Fury Of The Demon--Demon Novels, Book Six PDF Free Download

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It took a moment to swallow his shock and anger.
Which man?

His valet had already opened Fitzroy’s writing case and stood waiting, pen in hand.

Fitzroy strode over to him. He wrote a few words, sanded them, folded the sheet, and sealed it, using his signet ring to make a deep mark in the warm wax.

Disney frozen: the hero within pdf free download. Fury burned in him like a chimney fire.

Which man this time, for God’s sake?

The footman took the paper, bowed, and walked out.

“My lord,” Fitzroy had written. “I shall be pleased to obey your summons. However, I regret that I am obliged to get married first.”

* * *

In the grounds of King’s Acton, the church of Acton All Saints had stood as an unchanging symbol of eternity since it had first been rebuilt in the twelfth century. Parts of the nave were Saxon and there were a few later improvements, like the rood screen and the Jacobean pulpit, but the square tower and soaring arches of the Normans dominated the building.

Joanna had been driven from the house in the landau, so she would not soil her satin dress and wedding shoes, even though the door of the church lay only a few hundred yards from the east wing of King’s Acton, sheltered by a small grove of trees.

Church and house, oddly juxtaposed together, spiritual and worldly power in each other’s pockets for centuries, and both estates agreeing that men should have power over women, to limit and define their lives.

Helena rode with her, helping her with her skirts and veil, and the bouquet of orange blossom, the branches stolen from the orangery, the flowers made of silk.

It was a clear, crisp day, and the woods were filled with birdsong. Joanna vaguely noticed a man standing near the church gate. He held a fretting Thoroughbred by the reins, but she could not think about it or what it might mean.

She felt sick with nerves.

Helena walked with her to the church door, gave her hand a quick squeeze, then slipped inside.

Lord Acton, tightly corseted in his best clothes, held out his arm for his daughter.

No one paid any attention to the bridegroom’s valet, standing quietly to one side with a bag and a pair of riding boots.

She didn’t know if there was music or not, or whether the small groups of guests, Acton and Evenham, turned to watch her progress down the aisle. She knew they were all there: her mother, Lady Acton, with Richard and Helena; the Black Earl and his wife, Lady Evenham; a scattering of aunts and cousins.

The angry power of her father at her side dominated her senses, as if she kept time with a barely restrained mad bull.

She vaguely noticed the flagstones beneath her feet and the worn brass plate in the floor that marked the fifteenth-century grave of Sir Lionel Acton. He lay forever in full armor, next to his elongated wife and their sixteen tiny children, the ones who had died in infancy even smaller than the three who had reached adulthood.

Had that thin medieval lady in her flowing robes felt this afraid on her wedding day? Her husband had been a warrior, very probably a brute, yet she had borne him all those children only to see most of them die as babies.

It won’t do! Everyone in this family has courage, and they always have had, as far back in time as anyone can remember. How can you let yours fail you now?

Joanna raised her chin and looked up.

Fitzroy Monteith Mountfitchet and his brother Quentin stood waiting for her at the altar.

Fury Of The Demon--demon Novels Book Six Pdf Free Download Movie

Quentin gave her a wavering, boyish smile. He was obviously foxed, his brown curls dropping carelessly across his forehead.

She barely noticed him.

Her eyes locked onto the dark figure of her bridegroom. He looked remote and formal and impossibly handsome in his impeccable clothes, accentuating his height and breadth of shoulder. A shaft of sunlight burst through the high windows to fall across his face, across the rich black hair and the strong nose, the molded cheekbones and firm mouth.

Fury Of The Demon--demon Novels Book Six Pdf Free Download Windows 10

Lord Tarrant was frowning slightly, as if preoccupied with something far more important.

Yet as their eyes met, Joanna saw concentration pool in his gaze. To her immense surprise, he smiled.

She hadn’t expected it, but it gave her a warm rush of courage. She felt the sheer physical impact of it, making her blood sing and her step firm.

His smile sent deep creases into his cheeks, and lit up his mysterious dark eyes with humor. Not that mocking, sarcastic humor, but a deeply intelligent, offered invitation to share with him in the absurdity of this moment—two strangers in all their stiff finery putting on a show for the world—and Joanna found the courage to go through with it.

