A Lord’s Desperate Love

A Historical Romance Story

© Copyright Jane Lark


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen


Part Fourteen


Four months later 

“Geoffrey! Robert and Ja… Geoffrey.” Violet’s expression slipped from hasty annoyance to what he knew was devoted pleasure as she stopped just within the nursery door, the door-handle still in her fingers. “Oh Geoffrey, put him down, Jane and Robert have arrived.”

“Peter, do you here that, you mother is banishing you to a lonely crib.”

She swept forward and took their son from where he was snugly cradled in the crook of Geoff’s arm.

He watched her gently lift Peter to her shoulder as the child gurgled into wakefulness.

“And now you have woken him up. You spoil him Geoffrey Sparks, he will be insufferable when he is grown.”

“Can he not come down with us? They will love to see him.”

There was a long-suffering sigh and then a smile. “Oh very well.”

He smiled too.

She loved any excuse to show off their son. He’d known she would not deny him. They were very few hours they did not spend in the nursery.

He stood.

The child had come early. Only two months after their wedding. They’d barely had time to adjust to being husband and wife before they had become parents too. But he was blissfully happy with his new role in life.

His old friends made a joke of it during the odd occasions he ventured out to his gentleman’s club, White’s. He cut them all, disregarding their mocking comments without reply. While men who thought it humorous to mention they had lain with Geoff’s wife, had learned to do so earned them a split lip or a broken rib at Jackson’s, the pugilist’s studio for men like him who liked to spar to maintain their figure.

Not that Violet knew these facts, bless her, he did not wish her to know he was slowly but determinedly fighting to win back her honour and establish respect for their child.

His hand settled on her shoulder as they left the room.

“You are taking Master Peter downstairs, my Lady?”

Geoff was sure their odd behaviour was a constant trial to the staff. He smiled. “Just for a while, Ms Leverage, we will ring when we wish him brought back up.”

The woman’s mouth set in a disapproving line.

Violet smiled. “Thank you, Ms Leverage, I know we fuss far too much, but I am sure you would rather see his parents dote on him than not.”

The woman blushed. She had come with very good references. She was probably just unused to a woman of Violet’s sharp honesty and openness.

By the time they reached the drawing-room Peter had been passed from Violet to Geoff, and he rested against Geoff’s shoulder sucking on his fist. He was tired. They should not keep him up long.

When they walked into the room Robert laughed. “The doting father.”

Geoff smiled, he could take these quips from Robert, he knew they were not ill-meant.

“May I hold him?” Jane swept forwards. “Oh I have never seen anything so tiny and so perfect.”

Violet was beaming, glowing in a way she had never done until they’d had the child.


Violet caught Geoff watching her as Jane took Peter, and Barrington began cooing at the child across Jane’s shoulder, thoroughly absorbed in entertaining the baby. Violet moved, closing the distance between her and her husband, drawn to him still, as she had been for so many months in the summer.

When she reached him, Violet lifted to her toes and pressed a quick kiss on Geoff’s lips, then whispered. “I love you. I do not mind that you fuss over him.”

“I know, Vi, and I love you, and I shall fuss over you both. This is it, darling, this is us. It is just as it should be.” He smiled.

She nodded and laughed as they held hands, watching the other couple exclaim over their son.




A Lord’s Desperate Love is the  story of two of the secondary characters from the 2nd book in the Marlow Intrigues Series


‘The Passionate Love of a Rake’


On Monday, as an Easter gift, I am going to begin another short story of secondary characters.

This time, Lord Rupert and his sister Rowena, from;

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan

This second short story is now also available to preorder for free on Amazon.

Capturing The Earl’s Love


Also for the story of the real courtesan who inspired  The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and the prequel excerpts leading up to John’s story in the

 The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Go to the index

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

Harriette_Wilson00If you have been following my blog for a little while, you will know that Harriette Wilson, the real Regency courtesan who published her memoirs in 1825 as a kiss and tell series, inspired the first novel in the Marlow Intrigues series, The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, I have been sharing the version of her life she told in her memoirs here for about a year, but over that year so many times people have told me – but it’s known she lied in them.

Well recently, I discovered the work of someone who has researched Harriette’s real life, and so I can now share with you some of the things she did not include.

As to whether or not she lied, well I will also cover that… But… I will say now, I have used her memoirs as a wealth of insight into the Regency world, her writing is like looking in through a window to see how life was for someone who lived then, and yes, you can definitely spot the scenes where there is some embellishment, either because she was writing for an audience, or because she wished to hurt someone who had hurt her… But overall, many of her scenes are from truth. Plenty more of this in the next couple of weeks, including some insights which I have found really upsetting.

But let’s start at the beginning, Harriette opens her memoirs at the point she had already become a courtesan, and was living in Brighton, on the Marine Parade with Lord Craven, everything she tells us about Lord Craven implies she thinks him tedious and from the beginning she appears unhappy with him. So why had she taken him as her first protector?

Harriette does not tell us.

But here is what Frances Wilson has discovered.

