Surrendering Chapters 23 to 30, The End


Chapter 23

Devon saw Sarah sitting on the bench where he had first saw her two weeks ago. His heart was racing and he felt dizzy again. Devon gave his head a quick shake then walked over to the back of the bench. He crouched down behind her, off to her side. He was unsure of how to start the conversation. What am I to say to her? Sorry I can’t love you, but I still want to kiss you.
Devon finally said, “I remember this bench.”

Sarah had not noticed him at first. She did not say anything.

It does not look like rain this day.” He let out a nervous chuckle.“We did not find you at Lady Wilcox’s house. Everyone is worried about you.”

Well you can see I am perfectly fine,” Sarah said.

I would like to escort you home.” Devon said and then cleared his throat.

What do you want Devon?” Sarah asked harshly.

Her voice sounded cold and distant. He had never heard her sound that way before. “Well, I…I came to find you.”

I do not need to be found. I do not need to be rescued. I need to be left alone. Go away please. I do not care to see you.” She had not looked at him. Sarah just stared straight ahead with a lifeless expression on her face. A lock of her hair had come lose and was wrapping around her cheek and down across her lips.

Devon watched it blow and caress her skin. He reached up pulling it back and tucked it behind her ear. He watched his own hand as it brushed against her cheek softly. Devon looked down and saw her hands were trembling folded together in her lap.

Sarah,”he said in an odd voice he did not recognize. “I want you to know how much you mean to me. I promised your father I would take care of you and I cannot do that if we are involved with each other. It is not right.”

She jumped up and finally turned to him. “All of this was about you making a promise to my father why did you not tell me?”

Devon stood up. “I did not see the need to tell you.”

You led me to think you wanted me to stay at your home for other reasons and you know that. You made me look like a fool.”

No I did not. No one thinks that of you,” Devon said.

You could have just told me and I would have understood what your true intentions towards me. Not only did you lie to me, I then find you kissing my best friend.”

Sarah I would never do that to you. I brought her to see you and that is the only reason.” Devon’s voice was low.

Yes well I saw her alright, in your arms. Thank you, you are quite thoughtful.” Sarah then turned and ran towards her horse.

Devon went after her. “Sarah stop please listen,” He shouted to her.

Sarah threw herself up on top of Runner and went to leave and Devon grabbed the harness around Runners face.

Let go of him Devon,” Sarah yelled at him.

No! Not until you listen to me,” He yelled back at her.

Sarah jumped down from Runner and got up on Rear, Devon’s horse. She took off. Devon climbed Runner and began to chase her. Devon knew she was fast and he was most likely not going to be able to catch up to her, but he was doing it anyway.

Grams and Brook sat on the window seat in front of the large picture window. Richards brought them some snacks. He could see Darleen was worried and he bent down and kissed her forehead. He whispered something in her ear that made her smile.

Brook watched the older couple and was surprised. She then heard Grams tell him she loved him. This whole family was confusing to her. Landon and Grams flirt with one another, Richards kisses Grams and she tells him she loves him, Devon cannot bring himself to tell Sarah he loves her, and Sarah runs off. The whole situation was like something out of a romance novel.

Grams stood up and said, “Look, is that Sarah?” She was pointing to the road at the end of the drive.

I believe that is and there goes Devon chasing after her,” Landon said and then chuckled. “Well I guess he found her.”

Everyone stood and moved to the picture window watching Sarah as she went off the main road and jumped over the fence on the property. Devon followed her. Sarah rode to the far end of the fenced area and everyone inside the house pressed their faces up to the glass to see where she was going to go next. Sarah turned around and jumped over the other fence framing in the riding area. Devon was still following her. She rode back along the trail and around to the back of the stables. They watched Devon disappear behind the building after her. With everyone’s eyes fixed on the side of the building where Sarah should have reappeared. Shocking to everyone, Sarah came out through the big double doors at the front of the stables. Sarah had ridden right through the middle of the building.

Grams let out a gasp and Landon chuckled.

Sarah rode back up the path near the house. Devon was close behind her. Everyone could see they were yelling things to one another but no one could hear what they had said.

Grams nudged Brook and told her to crack the window open so she could hear what they were saying to one another. “This is far too good not to listen to my dear.”

Landon felt then need to start narrating their every move. “Sarah is riding looking like she knows what she is doing and possibly where she is going. Although unlikely. Devon is following close behind her screaming things repeatedly at her. Good God Sarah has suddenly changed direction and is now running straight for Devon. The woman is truly mad. Devon has now turned around and I have to say he looks scared.”

Landon gazed to Brook. “You would say that is fear on his face right?”

Brook gave him an odd glare as if he were an idiot.

Sarah is now chasing him past the window and there they go, unbelievable. She is holding her shoe in her hand! They have disappeared.”

A moment later, they rode back in front of the window. “Devon is now chasing her again. She must have thrown the shoe at him because I do not see it in her hand any longer. She has stopped and is racing towards him again. Devon is holding his line this time.”

Landon then looked at Grams, whose eyes were peeled on Devon and Sarah racing towards one another at a great speed. He said, “You may want to call for a doctor now rather than waiting.”

He then turned back to the event outside the window. “She is sporting a wild look in her eyes. All we can see of Devon is the back of his head. I believe Sarah intends to do him harm from the way she is racing towards him. Sarah is drawing closer and she is very angry. I wonder what Devon has said to her because she looks just out of her mind with fury.”

Oh!”Brook exclaimed.

Well it appears Devon’s horse has stopped and threw him over it's head. Oh! Oh, it’s OK he is back up and getting back on the horse. Sarah is headed in our direction and I’m wondering if she plans to come through the windows.”

Everyone stepped back as Sarah haulted in front of the large picture window and turned to face Devon. She reared the horse up.

That is…sexy,” Landon said aloud.

All of them turned their heads towards him and glared at him, as he was standing off to everyone’s left.

I did not mean for everyone to hear that.” Landon then cleared his throat.

Do not follow me any longer you liar,” Sarah shouted.

Rear was becoming spooked. “It appears Sarah’s horse is becoming scared as he is thrashing up and jumping around. I do not see this ending well,” Landon said.

Brook shouted through the window, “Sarah be careful!”

Sarah was trying to calm him but he was too worked up. Sarah suddenly went flying off the side of him and landed in the bushes in front of the window. Everyone pressed their foreheads to the glass trying to get a glimpse of Sarah in the bushes below them, under the window.

Landon opened the window all the way and peered down into the bushes at her.“He is coming Sarah,” he warned her.

Sarah stuck her arm up and Landon took a hold of it pulling her to her feet. Sarah took a hold of Landon’s face and kissed him hard.

Devon yelled, “Sarah don't you do it.”

She looked back at Devon and shouted, “How do you feel about that?”Sarah turned and said to Landon as he was still leaning out the window, “Sorry and thanks.”She then jumped out of the bushes and ran for the stables.

Devon could not believe she had done that. He was furious with her. Devon ran past the window at top speed on his horse and straight into the stables.

Everyone in the house scrambled through the doorway and out the front door, gathering on the front steps.

Shall we go after them?” Brook asked.

I do not think that would be a wise idea. They have horse shoes and tools in there,” Landon said.

Richards said, “He has her.”

Devon came walking out of the stables with Sarah over his shoulder. She was screaming at him. Everyone watched as he walked closer to them with her kicking and hitting him as if she were a wild woman.

All of them parted like the red sea to let him through. After Devon walked through the front door, everyone tried to move inside to the house at the same time and got wedged in the doorway. After squeezing through all of them began following him down the hallway.

Devon stopped and turned around. He then walked over to everyone and took Brook’s hand in his. He turned without a word and began to walk down the hallway. Brook stopped and did not want to move.

Devon turned to her and said, “I do have another shoulder you know.”

Brook’s eyes grew wide. She knew he meant it. She allowed him to walk her towards his study.

Sarah continued to yell at him. She was crazy and out of her mind. “Oh I suppose you wish to have both of us at once.”

Grams gasped and Landon started laughing hard. Devon dragged the two women into the room and slammed the door behind him shut.

Landon, Grams, and Richards moved towards the door. Before they had reached it, the door opened and Brook was placed outside it by Devon’s hands. They froze in place watching and then he slammed the door shut again.

Brook stood still and looked at everyone as they moved to her as a small group in unison.

What was said?” Grams asked.

Brook shook her head. “He had asked me to tell Sarah that he had not kissed me then he shoved me out the door after I told her.”

They could hear them yelling at one another behind the door. The doorknob began to jiggle, everyone quickly stepped back, and then it stopped. All of them drew closer again placing their ears to the door.

Is there a window in Devon’s study?” Landon asked.

No there is not, why?” Richards answered.

I need a visual,” Landon said.

Once again, they all turned towards him, looking at him like he was a moron of some kind.

What, I am a visual person,” Landon told them. While shrugging his shoulders up.

Inside the study, Sarah was standing in front of the door with her hands on her hips. “Let me out of this room Devon.”

Devon was leaning into her with his hand against the door above her head.“No not until you start to listen to me. You need to calm down.”

On the other side of the door, Richards and Landon both looked to one another and made a similar sound of “Mmm.” All the while shaking their heads at Devon's mistake of being foolish enough to tell an irate woman to calm down.

Grams and Brook looked to the two men with a womanly glare, as if to say what does that mean.

I need to do no such thing. You need to go to hell!” Then Sarah slapped him hard across the face. She immediately drew both her hands up to her mouth. She had not expected to do that.

Devon turned to face her. “Do you feel better now?”

Sarah shook her head no and the tears began to fall, one after another. She turned her back to him and faced the door. “I am sorry. I did not know I was going to do that.”

Devon put his hand on her back and he felt her shutter from his touch. With his other hand, he punched the door and said, “Bloody hell Sarah. It was not supposed to be this way between us.”

Everyone on the other side of the door shouted from the pain to their ears as his hand slammed into the door with force.

I want to leave now Devon. Please let me out of this room,” Sarah said softly to him.

I can’t let you leave Sarah. Not until you let me explain myself to you.”

Nothing you say will change the way I feel about you.”

Sarah please just hear me out.” Devon’s tone was softer. “I do not want you to be angry with me anymore Sarah.

She turned around to face him and said, “You hurt me Dev. I love you.”

Devon did not look away from her, but he did take a couple of steps back.

Say something Dev.” Sarah gazed at him with pleading in her eyes.

I did not mean for this to happen. I am sorry Sarah.”

That’s it. That is all you have to say to me. I do not believe you do not love me Devon. Say it. Tell me you don’t. I want to hear it from your own lips.”

Devon turned from her and felt his body begin to shake. He shook his head no. Devon turned around and opened the door. Grams, Landon, Richards and Brook jumped back.

Move!”he shouted.

Dev please don’t go,” Sarah pleaded to him.

He turned to her and said, “You deserve better than I can give you Sarah.” Devon then walked away and left to his room.

Sarah come on dear” Grams took her arm and walked her to the drawing room.

Landon poured everyone a drink. Richards started a fire. Brook Grams and Sarah sat on the sofa. Sarah sat in between the two women. Each one of the held one of her hands.

I am sorry for thinking you were kissing Devon, Brook.”

If I had walked in and saw the same thing, I might have drawn the same conclusion myself. I cannot get over the fact he fainted twice.”

Fainted, Devon?” Sarah was shocked.

He fell to the floor right after you left the room and then last night.”

Sarah turned to Grams and said, “Have you called for a doctor yet? What is wrong with him?” Sarah felt panic whelming up inside her.

Grams patted her hand. “Oh my dear he is just fine. He just needs to sort a few things out and he will feel much better.”

Landon handed Grams and Sarah their drinks. He walked back to the bar and then returned giving Brook her drink. As she grazed her fingers over his he felt a surge run through his body that stunned him. Landon was staring at her.

Brook smiled up at him. “Thank you.” She said softly, and then turned back to Sarah. She had felt a rush of butterflies in her stomach as her hand had touched Landon’s hand.

Landon did not smile nor did he say anything to Brook, he just starred at her. What had happened just now? That did not feel right, the way her fingers felt on mine. It had to have been a static shock of some kind.

Were you able to find anything more out about the ball, Landon?” Grams asked him. “Landon,” she shouted.

Landon had still been starring at Brook unknowingly. “I am sorry. What did you say?” Landon looked to Grams.

The ball, my handsome love, did you find out who was to be attending that may be new this year?” Grams asked him.

No, I have not found the time to do that. The only ones I can think of might be the Reed twins, of Sir Cole and Betty Reed.”

Oh those two girls are awful gossip spreaders, as is their mother Betty. Quite popular with the ton but, not very nice people.”

The twins are handsome, which is odd because their parents are not,”Landon said.

Mr. Reed comes into the library sometimes.” Brook said and then turned to Sarah. “Do you remember him? He looks somewhat like a troll, short and round with a large nose and beady little black eyes.”

Sarah started to smile and said, “I do. He always stands with his hand tucked into the back of his pants.” Brook and Sarah began to giggle.

Oh dear lord, that is sickening.” Grams shouted with shock and disgust.

Mrs. Reed is not much better,” Landon said. “She is nearly as tall as I am and her voice is deep and sounds like a mans.”

Brook said, “I have never seen Mrs. Reed. I have only had the unfortunate pleasure of Mr. Reed’s acquaintance.”

Yes and I am recalling correctly Brook, he quite fancies you.” Sarah turned her gaze back and forth between Grams and Landon and said,“Mr. Reed will search the library high and low to ask Brook questions about old books, atlases, old items we hold in archives. Brook is somewhat of an expert in those areas.” Sarah turned to Brook and smiled at her with pride.

Oh no I would not say that Sarah. I am merely interested in those subjects.” Brook was growing embarrass by Sarah’s praising of her.

Perhaps you are familiar with Landon’s books Brook?” Grams said.

What books would that be?” Brook asked her curiously.

Landon interjected, “The books are not books Grams, they are atlases and I do have a few at the library.”

Landon Fields?” Brook looked to him as she said it.

He smiled at her. “The very one.” He then gave her a little bow from his chair across from her.

Your atlases are the most beautiful atlases I have ever laid my eyes on. Every one of them is so colorful and detailed, like an exquisite painting.” Brook was beside herself with excitement.

Landon smiled wide. “Thank you Brook. You are very kind to say that.”

Do you have others or are those the only three you have made?” Brook asked.

I do have more. Perhaps I can bring them by the library for you to add to the collection.”

Oh, that would be wonderful. I shall love to see all of them. I cannot believe you are theLandon Fields.”

Sarah and Grams looked at one another as Sarah smiled at her. Grams gave her a quick wink back and they began to giggle.

Brook you will be attending the ball tomorrow night will you not?” Grams asked her.

Brook turned to Grams and Sarah and said, “No.”

Well you must my dear. We will have so much fun dancing and talking. They always have the most delicious spread of food you have ever seen and tasted,” Grams said.

Yes Brook you can be our guest.” Sarah said and took Brook’s hand in hers.

I do not attend balls,” Brook said.

Sarah had remembered Brook was a blacksmiths daughter and had never attended a ball before. Given her ranking and class, she would not have ever been invited to one before because of that fact. “I have not been to a ball before and would like you to come with me Brook,”Sarah said to her.

People will know I do not belong at the ball Sarah.” Brook felt embarrass.“I do not own a dress for that kind of occasion.”

Grams has just purchased many dresses for me in all sorts of colors. You can wear one of those.” Sarah said with excitement.

You two look to be about the same size and I will have my tailor come out in the morning to do some adjustments. You have to say yes my dear. We will not let you say no.” Grams said.

Alright then.” Brook said and was unsure of her decision on the matter. Although it was apparent, she was not given a choice.

Landon smiled to himself.


Chapter 24

Landon saw Devon pass by the door to the drawing room he was in. He was left sitting alone as the women had gone upstairs to have Brook try on dresses for the ball tomorrow night.

Landon got up and went to the study after Devon. He knocked on the half open door.

Devon did not look up. “Come in.”

I would like to talk with you for a moment.” Landon said as he entered the room.

Devon gestured to the drink he was pouring. Landon gave a nod to Devon’s offer. Landon took a seat in the club chair by the sofa. Devon handed him his drink and sat in the other club chair across for him.

I went to Mcmay’s estate last night.” Landon pulled out some documents from his inside coat pocket. “I dug up the area that Sarah had described to us. Inside a box was this, left to her by her father with a letter to you as well.” Landon handed the documents to Devon.

Devon took the document and opened it. He studied it carefully and then looked to Landon. “Have you told Sarah of this?”

I was going to leave that up to you. I figured you would want to authenticate it first.” Landon answered him.

That is exactly what I need to do first. I will leave first thing in the morning to have that done,” Devon said.

What of Mcmay? Will you notify the authorities?” Landon asked.

I will make sure he never gets out of jail for this. He will pay for what he has done to Sarah and to Benjamin,” Devon said with anger in his voice.

If Benjamin had known his brother was going to try to kill him, why had he not said as much?” Landon asked.

I do not know. I wish he had said something though, I could have stopped it.”

You cannot possible blame yourself for this Devon. How were you to know?”Landon leaned forward and said, “She will be safe now and will never have to worry about where her income is coming from again.”

