How to Treat a Lady

How to Treat a Lady by Karen Hawkins

Book: How to Treat a Lady by Karen Hawkins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Hawkins
    Mr. Gower’s mouth thinned. “I gave him a shilling for his trouble. Considering the sad case of your family affairs, one would think he’d be glad for the—”
    Harriet stood. “Mr. Gower, thank you so much for coming to visit.”
    He reluctantly climbed to his feet, his brows knit. “Miss Ward—Harriet, I only meant that your family is in a very poor situation—”
    â€œI don’t care how poor my family’s situation is. It was an insult to Derrick and to everyone under this roof that you tossed a coin to him as if he was a common linkboy. You are just fortunate I wasn’t in the barnyard, for I would have poured the bucket over more than your shoes.”
    â€œYou—how can you say that? Look at these!” He held out one foot.
    Harriet pressed a hand over her nose. “Indeed. I’m very sorry you wore them into the house because now I’ll have to have the rugs cleaned.”
    He lowered his foot, a mottled red traveling up his neck. “After all I’ve done for your family—”
    â€œDone for my family? Endlessly tormenting us about the payments?”
    â€œIt’s my job to—”
    â€œExactly. It’s your job. So don’t come here, mewing about how you’ve had our best interests at heart. All you’ve had at heart is money. Our money. And nothing else.”
    He straightened his shoulders. “At one time, that may have been true. But now—Harriet, I do not pretend that I find your family’s sad financial plight to my liking. I do not. Though I’ve admired you and your determination for many months now, your situation has caused me some hesitation in speaking my mind.”
    â€œHow unfortunate for my family,” Harriet said with a burning look.
    â€œSo it is,” he responded, missing her sarcasm altogether. “Most men would never willingly overlook such things. But however much I deplore the state ofyour finances, I have to admit it is gratifying to see that you’ve only one payment left before Garrett Park is your own. Of course, I realize that there is nothing else to be had. Neither you, nor any of your sisters, will have a dowry, will you?”
    How dare the man even ask such a question! Harriet was so angry that she wasn’t sure whether she could make it out of the room without saying something she was sure she would regret. “That is none of your concern.”
    â€œOh, but it is,” he said gravely. “For all my hesitations about your lack of a dowry, there is no denying your good breeding. Your father is in Debrett’s, your mother was a Standish. I daresay no other family in this area is as well connected as the Wards.”
    â€œMr. Gower, where are you going with all of this?”
    The pompous ass smiled down at her, completely unaffected that she was glaring back at him. “Simple, my dear. After much thought, I’ve decided to make you my wife.”

Chapter 8
    The first time I fell in love, I was sixteen years of age. The second time I fell in love, I was also sixteen years of age. But then I grew older and wiser and I did not fall in love for a very, very long time. In fact, I almost made it to my seventeenth birthday before I experienced that wretched state again.
    Mr. Devon St. John to Lord Kilturn, an antiquarian with an unfortunate penchant for dressing the dandy and dangling after much younger women
    D evon St. John tossed his cards on the green baize table that stretched before him. “I lose,” he said in an affable voice.
    Through the swirl of smoke that permeated the card room at White’s, his opponent, Mr. Lawrence Pound, sighed languidly. Renowned in polite circles not only for his close connection with the Bessingtons, but also for his polite manner and impeccable dress, Pound tossed his own cards onto the table and said in a rather plaintive voice, “It is insulting how well you take

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