Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз - ‘You will feel better still once you have got out of your wet clothing and had something to eat,’ Matthison said. Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Берроуз Энни

Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss

Читать онлайн

Аннотация к роману
«Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss» - Энни Берроуз

Is she his lost love? With his dark, haunted eyes and forbidding expression, the menacing Lord Matthison has the reputation of the devil. Living on the fringes of polite society, he has still to get over the death of his one true love seven years ago.But Cora Montague’s body has never been found… So when he encounters a fragile-looking woman, the image of his betrothed, working in a London dressmakers, Matthison is convinced Cora is still alive. But what should he do to claim her…?
Следующая страница

‘You will feel better still once you have got out of your wet clothing and had something to eat,’ Matthison said.

‘You will feel better still once you have got out of your wet clothing and had something to eat,’ Matthison said.

‘You have no idea what will make me feel better!’

How could he stand there so calmly, talking about eating, when her life lay in ruins?

Because he did not care. He had brought her to this. He had betrayed her! Held her in his arms and kissed her, when all the time…

She lurched to her feet on a wave of anguish and fury. Her fists were already raised before she knew how badly she wanted to hit him. But she did not manage to land a single blow. He caught hold of her wrists, his reactions lightning-swift.

She flailed out at his imprisoning hands, kicking ineffectually at his booted legs. His eyes widened in horror, then narrowed with grim purpose as he lifted her off her feet.

Annie Burrows has been making up stories for her own amusement since she first went to school. As soon as she got the hang of using a pencil she began to write them down. Her love of books meant she had to do a degree in English literature. And her love of writing meant she could never take on a job where she didn’t have time to jot down notes when inspiration for a new plot struck her. She still wants the heroines of her stories to wear beautiful floaty dresses and triumph over all that life can throw at them. But when she got married she discovered that finding a hero is an essential ingredient to arriving at ‘happy ever after’.

Recent novels by Annie Burrows:





THE RAKE’S SECRET SON (part of Regency Candlelit Christmas anthology)

Also available in eBook format in Mills & Boon® Historical Undone:




Annie Burrows

Author Note

When I was a little girl I loved reading fairy stories. One of my favourites was The Sleeping Beauty. The prince had to hack his way through a thicket of thorns to get to the castle where Aurora lay, bound by the wicked witch’s spells. He would have got cut and bruised, probably ending up with half a forest’s worth of leaves stuck all over his clothes and in his hair. He must have been quite a sight to wake up to!

I always hoped that the first thing the Princess would do would be to bathe his wounds…

Lord Matthison is convinced he has to fight his way through a thicket of thorns to rescue his own lady love from the spell that seems to hold her in its grip. But is she the one who is bound by a spell, or is he the one who is really under a witch’s curse?

For Peter and Ruth, Steadfast Friends

Chapter One

Lord Matthison reached for the area railings to steady himself, blinking up at the façade of the house where Miss Winters lived.

With her ambitious mother.

And her ruthless father.

He had no idea how he’d fetched up on Curzon Street, at the house of the scheming jade who had stripped him of his last vestige of hope.

He was drunk, of course. He had been drinking steadily since just before midnight. Any man who’d had the week he’d just had would have done exactly the same—made for the nearest gin shop and called for a bottle. Though he had assiduously avoided taking the road that led to oblivion during the past seven years, when the cards had turned against him, and he’d gone down to the tune of five hundred guineas for the third night in a row, he’d had to accept it was over.

‘Cora,’ he moaned, as the pain of her loss struck him with an intensity he had not felt since the first day she’d gone. Gin was so deceitful! It promised to relieve all woe, but all it had done was strip him of the ability to pretend he did not care. He’d assumed he would have found at least a measure of respite, before coming round in some gutter. Possibly even staggering back to his own lodgings. He’d never dreamed he would turn out to have such a hard head, he would still be on his feet by dawn. Or that those wayward feet would have brought him to the last place on earth he would willingly have gone.

‘But I won’t marry you!’ he yelled, shaking his fist at the shuttered windows.

A milkmaid who was passing eyed him with suspicion, and gave him a wide berth. He scarcely noticed her as he straightened up with renewed resolve. What did he care if Miss Winters was ruined!

He had not lured her into her father’s study, tousled her hair, and torn the bodice of her gown. No, she’d done all that herself. Then launched herself at him just as the door swung open, making it look as though they had been locked in a passionate embrace.

Not that she wanted to marry him so much now, he laughed mirthlessly. He’d soon wiped that triumphant smile from her face!