I knew the will Mcmay had was a phony. Benjamin would have never done that to Sarah,” Devon said as he starred at the glass in his hand.

Well, we can be grateful Benjamin was clever enough to make sure he put an original where Mcmay was not able to find it,” Landon said.

Yes well, this may be the only original. I went in search for Benjamin’s lawyer who was handling the trust and he had an accident causing his death and he was killed.” Devon looked to Landon. “If Mcmay becomes aware we are on to him, I fear he will stop at nothing to hide his secret. If that happens we are all in danger.” Devon said.

We shall tell no one of this until we have secured its authenticity and notified the authorities first.” Landon said.

We must tell Richards. I cannot leave him in the dark on this. He will help us look after the women.” Devon said and then sipped his brandy.

What about Brook? Shall we send her back home?” Landon asked.

No, if Mcmay is watching the house and our movements, I then believe she is no longer safe as well. The women will also grow suspicious if we send her home don’t you think.” Devon said.

Landon stood up, “I will go find Richards.”

Devon nodded at Landon. After Landon left the room, Devon reread the letter Benjamin had written to him. In the letter, Eli was listed as a contact for Devon to trust. Which upon reading the document, before the letter, Devon had planned to go to see Eli about the will.

Benjamin also stated in the letter that there was no one else he would trust more than Devon with Sarah’s life and happiness.

Happiness. Why would Benjamin write of her happiness in reference to me?” He wondered to himself. He remembered Sarah’s words, “I love you.”Devon was felt his heart begin to race again. She had said it and he had panicked. He could not love her, it just wasn’t right. Not to her and not to Benjamin. He didn’t deserve her. She deserved someone to love her without limitations on that love. Someone who was willing to surrender himself completely to her and not just part of himself. She deserved more than he could give her.

Richards and Landon entered the room. Landon poured Richards a drink while Devon began to fill him in on the new discoveries Landon have revealed.

Mean while upstairs in one of the spare rooms, the ladies were going through the seven dresses Brook had to choose from.

Brook could not believe how beautiful they were. One more stunning than the next.

Grams has bought accessories to match every dress. Which one shall you try on first Brook?” Sarah said.

I like the blue dress dear.” Grams shouted with a mini muffin in her mouth.

Brook looked to Grams and said, “I was draw to that one as well. May I try it on?”

Whichever you choose it is yours to keep my dear, take two or three if you like. We can always buy more!” Grams began to laugh. “I have nothing better to spend my money on, my dears.”

Brook looked to Sarah and Sarah smiled at her. Brook could not believe this woman’s kindness. Sarah leaned into Brook and said, “She means it with her heart Brook. Go on, try it on.”

While Brook went behind the screen and put the soft pale blue dress on, Sarah gathered some accessories to match it. Grams had picked out the jewelry; after all, it was her specialty.

Sarah went behind the screen to button the dress for Brook. She slipped the shoes on her feet and walked out from behind the screen.

Grams gasped. “My dear, you are stunning in that dress. The red color of your hair and your blue-gray eyes. Oh, I am positively envious!”

Brook’s smile was a shy one.

The jewelry my dear Sarah.” Grams directed.

Oh yes. You must have the jewelry on before you look at yourself in the mirror.” Sarah put the necklace and bracelet on her. “Now close your eyes Brook,” Sarah said softly. She positioned Brook in front of the mirror. “Ok you may open them now.”
Brook slowly opened her eyes. She did not recognize the person standing in the mirror. Brook brought her hand to her mouth in disbelief.

Grams grabbed Sarah’s hand and began to giggling with excitement for Brook.

Sarah laughed. “Yes Brook that is you in the mirror. I think you should not try on another dress. That one could not be any more perfect on you. How lucky are you to have found the right one on the first try. I tried on at least fourteen the other day, did I not Grams?”

Maybe more my dear. Do you like the dress Brook my love?” Grams asked her.

I do. This is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen.” Brook said.

I think it is a perfect fit as well.” Sarah said.

I agree Sarah. You two girls are the same size to are benefit. I will have the maid press it and get it ready with ours tomorrow and then I am off to bed.”

It is still early is it not?” Sarah asked.

It is late enough for me my dear. You made it quite an eventful day for us Sarah.” Grams said with a giggle.

Sarah could feel her cheeks grow warm.

I could not believe you kissed Landon Sarah.” Brook said as she turned to her and giggled herself with her hands to her mouth.

I did do that didn’t I? I had forgotten about that.” Sarah buried her face in her hands as she was smiling.

It was the highlight of my day, I tell you that my dear. Oh the look on Devon’s face when you kissed Landon was priceless," Grams said.

Was he surprised?” Sarah asked both of them.

Grams answered, “Shocked, surprised, jealous, and angry, my dear you name it and he was just that.”

Well he did not say anything of it to me later. I did it to make him jealous. I do not think it worked.”

Sarah, the man chased you down a road, through every inch of this property, and into the stable and then threw you over his shoulder, only after being thrown from a horse to catch you. Everyone can clearly see he loves you,” Brook said from behind the screen.

She is right Sarah, do not worry my dear he loves you that I am sure of. He just needs some time to come to terms with his feelings. I recall him as a little boy, after his father had passed away; he told me he was never going to love a woman. He claimed he did not want his heart to break as mine did. Devon said if he never allowed himself to fall in love then he would not have to worry about it. Then the foolish boy told me he loved me and walked away. I had never taken what he had said that day to heart but now I believe I should have corrected him on the matter. He was only eleven at the time and I did not take him seriously.”

Sarah and Brook were not quite sure what to say. They both hugged Grams.

I am so very glad to have you both here my dears. I hate being around these men all the time.” They all let out a giggle.

We are happy to be here with you Grams.” Sarah said.

Brook I am aware of the offer Devon has given to your father and I insist for you to remain in the house with me.” Grams said to her.

Devon has offered for us to purchase the cottage on the north side of the estate.” Brook said to Grams.

It is too far from anyone and you would be spending a lot of time alone as your father will be traveling often on estate matters with Devon. I have to insist on this my child.” Grams said.

You have to be the kindest woman I have ever met. I will stay with you when my father will be traveling, other than that I feel I will become a burden on you.”

Well I will agree to that only because I know your father will be gone two to three weeks of the month. As for you becoming a burden on me, that is nonsense my dear. I will listen to no more talk of its kind, understood.”

Yes madam.” Brook said.

Please call me Grams, Brook.”

Yes Grams,” Brook said as she smiled at Sarah.

Grams had retired to bed and the two women made their way downstairs to the drawing room for a drink.

Sarah started laughing. “I am so very excited about the ball.” Sarah smiled at Brook while they stepped off the last step on the stairs.“Will you dance with Landon if he asks you, which I am sure he most definitely will?”

I have not danced in ages Sarah and besides you do not know he will ask me.” Brook said as they entered the drawing room.

I saw the way he was gazingat you Brook. When you had taken the glass from his hand it looked as though he was going to grab you and kiss you right there, on the spot.”

Sarah stop.” Brook waved her hand at Sarah. “You know no such thing. I cannot believe the way he speaks to Grams and her back at him,” Brook said.

It is funny, is it not?” Sarah said as she chuckled at the thought of it. “I am serious Brook; I do believe Landon fancies you.”

Brook went behind the bar and asked Sarah what she would like.

Wine please.” Sarah answered.

I do not see any wine Sarah.” Brook told her.

Perhaps there is a bottle in the study. I shall go and fetch it.” Sarah said.

Sarah made her way to the study and entered the room. Landon and Devon were still talking. Landon was facing the door and saw Sarah come in the room. Sarah stopped right inside the doorway.

Hello Sarah.” Landon said with a large smile.

Hello Landon. I was wondering if Devon might have a bottle of wine behind the bar.” Sarah had not seen Devon in the large chair facing Landon.

Well I am not sure. Devon do you have a bottle of wine for Sarah with the sweet lips?” Landon smiled at Devon teasing him about Sarah kissing him earlier.

Devon narrowed his eyes at Landon and then stood up. “I think I do. I will check for you.”

Sarah stood perfectly still and moved her gaze to the wall off to her left.

Are you drinking alone?” Landon asked her. He received no response from her. “Sarah, are you drinking alone?” He repeated himself louder this time.

I’m sorry?” Sarah said. She was thinking of Devon and was not paying attention.

Are you having a drink by yourself?” Landon said it very slow and drawn out this time.

No. Why are you talking that way?” Sarah asked him.

Because I did not think you understood the question the first two times I had asked you.”

I did not hear you, I am sorry Landon.”

Devon approached Sarah with a bottle of wine. She held out her hands to take it from him, but he did not offer it to her. Sarah was trying to not to have to look at him and now she was forced too.

I can take it, thank you.” Sarah said.

Her gaze meant his and his breath caught in his chest. He drew his gaze down to the bottle in his hands.“This is a new brand of wine I had picked up for you.” He stopped and cleared his throat. “It is difficult to open. I will open it for you. The opener is in the drawing room where I left it last night.”

Great I will go with and we will make a party of it. We shall call it a pre ball party.” Landon rose from his chair with enthusiasm.

Sarah looked at Landon. “Were you eating sweets with Grams Landon? You seem awfully chipper.” Sarah asked.

Devon smiled at that.

She was hand feeding me. I cannot say no to the woman.” Landon batted his lashes at Sarah.

Sarah started to laugh. “Alright, you may join Brook and me only if you promise to behave Landon.” Sarah said teasing him.

Landon walked up to Sarah and held out his arm to her. “My Lady.”

Sarah smiled and took his arm. They started to walk slowly down the hallway with Devon behind them.

Landon said to Sarah, “Now about that kiss.”

Sarah laughed and threw her head back. “Landon I do apologize.”

Apology not accepted there is no need for one, my sweet lips. I do want to bring up the matter of your approach to your partner though.”

Oh was it that bad?” Sarah was laughing hard at him teasing her.

Well, let’s say it could use some work.” Landon looked to her as they walked.

I am sorry I have not had much practice in this area. Quite possible it is one of those things that you either have it or you do not.”Sarah said.

Devon rolled his eyes at them.

Oh you most definitely have it; you just need some coaching is all.”Landon paused then said, “Perhaps you have not had the right teacher.” He was hoping Devon was stewing with anger in hearing the conversation.

Sarah stopped walking. Looked to Landon and said, “Do you think? Well, what do you suppose I shall do about it” Sarah’s voice sounded luring and flirtatious.

Devon did not like that at all. What did they think they were doing, trying to make me jealous? Where had she learned to talk like that anyway? She needs to stop swaying her hips that way. Devon could not stand it any longer.

Landon.” Devon stated.

Yes Devon.” Landon did not peel his eyes from Sarah.

If you value your left arm, I would remove it from where it currently is situated.” Devon’s voice was low.

I do value it my friend.” Landon turned the corner with Sarah still on his arm and said, “Brook we have brought the pre ball party to you.”

What?”Brook said. “I have never heard of such a thing before.”

It was Landon’s idea.” Sarah said.

Devon went to the bar and began to open the wine. He watched the three of them laugh and joke with one another. Devon had decided if Landon and Sarah wanted to tease him, then he will do the same.

He walked over and sat across and off to the side from Brook. He slowly reached over Brook to hand Sarah her wine. He turned and was but a few inches away from Brook’s lips. “Do accept my apologies Brook.” He then gave her a devilish smile.

Brook shook her head and said, “That is alright Devon.”

Will you be coming with us to the ball tomorrow night?” Devon asked her.

Yes and I have never been to a ball before. I am very excited to go.”Brook said and turned to smile at Sarah.

You will have to promise to reserve a dance with Landon and me.”

I am not sure I will be dancing.” Brook said with a wiry smile.

She is out of practice is all?” Sarah said. Sarah looked to Landon and said, “Would you be willing to help her brush up on her skills, as you had done with me?”

It would be my pleasure.” Landon said.

He stood up and offered his hand out to Brook. She took it and Landon led her to the middle of the room.

What dances do you know?” he asked her softly.

I am not most of them I believe, it has been a long time.”Brook said as she looked into his eyes.

Landon felt the earth move slightly. “Did you feel that just now?”

Feel what?” Brook asked him.

Nothing I thought, well it was nothing.” He smiled at her and said, “Shall we begin?”

Brook gazed into his eyes and followed his lead perfectly. She did not miss a step. As he watched her move with him and against his body, Landon was growing warm under the collar. Her red hair framed her soft pale gray-blue eyes. Her eyelashes were so long and dark. Landon realized she was arousing him. The way she was moving, the way she was smiling at him, even the way her hand felt in his was exciting him immensely. It was making it difficult to move comfortably.

What is wrong Landon?” Brook asked him.

Nothing at all, why do you ask?”

You have started to move differently.”

Have I, I did not think I was,” Landon said.

Would you like to stop and sit down?” Brook asked him. “If you are tired I will understand.”

Tired, how old do you believe me to be?” Landon was surprised.

Honestly, thirty six or seven. Alright forty at the most.” Brook began to laugh.

Landon stopped and said, “What? I am only twenty nine.”

Well I was close.” Brook started to laugh again. “You move like you are forty anyway.” She added.

I am not tired or old.” Landon said and then took her hand again, as he placed his about her waist.

Well then what are you Landon?” Brook was still slightly giggling.

Landon gave her a wicked smile and pulled her against his hard long arousal.“I am that.”

Oh my, is that supposed to impress me or scare me?” Brook asked and then smiled at him innocently.

I see it will obviously do neither to you Brook. So I take it I may assume you have been with a man before?” Landon asked, hoping her answer was yes.

A Lady never discusses such things with a gentleman. I have men accidentally rub against me often. They rub against my breasts and my bottom as well. Apparently most men like to rub themselves on any woman who they stand next to.” Brook tilted her head and smiled. “And apparently, you are one of those men, Landon.”

Landon did not know what to say. He felt no better than the men she described to him. It did not shock him though she is very beautiful.

Landon suddenly dipped her. “I will not allow it to happen again. Later this evening I shall have a good taking to my lower half about behaving in your presence beautiful Brook.”

As he still held her in the dip, she laughed. He pulled her back up and close to him and said, “For now I can do nothing to control it other than throw myself in a frigid lake.”

Does not Devon have one on the property you could jump into?” Brook said as she teased him.

I can find one, will you join me?” Landon dipped her again with force.

Brook let out a slight yelp. The way he was holding her, caused her to straddle his thigh. “I-I do not like cold water,” She whispered. Her big eyes grew bigger as he pressed his thigh more firmly between her legs. She took in a deep breath as she licked her lips.

Landon pulled her close to him and whispered in her ear, “I promise to warm you back up after our swim Brook.” His voice was low.

Brook squeezed at his shoulders. He lifted her back up and walked away to his chair. Brook took a moment to gain her balance. Is he serious or is he merely playing with me as he does with Grams? Alright take a deep breath and compose your self Brook O'Brien. Don't give him another glance. Just focus on Sarah and walk towards the sofa. Brook started to move and felt her knees wobble slightly. She paused briefly then joined Sarah on the sofa.

Sarah quickly drank her second glass of wine. She got up and went to the bar. As she began to pour the third glass, Devon came up next to her. Sarah ignored him and did not say anything to him.

Have you eaten anything today?” He asked her.

No, why does that matter to you?” Sarah said.

I do not think you should have anymore. It will go straight to your head Sarah.” Devon told her. His gaze did not move from her.

Well it is not your head to worry about is it? I will be fine. You no longer need to concern yourself with me Dev."

Devon could tell the drink already had her. “Sarah will you take a walk with me?”

She looked at him with surprise. “Why?”

I need to tell you something in private.” Devon said softly.

Sarah downed her third glass and poured her forth glass. “Where would you like to walk to?”

Just around the grounds for a bit.” He wanted to get her some fresh air.“Landon, I am taking Sarah on a walk. We shall be back in a short while.”

Devon took Sarah’s hand and Sarah took the bottle off the bar with her. She had already finished the forth glass. As they walked out the front door, Sarah tripped over Devon. He caught her and steadied her.

Oh I am sorry. I do not know what I tripped on.” Sarah said and then laughed.

Devon smiled. "I believe it was your own feet." Sarah giggled loudly.

They walked down to the path into the forest. Both of them remained quiet for some time.

Sarah finally said, “I can see the field.” She turned and smiled at him. “Do you ride on the paths often?”

Not as much as I would like to. With all the traveling I do it does not allow me to do as much of the things I like to.” Devon took her arm and looped it through his.

I did want to talk with you about something Sarah.”

They had made it to the field and Sarah said, “I can see you clearly now Dev.” Sarah then sat down in the field. The tall grass was soft and she laid down in it. “Look at all the stars Dev.”

Devon lay down next to her leaning up on one arm. “They are lovely aren’t they?” Devon looked down and gazed at Sarah as she was looking at the stars.

Sarah.”He whispered

She turned to him and he slowly leaned in and kissed her. Sarah wrapped her arms around his shoulders. He moved his hand to her waist and Sarah squeezed him tighter. Devon moved his leg between her legs. He rolled her sideways into him as he put more pressure with his leg between hers. She let out a small moan. That moan brought forth out of her, caused sudden feelings within him that consumed him. Was it fear, desire, passion, nervousness, or love?

