Chapter 2 (cont.)
Anne looked at her cousin. Clorinda had already returned to the book she’d been reading when Lady Dunlee, full of moral outrage, had barged in with them. “Coming, Clorinda?”
“Hmm?” Clorinda turned a page.
“Are you coming to see our guests out?”
Clorinda waved her hand vaguely, her nose still buried in her book. “You can do that without my help.”
“Very well. I’ll--”
“Just do be careful.” Clorinda marked her place with her finger to glance up at Anne. “Mr. Parker-Roth is very pleasant to look at, I grant you, but he’s also a bit of a rake. They call him the King of Hearts for a reason, you know.”
“Yes, I know.” And didn’t Clorinda know the man was standing in the corridor right behind her? Anne heard him choke back a laugh. Lady Dunlee snickered.
“Just thought I should put the word in your ear, Anne,” Clorinda said, returning to her reading. “Having spent your whole life in the country, you’re hardly up to snuff.”
“Thank you, Clorinda.” One didn’t need to come to London to learn about libertines, but Anne didn’t wish to discuss that topic whilst the current libertine and the queen of London gossip listened. She pulled the door closed behind her and avoided her guests’ eyes. “This way,” she said.
She started briskly toward the front of the house. She’d be extremely happy to see the back of Lady Dunlee--and Mr. Parker-Roth, too, of course. Once they were out the door, she could finally get on with her day. She’d planned to take her paints out early to explore the back garden, but first Harry had needed a walk and then the...incident with Mr. Parker-Roth and Lady Dunlee had occurred, and now she’d completely missed the morning light. Blast! As soon as her unwelcome guests had departed, she’d hurry upstairs and...
No, the way this day was going, she’d never be so lucky. The boys were sure to be into some kind of mischief--she almost hoped they were teasing Miss Whiskers again--and she was supposed to take Evie shopping. A proper come-out required an annoying amount of clothing.
She glanced over her shoulder. Lady Dunlee was peering around as if trying to memorize every detail her greedy little eyes beheld. Papa must not have invited her in on his rare visits to London. She snorted. Why would he? He might be more focused on Greek and Roman artifacts than English society, but he could recognize trouble when it lived next door.