England's Perfect Hero

England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch Read Free Book Online

Book: England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch Read Free Book Online
Authors: Suzanne Enoch
muscles drawn so tight he could scarcely move, he felt as tired as if he'd run to Newcastle and back. Sleep, though, was a prospect that filled him with further unease. He'd never been too tired, it seemed, to dream. Perhaps Tristan was right. Perhaps he needed something—a small, unthreatening something—to distract him.
    "Garden," he muttered, not even certain he'd spoken aloud until he caught the puzzled look on his oldest brother's face.
    "Beg pardon?" Tristan asked.
    Flowers, plants, growing things. Things that didn't scream or bleed when they died. Things that wouldn't look at you oddly if you didn't know what the hell you were doing. By God, it actually made sense. "I'd like to make a garden," he elaborated.
    "What kind of garden?" Bradshaw asked, his voice thin with hesitation.
    Don't scare off the mute , Robert thought, working to turn his mind away from that, away from the careful looks and careful silences. Lucinda had a garden, he remembered. What had she been tending when he'd found her kneeling in the dirt, when she'd actually disagreed with him, argued with him, as though he was a perfectly normal person? "Roses," he grunted.
    "Roses," Georgiana repeated, her thoughtful gaze touching his. "It's about time one of the Carroway men decided to cultivate something other than their poor reputations."
    "I don't have a poor reputation," Edward stated, his expression a little baffled as he pushed sweet potatoes around his plate and looked at Robert. "Roses? Why don't you go riding with me?"
    God, was he really being that stupid and useless? Flowers? He could see himself, some shuffling old halfwit blathering to his fistful of dying posies. But if he couldn't manage that one step forward, it meant he'd end up some shuffling old halfwit locked in a room and blathering to himself.
    Choking on air, Robert pushed to his feet. "Excuse me."
    "Just promise me you'll plant white roses," Georgie said as he strode from the room. "I love white roses."
----
    Chapter 4

    You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend.
    —Robert Walton, Frankenstein
    "Georgiana," Lucinda said, hurrying downstairs to greet her friend, "am I being an idiot? I thought we were going shopping tomorrow."
    "We are, and you're not," the viscountess returned, taking her proffered hands. "This is not a social call."
    Georgie didn't look alarmed at anything, but Lucinda couldn't help recalling the rather abrupt ending to her conversation with Robert yesterday. Wonderful . All she needed was for her dearest friend to yell at her for verbally abusing her invalid brother-in-law. "What can I do for you, then?" she asked as she led the way into the morning room.
    "Well, this is going to sound a little odd, but please bear with me, Luce."
    "Of course."
    Georgiana cleared her throat. "Tristan's been trying to find something for Bit—Robert—to do that will help him… find a little peace. I know it sounds strange, but—"
    "No, it doesn't," Lucinda interrupted, concealing her jump at the mention of Robert's name. "Go on."
    "Thank you. Last night Bit mentioned that he would like to grow roses. I—"
    Lucinda blinked, an abrupt suspicion tickling at her. "Roses?"
    "Yes. I don't know where the idea came from, but he wouldn't have mentioned it for no reason. I wanted to offer to help him get started, but I think that might make him back away." Lady Dare scowled, twining and untwining her fingers. "I shouldn't be talking about him to anyone, but I consider you my family, Luce."
    "And I, you." Lucinda sat forward, pushing back her own reservations at becoming entangled in what looked to be a very complicated enterprise. Georgie needed her help—and perhaps so did Robert. That fact intrigued her more than she cared to admit. "I can make some cuttings, and I have a few books on growing roses. Perhaps I'll just drop by with them and ambush Mr. Carroway."
    " 'Ambush?'" Georgiana repeated. "I don't know if that's such a good idea."
    "It'll

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