Chapter 5

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Having suffered sufficient self banishment, Fallon unwilling returned to Lady Beckinsdale's drawing room. She was further infuriated to see her sibling and the dolt sitting huddled together, chuckling about something. The dowager, Lady Beckinsdale and Baroness Fulham were deep in conversation about some matter. Braeden looked up where she stood at the entrance to the drawing room. Emma stopped chuckling. Her cheeks were aglow. Braeden's eyes mocked Fallon.

Fallon lifted her chin and strode purposefully to where the three ladies were stationed. She was going to regret this later, but something harkened her to occupy the vacant seat next to the dowager. Fallon could quite easily guess why her sister was looking so enamoured. Ignoring the vacant seat next to Braeden, Fallon purposefully strode to the sofa her mother was sharing with Lady Beckinsdale and lowered herself in the uncomfortable space between the two ladies. Baroness Fulham stopped in mid conversation, sensing from her younger daughter's body language that Fallon was in a pelter about something.

'Would you like more tea, dear?' Her mother's eyes narrowed warningly in Fallon's direction.

'No thank you,' Fallon answered, crossing her hands on her lap. Her eyes travelled to the opposite sofa and found Braeden's eyes trained on her again. A sardonic gleam flared in his eyes. For some stupid reason, heat flooded over her face. He smiled in that cock sure way. What amused that jingle brained coxcomb so?

Unbeknownst to Fallon, The Dowager was acutely observing her without her eyes even trained in Fallon's direction. The Dowager wondered if she was correct. What had transpired before the younger Brightmore girl had stormed off towards the balcony? Now she paid scant attention to her beloved grandson. What was wrong with her? She had seen maidens and ladies alike stare with intent at her grandson and this chit bothered not to offer him even due courtesy.

She sensed her grandson held some interest in the Lady Fallon. Before Braeden had masked his eyes, she had seen something akin to healthy male interest reflected there. Braeden was not overly enthusiastic when he accompanied her, but as a well bred gentleman, he portrayed polite interest whenever he did accompany his grandmother. Yet just now, she had observed, not only a light flicker in her grandson's eyes, he had actually stood up and followed the chit when she had been paying much interest at the valuable Beckinsdale artwork. So she knew good art ... interesting.

The Dowager smiled inwardly. The younger Brightmore wench was certainly the kind of lady she wanted to see on her grandson's arm. Lady Fallon had spirit, spoke her mind, would never pander to her grandson's whims and her body would be pleasing to her grandson, she knew that. But would she settle for an earl, or was she aiming higher?

Fallon was fuming inwardly when she looked up to see Braeden on his feet extending his arm to Emma, who seemed to smile adoringly up at Braeden.

'We're walking in the garden mama,' Emma informed her mother in a breathless voice, barely concealing her excitement.

'Do not stray too far,' her mother cautioned even though her daughters' maid was on hand to chaperone Emma.

Fallon tried to ignore Braeden's insensitive gesture, though why she thought it insensitive, she could not substantiate, because if some gentleman invited her to go walking, she would most certainly have accepted the offer. Pretending not to notice Braeden and Emma leaving, Fallon reached for a biscuit and helped herself to more tea. She did not want to drink the tea, she would much rather muddy his face with it.

'Delightful, don't you think?' the dowager murmured to Fallon, her eyes admiringly on her grandson.

I knew I was going to regret taking this seat.

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