A Lord’s Desperate Love
A Historical Romance Story
Violet watched Geoff take off his hat and put it on a table in the hall. Then he took off his gloves too and dropped them on top of it.
She’d told Janet to leave the house for an hour or two. The maid had looked at Violet and then glanced at Geoff with a question in her eyes before disappearing. Violet’s reputation in this village would be shredded. This was not London. People would not turn a blind eye to such things. The gossip would spread within hours. She was entertaining a man alone – and when it was a man of Geoff’s quality, well.
She did not offer him tea, she did not wish him to stay, she had only proposed they come here to take their argument off the street so others might not hear him rail and swear at her.
Her heart lurched as he began unbuttoning his greatcoat. He had such long-fingered, masculine hands.
When she had seen him standing there with the sun behind him, placing him in silhouette, her heart had burst with joy and love, and an overwhelming sensation of recognition. Her heart knew and wanted him. She’d never felt like this before. And now, as he started stripping off his outdoor coat, she was intensely aware of the body she knew beneath his clothes too.
He’d said, I love you? “You are not staying,” she whispered as he slipped the third button free. Her body and her heart might want him, but her head had more common sense. There was the child.
“I am not going,” he answered with a brutal depth. “You are not throwing me out, Vi. You’ll have to find someone to do it physically if you wish to. I am not moving.”
Oh Lord. “Geoffrey…” Her heart raced. What did, I love you, mean anyway? Did it change anything between them? How could it though?
“Geoffrey, what, Violet? What is going on?”
She turned and walked into the parlour leaving him in the stone-flagged hallway. She had no way to make him go. When she turned back she saw him slip off his coat and turn to hang it on a peg near the door, as though he belonged here. He did not. But he had become a constant presence back in London and her body ached to step into his arms.
Her chin tilted up, when he turned again and entered the parlour.
“Why the blacks, Vi? Has someone died? I didn’t think you had any family left…” His words ran dry and he looked at her blankly for a moment then his gaze flashed hard and sharp. “Mayer was you maiden name wasn’t it? Your father’s name?”
He clearly knew more about her than she’d told him. She’d never spoken of her childhood to him. He was aristocracy and she had come from a family who had made their money from sugar plantations in the colonies. It was another reason he would not wish to marry her and not something she cared to discuss publicly, but there were those who remembered. Those who he had obviously been talking to behind her back. But had he been talking because he cared, or because he was prying…
“Did someone die?”
She didn’t know how to answer and so she did not, just stared at him.
“Let me take your cloak?”
He moved forwards. She stepped back, struggling to find the persona of the merry widow and some way to put Geoff off.
“Violet? What is going on?”
She turned away from him, her fingers trembling as they lifted to untie the ribbons of her bonnet. She did not answer because she could not think of anything to say – except the truth. Yet the truth would not do. She dared not tell. Her child. Their child. Was too precious to risk. It was so unlike her to feel confused. It had been a rule of hers to never let a man close enough to hurt her – but Geoff. I love you.
“Violet, speak to me for God’s sake.” His hand gripped her shoulder and turned her back. “I have been through hell. You vanished from London without a word. I visited every damned entertainment searching for you, for three nights, like an idiot. You were not there. Then when I finally call on you because I realised you were not looking for me, I discovered you gone. I have threatened your solicitor and throttled poor Selford. Then you lead me on this damned trail! I have stopped at every toll to find you, and stalked inns and agents in Bath.” He took a breath. “Violet, I don’t understand. Is this a game? Was I amusement? Because it was far more than that to me, and I thought, well… I thought it was bloody mutual.”
She opened her mouth but no words came. His beautiful hazel eyes shone like gold in the autumn sunlight pouring through the window.
“Let me take your bonnet.”
“No.” She stepped back as his hand lifted, her head tilting sideward, then slipped the bonnet off herself. It dangled by its ribbons from her hand for a moment as she took a breath, before letting her bonnet fall into an empty chair.
“Damn it, Violet!”
She found her voice at last and her words erupted with the confidence she’d oozed in London. “Must you keep swearing, Geoff.” But she did not feel confident here.
“Swearing? If you wish for swearing…” The next expletive was obscene, and certainly one a man should not use before a lady.
A blush burned her cheeks. Why must he be so obtuse?
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! Plus – so much going on – I Found you is reduced to $1.99 from $7 in the USA until 31st March (it is £2.99 in the UK)
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