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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

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

 

Richard

Richard’s innards had become cold hard stone. His heart was too heavy to beat. There was no knowing when he would see Emerald next.

“I appreciate you not dismissing Mark.”

Richard turned to Joseph. He was not in a mood to hold any conversation and especially not the one he heard in the tone of Joseph’s voice, but Joseph progressed. “This is not the outcome either of us intended.”

“Is it not?” Richard let the sarcasm that spurred his anger touch his voice and turned back towards the gangplank of the ship.

“It is a–”

“Joseph. I deem you a friend as much as an employee, but on this occasion, pray mind you own damned business,” Richard mounted the gangplank and walked quickly as he called back over his shoulder, “And be grateful you are still the captain of this ship.” It was a threat. He only had so much patience.

“Richard…” Joseph followed him.

“Mr Farrow before the men,” Richard reminded in a low cutting voice.

“If there is anything–”

“To help… There is nothing, I can assure you, you have done enough. Have someone hire me a carriage?”

Within half-an-hour Richard was sitting in a hackney, his hands impatiently tapping out the rhythm of his heartbeat on his thighs. He was alone again. He had spent most of his life with the sense of fighting for himself, with no one else to turn to. There had been many mistresses, and then June, but he had never shared a part of himself before, as he had with Emerald. Only to be rejected. Again. It was why he had learnt not to trust. He should have held on to that belief.

But he was a fool, mixing up now with yesteryear, yet his childhood emotions were colliding chaotically  with those of today as the carriage rumbled on over the cobbles, rocking and creaking.

Embarrassment flushed his cheeks. He was not a youth now.

The carriage rolled on through the distantly familiar London streets. He had not been back for years and yet he remembered places that they past, and things that had happened there.

What was Emerald thinking? It was all strange to her. Was she afraid? Her hands had been shaking when she had left the ship. But if nothing else came from their relationship he had given her one thing; he had taught her how to hide her thoughts and feelings. The brave, proud angry woman who had climbed into a carriage amongst strangers must have been screaming with grief and loneliness on the inside. She had left her father behind, lost her mother and then he had stolen her innocence, and now she was supposed to marry a man she did not know. She must be struggling to make sense of it all.

When he’d arrived in India he was only a little older than her, but he had known he was arriving to undertake a job, and he’d had things to prove. He’d proven them.

She had come here against her will, she had wanted more than to just be a man’s wife.

He had taught her not to trust and probably scared her into wanting less. He sighed out in irritation with himself.

He hoped her father’s journey here would be quick and that the strangers would treat her well. But most of all that he would win her back.

The carriage swept about the corner of a street into another square. A square that he remembered in as much detail as the palm of his hand. His gaze reached across the central green park, looking between the trees to the ornate town house on the opposite side. His heart struck with the hard pounding of a blacksmith’s hammer, that beat in his veins.

Was he truly going to do this after all these years. He had promised himself he would never come back.

The carriage rolled on about the square as Richard’s gaze clung to the house.

The warmth and scents of Calcutta came into his mind. It would be the rainy season now. The air would be heavy with the smell of thirst quenched vegetation and the roads thick with mud.

He breathed out the breath he had not realised had trapped itself in his lungs. He was not the youth who had left, he was a man who had seen and done things that others dreamt of and he had made a fortune while doing it.

The carriage pulled up in front of the large, shining black door.

There was no door knocker in place. It could be a reprieve, it could have been taken down because none of the family were in London.

Richard opened the door of the carriage and stepped out. Then turned and looked up and paid his fare. The driver set the break and climbed down to help Richard lift his trunk off the back.

Richard’s father would have an apoplexy if he was watching from a window. But Richard had helped the driver with that in his mind, to deliberately infuriate the old man. Richard had not grown up in all ways.

He left his trunk on the pavement and ran up the short set of steps to the front door, as the carriage driver climbed back up to his seat.

Even if his family were not here a servant would be minding the place.

As the carriage pulled away, Richard knocked on the door.

His hand fell and he stood silently for a moment, his hands curled into fists at his sides.

No one came to open the door.

He  knocked again, louder. The servants were probably below stairs. His hand fell once more and he waited.

The door remained resolutely shut.

All his fear and anger about returning to this place irrupted in impatience and he struck the door with the side of his fist, making the wood jolt, until he heard a voice in the hall.

“A moment!”

Richard ceased his onslaught.

The door opened but only by a narrow gap. “The family are not receiving.”

Richard’s palm pressed on the door and pushed. He did not recognise the footman, but it had been twelve years since Richard had last crossed this threshold. “I am a part of the family. I am Richard Farrow, eldest son of the Earl.”

The door opened by another foot or so, under the pressure of Richard’s palm.

“Who is it?” An angry masculine growl came from behind the door. But it was not the tone of an old man, not his father. “Have people no respect…” The voice complained.

Richard pushed harder and the footman conceded, stepping back as the door opened wide.

“This gentleman, my Lord, claims to be Lord Richard Farrow.”

Richard looked to where the footman was looking. Something that felt like a fist struck him hard and the pain shot through from his jaw into his skull as he gripped at the door to stop himself from falling. The second blow he was ready for. His hand grasped his brother’s wrist and he stared at Frederick.

Fredrick glared at him with the heartless, vicious anger that Richard had known in his youth – in their father’s eyes.

Richard threw Frederick’s hand aside. “There is nothing like a warm welcome back into the heart of my family…”

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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