Love Me True

Love Me True by Heather Boyd Read Free Book Online

Book: Love Me True by Heather Boyd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heather Boyd
you wish, Miss Gainsford, but should you change your mind please come to the Hall.”
    “I’ll not need to,” Miss Gainsford insisted.
    Seeing that he had come on a fool’s errand, Justin took his leave, collected his horse and turned for Staplehurst Hall. His path today mirrored yesterday’s trip after the wedding, but his mood now was even grimmer. How could he survive a marriage to Clarry when she had no love for him?
    The lust he’d roused in her this morning and last night would fade, as all lust surely did until he was the only one clinging to the memory of what might have been. He shook his head to clear his maudlin thoughts. When they were married, he’d return to his work, his second love of writing, and devote himself wholeheartedly to making peace with his soul.
    As he left his horse with a groom, he wondered what Clarry would say about losing her companion. He hadn’t known they were particularly close until this morning when she had seemed genuinely concerned for Miss Gainsford’s wellbeing. Yet, Miss Gainsford had no wish to be reunited with her charge. Interesting. But not enough to lift the dark cloud hovering over his head.
    Justin strode through the Hall and ignored that the staff quickly looked elsewhere. They would already have combined the events of last night, with the evidence found in his bedchamber this morning. They would know he’d been caught fair and square for seducing a virgin. The smear of blood upon his sheets was damning proof of his guilt.
    Justin stopped. Christ, how could he have bedded a woman and not realized her true innocence. He’d thought the hesitation was part of Lucy’s game, but the truth was he’d taken something more important. The night should have been a profoundly moving experience for Claribel.
    Justin crossed to a window and stared out at the perfectly clipped grounds. She must think him a beast, a brute that forced himself upon her. Justin banged his forehead against the wood frame. Idiot. And then to compound the problem he’d taken her so swiftly on the sofa in a guest room. She had every right to hate him.
    He should have noticed the difference last night. He should have recognized Clarry in the dark. Bothered that he hadn’t, he reluctantly continued on. He would check on her and if she was awake he would apologize and promise to stay away. It was the least he could do. His bedchamber was free of servants when he entered and he poured himself a large brandy.
    As the glass reached his lips, voices drifted to him from the adjoining sitting room. Puzzled, he crept to the doorway and listened.
      “Now turn around and do that again.”
    The Duchess. Justin set his hand to the door knob and turned it slowly. The door opened with nary a sound and he pressed his eye to the crack. Inside, he found his mother and aunt and a very tired looking Clarry, walking up and down the sitting room carpet. What the hell were they up to?
    He opened the door wider. As far as he could tell at first glance, there was nothing different about Clarry. But then he noticed how high her breasts rose in her gown and the tiny breaths she took. Justin had a good memory of her endowments but she usually did not flaunt them like that. He stepped through the doorway and cleared his throat to get their attention, surprising everyone including himself.
    “Justin, my dear, you shouldn’t be here,” his mother protested.
    Justin scowled. “Neither should you. I left instructions that Clarry was not to be disturbed for any reason until she called for the servants. Since she appears as fatigued as when I left, I can only conclude someone disobeyed me.”
    “Well,” the duchess huffed indignantly. “I do my best to help and this is the thanks I get.” The duchess gathered her things and stormed out. His aunt’s shoulders drooped in relief and she cast an apologetic glance at Clarry then followed her sister.
    Justin locked the door after them and turned to face his future wife. “Did

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