Captain Howard advanced toward the countess, conscious of the sound of his footsteps on the wooden floor, the muted noise of coaches and drays through the closed windows and, from the fireplace, the crackle of burning logs which relieved the chill of early spring.
The buzz of conversation resumed. Her ladyship scrutinised him. Did she approve of his appearance? A smile curved her heart-shaped mouth. He repressed his amusement. Edward suspected the widow’s rosy lips owed more to artifice than nature.
“How do you do, sir,” she said when he stood before her. “I think we have not met previously. Her eyes assessed him dispassionately. My name is Sinclair, Katherine Sinclair. I dislike formality. You may call me Kate.”
“Captain Howard at your service, Countess.” Shocked but amused by boldness more suited to a tavern wench than a great lady, Edward paid homage with a low bow before he spoke again. “Despite your permission, I am not presumptuous enough to call you Kate, yet I shall say that had we already met, I would remember you.”
“You are gallant, sir, but you are young to have achieved so high a rank in Her Majesty’s navy.”
“An unexpected promotion earned in battle which the navy did not subsequently commute.”
“You are to be congratulated on what I can only assume were acts of bravery.”“Thank you, Countess.”
The depths of her ladyship’s sapphire cross and earrings blazed, matching hissudden fierce desire.
Kate, some four inches shorter than Edward, looked up at him.
He leaned forward. The customary greeting of a kiss on her lips lingered longer than etiquette dictated. Her eyes widened....
Publisher. MuseItUp Publishing