I am Lord Ellington, one of the founding members of The Rakes of Mayfair Club – a special club whose members are by invitation only. I’m enjoying my life; my daughter was recently married, and although I miss her mother, I’m content being a widower. I’m free to do as I please without being tied down – at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I did believe it wholeheartedly until one evening I caught a burglar in my home. Not your typical burglar either; a stunning, feisty woman who intrigues me whether I want to admit it or not.
I’m a seamstress’s assistant and life has not always been kind to me. I’m a widow with no family left, as my father, a well-known thief, was murdered. The police do not care who did it – but I do. In the process of following clues, I stumble across a handsome man who may just be more than I’m used to. He certainly has become part of my daydreams, but I’m not looking for a husband. I have a mystery to solve, and I keep reminding myself I don’t need assistance.
This is the second title in The Rakes of Mayfair series. Come join the adventure as we meet the men of The Club. This book can be read as a standalone.
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Tristan Mallory, Lord Ellington, was bored. He looked around the full ballroom at the colorful skirts and laughing ladies and felt not one whiff of interest. At the ripe old age of forty he’d lost all interest in the fairer sex.
Okay, he admitted to himself, not all interest. As a founding member of The Rakes of Mayfair Club, he still enjoyed meeting and introducing lovely ladies to the darker side of sexual activities. He attended The Club meetings several times a month, and had fun with the ladies, ninety percent of them widows, several times a month. But he no longer saw any of the ladies as being the sort he might approach about having a long-term relationship, and it was all Lord and Lady Essex’s fault.
Ellington looked over at his friends as they talked, Charlotte reaching up to whisper in Dalton’s ear, her words earning a laugh from her husband. That’s what I want, Ellington thought, love. It had been so long since his wife died that he’d forgotten about love. Seeing the Essexes’ happiness in the past year had brought the feelings back full force.
And Charlotte, bless her heart, had tried to find someone for Ellington to love. She’d not so subtly invited him to tea when her single friends were there. There had been house parties with his room situated between two different widows’ rooms, both of them vying for his attentions during the night. And there had been dinner invitations, where it was just Dalton and Charlotte, Ellington and one other lady. And although Ellington appreciated the effort not one of the ladies had raised his heart rate. He couldn’t imagine one of these sweet females across his knee, his hand coming down on their backsides. He couldn’t imagine them on their knees, sucking his cock. He couldn’t imagine them tied to his bed while he teased them, or on their hands and knees while he stuck his dick in their bums.
While the ladies milling about the room didn’t raise his interests, his cock was hard at the thought of sex, good, hard, dirty sex. Damn, he needed to find someone who could ease the physical ache that seemed to take over. There was a Rakes Club meeting tonight. Perhaps he should leave this soiree and find a nice, willing woman to at least help him find release.
Ellington stood and ran his hands down his muscular thighs. He knew he wasn’t bad to look at. Tall, muscular, blond hair, blue eyes. Why couldn’t he find a woman whom he could love? He made his way across the ballroom to his hosts. Charlotte smiled at him as he appeared. Her green eyes were flashing mischief and beside her Dalton groaned, shaking his head.
“Lord Ellington, I have someone I want you to meet.” Without waiting for an answer, Charlotte grabbed his arm and made her way to a pretty, little blonde whom she introduced as Shelia McCoy. “Shelia’s late husband was Scottish, and they lived in Edinburgh. He passed several months ago, and she has only been in England for a few days. I thought maybe you could show her the finer sites of London.” Charlotte smiled at him as he bowed low over Shelia’s hand, murmuring his condolences on the death of her husband. She was a pretty woman, but her eyes did not make him want her. In fact, he wondered what she would be like in bed. Would she be one of those women who closed her eyes and prayed for it all to end? He’d been with those sorts before, and he didn’t want to be there again.
His late wife, Ava, had been a perfect match for him. She’d savored sex, and when they’d go places she’d find a way to come near him and say, “Do you think we can slip away and fuck in the gardens?”
That’s what he wanted, a woman who was adventurous. But childbirth had taken Ava far too young, and he had to admit it made him a little bitter.
“Milord,” Shelia whispered, letting her hand linger in his own. “Lady Essex tells me that you’re quite a horseman. I enjoy riding myself. Perhaps we could take a turn around the park some afternoon.”
Ellington kept his smile in place, despite the fact he thought the woman’s offer a bit suggestive. After all, when you were seen in the park with someone it was obvious to society there was something between you, a relationship. You didn’t ride with someone you’d just met.
Dinner was announced at that time and Ellington was saved from making a response.
“May I escort you into the dining room, Mrs. McCoy?” He offered his arm, which the woman took eagerly. She leaned against him as they walked, her breasts pressing against his arm. She was nice and plump, which is something Tristan looked for in a woman.
