How to Beguile a Beauty

How to Beguile a Beauty by Kasey Michaels Read Free Book Online

Book: How to Beguile a Beauty by Kasey Michaels Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kasey Michaels
between here and Lady Chalfont’s. Shall we go?”
    Tanner’s words proved prophetic, for Jasmine talked nonstop all the way to Portland Place, all the time they were stalled on the stairs leading up into the ballroom, and she continued to talk as they were at last inside the cavernous ballroom and heading for the inevitable lines of chairs stuck against the long walls.
    â€œYou must need something to drink, Jasmine,” Tanner said once he had secured them seats, including one for the chaperone, Mrs. Shandy, a nearly stone deaf woman who had no idea how fortunate she was in her affliction. “Lydia?”
    â€œYes, please,” she said, although not before wondering if she would be too obvious if she’d fallen to herknees and begged him not to leave her with this sweet but incessant chatterbox.
    â€œOh, good,” Jasmine said with a heartfelt sigh once Tanner had gone off to find a servant with a tray of lemonade, and most probably something stronger for himself. “I’m so unconscionably nervous whenever Tanner is about. And then I prattle and prattle and my tongue runs on wheels, and I hear myself saying the most inane and silly things and I can’t stop myself. You must think me a ninny.”
    â€œNo, of course not,” Lydia said, crossing her gloved fingers in her lap. “But Tanner is your cousin. Why would he make you nervous?”
    Jasmine rolled her expressive emerald eyes—really, with her coal dark hair and those lovely eyes, she was quite the beauty. “It’s Papa, of course. He keeps telling everyone and anyone that Tanner and I are to be married. It was his father’s dying wish, you understand. Tanner’s father, not mine. Oh, you’d know that, or otherwise Papa would be dead, wouldn’t he? Oh, dear, I’m doing it again. Prattling. At any rate, Tanner is such an honorable man, which is really quite vexing.”
    â€œWhy is that vexing?” Lydia asked, although she decided she might know the answer to that question. Wasn’t Tanner in her life right now because he was an honorable man?
    â€œWhy, because he’ll do what his father wished on his deathbed, of course. He’ll marry me. Eventually. And I really wish he wouldn’t.”
    Lydia’s heart gave a distressingly revealing littleflip inside her chest. “You do? I mean, you don’t? That is…”
    â€œGood evening, beautiful ladies. May I say, you present a veritable landscape of loveliness. One so dark, the other so fair, and both the epitome of everything that pleases. I am all but overcome.”
    Jasmine giggled nervously, snapping open the painted fan that hung from her wrist and frantically waving it in front of her face before turning to speak to her stone deaf chaperone, as if she knew she was not going to be necessary to the conversation between the gentleman and her new friend.
    Lydia merely looked up to see Baron Justin Wilde executing a most elegant leg directly in front of her, and smiled. She doubted anyone could resist returning the man’s smile, even if the timing of his arrival on the scene couldn’t have been worse, what with Jasmine’s news about her disinclination to wed Tanner. “Well done, my lord. Any woman would think she’d been just delivered a most fulsome compliment, when, in fact, you harbor a distrust of all women. Most especially those whom you might deem lovely. ”
    He pressed his spread fingers against his immaculately white waistcoat. “Ah, I am cut to the quick. My friend Tanner has been whispering tales out of school since last we met, I presume?”
    â€œNothing too dire, sir. I do, however, remember your conversation of earlier today. Should I have been studying my Molière in the interim? Are you going to quiz me yet again?”
    â€œA thousand apologies for that, Lady Lydia. You and Tanner were the first people I dared approach since my return to the scene of my

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