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Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.
Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.
Clarendon’s dark blond curly hair hung a bit more over the back of his cravat than was fashionable, but it suited him well. It appeared his valet had attempted to tame the curls but a few stubborn locks had sprung free and brushed his broad forehead. An aristocratic nose and full lips left no doubt he was descended from generations of nobility. His crystal blue eyes bore into her as he released her hand when they joined the line. They stood across from each other as the music began. He bowed, she curtsied, and they came together. She would be the bigger of them, and clear the air. “I do wish to apologize for the trouble I caused you today, my lord.”
They switched places. “’Tis nothing, I assure you.” He extended his hand, and they moved together with the other dancers for a few steps.
“I disagree, my lord. You ended up muddy, with your clothes torn.”
His jaw flexed as they moved around each other and joined the line of dancers again. “Of course, you disagree, but I assure you, my lady, ’twas nothing.”
As they weaved in and out of the other dancers, she mumbled, “What do you mean ‘of course I disagree,’ and why cannot you accept an apology freely given? Are you always so disagreeable, then?”
They joined hands once more. “Perhaps because I do not wish to be reminded of the incident.”
Separating, they moved around each other, dipping with the music. “I believe you are merely being stubborn.”
Nash closed his eyes. “And I believe you are being stubborn.”
“I am not being stubborn. I simply want to extend my apologies for the mishap this afternoon.”
They joined hands again and moved in a circle. “Fine. Your apology is accepted.”
Another couple switched places with them, eyeing them with curiosity. “There, now. Was that so very hard?”
“My dear lady, do you wish to dance, or converse?”
They stepped forward, hand-in-hand to the head of the line. “Can we not do both?”
“Perhaps I lose count if I talk and dance.”
Her eyebrows rose and she offered a tight grin. “Cannot do two things at once, my lord? Is that why you had such a difficult time rescuing a poor cat?”
Nash came to an abrupt halt, causing the couple behind them to stumble. “I did not have a difficult time of it.” He bent close to her ear and murmured. “Furthermore, I am finished with this conversation.”
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