Read Say You Love Me Online

Authors: Johanna Lindsey

Tags: #General, #Romance, #Fiction, #Historical

Say You Love Me

BOOK: Say You Love Me
10.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Johanna Lindsey

Say You Love Me

A Malory Novel



Title Page


It wasn’t such a bad place, this place that was…


“Come on, dearie, it’s time.”


“Still don’t know what we’re doing here,” Lord Percival Alden…


“Twenty-three thousand.”


You sure you don’t want me to be in your…


Derek should have known his bosom companions wouldn’t leave it…


Derek usually enjoyed balls, though not ones with over three…


“It’s my own fault,” Mrs. Hershal mumbled. “Should’ve seen it…


Kelsey was feeling rather sick. She didn’t know how to…


They stopped at a rustic inn in Newbury for lunch.


Kelsey had no idea what to think when she awoke…


Derek hadn’t been home to Haverston in several months. Like…


Derek never did get back to Bridgewater. He had stayed…


Across the room, Lady Frances approached her husband. She was…


The town house was lovely, but Kelsey didn’t assume it…




She looked so fragile lying there, her hair stringy with…


The cook arrived that morning just after Derek left. And…


Kelsey donned the negligee with trembling fingers. She had known…


Kelsey awoke the next morning alone, Derek having left sometime…


“Are you married?”


The dressmaker Derek took Kelsey to was certainly not what…


“Damned fetching.”


Kelsey couldn’t remember ever laughing so much, or having so…


Later that week, Derek came by on the spur of…


“Well, it was rather strange, if you ask me,” Reggie…


“I got a missive from Jason today,” Anthony remarked just…


The women had gone upstairs to spend a bit more…


Jason couldn’t remember ever hating to do anything as hard…


“Found out what m’father called a family meeting for,” Derek…


Derek had a few errands to attend to that afternoon,…


For what should have been some simple errands that required…


There was such a boyish quality about Derek Malory, with…


Derek did indeed visit his Uncle James the next morning,…


Despite Derek’s assurances that she had little to fear from…


“Well, it’s about bleedin’ time ’e’s left that coach behind,”…


The large, musty old house showed very few signs of…


“Be very quiet, English. I do not wish to have…


“What kept you so bloody long?” Ashford growled at his…


Tools? What tool? That sounded too much like instruments of…


The rented hack had stopped in front of them. Derek’s…


Kelsey had tried everything she could think of, keeping in…


After her ordeal with Lord Ashford, Kelsey almost forgot that…


Derek stayed away for three days. Wisely, as it happened.


A dilemma—no, ANOTHER DILEMMA—THAT Kelsey was not looking forward to…


It was traditional for the Malory clan to gather at…


It was Christmas Eve when Derek again asked Kelsey to…


Jason had gone to his study. Derek entered it and…


When Kelsey opened the door to her room at the…


Derek was absolutely furious. His mother was alive—and not…


“I wish I had been there to hear it,” Roslynn…


Most of the family gathered in the parlor for afternoon…


Kelsey sat stiffly on the sofa in her room. Derek…


Derek entered the parlor at Haverston with Kelsey at his…

All I Need Is You

About the Author


Other Books by Johanna Lindsey


About the Publisher


It wasn’t such a bad place, this place that was going
to witness her sale to the highest bidder. It was clean. Its decor was quite elegant. The parlor she had first been shown to could have belonged in the home of any one of her family’s friends. It was an expensive house in one of the better sections of London. It was politely referred to as a House of Eros. It was a place of sin.

Kelsey Langton still couldn’t believe that she was there. Ever since she had walked in the door she had been sick to her stomach with fear and dread. Yet she had come here willingly. No one had carried her inside kicking and screaming.

What was so incredible was she hadn’t been forced to come here, she had agreed to—at least she had agreed that it was the only option available. Her family needed money—and a lot of it—to keep them from being thrown into the streets.

If only there had been more time to make plans. Even marriage to someone she didn’t
know would have been preferable. But her Uncle Elliott was likely right. He had pointed out that no gentleman with the wherewithal to help would consider marriage in a matter of days, even if a special license could be obtained. Marriage was simply too permanent to be jumped into without careful consideration.

But this…well, gentlemen
frequently acquire new mistresses on the spur of the moment, knowing full well that those mistresses would be every bit as costly as a wife, if not more so. The great difference was that a mistress, though easy to acquire, could also be easily disposed of, without the lengthy legalities and subsequent scandal.

She was to be someone’s mistress. Not a wife. Not that Kelsey knew any gentlemen personally she could have married, at least none who could afford to settle Uncle Elliott’s debts. She had had several young beaux courting her in Kettering, where she had grown up, before The Tragedy, but the only one with a large income had married some distant cousin.

Everything had happened so swiftly. Last night she came down to the kitchen as she did each night before retiring, to heat a bit of milk to help her sleep. Sleep was something she’d had difficulty with ever since she and her sister Jean had come to live with their Aunt Elizabeth.

Her insomnia had nothing to do with living in a new house and town, nor with Aunt Elizabeth. Her aunt was a dear woman, their mother’s only sister, and she loved both her
nieces as if they were her own daughters, had welcomed them with open arms and all the sympathy they had desperately needed after The Tragedy. No, it was the nightmares that disturbed Kelsey’s sleep, and the vivid recollections, and the ever-recurring thought that she could have prevented The Tragedy.

