She Tempts the Duke(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 1)(22) by Lorraine Heath
Lady Hermione turned to Lady Victoria. “Wait for me in the entry hallway.”
Once Lady Victoria left, Lady Hermione gave all her attention to Mary. “She said unkind words, and I should not be made to suffer simply because we traveled here in the same carriage. I was quite taken with Lord Tristan and I would dearly love to ensure that he is taken with me. If you believe at all in love, please see to this favor for me.”
“You haven’t even spoken to him. How can you love him?”
She placed her gloved hand over her breast. “The heart needs not an exchange of words. It simply knows.”
With a sigh, Mary felt all the fight go out of her. “I cannot guarantee success, but I shall speak with the duke if our paths should cross.”
“I can ask for no more than that. Thank you.”
She walked out and Mary sank back into the chair. She wondered if Sebastian was aware that confronting his uncle might be the easiest of all his tasks. Being accepted by the nobility might prove to be much more of a challenge.
Lurking in the shadows of the park across the street from the London residence, Sebastian watched the flurry of activity. He and Tristan had come and gone several times since yesterday afternoon, but now they waited because the sun would soon make its appearance and the deadline he’d given his uncle would be upon them. He didn’t intend to allow the man to remain in residence one moment longer than he’d already declared. It seemed Lord David understood the weight of the threat. Two coaches and a wagon were loaded to overflowing, the horses impatiently pawing at the cobblestone, their whickers echoing through the fog. His uncle had amassed an inordinate amount of possessions in the intervening years.
“I suppose truthfully,” Tristan murmured, “if he used Keswick funds to purchase all that garbage that it’s yours.”
“He’s welcome to it. I have no intention of splitting hairs as long as he takes nothing that belonged to Father. For now I simply want him out.”
“Destroy him. His credit, his credibility. I want him begging on the streets.”
“I still don’t fancy the notion of him drawing in air.”
“Killing him would shorten his suffering. I wish to prolong it.”
“There is satisfaction in that, I suppose. What are your plans regarding yourself?”
“Unfortunately, I shall have to remain here for a time to secure my place and to find a wife.”
He was well aware it wouldn’t be an easy task, but it needed to be done. He didn’t delude himself into believing it would be a love match. He wasn’t certain that he had the ability to love. Not any longer. The years since he left he’d not felt anything toward any woman—other than lust. That he seemed to have in abundance, even where Mary was concerned. Although it had certainly been lacking when Rafe had sent the woman to him.
Flo. He remembered her name only because Tristan had mentioned her several times since, trying to determine his satisfaction with her efforts. Why Tristan should care was beyond Sebastian’s reasoning. He’d forgotten the woman’s name two seconds after she’d given it to him. Which had made it rather awkward ten minutes later when it became obvious that whatever his needs, she couldn’t satisfy them. She’d then sent a raven-haired beauty to him, but he’d had no interest in her either. And he’d greeted the red-haired wench who followed with an immediate request that she depart. If he hadn’t had such a strong reaction to Mary’s nearness, he’d have thought the war had taken more than his sight on one side. But he had reacted. For the first time in a terribly long time. He had reacted with a fierceness that verged on barbaric.
“I realize that we have a good bit of time to make up for, but aren’t you rushing it a little there, when it comes to securing a wife?” Tristan asked. “Good Lord, we’re only six and twenty. I don’t plan to marry until I’m at least forty—if then.”
Six and twenty? How could he possibly be that young? He felt as though he were on the far side of thirty. “I want to be on display as short a time as possible.”
“And do you have a lady in mind?”
“If I did, I would already be on my way back to Pembrook.”
“Perhaps you seek to achieve too much too quickly.”
“Good God, Tristan, I’ve had twelve years to ponder it all. To scheme, to plan, to dream. Surely you have done the same.”
His brother kept his gaze fastened on the activity across the street. “While I’ll admit that I quite enjoyed being unfettered, returning to Society is all I thought of. I quite fancied being a lord again, and having any woman I want at my beck and call.”
“Have you someone in mind?”
“Hardly, but my time at sea gave me a knack for discovering buried treasures. Although I must admit that I take equal pleasure in the search as much as in the discovery.” He nodded toward the residence. “It appears the imposer is set to take his leave.”
Sebastian shifted his gaze to the departing carriages. They didn’t carry the ducal crest. It seemed his uncle had taken his threats seriously. He was to take nothing that didn’t belong to him. The horses and wheels clattered over the cobblestone drive, echoing through the fog as the first rays of sunlight began to ease their way into the city. He listened until the sounds were absorbed by distance, then he gave a nod to the man on horseback waiting even further back in the shadows. The man took off in a trot in the direction that Lord David had gone.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online