Lord Vile (Beastly Lords Book 3)(5)

By: Sydney Jane Baily

Ada could finally relax after weeks of preparation. Downstairs, her parents waited in the parlor, so they could spend a last evening before her move to Town. To spare her mother, she and her father would try not to discuss the stock market, their shared passion.

She would greatly miss them, but, as usual, as she thought of her move to London, a thrill of excited anticipation tickled her spine. Her own home, at last.

With her accumulated wealth, she’d purchased a townhouse on Belgrave Square. She might have chosen the locale because of its close proximity to two parks in which she could ride and Harry could play, or because it was not too distant from her parents’ townhouse, which they occupied about six months out of the year.

However, there was another more attractive reason for choosing the spacious neo-Classical home. For though Lord Vile—as the ton had so aptly nicknamed the viscount Michael Alder—didn’t live there, he frequented it. Everyone who read the scandal sheets knew he’d had two paramours from among the fifty residences of the square, and was currently keeping company with a widow only two doors down from where Ada would soon reside.

She intended to be the next on his list.

Not only would Ada finally be mistress of her own domain, she intended to become Lord Vile’s mistress as well, with the fine distinction of being the woman he kept company with but never bedded. It was the only way she could think to capture his black heart.

How blessed she was her parents had not disowned her after the disastrous breach of sanity three years earlier. Instead, they’d shown incredible generosity. She knew no other parents who would have behaved with such benign kindness.

The alternative, being cast out to fend for herself and her unborn child, would have likely ended in an intentional final swim in the Thames. For Ada had not been prepared to go to a seedy house for unwed mothers, if she could even have found one that wasn’t truly a front for a brothel.

The idea of Harry being born as the child of a prostitute could still cause Ada to shudder.

Instead, her mother, Kathryn, had enveloped her in love, and adored her grandson as soon as he made his way into the world. Her father had decided finance and commerce were a “damn sight safer” for his only daughter than so-called civilized society. Thus, James Ellis indulged her interest for stocks and trade, teaching her what he knew as a broker in good standing at the London Stock Exchange, having always paid his yearly £5 license fee, on top of his £105 entrance fee, and his £22 subscription. To his credit, he’d never had a default penalty placed against him from all the trading he’d done, and thus, he’d been reelected each year on Lady Day in early April.

When her parents left her alone in Surrey for their London residence, most days, Baron Ellis was on the floor of the exchange at Capel Court. When they were with Ada at Juniper Hall, her father kept up with the markets through the trade reports and the general newspapers.

Not only had he taught her, he’d also listened. As it turned out, Ada had a head for investing. Even better, he had let her invest through him.

In three years, with a singularity of purpose, she’d become a wealthy woman in her own right, while helping her father to grow his own wealth. Eventually, when her brother inherited, he would benefit, too.

Sitting in her father’s study together, poring over one of the intriguing reports of the Select Committee on Joint Stock Companies, they shared a like-minded friendship rarely seen between father and daughter. The only time they ever fought was if James yet again asked who his grandson’s father was.

“Ada Kate, tell me the scoundrel’s name and I’ll run him through or shoot him in the heart, or would if he had one,” her father promised.

His strong words in no way enticed her to reveal anything about Michael Alder.

She wasn’t protecting the rogue. Not at all. Alder could dance with the devil for all she cared. She was protecting her beloved father, who might find himself run through or shot in a duel as easily as being the victor.

And most importantly, she was protecting Harry St. Ange, as she’d named her baby in the church records directly following his birth. He would not grow up a bastard, the result of an unbelievably stupid moment in which his mother mistook his father for a decent human being.

A terrible misjudgment of character.

It took little more than a quiet moment to snatch her thoughts back to that horrid night. Shocked to find him at the end of the path, her obsession, Ada had become wool-headed almost instantly. Then his lips had seemed magical as he pressed them to hers. If she were ever to relate the tale, which she would never do to a single soul, she would have said it seemed one minute, Michael Alder’s lips were on hers making her feel wondrous new sensations, and the next, he was raising her skirts, and… giving her Harry.

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