Lord Vile (Beastly Lords Book 3)(14)

By: Sydney Jane Baily

Handing it to her, his gloved fingers touched hers. He watched, fascinated, as she froze, staring where they both held the package.

Had she stopped breathing?

“I believe you should have more household help.”

Meeting his gaze, her eyes were glittering with… anger?

“I believe it is none of your business. Nanny Finn,” she said, without looking away, “please take Harry inside.”

He glanced past the beauty to watch the other two go up the steps. At the door, the little boy looked back at him with large amber eyes and a curious smile.

Lifting his hand, Michael gave him a wave, which he returned.

The lady gasped again. Snatching the bundle to her chest, she turned and followed them inside.

“You are most welcome,” he called after her as the front door closed with a bang.

Hmm, what do you make of that? A hell of a feisty female. He wouldn’t want to be her husband. Except she had a delectable figure and pretty, rosy lips.

For all he knew, though, she was dull as mud and a harsh scold. In which case, no luscious curves and pretty blonde tresses would make her desirable.

In a minute, he was in his mistress’s parlor seated on her sofa, and her maid was pouring them each a glass of madeira. As soon as the servant left, Elizabeth locked the door and drew the drapes.

Just those two actions stirred his loins, anticipating what would follow. She joined him on the plush velvet seat.

“What do you know of your neighbors?” he asked.

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows questioningly.

“The family at number twenty-seven,” he clarified.

“Oh, Mrs. St. Ange. She recently moved here with her boy. I haven’t had a chance to meet her yet. How do you know her?”

“I don’t. Her packages were all over the sidewalk, and I was kind enough to help her. Odd woman, I thought.”

“Really?” She’d started to run her hand along his thigh. “How so?”

“Seemed both furious at me and petrified, too.”

Draping his arm around her, he drew her close, not minding at all when her hand brushed the buttons of his pants.

“What of her husband? Is he anybody?”

“No one at all, apparently, for he is dead. She is a widow.”

His interest perked, even though he knew himself a scoundrel. Here he was, holding a lush female in his hands, her fingers even then unfastening the fall of his trousers, yet he was fancying his chances with the sharp-tongued golden lady two doors down.

Setting his glass on the table beside him, he turned fully to his fine widow, dragging her gown up her long legs at the same time as he bent low to kiss the soft skin of her neck. As usual, the only thing missing was the delicious floral scent that had enchanted him three years earlier on the skin of a goddess.

However, as his shaft sprung free and he drew Elizabeth’s gown up to her hips to find she had nothing on underneath, Michael had to admit a willing woman with no expectations was a rather fine consolation.

Chapter Four

What cruel coincidence had put Lord Vile literally on her doorstep?

Ada asked herself this as she turned the page while reading a fairy tale to her darling boy, and she wondered again while eating alone before preparing for bed and a good book of her own.

Alder’s townhouse, as Ada had discovered before returning to London, was over a mile away on the east side of Hyde Park so he hadn’t simply been happening by. Obviously, he was on the square to pay a visit to his current paramour, who lived a mere two doors down in the same terrace of homes.

Of course, she should have expected to run into him—in fact, that was the point of returning to Town. It was simply the utter surprise Ada found difficult to get over.

To have been caught unawares and off guard—it had been a blow to the calm and tough exterior she’d crafted.

Would it have made a difference had she some warning before seeing him? She wasn’t at all sure any prior notice would have helped quell the myriad of emotions which had assaulted her upon seeing his face. She only wished she hadn’t let her temper—and the instantaneous flood of rage—get the better of her. He must have thought her either half mad or a shrew, at the very least.

Alder looked the same. Somehow, his unchanged appearance had left her disconcerted since she was certain she no longer looked to be the same wide-eyed innocent who had blundered to her own ruin.

If she’d had any doubt of this, it was put to rest when he obviously hadn’t recognized her. Of course, Vile not remembering her was due to a variety of reasons, some unpleasant to consider. The night it happened, the garden had been dimly lit, he’d looked at her face for only a short period before he was pushing her onto her back as most of his interest had been beneath her skirts, and he’d walked away so quickly, there hadn’t been time for her to make any kind of impression. Besides, he had a flask of alcohol, and was thus bleary-eyed and foggy-brained.

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