A Lord’s Desperate Love
A Historical Romance Story
Geoffrey arrived in Lacock in time for a late luncheon. He ate in the Black Horse Inn. His stomach growling as the serving maid set down his meal. He’d eaten far too little these last few days.
He looked up as the plate touched the beer stained table. “Do you know Mrs Meyer who has recently moved into the Village?” The name the agent had given him felt foolish on his tongue. There was no feeling in his chest when he said it.
The maid shook her head. “Will you ask the other staff in the inn if they have?”
She nodded, as Geoff picked up his knife and fork. When she walked away he began to eat, merely filling his stomach to start his search again. He had no appetite.
When the maid returned to collect his empty tankard and plate, he said, “Has anyone heard of her? Do they know where she lives?”
“No, sir. No one’s ‘eard of ‘er.”
Had he come chasing after a ghost? What if Mrs Meyer wasn’t even Violet? “Thank you.” Tossing a couple of coins onto the table, in a gesture of gratitude, he stood, and then left.
As the door dropped shut behind him, he faced the street uncertain what to do. He’d had a hard ride through the fog to get here. He’d set out at daybreak. Now he’d never have known it had been foggy. The sun was bright.
He saw another inn along the street, The King’s Head. Perhaps someone at that inn might know of Mrs Meyer. When he walked in he leaned on the bar and asked the man behind it, “Do you know where Mrs Meyer lives. She is new to the village.”
“No, sir. What can I get you?”
“Nothing. That is all.” Again he dropped some coins on the counter and then walked out.
At the next three inns the answer was the same. No one had heard the name.
He did not ask in the shops. It was common place to ask questions at an inn, but not in a shop. He was not here to destroy her character. He did not wish to draw attention to her if she was hiding from something here. If it was her? But what reason did she have to hide?
As he walked about Lacock, he alternated his gaze between the houses and the people passing. Where the hell was she? There were at least a dozen houses of a size Violet might rent. Which?
He looked through windows, trying to see who was in the rooms, but the sunlight reflected back and made that virtually impossible.
His eyes scanned the faces of the women walking past him, and those across the street – Violet’s was not among them.
He looked at the women with their backs to him, judging their height and figure. But none of them resembled Violet.
As he completed his fifth circuit of the village he stopped in the market place and slid his hands into the pockets of his greatcoat. Come on, Vi, where are you? In the privacy of his pockets his fists clenched and unclenched. He took a deep breath. Damn. A few people were here, but it was now nearly four. They’d all be gone soon.
Was Violet here, or was she not? What to do? He could stay at an inn and look again tomorrow, and then the next day and the next. Yet what if Mrs Mayer was not Violet? Then he’d just waste time – and possibly lose her.
His heart thumped in a steady rhythm and his gaze ran across the houses about him. Nothing.
He turned and faced a narrow street, one he’d not walked down yet. Perhaps?
Arms swinging at his sides, his fists still clenched and legs slashing at the skirt of his greatcoat he walked on; his jaw taut.
It was as if his fingertips clung to the cliff of sanity and he was about slip off.
“Damn, Violet?” Where had she gone?
At the end of the street he faced a little ford through a stream which ran about the edge of the village. There were three small cottages on the far side. He couldn’t imagine Violet in any of them.
He turned away from the possibility of the stepping-stones to the left and continued up a short hill.
The cottages grew sparser about him.
He didn’t stop walking. He’d given up hope of finding her today. He reached the brow of a hill and looked down.
There, before him, as the road dropped again, was a woman, clothed in unrelieved black.
She stood with her elbows resting on a wooden gate, looking out across a field. She wore a bonnet so he could not see her face, and her black cloak hid her figure entirely, yet there was a certain curve to her neck.
He’d stopped still, and it was as though his heart had stilled too.
He began moving. His steps urgent as pain and love whirled through him in a sudden storm. “Violet!”
“Violet! My God. Violet!” He kept moving as she merely looked at him, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
“What the hell is going on, Vi?” His voice became bitter when he drew near. “Why did you leave?” Despite his anger and the pain ripping threw his middle, he lifted his hand. He wanted to hold her, but she backed away. The rejection cut into him. His heart belonged to this woman.
“Violet?” Geoff’s voice shifted into a tone of confusion.
Yet she couldn’t let him hold her, she would crumble and the child would be lost.
His hand reached out further but she stepped back again.
“Violet. What is going on? Tell me. Why are you wearing black, and calling yourself Mrs Mayer? For God’s sake, what or who are you hiding from?”
“I don’t understand Violet. You just disappeared. Why did you run? Why did you not come to me?” There was anguish and anger in his pitch. It reached inside her and played on the aching strings in her heart. But she daren’t concede and let him know.
Hardening her heart and taking up the mantle of the merry widow again, she smiled and made to walk past him. “Well you know me Geoff, I like to have fun, and nothing holds my attention overlong –”
He caught her upper arm. “Violet. Damn you. You have caused me untold agony. Do not act as though you do not care. We have had far more than fun.”
His eyes blazed as he looked down, as if he was trying to look into her soul.
She bit her lip and turned her head away, but he caught her chin and turned it back.
“Violet.” It was a question, a declaration and an accusation as his head descended and then his lips pressed against hers tipping her head back.
She longed to cling to him and she wanted to weep as all they’d been to each other flooded in. It had always felt good with Geoff, but this summer it had become much more. She’d fallen so deeply in love with this young, elemental man. She was the sea to his moon. The feelings he could quicken inside her were terrifying.
Her palm pressed against his chest and pushed him back as she urged herself to remember sense. “Go away, Geoff.” She would have to go too, and find somewhere else to hide.
“Go away?” His voice lifted in pitch and anger. “Go away? Vi? Have you been playing with me all summer? Was this some bloody game of yours? God! Have you been making a fool of me?”
Worse obscenities slipped from his lips. “We are standing in the road, Geoff!” – and on the edge of the village – anyone might hear him, and see him manhandling her like she was a common slut. They were making a fine exhibit.
His hands let her go, falling away at the same moment she stepped back. But his gaze became threatening and his voice dropped in pitch but not in intensity. “You are not casting me off, Violet. I’ll not go. Do you understand? I don’t believe you do not care for me. I am not leaving you here. I love you.”
Violet’s heart leapt and then beat at an aggressive pace.
A Lord’s Desperate Love is the story of two of the secondary characters from the 2nd book in the Marlow Intrigues Series
~ ‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’.
The true story of a courtesan, who inspired The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, which I’ve been telling every Sunday, will continue alongside this, and if you fancy more reading, the 3rd book in the Marlow Intrigues series, John’s story, is out on 3rd April click on his cover in the side bar to pre-order. My lovely, moody, arrogant, fractured-golden-hearted 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