Book: UNCOMMON DUKE, AN by LAURIE BENSON Read Free Book Online
Tags: Regency Romance
effort for Gabriel not to sputter his wine back into his glass. He could not, however, hold back his smile. ‘I have absolutely no idea.’
    Andrew nodded and fell back into his chair. ‘Just as I thought.’
    ‘I still cannot believe you were set upon by thieves on your way here,’ Olivia broke in. ‘I find it astonishing they would consider attacking you with your intimidating size. Hopefully, the bruises on your hand will heal quickly.’
    Andrew shot a quick glance at Gabriel before looking at the knuckles of his right hand and flexing his fingers into a fist. ‘I’m sure the bruises will be gone in a day or two.’ He smiled warmly at Olivia. ‘You are very kind to be so concerned.’
    ‘Nonsense,’ she replied in earnest. ‘I wish you would let me send you home with some healing salve.’
    ‘I will be fine. Stop fussing so. Save your mothering for Nicholas,’ he said reassuringly.
    The colour drained from Olivia’s face. The topic of mothering brought back all the horrid events of last night and Gabriel knew she was remembering them as well. He should be angry with her—hell, he had been. She had insulted his honour. But he couldn’t ignore the fact that he was to blame for what she thought of him.
    The sight of her in that ridiculously large nightrail had set his blood on fire and made him instantly hard. He knew he would have embarrassed himself if he had managed to get all that fabric off her. It had been so long since they were together. Olivia had the most amazing bottom he had ever seen and over the last five years, four months and eleven days he’d found himself sneaking a glimpse of it whenever her back was to him.
    His thoughts were on her curves when he heard his brother call his name. Shaking his head, he looked at Andrew.
    ‘I asked you how Nicholas liked his ride through Hyde Park. Olivia told me you took him.’
    ‘He liked it very much.’ He took another sip of claret, needing to redirect his thoughts away from Olivia’s soft skin and enticing curves. As he motioned for more wine, he caught Andrew’s amused expression.
    ‘What name has he settled on?’
    ‘To my knowledge he is still undecided.’
    Olivia looked as if she was about to say something, then took a sip from her glass instead. He stared at her expectantly, but she turned away. There was an uncomfortable silence. Gabriel knew she wanted him to leave. He was not welcome at his own dinner table. She already thought he would take her with no consideration for her comfort. Did he really want her to believe he was a bore as well?
    Rising from his seat, Gabriel took his glass and strode to the door. ‘Come to my study on your way out, Andrew,’ he said, not waiting for a reply.
    * * *
    An hour later, his brother strolled into his study without even knocking. ‘Why do I feel as if you do not like me spending time alone with Olivia?’
    ‘Don’t be absurd. She considers you her brother.’ Gabriel sat back at his desk chair and watched Andrew walk to the table set with crystal bottles and pour two glasses of brandy. ‘How often do you dine here?’
    ‘You mean since Nicholas has been born?’
    Gabriel nodded and Andrew sighed, sliding the stopper back in the bottle.
    ‘I don’t know. I’ve never counted. You should try it some time. She is vastly entertaining.’ He placed a glass of brandy in front of Gabriel and sank into the chair across from him.
    Gabriel leaned forward and narrowed his gaze. ‘What do the two of you talk about? I was never under the impression you had anything in common. Dear God...has she developed a love of gambling?’
    Andrew shook his head, laughing. ‘Our discussions are quite varied. Were you aware she recently began acquiring a repertoire of bawdy tales? They’re quite good.’
    Gabriel’s brain almost exploded. ‘You’re joking.’
    ‘I’m quite serious. Probably from that painter she has been spending time with.’
    ‘What painter?’
    ‘The one she is sitting for.’

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