Hate blinded him to everything but revenge. Can love help him see before it’s too late to redeem himself?
‘Devil’ Devereaux—earned the sobriquet because he was a devil in the card room, on the dueling field—and in the bedroom. But was he completely impervious to any woman’s charms? Or would it transpire that Emma was the Waterloo he’d had coming for many years?
Emma’s dull world turns into a nightmare when she’s cast out by the man she thought was her father into a cold and very cruel world. Lord Devereaux is the man who rescues her from the fate worse than death, but just how altruistic are his motives?
Not very. Emma has the look of his archenemy and he decides she’ll make the perfect pawn for his revenge. Unfortunately for him, he gets caught up in his own web.
“Go! Get out of my house!” bellowed the stranger with her father’s face through clenched teeth.
Emma stared at him uncomprehendingly, unable to even absorb what he had said let alone understand. She almost felt more as if each word was a blow instead of speech.
He was in his cups. He had been drinking steadily since her mother’s funeral. With every word he threw at her, she caught a strong whiff of spirits, but she still couldn’t comprehend what had thrown him into such a fury.
“I have had to look at you—be reminded every time I saw you of that cheating whore I married for the past eighteen years and more. She’s dead and buried now. I will endure it no longer! Leave before I have you thrown out!”
He grasped her arm when she still didn’t move, hauled her toward the front door and shoved her out so hard she nearly sprawled out on the stoop. “But … where?” she finally managed to gasp, too hurt and bewildered to gather her thoughts.
“I do not care, you bastard. Find your father. Perhaps he’ll take you in.”
He slammed the door in her face before she had the chance to ask who her father was.
She stared at the vibrating door for some moments, trying to shake the shock and terror and think, but it was useless. Her mind, her entire system, was in a state of turmoil where bits and pieces of things swirled around and made no sense—images and words.
She looked around a little vaguely after standing at the door for a time, as if some answer would magically appear, and finally managed to make her way down the steps to the walkway.
She was still draped entirely in black, she saw when she looked down at herself numbly, for her mother had been buried little more than a week earlier—carried away by some fever the doctor never identified.
She almost felt as if she was caught up in some kind of delirium herself, unable to comprehend anything that had happened—hot one moment, freezing the next so that her teeth chattered together.
She had nothing with her, not even her purse.
Not that she had anything in it. She could not recall the last time she had been given so much as a pence for spending money.
It flickered through her mind—very briefly—to turn back and ask if she might have cab fair to take her away from his house—a few of her belongings—but she did not think she was up to facing more of what she already had. And, in any case, she had no notion where to go.
Beyond that, his temper had seemed so out of control that she was afraid he might beat her if she bothered him.
Maybe she had no belongings if she had no home and no mother and now no father?
She frowned at that. He had said she should find her father—Her mother was a whore and she was a bastard.
He was not her father.
Struggling with that, she began to walk with no notion of where she was going beyond ‘away’.
She was tired and had begun to feel the sting of blisters on her feet long before she spied the park, but she realized that that was a place to go. There would be benches where she could sit and rest and perhaps something would come to her?
She was hot and thirsty from her walk before she found a bench. It was fully exposed to bright sunlight and not particularly appealing so she kept walking until she found one that was in a little shade. She passed people as she was searching, aware that they were speaking, or perhaps commenting on her, but not really hearing them.
She felt … numb.
Except her throat was parched and her feet and legs hurt.
Swallowing with an effort since she had no notion of where she might find water, she settled, ramrod straight as she’d been taught, and stared at the park around her—seeing nothing.
She had nowhere to go.
She had no family.
She had no friends.
She had no money.
She could not even think of anywhere she might go as a short time solution.
Published: July 2021
Word Count: 22, 680
Genre: Historical Regency
Available formats: Epub, PDF, RTF, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
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