The private affairs of lady jane fielding

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The Private Affairs of Lady Jane Fielding

Viveka Portman

The Private Affairs of Lady Jane FieldingViveka Portman

In the world of Regency England, only one thing matters — the begetting of an heir…

There is one fact I cannot hide nor deny. I have borne my husband no sons…

When Lord Jacob Fielding suffers a traumatic injury denying him more children, it devastates both his present and his future. He and his wife Jane have only daughters, and the brother in line to inherit his title and lands is a disgusting reprobate, a man who should never have power over anyone.

In desperation, Lord Fielding formulates a wicked plan. He invites his distant cousin Matthew to come and share their home…and possibly more. Jane is shocked, but cannot deny her curiosity. She loves her husband, and their situation is desperate, and Matthew is a kind, gentle, attractive man. But what can this situation bring, but tension and jealousy?

Emotions and libidos run high as the Fielding men search for a way to satisfy the need for an heir, their own lusts, and, most importantly, the desires of Lady Jane, before time runs out.

About the Author

Viveka Portman is an author of romantic erotic fiction, and has a fascination about times past. With a bachelor degree in anthropology, Viveka weaves historical fact into fiction to create lively, realistic and thrilling tales, sure to titillate and engage the most discerning reader.

Considered an upstanding member of society, Viveka does not make a habit of eavesdropping, gossiping or making vulgar displays of impropriety — except, that is, in writing.

Acknowledgements

Once again, I’d like to thank and acknowledge the wonderful team at Escape Publishing for loving these regency tales as much as I do. Also, to Shona Husk, a great critique partner, author and friend — may we keep inspiring one another for many more years to come. Also to my family, for once more nodding and pretending to listen convincingly when I talk about my latest erotic romance. It’s awkward, I know, but I appreciate it all the same.

To my readers – I hope you enjoy

Contents

About the Author

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…

Chapter 1

Tuesday 1stJune 1813

Fielding Place, Berkshire, England

There is one fact I cannot hide nor deny. I have borne my husband no sons.

It is a sad thing indeed for a family such as ours. Fielding Place needs an heir and daughters will not do. Of daughters we have no shortage — two healthy and biddable girls, who I shall state bring us much joy. Alas the demands of Fielding lineage and heredity command not joy, but a son and it is a tragedy indeed that my husband, since his accident, cannot provide our family with one, or any child it seems.

I write this journal of our affairs in secret, for there is no one else with whom I can confide. Jacob has ever been my confidante, but now, a year since his accident, I have found myself unable to speak of the more private matters as we were once accustomed to do. Yet my desire for an understanding ear with whom to disclose my fears burns fiercely within me. Especially now, since Jacob has formulated a plan.

This summer I shall have been married to Lord Jacob Fielding, Baron of Fielding, for near five years. I verily believe I was blessed in my father’s selection of my husband, for mine is, and ever shall be, a love match. Of course, it cannot be overstated that our marriage has been most beneficial in both financial and social aspects, but for these things I care little. Jacob is honourable, charming, pleasing to the eye and dotes upon me shamelessly. So it is with such dismay that I write about something that has turned our blessed union to a grave disappointment.

***

My husband is an avid horseman. Few could cut a more dashing picture astride a stallion than Jacob. He is an expert huntsman and falconer, and often I ride alongside him, unladylike though it may be. If there is one thing for which I shall ever be grateful, it is that Jacob indulges me in such things as, I assure you, I indulge him.

It can be no surprise then that it was an accident of the equestrian sort from which all our troubles grew.

It was, as I have stated, over a year ago now, though the memory remains as fresh in my mind today as it was then. Often times, in the still of night, I hear the echo of my mare’s whinnies of alarm and my husband’s bellows of anguish.

