Abandon

Abandon by Jerusha Moors Read Free Book Online

Book: Abandon by Jerusha Moors Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jerusha Moors
practice at the steps.” Lovell nodded and walked away.
    “Practicing your wiles again, my dear,” a deep voice came from behind her and she stiffened. The hot, hard body came up too close to her and she tried to step away. He had hold of her arm and kept her pinned to his side in full view of anyone looking in the ballroom.
    The Earl of Rathburn chuckled when she hissed, “Let me go.”
    “I think not.” his voice was velvet. “I have waited to see you return to society. We have unfinished business.” His hot breath blew over her ear as he leaned in so no one else would hear and Lucy shivered in distaste. She lifted her dancing slipper and brought it down on his instep, trying to get him to release her without making more of a scene.
    Harriet looked horrified, her plan going awry before her eyes. George’s face looked determined as he started to step forward, but then he stopped and blew out a breath in relief.

Chapter Seven
     
     
    “Please release the lady, Rathburn. I believe that this is my dance.” Lucy closed her eyes in equal parts relief and dismay that Aubrey had finally appeared. Rathburn hesitated, but then let go of her arm and stepped back.
    “Lady Lucilla and I were just recalling old times.” Rathburn was cool, his eyes narrowed as he inspected the newcomer. “Pleasant times as I recollect, eh, my dear?”
    Lucilla shivered at the endearment. She wondered how she had ever thought Rathburn attractive. True, she had been in despair during her first season and he seemed to be the only one interested in her. She didn’t know of his reputation or how he had gambled his wealth away so that he needed a rich heiress to wife. She had been naive to think that he would ever be able to replace Aubrey in her affections and shocked when he displayed his true colors.
    Lucilla opened her eyes to see Aubrey standing in front of her, his hand out as he claimed her for the dance. She stepped forward, all thought of her feelings for him gone in her haste to escape from Rathburn. He took her gloved hand and a dart of heat ran up her arm. He apparently did not feel it as he pulled her forward to the dance floor. And of all the luck, it was a waltz that the orchestra started to play.
    He took her in his arms and another shiver ran through Lucy’s body, but this time it was not from revulsion. She noticed the shocked glances from the people around them, but did not have time to react as he whirled her away. They had never danced the waltz in their time together, only country dances at local parties. Lucy bit her lip, trying to collect herself, trying hard to ignore the closeness of the hard male body holding her.
    “I apologize if I interrupted a tete-a-tete, but I have only just arrived.” His voice was brandy-smooth, just as she remembered and Lucy looked up to see his handsome face set. His eyes narrowed as he studied her. “Lady Harriet seemed to indicate that my presence was necessary now, not later as she had originally wished.”
    Lucy flushed, reminded that he was only here to help to dissipate the scandal that she had caused. He had a small bruise on his face where she had hit him and she was struck by the urge to reach up and soothe the injury. She tensed, wondering that she had fallen back so swiftly into her old ways and gathered herself.
    “Lord Rathburn is an old acquaintance, but not a welcome one. I appreciate your help in the matter, especially after the way I treated you yesterday.” Lucy took a deep breath and continued. “My lord, I must apologize for my behavior yesterday. I mistook you for someone else and as a lady…” she faltered as his grip tightened.
    “Lucy, you would never mistake me for anyone else. And I deserved that slap and more.” His eyes glinted as her mouth dropped open in shock. When Harriet had come up with this mad scheme that Lovell escort her to several events until the gossip died down, Lucy had refused adamantly. Once Harriet had convinced her that it was the

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