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Belonging To The Earl

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Blurb

Emily Thornton was supposedly engaged to Jordon Brighton, Earl of Brighton.

However, what happens when Jordon’s twin, Jason appeared out of no where, and Jordon had him pretend to be him?

A fiery red head would be played by both brothers. But would it be a successful game? What happens when a scandal comes out of this and the ton, condemns them all?

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1.
'Mr Gabriel Brighton, Father to Jordon Brighton and Earl of Brighton, met an untimely end during his recent travels in Australia. Sadder still is the knowledge that he failed to accomplish anything of note during his sixty-seven years upon this earth. Always with the violence. Obituary in the Times, November 1860' He needed scotch...badly. But duty required that he stand outside the residence at Evendill, their ancestral estate in Yorkshire, and express his gratitude to the few lords and ladies who had attended his Father's funeral that afternoon. "Awfully glad it wasn't you, Brighton." "Such a fine man, but always with the violence, although he did tend to make ladies swoon even in his olden days" "Shame he had to go before amounting to anything." "Drank me under the table more times than I can count, I tell you." The acknowledgements continued, painting the portrait of a wastrel and scoundrel, of a man not worthy of being called a father. Not that he'd ever before minded how his father was viewed, but today it bothered him, perhaps because the epitaphs expressed were so damned accurate. His childhood friends, Charles and Anthony, stood nearby garnering their share of condolences, as everyone knew the three of them were as close as brothers, having been almost raised by Charles's father due to Jordon's father's mood swings. Although he'd had very little opportunity to visit with them before the funeral, he wished they were both climbing into their own conveyances right about now, but along with Minerva, Anthony's wife, they were staying the night. Graciously expressing her appreciation to those who had come, his stepmother was a vision of loveliness even draped in black. She had handled most of the arrangements, sending out the mourning cards, informing the vicar of how the service was to progress, ensuring that refreshments were on hand for their guests before they began their trek home. He'd barely had occasion to speak with her throughout the day, not that he would have known what to say if he had. Since his return from London, they'd had far too many moments of awkward silence. He knew that needed to change, and quickly. As the last of the carriages finally rolled down the drive, his stepmother wandered over, slid her arm around his, gave a slight squeeze. "Rather glad that's over with." He felt suffocated and wondered why in the world his father had to marry someone so young, and why she had to seduce him at every little moment she has. And why it had to be Her! Reaching up, she placed her black-­gloved hand against his cheek. "You look tired." "It's been a long week." He'd returned from his travels ten days ago. Most of his grieving and mourning had occurred during the long and arduous journey home. For him, today was simply a formality, something to get through before moving forward. Besides, what was there to grieve from a father who had never been there, only when he needed something to harm. To let go of his anger. To breath. "I could use a good stiff drink," Anthony said as he, his wife, and Charles joined them. "I know just where to find one," he assured his longtime friend. After leading the group into the foyer, he bowed slowly to his stepmother, Alyssa. "Will you ladies excuse us for a bit? We won't be long," he assured the women, before heading down the hallway, his two friends not even half a step behind. Once he entered the library, he charged forward to the sideboard, poured scotch into three tumblers, and dispensed them before holding his up. "To my father. May he rest in peace." He downed the contents of his glass in one long swallow. Anthony merely took a small sip, then arched a brow. "That is hardly likely to happen, is it? What the bloody hell are you up to, Jordon?" His body froze while his mind reeled with the possibility of denying the accusation, but too much was at stake. He walked to the window and spied the spire of the village church where only a few hours earlier the funeral service had been held in his honour. Visible in the distance, ribboning through the rolling hills, was the road over which the black and glass hearse bearing the French-­polished casket with its elaborately carved mouldings and gleaming metal handles had journeyed, while mourners followed, to the family mausoleum. "When did you figure out I was into her?" "Shortly before you left for London two weeks back, I saw you kissing her," Charles said. "Did you say anything to Emily?" "No," Anthony assured him. "We