Seducing the Sinful Duke – Lisa Campell

Miss Helena Bellingham was in her bedchamber when she heard the wheel of the cart outside. She looked up from the book she had been reading and ran to window to see who had arrived, because as far as she knew, neither of her parents had gone out. When she pulled the drapes apart a little, her gaze landed on that of a young man alighting the carriage. Helena’s brow creased when she saw Griffin, the butler, directing some footmen to carry some trunks out of the carriage. She had not been informed that there would be a visitor. She leaned further when she saw her father. But the moment her father flung his arm around the boy’s shoulder, and led him inside, Helena was unable to see anything anymore. Pondering, she stared ahead. Who was that? And why had she not been told that they would have a visitor? Helena moved away from the window and sat on her bed. Just then, a knock came on her door. She rose and faced the door. “Come in.” The door opened and her governess, Lily, walked in. She bowed. “His Lordship would like to see you, my Lady.

” Helena eagerly rushed out the door and made her way down the stairs. It was midday, and she had retired to have a rest after her lessons with her governess but had been interrupted by the wheeling of the cart. Now she was unable to have her rest. She knew that her father’s call was in relation to the stranger. Once she got to the last stair, she began to hear her father’s voice in the hallway. It was coming from the drawing room. Helena looked back at Lily. Lily creased her brows. “Is there a problem, my Lady?” “None at all.” Helena looked away from her and began to make her way to the drawing room.

The moment she walked into the drawing room, she stilled. The lad she had seen from her bedchamber sat beside her father on the rosewood chair. He seemed to be a few years older than she was. He had brown hair and green eyes, just like her father. Helena swallowed. Could it be that what she had heard the maids talking about a few weeks’ prior was true? Did she really have a brother who was not born of her mother? When Helena had heard the maids speaking of it, she had not believed a word. Or perhaps deep down she had, but she only wished that it were not true. Of course, she had always wanted a sibling, but not under the circumstances that were mentioned by the maids. And the lad was older than she was. What had happened? She asked.

Where had he been all of these years? Her father, Lord Edward Bellingham, Earl of Yorkshire, was seated beside the lad on the rosewood chair, while her mother sat on the rocking chair by the fireplace, oddly quiet. Helena could not remember a time when she had seen her mother happy. In the past few weeks, all she had heard between her parents were arguments. And many times she had seen her mother shedding a lot of tears. And Helena had known the problem all along. Everyone in the estate knew what the problem was. Helena wanted to walk to her mother’s side and embrace her. She had wanted to do that for a long time, but her mother had begun to stay on her own. She locked herself up in her bedchamber and missed meals. Breakfast most especially.

The Earl often asked that a hamper be sent up to her. “Come, Helena,” said the Earl, gesturing for her to come to him. Helena snapped her gaze away from her mother. The lad who sat beside the Earl gazed at her with hard eyes. She had never seen such cold gaze from anyone. She creased her brows in return. Perhaps then he realized that his gaze was unwelcoming. He looked away and muttered something inaudible. “Allan, this is Helena,” said the Earl. “Hello, Helena,” said Allan.

Helena nodded once and looked at her father. “Father? You sent for me.” The Earl nodded. “There is something you must know.” Helena had a feeling that she would not like what her father had to say. She looked at her mother again, and saw that rather than knitting, she was staring at her. The Countess smiled once and nodded. Helena was not certain what to do, but she knew that her mother’s expression was an encouragement. She looked back at her father. “Yes, Father…” Her father rose and placed his arm around her shoulder.

They walked to the red chair opposite where Allan was seated. Her father sat by her, his hand still around her shoulders. “You are no child anymore, my dearest Helena. And as such there are things you deserve to know.” Helena had never felt like a child since she turned ten. And now, at thirteen, she even felt older than she supposedly was. “Allan is your brother,” said her father. Helena swallowed. She had been expecting that from her father. She had been expecting him to utter those words.

But not this way, not with her brother seating opposite them and watching them. Helena wished that her father had told her before he had brought him home, so that she could prepare for his arrival, so that she could ask her mother if she was alright with everything. But her father had kept it from her and was now informing her when Allan had arrived. “This is most unusual, but Allan’s mother has just passed and he had nowhere to go. I do not know how beneficial it would be for him to stay here, given the circumstances surrounding his… birth. But with time I hope that things become easier. The lad has had a rough life, my dear, and all I wish is for him to be happy. I want you to welcome him with open arms, my dear.” Helena looked back at her mother. Her eyes were glossy as she stared at Helena, but she nodded.

