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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 ,1920212223,

24252627282930313233,34,35,3637,

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5354555657585960616263646566, 67 68

 

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Richard

“Mark!” Richard snapped at his quartermaster to get on his way and gather his items from his lodgings. Richard had just announced to him that he was to board The Rose for departure on the next tide and Mark was fussing with the paperwork on his desk rather than simply leaving.

“Yes, my Lord,” Mr Bishop, bowed, grovelling like a deckhand. “I am grateful for you letting me return to the ship.”

“Cease scraping, Mark, and go,” Richard answered, in no mood to be pandered to. “I have forgiven you and we will forget what happened. You still have your job and your place on The Rose.” Richard’s loss of Emerald would be a cross they both carried. But she would be safe now her father had arrived and happy again. And he would leave Calcutta and get as far away from her as possible before she went home. If she went home? She may yet marry Sunderland.

A pain cut through Richard’s chest as he turned to his man of business. Once he was far away from her he hoped the pain would ease. “Mr Pepper, if you need an urgent answer to anything speak to my brother.”

“My Lord,”

Richard had ceased running, he had not tried to hide from the title. He had told the office this morning of his coming into it. But now he was enduring this my lording.

His fingers lifted and slipped through his hair, they trembled. He shook out his hand a little as it fell and the door closed behind Mark. It would not be long before the ship sailed, all his items were all ready aboard, Mark would have to be quick.

Richard nodded to the two clerks left in the room. “Mr Smith. Mr Ramsden. Good day.” Both men bowed and my lorded. It was quite likely to drive Richard mad. On the ship he would insist no one used the title. He looked at his business man again. “Thank you, Mr Pepper, good-day.”

“Goodbye, my Lord.” Mr Pepper bent in a deep bow too. Richard turned to the door and left.

The noise of the busy dock at the end of the narrow street struck him as he walked down the outside steps from the first floor office. The putrid scents of the soiled Thames filled the air too.  The wind was coming up the estuary. The ship would have to tack into the wind as soon as the steam boats let her go.

As Richard walked across the uneven cobble he began to feel more human at least, it was being near the water. His hand slipped through his hair again. He had left his hat aboard the ship when he had come to fetch Mark.

An odd memory of riding across his land in Shropshire came to mind. The feeling of solid turf beneath the beating hooves of the horse. He had  been used to shifting seas for years. Strange that the solid ground of this this country kept failing him while the sea felt a steady and surer place.

Richard could see the dock ahead, through the carts and people that cluttered the narrow street, and he could see the sails of the ship that awaited him. As it had always done, the sight of his ship made him draw comfort from the things he had achieved in life.  But when Richard died and Fred inherited it, Richard did not doubt his brother would sell it all off. It was valueless in reality without a son to pass it to. But he had done one thing this morning to increase its value, he had changed his will this morning and left more to Rose and he had left her with an allowance now. He had informed her in a letter that would be given to her once he had gone, and told her in that letter that if she wished to live independently from a man he had given her an income to enable it. There was no need for her to marry unless she wanted to.

The dock was awash with people loading and unloading the ships. It was always like this when the tide neared its height.

A hired carriage hollered out angrily, trying to clear a path for his horses. It was foolish to bring a bloody carriage down to the dock at this hour. No doubt it was some gentleman traveler with no clue how things were done.

Richard looked up at the deck of The Rose. He hoped to feel entirely normal when he stood on the poop deck and watched the ship towed out.

Yet the thought that he would never feel normal again, without Emerald, whispered through his head.

His heart beat heavily.

The carriage stopped near his ship.

But good God, there would be the memories of her, in his cabin, her slim pliant body undulating beneath him in his bed. Her sharp wit and pointed looks piercing him with unfettered challenge in the day cabin. The sight of her watching the sea, her skirt blowing against the outline of her legs.

The sea lapped at the ship and the sound welcomed him as he reached the gangplank.

“Farrow! Farrow!”

Richard looked back, seeking out the voice that had shouted him, his hand on the guide rope beside the planking that lead to the deck.

The Governor of Calcutta, Emerald’s father, was stepping out from the carriage.

Richard let go of the rope and turned around, facing the carriage, a heavy stone like sensation sliding through his blood. It was the strangest thing to see Charles not as a business colleague, but as Emerald’s father, the man who meant so much to the woman who meant so much to Richard.

“Charles,” Richard stated walking forward as Charles turned back to the carriage.