The ill-fated date was the 19thof June, 1812, a Saturday, when disaster struck. We were riding aside the pretty brook that runs along the boundary of Fielding land. I rode my mare, such a gentle, sweet thing who followed Jacob’s stallion with the curiosity only a young mare shows. Alas, when my husband and his horse jumped across a small overflowing tributary, my mare failed to do the same. She balked at the rush of water. Though it was but shallow, the weed-slicked stones caused her to slip, sending me over and her crashing to the ground.

The next thing I knew was Jacob’s arms around me, hauling me bodily from the burbling brook. The water was cold and the side of my face, leg and arm were bruised, but thankfully I was otherwise unharmed.

‘My dearest,’ he murmured, his warm hands running over my face, tucking the dripping tendrils of hair from my eyes. ‘Are you hurt?’ His tone was intense but his glittering eyes even more so.

I shook my head, though I wanted to weep and fall into his arms and have him kiss me. He was so unutterably lovely when concerned.

As if my wish had willed him, Jacob’s head dipped towards me and I stretched upwards to brush against his lips. As I did, my mare’s frantic whinny shrieked behind us. Jacob turned, releasing me from his embrace. He glanced at me regretfully and moved towards the mare.

‘Lolly,’ he hushed, but her eyes rolled as he came forward. ‘Shh,’ he urged.

Lolly whinnied again; she was shaking like a leaf in a storm. I turned to check upon Jacob’s stallion who stood not far away, watching the scene as if bored by it.

‘Be careful, Jacob,’ I warned him. Horses, even those as beloved as Lolly, could be unruly and unpredictable at the best of times, but especially when hurt.

‘She’s lost a shoe,’ Jacob replied, walking beside the shaking horse to observe her rear left leg. He ran a hand down her side and she shuddered against him. ‘Damnable thing,’ he muttered, ‘it’s nearly completely off.’

I shivered in my soaked clothing. ‘At least she’s not harmed. I’ll walk her back to the stables,’ I said, and stepped towards them.

‘You’ll do no such thing, you’re bloody frozen,’ Jacob retorted, his hungry eyes devouring the wet cloth of my riding habit as it clung to the cleft of my thighs. ‘I’ll help you mount Faust there, he’ll get you home, mark my words.’ He stroked Lolly again. ‘I’ll get this silly girl back while you tell the maids to draw us a bath. I’ve a mind to have you tonight.’

His words made me blush, but I delighted in it. We both most desperately wanted a son, and relished in the making of one. ‘You have a silken tongue, Jacob,’ I chided him, and sashayed a little closer.

‘Ah, but you love my tongue, Jane. Don’t you?’ he whispered, and kissed my neck. His lips were hot against my chilled skin. ‘You like my tongue, for more than silken pretty words, do you not?’

‘I’ll not deny it,’ I breathed.

‘You like my tongue betwixt your thighs, don’t you?’

‘No,’ I whispered, his tongue gliding down my décolletage to kiss the swell of my bosom. My breath caught in my throat.

‘No?’ He raised an eyebrow, his face a mask of sensually amused masculinity.

‘No,’ I replied brazenly, ‘I adore it.’

Jacob released a roar of laughter and picked me up, spinning me around and kissing me heartily on the lips.

Crushed against him, my loins wetted and my heart strained beneath my stays. I loved this man and I so desperately wanted him between my legs. ‘Mayhap you would have me here?’ I gestured to the mossy banks of the brook.

He laughed wickedly, his eyes dancing. ‘Don’t tempt me wench,’ he muttered, ‘or I may just do it.’

Though I still shivered with cold, I shivered also from pure need. Involuntarily I found my hands grasping and hauling my wet skirts up over my ankles and knees. ‘Do it,’ I urged.

Jacob’s growl of hunger made me gasp. He stalked towards me his hands pushing my heavy skirts high, until he found my sex, wet, open and unencumbered by drawers.

‘Wicked woman,’ he whispered and kissed me with breathtaking ferocity. His fingers slipped between the soaking walls of my sex and I found myself grinding against him, wanting more of him than what he offered now.

‘Please,’ I keened.