She placed her hand in his and spoke her vows in a clear, strong voice.

“I take thee, Fitzroy Marmaduke Jeremy Monteith Mountfitchet, to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold—”

Marmaduke!
No wonder he didn’t want to get married, when it meant a public recitation of his whole name!

She felt a spurt of most inappropriate laughter and glanced up at his face. Joanna didn’t know how to read that odd mixture of expressions, but one thing was clear. There was no hostility to her in his eyes. There was humor and something wildly uncaring and distant, along with something else that looked like sorrow and a fierce burning anger. Yet none of that was directed at her, except the intelligence and wit.

Lord Tarrant was offering her his support and something close to an apology, and Joanna made it through her wedding service without disgracing herself.

“ . . . man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

He touched her chin and kissed her briefly with an impersonal courtesy, before escorting her from the altar and into the vestry where they were to sign their names. The cool, light touch of his lips on hers made her knees as weak as the spring sunshine and turned her blood unexpectedly into something heady and sweet, like mulled wine.

What a strange thing, that his kisses could be so different, yet each still move her to the very soul!

The church bells began to ring out in a joyous peal, the clamor of notes jangling into a strange harmony, and the guests came forward to offer congratulations. It seemed odd, since she had been forced into marrying a stranger, that their parents and relatives should press greetings on them as if it were a real marriage.

“Come, then,” her father boomed. “Let us return to the wedding breakfast! Take my girl, Tarrant, and give her sons, by God!”

“You will forgive me, Lord Acton,” her new husband replied with a correct bow. “The son-making will have to wait. Urgent business recalls me to town. I must go now, without my breakfast and my bride.”

Fury Of The Demon--Demon Novels, Book Six PDF Free Download

As he spoke he stripped off his tight jacket and signaled to his valet. The man stepped forward with the bag.

“To London?” Lord Acton asked in tones intended to freeze everyone where they stood.

“Regrettable, but necessary. You will excuse me?”

“By God, you shall not do this, sir!” It was the Black Earl, Lord Evenham, his father.

For a moment it seemed that the two earls were ready to attack him, that Lord Acton would even use physical, brute power to restrain his daughter’s bridegroom on his wedding day.

Joanna felt the most unseemly, wild surge of giggles, which she instantly suppressed. They were prepared to manhandle a viscount into bed with his bride? Did they think they could force him?

Lord Tarrant remained entirely calm. “Alas, Father, I shall.”

The surge toward him stopped. Lord Evenham stood frozen, his fists clenched. Lord Acton had even raised his cane. Now it hung like a barber’s pole above his head.

The bridegroom had pulled a small pistol from his pocket.

As Joanna fought her indecorous urge to laughter, her new husband took the bag and his boots from his valet, stepped into the private space where the vicar donned his vestments, and locked the door behind him.

The scandalized guests poured out of the church, only to see Lord Tarrant run from the side door and swing onto the Thoroughbred that had been standing at the gate. He had stripped off the rest of his wedding clothes and thrust himself into breeches, boots, and riding coat.

The horse spun and reared, before galloping off toward London.

Its rider briefly doffed his hat and waved it, while that feral, secret mix of determination, desperation, and hilarity lit his face.

* * *

Joanna watched him go with mixed emotions. She was abandoned in full view of both families and the handful of servants and tenants, who stood ready to applaud and throw rice at the happy couple. She supposed she ought to be angry. What could be more humiliating to a bride, after all? But it had been so very splendid. To face down her father and his in the church with a pistol!

“For heaven’s sake,” a cool voice said. “Everyone is hungry. Let us go back and eat.” Lady Acton smiled at Joanna and winked. “Let Quentin escort his new sister-in-law. We shall all feel a great deal better after breakfast.”

Quentin grinned and offered Joanna his arm. She took it and allowed him to help her into her carriage.

What the devil did it matter if her bridegroom had absconded? He would never touch her, and although he might have kissed her, she was sure that he meant it to go no further. It would never be a real marriage, and she didn’t want one.

She wanted the freedom he had offered her: the freedom to paint.

And then she saw Richard’s face.


