The Dukes of Mayfair I: The Unworthy Gentleman
Renee Worthy, newly bestowed Duke of Albany, hell master and retired Fey pirate, knows that with his old nemesis, the beautiful jewel thief Esme Ridgeway, comes the world of Fey, the world of light and dark magic, demons, an ancient curse, and the battle of a lifetime - the battle to save the woman he adores.
Word Count: 184,295
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, March 2014
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and are not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Renee names her ‘inamorata’.
His impatient mistress.
His angel of mercy.
And when the claws of the witch retreat, in the clear light of day or night, my brother names her otherwise.
His dank whore.
His pathetic hallucination.
I asked Renee of her appearance.
He answered that she flies to him on magnificent black, red tipped wings and the wings with an expanse of more than twenty feet. Until she lands and stands beside him, he cannot see her clearly for she is shrouded in a dense, acrid grey fog. And after she lands and until she stands over him, he sees her only as flashes of light and dark; a glimpse of alabaster flesh, shadowed recesses, the curve of her hip and the gentle swing of her breasts.
‘What happens to the fog after she landed,’ I asked?
He answered with a shrug, ‘Well, she opens her mouth and draws it inside her.’ Then, it seems, he sees her clearly. She is slender, tall, and muscular for a woman. She has long black hair, silver and slightly slanted eyes and the rosiest of lips…the face of every Goddess. Her breasts are, as my brother says, ‘ponderous and succulent’. She bears the tattoo of a snake; the tail of the snake coiled beneath her throat, the body wrapped once around each of those ponderous breasts, around her hips and the head, mouth open rests on the flesh of her sheath, the split tongue disappears into her glove. As to what they do together… Renee, sober and more dead than alive, names her dank whore for a sound reason.
‘Surely an evil thing then?’ I suggested.
What else would a man think, apart from the obvious?
In the true style of Renee, he threw back his head and laughed. ‘Evil? Of course! Shall I send her to visit you? Non? Croix de Dieu, you do not know what you miss! But shrug off those dark thoughts, Luc. It was pointless to ponder the impossible. What sort of fool does not savour all that is offered? Not his sort. Devil take it, for at least in this I am a lucky man.’
It has been six years since his first mention of the hallucination and a year since he last spoke of the thing. My sister and I hoped and prayed that he was free of her but we knew better on the cause of her; the opiate.
And so that was but a false hope.
This eve I saw Renee, a blanket and pillow under his arm, on his way up to the roof terrace. It was a cold night for May and threatened rain and so I asked him what he had in mind.
‘I have a hankering to spend my lust on the witch, Luc. Join me and I will share her.’
I fear for my brother.
I fear he will meet his death wish… and there is nought I can do to stop him.
Renee rested his head back on the wicker chair and, for a while, contemplated the sky. No moon, no stars but they did not often bless the London night. A light rain fell and in the distance thunder rolled. The perfect setting for his unholy alliance.
He’d prepared for her visit as usual. Not much was needed; a bed of sorts, a blanket tossed on the floor of the rooftop terrace, a few pillows for his head and two bottles; one of cognac and a smaller bottle but of equal importance, the opiate, the laudanum. He’d already stripped down to nothing but his silk breeches and opened the buttons of the placet. Nothing more to do but wait.
He took another long drink form the cognac bottle, a sip of the laudanum and reclined on the blanket. It must be a careful measure of each, too much cognac and he’d pass out, too much of the ‘devil’s juice’ and he’d sleep, or if the God’s finally noticed and took pity, mayhaps he would leave with her. Ah, but that was too much to hope for. He closed his eyes, waited and drifted.
The rain came in torrents. Thunder rolled and lightening split the sky. The cold spring rain pooled on his naked chest, ran in rivulets down his sides, saturated the thin silk of his breeches and like a million tiny fingers, played along the ridges of his engorged member. He lifted slightly, pushing down the sides of his breeches, ran his hand over the proof of his blind need.
Hungrier than he’d ever known, he waited.
Waited, drifted back, down and into the dream world of the opiate.
Free of memory.
Free of pain.
Waited and then grinned as a roll of thunder tapered off to the sound of wings.
It was dawn when Renee, head aching and teeth chattering with cold, stumbled into his bedchamber and it was no surprise to find his sister waiting for him.
“Renee. Tell me that you did not spend the night on the terrace. You will catch your death.”
“One can hope, Lily, one can hope. Laudanum,” he said dropping his sodden breeches to the floor and climbing into his bed. “Fetch me a new bottle.”
“You had the last bottle.”
“Then tell Chan to get another case. Now.”
“And if he refuses to aide you any longer?”
“I will fire him.”
Lilly moved to the bed and sat on the side. “If he had a penny for every time you said that ... ”
Renee threw the covers down. A black and purple bruise bloomed from the left side of his chest to his hip. “I am bleeding inside again, Lilly. In pain, darling. Have a heart, non?”
Lilly brought her hand to her mouth. She’d seen the bleeding before but never as bad as this. Gently pushing his long tangled hair from his face, she said, “Oh dear Lord, Renee. How long has it been this bad?”
He shook his head, leaning into her comforting touch. “I am dying.” Renee spoke quietly, pulling the cover back in place. “Bit by bit, a little more each day. What bloody difference does it make?”
Lilly pulled a bottle of laudanum from her pocket, uncorked it and handed it to Renee, watched closely as he took a swallow and then took the bottle from him. “Leave it with me.”
Lilly moved from the bed. “No. I will be back in a few hours and you can have more then.” She paused and added, “You ask what difference it makes? I think there is a big difference, Renee. It is the difference between dying with dignity and dying with pity.”
And with that Lily left the room.