Alas, my cries must have upset Lolly further and she shrieked, her partially shod hoof clacking on the river-stones.

Jacob pulled away and threw a cautious gaze at Lolly whose eyes still rolled in fear.

His fingers slipped from my sex, and I was suddenly empty, bereft and frustrated. He grinned at me, his white teeth shining in the dappled light of the woods, and picked me up, striding purposefully towards Faust, onto whom I reluctantly clambered.

‘And that’s enough for you, wench.’

I laughed. ‘Never.’

I did so love his wicked tongue.

‘Off home, woman, I shall be with you shortly.’ He smiled. ‘When I return I expect you naked and spreadeagled on our bed. You’re an accursed tease, I’ve a mind to punish you for it.’

I looked down and saw his cock straining gallantly against his semi-sodden breeches. The sight of it sent a thrill through me, and I laughed. ‘Mayhap it is you who is the tease,’ I quipped. ‘Displaying your grandeur at such a time, Lord, I could quite lose my head.’

Jacob’s eyes darkened with passion, ‘And so shall I if you do not leave me now.’

Lolly whinnied in distress as if to remark on the point.

‘Until the bedroom, Jacob. I will be breathlessly waiting for you there.’

His arched lip curved wickedly and he inclined his head just slightly before giving Faust a slap on the rump to send us on our way.

I arrived back at the house in good time, though chilled to the bones. My maid emitted a squawk of alarm as I hurried inside.

‘Milady!’ Esther cried, her Scottish accent more pronounced in her angst. ‘Are you well? What has happened? Och! Look at your wee face! Where is Milord?’

I smiled at her. ‘Worry not, dear Esther. I am well; a slight fall and a bruise. There is nothing to cause concern. Lord Fielding is walking Lolly home and I am under strict instructions to have a hot bath drawn for us both.’

Esther’s concern turned to reddened embarrassment. She knew well enough the amorous and affectionate nature of our marriage to understand my inference.

‘Yes, well, hot bath it is, Milady. If you’d be so kind as to allow me to get rid of those wet clothes…’ She tutted and fussed, roaring orders at the lower maids to draw the baths, all the while ushering me upstairs to my rooms.

My bath was a glorious one, placed in my rooms near the window. I soaked for a long time, the heat drawing the chill from my bones. As I rested, I tried to ignore the gnawing concern that Jacob had not yet returned. The brook was not all that far from the house, and it should not have taken more than an hour to return by foot; as I knew from experience, there was little on this goodly earth that would keep him from my bed.

Too soon it seemed my bath grew cold, and the sun began to slip over the woods to the west. I called Esther to dress me for dinner. The time for an afternoon lazing abed with my husband had passed and, though I yearned to feel him betwixt my thighs, I was beginning to feel slightly irritated by his tardiness.

I played with the notion of sending a search party, but declined the idea swiftly. It would cause upheaval to the staff, and most likely his delay was with good reason. Jacob may well have decided to take Lolly directly to the farriery instead; after all, it was not that far from Fielding, perhaps an extra hour.

It was nearing six o’clock that evening when my irritation and gnawing concern could no longer be contained. I had waited long enough, and later realised I had waited fartoolong. Even if Jacob had decided to take my mare to the farriery, the farrier should have returned him to the Estate by now.

I stood by the sitting room window, a glass of wine in hand, staring out over the darkened driveway and the parklands that surrounded Fielding Place. I rang the bell for Bolton, my husband’s valet.

‘My husband should have been returned by now,’ I said, when Bolton arrived in the sitting room with a graceful sweeping bow. ‘Send men to search for him. We parted ways down by the brook. Lolly had become unshod and he was to walk her home. I thought mayhap he had taken her directly to the farrier, but he is so late I fear some disaster has befallen him. He should have returned some hours past.’

‘Yes, indeed, Milady. I shall take the footmen and groomsmen to search the grounds immediately.’

