The Duchess (Montgomery/Taggert 16) - Page 23

At one point, she gave out a loud “ha!”

Trevelyan looked up at her askance.

“It says that men and women can’t be friends, that it’s an impossibility. I don’t believe that and I don’t think Captain Baker did either. He—”

“It’s a translation, not his own words. You should have known that by the fact that there’s not a dimension in it. Not one wagon wheel.”

She ignored him as she continued reading. The tall man handed her a tiny glass full of liquid. She drank of it, then gasped.

“Slowly,” Trevelyan said.

“I don’t think I should drink whisky.”

“Nor should you read what you’re reading.”

She smiled at him, for he was right. She gave a little shrug, began to sip the whisky, and continued reading. The whisky made her warm and the contents of the book made her even warmer.

At last she finished the book, shut it, and turned to look out the window.

“Well?” Trevelyan asked. “Is it worthy of Captain Baker?”

Slowly, she turned to look at him. Her head was full of what she’d read, things she’d never dreamed of before. She looked at Trevelyan, with his dark eyes, his broad shoulders. She looked at his hands, at his long fingers. “I—” she began, then had to clear her throat. “Of course it should be only privately published,” she said in a businesslike way. “But I think it could make money.”

Trevelyan smiled at her in a patronizing way. “And what do you know of earning money?”

Claire returned his patronizing smile. Maybe it was the light, but right now he didn’t look as old as she’d thought he was. “Unlike the British way of inheriting money, we Americans earn ours. In America a man—or a woman—can start out with nothing and earn millions. It merely takes hard work and foresight.”

“Yet you’re going to marry money when you marry your young duke.”

“You must not know much about the family or you’d know that Harry doesn’t have a dime.” She turned and put her feet on the floor. “I thank you so much, Mr. Trevelyan, for lending me this manuscript. It was most interesting. But now I must go. It must be getting late and I…” She broke off as she looked at her watch. “It’s nearly seven o’clock. I’ll miss dinner if I don’t hurry.” She put the manuscript on the nearest table, called “Thanks” one more time, then ran from the room.

As soon as she left, Oman entered the room and picked up Claire’s empty dishes. Trevelyan looked at her empty whisky glass and at the manuscript she’d been reading. “She likes whisky and books about sex,” he said softly, smiling to himself.

“She is a beauty,” Oman said in his own language, a language that Trevelyan had spent some time learning.

“She belongs to my brother,” Trevelyan said as he turned away. “She belongs to his world, not to mine.”

Chapter Five

After a long, tedious dinner, Harry asked Claire to walk in the garden with him. She was very pleased, for all through dinner she’d thought about her day—and the man she had spent the day with. He was such an odd man, like no one she’d ever met before—and he caused such a range of emotions in her! One minute she hated him, the next minute she was looking at…at his hands.

“You looked particularly fetching this ev

ening,” Harry said. “You looked as though you were in a dream world. What gave you that look?”

“Nothing special,” she said, lying. “I was thinking about something I read today.” She was glad that, in spite of the cold temperatures within the large drafty rooms, she’d worn one of her more daring Worth gowns. It was low on her shoulders and left her arms bare—frozen but bare. If the gown earned her a compliment from Harry it was worth a few chill bumps.

“So they finally allowed you in the library?”

She stopped walking and looked up at him. “How do you know about that?”

He just smiled at her, tucked her hand over his arm, and started walking again.

“Harry, do you think men and women can be friends?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said tentatively.

She looked back up at him. “Are we friends? I mean, can you and I talk to each other about things?”

Tags: Jude Deveraux Montgomery/Taggert Historical
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2023