Lords of Retribution

by K. R. Richards

About The Book

Trevan Chynoweth, the busy Duke of Penrose, returns to Cornwall to find his impatient “almost” fiancée, Morwenna “Wenna” Penrose, promised to another man. Trevan is not willing to give his long-time love up so easily. He is determined to win her back.

Wenna soon realizes she must decide if she will give Trevan the opportunity to prove his love for her or keep her promise to her betrothed.

Trevan’s cousin, Gabriel Chynoweth, the Earl of St. Mabyn, fights his sudden, physical attraction to Wenna’s sister, Senny, a woman whom he has always regarded as a dear friend and sister. His fear of wounding her feelings holds him back from taking any action until he understands just what it is he feels for her.

Get Up To Speed

Lady Tuesday Inwood is the sister of Charles Inwood, Lord Silverley, an Avalon Society member who fell in the recent attack upon the Avalon Society by the Knights of the Brown Order in London. She is determined to join the Avalon Society members in Cornwall to see that her brother’s death is avenged.

Jack Drayton, the Earl of Elveston, has long been attracted to Lady Tuesday. Knowing that the only way he could have her is with an offer of marriage has been enough to stop him from pursuing her. Until now. He has always considered Lady Tuesday to be trouble and finds out just how much trouble she can be when Tuesday decides to sneak away from her home and follow him to Cornwall!

The Hook

He requested a private parlour, ordered a meal and a pint then hid his bag containing the Avalon Society’s precious cargo in a small cupboard. He waited on the other side of the doorway, a pistol in his waistband and a knife in his boot. After a time, he heard light footsteps approaching the door.

He remained where he was so he would be behind the door when it opened.

The door opened slowly. His hat and gloves sat upon the table. His pursuer, dressed in a brown coat that was two sizes larger than needed for his small frame stepped into the room. Jack guessed him to be a lad no more than fifteen years. The lad pushed the door closed without turning behind him to look. Elveston sprang upon his pursuer then.

The lad wriggled and kicked. The boy’s coat came unbuttoned as Jack struggled to get a good hold on him through the fabric. He ended up with a handful of soft, plump breast.

A woman!

“What in the bloody hell?” Jack spat.

He spun her around and flipped the hat from her head. A long sandy-colored braid fell to drape across her shoulder and the very nice breast he had just held in his hand. He looked into familiar French blue eyes.

“Tuesday. Inwood,” Jack ground out through gritted teeth.

“Yes, Lord Elveston?” Tuesday refused to be cowed by the anger revealed in his flashing eyes. She remembered his eyes to be a golden brown, the color of rich amber, but at this moment, they were rather dark, like a fine brandy. His jaw was rigid as he glared at her. Obviously, he was quite unhappy with her.

“What are you doing here?” He pointed to the floor they stood upon.

“I am going to Menadue. I insist on being there when Charlie is avenged. I followed you because I don’t remember the way there. It has been some years since I was last in Cornwall. I assumed we were far enough along that I could join you. I was hungry. I hadn’t much coin to bring along. I could hardly ask Papa before he left for London. I think I am being followed, so I thought it best to make myself known to you.”

“No.” Jack shook his head. “You are not going to Menadue. We are eating a meal and we are getting back on our horses and I am taking you back to Swandown Manor, to your Mama.”

“I will not go back to Swandown.” Tuesday looked him in the eye and lifted her chin. “You will escort me to Menadue.”

“Again, no, Lady Tuesday. I will not.”

“Fine then, I will get to Menadue on my own. I will simply ask directions to the Duke of Penrose’s home.” Tuesday turned on her heel and prepared to walk toward the door.

Jack was so busy inspecting her long and very fine trouser-clad legs that she got out of his arm’s reach. He sprung ahead and made it to the door first. He placed his hand upon it and leaned into it. He smiled wickedly after she turned to regard him when she was unable to pull the door open.

“Let me leave!” She demanded, stomping her booted foot for emphasis. He leaned in closer, his body now just inches from hers.

Jack watched her heaving bosom below him for a few seconds. His gaze then moved to her rosy lips. He wanted to kiss those luscious lips. His body was aflame. He remembered another time some years ago when Lady Tuesday had the exact same effect on him. He had not then, nor did he now understand why being close to her caused his body to burn for hers.

“Oh, you’re going to Swandown, Lady Tuesday. You are going with me after we take our meal if I have to carry you belly down like a sack of flour across me all the way to Devon.”

“I’m no longer hungry.” Frowning, she crossed her arms over her chest. She suddenly felt scantily clad under his burning gaze.

“You will eat, nevertheless.”

“You cannot tell me what to do, Lord Elveston.”

“I am telling you what to do. You are the sister of my good friend. I will do what I know he would want me to.”

“You are not my brother!”