With a curt bow, Bolton left. I stood there, for how long I am uncertain, though the mantle clock ticked relentlessly, reminding me that every minute was one without my husband by my side. I tried to bide my time in the nursery with our daughters, but my presence seemed to excite them and irritate Nanny as they should have been abed.

Thus I wandered the house like a ghost, restlessly awaiting word.

Our meal grew cold as I refused to partake of it without Jacob’s company. Instead I draped a shawl about my shoulders and, despite Esther’s chiding, I stood in the driveway of the house staring into the darkness, watching the men’s lanterns as they scoured the grounds and woodlands for my husband and lamed horse.

‘Och, Milady, come inside, you’ll freeze out here,’ Esther coaxed.

My stomach was in a bind, and I shook her off. It was at that very moment a low and horrific cry drew close to house.

The memory of it still stabs at my heart to this day.

‘Jacob!’ I screamed, for I knew his voice better than any. Wildly, I began to run in the direction of the sound. My silk slippers were soaked to the toes as I rushed breathlessly over the lawns, the evening dew drenching the hem of my gown.

The animal cry was closer now. ‘Jacob!’ I screamed again, and I could see lamplight heading towards me. ‘Jacob!’

The chill night air rushed past me in my haste, sending my hair askew. Suddenly I was caught in someone’s strong arms.

‘Milady!’ It was Bolton. ‘You’d best be inside,’ he said, his voice tight and frightened.

I looked up into the valet’s face, but it was shadowed and I was unable to discern his expression.

‘Release me! Where is he, where is my husband?’ I cried and writhed from his grip.

‘Milady, please!’ Bolton’s voice was raw, and in the gloom I could see four men carrying something —someone.

‘Jacob!’ I shrieked and ran. My heart pounded so fast I thought I may be ill. ItwasJacob, but in the darkness his face was contorted with pain. His golden hair was tangled and knotted around his head. I reached and stroked his forehead, not realising until then how severely my hands trembled.

‘My love,’ I whispered.

His eyes flickered open at my voice. His eyes were unfathomable, and blinded by pain. ‘Janie.’ His voice was hoarse.

‘Milady.’ It was Bolton again. ‘We must get him inside and with a physician.’

My heart was stricken. ‘What happened to him?’ I sobbed, my throat so tight I could scarce form the words.

‘The horse has kicked him,’ ventured one of the footmen.

They began to carry Jacob up the garden to the house and I rushed beside him, trying to keep a hand on him, so that in some small way I could comfort him in his pain as he had with me on each birthing of our children. His cries were terrible and frightening. As Bolton departed on a madly galloping palfrey to get the physician, and the maids prepared a sick room for him, I stayed by his side. I knew not then the extent of his injury, or its impact on our lives.

Chapter 2

Jacob’s injuries were horrific. I can scarce remember those first few days. In his moments of lucidity, between administrations of laudanum, we discovered Lolly had been reluctant to walk and so Jacob had gone to look at her back hoof once more. It was then she bucked and kicked — striking my beloved husband brutally in the crotch. So severe was his injury that I remember the physician suggesting the amputation of all his male parts.

At this, Jacob had protested vehemently — though he was scarcely in a frame of mind to do so. The physician warned us that if we left his damaged parts, they may fester and kill him.

I was, of course, forbidden to see the extent of the damage, as if I had never seen those parts before. The physician assured me his injury was most shocking.

‘I shall not burden you to be married to a eunuch!’ Jacob growled, his face wan and creased with agony. ‘They shall not take my cock, or my balls! I’d rather die.’

Then I had cried, ‘I could not bear to lose you.’

‘Could you bear losing my cock then? Forever chained to a man who cannot please you?’

‘I shan’t care for such things, so long as you are always by my side.’ I sobbed, for at the time I spoke, I’d never uttered words so true.

I saw the tears glisten in his eyes. ‘No, Janie, I shall not have it done. I am a man, and shall die as one.’

Die he very nearly did.

Infection set in, and he became desperately ill. He did not linger long in sensibility for many days, moaning and thrashing in fever throws. Yet, at length, as if by some miracle, he began to heal though all was far from well.

