Miss in a Man's World

Miss in a Man's World by Anne Ashley Read Free Book Online

Book: Miss in a Man's World by Anne Ashley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Ashley
particular niche, acertain blue-eyed gaze considering quite a number of different guests, and by the looks flitting over that expressive countenance a fair few of those present did not meet with approval.
    After doing his duty by standing up with the daughter of the house in whose honour the ball had been arranged, the Viscount wandered across to that certain alcove. ‘I should be interested to hear your opinions, dear child, but I rather fancy you had best express them in private, so for the time being you may accompany me into the card room.’
    His lordship quickly spotted the worthy he was most desirous to see, and wandered across to the table in one corner, where two gentlemen sat. One was dressed in formal evening garb, whilst the other, in stark contrast, was clad in the height of fashion that had prevailed during the last decades of the previous century.
    The bewigged gentleman in the heavily embroidered gold-coloured coat caught sight of him first, and waved one slender white hand in an airy gesture of welcome. ‘Fincham, old chap! Will you not join us?’
    â€˜Your arrival is timely,’ the other said, rising from his chair. ‘You may take my place and keep our friend Sir Willoughby company, whilst I do my duty in the ballroom.’
    â€˜Poor Gyles. He must keep on the right side of his brother. If Merton was ever to cut his allowance, he would find it hard, with all his extravagancies, to keep his head above water.’ After sweeping the pile of coins before him to one side of the table, Sir Willoughby reached for the cards. ‘What is your pleasure—piquet or French ruff?’
    â€˜Either will suffice,’ the Viscount replied equably.‘I do not intend to remain for too much longer. I have a further engagement this evening.’
    Sir Willoughby’s painted lips curled in a knowing smile. ‘With the divine Caro, I do not doubt.’
    When his lordship offered no response, the baronet raised his eyes and, much to his lordship’s silent amusement, suddenly felt for his quizzing-glass in order to study more closely the slender form, clad in severest black velvet, standing dutifully behind the Viscount’s chair.
    â€˜Good gad! That is never your page, Fincham, surely?’
    â€˜Loathe though I am to disabuse you, Trent, but it is, indeed, my page.’
    The baronet then transferred his gaze to the slender golden-haired youth standing dutifully a couple of feet behind his own chair. ‘You wretch, Fincham! You’ve acquired him on purpose! I do believe he’s prettier than my own! Such divine eyes!’ He appeared genuinely distressed. ‘You know I cannot abide others possessing prettier things than my own. You must sell him to me at once. At once, do you hear! How much do you want for him? Name your price!’
    â€˜Now that’s an interesting proposition.’ Lord Fincham beckoned with one finger. ‘How much are you worth, Georgie?’
    When blue eyes regarded him in a mixture of outrage and disgust, he came perilously close to dissolving into laughter, but was spared any further attacks on his powers of self-control by the arrival of the hostess.
    Fincham rose at once to his feet. ‘Your arrival is most timely, your Grace. Sir Willoughby here has lost complete interest in our game. Perhaps you could provide him with another opponent more worthy of his skill?’
    â€˜I very much doubt that, Fincham,’ she responded. ‘Your reputation is widely known. There are few here tonight who would pit their skill against one of the favoured five.’ Her smile faded slightly. ‘Or perhaps it would be more accurate now to say…the favoured four.’
    His lordship didn’t attempt to respond to this. After exchanging a few other brief pleasantries with their hostess, he turned to leave and caught an almost frozen look on the face of his page. So deeply entrenched in her own private world did she appear to

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