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Authors: Linda Hays-Gibbs

Married by Morning

BOOK: Married by Morning
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Married by Morning

By Linda Hays-Gibbs

 

 

Chapter One

 

    “Is every family composed of crazy people?  Do they all have their fair share or is it just my family that has all the nuts? “

     This Sebastian Christian Stewart, sixth Earl of Darby shouted to the doors of his library as he had just lost his temper at his stepmother for the fifth time today.  Sebastian was scowling at the wall, which hid both his dimples and drew his lips down. His purple eyes had red flames dancing in them and his cold black locks lay feathered across his forehead.  He dug his fingers through the glistening mass.  Even in his thirty-third year, he was having trouble dealing with her. He lifted his chin and looked down his aristocratic nose at the dull carpet. Then he stood at the large ornamental fireplace with his arm extended and slumped against it.

      Shaking his head in frustration, he paced to the door and back to his desk. His tall lanky stride eating up the distance in two or three steps as his wide shoulders moved gracefully into his long steps.  His coat of superfine green elegance cut so snuggly as to accentuate every tendon and muscle.  This contrasted with his elegantly white cravat, loosely tossing from side to side, as he had loosened it with malice.  Hopefully, threatening to throttle her; he recalled chuckling to himself.  He paced to the sideboard, poured a generous helping of cognac, and gulped at the contents, as he slammed the glass down hard on his desk.  He had just about had all he could stand.  Maybe he should just go jump into the river Thames and have done with it.  Shuddering at that prospect he dreamed again of some respite, some woman? God he needed a woman.  It had been an eternity since he had last plowed any wench. He would have to take a trip to Mrs. Redstone’s brothel tonight. He smiled to himself.

     Sighing resignedly, he plopped down on the side of his desk and went back to adding sums in his account ledger.  It just did not do to reflect on his family.  One was a handful but all of them together was a disaster.

      Abigail Minnie Stewart, Sebastian’s stepmother was a thin tall not attractive woman, with an overlarge nose, and long bony fingers.  Her white hair was piled on top her long pointy-head with its pale shallow face.  She had never had a kind word for her stepson and her stepson had never had a kind word for her. How had this place continued to function when his father was still alive with that woman in it?  She cared not for the running of the household or anyone in it, only for her comfort and her interests, which were totally self-absorbed and idiotic.  The house could go to ruin and she would lament her latest frock or her hair being in disarray, or a broken nail.  She had no care that her husband was just buried three days ago and would not wear mourning clothes in respect of his memory.  This was normal for her but Sebastian was ready to throw her out into the proverbial cold world.

     Sebastian wondered at the audacity of the woman again as he tried to settle into his daily duties. She had vexed him for so long but she always amazed him.

     “How dare the woman want to remain in his house now that he was in charge?” He shouted to the walls.  He was definitely losing his mind.

       And what about Aunt Mable throwing a fit, trying to grab hold of the coffin and jump into the grave; what was he going to do with that bedlamite? Mable Ethel St. John had never married because no man could stand her hysterics or her self-centered ways.  She had told him repeatedly that his sainted dead mother Elizabeth Marie St. John Stewart; had stolen his father Sebastian Ryder Stewart away from her at her come out ball and she had never gotten over it.  She was still in the house crying endless tears for his father.  The walls would be raining before she would hush her caterwauling non-stop screaming.  His ears were already quite sore from their entire hullabaloo.  He was after all a gentleman and such hysterics grated on his nerves.  He had lost his father and being quite distressed; they should show him some respect.

     Then he had Cousin Horace, who ate more than a hippo and had decided to live with Sebastian, as he had nowhere else to go.   Horace was tall and wide and took great care for his cravat and the pink colors of his assorted wardrobe.  Horace would cry if he broke a nail and he was useless at any task.

      This was not counting his betrothed that had been absent at his father’s funeral and had sent no condolences.  Lady Tracy Lee Penton was: small, dainty, curvaceous, blue eyed, blonde, with bow tulip lips and a soft sweet voice, all of which belied the vixen she really was.  Their betrothal was decided in their infancy and if there was any possible way Sebastian could wiggle out of it, he would, but he was sore afraid that he could never do it.

