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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

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Chapter Twenty

 

Richard 

Emerald’s fingers trembled as Richard held them.

“Will you, Richard Mark Farrow, Earl of Wroxeter, take Emerald Elizabeth Martin to be your lawful wedded wife?”

She wore a straw bonnet covered by fine white lace, and it was fine enough that he could see through it. She was looking at the vicar, not Richard. He squeezed her fingers slightly, then she looked at him.

He smiled, and she smiled in return.

“I will,” his voice was deep and coarse from the emotion in his chest.

“And will you, Miss Emerald Elizabeth Martin take Richard Mark Farrow, Earl of Wroxeter, as your lawful wedded husband?”

She turned fully towards him. The gold ring he had slid on to her finger glinted in the sunlight that stretched through a coloured window. He looked from that into her eyes.

“I will.” Her voice was strong and the words were formed with a precision that said they were her heart felt truth.

She had barely been apart from him in the last twenty-four hours, only for the few hours they had slept. He never wanted to be separated from her.

“I pronounce you man and wife.” The vicar’s voice echoed about the church. Applause came from the pews behind them. Their audience consisted of her father and his family and senior crew.

Richard smiled broadly as he tugged the bow of the lavender ribbon beneath her chin loose and caught the straw brim of her bonnet and the lace, before they fell to the floor, then he kissed her––a thorough kiss, nothing half-hearted.

*     *     *

Emerald

Richard had carried her over the threshold from the day cabin into his cabin, having finally lost his patience and shooed the senior crew and her father away to their beds with such a lack of subtlety Emerald had felt herself blush.

Now he lay beside her, naked, so his skin touched her skin and she was mesmerised by the strokes of his hand across her side as they held each other. When she had lain in his bed before she had not really known him. “I love you,” she stated, her fingers combing through his hair.

“And I you, Emerald Farrow,” His leg slid between hers as he rolled her on to her back, his hand sliding to her hip.

“Lady Farrow. Countess of Wroxeter,” she teased in a proud voice.

He kissed her neck. “Is that why you decided to have me, because you had cast off a duke and wished to at least have an earl?”

“Do not be foolish, I changed my mind because I realised the truth, your sister told me about your parents.”

His body pulled away and he lifted a little, so he looked down at her. “So I am just another unloved child then, only more unloved than Sunderland’s.”

“His children were not unloved you were right. When I told them I had to leave they were not upset. They have their father. You had no one, did you?”

His head bowed and he kissed the corner of her lips, then said over her lips, “I can think of conversations I would  prefer to have in bed, Emerald, sweetheart.”

“Did you?” she urged, she wanted him to admit how he felt. He had been denying the feelings of that child for years.

He leaned to her ear. “My love, it is our wedding night, cease talking.”

She laughed as she conceded and let him move between her legs. “Ah.”

“Hush, sweetheart,” he whispered as she cried out. “Remember there are men on the decks outside, they know we are here and they know what will be doing, do you want them to hear it?”

She was dazed and half in another world as he made love to her. She had forgotten the bliss of being loved physically as well as emotionally.

When they returned to earth she was smiling and she brushed a lock of hair from his brow as he stared into her eyes.

“Happy?” he whispered.

“Very, and you?”

“Delirious.”

She laughed as he withdrew and moved to his side.

“Do not mock me. I am serious.” She rolled to her side too, looking at him. He was smiling broadly and although he had called himself serious there had been humour in his voice. He was laughing inside.

“I am delirious too.” Her hand gripped the back of his head and pulled his mouth to hers while her leg slid across his hip so that she could hug him with her whole body.

His arm came about her shoulders and pulled her closer. “I love you,” he said against her lips.

“I love you too.” She was going to tell him every day: every hour. So that he always knew he was loved.

 

Epilogue

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Richard

“Richard!” The door opened and a child’s vicious wail broke into the room. He had heard the sound approaching along the hall.

The two man who had been sitting on the far side of his desk stood and smiled thier greeting then bowed their heads to his wife.

Richard’s gaze dropped to their daughter in her arms, who was crying at full pitch.

“She will not sleep.” Emerald protested in an exasperated voice. “Half the staff have tried to settle her as well as me. You will have to do it.” She walked closer and held the precious bundle of waving arms and legs out in his direction.

Richard stood to receive his screaming offspring. Little Ruby was proving herself to be as strong willed as her parents. She had come into the world crying and she had done little else since. But God he adored her, his little fighter. He would lay odds on her conception occurring on their wedding night. Emerald had spent half their return journey suffering with morning sickness.

“I am in the middle of a business meeting, Sweetheart,” he chided, but even so, he embraced their daughter who was wrapped in a sheet of cool muslin and looked down at his squalling expressive daughter’s face.

“What are you discussing?” Emerald questioned, frustration and tiredness in her voice. She had been disturbed twice by Ruby in the night.

He looked at the men, then looked back at her. “Mr Brinkworth and his colleague have called to discuss a tea crop they would like me to purchase. Mr Brinkworth believes I will give them the best price.”

Emerald walked passed Richard, her skirt sweeping against his trousers, and offered Brinkworth her hand, he shook her hand but then Emerald glanced back at Richard. “As you know you will, but only if Mr Brinkworth’s tea is good-enough quality for you to still make a good profit. Have you tasted it?”

