It Happened One Midnight (PG8)

It Happened One Midnight (PG8) by Julie Anne Long Read Free Book Online

Book: It Happened One Midnight (PG8) by Julie Anne Long Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Anne Long
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
hunts, races, that disreputable salon you’ve been attending. Endless frivolity. Do you really find it satisfying?”
    He turned a look on her that was rich with incredulity. “Why the bloody hell not? And yes, I find it ‘satisfying!’ I’m not doing any harm—”
    “I suppose that depends on who you ask. Marianne Linley, for instance.”
    “—I’m still young. I like things the way they are. It’s just that simple. And I don’t see any great marital happiness going on around me. Do you think mother and father are happy? Lyon actually bloody disappeared over a love affair. I see a good deal of upheaval and battle and struggle all in the name of love. And Marianne Linley misinterpreted two conversations and two dances—on separate occasions, mind you—as some sort of passionate attachment. But primarily she saw me dancing with Lady Grace Worthington an equal number of times, and you know how all the young women think of Lady Grace. I assure you, there was no attachment, and I implied nothing.”
    “Perhaps you underestimate your powers of appeal.”
    Jonathan was taken aback. “Was that . . . actually a compliment?”
    “I suspect I meant it as more of a warning.”
    “I’m really more interested in Lady Grace Worthington, if you must know.”
    “Isn’t everybody this season? Aren’t you supposed to be?”
    Jonathan paused, and then half smiled. I know I’m supposed to, is what Jonathan had said to Tommy outside of the Duke’s big windows—almost but not quite entirely out of deviltry—when he’d told her he hadn’t decided whether he found her attractive. She’d been shocked, then genuinely amused. By God, he’d liked that. Whoever the devil she might be, she was comfortable in her skin, and it was one of his favorite qualities in any human
    “Everyone is interested in Lady Grace with good cause. She’s the girl against whom all the other girls compare themselves. She’s turned each of them into competitors, even the meek ones.”
    There was always a girl like that. Every season.
    Violet shrugged. “If you like that sort of thing.”
    That sort of thing being blue eyes, golden hair, and a face like a cameo.
    He shot her a dry look.
    “Why are you so full of shouting and swearing today, by the way?”
    He hesitated. “I may as well tell you. Father has denied me my allowance.”
    A silence.
    “Oh, no.” Violet was appropriately shocked.
    “It gets worse. I’m to marry within six months—or at least become engaged—or he’ll cut off all funds forever. Marry appropriately, mind you.”
    “Oh, no .” Now she was horrified.
    He basked for a moment in Violet’s very real sympathy. Though it probably contained a shred of glee, for she did love a controversy.
    “What prompted this, Jonathan?”
    He considered telling her about the Mercury Club, and about Klaus Liebman and the color printing press, and maybe even Tommy de Ballesteros, but he strongly suspected her eyes would glaze, at least over all but the last.
    And the last, in particular, for some reason, he wanted to keep all to himself.
    “I suspect he’s trying to forestall any ideas I might have about . . . marrying for love.” He gave a humorless laugh. “One dalliance with a widow—which, I might add, strikes me as my business only—and he thinks I’m on the road to perdition.”
    There had been other dalliances with other widows, but he wasn’t about to tally them for Violet.
    “You know, you’d think father would learn. He’s always forbidding things or making rulings, and everyone ends up doing precisely the opposite of his wishes, or at least not acquiescing to them.”
    “A lifetime, Violet. Marriage is supposed to be for a lifetime. You may be happy now. Miles may be happy now. And I’m happy now . And I intend to live a good long while. I don’t need a wife, let alone ten children. I honestly fail to see how it will contribute to my happiness.”
    “Children seldom happen all at once, unless you’re a

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