“It’s so nice to have a strong man such as yourself escort me,” Shelia said. “I do enjoy the touch of a masculine hand on my body.”
Bollocks but she is bold. Had Charlotte not told her anything about The Club? Did she not know he liked his women on the submissive side in the bedroom? He wanted an equal partner in life, and a lover who gave over in the bedroom. He would make the moves when it came to sex.
Inside the dining room he found his place right next to the pretty blonde. He looked at Charlotte who giggled. He really was going to have to have a talk with her about this. Although he appreciated the effort he would find a woman on his own.
When Shelia put her hand on his upper thigh and squeezed he picked up his wine and took a large drink. He hated to hurt her feelings, but there was no spark between them, at least not one he felt. The problem now would be how to tell her he wasn’t interested without causing a scene.
Charlotte was the one who had started this; he would make sure she found someone for Shelia who was more appropriate.
Carin Piper flattened herself against a wall and held her breath. Who knew that one man would have so many servants? She knew that Lord Ellington’s daughter had recently married and moved to her own house. Why did one man need a large household staff? This was the third servant she’d seen since breaking into Ellington’s home. And why wasn’t he like most people, giving them the night off when he was out?
She sighed as she waited. Here she was almost thirty-five, unmarried, dressed like a man and breaking into people’s houses. This was not what she thought her life would be like. But she didn’t need to be distracted about that now. That would only keep her from doing what needed to be done.
Carin peered around the corner, saw that it was clear and crept toward the area where she assumed the library was located. That would be where he kept all his important papers.
The door opened quietly, and she slipped inside. An oil lamp illuminated the room, showing that her assumption had been correct. Walls of books lined two walls. And sitting near the French doors was a large roll top desk.
She moved quietly across the room, taking hold of the cover and pulling. The desk was locked. She smiled to herself. She did love a challenge. Taking out her picks she went to work, freeing the lock in seconds and pushing the cover up silently. She hoped this time she would find what she was looking for. This was the fourth house she’d broken into this week. One of the men who owned these houses had been responsible for the death of her father, and she intended to find out who it was.
She picked up papers and began to read. She figured that she had at least three more hours before Ellington came home, enough time to look through the desk, find the Lord’s bedroom and see if he kept anything of interest there. The desk held nothing but bills from the grocer, from the candlemaker, and for the rent from the stables where he quartered his four horses and two carriages.
For a moment she wondered what it would feel like to own four horses and two carriages. She didn’t even own one horse or carriage. All she had were rooms that were really not fit for people to live in, and a job that made her a servant to people in society.
She put the papers back in place, being careful so he wouldn’t know they had been searched.
After coming up empty in the desk search, Carin made her way quietly down the hallway, hoping that another servant didn’t come around the corner. She found Ellington’s bedroom and entered quickly. A strong scent of cinnamon and sandalwood hit her nose. She’d seen Lord Ellington from a distance while she was doing what her father would call the grunt work, which meant she needed to make sure she knew the layout of the land.
Even from a distance she could see that he was a handsome man. Too bad they were not in the same class. She took another sniff and closed her eyes. She wondered what it would feel like to be with a man like him. To have him caress her, kiss her, love her. The thought of Ellington laboring above her brought back memories of her husband Mark. He’d been dead for five years, leaving her with nothing. But her husband had been a good man, gentle and strong.
When Mark had died her father, sweet man that he was, had told his daughter she would have to fend for herself. Which meant doing the only thing he could teach her; how to live a good life through crime. He’d taught her how to be silent, blend into the woodwork and take what would bring good money. But Carin had rejected that life of crime. She’d found a job as a seamstress assistant.
But six months ago, things had changed. Her father had been killed, found in Hyde Park with his throat slit by what the authorities thought was a saber. But they didn’t care about him. He was nothing more than a thief, and they had told her that his death really didn’t matter. In fact, one of them said it would be good for all of London. More people would be able to keep hold of their money and valuables with one less thief in the city.
Their words angered her, and she’d decided if they wouldn’t find out who had taken her father’s life, she would do it. She would use the knowledge he’d taught her in an effort to bring his murderer to justice. She’d collected the things from his house and from the place where she knew he hid his stolen goods.
Then she’d searched the items and found jewelry, cash and four items that had caught her eye; four keys, all of them labeled with a name and address, but no name. To her mind that meant one of the four men who owned these houses killed her father.
As she’d fingered the keys she’d thought back to the final conversation she’d had with her father, just two months before his death.
He’d been hired by a high-ranking member of the realm who had a gambling problem. That person needed money. He paid Carin’s father to steal items and sell them. The fancy Lord provided information, and Carin’s father did the legwork. And they split the money.
“It’s good blunt, Carin,” her father had said. “He lets me know when people are going to be out of their homes, and what they gots that’s worth taking. You’ll see, no harm will come from it.”
