“Well, that seemed to go very well.” The Duke, seeming quite pleased with playing his part, grinned at his wife before taking her hand and pressing a kiss. The Duchess pulled her hand away.
“Don’t count your chickens, Carrick. You know that if anyone can possibly ruin the outcome tonight, it would be your sons. They are both quite charmingly hopeless.” Glancing about the room, she smiled at the revelers in an encouraging way. Enticing them to continue with their fun and ignore the fact that four young people had just disappeared, unchaperoned, under dubious circumstances.
“Those young ladies are well-matched with your errant sons, m’dear. I think this will all go very well.”
“Carrick, you are ever the optimist. As much as I like Miss Steele, I fear that Christian has underestimated his opponent. As to Lady Katherine. We both know that she is not the problem.” She smiled fleetingly at Lady Montford as she waddled past, effectively dismissing the tiresome old biddy’s unwelcome approach.
“Would you care to wager?” Her Grace raised an eyebrow as her husband continued, “four gold sovereigns that there will be grandchildren on their way by Mistlemas.”
Her Grace laughed. “Grandchildren! Oh, I should like to take that wager, and I would gladly lose.”
“What happens now?” The Duke snatched up a glass of champagne from a passing footman.
“We hope that Sir Raymond remembers his lines.”
“Really, Christian, it wouldn’t hurt you to smile.” Grace spoke through her own perfectly open visage, her eyes twinkling under a delicate frame of sea foam lace, as Lady Myrston and her tedious son drifted on to the ballroom wearing matching peacock masks that looked for all the world like they might take flight.
“I do believe that it would be the most painful experience of my life, Your Grace, second only to listening to your outrageous conversations with Sir Raymond over canapes.” The Grey men all wore understated silver-grey eye masks to match their dark green jackets and dove-grey breeches. Since they were all of a height and wore powdered wigs (their half-hearted attempt at dressing in costume for the occasion), they were easily confused by those who did not know them well. Elliot and Carrick both grinned at Christian, delighting in his discomfort, meanwhile Christian had plans that would mean he would not be joining them at 3am when their wigs would become overly hot and itchy, for which he was entirely grateful.
“Piffle! We were merely doing what people of our dotage tend to do. What else is left for me but to speculate on my lack of grandchildren? Speaking of which, when are you going to marry, young man? I shall be one foot in the grave and too old to enjoy your progeny if you don’t at least make half an effort to find a suitable wife.” Her Grace also wore a high powdered wig and a gown from the previous century, her waist cinched to show off the girlish figure she still maintained. She had toyed with affecting a French accent all evening until her daughter, Lady Mia, had pointed out that Marie Antionette was, in fact, Austrian and that the effort would be lost on their guests.
“Not for lack of trying,” Christian muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, Your Grace. Be assured, I shall marry when my brother does.” Christian’s announcement was loud enough for Elliot to turn and thump him in the arm.
“Boys! Really! Please show some decorum,” the duchess hissed from behind her fan.
“Yes, mother.” The young men chimed in unison while their father chuckled.
Read Blackheart: Chapter 5 here
Check the menu for Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9
“Good heavens. Are you by any chance related to the Duke of Carrick? I knew him in my youth. Did a spot of grouse shooting and salmon fishing with him as a lad and did you know that you’re the spitting image?”
Christian felt his heart crash to the floor along with any hopes that Sir Raymond would grant his request. Elliot shuffled uncomfortably in his seat in a most ungentlemanly way. For a moment Christian wondered if he hadn’t caught something from one of Miriam’s whores. Elliot, to his credit, recovered quickly.
“Why, yes, I’m his son. Lord Elliot Grey at your service, Sir.” Elliot smiled broadly and Sir Raymond was up out of his seat, leaning over offering one slightly gnarled hand. Without a glance or grimace, Elliot took it and shook, clasping it with his other hand. “It is a delight to meet you, Sir. My father has spoken highly of you.”