‘So, you want to dance with the devil, do you?’ he had mocked, seizing her by the upper arms when she would have broken free.

‘You are hurting me,’ she had protested, beginning to look a little uncertain.

‘But that is the kind of man I am,’ he had answered.

‘Have you not heard the rumours? Damsels of a sensitive nature practically swoon with fright whenever I walk into a room. With good reason, wouldn’t you say?’

The confusion in her eyes had made him wonder if she really did not know. It was just possible. Her family did not mix in the best circles. Her mother had no intimates privy to the type of gossip circulating about him. They might have managed to secure a house at a fashionable address, but Miss Winters was never going to receive vouchers for Almack’s.

‘Or were you fooled by the fact that I still get invited everywhere?’ he had mused. ‘That was naïve of you. But as you do not seem to understand the ways of the ton, I will explain. Some of them ignore my reputation, because of the vast amount of wealth I have accrued since I made my pact with the devil. They claim not to care how I came by it, because my birth is sufficiently exalted for them to turn a blind eye. But they would never let me near any of their daughters.

‘And there are others who are fascinated by the aura of evil I carry with me. They get quite a thrill from telling people they’ve been daring enough to ask the man who murdered his fiancée to attend one of their insipid gatherings. Oh,’he’d said, when a look of horror had spread across her face. ‘So you had not heard? That I had made a pact with the devil, or that I had been engaged, long ago? To the innocent and unsuspecting Miss Montague…’

Suddenly it had felt like a kind of blasphemy, to speak her name aloud while he was holding another woman in his arms. He had flung the trembling Miss Winters from him, but kept between her and the door. He had not finished with her yet!

‘They never found her body,’ he relished informing her, ‘so they could never bring me to trial. But, since it was my best friend, the man who had known me since childhood, who brought the accusation against me, I must have done it, must I not?’

Miss Winters had begun to rub at the spot on her arms where he’d been holding her, but he’d felt not one ounce of remorse. He deliberately discarded the ice-cold persona he had adopted to disguise his state of mind, expressing all the bitterness that he normally held in check, through his next words.

‘Since the day she disappeared, I have had phenomenal luck at the tables. Is that not proof that I have stained my soul with the blood of a virgin? I often wonder,’ he’d grated, ‘why people still sit down to play cards with me, when they know I can’t lose. Just as I wonder—’ he had paced slowly towards her, his fury unchecked ‘—why you expected this little charade to have any effect upon me. You do not suppose a man whose soul is as black as mine, is going to send off a notice to the Morning Post just because someone saw me in a compromising position with a virgin, do you?’

He had thought that would have been an end to it. Last thing he’d seen of her, she’d fled from the room, sobbing, and flung herself into her mother’s arms. His mouth twisted into a cynical sneer as he recalled what a short distance she’d had to go. Her mother had been hovering right outside the door.

Anyway, he shrugged, she had definitely changed her mind about wanting to marry him.

Her father, though, was made of sterner stuff.

‘Now look here!’ he’d blustered, storming into Lord Matthison’s rooms late the next afternoon. ‘You cannot go about compromising young girls, and then scaring them off with half-baked tales that sound as though they’ve come out of a Gothic novel!’

‘Is that so?’ he’d drawled, not even bothering to raise his eyes from the deck of cards he was shuffling from his left hand into his right.

‘It most certainly is! As a gentleman, you owe it to my daughter to offer marriage!’

‘Out of the question,’ he’d replied, taking the pack in his right hand, splitting it in half, and dextrously folding it over on itself with supple, practised fingers. ‘I am already betrothed.’

That assertion had not silenced Mr Winters for more than a couple of seconds. ‘Ah. You are referring to the Montague girl!’

Lord Matthison had felt the shock of hearing the man speak her name in such an offhand way clear through to his bones. And when Mr Winters had gone on to say, ‘She’s dead, ain’t she?’ the cards had spluttered from his hand to land in a confused jumble on the table top.

He’d got up, stalked across the room and leaned his forearm against the window frame, staring sightlessly down into the bustling courtyard while he grappled with the urge to do his visitor some serious bodily harm.

‘Yes,’ he had finally managed to say, with lethal calm. For nobody knew better than he that Cora walked the spirit world. ‘Technically, I suppose you could claim I am free to marry again. But since nobody has ever managed to discover her body, her family prefer to think of her as missing. And I, therefore, am still legally bound to her.’ With bonds that went beyond the realm of mere legalities, far tighter than any mortal man could ever suspect.

