The new earl of Dane comes home from London, glad to reacquaint himself with friends and family, including Philippa, a beautiful older woman he's known all his life and considers a good friend. She's about to remarry and in Dane's opinion, the man is all wrong for her. On a moonlit night Dane makes the case that he's the right man for her. More
The new earl of Dane comes home from London, glad to reacquaint himself with friends and family, including Philippa, a beautiful older woman he's known all his life and considers a good friend. She's about to remarry and in Dane's opinion, the man is all wrong for her. On a moonlit night Dane makes the case that he's the right man for her.
Philippa turned away, facing the garden and the shadowed forms of the roses. Her shawl drooped to her waist in the back. He found himself staring at the bare skin of her neck and shoulders. Another green satin bow nestled below her shoulder blades. A tendril of her hair had loosened from the curls at the back of her head and dangled just above her nape.
He stood behind her. Close enough to touch that so pale skin. Enough that he could see the curve of her breasts. “Ask me your question, then, and I’ll answer as honestly and politically as I can.”
Philippa bowed her head, then faced him again. Her tongue came out and tapped her lower lip just once. Dane steadied himself. They were friends. They’d practically grown up together. There had never, in all those years, been so much as a hint of sexual attraction between them. Not once.
“I think you’re my only friend.” Her eyes opened wide, and she was looking at him. Really at him, and he knew whatever she asked, he would give her the truth. “The only one whose opinion I trust.” She came close enough to rest her hand on his arm. He breathed in the scent of her perfume. “Is it not peculiar that you’re the only person I can think of who understands?”
“What is it you want to ask me about Captain Bancroft?”
She sighed and for a moment looked so miserable his heart broke for her. “You met him tonight. Spoke with him for a while?”
Her eyes surveyed his face. There was really no hope of him getting out of this. She’d always been able to tell when he was lying. “What was your opinion of him?”
He steeled himself against a reaction that would betray him before he had a chance to understand why she was asking. “Answer me this first, do you love him?”
She looked away, and he put a finger to her chin and brought her face back to his. His finger had a mind of its own for it slid along the edge of her jaw from the underside of her chin to the point just beneath her ear. Such soft, soft skin.
A part of him was aware that in touching her like this he’d begun a slide into intimacy that would take them well past friendship if he let it.