Chapter 20

Once Pierce and Evelyn made it back to her room, she went straight for the passage.

“Evelyn wait. I am not getting a good feeling about this, lass.” Pierce stopped Evelyn near the door.

“What do you mean? This passage leads straight down to the kitchen. I want to see Marabelle,” Evelyn explained. Her hand was firmly planted on her hip and she was glaring at him.

“Think about it for a second, Evie. Your mother knows you want to see her tonight. She also knows you have no problem going against her wishes. I fear it may be a trap,” Pierce shared his concerns with her.

Evelyn mulled over his concerns. As much as she wanted to see Marabelle, she understood what Pierce was saying. She had a feeling more was being orchestrated behind the scenes than she was aware of, and that scared her.

“Fine, but I meant what I said earlier. I want to leave.” The stubborn set of her jaw told him all he needed to know.

Pierce let out a deep sigh. “Evie, come here and sit by the fireplace with me.”

Once Evelyn was seated, Pierce knelt down in front of her. “Evelyn, you will be one of the few to know this plan. You must not say a word to anyone,” Pierce quietly explained.

“I understand. I will not breathe a word to anyone about what you tell me,” Evelyn promised.

Pierce grabbed one of Evelyn’s hands running his thumb over the inside of her wrist. God she was beautiful. But wasn’t it human nature to want what you couldn’t? There would always be speculation and rumors surrounding him. He wouldn’t do that to her.

“Your father and I have moved up the time frame on the tournament. Over the next few days, your room will be cleared of your possessions. They will be sent to Lisette’s under the guise of donations,” Pierce explained carefully.

Evelyn nodded, digesting the information. His thumb on the inside of her wrist was making her hot and it became hard to concentrate. All she could think about was his mouth on hers, but she had to focus.

“We will leave during the festivities on the closing night of the tournament. When dinner is over, we will go to the ship while everyone else heads back to the ballroom. Richard will make an excuse to leave at the same time, and will sail with us. Your Father, the men, and Richard are the only people that know of this plan,” Pierce told her.

“What happens when you win?” Evelyn asked softly.

Pierce sighed. Leave it to her to point out the weak spot in the plan. “I’ll not be the one escorting you to the ships. I will be on the last ship to leave, you will be on the first. I will see you in Astonia shortly after you arrive.”

“No, Pierce, no.” Evelyn was violently shaking her head. “No, what if something happens to you? I won’t know. I won’t leave without you.”

Her hands were shaking, as her crystal green eyes bore into his. “I can’t lose you before I’ve even had you,” she whispered.

Pierce let out a soft bitter laugh. “Oh Evie. You’ll never have me. Didn’t you hear Thad tonight? Haven’t you heard the rumors?”

Evelyn’s brows knit together in confusion. “What are you talking about? Thad was angry, and I’ve never heard anything much about you aside from how you are a second son and bring nothing to a marriage.”

“Evie, lass, I’m a bastard. My father recognized me and Richard’s mother claimed me as her child after my mother died in childbirth, but I’m not legitimate. It’s been speculated for years, and is the reason why I was left nothing in my father’s will,” Pierce explained.

Evelyn sucked in a sharp breath. No wonder no one wanted her to marry him. Richard’s words came back to her. He was trying to tell her without betraying his brother.

As understanding dawned on Evelyn, Pierce dropped her hand gently. He made his way to the balcony door. He knew she was disappointed, but even she could see now how impossible a marriage between them would be.

His best hope for a good marriage had always been someone of noble birth, willing to overlook his questionable birth to gain position. If Pierce and Evelyn had married, it would have always been seen as him gaining position and wealth.

His hand was on the handle when he felt her arms circle his waist. She had pressed herself against his back, in a firm hug from behind. “When you came with Richard, what were you?”

Pierce sighed. “I was keeping up appearances while protecting Richard from any dangers.”

Evelyn held him tighter. They stood like that for several minutes, until a knock on the door interrupted the moment.

“Goodnight, Evie,” Pierce whispered as he slipped out onto the balcony.

Evelyn walked to the door and opened it. She had been expecting to see Jessica, however, it was a servant she had never seen before. Her hallway was surprisingly clear, her men were nowhere in sight.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes, Your Highness, you can. You can meet my employer in the kitchen alone. He has been waiting some time for you,” the woman explained.

