Why Lords Lose Their Hearts

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins Read Free Book Online

Book: Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Manda Collins
Tags: United States, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Regency, Historical Romance
responsible for Gervase’s death. That has been the context of the threats against you, as well as Isabella and Georgina, hasn’t it?”
    Thinking back to the tableau at the Sumrall Ball, Perdita nodded silently. Though her sister’s and Georgina’s assailants had seemed to wish them harm for reasons specific to them that had nothing to do with Gervase’s death, they had been recruited by someone else. Someone who linked all three of them to Gervase’s death. With Perdita, however, the motive had been to threaten her because of her husband’s death from the beginning. Not only had the notes said that they knew what she’d done last season, but they’d also asked why she would murder her husband. And of course there had been the little reenactment, for the members of the ton to see, of the night of her husband’s death. Yes, whoever wished to make her suffer did so as punishment for what she’d done—or what they thought she’d done—to Gervase. And Archer was right. Any of the servants who had been with the household since Gervase was born could be behind the threats against her. A chill ran up her spine as she contemplated the fact that she was safe nowhere. Not in her home at least.
    “What can I do?” she asked him, schooling her features not to show the utter panic she felt at what he’d just suggested. It was one thing to indulge in hysterics in the privacy of her own bedchamber where no one could see her, but to stand before Archer trembling with fear was something she could not do. She wasn’t sure why, but every fiber of her being rebelled against the notion.
    As if he sensed the way she held her emotions in check, Archer stepped closer. “You need not do a thing,” he said softly. “I’ll keep watch over you.”
    “But that’s…” She tried to come up with a rational reason why she should object. But if the truth were known, she felt only an overwhelming sense of relief at knowing he’d protect her. More than any man she’d ever known, Archer had always felt to Perdita like a solid bet. Someone she could rely on no matter how he frustrated her or made her want to tear her hair out in vexation. He could be as stubborn as a mule, but he could also be warm and funny and caring. All of which was why she couldn’t allow herself to fall under his spell if he was going to be spending more time in her company. It was all too tempting, but she could not allow herself to fall under any man’s spell again. Ever. “That’s unnecessary,” she finished lamely.
    “Not if you wish to stay safe,” he returned. “In fact, I’d say it’s quite necessary.”
    It was difficult to argue with him when she was so weak. It was quite unfair. But she would do it all the same.
    “My safety is not your responsibility,” she said as a sudden wave of weariness washed over her. “You know it’s not.” She heard the fatigue in her voice, and almost involuntarily lay down upon the bed. She should feel embarrassed, but she was past that. The pillow felt so good beneath her cheek, and she couldn’t have risen if she’d tried.
    “Not quite my responsibility,” he agreed, but she no longer remembered what she’d said to prompt his words. “But I don’t mind.” He pulled the covers up to her shoulders and Perdita felt more protected than she had in years. “I’m your friend.”
    He stepped back from the bed. “And you’ll be happy to know reinforcements have arrived.”
    She blinked against the heaviness of her eyelids. “What ‘forcements’?” she muttered, wishing she could stay awake for what she was sure was a very important conversation.
    “Lord and Lady Coniston are here,” he said. “And Ormond and Isabella as well.”
    But why? she said, though his lack of a response told her that she’d not spoken the words aloud.
    “Go to sleep, Perdita,” she heard him say. “We will keep you safe.”
    And unable to fight sleep any longer, she let herself drift off.
    *   *   *
    Archer had

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