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The Truth

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 ,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,34,35,36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41

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Emerald

Emerald hurried into the room and closed the door then turned to face Rita who was fully clothed and sitting silently on her bunk. She had put out Emerald’s clothes.

“Miss,” Rita stood up. “Is this wise? Your mother would–”

“My mother is dead,” Emerald answered in blunt denial, a cold pain breathing through her chest. “She is not here to care. Now help me dress. I am late for breakfast.”

As was Richard. The thought brought a smile back to her lips and warmed her inside.

Emerald stood still as Rita pulled tight the laces of her corset and then tied the tapes of her petticoats’. Her body ached from the delicious test of endurance Richard had challenged her with last night. He had displayed a new vitality and he’d seemed so desperate. She could not deny how good it felt to be able to make a powerful man like him desperate for her.

When she left the cabin in Mr Bishop’s company, her hand on his arm, she was smiling broadly, she could not help it. She was living in a dream. The memory of her argument with Richard only made her wish to smile more as she thought of its wicked conclusions.

Mr Bishop held open the day cabin door and she very nearly asked him what had happened about the French ship, when she walked past, only catching her tongue at the last moment when she remembered she should not know. But she had already taken the breath to speak and then stopped. He smiled in an odd way, but then a frown immediately furrowed his brow. He’d been silent as they crossed the deck. She supposed if he suspected, he would disapprove, as Rita who was walking behind them did.

Emerald had a feeling that she blushed. There was only Dr Steel in the room. “Are the others not eating?”

“Mr Pritchard is at the helm and Mr Farrow is with him. Mr Swallow is resting.” It was Dr Steel who answered as he stood.

Rita sat in a chair across the room and Mr Bishop walked ahead of Emerald to withdraw a chair at the table for her. Emerald sat opposite Dr Steel, and felt as though she faced a judge in a court room. But Dr Steel could not know. Mr Bishop would not dare defy Richard and speak even if he had guessed. This was Richard’s ship.

Dr Steel offered her the basket of fresh bread. She still did not want to speak to him. She had not forgiven him for not speaking up about her mother’s illness. Her smile was wiped away.

She accepted some bread and reached for jam. They had cured ham too, which they’d brought aboard in Gibraltar and oranges, with strong coffee or hot chocolate. As she helped herself, Dr Steel asked, “How are you?” His voice formally polite.

“As well as I might be when my mother died unexpectedly a little more than fortnight ago.”

“Am I never to be forgiven, Miss Martin,” he challenged quietly as Emerald took a slice of ham from a plate Mr Bishop held for her.

She looked directly at Dr Steel. “I should not think so. You cannot change the fact you did not tell me and I cannot change the fact my mother is dead and I had no chance to say goodbye. I must endure my pain. You may endure my lack of forgiveness.”

Dr Steel smiled, but it was only an acknowledgement that her jab had cut him as intended. “I am sorry my decision caused you such distress. Yet forgiven or not, if you need to talk to anyone, I am willing to listen.”

She frowned at him. Listen to what? She did not answer.

“Will you sit on the deck this morning?” Mr Bishop’s tone was curt, when normally he was always so pleasant.

She was sure she was blushing again when she looked at him. “Yes, please. I know it is getting colder and soon it will be too cold to do so.”

“Would you like a companion?” His tone was still terse.

The pitch in his voice brought a sense of uncertainty. She wished to ask if he knew about her and Richard and if so would he speak of it? If he would then she would beg him not to. She did not want Richard judged badly because of her. But she could not say anything because what if Mr Bishop had not guessed.

“I would be grateful, if you may spare the time?” Her gaze dropped from his and she focused on her food.

“I may. I know you prefer not to be alone.” There was a change to his voice, it held sincerity and it drew her eyes to look back at him.

He smiled.

She smiled too, remembering how in the beginning she had wanted Richard to be more like him. But she had never been attracted to Mr Bishop, he was kind and polite but he had no spark. It was Richard’s fire which ignited her.

The door into the day cabin from the deck opened. She looked across to see Richard enter accompanied by Mr Swallow.

Mr Bishop stood.

“Sit, Mr Bishop.” It was Mr Swallow who made the direction.

“Gentlemen, Miss Martin,” Richard said in greeting. He bowed his head formally towards her. Her smile became broader again, parting her lips . Less than an hour ago they had been in his bed, wrapped up in each other. She felt another blush and caught the movement of a twist in his lips that implied a smile. She looked away once more, at her food. But when he walked past she distinctly felt the tip of one of his fingers brush across her back.

“What are your plans today, Miss Martin?” he asked when he was seated as he began filling his plate.

She glanced at Richard, very aware of Mr Bishop watching them, and she could not seem to stop blushing. “I have agreed to sit with Mr Bishop on the deck this morning.”

“Then I shall entertain you this afternoon.”

He had not spent time with her for days to avoid suspicion. “Thank you.” She glanced at Mr Bishop and met a look of what seemed to be sympathy. Why? She frowned. Oh. But Richard was probably playing games and facing Mr Bishop’s suspicion head-on denying fear of any speculation. Richard Farrow at his most venomous. But then Mr Bishop would be foolish to speak out. She would not fear it either.

When they had finished breakfast they all stood. “Miss Martin,” Mr Bishop, lifted his arm. She looked back at Richard. He bowed his head then smiled slightly.

“Might I have a word with you later, Captain?” Mr Bishop asked as her hand rested on his arm.

Mr Swallow’s eyebrow’s lifted. “Of course, look me out when you have finished keeping Miss Martin company.”

“Thank you, sir.”

