His Lady Mistress book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. DOWNTRODDEN SERVANT OR GRACIOUS LADY?When Max, Earl. Скачать бесплатно книгу His Lady Mistress - Elizabeth Rolls в форматах fb2, rtf , epub, pdf, txt или читать онлайн. Отзывы на книгу. rolls - pdf view and downloadable. pdf file about download his lady mistress by elizabeth rolls - pdf selected and prepared for you by browsing on search.
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Certain images contained within this e-book have been digitally marked by Digimarc Corp. If you purchased this e-book fr. Look for her next book, Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride (June ), which features characters introduced in His Lady Mistress. Available from Harlequin. DOWNTRODDEN SERVANT OR GRACIOUS LADY? When Max, Earl Blakehurst , meets Verity he sees a downtrodden servant. He doesn't recognize her as the.
Blinking rain out of her eyes, she followed the cart and rider out of the village. I brought it along for mending. Both her wrists were imprisoned in a one-handed grip. Which one? At least that was her considered opinion, based on the observation of other visiting gentlemen. Just tell the Rector you did it! It is discussed frequently.
No thanks. Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Accessibility Policy. Search 0. Search Harlequin Search Harlequin. Harlequin Search Harlequin Search Harlequin. Help Sign in Sign in Create an Account. Sign in New Customer? Start Here. Let's keep in touch! Your Email. Sign Up. Home Books Harlequin Historical Current: His Lady Mistress. And the gentlemen were not much better. He gritted his teeth. You there, old chap?
Max looked at him blankly. He knew that. And as for her little stratagem this morning! He shuddered. That was the stuff of nightmares. By a conniving little baggage! He barely suppressed another shudder. Just as atrocious as the previous night. The things a man would do in response to a guilty conscience: One thing he could guarantee: Miss Celia might be taken with him, but she would not be taken by him.
His handkerchief would stay in his pocket. And he would stay out of the maze. Max returned a non-committal reply and reminded himself that he did, after all, bear a certain reputation.
Oh, the devil! Too late for second thoughts now. He was here and he should have come years ago. Indeed, even being in the house had not yielded results. And how he was supposed to ask tactfully escaped him.
In the end, he eschewed tact, cornering his host as they left the dining room. And then smiled.
My library is private. This way! Good God! The man was fairly rubbing his hands in glee! What the devil did he—? The truth crashed over him. Faringdon thought he was about to make an offer. For Celia. Mentally cursing his own idiocy, Max followed his host to the library. Thank you. Faringdon stared. Oh, ah I take it, you like what you see. Max frowned at the reaction. He pressed on, relentless.
I believe her to be a niece of Lady Faringdon and under your care. Her late father was my C. Verity Scott had been bundled off God knew where.
Somewhere her tragic story could not embarrass the socially ambitious Faringdons. He saw with satisfaction that Faringdon had paled and forcibly relaxed his hands. I should like to pay my respects. Could he help her? Might Lady Arnsworth, his Aunt Almeria, employ her?
When I said that Miss Scott was no longer with us, I meant that she has That poor, gallant child. It lacerated him. Dare say she felt it. Elizabeth Rolls 33 Faringdon glanced at him.
A queer sound from Lord Faringdon brought him around. His jaw clenched, Max raised his brows questioningly. Lord Faringdon looked as though he might strangle on his cravat as he tugged at it. Sad, very sad. Weakness in the bloodline, no doubt. Only glad it bypassed my family. No marked grave Then she had He could feel the rain, smell the wet earth Swiftly she made her way along the upper corridors towards the back stairs that led up to her chamber.
The sound of footsteps ascending the main stairs hurried her the more. Her aunt had made it quite plain that she was to remain out of sight of the guests. So far she had managed to get through the day without any serious trouble—a run of luck she had no intention of breaking.
Reaching the back stairs, she caught up her skirts and took 34 His Lady Mistress the steps two at a time, only to let out a shriek of fright as a shadow detached itself from the wall and grabbed for her. The familiar reek of stale brandy assailed her. At least she assumed he was from the slur in his voice. He grabbed her wrists as he jerked his face away and dragged her close.
