Reckless in Innocence
for my Historical Romance readers ❤
© Jane Lark
Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark
Reckless in Innocence
A day later Marcus found himself standing before the Derwents’ door. It was raining as if to complement his mood.
The residence was in a reasonable quarter. Rented, he was certain.
He had slept little last night after his conversation with his brother, memories distant and recent disturbing his thoughts, and Percy’s determined face. He had come to a conclusion in the early hours. He was not prepared to wed her, but he would not see her harmed, and it gave him only one option, to carry out his threat and chaperon the damn girl himself.
His hand rose to lift the knocker, and immediately the door was opened by a maid.
“I have come to see Miss Derwent. Is she at home?” He passed the girl his card. Of course he knew that Elizabeth was at home; he had seen Percy enter but ten minutes ago.
“Yes, Your Grace.” The young woman bobbed a curtsy and disappeared.
Marcus took off his coat and hat.
“Tay! What the hell is he doing here?” Percy’s sharp tone erupted, and then Elizabeth’s quieter one.
“Please, Abigail, send His Grace in.”
He did not wait for the maid’s reappearance, but walked over to the door and entered, meeting the girl as she slipped out. He gave her his hat, gloves and outdoor coat as he passed her.
Percy and Elizabeth were standing. Percy was by the fireplace and Elizabeth stood before a single chair. Just as he’d expected, there was no sign of her mother. Nor was there any ornamentation in the room, it was bare apart from the furniture. He was not surprised. He’d never suspected the Derwents’ of possessing high funds, but he had not realised perhaps quite how low their financial status was. And yet he somehow knew that Elizabeth had equally never assessed him by hisincome.
“Your Grace, to what do we owe this honour?” Elizabeth was viewing him with surprise not irritation.
“I was in the area and so I thought I would call and pay my respects, Miss Derwent,” he said verbally, while mentally he willed her to read his words. I am here to give you the companionship you lack. He nodded to Percy. “Do not mind me. You may continue as you were.” Then looked at Elizabeth, if his intentions truly are honourable there will be no issue with me sitting here. He bowed then.
Percy did not comment. If he protested, he would be admitting to Elizabeth his intention and then he would stand no chance of winning his bet.
“Your Grace, how pleasant to see you.” Lady Derwent entered behind Marcus. Elizabeth had never sized up his income, yet her mother had, The Peerage was probably laying open in a private parlour at this very moment.
“Lady Derwent.” He bowed over the hand she held out.
“It is most kind of you to honour us with a visit. But I believe that Elizabeth was about to go for a drive with Lord Percy.”
“So you will have to excuse us, Tay.” Percy spoke up, claiming possession, and Marcus did not miss the malicious tone in Percy’s voice.
Marcus simply smiled. “That is a shame. But never mind, I was intending to ride myself.” He watched Elizabeth’s face and saw the moment she understood he was here to carry out his threat and chaperon her himself, he’d follow her everywhere simply to keep Percy away.
“I am sure you have more pressing business,” she challenged.
“Yes, Tay, go elsewhere, where you are wanted,” Percy tossed at him with a hard eyed glare.
Marcus set his jaw, “I am sure it will not trouble you, if I follow,” he said mildly, ignoring the dismissal and looking at Elizabeth.
Her head lowered with an almost invisible acceptance and yet he would guess that she knew he would follow anyway even if she’d said no.
Thus they left the Derwents’ residence in a group of three, Elizabeth on Percy’s arm. The man was keeping a hold on her, and Marcus felt it cut like a knife within him when he remembered all the days she had been his sole territory. Percy handed her up into his phaeton, gripping her fingers a little over long before he turned to take his own seat, while Marcus hauled himself up into his saddle.
On the busy street he was forced to ride behind them, and when they reached Hyde Park he drew his horse to stand to one side of rotten row and watched them from a distance. He could not censor their conversation, but he could ensure that Percy took her nowhere he should not; that she would not be in any danger.
To be continued…
If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now 😀
To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but this is the actual order
The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1
Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ This Free Novella #2
The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3
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