A Rose at Midnight

A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart

Book: A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Stuart
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
assignation. She would have wanted to look her best if she were going off with her lover, not like a… a… sallow pea-goose.”
    “All right,” Tony said. “For the sake of argument, suppose Nicholas did abduct her? Why? Your majordomo said he’d been terribly ill while he was here. Do you suppose it might have overset his mind? The Blackthornes are notoriously unstable as it is. Do you think he’s gone mad?”
    “I have no idea,” she said stubbornly. “All I know is that Gilly didn’t go with him willingly.”
    Tony didn’t move, didn’t even blink. And then he reached out his large hands and dropped them lightly on her shoulders. “And I don’t suppose there’s any chance at all that you’d let the matter rest there?”
    “None at all. Gilly saved my life. I’m not going to abandon her when she’s in trouble.”
    “What do you mean, she saved your life?” he demanded, suddenly tense. “When were you ever in danger…?”
    Ellen shook her head. “It’s too complicated to explain. Suffice it to say that Gilly means a great deal to me. I’m not going to turn my back on her.”
    “When I get to London I can put out inquiries,” he suggested. “They’ve been gone at least two days now—your friend has already been compromised, if you think it’s a simple question of rape. But I could see what I can come up with. There’ll be a hue and cry for Blackthorne as it is—what with Hargrove meeting his demise at Nicholas’s hands. Sooner or later he’ll be bound to turn up, and Gilly can be returned to you.”
    She did her very best to put a grateful expression on her face. “That would be very kind of you,” she murmured in a neutral tone of voice.
    “The hell with my kindness. You won’t be here waiting for word, will you?” he said with a wry smile. “You’re going after them.”
    She considered denying it. It would be no use—Tony was right. He knew her very well indeed, and knew that she wouldn’t simply wait for word. “I’m sorry, Tony,” she said with real honesty. “I simply have to. You can tell Carmichael you tried to stop me.”
    “I have no intention of telling Carmichael a thing,” he said.
    “You don’t?”
    “I won’t be anywhere near him to impart that information.” He sounded resigned. “I’ll be off haring after the fugitives.”
    She flung herself upon him, her arms hugging him tightly. “Bless you, Tony, I knew I could count on you!” she cried. To her astonishment his arms came around her, holding her against him for a long, breathless moment.
    “Don’t forget it,” he said, looking down at her, and she had the oddest notion that he wanted to kiss her.
    Absurd, she thought, as a second later he released her. “I don’t suppose there’s any chance you might be willing to stay behind while I go after them?” he continued in a negligent tone.
    “Not a chance in the world. And don’t worry about my reputation being compromised. We’ll take Binnie, and your valet, and no one need ever know what we were up to. We’ll catch up with them in no time—Nicholas would have no idea we’d come after her. He probably thought poor Gilly hadn’t a friend in the world.”
    “You might find that it’s almost impossible to hide something from an interested society,” Tony pointed out.
    Sudden doubts assailed her. “Oh, Tony, I couldn’t do that to you,” she said. “If you think we’ll be discovered, perhaps I ought to go alone. I couldn’t bear it if… well, if things transpired that you… that I…”
    Gentleman that he was, Tony calmly overrode her embarrassed stammering. “Don’t give it a thought, infant. I have matters well in hand. Not a soul will hear about this that I don’t want to.”
    She smiled up at him, her eyes shining with grateful tears. She could think of no greater disaster than Tony being forced to marry her. But she believed him when he said no one need ever know of their indiscretion. She believed Tony capable of just about

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