―I should hope so."
I have heard, he said, expertly turning her to the right, that you have left shattered hearts all across town.She stiffened. It was just the sort of thing people liked to say to her, thinking she’d be proud of it. But she wasn’t proud. And what’s more, it hurt that everyone thought she would be. That is hardly a kind, or an appropriate, thing to say.
Are you always appropriate, Lady Olivia?She glared at him, but only for a second. His eyes met hers, and there it was again-the intelligence. The intensity. She had to look away.She was a coward. A pathetic, spineless, miserable excuse for…for…well, for herself. She’d never backed down from a battle of wills. And she hated herself for doing so now.
When she heard his voice again, it was closer to her ear, his breath hot and moist. And are you always kind?She clenched her teeth. He was goading her. And while she would love to deliver a setdown, she refused to do so. It was what he was trying for, after all. He wanted her to respond, just so that he could do the same.
Besides, she couldn’t think of anything suitably blistering.
His hand moved against her back-subtle, expert pressure that guided her in the dance. They turned, and then again, and she caught a glimpse of Mary Cadogan, eyes wide, mouth in a perfect little oval.She gave him a hard look. He smiled blandly in return.
Why are you here? she asked.He motioned to his mount. Out for a ride.
No, why here? she ground out. On this bench. Sitting next to me.He thought about that for a moment. You vex me.