Aunt Elizabeth had suggested the warm milk all those months ago when she had finally noticed the dark smudges beneath Kelsey’s gray eyes and had gently prodded for the reason. And the milk did help—most nights. It had become a nightly ritual, and she usually disturbed no one, the kitchen being empty that time of night. Except last night…

Last night, Uncle Elliott had been there, sitting at one of the worktables, not with a late repast before him, but a single, rather large bottle of strong spirits. Kelsey had never seen him drink more than the one glass of wine Aunt Elizabeth allowed with dinner.

Elizabeth frowned on drinking, and so naturally didn’t keep strong spirits in her house. But wherever Elliott had obtained that bottle, he was more than halfway finished. And the effect it had had on him was quite appalling. He was crying. Quiet, silent sobs, with his head in his raised hands, tears dripping down onto the table, and his shoulders shaking pitifully. Kelsey had thought it was no wonder Elizabeth didn’t want strong drink in her house….

But it wasn’t the drink that was causing Elliott such distress, as she was to discover. No,
he’d been sitting there, with his back to the door, assuming he wouldn’t be disturbed while he contemplated killing himself.

Kelsey had wondered several times since if he would have had the courage to actually go through with it if she had quietly left. He’d never struck her as being an overly brave man, just a gregarious, usually jovial one. And it was her presence, after all, that had presented him with a solution to his troubles, one that he might not have considered otherwise, one that
certainly would never have thought of.

And all she’d done was ask him, “Uncle Elliott, what’s wrong?”

He’d swung around to see her standing behind him in her high-necked nightgown and robe, carrying the lamp she always brought downstairs with her. For a moment he’d appeared shocked. But then his head had dropped back into his hands and he’d mumbled something she couldn’t quite make out, so she’d had to ask him to repeat himself.

He’d raised his head enough to say, “Go away, Kelsey, you shouldn’t see me like this.”

“It’s all right, really,” she’d told him gently. “But perhaps I should fetch Aunt Elizabeth?”

“No!” had come out with enough force to make her start, then more calmly, if still quite agitated, he added, “She doesn’t approve of my drinking…and…and she doesn’t know.”

“Doesn’t know that you drink?”

He didn’t answer immediately, but she had already assumed that was what he meant. The
family had always known that he would go to extremes to keep Elizabeth from unpleasantness, apparently even those of his own making.

Elliott was a large man with blunt features and hair that had gone mostly gray now that he was approaching fifty. He’d never been very handsome, even when he was younger, but Elizabeth, the prettier of the two sisters, and still beautiful today at forty-two, had married him anyway. As far as Kelsey knew she loved him still.

They’d never had any children of their own in the twenty-four years of their marriage, and that was possibly why Elizabeth loved her nieces so dearly. Mama had mentioned once to Father that it was through no fault of their not trying, that it simply was not meant to be.

Of course, Kelsey shouldn’t have heard that. Mama hadn’t realized that she had been within earshot at the time. And Kelsey had overheard other things over the years, of how confounded Mama was as to
Elizabeth had married Elliott, who was frankly homely and had had no money to speak of, when she’d had so many other handsome, wealthy suitors to choose from instead. And besides, Elliott was in trade.

But that was Elizabeth’s business, and the fact that she’d always been a champion of the less fortunate might have had a great deal to do with her choice—or not. Mama had also been known to say that there was no accounting for love and its strange workings, that it
wasn’t, nor ever would be, governed by logic or even one’s own will.

“Doesn’t know that we’re ruined.”

Kelsey blinked, so much time had passed since she had asked her question. And that wasn’t the answer she’d anticipated. In fact, she could barely give it credit. His drinking could hardly be cause for social ruin, when so many gentlemen—and ladies, for that matter—drank to excess at the many gatherings they frequented. So she’d decided to humor him.

“So you’ve created a bit of a scandal, have you?” Kelsey had chided.

“A scandal?” He’d seemed confused then. “Oh, yes, it will be, indeed it will. And Elizabeth will never forgive me when they take this house away.”

Kelsey had gasped, but once again, she’d drawn the wrong conclusion. “You’ve gambled it away?”

“Now, why would I do a fool thing like that? Think I want to end up like your father? Or perhaps I should have. At least then there would have been a slim chance for salvation, when now there is none.”

She’d been utterly confused herself by that point, not to mention thoroughly embarrassed. Her father’s past sins, with the accompanying reminder of what those sins had wrought, shamed her.

So with high color in her cheeks that he probably didn’t notice, she’d said, “I don’t understand, Uncle Elliott. Who, then, is going to take this house away? And why?”

He’d dropped his head back onto his hands again, unable to face her in his shame, and mumbled out the story. She’d had to lean close to catch most of what he was saying, suffering the fumes of sour whiskey to do so. And by the time he’d finished she’d been shocked into silence.

It was much, much worse than she’d thought, and it really was so reminiscent of her own parents’ tragedy, though they’d handled the situation quite differently. But in Elliott’s case, he hadn’t had the strength of character to accept a failure, buckle up, and go on from there.

BOOK: Say You Love Me
10.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Ghost College by Scott Nicholson, J.R. Rain
Love, Me by Tiffany White
Going Overboard by Christina Skye
A Book of Great Worth by Dave Margoshes
I'll Sing for my Dinner by BR Kingsolver
Trophies by J. Gunnar Grey
Stardust by Kanon, Joseph