Brandy and foul breath surrounded her. It was enough. Godfrey yelled in pain and shoved her away so that she stumbled backwards into the hall with a cry of fright. Her landing scared her even more.
A very masculine grip that steadied her on her feet and released her. Dazed, she looked up into a dark, harsh face.
Bright topaz eyes burned into her. Thank you, sir. I slipped. It appears the wench is less than willing. You will oblige me by leaving her alone. Is that clear? Verity only just choked back the explosion. Safer if he did think her one of the maids.
So she swallowed her fury and lowered her eyes. Probably in this clothing she did look like a servant. She had already decided that it was too dangerous to let him know she was here. Godfrey smirked. Before I forget that your father is my host. Then he lifted his hand to his face and stared at the blood in apparent disbelief.
The look he stabbed at Verity swore revenge. Now take yourself off! Her heart sank. Shivering, she turned to go. Almost against her will, her eyes lifted to his face.
Something inside her exulted, rioted, even as she stood motionless, trapped in his gaze. Another voice broke in. The soft voice bit deep. Take yourself off. Presumptuous girl! Go to your room! That sort never know their place. Verity retreated to the stairs and raced up to her dark, chilly little room. Closing the door behind her, she leaned against it, shaking in the cold blackness.
Eyes tight shut, she saw again the face of her rescuer. Familiar eyes stared back haughtily. The moonlight had never revealed their colour. Burning amber.
Verity prepared quickly for bed in the dark. Dazed, she let the book fall open where it would. I have good reports of his intelligence and courage from his previous commanders Almost like a son. He has a gentle way with women and children. And apparently all the women Max had entertained in Brussels had been more than willing. It did not appear that her father had thought the worse of Max for his youthful sins.
Max was mentioned regularly. She knew his expertise with horses and his fondness for dogs. She knew he hated tea and how he liked his coffee. She even knew how he liked his eggs and bacon. And that he was perfectly capable of cooking it himself. Above all his kindness and thought for an orphaned child glowed in her memory He was as real and precious to her as life itself.
And now he was here, in the house, supposedly courting her cousin. Shivering, she replaced the journal and snuffed the candle. She had never thought that he might be of such high degree. She wished she could forget. Then she could at least have held on to her vision of Max. Max who, at least in her dreams, might be able to care for the disgraced daughter of a suicide. Now the image she had held all these years was overlaid with the disturbing reality. An aristocrat who would never give her a second thought.
Bitterly she remembered asking if she would ever see him again. Better not, little one. I can offer you nothing. Earl Blakehurst could offer nothing to Verity Scott. And, if she possessed the least vestige of common sense, she would stay out of his way. He only hoped he had convinced Lady Faringdon that his meeting with the unfortunate Selina had been entirely his fault. Somehow he doubted it. Dark, shadowy grey.
They struck a strange chord in him. Another girl had looked at him like that. A few quietly voiced threats might do the trick.
Merely that you might have a word with your son. I found him forcing his attentions on Which one? Faringdon shrugged and picked up his cue. Just a housemaid. Young men need to have their fun. You know how it is, my lord. A maidservant! He went up to his bedchamber, where he found his exbatman folding shirts. Harding grinned. Stuck-up lot, they are. Any luck, sir? Then let it out. Goodnight, Harding. Elizabeth Rolls 41 All he wanted was some peace and quiet in which to think. To accept that he had failed Verity Scott as badly as he had failed her father.
He had assumed that all was well, that she was safe with her relatives. He had thought there was nothing he could do. The silence pounded the same message into his brain over and over. He had assumed wrongly. What the hell had they done to her? Had Godfrey bullied her? Persecuted her the way he was apparently persecuting that poor girl, Selina? Bitterly Max accepted that he would never know.
That no one would talk for fear of scandal. Just the bleak misery and fear in her dark eyes.
Enthroned on a canopied sofa in her boudoir the following morning, Lady Faringdon ranted at her errant niece. You conniving little slut! How dare you! Do you think—? How frightful! Whatever happened? She could tell the truth about what Godfrey wanted—and be accused of trying to trap him into marriage. To share that particular trap with Godfrey Better dead.
