Authors: Lyndsey Norton
Half an hour later Betsy arrived at the Dower house and attempted to calm Lucy’s severely abraded nerves.
‘I can’t think what all the fuss is about, Miss Lucy.’ Betsy said evenly. ‘You were very sick, by all accounts and the Earl saved your life!’
Lucy was still angry that Wilfred de Lacey had been alone with her more than once over the course of the day. She tried to come to terms with it, but she was so indignant about it that she inadvertently took her anger out on everyone around her. Betsy was the onl
y one capable of making Lucy aware at that point. She sighed deeply. ‘He’s such a handsome man.’ Betsy murmured in awe, as if she was talking about a God.
‘Devil’s usually are.’ Lucy muttered.
‘Do you know, miss. I’ve looked after you for nigh on fifteen years and I’ve never heard you talk such twaddle before.’ Betsy said harshly. ‘He is to be your husband, if you ever want to show your face in Society again.’
‘Who wants to be in society, anyway!?’ Lucy spat in defiance.
‘Happen your brothers might like it, at least if you marry Lord Buxton they will get to choose wives for themselves.’ Betsy said thoughtfully as she unpacked the valise of the few things she had brought for Lucy. ‘I don’t suppose Master Timothy will enjoy missing out on the London entertainments and I’d be surprised if the Earl will be able to show his face at the House of Lords until after the Duke of Dovedale passes away.’ She sighed, ‘and only then if the Prince Regent will let him take his seat.’ She rummaged in the bottom of the valise and removed a pair of walking boots. ‘I understand that Buxton is a personal friend of the Prince and he might be a bit miffed if your brother kills him.’ Betsy turned and looked at her for the first time and Lucy’s stomach went hollow at her next words. ‘Of course, should Buxton win the duel, I don’t think your mother would ever forgive you and certainly Mister Richard will be angry at having to leave his profession to become the next Earl!’
‘But I don’t want to marry him.’ Lucy said sulkily.
‘You should have thought about that before you ran out into the snow and made matters worse.’ Betsy said firmly. ‘What possessed you to do it?’
‘He called me one of Markham’s whores.’
She said defensively. ‘He had no right to make such an assumption.’
‘Do you like the Duke of Markham?’ Betsy asked her in horror as they had discussed what Robert had told her.
‘No!’ Lucy said in disgust.
‘Then it must be the Earl that you like, despite your insistence that he’s a lecher and a fiend!’ Betsy laughed out loud, bending at the waist to hold her knees as the expressions of disgust, discomfort and dismay flicked across Lucy’s face. ‘Yes! I see it, now. You are in love with the Earl and are trying to deny it!’ She laughed again, uproariously. ‘You should never lie to yourself, Miss Lucy. It only causes distress at the end of the day.’ She grabbed the water jug as she left the room and Lucy could still hear her laughter until she closed the sitting room door. She folded her arms under her breasts and harrumphed like a petulant child, her bottom lip protruding in a pout.
She sat and thought about the Earl.
He’s certainly handsome.
She thought about how he had looked after he’d climbed out of the Oak tree. ‘Mmm. So…more-ish!’ She muttered as her heart picked up speed at the thought of stroking her palms over that hirsute, firm flesh.
That’s positively wicked, Lucy!
She castigated herself. She thought about him cramming his man part into her woman’s passage and she felt her thighs go weak with desire. There was a distinctly hot, achy feeling at the apex of her thighs and Lucy investigated with her fingers. ‘Oh!’ blurted from her as she felt her desire flood her own fingers and yanked her hand away in surprise and shame.
What would it feel like if Wilfred touched me there?
She asked herself and her heart accelerated to pounding as it tried to get out of her chest.
came the reply as she tentatively stroked her fingers over her aching flesh. She stopped as she heard the sitting room door open and folded her hands on the bed as Timothy came in the bedroom. Thankfully he didn’t notice the flush in her cheeks, or if he did, he put it down to her recent fever.
‘Lucy! How do you feel?’ He demanded.
‘I feel better.’ Lucy said. ‘I should be back at Bassett Hall tomorrow morning.’