Helena did not quite understand what that meant. The Countess then rose from where she was seated and made her way over to Helena. She sat on her other side. The Earl was also astounded by this. “Rose, you do not have to, if you do not wish to,” said the Earl. Helena watched as her mother smiled a bit. But it was sad and did not reach her eyes. “He has nowhere to go, Edward. And he is… your child. He is welcome here.

” “Will you ever forgive me?” the Earl asked. “Edward…” Helena’s mother whispered, looking away. Helena felt that she was intruding on a very important conversation. But this was the first time she had seen a cordial conversation between her parents in weeks. She knew that her mother seemed hurt deep down, but she felt hope inside her that everything would be back to normal quite sooner than she imagined. For this, Helena was happy that Allan had come to stay. That gave Helena all the encouragement she needed. If everyone had accepted him, then she should as well. Helena rose from where she was seated and walked over to Allan. When she rose, her father moved closer to her mother and took her hands in his.

Helena’s heart soared. She smiled as she watched them. They began to speak in low tones. She took a seat by him and smiled. “Hello, Allan. I am Helena.” Allan nodded once. Helena smiled. “Your appearance has brought me hope.” Helena’s smile was wide, but Allan had a faraway look in his eyes as he looked ahead, watching the interaction between the Countess and the Earl.

1 CHAPTERONE 820, Islay Manor, London, England Although Miss Helena was happy to be attending the ball, her heart was home. She was not entirely comfortable being away from home, given that her father was ill. But he had insisted that she attended the ball in his honour, so she was left to attend the ball with her brother, Allan. But he also seemed to be in a terrible mood after she was announced and he was not. Miss Helena knew that her brother hated having to rely on her before he was granted a pass at events of this magnitude. Although he was respected amongst the ton, despite being born illegitimate, he could not be given a title, and that was why he was never announced at events. After they had walked through the threshold and made their way down the stairs, he unhooked his hand from hers and sauntered away without glancing back. Helena sighed. She was used to his temper, but today she felt alone without him. She was not acquainted with most ladies of the ton.

Although she had heard of a few, having attended so very few balls and catching in on the latest news. Her closest friend Georgina was well acquainted with quite a lot of people as she attended almost all the events arranged. Except this one. Georgina had told Helena that she would not be able to attend because she had certain things she needed to take care of. Now, Helena was left alone. She walked towards the end of the ballroom in search of new acquaintances to make. As she made her way there, hands clasped and smile unwavering, her gaze met with brown ones. Just across the room, by the table set out for drinks, a tall gentleman stood, a glass raised to his lips and his other hand in the pocket of his breeches. For a moment Helena stalled, captivated by his gaze. She watched as he gradually lowered the cup and turned to fully gaze at her.

Blushing, Helena looked away and walked on. She hoped that no one had seen their exchange. She breathed out and walked ahead. As she walked towards the end of the room, she saw a gathering of ladies who looked about her age. However, she was halted when she heard someone call out for her. “Excuse me, Helena.” That was Allan’s voice. Helena turned to see the man she had locked gazes with only minutes ago, sauntering towards her with a grin, Allan by his side. Helena stilled. She blinked rapidly.

Her thoughts were frozen. Perhaps this was because of the way he smiled at her, or the way his gaze never left hers. His hair was kept longer than usual, and it fell softly against his shoulders. Helena swallowed when he stopped in front of her, his smile unwavering. Allan approached her. He nodded to the man. “His Grace approached me as he had seen us walk in together. He wishes to have a dance with you.” Helena never took her eyes off His Grace. Allan cleared his throat.

“I shall leave you two.” And he did. He walked away, leaving them both. “I saw that you were alone,” were his first words to her. “And I decided that you needed company.” Helena’s brow creased, but she said nothing in return. The man seemed quite older than her eighteen years of age. She wondered why he had approached her. And most of all, she was beginning to feel people stare at her for far too long. Why were they staring? Was there a problem with her dress? Or her hair? Goodness.

Had she done anything inappropriate? “Miss, did you hear me?”

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