A Night of Forever

By: Bronwen Evans


Preface


Welcome to the suspenseful and sensual world of the Disgraced Lords.

As the eldest Libertine Scholar, Christian Trent, the Earl of Markham, has been given the task of sharing the details about the spot of bother they are in.

Dear Readers,

Let me start by sharing how the Libertine Scholars came to be. We are six men who are closer than brothers. We met at school when we were very young, and when we went on to Oxford, we spent as much effort wooing the ladies as we did learning, earning ourselves the esteemed title of the Libertine Scholars. All of us had unhappy (putting it mildly) childhoods, and we soon watched each other’s backs, one for all, and all for one—you thought the Musketeers came up with that motto, didn’t you? Well, maybe they did, but we protected each other through very trying times.

You see, our fathers were all rotten to the core—they were world-class debauchers, drunkards, gamblers, and utter madmen. Each of the Libertine Scholars has spent the past ten years trying to restore his family’s reputation and make up for the evil his father perpetuated.

However, the sins of our fathers continue to follow us no matter how hard we try. Someone our fathers wronged is seeking revenge on the sons and is trying to destroy each and every one of us.

The villain is attempting to ruin us one by one, first destroying our reputations, and finally trying to kill each of us and the people we love. The race is on to uncover the identity of this evildoer before anyone gets hurt. Through each book we begin to discover clues to the villain’s identity and manage to thwart our enemy’s evil plans.

Arend’s story, A Night of Forever, runs in parallel with A Taste of Seduction, and starts at the end of A Whisper of Desire, where Her Grace Marisa, the wife of Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton, was kidnapped by the villain, along with a woman called Lady Isobel Thompson. Unfortunately for Isobel, Arend Aubury, Baron Labourd, is sure Isobel was in the carriage with Marisa for a reason—an evil reason: as a spy for their villain. The truth? Well, you’ll have to read Arend and Isobel’s story…

Yours sincerely,

Earl of Markham






Prologue


OUTSKIRTS OF LONDON, 1816

Arend Aubury, the fifth Baron Labourd, saw the disintegrated carriage collapsed and lying on its side in the ditch up ahead, and prayed Marisa wasn’t in it.

Six horses lay a ways behind the carriage, screaming in agony, but their fate could wait until he found Marisa.

The enemy out to destroy Arend and his fellow Libertine Scholars might well have succeeded this time. Lady Marisa Spencer, Duchess of Lyttleton, had been kidnapped, and the carriage used to abduct her now lay splintered and spread beside the road like matchwood.

He cast a fleeting glance at Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton, Marisa’s husband, whose horse thundered along beside him.

The waves of pain and horror radiating from his friend swamped him. Marisa was more than Maitland’s wife. She was his heart. His soul. His life. If anything had happened to her—

Their enemy would pay. And pay dearly.

Arend kicked his horse forward, desperate to get to the wreckage before Maitland in case the sight was too horrific to allow his friend to see.

Even before the animal had come to a stop, Arend was out of the saddle and racing for the broken carriage door.

When he reached it and saw a woman inside, her chest rising and falling, the relief that she was still alive made him suddenly weak.

Moving quickly but carefully, he pushed aside the debris and eased into the wreckage until he was at her side. But when he rolled her gently over so he could lift her, the boiling blood racing through his veins turned to ice, his fists curled tight, and his need to avenge the hurt and pain that the Libertine Scholars’ enemy was inflicting on his friends burned like acid in his gut.

This woman wasn’t Marisa.

Arend had no idea who the stranger was, but prickles of unease slid through him.

The stranger had a nasty gash on her head, but she was breathing steadily.

She was about Marisa’s age, with Marisa’s dark hair, and a face that even a jaded man had to admit was a vision of perfection. Her perfectly shaped pouty lips, cute button nose, and long, thick eyelashes resting against her pale cheeks were the well-maintained features of a lady. For some unfathomable reason, he wanted to know the color of those eyes.

Besides, she was dressed in a ball gown.

But who was she, and why was she here? Was she an accomplice? All these thoughts jumbled in his head until the one thought that should have been uppermost in his mind howled at him to listen.

Where was Marisa?

Arend heard someone approaching, and came to his senses.

A voice called out, “I cannot find the kidnappers or anyone else. It looks as though they scampered before the crash. Perhaps even left the carriage to teeter out of control. It does look deliberate.”

He searched frantically. Where the hell was she?

For a few heart-stopping seconds he imagined perhaps they’d been mistaken or misled. That Marisa had not been in the carriage at all. But then he saw a piece of her torn jacket on the floor.

He shot a look over his shoulder and realized the man who had come up behind him wasn’t Maitland but Lord Hadley Fullerton.