thought it best to hold our suspicions until we had them confirmed. What the devil is going on here?" "There was nothing left for me to do. I...it already happened before I was thinking, and I was drunk the night it started, and after that, everything was a whole mess all over again. And before I knew it, she said she was pregnant. With my baby." "Have you lost your mind?" Anthony bellowed. "Lower your voice," he ground out. He didn't need the servants to overhear. "Do you truly believe that you can make her yours? She was your father's wife, even if they were married for only two years before he had died!" He spun around. "She gave me no choice if I am to honour her request. I think I like her. And she has my baby with her. She's pregnant." "Do you have any idea what this deception will do to Emily, how she will feel when she learns the truth?" Anthony asked. It was all he'd thought about as he trudged through the jungle to get to his father's dead body. "She'll think worse of me than she already does. I expect she'll attack me with the handiest object that can inflict a mortal wound. And she will be devastated, her heart will be crushed, and her life will go dark." "Which is the very reason you must tell her now before you take this deception any further." "No." "Then I bloody well will," Anthony said, heading for the door. Darting in front of him just as he reached for the latch, Jordon cut him off. "Touch that door and I'll lay you flat." Anthony glared at him. "I refuse to let you do this." "You may be of the higher rank and older, but this matter does not concern you." Shaking his head, Anthony squared his jaw. "It bloody well does concern us. Charles, inform him that he's a fool and cannot do this." "Unfortunately, I agree with him." Clearly stunned, Anthony twisted around. The man whom he'd mistakenly believed to be his ally sat with one hip perched on the edge of the desk, a glass of scotch in hand. "You don't think this is a bad idea?" "I'm convinced it's the worst idea an Englishman has had since one decided to go crusading. But he's correct. It's not our business, and we don't have a say in the matter." "You might not care about Emily, but I do." "But Jordon is the man here. The one with the say and he might be right. What would people think if they find out he had been having an affair with his young to do stepmother and had already gotten her pregnant? Anthony's shoulders slumping slightly, he stepped back. "This is a bloody mess!" "Yeah. And we have to find a way around it before everything turns messier." "Do you have to always be so bloody logical?" Anthony asked. Charles raised his glass. "I would not complain if I were you. My being logical contributed to you gaining your wife." If only it was that uncomplicated. After that blasted, ill-­conceived kiss in his room a year ago, it had progressed to wild s*x on most nights he is in town. Why? Because most of the time, his damn father was drunk in his study, cursing the day he met his mother. Balling his hands into fists, Anthony scowled. "I can see nothing but a disaster on the horizon if you follow this course." "Disaster on the horizon I can deal with when it arrives. My concern presently is avoiding disaster before the baby arrives. I know it won't be easy, I only have to make everyone believe the baby was my father's, and that'll be all. Nothing to worry and nothing to care about." "I don't know if I can help you with this," Anthony said. "Deceit does not sit well with me. And definitely not when it comes to betraying Emily. What will you tell her when she comes back? What happens to your betrothal?" "And you think it sits well with me?" Jordon asked the pain and agony from weeks of deliberation, guilt, and doubt slicing through his voice. "There's nothing I can absolutely do here, Anthony. It is a tangle of a mess I've already created, and I intend to find a way around it." "I see," Anthony said. The study grew silent, and Jordon kept wondering how in the world he let himself get tangled into a web of a mess like this. Why did it have to be her? Why did he have to fall for her charms and seduction? Blast it all, why had she even decided to marry his father? "Do you love Emily, Jordon?" "Yes. No. I do not even know what I truly feel about her. You know I only agreed to the betrothal because of father. I wanted to hurt him, and that was the only way I could think of. But I do like Alyssa, I might even be Inlove with her. How does that look?" He asked, scanning the faces of his two friends. "You know what, Jordon, I think nothing will make things right, maybe if you had a twin brother, things would've been different." "And what if he has?" A deep voice, almost likes to Jordon's only that this was slightly deeper than his say. "What if he has a twin he had no idea existed somewhere?" And there he was, in his full glory, a man who looks exactly like Jordon Brighton! His possible twin. A twin he had no idea existed. They both didn't.

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