Romance Fiction posted November 25, 2017 Chapters:  ...18 19 -20- 


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Randolph is mad... The satchel is opened...

A chapter in the book Madelaine

Nervous Randolph

by Jacqueline M Franklin

The author has placed a warning on this post for sexual content.

Recap ~
 
Not only were Madelaine Pritchard’s mother and father killed short of her seventeenth year, soon afterwards, Henry Pritchard’s misfortune at gambling and bad investments soon surfaced. In an abrupt twist of fate, not only was she left penniless and deemed unfit for society—she had to forego her Coming Out Season. Far worse, such events denied her pursuing the man of her dreams.

Meanwhile, Phillip’s wife Genevieve, was infamous for her cold and domineering ways. She has always, and still does love the black sheep of the family, Phillip’s brother, Reggie, who had been sent away on remittance. Even though in love with Reggie, she still agreed to marry Phillip for family honor and social standing in society. Since they could barely tolerate each other, the home was anything but happy. Although, the tide may be changing since Reggie’s sudden return to town.
 
Added insurance, since the Marquis of Northcroft had a reputation as an unkind man, Phillip hired Arnold, the head stable man to move into the house with the ladies. Since they all were good friends from working together over the years, for the sake of propriety, he arranged a fake marriage between Miggie and Arnold. That way, Arnold would be a male presence and added security inside the house, with no one the wiser he and Miggie slept in different rooms.
 
Miggie was head housemaid at Northcroft—also Madelaine’s best friend. Aware of love lost between the two, she sought out Phillip’s help in rescuing Madelaine after she was discharged and put on the streets. Loving his Maddie Renee’ as he did, Phillip didn’t hesitate to help her. In doing so, he made arrangements with his solicitor to ensure she had a home in her name, via an inheritance. This aided in Madelaine retaining respectability in the eyes of the ton for a single woman to live on her own. Miggie also moved into the house with her to reinforce decency.
 
Marquis Randolph Bastion of Northcroft, a supposed long-time friend of Madelaine’s father, took her in as governess to his grandchildren. Eleven years later, however, the Marquis’ true colors surfaced when he tried forcing Madelaine into a compromising situation if she wanted to remain employed.
 
Phillip Middleton, Earl of Haven Crest, had his eye on Madelaine since their childhood friendship. His growing affection gave way to his intentions of courtship after her debut into society. However, when she was left destitute, propriety demanded he marry within his station, forcing him into an arranged union—not in the least desirous to him, or his intended.
 
 
~::~
End of last chapter ... 
 
“Why?” she asked with a scrunched-up face. “Burning the scones and smelling up the house is not something I wish to remember, or laugh about.”
 
Madelaine was unable to quit smiling. “Oh, don’t worry. You see, Miggie burned up the sticky toffee syrup atop the cooking grate after I called to her from my sickbed.”  She gave her friend’s hand an affectionate squeeze while all-out laughing. “While tending to me, she forgot all about the cake in the oven as well. So, not only was the whole pudding ruined, but she even had to throw the pan away, too. There was no cleaning it at all.”
 
The ladies had a good laugh.
 
“'Twas the most senseless thing I’ve ever done to leave the pudding unattended,” Miggie grimace. “Why I did not take the sauce off the cooking grate 'tis beyond me, much less leaving the cake in the oven. The house smelled of burnt sugar and butter for a fortnight it seemed.”

“It was all because I needed help with necessary—save I fall on my derriere," Madelaine explained. "You see, I was weak and unsteady on my feet with the chills. Of course, it was by my own stupidity.”
 
Desiree grinned. “What did you do? Why were you out in the rain?”
 
Madelaine and Miggie grinned while answering in unison, “Picking daisies for a centerpiece.”
 
In the process of more laughter, Phillip walked into the kitchen. “Maddie Renee’, we need to talk.”
 
Silence fell over the room in an instant. Looking at her husband, Madelaine’s smile faded, and her eyes grew wide after spotting something in his right hand. She stood. “Phillip, is something wrong? What have you got in your hand?”
 
He held out a satchel. “This holds Information concerning your father.”
 
White faced, she all but fell back into her chair.

 

~::~

Chapter Twenty

 
'1873'
Victorian Era

 
~ Nervous Randolph ~
 

Randolph’s face had turned red, and his eyes were like bullets. “This is preposterous, Delmar! I paid you bloody well to bury this business about Brass, and Fielding. If you had one iota of doubt about anyone, you were to have them eliminated. How hard was that to understand?”

The solicitor knew he had to tread on eggshells if he had a prayer of calming down his largest benefactor. Not for the fact he cared about the flippant scoundrel, but the money he had bilked Randolph out of over the years had been a sizeable sum. He’d love to see such dealings continue on without any hiccups. Oh, he made sure the dirty work his client wanted was taken care of alright, but he believed a bonus never hurt a body—even if the man giving it was unaware of his generosity—all thanks to exaggerated overhead. He smiled. Incentive … bloody well—pure incentive for keeping the secrets of the well minted.
 
Delmar sat back in his cherry wood, swivel chair, which matched his aristocratic desk. In truth, his office was the finest money could buy—all due to a helping hand from his clients with deep pockets.

