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EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK MY LORD ROGUE
Again, Simon was met by a defiant mix of stubbornness and sorrow. Then mind-boggling silence. Disgruntled but spurred to action, Simon slapped his hat on his head and began to shove on his gloves. A gentleman wouldn’t have removed his gloves at all, he berated himself. But I am no gentleman. Gentlemen didn’t fixate on married women. And married gentlemen didn’t betray infirm wives, no matter the arrangement.
Oh, his sins were many—too many to count. Damn his eyes! On entering Bedford’s box, a small part of him had held out hope that Gillian still loved him. But he’d chosen his path, and in doing so, he’d lost Gillian forever. Lies and misery separated them now. Hers. His. Bloody hell, they’d never been fated to be together, and nothing he could do or say would change that.
Gillian, Baroness Chauncey had become resourceful, cunning, and ruthless in her dealings with him. He deserved every cutting remark, every heated look. But that would not stop him from discovering the reason for her presence in Town. He’d get to the bottom of it, with or without her help.
Regret rose like a deafening buffer between them as applause ignited the crowd below and in the boxes around them. Lighting in the theater had dimmed. The play had begun. And Nelson was late, as usual, which meant Simon needed to return to his duties.
“Promise me you will not leave until our conversation is finished,” he said as he made his way to the curtained exit.
“I cannot.” She slanted a look at him. “I will not.”
His brows shot up in surprise. “As you wish, but I will be back.”
Holcroft’s Deaf and Dumb began like the metaphor it was—neither character understanding the other, neither ready to accept their true feelings, neither willing to make more sacrifices than had already been made. Gillian stood before him, proud and undaunted with her chin raised and eyes set with unflinching determination.
Simon bowed, barely catching her polite curtsey. “Baroness,” he said stiffly before sweeping the curtain to the side.
She made no sound.
Perhaps it is for the best, eh? his conscience prodded.
Duty linked him to Vice-Admiral Nelson, to a cause greater than flesh. The mission they embarked on together—he and Nelson—organizing a group of mercenaries that would answer to the vice-admiral and act to stop Napoleon’s threat of invasion, depended on total discretion and his complete concentration. As quickly as his instincts had been triggered to follow Gillian, Simon forced her to the back of his mind, turning off his emotions as he exited the box. His heart was not equipped for the gut-wrenching truth that Gillian wanted nothing to do with him. So be it. A man could not turn back the tide.