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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, 63, 64

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Richard

Richard read the morning paper as a footman replenished his cup with coffee. Frederick, Rose and their mother sat about the table too finishing their breakfast.

The gossip column in the paper commented on the family’s theatre excursion, ‘whatever had invigorated Miss M must be smoothed over as the Duke of S and the Earl of W were seen in joint company of Miss M, last evening’. There was still insinuation but if nothing occurred to fan the flames the fire of speculation would die soon enough.

Richard intended to do nothing in public, however in private, when the gossips would not hear of it…

The image of Emerald setting her hand on Sunderland’s arm had been in Richard’s mind all night, and that damned smile they’d shared, as though they were joining forces against him. He had to increase his assault. He was not losing her.

“Alicia and Amelia agreed to call upon Miss Martin this afternoon before they left the theatre, may we go to? Will you accompany me, Mama?”

Richard smiled at Rose over the top of the paper, he had acquired one ally.

“I can think of nothing I would like less,” his mother answered.

Richard folded and set the paper down.

“Then you must take me, Richard. May I write and tell Alicia and Amelia that you will be joining us.”

Ah, he understood, he had more than one ally,  his sisters were rallying about their long absent brother. Amelia and Alicia had never written to him abroad yet Rose’s letters had always carried their news and messages, he’d assumed the words a fiction told by Rose. But he was learning that error. His siblings, if not his mother, had forgiven him for running away. Even Frederick was speaking without animosity now.

Tomorrow Richard would broach the subject of managing the estates with Fred. But not today. Today his intentions followed the same line as Rose’s, he would see Emerald under the camouflage of an afternoon visit, and now that would be in the company of his sisters.

All risk of his call being publicly misunderstood was further alleviated when Amelia and Alicia sent word back to say Wells and Lincoln were joining them too. Thus when they arrived at the Duke of Sunderland’s it was in two carriages and Richard’s assault was excellently hidden amidst the smoke screen of his brother-in-laws’ calling cards. But he saw Emerald recognise the truth of his tenacity the moment he entered the drawing room full of others, from the sudden look of indignation in her eyes.

He and his brothers-in-law bowed to the women in the room and no eyebrows were raised as they sat near Emerald, it was all so innocently done. His campaign had become a family affair.

Lincoln engaged Emerald in conversation. “Miss Martin, did you enjoy the play last evening? I did not have chance to ask you at the theatre.”

“It was very moving. I did enjoy it, yes, Lord Lincoln.” Intelligence touched her eyes and she responded to Lincoln as an equal, something he had not seen her do to her cousin, her uncle or her aunt.

“Do they have a theatre in Calcutta, Miss Martin,” Wells pursued.

“They do, but the atmosphere is not the same. There is far more grandness and fuss here.”

“Pomp, you mean.” Richard inserted.

“Pomposity, yes.” Those who listened to the conversation laughed as others in the room glanced over.

“Pomposity,” Lincoln scoffed, “Do you tar all of us in England with that brush, Miss Martin? ”

“Of course not all.”

Richard doubted she crossed swords with Sunderland and his friends like this.

He let the conversation progress as his sisters joined in, plying Emerald for views of India and life in Calcutta. They were asking her the questions they would not dare push upon him. They wanted to know how he’d lived as much as to draw Emerald into the family fold. It had never been a fold for him before but now he could see it might be.

“Do tell me,” Rose said taking the opportunity of a departing guest and the arrival of tea to swap seats and acquire the position beside Emerald, “what did Richard do in India? I know he has a shipping business but how does he live? My brother is tight lipped about himself.”

A light pink touched Emerald’s cheeks.

He smiled. A year ago the question would have infuriated him but now he was waiting on Emerald’s words, wondering what her perception of him was.

Her gaze turned to him for a second only before looking at Rose “I did not know he had a family. He did not speak of you.” Ah, she was going for brutal honesty then. “Nor did he make it known he was a lord or heir to an Earldom. Your brother is a business man, who  is revered and feared in India, depending on who you speak with, and not trusted. He socialises with my father and his associates but he does so only to an end. He lets no one close to him.”

Foolish woman, in her diatribe she had made their situation clearer. If he let no one close, why was he here?

He could see a martial gleam strike Rose’s eyes as she picked up Emerald’s gauntlet on his behalf. “He must have been lonely then.” She looked from Emerald to him.

Richard narrowed his eyes and stared right back at Rose. She was just as clever as Emerald and busy manipulating them both.

Emerald was watching him too, he sensed it, looked to her and caught her eye, longing for a moment to speak alone. But the chance would not come in this drawing room. “Which entertainment are you attending this evening, Miss Martin.” It was his only indiscretion but his family already knew his interest was fixed and having surrounded her they were the only ones who heard.

Her eyes widened as his  family waited in silence, fully aware that the conversation had crossed a boundary. If she answered…

“We are to attend the Countess of Merchant’s ball.” Triumph shouted it’s victory cry behind his lips. She wanted to see him, and she had even risked his family guessing the truth to enable it.

“We are going too,” Rose stated,  rejuvenating the conversation so others in the room would not notice the lull.

“We are all to attend,” Alicia concluded.

***

“Are you in love with her?” Rose asked as the two of them sat alone in Richard’s carriage while it rumbled over the cobbles, taking them home..

He did not answer.

“You are.”

“She is engaged to the Duke of Sunderland, Rose,” he reminded her bluntly.

“No doubt because you had disappeared into the country.”

“Miss Martin was mourning the death of her mother. It would have been inappropriate for me to press.”

“Her cousin has clearly pressed.”

“And that is the only reason I wish to see her tonight, to ensure she does not rush into a marriage and that she shall later regret. Will you help me? I need to speak to her openly and I cannot do so with an audience.”

“The only reason…” she challenged, raising her narrow shaped eyebrows. ‘That I doubt. But I will help you if you swear not to upset her?”

“Why on earth would I?”

“A man who his revered and feared and allows no one close? Indeed why would you?”

He swallowed back laughter, regretting that he had not come home at least once in the years since her come out, he had kept Rose at a distance, literally, when she had always been kind and loving towards him.

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, 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

Read Full Post »

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