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Posted as a gift of my time and thoughts to the readers of my books, thank you for the lovely messages of appreciation,

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this novel should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Part 123456789101112131415161718 ,192021222324252627282930313233,34,35,36373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566, 67

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Richard

Richard ate breakfast amongst his family, while upstairs a manservant packed for the journey to India. Only Frederick knew Richard’s intent. His mother would be glad when he was gone but he had no desire to watch her pleasure. But Rose…

His mother and brother stood to leave the table. “Rose…” Richard caught her attention before she could leave with them.

“Do you wish to ask me about Miss Martin?” She moved to a chair nearer his, beckoning a footman to pour her another coffee as the door shut behind the others.

Richard waited for her coffee to be poured and then signalled to the footman to leave them. “No, I do not want to talk about Miss Martin,” Richard answered once they were alone. “But I do have something to tell you. I am leaving England because it is better that I go.”

“Better for whom?” she responded, sitting back as though he had struck her.

“For everyone bar you, I think,” he answered. “But you have Amelia and Alicia, and Frederick, you do not need me, Rose.”

“I will judge that.” She glowered at him, with accusation and pain in her eyes. “What of Miss Martin? Do you no longer care for her after making her cry?”

“Her feelings are not the same as mine. There is no point in my staying here.”

“Not even for your family?”

“I have a business to manage. It will not manage itself.”

“And your lands and responsibilities here will?”

“Frederick has agreed to handle it all, he is very capable.”

“So not even Miss Martin will keep you here, ?”

“I told you, Rose,” he said, more forcefully. “Miss Martin does not wish me to stay. She does not need me.”

Rase’s fingers clasped about his hand. “She cried for you last night, Richard,”

He pulled his hand free and picked up his coffee cup. “She was crying for her mother,” he stated before he drank.

“Someone ought to cry for you, Richard,” Rose said. “You need to let someone care.”

He shook his head and stood. “My things should be packed. I am leaving in half-an-hour.”

“Today!” she stood too. “Why so soon?”

“One of my ships is in dock. It is catching the tide later.”

Her arms were about his neck then, holding him as she kissed his cheek. “I do not want you to go. I want you to be happy here.”

“I am happy when I am away from here.” Or he had been for years, or perhaps not happy but content. But he had been happy on the ship during the days Emerald had come to his cabin. What was it with women and their desire to make a man think his life was incomplete if it was not flooded with happiness. He had his business, he lived well, he did not lack anything––except Emerald––his heart surged with a deep regret.

“You are not happy in India,” Rose answered, her fingers touching his cheek. “You are lonely, but still you will not let anyone close, even your little sister who has adored you since she was three and only wishes good things for you.”

“Only since you were three?” he answered, cupping her chin and kissing her cheek. “I have adored you since you were born.”

She smiled.

“I will miss you, Rose. Considerably. But I cannot stay. Write to me as you have always done.”

“And you will rarely reply, as you have always done.”

“I will try to write more frequently.”

“And forget.” She held his hands. “I will come and say goodbye when you leave. Have you told, Mama?”

“No, you may do it for me when I am gone. I am sure she will celebrate this evening.”

“Coward.”

He laughed.

“She will not be happy, you know she will consider it a failing that you are walking away from your responsibility. I presume Frederick knows?”

“He does and I have bid Fred marry and bear heirs. That is what mother wants.”

Rose shook her head, tears filling her eyes and held him again.

 

*    *   *

Emerald

Emerald had slept for hours, it was eleven when she woke fully. As she woke the conversations that had been spoken last night returned to her like whispers spoken across the room.

“Have Rose take you to your aunt. Insist your aunt take you home tonight. Sleep and tomorrow eat. I can see you have not been doing so. When you feel stronger, speak to Sunderland and tell him you want to wait until your father arrives.”

The daylight reached across her middle from a gap in the curtains. She stretched like a cat, for the first time in weeks feeling unburdened. Her father was in the house and she was no longer entangled in an misguided engagement.

“Your father will give you another choice, to go home.”

 

Emerald sat upright and moved the sheet aside to get up. “Rita!”