Breathing deeply, she sank into herself, away from the stream of invective, away from the hatred, letting it wash over her. She forced her eyes to remain blank, uncaring. It was the only defence she had left. A cloak of meekness over the boiling fury within. The door opened abruptly to admit Lord Faringdon.
His bulging gaze lit on Verity. Only too glad to remove herself, Verity headed for the door. She shut the door with a shaking hand and glanced around the corridor. Swiftly she bent to the keyhole. She was used to hearing nothing good of herself, and sometimes knowledge was safety.
Do you hear me? For the next few days she was safe. Three to go. Everyone was still out on their riverboating expedition. She had at least two hours before she need expect them. Aunt Faringdon had made it perfectly plain yesterday morning that if she There was nowhere else to go. Not unless hell froze over and Aunt Faringdon gave her a reference as a governess or companion.
Without a reference she was helpless. He spoke not a word, but looked around wildly. The doors stood wide and to her utter amazement he slipped into the corner behind the door. Still without a word. Shove that mending basket in front, girl. The door opened and Lady Moncrieff looked in. From her position she could see the lordship in question.
And the very faint shake of his head. Do you need summat mending? Up here, mum? What would his lordship want wiv the likes of me? Heat surged across her cheeks. Your accent was inspired. His brows rose. If he stayed You helped me. Please—you must go! Most of them were only too pleased to have someone to look down upon.
One or two were sorry for her, but the rest took their tone from their mistress. He grinned at her and pulled out a large handkerchief. And ripped it almost in half. I brought it along for mending. Drat the man! She would be in the most appalling scrape if they were caught and all she wanted to do was smile back! And shut her eyes in horror. Was she mad? An appreciative chuckle made her eyes snap open. But I do have a very saving disposition.
Hangover from my army days. Ask my valet. He stared at her. Like Godfrey? Oh, no! But please go! Her stomach lurched. Instead, he came towards her. Every precept of good sense and modesty shrieked at her to strike his hand away. She remained still, captive to his gentle touch. When had she last been touched gently?
The answer shook her to the core. By Max Blakehurst. Only now his touch made her restless, sent shivers rippling through her. She forced herself to remain still, rigid. After a moment his hand dropped. He inclined his head. Twenty minutes later Max rode out of the stable yard. With Lady Moncrieff stalking him through the house, retreat was the only sane tactic.
He drew the lathered animal to a halt, dismounted and loosened her girth. Give you a breather. There was no rush, he could take his time getting back.
There was nothing to hold him at Faringdon Hall. Or was there? Deep grey eyes swam into focus. Wary, shuttered eyes, fringed with the darkest lashes. Selina Dering. He came to a dead halt. Why the devil Elizabeth Rolls 47 would he consider staying for Selina? As far as he could judge, his warning to Godfrey and Lord Faringdon had taken effect. She had said herself that Godfrey had not been near her. What more could he do for her?
He wanted her. It was only half-true. On the contrary. Her very refusal to have anything to do with him piqued his interest.
Most girls in her position would be doing their utmost to cast languishing smiles, practically tripping over themselves—literally—to engage his interest.
He grinned. All you have to do is offer. She can refuse.
And she would. Her whole response to him suggested that. Far from trying to catch his attention, she had been practically pushing him out of the door of the sewing room.
Hardly encouraging, but at least she had some spirit left. He faced another truth. When he left, what was to prevent Godfrey taking up where he had left off? Probably at the most he had won the girl a breathing space. He swore under his breath. Not until he had made quite sure that Selina was safe. Anything else I can carry for you? Mistrustful Fidget, as likely to bite a man as not, with her head on his shoulder like an overgrown spaniel.
Why not Selina? He had rescued Fidget from a young idiot who was mistreating her brutally. He caught himself up with a rueful grin. Arrogant coxcomb! Selina was a girl, a woman. Fidget had been given no choice in her fate. Selina had every right to refuse. Fidget had learnt to trust him after he had taken her.