Although he had a secretary, he used her as little as possible. The less anyone knew of his dealings, the healthier it was for his person.
 
With fingers threaded together while cradling his head from behind, he hoped his nervousness didn’t show. “Now, Randolph, I can assure you I have everything under control. I don’t know where you got the information about your alias, Sebastian Rycroft being compromised, or that you’re the owner of Brass. Even so, no one knows to equate you to Sebastian anyway."

Randolph’s angry expression did not ease up, nor did the twitching vein at his temple. “You better hope nobody puts things together.”

Delmar held up his palm. “Let me do some snooping around, and then I’ll get back to you. I guarantee, if I have a sniff of any doubt about my contacts spreading tales—they will be dealt with, post-haste. After all, you pay me, to pay them well, to guarantee safekeeping of your business dealings.” 

Randolph stood in front of the desk while pointing his finger. “You better get to the bottom of what’s going on. If anyone finds out I own a pub, let alone a gentlemen’s club, I’m done in the ton. Not to mention your easy living will cease, so you better take care of this. You owe me.”
 
Sitting forward, Delmar cleared his throat. “Indeed, I do owe you. No need to worry, my friend. We go way back—I don’t aim to do you wrong.”
 
Randolph stomped to the door, but turned around. “I’ll hold you to it. Clean up this mess, Delmar. If I go down—you go with me. You can count on it.” He slammed out of the office.
 
A miffed Delmar got up, walked over and tapped on a fake panel in the wall, causing a door to open toward him. “You can come on out here, Jenky. Did you hear it all?”
 
“Yeah, D P," the man said as he rose from his chair, which sat next to a bureau with drawers. It held Delmar's Bonus-Incentive Files, as he called them—they always put a smile on his face, and a bulge in his coffers. The only other person to know about them was his trusted friend—Jenky, who helped to carry out the deeds for said files.

“I’m glad you were here when Randolph stormed in. Even with my office door closed, there was no mistaking his wrath. More to the point, though, he was so mad you were able to get out of sight before I brought him in here. Since you heard everything, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what we need to do.”
 
Delmar nodded toward the bureau. "Get me the Bastion/Pritchard file. I need to refresh my memory on Henry Pritchard’s accountant, Roger Fielding. After all these years, I’ve forgotten to what extent Bastion used him.”
 
~
Jenky, a handsome, burly man, with a scar over his left eyebrow, worked for Delmar since he opened his law practice—although their friendship went back to childhood. While Jenky was well-suited to living on the edge of the law—just for the thrill of a 'live and let live' attitude, his friend chose the same course in life—albeit, under the façade of respectability.
 
Even though there was a price he may have to pay at any time for becoming D P’s lackey, it was worth it for the cushy life he led. He pretty much had whatever money could buy since his friend paid him well for absolute loyalty. In turn, it meant doing whatever he was asked to do—no questions asked. Jenky was no fool either. He knew to cross the man—friend or not, would also mean meeting with a bad end.
 
“Okay, you heard the jackarse, Jenky. Bloody hell, but he could be heard nigh on down the street. Have you any idea who could have talked?”
 
Jenky handed Delmar the requested file. “You know, D P, I’ve a mind to think it was Clive Minger. He’s always shooting off his mouth. So, I wouldn’t put it past him to gloat about his jobs when he’s cockeyed with gin. More so since the Pritchard job was done nearly twelve years ago.”
 
With crossed arms over his middle, Jenky twisted his mouth before speaking. “He has a tendency to think people forget past events. Of course, the bloke doesn’t come right out and blow his mouth off about what he’s done. Nonetheless, anyone with a half a brain can figure it out. Then, again, people in those sleazy pubs rarely pay attention to another—lest there’s some spirits in the mix. Even then, they could care less about turning a body in—save they end up on the wrong end of knife in the back, or gut-shot.”
 
Delmar nodded. “Hmm ... point taken. Tell you what, while I review this file, I want you to go make your rounds at the pubs where Minger, and anyone else we’ve used over the years might gather.”
 
“And…?”
 
Delmar looked at his friend with steely eyes. “Jenky … I want ‘no’ loose ends. Eliminate anyone who breathes the wrong way in one sentence. Got it?”
 
“Consider it done. You can depend on me, D P.”
 
~::~
Stella, once a naïve young girl of seventeen, with mousey hair, and awkward demeanor, used to be an innocent scullery maid at Northcroft. In a short time, she was forced into being a stitch on the sly for Randolph, and under his old hag of a wife’s nose. Left with no alternative for supporting herself—lest she be tossed out on her ear—she soon learned about the harsher side of life.
 
Now, a voluptuous beauty of twenty-two, with wavy blonde hair, Stella had created her own way in the world—in an odd twist of fate. She had learned the hard way about how to stay on Randolph’s good side. More luck came her way when the scuttlebutt around the servants’ quarters spread about him being on the prowl for a new mistress after having moved on from Rumour.
 
