Read Tenacious Trents 03 - A Reluctant Rake Online

Authors: Jane Charles

Tags: #romance regency tenacious trents england historical

Tenacious Trents 03 - A Reluctant Rake (30 page)

BOOK: Tenacious Trents 03 - A Reluctant Rake
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“What?” Jordan yelled. “I would never
hurt either woman and I certainly did not kill anyone.”

“Read the letter, Mr. Trent,” Wesby
insisted calmly.

Jordan picked up the parchment. It was
written in a hand he did not recognize, but detailed his life at
both Madam Devine’s and his affair with Lady Rothsbury, his
deception at hiding his profession from his family, the detailed
fights with Dalton and Everton, the belief by Lady Lydell that
Jordan seduced and abandoned her, but had gotten her with child,
and his courtship of Miss Montgomery and jealousy at the attention
she was giving Everton, as well as the jealousy he showed when he
came upon Lady Lydell with Dalton. Was there someone hiding and
watching everything he did?

While there were many accuracies in the
letter, they were also inflated and couched in terms that could be
misconstrued. This letter was very damning and if he found out who
wrote it he would kill the bastard.

The thought brought him up short. It
was a phrase, simply a phrase because Jordan would never take
another life. But thank goodness he hadn’t uttered his thoughts out
loud.

Wesby stood. “You are to be held in
Newgate until trial.”

Jordan came to his feet. “I did not do
these things.”

“Then you should prepare your defense.”
Wesby rapped on the door and two guards entered, each taking one of
Jordan’s arms. He struggled but they had vise grip holds on
him.

They escorted him down dark stairs and
into the bowels of Newgate. It was damp and reeked of body odor,
decay and piss. Men shouted from cells from all around him. Panic
rose within his breast. He tried to concentrate on breathing but
his chest was too tight. This was not happening to him. This
couldn’t be.

They stopped before an empty cell. One
of the gentlemen unlocked and opened the door and the other shoved
Jordan inside. The metal clanged shut behind him and Jordan was
left alone.

“What did you do?”

Jordan turned toward the quiet voice
coming from the cell to his left. “Nothing.”

“That is what I tried to tell them
too.”

He walked closer to see the man better.
But it wasn’t a man. The lad couldn’t be over sixteen, if that. His
face was dirty and large frightened eyes stared back at
Jordan.

“Did you?” Doesn’t every man claim to
be innocent? Even the guilty ones?

“No.” Tears welled in the boys eyes and
he blinked them away then wiped the snot from his nose on his
filthy sleeve. “I loved me mum.”

Jordan believed him. He didn’t know why
but he did. “Who killed her?” Assuming that is what the lad meant
by having loved his mother.

“My uncle. He was wanting a tumble and
mum wouldn’t let him.”

No woman was safe. Some not even from
family members.

“You saw him?”

“Backhanded her, he did. Mum fell
backwards and split her head open on the bricks of the fireplace.”
Tears welled in his eyes again and the young man’s chin
trembled.

“Did anyone else see it?”

He shook his head. “When the Runner got
there my uncle said I had pushed her. I told them differently but
they believed me uncle over me.”

“When is your trial?” Jordan had a sick
feeling in the pit of his stomach. The boy was too young to hang
and innocent of the crime.

“Already done.” He hung his
head.

“Were you sentenced? Jordan was almost
afraid to ask what the outcome would be.

“I won’t hang.” His tone was low and
depressed. “I’m to rot in here.”

The injustices of the criminal courts
were not lost on Jordan and perhaps that is what he feared the
most. Rarely did a man walk free after being locked away in here.
Some served their sentence and others either died waiting or were
hung. This lad was too young to face such a life. His life hadn’t
really even begun. The boy before him was the reason he wanted to
be involved with criminal cases, to see that the innocent were not
locked away.

“Why don’t you tell me everything that
happened and I will see how I can help you.”

“How are you going to help me? You’re
locked up too.”

He did have a point and Jordan
chuckled. But, he would not remain in here. If he wasn’t freed, he
would find a way to escape. But the best thing that would keep him
from going mad at this moment was the boy before him. He would
think about his case and determine what he could do to help instead
of panicking over his own situation.

As the young man began to speak those
in the cells around them moved forward to hear.

“That nabob ain’t gonna help you,”
someone yelled from a few cells away.

Jordan shot the man a look before
nodding to the young man to continue.

“What is your name,” Jordan finally
asked.

“Thain Abbott, sir.”

“I am Jordan Trent.”

“Pleased to meet you, sir.”

Jordan wasn’t sure how pleasing it
actually was given their current situation.

“What is your uncle’s name?”

“Ulger Abbott.” Jordan nodded and
committed the name to memory.

“If you are going to help him,” the man
in the cell began only to be cut off by someone else.