A nasty smile had spread across Mr Winters’s avaricious face. ‘Then we will just have to, legally, unbind you, will we not? So you can have no more excuse to avoid making an honest woman of my daughter.’

Before he could express his opinion that nobody had the power to make his daughter honest, since duplicity was such an intrinsic part of her nature, Mr Winters had declared, ‘I do not care what it costs, or how long it takes. I will have Miss Montague declared legally dead. And then, my lord, we shall have you!’

Three days ago, that had been. Three days since Mr.

Winters had declared his intent to instigate the proceedings that would kill Cora Montague all over again.

But he did not know Robbie Montague. Good ol’ Robbie, he grimaced, folding his arms across his chest and leaning back against the area railings.

Robbie would have no truck with Mr Winters’s suggestion that it was time to let go of his sister by holding a memorial service and finally putting up a gravestone. Robbie would never set him free to marry again, and fill Kingsmede with children that were not his sister’s. If he could not see him hang, Robbie’s only satisfaction would be to make sure he remained suspended in a legal limbo.

Mr Winters, he smirked, had quite a fight on his hands.

The amount of hawkers pushing their handcarts up to the big houses, and the shortening of the shadows on his side of the street told him that it was well past daybreak now. Of the fourth day. His smirk turned to a grimace of despair. For the three consecutive nights since Mr. Winters had declared war on Cora’s memory, he’d lost heavily at the card tables.

Last night, he had finally accepted what that meant.

He had thrown down his losing hand, tossed what he owed onto the green baize tablecloth, and stumbled from the gaming hell into the street. To confront his own personal hell. He’d had to clutch at the door frame for a few seconds, his heart had been beating so fast, while he’d fought down a rising tide of horror.

Not that he cared one whit for the money he’d lost. It was no longer financial necessity that kept him going back to the tables, night after night, but need of an entirely different nature.

‘Cora,’ he’d moaned uselessly into the empty alley way. ‘I couldn’thelpit!’Butthere had notevenbeen an answering echo.

She was not there.

For the first time in seven years, he could not feel her presence, anywhere.

He’d damned Mrs Winters for conspiring with her daughter to compromise him. He’d damned Miss Winters for forcing her lips against his in that unholy parody of a kiss. And he’d damned Mr. Winters for daring to speak of Cora as though she was of no account. Between the three of them, they had managed to do what even death could not.

They had driven her away.

He had never told anybody that she haunted him. They would have thought he had gone crazy. Hell, he often wondered about his sanity himself!

But it had only been a few days after the last time he had touched her warm soft skin, that he had felt her spirit hovering close by.

At a race track, of all places.

He had gone there with Robbie’s accusations and curses ringing in his ears. He had been stunned when Robbie had accused him of murdering his sister. ‘If you can believe that of me, then you will want this back!’ he had yelled, throwing what was left of the money Robbie had lent him to pay for the wedding at his chest. ‘I thought you were my friend!’

The purse had fallen unheeded to the floor. ‘You have enough friends in these parts, it seems,’ Robbie had sneered. ‘Nobody will say one word against ye. And without a body, that magistrate says he dare not put the only son of the local lord on trial.’

They had flung increasingly harsh words at each other, which had culminated in Robbie yelling, ‘Curse you and your title! May you rot in hell with it!’

Hell, he’d mused. Yes, he had felt as though he was in hell. And like so many of the damned, he had set out on a path of deliberate self-destruction, staking all that was left of Cora’s wedding fund on a horse that was certain to lose.

He’d eyed up the runners, and been drawn to one that was being soundly whipped by its infuriated jockey. It was frothing at the mouth, its eyes rolling as it went round and round in circles. The jockey had lashed at it some more. He still couldn’t get it to the starting line.

That horse doesn’t want to be here any more than you do, he could imagine his tender-hearted Cora saying. Poor creature.

And that was when he knew he had to lay her blood money on the horse she would have felt sorry for.

When had it romped home a length ahead of its nearest rival, he heard her delighted laughter. He would swear to it. And pictured her clapping her hands in glee.

In a daze, he’d gone back to the betting post, feeling like Judas at the thought of the cascade of silver that would soon be poured into his hands. In the next race, he’d backed the most broken-down nag he could see in a last-ditch attempt to purge away his overriding sense of guilt. He had to get rid of that money. Robbie had cursed it!

