Lord Vile (Beastly Lords Book 3)(12)

By: Sydney Jane Baily

Not to mention having his mother and siblings share the same cottage.

He was letting his imagination run wild with how far he could fall, but at least those thoughts inspired him to action. Nevertheless, he had no idea how the hell he was supposed to grow their accounts. He needed help.

Someone at White’s would put him on to the right person, perhaps a way to invest in the railways.

As he approached the inconspicuous set of doors, another man was exiting and plowed into him.

In a flurry of apologies, Michael realized what he was helping the individual pick up from the pavement were stock reports.

Fate had stepped in. Hopefully, the man was better with investing than maneuvering the doors and streets of London.

In very short order, he’d turned him around, and they were seated in the room for members’ guests.

“Should I be concerned you don’t have a membership here?” Michael asked Mr. Brunnel, watching the stranger push his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

The man shrugged, appearing unconcerned. “I know so many here, I come and go as I please without having to pay the yearly dues. Smart of me, don’t you think?”

Michael nodded, supposing it was how the rich stayed rich.

“Besides, if I feel like a little social outing, I go to Crocky’s. The Shark has enough excitement at his establishment. Better food, too.”

Michael couldn’t argue with that. Crockford’s gaming hall was elegant and served the finest in French cuisine.

“You are not titled, then?”

“No,” the man was quick to offer with honesty and a grin. Again, he fiddled with his glasses.

“Nor are you a businessman, Mr. Brunnel?”

“True enough. I have neither shop nor trade. I make my money on the market, the only type of trade I’m interested in. I’ve already spent years figuring out marketable securities, and it’s the quickest way to earn—or lose—a fortune.”

“And you can help me?”

Brunnel nodded. “That’s what I do.”


“Why?” The man pushed his glasses up his nose, then removed them entirely and put them in his pocket.

“Yes,” Michael persisted. “If you’ve made a fortune and can continue to make more, why do you work for others?”

The man hesitated. “You’re asking why I do what I do?”

“Precisely.” If Brunnel hesitated a moment longer, Michael would show him the door.

“It’s entertaining,” Brunnel said, offering a large smile.

“Really?” Michael wondered at his answer.

“Yes, rather like some men who spend their time at the races or hunting or at a pugilist club. I’d rather be dealing with stocks, watching them rise and fall. It’s exciting to predict and then see your predictions play out. As you surmised, I’m not titled, but I wield a lot of power by handling gentlemen’s accounts.”

Michael nodded and sipped his drink. “This offers you amusement, then.”

“More than that. I’ve made a lot and intend to make more. If I help you, then I get some of your profit as well.”

That made perfect sense. “How do we start?”

Brunnel frowned. “Ask me how I made my money.”

“I beg your pardon.”

Brunnel cocked his head. “I thought you might want to know.”

“All right, seeing as how you want to tell me.”

The man grinned again. “I read the newspapers, domestic and foreign. I see trends. I also read the parliamentary notes and upcoming acts and bills. All of this lets me know what’s going to be big. When I realized we were going to lay telegraph cables across the channel to the froggies, I invested in the raw materials and the know-how.”

Michael was impressed.

“I wouldn’t have the head for it,” he confessed. “You’ll just tell me what to invest in, correct?”

“Exactly so, my lord. In fact, I’ll tell you, then you approve, and then I pop over to the exchange and place the order.”

“And there are short-term returns? I need to see things happen within months or even less to begin with.”

“Certainly. How else could I prove myself?”

“Indeed. And how much will your advice cost me?” Michael braced himself.

“Twenty-five percent.”

“Ridiculous! It’s my money and my risk. I’ll offer you ten percent. Anything else is outrageous usury! Robbery even.”

“Hardly that,” Brunnel said, looking unruffled. “How about we settle on eighteen?”

“Hm, that seems as though it would offer you plenty of the amusement you seek.”

“It will suffice,” Brunnel agreed. “Remember though. You win, we win together. You lose, you lose alone.”

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