The Captain's Revenge

Cobblestone Press LLC

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Word Count: 23,000
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Amelia DuPont, the Countess De Caroche, is speechless. The man who used her and left her broken hearted as returned. Once a penniless vicar's son who captured Amelia's young heart eight years earlier, William Donovan is now a distinguish Captain in the Royal Navy.

When he arrives at the party that Amelia is hosting he seems determined to undo her composure and forces her to re-evaluate decisions she had to make during her weakest moment. Can she keep her darkest secret, or will William extract the truth along with his revenge?

The Captain's Revenge
0 Ratings (0.0)

The Captain's Revenge

Cobblestone Press LLC

Heat Rating: No rating
Word Count: 23,000
0 Ratings (0.0)
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London 1816

DuPont Residence

Amelia DuPont, Countess de Caroche, held her chin high as General Bergs escorted her into the foyer to meet their guests.

“I must thank you again, Amelia,” the old man said. He smiled, his white whiskers turning up. “It has become exceedingly difficult to host a party since my beloved Emma passed away. I’m so glad you agreed to host this little gathering with me.”

Amelia smiled sadly at her deceased husband’s best friend. General Bergs had loved his wife more than anything, and she was glad to be of help. She had always liked the general and was glad they had remained friends after her husband John had passed away. She could almost feel the old man’s heartache every time he mentioned his wife.

“Nonsense, Bergs. I love to help, even if I’ve become something of a recluse. Besides...” She surveyed the foyer as the maids rushed around to complete the preparations. The guests were due to arrive at any moment. “It’s my pleasure. I rarely get to play hostess nowadays.”

“My dear,” the general said, his warm brown eyes shining with sympathy. “If you don’t mind my saying so, I think you should remarry. John has been gone for two long years now.”

Amelia sighed heavily. The general was always pushing her to find true love since John’s passing. He was like the eccentric uncle she’d never had. Amelia rolled her eyes. “Bergs—”

“Let me finish. You’ve hardly left your estate in Hampshire since his death. I’m willing to bet this is your first trip to London in two years. Don’t you wish to go to parties and balls?”

“It’s my third trip, and absolutely not,” she answered honestly. Since her birth, Amelia had been told what to do, and though her husband had proved to be a much kinder man than she had ever hoped for, he had still had his rules. Amelia liked her freedom. “I enjoy the privacy of my home, and I have my hands full with Wesley. Plus, I couldn’t possibly attend anything now, what with my reputation. You do know what they’re calling me? I would be disappointing so many of my fans.”

“Being known as the ‘Curious Countess’ isn’t something you should be proud of.”

“Why not?” She laughed.

“I don’t believe that you like the seclusion as much as you say.”

Amelia tried to ignore him, focusing her attention on the grand chandelier that hung above them.

“I’m sure your son takes up an extensive amount of time, but Wesley’s only a boy. You need the companionship every human being craves. You were very close to my Emma, and she told me that although you loved John in your own way, you always thought true love would find you. Perhaps now is a good time.”

Amelia pursed her lips. “Once,” she corrected him, ignoring the faint pinch of her heart when she thought about the only man she had ever loved. “And I said that to her eight years ago, when I was just married. Please, Bergs. This conversation is becoming stale.”

He entwined his arm with hers. “I still think I’m right. You should remarry.”

She gave her old friend a mischievous grin. “If I did that, we wouldn’t be able to throw parties like this anymore.”

“You tease an old man,” he chuckled. “I know young women have much more interesting things to tend to than helping an old general throw a party for other military men.”

“I disagree,” she replied in all honesty. “I find your stories so much more entertaining than the gossiping fools of the ton.”

The general laughed heartily.

“Now tell me about this mystery guest of yours.”

“Of course,” the old man said excitedly. He loved parties and surprises. “My old friend Colonel Shapcott, whom I don’t think you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his wife Evelyn will be attending, as you know. Along with Lord St. Michael, Viscount of Harrington, and his wife Lady Beatrix, with whom I believe you, as well as your in-laws, are acquainted.”

“I am acquainted with Lady Beatrix,” Amelia said, her smile fading at the mention of her in-laws. Her husband’s brother, Mr. Robert DuPont, and his wife Clarissa had been polite enough when Amelia’s husband had been alive, but since his death, they had grown increasingly standoffish toward Amelia and her son. She saw them often enough in Hampshire during the autumn and winter months, but they always went to London during the Season. “And you’ve mentioned Admiral Casings as well. Now tell me about this mystery man.”

Bergs chuckled. “Ah, yes. I believe you’ve heard of the infamous captain who fought at the Battle of Corunna.”

Amelia’s mind whirled. She had heard of the heroic battle that had taken place seven years earlier, before the Napoleonic Wars had ended. There had been a captain whose brave actions gained great fame in the papers, and though she remembered that the captain’s name had seemed familiar, she was unable to recall it. Of course, there was no need to know his actual name. Everyone in London knew him simply as The Wolf.

“That captain whom everyone calls The Wolf?”

“Indeed. Escorting Mrs. Asher.”

“How fascinating! But Mrs. Asher? I’m afraid Lady Beatrix will be uncomfortable knowing her sister-in-law is being escorted by The Wolf.”

“Yes, but it seems The Wolf and David Asher were stationed together during the war.” The general shook his head. “Mrs. Asher is often seen about town with her husband’s friends. I know she isn’t exactly our usual company, but the invitation was for the captain and a guest.”

Amelia shook her head as well. Not only was Danielle Asher known for creating scandal wherever she went, she was also one of the most arrogant ladies Amelia had ever met. It was people like her that kept Amelia far away from London.

Lord and Lady St. Michael were the first to arrive, followed quickly by Colonel Shapcott and his wife. Lord St. Michael was a beautiful man, Amelia thought, in sharp contrast to the colonel, whose red, stern face was rather frightening. Amelia hugged her dear friend, Lady Beatrix, after greeting her husband.

“I’m so glad to you see, Amelia.” Lady Beatrix beamed at her. “It’s been months!”

“Too long,” Amelia agreed, smiling. “I wish you’d come visit me at Hirelings.”

“I shall, it’s just that I’ve been so frightfully busy. London during the Season is so exhausting. I wish you’d come to more parties.”

Amelia smiled. “If I came to London for the Season you would despise me. I wouldn’t leave your side the entire time.”

Beatrix laughed, looking around at the other guests. “Has the general told you who the mystery guest is? I’ve been dying to find out.”

“Yes,” Amelia said in a hushed voice, her blue eyes turning serious. “But I’m afraid you’re not going to like who he’s bringing.”



Beatrix’s face turned ashen. “Oh,” she breathed.

Amelia pitied her friend. Danielle was married to Beatrix’s brother and her reputation for cuckolding her husband was well known and much discussed amongst the gossiping crowds of the ton.

“I do hate to see you so upset like this.”

“Upset by what?” Lord St. Michael asked, taking his wife’s hand in a loving way. “Are you all right, my dear?”

“Of course. Danielle is attending tonight’s dinner.”

Lord St. Michael frowned as his hand squeezed hers. He hated to see his wife in any sort of discomfort.

Amelia bit back a pang of jealousy. Beatrix and her husband were truly a love match and it was evident, especially now. She forced a smile.

“Is she? And who is accompanying her?” Lord St. Michael asked.

“The mystery guest,” Beatrix said, turning back to Amelia. “Who is...”

“The Wolf,” Amelia answered, knowing that was all she needed to say.

The uneasiness in Beatrix’s eyes changed to shock. “Captain Wolf?” she said, surprised.

“I don’t think that’s his actual name, but yes, Captain Wolf. I’m terribly excited to meet him.”

“My dear sister-in-law!” A thick, masculine voice echoed in the foyer.

Amelia turned and saw her brother-in-law, Robert DuPont, followed by his short wife, Clarissa. It always amazed Amelia how her husband John and his brother looked so completely different. John had been attractive enough, though he had been several years Amelia’s senior. He had been a tall, strong-built man, with a receding hairline, but had a smile that made up for his balding. Overall, John’s kindness had made him attractive, while Robert was several years younger, several inches shorter and several shades crueler than John. Amelia could not believe how similar-looking he and his wife had become since she had last seen them, their faces both pudgy, with a look that suggested a foul odor held beneath their noses at all times. Amelia had always wondered if there was any truth in the saying regarding how married people began to mirror each other, and judging by her in-laws, it was certain.

“Robert,” Amelia said, giving him her hand. “Clarissa. I’m so happy you could come.”

“Of course we’d come,” Clarissa said in her usual high-pitched voice. “We haven’t seen you in ages, since you insist on hiding out in Hampshire. Now, where is my little nephew, Winston?”

“Wesley is with Miss Tanner,” Amelia corrected her, barely surprised that Clarissa couldn’t remember Wesley’s name. Clarissa had always been pleasantly civil to Amelia, but she always seemed aloof, as if she never truly put much effort into anything, including her own thoughts. “She’s putting him to bed.”

“Oh, what a pity.”

“Yes, Clarissa was hoping to see the boy,” Robert spoke. “She seems to think that he might be looking more like John since Christmas.” Robert winked at Amelia, who had forced a smile. “But, as I always said to John, I don’t see an ounce of DuPont in the child. He is wholly your son.”

Amelia’s face was polite and even, but beneath her composed exterior, she felt her stomach sink. She could feel her cheeks warm, as she wondered why Robert had winked at her. For as long as she could remember, Robert had always made strange little comments about her son, and it had made her wonder if he knew the truth about Wesley. John had promised never to tell a soul about Wesley’s identity, and Amelia believed he hadn’t, but Robert always seemed to suggest that he knew.

“Of course he looks like John; what a silly thing to say. He has John’s nose,” Amelia insisted.

“Are his eyes still that strange color?” Clarissa asked. “They were always so strange looking.”

“Yes,” Robert agreed. “Certainly not DuPont eyes.”

“I had a cousin on my mother’s side who had the same coloring,” Amelia lied. Wesley’s eyes were a strange color, like gray ice. It had been a topic of discussion when he was first born, that they would change, yet they never did. “But perhaps you’ll see him another time,” she said quickly. Just then, the doors opened and the last of her guests arrived. “If you’ll excuse me.” Moving several steps to her left, she hooked arms with the grinning general and waited to be introduced.

Danielle Asher wore a smug smile as she entered, her arm lying on the midnight blue arm of the captain. Keeping her smile pleasant, Amelia’s eyes lifted from the gold embroidery of the captain’s jacket. His powerful chest and broad shoulders made the corner of Amelia’s mouth flicker up. She could appreciate a handsome male body. Her eyes drifted up to look at the man’s face, eager to see if the rest of him was as attractive as—

Amelia’s heart stopped. Her smile faded. Her head began to spin.

It couldn’t be.

“Mrs. Asher,” the general began. “It’s a pleasure to see you again. You remember Lady Amelia?”

“Of course,” Danielle Asher answered dramatically, her eyes bright with arrogance. “How do you do, Countess?”

Amelia did not answer. Her mouth had gone dry, as a chill came over her body. It can’t possibly be him, she thought, she begged. She was at an utter loss for words, as she stared at the man who escorted Danielle. It was a ghost, she thought in a moment of madness. A ghost she hadn’t seen in eight years. Yet there he stood before her, the man she had tried to forget, the man she had loved, the man who had abandoned her in her weakest hour.

William Donovan.

A cry nearly escaped her lips, as she tried to compose herself. She wouldn’t accept it. William could not be the infamous Wolf. William Donovan, her William Donovan, was probably a vicar now, just as his father had been. How many times had her thoughts wandered to him? She had always been sure he was in Burnham Thorpe. Yet as she gazed into the cold, gray, familiar eyes of the captain, her heart pounded to the beat of his name.

“Lady Amelia?” the general said, sounding as if he were miles away. Amelia looked at him, lost for words. “Are you all right, my dear?”

She nodded, mouth slightly open, a million emotions erupting in the pit of her stomach. She looked back at Danielle. “Hello,” she said absentmindedly, her voice barely audible.

“And this is Captain Donovan,” the general said, smiling. “Or, as the whole of London knows him, The Wolf.”

All the air in Amelia’s lungs vanished. Heaven help her, she thought, and the devil take him. She felt as if she would burst.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady DuPont.” His familiar voice rushed over her in hot waves.

He took her semi-raised hand in his, brushing a firm kiss to her hand. Amelia kept her expression blank, fighting the urge to close her eyes and make a spectacle of herself. His fingers squeezed hers tightly, too tightly. It was his way of saying he recognized her.

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