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His Dark and Dangerous Ways by Edith Layton - Romance>Historical Other
Simon Atwood, Lord Granger, once gave all for his countryâand paid the price. Now, his handsome face haunted by a secret sorrow, Simon has undertaken a mission far closer to home, but no less dangerous. And though he hesitates to risk her safety, he must seek the help of Jane Chatham, an enchanting dance teacher who could prove a worthy partnerâin espionage and in love.
Forced to live by her wiles far from her well-bred country upbringing, Jane Chatham is suspicious of every man's intentions, even those of a gentleman like Simon Atwood. After all, she knows nothing of this enigmatic nobleman, and has no reason to believe his promises. Keeping him at a distance should prove simple for the resourceful, quick-witted beauty...until she finds herself mesmerized by Simon's dark and dangerous ways, consumed by a passion that puts her very life at stake.
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"As you were saying?" the lady cooed to her gentleman caller, when he paused for a moment. She was artfully displayed on a settee in her front parlor. She reclined, pleading a slightly turned ankle, and her flowing yellow morning gown was arranged so that it showed a peek of that one slender exceedingly well-turned ankle. Her gown also gave an idea of the generous form beneath. Gold curls and long-lashed blue eyes showed her pretty face off to perfection.
Ordinarily, a lady would not be wearing such casual attire or be seen in such a casual attitude when receiving a morning caller. But Lydia Stanton, Lady Harwood, was no ordinary lady. She was a little on the raffish side and a lot on the willful one, and as a lady and a widow, there was a great deal she could get away with. Especially when she had a caller in her parlor with whom she'd obviously like to get away with a good deal more.
Which was surprising, the gentleman thought. She was already involved with a wealthy young gentleman, or so he'd been told. That was why he was here. Simon Atwood, Lord Granger, was a match for the lady, at least in looks, and he surpassed her in charm. Tall, dark and deliciously sardonic, he was even richer than she was, and his title was inherited. She'd married into hers. And was now obviously contemplating adding a newer one.
It was becoming clear that she'd hit upon the idea of a hurt ankle the moment his name had been announced. He'd had to wait in the hall a few minutes, which was odd, because though he hadn't given advance notice of his visit, it was the proper time for a morning call. When he was finally shown in, she was a little flushed and looked as though she'd only just settled into her poised invalid pose. She wore no bandages, only a knowing smile when he found himself looking at her ankle.
He was a little disconcerted by this unexpectedly warm reception, and sought a distraction so he could have time to think. So he cocked his handsome head to the side as though listening, although it didn't take much concentration to hear what he was paying attention to.
The door to the front parlor where they sat was ajar. Even a lady such as this couldn't entertain a gentleman with it closed, at least not in the morning when another caller might drop in. So the hysterical giggling and high-pitched screaming coming from down the hall was clearly audible, along with the sound of marching, jumping, and clumping feet.
"Your moving men certainly are jolly fellows, my lady," he commented. "I didn't know you were relocating. May one ask where you are going?"
"Nowhere," she snapped. She was ambitious, but no fool; her smile reappeared in seconds. "I have a young daughter," she said. "Today she has a dancing lesson, and we invited some of her little friends to join in."
"Dancing lessons," he said with a great show of surprise. "But, surely, she's an infant."
She smiled again. "So she is. She's but an infant with only two years in her cup. But I love to hear her laughter." She cast down her gaze modestly.
"You certainly have opportunity to," he said as great thumping sounds of marching were heard, accompanied by the hammering of a tin drum and much giggling.
"The dear creatures, I should love to see them," she said piteously. "But they are exiled to the ballroom because there are so many things to break in here."
"Like eardrums," he said agreeably.
"Should you like me to ring and ask them to stop?" she asked eagerly, raising an arm to the tasseled cord hanging beside the settee, as another gust of laughter was heard.
"No, not at all," he said. "They seem to be enjoying themselves enormously. I don't want to be the cause of their being told to be still. Children need...
His Dark and Dangerous WaysBy: Edith Layton