A #free short story… I’ll be telling it here, and it can also now be downloaded from Amazon.
© Copyright Jane Lark; Publishing rights owned by Harper Impulse; Harper Collins UK
Capturing the Earl’s Love
A Historical Romance story
Meredith felt as though they had just run across a bridge into each other’s arms, as though they were not distant anymore. He had smiled at her, and looked at her, and she was now truly his wife. It had been painful at first, but after that it had been wonderful.
“Lord Morton,” she whispered.
His body immediately stiffened and he lifted off of her.
She didn’t like losing him. She wanted to hold on to him and never let him go.
“Here.” He lifted a corner of the crumpled covers, obviously implying she should slip beneath.
When she had, he bent, picked up her nightgown and then handed it to her.
Her fingers shook when she took it.
“Thank you,” he said, before bending to retrieve his dressing gown. Then he turned away, putting it on as he did so, and afterward, he walked about the room and blew the candles out, all except for the last, which he picked up, and took with him as he left the room. She did not know what to think.
Had she done something to displease him?
Rupert sat at the breakfast table, scanning the papers. Rowena was with him; she was reading a letter which had just been delivered. There were another three dozen white roses in the hall.
He turned the page of the paper. His announcement was there, small and almost hidden. The Earl of Morton wed Miss Meredith Divine… He had no wish to herald his marriage. He turned the page.
He’d wanted a comfortable marriage – that, he knew, he would have to fight to obtain. He’d also wanted a comfortable marriage bed – that, he now knew, he would never have. He would have far more in his bed.
Clearly there had been no woman in Meredith’s life to tell her she ought to lie still and not move, while a man took his pleasure. Well, Amen, and thank God, to that. He had married a delicious, sultry hoyden. He smiled, still looking at the paper, although no longer reading it, as memories slipped through his head.
He had not been able to sleep after his exertions last night. He’d lain awake longing to go back for a second course, and wishing he had not left her bed.
He would go back tonight.
Meredith came into the room, and he instantly stood, looking at her and nodding slightly. “Good morning, Meredith.”
Her eyes focused on his and she gave him that smile, the one which sought to please. The one which had annoyed him for so many months. A warm sensation gripped in his chest.
Last night he’d had to direct her to sit at the far end of the table when she would have taken a seat near him. This morning he beckoned her forward. It would do no harm in the mornings. Her lips parted, her smile broadening.
The warmth, which had blossomed in his chest when she came in, tightened its grip, and left him feeling short of breath.
“Sit here, Meredith; we may be informal in the mornings.”
A footman drew out a chair, and once she was seated, the man poured her chocolate.
Rupert’s heart thumped oddly as he remembered the body beneath her clothes, and how last night it had responded so beautifully to him.
Yes, he had been attracted to her physically, for a long time, yet he’d denied it. The charms he’d felt her weaving about him had not been cast by her, but by his own lust.
Another footman offered to fill her plate.
“How are you?” Rupert asked. Her head, which had been bent, now lifted and her gaze met his, that lovely vivid blue. “Did you sleep well?”
She seemed paler than normal and she looked tired. Perhaps her conscience – if she had one – had been bothering her. It should be bothering her… The girl had tricked him into marrying her. Yet today, he was far less angry about the whole debacle.
“Yes, thank you, Lord Morton.”
“There is little point in you calling me that, now. You must call me, Rupert, Meredith.”
She blushed, then glanced at Rowena, who only now lifted her gaze from her letter, and put it aside. Rowena did not speak, though. She merely glanced at her former friend, before picking up her cutlery and starting her breakfast.
Rupert picked up the paper and passed it to Meredith. “My announcement is in here.” Then he rose, having finished eating. He would go to Jackson’s, and then dine at White’s, before it was the hour to go to the House of Lords.
He glanced at Rowena. “I have asked Ellen to take you and Meredith shopping today.”
Rowena looked up, and gave him the sympathetic smile she’d been bestowing on him ever since Meredith had played her ace. Rowena felt guilty, whether her friend did or not. She had been apologising constantly during the last couple of days; her look suggested another.
He smiled back. Welcome or not, intended or not, Meredith was to live with them now and they must make the best of it. Rowena would have to learn to forgive, as he had to learn to accept. Since last night though, he thought it might be easier than he’d expected to accept his new fate.
He glanced at Meredith again. She stood, as though to speak or to do something, but then appeared to not know what…
Capturing The Earl’s Love is the story of two of the secondary characters from the 1st book in
the Marlow Intrigues Series
‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’
The Lost Love of Soldier
The prequel to The Illicit Love of a Courtesan
is available to pre-order
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
Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback