If you have not read The Illicit Love of a Courtesan you may NOT want to read this post! I am sharing some of the story of the prequel which was told in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, it will spoil the twists in the first book if you read this!
Of course the point when Ellen speaks most about Paul in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan is when she finally feels confident enough in Edward’s loyalty to share the truth…
On a sigh she began the tale, a slow yet deliberate note to her voice, “Very well. He was, is, the son of my husband, Captain (if you read the 1st edition it was Major, this was changed in the English conversion) Paul Harding.” Edward sucked in a breath. “He is dead, Edward,” she said in answer to his response. “We married in my seventeenth year. I followed his regiment with other wives.” Her gaze left his then, falling away to a memory Edward would never see. “He died at Waterloo, before I’d discovered I was carrying John. Paul never even knew.” That pale crystal-blue all absorbing gaze, met his again, sharp, unbending.
“If you would know the rest?”
Of course he wanted to know. He had always wanted to know, ever since he’d met her, before he even knew about the child. He wanted to know every man who’d been before him and then he would call all of the bastards out, one by one, for bringing her down to something he was certain even she abhorred. Fighting a vicious battle with his emotions, he said nothing but gave a stiff decline of his head bidding her go on.
With a little shrug, implying she was throwing caution to the wind and risking his judgement, she continued, “Paul’s Lieutenant Colonel took me under his wing. I had to eat. I had no way to get home. He offered me both. The army had not paid Paul in months, his Lieutenant Colonel knew it. He asked for nothing from me at first, but after John was born he wanted something in return. You understand there was not only my mouth to feed then but John’s too. And as he so forcefully pointed out I was already indebted to him—obliged. There was only one way in which he would accept payment. I knew it was wrong of me, but I was out of my depth.” Her bright eyes flashed a spark in his direction, visibly daring Edward to condemn her in word or deed.
He did not, instead he gave her an understanding smile. He’d always known she’d never chosen to live as she’d done. It belied his desire to tear the bastard limb from limb.
She smiled back with a bolstered, more confident, look. “I was terrified, but didn’t know what else to do. All I thought of was John. And then one night the Lieutenant Colonel came home and told me he’d lost me in a game of cards to another man, a General. I argued and fought against it, but in the end, again, I had no choice. I had nowhere else to go. From that moment on I have been passed from one man to another as a possession, bought and sold.”
Click on the cover in the side bar to buy The Lost Love of a Soldier
Go to the index
- 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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