I had not intended to update this one any time soon, and they didn’t work for Christmas in July, but I gave in to a plea, and wrote this little tease of my Pinto couple from The Thought of You is Consuming Me.
“Zachary, have you heard?”
I looked up from my copy of the London Times, folded it on my lap and picked up my small glass of sherry. I had arrived at the gentlemen’ club, White’s, about an hour before. I’d had a dinner of roast beef in the dining room and had just recently relocated to the reading room to enjoy the news in peace. Clearly I was not going to be allowed that peace.
“What are you talking about this time, Chauncy?”
Chauncy smirked and seated himself in the plush chair next to me. “That particular friend of yours. Lord Christopher Pine.”
My heart skipped a beat. “What about him?”
He shrugged. “Only that there’s a rumor he’s engaged to Lady Annabelle.”
I scoffed. I knew Chris would have told me had it been true. “I have not heard. Nor do I believe it to be true.”
“Hmm. It’s all over London. The season’s about over and everyone will be returning to the country before the weather gets bad. Supposedly it will be announced before then.”
It couldn’t be true. Not that I knew Christopher could stay unattached forever. Neither of us could. Eventually we would have to keep up appearances and wed. But surely he would tell me if there had even been a hint of it happening this soon.
It would change nothing between us, of course. We had determined we would remain close even when fulfilling our duties as peers of society.
“Anyway, I’ll be off now,” Chauncy declared, rising. “I’m due at the Rileston Ball. Will I see you there?”
I shook my head. “Not likely. I plan to make an early night of it.”
“All right, old chap. See you then.”
With a sigh, I once more began to read the Times. After a bit I dozed off, and woke to the scent of a cigar. I blinked rapidly as it was brought right before my face. I seized it and quirked a brow at Chris, who now stood over me.
He sat in the seat vacated previously by Chauncy, holding a cigar of his own as well as a glass of sherry. I noticed mine had been refilled.
I drew on my cigar and then flicked my head in his direction. “I hear congratulations are in order.”
“Chauncy tells me you and Lady Annabelle are about to announce your engagement.”
Chris rolled his eyes. “Oh stuff it.”
“True or not then?”
“Wouldn’t I tell you if it were?”
“I thought so.”
“Course I would. Chauncy never knows what he’s talking about. Not that Lady Annabelle and her family doesn’t want that. They do. But no engagement is coming. At least not for this season. I can push it off for a bit longer.”
“Ah, but will the fair Annabelle wait for you for next season?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps. I don’t know. But I’m not rushing things for anyone.” He eyed me over the rim of his sherry. “How about you? Any prospects for a blushing bride?”
I snorted. “Not hardly. I plan on putting it off for quite a bit longer, if you must know. I rarely even attend the balls for that very reason. I don’t need all those mamas pushing their oh so beautiful daughters in my direction.”
“A wise thing. I’m supposed to go to Rileston’s tonight, but I don’t want to.”
“Come to my place instead. We’ll finish these and be off. I have my coach.”
Chris smiled as he took a sip. “Very tempting.”
“Give into it.”
He laughed then, with delight, I might add, and I knew I had won his concession. Lady Annabelle be damned.
We finished our cigars and sherries and were in my coach headed to my home in only thirty minutes. As soon as we got into our seats in my coach, Chris was kissing me, eagerly.
I cupped his jaw and deepened it, tangling our tongues. We kissed like this for the entire ride home, which due to the traffic of the season’s balls and fetes, took over a half hour to reach it.
He was beautifully flushed and only slightly rumpled as we exited where my driver left us. My butler let us in, and after refusing more glasses of sherry, we headed upstairs.