    There was Cousin Devlin Snead, who had not been out in the daytime for ten years.  He was a crazy he had not thought about for years.  He had not been at the funeral. He had showed at the churchyard last night while Sebastian was thanking the priest and church for their help and silence. Devlin had stood by the grave and then strolled among the dead as if he were home, talking to the different headstones. He was a very curious guy. Since he was a child he had heard this side of the family were devils or vampires. He could not remember which but it did not matter.  He did not want the ton to realize how crazy his family actually was at least not before his marriage so maybe a marriage would be best.  Where was that woman?  Eloped with some other stupid fellow, he hoped.  He narrowed then circled his eyes in frustration and sighed.

   Last but not least was his four half-sisters, yes, four, of the craziest vixens he had ever met but as different in their craziness as they were in their looks.  Stella was a star, a bright green eyed, redheaded, mean spirited passionate, tall elegant diamond, and as hard as nails.  Stella liked to be domineering to a man.  She made her last consort less than a slave.  He was so whipped by her that he shuddered and whimpered every time she spoke to him.  Nigel was his name. and he had to admit he felt sorry for the poor fellow.  He was lucky to escape with his life.  Funny, how her men always seem to be of that kind.

     Diana was the blonde: sweet faced, soft corn flake blue eyes, short and curvaceous, with a pouty mouth and a sneaky, self-centered mind.   Diana liked to bind men to her bedpost.  It was most distressing to find them blind folded and naked with the maids screaming down the hall.  He was the one to untie the poor fellows and give them their freedom but just last month one man was released three mornings in a row.  It was most distressing.

      Rachael was the brunette that had the most stunning figure.  Her perfect figure and oval shaped face with bright purple eyes could make any man beg but then her whining would drive them insane.   She had this thing for hurting herself.  He had to call the physician just last week when she cut her self again.  She said she had been bad and needed to bleed and the doctor did not do it correctly.  She laughed when the doctor told her she was a bad girl.

        His favorite was Missy with her chestnut curls and hazel eyes.  She took your heart and left it with a big hole torn by her fingernails.  She took no prisoners and would not marry; she vowed between clinched teeth.  Her last beau cried at the dining table during supper saying she was cruel to him and he could never let her go.  He had to be forcibly removed by the butler.

     Oh there were others in his family just as curious and crazy but he had only time for the ones in his immediate vicinity. The other fictitious tales he had been told since childhood would curl the ears of any child or adult for that matter.

     Sebastian had to somehow hold his little earldom together as his father had asked him to do in his will.  How? He wanted to know? His pockets were to let and the earldom was in bad shape.  That was the question he wished he could ask the old spend thrift.  The situation was thanks to his stepmother and her cronies though and not his father’s direct doing.  He needed to get her shipped off to the country as quickly as possible and tie her hands as to any more damage to his inheritance.  She was a gambler and a spendthrift, not counting that she was mean to the bone. 

     He would let it be known that her debts were her own.  An announcement in the London Times would be a good idea. He did not care if she went to debtor’s prison.  She was a curse on him since he was five years old. 

     How he had survived his childhood, he could not guess?  It had been fate and school.  For as soon as he could convince his father he was old enough to go, he went.  He did not care for the bullies or whippings he got at school for anything was better than his nasty stepmother.  It was rumored that she was a witch and had cast a spell on his dearly departed dad. He knew she was a consummate actress and that was how he decided she had won his dad’s heart.  His father to his credit had regretted the match as soon as the real Abigail had emerged.  It was a sad story that he could not think about today.

     Better left for other days when he did not have such a headache and was not in need of a woman.  He could sneak off tonight and visit one of his clubs, find his friends, and Mrs. Redstone’s brothel.  Yes, that was a definite plan. 

