Forbidden Lord

Forbidden Lord by Helen Dickson Read Free Book Online

Book: Forbidden Lord by Helen Dickson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Helen Dickson
Eleanor involuntarily shivered. Why, she thought, she looks just like her father. Why had she not seen it before? Disturbed by her behaviour, Eleanor stared at her, unable to believe what Catherine was saying.
    â€˜Please don’t say such things,’ she flared, angry and indignant. It was most unlike Catherine, but then tonight some perversity had her in its grip. ‘You know full well how much I detest William Marston and why.’
    Stark emotion darkened Catherine’s eyes. How could she tell anyone how she had felt when William appeared—on her wedding day of all days—that the mere sight of him had stirred all the old feelings of want and need and desire for this man, the man she would have married, and how angry she was to find herself married to another not of her choosing. Cheated! That was how she now felt, cheated. Vicious rage welled up within her when she remembered the way he had looked at Eleanor, the interest and admiration that had kindled in his eyes. It was not to be borne.
    â€˜William is a man with a man’s appetites, Eleanor—some of them base. I did not like the way you claimed his attention. You were brazen, speaking out as you did. You made him notice you.’
    Eleanor raised her brows and bit back a sharp retort. She did not want to be at odds with Catherine over this. She would soon be gone from this dark house, and for now her only weapon against Catherine was her pride. But how she wished things could have been different between them. Somehow she forced a smile to her lips.
    â€˜Come, Catherine,’ she said gently, taking her hand andleading her to the toilette table, sitting her down and beginning to brush her hair, which always had a soothing effect on her. ‘We’ll speak no more of Lord Marston. He’s of no consequence.’
    â€˜How easy that is for you to say. Doing so is another matter entirely.’
    Closing her eyes, Catherine gave herself up to the soothing brush strokes. Strangely, when she considered the moment when she had first become aware of William’s presence, her gaze had been drawn to his servant. Over the top of her goblet her narrowed eyes had focused on the shaggy-haired giant. As if he had felt her eyes on him, he had met her gaze head-on. His look had been bold, rude, without the respect she was entitled to as Frederick Atwood’s daughter and Henry Wheeler’s wife. But there had also been admiration in his insolent stare and she enjoyed being able to wield that kind of power over a man—any man, including that uncouth, unkempt giant.
    â€˜You are Lady Wheeler,’ Eleanor said softly, ‘married to one of the wealthiest merchants in London. He is a good man who will make you a good husband, and you must try and take pride in that, for you cannot go back to being Catherine Atwood. The day when you would have married William Marston is gone. Put him from your mind, Catherine, otherwise it will eat away at you and you will become embittered. This is your wedding night and your husband is impatient for your ladies to put you to bed and be gone.’
    â€˜Yes, yes, you’re right—and thank goodness Henry agreed to forgo the bedding ritual and I don’t have to suffer the indignity of having an audience to watch us consummate our marriage. But wherever William has been these past three years, whatever his desires, it was wrong of him to treat me so abominably.’
    This was the first time Eleanor had heard Catherine utter angry, reproachful words against William Marston. Catherine had hoped for loyalty and some degree of affection from him,but she had received neither. The man truly was a monster, and she had willingly placed herself in his hands for the time it would take them to reach Hollymead.
    Â 
    Eleanor could not control the apprehension in her heart, or her sense of dark foreboding, when, just before dawn when the house still slept, with her heart racing, carrying her bag and her

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