Talk of the Ton by unknow

Talk of the Ton by unknow

Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

Darien’s show of the carefree bachelor was merely a facade; inside, he couldn’t have been more anxious. All around him, gentlemen were making remarks about how the mighty had fallen. They referred to him, of course, and what they believed to be an imminent offer for Miss Forsythe’s hand.

Their remarks didn’t bother him. Nor did his plans for Miss Forsythe. It was Kate that had him all in knots. He had no idea how she’d react to what he planned. For all he knew, given her sudden abhorrence of him, she might slap him across the face.

Darien surreptitiously scanned the crowd, looking for her, putting down the fear that perhaps she hadn’t come at all. But then he caught a glimpse of her near the auction table, and his heart skipped a beat or two. He’d never seen her look as lovely as she did this evening in a dress that sparkled with the light of thousands of candles, her hair elegantly arranged and bound with ribbons. It was truly, he thought, like looking at an angel sent from heaven.

As he stood gazing at her, she glanced up and caught his eye. For a moment, a single moment, it seemed as if time stood still, as if there was no one in the room but the two of them. Darien felt it so strongly that he took one step toward her—but Kate quickly looked away and walked to the far side of the room.

He debated going after her. When the orchestra struck up from having taken a brief respite, he made up his mind. Making his apologies to the men around him, he stepped away, then strode to the far side of the ballroom. Heaven was with him—Kate didn’t see him coming; she had stopped to admire a stand of roses and was caught completely off guard when he touched her shoulder.

She gasped and twisted about. Her jaw fell open, and he could see in her eyes that she looked for an escape. “No, Kate,” he said firmly. “You’ve evaded me for more than a week. I will not allow you to do so now.”

Her eyes narrowed. “And how do you propose to stop me, my lord?” she asked in a hot whisper.

“Do you doubt I will? And I’ll have no qualms about doing it publicly, madam. Do you dare test me? Or would you rather stand up this waltz with me and be done with it?”

Kate seemed to be considering her options, her eyes darting to the door leading to the corridor, then to the crowd at Darien’s back.

“Not an easy escape this time, is it, love? Come on then, Kate,” he said, holding out his hand, palm up. “Come with me.”

She made a sound in her throat—a cry, a sob, he wasn’t certain—her eyes filled with tears, and she looked dangerously close to breaking apart.

“One dance,” he said quickly, feeling sorry for her. “Just one dance.” There was, he knew, no escape for her unless she wanted to create a scene by cutting him.


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