The Sherbrooke Bride

The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

Book: The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Coulter
be pleased for long with Melissande for your wife.”
    â€œHa! You slippery sod, you make it sound as though you saved me from a fate worse than death. You want me to believe that you removed the plague from me and took it onto yourself, that you martyred yourself for me. You stole my wife, Tony! Damn you, it is too much, I have listened to your lame excuses and I—”
    â€œMy lord,” Hollis said softly, his hand once more on Douglas’s shoulder, “we must remain for the moment with the facts. Emotion is enervating and leads, evidently, to violence. I cannot allow more violence in Northcliffe.”
    â€œWhere is my sister? Where are Ryder and Tysen and my mother?”
    â€œMaster Ryder insisted they all leave Northcliffe until everything was sorted out. He is an intelligent young man. Once he understood what had happened, he had the family gone from here within two hours. They, ah, are staying presently in London, at the Sherbrooke town house.”
    Lord, he’d very nearly taken Janine to the town house, but in the end, Lord Avery had seen to her lodgings. Douglas twisted about to look up at Hollis. “So, I’m alone in the house with this bloody wife thief?” Douglas rubbed his hands together and he smiled. “Excellent! That means I can kill him with no one the wiser, without Tysen preaching to me from his future pulpit, without Ryder laughing at me, without my sister and mother falling into a swoon. No, that’s not true, is it, Hollis? It wasn’t all Ryder’s idea, was it? No, you were afraid there would be disagreements and so you convinced Ryder to remove them all. Ah, I don’t mind, indeed I don’t. Thank God, you sent them away. Now, I am going to kill this damned bastard cousin of mine!” Douglas roared to his feet.
    â€œPlease, no more, my lord.”
    Douglas stopped cold and stared at the same slight female who’d been upstairs in the midst of the fray. She was now standing in the open doorway, that same female who’d tried to protect him. The same one who was supposedly his cursed wife. He shuddered with the strangeness of it; it was absurd; it wasn’t real; he couldn’t, wouldn’t, accept it.
    â€œTell me your name, at least,” he said, his voice harsh, his fury boiling near the surface.
    â€œMy name is Alexandra Gabrielle Chambers. I am the Duke of Beresford’s youngest child, but I am not a child, I am eighteen years old and a woman.” Shepaused and he saw the strain on her face, really a quite pretty face, with rather luminous gray eyes that weren’t stupid. She’d pulled her hair back and tied it with a ribbon at the nape of her neck. She had nice bones, a nice mouth, pleasantly arched brows and quite pretty small ears. It didn’t move him one bit, none of it. She fretted with the sash on her pale blue dressing gown, then looked up to face him again. “Don’t you remember me at all, my lord?”
    â€œNo.”
    â€œI suppose I have changed a bit. I was plump then and even shorter. I even wore spectacles sometimes to read, my hair was always in tight childish braids, so it was likely that you disregarded me entirely, but now—”
    â€œI really don’t care if you were bald and obese. Go away. Go back to bed. You can be certain that I won’t come to ravish you tonight. I am not in the habit of bedding women who are strangers to me.”
    She paused a moment, drawing up, straightening just a bit more. She looked briefly at Tony, then nodded. “As you wish, my lord. I will sleep in the adjoining bedchamber if that is all right with you.”
    â€œSleep in the corridor! Sleep with Tony for all I care. After all, he appears to have married you too.”
    â€œReally, Douglas—”
    Alexandra turned without another word and left. She picked up a candle from a huge Spanish table in the entrance hall. She walked slowly up the wide staircase. What had

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