Stella set out to be whatever he wanted … whenever he wanted her. It fast became her goal to have a stitch with him often. More so, when his wife, better known by the staff as, 'The Brittle Nag', harassed her. In the end, it paid off. He offered her added incentive of money beyond her wildest dreams, fine dresses, and baubles to her liking, if she would become his mistress. As it were, she was spoiled goods since no decent man would have a woman who wasn’t a virgin. By then, she had learned to love the desires of the flesh, so Randolph became her ticket to a new life.
 
Sitting at her new dressing table while surveying her person, Stella dabbed Gardenia perfume behind her ears, between the cleft of her breasts, and most definitely on her thighs. She grinned. I do hope you come to me tonight in a heated rush of excitement, Randy. I do need a new dress, and shoes to match. Over the years, she had adapted to his more than exuberant treatment of her during sex. And, the rougher he got, the more she played along with him, which made for a happy Randolph, but better—most profitable for her.
 
At four on Thursday afternoon, a clang of keys sounded, followed by the door flying open. Randolph wasted no time as he pointed to the bed, and then began to undress. “You know what I like, Stella—give it to me.”
 
She stood with a sultry smile while letting her flimsy negligee fall to the floor. Oh, yes, I have him where I want—he’s salivating. New dress and shoes, here I come. After crawling to the center of the bed, she leaned on her elbows with bent legs at the knees for his viewing pleasure. “Darling Randy, you’re early tonight. But, of course, you can tell I'm ready ... can’t you?”
 
His lustful grin said it all. With no intention of foreplay, he seized her thighs, and then thrust his readied hard-on into her heat as his excitement showed from the gleam in his eyes.
 
Right away, Stella kept pace with his voracious
appetite as her grin widened. “Whoa ... my … my, where have you been all day? You are most needy.”
 
“No place you need to know about—but, you will benefit from my day in hell,” he said with a raspy voice. “You won’t be able to walk by the time I’ve had my fill of your poochie.”
 
She let out a sultry laugh. “And I’ll enjoy your sausage until you beg me for mercy, darling Randy.”
 
~::~
Alfred and Miggie insisted on Madelaine and Phillip having private time in the sitting room to deal with whatever news was in the satchel, so they, along with Roumor (now Desiree), remained in the kitchen.
 
Seated on their gold upholstered settee, Phillip looked into his wife’s eyes while holding the satchel in one hand, and her hands in his free one. “Are you ready for whatever we find, Maddie Renee’?”
 
She licked her lips, her eyes reflecting an undeniable nervousness in them. “I … I don’t know. I’ve waited so long for this moment.” With a gasp, her hand flew to mouth. “Oh, Phillip, what if it turns out bad for me—yet you married me anyway.”
 
He set the satchel down and gently clasped her upper arms. “Now, you stop it and hear me well? You have not wronged me. And whatever is in this satchel, we will deal with it together, Lady Middleton.”
 
She nodded with misty eyes. “Yes … yes, of course.”
 
Phillip picked up the satchel, opened it to find what looked like a few pieces of legal parchment paper rolled up, which had a thin strip of leather tied around it. He untied the strip, let it fall on the settee, and then opened it to read.
 
Madelaine watched his eyes scanning the paper as her heart raced. Then his face turned into a half-grimace—half-smile while slipping the top piece on the bottom to keep reading.
 
“Darling? What is it?”
 
Phillip began to read. “In my estimation of the facts, Phillip, after having spoken to Roger Fielding on his deathbed, Henry Pritchard was indeed—”
 
“Excuse me,” Miggie said, walking through the doorway. “I don’t mean to intrude, but Phillip, this came for you just now.”
 
“What is it?”
 
“We saw the messenger walking toward the house from the kitchen. He walked as if his pants were on fire, ‘tis true.” She handed Phillip the letter. “He told Alfred in the yard how he’s been trying to find you, and how he tracked you all the way from London.”
 
Phillip and Madelaine gave each other questioning looks. 

 


~::~
... Dediticated to Phillip and Madelaine ... 

Thank You ... YouTube
'I Need You'
Tim Magraw & Faith Hill


 
 
CHARACTER LIST *
 
MALE ProtagonistPhillip Middleton II, Earl of Haven Crest

FEMALE ProtagonistMadeline Pritchard
(Daughter of deceased, Marquis Henry Pritchard, Earl of Dandridge,
and Marchioness Heloise Pritchard)
(Marquis-Bastion/Northcroft household)
= Becomes Governess after parents die
 
MALE AntagonistReginald Middleton
= On Remittance:  Sibling to Phillip’s younger/black sheep brother

FEMALE Antagonist:
= Wife to Phillip: Countess Genevieve (Asterwald) Middleton
 Supporting Antagonist: Randolph Bastion III, Marquis of Northcroft

DOMESTIC STAFFMarquis-Bastion/Northcroft household
Migelda (Miggie) Darwood/Tuttle
Head Housemaid
= Worked with Madelaine and Miggie’s friend
(Madelaine’s NEW Home)
= Friend/Housekeeper/Marries Alfred
 
DOMESTIC STAFFMarquis-Bastion/Northcroft household
Alfred Tuttle
= Head stable man
(Madelaine’s NEW Home)
= Friend/Caretaker/Marries Miggie

 
~::~
© Copyright 2017
Jacqueline M Franklin


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