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!
In my last post I shared Ellen telling Edward about her history, her marriage to Paul and what came after this… but if you’ve read The Illicit Love of a Courtesan you will know there was another part to the history of Paul and Ellen, the part that made me really drawn to write this story after writing The Scandalous Love of a Duke, there are two more of the children’s stories already written, but when readers began asking me, is there a prequel, at the point I had just finished editing The Scandalous Love of a Duke, I wanted to give John’s father, Paul, a voice in the series… He never even knew that John had been created, and yet I think, well I hope, when you read The Lost Love of a Soldier, you will find elements of Paul which came out in John, and a man who would have been a worthy father and treasured his son… Had he known what became of Ellen after his death, he would have suffered…
( sorry writing about him as a real person, but he is very real in my head 😀 ~ the words of a writer )
This is the scene when Ellen remembers her first marriage and begins to share more of what came next…
Ellen’s first wedding had been a similarly fast affair. A long ride to the Scottish border and vows shared over an iron anvil, but the time she’d had with Paul had been gold to her. She remembered it with a dreamlike distance. She’d been innocent, a virgin, beholding Paul with glowing expectation and no fear of fate. This time she was neither innocent of life or death, and she was afraid of fate.
‘It is how it is,’ her father had once told her. ‘What will be, will be; we must just make the best of it,’ she had often heard Paul say.
Still, she’d always wished she could divine the future and know what faced them on the road ahead, beyond the next brow of life’s journey. She wanted to have choice, to be happy. This morning, when she’d woken at first light, she’d risen and gone to the window, drawing back the heavy curtains. The first rays of the rising sun had caught the veil of white frost covering the ground, casting diamonds, like seeds, beneath her window. It felt like a gift from God, a peace offering. The morning chorus, resounding across the pleasure gardens below, a serenade to the dawn, had felt like it was sung for her. Her heart full to the brim, she’d looked to the distance and clutched her hands together, taking hold of all her hopes and protecting them.
No one knew as well as she did, how hopes could turn to ashes in your hands. She knew the force of the demons chasing her. Edward did not. They’d damned her to hell before. She prayed Edward would have the strength to fight them off, urging herself to have faith in him. She was building castles in the air, marrying him—writing her own fairy tale. But life was not like fairy tales. Life did not play fair—evil won. And fending off Gainsborough was one thing—fending off her father was entirely different.
She looked up at Edward. He was watching her, tenderness in his eyes. He had the strength, goodness and courage to care. She loved him and he loved her. She’d disbelieved him once, he’d proved her wrong. Edward Marlow was her saviour and her hero. All her faith was thrown into the pot. Win or lose, this was her choice—her gamble. Just as it had been with her first husband Paul, only then fate had dealt her a bad hand. Now she hoped, she prayed, here, before God, that her luck would change.
Tears in her eyes, she said, “I will,” and Edward took up her left hand to slip a narrow gold ring onto her finger.
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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