He wanted to touch her. He wanted to fill her with himself. Devon wanted to show her in every way what he was feeling for her.

What was she doing to him? Was she feeling the same way? He paused with the overwhelming fear of surrendering to this, to her, to his need for her. His heart was racing with pain, as it pounded inside his chest. His hands began trembling with a nervous desire to give into his heart, to her and the love he felt for her. He knew he would not be able to turn away from her if he told her what was in his heart.

Devon pulled away from Sarah breaking the kiss. Sarah gazed up at him. He could see the confusion in her eyes. Devon did not know what to say to her. He put his forehead to hers as he closed his eyes. The ground he sat on was tilting. Devon began to sway slightly.

Sarah grabbed his broad shoulders. “Devon, are you alright?” Her voice was filled with concern. She laid him back to the ground, carefully holding his head.

Devon felt sick. The starry sky above was spinning. He closed his eyes again, which made it worse.

I will go for help.” Sarah said as she started to stand up.

Devon grabbed her hand and said, “No, please stay here with me. I will be alright in a moment.” He pulled her hand to his chest.

Sarah could feel his heart was racing. His hand was clammy as it trembled over her hand. She thought back to what Grams and Brook had told her about his feelings for her causing him to feel this way.

Removing her shall, she placed it under his head. Even in the moon light, she could see he was pale. She laid her head down onto his chest. His breathing was deep as if he had been running. Sarah placed her hand on the other side of his chest and began to rub him. She immediately heard his heart race faster.

The sensation her hand caused within him, depend his breathing more. Devon placed his hand over hers again and held it still. Why didn’t he just tell her? She loves him and he knows it, so what on earth is the problem? What if he lost her? How could he cope with her dying? What if he loved her and gave into everything he was feeling for her and she decided she didn’t care for him? What if she gets tired of waiting for him?

Devon realized that she would not wait forever for him to make up his mind. He wraped her in his arms and they laid together in silence.

copyright 2010


Chapter 25

Devon heard birds chirping all around him. He opened his eyes seeing the bright blue sky above him. Sarah was still in his arms. Their bodies had tangled into one another during the night. She was tucked into his side with one of her legs in between his. Her head rest on his arm under her. He had his chin resting on top of her head and she was enclosed within his arms tight. Sarah had her arms drawn close to her chest as her hands rested against his.

He realized that he had never slept so well before. He had no nightmares last night, as he had almost every night. Even when he did not, he continually awoke several times during the night. Last night he did not recall waking up once.

Devon gazed down at Sarah still sleeping in his arms. He removed his hand from her back and pushed back a lock of her hair that was trailing across her cheek. Sarah lay so still and he began to wonder if she was even breathing. He did not feel her back moving with any breath. Her body rocked slightly as he nudged her. Sarah did not respond and he started to panic. Devon began to shake her and Sarah jumped up resting herself on her arms.

“What is wrong? What has happened?” Sarah was startled by the way, he had been shaking her.

“I thought possibly you were not breathing.” Devon said.

“Why would I not be breathing Devon?” She grew irritated by the way he had woke her. “You scared me.”

“Well you scared me, you sleep too soundly.” Devon said as he rose to his feet. He held out his hand for her.

Sarah refused his offer and stood up. “Do not ever wake me in that manor again, unless my hair is on fire,” she said. Turning from him, she stormed away with her fists clenched.

“Oh there is the morning beast. I was wondering when I might see her again. Good morning to you too, princes Sarah.” Devon said.

Sarah stopped in her tracks and turned to face him. Her lips were pinched tightly together then she said, “You do tend to bring out the worst in me. I do not know of anyone who chooses to wake someone in the many unpleasant ways you do... Lord Price.”

“Perhaps you are just too sensitive Sarah.” Devon said defensively.

“What? You are rude and you conduct yourself as a child would. You can’t even tell me how you feel about me without falling into a puddle to the ground.”

His body stiffened and his jaw set. Sarah knew she had taken it too far. Devon just stared at her with hurt filled eyes.

“I’m sorry Dev. I should not have said that.” She moved towards him and Devon stepped away and headed down the path back to the estate.

The rest of the walk home Sarah remained quiet as she fidgeted with her shall. Devon had not said another word to her, he hadn’t even looked back at her. She wanted to take back the entire morning and start over again. Sarah understood that it was Devon’s odd way of caring for her. She had basically, thrown it back in his face, telling him it did not matter to her and then ridiculed him for how he shows her he cares for her.

The door flung open and Devon strides up the steps to his room to change. This drew the attention of Grams and Brook in the breakfast room off to Sarah’s left. She stood at the bottom of the stairs wondering how to take back what she had said and fix things.

After a few minutes, Sarah ran up the steps to Devon’s room. She knocked on the door lightly. She had not a clue what she was going to say to make it all go away. He did not answer. Sarah knocked harder this time. “Dev?” she said.

“Leave me alone.” Devon said. He knew it was her.

“Devon please, I want to speak with you. Open the door.” Sarah said.

Devon did not reply and Sarah knocked again. “Devon please.” She knocked harder this time with her open hand against the thick wood door.

The doorknob turned and he threw the door open. Sarah gazed down at his bare chest and then down to his waist, realizing he was completely naked. Her mouth dropped open.

“Well I-I. That is you. I mean I want to see, I mean say.” Sarah was fumbling as he stood beautifully bare in front of her. She was trying not do look down at him, but it was hard not to.

“Spit it out Sarah.”Devon said. He did not care if he had shocked her. The woman would not stop banging on his door. He wanted to be left alone.

Sarah stood there dumb founded. Devon waited a few more moments then slammed the door in her face.

She jolted her head back from the force of the slam. Sarah stood outside Devon’s door for at least a full minute before turning and going to her own room. She entered her room and plopped down at her dressing table. Sarah looked at herself in the mirror. Leaves and twigs peered out at her through her hair. She looked a wreck and she didn’t care.

Sarah took down her hair and removed all the pins. Her dress was wrinkled with a few grass stains scattered about it. Leaning over she placed her arms on top of the table and rested her head on them.

Devon finished dressing and made his way down the stairs. He did not stop to say anything to anyone as he left out the front door.

Forty-five minutes later, he found himself in front of the office where Eli worked. He was about to get down from his horse when he saw Eli coming out of the office door. He was already locking up for the day and it was only noon.

“Eli, are you closing up early?” Devon said from his horse.

Eli turned and said, “Devon how are you my friend?”

“I am well thank you for asking. Have I caught you at a bad time?”Devon asked.

“Oh no, not at all Devon. I had just come in to work on a few things and now the rest of the day is mine. What brings you all the way out here? Do you need help?” Eli said.

“I do need your opinion on something, it is important to me. There is a document I would like you to look over, if it is no trouble to you.”Devon said.

“Well, how about if you come with me around the corner to my town house and we can talk there, if you would not mind.” Eli suggested to him.

“I am most grateful Eli.” Devon said with a smile. He dismounted his horse and walked with Eli to the stable to board his horse. Eli then led him a half a block further down to his home.

Eli stopped at the top of the steps in front of the door and turned to Devon as he said, “I have a roommate who I live with. He grows a little excited when we have company stop by.”

Devon smiled at Eli and said, “That is quite alright Eli. I look forward to meeting him.” Devon understood what Eli was really trying to tell Devon. His living arrangements would be frowned upon if discovered.

“Edward, I have returned.” Eli announced as they entered the house. He turned to Devon and smiled.

Edward was excited with the news he had for Eli. “Oh Eli, I have just returned from the market and have pick up a new tea for us to try. I have made some and I want you to taste it.” As Edward came around the corner the stopped to see Devon’s tall masculine physique in front of him. He stepped back a little from the doorway and glanced over to Eli who was walking towards him.

Eli put his hand on Edward’s back. “Edward this is a friend of mine, Lord Devon Price.”

Devon bowed to Edward and then stood up straight with a warm smile to the man. “It is a pleasure to meet you Edward.” Devon said in a deep voice.

Edward looked to Eli and then back to Devon. “Hello Lord Price.”

“Please call me Devon, I insist on it Edward.” Devon said. He glanced at Eli, then back to Edward. “I will not intrude on your afternoon long. I only need a moment of Eli’s time and then I will be on my way.” Devon was trying to be as friendly as possible to ease this man’s nerves. “I would really like to try some of the new tea you had mentioned a moment ago.”

Eli turned to Edward and said, “Shall we move to the sitting room?”

Edward said to Devon, “Call me Eddy. I will fetch the tea right away.”He smiled widely at them both.

Eli and Devon settled into the sofas in the sitting room. Eli took a seat on the sofa across from Devon. He looked to Devon and said, “So what is the important issue you have to discuss?”

Devon pulled the will Landon had discovered from his coat pocket and handed it to Eli. “Is this authentic? It was left to Sarah from Benjamin.”

Eli reached forward taking the document from Devon’s hand and opened it. After reading over it for a few minutes, he moved his gaze to Devon. “This is genuine Devon. I know Benjamin’s signature and it is his. Where did you get this?”

“A good friend of mine discovered it buried on Benjamin’s estate.”Devon said to him.

“You need to notify the authorities Devon. That filthy Mcmay is stealing from Sarah and forcing her into marriage. Is she still with your family?”

“Yes, she is quite safe. I do not trust Mcmay. I am not sure how he will react to this and I would appreciate your discretion on the matter Eli.”

“Devon you have my word, that I can assure you of.” Eli said. “Mcmay came to the office yesterday. He plans to force her to marry his assistant and she is not aware of it. The poor girl. First she losses her father and then is left with that sad excuse for an uncle.”

Devon looked at Eli with a serious fierce expression and said, “I will never allow that to happen to Sarah.”

Edward entered the room with his special tea blend. He set the tray down on the table and sat down next to Eli. He reached out for the teapot and poured tea for them. Looking up to Devon, he handed him a cup and saucer. “You will not need sugar or lemon with this tea.”

“Eddy, it smells simply yummy.” Eli said to him.

“Thank you Eli. I added a hint of spice.” Eddy smiled then whispered with a giggle, “As well as a splash of rum.”

Eli gazed to Edward with a surprised look as well as a smile of excitement.

Devon took a sip and said, “This is the best tea I have ever tasted. It does not even taste like tea or rum. I am not sure how to describe it.”

After Eli had his taste of the spicy treat, he looked to Edward and said,“Oh Eddy, you have out done yourself this time. What will you name this one?” Eli turned to Devon and said, “We always name all of his creations. Eddy invented a tart peach tea that I thought at the time was just out of this world but, this is by far my new favorite.”

“Do you think?” Edward said. “I was thinking sassy at the time.”

Devon took another sip and said, “It is a spicy exotic pleasure.”

Eli and Edward gazed at one another, then to Devon.

“That is perfect!” Eli said.

“Oh you’re clever Devon.” Edward said.

Devon smiled at them, feeling impressed with his own creativity. He raised his cup to them both and tipped his head as he drank more.

Eli said to Edward, “Do you recall a beautiful young woman with blond hair, we ran into a month ago at the library?” After Edward nodded to him, Eli continued. “She is currently staying with Devon.” Eli brought Edward up to speed of the whole story until now.

Devon was quiet while Eli had been telling Edward the story. He gazed down to the cuff of his pant leg. Devon during the course of the story, told in Eli’s own dramatic words, had had two more cups of tea.

The voices of the two men faded off into background noise. The night before and that morning with Sarah, was weighing heavy on his mind. It really was the reason he had come to talk with Eli. He knew the will he had Eli examine had been genuine. He wasn’t even sure what he wanted to ask them. His life had become chose and confusing since Sarah had come into it.

As Eli and Edward had finished discussing Sarah’s situation, he gathered the courage to ask them their opinion on the matter. “What do you think it means when a person thinks they may feel a curtain way for someone and has a hard time telling the other person how they feel for them?”

“In what way is it difficult?” Edward asked him. He sat up straight giving Devon his full attention.

Devon’s gaze fell back to his pant cuff. “Well let’s say they cannot bring themselves to say how they feel and cannot say it out loud.”

“This person could write a romantic note to the other.” Edward said.“Does the person have a hard time speaking with the other? Do they fumble to find the right words or can they not speak at all in front of the other?”

Devon thought about how much he wanted to reveal to them. “You could say this person starts to feel things they maybe denying to themselves and becomes ill.”

“I'll? That is love, plain and simple.” Edward said as he looked to Eli.

“What kind of ill are we talking about?” Eli asked Devon.

“This person begins to feel dizzy then sometimes the room starts to spin and this person sweats profusely as their legs feel numb and weak.”

Edward chuckled and said, “That is fainting. Does she always do this around you?”

Devon moved his gaze to Eli and then back to Edward. “Sarah does not faint, it is me.”

Edward grabbed Eli’s forearm and placed his other hand over his heart. “I wish someone would faint over me.”

Eli laughed and said, “That would just cause you to panic and faint as well Eddy.” He turned back to Devon. “Why do you not just tell her Devon?”

“I am not sure if I want to be in love.” Devon said as he poured himself and the other two men some tea.

“I have never heard of someone having a choice in the matter. Devon if this is how you feel for her, then you must tell her. If you don’t, you will go through the rest of your life regretting not doing so.”Eli said to him.

“Does she know? Have you fainted in front of her?” Edward asked.

“Yes I have twice and the other times she had not been witness to it. She was under the assumption I was coming down with something.”

Edward gasped. “She has no idea. Oh, if she only knew the effect she has on you Devon. How romantic she would think it to be. When did this start?”

“I am not sure, a week ago maybe and she does know.” Devon shook his head and poured more tea for himself. “We had an argument this morning. She thinks me to be ridicules. We said some mean things to one another. She grew very angry when I told her she might be too sensitive.”

“Are you mad! No man with half a brain says that to a woman. It is no wonder why she became upset with you.” Eli said. “Emotional, sensitive, overweight, and never tell her she is like her mother. Those are all rules of what not to say to a woman.”

Edward leaned forward and asked, “What did she say to you about your behavior towards her?”

“Sarah said I conduct myself like a child, not being able to tell her how I feel without falling to the floor in a puddle. Honestly, I think I was more embarrassed than anything.”

“She did try to apologize for it.” Devon started to chuckle. “She was pounding on my bedroom door and would not stop I had been changing my close at that moment, so I answered the door without my close on.”

Edward put his hand to his mouth as Eli said, “You little devil.” He began to chuckle at Devon.

Devon said, “She was quite shocked as she struggled to form a sentence. I was angry at that moment and it is not like she has not seen me that way before.”

Devon looked to them as they stared at him.

“Please tell me Devon, you are not the kind of man who concurs and then moves on.” Eli said in a discerned tone. Although, he did not know Devon well but, he just could not fathom conducting himself in that manner. Eli had perceived him to be a perfect gentleman thus far.

“If you have taken her innocence Devon, you must do the right thing.”Edward said.

“I have not taken her to my bed. I have not yet seen her naked.”

The two of them looked at him confused.

“She removed my clothes and, well, use your imaginations gentlemen.”Devon said and then poured more tea. “How much rum is in this tea Eddy?”

“Enough for you to spill you heart and a few juicy secrets.” Eli said. They all started laughing. “I will fetch us more.”

Eli looked to Devon and asked, “Could you see this women with your children? I have to be honest and tell you, I use to feel the same way when I first fell in love. Once I revealed my feelings, it stopped. All the light headedness and spotted visions just disappeared. At first, I figured I could not distinguish between desire and love, until one day I realized I could not live without him...Eddy that is. I have never been happier in my life. It is worth surrendering to Devon, I promise you.”

He smiled at Eli and said, “Eddy seems to be a kind and honest man.”

Edward came back with more tea in a larger pot this time. “What did I miss?”

“Nothing, I was about to say there is a ball tonight and Sarah has been set up to meet a few interested suitors. I am going out of my mind. The thought of her with someone else kills me.”

“You need to go and tell her you want her.” Edward said. “Do you know if she feels the same way for you?”

“She told me she does. I did not say anything back, well you know why.”

“The poor girl,” Eli said. “She must have been heartbroken.”

Devon poured more tea and drank it.


Back at the estate, Brook and Sarah began to dress for the ball. Their gowns were laid out with all the matching accessories to go with it.

Brook sat at the dressing table while Sarah worked on Brook’s hair. She watched Sarah go through the motions of pinning up her hair in the latest fashion. Sarah did not look the least bit excited about the ball. Brook was unsure what to say to her. She knew Devon and Sarah had an argument but, about what she did not know. She broke the silence that was smothering the room. “Sarah what happened between you and Devon?”

Sarah’s gaze flew to Book’s in the mirror. “I was mean and cruel. He has every right to never speak with me again. I cannot imagine what he thinks of me Brook.”

“I have never known you to be that way Sarah.”

“Well believe it, I was. He told me I was too sensitive and I told him he could not even tell me how he feels for me without falling to the floor in a puddle. I said he acts as if he were a child.”

