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Authors: Jolynn Raymond

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BOOK: Lessons of Love
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Jonathan arrived quickly upon hearing
Cole

s shout, with one of the other men on his heels. “
They found the cabin
Cole
, but there was no sign of Greg
or or
Jolie
. The hearth was cold and there were no fresh tracks, it looks like they

ve be
en gone for a couple of days.”


You

re sure it was Gregor

s cabin?”
The man who

d come in with Jonathan h
esitated then stepped forward.


Yes Sir. Some of the clothes
he left behind are familiar. There was also this.”
The man hesitated again and
Cole

s eyes narrowed as his heart constricted with fear. The man looked at him, his expression full of pity, then he slowly pulled
Jolie

s torn dressing gown from beneath his c
oat.
Cole
groaned in pain at the sight of it. He reached out and slowly pulled the silky material from the
man

s hands as if in a dream.

The white satin gown unfurled and flowed to the floor as
Cole
held one end aloft. The dark red stain on the tattered s
leeve made his heart stop in his chest. A moan escaped him before
Cole
could stop it and he closed his eyes, unable to look at the offending garment. His little love was hurt, near naked, and in the hands of a madman, and the knowledge shattered what littl
e
sanity he

d been holding on
to.

With a roar
Cole
flung the dressing robe from him and turned towards the fireplace mantle. He swept the pictures, knickknacks, and large vase to the floor and did the same to the things on the writing desk. Rage filled him
and all he could see was a haze of red. He felt Jonathan

s hand on his arm and he whirled, ready to lash out, needing to find a suitable target for his fury, but the look of grief on Jonathan face halted him in his tracks. Dazed, confused, and utterly lo
s
t,
Cole
hung his head and walked to a nearby chair where he slumped down
, shoulders hunched in defeat.


We

re going to find her,
Cole
. You to eat something and pull yourself together, then we

ll sit down and map out where your most lucrative contacts are
located. In the meantime I

ll have teams of men head out from the cabin and search along the river inlets. Someone must have seen something. She isn

t lost to you
Cole
. We

re going to get
Jolie
back. You have my word.”
Cole
merely nodded as Jonathan left t
o carry out his plan. The man sounded so sure but could they really hope to find
Jolie
? It was a vast country and she could be anywhere. And what of the blood? Was she even alive? One thing was for certain,
Cole
would hunt Gregor for the rest of his days u
ntil the man had paid for his evil deceit.
~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Gregor pulled the wagon to a halt in the alley behind Lily

s at dusk. He tied off the reins and was about to hop down when the door flew open and the cook came out waving her arms. “
We don

t need no
thin

from the likes of you. Move on now you hear or I

ll get the guards. Ms. Lily

s got everythin

we needs so you just take that heap o
f trash right on out of here.”


Shut yer mouth and go get Lily.”
Gregor pulled his hat from his head and smoothed back
his hair so the cook could see his face. Her eyes widened with fear when she saw who she was dealing with. This one before her now was wicked and cruel and she certainly
didn

t want to cross his path.


Yes Sir. Right away, Sir. I

ll get the Mistress.”
Sh
e disappeared quickly through the doorway and soon Gregor heard Lily

s voice raised in irr
itation at the servant woman.


What is it Bessie? I don

t have time for this. There are customers... “
Lily

s words died on her lips when she saw Gregor and her eye
s, which had first opened wide in surprise, narrowed as they took in the wagon and his peddler garb. “
What do you want?
Cole

s not here and I haven

t any girls for you. None for sale
,
and none for your pleasure. They

re all busy.”
She

d be damned if she wer
e going to let this monster have a go at any of the women in her establishment. The only way Gregor was going to lay a finger on one of her girls was if
Cole
were
at
his side giving the orders.


We

ll they

re gonna be busy doin

exactly what I tell them s
oon, and so will you. There

s been a change of ownership, Lily. You and your girls now belong to me, so you better bite yer tongue. I

ve got the papers right here to prove it so you might as well close yer mouth. Ya look like a fish gaspin

for air. Now g
o
back inside and get one of your men out here to help me. I

ve got a girl needs tendin
’.”
Gregor reached for the forged documents he

d had drawn up showing he held the title for Lily and the brothel, and waved them before the shocked woman

s face. Gregor
k
new she was almost illiterate and she wouldn

t dare talk to a lawyer, so convincing her that she and her girls were now
owned by him should be simple.