“No, I am not.” A brother would never be thinking of doing the things to Lady Tuesday that he currently was. He could feel the heat of her body as he leaned closer. He was already imagining what it would be like to have her naked beneath him. He had no idea why this particular woman always stirred up such lustful feelings inside him.

“Your brother would not want your reputation ruined,” he wished his voice wasn’t quite so deep and thick when he said that.

Tuesday was angry. She dropped her arms to her sides and took a small step closer to Lord Elveston, glaring at him all the while. Her body was almost touching his. She poked him in the chest with one long, slender finger. “You are a family friend, and nothing has happened. This was not planned. I left home on my own. My reputation is not ruined.”

“There is no one here save you and I, Lady Tuesday, to know what has happened. No chaperone. In many eyes, your reputation is already in shreds. I will get you back to Swandown before night falls for I do not want to have to offer for you in this manner.”

“I wouldn’t marry you in any case,” Tuesday quipped.

“You would, if your reputation was ruined, Tuesday,” Jack said pointedly.

“It is not ruined.”

“That’s questionable. However, I can remedy that, Tuesday,” his voice was a deep whisper. Lord, but she was lovely when she was angry or determined or whatever it was, she was feeling at this moment. He wanted to kiss that defiant chin and those beautiful and perfectly formed rosy lips.

“You would never harm me!” Tuesday crossed her arms once again and stood confident before him.

Jack leaned even closer to her, until they were touching. His lips were inches from hers. He could smell the subtle scent of violets. The fact that his body reacted even more to her scent angered him. This was the only woman who had ever held such power over him.

“You don’t know that,” he growled, his voice husky. An experienced woman would have known what effect she had on him. Apparently, Lady Tuesday did not. She seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he was so aroused, he was very close to throwing caution to the wind.

Perhaps if he frightened her, she’d be willing to return to Swandown. He dipped his head, his mouth now an inch from hers.

“Don’t think for a minute, Jack Drayton, that I will allow myself to be seduced by you so that I will return home. You are a rake. Charlie always said so. Mama does as well. I will not fall for your ruse,” Tuesday said heatedly.

Though she tried to hold her composure, her breathing quickened. Jack glanced down, He watched her bosom rising and falling beneath the linen shirt. Her cheeks were flushed. Her lips parted. She leaned fully against the door. He leaned closer, allowing his body to press against hers. Both palms now rested firmly against the door on either side of her. He could feel the heat emanating from her. He wanted to taste those lips. Good God he wanted to taste every inch of her!

Her French blue eyes darkened and her dark golden lashes fluttered against her cheeks when she closed her eyes for a moment. She sighed, opened her eyes once again and met his gaze. Tuesday Inwood was a beauty, of that there was no doubt. There had never been any doubt in his mind that her body would be a treasure, and in her lad’s clothing, he could see much more of her than he ever had before.

Though his rational side cautioned him not to taste her, his baser self urged him onward. Jack gave in. He was touted to be a first class rake after all. No point in disappointing anyone.

He touched his lips to hers, gently at first. When her lips parted further, he plundered her mouth. He kissed her demandingly, passionately, willing her to be frightened. He needed to take her home to her mama. He had business to attend to in Cornwall. When the empire of the Knights of the Brown Order was eradicated, he would return to Swandown and marry her.

He ran into trouble quite quickly. Apparently, she did not fear his attentions. Quite the opposite happened.

The chit kissed him back! Bloody damn hell!

Instead of pulling back as he originally intended, his kiss grew more demanding. With her eager response, all thoughts of halting the seduction disappeared.

Tuesday responded to his kiss. She had been kissed three times in her life. None of them came close to this kiss. Jack’s kiss was wonderfully exciting and stirred up what felt like heat and fire in her body. Before she could even think of what she was doing, her arms coiled around his neck and she leaned in to him.

She didn’t just…Bloody Hell, yes she did! He told himself to stop, but couldn’t. His arms wrapped more tightly around her. He pulled her closer against his body. As she molded against him, he burned. His hands explored. Expertly, he peeled off her coat and let it fall to the floor.

All reason and all sanity left him. There was only one thought on his mind. He’d wanted this for four years, since the day they had danced at Roseland Abbey. He remembered the burning need he felt then. It was a pale shadow compared to the fiery need raging inside him at this moment.

“Damn!” He whispered hoarsely as clarity crashed in upon him. He leaned over, scooped up her coat and hat.

“Sit down and eat, Tuesday. We have some hard riding to do if we are to reach Swandown Manor by nightfall.”

His tone sounded sharp and cold.

He’s the one who kissed her! He was the one who nearly undressed her. Tuesday remained standing. How dare he be angry with her!

“I’m not going home to Swandown. I told you, I’m going to Menadue with or without you.”

“Bloody Hell! You are not going to Menadue, Tuesday.” His eyes flashed and the muscles in his jaw were taut.

“Oh, but I am!” Tuesday gave him an affirming nod. “If you return me to Swandown Manor, I will tell my father that you took advantage of me.”

