A Loving Scoundrel

A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey

Book: A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Johanna Lindsey
make sure, she snarled, “Because I’m getting m’self a respectable husband and then lots of children. Those are me goals, mate. A good job, a husband, then to get started on a big family, in that order. And ye’ll be ’elping me with the first goal or there will be ’ell to pay.”
    “Bloody hell,” he snarled back, then sneered. “What’s it to be then? Footman I suppose?”
    The nabob was trying to insult her again and doing a good job of it. Or was he just stressing how difficult the task that she’d set for herself was going to be? Could she really fit into this handsome aristocrat’s world, even if only as his maid?

Chapter 13
     
    J EREMY WAS SO FURIOUS he was having a hard time containing it. It was so unusual for him to be angry at a woman, but blackmail! Bloody hell, that would get a saint furious.
    It boggled his mind that she had resorted to that, but he should have expected it. She was smart, after all. He wouldn’t have expected that either from someone who came from the slums, but she’d proved it the night of the robbery, when she’d extricated them from a sticky, even somewhat dangerous, situation.
    Remembering that he did owe her for that took a small chunk out of his anger, though only a small chunk.
    This was absurd. He knew how to handle women. Where was his bloody finesse with this one? He ought to be looking on the bright side. Now that she was going to be living under his roof, he didn’t doubt he’d get her into his bed eventually.
    He was nothing if not confident where women were concerned. And this one was rather unique, adorable in her manly togs, amazing in her height, incredibly lovely with those big violet eyes, and not the least bit susceptible to his charms—yet.
    She was attracted to him, though. He bloody well knew when a woman was attracted to him. But she gave every indication that it didn’t matter. “Don’t touch me, don’t even get near me” was the subtle message she exuded. Was that partly responsible for his anger? Another first for him. No, he simply didn’t like being blackmailed, and by a wench he’d prefer to be making love to. Bloody hell.
    He sighed. The sound brought her out of her pensive state and had her informing him, “I’ll take the maid’s job.”
    “Too bad. It would have been amusing watching you bungle your way through as a footman.”
    She glared at him. He raised a brow. “You don’t think so? And by the by, you don’t scowl at your employer. You ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir,’ ‘Very good, sir,’ and with a smile or no expression a’tall. When you’re my mistress, you can scowl at me all you like.”
    She started to snap something at him but turned her back on him instead. A stiff posture, full of indignation and ire.
    “Counting to ten, are we?” Jeremy said dryly.
    She turned back around, gave him a tight little smile, and gritted out, “Yes, sir.”
    He burst out laughing. He simply couldn’t help it. And it removed the rest of his anger for the moment. It was going to prove amusing, after all, her attempt to “better” herself. He supposed he could tolerate being blackmailed as long as the blackmailer was going to end up as his mistress.
    Still grinning, he said, “Let’s get you settled then. Shall we start with your name?”
    She unbent enough to answer, “It’s Danny.”
    “No, I meant your real name. If you were sincere about turning over a new leaf, as it were, then you’ll want to start with a clean slate.”
    “That is my real name,” she replied with a stony stare.
    “Truly? It’s not short for Danielle or—?”
    “It’s the only name I ’ave any memory of. If I were given another at birth, it ain’t one I’ll ever be knowing.”
    Jeremy found himself slightly embarrassed. Of course an orphan might not know her real name, and this one apparently didn’t even have a surname. Deuced odd, to go through life without a last name.
    He asked hesitantly, “Would you mind if I called you

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