‘Well, you should probably take your time. I understand Lady Phyllida is very angry with you for snapping up the best catch on the marriage mart!’ He laughed jovially, ‘and as I understand it, if you don’t marry him, you
r reputation will be gone!’
‘Why is everybody finding this so funny?’ Lucy asked unhappily. ‘My reputation is in tatters because of that lecher!’
Timothy sat down and just looked at his sister. ‘Do you know, Luce? I never thought you were stupid.’ He said softly. ‘I know you’re wilful, disobedient at times and a hoyden in the saddle,’ he looked at her sadly. ‘But I never thought you were stupid or so selfish that you wouldn’t care how your behaviour affects the rest of us.’ He held up his hand. ‘Yes, yes, I know. We are men and life is much easier for us.’ He sighed deeply. ‘But you would rather see the Bassett line die out, than do the right thing?’ He sighed as he got up and went to the door. ‘If father were alive, there wouldn’t be any discussion about this, you know. He would have had you married by special licence this morning!’ He stopped at the door, turned and walked back. ‘What’s wrong with the Earl, anyway?’
‘He’s a rake!’ she said less forcefully, for the first time.
‘Poppycock! The man’s an out and out gentleman; otherwise he would have left you to Markham’s attentions, seeing as we all fell down on the job of keeping him away from you. I, for one, am glad that the Earl was watching.’ Tim turned again for the door. ‘I wouldn’t have like to have buried your corpse this morning and if Markham had got you out on the terrace that’s what would have happened!’
‘How can you say that?’ She demanded and Tim turned in the door way.
‘Just ask Lady Caroline about Miss Edith Parfitt. If he’d done to you, what he did to her, you would never have made it back to the house and you would have died of exposure during the night. We would probably have spent until the snow thawed looking for your body!’
Betsy arrived back with the water jug and dipped a curtsey for Tim. They exchanged quick pleasantries before Tim strode away.
‘Master Timothy didn’t look happy. What did you say to him?’ Betsy asked softly.
‘He talked about Markham and what he might have done to me on the terrace.’ Lucy suddenly grabbed Betsy’s hand. ‘I didn’t want to go out there with him
. I was actually grateful that Buxton stopped me to discuss something and was quite relieved until Buxton opened his mouth and accused me of being Markham’s whore.’
‘Well, I shouldn’t worry about it too much, Miss Lucy. I shouldn’t imagine another noble will even talk to you, let alone touch you, when you get back to the Hall.’ She smiled sadly ‘and anyway, by that time you could be in mourning for the next year.’ She had placed the jug beside the washstand. ‘Is there anything else I can do for you, Miss Lucy?’ she asked expectantly and folded her hands against her belly and waited.
‘Yes, you can send up Abigail. I think I need to know exactly what Buxton did to me.’
‘Yes, Miss. I shall send her right up.’ Betsy said as she left.
It was nearly tea time before Abigail finally appeared. She was cold and aloof as she stood waiting at the bottom of the bed.
‘I’m sorry, Abigail,’ Lucy began. ‘I think I was angry. Not at you, you understand, but at me, for allowing myself to be cornered by the Duke of Markham in the first place.’ She sighed and patted the bed. ‘Would you please tell me all of the things that the Earl did to me yesterday?’
Abigail shrugged her shoulders and sat on the edge of the bed. She started slowly and demurely, but after five minutes, she was as giddy as a school girl as she regaled Lucy with the Earl’s exploits.
‘You’re sure you were here all the time?’ Lucy asked softly.
‘Most of the time.’ Abigail admitted, ‘but he could hardly have made love to you in the few minutes it took me to take a jug out to the sitting room door and go to the linen cupboards to fetch clean sheets.’ She smiled benevolently at Lucy, ‘besides, Miss, you were far too sick. It would have been like raping a corpse.’ She said with a shudder of distaste. ‘Of course, he could have done it when he climbed into bed with you after the “kill or cure”, but I don’t think so.’ Lucy gasped. ‘I’ve been changing your sheets for the whole time you’ve been here and never once have I see a virgin stain.’ She patted Lucy on the shoulder. ‘He’s such a fine, caring gentleman, that I think you would be stupid to turn him down, Miss.’ She smiled kindly again, stood and walked slowly out of the room, leaving Lucy with her own thoughts chasing themselves around her brain until she finally drove herself into oblivion.
