Silence Hollingbrook

Beautiful, passionate, and perhaps too brave, Silence is the youngest of the Makepeace Family and the widow of ship captain, William Hollingbrook.

Heroine of Scandalous Desires.

Also appears in Sweetest Scoundrel.

Read order for Silence’s story arc: Wicked Intentions » Notorious Pleasures » Scandalous Desires

* * *

Silence refreshed herself with the pitcher of water on a chest of drawers and dressed quickly before quietly moving into the next room.

The rooms that William had found for them were not very big, but they were quite nicely appointed. Besides the tiny bedroom, they had a sitting room with a hearth on which Silence could cook. In the two years that she and William had been married, she’d made their rooms cozy with small touches: a china shepherdess holding a pink lamb on the mantel, a lidded jar in the shape of an artichoke beside it—Silence liked to hide pennies in there—and curtains on the one window, scrimped and saved for and sewn herself. True, the curtains were a bit lopsided and didn’t altogether close in the middle, but they were a lovely shade of peachy orange that always made her feel like sitting down to tea. 

It was a nice home and she was proud of it.

Humming to herself, Silence built the fire up again and set a kettle of water on to make tea. By the time William emerged, yawning from the bedroom, she had their little table laid out with hot tea and warmed buns and butter. 

“Good morning,” William said, sitting at the table.

“Good morning to you, my husband.” Silence placed a kiss on one bristly cheek before pouring him a cup of tea. “Did you sleep well?”

“Indeed I did,” he replied as he broke apart one of the buns—they were only a little burned and she had scraped off the worst bits. “Amazing how much more pleasant it is to sleep on a bed that isn’t rocking.” 

His grin was quick and flashed white teeth and he looked so handsome it made her breath catch.

Silence looked down at her own bun, realizing she was squashing it between her fingers. She hastily set it on her plate. “What will you do today?”

“I have to oversee the unloading of the Finch. We’ll lose half our cargo to mudlarks if I don’t.”

“Oh. Oh, of course.” Silence took a sip of her tea, trying to hide her disappointment. She’d hoped that he could spend the day with her after so many months at sea, but that was a silly wish. William was the captain of a merchant ship, an important man. Naturally his responsibilities to his ship should come first.

Still, she couldn’t completely tamp down a twinge of disappointment.

He must’ve seen it. William caught her hand in a rare show of open tenderness. “I should have started unloading last night. Had I not such a beautiful young wife, I would have too.”

She could feel the slow heating of her cheeks. “Really?”

“Indeed.” He nodded solemnly, but there was a twinkle in his green eyes. “I’m afraid I was quite unable to withstand your temptation.”

“Oh, William.” She couldn’t keep a silly grin from spreading over her face. They may’ve been married for two years now, but over half that time her husband had been at sea. Each time he returned it was like a honeymoon anew. Would that ever change? She certainly hoped not.

William squeezed her hand. “The quicker I’m done with my duties, the quicker I can escort you to a park or a fair or even perhaps to a pleasure garden.”

“Truly?”

“Yes, indeed. I quite look forward to spending a day with my lovely wife.”

She smiled into his eyes, feeling her heart flutter with happiness. “Then you’d better eat your breakfast, hadn’t you?”

He laughed and set to the bun and tea. Too soon he rose and finished dressing, donning a white wig in the process that gave him an air of stern authority. William kissed Silence on the cheek and then he was gone.

She sighed and looked about the room. There were dishes to wash and other chores to be done if she were to dally with her husband for a day. She set to work with determination.

Two hours later Silence was darning a hole in one of William’s white stockings and wondering if yellow yarn had been really the right color to use even if she had run out of white when she heard running footsteps in the hall outside. She glanced up, frowning.

She’d already risen by the time the pounding came at their doors. Silence hurried over and unlatched the door, pulling it open. William stood in the doorway, but she’d never seen her husband in such a state. He was pale beneath his sunburn, his eyes stark.

“What?” she cried, her heart in her throat. “What has happened?”

“The Finch…” He staggered in the room, but then stood, his hands by his sides, staring wildly as if he knew not what to do. “I’m ruined…”

–from Wicked Intentions