Ring of Secrets

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White Read Free Book Online

Book: Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roseanna M. White
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Romance, Historical, Christian
his cantankerous business partner. And wonder again what in the world had possessed him to bring on a man like Henry Oakham the very summer hestarted spying for the Patriots. Of course, he and Oakham had already made the agreement before Woodhull had approached him about this business…
    Ah, well. Rob hung up his cloak and followed the sounds of voices to the front of the store, where said cantankerous business partner stacked fabric bolts for one Hercules Mulligan.
    Rob smiled and slid behind the counter. “Mulligan! How fortuitous. My father sent me back to the city with a message of greeting for you.”
    The older man chuckled and rapped a knuckle against stacks of fine worsted wool. “I thought you had gone to Long Island for Christmas, hence why I waited far too long to come in and unburden you of some of your stock. How is your sire?”
    â€œExcellent, sir. Thank you for asking. And I am so glad you came by. I tried to squeeze any interesting goings-on from Oakham here when I returned, but he is, as always, too silent.”
    His business partner rolled his eyes and stalked away. “Thank you for your business, Mr. Mulligan. Now I shall leave you ladies to your gossip.”
    Mulligan’s gaze went sharp, though his lips still held their easy grin. “I’m afraid I have no interesting gossip to share, Mr. Townsend. Though loud in revelries, nothing of note happened here while you were away.”
    He leaned in, down, as if studying the cut of Rob’s waistcoat. “Atrocious work. I do hope none of my tailors made it. Now,” he said in a bare murmur, “is there anything in particular you need me to keep my ears open for?”
    Rob smoothed a hand over the new clothing. “My mother made it, sir,” he said at normal volume. Then, quietly, “Not just now, no. Though if I receive instructions, I shall get them to you.”
    Mulligan straightened as he nodded. He had once been a tailor of middling ilk, but through an advantageous marriage and an excellent way with a needle, he had turned his operation into an emporium that outfitted the city’s elite—which meant he was in position to overhear invaluable information. Information he passed on willingly to Rob, unlike the many who gave him help without ever knowing it.
    The man looked ready to leave but then halted. “Ah! Buttons. I am in desperate need of gold buttons, if you can help me.”
    â€œOf course.” Rob pulled out a box and then straightened when the bell over the door jingled. A vaguely familiar gentleman walked in. Rob recognized him from the rounds of balls and fetes as well as from the coffeehouse of which he owned a share, but they had not been introduced. Which would soon be remedied, it seemed, because the man’s face brightened upon spotting him, and he approached the counter with a smile.
    â€œGood day to you, gentlemen.”
    â€œSir.” Rob nodded. “Might I assist you?”
    â€œI should think so.” The man held out a hand. “Bennet Lane. You look familiar, though I cannot recall learning your name.”
    Ah, yes. Rob had heard of the Lanes’ recent fortune, which made them desirable customers, indeed. He smiled. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Lane. Robert Townsend at your service, and Mr. Hercules Mulligan besides.”
    Lane turned his smile on Mulligan. “How excellent. I have an appointment with one of your tailors next week, sir.”
    â€œI saw your name in the book.” Mulligan offered a small bow with all the aplomb he had learned through years of catering to his wife’s well-connected family. “It will be my privilege to take your measurements myself, sir. I outfitted your father for some time before he departed for England.”
    Lane chuckled. “I wish I had known that before asking every officer and gentleman I could find whom they would most highly recommend. I am afraid I have been too long

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