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Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,14,15,16,17,18 ,19,20,21,22,23,24,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37
For the next seven days Emerald went to Richard’s cabin every night, running through the day cabin in her nightgown, feeling like a ghost as she flitted through the room full of shadows. Then she came alive again in his cabin as he taught her new things, new ways to touch him, or to be touched by him and new ways to rise to the heavens together. There was an intensity in everything he did and she felt worshipped. Cherished. Loved.
His cabin became another world.
On the eighth night she fell asleep in his bunk, her back and hips pressed to his chest and groin. She awoke because his hand gripped her hip pulling her back to make love to her for a second time. He pulled her over him, so his body undulated beneath her with the rock of the sea as he bit and kissed her neck, while she lay on top exposed to the air and the moonlight. It felt wicked.
A sound came from the day cabin, a door opening. The door from the deck into that cabin.
“Joseph,” Richard whispered to her ear. “Hush.”
It was still dark; Mr Swallow must be looking for something and if he came looking for Richard he would discover her. Her heart thumped with a heavy beat of fear but Richard merely covered her mouth and continued while Mr Swallow walked about in the room next door. She heard him opening drawers and speaking to himself. He was barely feet away from where she was joined with Richard. Richard’s strokes were swift as he forcefully pushed them both on towards the end. She bit the skin on his palm as Richard’s form of paradise claimed her mind and body and then a low deep sound rang heavily on his breath near her ear as he came to his end.
Afterwards she stayed still and quiet until Mr Swallow had left the day cabin, then she put on her nightdress, said goodbye to Richard and ran across the day cabin, returning to her own. Rita’s eyes were open and she looked at Emerald but said nothing as Emerald slipped into her bunk.
When Emerald rose in the morning there was a smile on her lips that would not be banished. It had been there for days.
Mr Bishop withdrew her chair at the breakfast table and she looked down wanting to laugh over the secret she and Richard were hiding from the others. When she looked up she caught his gaze, his lips did no more than lift slightly and yet his eyes displayed a broad twinkling smile. “Good morning, Miss Martin.”
“Good morning, Mr Farrow.”
He generally spoke to her less in the day, to camouflage any inkling of the intimacy of their relationship. But she could sense him thinking of her and she watched him when she sat on the deck while she was sewing. Her concentration continually wandered to him and then her eyes followed. She stared as he spoke to his crew on the quarterdeck and when he stood on the poop-deck. She adored him as much as he said he adored her and there was a virile strength in his body that she liked to admire when he was working.
He did not look at her, though, yet she knew he wanted to, he was simply hiding the urge.
After they had lain together in his bunk that night she teased him for it as she dressed. “You do not dare to look at me on the ship in the day and yet in here you stare when I dress… You are coward, Richard, and I have never thought you to be that…”
His eyes narrowed. “It is not that. You will have to stop staring at me on the deck, some of the men are noticing it.”
She did not answer as she slid her arms into the sleeves of her nightdress then pulled it over her head. She enjoyed looking at him.
“You glow like a lantern the way you smile while you look at me. You will give us away.” He was complaining but he sounded amused as though he was not angry but happy over it and she could not extinguish her smiles if she tried. “Your mother has just died, Emerald,” he added as the nightdress fell and sheathed her body. “People expect you to be sad.” She looked at him as the words cut across her middle. That was cruel. She had not forgotten her mother. There was a hollowness within her, an empty place of pain that could swallow her up if she let it but she had been ignoring that darkness and seeking light with Richard.
“If I want to smile I will smile.” She would have walked out of his cabin but he rose and took hold of her hand to stop her.
“I did not mean to upset you.”
“Well you did.”
“I do not want you to be unhappy. I merely do not want you to be ruined by this.”
“I am already ruined, Richard. It is too late to change that.”
His eyes looked hard at her, undecided over something. “But I may still protect you from the needless judgement of others. Please try to be careful.”
She did try the next day. She bit her lip so many times to stop a smile she made it sore because she could not stop herself from feeling proud to have won him. They always spoke at night even as they made love and she asked him questions about his business and the things he traded, the people he employed and the places he’d been to, and she asked how he had begun. He had always held himself back from others but he was not holding back from her. His openness in his conversation had refreshed the sense of self-importance she’d discovered in Malta. She felt as though she saw the world through his eyes as she imagined the things that he spoke of. It had made her feel free. Despite the lack of her mother she had discovered a happiness she had never considered possible and as she sat on the deck reading a book Mr Bishop had loaned to her her thoughts drifted to the future, to returning to India as Richard’s wife and she shut sorrow out. She would rather smile.
Over the next few days the air became too cold to walk about on the deck without a thick shawl and she noticed that the hours of daylight were shorter and the sky frequently darkened to a steel grey colour that she had never seen in India.
“You will need a cloak to walk about the deck soon,” Mr Bishop said one day. “It is springtime in England and it can still be chilly.”
Spring, her mother had said, was the end of winter. Emerald had never known the seasons beyond those in India. She had no understanding of what her mother had described as cold winters of ice and snow.
The next day it was colder still and she held her mother’s shawl tightly about her shoulders as she stood on the poop-deck with Mr Pritchard. He was leaning on the rail beside her as Mr Swallow held the giant wheel that steered the ship’s rudder. There was a storm ahead of them and everyone’s eyes were on the haze in the distance that was falling rain, and the line of dark cloud.
Richard was on the quarterdeck below, shouting orders at the crewmen to bring down some of the sails.
“Nature is a dramatic thing isn’t it?” she said to Mr Pritchard as they continued watching the rain approach. When they came closer to it she could see the ripples on the top of the waves but there was no thunder nor lightning and the waves did not look aggressive. It was just a heavy persistent rainstorm. The sound of it striking the water filled the air.
“Miss Martin! Go below!” Richard shouted up from the quarterdeck in his harsh commanding tone. It was not a request. It was an order.
She looked down and met his gaze, smiled, then turned her back to the rail, disobeying as she looked upward turning her face to await the refreshing feel of a shower. “I am not afraid of a little rain, Mr Pritchard, are you?”
It was exhilarating as it swept over them, like sailing through a waterfall. It drenched her, soaking her straw bonnet and her clothes through to her skin. But it had a cleansing feeling.
To be continued…
The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama, like Victoria and Poldark.
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 Duke #4
The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5
The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel #5.5
The Persuasive Love of a Libertine #5.75 now included in Jealous Love, (or free if you can persuade Amazon to price match with Kobo ebooks) 😉
The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6
The Reckless Love of an Heir #7
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