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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

Chapter Fifteen

 

Emerald 

“Look at this Mr Coomb?”

Emerald looked up as the Duke of Sunderland threw his morning paper across the breakfast table. It landed before her uncle, folded back on a certain page.

“Wroxeter’s son is back,” the Duke said before Emerald’s uncle could begin reading. “The heir. Have you heard the tails of the prodigal son? My father knew old Wroxeter well, the son is an utter bounder? He disappeared when he came of age, letting the old man down. I’d just left Oxford myself. He’d attended Cambridge. My father had no regard for the son. He was a disappointment, he’d no manners nor morals. He was a constant trial to the old man and now he shall inherit. His father must be rolling over in the grave.”

The Duke looked at Emerald then. “The paper says he was in India, did you meet him there?”

“I have never met anyone called Mr Wroxeter.”

He gave her a smile that was indulgent and benevolent – and said he thought her foolish, young and naive. “Lord Wroxeter, and he is the Earl of Wroxeter now.”

She had never heard anyone speak of a man named Wroxeter in India, certainly she’d not known an Earl of Wroxeter. “I did not hear of him in Calcutta.”

“Well then, he cannot have been much in India, can he?” The Duke’s smile broadened. He was annoyingly subjective at times, and yet despite his habit of speaking to her as though she was a child to be taught, he was kind.

Since she had arrived in his home two days ago she had felt as though the world swayed as the ship had done – everything shifted unsteadily. These people were her relatives, they wore black armbands for her mother although they had never known her mother, and the Duke was supposed to be her fiancé. “We shall, of course, wait until the end of your mourning before anything is announced,” he had said. Emerald did not want anything to be announced ever; her whole heart longed for her father to come as Richard had thought he would, and save her from this – no matter that the Duke was kind.

Her aunt had taken Emerald’s purse and jewellery, the things that had belonged to her mother, and put them in a safe, and she was going shopping with Emerald today to buy black crepe to make dresses for Emerald to wear in her mourning.

“Indeed, Cousin,” her uncle said to the Duke, “Wroxeter sounds a very ill-mannered man.” He passed the newspaper back across the table.

“With the audacity to return the week after the old earl was buried, a vulture to pick over his bones. Still he’ll come back to little else but bricks and mortar the earl left everything un-entailed to his younger son.”

“And I am sure this Wroxeter fellow deserves that,” her uncle replied. He seemed to toady to the Duke, saying yes even if an answer ought to be no.

“Yes, certainly, he must deserve it,” her aunt added.

Emerald had noticed that her aunt and uncle constantly flattered the Duke.

Emerald set her knife and fork down. The action drew the Duke’s gaze back to her. “I think I shall go up and see the children. Would you excuse me?” Her mother had never mentioned to her that the Duke had been married before. His first wife had died in childbirth, while bearing twins, a boy and a girl. They were the most charming children. They were eight years old and full of life and laughter and their innocent enthusiasm had eased some of the pain in Emerald’s heart. Playing with the children cheered her as nothing else did.

The children had also made her think about the possibility that Richard had voiced, that inside her there might be a child of theirs. The idea of it had been growing like a planted seed. It ought to frighten her. But a part of her hoped for a child to distract her from the loss of her mother. But if that happened, she would not turn to Richard. He had said he would call here, she hoped he never did. Her father would come before any child of theirs arrived and he would know what to do.

“Stay with us a little longer,” The Duke urged. “I would like to talk to you.” He looked at her uncle, though. “Did you see, as I told you.” he continued their conversation. “He has been left with little beyond stone. The younger son has everything, portraits, porcelain, even down to the pots and pans in his kitchens.” The Duke laughed.

Her Uncle scoffed and clucked his tongue, agreeing with the Duke’s amusement, even though he had never met this man Wroxeter.

Emerald pushed her plate,away. She had begun to feel bilious. But she had hardly slept.

“Cousin? You look pale are you ill?” It was the Duke who asked.

She smiled, weakly. She was not really ill but heart sore.

“You are sad,” he said, presumably seeing it in her eyes. “I shall cheer you up. We will take the children to the park when you have returned from the shops. Open air and sunshine should do the trick?”

“That would be nice. Thank you.”

“We shall ensure you have something to wear immediately then,” her aunt said. “You cannot go abroad without your blacks, and you will need a black bonnet and parasol.” Her tone of voice seemed to make a great show of caring and desire to be a part in both the conversation and the Duke awareness.

“And then tomorrow, I think we ought to begin to prepare you,” the Duke stated.

“Prepare me?” Emerald leant back with surprise. “Why? For what?”

“To be a duchess, my dear,” her aunt said.

“But I thought -”

“You have so much to learn,” the Duke said. “You shall be in the society of the queen when we marry.”

That was what her mother had wanted, for Emerald to achieve the recognition due to her mother’s bloodline. That was what Emerald should think of, that being here was fulfilling her mother’s wishes.

She looked into the Duke’s blue eyes, and imagined brown eyes. He smiled. “What do I need to do?”

“You must practice dancing and deportment,” it was her aunt who spoke, “your singing, of course, and can you even play an instrument?”

Of course she had been taught an instrument, she had been taught all of those things. Her aunt spoke as though Emerald was feral. She had been brought up in India not raised by wolves. She would have said that answer aloud to Richard on the ship, here she kept is silent. “I play the harp.”

“Very well, you will show me and we shall see how suitably. You will be expected to entertain at smaller affairs.”

Emerald looked at the Duke and not her aunt, wondering what his thoughts were. He seemed to think her in need of being taught everything.

“Preparing will take your mind of the loss of your mother,” he said.

That was true. It would do that, and so she committed herself to practicing to be a respectable wife – even though she hoped to never become a wife. She would perform like a monkey in the market in Calcutta, or a puppet dancing on its strings, and practice everything, and hope her father came quickly.

***

A sticky warmth between her thighs made Emerald rise from the bed during the night.

She could tell it was blood.

“Rita,” Emerald whispered into the darkness.

Rita slept in a small bed in the room. Emerald had insisted they stayed close, even though her aunt had considered it an oddity.”Rita.” Emerald was afraid of stumbling into her.

“Miss, Emma…”

Emerald heard Rita sit up.

“I need rags. I am bleeding. Where are they?”

A few moments later the oil lantern was alight and Rita was finding out the rags that they had used on the ship and washed in water on the decks.

The last time that had been done she had not yet shared Richard’s bed. Her mother had died, her innocence had been lost, and she had arrived in a new country since she had last bled.

When she returned to the bed she curled up, bracing her knees, and once Rita had blown out the light and lain down, Emerald let silent tears fall, admitting to herself that she had wanted what Richard had offered, and she had wanted his child… But she could have neither thing. He had lied and the child was lost and now she was truly alone until her father came.

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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The Truth

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this 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

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Emerald

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.

 

Richard

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.

theauthoressfinalv2

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

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  :-) 

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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