“Has he indeed?” Sir Raymond looked pleased with the flattery. At first. A slight frown creased his eyebrows as he sat back down. “Well, m’Lord. What can I do for you?”
He looked suspicious and so he should be. To Christian’s knowledge, their father had never mentioned Sir Raymond. Be that as it may, the conversation was settling into something he felt he could manage so he approached the table once more.
“May I introduce my brother, Captain Christian Grey of the Ruby Queen.”
Christian offered his hand, which for an awful moment, he thought Sir Raymond was not about to take. Finally, with pursed lips and a deep look of consternation, Sir Raymond reached to grasp his hand.
“A pleasure to meet you, Sir Raymond.” There was very little confidence left in Christian at this present moment but his voice did not betray him. He ran over several possible approaches to his request in his head and none of them were arriving at the desired result. He had hoped to find a man who was a little desperate to marry off his only daughter, announce that she had been compromised and offer to make her an honest woman. Instead, he had the sinking feeling that that particular offer would be met by pistols at dawn, which although outlawed, Christian was certain that Sir Raymond would have conveniently forgotten that little detail.
“I take it that this is not a courtesy call.” The shrewd older eyes flickered between the brothers, leaving Christian momentarily at a loss.
“Well, yes. I wondered if you would accept my mother’s invitation to the family dinner tonight prior to her masque. You see, my brother here has had the honor of a chance meeting with your daughter at Lady Katherine’s townhouse and has become, I’m afraid, quite unreasonably enamored. He has insisted on having both young ladies in attendance tonight and when I heard that you were in town I thought it would be wonderful for you to renew your acquaintance with my father and have you escort the young ladies.”
Read Blackheart: Chapter 4 here
“Lord Elliot, I was delighted to receive your card.” Kate’s smile was far too wide. Obviously, she was pleased that Ana was about to be rescued but she had forgotten just how presumptuous and arrogant the Grey men could be. It all came flooding back to her as she spoke through gritted teeth. “Tell me, how is your mother, Her Grace.”
A small whimper came from the floor as Hyde obviously realized whose presence he was in. He went on all fours, placing his hands on the ground so that he might rise to his feet. When he did, he barely came to Christian’s shoulder and that realization caused yet another small whimper. Ana was so embarrassed at the whole scene that she could do nothing more than focus on the Aubusson carpet. Christian was here, with his brother and he had no doubt circumvented the most horrideous proposal from Mr Hyde. But why was he here? He had made it quite clear that she would not see him again. Her heart ached at the confusion of it all.
“Miss Steele, Anastasia.” Christian moved past Hyde who almost tripped over the chaise in his efforts to get out of the way. “My darling, please tell me that you were not going back on our understanding?”
Read Blackheart: Chapter 3 here
The captain’s power is uncontrollable in chase or in battle, drubbing, cutting, or even shooting any one who dares deny his command.
French, Joseph Lewis (2011-03-24). Great Pirate Stories (Kindle Locations 2030-2031). . Kindle Edition.
Several seconds passed with Ana’s jaw dropped open in shock before she came to her senses and snapped her mouth shut. He could not possibly be serious. No sooner had that thought entered her head than he had her by the elbow, physically removing her from his cabin. His grip was strong, somewhat limiting her ability to resist, although he grasped tightly without hurting her. All she could do was a rather ineffective scurry to keep up with his pace.
They approached the stairs and he released her elbow but kept hold of her hand. He continued on ahead of her, leading the way while blocking her vision of what was ahead. As they approached the final stairs, he all but hauled her up on to the deck, causing her cloak to fling back off her shoulders and the clasp of her jacket to slip open. Struggling to catch her breath had Ana’s bosom heaving to the collective gasp of the sailors on deck. Captain Grey glared down at her, his eyes angry and disgusted. “Cover yourself, madam.”
