Leigh Michaels Quotes

because there was a new face in the chorus, and rumor—in the person of his friend Aubrey—said she was a promising possibility as a mistress. And indeed she was, Lucien had to admit—at least, she would be for Aubrey, who had come into his title and had full control of his fortune. But not for someone like Lucien—a young man on a strict allowance and whose title of Viscount Hartford was only a courtesy one, borrowed from his father. Being my lord was, he had found, one of the few benefits of being the only son of the Earl of Chiswick. “She’s quite attractive, as game pullets go,” he told Aubrey carelessly after the play, as they cracked the first bottle of wine at their club. “Have her with my blessing.” Aubrey snorted. “You know, Lucien, it’s just as well you’re not looking for a high-flyer, for you damned well couldn’t afford her.” Lucien forced a smile. “She’s not my sort, as it happens.” “Balderdash—she’s any man’s sort.” Not mine, Lucien thought absently. He might have said it aloud if the sentiment hadn’t been so startlingly true. How odd—for the chorus girl had been a prime piece, buxom and long-limbed and flashy, as well as incredibly flexible as she moved around the stage. How could he not be interested? Aubrey was looking at him strangely, so Lucien said, “If she’s so much to your taste, I’m surprised you didn’t go around to the stage door after the performance and make yourself known.” “Strategy, my friend. Never let a woman guess exactly how interested you are.” Aubrey waved a hand at a waiter to bring another bottle, and as they drank it, he detailed his plan for winning the chorus girl. “It’s too bad you can’t join the fun, for I’m certain she has a friend,” Aubrey finished. “The gossips have it that your father is never without a lightskirt, so why should he object to you having one?” “Oh, not a lightskirt. Only the finest of the demimonde will do for the Earl of Chiswick.” Lucien drained his glass. “I’m meant to be on the road to Weybridge at first light—for the duke’s birthday, you know. A few hours’ sleep before I climb into a jolting carriage will not come amiss.” “Too late.” Aubrey tilted his head toward the nearest window. “Dawn’s breaking now, if I’m not mistaken. You won’t mind if I don’t come to see you off? Deadly dull it is, waving good-bye—and I’ve a mind for a hand or two of piquet before I go home.” Lucien walked from the club to his rooms in Mount Street, hoping a fresh breeze might help clear his head. The post-chaise Uncle Josiah had ordered for him was already waiting. The horses stamped impatiently, snorting in the cool morning air, and the postboys looked bored. Nearby, Lucien’s valet paced—but he
his…demands?” And then she had held her breath as if seriously expecting Isabel to answer. And last night as Isabel passed a half-open bedroom door, she had overheard a fellow guest speaking to her maid. “I do so admire Lady Isabel for not feeling the need to bow to the demands of fashion,” the woman had said. “She dresses instead in what is comfortable even if it is not in the first stare. Though I find it no wonder her husband has strayed.” Isabel had gritted her teeth and gone on down to dinner, where she smiled and flirted and silently dared anyone to comment to her face that her dress was at least two years old. If only her early departure wouldn’t cause so much comment, she would call for her carriage and go home right now. But that was impossible. For one thing, she didn’t have a carriage, for she had come up from London with a fellow guest. Too short of funds to afford a post-chaise, she was equally dependent on her friend for transport back to the city when the hunting party broke up. And secondly, of course, there were only two places she could go—Maxton Abbey, or the London house—and her husband might be at either one. Unless, with her safely stashed at the Beckhams’, he had accepted yet another of the many invitations he received. But she couldn’t take the chance. After little more than a year of marriage, the pattern was ingrained—wherever one of the Maxwells went, the other took pains not to go. She could not burst in on her husband; what if he were entertaining his mistress? Better not to know. She might go to the village of Barton Bristow, descending on her sister. But Emily’s tiny cottage was scarcely large enough for her and her companion, with no room for a guest—and Mrs. Dalrymple’s constant chatter and menial deference was enough to set Isabel’s teeth on edge. In fact, the only nice thing Isabel could say about being married was that at least she wasn’t required to drag a spinster companion around the countryside with her to preserve her reputation, as Emily had to do. Isabel turned her borrowed mount over to the stable boys and strode across to the house, where the butler intercepted her in the front hall. “A letter has just been delivered for you, Lady Isabel, by a special messenger. He said a post-chaise will call for you tomorrow.” She took the folded sheet with trepidation. Who could be summoning her? Not her husband, that was certain. Her father, possibly, for yet another lecture on the duties of a young wife? She broke the seal and unfolded the page. My dearest Isabel, You will remember from happier days that I will soon celebrate my seventieth birthday… Uncle Josiah. But her moment of relief soon