He shook his head. God, he loved her.

She looked back at Mr Brinkworth having cast her first bid. “Is see you have some of this tea,” she looked at the samples on Richard’s desk, then looked at the servants. “Can we have some boiling water, and a pot and cups for the tea?”

The man looked stunned. Richard’s smile lifted.

Emerald looked at Richard once more. “Would you take Ruby outside? I cannot think with her screaming and I will finish up in here.”

He laughed internally as he turned away, cupping Ruby’s scalp and raising her so she was settled against his chest and shoulder, her short legs kicking downwards.

“Are you leaving this to your wife, Wroxeter?” Mr Brinkworth asked.

Richard glanced over his shoulder as he carried on walking away. “Yes. I trust her completely.” Richard  pressed a kiss on the fluffy fine blonde hairs on his daughter’s head as he left the room. Her skin was hot from the effort she was putting into yelling, and her little fists balled and her whole body was tensed by the effort of drawing breath into her lungs to then scream it out.

“Ruby, my jewel,” he whispered over her head. “You are going to have to sleep whether you do it willingly or not. Stop fighting, sweetheart.”

Had he been this difficult as a child? Was this why his parents had hated him? He did not hate his daughter. He bounced her on his arm and stroked her head as he walked through the house, until he reached the veranda.

He looked down over Calcutta as he walked out. The air was cooler this far up.

He sat down in the swing chair and settled back, leaving Ruby against his chest and holding her head to his shoulder, while he rubbed her back through the muslin.

“Give up the fight, sweetheart, we all know you have your teeth coming through, there is no need to shout about it. Papa is here and he has heard you.” He rocked the seat back and forth as a soft breeze swept over them.

Her little hand rested on his chest over his heart and he covered it with his, uncurling her fingers and rubbing her palm as he continued whispering platitudes.

Slowly her crying eased as she tried to listen.

“That is it, Ruby, darling, sleep and build your energy to terrorise us again in an hour or two.”

* * *

Emerald found him sitting in the swing two hours later, in silence listening to the wildlife and the breeze rustling in the trees, with Ruby cradled on his shoulder asleep.

He smiled as Emerald walked passed and leaned against the wooden rail of the veranda, her buttocks pressed against it, her hands clasped it. Her head tipped a little sideward. “I know why she settles for you, she is comforted by your strength––you are more secure than the rest of us.”

He said nothing, just watched his beautiful wife.

She frequently made him smile with her choice of words. But she was strong too, in her attitude, and that often also made him smile.

When he had brought her home to her friends he had heard her boasting to them that she had won and tamed him. A year ago his pride would have been cut, this year it bolstered him to know she thought him worth boasting of. She was worth showing off too––he had his own bragging to do. He did it physically, though. Keeping her close and letting people see how important she was to him. Everyone in Calcutta knew they were in love. He  let everyone know he had been snared by this siren and was willingly trapped.

“Did you come to a resolution on the tea?”

“I did, we agreed a fair price, much lower than he hoped for I think, but still better than he has been offered elsewhere and it is worth it, you will make a good profit, it is exceptional quality.”

“Perhaps I should leave the business to you.”

“No thank you, I like being with Ruby––when she is tolerant of my company.”

He laughed. It woke Ruby, who gurgled happily. He sat her up straighter and moved her to his knee, so she might see her Mama. A smile split the child’s lips.

“Monster,” Emerald breathed, but then she swept forward and took Ruby from his hands lifting her high and making her giggle before she brought her down and kissed her cheek. “Your aunt Rose is going to be so thrilled to meet you.”

“Until she screams,” Richard answered. “The ship should be due in next week. I cannot say I am looking forward to my mother’s company but at least Rose will make the visit tolerable.”

Emerald looked at him, deep sentiment in her pale eyes. “Ruby and I shall shame her into being nice to you. We intend to show her how a family ought to be.”

He stood up and hugged them both, kissing Emerald’s cheek and then Ruby’s hair.

“You have shown me how a family ought to be. I do not care about my mother’s opinion.”

“You do,” she answered, pulling a little away and looking at him.

Ruby clutched at his neckcloth and her fingers unraveled the smart knot. He freed it from her hand.

“I did care what she thought, but that was long ago,” he responded, “She shall not upset me now, if that is what you fear, because I have you and Ruby on my side.”

Emerald rose to her toes and kissed his cheek. “I remember a silent secretive man but I cannot see that old Richard in you. We are very glad that we have you on our side too.” Her gaze softened. “But I should admit something to you; our side will be bigger soon. I am late in my courses. Perhaps a son would make your mother happy.”

He shut his eyes and breathed deeply, he had thought that nothing could exceed the emotions he had known with his first child. But it was the same. His heart had room enough to love a dozen children. He hugged Emerald and Ruby tighter. “As I said, I do not care for my mother’s opinion. Boy or girl the child will be loved by us, and all those that come after it.”

The End

 

 

It always feels really odd when you finish a story, because as a reader the characters are with you for awhile, but as a writer they are with you a hundred times more. Goodbye Richard and Emerald!

 

 

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 ,1920212223,

24252627282930313233,34,35,3637,

383940414243444546474849505152,

5354555657585960616263646566, 67 68

 

shutterstock_8588308_rendered

 

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

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