“Well, your employer will have to keep waiting because I do not go anywhere alone.” Evelyn began closing the door when the woman surged forward.

She pulled a cloth out of her pocket and lunged for Evelyn. Evelyn shrieked. Her men came rushing into the room, while Pierce flew through the balcony door and tackled the woman.

Once she had been subdued, John and Robert took her from the room. Evelyn was shaking and pale. Jessica came in after being summoned by Ian.

“My lady, let us get you ready for bed.” Jessica escorted Evelyn to the bathroom and began drawing her a bath.

Pierce was seething. If he hadn’t stayed behind to see who was at the door, then who knows what could have happened. He had the men stationed everywhere, but even they needed sleep. That’s why he was borrowing some of Richard’s men, but even that wasn’t enough.

“I want to know who that woman works for now! And then I want a private audience with King Reginald, during which time, she is never alone,” Pierce barked the orders.

King Reginald sat robed in his private sitting area. “What is this about?”

“A woman tried to lure Princess Evelyn down to the kitchen not even a half hour ago because her ‘employer’ wanted to meet with her. When Princess Evelyn tried to close the door, the woman rushed in and pulled out a chloroform soaked rag to subdue her,” Pierce stated.

“I take it her efforts were thwarted?” King Reginald asked while yawning.

“Yes. My men are currently working to ascertain who she is working for.”

“Marvelous. Wonderful work, Pierce,” King Reginald replied. Pierce instantly became suspicious of the King’s words. No one would take such an incident so lightly.

The King got up and Pierce bowed. As he walked by, he muttered under his breath, “Get her out before the end of the week.”

Pierce made no moment. He gave away nothing. There was a reason the King was acting the way he was, even in his private rooms. And he apparently wanted his daughter out of the kingdom much sooner than they had discussed.

This was turning into a complicated disaster. As he was rounding the corner back to Evelyn’s room, he stopped suddenly at the furious voices coming his direction. Pierce jumped back into the shadows as Edmund Lamont and Thad walked past him.

Their voices were too low for him to make out their conversation, but the hairs on the back on his neck were standing on end. If those two were working together, then things must be more desperate than he thought.

Pierce carefully made his way to Evelyn’s room. The men were standing outside, so he assumed Evelyn must be readying for bed. He knocked firmly.

Jessica came to the door. “Sir, is there something I can help you with?”

“Yes, as soon as the Princess is ready for bed, I will be guarding her from the inside.” Pierce firmly stated.

Jessica stepped aside and let him into the room. Once Evelyn saw him, she ordered Jessica to leave. The young woman opened her mouth to argue but looked at both Evelyn and then Pierce, before leaving the room.

The pair stared at each other in silence for a few moments before Pierce strode over to the bed. Evelyn moved to close the curtains, as Pierce sat and removed his boots.

Once he was done, Evelyn threw back the covers, inviting Pierce to join her. He stripped off his jacket and threw it down next to his boots. Next was his neck cloth and waistcoat. Evelyn watched, mesmerized as the shirt fabric stretched and tighten around his body. A body she longed to touch.

Evelyn’s mouth watered and heat shot to her core. She wanted this man more than she had ever wanted anything in her life.

Pierce looked over at Evelyn and saw the heat in her eyes. That was all it took to shoot liquid fire to his member. Her nightgown was barely above her breasts and was so sheer he could see her nipples.

“Pierce,” Evelyn’s husky voice called to him. His breath hitched. This was a bad idea. Pierce knew he shouldn’t get into the bed with her, but he couldn’t stop himself. He took off his shirt and Evelyn moaned.

Carefully, Pierce climbed into bed, grabbed Evelyn and pulled the blankets over them. She rested her head on his naked chest and gently ran her hand through his chest hair. Pierce growled low in his throat.

“Evie, lass, yur playing with fire,” Pierce whispered fiercely. His member was pulsing beneath his pants.

“I don’t care, Pierce. I want you.” When Pierce went to say more, Evelyn shushed him with a finger over his mouth.