An hour later, she had to withstand a harsh drubbing by her mother and was left with no illusions that Evelyn would never speak to her again, if Robert died because she was being petulant!
She sighed deeply with the acceptance that she really had no choice and a small part of her wondered if she actually wanted one!
The Duke of Markham was quite disappointed in Bassett’s house party. Normally he wouldn’t accept this type of invitation, but he had been drawn to Lucy Hastings from the moment she defied him in the Pump Rooms at Leamington Priors. There was a fire about her personality that made his blood sing and he was almost consumed with the desire to extinguish her blaze. He ached to see her blood on her pale, peach soft flesh and his fists craved the feel of her bones crunching under his assault.
The young Ernest Deptford
had been subjugated to an overbearing mother, who believed in corporal punishment to the extent that Ernest had been whipped severely. Only the interference of the previous Duke had stopped the abuse, but unfortunately, for the female population of the world, the damage was already done. As he was then titled, the young Earl of Chesterfield, under the tutelage of the Duke, soon became a bully and as he grew into a man, he found that violence was a huge turn on. It happened quite by accident.
Chesterfield was a successful scholar and had achieved excellent results from Oxford
. Making the old Duke very proud. As a reward for his devotion to his studies the Duke sent him on a Grand Tour of Europe. It started in France. But the young Chesterfield was not really prepared for the violence on the streets of Paris, as revolution was fermenting in the rookeries. Ernest Deptford stupidly dismissed his carriage and decided to walk back to his hotel. Before he got there, he witnessed a Lady being attacked. As a gentleman, he was trained to go to the rescue, but he was one young man against five, very large, fit men, who took one look at him and decided to save him for later. He was restrained and forced to watch as they beat and raped the woman over and over until she was dead. A part of the young Earl was horrified that he had witnessed such an event, but his blood had roared as he saw her blood spilled across her alabaster skin and his erection tested the fit of his britches as the five men wiped her blood over his face, before they beat him and dumped him on the Champs Elysées for anyone to find.
Slowly the young Earl recovered and continued with his Grand Tour. He had arrived in Madrid before he was brave enough explore this disturbing side of his sexual nature. He selected a prostitute, took her to a secluded spot and systematically learned how to make her bleed. He took special note of his own responses to certain events. He started with her nose and smiled beatifically when the blood exploded from her nostrils, splattering his shirt front. His curiosity made him lick the blood from her face to taste her and he found it metallic and coppery. The response of his body was devastating as he ejaculated immediately.
He decided to experiment properly and over the next few months, all across Europe he left a trail of abused and battered prostitutes. Some he would only beat; some he would only beat until they started to bleed and others he beat and rape. He discovered that if he gave them a beating, without drawing blood his penis would engorge and ache, but once he drew blood, he would have to take them. He was surprised to realise that if he licked their blood while they were in coitus, his orgasm was heightened into an intense sexual pleasure.
By the time he returned to London, to take up his position in the House of Lords and run his estates in Derbyshire, the old Duke’s health was failing and suddenly he was shouldering the responsibilities of the Dukedom as well. For a young man it was a lot of
pressure, so his darker nature was fed by the London prostitutes until one night at a ball, he saw a young debutante run out of the ballroom and followed her, purely out of curiosity. He found the young lady snivelling on a bench and made soothing noises, using the charm he had developed over his Grand Tour. He persuaded the young girl that she could trust him and that he would escort her home. That night he discovered that he liked it even more when they struggled. He was almost moaning with pleasure as he wiped her blood over her pristine, untouched breasts before he suckled them and as she writhed in horror under him, his engorged penis was throbbing for release. All together he found it a very satisfying experience, which he intended to sample again, but even he knew he had to be cautious about it, just because he was a noble, wouldn’t stop him from prosecution or vilification.
