Reckless in Innocence ~ A Free Historical Romance story ~ Part Thirty-eight

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 LarkReckless in Innocence

Reckless in Innocence

(an early Jane Lark story that is not at all associated with the Marlow Intrigues)

~ Read the earlier parts listed in the index 


Chapter Fifteen



“Wait! Halt!” Marcus yelled to his brother as his gaze followed the numbers on the properties lining the street. They were close. Fifteen, seventeen, nineteen. The address Jason had copied in the solicitor’s office was twenty-three.

It was a tall, narrow, terraced house.

Marcus  looked at his brother. Jason’s gaze was on the property too, and his expression grim. No one knew better than Jason how depraved Percy could be when he chose. Nausea stirred in Marcus’s stomach as they drew closer. There were only two windows in which there was any light. They were on the first floor.

They could be in bed…

The thought struck Marcus like a dagger through the gut.

His eyes hovered on the windows in which light flickered, hoping beyond hope he was wrong.

How many times had Percy bedded her? How had she been treated?

Marcus thought of Angela – the state she’d been in when Jason had introduced Marcus to her. She’d been quiet and nervous – afraid.

There was movement in the window above him. He couldn’t see who or what, but a shadow had crossed the light.

He freed his feet from the stirrups, lifted a leg over the horse’s rump, then slipped down from his saddle, dropping onto the cobbled street, as quietly as he could. Jason did the same.

Marcus lifted his finger to his lips, telling his brother to stay silent. Then tied his reins to the railing. Once his horse was safely tethered, Marcus crossed to the far side of the street and looked up. He could see into the room, although he could see little but a picture on the far wall and the flickering candlelight that made the dark become a frame too, making the view into the room like a picture itself. The neighbouring window which was also lit seemed to be a different room.

Jason stood at Marcus’s side. They glanced at each other, then looked up once more. This was the house. But which room?

Everything about him calmed, he felt as though he stood in the eye of a storm, like a boat becalmed on a still sea. He was in reach of her, but he did not want to rush his fences and err now. She may not be in either lit room, or even in a room at the front of the house…

He could still see movement in the room on the left, hurried movement in the form of a shadow passing across the walls. Then he saw her, just a glimpse, for a brief moment, but it was long enough to know it was her – and enough to know she was frantic – and afraid. She swept back a lock of fallen hair and glanced about the room then moved out of sight.

He looked at Jason. Jason caught hold his arm and nodded up to the other lit room. Percy walked towards the window looking bloody pleased with himself, with a glass in one hand.

Hell and damnation. He’d seen them.



Elizabeth had looked at everything, there was nothing heavy, apart from a chair. But if she picked up a chair she could not hide and have surprise. The only thing which she could find that she could lift above her head to hit him with was her silver plated hairbrush. It was not heavy but it was hard. She gripped its handle and, with her other hand, swept back her hair as she walked past the window. Her hand shook as it lowered and she crossed the room to stand behind the door, her heart pounding.

Lord Percy’s footsteps crossed the floor in the room next door at an urgent pace. “Elizabeth!”

She lifted her hand, holding up the brush and gripped the doorknob. It turned within her fingers. She stepped back as the door thrust open.

When he entered she brought down her arm with as much force as she could. The back of the hairbrush struck his temple, but it had as much impact as a wet rag. He did not even flinch but caught her wrist in his fingers and twisted her arm.

“Ah!” A lance of pain shot up to her shoulder.

“You little trollop.” He dragged her out of the bedroom and into the sitting room. She tugged against his grip, fighting to be free, but his strength was beyond hers.

“Let me go.” Her fingers scratched his face, cutting into the skin beside his eye.

“Stop fighting for God sake.”

“Let me go!”

He pulled her around, twisting her arm so it was pinned behind her back, and pressed up towards her shoulders. The pain in her shoulder, elbow, and the wrist, where he gripped, was searing.

His other arm became a bar across her chest.

“Let me go!”

He dragged her backwards to a chair where he’d left his outdoor coat, she stumbled awkwardly, bucking against his grip, trying to pull away, even though it hurt her arm.

“Stop it!” he barked as he reached across her into the pocket of his coat.

The cold steel of a pistol pressed to her temple. “Stop fighting. Stay still. Or I will simply kill you. It will make things damned well easier.” His voice rung with determined truth. Stunned horror congealed in her blood and she stopped fighting, as he dragged her back again, towards the door.



Marcus banged on the door with the side of his gloved fist, a hard heavy strike which jolted it. He needed to get in there. It opened inwards, revealing a giant of a man who stood like a wall between Marcus and Elizabeth. “Let us pass,” Marcus growled. The man was a mountain. “We are here to see Lord Percy. Move aside. I know for a fact, he is here.”

“And I know for a fact ‘e don’t want no visitors.” The mountain answered.

“And I do not give a damn what he wants!” Marcus withdrew his pistol from his coat pocket, but held it the wrong way around, gripping the handle in his fist. He used it to add weight and solidity to the punch he thrust into the man’s stomach. The mountain doubled over, coughing as Marcus pushed past him and ran up the stairs, two at a time. His pistol now gripped correctly in his hand.