Rita appeared from the dressing room. “Miss Emma. You slept late, but The Governor insisted I not wake you.”

“I was tired. Is my father downstairs?”

“He is. Shall I send word to say you have woken?”

“Yes, please do.” Emerald smiled.

Richard had promised that her father would come, and he had.

A smile lifted Emerald’s lips as she slid off the bed.

Rita poured water into a washing bowl.

Emerald’s smile fell as she remembered other elements of their discussion. “You deceived me,” she had accused him.

“Cease this misunderstanding. If I had told you I would have lied to your mother. I made a promise to her. I did not tell you because it is what she wished.”

She walked over to the water.  “And your mistress?”

“I did not have a mistress when I slept with you, I had ended that relationship”

Emerald splashed some of the water on her face, then wiped it off with the cloth beside the bowl.

She undid the buttons at the front of her night gown as Rita lay out her day clothes on the bed.

It was true that he had not intended anything to happen between them on the ship. Nor had she. It had just happened.

She stripped the nightgown off her arms and washed them.

Was it naive to expect a man to have no mistress? Ought she to have known there would have been a woman left behind in Calcutta before she had begun anything with Richard… The Duke… Did he have a mistress? Probably. She had been willing to marry him and he would not have dismissed his mistress for her sake. That marriage would have been an utter lie because nor would she have told him about Richard.

She washed her breasts and  then her neck.

She had been naive. If she would never speak of Richard, why then had she imagined Richard would speak of his previous affairs to her?

She slid the nightgown off her hips and let if fall to the floor so she might wash her lower body.

“I love you. It has taken me a lifetime to fall for a woman as I have for you. I did not know what I was lacking until this journey. When I knew, why would I not have made the decision to end a relationship with a mistress?”

Her mother had asked Richard to say nothing. He’d cut off his mistress as soon as he was able when something began. “My love for you is no lie.”  Her mind spiralled in such a muddle today. “Forget all else.” 

“Forget you lived a lie in Calcutta. You denied your family and your name. I do not know you.”

But she knew him more than anyone in Calcutta or on his ship. She turned and lifted her arms so that Rita could slide a clean chemise over Emerald’s head. It slipped down her body.

Emerald turned again, and held the corset that Rita wrapped about her. Her body jolted as Rita tugged the lacing into place.

“He does not relate to people easily…” Richard’s sister had said. “He has not been close to us… Richard was not born the heir. He and my father never got along.’”

Rita tied the bustle at Emerald’s waist. Then held the dress for Emerald to step into.

Rose’s words whispered through Emerald’s thoughts again as she slipped her arms into the sleeves. “Richard was wild… My parents hated him … called him a devil child.” Emerald thought of the children upstairs, as Rita finished securing the buttons at the back of the dress. The children here had their father’s affection and Emerald had been called wild as a girl but she had always been loved. She could not conceive what it must have been like in Richard’s childhood home.

‘He was punished, beaten…How utterly awful his childhood must have been.

“He is not bad… He was just full of life and they tried to crush him. They did not succeed.”

Emerald sat down so that Rita could brush her hair and then pin it up.

“He is not cold, as he seems… he does not hold people at a distance because it is his choice. Others have pushed him away.”

Emerald had pushed Richard away too. Her heart thumped as she stared at her image in the mirror while the brush stroked through her hair. Yet he had still said he loved her. ‘My love for you is no lie. Forget all else.’ 

‘I wish him happy… We all do. We think you can make him happy.’

Emerald’s breath trembled as she breathed out. She did believe that he loved her. That was the truth. She had always thought him a secretive man in India, a man who held people back. But that was not true, he did not shut people out. He had locked himself away to protect himself from any pour opinion that might hurt him.

The truth was––he needed her more than her cousin’s children. The truth was––he held himself distant from people because he did not known how to get close. The truth was––he had fought so hard to succeed because he had wished to prove his worth to his father.

She stood up, her hair slipping from Rita’s hands. He had said goodbye last night, in a voice that had implied it was a full goodbye and her father had arrived on his ship. Richard was going to leave on it. Last night had been a final attempt to persuade her to forgive him.

 

“Rita, I must go out.”