Harriette was the 6th daughter in her family, and she also had 4 younger sisters  and 2 brothers so there were 12  children in all.

I have been saying for weeks her father was a watchmaker, but apparently that was a myth. Her father really laundered silk stockings, which you may think a mundane task, but only the genteel wore silk, and there was an art to keep the fashionable white stockings clean. It was a business that paid well, and her father and mother ran it from a large town property in Queen Street, in between Curzon Street and Charles Street, right in the heart of fashionable London, among their customers.

The family were not poor, but obviously not upper class,  yet their neighbours included Dr Merriman, Lord Craven, Lord Lucan, Lord Whitworth and the Dowager Countess of Granard… Harriette and her sisters grew up watching wealthy young and titled gentleman walk past No. 23 Queen St hourly.

Harriette was taught to read by one of her older sister’s, the one she calls Paragon in her memoirs, growing up she recorded her favourite novel as Gil Bas, the story of a rogue who has many adventures and becomes a wealthy Lord. She apparently imagined herself writing a female version of the story.

Harriette says when she was younger, that her sisters constantly spoke of the men who lived near them. Fanny was kissed by Tom Sheridan, and read aloud the love letters she had received, and Paragon agreed to walk out with a man, while the others glorified Berkeley Craven’s bright eyes. Harriette at this point was uninterested, but then she declares that listening to such things for so long inspired her to become inquisitive, and then she started curling her hair, and receiving her own love letters through the hands of the maids.

It was then her mother chose to send her off to a convent school in Rouen, as far away from the interest of the debauched men of London society, who thought nothing of trying to tempt young girls into sin, as possible.

She returned in 1800, to discover that two of her older sisters, Fanny and Amy, had given in to the charms of such men, and run off to become the mistresses of a Mr Trench and a Mr Woodcock. Amy had found Mr Trench who sent her back to school, settled a hundred a year on her, and then never saw her again, and so Amy found General Madden to keep her company. It was then that Fanny followed the example of her sister and let herself be set up in a house by Mr Woodcock. She used his name although he already had a legitimate wife he lived with.

When Harriette published her memoirs in 1825, someone who claimed to have known Harriette in 1800 wrote a letter to The Times, signing himself ‘An Old Rake’ he described Harriette as ‘a little dirty girl, whose name was Du Bouchet, who was five and twenty years ago a regular tramp in St Jame’s Street… bunch backed with a shuffling gait.

Harriette was then fourteen, and her father was unwilling to feed her, he wished her to support herself, and her father had been a figure to be frightened of all her life. When she was younger, once she recorded angering him, and then taking a beating with a birch that disfigured her entire body, while beyond the chamber door her mother screamed for her father to stop.

From a family that was not poor, but not at the level of someone who might be a companion, Harriette had one option, teaching, it would have been abohorent to her to take on a labouring job or a position as a servant when she came from a family who had servants. She had lived a lifestyle in town, probably similar to that which Jane Austen lived in the country, but Harriette’s family were not descended from a title, so there were no wealthy relatives to be looked to for support.

Of course her sisters had taken another option, to become kept women, a role in which they would still have servants, and be paid more money than they would as teachers, and the role must have seemed far less strenuous :)

Harriette’s mother found her a position as a music teacher in a school initially, near Hyde Park, but Harriette only survived three months there. The French mistress, having claimed to see Harriette’s breast uncovered, said she could not be a virgin. Harriette returned home. An appointment was then found for her at a girls’ school in Newcastle upon Tyne, and she travelled there on the mail coach, with Tom Sheridan, who was returning to his regiment in Edinburgh.

To express the sort of young man Tom was, like so many of the young men of the day, Francis Wilson records some of the things he was known to have said ‘Told by his father to take a wife, Tom replied ‘Yes but who’s?’ Told by his father he would be cut off with a penny, Tom asked whether he might have the penny now.’

It is not known what occurred on their journey, but there are hints in Harriette’s memoirs, that imply she may have allowed herself to be seduced by Tom, during the two days and one night they travelled, and certainly when she left him at Newcastle upon Tyne, she had agreed to him sending her love letters, with which she could tease her sisters.

Harriette did not survive long at this school either, such a life was too boring, and Tom Sheridan suggested to her in his letters that she should become an actress. The idea appealed, and Harriette headed back to her family home in London. But her father refused such a notion. Being an actress was no better than being a prostitute, and he said ‘he would rather see me in my grave.’

It was her father’s anger which finally drove her away. Francis Wilson, says, Harriette made him his favourite meal, and waited up beyond the time she was supposed to be in bed to ensure it remained hot, only to receive a scolding for her attempt to placate him, for her disobedience in staying up…

Harriette then planned her escape, but she did not run very far to look for her saviour, only to the end of the street where her parents lived. It is believed she ran away initially with Berkeley Craven – he who was revered by her sisters for  his bright eyes. She had known the family for years. But it was not Berkeley Craven she remained with, it was his older brother, Lord Craven, who she became the mistress of…

And what happened then, I will continue next week… :)


Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark



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