Read The Ambitious Orphan Online

Authors: Amelia Price

Tags: #romance, #suspense, #mystery, #detective, #sherlock holmes, #amelia, #mycroft holmes, #jess mountifield

The Ambitious Orphan

BOOK: The Ambitious Orphan
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The Ambitious
Orphan

Amelia
Price

 

 

Copyright 2016
Jess Mountifield

Cover Copyright
2016 Elizabeth Mackey

Smashwords
edition

All rights
reserved.

This novel is a
work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
either the product of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals,
organisations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author.

This ebook
is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be
re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share
this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy
for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please
return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Acknowledgements

My husband is a
very patient man, especially during November while I tackle
NaNoWriMo. Saying I'm very grateful would be an understatement.

I also appreciate
the great writing company I had this year throughout most of this
book's first draft. Bear and David, you both made the process more
enjoyable than normal and I enjoyed our writing sessions.

Thank you Ella for
all the editing. There's quite a few scenes in this book which
changed a lot thanks to your input and I think they're a lot better
for it. Mycroft and Amelia's journey owes you a great deal.

Once more
Elizabeth has made an absolutely amazing cover and made me that
little bit more eager to go off on an adventure with my characters
again. You rock.

To the yet unnamed
bump which kept me company while polishing off this book. It turned
out Amelia wasn't the only one reading a positive pregnancy test
during the life of this story (even if she beat me to it) and I'm
looking forward to meeting you properly some day soon.

Finally, thanks to
God, for the surprises, the adventures and having a sense of humour
unlike no one else I know.

 

Dedication

To Ella. Your
support and encouragement makes a big difference.

 

Chapter 1

Mycroft pushed his
knife and fork together and looked up to see if Amelia was finished
with her breakfast as well. Not realising she was being studied,
she carried on daintily eating her scrambled eggs on toast. It had
been a long time since he'd seen another woman eat at the same
table as him, and he marvelled at how quickly he'd settled into a
routine.

Neither of them
spoke until she'd finished. As soon as she put her cutlery down as
well, she glanced his way and noticed his attention was fixed on
her. She titled her head slightly and raised an eyebrow and he
chuckled. Already he'd noticed she didn't really like being watched
eating.

“I don't think
I'll be able to put off my invitation to the palace any longer,” he
said, moving onto the more important matters that morning. “I can't
really claim I need to heal now that you're almost fully healed
yourself.”

“No. Will you be
gone long?” she asked. He didn't hide his frown at the implied
desire to see him. “I finished the book I was reading. I don't want
to take long choosing another if you're going to want your study,”
she added, giving him a challenging look. He nodded, impressed that
his thoughts had been so evident to her, but also wondering if she
had really meant that when she began. She'd told him the truth but
that didn't mean she wasn't wishing for his company, just that it
wasn't the only explanation.

“I don't know how
long I'll be,” he eventually replied and stood. Before either of
them could move, Sherlock walked in with a package under his
arm.

“Hello, brother of
mine. Amelia.” The younger Holmes flicked his head in her
direction.

“Good morning,
Sebastian. How are you?” She stood as well and looked on as he
handed out the package to Mycroft.

“I'm well. I've
just had a very interesting client come through my door. You'd like
her, Amelia. She likes writing too.”

“I doubt that's
why you're here,” Mycroft said, cutting him off and taking the
offered item. It was a box wrapped in brown paper, with nothing but
the word Holmes written on the outside.

“No, although
that's not it either. I found it on your doorstep.”

Mycroft raised his
eyebrows and pulled off the paper. The box was taped shut but he
pulled his pocket knife out and soon got it open.

As he pulled out
the contents, feeling the silken black fabric, Amelia gasped. It
was the dress she'd been wearing when she'd been abducted. Still
attached to the top was the bug he'd listened in with, and right
next to it someone had pinned a printed note on paper you could get
from any stationers.

 

Thought you
might like this back seeing as it really suited her. Also had a man
of mine lay another breadcrumb trail back to the Ukrainians.
Hopefully this settles any hard feelings on the matter of her
safety. D

 

“Who sent this?”
Amelia asked, evident fear in her voice. He found himself sneering
and let the dress fall back into the box, not answering the
question. For a few seconds no one spoke.

“Who else knows
I'm with you?” She reached out to pick the dress up but Sherlock
shook his head and caused her to raise her eyebrows in confusion.
As she opened her mouth to speak again, he lifted a finger and
placed it on his lips. Immediately, she clamped her mouth down on
whatever question she'd been intending to voice, and Mycroft felt
relief that at least one other person in the room was clever enough
not to accept this little gift at face value.

He used the paper
he'd already touched to pick the box up and carry it through to his
study, his younger brother and Amelia following behind.

Once in there, he
pulled a fingerprinting kit out of his desk drawer and applied a
small amount of dust to all the relevant areas of the dress, box
and finally the bug. He then pulled a small light out of the kit
and moved it closely over every patch he'd dusted.

When he looked up,
Sherlock and Amelia were both waiting for answers. He shook his
head. With no way to trace it back to anyone, he decided to end the
need for silence and took the bug off the dress to destroy it.

A few seconds
later it was burning in the fire. Still no one spoke. It would take
a little while to heat up enough to melt.

They waited,
Amelia looking at the floor. At least she had the sense to look
trite for not thinking about the bug earlier.

