Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgerton 04) by Julia Quinn

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgerton 04) by Julia Quinn

Author:Julia Quinn [Quinn, Julia]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2011-09-22T23:17:10+00:00

Well, now she had to answer, didn't she? "Er, it's nothing," she said, hoping the evasion would reduce his attention on the rest of her reply. "Just that I'm not allowed to go out by myself."

"I am aware of that," he bit off. "There's a damned good reason for it, too."

"So if I wanted to go out by myself," she continued, choosing to ignore the second part of his reply, "I couldn't very well use one of our carriages. None of our drivers would agree to take me here."

"Your drivers," he snapped, "are clearly men of impeccable wisdom and sense."

Penelope said nothing.

"Do you have any idea what could have happened to you?" he demanded, his sharp mask of control beginning to crack.

"Er, very little, actually," she said, gulping on the sentence. "I've come here before, and—"

"What? " His hand closed over her upper arm with painful force. "What did you just say?"

Repeating it seemed almost dangerous to her health, so Penelope just stared at him, hoping that maybe she could break

through the wild anger in his eyes and find the man she knew and loved so dearly.

"It's only when I need to leave an urgent message for my publisher," she explained. "I send a coded message, then he knows

to pick up my note here."

"And speaking of which," Colin said roughly, snatching the folded paper back from her hands, "what the hell is this?"

Penelope stared at him in confusion. "I would have thought it was obvious. I'm—"

"Yes, of course, you're bloody Lady Whistledown, and you've probably been laughing at me for weeks as I insisted it was Eloise." His face twisted as he spoke, nearly breaking her heart.

"No!" she cried out. "No, Colin, never. I would never laugh at you!"

But his face told her clearly that he did not believe her. There was humiliation in his emerald eyes, something she'd never seen there, something she'd never expected to see. He was a Bridgerton. He was popular, confident, self-possessed. Nothing

could embarrass him. No one could humiliate him.

Except, apparently, her.

"I couldn't tell you," she whispered, desperately trying to make that awful look in his eyes go away. "Surely you knew I couldn't tell you."

He was silent for an agonizingly long moment, and then, as if she'd never spoken, never tried to explain herself, he lifted the incriminating sheet of paper into the air and shook it, completely disregarding her impassioned outcry. "This is stupidity," he said. "Have you lost your mind?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"You had a perfectly good escape, just waiting for you. Cressida Twombley was willing to take the blame for you."

And then suddenly his hands were on her shoulders, and he was holding her so tightly she could barely breathe.

"Why couldn't you just let it die, Penelope?" His voice was urgent, his eyes blazing. It was the most feeling she'd ever seen in him, and it broke her heart that it was directed toward her in anger. And in shame.

"I couldn't let her do it," she whispered. "I couldn't let her be me.


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