“I don’t want to hear why we can’t. I don’t want to hear why it isn’t a good idea. I don’t want to hear about the future, Pierce. I just want to focus on us in this moment,” Evelyn responded.

Pierce rolled Evelyn onto her back before his mouth found hers in a searing kiss. Liquid fire coursed through her veins as Pierce’s tongue entered her mouth. He growled low in his throat as he pulled her nightgown down.

He began fondling her breasts as he rained kisses down the side of her face and neck before finally kissing and sucking on her nipples. Evelyn moaned, grabbing his head to keep it in place. One hand was kneading her other breast as the other went lower.

Evelyn let out a surprised squeak once Pierce began to touch her core. She immediately stiffened and began to pull away.

“Evie, relax, my love. Just feel,” Pierce whispered softly in her ear as he began to gently stroke her.

The feeling of his hand stroking her most private place felt so good. Soon she was spreading her legs wider, giving him better access as her hips began to thrust up to meet him. His kisses became more urgent, beads of sweat began to form on her brow.

“Come for me, Evie,” Pierce called out gently. She could feel something building inside her, but she wasn’t sure what it was. “Let go, lass. Just let go.”

Suddenly she came apart in his arms. She would have screamed his name had his mouth not covered hers once the first wave of pleasure hit. She kept riding his hand until the very end. When her climax was over, she felt sated.

Evelyn looked up at Pierce. Her chest was pumping up and down as she caught her breath. He moved a lock of hair back into place from her sweaty brow. Her nightgown was hitched up around her hips and down low, but somehow she didn’t care how exposed she was to this man.

Pierce had propped himself up on his elbow and was watching her as her breathing gradually returned to normal. Evelyn lifted a hand and gently caressed his face.

“I love you, Pierce,” she told him firmly. Carefully, Evelyn propped herself up and gently kissed him on the lips.

“God save me, I love you too, lass.” Evelyn’s heart caught in her chest. She looked him in the eye and still couldn’t believe her ears.

A slow smile began to pull at her lips. “You love me?”

“Yes, Evelyn. I have fought these feelings for a while, knowing what I am and all the reasons why we can’t be together, but regardless, I can’t change how I feel,” Pierce explained, gently kissing her again.

Evelyn couldn’t contain her smile or her happiness. He loved her. No matter what tomorrow brought, Pierce loved her.

Pierce shifted slightly before wincing. Evelyn saw the look of pain briefly touch his features before he refocused on her. Awareness hit Evelyn. He had made her climax, but he hadn’t climaxed himself.

Jessica had explained to Evelyn how to relieve a man in this condition, so long as she never spoke a word about it.

“Pierce, I can help you,” Evelyn stated softly.

Pierce let out a short laugh. “No. I’ll be fine. I’m not taking your virginity like this, especially not when you deserve someone better than I.”

Evelyn sat up. Her nightgown was twisted around her body, which was frustrating her. She grabbed the garment and pulled it off of her. Pierce let out a hiss as she turned naked to face him.

“I wasn’t talking about you taking my virginity, I meant I could help in some other way.” Evelyn moved the blankets off of Pierce.

He grabbed her hands as she began to unbutton him. “No, Evelyn. Leave it be.”

Frustrated by the fact he wouldn’t let her help him bring her to climax. She pulled her hands away. Then a thought hit her. Jessica had also told her how to drive a man wild with passion. Of course it had come out of one of those novels they weren’t supposed to know about, but it was worth a try.

Evelyn ever so carefully leaned forward and gently rubbed her breasts against him as she made her way to his mouth. He made a noise deep in his throat, and went to say something when Evelyn cut him off with a kiss.

After a few moments, Pierce gave in and began kissing her passionately. Evelyn unbuttoned his pants and put her hand tentatively on his member.

Pierce groaned. Her hand stroking him up and down felt so good. He wanted to give into the feeling so badly, but he couldn’t. They couldn’t give in. She deserved better than being compromised by a bastard. He gently pushed Evelyn off of him.

Evelyn was naked on her back, her breasts heaving up and down. “Pierce, please let me help you.” She gestured to his ramrod straight shaft.

“No, Evelyn. We can’t do this. What if Jessica or someone walks in, lass? I know you say it doesn’t matter, but Evelyn, not like this.” Pierce stood up and walked into her bathroom.

