The Lost Love of a Soldier out July 17th ~ Tomorrow :-)

The Lost Love of a Soldier

The prequel to The Marlow Intrigues series

The lost love of a Soldier 300dbi

I am going to share some excerpts from The Lost Love of a Soldier, leading up to the release date July 17th

Dressing Ellen’s first husband in his Scarlet Military coat (The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)

and  adding flesh, blood and bones to John’s father (The Scandalous Love of a Duke)

~

The Lost Love of a Soldier

~

An excerpt

Due to the darkness it took half an hour to reach the inn. When she dismounted, his mind counted the minutes passing, aware of her empty bedchamber and the people asleep back at Pembroke’s palatial mansion. At some hour tomorrow they would discover her gone. His heart beat in a steady firm rhythm as he gripped her hand to hold her steady and she slid from the horse.

While she waited on the ground, her arms nervously clasping across her chest, he dropped her bag on to the cobbled yard then slipped his feet from the stirrups, swung his leg over the saddle, and dismounted.

The ice had not yet settled in the enclosed courtyard, but the street beyond was white with cold. He patted the mare’s cheek as it snorted, and whispered a thank you, then looked at the small, yellow painted carriage, and the animals which waited impatiently shaking out their manes and snorting misty breath into the night air.

A groom took the bridle of the hired mare he’d ridden to fetch Ellen and another collected Ellen’s bag to place it in the boot of their carriage.

“Come.” He held out his hand to Ellen and she took it, in complete trust. He was a lucky man.

The inn’s grooms hurried ahead to open the door.

It was strange, holding a woman’s hand. When he’d walked with a woman before, she’d only ever lain her hand on his arm. This was more intimate. She belonged to him. He was responsible for her now; even if it was not yet official.

Paul handed her into the carriage. She climbed the single step then slipped inside. Once her hand left his, he reached into his pocket for a small bag of coins. He looked at the groom beside him and then to the other two who stood in the yard. “For your silence.” He passed it to one to share out among the rest. He could ill afford it and it would be no guarantee, yet he did not want Pembroke warned. He hadn’t said who she was, but she had the distinctive Pembroke colouring and beauty, with her dark hair and very pale blue eyes. She would not be forgotten.

“Thank you, Captain.” The man pulled his forelock and the others bowed their heads as Paul glanced at the postilion rider and the man on the box.

They had two men to keep them going through the night, so one could sleep while the other rode a lead horse.

With a nod Paul climbed into the carriage. The moment he closed the carriage door, they were away. It lurched forward and even before they left the silent village, shrouded in its blanket of darkness, the postilion rider had upped the pace into a gallop, not at all heedful of the frosty track as the carriage bounced over the hardened muddy ruts. “We must make haste,” he’d told the drivers three dozen times before he’d gone to fetch Ellen. It seemed they’d heard his words.

“We are going to be mightily bruised by the time we reach Gretna,” Paul said.

There was that wonderful laugh again which stirred something incredibly masculine in his soul – an instinct to gather her up and protect her. He lifted his arm. She slotted beneath it, pressing close to his side. And there was that ache in his chest and his groin again. Ellen. He could see her face clearly in the lamplight which glowed within the carriage. Beautiful. Perfect. Flawless.

His arm around her, and her warmth clutched against him, he began explaining. “It should take us about three days, I think; maybe less if we are lucky with the roads and the weather. Then after Gretna we shall travel to Portsmouth. From there we will sail with my regiment. I’ll purchase the things you’ll need as a soldier’s wife in Portsmouth. You shan’t be able to carry much, there is a need to travel light, but we can spare you more than a single bag of clothing.”

He couldn’t see her smile, but it was in the press of her hand against his greatcoat over his chest and the stir of her cheek against his shoulder.

He would love this woman for the rest of his life. He knew it. “Come now. Let us take off our outdoor things and use the blankets, then you may sleep a little, if the road is not too rutted.” He moved, letting her rise, and she set her feet on the hot bricks the inn had put on the floor and took off her bonnet, cloak and gloves. He took off his gloves too and gripped her hand as she moved back beside him spreading the blanket over them.

It was even more intimate than before, holding her naked hand, skin against skin – their first physical contact without the boundary of clothing. “Ellen, you need not fear me. I shall not press you. We will be travelling day and night. I shall not ask you to do anything with me until we are man and wife. If you change your mind…” He would not want to let her go, but if she wished to return to her father then he would–

“I will not change my mind. I wish to marry you.” The answer rang with vehemence as she sat up and glanced at him, her pale blue eyes bright and determined. Yes, she had a core of iron. She would survive. “I love you.”

Those words… He smiled. They’d only shared them for the first time a fortnight ago. It had been the first time he’d spoken them to any woman, and the first time he’d heard a woman say them to him. But the feeling was true, it was in his blood and bones. “I love you, also, Ellen. And I shall make you happy and keep you safe. I swear it.”

You can buy The Lost Love of a Soldier by clicking on the cover in the sidebar on the right hand side.

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

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback

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The Lost Love of a Soldiers out July 17th

The Lost Love of a Soldier

The prequel to The Marlow Intrigues series

The lost love of a Soldier 300dbi

I am going to share some excerpts from The Lost Love of a Soldier, leading up to the release date July 17th

Dressing Ellen’s first husband in his Scarlet Military coat (The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)

and  adding flesh, blood and bones to John’s father (The Scandalous Love of a Duke)

~

The Lost Love of a Soldier

~

An excerpt

“Ellen?” Paul whispered her name into the night as he heard the rustle of frost bound leaves on the ground. His breath rose in a mist into the cold winter air. He was on the Duke of Pembroke’s land. He’d not dared encourage her to take a horse, so he’d come close enough that she might walk from the house and find him.

