Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(87) by Lorraine Heath
“Best way to lay low for a bit. Found a bloke around my size, bashed in his face, dressed him in my clothes, and let the fish nibble at him for a bit. Then paid a fine fellow to say, ‘By God, that’s Dimmick.’ Bobbies don’t look too hard at our sorts. But now I’ve risen from the dead and I want me club back. And yer fancy residence. That’ll cover the interest.”
Rafe’s stomach tightened with the thought of Dimmick walking into the residence that belonged to Eve. Lord help the servants if Dimmick recognized any of them. Some had owed him money, and Rafe was to have dispensed with them. Instead, he’d given them new names and a place to live where they were unlikely to cross paths with the man who wished them harm. “Afraid I like both a bit too much to part with either easily. And as I am familiar with how you operate, you should know that upon my death, the club goes to Mick. All nice and legal. My solicitor has my will and the deed to the property, all properly signed.”
“Sorry to hear that. All right, fellas, you know what to do.”
They rushed in, fists flailing. Rafe fought them off as long as he could. At least one, maybe two, went down, but they were a skilled lot, and he soon found himself trussed up and laying on the ground.
Dimmick crouched low. “You’ll give me what I want, one way or another.”
As Rafe was hefted to his feet, he thought, No, I won’t. Not if it means there is any chance in hell that you’ll ever learn about Eve.
He found himself in an empty room in a large building. A warehouse perhaps. Every movement—shuffling of feet, grunts, breathing, scurrying rats—echoed. Rafe was tied to a chair, the rope wound tightly around his upper torso, arms, and legs. His hands were free, resting on a low table. On it were a pen, an inkwell, and a sheaf of paper.
“Now,” Dimmick began, “you’re going to write a new will, leaving your establishment to me. In exchange for which, I’ll give you a quick death. You’re well aware that I can give you a slow painful one.”
Rafe glanced around, taking in his situation. Half a dozen men surrounded him. One was holding a large hammer. He knew what that was for. If he could break free of his bonds, he could probably get to two of them, but all six was going to be a trick. He almost laughed. When had he become an optimist to think anything good was going to come of this? Optimism was Eve’s domain. He regretted immensely that he’d never see her again. Just once more. To gaze into her eyes, to see her smile, to tell her . . . Sweet Christ, it was an unfortunate time to realize that he loved her.
And had for some time. For much of his life he had worked hard to ensure that nothing mattered. She mattered. She was all that mattered.
When she left he had lost a part of himself, perhaps the last bit of himself that was of any worth.
He lifted his right hand, wiggled his fingers, as much as he was able with the ropes digging into him. Dimmick moved the pen closer. Rafe picked it up, dipped it in the inkwell, and set the tip on the paper, watching as the ink slowly spread over the parchment. Looking up, he winked at Dimmick. “Don’t think I will.”
“Right. Charlie, smash his left hand.”
“But you always have me smash their important hand, their writing hand.”
“Use your head. He needs it to write.”
“Oh, I see. All right then.”
Two other men moved in. One wrapped his arm around Rafe’s neck and forced his chin up, while the other held his left wrist so his hand was splayed on the table. Rafe remembered the first time that Dimmick had told him to break someone’s hand.
“Break his hand or I’ll break your arm.”
Rafe had broken the man’s hand. He’d never forget the sound of cracking bone and the man’s painful wail. His hand had never healed properly, which made him one of the most ineffectual valets in all of London.
Rafe kept his gaze on Dimmick. If he managed to get out of this, he was going to see Dimmick hanged. Nice and legal. He wouldn’t be coming back from a hanging.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the hammer going up. He braced—
The immeasurable pain shot through him. He wanted to be stoic, but he couldn’t hold back the guttural cry. Both men released him. Breathing heavily, he glared at Dimmick, who was smiling with satisfaction.
“Now, write the will or I’ll have him hit your hand again until the bone is naught but tiny bits.”
“Gonna be . . . a bit difficult. I’m left-handed, you see.”
He heard Dimmick’s roar, saw the hammer was now in his meaty hand, swinging down—
The pain carried him into the depths of darkness.
Evelyn thought that she should be hungry, especially as the dinner set before her was one of the finest she’d ever seen, but everything tasted of nothing. She ate tiny bites because it made things more palatable.
“Is it not to your liking?” Mary asked. “I can have Cook prepare something else.”
Evelyn smiled at her. “I have no appetite. That’s all. You’ve been so kind.” They’d taken her in the night she’d walked out on Rafe. She hadn’t known where else to go, but she’d learned early on that the duchess was an extremely compassionate sort. She’d held Evelyn while she wept and blubbered. She’d passed no judgments on Rafe except to say that Evelyn had been right to leave him.
But if that were the case, why did she hurt so badly? Why did she sit in her bedchamber and stare out the window at the residence across the way, hoping for a glimpse of Rafe? Was he well? Did he miss her at all?
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