Selina would have to learn before he took her, if she learnt at all. He had just over a sennight left. Where did that notion come from? Since when had he wanted affection from one of his mistresses? All he wanted from his mistresses was a couple of months of pure and simple pleasure. Three at the most. Well, maybe not pure. But no more than three months. Not even from the loveliest of them. So there it was—he wanted Selina. Right down to her freckles.
His whole being revolted at the thought. He took a deep breath. It crept into his mind that Selina would be very different from his previous mistresses. He pushed the thought away. He was being fanciful. That was all. Hurrying along an upstairs corridor the following morning, Verity heard a breathless voice protesting.
Please, sir She should be helping Celia get ready for the riding party Anger burned away her hard-won caution. Hitching up her skirts, she broke into a run.
Godfrey stood there, an amused smile on his face. This would see Sukey dismissed. She turned on the man responsible like a tiger. Just go away! Godfrey loomed over both of them.
Furious, Verity surged to her feet, a jagged shard of porcelain in her hand. Go away! She turned on the maid. Go and pack. Her eyes bored into Verity. No explanations. She held her breath. So, from his vantage point just inside his bedchamber, did Max. He opened the door a little more.
Lady Faringdon had her back to him, but she looked as though a poker had been stitched into her gown. He focused on Selina, standing between her mistress and the weeping maid. Her face was blank, expressionless, the eyes downcast. Silence held for a moment. Then a blur of movement and a ringing slap. A little domestic disaster? If he saw that mark on her cheek he might just strangle his hostess.
Lady Faringdon blanched, her hand going to her mouth. If she struck Selina again Godfrey—our guests are waiting to go riding. You should be down already. Are you not going? Not now. He had something else to do. Chapter Three He found her in the schoolroom. Apart from the red mark on her cheek, she looked tired.
Faint smudges showed like bruises beneath her eyes. Anger coalesced deep inside. That someone had hit her, hurt her in any way—he swallowed his rage and strode into the room. Miss Mangnell? And good lord—The Mirror of Graces? How to be a proper young lady? Max gave a snort of laughter.
I should not have said that. Biting off a curse, Elizabeth Rolls 53 he reached out and touched it gently. Does that hurt? Why not tell her the truth? She would have been dismissed all the quicker. But still He swore mentally. What else could he do? To starve? Or worse? Worse than death, in fact. The devil it does! He planned to seduce Selina. And make sure she had everything she could possibly desire. His blood burned at the idea of teaching her a few things he doubted she had the least idea of desiring.
How could she after Godfrey? Best to lead up to it gradually. What are you talking about, my lord? She 54 His Lady Mistress is unlikely to give you much of a reference. Do you have somewhere to go?
I have no references. But it felt right. He knew what women wanted. But you asked. A mistress who wanted a child? Deep within something tightened. He frowned. But what I meant was that it would be Not to be always apart. Not even someone to write to? Which is just as well, since I have nothing to give. No family. No one who would refuse to acknowledge her ever again.
He ignored his conscience, which suggested it made her even more vulnerable.
She would be his. He moved towards her, removing the duster from her hand and dropping it. Then her hand was caught in a gentle, inescapable grip, his thumb stroking sensuously over her roughened skin. What on earth was he about? She looked up at him, shocked. A mistake.
Something warm that melted her, bone deep. Uncertainly she shook her head. She shook her head to clear it enough to focus on his suggestion of a new position. The Faringdons would not permit it, but she could not tell him that. She dared say nothing that might give him a clue to her identity. A curl fell into her eyes, tickling, and she pushed it behind her ear. It escaped immediately. Then froze. His hand lifted to her face, pushing the errant curl away from her eye. Heat bloomed, and a strange ache invaded her breasts, her belly.
She could only stare up at him, eyes wide. Her breath jerked in. But then again, never before had a man spoken to her as his arms stole about her and his lips brushed her ear.
She knew now what he wanted. A light touch grazed her throat, drifted along her jaw. Breathless, she looked up, shivers racing through her, and met a penetrating amber gaze only inches away.