“Miss…”

Her hair was only half pinned. “Where is my cloak?”

“Wait a moment, Miss. Let me secure your hair with a comb at least.” Emerald sat  again, her hands clasping, the need for haste making her heart race. She had no idea when the tide would be high. What if the ship had already sailed?

“Miss.” Rita moved away to fetch Emerald’s cloak as Emerald stood.

Minutes later Emerald hurried into the drawing-room. “We have to go out, Papa!”

“Your father is not to be ordered, Emma,” her aunt said

“I believe I am the one to decide if I am to be ordered or not, Millicent,” her father answered as he stood and held a hand out towards Emerald. “Now, where is it you wish to go in such a hurry?” The withering stare he had cast on her aunt turned to her and became a soft warmth of appreciation, that offered to do whatever she asked.

“Oh Papa,” she did not take his hand but hugged him briefly and firmly. “I have missed you.”

“And I you, child.” He patted her shoulder.

“Such displays of affection are indecent,” her aunt admonished.

“They are encouraged in my house,” her father threw back, “and I will not hear Emma criticised for it.” It was no wonder that her mother’s family had disliked him, he was not afraid to show his emotion. He looked at her. “I have let The Duke know we shall find other accommodation, Emma, and I have asked Rita to pack your things.” And Emerald’s aunt was no longer needed as chaperone, she would have to give the money back and leave The Duke’s house, it was no wonder she was angry.

Emerald smiled at her father. “May we leave?”

“We may. Rita can bring our things later, once I send word of our address.”

Emerald bobbed a brief curtsey at her aunt because the gesture was too ingrained not to, then grasped her father’s arm and turned him away, giving him no chance to say goodbye beyond the one word, “Millicent.”

“Where is it we are headed, my dear?” he asked, when they were in the hall,

“The Blackwall docks. I have to find, Richard.”

“Richard?” Her father’s hand covered hers on his arm as they passed the butler.

“Mr Farrow. Only he is not Mr Farrow, he is the Earl of Wroxeter, Lord Wroxeter, and I need to speak to him.”

A hired carriage was waiting outside the house. Her father moved away and opened the door for her, calling up to the driver. “To Blackwall docks. We are looking for a ship called The Rose.”

“Richard is not the callous man everyone thinks him, Papa,” she said, as her father climbed into the carriage. He had arrived on Mr Swallow’s ship. She had not known in all the months she had travelled on that ship, that Richard had named the ship for his sister. He had thought of Rose in India.

“I know that,” Emerald’s father stated as he pulled the door shut and sat down.

The hackney lurched forward.

“And had I not known it, I would have when he sent a ship to Alexandria to meet me. He surmised I would take the quickest route.”

Emerald clasped her father’s hand. “Papa, I love him.”

“Farrow?”

Her father would have said more, but she did not give him chance. “He is not at all as he seems. He lied to all of us, pretending he is something he is not.”

Her father’s other hand covered hers. “Sweetheart, I have always known exactly who and what Richard Farrow is, as did your mother and everyone in the East India Company. We respected his choice not to use his title. He did not lie, sweetheart. Why do you think your mother was always so tolerant of him? She sympathised, having endured the rejection of her own family. You need not convince me he is worthy of you, dear?”

Why had Richard not told her people knew? “Oh, but you should know he had a mistress in Calcutta. He has ended the arrangement.”

“My dear, of course I know of June. He did not keep the arrangement secret. She was a part of his business life. I always thought her pleasant, though clearly she was no more to him than a companion. But I cannot imagine a man so brutally honest as Farrow keeping a mistress if he marries. Still you should not know of such things. I am surprised he told you.”

“He did not, someone else mentioned her on the ship, in my hearing.” Emerald was such a fool, all the things she had been so upset over, her father thought nothing of.

“Oh Papa.” Her arms wrapped about his neck. “I have missed you so much.”

He patted her back. “What does Farrow know of this if he is leaving?”

She pulled away again. “He has declared his love for me numerous times. You cannot be angry with him. But I have been blind and foolish and not dared to trust him. I turned him away. He is leaving because he thinks I do not return his feelings.”

