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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, 57, 58, 59, 60, 6162

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Richard

She did not believe him. He could see. She had given up on her father as she had given up on him.

Was that why she was willing to marry her cousin and sacrifice herself?

Richard did not like the way her aunt spoke for her either, it was so at odds to the strong-willed woman who had fought with him over simply being asked to go below decks to avoid the rain.

He had not really come to dispel the rumours. He had come to persuade her against her cousin. But he could hardly do so with her aunt in earshot. Yet clearly, all was not well in this room. Emerald was too cowed. He needed to get her out of here.

“I––I–” Emerald stuttered.

“He will come,” Richard reinforced, feeling a moment of connection with her, that could not be known by the others. Only he and Emerald could remember that last day on the dock in Calcutta as she had said goodbye. Unfortunately she must remember Richard’s impatience to leave too.

He did not speak for the rest of his visit, Rose held Emerald’s attention while Emerald’s aunt grovelled to his mother as they finished their cups of tea.

He had  persuaded his mother to join them with the threat of scandal, warning her he would come alone and create more if she did not accompany him. She had blamed him of course. Yet he had seduced Emerald; Emerald would not have crossed a bloody room to strike him had there been no emotional tie between them and now the whole damned ton knew what had occurred on his ship––and that previously she had been innocent. Only an innocent would be foolish enough to declare her anger so publicly. It did not help matters she had picked the celebration of her engagement to do it. But that was his fault too. He’d attended uninvited.

When he took his leave, he bowed to her aunt, and then turned to Emerald and captured her hand, holding it firmly as it trembled while he bowed again. She had lost all the courage she’d displayed on the ship.

A need to protect her swamped him, as it had in the dark cabin when she’d been ill. Yet when his thumb brushed over her knuckles in a caress of comfort she pulled her hand free as her gaze met his and flashed with defiance. His Emerald was still there, expressed in her stubborn refusal to forgive.

When he handed his mother and sister back up into his carriage, his sister smiled. “She is very pretty isn’t she?”

“And engaged,” he answered as he climbed up behind her.

 

When they reached the Mansion in Mayfair, a house he would never come to think of as his home, he climbed out first and handed his mother down, then Rose. “I am going to White’s,” he declared. His mother threw him a sharp look. She disliked him and everything he did––she always had. His absence had not made her heart grow fonder and he did not care to change it––he did not like her.

Rose––however––hugged him as their mother walked up the steps to the front door that had opened. “She is lovely,” she whispered to his ear, “you like her don’t you? You came to London last night for her.”

His fingers cupping one cheek, he kissed her other. “You have a very good imagination, Rose.”

“Have I?She lifted her eyebrows and laughed at him. “Go on, go off and do your manly things, we will see you for dinner and be prepared to accompany you to the theatre.”

Richard tapped her beneath the chin before she had time to turn away.

He sighed as he climbed back into the carriage and she ran up the steps. Emerald was younger than Rose and if a man had bedded Rose he would be furious. He had to win Emerald back. The kiss she had returned last night only underscored it. He was not listening to her denials anymore. Let her try to push him away as much as she liked he was not going.

At White’s, Richard faced his next quarry, Sunderland. “Your Grace,” Richard bowed as he interrupted a conversation Emerald’s cousin was having with a group of men. This was walking a fine line.

Sunderland turned, surprise written in his expression. “Wroxeter…” The greeting was not a welcome and he did not make a move to introduce Richard to the others, instead they stared at Richard as though he was a freak.

His father had made him this. His father had disparaged him in front of these people. They did not see him as an equal––they thought him a feral rogue. Well perhaps he was.

“I have just come from calling upon you at your home, Sunderland.” Richard began as Sunderland’s blue eyes weighed Richard up. Sunderland was a striking looking man and he held respect among his peers. He was as Richard imagined his elder brother would have been, if life had given Arthur the chance to become the earl. “In your absence I made an arrangement with your fiancée for this evening, to quell the gossip in the papers. Her chaperone indicated you would be willing…” Richard had known Sunderland would not be at home. Now he was simply tying up the loose ends.

“What arrangement?” Sunderland asked, his voice growing in pitch and depth.

“A theatre excursion, this evening, your family and mine.” Richard watched the other man’s expression. Sunderland understood. He was no imbecile. He knew when a man was stepping on his patch but Richard had no intention of stepping back.

“Very well.” Was Sunderland’s answer, Richard had manoeuvred him too well for the man to refuse. But the narrow path he walked was to ensure that Sunderland knew the rumour was true while every one else began to disbelieve it. He did not wish Emerald’s reputation destroyed, merely her engagement.

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, 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

 

Emerald

“Emma! Emma, dear! His Grace wishes to speak to you in the library!” Emerald stood as her aunt’s voice echoed along the hall outside the nursery and the children fell silent, prepared to be seen but not heard.

