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The Truth

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

 

Chapter Sixteen

  

Richard

Owning ships and offices across the world had always instilled pride in Richard, but since arriving in England he’d discovered that he liked owning land too. It touched something more fundamental within him, thundering across the fields that were his, astride a fast sleek hunter. All the acres he could see before him were his, wide open spaces in which he could give the horse it’s head. In India he’d been confined to dirt tracks, he had not ridden like this since his youth. It was a part of English life he’d discovered he’d missed, the  cooler weather was another novelty and the beauty of a morning frost or a low mist lying across the ground. What did Emerald make of it?

When he returned to the house he strode across the hall, his riding whip tapping impatiently against his leg. As he neared the dining room door he cast the whip aside on a table, then took off his hat and stripped off his gloves as his butler appeared to take them.

“Thank you, Thompson,” he stated as the man helped Richard out of his riding coat. “Is breakfast set out?”

“It is, my lord.”

A cringing sensation clutched at Richard, he hated being my lorded, he had spent years achieving anonymity in his business dealings. Without responding he entered the dining room. The table was set for one.

The isolation here had suited him for the last months, while there had been nothing better to do. But he was returning to London the day-after-tomorrow and then he planned to spend his hours assaulting his fair maiden’s walls. He’d apply every element of charm he had in his arsenal to woo Emerald. He had to speak to Fred too. When Richard returned to India, he wanted Fred to take on the Earldom. Richard may like elements of England but he had a business and a life to return to in India and he knew Emerald would want to live there.

Emerald’s father would be here soon and when he came Richard planned to marry her here and then travel home with her.

A footman filled Richard’s plate as he leant back to enable it and another filled a cup with coffee. Once they’d finished they left the room, walking backward and bowing. The pomp which surrounded his title was intensely irritating  but Richard did nothing to change it. It was the way of it. He could hide from it in India, but not here.

A paper lay on the table to the right of him. He picked it up and opened it. What news would there be of Emerald today? He folded the paper back, set it beside him and picked up the cutlery. He’d developed certain habits in his solitary life and reading while he ate his breakfast was one of them. He scanned the business and political articles, then turned to the announcements before picking up his cutlery again, only for it to then clatter back down onto his plate.

The Duke of Sunderland announces his engagement to Miss Emma Martin, the Daughter of the East India Company’s Governor of Calcutta.  

Richard swallowed his heart down from the back of his throat and stood. He had not expected it to come so quickly after her full mourning. He had been sure he would have a chance to speak before this. He had asked her to wait.

He left the room.

Was she still so angry with him?

Or did she have feelings for Sunderland now?

Jealousy tore at him, with clawing scratches. His hand lifted and stroked through his hair as he walked out into the hall. “Thompson, I am going to London, have a coach readied and my things packed immediately. I will ride ahead of it. Have the stables saddle me a horse.”

He jogged upstairs, hurrying, his heart racing against the tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the hall.

What the hell was she doing? Why had she not written to him before deciding this? 

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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The Truth

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, 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, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53

 

Richard

It had been weeks, and it need not be much longer.

With hands clasped behind his back, Richard stood before the hearth looking down at the flames that licked at the wood. The room was chilly, perhaps not to others but to his body that was used to the temperatures of India.

Beyond the one announcement in the paper stating that, Miss Emma Martin, distant cousin of the 5th Duke of Sunderland, had arrived in town and was residing with his Grace, following the sudden and unexpected loss of her mother, wife to the Governor of Calcutta and granddaughter of the 3rd Duke of Sunderland, Richard had heard nothing of Emerald. But they had both been in mourning, and therefore tied to the house.

But not hearing about her had not stopped her from haunting his thoughts, he constantly wondered how she was. He had feared for her, wanted to call upon her, but knew he should not. She had not been able to accept visitors in  full mourning. It would raised comment if he had called. He could not even claim that he was a close friend bringing felicitations and comfort, he ought to be nothing to her. He was merely the owner of the ship that had brought her here.

Was she happy? Was she with child? No. She could not have been, it would be known by now. Had she forgiven him?

The air dragged into his lungs.

As much as he could not lose the vision of her from his mind, nor could he lose the image of Sunderland. That man had been with her every day for weeks, and every time Richard thought of it envy licked at him like the flames about the wood.

