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Emerald’s hands were balled so tightly into fists her fingernails pressed into the skin of her palms as she glared at Richard. Hateful man! Liar!
His expression had shifted into that look that was all business and all powerful. Not to be challenged. Richard Farrow owner of the world. He was not her owner!
He was not powerful, he was cold and and empty and cruel!
“You said you loved me!” He did not love her. He did not even know what love was. “Love protects and it cares, it does not lie and hurt!” she concluded with a desperate cry.
She stared at his brown,unfathomable, eyes as he stood as stiff as stone. Did the Richard Farrow she had known in the privacy of his cabin even exist or was he a part of the lie.
“I am going now, Emerald,” he was speaking in his curt business voice. “We will talk when you are calmer.”
He was domineering and arrogant, scolding her as though she was a child. How could she have loved him? “I do not want to speak to you. I shall not. And I shall not dine with you. I do not even want to see you!” How could she have loved him?
He turned to the door. “As you wish.” Then he opened it and walked out with that blank look of his, tall and stiff as a board, as though anything could be thrown at him and it would not be able to touch him.
“Miss Martin will have her dinner served in her cabin, Mr Bishop!” She heard Richard shout across the deck.
A realisation whipped hard at her. That was it. It was over. Whatever had been between her and Richard Farrow was done with.
She sat on the edge of the bunk that had been her mother’s as Rita watched her, and then the anger turned to tears. She had loved him. She did love him. But he had lied and betrayed her. She had been caught up in his whirlwind and now she had been dropped down. She did not cry because she had lost him, though, she cried because she had lost her mother and she longed to be at home with her father.
It was probably an hour later that Mr Bishop knocked, when she opened the door he held out a tray with her dinner on it. “I am not hungry but Rita will be grateful for it. Thank you,” she said as she took the tray. Then she shut the door on Mr Bishop’s guilty expression.
“Miss Martin?” Dr Steel knocked soon after that. “Mr Bishop expressed some concern…”
“I do not wish to speak to you, Dr Steel,” she responded defiantly but Rita still rose and opened the door for him. When he stepped in Emerald did not get up from the bed but only looked up. “Please leave me alone?”
“Miss Martin,” he began “do try to understand. I know why you are upset, but there was no intent to distress you. Shall I fetch you some laudanum, it–”
“I am grieving, Dr Steel, not ill, is grief not natural. I do not need to be drugged into silence.”
“That is not what I meant, I–”
“Leave,” Emerald stated impatiently, pointing at the door. “I do not want your help, you have given me enough of it, thank you.”
Her evening was spent with Rita, in an unbearable quiet, as next door the men talked. She trusted none of them. They had all played their part in Richard’s farce. While Rita ate, Emerald lay on the bunk listening to the men talk in deep tones. Richard laughed thrice, but it was only Richard laughing, the sound taunting her through the wall. He knew she could hear which meant he did not care.
When the men had retired the sounds in the dark cabin were the creaks of the wooden boards and ropes of the ship as it rocked back and forth and to and fro. Her eyes looked through the darkness to the door into the day cabin. Had Richard been arrogant enough to go in there and await her? Or was he in his bunk, naked under the sheet and fast asleep uncaring whether she was there or not.
He did not know how to love, but he had known how to love her body and how to make her body love him. Her body ached to the depth of her bones for him. But his mistress was probably still aching for him in Calcutta too. That was a part of the lies he had told. He was not real, nothing about him had been real. You do not hurt someone you love! You do not lie to them!
She did not think she would ever forget their short affair. She would never be free of Richard in her mind. But she would be physically free of him – because if she did not break this tie to him now his sort of love and desire to conquer would destroy her entirely.
It was when dawn broke that she finally fell asleep, while she remembered the nights of her illness, when Richard had held her hand as her mother lay close, still alive. Now she knew that he had sat beside her knowing her mother was dying and he had not spoken of it.
When the sun rose Richard had hardly slept. He’d spent the hours of the night staring at his internal cabin door waiting for it to open – praying it would open and his siren would slip through it. The ethereal creature he would never be able to capture in his hand.
You will never have her now. His mind had continually whispered. But he refused to heed it. She had come to him before, she would come back, she could not hold out against him. The feelings they had shared could not be denied. And besides, how the hell could she be hurt by his relationship with June? What he’d had with June had been more like a business agreement a matter of the head, and other places. But what he had shared with Emerald has touched his soul not only his heart. But the girl shifted like sand under his feet. He never knew where he was with her. Perhaps that was the draw – she spoke of adventure but she was an adventure.
“An adventure that is over.” He said the words to the man who shaved his chin as he looked at himself in the mirror. No, she would break.
She did not join them at the table for breakfast. Mark said she was still asleep. But later Richard saw her walking on the deck beside Mark as he stood on the poop deck. She did not look up to see if he was there, she looked at Mark, her fingers clinging on to the cloth of his coat sleeve. Emerald was a coldly determined beast when she wished to be. Richard, however, was not inclined to ignore her. He gripped the rail and watched her as she walked back and forth.
As soon as Miss Martin’s exhibition in stubbornness was over Richard invited Mark into the day cabin and told him that for the rest of the journey he could eat with the men below deck. “As Miss Martin is no longer joining us at table.” Joseph’s eyebrows lifted when he heard about what had been said but Joseph may be the Captain, yet Richard owned the damned ship. He may not be able to control Emerald but he could control all else.
He set about stamping his authority on them all then. Ordering Joseph to tasks, just to remind the man who was really in charge here. And yes it was with a vindictive desire to make Joseph and Mark pay for the loss they’d forced upon him. It was their fault that Emerald had turned her back on him.
For God sake she could be carrying his child. The bloody woman. He doubted even if she had fallen with child that the scandal would persuade Emerald Martin into anything she did not wish.
On the second day of her cuts his seething turned its direction on to the crew. Any man who looked at him for a moment too long was threatened with a flogging. He was also tempted to stop Mark from the duty of looking after her and setting Philip to the task. But Richard did not go that far that would have been punishing Emerald and even in his anger he knew this was not her fault.
He should have waited and not let her into his bed. He should have spoken of his feelings and not acted upon them. He should have persuaded her mother to tell her. He should. He should. He should! The words rattled through his head at night, a hundred things he should have done differently and often he physically itched to go to her, to knock on her cabin door and persuade her to forgive him. He often imagined how he would do it. How he would kiss her and feel her succumb to his pleas for forgiveness, whispering the words against her throat. He did not go, but he often woke in the night, sweating and wrapped in his sheets, with the image of Emerald’s naked body instilled in his mind’s eye.
The days passed and she held out against him. Ignoring his existence. He watched her less, cutting her as she was slashing at him.
Occasionally as she walked with Mark she would laugh in a carefree way, as if she wanted to draw Richard’s attention. It was forced of course as his humour was when he sat at the dining table amongst his judgmental sour faced senior crew. She did not want to draw his attention, she was only doing it, as he was, to pretend that all was well.
The foolish thing was, had his men not interfered, all would have been well. She had promised to marry him. But now he had taken her innocence and that was all.
When he did watch her with Mark he could not believe but days ago she had been naked beneath him. It had become a thing of dreams and not fact . And each day they drew closer to England where he would have to let her go.
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 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)
Coming soon, the last part in the story, The Tainted Love of a Captain
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