Romancing the Duke Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare

Author:Tessa Dare [Dare, Tessa]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2014-01-31T22:00:00+00:00

Chapter Fifteen

Astonishing. In the morning, when she sat working at that table of correspondence, silhouetted by sunlight . . .

Her hair truly did look like an octopus.

It was the way she wore it, he thought. Or maybe the way it wore her. It all sat perched atop her head in that big, inky blob. And no matter how strenuously she pinned it, dark, heavy curls worked loose on all sides, like tentacles.

Of course, it was an entrancing, strangely erotic octopus. Ransom worried this might be how fetishes developed.

“You’ve been avoiding me, Goodnight.”

Her dark head lifted from her work. “I have?”

“Yes. You have.”

She paused. “Your Grace, my presence in this room right now—and this very conversation we’re having—would seem to argue against it.”

“I’m not saying I blame you.” He reclined on the sofa and propped his laced hands behind his neck. “If it were in any way physically possible, I would avoid myself, too.”

She picked up the next envelope and cleaved the seal with a savage slice of the letter opener. “I’m not avoiding you, Your Grace. I don’t know what you mean.”

Little liar. She knew very well what he meant.

Ever since the Invasion of the Idiots, and that sublime, stolen embrace in the folly, Ransom had noted a marked change in Izzy Goodnight’s demeanor.

There hadn’t been any more surprise visitors, and as many hours as Ransom walked the castle at night, he never bumped into her again. She was always waiting nearby when he awoke, but there were no more queer conversations on elephant-sized rats or rat-sized elephants.

And, queerly enough, Ransom found himself missing them.

Or perhaps just missing her.

“I have a question,” he said, interrupting her reading of an assessment regarding some new finance scheme with steam engines. “Are there dragons in Merlinia?”



“If there are, why do you care?” she asked, sounding wary.

He shrugged. “Just wondering what further madness to expect, that’s all. Whether I’ll have a herd of unicorns visiting some morning, or discover trolls camping under my bridge.”

“No. No, Your Grace. No dragons, unicorns, or trolls.”

“Good,” he said. She hadn’t made it through another paragraph before he interrupted again. “What news do you have from Lord Bedridden?”

“Nothing that would interest you, I’m sure.” The flat side of her fist met the tabletop. “Your Grace, you’ve hired me to read your correspondence. Not discuss my own.”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Fine.”

Ransom could see what was happening. She was putting distance between them. Which meant she was a sensible, clever woman. Which made her even more attractive. Damn it all.

“I don’t mean to be churlish,” she said. “It’s just . . . I discuss my father’s stories with everyone. And I don’t mind it, but I rather look forward to speaking of something—anything—else when I’m with you. Even if it’s the financial prospects in steam-powered farm machinery.”

He supposed that made sense. He was beginning to understand how those ridiculous tales had made her a prisoner of others’ expectations.

She would need to break free of that prison soon. Because


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