She’d been angry with her father, but he’d told her he was just trying to put things in order. “They have so much, Carin. They won’t miss the little things I take. They are so arrogant, too. They make things too easy sometimes. You should join me and make a little more blunt.” But then he had paused and frowned. “Never take things at surface value, daughter. Always look for that which resides underneath. People hide things in the easiest places, really, but no one thinks to look for what is right under their feet.”
But harm had come from the situation, her father was now dead, and Carin intended to find the person responsible and bring him to justice.
When she’d found the keys, she’d wondered if they had something to do with the unnamed man who had hired her father. Something told her it had. He’d said he’d sold the items, and truly there was nothing left but bits and trinkets.
Except for the keys, four keys carefully labeled and set aside. What did they mean? They had to unlock something, something of value. She had pledged to find out what.
She’d already searched the first three and tried the keys in each lock she could find in the house. She’d come up empty.
“You’re wasting time,” she said to herself as she stared around the room. “If he comes home and finds you here there will be hell to pay.” She thought about it for a moment and decided the risk was worth it. If she didn’t find something here she would be at the end of the only leads she had, if you could call this a lead. She sighed and took a candle from the pocket of her trousers. She lit it and set it on the bedstead and began searching the drawers.
“I never knew London was so dangerous,” Shelia said, sliding closer to Lord Ellington. “I’ve read in the newspapers that more than a dozen homes have been broken into in the past few days. It’s just terrible.”
She shivered and smiled at Ellington. He in turn took a sip of his wine and groaned into the glass. He glanced at the clock and wondered what time he could leave without seeming rude to his hosts.
“Actually, Mrs. McCoy, the burglaries have dropped off as of late. Six months ago, they were quite common. They stopped for a while, and have started again, true, but the losses have been minimal, or so I hear. But one’s servants should be up to guarding the house while their master is away.”
“You’re so very knowledgeable, just like Lady Essex said. Perhaps we could share a dance after dinner?”
Ellington’s eyes popped wide open as he felt her hand slide up his thigh, dangerously close to his cock, and gently squeeze. This was much bolder than she’d been before. She obviously expected to end up in his bed tonight. He hated to be rude, but he needed to get himself out of this situation as quickly as possible.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe I’m going to stay for the dancing. Perhaps another time.”
Shelia pouted, squeezed again and then smiled at him. “Of course, milord. I’m to attend the Duke of Roth’s crush tomorrow night. Will you be there?”
He usually liked to attend parties, but now he wished he could think of a reason to stay home. He could say something suddenly came up, he thought, but if it was sudden he wouldn’t know about it tonight. He would think of an excuse tomorrow. Until then he would tell her yes. He confirmed that he would be and then felt relief sweep over him as Dalton stood to announce that dinner was over. Shelia excused herself and Ellington made for the doorway.
“Leaving already?” Dalton came up behind him and clasped him on the shoulder. “Don’t like this latest prospect either?”
Shaking his head, Ellington smiled. “I have to hand it to your wife, Essex, she is persistent. I appreciate the thought, but I’m afraid that perhaps my years of love are behind me. I’m happy now that Charity has a husband and house of her own. The house is empty without her, but I think I can find things to occupy my mind. Horses and such, you know. Some gambling. Perhaps I’ll spend more time at my home in the country.”
Essex smiled. “We’re having The Club meeting here next Monday. Will you be attending?”
“Of course,” Ellington replied. “There is always The Club. I may be over age for finding love, but I can find a nice bottom to spank, and a nice quim to fuck. Amelia is always willing. Perhaps I can give her a double dose of what she likes.”
The two men laughed.
“Perhaps you should think about marrying her. She would make a good wife. And it would make Charity happy to think that you’d found someone. She told me at her wedding that it would be wonderful to think her father had found someone to love.”
Ellington shook his head. “I enjoy Amelia’s company, but I’m afraid I’m too old to start over with a new wife.” He wanted to tell Dalton that it wasn’t every day that a man found true love, and Dalton was lucky to have found it. Ellington just had to live with the fact he would be alone.
Essex laughed. “Don’t let Charlotte hear you talk like that. She’ll double her efforts in trying to find you a suitable wife.”
“In that case, I think I should be off. Please give Charlotte my thanks for a wonderful evening.”
Ellington made fast for the door before Charlotte could come along and detain him.
Once inside his carriage he shook his head. Perhaps young Mrs. McCoy wouldn’t be too bad. His cock had stirred, just slightly, when she’d squeezed his thigh. He thought of taking her over his knee, raising her skirts and revealing her bare bottom. The idea did not cause him to smile and he groaned softly. His cock should have hardened at the thought, but it did not. Perhaps he was setting his standards too high.
As the carriage rolled along he closed his eyes and thought about bending Shelia McCoy over the dining room table in full view of the members of The Club. Would she beg for him to fuck her? Would she scream with pleasure when he stuck his hard cock in her backside?