Jason followed.

A door opened on the landing above them. Marcus looked up. Elizabeth. Her gaze grasped at his. “Marcus!”

Good God. His heart bled. Percy had his arm about her and a bloody pistol pointed at her head. He pulled her out on to the landing. He had her pinned against him somehow. “Stay back!”

Marcus slowed. He sensed Jason do the same. But Marcus did not stop moving – downstairs the noise suggested the doorman had recovered and was moving towards Jason. Marcus half turned on the stairs, spinning his aim to the mountain. “Stay back. Keep out of this.”

The man looked at the end of Marcus’s pistol and stilled, as Jason turned and aimed at the doorman too.

They had a bloody stand off. Marcus looked back at Elizabeth, and returned his aim to Percy. Percy was using her as a shield. Hell, Marcus was a reasonable shot but he was no marks man, he would not like to try for Percy when Elizabeth’s head was beside his.

Percy had not stopped moving; he continued backing away from the head of the stairs, along the landing. Marcus climbed another step. So did Jason.

“You would not dare.” Percy growled. “You would lose both her and the child.” My God. Percy dropped the tip of the pistol to Elizabeth’s stomach and pressed.

A chill raced across Marcus’s skin. He could see the convex curve which Percy pressed the pistol against, there was no doubt that what she’d said was true. She was carrying his child. She was. And now because of him, both Elizabeth and their child were at risk. Violent curses screamed in his head as he glanced at his brother, then back at Percy. Marcus climbed another step.

How could he get her away from Percy. The tip of Percy’s pistol lifted and pressed back against Elizabeth’s temple. It had left a red mark there when he’d taken it away. There was a red mark and bruising on her cheek, and her lip had been split. He tried to think, but internally he was too busy screaming curses at himself. “Elizabeth…” His voice echoed about the hall, ringing with pain, saying so much he could not speak; a hundred sorrys, a thousand I love yous and a promise for the future; a promise to be different. If he could get her out of this…

He climbed another step as Percy kept on backing her away. Percy was pulling her towards the entrance to the service stairs at the end of the landing.

Marcus judged the distance Percy had to the stairs, compared the distance he had to reach them.



Even in this awful situation Elizabeth’s instinctual relief at the sight of Marcus flowed into her blood -, the warm feeling from when she’d known him as her sanctuary. Her stomach had turned a somersault at the first sight of him. She did not feel afraid anymore as her gaze clung to his. He’d come for her. The sound of his voice filled her with memories – good memories – she wanted to be held by him. To feel safe again.

“Elizabeth,” he said more quietly as he came to a halt at the top of the stairs, his gun aimed at Lord Percy, his gaze on her. His eyes were trying to communicate something she could not understand. Fear… Apology… Hope… Need…

“Percy, let her go.” The words were the order of Marcus’s brother, as his gun and his gaze focused on the doorman below.

“I do not think so,” Percy answered from behind her, the sick humour in his voice, mocking them. He continued stepping backwards, as she stumbled over each step. His breath ran across her shoulder in a harsh uneven rhythm.

“Don’t worry, Elizabeth.” Marcus took a step forward, his gaze reaching out to grasp her away from Lord Percy.

She glanced back over her shoulder as Lord Percy turned slightly. They were three steps from the door to the servants’ stairs. Her heart thumped as Marcus moved another two steps in her direction and Lord Percy hauled her back again. Lord Percy turned to look back at the door, and his hand which held the pistol, fell, reaching for the handle.

“Move!” Marcus yelled at her.

She ran forward tearing her wrist free of Lord Percy’s grip, twisting her arm still more. The pain roared as she ran to Marcus while behind her she heard Lord Percy open the door. Marcus ran towards her, his pistol still aimed beyond her. He caught her tight against his chest when she reached him and wrapped her arms about his neck. She looked back. Lord Percy disappeared through the servants’ door into the stairwell.

“You are safe?” Marcus said as she clung to him. Then he breathed against her ear. “What has he done to you?” The pistol’s mechanism clicked as he disarmed it, then the weapon was gone, hidden within his pocket, as his brother pushed past them.

Her gaze followed Lord Derwent, Jason, as he ran after Lord Percy, disappearing through the door.

Marcus’s fingers cupped her face, gently turning her gaze back to him. “I am sorry.” His gaze swept across her face, assessing her swollen lip, the bruising and redness on her skin.

When his arms slipped about her shoulders, she rested her temple against the strength of his chest, any anger she’d felt towards him ebbed away. He was her sanctuary again.

“You’re safe now. It’s over.”

Tears, which she’d not even noticed falling, became sobs. He swung her up off her feet, into his arms, then turned back to the stairs. The doorman stepped back, perhaps realising that he’d taken the wrong side.

Elizabeth clasped the lapel of Marcus’s coat. “Your brother?”

“Will see to Percy, and the horses. I am taking you home.”

“I have no home,” Elizabeth whispered on a sob as her arms slid about his neck once more, and her forehead pressed against his shoulder.

“You have a home now, for as long as you want it. Angela and Jason will take you in.”

“Your brother…” she asked in a small voice. Why not with you?

