As the shadow came more into view, a familiar face with wide, frightened eyes searched the room. Relief flooded through Isabelle, and she sobbed with joy, finally finding the energy to rush into the hallway with opened arms. “Mrs. Winters, it’s you.”
Color bloomed in the older woman’s cheeks as tears spiked her eyes. “Oh, my dear child. You’re alive.” She threw out her arms just as Isabelle rushed into them.
Being with her companion now, Isabelle’s future didn’t look so dismal. There was a ray of hope in her cloudy existence.
She pulled away and wiped her wet eyes. “Oh, Mrs. Winters. I didn’t know what
Marcus blinked, not believing his eyes. The older woman standing just in front of a younger one, glared at him.“Will you please excuse us, Sir,” Mrs. Winters snapped. “You’d think me and my lady were spirits the way you almost walked right through us.”He bit his lip so he wouldn’t say anything too rude. His character didn’t talk like Captain Hawk did when expressing his thoughts. Captain Hawk wouldn’t have tolerated the older companion’s rude behavior. When he looked past Mrs. Winters to Miss Stanhope, all thoughts vanished. Meek and reserved, she stood behind her companion, her eyes downcast as a frown pulled at her mouth. His heart wrenched, knowing he’d contributed to her pain. Nonethe
Marcus stood still, waiting for the pain to hit him as the smoke of the pistol hung thick in the air. The shot still rang through his ears like a cannon blast.But no pain came. No blood. Nothing.Instead, blood coated Matthew’s chest as his face drained of color. His brother looked down at the red liquid soaking his clothes, and then lifted weary eyes to Marcus. Matthew’s mouth opened and closed soundlessly as bewilderment filled his eyes.Marcus reached for his brother just as he collapsed to the floor. Marcus opened his mouth to speak, but words didn’t come. Indeed, there wasn’t anything to say to the man who just tried to kill him. Slowly,
Marcus yanked off his banyan and threw it on the bed. What had he been thinking? He growled and raked his fingers through his now short hair, wishing it were still long.He couldn’t possibly marry Isabelle. True, he was the rightful heir with the title and lands, and because of the death of his brother, the betrothal contract fell upon his shoulders. He sighed and rubbed his forehead pounding with a headache. Isabelle remained the spy who’d made a fool out of him. She was still the deceiving wench who’d tried to kill him.Stopping in front of the full-length mirror, he stared at his reflection. Would she see Captain Hawk in him? If he stayed in those dandy clothes of his brother’s, she probably wouldn’t see his secret i
Isabelle didn’t care what she wore for her wedding. A wedding she didn’t want, she reminded herself as she and Mrs. Winters stood with the dressmaker, trying to decide upon a gown. She couldn’t stop thinking about that moment with Viscount Lockwood today in the library. The heated look in his bluish-gray eyes let her know why he wanted to marry her, and it sickened her. When he gently stroked her throat, bile had risen in her mouth and it was all she could do not to gag. Strange, but his touch also stirred emotions in her—those she didn’t want to think about. Visions of Captain Hawk’s magical fingers and melting kisses danced in her head all the while the viscount had caressed her. She didn’t want to think of Captain Hawk because it evoked sad memories. More importantly, she didn’t w
His plan hadn’t worked. Marcus entered his room and slammed the door behind him. Splashing whiskey on clothes to make Isabelle think he was intoxicated didn’t accomplish what he’d wanted. Well, it did for a moment, but then he had to feel her skin against his lips…and hear Hawk’s name on her pleasurable sigh.Groaning, he scrubbed his hands over his face. Had he heard her correctly? Did she really sigh Hawk’s name when he nibbled on her ear? And had her body really relaxed against his at that very moment?He didn’t want her thinking about the highwayman! In fact, he’d tried to discourage her before he sent her away. A
Isabelle stood on stiff legs beside Mrs. Winters, waiting for her future husband to arrive at the church. As promised, her wedding gown had been ready on time, and she had to admit it was very lovely. The ivory brocade dress with blue ribbon trim fit almost snug around her. Blue bows lined the hem of the gown as well as the straight sleeves held with another bow, cascading in three tiers at her elbows. Never had she worn anything so elegant. Rarely had she seen gowns like this unless worn by royalty.Her maid had styled her hair a little different, winding the bulk up to perch on top of her head while three thick ringlets hung by her ears. Indeed, she looked like she could be attending court at the royal palace. Instead, she impatiently waited for Lord Lockwood to show up at his own wedding…and hopefully, he wouldn’t b
Marcus’ main goal wasn’t to seduce her, but to gain her trust. Pleasurable pursuits would come later. How else could he get her to talk about France’s Emperor, and especially what the man’s army will be doing next? And if he couldn’t get her to talk about them as his wife, he was determined that Hawk would succeed. One way or another, he’d get information out of her.He tried not to think how well he enjoyed her kisses in the coach after the ceremony. She followed his instructions perfectly, and all thoughts of revenge had fled his mind. Thankfully, the vehicle had reached his house, giving him time to think about what he wanted to accomplish.He took her to Belmont Park first. With her hand hooked on his elbow, h
Marcus pushed from the table to stand. Isabelle’s heart sank. When he walked her way, her pulse beat a quick tattoo. As he reached her side, he held out his hand. She wiped her mouth on the cloth napkin, scooted away from the table and also stood, slipping her hand into his. Warm fingers wrapped around hers in comfort, but her quaky nerves wouldn’t settle.He led her into the drawing room and waited while she settled onto the settee. “Would you like an after-dinner drink?” he asked.“Thank you, but no. I’m quite all right.”He grinned. “I think it will help calm your nerves.”