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“Mr Farrow! Mr Pritchard asked that I rouse you! Mr Farrow!” An insistent and persistent knock was striking on the door that lead to the deck. It sounded as though Mr Bishop had been knocking forever.
Emerald woke fully. It was Mr Bishop and he was knocking for Richard. She was in Richard’s bed! Her head lay next to his on the pillow! They had fallen asleep and now bright daylight poured through the window.
Richard woke with a jolt, his eyes suddenly open. “Damn it.” He rolled away, getting up and collected his trousers from the floor then pulled them on. Mr Bishop knocked harder. “Mr Farrow! Is all well, Sir?”
Emerald sat up and giggled at Richard’s look of panic; she couldn’t help herself. But she covered her mouth with her hand when Richard glared at her. It was his fault she was still here, though. He had kept her here, finding new ways to make her happy.
He waved a hand at her that told her to get beneath the sheet as he walked towards the door.
Emerald lay back down and pulled the sheet over her head, but peered through a tiny gap as Richard opened the door, standing with his back to the bed, trying to hide her presence. “I am awake. I overslept. What is it?” he growled at poor Mr Bishop. She saw Mr Bishop glance into the cabin, before looking at Richard.
“There is a French naval ship in our path. Captain Swallow took the early morning shift and is sleeping, so Mr Pritchard thought you’d wish to be on deck in case of trouble. And breakfast shan’t be long, Sir.”
Emerald bit her lip. Trying not to make a sound.
“I’ll wash and dress and join you on deck,” Richard answered.
There was a pause then, as though Mr Bishop wished to say something more, but after a moment all he said was, “Very well, Sir, I’ll send the boy back with your water.”
Had the cabin boy knocked already? Had he knocked on her door already too? If he had, Rita would not have answered to hide Emerald’s absence. But that would mean that Mr Bishop knew they had both overslept. Would he guess they had overslept together?
But even if he had guessed Mr Bishop was like Rita, he was in service. He would not speak. Would he? ‘My men need to fear and respect me. They will do neither if they see a woman defy me.’ Richard’s words of last night stung her. But Mr Bishop did respect him, she knew that – she did not think he would speak to anyone. She got up when Richard shut the door and collected her nightdress from the floor.
Richard’s hand ran over his face in an expression of concern. His jaw was shadowed with a night’s dark stubble and it made him look harsher and his eyes expressed his annoyance. But it he could only be with annoyed himself. This was his fault.
“I think he knows,” she whispered as she put on her nightdress.
His gaze came to her, but he made no comment. He was Richard Farrow in his business skin once more. But he was her Richard too, within, and he was half naked still, as she was, and in the bed for most of the night he had been hers alone. She closed the distance to stand before him and then rose to her toes and pressed a sharp kiss on his lips. “I love you.”
His hands gripped her waist and urged her back. “You need to get out of here, Emerald. I think we’ve stirred up quite enough speculation.”
She laughed again but he ignored her amusement, his brown eyes had become distant and hard. “I shall stand at the day cabin door and make sure no one comes in. When I signal, run across to your cabin, and remember there’s a portal people can see through, so do run.”
She smiled at his serious tone and wrapped her arms about his neck, then kissed him again, more fervently. He returned it but for a moment only, then she was set away once more. There was an upward tilt to his lips, though, and light in his eyes afterwards. “Run along, sweetheart,” he whispered in a husky tone, “or you’ll not get back at all, you are tempting me to tell the entire ship to go to hell and not come near my cabin so we can get back into the bed.”
“You know you do not wish to be caught really. I saw your face when you thought Mr Bishop knew. Go and watch at the door.”
He gave her a full smile then smacked her bottom sharply.
“I love you too, and I shall see you in few minutes for breakfast.” He said before he turned away.
She followed him to the door leading to the day cabin and waited for him to open it and look out. Then he waved for her to stay back as he walked out. She held the door open a crack and watched him stride across to the door that lead on to the deck, slipping his braces up over his shoulders.
When he reached the door he held the handle and looked back signalling for her to run. At the same moment a knock struck the outer door of his cabin. The boy with his water. The sound chased her across the day cabin as she lifted her nightdress to her knees so that she could run. When she reached her cabin door she looked back and blew him a kiss from her fingertips before slipping into her room.
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
Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5
The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5
The Scandalous Love of a Duke #4
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) 😉
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