Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(88) by Lorraine Heath
Sometimes she considered returning to him, but she wanted so much more than he could give her. She yearned for the essentials that couldn’t be purchased: love, family, happiness.
She’d moped about long enough. It was time to move on.
“I can’t continue to take advantage. I thought tomorrow to start searching for employment.” How long had she been here now? Even the passing of days, nights held no meaning.
“We’ll help you find something. What are your skills?”
Before she could begin to list her limited talents, the door to the dining room burst open as though by a tempest and Tristan Easton strode in and, without preamble, announced, “I suspect Rafe might be in trouble.”
The duke was on his feet so fast, with such force, that the table shook. “Why do you think that?”
“He hasn’t been to his club or his residence in three days. No one knows of his whereabouts.”
A sense of dread and foreboding tore through Eve. “It’s not like him, to stay away from his club.”
“Have you a notion as to where he might be?”
She shook her head. “His club is the only thing about which he cares.”
“I very much doubt that,” the duke said, and the look in his gaze told her that he thought she was important to Rafe. She wasn’t going to argue the point. “Do you think he might have gone to Pembrook?”
“It seems unlikely to me,” she told him, “but then I don’t believe that I truly knew him very well.”
“I went there,” Tristan said. “When Anne and I had our parting of ways. It helped me to overcome the past but I’m not sure Rafe’s demons reside in Pembrook.”
“If they live anywhere at all, they live in the workhouse or in St. Giles,” Evelyn said. “Laurence might know. He tried to kill him once.”
“His butler tried to kill him?” the duke asked. “What the devil was he thinking to hire the man to run his household?”
“Doesn’t matter,” Lord Tristan said. “I’ll have another chat with him.”
Evelyn came to her feet. “I’m going with you.”
As she walked with Tristan and the duke—who had insisted upon coming as well—to the house next door, she knew that Rafe wouldn’t fancy his brothers learning the truth about the life he’d led while they’d been away. But if he was in trouble they might be in a position to help him, and that was all that mattered now. Finding him, ensuring he was safe.
She didn’t know why she cared so much. Yes, she did. It was that little irritating fact that she loved him, in spite of his gruffness, his walls, and his distance. He was a better man than he gave himself credit for. She’d caught glimpses of that man.
She didn’t bother to knock when they arrived, but simply walked in as though the residence was hers. Laurence emerged from a doorway, stumbled to a stop, and smiled. “Miss Chambers, you’ve returned. The master will be relieved. I’ll send word round to the club.”
“He’s not there,” Tristan said. “He left his club three nights ago. When I was here earlier, you told me you hadn’t seen him in three days.”
“Yes, that’s correct. He’s not been here, but then for him that’s not unusual. Before Miss Chambers arrived here, he might go a month or two without popping by.”
“So if he isn’t at his club or here,” the duke began, “where might he be?”
Laurence shook his head. “There is nowhere else. Except for St. Giles. But he wouldn’t stay there for any length of time. He quite abhors the place.”
“Where should we begin looking?”
Laurence hesitated, no doubt from long association with a man who harbored secrets.
Evelyn gave him an encouraging smile. “Laurence, you should answer the duke. He and Lord Tristan are Mr. Easton’s brothers.”
“Ah, yes, I can see the similarities.”
“Tell him what you know.”
“He could be anywhere in St. Giles. I’ll send the servants out to see what they can uncover.”
“No need,” the duke said. “We’re off for there now.”
“With all due respect, Your Grace, are you familiar with St. Giles?”
“I’ve been through there, yes.”
“We all have lived there. If something is amiss, we can ferret it out.”
“All of you are from St. Giles?” Evelyn asked, not surprised to discover that Rafe had taken them in.
“Indeed, miss. If I might so bold, I suggest that you also have a word with Mick at the club. He remains a bit closer to the unsavory element than I.”
“Thank you, Laurence, for your advice,” Evelyn said. “We’ll heed it.”
“Let’s head to his club,” the duke said, turning to the door.
Evelyn spun on her heel to follow him.
She turned back to Laurence.
“He spent a good deal of his life surviving those streets. One doesn’t do that without making some enemies, but he’s not one to go down easily.”
“You agree with Lord Tristan, you think he’s in trouble?”
“If he’s not at the club, then I fear it is the case. But we’ll find him, one way or another.”
She didn’t want to consider that “another” meant finding him dead.
Standing in the balcony with the duke and Lord Tristan, Evelyn watched as the manager of the Rakehell Club, Mick, crossed his arms over his chest and glared at them as though they were responsible for the disappearance.
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