A Priceless Gift: A Regency Romance

A Priceless Gift: A Regency Romance by May Burnett Read Free Book Online

Book: A Priceless Gift: A Regency Romance by May Burnett Read Free Book Online
Authors: May Burnett
Tags: Romance, Historical, Regency, Historical Romance
all. Had he been unconsciously testing Amanda’s reaction to the notion? Trying to impress her with his past successes? Whatever the truth of it, he had been foolish, though he still was not clear why he was behaving so uncharacteristically. Well, he’d have several months to ponder the matter until his return.
    “How soon will you have to depart?” Did she look the least bit anxious and worried? “Am I allowed to know where you’ll be going?”
    “If I do this at all, time is of the essence. I’ll have to leave within the week. You will have to move to Racking without me, with only Tennant to introduce our retainers and tenants to you. The neighbours will call soon enough.”
    “We shall manage,” she declared. “How far will you be travelling?”
    “To Russia, but please keep that information to yourself. Do not speak of it to anyone but Tennant, not even Aunt Louisa.”
    “Very well.”
    “Would you like a sable coat and muff?”
    “No,” Amanda said, “don’t weigh yourself down with bulky presents. It will be easier to return quickly if you travel light.”
    He would be travelling by sea, so weight and bulk should not be an issue, but Lucian just nodded. Apparently his wife did not have any particular passion for expensive furs . . . What were her passions, if any?
    “And do be careful,” she commanded. “Even if you have left me well provided for, I have no wish to be widowed so soon.”
    “I’ll do my best.” He felt insensibly pleased that she cared even to such a small degree.
    “In the meantime, Tennant can help me if any problem crops up. I promise to apply to him if at all necessary.”
    He nodded and fought back a ridiculous urge to warn her not to get too close to young Tennant—it would be a nuisance having to replace the best assistant he had found as yet and endure Amanda’s subsequent resentment.
    If he said anything to either of the young people, he would only put the idea into their heads and substantially increase the likelihood they would engage in an affair. Better to simply trust in fate and accept whatever happened. It was not as though he planned to live as a monk during his stay in Russia, though the prospect of Russian beauties did not excite him as much as in previous years when it had been novel and unfamiliar.
    He had better send a message to the Foreign Office, arrange an appointment with Lord Wellesley, the foreign secretary, and find out exactly what he was supposed to negotiate with Russia under the shadow of impending war.
    The home front would have to take care of itself in the meantime.

Chapter 8
     
    Once the decision was taken, there was not a moment of rest for the remaining four days until his departure. Briefings and consultations, packing, and more visits to the solicitor kept Lucian busy at all hours. During those few intervals that he spent at home, Amanda was gone out as likely as not. Aunt Louisa came by to take her shopping several times, and Amanda was in fittings for whole afternoons.
    Since the notice of their marriage had appeared in the Morning Post , dozens of people left their cards, and heaps of invitations were delivered every day. Lucian was not sorry that his impending departure gave him reason to reject them wholesale. Amanda, for her part, could hardly attend entertainments without him so soon after their marriage. Nor did she care to face society until she was properly armed with fashionable gowns and furbelows, she informed him during one of the few conversations they had during those days.
    He signed the settlement papers and, in view of the uncertain journey before him, drew up a new will as well. Dawkins, his solicitor, took careful note of his instructions. “You are only covering the possibility of one child of either sex,” he pointed out when Lucian had made his wishes clear. “What if there should be younger children? It might be advisable to make provision for them now, rather than write a new will in the event.”
    That was

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