“But you say you do.”

“Yes. I love him.”

To be continued… Only two more episodes to go 😀 

 

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama

The Tainted Love of a Captain #8 – The last episode in the Marlow Intrigues series

106849-fc50

 

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

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3

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

106848-FC50

Go to the index

For

  • 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

 

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Posted as a gift of my time and thoughts to the readers of my books, thank you for the lovely messages of appreciation,

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this novel should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 101112131415161718 ,1920212223242526, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,34,35,36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 5455, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 6162, 63, 64, 65,

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Emerald

When Richard had gone the room had a screaming emptiness as Emerald’s thoughts swam. His entire family had joined the game of pin Emerald down, surrounding her in a pack, hemming her in and keeping her talking until he had asked his inappropriate question. Only they had heard it. Of course she had known from the beginning that Richard was a clever and persistent man. She had just never thought that those powers would be used on her one day.

The thought of what he intended to do next distracted her as she ate dinner.

“Is all well, Emma?” The Duke asked. She looked up to face his stare. Perhaps he had spoken to her before. She had not been paying attention to the conversation. “I hear Wroxeter called today?”

“Yes.” What else was there to say, she could not tell him what Richard had said. “With his sisters.”

The Duke nodded, but she could see that he saw through Richard as clearly as she had. She ought to be cautious this evening.

When they reached the Merchants’ home, The Duke remained with her after they had passed the receiving line. Emerald strained to see Richard. She saw his family first. Then she saw him. He was speaking with his brother, who had not called that afternoon. Richard’s gaze turned from his brother to her, as though he had sensed her look without breaking the conversation.

She turned away and faced her cousin.

“Shall we have some refreshments, Emma?”

“Yes, thank you.”

He patted her hand. ‘Do not worry it will not be long before you can dance and enjoy yourself.’

But her grief would not simply end when her period of half-mourning did, the emotion was not bound by time in the way that society dictated.

Every moment she could sense where Richard was in the room but he did not come close, and nor did any of his family. Instead she remained at The Duke’s side as he moved about the room speak with his friends.

As she ate supper she could see Richard seated among his family. While she struggled to converse Richard talked and laughed. Why could her heart not comply with the sensible and disciplined woman her mother had wanted of her?

As people began drifting back into the ballroom Richard’s youngest sister approached. Perhaps Emerald had stared too much. “Miss Martin, will you walk with me? I hoped you would tell me more of India.”

Oh. Emerald’s heart raced,questioning the reason for this tête-à-tête as she glanced at her cousin but she stood without asking The Duke’s permission to leave. She curtsied, “Lady Rosalind.”

The Duke glanced across the room. Richard was still seated and he had his back to them talking to his brothers-in-law.

Rosalind threaded her arm through Emerald’s as though holding on so Emerald could not escape. “Let us promenade about the ballroom?” Once they were in the ballroom where the noise of conversation and music filled the air, Rosalind leant close. “Richard would like to speak with you. He will not come near you in here to protect your reputation but he suggested, if you are willing, that we walk out into the garden and find somewhere for you to talk privately.”

“And his meeting me in private will not affect my reputation…” Emerald’s voice was sharp. It was Richard manipulating again.

His sister smiled. “He promised he means you no harm. He will be careful.”

“Are you aware how many lies your brother tells?”

They continued walking, circulating about the edge of the dancers. “I am aware of the effort he will go to, to hold people back, yes. What you said about the way he lives in India did not surprise us. But I do not think Richard is lying tonight or that he would harm you. If you wish, I will stay with the two of you.”

“No, I will speak to him alone.” She was not afraid of him.

Within minutes they were stepping out through the french-doors on to a terrace illuminated by lanterns that had been hung in the trees. No one else was outside.

Rosalind turned away from the lighted paths and into the darkness. “There is a seat farther along.” She whispered. The farther they walked the more they relied on the intermittent moonlight that reached through the shrubbery.

“Rose,” Richard’s voice reached through the darkness then he stepped from the shadows. “Emerald.” There was a rare sound of vulnerability in his tone. Rosalind released Emerald’s arm and as Emerald’s hand fell Richard caught hold of her fingers then he lifted them to his lips for an instant. She could feel the warmth through the black satin of her evening glove as he kissed them.

