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
Rupert glanced at his wife for the umpteenth time as she walked slowly beside him.
Her fingers were a gentle pressure on his arm. Wisps of her auburn hair had crept free from the confines of her bonnet and caressed her neck.
She talked, speaking of her childhood and how she missed the mother she’d never really known. He listened with only half his mind. The other half was transfixed by imagining the figure beneath the pale blue muslin gown she wore today.
The dress was very pretty, mind, it had a pattern of printed forget-me-nots, and her straw bonnet matched it perfectly, with a sprig of flowers and blue ribbon. She looked gorgeous. He’d never noticed before just how gracefully she moved. But, of course, before, she’d always clung to Rowena.
She hadn’t needed his sister as a foil. Meredith was more exquisite when she stood alone.
His fingers covered those lying on his arm and a warm feeling spread within his chest, as though it leaked from his heart. Greys? Was that what he was seeing now, the shades which added depth to a person?
“Meredith, why did you do what you did that night, and why did you befriend Rowena?”
She stopped and looked up at him, her eyes wide, and shining with an unspoken question.
“Tell me honestly and then let us set it aside…”
She bit her lip for an instant, but then she spoke. “I love you.”
The words pierced him like a sharp, pointed knife blade. Did she? It made him feel odd, and strange emotions warred within his chest as she continued.
“I did not plan it, Lord Mor… Rupert, I swear I did not, but I wanted… you… And then my father told me he had signed a marriage contract with his partner.”
Rupert had not realised the agreement with Perrigrew had actually been made.
“You spoke to me and you were there, that night, and you had never really spoken to me… I’m sorry, I just took the chance. I did not think. But I did not make friends with Rowena to do what I did. Rowena has been the only proper friend I’ve ever had…”
He bent and kissed her. He was inclined to believe her, her eyes had glowed with sincerity.
When he straightened again, he looked into those eyes, one hand now gripping hers and his other at her nape. “Do you regret what you did? Are you sorry?”
She shook her head, immediately. “I’m not sorry, not at all. Not if it can be like this.”
He stared at her, his answer building like wildfire within him. He was not sorry either. If she had not done what she’d done, then he would never have seen the shades between black and white. He would not be discovering the things he was now. Like how good it felt to have a willing, vibrant woman waiting in bed for him at night. “I am not sorry either,” he whispered over her lips, the moment before he kissed her again.
He could very easily become deeply attached to this girl, and he felt himself falling as he kissed her. He wondered if this was how Edward had felt when he’d met Ellen.
She broke the kiss, looking suddenly hesitant. “Oh Rupert, I have to tell you. I am your wife, and no matter how much I love Rowena, too, I cannot keep this secret from you.”
What secret? His eyes, perhaps, asked the question, because she answered without him asking.
“Rowena has gone out with Lord Kendrick.”
“Kendrick? To what end?”
“He wished her to meet his children.”
“She is not with Ellen?” He did not know what to think.
“No, she’s gone alone, but they were going to the park. They will be in the open, and there will be the children and a groom—”
“Even so, Meredith, where are they?”
He turned back to his carriage, anger rushing through his blood, but she grasped his arm. “Do not be angry with her, Rupert, please. She’ll know I told you, and she will hate me more. We saw him yesterday, too. He took us all to Gunter’s. I don’t think he’ll do her any harm, Rupert. I had to tell you, though. It doesn’t feel right to keep secrets from you.”
“Yet you would rather I do nothing?”
She nodded, and for the first time he saw she was afraid of him. It was in her eyes. Uncertainty and insecurity shone there. Had she been afraid of him before? In love with him and afraid of his poor opinion?
He’d made no secret of how little he thought of her. He’d seen black or white, when there was definitely a vast spectrum in between, not just greys. She had, of course, forced him into this match. A burning gladness ran through him. He was not only not sorry, he was glad she’d done it.
“Very well.” He set Rowena’s situation from his mind, something he had not been able to do for years, and turned to walk along the river path again, keeping a hold of Meredith’s hand, warmth wrapping about his heart.
Was this how Edward felt? It was new uncharted, unsteady ground for Rupert.
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’
To read the full Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but this is the actual order
The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel
#1.5 Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ This Free Novella
and, yes, there are more to come 🙂
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