In Your Arms Again

In Your Arms Again by Kathryn Smith

Book: In Your Arms Again by Kathryn Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathryn Smith
Tags: Romance
Beatrice? Or both? Obviously Spinton wasn’t partial to sharing his hens with other cocks.
    Spinton offered his arm to Octavia, which she took with only a second’s hesitation. North offered to escort Beatrice, which she accepted with a happy smile. Rank was rank and if there had been more people in their party, North would have been shoved even farther down the line. So, he assumed, would Miss Henry.
    “It is a pleasure to meet you at last, Mr. Sheffield,” she whispered as they followed the other couple down the corridor at a discreet distance. “I have heard so much about you.”
    So she did know about his past association with Octavia. There was no denying the underlying message in her tone. “Then you have me at a distinct disadvantage, Miss Henry.”
    “Not for long, I suspect. If you are indeed in earnest about discovering the identity of my cousin’s mysterious admirer, then I suspect you will make it your business to know everything about anyone who comes within a mile of Octavia.”
    This round little rose of a woman was more intuitive than he would have given her credit for. No doubt many people dismissed her as inconsequential, which was all the more reason for North to not only earn her confidence, but to keep a close watch on her as well. It was obvious from the way she watched Spinton’s back that she had feelings for the man. Did these feelings run deep enough that she’d plot to ruin her cousin’s plans to marry him?
    Was there anything he could do to help her in that quarter?
    Now why would he think such a thing? He might have his doubts about whether Spinton was husband material as far as Octavia was concerned, but he had no reason to plot againstthe man. He merely wanted to see his old friend happy. He wanted to see her living as she deserved—with a man smart enough to realize what a treasure he’d been given. Spinton did seem to realize his fortune in that respect, and he truly cared about Vie. Perhaps he would do after all.
    In the parlor, a small but comfortable room decorated in shades of peachy pink and cream that made North think of the poached salmon his father’s chef always used to make, Spinton poured brandy for the men and sherry for the women. Well, that was one point in his favor; at least Spinton wasn’t one of those men who believed women incapable of handling spirits. Over the years North had seen women who could drink men three times their size under the table and ask for more.
    Of course, if Spinton were truly open-minded, he would have offered the ladies brandy as well. Judging from the expression on Octavia’s face, she would have preferred it to the weaker sherry. What was she thinking right now? Was she happy or upset to see him? Did she fear he would betray her secrets? Was she afraid her admirer would take his hint one step further and actually resort to blackmail? Did she wish they were alone, so they could talk openly and frankly?
    And most importantly, did she have the strange, overwhelming desire to kiss him as he had to kiss her? What was this between them that made him feel as protective as a brother one minute, as defiant as a rival another, and then possessive as a lover the next? In his head he called Octavia a friend, but in his heart—in his soul—he knew her true function was something infinitely more complex.
    Octavia forced herself to take small sips of her sherry, rather than downing it in one swallow and going back for the rest of the bottle. What did Spinton mean going behind her back—against her wishes—in this fashion? Perhaps it was meant with the best of intentions, but it didn’t bode well forOctavia’s future. Until now Spinton had been relatively easy to control, but this strange defiance made her wonder. What else had she been deceived about where he was concerned? Would his personality deviate even further once they were wed?
    And why was North looking at her as though he’d like to dip her in cream and lick her clean? He had to know

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