School For Heiresses 2- Only a Duke Will Do

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Authors: Sabrina Jeffries
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solved anything. The butler appeared behind Simon, looking flustered. “Forgive me, ladies. I intended to announce His Grace, but he insisted upon surprising you.”
    “Of course he did.” Louisa managed a remote smile. “The duke is nothing if not insistent.” Just like his sister, whom he resembled to an astonishing degree, both of them blond, blue-eyed, and bold. Except that Regina’s boldness was invigorating. Simon’s was just plain dangerous. Like now, when he was scouring her with his impudent gaze. “You gave me little choice, Miss North. You seem to have forgotten our appointment.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “You and I are supposed to pay a visit to Lady Trusbut, remember?” Idly, he scratched his monkey’s belly. “Raji was looking forward to it. But when I went to the town house to fetch you, they informed me that you were here.”
    A hush fell across the room. Even the girls knew that gaining Lady Trusbut’s support had been a particular quest of Louisa’s.
    “I didn’t think you meant it.” She lifted her chin in challenge. “After all, Your Grace, you have a bad habit of saying what you don’t mean.”
    Ignoring the gasps from behind her, he shifted Raji to his shoulder. “Then give me a chance to prove I have overcome my bad habits.”
    As if confirming his master’s words, Raji chattered madly, clutching a wooden carving of a bird to his furry chest. Painted bright yellow, the toy was clearly well-worn, well-loved. A canary. So Simon hadn’t been lying to Lady Trusbut about Raji’s preference for canaries.
    It was a small thing, yet it gave her pause.
    Simon held out his arm. “Shall we go? I have the phaeton waiting.”
    Though the prospect of spending time alone with Simon in a phaeton unnerved her, she dared not lose the chance to snag Lady Trusbut’s support. Besides, he could hardly make advances in broad daylight with a monkey and groom as chaperones.
    But first she and her ladies had to choose their candidate. “I tell you what, sir. Let me finish my meeting and then we’ll go. You can wait for me downstairs.”
    He tensed, but before he could protest, Eliza burst out with, “Perhaps His Grace should participate, too. He probably knows all your prospective candi—”
    “Hush, Eliza!” Louisa cast the loose-tongued girl a quelling glance. “I told you, that isn’t a matter for general discussion.”
    Eliza’s face fell. “Oh, right.”
    Louisa shifted her gaze to Simon. “Especially when we don’t know where the duke stands on our issue.”
    “Nor can I tell you, when you are not forthright with me,” Simon countered.
    “What do you mean?” she retorted.
    He strode into the room. “You said you press your cause in Parliament, but you neglected to say how. I had to hear elsewhere about your unorthodox tactics.”
    He’d heard about that?
    They were still gaping at him when he added, “And you certainly never said you are putting up your own candidate for the Commons.”
    Chapter Six
    Dear Charlotte,
    It would certainly help Miss North if she mended her fences with Foxmoor. Everyone is sure he will succeed Liverpool as prime minister. But I cannot see Miss North as his duchess. She would lead him a merry dance, and I hear Foxmoor isn’t particularly fond of dancing. Your opinionated cousin,
    L ouisa’s heart dropped into her stomach. He wasn’t supposed to know about their political aspirations. No one in Parliament was supposed to know until the London Ladies marshaled their support. She could think of only one way he’d found out.
    But when she glared at his sister, Regina drew herself up stiffly. “Don’t look at me—I didn’t tell him.”
    “No, she didn’t.” Simon smiled. “Not for nothing was I once the king’s advisor. I know how to ferret out information, especially when it regards politics.”
    As he handed his beaver top hat to the butler, Mrs. Harris said, “Then surely you realize how unhappy some of your friends in

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