Brook’s mouth dropped open. “Oh Sarah.” Her sympathy for her shown in her expression. The man was confused and confusing Sarah in the process, it just wasn’t right of him.

“I know Brook, but he had shaken me hard to awake me because he thought I had stopped breathing and I was angry by it.”

“Why did he believe you were not breathing?”

“Devon grows worried sometimes that something may happen to me. I know it is odd. He does mean well by it, he just scared me that time is all.”

“I think it is quite sweet and romantic. If a man loved me that way I would feel flattered.”

Sarah looked at Brook. She suddenly realized, he was not scared of her rejecting him, he was scared something was going to happen to her. He was scared to love her out of fear of losing her. She started to smile.

Grams knocked on the door. “Ladies are you dressed yet? The carriage awaits for us.”

“We are almost ready. Can we meet you down stairs?” Sarah said.

“Yes, but hurry. I do not want to wait in line at the entrance into the ball.”

As they finished dressing Sarah said, “You are beautiful Brook. This is going to be the best night of our lives thus far.”

Brook knew it would be her only one. She smiled at Sarah. “You are right and you look stunning Sarah. Let’s not keep Grams waiting any longer.”

Sarah walked out the door and Brook shouted to her, “I forgot my gloves, I will not be longer than a moment. Meet me down stairs Sarah.”

Brook finish and made her way to the top of the steps. As she gazed down the stairs, she saw Landon. She had not expected him to be there.

Landon glanced up and caught sight of Brook in her soft purple gown with a low cut neckline. She looked breathtaking. He watched her as she came down the staircase.

Sarah was watching him, as his gaze was glued to Brook. She smiled to herself at the thought of him falling in love with Brook. They would be a very good match.

As Brook was taking her last few steps down the staircase, Landon offered her his hand. He wasn’t smiling or saying anything. He was just gazing at her.

Brook smiled at him slightly. Landon felt his pulse begin to race. He noticed the faint spray of freckles across her nose and trailing slightly onto her cheeks.

“Are you ready for a night full of dancing in the arms of a charming lucky man?” Landon asked her.

Brook nodded her head and smiled. Landon leaned into her and whispered.

copyright 2010


Chapter 26

“I want to dance every dance with you.” His body was inches away from her. Landon lingered for much longer than he should have waiting for Brook's response.

She smiled sweetly at him. “Do you not like your feet?”

Landon chuckled. “Brook, you may step on them all night long. They are at your disposal.”

Everyone took their seats in the carriage and they were off to the ball. When they arrived, Sarah was thrilled to see the ballroom was not nearly as crowded as she thought it was going to be. She did not care for crowded places and had hoped the ballroom would not be this evening. Sarah squeezed Brook’s hand tight as Brook returned it with her own. They were so very excited. Brook had never seen such a large room before. Sarah pointed out the sweet table and commented on how pretty it looked. Too pretty to eat Brook had told her back.

Landon led the three women to a spot in the corner with four chairs next to the sweet table. He turned to Grams and said, “We cannot have you go the evening without your sweets, my mini muffin.”

Grams let out a loud giggle, which had drawn some attention, and said, “There is nothing mini about me my love. God bless you for the sweets though.”

Landon laughed and said, “To me, you could not be any more perfect.” He then bowed and kissed her gloved hand.

He then turned to Brook and said, “My I have the first dance?”

“Yes. Thank you Landon.” Brook felt her cheeks grow warm. She was so relieved he had asked her. Everyone will be watching for the first dance and she is out of practice.

Sarah sat next to Grams facing the ballroom. Over the next twenty minutes Grams, Brook, and Sarah watched the crowds as they moved about the room. The band then cued for the next dance to start in ten minutes. Grams informed the girls, they strung their instruments, when the music is about to start.

Brook was studying her dance card when she was aware of a male figure in front of her. Brook gazed up to see Landon standing before her. He held out his hand to her without uttering a word to her. Everything her would have said to her was in his eyes. Brook rose to her feet without breaking their heated stare.

Landon led her to the edge of the dance floor. He could feel her hand was trembling on his arm. “You dance very well Brook. There is no need for you to be nervous.” He smiled at her warmly. “Let me lead this time though.”

Brook laughed. “I will try, although I have to admit, I like to be in control.”

Landon raised his eyebrow. “Sometimes that is not a bad thing, except on the dance floor.” Landon gave her his wicked smile that always worked to bring a blush out on the ladies.

Brook gave him a sideways glance, then said, “I could see how you would think your devilish charm works on some woman. I presume they are young women?” She then turned and looked straight ahead with a grin across her face. “Perhaps I may be the wrong choice for you. I see a group of younger ladies in the corner over there.”

Landon said nothing in return. He stood there feeling the need to shut her up with lips. She was sassy and he liked that about her. Women do not tend to challenge him this way. The music started and Landon grabbed hold of her and swirled Brook onto the dance floor with strength and demanding need for her to submit to his lead. He intended to remind her who was in control right now.

Brook followed his lead, and it looked to everyone else that, Brook and Landon had danced together often. They moved blending with one another without flaw. Landon’s moves were sharp and sudden, full of turns as he held her tight. Brook did not fumble or miss step, she moved on his cue. He held her closer than he knew he was supposed to and he didn’t care.

Her skin felt hot under his touch. Landon was handsome and Brook could only dream of dancing with a man who looked the way he does. This truly was a magical night for Brook.

In the corner, a man approached Grams and Sarah. “Lady Wilsbee, how are you this evening?” The man then bowed perfectly. “I observed you as I entered the room and desired to pay you a visit.”

“I am quite well Duke Wellington. I am honored you thought to greet me. May I introduce you to Lady Mcmay?”

The Duke bowed to Sarah. She stood and curtsied in return. Sarah noticed he had quickly glanced at her chest. He smiled at her as if he was not sorry nor regretful for it.

“May I beg a seat beside you Lady Mcmay?”

“Yes Of course, please do sit down,” Sarah said. She did not intend to make a scene out of respect for Grams. Sarah did not want this man looking down her dress so she turned slightly towards Grams. With her back at an angle to him, she felt more comfortable, besides she wanted to keep an eye out for Devon.

The three of them talked until they were approached by Landon and Brook. The Duke stood up and offered Brook his seat next to Sarah. Grams introduced Brook, as he then bowed and kissed her hand. The Duke turned to Landon and said his greetings to him. They had known one another for a while and began talking of politics and what not.

Sarah leaned into Brook telling her of her displeasure of the Duke. Brook eyed him up and down. Both the women were use to having to deal with men treating them as an object.

After thirty minutes or so, the Duke turned to Sarah and said, “I shall like to ask you for the next dance Lady Mcmay?”

Sarah suddenly felt flushed. “Thank you Duke Wellington, but I.”

Grams butted in, “She would be delighted to Duke. Sarah had not danced yet you see and I would very much enjoy seeing you two spin about the floor.” Grams then turned to Sarah and said, “Do not worry yourself about leaving me, my dear. Go and have some fun.”

Sarah smiled up at the Duke and said, “I would be honored then Duke,” seeing that she really had no choice.

“Very well then, I shall return shortly with some refreshments for everyone and we shall dance.” The Duke then left.

Sarah watched him until he was out of earshot. She turned to Grams to see her grinning. “I did not care to dance with him Grams.” She whispered.

“And why not?” Grams turned her head back and forth scanning the ballroom. “I do not see Devon here with us, do you? The Duke is a charming enough fellow and it wouldn’t kill you to broaden your horizons, shall we say.”

Sarah could not believe Grams had just said that to her. “It was still my choice.” Sarah said softly.

“My dear, go and enjoy yourself tonight and tomorrow will always be another day. There is no harm in dancing my dear child. Life is for living, not for sitting in corners with old women, you are far too young for that.”

Landon cleared his throat as the Duke was coming up to their group.

The Duke approached and he brought another man with him. He introduced him to everyone. Landon had heard of this Deerfield Earl fellow and he was a rude man with a lack of respect for women. The man has a reputation for chasing all kinds of women and leaving them when they discover they are with his child. He was glad Devon was not here, he would never tolerate this man in his presence and a scene would surely erupt because of it.

The music started and Sarah rose to her feet. The Earl turned to Brook and asked her for a dance.

Landon stepped in front of the man and said, “Her dance card is full. “ He took Brook’s hand and led her to the dance floor again.

“Why did you do that Landon?” Brook was confused.

“Do you not remember what I had said to you earlier? I told you I wanted to dance every dance with you.”

“I thought you were asking Landon, as you should be.” Brook narrowed her eyes at him.

“Well I’m not. I'm telling you. Besides he is not the kind of man you should be dancing with tonight or any other night.” He led Brook into the waltz.”

Landon took Brook in his arms and she could feel heat coming off him. He gazed deep into her eyes and made her flush. Brook felt herself soften in his arms. She wanted to memorize everything about this night. The music, the delicious foods and sweets, the atmosphere of it all, but mostly dancing with him. She felt as if he were trying to make this night perfect for her. He was covering her with all of his attention. Dance after dance and then bring her sweets. She felt spoiled by his adoring consideration towards her.

Sarah was swirling around the dance floor with the Duke. She was not enjoying herself with his hands on her. They made small conversation at first. He was staring at her neck and then down to her chest. He was obviously attracted to her, which made Sarah feel more uncomfortable. He did not try to hide his expressions of desire for her, let alone where his gazes were falling on her body. She wished she had not said what she did to Devon. He should be the one holding her right now.

As they turned, Sarah caught a glimpse of Devon standing next to Grams starring at her in the arms of the Duke. This caused Sarah to fumble and step on the Duke’s foot. She wanted to immediately run to him. To be able to stand next to him and feel safe within his presence from the predator that held her now.

“Oh my apologies Duke Wellington.”

“No need to apologize Lady Sarah, I have another one I can use,” referring to his foot.

Sarah should have laughed at that, but Devon looked very angry. She was wondering if he intended to cause a scene. That would at least free her from this man’s prying eyes on her. She had secretly hoped Devon would do something.

The dance ended and the Duke escorted Sarah back to Grams and the others. Sarah looked at Devon and smiled at him. Devon glared at her with a miffed look. She felt her face deepen with color. The last thing she intended was to upset him further, especial after what she had said to him that morning. If she could just get him alone, she would explain that it was not her wish to dance with Duke Wellington. Sarah moved closer to Devon’s side waiting for the right time to speak to him.

“Lord Price, it is good to see you again.” The Duke said to him.

Devon was very polite and greeted him back. “How is your sister? Is she in attendance tonight?”

“She is very well, thank you. In fact, she was asking of you, I believe she is hoping for a dance with you. I do believe she had heard you would be attending the ball this evening and changed her mind about coming tonight.”

“I shall have to see if I might find her.” Devon turned and said, “Won’t you please excuse me for a moment.” He gave Sarah a quick glare and walked away with the Duke.

Sarah was on the verge of tears. She felt her chest begin to tighten. “Dev wait.” He ignored her.

“My dear he is with his drink right now. I have no clue where the boy has been but he smells of it.” Grams said to her.

Sarah turned to her and said, “Alright then, two can play this game.” Sarah walked over to the man with the tray of drinks and brought him back to the group. “You can set them down here, thank you.”

“The whole tray my Lady?” There had to of been ten to twelve drinks on the tray.

“Yes the whole tray!” Sarah spat out at him.

The man set the tray down and walked away.

She sat down and started to drink a glass of champagne. As quickly as she had picked it up, she had then made it disappear. Sarah put the empty glass down and took another one.

“Well you only have ten more to go Sarah.” Landon teased her. He went to go to take one and she slapped his hand away. Landon started laughing.

“If you are going to continue to poke fun at me, I wish you to leave. If your intention is to put on a smile and have a drink with me, then I invite your company.” Sarah said to him. She then threw him a glare. “I have every intention of taking Grams wise advise. The evening is young and so am I.”

Sarah then finished off the second glass and went to take the third. Landon gently placed his hand over hers and said, “You should pace yourself, otherwise your next dance partner may be wearing all the champagne you have just drank.” He then smiled at her.

Sarah picked up the glass anyway and drank it all. The bubbles were tickling her nose and she wiggled it and laughed. “I love champagne, don’t you Brook?”

“I do on occasion a glass or two.” Brook looked up to Landon. He shrugged his shoulders at her.

The music chimed to alert the crowd the next dance was about to begin. The Duke and Devon approached as Sarah had finished drinking her forth glass.

“I would like to introduce Lady Isabella Wellington, my sister.” The Duke said.

Sarah stood up a little too quickly as the champagne rushed to her head. She grabbed for Landon beside her to steady herself. Landon took her hand and looped it through his arm, without anyone noticing other than Devon and Brook.

Sarah starred at the woman. She was not at all impressed by her beauty. So what if she was tall with big stunning brown eyes and thick curly black hair. She wasn’t Devon’s type. At least Sarah did not think she was. Maybe it was Sarah who was not, Devon’s type. Sarah then began to wonder how Devon and this woman, who looked as if she had fallen off a cloud in heaven, knew each other. Had he made love to her and touched her the way he would not touch Sarah? Has this woman seen him naked? Did she touch Devon the way Sarah had? Sarah’s face was visible frowning at the woman. Was she going to try to steal the man she loved?

Devon noticed Sarah’s expression and he looked to Landon. He smiled at Devon and casually pointed to the four empty glasses on the table. Devon glanced back up to Landon and mouthed the word, “All?” Landon still grinning, shook his head yes slowly. Devon pinched his lips together and gazed at Sarah who was still glaring at Isabella across from her.

“Lady Mcmay, would you care to dance with me again?” The Duke asked her.

Sarah looked over to him and said, “I shall like that very much.”

Landon stepped in front of Sarah momentarily and whispered something to the Duke. He then stepped back and handed Sarah off to him.

The Duke smiled widely and said to Landon, “I can handle that.” He then turned his gaze to Sarah and said, “Are you ready Lady Sarah?” His eyes moved to her chest again and Devon caught it.

Sarah stepped forward. “I am more than ready, Duke” She gave him a seductive smile as she batted her long eyelashes at him.

What the hell was she doing? Devon felt his hand begin to twitch. He took Isabella and led the way to the dance area. He looked into her big brown eyes then gazed at Sarah. Devon felt nothing for the woman he was holding. Yes, they had a past but, she was not Sarah. The feelings one has during an affair are not love. An affair is just a moment of attraction between two people and nothing more. If it were more, then the two having it, would commit and remain faithful to one another. Devon was never able to see his children in this woman, as Eli had put it. Sarah...he did. The Duke was holding the woman he loved and Devon was pist.

Sarah threw her head back at what the Duke had just said to her. This caused her body to fall forward as her chest smashed into his. She did not care any longer that he was starring down at her chest. She was trying very hard not to step on his feet and she was not succeeding at it.

Devon watched them intently while staying close to them.

“Why are you not dancing with her Devon?” Isabella asked him.

Devon quickly looked to her. He realized he was being rude. “I am sorry Isabella for neglecting you.”

“You are being rude but, you did not answer my question. I have never witnessed you acting this way for a woman before. The way you gaze at her is beautiful.”

Devon said, “It is complicated. We had an argument this morning and have to seen one another till now.”

Isabella smiled up at him. “Love is always what you make it to be Devon. You should go to her.”

As she said that, the music ended. Devon escorted Isabella back to the place they had all been sitting. Brook and Landon arrived and Brook took a seat next to Grams, who was now sitting with another older woman. Landon found a few more chairs for their growing group.

Grams made introductions between Brook, Isabella, Landon, and Lady Wilcox. The women began to carry on about the evening and the scandals Lady Wilcox had discovered. It was a few minutes before Devon had recognized Sarah and the Duke were not among the group.

“Where is Sarah?” he asked Landon harshly.

Landon glanced around at everyone who sat in front of them and then said, “I do not know.”

“I believe I saw her going up to the terrace with Duke Wellington.” Grams said and then smiled at Devon. “At least someone is showing interest in the poor girl. A woman does not spend hours preparing for a night out only to be ignored by the one she cares for.”

Devon did not finish listing to Grams as he left and headed for the stairs that led to the terrace. His heart was pounding in his ears. If he was kissing her, he would kill him. Devon reached the top step as he heard Sarah’s laugh. She sounded flirtatious and careless.

The terrace was empty except for the Duke and Sarah. Devon stood in the doorway behind them. He then slipped off to the side, in the shadows. He felt himself begin to feel lightheaded again. He shook it off and remained focused on them.

Sarah had her back to Devon and was leaning slightly forward on her forearms on top of the stone ledge of the railing. The Duke was more or less facing Devon as he starred at the side of Sarah’s face.

“Can I ask you something Lady Sarah?” The Duke said.

“Yes you may.” Sarah said to him. She was still gazing up to the stary sky above them.

“How is it you are not someone’s wife? A beautiful woman such as your self should have already been married.” His voice was smooth.

Devon was grinding his teeth together.

“I had thought I did not want to marry and then I had met someone but, he does not feel the same way for me.” Sarah said sounding a little sad.

“Well then he is a fool.” The Duke said with a smile. Leaning in even closer he said, "Fools will always be fools Sarah, so let him."

Devon’s body was beginning to shake. He was a fool and he knew the Duke was right.

