Marcus pulled out his pocket watch and checked the time. Damn. Only two o’clock. He wasn’t due to pick Phoebe up for their ride in the Park for another three hours. He thought about going to his father’s study, but he’d finished the last of the accounts earlier. He needed to get out of the house. A few minutes later he was headed to 32 Ludgate Hill. He hadn’t visited Rundell and Bridge’s since he’d been back in England. Perhaps he’d find something appropriate for Phoebe.
As he passed Old Bailey Street, colorful looking couple came into view. When they drew closer, Marcus blinked. The man wore lavender pantaloons and a purple coat.
The female on his arm, had on a bright blue silk gown, cut so low most of her breasts were exposed. Her large bonnet was covered with flowers and birds. Good God. It was Mr. Jonathan Ridley. Unfortunately there was no hope of avoiding him. Marcus had run into the man on Bond Street one day soon after his return.
“I say, Lord Marcus, what a pleasure running into you!” Ridley smiled and turned to the woman, obviously his current lady bird. “M’dear, you remember Lord Marcus.”
The female’s painted lips pursed as her gaze raked him from head to feet, pausing at his groin. He couldn’t imagine that he’d once found Lizzie Cox attractive.
She curtseyed. When she glanced up, he knew she’d calculated everything he wore to the last penny. “Haven’t you grown into a fine figure of a man? Why don’t you come with us, my lord? We’re going to a little party. Just the kind you like.”
Used to like. All that was in the past now and had been for eight years.
She leaned closer to him, the smell of gin almost made him gag. “You remember Moll, she’s been a bit lonely lately. I’m sure she’d like to see you again.”
Marcus had no doubt she’d been lonely for his purse. She must be in between protectors. He took in Ridley’s complexion, pasty and soft, as if he’d rarely saw the sun and didn’t know the meaning of work. The man was only a year or two older than Marcus. Is that what he would have become if he hadn’t been sent to the West Indies? What an escape he’d made.
He raised his quizzing glass focusing it on Ridley. “Still visiting the Dead Man in Whitecastle I see.”
The smile on the man’s face faded. “Nothing wrong with that. Best blue ruin around.”
Marcus inclined his head. “You must excuse me. I have business to attend to.”
When Lizzy placed her hand on his arm, he shook it off.
Her eyes widened. “It’s true then, what Rid told me about you reforming?” She shook her head. “I never would have believed it.”
“Good day, Ridley, Miss Cox.” Marcus continued to the jeweler’s. It was time he thanked his father. The old man wouldn’t know what to make of that.
Ella is offering a digital copy of THE SEDUCTION OF LADY PHOEBE to one (1) lucky commenter. Do you have a POV preference or do you like to see all sides? Giveaway ends @12am est 9-30-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good Luck!