As promised, I'll be posting chapter 2 of my June release, The Naked King, in 14 bites--today is the first installment. If you haven't read chapter 1, you can find it here. And don't forget about my contest and Kensington's contest. The details here and here.
Stephen rubbed his temples and tried surreptitiously to lean against a sturdy wingback chair in Lord Crane’s bookroom. Tiny devils with sledgehammers were banging away on the inside of his forehead and the high-pitched yammering around him only added to his misery. He’d give his damn fortune to be back in his bedchamber, curtains drawn, icepack on his head. But he was, for all his faults, a gentleman. He couldn’t leave Lady Anne to face the music--or screeching--alone.
He glanced over at her. She looked more than capable of defending herself. At the moment she was glaring at her elderly cousin Miss Clorinda Strange and Lady Dunlee, her mouth set in a tight line, her brows almost meeting over her nose. He’d swear her nostrils flared. If he were closer to her, he’d probably see green sparks shooting from her eyes.
“Cousin Clorinda, Lady Dunlee, you are making far too much of this incident.”
“Far too much?” Lady Dunlee sniffed and raised her eyebrows. “I don’t see how one can make ‘far too much’ of a lady disporting herself with abandon in a public square--and with the King of Hearts, no less.” She shot him a pointed look. He smiled back as blandly as possible.
“Anne.” Miss Strange was scowling. She’d not looked pleased when they’d interrupted her--she’d been perusing some large, musty tome when Lady Dunlee had burst in, dragging them along in her wake. “Is this true?”
Lady Anne turned a lovely shade of red. “Of course not. I was not disporting myself with”--Zeus, she turned even redder--“I wasn’t disporting myself at all.”
Damn, he’d like to disport himself with the lady in a private room, on a large, soft bed. Odd. He’d never been drawn to bespectacled spinsters dressed in sacks before, but there was something about this spinster... She’d been delightful in the square. Shy, hesitant, yet curious, too--quite the contrast from her prickly behavior up to that point.
“Oh, no?” Lady Dunlee said. “I saw you in Mr. Parker-Roth’s arms. You were running your hands over his chest before you kissed him and threw him down on the ground to have your wicked way with him.”