“I do not want to be alone,” Sarah said to him softly. “I desire a large family to fill my home with love and laughter.”

“Perhaps until the right man comes along, you should consider taking a lover.” His voice was deep and sultry.

Sarah let out a small giggle and then turned to face him. The bubbles from the champagne were now in her head. She felt free and silly. She tilted her head up to him and smiled. "I do not know yet how to be someone's lover Duke Wellington."

“Would you like to be someone’s lover Sarah? Their mistress of passion and desire?" Slowly with every word he was leaning closer to her. "Do you want to be seduced Sarah?” He placed the tips of his fingers under Sarah's chin and tilted it up towards his lips. The Duke was close too close now.

“One inch closer to her and you are going off the side of the balcony Duke.” Devon’s voice was low with an intentional fierce tone. His body was visibly shaking. His breath was short and heavy with rage.

The Duke and Sarah turned their heads and saw Devon standing right next to them. Sarah jumped back and the Duke stepped back a few steps holding his hands up in front of him. He heard Devon’s tone more than his words and well understood, Devon was serious.

Sarah turned to him with her hand on her hip and said, “Why would you care how close he is to me?”

Devon ignored her and took Sarah in his arms throwing her over his shoulder. He began walking with her down the stairs, which caused a huge scene as Sarah was shouting for him to put her down.

Landon looked to Grams and said, “I saw this one coming.”

Grams giggled as she said, “It’s about time.”

Devon approached them with Sarah still over his shoulder. “I am taking the carriage and I will send it back for all of you.”

“I am going to stay with Lady Wilcox and Landon will see to it Brook makes it home safe, so that is not necessary my boy.”

Sarah shouted from behind Devon's back loud enough for the entire room to hear, “Someone tell him to put me down!” The music stopped and the room fell silent. Sarah let out a loud grunt in frustration and then screamed, “Damn it Devon!”



Chapter 27

With a now very angry Sarah in the carriage, Devon instructs the driver to take them home. Sarah just stared out the window into the black night. Devon at a couple of different times almost brings himself to say something, but then stopped. He remained silent on the journey home. When the carriage stopped in front of the estate, Sarah did not wait for Devon or the driver to open the door.

Sarah threw open the door and fell flat on her back when her sleeve caught on the handle of the door. She hit the ground with a loud thud.

Devon jumped down and nearly landed on top of her. “My God, Sarah are you alright?” His voice was filled with panic.

“I am fine. Do not touch me.” Sarah pushed herself up on her hands.

“Are you hurt? Don’t move, let me help you.” Devon put his hands on her arms.

Sarah swatted them away hard. “I said do not touch me Devon! Go away and leave me alone, you are good at that.” She pushed herself to her feet and went inside.

Devon caught up to her in the entry. He could see she was still under the effects of the champagne somewhat. “Sarah wait. I want to talk to you.”

Sarah kept walking down the hallway to the drawing room.

“Stop damn it!” Devon screamed at her with frustration.

She was startled by the strength of his voice. Sarah remained still with her back to him. The click of his shoes on the wood floor caused her heart to begin to race.

As he drew closer to her he said, “There is something I have been wanting to tell you.”

Sarah closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. With her back still to him she said, “What is it Devon?”

“You do not have to marry a stranger Sarah.” Devon’s voice was soft.

“Why is that?” Sarah asked. Her body grew tense as she waited for his answer.

Devon took a moment then said, “Landon has discovered your father’s will on the estate and he left everything to you.”

With Sarah’s eyes still closed she said, “And?”

Devon paused to answer her then said, “Well this means your uncle owns none of it. You are a rich woman. You and Grams do not need to find a suitor now.” Devon felt himself growing warm. That was not what he had intended to say to her.

Sarah’s eyes flew open and without even thinking, she turned around and slapped him hard across the cheek.

He did not move. Devon knew he deserved it. He saw nothing but a deep hurt and despair in Sarah’s green eyes. He realized that he had just broken her heart. The fear of loving her and maybe one day losing her was paralyzing for him.

Sarah’s tears began to stream down her face. “You dragged me away from the ball to tell me this? I was having a perfectly wonderful time with the Duke, who shows interest in me and you go and make a big scene, causing what is sure to be a scandal, to say this to me?” Sarah wiped her tears that were rapidly falling. “You are ruining me Devon. What will people think about what you have just done? Everyone saw it. The worst part is, you do not even care. People will say you are my jealous lover and I will be ruined. I wish I had not been in the park that day. I wish I had never met you Devon . . . ever.”

She turned and started to walk away. Sarah could no longer hold in the pain that was crushing her heart and she started to cry loudly. She had not cried like this since her father’s death, to her, this is what it felt like, a death. He truly did not want her and she had convinced herself he had. What she thought was, had never really been.

Devon was starring at her as she walked away from him, bracing herself against the wall as she walked along the hallway. As he listened to her began to cry hard, his heart shot out a deep pain throughout his chest. Devon placed his hand over his chest and let out a, “Um.”

Sarah without warning collapsed to the floor. Devon ran to her side. Sarah pushed him away. She was crying so hard she was unable to form words, she just shook her head no. Devon knelt behind her as she stumbled to her feet and held the panels of the wall for support.

He had never heard someone cry so hard before. Devon listened to her gasps for a breath between her moans of pain. He heard the sounds came from deep inside her and it was killing him.

Devon reached out for her and placed his hands on her shoulders. Sarah turned to him and managed to say, “Don’t please.”

He did not recognize her. She was grief-stricken. It was difficult for him to look at her. What was he doing to her?

Sarah continued to walk backwards into Devon’s study. Devon walked forward and took her in his arms as she began to fall over a chair. “Sarah.” His tone was worrisome.

“Devon please, you are tearing me apart.” Sarah pleaded with him through her deep sobbing tears. “L-let me go.”

Devon gazed into her eyes and whispered, “I love you Sarah.” His own voice was shaking as he began to realize how much the woman he held in his arms meant to him. “Be my wife and end my torment Sarah. I will never be able to live without you.” Devon wiped away her tears and said softly to her, “You are everything to me, my Sarah.”

Sarah crumpled in his arms. Devon picked her up and placed her on the chaise lounge. He sat next to her. As Devon gazed into her eyes, he found himself leaning towards her. Then he kissed her as if he would not live if he had not. Sarah kissed him back just as intense. She was still crying fairly hard.

Devon climbed on top of her and laid himself between her legs. “Promise me you will never leave me Sarah.” He said through their kiss.

“N-never.” Sarah whispered. She took a deep breath in.

Devon cupped her cheek with his hands and said, “Please stop crying.”

Devon kissed her deeply with passion. A feeling he had been holding back from for too long. His need to be with her was powerful. His body shook from the forcefully clear love he held for her.

He pushed himself onto her hard and Sarah let out a moan. He repeated the motion again as he began to rock with her gently.

Sarah could feel his entire body shaking as he held her in his arms. She was trembling just as much. She felt Devon reach around and try to undo her buttons on her gown. After a few moments, she felt the dress rip open down her back.

“I will buy you a hundred new ones but, this one has to come off now.” Devon said with a heavy need in his voice.

Sarah began to giggle as it broke the tension. Devon started laughing and said, “I am sorry. I cannot deal with a thousand of tiny buttons at this moment. Your new dress will have very large buttons on them.”

Her giggle turned to laughter. “I could also walk around naked if that is easiest for you?”

Devon began to kiss her neck as he said, “I do not think Richards will approve of that, but we can try.”

Devon pulled her dress down over her shoulders moving it past her beasts. Devon left her dress where it was as he then went to take off her shoes. Next went one of her stockings. Devon reached up and slowly peeled down the other one. He moved his hand up under her dress and pulled away Sarah’s undergarments, tossing them to the floor.

He sat up kneeling at her feet and he took off his coat and then unbuttoned his shirt. Sarah watched him slowly remove layers of his clothing. Devon smiled as he watched her watch him. He had thought about this moment so many times over the past few weeks. It almost didn’t feel real. He saw Sarah bite up her bottom lip, which always drove him nuts.

Devon quickly fell to her, holding his weight from her and hovered over her lips with his. “If I could eat your lip I would.”

Sarah smiled. “Why would you ever want to eat my lip Lord Price?”

Devon grazed his lips against her bottom lip, them whispered, “Because from the moment I first saw you bit up your bottom lip, it drove me crazy with desire for you. How is that for a reason Mrs. Price?”

Sarah kissed him with all the happiness in her heart.

“How do you think Sarah Price sounds to you?” Her smile was enough of an answer for him and he kissed her bottom lip that he loved so much.

He began pushing away the dress until it feel to the floor. Devon took the sight of her in for a moment. “God, you truly are lovely Sarah. You are more then I had imagined you to be.”

“You thought of me?” Sarah asked.

Devon kissed her shoulder as he said, “You consumed my every thought.” Moving down to her breast, he placed his lips gently over her nipple and said, “I nearly went mad.” Devon sucked her in and squeezed her breast. Releasing her from his mouth he said, “You have no idea what I thought about doing to these beautifully full breasts that taunted me daily.” Devon took her up again and Sarah let out a deep moan as she arch up towards him.

More than anything, Devon wanted to make her moan with pleasure and he intended to do whatever it took for her to make louder noises. Every one of her short gasps and deep breaths of delight turned him on further.

Devon moved to Sarah’s other breast teasing it with his tongue playfully. Sarah could not help it; she grabbed his hair pulling him closer to her. He reached down and moved her legs open to him. She immediately made an “Oh,” sound as he pushed up on her naked body. His pants were still on but she could feel his desire for her through his pants. He was firm and long.

Taking her deeper into his mouth, he kneaded her other breast with a firm grip. Devon pressed her breasts together as he ran his tongue over and around both of her nipples.

“Dev.” Sarah moaned to him.

Devon nibbled her slightly and she grabbed his head with pleasure and surprise at what he was doing with her body. He then released her from his hot moist mouth. Devon gazed up to her. Sarah’s eyes were closed and her head was back. He watched as she licked her lips.

A smile broke out across his face and he began trailing his tongue down over her belly. Devon made his way to her hip and ran his lips around to the side of her thigh. He could see her hands grabbing up the material of the chaise lounge she lay on.

Devon continued passing across the top of her thigh. First the outside and then moving to the inside of her mid thigh. He proceeded up her inner thigh. Devon paused over the middle of her as she was spread wide open for him. His breath was hot across her moist skin that longed to be touched. He let his mouth hover over her as he listened to her begin to pant with need.

He slowly moved to her other thigh as he trailed his tongue everywhere, except for where Sarah most desired him to go. After torturing her for a few more minutes, Devon ran his lips to the top area where her leg stopped. He again paused as he let his breath caress her gently.

Devon moved his lips softly against her velvety moist skin. He heard Sarah take in a loud deep breath and hold it. She was so tender under his tongue as he spread her open. Sarah was trembling with a yearning for more of him. He ran his tongue up until he hit the right spot. Sarah jarred up and Devon grabbed her and held her hips down.

Moving slowly he brought her into his mouth and gently began to suck her in, every part of her. Sarah let out a loud gasp. Devon then placed his finger at her opening and traced around it. She was already very wet. He slid just the tip of his finger inside her.

“Devon!” Sarah half moan and half shouted. “Oh my God you have to stop. I can’t take this Dev.” Sarah begged him.

He slid his finger in deeper and then back out, moving so slowly. Devon worked his finger in and out until he could go no further. He began to move faster. Sarah moaned with a crazy need for release. Her body was tight and she was overwhelmed with longing for Devon to fill her more.

Devon removed his finger and slid his tongue inside her wildly. Sarah’s body tensed as she was beginning to peak. He held her hips down hard against the chaise and she screamed out his name.

When she came down Devon quickly removed his pants and laid himself on top of her. He positioned himself at her opening and then kissed her hard. He felt himself slid into her.

Moving slow, he was careful not to push too hard or fast. Sarah was digging her fingertips into his shoulders. Devon made a another push and reached her even deeper inside.

“Oh Dev.”

He held himself there for a moment allowing her to get use to his size.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

“You are not going to get any bigger are you?” She asked.

Devon said, “No.”

“Then I will be ok,” Sarah said.

Devon chuckled slightly. “You have just said what every man wants to her a woman tell him.”

“What, that he is too big for her.” Sarah said and then giggled.

He answered yes and then kissed her. As he moved in and out of her, Sarah's breathing grew heavy. Devon reached down and pulled her leg up higher. He slowly pushed in deeper. Sarah grabbed the sides of his hips and let out a, “Ohm,” of surprise. She had thought he was not going to get any bigger.

“Dev, you got bigger,” Sarah said.

“I was not inside you all the way.” Devon said as he kissed her neck.

“Are you now?” Sarah asked.

“Almost.” Devon replied as he pushed a little deeper.

“You are too big Dev!” Sarah moaned.

Devon knew it was too much for her on her first time and he pulled back. “I am sorry Sarah. Did I hurt you?” Devon was looking in her eyes.

Sarah wanted to say yes, but she smiled and shook her head no. “I am alright.”

Devon could see she was lying. “You have to tell me if I am hurting you Sarah.”

“ok then, yes it does hurt.” Sarah lowered her eyes to his chest. She felt foolish. Her lower lip began to quiver. She wanted to please him and now she thought she would not be able too.

“Sarah there is nothing wrong with you. Hay, look at me. You are perfect. I do not have to go inside that deep yet, alright.”

“You will not feel good if you don’t though. I am not right for you. We do not fit together.”

Devon saw a tear falling down her cheek. “That is not true Sarah. It will take time for us to fit together. It never happens the first or even the second or up to the fifth time. Do you hear me?”

She shook her head and he leaned down and kissed her hard. Devon started to move again. He was careful not to push to deep against her inside.

He pulled out of her and rolled Sarah on top of him. “You can control how much of me you want in you.”

Sarah was surprised. “I can, how?” Her voice was filled with excitement.

Devon leaned up and kissed her as he said, “Take me in your hand and slid me inside you, but go slow at first.”

Sarah placed her hand on him and put him at her opening. She pushed down on him slowly. She could not believe how different he felt. Sarah liked this better.

Devon took her breast into his mouth and sucked with force. Sarah slid the rest of the way down on him and moaned deep at the pleasure of him filling her. He grabbed her hips and slid her across the top of him, showing her she did not have to only go one way.

“Oh this feels so good,” Sarah said. She began to move slow while pushing against him harder. “Dev, Oh Dev, I am going to.”

Devon could not hold out any longer. She was moaning and panting as her breasts rubbing against his chest and he began to release himself inside her at the same time her body gave into it's need. He stiffened and she tightened for one another, until they were done.

Sarah lay on top of him out of breath and exhausted. Devon wrapped his arms around her and whispered, “I love you Mrs. Price.”

She lifted her head and gazed into his eyes and said, “I love you Mr. Price.” She then smiled.

Devon rolled them over so she was under him. He reached down and grabbed his shirt. He pulled himself out of her and placed his shirt there. “Hold this here for a few minutes.”

Sarah understood what he was talking about and she tucked it under herself.

Devon got up and went to the couch for a blanket for them. He walked back to Sarah and lay back down next to her, covering them both with the blanket.

“How long shall our engagement be?” Sarah asked as she curled her back into the front of him.

“Do you want an engagement because I don’t?” Devon said and kissed her neck.

Sarah squirmed as she giggled. “It will take time to obtain a license, will it not?”

“I already have one for us.”

“You do? When did you get one?” Sarah was shocked by the delightful news.

“I went after our argument and got one this morning.”

“But I don’t understand you were upset with me. When had you decided you wanted me as your wife?” Sarah asked.

“Honestly the first night you were here, if I am truly honest with myself, but I decided this morning I could not live without you as my wife for one more day. When you were pounding on my bedroom door and I opened the door naked, I could see it in your eyes you felt the same way for me.” Devon kissed her and then pulled back. “I am sorry for hurting you Sarah. I have never felt this way before and I-”

Sarah stopped him with her lips. She broke their kiss and said, “I would have waited my whole life to hear you say that, Dev.”

Devon thought he could not love her more than he already did. She had just made his heart leap again. “I am the luckiest man alive.”

“Yes you are Mr. Price.”

copyright 2010


Chapter 28

Sarah awoke just as dawn was breaking. She looked over to Devon who lay behind her and could not believe how much she loved him. In her eyes, he was perfect in every way possible. The gaze he looked at her with made her feel so loved and cherished. As Sarah watched him sleep, she thought about the night before and how he had made love to her. She let out a quiet small giggle to herself. Who would have ever imagined anything could feel so good. He did things to her she had no idea even could be done. It led her to wonder if there was anything else, they had not done yet.

She kissed his forehead and then his nose. Devon began to stir awake.

Sarah kissed him on the cheek. “Good morning.” She whispered to him.

Devon smiled at her, his eyes still shut. “Is it morning?”

“Yes it is Mr. Price.” Sarah laughed softly.

He pulled Sarah down to him with her back to his front side and rubbed her bare back. Devon placed a long soft kiss on her neck. Sarah’s body immediately responded to him. He ran his lips over her shoulder and down her rib cage area.

