Lord Remington’s Rules by Isabella Kole
Emily Crawley has lived in Remington House her entire life. Her parents have been in service to the Duke of Remington and his family for years, and now that Emily is of age, she has joined the staff, as well.
When the Marquis of Remington, the duke’s eldest son, Charles, returns after his years at school, Emily realizes her heart has always belonged to the handsome Lord. But, alas, he is to be wed to the rude and condescending Lady Caroline, a marriage that was arranged years ago.
Charles seems to enjoy bantering with Emily, though, and even turns her over his knees a few times for minor infractions. But when he refuses to go through with the arranged marriage and his younger brother steps in as the groom, will Emily have her chance? Or will the fact that she is a commoner keep them apart? A passion exists between the two that cannot be denied, but will it be enough if Charles is forced to relinquish his title to his brother in order to marry his Emily.
Emily Crawley hurriedly swiped the cloth over the wardrobe. She was behind in her duties, due to the fact she’d spent the past ten minutes literally swooning over the pictures of Charles, Lord of Remington, that were displayed around his bedchamber. Pictures of the young marquess at Oxford, playing sports and accepting awards, adorned the walls of the chamber proudly. Lord Remington, next in line to be the Duke of Remington was a handsome lad, indeed. Of course, he could no longer be referred to as a lad, by any means, but having grown up in the house with him, Emily still remembered him as the rambunctious boy who had spent many a day teasing her and her sister when they were children.
Ah, the days when she was a carefree child with no duties to speak of. Emily’s parents had been in service at Remington House for as long as Emily could remember. She and her older sister, Amelia, had lived there with their parents all their lives, in the quarters provided for them behind the kitchen. Their mum was the cook and their dear father provided services to the Duke himself, as his valet. In an era when most of the more affluent families employed a male chef from France in their homes, the Remington family was quite happy with Mrs. Crawley and the meals she prepared for them and their guests. Amelia and Emily were free to enjoy their childhood until they reached the age of sixteen, at which time they joined their parents in service to the Remingtons. Mrs. Crawley also supervised the housekeeping staff, which consisted of her own two daughters and several other young women.
Charles, on the other hand, had gone away, first to Eton and later to Oxford, in order to receive an education befitting his title. His younger brother, Henry, followed suit just a few years later. But now, Charles had come home. His father, the duke, was ailing, and since Charles was the heir, his place was by his father’s side. Emily had caught a glimpse of him a few times since his return and was pleased to see what a handsome man he’d become. She was sure there were young ladies of stature just waiting for their chance to become his duchess, one in particular, if the rumors she had heard were true.
Emily had turned eighteen on her last birthday. Her sister, Amelia, was twenty and was very much in love with one of the young men who worked in the stables. The two of them planned to marry and remain in service with the Remington family. Emily, however, had always dreamed of something more. She knew the chances of her ever leaving Remington House were remote, at best, but she still had hope that she would meet the perfect young man, and he would take her away from a life of service.
“Ye are still here,” the booming voice brought Emily out of her thoughts and made her jump.
She turned and smiled shyly at Charles. “I must apologize, milord. I shall return to finish my duties.”
Charles Remington brushed a wayward lock of his dark brown hair from his forehead with his hand. “Stay, Emily. I shall only be but a moment. I forgot important papers for my appointment.”
“Yes, milord,” she replied, unused to addressing her childhood friend as such.
Charles turned to her and grinned. “Come now, Ems, it’s me, Charles. Must ye be so formal?”
“I believe so, milord.”
“If I wasn’t in shortage of time, I should turn you across my knee. First, for pretending we did not grow up in this very house together and secondly, for dawdling in your duties. But, alas, duty calls, and I must go. Carry on, Miss Crawley.” And he was gone, ending the conversation on an equally formal note.
Emily sighed. What would it be like to be turned over Lord Remington’s knee? And such fine knees, at that. Charles had grown into a robust, well-muscled man. From his unruly dark hair to his broad shoulders and muscular thighs and calves, all quite visible beneath his tight breeches, he was a sight that took the breath away. She remembered a time when they were teens, and she had picked flowers from the garden. Charles had unceremoniously turned her over his knee and administered a few slaps to her young bottom. She had been stunned, yet not entirely appalled by the action. He had been home on summer break. That was the last summer before she began her housekeeping duties. Although he was older than her, Charles had always made time for his young friend, Emily, whenever he came home.
Shaking her head to rid her mind of such dangerous thoughts, Emily returned to her work. If her duties were not completed by the time he returned, he might very well follow through with his threat.