Chapter 2 (cont.)
“Georgiana does share Papa’s passion,” Anne said, trying not to sound disgruntled. Papa and Georgiana never thought twice about taking off at a moment’s notice, leaving her to manage everything at home. She’d got used to it, but to expect her to handle Evie’s come-out as well... What in God’s name had they been thinking? She knew nothing about the London Season, never having had one herself, and it was clear to her Clorinda would be no help. And now with this nonsensical betrothal to complicate matters...
All she needed was for Brentwood to put in an appearance, and this disaster would be complete.
“And I really don’t see how you are one to talk, Clorinda,” Anne said. “You have your nose forever buried in some ornithological tome.”
“That’s an entirely different matter. I’m studying living, breathing creatures.” Clorinda sniffed. “Your father and the countess are pawing through history’s middens”--she wrinkled her nose in distaste--“picking through someone’s garbage.”
Mr. Parker-Roth cleared his throat.
“Oh, what is it?” Anne looked at the man in exasperation, but her damn heart stuttered the moment her eyes focused on him. He was so incredibly handsome. Women must stare at him wherever he went.
Idiot! Of course they stared at him--he was the King of Hearts. All the ton’s females vied for his attention.
“I don’t believe we need to take any more of Lady Dunlee’s time, do you?” Mr. Parker-Roth was saying. He tilted his head slightly toward the woman and raised his eyebrows significantly. “I’m sure she must have other commitments.”
“Oh.” Anne glanced at the annoying busybody. Lady Dunlee’s beady little eyes fairly glowed. Clearly she was gathering bits of gossip like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. At any moment her cheeks would start to bulge. “Yes, indeed. Please don’t let us detain you, Lady Dunlee.”
“Tut, tut. Don’t be silly.” She smiled as if she were some completely harmless matron. “As it happens, I have nothing pressing to attend to. Please, carry on. Just pretend I’m a potted palm.”
A potted palm with a tongue that runs on wheels. “I wouldn’t think of it,” Anne said. “I know you are a very busy woman.” Busy about other people’s affairs. She walked briskly to the bookroom door and opened it. Mr. Parker-Roth gestured for Lady Dunlee to precede him. The woman hesitated, but finally must have concluded--correctly--she had no choice in the matter. She dragged her feet, but she went.