Sarah let out a sound of pleasure to his caresses. He took her leg and pulled it up and over his legs, opening her up to him as he reached down between her legs. She was already wet for him.

He whispered in her ear, “Are you sore at all?” He touched her gently.

“I do not think so,” Sarah said.

Devon slid his finger slowly inside her and Sarah moaned from the feel of it. He moved very slowly in and out of her, pushing a little deeper with every push up. The deeper he went the louder Sarah moaned for him to give her more.

He loved to watch her expressions; Devon was turned on by them. “Does this feel good?”

“Yes.”She said with a soft breath out. “I like it when you move slowly.”

“I can tell you do.” Devon whispered and then smiled as he pushed deep within her causing her to gasp for a breath. He pulled his finger out and placed himself at her opening. “Do you want more Sarah?”

She shook her head yes and reached between her legs for him. It surprised Devon as his body sizzled from her touch. “Um.” He let out in a deep tone. Sarah liked making him feel as good as he did for her. She rubbed him onto herself and Devon grabbed her breast and squeezed tightly.

“Oh Sarah.”

She moved her hips back and forth on the length of him, teasing him as she did. “You like that don’t you Dev.”

“I do. God you are making me crazy. Slid me in you Sarah please.”

“No not yet.” Sarah played with him a little longer as she rubbed him all over herself. She soon realized that he was responding to her sounds of her own pleasure and she made sure he heard it.

Sarah slid him in and Devon took over as he moved slowly inside her. He teased her in return, as he did not push more than half way in. She pulled at him trying to get him to move further within her. “Dev please. I need to feel all of you.”

“No”he said to her softly with a hot heavy breath in her ear. Devon pulled out completely and then pushed just the very tip of him in. He repeated this over and over until Sarah was in starved craze frenzy for him.

He reached down and rubbed her as he was still teasing her. Sarah’s body was quivering from his touch on her. She clawed at his hips and anywhere else she was able to grab. Devon slid in a little deeper this time and she grabbed him tight.

Devon chuckled and said, “Is something wrong Sarah? You feel slightly tense.” He pushed into her completely and Sarah released immediately on him. Devon moved slow feeling her muscles tighten on him. Her release was long, lasting longer then last night. Devon rubbed his hand hard on her between her legs as he began to peak.

He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “You are amazing Mrs. Price.”

Sarah laughed. “I love my new name and I love you, Mr. Price.” She then took his shirt and used it as she had the night before.

Devon covered her with the blanket and put his pants on. “I have to leave for a short while. A friend of mine has the license and the will your father left for you.”

“I had forgotten about the will.” Sarah sat up. “What did it say exactly?”

“Your father left everything to you Sarah. Lord Mcmay had a fake will drawn up and has lied to everyone since your father’s death. He has no rights to anything.” Devon then kissed her and said, “I am going to handle everything, do not worry.”

Sarah smiled at him and said, “You are too good to me. I can never find the words to thank you for all you have given me Dev.”

“Devon placed his hand to her chin and rubbed his thumb over her lips and said, “You have not seen anything yet. I plan of spoiling you in every way possible, Mrs. Price.” He gazed into her eyes for a moment. “Sarah, you have given me more than I shall ever be able to give you in a life time. You have given me a love I have never felt before. I love you so much Sarah.” Devon's eyes were growing misty.

Sarah leaned up and kissed him passionately. “I love you so deeply Dev. You are my hero, do you know that?” She watched as he began to blush and he smiled with a wide grin.

Devon gave her one last kiss and then stood up. “Alright we have to figure out how we are to get though the house without being seen.”

Sarah stood up and put her torn dress on with the back completely ripped open. She took his hand in hers and said, “I do not care what anyone says. We will soon be husband and wife so I do not see how this at all matters.” She smiled and pulled him to the door.

Devon opened it and they began to walk down the hallway. Richards appeared out of one of the side rooms. Devon and Sarah stopped.

Richards gazed at them, observing Devon without a shirt and Sarah as she was holding up what was left of a dress on her body. His eyebrow went up at them both.

Sarah whispered to Devon, “I have changed my mind. I am embarrassed now.”She stepped behind him and put her head against his back with her hands on each one of his sides.

Devon squeezed her hand and smiled. “I’m not, I love you.” He then heard her giggle softly from behind him.

“Might I suggest the back staircase for you two to use, Sir,” Richards said.

“That is a splendid idea Richards. I am surprised to see you here so early this morning?”

“Should I be somewhere else, Sir?” Richards asked.

“You had the night off last night, did you not? I thought the house was empty?” Devon asked.

“I did, but I did not leave. I was here.” Richards said.

Sarah gasped and squeezed Devon’s side with her hands.

“Oh yes, do not fret Lady Sarah, I did not hear you at all last night or this morning.” Richards flashed Devon a smile and turned as he walked away.

“Richards, you did not have to tell her that.” Devon said as he turned around and walked with Sarah in front of him against his body.

They reached Sarah’s bedroom door and Devon said, “What are youdoing?”

“What do you mean? I am going to freshen up Dev.” She gazed at him with confusion.

Devon turned the doorknob on her door and pushed it open.

Sarah stepped into the room. She turned to Devon and said, “What happened? I don’t understand where are all of my belongings?”

“In your room.” Devon stepped in and kissed her. “Your new room which is our room.” He could see Sarah was delighted, as she was tearing up. “I had your things moved last night after you had left for the ball. I hope you do not mind.”

Sarah leaped into his arms and wrapped herself around him. Devon laughed.

“You really do love me don’t you?” Sarah whispered in his ear. She was becoming overwhelmed with emotion.

“Forever Sarah, I will never stop loving you.” Devon kissed her and her dress slid down exposing her breasts to his chest. He felt himself growing aroused again. He knew she had to be sore, although, he also knew she would not admit that to him. “Lets get you in the tub and I will get going so I can return to you soon.”

An hour later, after he washed up and dressed, Devon set out to Eli’s town house. He wanted to tell the world he was in love with Sarah. It was because of them that he found the courage to tell her how he felt. In Devon’s mind, it was only right that Eli and Edward would be the first to know about the wedding.

Devon reached Eli and Edward’s house and knocked on the door. The butler answered and told Devon they had already left for the morning. Devon decided to set out shopping for a wedding gift for Sarah. He would check back later at the town house for his two friends.

He found himself at the bookstore browsing through the books. He asked the store owner if he had a copy of Sarah’s book. The man had one copy and Devon bought it. After leaving the store he passed by the dress shop where he knew Grams has gone for fittings. He asked the man if he had Sarah’s fittings. The man remembered her and confirmed he had them. Devon ordered several dresses for her and asked them to be sent to the house. As Devon was leaving, he saw one dress that caught his eye. The dress was a soft white cotton with light pale pink trim all over it. Devon remembered Sarah saying her favorite color was pink. Devon made a special request that the tailor size the dress and send it to the estate for Sarah with a note he personal wrote to her. Devon also made a special request for some unique alternative designs from the tailor.

Devon then stopped back at the town house looking for Eli. They had still not returned, so Devon left him word that he was looking for him with the butler.

He decided to have a drink at the Lions Club he use to visit frequently with Landon.

Three hours had passed since Devon had left. Sarah sat in the drawing room waiting his return. She could see storm clouds approaching off in the far distance from the hilltop the estate sat on. Sarah began to wonder how much longer Devon would be. If he was caught in the rain he would most likely catch a cold.

“Where have you been all morning?” Brook asked as she entered the doorway.

Sarah quickly looked to Brook then smiled at her. “I have been in here waiting for Dev to come home.”

Brook sat down next to her on the sofa. She was starring at her and then she finally said, “Well?”

She sheepishly turned away with a grin. “Well, I-” Sarah stopped.

“Sarah I wondered about you all night long. You have to tell me something.”Brook could see Sarah begin to blush red hot. “Oh Sarah! Did you?”

Sarah put her hands over her face to hide her red glowing cheeks and the huge smile across her face. Brook pulled Sarah's hands down and Sarah gazed at her. The two women started to giggle as they held each others hands.

“Did he ask for your hand?” Brook asked.

“Dev wants to make the announcement this evening with everyone. Please do not mention it to Grams.”

“I do not know Grams well Sarah but, I am pretty certain she already knows. That woman does not miss a thing.” Brook rubbed Sarah’s hand in hers. She was so happy for her. “So, how was it with him?”

Sarah bit up her bottom lip.

Brook then whispered, “I am not a virgin you know.”

Sarah gasped as she turned back to Brook. “You never told me that.”

“I did not want you to think ill of me Sarah. Do you recall that I had told you I was engaged before I had met you at the library?” Sarah nodded and Brook continued. “Well, he was pressuring me to and I felt if I didn’t, I was going to lose him. The whole thing was not at all what I had thought it might be and he ended up leaving anyway after a month or so.”

“Brook that is horrible. How long ago was this?” Sarah asked.

“About three years ago. We were discovered and everyone knew what was going on between us, so he just left. I am so thankful now that he did. As a woman, I would not want to have been married to a man like that. He was not very romantic. I finally realized towards the end of it all that he was merely using me. He was very rough and honestly, he had only kissed me twice the whole time we had been together.”

Sarah thought about how many times Devon had kissed her since last night and she was unable to count them all. She looked up to Brook and said, “I am very glad you did not marry him as well. I might not have ever met you if you had.”

“Good after noon Ladies,” Landon said to them both.

“Hello Landon. Come and keep us company,” Sarah said.

Landon walked over and stood next to where Brook was sitting on the sofa. “I was looking for Devon but, that can wait a while.”

“You may be waiting a long while for him. He went to see a friend of his Eli. I will call for some tea in the meantime,” Sarah said.

“Has he been gone long?” Landon asked.

“He left shortly after sunrise. He should be returning any moment though.” Sarah said. She got up and left to find Richards for tea.

Landon bent down and whispered, “Good morning Brook.”

Brook turned her head and hit her nose on the side of his head. “Ouch!”She reached up and held her nose.

Landon knelt down next to her and grabbed her face. “Are you all right? I am so sorry Brook.”

She shook her head yes and Landon saw a few drops of blood fall to the chest of her dress. He pulled out a handkerchief and placed it to her nose. “Blood hell. What have I done to you?”

“I will be fine Landon. It is my fault; I should not have turned my head so quickly towards you.” Brook said through the handkerchief. She tilted her head back and rested it on the back of the sofa.

Landon unconsciously placed his hand on her knee. “I will fetch a damp cool cloth.”

Brook moved the handkerchief away from her nose and said, “Is it still bleeding?”

“Yes and is beginning to swell.” Landon said.

Brook rolled her eyes and said, “I am hopelessly clumsy I tell you.”Brook then shook her head with frustration.

Sarah came in the room and was announcing Richards was bringing tea, until she saw Brook. “What happened Brook?” Sarah could see the blood on her dress.

Landon looked at Brook then to Sarah and said, “She was getting smart with me Sarah.”

Brook almost laughed as she said, “He doesn’t like sassy red heads is what the problem is Sarah.”

“Can I not leave you two alone for three minutes?” Sarah was standing with her hand on her hip.

Landon and Brook started laughing at her. Landon then said, “I would not advise it.”

Sarah started giggling with them.

“What is so funny?” Grams said loudly. “Tell me what I have missed?”

“Landon is beating Brook for being a red head,” Sarah said.

“Oh that is nonsense for I happen to know, red heads are his favorite. Aren’t they my love?”

Landon stood up and gave Grams his seat. He took Grams's hand as he helped her down onto the sofa. Landon then brought her hand to his lips and said, “I only have eyes for you my silver headed wicked love.” He sounded so sinfully wicked, with his slow deep tone of his voice and devilish gaze.

Sarah saw Brook’s mouth drop slightly open. “Brook close your mouth.”She whispered to her over Brook's shoulder.

Brook swiftly closed it and smiled.

Richards brought the tea in with of course, sweets for Grams. “Lunch will be ready soon.”

Sarah felt herself grow warm. She had not seen him since that morning and she could not bring herself to look at him.

Richards came up to her and said, “A package has arrived for you. It is waiting in your newroom lady Sarah.”

Sarah finally look at him and said, “Who is it from?” Her eyes were big with wonder.

“It has an envelope with Devon’s handwriting on it.” Richards replied.

Sarah asked Brook to come with her upstairs. The two women left the room and made their way up the stairs. Sarah opened the door to see a large box on top of the bed. She opened the note and started to read it out loud.

Lovely Sarah,

I am held up in town and I hope to return to you shortly. Put this on.

I love you, Dev.

“What kind of a love letter is that?” Brook exclaimed.

“A Devon style love letter.” Sarah said as she started laughing.

Brook had tears rolling down her cheeks as she fell to the bed. Sarah was holding her side from laughter. As they began to get over Devon’s romantic love letter, Brook told Sarah to open the box. Sarah lifted the top off and saw the most beautiful white dress with pink trim. She held it up to take a better look. It had a low-neck line with three quarter length sleeves and was very soft.

“That is gorgeous Sarah. Try it on.”

Sarah went behind the screen and pulled the dress over her head. She asked Brook to button up the back.

Brook walked around the back of Sarah to help her. “This is different.”

“What is?” Sarah asked.

“The back of the dress. It only has four large buttons running down it.”

Sarah smiled and said, “Dev does not like buttons.” She continued and told Brook the story of the night before, when Devon had ripped her dress down the back in a moment of heated passion.

Brook was giggling as Sarah described his frustration as he fumbled and their kissing while he attempted to undo all the tiny buttons. Until he finally just ripped it off. Brook told her she had never heard of something so passionate before.

They talked for quite some time in Sarah’s room. Sarah and Brook were having such a wonderful time telling secrets and stories until the interruption came. The two women heard yelling coming from down stairs. They opened the door to see two officers coming towards them. Brook and Sarah held each other.

“Which one of you is Sarah Mcmay?” The man demanded to know.

“I-I am Sir.” Sarah said.

“I need you to come with me Lady Mcmay.”

Brook stepped in front of Sarah and said, “She will not be going anywhere until you explain a reason why.” Brook saw Landon coming down the hallway with two officers coming up behind him fast.

Sarah suddenly heard her uncle’s voice. She began to panic. Brook shoved Sarah inside the bedroom and shut the door behind them.

As she locked it she said, “We will wait in here until Devon returns home.”

Sarah was crying and shook her head in agreement.

The men on the other side of the door began to pound on it, as they demanded she open the door. Threats were shouted to Brook for interfering as they said she was going to jail. Sarah and Brook jumped with fear as the men began to kick the door in. It was not long before they had rushed in and grabbed the two women.

Both of them were dragged down stairs with a man on either side of them holding their arms. There were four men carrying Landon. Sarah was brought face to face with her uncle. He smiled at her with a hateful grin and whispered to her in a low hissing voice, “You will pay for this Sarah. Collins is quite eager to see you again.”

Sarah began to scream as she begged the men to let her go. She wiggled one arm out of the man’s grip and grabbed Landon’s hand. “Find Devon!”

The look in her eyes was nothing but sheer fear. The officer took hold of her arm again and bent it until she submitted to him. Landon went to lunge at the man as Sarah screamed in pain, but he was held back by three other men.

Grams buried herself into Richards as she sobbed. Richards watched as they removed Sarah kicking and pleading from the house. Her screams were curdling and unbearable to listen to. Richards knew whatever Mcmay had said to Sarah, he had scared her.

Mcmay laughed as Sarah was escorted out of the house. Grams walked over to him and slapped him with all her force. Mcmay’s head whipped to the side. He slowly turned back and said, “She will now pay for what you have just done as well as her own actions.” Mcmay smiled at Grams.

Grams started to pound on his chest. “You are a vile creature. If you harm that child I will kill you myself!” Grams then spit in his face.

Landon and Richards pulled her back and Mcmay turned away as he wiped his face and left with Sarah in the carriage.


Chapter 29

Brook held Grams on the sofa doing her best to comfort her while Richards and Landon spoke in low voices at the bar. She was not able to hear much of anything that was being said. Landon then walked behind her and left out the door.

Richards came and sat down next to them in a club chair. “Landon is going to search for Devon.”

“How could they have any rights to take her like that? She is not safe Richards,” Brook said.

“We will bring her back shortly; do not worry either of you,” Richards said. He tried to remain strong in front of them. Secretly inside, he was terrified she would be shipped off before they had a chance to get her back. Lester knows a lot of bad people in many places. Anyone of them would do his bidding for the right amount of shillings.

As everyone waited, minutes turned into an hour and an hour turned into two, then three. The tension in the room was thick. Landon had come back long ago and had been out two more times with no successful results. He had no idea where the hell Devon had gone. Landon was able to locate where Eli lived and left an urgent note with the butler for Devon or Eli. The only thing that was needed to secure Sarah’s freedom was the original will.

Brook lept to her feet and said, “Someone is coming down the drive.”She pointed out the window.

“It is not Devon,” Landon said with disappointment in his voice.

The man’s knock on the large wooden double doors echoed throughout the house three times. Richards answered the door and the man handed him a note. Richards stood in the entryway and opened it. The note was in his brother’s handwriting.

