The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress

The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley Read Free Book Online

Book: The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Erica Ridley
against him. “Show me what I’m missing.”
    He couldn’t move. Dear Lord, he could not push her away.
    “One night,” she whispered. “I’m already here. What happens next is up to us.” She touched her lips to the edge of his jaw. “Send me away in the morning, but first give me one night of passion.”
    Her voice was soft, her eyes shuttered. Her mouth right there for the taking. Her body...
    He forced himself to step back while he still had the strength to do so.
    “I shall not be your experiment, Miss Downing. If you throw away your future, it won’t be on me.”

Chapter Six

    Jane pivoted away from Captain Grey as heat flooded her face. He didn’t want her. She couldn’t ignore the nausea in her belly or the hole in her chest. She had made her case with every wile available to her. Logic, physicality… even pleading.
    And she could not have been rejected more soundly.
    Failure cut deep. She crossed to the far wall on stiff legs and bent to retrieve the fallen sketchbook. Its long guarded illustrations had robbed her of countless nights of sleep. Now she couldn’t even bear to look at it. She shoved it back into her reticule with trembling fingers.
    The depictions of pleasure therein would have to remain theoretical.
    She laid her reticule on the mantel and quit the parlor without a word. Captain Grey did not stop her. Why would he? There was nothing left to discuss.
    Egui’s abandoned wicker basket lay at the end of the corridor. If she didn’t get the cat back in his basket, he would wreak havoc on Captain Grey’s home. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Corralling Egui was a task she was familiar with. Challenging. Perilous. But not impossible.
    Who would’ve believed it easier to catch a demon cat than the interest of a lonely soldier?
    She made her way to the end of the hall and looped her arm through the handle of the basket. With luck, Egui hadn’t destroyed the rest of Captain Grey’s cravats during the course of their disastrous conversation. The evening would be uncomfortable enough without also owing the man an entirely new wardrobe.
    “I need to find the cat,” she called over her shoulder. “May I hunt in any open rooms?”
    “You may do as you please,” he replied from only a few feet away.
    She spun about.
    He stood at the doorway to the parlor, watching her. His blue gaze was inscrutable.
    After a heartbeat, he disappeared back into the parlor.
    She straightened her spine and smiled grimly. She could not do as she pleased. Not here and not anywhere. She couldn’t have the man she wanted. Couldn’t find the devil cat she didn’t want. She couldn’t even hop into a hack and go back home.
    Her motives might have been foolish, but her plan had been sound. Too sound. Blasted snowstorm. It had seemed so fortuitous at the time, and now… Just another cosmic mockery.
    Her brother was two hundred miles away. The servants suspected nothing. She’d changed hacks every half hour to make certain no single person knew where she’d been or where she was going. The Dog & Whistle had indeed been over capacity, providing her with a legitimate need for close, safe lodging. The relentless snow ensured her welcome inside the cottage.
    And now she couldn’t leave.
    She slipped off her half boots in order to tread through the cottage more quietly. Calling to the cat would only give him fair warning. Her only hope was to catch him unawares—before he did the same to her.
    First, she tried the kitchen. This was where Egui had somehow destroyed Captain Grey’s cravat… Ah. There it was. A disgusting clump of wet fur and shredded linen. Right next to a similar pile of what once had been a tea towel of some kind. Lovely. Her brother’s cat was a never-ending joy.
    She stood on her toes to inspect the top of every surface and dropped to her knees to check below each stick of furniture. No sign of Egui. She returned to the corridor and shut the kitchen door tight behind her.

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