Chapter 7


As soon as they arrived back at King’s Acton, Joanna waited for the opportunity to get her brother alone.

First she had to sit through the interminable wedding breakfast. It took place with an odd, constrained civility, the polite conversation led by her mother. Lady Acton seemed to have no untoward emotions at all about what had happened, but there could be no toasts, nor speeches, nor congratulations, since the bridegroom was missing.

The other guests rose to the occasion, even Richard and Lord Acton, who were obviously scarcely speaking.

Joanna knew that her brother must have privately confronted her father about Fitzroy. Yet there would be no public scenes or outbursts, just a quiet demonstration of good breeding in the face of calamity.

Even Quentin behaved properly, though barely, since it was too early in the day for him to be truly three sheets to the wind.

Yet there was a real concern on Helena’s face, and that implacable fury on Richard’s.

At last it was over, and Joanna was able to get her brother alone in a quiet corner.

“It doesn’t matter, Richard,” she said. “Pray, let it go!”

He took her arms in a grip that hurt.

“For God’s sake, Joanna! How the devil can I let it go? By God, I knew he was base, but I had no idea that he’d dare to show this much effrontery—to you, to Mother, to his own family. How the hell do you expect me to overlook such an insult?”

“You will
not
call him out,” Joanna insisted. “I want your word of honor on it, Richard. It’s the only wedding present from you that I care about.”

Richard stared down at her with the eyes that were so like her own. “I’m not sure you have the right to demand that.”

“Who else has the right? I’m the one most insulted, aren’t I? And who are you to demand that a bridegroom be publicly solicitous and caring? You left Helena alone for weeks after you married her.”

“Because I was forced to. Yet I did not leave her at the church door after our wedding. By God, I should have found a way to stop this. The world would be a better place without him.”

Joanna wrenched herself away, yet the depth of his anger and despair bothered her more than she wanted to admit.

Richard is usually an excellent judge of character. Does he think Tarrant merely offensive, or actually dangerous?

She thrust aside the memory of her mother’s words. More to the point, Richard was only a mediocre shot, whereas she had no doubt that Fitzroy was a superb marksman, just as Quentin had boasted.

Joanna turned back to face her brother. “That’s not up to you. I have every intention of living with him, and I don’t want my husband and my brother meeting at dawn like two cocks in the ring.”

Richard looked incredulous. “Why the devil would you want to live with him?”

“Where else do you suggest that I live?”

“You can come to us at Acton Mead. You’ll always be welcome there, Joanna, you know that.”

“Oh, you silly man! Of course I know it, but I don’t want to be constantly underfoot and in the way, intruding on you and Helena and the perfection of your marriage. Lord Tarrant has promised me a studio and complete freedom to use it. Do you think I intend to turn that down?”

The deep vertical line had appeared between Richard’s brows. “And what will he demand in exchange? Joanna, you cannot comprehend what a man like that can do, what he may require—”

“Not his marital rights,” Joanna said flatly. “So put your mind to rest on that score. He swears to defy his father over that. We shall live in celibate harmony, marked by his never being there. I’m sure that Lord Tarrant has no lack of mistresses.”

“No, I know for a fact that he doesn’t,” Richard replied faintly.

Joanna wanted to ask him again about Juanita, about why he distrusted her new husband so deeply, but she couldn’t bear the anguish she saw on his face.

Instead she hugged him quickly, and tried to bury her insistent, dreadful unease.

* * *

Fitzroy rode fast, picking up a fresh horse every five or ten miles. It was at least two days to London, even without stopping. When he finally rode into Whitehall it was early dawn. He had not slept at all the previous night.

He stopped briefly at his house on the edge of town, calling for hot water and a change of clothes. However urgent the summons, whether the very kingdom was at stake or not, no gentleman would call upon another unshaved.

Thirty minutes later Lord Grantley ushered Viscount Tarrant into his study. He gave his guest one shrewd glance, then told the servant to bring coffee.

“Very well, Lord Grantley,” Fitzroy said curtly as soon as the footman was out of the room. “Which man?”

“Sit down, sir. You cannot help him now. I’m afraid it was Flanders. He was stabbed in a tavern in Whitechapel. Nothing to say that it was not a random brawl, except—”