Once the object
was nothing more than a burnt-out husk, Mycroft deemed it safe to
converse again. He picked up the dress and held it out to
Amelia.

“If you ask Mrs
Hunter, she'll have it cleaned for you,” Mycroft said, but Amelia
didn't take it.

“I don't want it
back. I'll never wear it again and feel comfortable.”

“Yes, you will.”
Mycroft put it back in the box, knowing she wouldn't take it now,
but one day he'd push her to get over that fear. So far she'd faced
every other fear with dignity, and he'd push her through this one
as well.

“I think my
brother would like to see you in it again. I doubt you'll wear it
long, however.” Sherlock's eyes twinkled, and even Amelia expressed
a crooked smile. Mycroft rolled his eyes, knowing his brother had
worked out they were sleeping together.

“I'm sure Myron
has no such intention,” she replied.

“Why not? It's not
like he hasn't enjoyed that already.”

“You know?” Her
eyes went wide. He chuckled.

“Of course. Your
corset is done a little tighter this morning, and when you do it up
yourself you always have the laces a little longer on the right,
where you pull a little harder with your strong hand. Today they're
perfectly even. I doubt my brother helped you into your corset
without enjoying what was underneath it first.”

Amelia's face
flushed, but she didn't look like she really minded.

Mycroft coughed
and picked up the note, intending to take the conversation back to
a more neutral topic.

“Don't worry,
brother, I happen to approve of your choice.”

“You do?”

“Of course.
Amelia's a beautiful woman, incredibly sharp, and she's an old
soul, like she was born a century ago. You're perfect for each
other.”

“I'll look into
this,” Mycroft said, not deigning to reply to his younger brother's
taunts about Amelia, especially not in front of her.

“Good. Now, back
to why I came. I've been keeping an eye on a particular group of
people in Russia. It now looks pretty certain they'll invade,”
Sherlock said.

“So it worked?
That's good.”

Amelia raised her
eyebrows, evidently wanting to ask a question but still deciding on
exactly how or what to say.

“Perhaps we should
discuss this alone,” Mycroft said and went to lead Sherlock
somewhere else, but Amelia sighed, shook her head and walked
out.

“I want some fresh
air anyway,” she called back as she went.

“You know she's
not going to be happy with us if Russia do invade Ukraine,”
Sherlock said as soon as she was out of earshot.

“Quite likely, but
she must learn to control the feelings of guilt, as well as the
rest, if she's to continue living in our world.”

“You're going to
continue training her, then?”

“I can hardly stop
now. We'd be forever rescuing her.”

“You know you
could just keep her here.”

“No, Sherlock, no.
I may be using her to meet a need at the moment but it is just
that, a need. She wanted to feel safe for a few days and I...”

Sherlock held up
his hand.

“I do not need the
details. Nothing I say is likely to change your mind regarding the
situation so I think we should move on.”

Mycroft nodded.
For the next twenty minutes the younger Holmes spoke of everything
he'd observed. Most of it Mycroft already knew, but there were a
few details even he'd not managed to glean from his own
sources.

By the time
Sherlock was done speaking, it was evident that an invasion was
imminent, and it made sense that he'd had yet another request to
come to the palace, this one worded a little stronger than the
last. The royal family would want to reprimand him for starting a
war, even if it wasn't with the UK. He wasn't looking forward to
any opinions they might express on Amelia either.

Shortly after
Sherlock had finished explaining what he knew, the younger Holmes
made excuses about getting on with his case and left Mycroft alone
in his study.

As soon as Mycroft
had turned on his laptop, he reassigned one of his agents to look
into Delra again. If the man had enough clout to get Amelia's dress
back and help convince the Russians that she was still in Ukrainian
hands, then the wealthy businessman had even more power than the
last information Mycroft had gathered on him. It was possible they
were dealing with another man as intelligent and powerful as
Moriarty once was.

With that done,
Mycroft knew he could put off the inevitable no longer. It was time
to take a trip to the palace. He summoned Daniels and slid his arms
into his coat.

As he was putting
on his gloves, Mycroft glanced out of the study window. Amelia sat
in the seat she'd discovered several days earlier, sheltered by one
wing of the house and surrounded by rose bushes. The colour of her
new red coat complimented the still winter-like atmosphere around
her, and he'd taken a moment to appreciate how naturally she fit
there the few times she'd been out.

Today, however, it
seemed he wasn't the only one appreciating how well she looked.
Sherlock stood not two feet away from her. Whatever they were
discussing, it evidently pleased Amelia, because she was looking up
at him with a smile on her face.

“Your car's ready,
sir,” Daniels said before Mycroft could do more than frown at what
he saw.

“Good,” he replied
and tore his eyes away from the window. A couple of times in the
past, Sherlock had given him reason to think Amelia might be fonder
of the younger Holmes than she'd let on. It wouldn't be the first
time they'd expressed an interest in the same woman. When so few
were intelligent enough to keep up with either of them, it left
both of them curious when someone did.

As Mycroft
realised he was feeling a small stab of jealousy, he exhaled. The
last thing he wanted was a relationship with any woman. He liked
his life the way it was, even if Amelia had barely changed it while
she was there. But no matter how little he wanted something more
serious, he did want to keep her loyalty, and if Sherlock pursued
her affections he knew he might lose it.

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