Already His (The Caversham Chronicles - Book Two)

Free Already His (The Caversham Chronicles - Book Two) by Sandy Raven

Book: Already His (The Caversham Chronicles - Book Two) by Sandy Raven Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandy Raven
each other? Granted, they were eighteen years old and in university at the time, when he and Ren had sworn sisters were off limits. Ironic now because Michael proposed the promise to protect his own sister, and it was he who wanted.... God, why in the name of all that was holy did he have to want her?
    He could never tell his friend he wanted to abrogate the promise they’d made to each other. He simply could not hurt Ren in that manner. And it would hurt him if Michael continued this little flirtation with his sister. Because, even though he was loathe to admit it, Ren wanted nothing more than to see his sister happily settled with a worthy man, and have a family of her own. Ren knew Michael’s every sin and vice—most of which were committed while in the company of his friend— thus eliminating him from the category “w orthy.” He and Ren were also into their thirties now, thus making Michael too old for the likes of Ren’s newly-launched younger sister.
    Then there was matter of her annoying infatuation with him all these years. As a child, Elise had followed him around Haldenwood when he visited, wanting to read sonnets and poetry to him, play cards with him, or ride with him.
    As she grew into a young lady, so too did her infatuation with him grow. In order to preserve the friendship with her brother, he’d thoughtfully and purposefully avoided being caught anywhere alone with her, afraid what she might do. But now he wanted nothing but to be alone with her and find out what could happen.
    He stopped his racing thoughts. This was too perverse. This type of thing only happened to the characters in those sleazy serialized novels some women read. Not to upstanding members of the nobility like himself.
    His mother would not approve of Elise for those same reasons he found her desirable. She often reminded him that high spirited ladies were also the ones most likely to succumb to a rogue or rake, and least likely to make a stable wife. As an example she always reminded him of his uncle and his unfaithful wife who died bearing another man’s child.
    Which only reinforced the fact that toying with the notion of marrying Elise was pure foolishness, for all parties involved were sure to suffer. If this nonsense were allowed to play out, the final outcome would be a wedge in the one relationship that meant more to him than any other. He didn’t doubt it for a moment, because Ren loved his sister and would die to protect her honor. And he, Michael Dennis Brightman, now the Earl of Camden, wanted nothing more than to do all manner of dis honorable things with that same young woman, most of which had to do with getting that lithe, young body of hers entwined with his on a bed behind locked doors.
    For her own good, he needed to cease this flirtation with her before she took his words and actions to heart and held out hope for something he could never give her. Her brother would never agree. A new resolve fell into place and straightening his waistcoat and cravat, he strode from the chamber and back to the ball. He had enough to do with trying to find the bride who would fill his nursery. He didn’t have the time or energy to help Elise find the groom who would help make hers.
    So, why couldn’t he shake the feeling that they should be filling one together?
    E lise watched Michael’s departure from the room and smiled to herself. He had noticed her, and he did desire her. It was evident in his touch and in his every word to her as they danced. She couldn’t wait to get Beverly alone and tell her how thankful she was to her, her dearest friend, for helping her plan this evening and win her future husband’s heart.
    Nothing could dim her spirits now that she knew it was only a matter of time before he declared himself. She would, of course, accept his suit and finally wed the man she’d dreamed of marrying forever. But until then society dictated she dance with as many of these other young men as she could before

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