Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(22) by Lorraine Heath
“Keswick’s not here,” she said softly, studying him as they settled into chairs by the fire.
He shrugged. “His whereabouts are of no concern to me. I didn’t come to see him.”
“I wish you would . . . come to see him, that is.”
“Now that Uncle is dead, we have nothing in common, Mary.”
“You might be surprised.”
“I doubt it.”
“You are a stubborn—”
He suspected she was going to say fool, but the arrival of the tea cart interrupted her. He watched as she prepared the brew, but it was Eve’s fingers that he saw. Small, delicate, arranging things so slowly. He’d wanted to watch her eat. What a silly thing to desire. He considered returning home straightaway, after he was done here, but it would not do to make her think that he was anxious to be with her. Because he wasn’t. But he did want to get the clothes situation taken care of, as he abhorred her in black.
Mary extended the cup toward him and he dutifully took it. “I was wondering who sews your clothing.”
She peered at him over the rim of her teacup as she sipped. She didn’t seem surprised, and he suspected she, too, knew he had taken a mistress. “I frequent Madame Charmaine’s on St. James.”
“Splendid.” That would be easy enough to find. He set aside his untouched tea. “Thank you, Mary.”
She looked up at him. “You’re not leaving.”
“I have much to which I must attend.”
“I wasn’t asking, Rafe. I was stating that you are not leaving.”
“Tell me about this girl, the one for whom you need a seamstress.”
He scowled. “It’s hardly appropriate conversation. She’s my mistress.”
“Would I like her, do you think? We should have you both over for dinner.”
“You’re mad! This is the home of a duke. You don’t bring a mistress in here.”
“If she’s important to you—”
She puckered her brow into tiny pleats that had to be painful. “Then why make her your mistress?”
Why the bloody hell did she think? She was married. She knew a man had needs.
“I’m not discussing this with you. Have a good day.”
Before she could aggravate him further, he charged from the room. Eve was no one’s business save his own. He wanted to keep it that way.
“I think this girl might mean something to him,” Mary said as she walked through the garden with Keswick later that morning.
“Men do not marry their mistresses.”
“I’m not implying he should marry her, but she might be able to reach that part of him that still belongs to Pembrook.”
“You do have fanciful thoughts, sweetheart.”
She tightened her hold on his arm. She walked on his unscarred side only because he wouldn’t be able to see her otherwise. The heavy scars that marred his face did not bother her. They never had—except for revealing that he had suffered greatly. She had loved him as a child. She loved him still. She always would.
“He’s still there, you know. The boy he was. It’s only that he’s lost.”
Keswick stopped walking and took her in his arms. “I hope you’re correct about this woman, then. Because I know what it is to be lost. And I know what it is to finally come home. You are my home.”
He kissed her then, deeply and urgently. She would never tire of the passion that swelled up between them. As he lifted her into his arms and began carrying her toward the house, she laughed. It seemed he would never tire of it either.
Evelyn wandered through the corridors and rooms. Rafe could not possibly have meant that he intended to gift her with this residence. He must have meant that he would purchase a smaller one, maybe even a cottage somewhere. This place had been built to accommodate a large family, someone who entertained often. There were salons with crystal chandeliers, and she imagined the light from the candles flickering over dancers. The library contained numerous sitting areas and walls of books. Chairs and draperies were dark burgundy or hunter green. Everything was exquisite.
No, he could not possibly intend to give her this dwelling.
What truly fascinated her was that every room contained a globe, or a picture of one. She strolled to the window of a small sitting room and gazed out on the luxurious gardens. She could well imagine the lady of the house doing the same thing, finding herself filled with peace and comfort.
Closing her eyes, she fought not to open the nearby doors, step out, and keep walking through the garden, to the mews. She would have a very fine life here, but the cost to her soul—
She couldn’t even imagine the price she would ultimately pay.
Opening her eyes, she set her jaw. She would make certain Geoffrey paid more, in one way or another. She had never considered herself to be one for revenge, but at that moment she despised him. That he would do this. What sort of creature was he? It was difficult to believe they shared the same father.
She suddenly felt overwhelmed with exhaustion.
Turning on her heel, she strolled from the room. The residence was so large that, in spite of the many servants, it felt incredibly empty and lonely. She thought she might go mad with nothing to do except wait for Rafe’s arrival. Her stomach clenched, for when he did arrive—
She didn’t know how she would manage to give herself to him without making a spectacle of herself, weeping for all she was losing.
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