“What?” Jack reached for her arm and pulled her closer. “You are still a maiden. You would not dare accuse me of such a thing. Might I point out Tuesday, that you were kissing me as well? It was you who put your arms around my neck and pressed yourself against me.” Jack grinned knowingly, “What innocent girl would want to ruin her reputation in such a manner?”

“First of all, I am not a girl. I’m a woman, and considered to be quite on the shelf at age six and twenty. Secondly, I’ve already told you I am determined to avenge my brother’s death, or in the very least be present when one of you does so. If my reputation is ruined, then so be it. I am going to Cornwall. I have every right to be there. Charlie was my brother.”

Jack watched her for a few moments. He decided to call her bluff. He did not think she would truly ruin her own reputation.

“You can prove nothing. It would be your word against mine.” He tilted his head and settled a mocking smile upon her.

“I am certain the daughter of a peer would be believed. I could even say you lured me to travel with you, that you seduced me and promised me marriage.”

“That would be a lie!” Jack snapped. He stepped back then ran a hand through his hair.

“You are correct, what I would tell my father would be a lie except the part about you kissing me, and the part where you removed my coat and began to unfasten my shirt. Nor would it be a lie to say you had your hands on me. I would only be lying when I said you lured me to travel with you and that you seduced me and promised marriage.” She shrugged.

“It wouldn’t actually be a lie about you seducing me either, I guess. Most of what I can tell my father will be truth. You would have to marry me and eventually I would get to Menadue – as your wife. It would be best for both of us if we did not have to marry. At this point I’ll take either option.” She held his gaze. She tilted her chin upward.

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“This changes everything.” Jack nodded soberly. He would have to offer for her. When she pointed out every single way he had compromised her aloud, he realized he had crossed the line. She was Charlie’s little sister for heaven’s sake. An innocent! Charlie wasn’t even here to defend her. Guilt settled over him.

He actually didn’t mind the thought of marrying her sooner than later. True, he had been giving marriage to her a great deal of thought over the past week, since the day they buried Charlie. He had planned to court her after her mourning period was over.

He definitely desired her. If her reaction to his kisses and attentions was any indication, there would always be passion between them.

Her waist was slender. Her hips and derrière he knew from exploring with his hands were just as enticing. They may as well get on to Menadue. He could make the necessary arrangements once they arrived.

He thought of her parents, still grieving over their only son and heir’s death, and who were no doubt now worried about their daughter’s disappearance. This kind of situation would definitely hurt them.

Yet he was an Earl and heir to a Marquessate. He was Charlie’s friend. Tuesday welcomed his attentions. He supposed her parents would accept his offer, even a hurried and quite necessary offer such as this would be.

He told himself he should get her back to Swandown, yet the damage was done. He had compromised her, and taken liberties with her. She was his now, and would be his wife. The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to take her to Menadue. He would marry her and bed her.

Tuesday was beaming. “So we will go to Menadue?”

“Yes, and we will marry as soon as possible upon our arrival.”

She did want to get to Menadue.

He bent and picked up her coat. He threw it at her. “Put the coat on and button it, please, to your neck!” The memory of her lovely breasts outlined quite nicely by the man’s shirt she wore, tempted him. It was best for him if they were out of his view altogether.

After Tuesday buttoned her coat, Jack tugged at the back flap to make certain her beautiful bottom was covered. It was impossible to hide those long, shapely, trouser clad legs. How she ever thought she could pass for a lad, he did not know.

“We’re not going to eat?” Tuesday motioned toward the meal on the table.

“Take a few bites. I’ll wrap the bread, cheese and fruit in a cloth. I have a bad feeling, Tuesday. We need to leave this place.”

Tuesday frowned then nodded. Her brother, Charlie, had the same types of feelings. He was usually right. She took a couple bites of beef and took a large sip of his pint as he bundled up some of the food. She coughed. “Oh my.”

Jack grinned. “Take another slower sip, brat.”

“Don’t call me brat.” Tuesday did take a longer sip. She was quite parched.

“I’ll call you what I want, sweeting.”

“Please don’t call me brat. Charlie called me brat.” Tuesday looked to him with pleading eyes.

Jack nodded and grinned. “Very well, Trouble. Are you finished with the pint?” If there was one thing that was true, Lady Tuesday Inwood had been nothing but trouble to him for the last four years.

Tuesday nodded. She watched as Jack took the decanter from her hand and drained it.

“I’m not trouble,” Tuesday complained.

Jack retrieved his precious cargo he had earlier hidden away. He stopped n front of her. “You are trouble,” he bent his head and placed a sweet kiss to her lips, “but I am not adverse to trouble, I rather like it. Walk behind me into the yard, sweeting, and stay very close to me. Close enough that I can touch you if need be.”

Tuesday nodded numbly. She wondered how everything had gone so completely wrong and Jack now believed they would marry. What had happened? She was not certain she understood how this had come to be.

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