Every morning he took his letters from the tray with a thumping heart, looking for her handwriting. It was never there. He still looked. His feelings were unchanged.

What of hers? Did she ever think of him?

He turned away from the fire, his hands separating, as though in a movement to go somewhere. His body urged him to run – to go to London. To speak to her.

He had never been uncertain about anything in his life until he’d met Emerald. He was uncertain in this. He feared if he spoke to her he’d not convince her to have him.

He crossed the room and sat down at the desk to try to focus on the ledgers again.

His father’s will had been read the day after his return and then, within hours, Richard had left London to take over the main property of his father’s estate. Not his father’s––his. Richard had to keep reminding himself of that. He had received the entailed property and nothing beyond it. His younger brother had been given everything else––the livestock in the parks, the furniture and ornamentation, the pictures of their ancestors, the farm machinery in home farm, everything, even down to the utensils in the kitchen. Their father had left Richard the bricks and mortar he had to and nothing else.

It was a damn good job Richard had spent his life amassing a fortune. It was also his good luck that despite Frederick’s initial antagonism, he had more sense than their father. Frederick’s reaction to the will had been a surprise. Richard had initially imagined Fred a spoiled, greedy and jealous man. He’d been wrong. Frederick’s frustration had been empathy for their father. Frederick had probably been too young to understand why Richard had left. However Frederick had not approved of the mutilation of the estate. His response to the will had been anger. He had not liked to be used as a pawn in their father’s revenge. He had refused his inheritance and signed everything over to Richard before leaving the solicitor’s office.

Richard had tried to thank Fred before he’d left London, but his brother had also refused the gratitude.

It had taken a dozens letters flying back and forth to persuade Frederick to take something. In the end he had agreed to a sum to be put in trust, and an increase in the sum of Rose’s dowry. An outcome of their communications had been a fragile peace, and Frederick making several visits here to bring Rose to see him.

Richard had been working with the steward here, going over everything to understand how the place operated, fighting impatience, looking at the facts and figures, the stocks, the yields, planning out what to do. It was all profitable, from everything Richard had seen his father ran a tight ship, little was wasted or lost. Richard did not need to be here, not really, and yet if he were not here, where would he be? Not on a ship back to Calcutta, he was waiting for Emerald. In London, then, knocking on the Duke of Sunderland’s door.

It was better he was not tempted and remained here.

But her deep mourning period was over within the week, and that was what was making him particularly fractious. Because why the hell was he not in London?

Because he could hardly be the first to call. He breathed out heavily, unable to focus on the figures.   

He would wait another three weeks. He did not wish to risk her reputation in any way and calling too soon would insight the memory of the fact that she, and he, had been aboard a ship with the crew and servants their only chaperone for weeks. But in those three weeks he must decide what he would say.

How was he going to persuade her to accept his renewed offer?

He had made her stronger. She had made him a coward. The truth was he was avoiding the moment for fear he would not succeed.

But calling on her in three weeks would be unexceptional. Expected almost. He had said he would call. He was an acquaintance; he had reason to pay his respects.

***

In the next days, as Emerald ventured out of the house, word of her grew, she became the talk of the social press.

‘Miss Emma Martin, the Governor of Calcutta’s only child, who recently arrived in London, was seen on the arm of the Duke of Sunderland’––in Hyde Park––in the Duchess of Gloucester’s drawing room––at the theatre––in Oxford Street.

‘She is stunning,’ it was said. ‘Quite remarkable.’ ‘Charming.” He laughed at that, Emerald, his siren of the sea, enchanting, enthralling––but charming? It implied a sweet nature. She was vibrant and glowing, not sweet.

There had been speculation about him in the papers for some weeks. There had been rumours; the will had been made public, but not that Fred had given him everything back. But as the interest in Emerald grew, the supposition about him waned.

By the second week her name became linked with other influential men, lords and politicians; she was taking London by storm even though she was still not attending parties or balls.

Envy cut him harder as he told himself to hold fast for one more week. But the interest she was arousing may help him. If he called on her more than once it would be assumed that she had caught his interest on the first occasion as she had snared everyone else’s.

To be continued…

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama

The Tainted Love of a Captain #8 – The last book in the Marlow Intrigues series out in May and available to preorder

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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