“He ain’t gonna be able to help
anyone,” the person called. “He killed two gents and will probably
hang before the month is out.”

Jordan swallowed, finding it difficult.
He chose to ignore the man who just predicted the end of his life
and instead focused of the one across from him. “Are you innocent
as well?”

And so the questioning began. They each
had their own story and proclaimed their innocence and as each
convict finished, Jordan was convinced half of them were innocent
of the crimes they were charged with. It only reinforced his desire
to be part of the criminal court. Innocent men, women and children
should not be found guilty. Those around him were uneducated and
poor. He would be willing to bet none of them could read and
probably barely wrote their own name. No wonder they had not been
able to defend themselves at their trials. They probably didn’t
understand half of what was happening around them. Worse, they
weren’t even allowed to have a lawyer or barrister help them. No
wonder so many innocent people were found guilty. They were too
ignorant of the law to defend themselves.

“Trent,” a guard called and stopped at
the door to his cell. The man fit the key into the lock and
opened.

“Thank God.”

“You ain’t free,” the jailer
clarified.

“What?” Why was he being let out? Were
there to be more questions?

“Your brother has paid a nice sum to
see you moved to better quarters.”

“He will forget about all of you once
he is gone,” someone called from further down.

“No, I will not,” Jordan said with
determination as he stepped into the hall.

The guard grasped him by the arm and
led him down the row between cells then up two flights of stairs
and down another corridor, stopping at a final cell. He unlocked
the door and stepped inside. “Ya got new bedding, desk and
pisspot.”

“And a window.” Jordan entered and
looked out the small opening just above his eyes to the dark
sky.

The jailer held up his lantern. “Ya got
candles and flint.” Jordan had already noticed them on the desk.
“And he left paper and pencils”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. Ya got rich relatives
that paid well for you to have these comforts.”

Jordan would forever be indebted to
Clayton for seeing that he was taken care of. Knowing that his
brothers were probably working for his release gave Jordan some
sense of relief.

The door clanged shut and Jordan
jerked. Those in the cells around him had similar comforts and
though it was a little cleaner up here, the stench rose from below,
filling his nostrils. Would he ever be rid of it after he left this
place?

If he left this place.

Jordan didn’t allow himself to think
further. He would be released. He was not guilty of the crimes. But
neither were half the men below him. But Jordan had one thing they
did not: An education and he knew the law.

He pulled out the chair and settled
down at the desk and began to write about each person he had spoken
to. After he was free of here he would see to their freedom as
well. At least it gave him something to think about besides his own
plight.

The ladies startled when the door
opened long after sunset and the three brothers and Lord Brachton
walked into the parlor. Audrey continued to watch the door. Where
was Jordan?

Each lady came to their feet, focusing
on Bentley, the head of the family.

“He has been charged with the murders
of Dalton and Everton,” he announced.

“No,” Audrey cried.

“That is not the end of it either,”
John announced as he crossed the room and took his wife’s hand. “He
has also been charged with the attacks on Lady Rothsbury and
Angelique.” John’s cheeks flushed and he looked away from
Audrey.

“I am aware of who Angelique is,” she
assured them. Though she was not pleased with the association she
knew their former relationship had been over a long time
ago.

“We’ve made sure he is being made as
comfortable as possible in that hell,” Bentley assured
them.

“Cook will prepare a basket and one of
the footmen will deliver it each day. I don’t want Jordan to have
to eat the slop they call food,” Matthew announced.

“Tomorrow, we will investigate and see
what we can do about finding the evidence needed to free him,” John
said.

“What of visitors?” Audrey
asked.

All four gentlemen looked at her. It
was Matthew who spoke. “You should not go there. It is no place for
a lady.”

“Jordan would not want it, I can assure
you,” Bentley added.

How did they know what he would want or
not want and she wasn’t some fine lady who swooned at a slight
inconvenience?

“Trust us in this,” John
added.

Audrey bit her bottom lip and studied
the gentlemen. They each watched her with concern and perhaps pity.
She gave a quick shake of her head to let them know she understood.
Tomorrow she would discuss it again. They were all tired at the
moment and it wasn’t as if she could call on Jordan
tonight.

She rubbed her temples, wishing the
tightness would ease. Call on him? She nearly laughed. It wasn’t as
if she were going to show up to have a pleasant conversation over
tea. Jordan was incarcerated in Newgate and from what she had heard
from others, the only difference between it and hell was the lack
of heat.

“We should leave,” Bentley announced.
“We need to get an early start tomorrow and talk to as many people
as we can. There must be witnesses that saw something or at least
saw Jordan when the crimes were being committed.”

It was a good plan and Audrey was so
grateful Jordan had such an influential family supporting
him.

BOOK: Tenacious Trents 03 - A Reluctant Rake
8.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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