You’re making a colossal mistake, Blackmore.
Garrett Hastings, recently appointed Earl of Blackmore, stared at himself in the mirror as his valet adjusted his cravat, making sure Garrett looked presentable. He cocked his head, liking the way the deep blue velvet waistcoat fit snug to his broad chest, and tight black breeches hugged his legs as if damp. He grinned. Just the way he dressing—to stir a maiden’s heart. It didn’t matter what function, he needed to look his absolute best. And today was no different.
After all, it wasn’t every day a man married a wealthy, beautiful woman.
“My lord,” Simmons, Garrett’s butler said poking his head in the room, “the coach is waiting to take you to the church whenever you’re ready.”
Garrett released a deep sigh. I’ll never be ready. Unfortunately, he couldn’t wait for the day he would be, either. Although his fiancé was wealthy and beautiful, this was a marriage Garrett did not want. Lady Jane Fairbourne had been paraded in front of him so many times he grew tired of looking at her. His family wanted this, as did hers, but Garrett did not. However, his grandmother’s shove toward matrimony had been a little much this time—nearly kicking him down a deep hole with a bottomless pit. The old woman wouldn’t hear anymore of his excuses of why he couldn’t marry.
Perhaps if his parents were alive things would be different, but now the older woman controlled the family money and lands. If he backed down from getting married now, she would make certain he lived as a penniless Earl. Because he’d lived his twenty-nine years in luxury, he couldn’t see himself in rags.
“I’ll be down momentarily, Simmons,” he said without enthusiasm.
When the servant left, Garrett released an agitated breath. Lady Jane Fairbourne would make a perfect Countess, he tried to convince himself. She was lovely, knew how to tease men to make them quake, but Garrett had never really envisioned her by his side pleasing him for the rest of his life.
As quickly as that thought came, another one followed, and he pictured a lovely, young, blonde woman with natural curls framing her heart-shaped face.
Stars had danced in her sapphire eyes, and when she turned her gaze upon him, her smile had melted his heart. When he’d met her five years ago, he’d had his share of women, yet in her presence he truly felt like a man. How could he not, knowing she stared at him with so much admiration in her hypnotizing eyes?
Groaning, he pushed the torturous memory aside. He’d been young and foolish then after graduating from Oxford. Preparing to travel abroad with his cousin, they planned to visit different countries and learn of their way of life. He’d met Miss Cecily Lawrence the weekend before he left.
Stolen kisses that quickly turned into more. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t let go of that time in his carefree life. Anymore it was the only thing that kept him sane.
Well... time to pay the fiddler. If he put this off any longer, he’d be late to his own wedding, and knowing his grandmother, she’d use that against him in some way.
Garrett grabbed his top hat and cloak and with slow steps walked out of his townhouse—a bachelor’s residence he’d surely miss—and to the waiting coach. Once the footman closed the door, the vehicle lurched into action. Garrett closed his eyes and leaned his head back. Once again, memories swirled through his head from the time he met Miss Cecily Lawrence. He shouldn’t be thinking about her, not on his way to his wedding where she was not the bride.