If he hadn’t been so eager to remove her from his cabin, then she would not have had such a malfunction of her wardrobe. Turning her back on the crew as best she could, Ana fumbled to bring her fastenings back under control. When she turned back to him, Christian was breathing heavily, fingers flexing ominously at this sides. The look of a man who wanted to hit something, hard.
The carriage arrived at the dock at that moment but rather than waving her through, Christian grabbed her hand again, towing her down the gang plank to the jeers of the women below. Ana kept her head down as her blush rose, creeping up over her neck, to colour her fair-skinned cheeks. She was sure she must look like an overripe tomato. If he had thought to conceal her departure in any way, he was failing miserably, for now it seemed that every eye within shouting distance of the ship, was witnessing their unseemly departure. Ana no longer had the good sense to be anything other than mortified.
Once inside the carriage, she slunk back away from the window, hoping that no one was looking in their direction. Christian climbed in behind her, roughly pulling the blinds down before tapping on the ceiling with his cane. She made several attempts to begin to state her disgust at his behavior but each time she found herself biting back the words inside her head. The sheer arrogance of the man was beyond her experience. She simply could not speculate what had possessed him to manhandle her into his carriage in front of half of London? Subtlety was obviously not his strong suit. Finally, she could remain silent no longer.
“Captain Grey, I do not appreciate being treated like some sort of … of … wharf-side doxy. You, Sir, are no gentleman.”
“No, madam, I am not. And if you care for your reputation at all, it would serve you well to remember that in future.”
Read Blackheart: Chapter 2 here
A new story evolving from the Fifty Shades Trilogy. The Honorable Anastasia Steele seeks a favor of the great naval hero, Capt. Christian Grey on behalf of her friend and employer, Lady Katherine Kavanagh. He is required to assist in the rescue of Kate’s brother, Lord Ethan Kavanagh, Earl of Ravensthwaite, from his French prison before the Earldom reverts to the crown. Neither of them bank on falling in love and this will only complicate the very dangerous and secret life that Christian leads. Definitely AU – set Regency London. 6 chapters posted so far.
“So you are aware that Lady Katherine has requested a favor?” Ana held his gaze as best she could. There was little that she didn’t know about the predicament in which her friend currently found herself. She was also patently aware that Captain Christian Grey, although from a fine family, was in fact a bastard son and presumed to act like one. Young ladies, engaged in matrimonial pursuits from season to season, were mystified at the seldom seen Captain, often romanticising his existence beyond belief. Ana tried not to listen too closely but they had cast him as variously a master swordsman, a government spy and a cutthroat pirate king. Sitting here opposite the man, Ana could see why he aroused such speculation and she made a mental note that they had omitted ‘mythological god’ from their lists.
“Captain Grey, I have full knowledge of the request that Lady Katherine has made. It is her fervent wish that you should present yourself and your…friend…to her at your parents’ masque two days hence. Once you have formally introduced her then she will no longer be in need of your services.”
“And what makes her so confident that I can fulfill this request?” He crossed his thick arms across his body as he watched her with a considering gaze. He was beautiful in his stillness but like the calm waters of a tidal sea, Ana sensed that there were hidden and menacing undercurrents. To her horror, she found that rather than be afraid, as she should, she found him deeply attractive. This said very little about her taste in men.
A treat for Spanish and German readers. My translators have been hard at work, creating their magic for your reading pleasure. I can’t tell you how much I love these ladies, their betas and the wonderful work that they do, all for the love of a story. Jenn and Corinna have honored me with their generosity and talent. Thank you, ladies! I am eternally grateful.
I have made the executive decision that the collective term for translations is a torrent. If you have any other suggestions please feel free to add them to the comments below.
Dedicándose a Elliot
Historia original por Sasha Cameron
traducido al español por Jenn Caruso
(translated to Spanish by…)
Hingabe an Elliot
Original von Sasha Cameron
ins Deutsche übersetzt von Corinna Kuper-Reykers
(translated to German by…)