Chapter 19

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‘I have a headache.  I am going to my chamber,’ Fallon darted her accusing eyes at Braeden.  ‘Go ahead with your discussion with papa.  I shall be in agreement with what you decide,’ she murmured indifferently.

‘Indeed?’  Braeden questioned with raised eyebrows. 

He was astounded that she would not want to chip in, in the betrothal discussion.  He would have thought, with her penchant for rebellion, she would harangue his every suggestion on when the wedding should take place, what colour his coat should be and what should be served for dessert.

‘Indeed.’ Fallon threw over her shoulder without looking back at him.  She really did not care about any of the intricacies that would be discussed.  She would marry him in one of the gowns hanging in her drawer if she had to.  Fallon smiled as she entered her chamber.  She threw off her slippers and sat down at the window sill.  She looked down at the beautiful array of multi-coloured blossoms and inhaled their rich floral scent.  It was a lovely day and she was happy because she was looking forward to becoming Braeden’s bride.  She wondered how the dowager would take the news now that she would become the next countess of Hampton.  Would she welcome the new countess or would she resent the substitution?  Fallon liked the dowager.  She cared not for Braeden’s title, but the attraction between her and Braeden certainly thrilled her to no end and he certainly was the most attractive gentleman on the ton … so she thought.

‘A drink Hampton?’  The baron offered.

‘Yes, thank you,’ Braeden nodded, taking a seat and stretching out his long legs.

‘I thought my daughter would demand to be present here,’ the baron smiled, as he handed a glass of scotch to Braeden.

So did I.  Braeden laughed softly before he thanked the baron for his drink.  ‘I suspect the sun’s been too much for Lady Fallon.  She has a headache and cut short our ride.’

‘Has she attempted to halt the wedding?’

Braeden looked up at the baron in confusion.  ‘No my lord, why would she?’

The baron laughed.  He sat down opposite Braeden and emptied his own glass.  ‘You should be worried when my daughter offers acquiescence without staging a battle.’

Braeden thought about the baron’s warning.  Perhaps there may me a measure of truth to his words but he believed that Fallon would become is bride. When they had walked together earlier, Fallon had been happy, content.  He believed she was looking forward to their marriage as much as he was.  She was spirited and fiery but her passion, intelligence and companionship made up for what she lacked… if anything.

‘I am most curious Baron Fulham,’ Braeden paused as he gazed into his yet untouched drink.

‘Yes?’  The baron prompted.

‘Why did you engineer for Lady Fallon to be compromised?’

The baron was reflective for a long moment.  Braeden waited patiently for him to respond.

‘Lady Fallon has a spirit that needs to be nurtured,’ he smiled.  ‘She would be bored and unhappy if she was obliged to marry just any gentleman. 

‘A fair number of suitors could have been a match,’ Braeden offered grudgingly, glad that he had been tasked with the dirty deed.

The baron shook his head.  ‘None that could complement my daughter’s personality, hence her decision not to marry,’ he frowned.  ‘She would do well married to a gentleman like yourself, one that does not find her sometimes rebellious nature a challenge, neither are you intimidated by her wit or frank speaking,’ the baron stated objectively.

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