Last week Caroline and Jude night posted a two-part story in which characters from their different books met in the virtual world. Today, exclusively in cyberspace, we tell the story of their second encounter in 1818. Half is on Caroline’s blog, and half on Jude’s.
Today’s story involves David Wakefield and The Marquess of Glenaire.
David Wakefield is the baseborn son of the Duke of Haverford. He earns his living as an enquiry agent and has acquired twenty years experience by the second encounter. (Encouraging Prudence, work in progress to be published in September 2015)
Richard Hayden, The Marquis of Glenaire, is heir to the Duke of Sudbury. He is also Castlereagh’s protégé, spymaster, diplomat, and fixer (He appears in Dangerous Secrets and will have his own story told in Dangerous Weakness, to be published next winter) He believes he can fix anything, given enough information, but is currently stumped.
To read Part 1click here.
David Wakefield was sure of one thing. Baron Ross made an odd friend for someone in the elevated world of the Marquess of Glenaire. Prue had joined his interview with the marquess just long enough to draw some conclusions of her own.
“Glenaire acts like a cold fish, but he really cares about his friends.”
David agreed. “He’s going to great pains. He believes that if we can find the cause of the baron’s flight, and if he understands why the man doesn’t want to be found, he can bring him home.”
“The baron hung on the fringes of high society,” Prue mused. “He had a reputation for sponging off his friends. Whatever drove him was not fear of poverty.”
Three weeks later David wasn’t sure. He knew every house party and card game the baron attended in the months before his disappearance. He noted every tailor bill, rent default, and business meeting. Only one odd matter stood out.
Three hours after arriving at the Foreign Office a sniveling clerk showed him into Glenaire’s office.
“My apologies Wakefield. My usual clerk knew to admit you immediately. He is attending ill parents. That fool—”
David waved the disrespect aside. “I’m afraid I don’t have much.” He handed his report to Glenaire and watched the man read down it, ticking off items he surely knew for himself. He could see when his employer got to the oddity.
“Shipping?” Glenaire asked, jerking his head up. “Jamie had no money to invest in shipping.”
“Apparently he sold a slip of land that wasn’t entailed. How it had slipped through his father’s greasy fingers, I don’t know. He took the cash from that, what little was left of his sister’s dowry, and proceeds from the sale of a few personal items and staked all of it on the voyage of a ship owned by the two men I named in the report.”
“Ortho Fowler and Henry Cotton.” Glenaire’s face twisted in distaste.
“Fowler and Cotton. Shady business, those two,” Wakefield said.
At Glenaire’s silence, he went on. “I get the feeling you know them.”
“We know them. We’ve never been able to catch them.” Rage suffused Glenaire’s face momentarily before the marble mask slipped back into place.
“Much worse. Slave traders. We made the trade illegal, but it is too bloody profitable. Unscrupulous types outrun our patrols,” Glenaire said. He slammed down the report. “Damn it, Jamie!”
“He may not have known what sort of men he dealt with,” Wakefield suggested.
“Knowing Jamie, he didn’t, the damned fool. No wonder he ran. He’s ashamed.”
“There’s more, Glenaire. The ship he invested in was the Avante. It went down with all hands last month. He lost everything.”
Glenaire shook his head. “All dead. It wasn’t the money. He’s running from shame.”
Jamie Heyworth fled to Rome. He can’t let Nora Haley know the secrets he has hidden from everyone, even his closest friends. Nora fears deception will destroy everything she desires and she certainly can’t trust any man who drinks. A widow, she had enough of both in her marriage. Both Jamie and Nora, however, will dare anything for the black haired, blue eyed little imp that keeps them together, even enter a sham marriage to protect her. Will love—and the truth—bind them both together?
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