Surrender to the Devil(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 3)(50) by Lorraine Heath
“He’s accustomed to waiting until dawn on some occasions, and I pay him well enough not to be bothered by it.” He folded his hand around his waistcoat and jacket. “Come with me. Otherwise, I’ll have to stay here, and no offense, but you’re lacking in amenities. Dodger obviously is taking advantage of your goodness. He needs to increase your salary. I can have my solicitor discuss the matter with him.”
“I have no complaints regarding my pay.” For the first time, she viewed her accommodations through his eyes. They were rather…depressing. “I believe my money is better spent on the orphanage.”
“But to sacrifice everything—”
“I don’t sacrifice anything that I truly want.” Although she truly wanted him, and here she was arguing against going when there was nothing she desired more.
“Come with me. My servants will pamper you and so shall I.”
“You’re the one who’s hurt, the one who should be tended.”
He grinned as though she’d fallen right into his trap. “Fine. You may pamper me.”
“I’ll at least escort you home,” she conceded.
“Until dawn. Just to make certain you’re all right.”
He smiled a devilish grin that seemed to imply that she’d granted him exactly what he wanted. It wasn’t until they arrived at his residence and he was helping her out of the coach that he said in a low, sensual voice, “Fortunately for me you didn’t specify which dawn.”
It was nearly two in the morning, but Greystone’s butler greeted them in the entry hallway to take Frannie’s wrap and Greystone’s bundled jacket and waistcoat. His bloodied shirt, however, remained on his person.
“Good God, Your Grace. I’ll send for your physician immediately.”
“No need, Wedgeworth. I’ve already been tended and it’s really nothing to worry over. Miss Darling will be staying the night in Lady Catherine’s room. Assign one of the maids to see to her needs while she’s here.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
It was strange, but as Greystone led her up the sweeping stairs, she didn’t feel the least bit uncomfortable approaching the floor that contained the bedchambers, and yet she thought she should have. She thought of the last time she’d been here and all that had happened. He might tell her that he expected nothing from her, but she knew it was a lie—and she wasn’t bothered by it. The one person with whom she’d always been honest was herself. She was here because there was nothing he wanted of her that she wasn’t willing to give.
“Have I mentioned that I’m very glad you’re here?” he asked.
Raising her gaze to his, she smiled. “I don’t believe you have.”
“I want you to be glad to be here, Frannie.”
The top of the stairs opened into another huge corridor. It was so large that tables and chairs lined the walls, yet people could still walk easily four across. She imagined during balls that ladies tittered as they came up here to see after their toilette.
“This bedchamber here,” he said, leading her to an open doorway.
She peered in at the artwork on the ceiling, the grand canopied bed, the luxury she’d not experienced since leaving Claybourne’s. “It’s gorgeous.”
“It’s not to your taste, though, is it?”
She shook her head. “No, but I’ll manage.”
From the corner of her eye, she saw a woman walking sedately down the hallway, having come up the servants’ back stairway. She was surprised Sterling didn’t turn toward the approaching girl.
“Your Grace,” she said with a bobbed curtsy.
Only then did Sterling choose to acknowledge her. “Agnes, you’re to serve Miss Darling’s every need while she’s here.”
“As you wish, Your Grace.”
“Miss Darling will be making use of Lady Catherine’s wardrobe.”
“That’s not necessary,” Frannie said.
“Suit yourself. Just know that Catherine left behind clothing that she’ll no doubt never use again, and her clothes—like everything within this residence—are here to serve at your pleasure.” He took a step forward, took her hand, and brought it to his lips. “And now, Frannie, I fear I must retire and shall leave you to do the same.”
He appeared exhausted and she realized his discomfort was taking a toll on him. “I came to watch over you.”
“Get some sleep first. If you fall ill, Swindler will kill me. Besides, I need to wash up and get out of these bloody clothes.”
Giving a nod, she watched him cross over to a room opposite hers. She truly hadn’t planned to stay beyond dawn, and she hadn’t anticipated sleeping here. Hearing a drawer open, she turned to see Agnes taking out a nightgown. With a shy smile, she said, “Would you like me to have a bath prepared?”
“Oh, no, it’s too late to bother with that.”
“It’s no bother if that’s what you wish.”
Frannie took the gown, surprised by the softness of the cloth. It would be like sleeping in a cloud. “Return to bed. I can see to myself.”
“But His Grace—”
“Will never know.”
Agnes gave a quick curtsy. “Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.”
After changing into the nightgown and brushing out her hair, Frannie crawled into bed. She stared at the canopy for a while. Then she rolled over and studied the light coming in through the window. Was it moonlight or lamplight? Did it matter? She was in Greystone’s residence. If she was staying only until dawn, she certainly didn’t expect the sunlight to find her in this bed.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online