Grams, Brook, and Landon heard Richards voice as he shouted, “Oh dear God!” Everyone ran into the entryway where Richards stood by the still open front door.

“What is it Richards?” Grams asked. The look on his face terrified her.

“It is from my brother who works for Lord Mcmay. Sarah is locked in the cellar with Collins and he says she needs help now. He goes on to say the staff is crying because of.” Richards stopped reading. He didn’t want to say it out loud to anyone.

“Why are they crying Richards?” Grams demanded.

Richards gazed to the three of them standing with waited breath for him to finish. “Because of Sarah’s pleading sounds of whimpering and screams for Collins to stop. There is more but I will not read it in front of the women.” Richards looked to Landon and said, “We need to do something now.”

“What is it you need to do Richards?” Devon asked as he stood in the doorway smiling.

Grams threw herself on Devon and began talking and sobbing in his arms. Devon could not understand a word she was saying. He wrapped his arms around her. “Grams whatever has you so upset?”

“Mcmay has taken Sarah,” Landon said.

Devon felt his heart pound and his stomach drop. “When?”

Richards said, “Hours ago. This is a note I just received from my brother.”He handed it to Devon.

Everyone watched Devon’s face as he read it. They saw his hands begin to tremble. Devon dropped the note and ran out the door.

Landon followed him and Richards said to Grams, “We will need towels, water and a doctor.” Then he left and headed to the stable following Devon and Landon.

The men rode fast and hard. It had begun to rain an hour ago and the wind had now started to pick up. It took them twenty minutes to get to Lord Mcmay’s estate. Upon arriving, Landon dismounted first and began to pound on the wooden doors. Richards joined Landon in front of the doors. Devon walked up, without waiting for someone to answer, opened the door and walked right in.

Richards brother Edwards, was hobbling towards them as quickly as he could manage. “Mcmay left a long time ago and Collins is in the kitchen with two of his friends.” He said.

“Where is Sarah?” Devon demanded.

“She is locked in the basement Sir. Collins has the only key.” He pointed down the hallway. “Sarah was calling for you Sir. I have not heard any sound from her since right before Collins came up from the cellar and I fear the worst.”

Devon and Landon stormed towards the kitchen just as Collins and his two buddies were coming out. Devon hit Collins square in the face and knocked him out cold. Landon beat the tar out of the other two men in a matter of thirty seconds with Richards’s help.

Devon found the key and opened the basement door. “Sarah!” He shouted as he ran down the stairs. The further he moved down the stone steps, the dimmer it became. The dam odor engulfed the space. The air felt cool and damp. He went to the left and hit a dead end. “Sarah where are you?” Devon turned back as he went the other way and followed the stone hallway around as it curved. “Sarah!” His voice was despite and cracking. His entire body was shaking. Devon was terrified as to what he might find.

“I should have been home with her. If I had, none of this would have happened. Where are you Sarah? God help me please. Sarah!”

As the curve of the stonewall ended, he stopped dead in his tracks as he saw her. He was petrified to move, to know if she was alive. Devon ran to the corner of the small room where Sarah was chained to the wall, hanging by her arms. A single torch in the opposite corner, light the small musty room.

Devon picked up her head gently to check her breathing. She was badly beaten and covered in her own blood. He could not hear any sounds coming from her. “Richards!” Devon screamed as loud as he could.“Oh God Sarah no. Please breath for me sweet heart. Richards!”Devon’s voice was horrifying to hear.

Richards and Landon came up next to him. Landon removed his coat and handed it to Richards as he looked away. Richards used it to cover Sarah’s bare chest.

Richards said, “Devon go find the key for these chains.”

“She is not breathing. Help me, she needs to breathe. Richards do something please. You have to save her for me please. I can’t live without her.” Devon was beginning to lose it.

“Landon he is going into shock. Sit him down and find me the bloody key.”Richards tone was stern and calm.

Landon left as he ran from the room. Devon sat on a stool next to Sarah’s lifeless body dangling by her wrists wrapped in rusty chains. He stared at the blood dripping from her face that had already stained her soft blond hair. She did not look like his Sarah. Devon followed a drip of blood as it fell from her chin to the floor. A large puddle had already formed at her feet. He looked back to her hair that was stained dark red, almost brown-black. His gaze moved down and to see her clothing torn away from her body.

Richards checked her breathing and it was shallow. “She is breathing Devon. We will get her out of here and take her home but you need to get a hold of yourself. I will need your help. Devon! Look at me.”

Devon tore his eyes away from Sarah. “Richards I…I love her so much.”

“I know Devon.” Richards did not know what else to say to him. He wanted nothing more than to give his promise that Sarah was going to be fine…but he couldn’t. He knew that Sarah's life was most likely going to parish before night's end.

Richards’s brother came down with a sheet to wrap her in. Devon stood up and pulled the coat from Sarah. He saw close-up what Collins had done to her body.

Richards handed Devon the sheet and said, “Put this on her Devon.”Richards watched as Devon was not responding. Richards grabbed Devon and slapped him across the face. “If you are not going to help her then leave!” Richards needed Devon to remain focused.

Devon looked down at the sheet in his hands and started to wrap it around Sarah’s body. His hands were shaking so hard he could barely form a fist to work with the material.

Richards then handed Devon a large glass of scotch and said, “Drink this it will help calm your nerves son.” He was keeping his composure, he had to, Devon was in no condition to help anyone. He had caught a glance of what that man had done to her. In Richards’s opinion, this so called man was not human.

Devon chugged down the scotch Richards had given him quickly. Staring into his empty glass he realized he was going to kill Collins. He was going to strangle the breath out of another human being without remorse. Devon knew he could live with it. He knew it was wrong and he didn’t care.

Landon came back with tools in his hands. “Mcmay has the key. We can use these to break through the chains.”

“Good thinking Landon,” Richards said as he took a set of tools from Landon.

Devon stepped forward and said, “I will do it Richards.”

Richards nodded handing him the ax.

“Why is there a puddle of blood at her feet behind her?” Landon asked.

Richards pulled back the sheet and saw a stab wound in her side. “She has been stabbed. You two get to work and I will apply pressure to the wound. You need to work quickly.” Richards bunched up the material and began pressing on the wound.

Devon and Landon hit the chains to break them apart. After ten minutes, Richards pulled his hands away from Sarah’s wound and checked it. The bleeding had not stopped yet, although it had slowed some. He reached up and checked her pulse and then her breathing. “We really need to hurry gentlemen if you could please.” Honestly the smell of Sarah’s blood mix with the musty scent of the cellar was getting to him. The deafening clanking from the ax striking the chains was not helping him with his queezy feeling.

After another ten minutes Landon broke threw his first. Sarah’s body slummed down as Richards caught her. Devon within a minute had broken threw the other chain.

Devon took her up into his arms and headed for the stairs. Outside a carriage was waiting for him. He turned to Richards. “You take the horses and Collins.”

Devon sat on the seat with Sarah in his arms. He was still applying firm pressure to Sarah’s wound on her side. Devon could feel her blood seeping down his leg. She felt cold and her body was so limp. Devon pulled back the sheet wrapped around her bloody body. He was horrified as he gazed at all the gashes and bite marks that covered her. He put the sheet back around her and held her tight against him as he began to tremble again. “I am so sorry Sarah. I should have never left this morning. I have failed you and I have failed your father. I am no hero for you.” Devon opened his eyes and gazed down at her legs resting on the seat. He saw the pink trim of the dress he had bought for her and had sent home to her. He felt his fist clench the wet sheet wrapped around her. Devon imagined how pretty she must have looked in it. He moved his eyes back to her swollen bruised face and kissed her forehead. He did not even recognize her. “Don’t leave me Sarah,” he whispered.

When the carriage pulled up, Landon and Richards were waiting at the front steps for him. Devon carried Sarah’s pale limp body into the house. As he passed by Grams and Brook in the entry, the two women gasped and Grams let out a painful cry as she reached for Sarah’s hand dangling in the air.

Brook gazed down at the trail of blood that was following Devon. She did not want Grams to see it, so she looked to Richards to take her. Richards gazed down and understood what Brook had saw. After Richards took Grams in the drawing room, Brook found some rags and a pail for water in the kitchen and started wiping up Sarah’s blood with a scrub brush as she then blooded it with the rags. She could her Grams crying over the sound of the bristles against the thick rug.

Landon knelt down beside her and took a rag. He soaked it in the water and began to wipe as well. He looked over to Brook after a few minutes and saw her tears falling to the floor. He dropped his rag in the pail and took hers out of her trembling hands. Landon pulled her to her knees and hugged her tight.

Brook felt her body soften in his arms. It felt so good to be held in his strong embrace, she felt safe. Brook had been holding in the whole day’s events and she could feel it starting to surface. She tried to push it back down until Landon’s hand ran threw the back of her hair and he started to rub her back. Those simple motions opened a floodgate. Brook wrapped her arms around his neck and cried hard as she let it all come out in his arms.

Landon didn’t say anything to her, he just held her tight. He knew she had tried to be so strong for Sarah earlier that day. He recognized she was the rock in the group and always kept her composure for everyone around her. Right now, she needed someone to be that for her and he wanted to be that someone for her.

Brook slowly pulled back from him and said, “I am sorry.”

Landon took a handkerchief out of his coat pocket and handed it to her as he said, “I possibly needed that more than you did to be honest.”

Brook finished wiping her face and smiled as she looked up to him. Landon felt himself lean into her and kiss her gently. She felt soft in his arms and her breath was sweet tasting.

Brook kissed him back. She felt an over whelming sense of comfort in him kissing her. Brook let herself relax into his strong arms. For a brief moment she let everything just melt away. His hands closed around her waist and pulled her closer.

The kiss lasted less than twenty seconds, as a voice from the drawing room caused them to stop. Landon still was hovering close to her lips and he brushed them gently with his. Brook’s eyes were closed and she felt like she was floating.

“I don’t want to stop,” Landon said to her softy with his lips still grazing hers.

They heard Richards voice near the doorway and moved slightly away from one another. Brook picked her rag back up and continued to wipe. Landon gazed down at her profile, as he was trying to figure out what just happened and why he had chosen that moment to kiss her.

Devon opened the door and called to Brook. “The doctor needs some assistance.” Devon walked closer to her and explained that he was not married to Sarah and was not allowed to remain in the room past this point. Brook listened and then disappeared into the room.

Landon was scrubbing the floor as Devon looked down to his friend. He grabbed a rag and helped.

Richards approached them from behind. “You two should not be doing that.”

Landon said, “I don’t mind it is giving me something to do.”

There was a knock at the door behind them that drew their attention. Richards walked over and answered it. It was the officers from earlier. Richards escorted them in and over to Devon, who was still wiping the floor from Sarah’s blood.

“What has happened here?” The round short man in charged asked.

“This did not happen here. It happened at Mcmay’s. Sarah, the woman you dragged out of here pleading for you not too, was beaten and tortured and this is her blood,” Landon shouted at him.

Where is she? I want to see her?” the man said.

Richards said, “I will notify the doctor of your request, wait here.”Richards came back and said, “He will need a few minutes. He needs to finish closing her stab wound.” Then Richards walked away leaving the man standing there.

Devon and Landon did not say a another word to the officer standing next to them. Landon noticed the man start to tap his foot on the rug by Devon’s hand. “I’m sorry Sir. Are we keeping you from something more important…like a round pastry perhaps?”

The officer immediately looked to Landon and said, “I beg your pardon?”

Devon said, “I think what my friend was trying to say was, you seem impatient about something. Now if you care to keep your foot attached to your ankle…Well I suggest you stop tapping it in our faces, officer.”

At the moment he planned to reply to Devon, the doctor called for him. The short round man waddled away and into the room behind the door where Sarah was lying. Devon and Landon finished cleaning and went to the drawing room to join the others. Landon walked to the bar and poured a round of drinks.

Grams saw Devon’s shirt and started to cry all over again. Devon looked down and realized his white shirt was no longer white. He removed his coat and then worked on his shirt. “Damn buttons,” he mumbled to himself.

The officer and the doctor entered the room a second later. Both of them approached Devon and the room grew silent.

“We will track down Mcmay and this Collins fellow. My men and I will question them to see what has happened.”

“Collins is in my stable and Mcmay I believe is at a card game,” Devon said. He then looked to the doctor.

“I have stopped her bleeding but she has lost a tremendous amount of blood Lord Price. Her face has a few broken bones and quite a few of her ribs are broke. That would explain why her breathing was so shallow when she was chained to the wall.” The doctor removed his glasses. “Sarah has what might possibly be a severe head injury. Right now, it is hard for me to discern the extent of the damage that has been done to her. She has a lot of swelling and when that begins to subside, I will be able to give you a better diagnosis. I have stitched up many areas and the bite wounds she sustained will heel in time… if she survives. I am truly sorry. I wish I was able to do more for her and you Lord Price.”

Devon shook his head in understanding to what the doctor was telling him.“We are all grateful for everything you have done.”

“Lord Price, it is my belief that this estate should prepare for the strong possibility that lady Mcmay will not make it till the morning Sir.”The doctor pinched his lips together as he heard the gasps and cries coming from behind Devon.

Devon looked down to the floor. “Is there no hope for her?”

The doctor placed his hand onto Devon’s shoulder and said, “Son, if you are not close with our lord, then now would be the moment to call upon him and introduce yourself.”

Devon looked to him. “I see.”

The silence of the room was shook alive by a thunderous pounding on the front door. Richards rose to go and open it but whoever was on the other side of it, just barged threw and into the room.

“You had no right to enter my house and take what does not belong to you.”Mcmay was walking towards Devon and pointing his finger at him.“Where is the little chit?”

Devon lunged foreword after him as he pushed past the officers. He wrapped his hands around Mcmay’s throat and tackled him to the ground. “You bloody bastard! How could you?” He squeezed so hard he thought his hands were going to break. Devon wanted to watch this man die. He wanted to make him suffer. Every man in the room used all their strength to pull Devon from Mcmay.

After Mcmay was free from Devon’s grip and up on his feet again, he said,“She needed to know her place. Collins was kind enough to assist me with that.” Mcmay gave Devon a wide evil grin as he narrowed his eyes at him as well.

Landon reached out a punched Mcmay in his throat hard. Mcmay fell against the side table and smashed threw it with Landon landing on top of him. Landon went to draw up his arm and hit Brook in the mouth with his elbow. Landon had not even noticed. Brook quietly left the room to sit with Sarah. She could not stand anymore of this insanity.

“Landon James stop!” Grams shouted in a stern motherly tone. As Landon looked to Grams, Mcmay hit him in the eye knocking him off his body. The officers abruptly stepped in to take Landon’s arms. One of the officers locked him in cuffs.

Grams stepped foreword addressing the chubby Captain, “You remove those shacklings without haste.”

“With all due respect Lady Wilsbee, they will remain in place until everyone in this room gains some resemblance of composer. Now, I will go and have an interview with Lord Mcmay while the rest of you remain still…and silent.”

Mcmay cleared his sore throat and attempted to shout, “These people have no rights to her,” he said as he was coughing. “I am taking her back with me right now.”

“You cannot move her. I will not allow it,” the doctor said with disbelief filling his voice.

“I can do what I wish withher,” Mcmay said and then turned to Devon and finished his sentence, “And toher.”

Richards hit Mcmay in the back of the head with a poker for the fire. Mcmay fell to the ground flat on his face.

The officer shouted, “Bloody hell, have all of you gone mad?”

“Yes we have. Did you see her face and the state of her body? I assume not, because if you had, then you would not be asking us that,”Grams said to the officer.

Mcmay stumbled to his feet. “I want her removed now,” he said while holding the back of his head. “And I want this man arrested,” he pointed to Richards.

The officer looked to Devon and said, “My hands are tied on this Sir. I have to allow it, he is her charge.”

Devon took a step forward and said, “She is to be my wife tomorrow. If you attempt to go anywhere near her, I will kill you and anyone else who tries after you.”

Mcmay started laughing and said, “I will not give consent for the marriage.”

Devon said, “You have no authority over her. I have found Benjamin’s original will. You drew up a fake one and now you will hang for attempted murder.”

“Prove it Price. I want to see this will.” Mcmay challenge him.

Devon looked to the officer and said, “A friend of mine is holding it safe for me. As soon as I can reach him I will give you all the proof you need.”

The officer ran his hand through his hair then said, “I am sorry. If you do not have it right now, I cannot help you Lord Price.”

“He has it right here.” Eli handed it to the officer.

Devon was shocked to see him. Eli smiled and said, “I have been sitting in the corner with Grams for an hour.”

“I am glad you are here.” Devon grabbed him and shook his hand. Eli patted his back. “I am too, my friend.” Eli released him. “Landon had left an urgent note with James my butler and I came straight here without haste.”

The officer called for his men outside the room and had them take Mcmay and Collins away. “You have my deepest sympathy regarding Lady Mcmay and do wish an acute recovery. I will be in touch.” Then he left.

Devon walked over to Grams who was sitting on the sofa. He keeled down so he was eye level with her and said, “I had wanted to tell you about our engagement differently and celebrate with you. I am sorry it was delivered to you in this manner Grams.”