As the pack set off, he thought he felt Cora sigh as the sorry specimen he’d backed lumbered wearily along the track. Dammit if he hadn’t wagered on the very horse she would have chosen again! This time, he had felt there was a certain inevitability about the outcome of the race. Two furlongs from the finish, a riderless horse ran across the field, causing the leaders to stumble, and creating a few moments of mayhem, during which Cora’s favourite wheezed up on the outside, crossing the finishing line while the rest were still disentangling themselves from the pile-up.

Cora had cheered. He’d heard her. No question.

The noisy crowds of race-goers faded from his consciousness as his mind had gone back to the day he had finally managed to place his ring on her finger.

‘Nothing will be able to part us now,’ he had said with grim satisfaction. And then, anticipating their wedding vows, he’d added, ‘Except death.’

‘Not even that,’ she had breathed, gazing up at him with naked adoration in her eyes.

And that was the moment he’d realised that no matter what Robbie might think, Cora was still his. He had felt her lay her hand on his sleeve, and hold him back when he would have tossed even those winnings away on the favourite in the next race. ‘Enough now,’ she had cautioned him. And tears had sprung to his eyes, because he had known, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she loved him far too much to want to watch him blight his future with reckless gambling. And he had walked away.

From that day forward, he had done nothing without considering what she would have made of it. And the more he asked her opinion, the more often he had felt her hovering close by.

Robbie had stormed off back to Scotland, his parents had washed their hands of him, neighbours regarded him with suspicion, and former acquaintances shunned him.

But Cora had stood by him.

There had been times when he had sunk into such despair that he considered following her into the after-life.

But he could see her shaking her head in reproof, and hear her declaring that suicide was a mortal sin. He did not care if it was a sin, if it could bring them together. But something told him that whatever part of the after-world she inhabited would exclude sinners of that sort.

And so, since he knew she did not want him to take that course, he’d just had to go on existing. He could not call it living. Cut off from his family and friends, he had begun to haunt the lowest gaming hells in London. They were the only places whose doors were still open to him.

But even there, she watched over him, giggling at the stunned faces of the men from whom he’d won cash, deeds to mines, and shares in canal companies.

And it was she who urged him, when he had just donned the first set of good quality, brand-new clothes he had ever owned, to walk into White’s and face them all down. She had crowed with laughter when he had walked out, £20,000 the richer.

It had brought him a measure of satisfaction to pay off the mortgage on Kingsmede, when his father had died. And to pay off his inherited debts out of winnings he’d gleaned from the very men who had fleeced his shiftless parent. Since then, he had gradually been able to make all the improvements to his estate Cora had talked about when she had been there. His tenants might whisper about him, and the way he came by his money, but it did not stop them from being glad he was re-thatching their cottages, or draining low-lying fields to improve their harvests.

Not that he cared what they thought of him. He was not doing it for them, but to please her. Her opinion was the only one that mattered to him.

She was the only person he felt any connection with any more.

Even though she was dead.

If that made him crazy, then so be it.

If it was madness that drove him back to the card tables, so that he could hear her muttering about the drunkenness of his opponents as he ruthlessly stripped them of their money, or feel her breath fan his cheek as she blew on his dice for luck, then it beat the alternative! He had not cared that her unseen presence, walking at his side, acted like a barrier between him and the rest of the world.

She was still there.

Until Miss Winters had kissed him.

‘Cora,’ he moaned again, sagging against the railings in defeat.

A seller of kindling, pushing his cart before him, shot him a piercing look, before shaking his head and hurrying on.

He knew what he must look like. He was standing here, in the first light of day, crying out for a woman who had been dead for seven dark, hellishly lonely years. And he didn’t care what anyone might think. If he only had the supernatural powers that people attributed to him, by Lucifer and all that was unholy, he would use them now! If he really knew of some incantation…

A line from somewhere sprang to mind. Something about three times three times three…

And even as he muttered what he could remember of what he dimly suspected was something from Shakespeare, a movement from the area steps of a house further down the street caught his eye. A short young woman, modishly yet soberly dressed, in a dark blue coat and poke bonnet, was climbing up on to the pavement. At first, he did not know why, out of all the people bustling about their business, this one insignificant female had attracted his attention. But then she turned to scan the traffic before venturing out into the road, and he caught a glimpse of her face.

And it felt as though something had sucked all the air from his lungs.

It was Cora.

