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
Read the earlier parts
Marcus turned from the drive, through an open gate, into a grass meadow scattered with thistles which had turned to down, and urged his horse forward into a canter. He’d forgotten how good the air of Kent felt against his skin, and that from the ridge you could see far into the distance.
Elizabeth’s mare’s stride thudded on the grass behind him as his stallion kicked up clumps of turf before her, but he did not slow the pace. Instead he kicked his heels against Titan’s sides and focused the animal forward, sending it into a brisk gallop as he leaned close to the horse’s mane, absorbing the exhilarating speed and power in the animal’s limbs.
The wood. Marcus sat back into his saddle, pulling sharply to turn Titan and break his speed. The animal spun about, side stepping. Elizabeth rode a good hundred or so yards behind him. Keeping Titan steady, Marcus waited for her to catch him up.
She looked as though she was enjoying herself, or certainly the smile on her lips implied it, he could not see her eyes at this distance through the fine veil attached to the brim of her hat.
“Has Titan broken your temper?” She called from a distance.
“I am not in a temper. It is a beautiful day. I had a thirst to feel the rush of air one gets from a hard ride. Do you not like the first days of autumn? There is something different in the light, I think. Can you see it? The grass turns to an emerald green and the bracken to bronze. I would miss autumn if I lived in a country where it was forever hot.”
“You are at odds with yourself, Marcus. You cannot say you like autumn because of its affect on the foliage when you have just told me you prefer the town.”
A frown creased his brow briefly, he did not really understand her logic. He leaned forward, passing his leg across the horse’s rump and then leapt into a dismount. “Come, I have a whim.” He took off his hat and gloves and then tossed them to the ground.
Elizabeth watched, her expression dubious. He smiled. She was entirely mistrustful now, but he supposed he deserved that. She accepted his hand, though, when he offered it, and slipped her knee from the pommel, then turned. His hand left hers to catch hold of her waist and then he lifted her down. He might have brought her close but he did not, he stepped away and instead caught up her hand then led her from the horses towards the hedge at the edge of the field.
The grass was long and damp and it soaked the hem of Elizabeth’s skirt.
When Marcus reached the hedgerow he stretched up to a thorny bush and picked a ripe, dark blackberry, then turned to Elizabeth. “The fruits of autumn. Open your mouth.”
Her eyes looked her confusion and doubt, yet she opened her mouth.
He placed the berry on her tongue, as he held her gaze. His fingers were stained with the dark juice and a little leaked on to her lip as she chewed it.
He picked another for her but this time she let go of his hand and took it from his fingers, denying the intimacy he’d engendered. But then she took off her gloves and reached for one, and turned to him. Marcus swallowed against the sudden dryness in his throat before he opened his mouth to accept it. She slid the berry past his lips and he caught it with his teeth as his hand lifted to capture hers before it might pull away. He licked the juice from her fingertips. He reached for another berry for her but she turned away, pulling her hand from his.
“Did you come here to pick berries as a child?” she asked, picking another one for herself a couple of feet away.
“I did.” Marcus glanced towards the wood, an image from years ago in his mind’s eye. “Though only when I was very young.” He looked back at Elizabeth. “I have not done so since I was eight.” He watched her lips part and then she bit into the berry.
“Elizabeth, tell me what the hell you see in Percy to make you want his company?”
She smiled at him, a soft smile. It reminded him of the tempting looks she had used to throw across ballrooms at him, when she had still been innocent. “Because Lord Percy is not you, Marcus. He is the opposite of you, and I am inclined towards every quality you do not possess.”
Wicked, wicked woman. She was sugar and spice indeed. When she wished she could spit venom, when she liked she could be honey. Without even thinking, his hand reached for her and he brought her to him. The material of the habit was taut across her chest and he could not help but be aware of her bosom rising and falling from the quickening of her breath.
He looked at her mouth, at the dark stain from the berry juice on her lips. Then his gaze met hers through the thin gauze of the short veil covering her eyes. He had not looked into the depths of the turquoise blue for weeks. His fingers lifted the gauze and turned it up over the brim of her hat, but then they ran down her cheek and his thumb wiped juice from her lower lip.
To be continued…
If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now 😀 And if you have read them all already, then there’s another treat on its way, on the 29th January you can begin devouring, The Dangerous Love of a Rogue
To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but the actual order is listed below ~ and click like to follow my Facebook Page not to miss anything…
The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all ~ The paperback would be a lovely stocking filler 😉
Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5
The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5
Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback 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