Does the prince know?
A small crowd had gathered around them. Apparently Lady Challis and her guests had given up all pretense of discretion.―I do hope I‘m not mistaken," he added turning to onlookers with a carefully constructed expression of incredulity on his face. ―I shot an awful lot of people in France."
Someone snickered. Someone else covered a laugh with a hand. But no one, Sebastian noticed, made any move to intervene. He wondered if he would have done so, were he an onlooker.Probably not. The tableau would have been far too entertaining. The earl, spluttering with fury; the nephew, poking fun. It was what they expected of him, Sebastian imagined. His wit was dry, his charm legendary, and he never lost his temper.Newbury‘s face turned an even more astonishing shade of magenta. He knew that if Sebastian held the humor, Sebastian held the crowd. In the end, most would side with rank and wealth, but for now, in this moment, the earl was a buffoon. And Sebastian knew he hated it.
―Don‘t stick your nose where it does not belong," his uncle bit off. He jabbed a thick, sausagy finger at Sebastian, coming within a few inches of his chest. ―You didn‘t even care about Miss Winslow until you heard I was planning to marry her."―Actually, that‘s not true," Sebastian said, almost affably. ―And in fact, I would counter that you had decided to be done with her until you thought I might be interested."
―The last thing I‘d want is one of your trollops. Which she"—he jerked his head toward Annabel, who had been watching the entire exchange with openmouthed horror—―is in fast danger of becoming."
That tightening in Sebastian‘s gut did another twist. ―Careful," he warned, his voice dangerously soft. ―You‘re insulting a lady."What on earth are you talking about? And why-her mother reached out and plucked something from her hair-is there a feather in your hair?
I cannot explain, Olivia said, taking the feather in her hands for later disposal. It must have popped out through the upholstery on one of the pillows. They were all stuffed with feathers, although Olivia had always thought that the quills were removed first.She was saved from further comment by Huntley, who had come into the hall, looking terribly embarrassed. My lady, he said, bowing toward Olivia’s mother. There has been an accident.
Olivia scooted around Huntley, hurrying into the drawing room. Sebastian was on the floor, his arm twisted at an unnatural angle. Behind him a vase appeared to have tipped over, leaving shattered glass, cut flowers, and water all over the floor.Oh my heavens! she exclaimed. What happened?