‘Bloody hell!’ he swore, clutching the railings even harder as his knees threatened to give way beneath him. Somehow, with all that three-times-three business, and invoking unholy powers, he had managed to conjure up her shade! For the last seven years, he had heard her, caught her scent on the breeze, felt her presence, but never, ever had she allowed him so much as one brief glimpse of her…

‘Bloody hell!’ he swore again. While he had been standing there, completely stunned at having called up her spirit, or whatever the hell it was had just happened, she had disappeared round the corner. She had walked away from him as though he was of no account. As though she had somewhere far more important to be.

Uttering another curse, he set off in pursuit. It should have been easy to catch up with her. She did not have that much of a head start. But as he attempted to break into a run, the pavement undulated beneath his feet as though it had a life of its own, throwing him into the path of a furniture mender carrying a bunch of rushes. Lord Matthison had to grab on to the man’s shoulders to steady himself before he could lurch off in the direction Cora had gone.

For a few terrible minutes, he thought he would never see her again. The streets were full of tradesmen making early deliveries to the houses of the wealthy now, and it was as if the crowds had swallowed her up. Panic brought him out in a cold sweat, until he caught a glimpse of that dark blue coat on the far side of Berkeley Square, and he plunged into the gardens after her.

She was half-way up Bruton Street before he sighted her again, gliding effortlessly through the throng. He bit back a curse as a rabbit, dangling from the pole of its vendor, struck him full in the face.

‘Cora!’ he yelled in desperation as the rabbit seller laid hands on him, angrily demanding something…recompense for the damage to his wares probably, but he paid no heed. ‘Wait!’he cried, thrusting the man rudely aside. He could not let anything prevent him from discovering where Cora was going!

He saw her half-turn. Felt the moment she recognised him with the force of a punch to the gut. For there was no tenderness, no understanding in her eyes. On the contrary, she recoiled from him, and with a look of horror hitched up her skirts and began to run.

He tried to run too, but she just kept on getting further and further away from him. She could melt through the throng, because she was a wraith. But his own body was all too solid, so that he was obliged to swerve around, or shove people aside. But he kept his eyes fixed on her. Until the very moment she darted into one of the shops on Conduit Street, and slammed the door behind her.

He stumbled to a halt on the pavement opposite what turned out to be a modiste’s. A very high-class modiste with the name ‘Madame Pichot’ picked out in gold leaf on a signboard above the door.

His heart was hammering in his chest, which was still heaving with shortened breath. What was he to do now? Barge into the shop, which probably wasn’t even open to customers yet, and demand they let him speak to the ghost he’d just seen take refuge inside? They would call for the watch, and have him locked up. In an asylum for the insane, most like.

He bent over, his hands resting on his knees as he fought to get his breath back. And make some sense of what had just happened.

Why, for God’s sake, had Cora fled from him, the very moment she had finally deigned to let him see her? And what was the significance of bringing him here?

He straightened up, staring at the shop front as though it might provide him with some answer to this unholy muddle.

‘Evening gowns a speciality’, read a card prominently displayed in the window, underneath a sample of the fabulously intricate beadwork that had become all the rage amongst the fashionable this year.

And a cold thread of foreboding slithered down his spine.

The very night after Mr Winters had declared his intention to lay Cora’s ghost to rest for good, the first night he’d had a run of such spectacularly bad hands even he could do nothing with them, he had partnered a woman wearing a dress that came from this modiste. He had laid the blame for their defeat at whist at the feet of the woman wearing the expensive gown, a French chit, who had as little grasp of the game as she had of the English language. But in his heart he had known she had nothing to do with his wins or losses.

All gamblers were superstitious, but he supposed he must be the most superstitious of the lot. Knowing Cora’s influence to be the source of his success, he had taken great pains, from the first day he had sensed her presence, to avoid offending her. He never touched strong liquor, nor did he succumb to the lures cast out by women who were fascinated by his aura of dark menace. How could he have contemplated bedding anyone, even if any woman had ever stirred him on any level, knowing that Cora hovered not far away, watching his every move? Not that she would have watched for long. Her puritanical soul would have been so shocked, she would have fled, perhaps never to return.

He had been right to take care. Cora’s love was so strong it had reached out to him from beyond the grave. But a love strong enough to cheat death was not a force to be trifled with.

Miss Winters had kissed him, her father had begun to search for lawyers cunning enough to lay her spirit in the grave for good, and Cora had turned her back on him. And getting blind drunk, and shouting curses up at Miss Winters’s windows, had not done him any favours. That slamming door was a clear enough message that even he could read it.

She had put back the barrier that existed between the living and the dead. And she was on the other side.

He ran a shaky hand over his face, feeling sick to his stomach.

