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.”
Marcus stood in the dark, abandoned building, waiting for Isabelle. She would come. He knew it like he knew the sun would rise tomorrow.He ran his hand over his mask, making certain it was in place before sweeping his palm over the scarf covering his hair. He had to hide it so she wouldn’t see he’d cut it. Patting his fake mustache and beard, he knew he couldn’t risk Isabelle becoming suspicious of his identity. Several times since they married, she had stared deeply into his eyes, and he held his breath, waiting for her to recognize him. Thankfully, she hadn’t. Could it be that while holding her prisoner and he wore a mask she didn’t see the true color of his eyes? He sincerely hoped.A noise from out on the street pu
Marcus couldn’t believe fate. Somehow good fortune smiled upon him.After the way the meeting ended with Hawk, he wondered if he would ever get to hold Isabelle again. At first when he saw her in his room, wearing the red gown Hawk had given her, confused emotions twisted in his stomach. Hawk had hurt her terribly, so why did she choose that moment to give herself to Lord Lockwood?His subconscious argued that he was Lockwood. Hawk and the viscount were the same person, so why should it matter?During their passionate night of lovemaking, her hands had wandered to his chest. Surprisingly enough, he’d remembered not to let her touch his scar. Not
Marcus wore a permanent smile as he walked down the street toward Thorne Shipping. His wife fulfilled him beyond reason. And he loved her completely.As badly as he wanted to confess his feelings, he worried that she wasn’t ready to hear those three special words from Lord Lockwood yet. But the wait would drive him insane.Several people greeted him, and he tipped his hat, giving them a nod. When his name was shouted from across the street, he turned and scanned the crowd, trying to find who tried to gain his attention. A portly older gentleman waved one hand while the other held a hat on his head. The man’s large belly and double chin jiggled with each
Marcus paced his study, raking his fingers through his hair. Sinister thoughts raced in his mind, and he couldn’t straighten them out. Plans were in place, and soon he’d discover what his brother had kept secretive all this time. With any luck, Napoleon’s army would be involved, too. He’d kill two birds with one stone. Literally.Mrs. Westland was part of the plan. He just didn’t know how. Yet, he did know Matthew used her to seduce other men for information.That woman made Marcus nervous. From what he gathered, she knew his twin well. They’d been in some kind of scheme together, which Marcus would eventually disclose. He especially worried she’d discover he wasn’t Matthew. That would certainly ruin h
Isabelle paced in her room, flexing her hands against her side, anticipating the time her husband would leave for his meeting. If he waited much longer, she would go insane.Heavy footsteps pounded on the floor. She rushed to her door and pressed her ear against the wood. Marcus’ footsteps moved past her room and descended the stairs. Relieved the time had finally arrived, she quickly slipped out of her wrapper and pulled on the boys’ clothes her maid had fetched for her earlier this evening. Thankfully, her maid found large black breeches, shirt and overcoat to hide Isabelle’s womanly figure. She stuffed her long hair into a brown cap before leaving her room and sneaking down the servant’s stairs. When she reached outside without being spotted by her husband’s staff, she breathed easier.
“Marc—Marc—Marcus?” Lord Blackstone’s stutter turned into a fit of coughs. She rose from her chair and hurried to the table where a picture of water and glass sat. She poured him a fair amount and brought it back to him. “Here, drink this.”He nodded and sipped the drink. Slowly, his coughs subsided and he breathed deeply.“Forgive me for upsetting you, my lord.”“Not your fault. I have a heart condition, and sometimes I cannot breathe well.” He took another sip out of the