As Mr Bishop walked her from the room, with Rita following, Emerald glanced back again. Richard was talking to Mr Swallow but he saw her look and smiled at her over Mr Swallow’s shoulder, a lightness rising in his eyes. It was the greatest acknowledgement she would receive before his crew.

To be continued…

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama, like Victoria and Poldark.

IMG_6159[1]

The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel #5.5

The Persuasive Love of a Libertine #5.75  now included in Jealous Love, (or free if you can persuade Amazon to price match with Kobo ebooks) 😉

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6 

The Reckless Love of an Heir #7

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come  :-) 

CompleteCollecvtion_Facebook_Advertv5

Go to the index

For

  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired  The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2, A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3  The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark


The Truth

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10, 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 ,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34,35,36, 37, 38, 39, 40

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Chapter Thirteen

 

Emerald

“Mr Farrow! Mr Pritchard asked that I rouse you! Mr Farrow!” An insistent and persistent knock was striking on the door that lead to the deck. It sounded as though Mr Bishop had been knocking forever.

Emerald woke fully. It was Mr Bishop and he was knocking for Richard. She was in Richard’s bed! Her head lay next to his on the pillow! They had fallen asleep and now bright daylight poured through the window.

“Mr Farrow!”

Richard woke with a jolt, his eyes suddenly open. “Damn it.” He rolled away, getting up and collected his trousers from the floor then pulled them on. Mr Bishop knocked harder. “Mr Farrow! Is all well, Sir?”

Emerald sat up and giggled at Richard’s look of panic; she couldn’t help herself. But she covered her mouth with her hand when Richard glared at her. It was his fault she was still here, though. He had kept her here, finding new ways to make her happy.

He waved a hand at her that told her to get beneath the sheet as he walked towards the door.

Emerald lay back down and pulled the sheet over her head, but peered through a tiny gap as Richard opened the door, standing with his back to the bed, trying to hide her presence. “I am awake. I overslept. What is it?” he growled at poor Mr Bishop. She saw Mr Bishop glance into the cabin, before looking at Richard.

“There is a French naval ship in our path. Captain Swallow took the early morning shift and is sleeping, so Mr Pritchard thought you’d wish to be on deck in case of trouble. And breakfast shan’t be long, Sir.”

Emerald bit her lip. Trying not to make a sound.

“I’ll wash and dress and join you on deck,” Richard answered.

There was a pause then, as though Mr Bishop wished to say something more, but after a moment all he said was, “Very well, Sir, I’ll send the boy back with your water.”

Had the cabin boy knocked already? Had he knocked on her door already too? If he had, Rita would not have answered to hide Emerald’s absence. But that would mean that Mr Bishop knew they had both overslept. Would he guess they had overslept together?

But even if he had guessed Mr Bishop was like Rita, he was in service. He would not speak. Would he? ‘My men need to fear and respect me. They will do neither if they see a woman defy me.’ Richard’s words of last night stung her. But Mr Bishop did respect him, she knew that – she did not think he would speak to anyone. She got up when Richard shut the door and collected her nightdress from the floor.

Richard’s hand ran over his face in an expression of concern. His jaw was shadowed with a night’s dark stubble and it made him look harsher and his eyes expressed his annoyance. But it he could only be with annoyed himself. This was his fault.

“I think he knows,” she whispered as she put on her nightdress.

His gaze came to her, but he made no comment. He was Richard Farrow in his business skin once more. But he was her Richard too, within, and he was half naked still, as she was, and in the bed for most of the night he had been hers alone. She closed the distance to stand before him and then rose to her toes and pressed a sharp kiss on his lips. “I love you.”

His hands gripped her waist and urged her back. “You need to get out of here, Emerald. I think we’ve stirred up quite enough speculation.”

She laughed again but he ignored her amusement, his brown eyes had become distant and hard. “I shall stand at the day cabin door and make sure no one comes in. When I signal, run across to your cabin, and remember there’s a portal people can see through, so do run.”

She smiled at his serious tone and wrapped her arms about his neck, then kissed him again, more fervently. He returned it but for a moment only, then she was set away once more. There was an upward tilt to his lips, though, and light in his eyes afterwards. “Run along, sweetheart,” he whispered in a husky tone, “or you’ll not get back at all, you are tempting me to tell the entire ship to go to hell and not come near my cabin so we can get back into the bed.”

“You know you do not wish to be caught really. I saw your face when you thought Mr Bishop knew. Go and watch at the door.”

He gave her a full smile then smacked her bottom sharply.

“Ow.”

“I love you too, and I shall see you in few minutes for breakfast.” He said before he turned away.

She followed him to the door leading to the day cabin and waited for him to open it and look out. Then he waved for her to stay back as he walked out. She held the door open a crack and watched him stride across to the door that lead on to the deck, slipping his braces up over his shoulders.

When he reached the door he held the handle and looked back signalling for her to run. At the same moment a knock struck the outer door of his cabin. The boy with his water. The sound chased her across the day cabin as she lifted her nightdress to her knees so that she could run. When she reached her cabin door she looked back and blew him a kiss from her fingertips before slipping into her room.

To be continued…

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama, like Victoria and Poldark.

IMG_6159[1]

The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel #5.5

The Persuasive Love of a Libertine #5.75  now included in Jealous Love, (or free if you can persuade Amazon to price match with Kobo ebooks) 😉

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6 

The Reckless Love of an Heir #7

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come  :-) 

CompleteCollecvtion_Facebook_Advertv5

Go to the index

For

  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired  The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2, A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3  The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

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