Over the years he had managed not to get caught, simply by the expedience of never being identified by the woman he was raping. It was always so simple, take the girl out onto the terrace for some air, offer her a drink, leave her on the terrace and hide his face with a highwayman’s mask. He would don thin leather gloves, grab the girl viciously and drag her off into the undergrowth. After the event he always left quickly, making sure he said a polite goodbye to the host.
He had never been caught, although he suspected that his compatriots knew what he was up to. Soon enough he was bestowed with the Dukedom of Markham and he felt safer. It was not easy to accuse a Duke of anything, so he was happy to continue in the same vein. The Prince Regent became a friend and he felt even more untouchable. But that kind of security is an illusion.
He had never felt the need for a dedicated mistress, but he became aware of the snide looks and comments about his proclivities because of this one facet that was missing from his life. Harriet Saunders fulfilled that role very capably and he found it quite thrilling not to have to go and find an unsuspecting woman. His life was tripping along on an even keel and he was content.
But, everything changed the day that he introduced Harriet Saunders to Wilfred de Lacey. It was not very often that rage made him do something stupid, but his anger at Harriet leaving him for Buxton was so great, he couldn’t control himself and he arrived at the townhouse he had provided for her use. She tried to say she was sad to leave him, but the time had come for a change. The Duke of Markham had seen red. The haze of rage covered everything until in the end he had run out of steam and found himself standing over the bloodied and battered body of Harriet Saunders. He had rushed out to his carriage and shook with shock and reaction all the way to his Grosvenor Square townhouse. He was annoyed with himself, because he hadn’t worn any gloves and his knuckles were cut and bruised, but it didn’t stop him from going to the Fotheringay’s Ball. The only problem seemed to be the baleful glare he received from Buxton all night long and the Duke actually heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Howard Cuthbertson help the excessively foxed Earl to the door.
The one thing that Markham did notice was the beautiful girl that Buxton had spoken to and how she slapped his face. The anger exuded from every pore of her body and as she walked past Ernest Markham, he felt his manhood throb with expectation as he was enveloped in her rage. Unfortunately she was never left alone. Every time he saw her at an event she was surrounded by her brothers and even Markham wasn’t stupid enough to try it with a girl that had two chaperones, both male. Stealing a young girl with a dotty aunt was much easier, hence Lady Annalisa Redmond. He was surprised her brother wasn’t in attendance, but it made it easier for him to take her. This time he used the library, pinning her face down on the chaise longue and taking her from behind. She had a body to die for, but her face was quite distasteful and it gave him an enormous amount of pleasure to render it unrecognisable.
Maybe Redmond will be grateful!
He’d thought at the time, but the furore that arose afterwards, stopped him from making the same mistake again. They tried to pin it on Markham, but he was too clever and because the girl couldn’t identify him without a doubt, the matter was dropped.
Markham tried to be expedient after that incident and made sure that he only indulged in the
courtesans and Cyprians. As a last resort he would hire a couple of whores off the street, insist that they were bathed and then have his wicked way with them.
The Wentworth ball at the beginning of the
had been a golden opportunity for some retribution to the Earl of Buxton. He had been shocked to see Buxton’s sister sitting alone in the ballroom. He turned on the devastating charm that he had developed over his adulthood and persuaded her onto the floor. He was delighted by her brilliant green eyes and she was just as stupid and vacuous as he liked them. She laughed and simpered as he proposed a walk on the terrace. But he didn’t foresee that Buxton would appear before he could get her outside. He was intensely frustrated by Buxton thwarting his fun and was forced to pick another girl quickly. Unfortunately, his visions of Buxton finding his sister battered and bloody had sent his erection into the heavens and it needed satisfying quickly before he lost control of himself. He said goodnight to his host before he donned his highwayman’s mask and gloves, hid in a quiet corner of the terrace and just waited. There is always one woman that ventures out alone and that night it was Miss Edith Parfitt. It was bad luck on Miss Parfitt’s part that she managed to land a knee to his groin, which only made him angry and incited him to more violence. But he took her against a tree, after he’d tied her skirts around her shoulders, he lifted her by slipping his forearms under the inside of her knees and using his hands on her buttocks, her legs were forced brutally apart. He kept his mouth on hers the whole time, so that she couldn’t scream, only moan loudly. She was so tight, it was exquisite. Her vaginal passage clamped around his throbbing penis as he thrust into her and he couldn’t stop himself from filling her with his seed. He almost shouted in exaltation when his orgasm burst over him. He took her a second time for fun before he tore her gown away from her as he dropped her to the ground, turned his back and fumbled with the fall of his britches. He strode quickly to the back gate as he divested his gloves and mask, found his coach and was away from the venue before Edith Parfitt had even managed to pull herself upright by the tree.
