are kept from me, James. I am a woman who must know everything. Give me the name," Katrina ordered him. James was a little fly around her husband, knowing many things she did not.

James bowed his head, unable to give her an answer. The baron made it clear he was not supposed to speak of his business to anyone. Not even his own wife.

"You sure are loyal enough to my husband to keep your mouth shut however, it won't do you any good to not be loyal to me. What do you think of me, James?" Katrina asked, walking around the room slowly to inspect what James owned.

"You are a wonderful mother and wife, baroness. Many have spoken of your beauty."

Katrina smiled, enjoying the flattering compliments. "Don't they speak of me getting with the baron as soon as he divorced his first wife? Some spoke of me being in the picture while he was still married and questioned how quickly I became pregnant. They are all fools, aren't they?"

"Yes, baroness."

"Why do you think I married the baron, James?" Katrina asked another question.

James was puzzled by the questions she was asking him this late in the night when she could have waited until morning. James felt uneasy like something bad was going to happen. "The baron is an excellent man."

"He is but he was also wealthy. How could I not want to get with him? You might have a poor opinion of me now, but that is how the world works. I will admit I did fall in love with him afterward but that love has faded away. I am bored James and I need something new. You are young and fresh," Katrina said as she caressed a flower James cared for in a vase.

James wondered for a moment if Katrina was referring to him and not the flowers. He mentally slapped himself for having such a thought when referring to a married woman. "They are flowers from the garden. I am going to have more of them planted around. If you have any…" his voice trailed off when Katrina started to laugh.

"Are you really this innocent, James? I have caught your eyes on me many times before. It is good to know I still have my charm," Katrina ran her hand through her hair. "I have the beauty to rival the queen. That is why many of the women here are jealous of me, right?"

James was unable to Katrina as he was filled with guilt and embarrassment for being caught staring at her. How could he not stare when she was a beautiful woman? However, he knew his boundaries. Katrina was a married woman and his employer.

"There are many men who sleep with their maids," Katrina said as she approached James. Her right hand lingered on the string tied to keep her dress from becoming loose. "Then there are the women who have their butlers. This can be our little secret," she touched his chest.

"I-It is not proper for me to do such a thing. You are married and thebBaron is a good man," James took a step back away from her. The situation had gone from zero to one hundred quickly.

It was bad enough that a married woman was alone in her room at this time but now she was offering him to have an affair with her. The baron would have him killed if he were to know of this.

Katrina remained persistent in seducing James though he refused her advances. "You are scared to be caught but I won't tell anyone if you don't. I'll also be in trouble if word of this gets out. Give me this one night to change your mind," she started to untie the knot.

"I cannot," James refused her again and turned around to leave, but as he did so, he found a maid standing by the door. He had been so caught up in what Katrina was doing that he hadn't noticed anyone arriving or the door still being open.

Katrina sighed, annoyed James didn't think with his penis. "Why couldn't you have just accepted the offer, James? You will make things so much more difficult for yourself. You saw the whole thing right?"

"Yes baroness," the maid replied.

James looked back and forth between the maid and Katrina. Only now did he remember this was Katrina's personal maid. "I rejected you."

"I saw you try to take advantage of the baroness while her husband was away," the maid proclaimed as loudly as she could.

"You," James was in disbelief that such a claim could be made when Katrina was the one coming onto him. "Baroness," he begged Katrina to clear this up.

"I am alone and defenseless in my home. With my husband gone and only my daughter here, my butler tried to take advantage of me. Threatening to kill me if I didn't follow him to his room. Thank goodness my maid was around and saved me in time before something could happen," Katrina's eyes filled with tears.

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