Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(10) by Lorraine Heath
He supposed he could ignore the summons, but during their youth they’d gone far too many years without contact. What was a couple of hours of inconvenience when they had the opportunity to be together?
He remembered a time when he would have simply walked into the house, but Sebastian had been a bachelor then and the house had seemed to belong to all three brothers. Now Tristan was more a guest, and his brother’s marriage to Mary had changed the dynamics somewhat.
He lifted the heavy knocker and released it. Just as he anticipated, a footman quickly opened the door and ushered him in. As Tristan was handing his hat, gloves, and coat to the servant, the aging butler appeared.
“My lord Tristan, welcome home.”
“Thomas, you’re looking well.”
“Couldn’t be better, sir. Thank you.”
“I assume the duke is in the library.” Making use of his well-stocked liquor cabinet if he were smart.
“Yes, m’lord. Shall I announce your arrival?”
“No need for such formality.” He strode through the familiar hallways, noting an empty spot or two where their father’s portrait had once hung. Their uncle had destroyed a good many of them. Tristan felt the familiar fury rise with memories of the vile man who’d sent them scurrying for their lives. His death brought no satisfaction.
As Tristan neared the library a footman bowed and opened the door. Tristan went through without slowing. This room had been his father’s domain. It brought a bit of solace but the sight of his brother standing near the fireplace brought more.
“Tristan.” The right side of Sebastian’s mouth lifted in welcome, the left side too badly scarred to do much of anything. His brother set aside his tumbler and was soon giving Tristan a bear hug and a solid slap on the back.
Then his brother released his hold and went to the liquor cabinet as though embarrassed by his warm welcome, one that was no doubt a result of Mary’s influence. “Why didn’t you send word when you returned to London?”
“I hadn’t quite decided what my plans were,” he said as he took the tumbler filled with amber that Sebastian offered.
“I set sail tonight.”
“So soon?” a feminine voice asked softly.
He spun around and grinned at the slender red-haired woman who had slipped into the room. “Now, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”
He returned the tumbler to Sebastian, crossed the distance in three long strides, and lifted Mary into his arms, spinning her as her laughter pealed around them. Dear God, she almost made him feel as though he’d finally come home. By the time he eventually set her down, he was chuckling and they were both breathless.
“I hear you did your duty magnificently and provided my brother with his heir.”
She slapped teasingly at his arm. “It wasn’t a duty. And he’s already asleep, but we shall look in on him before you leave.”
“I’d like that.” He realized he’d been remiss in bringing a gift for the lad. He’d remedy that situation the next time he visited.
“Do tell us everything.” She sat in a large plush chair and Sebastian joined her, sitting on the arm, placing his hand on her nape as though he needed to touch her simply because she was near.
Tristan took his tumbler and a nearby chair. “Not much to tell.” Glancing up, he noticed the portrait over the fireplace. It was his brother, his damaged side partially hidden by shadows as he looked at his wife. “Nice portrait.”
“We were pleased with it. If you were staying longer, I’d have one done of Sebastian with you and Rafe.”
“Yes, I’m quite sure you’d have no trouble at all getting Rafe to agree to that,” he said wryly. He couldn’t imagine him agreeing to it. “Speaking of our younger brother, will he be joining us this evening?”
“No,” Sebastian said. “Unfortunately our relationship remains strained, and he declines our invitations.”
“But he sent word to you that I was here.”
“Yes. Don’t know if he knew you were leaving so quickly. Where are you going?”
He wasn’t certain how Sebastian would feel about Tristan’s journey to a place where so much blood—so much of his blood—had been shed. The last thing he wanted was to bring nightmares back into his brother’s life. “I’d rather not say. It’s a private charter.”
“I didn’t know you did private charters.”
“When the payment is right, I do anything.”
“Nothing illegal, I hope,” Mary said.
He winked at her. “Payment is everything.”
“Not to worry,” he assured her. “No danger awaits us on this trip.” But even as he said the words, he wasn’t convinced they were quite true. It was bad luck to have a woman on board a ship, even one as lovely as Lady Anne. He decided to take a risk. “Mary, are you familiar with the Earl of Blackwood’s daughter? Lady Anne?”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, I spent far too much of my life in the nunnery. I don’t believe we’ve crossed paths. Why?”
“No particular reason.”
“When do you ever ask questions that serve no purpose?” Sebastian asked.
He grinned. “Obviously tonight.”
At Sebastian’s narrowing gaze, Tristan stood. “I say, I’m quite famished. Any chance we can get this dinner under way?”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online