She had thought the Duke was out. It was unusual for him to be home at this hour. It was unusual for any of them to be here, there was always someone she was supposed to call on. She had used the rare opportunity of no afternoon engagements to hide in the nursery.

Her heart skipped as she walked across the room to open the door. Perhaps it was a letter from Richard…

She glanced back at the children and smiled before she opened the door, they were still gathered about their wooden arc and lead soldiers.  She opened the door as her aunt’s footsteps neared. “Aunt.”

“I wish you would not do that,” her aunt grumbled,

“I beg your pardon?”

“You have creased your dress sitting on the floor with the children. You are not an infant, Emma. It is indecent the way you carry on here.”

Indecent… To entertain and play with children, to love them. Her father had never thought so.

“Hurry girl, His Grace wishes to speak with you immediately.”

“Do we have callers?” She closed the door behind her, leaving the children to enjoy their game out of sight.

“No, no, it is just His Grace who wishes to see you.” Her aunt smiled.

 

Emerald followed her aunt through the halls and down stairs to the ground floor, her heart beating in the resigned steady pace of acceptance.

“He is in the library,” her aunt said in the large square hall as she stopped  in the middle of the black and white checkered tiles. The library door was open and a footman stood sentry, the soles of Emerald’s house slippers whispered on the cold marble as she walked on alone.

“Miss Martin,” the footman announced her as she entered the room.

“Cousin,” Emerald began, dropping into a deep curtsey, “Aunt Millicent said you wish to speak to me.”

He had been sitting behind the ebony desk at the far end of the room with his elbows resting on the red leather inlay and his fingers steepled.

He rose immediately. “I do, Emma.” He walked around the desk as she lifted from her curtsey. “I have a proposal for you, my dear.” The Duke’s blue eyes looked directly into hers.

The library door clicked shut behind her as he half-turned towards the desk and picked up a small box. When he turned back his free hand clasped her fingers, which had hung loosely at her side. “Emma. I find that I like you very much.”

Her lips parted, although she had no answer.

“You are pretty, and biddable, and the children like you and now you are free from your full mourning period I see no need to wait longer.”

Wait for what?

“But I shall do this correctly. You deserve that.” He dropped to one knee.

Emerald’s heart pounded harder.

“Will you marry me. It is what your parents wish and I believe we shall make a good match.”

Her fingers pressed against her chest and she knew she was blushing hotly.

He let go of her hand and opened the small box, a diamond and sapphire ring shone within it. “Will you accept?”

Richard had promised to ask her to marry him in the dark day cabin, the night her mother had died, and he had vowed himself to her the night she had gone to his bed. On both occasions emotion had burned in his eyes. But behind that emotion there had been deceit and now he had gone.

What would her father tell her do. This was the safe path, the right one for a woman. Her best hope. Her birth was beneath the Duke’s, and yet she assumed her father had made some financial agreement to enable this.

“My knee is hurting, my dear.”

He was a kind, patient and understanding man.

“Yes.” It came out as a whisper. What did it matter? There was nothing else for her to do. She said it more forcefully. “Yes.” Richard had gone. No one else was here. This was her option.

He stood, smiling his benevolent smile, and then he took the ring from the box and left the box on his desk, and his fingers gripped hers, bare skin against bare skin, her fingers trembled as the ring slipped into place. Then he leant forward and kissed her, closed lips against closed lips.

Her heart pounded as her head filled with memories of Richard’s kisses, of the heat in his embraces, of the determination in his love making. Her legs weakened, with a sense of hollow reeds, but she would not faint, she was no delicate English rose, she was an Indian hot house flower.

“Thank you, Emma.” The Duke let go of her hand. “You do me a great honour. I shall announce our betrothal  in the papers and we shall hold a celebration here.”

He smiled, slightly, a that-is-done smile and let her hand go. If Richard had dismissed her like that she would be furious with him, now she hardly cared.

What did it matter? She bobbed a curtsey. “Your Grace.”

“Emma. You may tell the children if you wish. They will be pleased, I think.” He nodded at her, then turned away and walked back about the desk.

The children would be happy and she would be happy for them–if not for herself.

“Have you something to say , Emma?”

“No.” She bobbed another curtsey and turned away, then left the room, walking with the sense of a statue; her legs felt as heavy as marble as well as hollow. She opened the door herself, but as soon as she had turned the handle it was pulled out of her hand by the footman on the far side.

Her aunt was still in the hall. She smiled broadly.  “You are very honoured, Emma. You shall be a duchess, and I the aunt of a duchess.” It sounded as though she congratulated herself not Emerald. “You will need more dresses, and there are invitations to be written, and we must consider menus…”

Emerald did not answer.

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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