It became apparent after a time that his manhood was still intact and I was grateful. Though of his plums, the news was less favourable. For weeks, Jacob hid himself from me. Gone was our customary closeness. Since our marriage we had always shared a bed, but from that day, Jacob retired alone to his sick rooms rather than joining me in our marital bed. How I missed him. Certainly, a tear still stings my eyes upon remembering those dark days.

The wicked smile and genial spirit had left Jacob, and all but a shallow husk remained.

For one long month after the accident the situation seemed untenable, made more so by the untimely arrival of Jacob’s younger brother, Arthur.

To be charitable, one could describe Arthur as a man of good breeding, grace and wit. To be honest, one would describe him as rude, homely and a bore. I find him loathsome and tolerate him only for Jacob’s benefit, nothing else.

‘Sister,’ he oozed upon my greeting. ‘Terrible news, terrible news.’

I stared at him, his blond hair askew from the removal of his hat; his lips seemed to have taken on the appearance of twin pink slugs.

‘Indeed,’ I agreed stiffly.

There was an ill-timed and lengthy pause in conversation.

‘To what do we owe this visit, Arthur?’ I asked when I could stand the silence no longer.

‘Can a brother not visit upon his ailing brother and his wife? Mayhap I wish to see my nieces — such lovely little girls.’

I disliked his reference to ‘ailing’, for in truth at this time Jacob was healing, and healing well.

I could feel my brow arch. ‘Truly?’

‘Indeed, how is dear Jacob and how are…’ He hesitated. ‘Er…’

‘Lucy and Cassandra?’ I offered.

He nodded enthusiastically.

I withdrew my hand from his clammy clasp — oftentimes Arthur lingered upon my hands and the gesture had verily come to make my skin crawl.

‘Our girls are well indeed. My thanks for your felicitations. My lord husband is improving daily. Yesterday he took a turn about the gardens with me,’ I said with more pleasure than I felt.

There was another lengthy pause.

‘I gather you did not receive my correspondence then?’ Arthur asked, his eyes, though the same blue as Jacob’s were small and hard.

‘Correspondence? Why no, we have received nothing from you. So you understand it is quite a surprise to find you here, with your…’ My eyes lingered on the luggage in the hallway. ‘Baggage.’

Arthur nodded. ‘Quite. I had, er…heard of Jacob’s injury. I am most anxious to see how he fairs.’

Odious, snivelling worm!I thought to myself. He no more wanted to see Jacob than I wished to see him!

‘As I said, he improves daily,’ I replied.

‘Excellent, just excellent.’ Arthur nodded, and I watched those small eyes dart around the hallway, as if sizing and costing the vases and paintings that decorated our fine entranceway, so that he could gamble them away at some future date.

‘Arthur, though your visit is testament to your care and concern for your brother, I hesitate to say it is an unnecessary one. Jacob is well, and I feel I could not possibly hold you here in Berkshire, under the pretence he is ailing, when so clearly he is not,’ I began. ‘So you need not fear a lengthy visit. A gentleman such as yourself must have a full social calendar, and the country charm of Berkshire pales to the excitement of London. You must be eager to return to the city, now you have ascertained that your brother is not in mortal danger.’

His cold eyes met mine. ‘Your concern for my social calendar is touching, but I must insist.’

I could scarce contain a sigh. I knew I was being rude, that I should have asked him into the sitting room and offered whisky and have the footmen take his luggage. Yet, I delayed.

I knew the true reason Arthur had returned to Fielding Place. He could no more hide his intent than he could the reddened lump of a nose that wallowed in the centre of his face.

I could see Bolton standing stiffly beside the doorman, reluctant or unwilling to leave me alone with Arthur. I caught his eye just briefly, but our silent intercourse was interrupted by Arthur’s continuation of unwanted conversation.