Something told him no. She didn’t seem the sort, but then again neither did Charlotte, and she had proven to be a perfect match for Dalton.
He had to take the chance, or he would be alone for the rest of his life. He would call on Mrs. McCoy tomorrow and take her up on her offer for a ride in the park. But they would do it in his carriage and not on horseback. Maybe he would order her to use her hands, or even her mouth, to bring him to climax while they rode. That would show her true colors, how she would react to being ordered to pleasure him while others were around.
Ellington decided, he would make her use her mouth. He imagined the look on her face when he told her to get on her knees and take his prick in her mouth. If she refused their relationship would never start. But he wouldn’t tell her that. He was not the sort of man to use threats to make a woman do what he wanted.
He preferred to let them know he was in charge, and to see what happened next. Yes, tomorrow would be the perfect day to get his dick sucked. His cock actually hardened at the thought. Whether it was from seeing Mrs. McCoy on her knees or having an orgasm that he didn’t have to produce himself he wasn’t sure. But he would find out soon enough.
Carin looked around the room and shook her head. She’d been in Ellington’s bedroom for more than an hour. Not one piece of paper that indicated Ellington was the man who hired, and then murdered, her father. There wasn’t anything. The key didn’t even fit anything.
It was another dead end, and it made her angry. She sat down on the floor and covered her face with her hands, tears silently slipping down her face. Her father had been gone four months now. Four months since the Inspectors had shown up to tell her that he’d been found dead in the park. This was her last clue, and it had proved fruitless.
She wanted to be strong, wanted to stop crying but she couldn’t. He hadn’t been the perfect father, but he had loved her, and she had failed.
What would she do now? Maybe she should start over. Going back to the houses and having another go around might prove useful. There were, of course, rooms that she hadn’t searched. She hadn’t had the time.
She sat up and wiped her eyes. That was the thing to do, go back to the beginning of her search and do it again. Maybe she would find something on the second go-round.
She stood and stretched. She looked around the room to make sure nothing was out of place. It all seemed the same to her.
Carin moved toward the doorway and then stopped in her tracks as voices filtered through the portal.
“Milord, you’re home early.” A woman’s voice rang out. “I’m sorry, I’ve yet to turn down your bed or light the lamps. Let me see to it, straight away.”
A deeper voice came, and Carin nearly melted on the spot, her heart leaping into her throat. Ellington was home. It wasn’t even midnight and he was here. She felt as if her heart might leap out of her chest.
“It’s all right, Mrs. Walker. I can take care of those things myself, take yourself off to bed.”
Carin wheeled around, looking for a place to hide. The room was large, filled with a huge bed that sat high off the floor, a wardrobe and desk. She looked at the French doors and the balcony. She didn’t think she had time to open the doors and climb down the balcony stairs before Ellington appeared.
Her breathing became labored as the doorknob turned. She moved quickly toward the bed, ducking down and throwing herself under the frame of the huge four-poster. She lifted the bed skirt and watched as a pair of black boots walked along the floor right near her face, and then she gasped, covering her mouth with her hand to try and stifle the sound.
The candle. She’d left it on the bedstead. A stupid mistake. He would see it and know that something was amiss. She heard him mutter to himself softly. Then he lit the lamp on the bedstead and moved toward the doors. He opened them, and cool evening air flooded the room.
Carin held her breath as he moved around, opening and shutting drawers, mumbling to himself. She gauged whether she could make it to the window before he saw her and decided against trying. He hadn’t raised an alarm so maybe the candle had not seemed strange to him.
She could hear the rustle of clothing, and it was obvious to her that Ellington was undoing cuffs and buttons. She lifted the skirt and watched as he shrugged out of his coat and hung it over the chair. She watched as he took off his cuffs and laid them on a dressing table. When he took off his shirt she put her hand over her mouth to hold back a moan. He really was a most excellent specimen of a man.
He stood near the doors and looked out, wearing only his pants. After a few moments he moved back to the dressing table and took out a piece of material and a bottle of something. Then he sat down in a large chair near the fire, opened his pants and put whatever was in the bottle in the palm of his hand.
He started to stroke himself, moving slowly at first. Carin stared, her mouth watering at the sight. He increased his speed, his breath coming in hard, uneven gasps as he obviously neared completion. Carin’s excitement rose with his; her nipples hardened, and her quim was wet. He held the cloth in front of him at the end, obviously catching his semen.
He hadn’t said a word during the entire event. Now that it was over he let his head loll to the side. Carin watched as he fell asleep. She knew now was the time. As quietly as possible she got out from under the bed, snatched up her candle and made for the open doors.
She was down the stairs in seconds, her heart racing. She started around the house, careful to watch for any sort of guard. She needed to get out of here and do it as quickly as possible. Then she would, as she’d decided, start over again. It was the only thing to do.