Lord Geoffrey Sparks dropped the door knocker thrice more. It hit the brass plaque with a heavy ring.
Bloody hell. Why was her butler not answering?
“Violet!” he shouted through the door, hoping no one else in the street was awake. Damnation. Why was she shutting him out all of a sudden? He had not seen her for three nights, and he’d done the rounds of every damned venue.
She had not been out.
He’d called one afternoon too, to be told she was not at home.
He rapped the knocker again.
It might be two in the morning but he was not going until he’d spoken to her. “Violet!”
He’d sent her four messages and received no reply.
Why the hell had she gone cold on him? They’d been thick for weeks. He’d slept here most nights for the last four.
He hammered the knocker once more. “Violet!”
He’d probably had too much to drink, but it was the brandy which had given him the courage to come and make a spectacle of himself. He felt like such a bloody fool, falling for her so heavily if she had just been playing games.
But he hadn’t thought she was playing games. They’d grown comfortable. He’d thought a true companionship had developed between them. She’d trusted him more and more in the last weeks, leaning on him for support when her closest friend had gone missing a couple of weeks ago.
For Heaven’s sake, she had accused Barrington, whom her friend, Jane, had just married, of being a threat to Jane, of potentially breaking her heart, and now Violet was breaking his.
Why would she suddenly throw him off like this? Was there someone else?
In the past he knew she’d flitted between men. He’d shared a few casual liaisons with her over the year before they’d stepped into the new territory of a proper affair.
He’d been one of many then, and it hadn’t bothered him, but once he’d got to know her better, he’d wanted to keep her for himself. They’d spent hours and hours together over the summer and he’d swear she’d been with no one else.
So why now? Why had it changed?
“Selford! Violet! I am not going away, so open the bloody door!” He thrust the knocker against the wood again, yelling to her butler.
Finally, he heard movement inside, and a moment later there was the scrape of bolts and locks shifting.
He held his breath, his right hand slipping from the knocker and closing into a fist.
What would he say when he saw her? What would he do? Cry? Plead? Is that what this woman had brought him to?
God, Barrington would laugh his head off when he learned of this. While Barrington had found happiness, Geoff had been discarded.
It was pitiful.
He gritted his teeth as the door opened and then he faced Selford, who held the door open only a few inches and looked through the gap. “Lady Rimes is not at home, sir”
Was she not, or was she in bed with someone?
Geoff pushed the door wider and forced the man back as he stepped in.
Shock petrified Selford’s face for a moment as he lifted a hand to warn Geoffrey back. “My Lord.”
“Is she upstairs?” The hall span a little, Geoffrey had definitely had too much to drink.
“No, sir, Lady Rimes has left town.”
“Left town, do you think me a fool, Selford? The knocker is still in place!” He thrust his arm out to indicate the open door behind him. It would have been removed if she’d left.
“Because Lady Rimes wished it so, sir, she wished no one to note her absence.”
A frown furrowed Geoff’s brow. That did not make sense.
He moved then, walking past Selford, convinced she was hiding upstairs.
Perhaps she was with another man.
Geoff raced upstairs as the butler called him back, and then ran along the hall, taking-in nothing but the fact he had to find her.
He burst into her rooms, thrusting the door aside. The curtains were open, he’d been so angry he hadn’t even noticed from outside.
He strode through the sitting room, calling, “Violet! Violet!” expecting her to answer even though it was obvious she was not there.
“Violet,” he said again as he entered her bedchamber.
The bed was empty, though the room still carried the invading scent of her perfume. There were not even any sheets on it. He walked to the wardrobe and opened it. That was empty too. He went to the drawers and pulled the top one open, then the one below it and the one below that. They were all empty.
Why had she gone? Why had she said nothing? Not even goodbye. She’d not even sent a note to say it was over.
He sat on the bed, letting the scents in the room overwhelm him. Where the hell had she gone? And why had she gone without him?
A cough rang from the chamber door, and Geoffrey realised his head was in his hands; with his elbows on his knees, he’d covered his face. He felt like weeping. He did not weep; he stood and looked at Selford.
“Where has she gone?”
“I do not know, sir. I was only told she has gone to the country.”
“Where in the country?”
“Honestly, I do not know, my Lord.”
“Does she own any property outside of London?”
“Has she gone to a friend’s?”
The butler stepped forward and lifted a hand as if, if it were appropriate, he might touch Geoffrey’s arm, of course he did not.
“I’m sorry, sir. I can give you no more details. Lady Rimes quite specifically did not tell me where she has gone. It was very clear her ladyship did not wish her absence nor her whereabouts, disclosed.”
“What?” What on earth was going on? “Selford?”
“Honestly, sir, I have no idea where her ladyship is, and you cannot stay here….”
This is the story of two of the characters from the 2nd book in the Marlow Intrigues Series ~ The Passionate Love of a Rake.
The true story of a courtesan, which I’ve been telling every Sunday, will continue alongside this.
Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories.
See below on the side bar for details of Jane’s books, and 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