‘My good man, Bolton isn’t it?’ He clicked his fingers as if Bolton was no more than a hound. ‘If you would be so kind as to take my luggage to the guest rooms for me. Lady Fielding is quite right, I have no desire to linger long in Berkshire, but am weary of the day’s travel.’

‘Of course you are, how remiss of me,’ I replied, stung by his gall. ‘Bolton, if you would be so kind as to get the footmen to take the luggage.’

‘Yes, Milady.’ Bolton nodded and left to organise the removal of Arthur’s baggage.

‘Please, come into the sitting room. I shall ring for refreshment.’

It was intolerably awkward in the sitting room with Arthur.

‘Is my brother abed?’ he asked, taking a sip of our aged whisky and exhaling cigar smoke with long languid breaths.

‘Yes.’ I felt myself blush. I did not wish to discuss my husband’s injured manhood with Arthur, nor anyone.

‘How often is he abed? Does he rise for long periods?’

‘Arthur, please. It would be improper for me to discuss this with you.’

‘And yet, dear Jane, it is my right to know, as his heir…’ Arthur said.

I stilled and my civility fled. ‘Your lack of discretion and sensibility truly astounds me.’

Arthur appeared to be taken aback by the sudden sharp words, but it was affectation only, I am certain.

‘Dear sister, you wound me.’ He smiled and I noted with relish how imperfect were his teeth. ‘My bosom bleeds with this inferred accusation.’ He offered a licentious grin which sickened my very stomach.

‘As his heir,’ I acceded, ‘I can understand your concern. I shall however inform you duly that Fielding Place remains solely my husband’s domain. Jacob has survived his accident, and is incapacitated neither physically nor mentally. You need not fear the responsibility of inheriting the Barony, just now.’

‘Words of a frightened woman,’ Arthur swiftly rebuffed. ‘I should very much like to see how he fairs with mine own eyes. There has been much speculation on the nature of his injury and its repercussions for the line of inheritance.’

‘Has there?’ my traitorous voice trembled.

‘Why yes, there has been much discussion on whether his injury has left him unable to sire his own heir. You have only daughters, so I remain the next in line for the title, a tenuous hold at best. So, you must understand how anxious I am to discover the truth behind this speculation. If Jacob cannot sire a son, then Fielding shallcertainlybe mine. This fact shall improve my prospects of an advantageous marriage immeasurably in London.’ He paused and puffed on the cigar once more.

‘You beast!’ I whispered. ‘How dare you speak so in front of me?’

Yet in truth, Arthur only spoke the fears that Jacob and I both harboured.

It was true, the horrific swelling and infection of my husband’s manhood was much reduced, and though the physician spoke of left testicularatrophyI was uncertain of its significance. It was a dark, dreadful thought. What if he could no longer get me with child? Our daughters could not inherit, and there was no one else left to pass the title to. Yet the thought of Arthur taking Fielding Place as his own was untenable. He was a rake, a gambler and philanderer. He thought nothing of whittling away his allowance on opium dens and whores. Thrice in two years Jacob had been called to London to ease the disquiet caused by Arthur’s libertine manners.

‘Forgive me, Jane, if I may just speak with Jacob myself — ’

‘He is abed,’ I cried. ‘You may not.’

The last thing my darling husband needed was his odious brother questioning his manhood. Heavens, I was loath to breach the subject, and it was a subject dear to my heart.

‘Mayhap in the morning?’ Arthur pressed.

It was all I could do to incline my head graciously, before sweeping from the room.

This visit, I realise now, was the inception of Jacob’s current plan. A most shocking plan, to ensure Arthur will not inherit Fielding.

Chapter 3

Allow me, however, to elaborate on the devilish circumstance that has spawned my husband’s latest notion.

After my altercation with Arthur that day, I spoke to Bolton briefly about providing Arthur with an adequate dinner that evening, for I had no appetite to speak of and could no more stomach sitting with him for a meal than eat pigs swill.

I hurried to my husband’s rooms to inform him of the evening’s events.