He looked down at her. “My sister-in-law will take care of you. Nothing will harm you there.”

It was not nausea which writhed inside her, nor was it fear – she was heart-sore. But she clutched his shoulders tighter as more tears fell. What had she thought? That he would marry her after this…

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 do not miss your chance for the great Magical Weddings summer reading box set, containing Jane’s super sexy story The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel “If you love Reckless, you will love the Jealous Love of a Scoundrel 😀 ” 99c or 99p



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 Marlow Intrigues


The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Lord #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6

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 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

Real experiences of women at the front line of war ~ some more background to The Battle of Quatre-Bras to commemorate the bicentenary

IMG_6993When I was researching my post on the battles of Quatre-Bras and Lingy, I discovered two more very personal true stories about the women’s presence among the soldiers, which I wanted to share as I feel it really brings some more life and realism to the story I shared about the women’s role and relationships in an army camp.

In my previous Waterloo bicentenary post on the women who supported the men, I talked about how the men did not dislike the women’s presence but almost adopted them as the regiment’s property. They were highly respected and seen as mothers and wives of them all as they supported the whole regiment with daily activities. I was surprised, though, when I was writing the story of how the British forces were mustered in a hurry, having been surprised by an attack from the French at an unexpected location and then had to march out of Brussels in hurry, to discover that some of the women followed.

IMG_7034Many people have heard of the Duke of Wellington being told at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball that Napoleon had attacked, and within hours he had regiments marching out of Brussels to take the 22 mile route to Quatre-Bras. I would not have thought the women would have followed. They were marching into a war zone, with utter certainty of a violent battle. Involving thousands facing thousands. The women must have known they were not safe. But still they followed. So here are the two true stories recorded at the time.

On the 17th June the sun rose over the battlefield at Quatre-Bras at four-thirty in the morning. The bodies of the dead, dying and many of the wounded, would have still lain on the field, and there is a record then of a woman, who was nine months pregnant, walking through the army’s camp full the survivors with her three children, looking for her husband. She was Martha Deacon, the wife of an officer. Most likely, although it isn’t known, to follow her husband to the battle, she had ridden on the back of a supply wagon with her children. She knew her husband had been injured at the end of the battle, and she couldn’t find him.

IMG_7218Thomas Deacon was an Ensign in the 73rd, a Highland battalion. He’d been walking into the battle beside a soldier called Sergeant Morris, who recorded what happened. The man on the other side of Sergeant Morris was shot in the forehead. Thomas Deacon asked who had fallen, and when the Sergeant turned and answered him he saw his officer had been shot. “You are wounded, sir.”

“God bless me, so I am.” In fact one of his arms had been broken by a musket ball. His first thought then was not for himself, but for his wife. He would be unable to fight, and yet he could walk, so he went back to the rear of the army, searching out the guard responsible for the ammunition supply wagon, to look for Martha and their children. He kept looking until nightfall, until blood loss meant he was unable to stand, and was then loaded onto a cart for the wounded to be carried back to Brussels.


IMG_7202When Martha was looking for him in the morning, he’d gone, and was 22 miles away from her. When she found out he’d gone, wearing a black silk dress and a thin shawl, she set out with their children to walk those 22 miles back to Brussels, a direction the army was not travelling in. She had to walk it alone. And to make it worse, the 16th had been a very hot day, but on the 17th the heat broke in a vicious thunderstorm. The rain fell in torrents, and Wellington described it as like a tropical storm. Other accounts say the mud was so bad, horses became stuck in it up to their underbelly. Martha walked through that with her children, and later that day, they would have been followed by Wellington’s army withdrawing back to Waterloo, and then the French pursuing.

IMG_7001It took Martha two days to walk back with the children, but she did find Thomas in Brussels, their fourth child was born the following day . Their new daughter was christened Waterloo Deacon.

The other personal story which I read an account of is much sadder, and yet shows just how deep a relationship the soldiers had with the wives who walked with their regiments.



This story was recorded by Edward Costello, a Rifleman, he was a member of the 95th. They were withdrawing along a pathway to the Nivellas road when a soldier heard a noise. The regiment were ‘partially protected by a hedge from the enemy’s fire, when one of my companions heard the cries of a child on the other side; on looking over he espied a fine boy, about two or three years of age, by the side of its dead mother, who was still bleeding copiously from a wound in the head, occasioned most likely, by a random shot from the enemy. We carried the motherless, and perhaps orphan child by turns to Genappe (the village with the narrow bridge which I spoke of when I talked about the British retreat on the 17th June), where we found a number of women of our division, one of whom recognised the little fellow, I think she said as belonging to a soldier of the First Royals…’

Sorry for the sad ending, but when stories are true, I don’t think we should shy away from the reality, but remember it, and remember the people who gave their lives.

If you would like to read my fictional story set around the lead up to the Battle of Waterloo, then just click on the cover of The Lost Love of a Soldier in the side bar.

If you would like to see the pictures and videos of Waterloo 200 which I shared on my Facebook page, click Like on the Jane Lark Facebook link in the right-hand column. I’ve also shared the videos on my You Tube channel.