She smiled at him and said, “I do not care of that my boy. I knew last night at the ball you were going to ask for her hand. Any man who makes that much of an ass of himself, has to love the woman draped over his shoulder. Go and be with your future wife Devon. She needs you.”

Devon kissed her and then left the room to his study where Sarah was. Devon quietly knocked on the door and then opened it. He saw Brook sitting by her side. “Do you mind if I come in Brook?”

“Not at all Devon.” Brook stood up to leave.

“You do not have to leave,” Devon said to her.

“I want to Devon. She needs you to be with her.” Brook smiled weakly at him.

“Are you alright Brook?” Devon asked her.

“I will be alright when I know Sarah will be.”

“I cannot lose her Brook. She is my everything and I love her.” Devon gazed at Sarah.

Brook put her hand on his arm and said, “She looked beautiful in the dress you sent for her. Interesting choice of buttons.” She chuckled.

Devon smiled. Brook looked to him and said, “I have never known a woman to love a man as much as she loves you Devon. I truly believe for that reason alone, she will not let go.”

“Did she talk about me to you?” he asked her.

Brook said, “She didn’t have to. Anyone could see it when you were in the room with her. We had been talking earlier this day and she said something I thought you might want to know.” Brook waited for Devon to look to her. “She had told me she would have never thought she would be able to find a man as amazing as her father was. Sarah said you were perfect in every way possible to her. She referred to you as her hero. Knight and shining charmer is what she called you.”

Devon smiled at Brook but he really wanted to cry. He was no hero or anything else to her. Brook said good-bye and left. Devon sat quietly next to Sarah. He did not care how she was going to be or look later on, he just wanted her to wake up and say his name. Devon remained by her side watching her breathe and on occasion saw the twitching of her fingers.

When Brook left the room, Landon was waiting outside the door.

“Devon is in with Sarah.”

“I know. I was standing out here waiting for you. Are you all right? I want you to come and eat something Brook.” Landon said softly.

“Thank you but I do not feel much like eating now.” Brook said to him without making any eye contact.

They began to walk down the hallway together. Landon said, “I shall get you some tea. Will you drink some tea for me at least?”

“I can get the tea Landon,” Brook said.

“No I will get the tea, you go sit down.” His voice was slightly soft with an undertone of direction to it.

Brook did not argue with him and sat down. She noticed the blood on her dress. She would need to go and change soon but she was so tired. In a few minutes, she told herself. The room was quiet, as everyone had moved to the dining room for dinner, although she was sure they really weren't in the mood for food either. Brook put her feet up on the sofa after she removed her shoes. She laid back and it finally hit her how drained she truly felt.

Landon returned with a maid carrying Brook’s tea and found her asleep on the sofa. He had the maid put the tray down and he sat in a chair next to Brook. Landon watched her chest rise and fall as her breaths slowed and deepened with her slumber she was falling into. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the chair.

Brook was unsure how much time had passed when she awoke. Gazing to the chair next to her, she saw Landon in what looked to her to be a very uncomfortable position. He was sitting on his hands behind him. She reached over and placed her hand on his knee. “Landon,” she whispered.

Landon woke and saw Brook leaning over in front of him. “Hello Red.”

Brook smiled and sat back down. “I haven’t heard that one before. You are so cleaver and creative with your choice of words. Women must simply fall to your feet with whit like that.” She gave him a quick glance as she poured some tea for them.

“Oh you are very Irish Brook O’Brien. Your mouth is as fiery as your hair seems to be.” Landon gave her a sideways smirk.

“Would you be talking with me if it weren’t?” Brook saw Landon’s smile widen. “I thought not.” She reached over and placed a small scope of sugar in both the tea cups. “Sarah has awoken slightly. The doctor said that is a great sign. Devon has not left her side.”

“I would suspect not, knowing Devon. I believe she will recover fully Brook.”

Brook gazed to him and said, “She is talking somewhat and she knows who everyone is so far. The memory of tonight is gone though.”

“Would you want her to remember?” Landon asked.

“No, it is just that her memory from the entire last week is gone as well. Sarah does not remember Devon asking her to be his wife.”

“Well, look at it this way Brook. At least Devon will know what her answer will be when he asked this time around, right.”

Brook started laughing softly. “I suppose you’re right.” She held out the cup of tea for Landon. After a moment, he still had not taken it from her. Brook glanced at him and saw a smile on his face. “Is this amusing to you that I am holding out tea for you?”

“No that is only half of what is amusing about this.”

Brook put the tea down in front of him. “I my questioning if I dare ask you why Landon.”

“Oh do ask because I think you shall find it possible more amusing than I”

Brook shook her head and said, “Alright then. What is so amusing?”

Landon sat back a little more comfortable and said, “You see my Red, you are holding out a cup of tea for a man whom you assume can take the tea from you.”

“You are not making any sense Landon.”

“The whole thing makes perfect sense, Red,” Landon said,

“It does not and stop calling me Red.” Brook picked up her tea and sipped it carefully. She thought for a moment about what he was saying. She quickly looked at him.

Landon smiled again at her. “Ah, you are more cleaver than I thought,”he said.

“What? Landon no.” Brook burst out into laughter.

Grams entered the room and brought with her the aroma of mini muffins with blueberries. “What is so funny Brook?”

Brook just shook her head. She was laughing too hard to answer her at that moment.

Grams sat down next to Brook. “Good gracious my child, breathe.”

Landon said, “You will soon be laughing as well. In all the fuss over Mcmay and Collins the officers forgot something of theirs.”

Grams leaned foreword and asked, “What was it?”

Brook shouted out, “Their cuffs on Landon!”

“Oh heavens no.” Grams began laughing with Brook.

Landon stood up. “I see neither of you plans to offer me a lick of aid.”

Grams stood up and announced she was going to fetch Richards. Landon started to follow her out of the room.

“Wait, I can undo them for you Landon,” Brook said. She pulled a hairpin from her hair and walked over to him…still giggling of course.

“I told you it would be more amusing to you.”

Brook said, “I do apologize but how could you not remember to say something?” She began to work on the cuffs.

“Honestly, I was wondering where you had gone. I did not see you and I…I was wondering.” He felt Brook pause for a second with the cuffs. Just then he heard a snap.

“Oh no,” Brook whispered.

copyright 2010


Chapter 30

“Was that an oh no you can not believe how fetching I am from behind or was that an oh no, that had to do with the snap I heard?” Landon asked.

“Oh no the second.” Brook remained working on the cuffs. “I have broken off the pin inside the lock.”

“Well, what ever are we to do now Red?”

Brook popped her head out from the side of him and looked up at Landon. “I can fix this.”

“How are you going to manage that Brook?” Landon started to chuckle.

“Do not wander away. I will be but a moment,” Brook said as she left the room. After a few minutes, Brook entered the room to find it was empty. “Where did he go?” she mumbled out loud.

“I am here,” Landon said from behind the bar top.

“What are you doing? We have to remove you from those cuffs.”

“I was hoping you might have had something else in mind with the butter you are holding Brook.” Landon walked over to her and whispered,“Lock the door Red. I promise I won't utter a word.”

Brook stuck her foot out and tripped him as he was walking away from her. Landon let out a loud groan as he hit the floor face first. Brook knelt down next to him and began to smear butter all over his wrists and hands.

Red have you ever done this before or are you simply a natural at it? I feel like you are taking advantage of my situation. I kind of like feeling violated by you.”

“Landon, say one more word and you are never getting these cuffs off you...ever.” Brook moved to the bottom of his body and began to pull on the cuffs slowly that held his hands behind his back. “Landon I almost have them off.”

“Good because it will be your turn to wear them next.” Landon started to chuckle at the thought of her in them. Amusement soon turned to arousal.

Mr fields, I will leave you here in these cuffs. Do not undermine me. I am a woman of my word.” Brook pulled one last time and they came free. As Landon stood up he grabbed Brook on the shoulders. Brook glared down at his butter covered hands on her dress sleeves. Her mouth formed a straight line as she glared at him with clear irritation. Landon smiled down at her. Brook felt his fingers moving around on the fabric of her dress.

Brook said, “Do you mind?”

“I do not one bit, but thank you for considering me though.” Brook then walked away mummbling to herself.

Devon sat with Sarah on the chaise lounge. He was hesitant to touch her given all her injuries. The doctor had not wanted anyone to move her so she was covered by a thin sheet. Devon went to get a blanket for her. As he gently placed it over her, the sudden realization of what had happened to her began to surface. Devon began to feel the fury build up inside him again.

How could I have allowed this to happen? Some husband you will make. I can't believe she will never remember our night together. God...if I had just sent for the documents instead of leaving her alone.

Devon looked down at Sarah and saw her staring up at him. “I did not mean to wake you. I'm sorry." Sarah shook her head in protest. “Would you like some tea or water?” Sarah shook her head yes at him. “Water?”

"Yes.”Her voice was weak and scratchy sounding. “Brook?” Sarah said.

“Would you like to see Brook? I will fetch her for you.”

Sarah smiled slightly at him and Devon left. Sarah picked up the empty silver tray from the coffee table and gazed at her reflection in horror. Sarah tossed the tray to the floor and began to cry.

Brook came up to Sarah's side with Devon. Sarah turned away as best she could from both of them. Brook quickly looked to Devon.

“Sarah listen to me, the doctor said you will make a full recovery. Are you in pain again?”

She did not answer her. Sarah's hand was covering her face. Devon moved towards her and stepped on the tray lying on the floor. He realized Sarah must have saw her reflection. He walked over and touched Brook on the shoulder. Brook stood up and made her way to the door.

Devon sat down next to Sarah. “I had the most amazing night of my life last night Sarah. I can't begin to describe how I felt and still feel right now. I had asked you this once already Sarah. And after last night...well honestly after these last few weeks, I would ask you every night if it brought you happiness.”

Devon put his hand over her hand and eased it away from her bruised face. Devon got up and move to sit in front of the direction she was faced. She would not look at him. So Devon sat on the floor in front of her so they were now face to face.

“Sarah,” he whispered. “Please look at me sweetheart?”

Her gaze flew to his. Devon could see the confusion in her eyes. He slowly leaned in and kissed her so very gently. Then he whispered, “Sarah you told me last night you would be my wife and now I pray you will remember. I cannot live without you in my life Sarah. I have never loved someone so much before. Please share your life with me?”

Sarah took his hand in her hand. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she did her best to form a smile. “I love you Dev,” she said softly. “I am sorry I cannot.”

“What?” Devon searched her eyes as to why she would say that. “You just said you love me why will you not be my wife?”

“Please leave me Dev. I do not want your pity. You are no longer bound to your promise to my father.” Sarah turned her head away from him.

Sarah I do not ask you out of pity...I love you with everything I am inside me. How can I convince you? Is it proof you require, is that it?” Devon stood up and left the room.

Why is he doing this? I want someone who truly loves me not a husband who married me because he feels sorry for me. Does he not know how much this hurts me? I would do anything for him, he has to know that.

Sarah heard the door open. Brook entered the room and then Landon, Grams, as well as Richards, followed by Devon. She looked at all of them.

“My dear child he tells you the truth,” Grams said.

Brook stepped forward. “Sarah you are my dearest friend and you know I would never convince you of false truths.” She handed Sarah the note that came to Sarah with the dress from Devon. “I watched you open your gift in the new room you share with him now.”

Landon said, “I am usually the last to know when it comes to matters of the heart. Earlier this day you were a smitten woman in love.” Landon stood over her and added, “Devon is the most honest man I have ever known Sarah.” Landon bent down and kissed her softly on her forehead.

Devon sat beside her and pulled out the marriage license. “The date on this was dated for yesterday Sarah. Not today's date.” Devon leaned over her and said, “I have struggled the last few weeks since I laid eyes upon you to deny myself the love I feel for you. I shoved all the fear I have about loving you this much and saw how foolish I was acting.” Sarah still wouldn't look to him. “Sarah please look into my eyes.”

After a moment she turned and faced him.

Grams grabbed Brook's hand and squeezed it tightly.

Devon said, “I sit her now before you surrendering my heart to you to hold. I am asking you to love me the way you said you had...please.”

Sarah saw a tear roll down his cheek. “You are my Sarah.” Devon gazed at her with longing for her to say something.

“Dev” Sarah swallowed slowly then said, “I promise I will never leave you. I love you from the deepest part of me.”

Devon put his forehead to her forehead. “You do remember,” he said softly.

Sarah smiled and said, “When you said that, it came flashing in to my memory. The way you gazed into my eyes is the same gaze you look upon me now with.”

"I will forever look at you this way Sarah. I love you." Devon said. Never again will I shut you out of my heart...Sarah, you are my heart and have been for some time. I-I am a foolish man and do not deserve-"

Sarah placed her hand to his check. "You are perfect in every way Lord Devon Price and I love you."

Devon remained with Sarah for as long as it took her to get back up on her feet. He had a bed brought down to his study along with a soaking tub. After a few weeks Sarah was up walking around. Devon never left her for longer then ten minutes at a time. He cared for her. Read to her and of course told her grand stories from his past with her father.

The doctor came every other day because Grams insisted upon it. His final evaluation was at the end of a long month. Behind closed doors with no one but Sarah and the kind doctor he told her the news.

Afterward he updated Devon outside the door with all the general of progress but Devon noticed something was being held back from him.

The doctor turned to leave and Devon reached out and placed his hand on the doctor's shoulder. "I need to know what you are hiding from me Doctor. Sarah is to be my-"

"Sarah is my patient and she will share with you what she wants to." He gazed down for a moment and then back up to Devon. "It is not my place to delivery news that may change lives Lord Price. Sarah will tell you if and when she chooses to. I am truely sorry Sir." He turned and left.

Devon approached the door to his study. It was left cracked open and he saw Sarah wiping tears from her eyes. His heart sank and he wanted so much to leave for a while to get some air or honestly just to run from any possible hurt.

Sarah's gaze flew up at the door opening and saw Devon's smile. She did her best to compose herself, but she knew he knew her too well to hide anything from him now.

Devon stood in front of her. He said nothing and Sarah could not bring herself to look up to him. He noticed her hands trembling in her lap. He slowly reached down and covered them with his as he got on his knees.

"Sarah, what is it?" He barely got the words out fearing the answer to follow.

It took her a long few seconds to answer. Sarah looked him in the eyes. "The doctor believes I will never be able to have children Dev."

He closed his eyes and released the breath he was holding. Devon shook his head. "Thank God Sarah."


Devon looked to her. "I thought you were going to die or something. We can adopt children Sarah. You are what I care about right now. We will worry about kids later."

Sarah was relieved by his words but still upset. "You are not upset about the news Dev?"

"It is nothing compared to lossing you Sarah. That I could not live with."

Sarah reached up and wrapped her arms around Devon's neck and he held her tight, but not too tight.

Nearly a month after that dreadful night, Sarah is almost completely recovered. She sat on the sofa in the sitting room with Brook, Grams, Richards, Landon, and Devon. The ladies were making wedding plans and the men were playing cards.

Marvin, the new butler entered the room. “Sir there is a Captain Morris who wishes to speak with you.”

Devon looked to Richards and Landon then back at Marvin. “I will receive him here, thank you.

Captain Morris came in as Devon walked to greet him. “May I offer you a drink Captain?”

Morris frowned slightly. “I really should not, duty you know. Well I suppose one small snip would not hurt.”

Devon smiled and said, “It will help shake off the winter chill.”

“Ah, that it would I dear say Lord Price.” Captain Morris glanced about the room and saw everyone's glare on him. He gave all of them a swift half smile and drew his attention back to Devon.

“So what do we who this pleasure for Captain? Devon asked.

Morris looked at Devon and then gulped down his whiskey. After setting his glass down he said, “I felt it was my personal duty to inform you that Lord Mcmay has escaped and is on the run.” Captain Morris ignored the gasps coming from the rest of the room.

Devon remained calm. “Do you know of where he may be headed?”

“Not at this time Sir. My sincere regrets on the matter Lord Price. I felt it was only right all of you be notified in person Sir.”

Devon patted him on the back and said, “You are a thoughtful man and I thank you captain.”

Morris held out a note to Devon. “This was written to Lady Sarah, but I felt it better that you handle it seeing that you are engaged.”

He took the note and captain Morris left. Devon stood against the bar and opened it. Everyone was watching him. Waiting to be told what the note said to Sarah.

To my brother's child,

You have stolen what is rightfully mine by birthright. You should have died that night. Your last breath should have been done and gone like your father's and Devon's father was. They both payed for their mistakes with their lives and so will you Sarah.

I want what is mine. All of you will suffer. I will make you watch me kill everyone whom you dragged into this. And in the end, when you are alone surrounded by your dead friends, I will kill you slowly as I did your father.

He died by my hands and so will you Sarah. I will hunt you, follow you, seek you until I find you.

Devon did not finish the note. He folded it up and placed it into his pocket. He walked over to Sarah and said, “I will never allow him to come near you again.”

Sarah stood up and hugged him tightly and whispered, “I know Dev. I know.”

Copyright 2010

The End

by Cary Davis
Pages of Romance Publishing

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