He was deliberately taunting her. She would be well justified for slapping him across his smug face, but Lord Clayton’s emerald green eyes appeared in her mind as if the man himself stood in the perfumed garden. Mr. Vickers might be her last chance for happiness, so she would swallow her pride.
“I wish to take lessons from you.”
He cocked a thick black eyebrow, resembling a gypsy she had once seen at a fair when she was a child. He’d swallowed a sword before her very eyes. Mr. Vickers looked as if he, too, possessed strange and fascinating skills.
“Lessons in what subject? Fencing? Riding? Not Latin, surely. I spent my university days involved in everything but schoolwork.”
“Not any of those.” She frowned. “I do not know how to ask this delicately, but you are not a man for whom delicacy could be a factor.”
“You know so much about me.”
“Your reputation precedes you, sir.”
“What do you know about me?”
Couples strolled by, out of sight from the protection of the rose bower, but their controlled laughter and easy conversations reached Devlina. Imagine. This time next year, it could be Neville…Lord Clayton…walking beside me. She had to go through with her plan, regardless how reckless it seemed now.
“I have heard many stories of your exploits. I do not wish to be one of your conquests, but seek your..." She cleared her throat delicately. "Expertise. I gathered you would be the right man for what I need.” His eyebrows rose so high upon his forehead she feared she'd shocked him. Him. She twisted her hands in the folds of her silk gown. “That did not come out the way I meant.”
“I think it’s exactly what you meant to say, Miss Carrow. And, while I am greatly - no, flattered is not the word....”
“I spoke hastily.” She interrupted him before he could continue on his appalling train of thought. It would serve her right if Miranda found her now, debasing herself in front of a man who was known for ruining the reputations of countless females this season and the last.
“Yes. I…” She drew a breath louder than she’d intended. The man was positively irritating. Heaven only knew what so many women apparently saw in him to have ruined their prospects by even the smallest acquaintance. “I would like you to teach me how to seduce a man.”
Her whispered words seemed to clamor through the garden as if she’d tolled them with a gong.
I hope you enjoy this peek at my work in progress! It is book one of an exciting new Regency-set series I hope to complete this year. I hope all of you are reaching your own goals for the New Year!