Evelyn sighed and put her nightgown back on. He was right. She knew he was right. If he was forced to marry her due to a scandal, it would forever reinforce everyone’s opinion of him.

When Pierce came out of the bathroom, he put his shirt back on. They were both silent as he tucked her in and kissed her softly on the lips. He then closed the curtain before grabbing his clothes and sitting in a chair at the fireplace.

Why couldn’t he have been born on the right side of the sheets? Why did there always have to be speculation about it? Pierce knew it wasn’t hard to figure out how his questionable birth had ended up throughout the kingdoms.

When Richard’s mother had died a few years after his birth, it had been devastating to their father. He was left with two boys, a woman he had cared deeply for in his own way gone, and a kingdom in uncertain times.

King William married a few years later when Pierce was four and Richard was seven. Charlotte had been a severe woman. King William had had two children with the woman, and she had always tried to elevate them over Richard and Pierce. She had made it a point of singling him out every chance she got.

His father had been pissed off with her treatment of him because it started rumors which spread throughout court. This had diminished the chances of him making a political match to help the kingdom.

Once his father had realized he wouldn’t do much for the kingdom with the queen doing nothing to dispel the rumors, he exiled her to a life of poverty. Then at the age of fourteen, Pierce had gone into the army.

He had been training to be in the army since he was six. King William had decided to give him a position of honor so he could one day lead troops and help Richard.

King William then went about doing damage control, squelishing all rumors about his parentage. However, there were always those few who remembered the rumors and how his father had taken steps to correct the damage.

Richard had always helped. He had never had a warm relationship with Charlotte. She had always tried to do everything in her power to elevate her son and daughter over him. She had tried to have his own parentage called into question on more than one occasion.

However, King William had always had a soft spot for his eldest and second child. This had always created friction with his second wife. On his deathbed, King William had done something entirely unprecedented – he left everything to Richard and had given him complete control over the fate of his siblings.

Charlotte had been angry when the news reached her. She petitioned Richard to give her children some form of inheritance, as well as her freedom. However, Richard refused that woman anything and said she was lucky he even recognized the second marriage.

Their half-sister and half-brother had been angry. They had turned on Pierce the first chance they got, telling Richard he couldn’t stop them from telling the world Pierce was a bastard.

Richard had done what he always did, protected Pierce. He wasn’t sure why his older half-brother had always looked out for him. Maybe it was because Pierce had always been loyal and led his armies to victory, as well as kept him safe from those he wished him dead.

From the time Pierce had began his training in the army, he had always been assigned as part of Richard’s detail. Whenever they traveled to contentious areas, Pierce was not only his brother, but also his protector. He ate Richard’s food and drink before he did, and had ever since he was a boy.

He had always looked up to Richard, and Richard had never treated him any different. They had gotten into trouble together on more than one occasion as boys, but there was Richard, always defending him. While James and Amelia had treated him like filth beneath their boots.

When James and Amelia threatened Pierce’s safety and reputation once more, Richard didn’t threaten back. Instead, he arranged a marriage for Amelia that was politically advantageous to a man twice her age, who was also rumored to be a bastard. And exiled James, stripping him of his title in the process.

This had enraged Charlotte. She threatened Richard after hearing about the fate of her children, and had plotted to have him overthrown and killed. Once Pierce had discovered the plot against his brother’s life, he had brought it to his attention. Charlotte was tried for her crimes and then hanged.

James had sought refuge in his mother’s kingdom, while Amelia lived the life of a baroness. She had been outraged by the lowly title and questionable birth, but she had been wise enough to know she would not last in the real world. She accepted her fate for the good of the kingdom because her husband was in trade and cotton farming.

Richard had then worked hard to legitimize Pierce, but they both had known his best bet lay with someone of a lesser station looking to climb up. Richard had offered to give Pierce lands, but he had refused. So Richard had done the only thing he could do, he had given him his freedom and a way to start over.

He would always be grateful to his brother for that. Even though it meant he was now guarding the only woman he had ever loved, but couldn’t have. He just needed to get her safely back to Astonia before whatever plot completely unfolded.

Copyright © Meg’s Chronicles 2018 All Rights Reserved

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