Chapter 2 (cont.)
Lady Dunlee must have heard her snort and was now looking at her inquiringly.
“Er...” What to say? Lady Dunlee obviously expected something. “I do apologize for Harry’s behavior.” She was saying that a lot today, not that she meant it this time either--Lady Dunlee should have kept her cat inside.
“That’s quite all right.” Lady Dunlee turned to examine a naked statue of Apollo through her lorgnette. “No permanent harm done. Miss Whiskers has likely found her way home by now.”
“Then you’ll want to hurry off to let her in,” Anne said hopefully. She reached for the door, but Mr. Parker-Roth’s large hand grabbed the knob first.
Lady Dunlee tore her eyes away from Apollo’s fig leaf. “Oh, I’m sure my butler has already done so, unless Miss Whiskers chose to stay on the front step. She likes to lie on stone that’s been warmed by the sun. I image it’s quite cozy, don’t you?”
Anne blinked. She hadn’t ever considered the matter. “I...I suppose you are right.”
Lady Dunlee nodded. “Of course I’m right.” She stepped past Anne, but paused on the threshold to give her a stern look. “Before I leave, I must insist you keep your dog under better control in the future, Lady Anne. Miss Whiskers and I will not be pleased if we are constantly disturbed by the brute.”
Miss Whiskers had been the one doing the disturbing this morning, but Anne managed to keep from saying so. “Yes, indeed. I will try to keep Harry away from your cat.”
Lady Dunlee nodded toward Mr. Parker-Roth. “I’m sure your betrothed can help. Oftentimes large dogs need a man’s touch.”
“Exactly.” Mr. Parker-Roth wrapped an arm around Anne’s waist. “I’ll be happy to take Harry in hand.”
Anne stiffened at his touch. Lady Dunlee’s lorgnette had snapped up and her enlarged orb was now staring at his hand on her waist. She tried--halfheartedly, but she did try--to shrug out of his embrace, but he wouldn’t let her go. Instead his hand slipped a little lower so it lay on her hip just below her stays.
Oh! She felt each finger as if it were burning a hole through her dress and chemise. The hard strength of his arm and the warmth of his body all along her side made it very difficult to think clearly.