Markham had nursed his frustration over Caroline de Lacey and when the invitation arrived for the Bassett’s house party, he’d actually accepted before he really thought about how restrictive and boring it would be.
But then the compensation was that he would get to spend time either with or watching Miss Lucille Hastings. Now he was here, and she wasn’t. He was burning to know where Buxton had been since the ball the other night, so he sat in the corner and listened to the women gossip. Phyllida Allen was very informative and he was angry to realise that Buxton had been at this Dower House with Lucy Hastings, unchaperoned for a whole day. But word soon filtered through about Lucy being ill, so he relaxed again. He would have to watch for her arrival and work out when was the best time to take her. He knew that would incense Buxton, as he was aware that the Earl had a
for Miss Hastings and he could hear wedding bells, so he decided to scupper Buxton’s marriage chances. Of course it made him smile that Buxton would still have to marry her, even though she would have been thoroughly ruined by Markham. He smiled happily at that thought, while his valet shaved him. He imagined the disgust and revulsion Buxton would feel having to follow Markham.
Maybe I’ll take her front and back!
He mused, delightedly.
Or better yet, maybe I’ll strangle her as I make her orgasm! Mmm! Coming and dying at the same time, exquisite!
He remembered the rush as he’d killed a girl in a back street of Athens. She had stupidly tried to pick his pocket and when caught had fought like a demon. To quiet her, he’d had his hands around her throat. She’d thrashed and thrashed, making his entry difficult, but not impossible and he’d taken his time as he was enjoying it. He was astonished when her body started convulsing in orgasm. The conflicting looks of abject terror and ecstasy on the girls face had given him such a rush of blood that his orgasm had been instantaneous and of such depth and duration, that he was crying in ecstasy when he finally dropped the dead girl in the gutter.
He mused again as he squeezed his manhood.
Lucy returned to Bassett Hall through the back door and up the service stairs to her room. Betsy helped her into bed, not that she was still ill, but she was weak and had tired herself out with just the carriage ride from the Dower House. The weather had deteriorated into
rain and the snow had almost gone, with only the deep drifts left as piles of slush on the road side.
Evelyn came to see her almost as soon as she was settled.
‘Well, Lucy.’ She started. ‘Have you given your position any thought?’
‘I have, Mother.’ Lucy said sadly, ‘and I will accept the Earl’s offer.’ She sighed, ‘if he should make one.’
‘I think you should get up this afternoon, as the guests will be leaving tomorrow.’ Evelyn sighed. ‘We need this sorted out before Phyllida Allen returns to London. She is such a vitriolic gossip that your reputation will be tarnished beyond repair and Buxton vilified as a fiend within a matter of days.’
‘Is she that bad?’ Lucy asked.
‘She’s that annoyed!’ Evelyn said firmly. ‘Her exact words at dinner were “If I knew it was that easy to capture Buxton in a parson’s mousetrap, I would have done it months ago!” So you can see it will be her pleasure to spread gossip about you.’ Evelyn sniggered then, ‘of course, Dovedale shrivelled her on the spot, but it was too late and the damage already done.’ She patted Lucy on the hand. ‘So, I need for you to accept Buxton’s offer and then I can get Robert to announce it tonight and all gossip will die a death quite quickly.’