To Seduce an Earl

To Seduce an Earl by Lori Brighton

Book: To Seduce an Earl by Lori Brighton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lori Brighton
Tags: Romance
least the girl was wearing a dress. Patience was merely too lively for the London ton .
    Grace worried about her. How would society react when her sister emerged? She didn’t want Patience’s feelings to be crushed because of insensitive old biddies. But she feared that’s what would happen when her sister made her debut. Then again, they might not have the money for a debut, after all. Lord, at this rate they’d be forced to sell the carriage.
    “Patience, please be… patient.” She grinned at her own pun, finding amusement for the first time in two days. How could she be amused with James’ dour warning ringing through her head? Don’t trust him. Why? Why couldn’t she trust Alex? Sure, he could charm the habit from a nun, but he seemed harmless enough.
    “Why not?” Patience asked, interrupting her thoughts. “You always say to think positive.”
    Treasure. Her sister was discussing buried treasure. “True.” But the day was fine, too fine to worry about nonsensical treasures and their lack of money.
    “Lady Maxwell called upon Mama yesterday when you were out.”
    “Really?” She hadn’t seen the woman in months and now, suddenly, she appears right after Grace had seen her at Lady Lavender’s? Gads, perhaps James hadn’t hidden her as well as she’d thought. Had the woman seen her? Grace rested her hands on her roiling belly. It was too risky, this business of learning to seduce. Perhaps it would be better if she didn’t return.  
    Patience nodded thoughtfully. “Rather kind, considering most of Mama’s acquaintances have abandoned her, afraid of catching her disease. And Lady Maxwell is so kind. The epitome of appropriateness, Mama calls her. I think she’s praying the woman will rub off on me.” Patience grinned up at Grace, but Grace was too lost in her own musings to respond with more than a vague nod.
    Righteousness fought with guilt. How many horrible thoughts had she had about Lady Maxwell since seeing her at Lady Lavender’s? A woman married, but obviously engaging in an illicit affair. It was…wrong, immoral. But what Patience said was true; the woman was kind, always had been.
    Grace frowned, her gaze sliding from passing couple, to passing couple. Some familiar, some not, all finding their way down Regent Street. What did these people do in the privacy of their homes when no one was watching? What were their secrets?
    Such exalted perfection, or so she’d thought. Now she couldn’t help but wonder what they were hiding. If a woman like Lady Maxwell could be caught in such a nefarious position, what were others doing? The entire world seemed to be off balance, as if she didn’t truly know anything anymore. Up was suddenly down. Wrong suddenly right. Grace reached inside her straw bonnet and rubbed her aching temples.  
    “Don’t you agree?” Patience was looking up at her expectantly. Realizing Grace was lost in thought, she frowned. “You’re not paying the least bit of attention to me, are you?”
    “I’m sorry, my dear. You were saying something about treasure?”
    Patience nodded eagerly. Treasure . Grace resisted the urge to scoff. Is this what she’d done, taught her sister that life would be well if only one could believe in ridiculous thoughts of fairy tales and buried treasures?
    A few months ago, the idea of searching for treasure had been her passion. It had started when she was a child. The perfect shell. A rare rock or mineral to add to her collection. As she grew older, her interests went to artifacts from ancient cultures.    
    It was thrilling to know she’d found something no one else had. She’d brought to life something forgotten, ignored, buried for dead. Each piece was like a long lost friend, something that could never be taken away from her. Although her father had died, and although they’d had to move near London when Mama remarried, her collection had remained intact. A collection no one else had, which made her feel special, she supposed.

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