Love s Lies
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128 pages

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Jasmine is a woman of gentle breeding, living on the dangerous streets of Regency London. Can her best friend, Lord Chancy, protect her from deception, lies and murder? Is her childhood love, Payne, a friend or a deadly enemy? Can their love weather the storm that is coming?



Publié par
Date de parution 12 mai 2015
Nombre de lectures 4
EAN13 9781771452427
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Love’s Lies
By Killarney Sheffield
ISBN: 978-1-77145-242-7

Copyright 2014 by Killarney Sheffield
Cover art by Michelle Lee
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rightsunder copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, ortransmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior writtenpermission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of thisbook.
Jasmine scrambled up the bank following thepath she seen Payne take only moments before, unmindful of heralready soiled satin dress. When she topped the rise she shaded hereyes and looked down the gentle slope. Twelve year old Payne ambledalong the path, a fishing pole slung over his shoulder. A sighescaped her before she took a deep breath and hollered, “Payne!Payne!”
He swung around and squinted up at her as sheskipped down the path toward him. “Jasmine, are you following meagain?”
She tripped, righted herself and skidded to ahalt before the object of her affection. “Nuh’uh. I was jus’ outfor a walk and saw you.”
He grinned and tweaked one of her red curlsthat had already escaped from its ribbon. “I’ll bet your mother oryour governess doesn’t know you’re out here, do they?”
With a pretty pout she gazed up at him.“Don’t wanna’ do any more silly stitchin’. Why can’t I go fishingwith you? It is most definitely more fun.”
He shook his head. “You know little girlsdon’t do things like fish, Jas.”
Arms akimbo she put on her most regal air.“I’m no girl, I’m almost eight and that’s damned near fullgrowed.”
“Jasmine Emily Wentworth, you mind yourtongue!” Payne scolded. “Ladies don’t use that kind of language,where did you hear such a word anyway?”
She shrugged. “From Father, he cussed at thestable boy one day when I was hiding in the loft.”
Payne rolled his eyes. “Run along home,Jas.”
Crossing her arms she put on her best pout.“Aw, come on, Payne. I jus’ wanna help you put the worms on thehook.”
“You are an odd child, Jas.” With a sigh hetook her hand. “All right, you can come fishing with me, but onlyfor a little while and no whining at me to put back the fish Icatch. I mean to eat them. Your mother is going to be fit to betied and she’ll probably tell my mother I’m corrupting youagain.”
She frowned. “What’s ‘rupting?”
“Cor-rupting, Jasmine. It means turning youaway from the lady you are supposed to be.”
“Yer so smart.” With a bright smile sheskipped along beside him to keep up with his longer strides. “Ijus’ love you, Payne.”
He squeezed her hand. “You don’t know whatlove is yet, Jas. Besides, your father will pick a man for you whocan support you and advance you in social circles, love will not beconsidered.”
“Don’t care.” Jasmine tossed her curls. “I’mnever gonna’ marry anyone but you, Payne, I promise, no matter ifFather drags me behind his horse.”
He chuckled. “Don’t say things like that,Jas. Eighteen is a long time away yet. You might change yourmind.”
“Nope.” She tugged his hand and looked intothe eyes of the boy she adored since she could walk. “I will loveyou forever and ever, Payne. I promise.”
Chapter One
“Stop! Thief!”
Payne paused in the steady spring drizzle andlooked over his shoulder as a young woman hiked up her skirts andmade a mad dash into the busy street. The hood on her cloak fellback and long curly red locks streamed behind her like an unfurledflag of victory. She headed in his direction, nimbly dodging fastmoving horses and buggies. His breath caught in his throat as thegirl narrowly escaped being run down by a mail coach. He couldn’thelp but hope she made it through the heavy traffic in onepiece.
His attention was diverted by the vendor. Theportly man ran down the walk, yelling, trying to find a break inthe busy tide of buggy traffic so he could follow the girl safely.Finally he stopped and threw his hands up in defeat.
Payne looked back into the street for thegirl. After a couple of seconds he spotted her almost abreast ofhim. Cheeks flushed and eyes dancing with mischief she sprinteddown the middle of the street. Slowing her pace she looked over hershoulder. Seeing the vendor had given up the chase, she laughed andlooked ahead again.
