All Through the Night

All Through the Night by Connie Brockway Read Free Book Online

Book: All Through the Night by Connie Brockway Read Free Book Online
Authors: Connie Brockway
Tags: Historical Romance
coupled with such predatory eyes, arrested the attention. Quite a few women followed his progress through the room with discreet and speculative gazes.
    Anne unfolded her fan and hid behind it, watching him. She could not find a word for what she saw in Colonel Seward. She only knew that all the thousands of candles glowing in their silver chandeliers could not chase the shadows from his face, that the finest tailor in London could not lay a veneer of languor over that taut, hard figure, and that no dandy’s slouch would ever bend that precise and curiously graceful posture.
    As she watched, he bowed over Jeanette Frost’s hand. The girl’s father stepped between them, his color high. Whatever hard words he uttered had no effect on Colonel Seward. He simply leaned sideways, addressing Jeanette before calmly turning aside.
    “I must know him. Such polish! Such address!” Sophia said in a breathless little rush. “He is fascinating. He was in the war, you know. They say he did terrible things there. Things no one else would do.”
    Terrible things . Elegant voice, compassionate, world-weary eyes. Terrible things .
    “He’s a bastard. Sir Jamison’s get off a Scottish maid, they say. Never legitimized him. Wouldn’t even give him his name. Though, to give the old man credit, he did raise him.”
    “Why do you know so much about this man, Sophia? It’s unseemly.”
    “Oh, don’t be such a prig, Anne. Everyone knows about him. He’s rumored to be Prinny’s new favorite”—she paused and let her gaze play over Seward’s tall figure—“though he hardly seems Prinny’s sort, does he? He’s all the on dit. He and that thief.” She released a rich trill of laughter. “Honestly, I don’t know which would be the more exciting to meet, Devil Jack or Wrexhall’s Wraith. What a delicious dilemma.”
    “Wrexhall’s Wraith?” Anne asked, diverted. She had, of course, heard the name some wit had given her, but she didn’t know her exploits had become public fodder.
    Sophia spared her a pitying glance. “You really must try to be more au courant, darling. ‘Wrexhall’s Wraith’ was so named because Lady Wrexhall was his first victim, and the old biddy swears she saw the robber disappear out of her third-story window like a ghost.”
    Anne did not reply. She’d believed her thefts were closely guarded secrets, that pride alone forbade anyone from admitting they’d been robbed. She should have known better.
    Colonel Seward disappeared into the crush. With a sense of disappointment and relief, Anne closed her fan.
    “Jeanette Frost is passionate that she should be the Wraith’s next victim,” Sophia stated nonchalantly.
    “What?” Anne stared at Sophia, finding to her amazement that she had to quell the laughter bubbling up within. How long had it been since she’d been surprised into laughter? Years.
    Sophia nodded sagely. “Both she and Lady Dibbs are rabid to be victimized by him. Many of the most fashionable ladies are. The Wraith has quite usurped Byron’s place as ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know.’ ” Sophia smiled smugly. “But I do believe that given the choice, I’d rather the more . . . solid of the two. The inestimable Colonel Seward.”
    “If you’re very lucky, given what you’ve said about this ‘Devil Jack’ fellow, you won’t meet either,” Anne replied, her amusement fading.
    Sophia gave her a pitying look. “You have utterly lost your spirit, haven’t you, Anne? When you married Matthew, I thought you the most dashing creature in the world. It’s why I begged Father to invite you to be my companion.” Her plump mouth pursed with distaste. “I must say, you’ve been something more than a disappointment. You’re old before your time, prim as a nun, and have about as much spirit as my father’s barrow pig.”
    “How kind you are, Sophia,” Anne said levelly, meeting Sophia’s caustic gaze with a direct one of her own. Sophia had once been a spoiled but harmless

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