What are you waiting for bitch?”
Gregor walked towards Lily menacingly and she quickly turned around an
d went back inside. He laughed at her quick retreat and walked to the back of the wagon to move the pile of junk that covered
Jolie
. It was about damn time he got rid of the little bitch. If he was lucky, he could have her cleaned up and a buyer could be f
ound that very night. So she was a little sick, her body and breeding would make up for it. Any man in his right mind w
ould want her for a plaything.

He picked the rolled rug up from the bottom of the wagon and heard a distinct moan come from within. Perh
aps the bitch was waking up. Too bad she hadn

t had the courtesy to come around sooner. It was too late to have any fun with her now. There could be a prospective buyer in the brothel right now and the things Gregor wanted to do to
Jolie
would mark her for
days. He hoisted his bundle over his shoulder and headed for the door just as one of the guards came out. The man scowled at him but Gregor ignored him. He knew he wasn

t liked here at Lily

s, and it didn

t matter to him in the least, as long as he was a
b
le to unload
Jolie
for a good sum of money.


Take her upstairs and leave the rag in her mouth. I

ll be up in a minute. She needs a bath and some doctoring. Keep your hands to yourself and let one of the slave girls tend her but stand guard in the room. I
don

t know if she

s fully conscious but if she were to escape it would
be on your head.. Understand?”

The man grit his teeth, nostrils flaring as he worked to steady his breathing, hatred for Gregor seething through his veins. When
Cole
had first started
the enterprise of selling wealthy young ladies, things had been fine, but as time went on and Gregor became more ensconced at
Cole

s side, the power had gone to Gregor

s head. He soon acted as if everyone around him was beneath him and he started to treat
them like dirt. That was why he no longer had any friends at Lily

s. He

d acted as though they were worthless just because he

d been able to pull himself up on
Cole

s coat tails, and now, the man knew he had no choice but to be civil and do as Gregor said
if he wanted to keep his job. Lily had explained that Gregor held the deed to the brothel and that meant he controlled not only the girls within its wal
ls, but the emplo
yees as well.


Aye, I understand. She

ll get what she needs, hands off and no escaping
. I

ll have her prepared for ya.”

Gregor smiled at the man

s subservience, life was good. He thrust the rolled rug into the man

s arms and nodded curtly. “
See that you do. I need a room and a whiskey, then I

ll meet with Lily so I can tend to the details
of the little bitch myself.”


Aye Sir. I

ll send someone right away.”
The employee left, carrying
Jolie
who whimpered within the smothering rug. She was beginning to gain consciousness but the confusion of being rolled tight and surrounded by blackness di
storted reality in her mind. It was much easier to slip back int
o the blessed depths of sleep.

The man, Michael, carried
Jolie
into one of the brothel

s rooms. Dropping the rug on the bed, he yanked on the end, unrolling it quickly and spinning
Jolie
from
its confines. She moaned as her injured arm came in contact with the bed but then lay still, too disoriented to do anything else. As before in the rug, consciousness was in her grasp, but she chose to let it slip through her fingers, her mind somehow kno
w
ing that reality woul
d be a bitter p
ill to swallow.


Well aren

t you a pretty one. I

d like to have you all for myself but I have to follow that bastard

s orders. You

re gonna make some man real happy.”
Michael came closer to the bed so he could get a bet
ter look at the beautiful woman who

d spilled from the rug. Her golden hair was tangled and dirty but the shine and thickness was still evident. There were deep shadows under her eyes but said eyes were huge and he just knew they

d be soft and luminous. H
e
r body was perfect, tiny but rounded in all the right places and her skin was milky white and looked satiny smooth even though she was covered in dirt. Yes Gregor had scored him
self a real prize in this one.

Michael

s hands ached to touch
Jolie
but he ref
rained. She was merchandise simple as that, and as such had to be left alone. He sure couldn

t wait to see her when she was cleaned up and awake though. Bet she looked like a little angel. Poor thing had a bandage on her arm and a huge bump on her head. I
t
was a shame Gregor had to be so rough. There were better ways of taming women, especially these ones of quality. They were such delicate creatures but most of them responded
to the right kind of passion.

Lily

s arrival pulled Michael from his assessment
of
Jolie
. He turned away from the enticing figure on the bed, ready to do as the boss lady asked. Gregor may own the place, but as far as Michael was concerned, Lily

s word was law. “
She

s a pretty one, Lily. Young and sweet looking. High bred too. Look a
t that nightgown, all silk and lace. Came from quality. Shame she

s hurt
. Wonder where she came from.”

BOOK: Lessons of Love
11.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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