He waited at the end of an avenue of yews, out of sight of the house, in a place she could easily see him. His horse whickered, sensing something, or someone. “Ellen?” he whispered again.

Still no answer.

He stayed quiet. Listening. Wondering if she’d been caught as she left the house. He hoped not. If she’d been caught her father would give her no freedom. Short of leading a military assault on Pembroke’s home, he would not be able to get her out then.

The horse shook its head, rattling its bit, and snorted steamy breath into the cold air. The chill of the winter night seeped through his clothes. There would be a hard frost. He hoped she’d dressed in something warm.

He’d have to buy more clothes for her before they sailed. She would need garments to keep her warm in the sea breezes she’d face on their journey to America.

There was another sound.

“Ellen?”

“Paul?”

How did this woman manage to make his heart beat so erratically whenever he saw her? He could run into battle and not be so affected.

She looked even more beautiful in the dark. Ethereal.

A band of silver light reached through the scudding clouds and caught her face.

He let go of the horse’s bridle and instinctively moved forward. He’d never held her. In the summer there had been no moments alone, she’d been strictly chaperoned and even when she’d come to meet him she’d brought the groom and her sister. When they’d met a fortnight ago, she’d still brought a groom. For the first time they were alone. “Ellen.” He stepped forward and embraced her. In answer her arm came about his waist. It was the most precious feeling of his life. He would always remember this day. She was slender and delicate in his arms.

She slipped free, but he caught her nape and pulled her mouth to his, gently pressing his lips against hers. It was her first kiss, he knew; he could tell by the way her body stiffened when he‘d pulled her close. He let her go, a tenderness he’d never known before catching in his chest.

“Come.” He took the leather bag she carried. “Will you ride before me, or would you rather sit behind my saddle and grip my waist?”

“Would it be easier if I ride behind you?” Her voice ran with uncertainty. She was giving up everything to come with him.

“Do what feels comfortable for you, Ellen.”

She nodded, not looking into his eyes. “I would prefer to ride pillion.”

“Then you shall.” He warmed his voice, hoping to ease her discomfort.

Turning to the horse he slipped one foot in the stirrup, then pulled himself up. “Did you have any difficulty leaving the house?”

“No, the servants’ hall was quiet, and the grooms had all retired.”

He rested her bag across his thighs, then held a hand out to her. “Set your foot on mine and take my hand. I’ll pull you up.” He watched her lift the skirt of her dark habit and then the weight of her small foot pressed on his, as her gloved fingers gripped his. She was light, but the grip of her hand and the pressure of her foot made that something clasp tight in his chest, and the emotion stayed clenched as her fingers embraced his waist over his greatcoat.

He shifted in the saddle, his groin tightening too. A few more days. Just days. He had been waiting months. As he turned the horse, Ellen’s cheek pressed against his shoulder.

“Did you tell anyone you were leaving? Your sister? Or your maid?”

“No, I did not want them to have to face Papa knowing the truth. He would be able to see they’d lied, and then who knows what he might do.” Paul urged the mare into a trot as Ellen continued. “He made me spend the day on my knees reading the Commandments because I refused to marry the Duke of Argyle.”

“Today?” He wished to look back at her but he could not.

Her father had been diabolical to Paul, sneering as though he was nothing when he’d done the decent thing and offered for her. He could not imagine the way Pembroke treated the girls.

He had to get Ellen to Gretna before her father caught them, so she never had to come back and face his retribution.

He stirred the mare into a canter. Ellen gripped his waist more firmly.

“Yes today,” she said, leaning to his ear. “He came to my room this morning, to ask if I was repentant.”

If she was repentant? She’d done nothing wrong, as far as her father was aware. He’d not told her father they’d been communicating since the summer. He’d expected to be refused, and he’d not wished their pathway of communication closed. All she had been guilty of, as far as her father knew, was that her presence and her company in the summer had attracted a man her father deemed unworthy. She bore no guilt for being beautiful and charming.

God, how had Pembroke brought up this untouched, unscarred girl? “Did you tell him you repented?”

She laughed; a low soft sound he hadn’t heard before. “No.”

He smiled. It had taken him so long to make his offer because he’d wanted to feel sure she could cope as his wife, that she had the strength to follow the drum. She had it. She had a core of iron. She would survive. He would make sure she did; though he didn’t doubt his way of life was going to come as a shock to her. He’d tried to warn her in letters, preparing her, but he could tell from her responses it was all whimsical rather than real. It would become real.

He stopped the horse suddenly, and strained to look over his shoulder, as it restlessly side stepped. “You’re sure of this, Ellen? I mean, if you are not, I can take you back.”

In answer, her fingers slid further about his midriff and gripped him harder. There was a pain in his chest and his groin again. “I am sure.”

I am sure too.

“Then let us hurry.” He kicked his heels and set the horse off at a canter, his mind on the treacherous tracks they were likely to encounter on their journey north. This was a race now. 

You can buy The Lost Love of a Soldier by clicking on the cover in the sidebar on the right hand side.

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

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback

10367596_633268423430916_6741081225667559588_n