Which is pretty awesome! The friendships are great and there are cool self-realizations for the wonderful female characters and lots of fun schemes and plots, mostly centered around poor Stephen pretending on being in a relationship with someone! And it left me really excited for the last book. I am liking this series a lot. Problem is, the Marquess of Bonnington is slumming it up pretending to be one of her gardeners. Hes got quite good at it and gained some muscle since the last book when she was in the early days of her pregnancy.
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Stephen had no sooner seated himself than Lady Rawlings leaned towards him with a very marked kind of attention. There was a sleepy smile in her eyes that would make any man under the age of seventy think of bed — ney, dream of bed. Just enough to make him draw closer to Esme and bend his head over her fan.
He was, after all, an old hat at campaigning. Bea, would you like to see it? The workmanship is quite elegant.
There was something odd happening here. She glanced across the table while pretending to examine the fan. And to all appearances Esme had decided to seduce Stephen Fairfax-Lacy.
Her Stephen. The realization gave Bea a most peculiar sinking feeling. She wore a gown of French violet silk, cut very low in the bosom, and very short in the sleeves.
But more importantly, she was burning with a kind of incandescent sensual beauty. Therefore, it hardly mattered if Esme decided to do so. Bea blinked, trying to see what was it about the man that drove all the women in his vicinity to hanker after him.
He was waiting for a reply so she shrugged. He is in love. The funny part, to my mind, is when Juliet suddenly says: do you plan to marry me, and if so, where? I read the play long ago, but I never realized that Juliet proposed to him. She was so beautiful! It was almost too much to bear. Naturally, Bea thought. Her eyes seemed to be speaking volumes. Bea considered pleading a sick stomach and leaving the table.
Marchioness Bonnington had been examining the painted fan; she put it down with a little rap. If he got any closer to her shoulder, he could start chewing on her curls, Bea thought. Just like the goat. She looked…pained. That was too strong. Esme flashed a smile around the table. Juliet says: Who, Romeo? Who would have thought you to be so rare a stirrer?
There was a moment of silence and then Stephen roared with laughter. Obviously, it was a comment meant for her alone. Likely something about getting above. Bea chewed very precisely and swallowed her beef. Perhaps Arabella would allow her to return to London on the morrow.
It was just that no man could resist Esme, and certainly not Stephen, who had frankly told her that he hoped to marry. Bea looked back at her beef. She liked Esme. She really did. She was actually enjoying herself. Arabella was right. Stephen Fairfax-Lacy was charming, and he had a ready wit.
He was fairly handsome. She had almost — almost decided to marry him. There he was. No gardener ever wore a pearl gray coat of the finest broadcloth, with an elaborately tied cravat of a pale, icy blue. He looked every inch a nobleman, from the top of his elegantly tousled hair to the tips of his shining Hessians.
There were murmurs all down the table. The scandalous marquess had returned from the Continent! She met his eyes and there was a flare of amusement in them that made her smoldering rage burst into flame. No doubt, he thought to simply return to her bedchamber. Or living in a garden shed, for that matter. He had broad shoulders.
She was almost certain that he would be as good as a lover as Sebastian. He certainly would be less exhausting. Stephen looked up, and Esme smiled down at him brilliantly. Then Sebastian went into a low bow, the kind with a flourish and a good deal of gloved violence. She had always been impetuous, but this was without a doubt her wildest moment yet. Even little Bea seemed shaken, although she said nothing. End of Excerpt Would you like to order your own copy?
A Wild Pursuit : Number 3 in series
A Wild Pursuit