Nash's Niche (Behind Closed Doors)

Free Nash's Niche (Behind Closed Doors) by Raven McAllan

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Authors: Raven McAllan
swallowed were enough to entice his cock to stand up and demand attention. He ignored it, and focused on Felicity. She handed him her empty glass and bit her lip.
    "I think it is a plot my father and your brother have concocted. Something to do with smuggling and France? Oh lud, Nash, I'm hardly the person they confide in. What I have garnered is from listening when it is thought I'm not aware, and strangely, from that masquerade. I arrived late, and immediately Gussie pestered me. Why was I late, was Peregrine with me? When I said no, she seemed annoyed, and wanted to know where he was. Why should I know that? It was immaterial, because I wasn't interested in him, and I'd told Papa and him that several times. All I can say is it was like being in a box where no one could hear you. I was totally ignored and I went to the masquerade in defiance. On reflection, you know, I think she only asked me to attend to try and get information. And the worst thing was I had no idea what she wanted. Then I met you, and I couldn't care about anything else. Until I realized I had to leave." She was silent for a moment, and then shook her head. "Ah well, so what now? I can't be seen. For I will not go back and be forced to marry someone who has no interest in me. Not now."
    Nash moved beside her once more. "No," he agreed. "Would you have before?"
    She tilted her head to one side, considering his statement. "Not if I could have found a way not to. Not because I don't think Peregrine would be honorable, I know he would. But because we both deserve better." She looked so desolate that Nash knew there had to be something he could do.
    "Gretna," he declared. "As soon as we can."

Chapter Nine
     
    Planning an elopement was easier said than done. Hiding Felicity proved to be surprisingly easy. The servants were used to being banned from his personal study. Nash just extended the ban to his bedchamber once the room had been tidied in the morning. Sometimes he wondered at their compliance, especially his housekeeper who didn't make her usual muttering of fires, coals and trimming the wicks of the lamps. When he mentioned this to Felicity, she grinned.
    "Less work for her, perchance?"
    That seemed to be a silly statement. "She doesn't do the work," he pointed out. "She just directs whoever is to perform the duties."
    "She has to coordinate," Felicity replied. "To ensure any house runs smoothly, one person has to manage everything. Marg … Mrs. Whittering does so perfectly."
    Nash glanced at her with suspicion. She had a smile playing over her lips, one that spelled suspicion to him. He was sure she'd been going to call his housekeeper by a Christian name. How would Felicity know that? Margaret Whittering was always referred to as Mrs.
    "How do you know? You are up here."
    "And I wouldn't be, and unchallenged if she didn't run a tight ship now, would I?"
    She had a point. In spite of his interest, he filed her comments away for later.
    After the first day, he and Felicity sorted out a routine that worked perfectly. Nash still had to do the day-to-day running of the hunt, and suffer visits from Lord Welland asking in a roundabout way if he knew anything of Felicity's disappearance. As his lordship had to be circumspect, Nash was able to say with perfect truth he had no idea what the gentleman was talking about. Once he'd gone, Nash had made his way to his study, to find Felicity sitting at his desk surrounded by his stud books.
    "These are a mess , My Lord. Whilst I have time on my hands, may I tidy them?" He agreed with alacrity, as he hated the paperwork.
    "Good, and I have also begun to think about the whys and wherefores of your brother determining I was right for him. I think it must have something to do with my cousin…" She paused and twisted the quill she was holding between her fingers. "I wish I knew why I think that. Something is trying to emerge from my memory, but I know not what."
    "It will come," Nash assured her. "I'll change the

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