Complications

Free Complications by Clare Jayne

Book: Complications by Clare Jayne Read Free Book Online
Authors: Clare Jayne
was clearly just being polite and there
was nothing hostile in her tone, far from it, but Mrs McIvett looked at her
with a cool smile.
    “Naturally, my husband’s presence at my
side gave me the greatest pleasure. Some of us do not scare off our gentlemen.”
    Lottie froze at the words and, worse, a few
of the nearby ladies were cruel enough as to laugh.
    Amelia glared at Mrs McIvett. “How
fortunate for you that your husband is so easy to please. Come, Charlotte, your
mama is looking for you.”
    She led Lottie away by the hand and her
friend held on tightly.
    “Everyone here will have heard of Mrs McIvett’s
comment by tomorrow,” Lottie whispered in a shaky voice.
    “And everyone will know the contempt with
which we treated it. That woman is not worthy of another thought. You are worth
a thousand of her.”
    “I do not think that is true.” Lottie still
looked on the brink of tears.
    “Then you must take my word for it.” She
paused to allow Benjamin and Mr Nathaniel Fenbridge to catch up with them.
    “Miss Harrington,” Mr Nathaniel Fenbridge
said with a smile. “This reel is one of my favourites. Would you be so kind as
to dance with me?”
    Amelia saw Lottie hesitate and squeezed her
hand, giving a slight nod when Lottie glanced at her. The very best way to halt
any more gossip was for Lottie to seen to be having a pleasant evening and not
paying Mrs McIvett’s words any mind.
    Lottie fixed a smile on her face, where it
sat over her distress like a mask, and allowed herself to be led once more onto
the dance floor.
    “Do you wish to dance?” Benjamin asked
Amelia with his usual reluctance.
    She laughed. “No. I will spare you that
just now.”
    “Excellent.”
    “Thank you for not challenging Mrs McIvett
to a duel.”
    He grinned and indicated his sling. “Well,
I am not quite recovered from the last one but give me a day or two and who knows
who I might challenge next.”
    * * *
    Wrackley got into the carriage with a
dreamy expression and Mr Brightford suppressed the urge to sigh with annoyance.
His cousins had left in their own carriage so it was just the two of them. He
had seen Wrackley running round after Miss Daventry tonight and guessed that he
was another who had fallen prey to her charms.
    He had seen her turn cool with a couple of
her young admirers, casting them off without a backwards glance, but clearly
Wrackley had enough wealth to be taken seriously.
    He could not understand why a kind-hearted
girl like Miss Harrington should suffer the miseries of a broken engagement and
such cruel comments as the one she had endured earlier tonight, when a
heartless creature like Miss Daventry had her pick of the best of the
gentlemen.
    Miss Daventry might be lovely - she was in
fact the most beautiful woman he had ever seen - but last year he had overheard
her intention to wed the wealthiest man she could find. He had been appalled to
realise her so ruthless.
    He liked Wrackley and, should it come to
that, would pity him if he ended up married to someone so cold-hearted.
    As if this thought had been his prompt,
Wrackley looked up from his reverie with a smile and said in an awed tone, “Do
you not think that Miss Daventry is the most beautiful and charming lady in
existence?”
    Brightford unhappily delivered the blow: “I
regret to have to say that I have found that lady to be the most heartless,
fortune-hunting schemer I have ever encountered.”
    The smile dropped from Wrackley’s face.
    The rest of the carriage journey went by in
silence.

Chapter Nine
    AMELIA WONDERED, as she lay in bed the morning after the
ball, when Mr Wrackley would ask her to marry him.
    Would he kneel down to propose? How ever he
did it she was certain it would be the most romantic moment of her life.
    They would be so happy together. It would
be strange living in England instead of Scotland - she would greatly miss
Lottie and her parents but they would all visit her often and she, them. She
and Mr Wrackley would be

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