“Thank you,” he said to his sister as their hands lowered.

“I will leave you, but I will not go far,” it was said to Emerald, to let her know she had a chaperon.

Richard smiled as Rosalind slipped away.

Emerald glanced backwards, half expecting her cousin to appear. It was tempting fate meeting Richard here.

As though sensing she might pull away he gripped her hand more firmly. “Will you sit with me?” The stone seat was tucked into the yew hedge. She nodded but he was already leading her there.

She pulled her hand from his as they sat.

“I am no threat to you,” he said quietly, in a pitch his sister would not hear. She stared into the eyes that months ago she treasured looking into. “Why did you agree to marry The Duke of Sunderland? You cannot convince me you desire that after what occurred between us at the engagement dinner.”

“I struck you.”

“You know full well I am referring to the kiss that came before the slap.”

“It was a moment madness.”

“Madness or not, it does not convince me you would choose to marry another man. At least wait until your father arrives.”

“He will not come,” the cold penetrated the thin sleeves of her evening gown and a shiver rocked her.

“He will come. He would resign his post rather than leave you alone here after what happened.”

 

Richard

Emerald’s eyes were wide in the darkness, and they said she did not believe him. Her hands clasped in her lap. This was the beleaguered, besieged woman of England, not his vibrant fire filled Emerald from India––her whole body expressed defeat.

“Give him time,” Richard urged. “Do not rush into this marriage. It is not right.”

“How do you know what is right for me?”

I am right for you. The words breathed through him. “I remember what you said on the ship, you wished for more than marriage,  more than than a life of parlour talk. That is all you would have with Sunderland.” I can give you more, you wanted more.

“I would have honesty and safety.”

“Emptiness. What of adventure? What of love? What of your precious happiness? Do you not wish yourself happy anymore?”

Her look sharpened but there was pain in her eyes. No grief.

He twisted sideways, reached and held her hand leaving their joined hands resting in her lap. “Do not do it.”

“I promised my mother.” Her pale eyes were silver in the moonlight.

“That you would spend the rest of your life unhappy? She would not have wanted that. Break this folly off. You do not care for him.”

“It is not as simple as that. My aunt has my purse. The Duke has paid for all I have. I am beholden to him and what would I do without their help?”

She was being honest at least.

He gripped hers fingers tighter. They felt so small and fragile. He remembered the feel of her hand aboard ship, when she’d nearly died. He should have stayed near her in London and kept calling irrespective of gossip, no matter that she’d not wished to speak to him.

“You would ask for your money back,” he answered.

“And if I they cannot return it…”

“Then you may use your father’s name at the docks to gain credit––or mine.”

“You know I cannot do that.” But as she answered her fingers held his in return and warmth pulsed into his blood as she accepted his comfort.

“You should have written to me.”

“You deceived me.” Her fingers slid free of his.

“Emerald,” he found himself whispering harshly, losing patience, he’d never pleaded to anyone but her. “Cease this misunderstanding. If I had told you I would have lied to your mother. I made a promise to her. I did not tell you because it is what she wished.”

“And your mistress?” she threw back.

“I did not have a mistress when I slept with you, I had ended that relationship.”

“The day before and she was waiting in Calcutta without knowledge of your views.” Their conversation had become an exchange of cutting whispers.

“I did not ask to speak with you to argue.” His hand rested against her cheek, touching her as he’d longed to for weeks. “I love you. It has taken me a lifetime to fall for a woman as I have for you. I did not know what I was lacking until this journey. When I knew, why would I not have made the decision to end a relationship with a mistress? What we had on the ship was good, Emerald, I dare you to deny it.”

“It was a lie.”

“My love for you is no lie. Forget all else.”

“Forget you lived a lie in Calcutta. You denied your family and your name. I do not know you. I thought I had begun to, but I did not.”

“And you know Sunderland?”

“He has not pretended to be anything he is not.”

