Chapter 6

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CHAPTER SIX

  ‘What are you doing, hiding in the gardens my lady?’ Braeden frowned, a trifle irritated that he had, had to comb the length and breadth of the Parsnip’s estate in search of Fallon. 

 She felt like she had been in the hands of her old nurse, being chided during one of her many childish transgressions.  Fallon looked up uncomfortably.  She was hoping to evade him, so he would not take her into supper.  ‘I am not hiding Lord Braeden,’ she answered.  ‘I merely came out for a breath of fresh air.’

 ‘Is the air not fresh at the balcony?  Did you have to venture so far out here?’

 Her mouth curled in scorn.  ‘If it is too much of an effort my lord, I do not know why you have bothered.’  Her eyes flashed with fire.    In fact it shall please me if you turned into supper without me.  I really am not hungry.’

 Braeden’s brows shot up.  ‘Will not the Parsnips deem your ungracious gesture impolite?’ 

 Fallon looked away.  They most likely would, although they were too well bred to speak of it and Fallon was quite sure her mother would have no small amount of words with her when they returned home.

 ‘I shall go in, but not with you my lord,’ she would not bow to pressure from him.  ‘I would much rather enter on the arm of an honourable gentleman,’ she provoked him.

  ‘I am an honorable man, when I choose to be,’ he mocked.

 'Very well,' Fallon challenged in a spirited voice.  'Enlighten me then, of your abundant virtues.'

 Braeden laughed.  'I suspect my only virtue will be my admission of having too many vices, my lady.'  Braeden’s eyes were mocking.

 She gawked, surprised at the blatant confession of his worthless character. 

 ‘But alas, that is a conversation for another time,’ he offered her his arm. 

 Fallon lifted the cherry red silk of her skirts, intending to storm away, dark fingers manacled her wrists, preventing her escape, pulling her roughly.  Curls of hair slipped out of her elaborate coiffure.  It coiled around the hollow of her throat.  Her eyes speared him defiantly.  She refused to be browbeaten.  But he smiled wickedly, for she was no match to his superior strength.

 I am in a mind to knock the scandalous smile of the lecherous beast’s face.

  ‘Will you willingly take my arm, my lady or shall I use some means of persuasion?’  His threat was not lost on her. 

 She lowered her eyes not wanting him to see, that she was aware of the attraction between them.

 ‘I am not overset at encountering a rake, even one like yourself, who has the ability to charm a lady,’ she threw at him.

 A sardonic gleam flared in his eyes.  ‘I had no idea you held so much charity for me,’ 

 ‘Do not be a dimwit,’ she insulted him. 

 Braeden laughed, pulling her roughly up against his ample chest.  ‘”Dimwit,” I might be to you,’ he murmured close to her ear, ‘but desirable too, would you not agree,’ his lips dragged across her cheeks to her throat.  ‘My wagon is not too far away,’ he whispered, ‘if you seriously wish to miss supper.’

 His suggestion was the height of vulgarity or quite scandalous.  She would be ostracized by the ton.  Her father would most like disown her, yet she could not deny, she was curious to know what it would feel like to be in Braeden’s arms … unclothed.  Scandalous indeed, if she played her cards right, she could plan a rendezvous in the dark, on another night.  Braeden would never offer for her, she knew that, so before she took a husband, she wanted to experience passion with a worldly rake like Braeden.  She knew when she married it would not be about this ‘love’ nonsense.  She knew Braeden could ignite the raging fires inside her.  Why not experiment with it before she surrendered to a worthless marriage commitment?

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