Some of Richard’s crew passed him, carrying crates and barrels on to the ship. Richard walked between them.

Charles was holding a feminine hand, that then became a slender arm and a slim foot reached from beneath a lifted skirt and stepped down.

Richard’s heart pounded and he stopped. If they wished to travel back on his ship he could not allow it. He could not stand to be that close to her for months when internally she would be ripping him apart. He could not allow it.

“Charles, with respect, I am sorry, if––,” Richard began, but he got no further as Emerald rushed at him, and then her arms were about his neck and her kiss pressed to his cheek.

Through instinct his arms wrapped about her middle, but then he let her go, unsure what this was. His voice was husky with trapped, confused emotion, when he said her name. “Emerald?”

She pulled back and smiled at him.

His fingers cupped her nape and then he pressed a kiss to her cheek, unable to prevent himself. The smell of her. The feel of her.

But they were providing entertainment for half his crew watching them from the deck, and they had an equal audience on the dock. He held her shoulders and broke the embrace.

“You cannot go,” she cast at him, in a hurried concerned tone, her pale eyes glimmering with tears. “I love you. I want to marry you. You cannot go!”

He shook his head, his fingers cupping her cheek. Such tragedy was expressed in her pitch and her eyes. But this was how it had been before––dramatic emotions and then bitter regret. “Today perhaps, Emerald, but tomorrow… It is all built on lies, remember?”

“I was wrong, Richard. I was wrong. You were right. I care about nothing other than that you love me.”

Richard glanced at the deck of the ship. Her voice had carried. When he looked down Mark was by the gangplank, he must have told someone at his lodging to bring his trunk. He nodded, informing Richard silently to ignore the crew, and then he looked up with an invisible command that sent the men back to work.

“You won’t go, will you?” Emerald said more quietly.

He sighed. If he stayed tomorrow she would regret her outburst. “Sweetheart,” he answered in a low voice. “I love you to distraction, you know that, but England is not for me and you need a man you choose, not one you fell for only because you were isolated on a ship with him and in need of comfort.”

Emerald moved and hugged him fiercely again. His hands hovered behind her back, not holding her because he feared he would not have the strength to let her go again.

 

Emerald

Oh Lord, she had pushed him away so thoroughly he did not even believe her. She let him go and instead braced his smooth shaven cheeks and looked into his dark eyes. “Richard Farrow, I love you. If you dare go, I will never forgive you. We will fetch our things, we will come too.” She looked back at her father, urging him to agree.

“Emerald, darling.” Richard drew her gaze back to him. “The tide goes out in an hour, there is not time, and if you think I wish to be trapped on a ship with you for months when I cannot be with you, I do not.”

“You can be with me. You cannot go today, you cannot go without us, you will have to sail tomorrow, and we shall marry before you leave.”

His mouth opened as though he would speak but he did not respond.

“Farrow?” Her father moved forward, prompting Richard for response.

Her hands fell away from Richard and oh a wicked thought came to her mind. She turned around, looking at her father. So what if this trapped him, he loved her. “Papa,” she spoke quietly as she walked towards him, meeting his gaze and then taking hold of her father’s hands. “You must make him have me. We slept together on the ship. You must insist he has me.”

Behind her Richard coughed, or rather chocked, he had heard.

Her father’s skin flushed with a rush of blood, anger flaring in his eyes as his gaze turned to Richard and his hands pulled from hers. He stepped towards Richard. “Then there is no discussion, Farrow, is there? You will hold the ship until tomorrow and we shall travel with you and you will marry Emma before we sail. You had better get about obtaining a licence.” Her father looked at the bottom of the gangplank. “Mr Bishop, The Rose is not sailing today, you had better tell Mr Swallow and the crew. You will sail tomorrow instead.”

Emerald looked at Richard. He nodded his confirmation at Mr Bishop.

Emerald ran to hug him again.

His hands stroked across her back briefly as he leaned to her ear. “Was that wise, sweetheart? I hardly think your father is going to like me now.”

She pulled away. “Oh he does. He does. And now we are going to visit your family and announce this. You are not leaving without telling Rose.”

His eyebrows lifted. “And what of your cousin the Duke?”

“He will know tomorrow along with the rest of London when the announcement appears in the papers,” her father interjected. “But right now I concur with my daughter, you may introduce me to your family, Farrow.”

Emerald smiled, clasping Richard’s hand to pull him towards the waiting carraige

Follow the blog by email on the righthand index and join me for the conclusion next week! 

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

Read Full Post »

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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