“Nor does he pretend to love you. That is what you are choosing, a lifetime in a loveless match. You cannot imagine it. You have only known love. You are not happy now. You will be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

She shivered. “There would be love, he has children. They love me and I them. He is marrying again to give them a mother.”

God the foolish, openhearted––adorable––woman. She was beautiful in spirit as well as face. “Do not sacrifice yourself for his children.” His hand slipped to her arm. “They are not your responsibility. They will have nurses and governesses to love them and a father.”

“But they have no mother.” Tears glittered in her eyes and rolled onto her cheeks before dripping onto her gown.

Now he understood. The night on the ship, when he’d heard her in the day cabin, she’d cried like this. He’d gone to her then and kissed her, he should have only offered comfort and nothing more––not love. She was crying for her own mother again. Her forehead fell onto his shoulder. He held her, embracing her rigidly, every muscle in his body taut, pain hitting him like a punch with a knife blow. He owed her the comfort that she had sought in the beginning. He ought to concede, if to be left alone was what she wanted. Mark and Joseph had been right on the ship, she’d been coerced into his bed.

She did not love him. That was the knowledge that was growing like fermenting bread. His feelings were unrequited.

Even the night he had come to find her here she’d only sought comfort in his kiss, grasping hold of something she knew and understood in her new uncertain world. Perhaps she was right, Sunderland was perfect for her. He was reliable and trustworthy––not the spawn of the devil––a restless, groundless man. She would be safe with Sunderland. Perhaps not loved yet happy to some degree.

He ought to let her go.

He would know the grief that she knew then.

His fingers longed to comb through her hair but it was curled and pinned, he could not disturb it. Instead his palm lay on her back feeling her sobs run through her body. “All will be right,” he whispered. “Your father will come and if you choose Sunderland, so be it, just speak to your father first.”

Richard wouldn’t go back to Calcutta. If she returned there he would not want to be where she was and have to pretend nothing had happened between them. Nor would he remain in London, not when he would have to watch her marry someone else, be it Sunderland or another man. Someone who would be right for her. Richard was not. He would go to another country, another continent. Perhaps America––was that far enough away to forget her? He had already commenced the arrangements here, he could leave. He had informed his man of business about his plans and spoken to Frederick, who was prepared to accept the responsibilities of Earl in Richard’s stead, overseeing everything, and taking a proxy vote in the House of Lords. Richard would bid Frederick wed and bear heirs too. This family did not need sons born by him. He had never planned for children anyway, it was only Emerald that had stirred up such madness of wanting in his head.

“Richard?” Rose must have heard Emerald crying.

“A moment more,” he responded. Rose’s dark eyes took in the scene, seeing Emerald’s distress and Richard’s comfort.

She disappeared back into the darkness.

“Emerald.” He kissed her temple. This would be the last time he touched her. She did not pull away. He straightened and his fingers lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. The moonlight shone on her face revealing her desolation and the tear stains on her cheeks. “Have Rose take you to your aunt. Insist your aunt take you home tonight. Sleep and tomorrow eat. I can see you have not been doing so. When you feel stronger, speak to Sunderland and tell him you want to wait until your father arrives, at least you will want him there when you marry. But your father will give you another choice, to go home.”

He longed to kiss her but he did not. It was what he had done that night on the ship when he should have given her confidence that her pain would end. It would end.

God he hoped it ended. Could a lost-love hurt forever?

He rose, holding her hand. She stood too.

“Rose,” he called into the night air. She reappeared almost instantly. “Emerald is feeling unwell. Please take her back to her aunt and ask that she take Emerald home.” He caught Emerald’s gaze for a moment as he let go of her hand. “Goodbye.”

She turned as Rose took her arm. Rose looked back as they began to walk away. He nodded. Rose smiled. Emerald may not love him but he was not unloved. Even Alicia and Amelia held affection for him, no matter that he’d cut these ties years ago. He would send more letters and gifts, but he would not come back.

He did not follow them back to the ballroom but left via the stables. There was a ship docking tonight.

To be continued…

 

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama

The Tainted Love of a Captain #8 – The last episode in the Marlow Intrigues series

106849-fc50

 

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

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3

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

106848-FC50

Go to the index

For

  • 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

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