His father was right about one thing. Hyacinth Bridgerton was good. She may have been vexing, managing, and often annoying as hell, but inside, where it counted, she was good.
Penelope sighed. This had to be why she loved the man. Anyone who treated his mother so well would surely be an excellent husband.wAnd how are your wedding preparations coming along?" Colin asked Penelope.She hadn't meant to pull a face, but she did, anyway. "I have never been so exhausted in all my life," she admitted.
He reached over and grabbed a large crumb off of her plate. "We should elope."wOh, could we really?" Penelope asked, the words flying from her lips in an unsummoned rush.He blinked. "Actually, I was joking, mostly, although it does seem a prime idea."wI shall arrange for a ladder," Eloise said, clapping her hands together, "so that you might climb to her room and steal her away."wThere's a tree," Penelope said. "Colin will have no difficulty with it."wGood God," he said, "you're not serious, are you?"wNo," she sighed. "But I could be. If you were."wI can't be. Do you know what it would do to my mother?" He rolled his eyes. "Not to mention yours."Penelope groaned. "I know."wShe'd hunt me down and kill me," Colin said.wMine or yours?"wBoth. They'd join forces." He craned his neck toward the door. "Where is the food?"wYou just got here, Colin," Eloise said. "Give them time."wAnd here I thought Wickham a sorcerer," he grumbled, "able to conjure food with the snap of his hand.wwHere you are, sir!" came Wickham's voice as he sailed into the room with a large tray.wSee?" Colin said, raising his brows first at Eloise and then at Penelope. "I told you so."wWhy," Penelope asked, "do I sense that I will be hearing those words from your lips far too many times in my future?"wMost likely because you will," Colin replied. "You'll soon learn"—he shot her an extremely cheeky grin—"that I am almost always right."wOh, please," Eloise groaned.wI may have to side with Eloise on this one," Penelope said.wAgainst your husband?" He placed a hand on his heart (while the other one reached for a sandwich).wI'm wounded."wYou're not my husband yet."
Colin turned to Eloise. "The kitten has claws."Eloise raised her brows. "You didn't realize that before you proposed?"wOf course I did," he said, taking a bite of his sandwich. "I just didn't think she'd use them on me."
And then he looked at her with such a hot, masterful expression that Penelope's bones went straight to water.wWell," Eloise announced, rising quite suddenly to her feet, "I think I shall allow you two soon-to-be-newlyweds a moment or two of privacy."wHow positively forward-thinking of you," Colin murmured.
Eloise looked to him with a peevish twist to her mouth. "Anything for you, dear brother. Or rather," she added, her expression growing arch, "anything for Penelope."I caught sight of the copper-haired Sherus at the front of the group, his sister noticeably absent. His mouth was set in a grimace, his face surprisingly ashen for one who had a natural aura about him.
The same thing happened as last time; they transported the coffins along the tunnel, and then returned without them barely a minute later. They shot out of the tunnel—which was not far away at all from our hiding place—and zoomed into the base of the vortex. Watching the fae during this second visit, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was any way… any way at all… that we could tag along with the next crowd that exited and somehow pass through with them.It seemed like an insane idea. The moment we tried to approach, the fae would grab us and hand us right back to the ghouls—after all, we were part of their bounty quotient, and the fae would not want any of the numbers reducing.
Still, I wanted to discuss the notion with Lucas and Kailyn. But I didn’t want to speak anymore in this chamber. We had already pushed our luck enough. Catching their attention, I gestured toward the tunnel. They followed after me along the winding canal, and as we emerged on the other side, I dove deeper into the water, where the three of us could converse in greater safety.Those fae… I began.