Sutton's Spinster (The Sinful Suttons 1) - Page 1

Chapter 1

London, 1816

Not bloody again.

Jasper Sutton’s booted foot had connected with something soft as he seated himself at the desk in his office at The Sinner’s Palace. The gaming hell he and his siblings owned together was teeming with drunken lords. The hour was despicably late by anyone’s standards, even for a voluptuary such as himself. He wanted gin and he wanted quim, and not necessarily in that order.

What he did not want was one of his twin daughters hiding beneath his desk when she was supposed to be abed.

“Elizabeth,” he guessed, for she was undeniably the naughtiest of the two children who had been unexpectedly delivered to his hell a fortnight ago.

Abandoned was a better fucking word for what their mother—whomever she was—had done. That was the trouble with possessing an insatiable appetite for rutting. Sooner or later, the rutting produced brats.

And sometimes, the mothers of the brats decided they did not want the burden of extra mouths to feed. And also sometimes, the mothers abandoned their daughters on the steps of a gaming hell at dawn and left them there for any despicable bastard to abuse, without a thought or a care. Until, thank the Lord, his men had arrived and taken the girls within before something had befallen them.

Jasper had always tried to take care to avoid siring a bastard. But he could admit the resemblance the children bore to him was apparent. Black hair, hazel Sutton eyes, the dent in his chin. There had been nights when he had been too deep in his cups to know where he’d spent his seed.

And now, he had daughters to look after. Twin devilish imps who were six years old and filled with mischief.

Still, no child emerged or responded. He tapped the girlish lump beneath his desk with the tip of his boot. “Anne?”

The rustle of fabric met his ears, followed by two sets of giggles.

Christ. The both of them were at it tonight. Sinner that he was, he sent a silent prayer for patience heavenward. And then with a scowl, he rose from his chair and hunkered down to peer beneath the massive piece of furniture which had only recently been repaired after a pistol had blown a portion of it apart. Two sets of grins and hazel eyes greeted him.

“Girls,” he chastised sternly, “you are meant to be sleeping. What the devil are you doing hiding beneath my desk at this time of the evening?”

“We miss playing ’idey,” Elizabeth announced, unrepentant.

Hidey, as he had come to learn, was a game his daughters had established to enliven their evenings when one of their mother’s gentlemen callers paid a visit.

“Ma always told us it were fun to ’ide when the gentlemen arrived,” Anne added brightly.

It was clear their mother had been a Covent Garden nun. Could have been one of the doxies employed by The Sinner’s Palace for the entertainments of his patrons. Could have been someone else. The girls said her name was Ma Bellington.

Bellington was a right fancy name for an East End whore. He suspected the woman had never told their daughters her true name, as Bellington did not mean a thing to him. Not that he expected it to. There had been occasions when he had not bothered to exchange names with his bedmates, it was true.

He wasn’t proud of his past now that he was older and wiser. But he’d been a reckless, wild rakehell in his youth. No denying it. Just as there was no denying these hellions were his.

“Out from under the desk,” he ordered the twins sternly. “We’ve talked about this before, no?”

“We wasn’t tired,” Elizabeth announced, crawling from beneath the desk in her nightdress and standing to eye him balefully. “It’s right dull ’ere, it is.”

Anne emerged from beneath the desk as well, frowning. “I told Lizbeth I didn’t want to do it, but she made me.”

He sighed. It had only taken him hours to discover that Elizabeth was the twin who delighted in galloping all over the hell, leaving mischief in her wake, and asking him so many questions he feared his head might explode like a melon tossed from a roof. Anne had a saucy disposition, was quick to turn into a watering pot, and liked to blame everything on her sister.

“What did I tell you yesterday when I caught you hiding beneath the hazard table?” he asked with as much calm as he could muster.

He’d been furious at the sight of his children wandering about the gaming hell, disrupting confused patrons. The discovery had made his need of a wife—someone to tame and look after his wayward offspring—all the more apparent.

Tags: Scarlett Scott The Sinful Suttons Historical
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