     Sebastian sat back down at his desk and started with the mundane figures in the account books again.  He was in his third hour of his perusing when a soft knock sounded at his door.  His thoughts were that it was probably someone else to pay his or her respects to the grieving family.  He knew it was his butler as he always knocked softly.

     “Yes, Jarvis, enter.”  Jarvis came in carrying a silver salver with a card.

     “A visitor my lord, a Lady Constance Templeton.”

     “Lady Templeton, I do not believe I have had the pleasure but send her in Jarvis.” Sebastian ran his fingers through his hair and shook his head.

     He stood wondering who this lady could be?  He had never heard that name and he prided himself on remembering his acquaintances or those of his family.

The door opened and a small oval shaped porcelain face with large cornflower blue eyes, a small perfect nose and perfect bow shaped lips peered around the door. Her eyes seemed to grow larger as they ran the length of him. She had a yellow bonnet on her head. Her hair seemed to sprout from beneath the hat and looked like spun gold ringlets.  Then she straightened and stepped into the room and gracefully came to stand in front of him.  Her body seemed perfectly shaped to Sebastian. She was average height but seemed to take up the whole room. 

    She licked her bow shaped lips.  Sebastian groaned.

     Sebastian tried to bow to the lady but he was stunned and did it rather late. He was hit with a wave of lust so powerful he felt faint as the electric jolt went all the way to his toes.  His heart sped up and galloped into an unsteady routine.  He licked his lips and looked over her from head to toe at a very leisurely pace.

    ‘Goodness, gracious’, Connie thought, as she was hit with a heat wave.  Her breath would not come and she was sure she would faint dead away.   What would he think of her?  She lowered her eyes and thrust out her chest.

    Sebastian saw her chest was perfect round globules of tender flesh and decidedly much larger than her too tiny waist. Her waist made a decided turn with a flare back to her creamy butt.  It looked like the perfect size to squeeze and his hands started to itch and clench into fists just thinking about it. He swallowed hard and stood a little straighter. 

      Sebastian thought she looked to be about twenty years of age and perfect in every way. What the devil was she doing in his house?  Why not in his bed?

     “Lady Templeton, what can I do to you, I mean . . . to help you young lady?  I do not think we have ever been introduced.”  Sebastian’s eyes ran the length of her up and down and he could barely take in air.  He had turned immediately to stone and was rather worried about her seeing his discomfort.  If she did not take a seat so he could sit behind his desk to hide his apparent discomfort; he would embarrass himself and her. He bowed again much lower this time and reached for her hand, which he noticed was perfect too.  She had such sweet tiny delicate soft creamy fingers and no wedding band to weigh down her perfection. He kissed her knuckles and then the palm of her hand reluctantly letting go before he slobbered all over it.

     “No, I dare say we have not.  I am your cousin twice removed from your great aunt on your father’s side.  I need to have your help with establishing me as an artist.  I would like, er, I could not help but…” She stared at Sebastian’s pants and stepped closer to him.  He planted another kiss on her knuckles as he realized he had not let go of her perfect little hand.

     “I… I see, my lord, we have a mutual attraction, as I felt when our eyes met that there was some rare connection.  It was most profound. I must confess to you my lord. I do not think I like this cravat.”  Suddenly with that said she ran her fingers under his cravat and started undoing all his magnificent ties and ruffles he had tried to restore only minutes before their meeting. He looked startled and then smiling he said.

     “I too find something remiss in this bonnet Lady Templeton, so he took another closer step to her and untied the ribbons to her yellow bonnet and took it off her head. Her hair gleamed and he loosened it pulling pins from its grip in a precision like manner. He noticed in the firelight that it had a glow all its own.  He set the bonnet on his desk and found his legs were turning to jelly and his erection growing and showing, as he turned back to her.

     “Really, my lord, this jacket is entirely not to my liking!” Swiftly, with that she jerked the jacket from his shoulders and pulled his arms free with amazing strength.  Constance found her fingers shaking and her breath coming faster. She felt a little faint but there were some things that could not be stopped.

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