The Purchased Peer by Giselle Marks
Xavier Falconer, Earl of Kittleton, has been trying to send himself to oblivion by drinking himself to death. Inheriting a much encumbered and diminished estate, he can see no way out of his debts. Then he is rudely woken by the arrival of a mysterious veiled lady accompanied by her gigantic henchman. The lady who names herself as Celestina Blighton offers to pay his debts and restore his estate, if he will marry her and give her an heir. Celestina has reasons she is not prepared to reveal to Xavier.
Xavier wants to make something of their marriage of convenience but as they grow together, there are complications neither of them expected.
The Pump – Sample from The Purchased Peer
The front door to the house was closed, but when the giant knocked on it, a small man in dark livery opened it a crack.
“His Lordship is not receiving, he is not at home,” squeaked the small man on seeing the size of the man on his doorstep.
“Nonsense, Hodges, his lordship has nowhere else to go. Now let us in this instant,” insisted the female who stepped forward ahead of her henchman. As if impelled by an inexorable force, Hodges opened the door to admit them and they marched promptly in.
“Which way is the Earl, Hodges? I haven’t got all day,” the lady asked with the sound of someone who expected her orders to be obeyed immediately.
Hodges obeyed without questioning the lady, leading them to what should have been a library, although the curtains were closed and the overwhelming smell was of stale brandy. They carefully stepped around a number of empty bottles, before they could see through the gloom that the room was occupied. Sprawled and snoring gently was a large dark haired man, seriously disheveled with his long pitch black curls in disorder. It was clear that he had not shaved for some days and the crimson velvet coat he wore was crumpled and stained. Despite the neglect of his person, Xavier Falconer, the ninth Earl of Kittleton was still an incredibly handsome man. He made no response at all to the entry of his visitors.
The lady glanced around before finding an armchair which was not cluttered with papers or empty bottles and carefully sat down.
“Hector, the Earl, water pump, please,” she said enigmatically to the giant who promptly strolled over to the sleeping Earl, picked him up under one arm and marched back out with a now conscious peer, yelling and struggling to be put down.
“Now Hodges, get those curtains drawn and the window open, then clear away all these bottles,” the veiled woman ordered and Hodges rushed to do her bidding.
Xavier stirred as he was lifted from his chair and dumped over the giant’s shoulder unceremoniously. He did not however wake. Hector easily found the stable pump, he dumped the earl none too gently on the ground beneath it, causing his eyes to flicker open, but then shut again as he became aware of strong sunlight. Hector started the water flowing fast down on the inebriated peer. Xavier staggered to his feet fast almost falling over, but the giant kept on pumping with one hand while holding him directly in the stream of the icy water.
“What the damnation are you doing, stop that at once…” he spluttered still under the torrent of water. He tried to pull away but Hector was holding tight to his upper arm.
“Unhand me at once…” he spluttered and choked. Then the earl found that his stomach contents were mobile and determined to leave his body. The water flow stopped while Xavier retched, bringing up the remains of his last night’s drinking session. After a while he stopped heaving and he turned to remove himself from the vicinity of the stable yard, only to find himself thrust back under the pump, by this giant he had never seen before. Xavier was fairly certain he had never seen him before even in the rather rattled state his brains were in.
“Stop, please stop,” he protested feebly but to no avail as he was ruthlessly drenched. He swung a fist but the mountain shrugged it off, further blows with his hands landed but were ignored. Then he felt ill again and the lasts dregs of what remained inside him decided to come up. He did not feel much better after he had been sick again, but the mountain pushed his face directly under the next torrent of water to wash away any traces. Redirecting the water with his hands was as ineffective as his attempts sporadically to batter his tormentor, but eventually the water stopped and a big hand patted him on the back like he was a puppy. Then he was hustled back into the house dripping wet and cold despite the warmth of the day.
“Hodges, please find your master some dry clothes and hurry. Hector, make sure he does not bolt.”
Xavier stirred as he was lifted from his chair and dumped over the giant’s shoulder unceremoniously. He did not however wake.
It was some twenty minutes later when Hector returned frogmarching a dripping wet Earl, who was very much conscious and not in a much better mood.
Hodges returned a few minutes later, looking concerned and frightened.
“They won’t be very long, your er Ladyship,” he declared.
“Good, is there any tea in this house, Hodges? Could you make some?”
“His Lordship does not like tea, Ma’am but I think there is some still.”
“Good at present I care not what his lordship likes, but you Hodges are not in any danger, so please make me some tea.”
Other Work By Giselle Marks