Paxton put in. As they left the house, Jarret leveled a dark glance on her. He would after she and Sissy got done with him, anyway. They walked a short way in silence. Afraid that I might … try to kiss you again?
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The characters are engaging even the stubbornly disinterested Lord Jarret is sympathetic ; the interaction among them is both fun and moving, and the plot holds enough suspense to keep the pages turning. But when they turned into a tavern, that hope was dashed. For a moment, she just stood there, incensed. Unless they were just stopping in for a drink first? That was possible. A company tavern would be a logical choice for the grandsons of the owner to frequent for a drink or two, would it not?
Now she had to decide—wait out here until they came back out? Or go in. Night was falling, and London was notorious for its footpads. Fortunately, it was early enough that the people entering the tavern tended to be workmen and couples seeking a quick tavern supper. She kept her head down and ordered a meal, figuring that would allow her more time to linger.
When they called for a pitcher and broke out the cards, she knew precisely what it was. A night on the town. God rot Lord Jarret. He clearly had no intention whatsoever of speaking to his grandmother about her proposal. Now what? The fourth man, someone they called Pinter, was a black-haired, raspy-voiced fellow with a quiet, almost somber manner.
As best she could tell, Lord Jarret and his brother had been winning fairly steadily. The other two men were grumbling about it. Curious to see what they were playing, she rose and passed as close to the table as she dared on the pretext of looking for the necessary. They were playing whist. She lingered near Lord Jarret long enough to see that he was quite good.
Which was probably why he and his brother were winning. The man named Masters called for another pitcher of ale. Shall we up the stakes, give you a chance to win your money back?
I need a good challenge. Curse Hugh for his weakness. She missed her sweet big brother. Pinter tossed down his cards. Are you going to make a liar out of me? Fancy seeing you here. They all were. I dare say after a night of drinking with your friends, you would have quite forgotten your promise.
I play cards very well. Your friend Pinter seems determined to leave, and you did say you wanted a challenge. I want your agreement that Plumtree Brewery will help us. Of course, you would probably rather see a competitor fail.
Plumtree is four times the size of Lake Ale. What do I get out of this little high stakes game? That should be enough to make it worth your while. He was so annoying. But she had to try. He stepped closer, until he loomed over her like some giant in a circus. The first one to win two out of three games wins the match and the wager.
The stakes will be personal, too. The woman needed some sense knocked into her. If his sisters had attempted something like this, he would have locked them up and thrown away the key.
Follow him through the streets of London alone at night? Sit in a tavern with no protection? Challenge him to cards? The woman was too reckless for her own good. Fetching and desirable, but reckless as the very devil. And when she turned him down, he would escort her back to wherever she was staying, and tell her companions to keep a better eye on her.
For some reason, that maddened him even further. He had to stop letting her get under his skin, damn it. He understood desperation. It unsettled him. Some provincial brewster was going to best him at cards. That would be the day. Why was he even worrying? He could win a game of two-handed whist blindfolded. A ruined woman. He ignored the twinge of his conscience. If she wanted to throw everything away for this, let her. What did he care?
And God knows he would enjoy it. God, but she was a piece of work. More in the Hellions of Halstead Hall Playlist.
A Hellion in Her Bed
Now he was here again, smelling the wort and tasting the green beer. Thanks to her, it was as if nineteen years had melted away to nothing. Except that he no longer wanted to sacrifice his life to the brewery. The clerk appeared instantly in the doorway.
The characters are engaging even the stubbornly disinterested Lord Jarret is sympathetic ; the interaction among them is both fun and moving, and the plot holds enough suspense to keep the pages turning. But when they turned into a tavern, that hope was dashed. For a moment, she just stood there, incensed. Unless they were just stopping in for a drink first?