She felt caged by his warmth, his strength, by the scent of shaving soap and the spicy masculine smell that underlay it.
She understood now what he wanted. She should draw back, but his eyes and touch held her trapped. Safe, but suddenly vulnerable. To her own desire. And that he was even closer. He leaned forward, his breath a tender caress on her lips. She lifted her face and felt the warm, gentle touch of his lips. Oh, the joy of being touched and held tenderly.
Featherlight, his mouth brushed across hers in the briefest of kisses. Delight shot through her. Her lips parted on a soundless sigh and for an instant the kiss deepened, possessing her completely, then it was over almost before she could believe it had happened. He was still close, close enough that she could see his pulse beating in his throat. His voice came, calm and soft. And then she wondered why she had nodded as though things were clearer.
She was more confused than ever. How he could speak so indifferently was beyond her comprehension. He had kissed her until her head spun. Grimly she reminded herself of Lady Moncrieff. Women who know how to Whatever that means. Why would his head spin? Why would he even kiss her? Could he? Do you understand now? Braced against the gentleness in his voice, 58 His Lady Mistress she turned to go. Oh, yes.
She understood well enough. But Max would never try to force her consent. His hand shot out and caught her wrist.
Shock, as much as his grip, held her motionless. Fear stirred and knotted. She ignored it and fought to infuse her voice with icy indifference. The grip on her wrist sent the knot of fear twisting through her stomach. Oh, no. Surely not him too. Could she have been mistaken in him? Tension singing through her, she faced him, trying to force her breathing to steady. His intent gaze rested on her face, then dropped to her captive wrist.
His hand fell from her and she felt bereft, as though part of her had torn itself away. Resisting the urge to hold the wrist to her cheek, she waited, some of her fear allayed.
Carefully, slowly, she stepped back, holding his gaze with hers, certain that any moment he would grab her, drag her into his arms. Men took. I should not be here, my lord. Please excuse me. Max swore. She had refused him. Without hesitation. And her life here was hell. She was treated like a slave.
How could enduring that be preferable to a discreet and well-paid liaison with himself? She had responded to his kiss. Obviously her birth was respectable. Perhaps his offer had shocked her. After what Godfrey had doubtless done to her?
He stalked to the door. Had he frightened her with that brief kiss? She was sweetness incarnate. It had taken every ounce of willpower to draw back, when all he had wanted He swore again. It was still making its painful presence felt ten minutes later when he reached the billiard room. Picking up a cue, he considered his next move. His next move? In fact he usually realised before ever broaching the subject.
He sent a red ball crashing into a pocket. He shook his head. When had he ever wanted a woman so much that his body continued to ache after she had refused him and gone? Perhaps she needed time to think it over. He ran over her reply. He thought back. And closed his eyes in disbelief at his own stupidity.
Nothing beyond a casual tumble. Only that Selina was very different. That in taking her under his protection, he would be doing just that. Protecting her. Her memory refused to listen to wisdom, continuing to dwell on the tender strength of his hands, the gentle pressure of his kiss.
That was bad enough, but for her body to join in the treacherous assault shocked her. It would have to last a lifetime. Grimly she admitted that it was not that she did not trust him. Rather, she could not trust herself. Her whole being cried out to let him hold her, touch her. Stop it! He wants a great deal more than just to hold you. He wants exactly what Godfrey wants.
Nothing else. A gentle, persuasive voice murmured, Would it be so bad to be his mistress? He would be kind to you You could purchase an annuity. That was much more likely.
Even if he did want more She shied away from the thought, shocked at her own weakness. If only she could think of some way to leave when she came of age. Just over a year. She shut her eyes in despair at the bitter reality. She had nothing—no money, no other connections. She would be no safer if she did leave. A soft tap on the door shocked her bolt upright. Who would bother knocking? Certainly not Godfrey Are you awake? What could he possibly want? Exactly what he wanted this afternoon.
Dismayed, she realised that she had spoken aloud. And that even if she let him in, she was safe enough. He had knocked, requesting her permission to enter.