He had only survived the last seven years because she had been right there with him. More real to him than all the gibbering idiots who populated the hells he frequented.

Would she come back to him, he wondered frantically, if he proclaimed the truth about her? He would not care if they declared him insane, and locked him up. He could afford to pay for a nice, cosy cell. It would almost be a relief to stop pretending his life made any sense. To stop hiding the anguish that tortured him night and day. He could just lie in the dark, and rant and curse to his heart’s content.

Mr Winters would surely abandon his ambition to have his daughter marry a peer, if that peer was a raving lunatic! And even Robbie would reap some benefit. It would appease his quest for justice, to see the man he believed had murdered his sister finally locked away.

If that was what it took to appease Cora, he decided, his jaw firming, then it would be a small price to pay!

‘You wanter cross or not, mister?’a little voice piped up, jerking him out of his darkly disturbing thoughts.


A ragged boy with a dirty broom was standing, palm outstretched, gazing up at him expectantly.

A crossing sweeper.

‘No,’ he replied. There was no point.

No point to anything, any more. He had offended Cora. Driven her away.

‘Want me to see if I can get a message to her?’ the lad persisted.


‘To the red-haired piece you chased up the street.’

‘You saw her?’ Lord Matthison stared at the boy in shock. He had assumed he was the only one who had been able to see her. Especially after the way she had melted through the crowds as though she and they existed on different planes.

The boy leaned closer, and took an experimental sniff, his perplexed face creasing into a grin.

‘Clearer than you, I reckon, by the smell of your breath. Had a heavy night, have yer?’

Lord Matthison grimaced as the lad’s words sank in.

He had not taken a drink in seven years. Had been astounded by what a tolerance for gin he seemed to have, marvelling at the fact he was still on his feet. Well, he might be on his feet, but he was sure as hell not sober.

The woman was real. He had not called some spirit up out of the pit. Cora had not deliberately turned her back on him, run from him, and slammed the door in his face. He had just seen some servant girl climb up the area steps from the servants’entrance, and go about her legitimate business.

Which had nothing to do with him.

The fact that she had looked uncannily like Cora was mere coincidence. Or…had she even born that much of a resemblance to his late fiancée? He frowned. He had not been close enough to see her face clearly. It had been her build, and the way she walked, that had convinced him he was seeing a ghost.

His head began to ache.


He was getting a hangover before he was even sober.

He pressed the heels of his hands over his eyes, digging his fingers into his scalp. There was no point in trying to make sense of any of this until he had sobered up.

‘Is this your patch?’ he asked the crossing sweeper, running his fingers through his hair.

‘Yessir!’ said the lad, rather too loudly for Lord Matthison’s liking.

‘Then find out whatever you can about the red-head,’ he said, dipping into his pocket, and flipping the lad a coin, ‘and I shall give you another of these.’

The boy’s face lit up when he saw it was a crown piece. ‘Right you are! When will you be coming back?’

‘I shall not,’he replied with a grimace of distaste. He despised men who loitered on street corners, hoping to catch a glimpse of the hapless female that was currently the object of their prurient interest.

‘You will report to my lodgings. What is your name?’

‘Grit,’ said the boy, causing Lord Matthison to look at him sharply. And then press his fingers to his throbbing temples. It was all of a piece. The boy he was employing to spy on Cora’s ghost could not possibly have a sensible name like Tom, or Jack! Everything about this night bore all the hallmarks of a nightmare.

‘I will tell my manservant, then, that if a short, dirty person answering to the name of Grit comes knocking, that he is to admit you. Or, if I am not there, to extract what information you have, and reward you with another coachwheel.’

‘And who might you be?’

‘Lord Matthison.’

He watched the light die from the boy’s eyes. Saw him swallow. Saw him try to hide his consternation. But Grit was too young to quite manage to conceal the belief he had just agreed to serve the devil’s minion. He kissed goodbye to the prospect of ever finding out anything about the red-head who had worked him up into such a state. The lad would never pluck up the courage to venture to his lodgings. Or if he did, his conscience was bound to hold him in check. Even a dirt-poor guttersnipe would think twice about selling information about a defenceless female to a man of Lord Matthison’s reputation.

‘In the meantime, perhaps you could find me a cab,’ he drawled, eyeing the shop across the street one last time.And then, because he got a perverse kind of pleasure from playing up to the worst of what people expected of him, he added, ‘I dislike being abroad in daylight.’


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз

Комментарии к роману "Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss - Энни Берроуз" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки