DAUGHTER OF DECEIT
Released! Have a special announcement for Daughter of Deceit next week just in time for Valentine's Day.
Someone wants Alyce Hythe dead…
Shunned from London society for being the daughter of England’s most notorious spy, Alyce Hythe desires only to clear her father’s name. For years, she has been hidden away from all prying eyes, given a new identity and told to forget who she was. But strange things have been happening causing old rumors to once more be whispered.
Long has Lord Julian Casvelyn lived with guilt brought on when his brother was murdered by England’s most infamous traitor. But one eventful night has changed everything Lord Julian believed about his brother’s death. Never did he suspect the woman he has just saved from certain harm is the daughter of that man. Now Julian is caught in midst of a conspiracy and desire for that woman.
Thrown together by fate, the two search for answers long denied them and along the way discover a love that can free them both.
Thankful indeed she could breathe again at least for a moment. She turned to stand by Lissa, but instead she froze upon the sight. The last person she ever expected to see this night stood in front of her.
She froze in her spot. His wide mouth curved into a vague smile which could easily turn hard she suspected. He looked quite striking, handsome and elegant in his crisp black and white evening clothes. His dark eyes darkened intensely upon her. Before she had a chance to protest, his arm gripped her elbow firmly.
“Oh, no, my dear, I think not,” his utterance carried a hard edge which startled her. “I have long tried to gain an audience with you and have been reputed one way or another. If you choose to make a scene, it will not bode well for you. You may have been hiding in the nest of the Arungdon, but I can guarantee you that legally you are still the ward of my grandfather and I…”
“Please, Lord Casvelyn, you do not have to resort to threats,” she turned her head to see if any other's attention lay upon them, but none seemed interested. Her gaze shifted back to him. “What, pray, could you have to talk to me? Charles did send his appreciation for you saving me. He assured me he had taken care of the situation and the magistrate...”
“Come. Come. Miss Rufford…or should I say Hythe. I believe there is much we could talk of.”
She glanced back over her shoulder as he edged her along beside him. “Where are you taking me? It will not be proper…”
He cut her words short. “No one will see, I can assure you. I have arranged how I can I say this a few minutes where we will not be disrupted. Then you can rush back to your lordship.”
She watched Lord Casvelyn nod to a man in front of him, a tall man tawny hair and blue eyes. The man nodded back. Immediately, she felt herself being flung into a side door, closing tightly behind her. She could only imagine why Lord Casvelyn thought it necessary to have a guard at the door.
The room was small, quaint in appearance. There was no fire lit nor candle only the moonlit shone in light. He gestured to her to sit upon a settee. She hesitated, but then complied. To her dismay he sat beside her.
She found it difficult to catch a breath with him so near. He stared at her in a manner which made her remember all too well being in his arms with his lips upon hers.
“Now will you please explain yourself so I can rejoin Charles.”
“Ah, yes, the love of your life. I have heard. Unfortunately, I tend to doubt your proclamation of feelings.”
She stared at him and he returned it. He sat close to her, too close. She scooted back but he moved, allowing only her a scant space between her and this man who made her skin shiver with just his touch. “How dare you,” she uttered under her breath. “You don’t know me. Charles and I love each other greatly…”
“Do you?” he asked in a low voice. “Are you in the habit of sharing kisses with another while in the deep throbs of love for another? Come. Do not think I have forgotten having you in my arms. Kissing you, touching you...if not interrupted, perhaps it would have lead to more than...”
She slapped him, hard, and attempted to rise. He thwarted her with his two strong hands, pulling her down to him.
“You are no gentleman!”
“Perhaps,” he answered her, but his voice softened. “Perhaps.”
His hands released her back to her seat. What did he do to her that made her act as if she had not a reasonable thought in her head?
"Tell me, Miss Hythe, what are you up to? What plan do you have? Don’t think your friend, Lord Tregilgas can save you. If I so desire, I can have you escorted out under my care.”
“You make no sense, Lord Casvelyn. You come to me with demands that I return with you. Why should I? True, Colonel Tolworthy is my guardian, but in truth I barely know him. I have been on my own for a great deal of time of my life. Why should I be a burden to him now? It is only a few months more than I will not be.”
“Listen to me carefully, my dear. I had no knowledge that you still resided within
until three weeks ago. In all I find the whole of the situation unacceptable.
I’m trying to rectify this. Believe me. I believe you are in danger.” England
“Then do not worry about me. Charles has seen to my safety. You may question me, but I trust Charles. He would never allow harm to befall me as I would never allow harm to him.”
“Answer me this. Do you know no matter if you hold your father is innocent, the world does not? No matter if your young Marques holds to you, you are walking into social damnation, fair or unfair. It will not be pleasant. How long do you think it will take for someone to figure out who you are? I would wager it will not be long. And then there is the matter of the threat upon your life?”
“You are mistaken that I am trying to run from my name. I am not. I have all my life since my father’s death faced his disgrace although I was unaware of it until I was seventeen. No one thought it necessary to inform me how my father died. All I knew was that he was dead. Not until Charles told me. He has been my only true friend, my Lord. I have only once visited my father’s grave and it was only through Charles I did so. Do you know what it is like to see your father’s grave ostracized from holy ground for they deem he committed suicide?”
“I know lost. I feel it every day. I dealt with my brother’s death knowing that the fiend that killed him also lay in the ground. But with your words you uttered to me, I find myself questioning all about my brother’s death. And with those words, I questioned the wisdom in allowing you this Season.”
As he spoke, he astonished her with his movement, transforming her back to that night, that room, that embrace. He moved closer, so close it seemed she could no longer claim air between them. His arms encircled her and pulled her face upward toward his. His touch startled her. She looked at him in surprise. She saw his intent, yet made no resistance. Wanting to protest, her body rebelled against the thought.
A gasp escaped her lips as he lowered his head to hers. His lips moved against hers, firm yet yielding. She melted into the sensation his kiss inflicted, the thrilling excitement and warmth flowing through her body. Her mind told her to resist though her body paid no attention to the warning. Instead, she responded to him. Gently he prodded her lips with his tongue to part. Slowly as if giving her time to get used to the idea, he slipped his tongue inside.
Within her a voice called to her to be sensible. He was dallying with her, no more, no less to prove his point. Yet, she ignored the voice choosing instead to surrender to the want within her and parted her lips fully to admit him. An intimacy flowed within her, so wonderful, awakening parts of her body she didn’t know were alive.
His arms tightened around her as pleasure cascaded through out her body. His kiss lingered. He didn’t stop with one. He kissed her again and again, astonishing her and evoking shivers that flowed down her body. A series of pleasurable sensations left her crying for more. He kissed her again, more aggressive, more demanding. Within her she had long lost any rational thought for he had her mesmerized.
She felt his hand move up and down her back. Her skin felt hot with his touch. His hand moved upward until it cupped her nape, caressing her. She could not believe what his meandering touch did to her. His lips descended down her chin to her neck. A cry escaped her when his lips found a sensitive spot which sent vibrations cascading through out her. Sensations she had never known yet desired. She had never been held in this way by anyone. Never had she felt so alive.
The next moment he held her head in his hands as if she was his captive. He ravished her mouth. Shock tensed through her. She could feel the need within him for her submit. Then as if reason took hold, he drew back. His eyes never left her widen eyes. He reached over and in a slow gentle motion caressed her face.
“Tell me now of this undying love you have for another,” he said demanding an answer from her.
Wordless, she sat still unable to move. His fingers played with her curls while she tried to compose herself. She grasped hold of his hand to stop his play.
“Don’t,” she said finding her voice. “Have you not humiliated me enough? Do you hate me so much that you seek revenge in this manner? How can you be so cruel?”
To her dismay tears welled. He immediately cupped her cheek, wiping an escape tear back.
“I seek no revenge upon you, Alyce. I wanted only for you to be honest with me. Tell me that you do not feel what is between us. In all I do apologize. For all is my fault. I succumbed to my impulse. For that I apologize, but that is all.”
Her eyes dried and her heart softened. A memory stirred within her, a familiarity...a time long ago. “Why do I feel as I know you, Lord…”
“Perhaps my brother. He was my twin. And my name is Julian, Alyce. Call me Julian. I need your help. In this know someone doesn’t want you reappearing. You will be in danger exposing yourself. You already are.”
“I want only to clear my father’s name, Lord…,” she stuttered. She couldn’t find it within her to call him Julian. Her face grimaced with the worry she held within her for he had a control of her she couldn’t explain. She should hate him. Beside all his words to the contrary, he was her sworn enemy.
When Charles had shown her the paper with the announcement of her father’s death, his words, the man beside her now, had declared within the article her father a coward for his actions and all his house. The venom of his words carried through the paper as if she had stood before him. It was the first time she comprehended the depth of hatred toward her father. She had lived with that knowledge for the last three years.
Charles teased her dreadfully about her behavior at the inn, but in the same breath declared Lord Casvelyn a scoundrel for his actions forgetting that the man had saved her life. She wondered if Lord Casvelyn had known who she was would he have done the same. And she had allowed him once more to put her off guard. He was without a doubt a scoundrel, but she was a ninny for allowing his behavior. Oh, what he must think of her. Unworldly, unsophisticated, easily manipulated. Quite simply a simpleton!
She shook her head, recoiling back from him. She needed to put space between herself and this man.
“I don’t know if our purposes are the same. I know only that my father was no traitor, Lord Casvelyn. You come to me like this…It is not acceptable. I will heed your warning.”
His mocking eyes watched her. She wished he wouldn’t look at her in that manner as if she had just done something scandalous. His gaze never left her. She pressed her hands against his chest when he moved toward her again. “Pray come near me again and I will scream.”
“And it will not help your cause. Simply put, my lady. I do not have to reason with you.”
“What, pray, could you want from me, Lord Casvelyn? For the life of me, I don’t understand your actions this day. Why have you come to disrupt my life worst than it already is?”
“I told you,” he said bluntly, sitting back. “I need your help.”
“I have nothing of value until I turn one and twenty. What do you want from me?”
His eyes glanced over her with a small smug smile emerging. “Have you not gathered what I desire from you, Alyce?”
Her heart fluttered. She had told him more with her actions than he would ever believe with her words. Her mind rapidly tried to take control of her emotions. Charles was right. Lord Casvelyn had been dallying with her which implied her thought her fast. The insinuation bothered her more than she cared to admit. Her reputation already tarnished beyond hope being her father’s daughter. She reprimanded herself greatly.
"And this you want is in my best interest, my Lord?”
“Better than what his Grace plans. You do not think that the Duke will ever allow his son to marry you. I don’t know why he is dangling this hope of a Season in front of you with hopes of marrying his son, but it will only lead to a scandal. Of that I can assure you. Which makes me wonder what he is trying to accomplish.”
Suddenly, her instincts turned to protecting Charles. What did Lord Casvelyn know? “I do not need to be told what Lord Tregilgas feels about me, but in all I know he loves his son. As do I. Make no mistake about how I feel about Charles. I will never do anything to harm him.”
She backed away from the man in front of her. She lowered her gaze, patting down her skirt. “It was unforgivable of me to allow you to touch me in that manner, but do not mistake my weakness as a sign I don’t care for Charles.”
She looked up to find him studying her.
“So you are not going in this blind. You know of what is planned for you. And it does not bother you?”
“It is none of your concern, but this I will tell you. I have no one in my life, Lord Casvelyn, except Charles. You ask if I know what I face. In that I’m not sure, except it is necessary. For what reason is none of your concern. And it is mine to own. Do you think it could be worse than what I have faced since I lost my father?”
She once more attempted to rise. He stood grabbing hold of her arm. “And you are mistaken that I wish you harm. Wait but a moment. Listen to me. Your words that stated that you wanted to prove your father innocence. Who have you told?”
She pushed against his grip, uttering ardently. “Three years ago anyone who would listen, but to no avail. I tried when I searched for Fennimore’s sister the last time I came to
. No one pays attention to the words of
a daughter of a branded traitor.” London
"I did,” Julian said. “And do you not think if your words hold true that I would not do anything in my power to find the one that did kill my brother? Do you not think I do not know that the medallion would not have been given to you if Roland didn’t want you protected? I want the truth, Alyce. Mark my word I will not rest until I uncover it no matter what it is.”
She stopped her resistance and stared upon him. The intensity of his words ebbed into her soul. Her eyes met his. She wanted so desperately to believe him. She whispered, “You want something from me.”
Gone was the mocking smile, the gleam in his eyes. He said simply. “I want you to help me uncover the truth.”