Lady Adrianna Beechcroft’s breath wedged in her throat. Heavens above, she had caught the deliciously handsome rake’s attention. His lustful gaze held a blatant offer of intimacy. Her face grew uncomfortably hot and she raised her fan. Unable to look away from his intense emerald eyes, she hovered at the entrance to the card room amid a bevy of chits. The stranger’s mouth twitched into a smile around the gold tipped cheroot holder and he winked at her. The group of young ladies surrounding her giggled. To her dismay, the gentleman folded his cards on the table and pushed to his feet. Adrianna examined the powerful stranger. He was the most fashionable of gentlemen. She admired tall men and his magnificently broad shoulders fit snug inside a dark blue jacket nipped at the waist and worn over breeches tight enough to enhance his long muscular legs. He wore no wig and his queued ebony hair held not one trace of powder. Entranced by his devilish countenance, she followed his progress across the room. The stranger moved toward her with unnerving arrogance as if he believed she would swoon at his feet. She fought against the desire to wait for him and turned away pushing through the crush to enter the ballroom. Her card was full and the music had started up again. To her relief, her next partner and one of her father’s elderly colleagues, Lord Winton, strode toward her.
“I believe this is my set?” Lord Winton bowed over her hand dispersing a shower of dust from his overly powdered wig. “May I escort you to supper this evening, Lady Adrianna?”
Smiling she met his gaze. “Yes, I would like that of all things.”
She gave him her curtsy and laid her hand on his arm. Chancing a glance over one shoulder to the edge of the dance floor, she noticed the handsome stranger leaning with one shoulder resting nonchalantly against the wall. He smiled outrageously and raised a glass of wine to her then turned and vanished into the crowd. Her stomach fluttered in an unnerving fashion, he had woken something unfamiliar inside her. She made an effort to push his dashingly handsome image from her mind and concentrate on the complicated steps of the dance but to no avail. His handsome countenance and outrageous offer lingered in her consciousness like a forbidden confection.www.elizabethmdarcy.com.