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Brook Street: Thief

Brook Street: Thief by Ava March
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March 1822
London, England

Lord Benjamin Parker exited the hackney and reached up to hand a few coins to the driver. "That will be all."

With a tip of his head, the driver pocketed the coins. A flick of his wrists, and the long leather lines slapped against the horse's back.

The moment the carriage lurched forward, Benjamin opened his mouth, the words to call the driver back on his tongue, but then he snapped his jaw shut. It wasn't as if he were in the stews, where drivers with any common sense rarely ventured, especially this late in the evening. And while he had hailed the hackney a couple of blocks from his Mayfair town house, it had been only a couple of blocks.

Best to have let that one go. No need to ask the driver to wait when in all probability he wouldn't have need of it for many hours.

Or would he?

He glanced about. The handful of streetlamps lining Silver Street illuminated a series of nondescript buildings, none of which resembled a hotel or anyplace that would let rooms for the night. But the patrons had to go somewhere...unless the hell had rooms.

That thought didn't appeal. A shudder of revulsion gripped his spine. Too close of a resemblance to a molly house.

Uncertainty began to seep into his stomach, already knotted with nerves, but he pushed it aside. He would do this. Was determined to do this. After months upon months—nay, years—of debating and questioning himself, he had finally come to a decision. He was tired of the unknown, tired of fighting those feelings and even more tired of worrying about the ramifications if his suspicions proved correct. In a few weeks the Season would begin, and he refused to go through another one with that particular question hanging over his head. Before the not-so-subtle nudges from his brothers and sisters started anew to find a wife among the bevies of young ladies, he would know the truth about himself. And either way, he would accept it.

In any case, it wasn't as if he'd find the answer to the night's logistical options standing along the street.

With that, he gave his tan coat a tug to straighten it and set off toward the red brick building a bit farther up the street. One would not know by looking at it that it was a gambling hell, but that wasn't uncommon. What made this one unique, what made it his destination, was its clientele...if rumor proved true.

"Unless you're of an unnatural persuasion, best to avoid Clements."

Roger's drawling voice, backed with an unmistakable note of revulsion, echoed in his head. His eldest brother, the Marquis of Haverson, would never again invite Benjamin to another hunting excursion at the family seat if he discovered his comment made during a discussion about the merits of the various hells about London had not immediately put Benjamin off the place.

Rather it'd had the opposite effect.

Benjamin stopped before the plain black door. The number twelve painted on a square of wood beneath the lamp to the left of the door confirmed he had arrived at Clements. A single knock would summon the guard, gain him entrance and hopefully lead to an answer to the question that had plagued him for years.

If no one suits, I can simply leave, he reminded himself for what felt like the tenth time since he'd walked out of his town house less than an hour ago.

The nerves gripping his stomach eased a notch. Fist clenched, he raised his arm.

The sound of his knock echoed in his ears.

The door opened. The burly guard barely glanced at him before stepping aside, allowing Benjamin to enter.

Carina Press; March 2012
ISBN 9781426893421
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Title: Brook Street: Thief
Author: Ava March
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