It was too late however to avoid a trottinghorse pulling a light gig. The horse slid to a halt, rearing up onits hind legs, the little cart lurching to one side. It lifted offthe ground, teetering precariously on one wheel before bouncingback onto the cobblestones with a resounding thud.
Payne leaped into action. Dashing into thestreet, he ducked past a horse and rider and reached the girl asecond too late. She let out a startled shriek as the horse’shooves hovered above her head. One large hoof glanced off hershoulder. Her face twisted with pain and she crumpled into anunmoving heap on the dirty cobblestones. The cart driver swore,settled his upset horse and carried on without a backwardglance.
Payne scooped the unconscious girl into hisarms and made his way back to the walkway. Laying her down, heloosened the tie on her deep green cloak and stared at her insurprise. What on earth was Jasmine Ridgewood doing here? And whywas she running from a vendor? If she were to recognize him shewould blow his cover. He straightened his powdered wig and jammedthe hat lower on his head as the girl moaned. Her eyelids flutteredopen as the angry vendor reached their side, having seen hisopportunity to confront the thief.
“I want that gurl arrested,” the man shouted.“She stole from me. Where’s a constable when ye need one?”
“I am Detective Smith,” Payne lied.
“Oh. Good! I want ’er arrested,” the manrepeated somewhat calmer.
“I will take care of it, my fine man.” Hepassed the merchant a shilling to pay for the stolen pastry. “Ihope this will cover your losses.”
“That’s right generous of ye, gov’nor,” thesweaty vender replied obviously very pleased to get far more forhis baked goods than they were worth.
Payne looked around as the vendor headed backto his pastry cart. No one appeared to be paying him or the limpwoman any attention. The girl moaned and he turned his attentionback to her. Blinking, she stared up at him in confusion, herbrilliant green orbs searching his face. A light spattering offreckles across the bridge of her nose stood out against her paleface.
“Are you all right?”
The girl sat up wincing. Rubbing her shouldershe gave him a weak smile. “I think so, although my shoulder isterribly sore.”
“Are you sure nothing is broken?” Paynehelped her to her feet, relieved the color was starting to returnto her face. A shrill yelp cut off her answer. He looked downstartled. The girl’s cloak was moving!
She opened her outer garment and patted afuzzy white bundle concealed within. “I am sorry, Lord Chancy,” shecrooned. “Are you all right?”
“What the devil is that?”
“He is my dog, Lord Chancy.” The girl duginto her pocket and pulled out a rather mashed looking sausagepastry. “I am afraid your dinner is a little flat,” she told thedog.
Payne shook his head. The girl was clearlydaft. Why else would she talk to the dog as if it were a person?Maybe she was not the answer to his problem after all.
The girl’s gaze darted up and down thestreet. “I had better go.”
“It is all right. I paid the vendor for thepastry.”
“Thank you, sir.” Relief softened herfeatures. “If you will just tell me your name I will ensure you arereimbursed as soon as I can find suitable employment.”
“There is no need as it was such a small sum.My name is Smith. Can I escort you home?”
“No thank you, Mr. Smith. Lord Chancy and Ishall be fine.”
“And your name would be?” Smith shiftedimpatient to be on his way as the cold rain trickled in the collarof his coat and down his neck.
“Jasmine, Jasmine Brown.” She avoided hisgaze, looking down at the dog and stroking his head.
“Brown? That is a very common name.” Hefrowned. Why had she given a false name? With those flame redtresses there was no doubt she was Jasmine Ridgewood. Why was agirl as wealthy as she stealing pastries from a street vendor?Perhaps the rumors were true and she really had run away from home.It would seem reasonable to expect she would have taken enoughmoney to buy the things she might need when living on her own.
Jasmine tucked her furry bundle under her armand began to move away. He caught her arm. “Are you sure I cannotescort you and Lord Chancy home? I would feel much better if I knewyou had arrived at your destination safe and sound,” hepersisted.
“There is no danger out here in broaddaylight,” she insisted.
He gave her a bemused smile. “You could havefooled me.”
Jasmine gave him a brief smile. “No, thankyou. As I have already

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