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A Coach Approach (After the Ball)- Xmas 1677

Louis Killington

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OOC~ Continuation thread after the ball.


Louis had promised Bridget Osborne a ride home in his coach. It may well have been that her brother offered previously; but knowing that man's reputation, he was likely having a coach encounter of his own with some young lady.


Bridget had been tantalized with talk of gaining an insight into capturing a lord's interest. In the past she had only to rely upon her father's position. With his fall from grace, it would mean that she would need to assert herself if she wanted a decent match. Louis was going to attempt to teach her to be more interesting and, in doing so, see if he could bind her to him. He was not certain when and if he would have need of her; but, it would be a useful game piece nevertheless.


As the ball ended, Basildon had done his best to introduce her to various people of his acquaintance. Not only did it make good on his pledge, but it allowed many to see them together so that tongues might begin to wag. It would prove to be useful to him later. He was fairly certain that it would cause Danby to contact him. Little did he know that her father had already sent a messenger.


There had been banter along the way. He had done what he could to have her get tipsy, offering her a regular flow of wine. He did not want her so inebriated that she would fall asleep, but being tipsy was a way to loosen her tongue and her inhibitions.


"Did you see the glare he gave the man that was whispering to his wife?" Louis laughed as he assisted her into his coach, making small talk and keeping her laughing. "I have fought duels over less." He gave the coachman the Osborne address and told him to take the long way. Once comfortable he inquired, I hope you enjoyed the ending the ball more than the beginning." That would not be hard. "I introduced you to as many as I could. There will be many more."

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Bridget was feeling a bit giddy and more cheerful than she had been since her father had been banished from court. Lord Basildon made good on his promise to introduce her to people he knew, and she had seen no disapproval or pity on their faces. Maybe her perception had been clouded by the effects of all the wine she had consumed. Whenever her glass had seemed almost empty, it had been refilled immediately by her charming companion and taking sips of wine while telling courtiers how pleased she was to make their acquaintance stopped her from fidgeting nervously.


Holding tightly to Louis' arm as he led her to his carriage, she convinced herself that the reason she was stumbling was because the ground was slippery with snow. She felt like one of those Dutchman he had told her about, sliding around in wooden shoes, and the notion made her giggle. Bridget Osborne never giggled, believing it to be a foolish form of laughter better suited to silly children than proper young ladies of quality. Now she didn't even notice that she was doing it.


“Yes, and I think his wife was enjoying it.” She giggled again as he helped her into his carriage. “You've fought duels over ladies?” she asked, her blue eyes as wide as saucers. Of course he would be an expert swordsman. Bridget imagined that he would be good at whatever he set his mind out to do.


She settled back against the cushions. Her vision was somewhat blurry, and until she blinked, she saw two handsome Earls sitting across from her instead of one. “It was a perfect ending. Thank you, my lord, for turning an unfortunate evening into a splendid one. I look forward to meeting all of your friends and going to those parties you told me about.”


She had been reconciled to a lonely season until he had come into her life. Now Bridget believed that she would be caught up in the social whirl once more, and that she would never be treated like a pariah again.

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Once settled, the coach lurched forward. Women were predictable about duels. They professed alarm that men would be so foolish but dreamed that they might be the object of a duel at the same time. "I have fought many duels over ladies," he admitted. "You might say that I have become a champion of the fairer sex," he offered with an amused smile. And a wounder of their fathers and brothers. "Perhaps I will have to defend your honor one day. I am skilled with blade and pistol. I imagine that no one would think to insult you while under my protection," he added.


"Speaking of protection, I had whispered to you about revealing the secrets of enticing gentlemen at court." A sly smile reflected the knowledge that she was the one being enticed at the moment. "It shall require more than one coach ride, but I shall offer you some insights this evening if you wish." He knew the answer, but he needed her to ask.

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Louis had read Bridget's thoughts perfectly. She did dream of duels being fought over her. That a gentleman would risk his life to defend her honor was a fascinating and romantic notion, even if no actual romance was involved. Lord Basildon was married. If he dueled over her, he would just be safeguarding her reputation, but no one would dare humiliate her again if he injured a gentleman who insulted her. By the way he spoke, he never lost.


“I hope it doesn't come to that,” she said, although by the way her eyes glittered, it was clear that she wished it would. She wasn't very good at hiding her feelings when inebriated. “But I feel much better knowing that you will protect me if the need does arise.”


Bridget had not forgotten his promise, but she didn't feel that it would be polite to ask him about it. He would have to offer again, so that she wouldn't seem impatient or rude. And he did just that. “Oh yes!” she breathed, her smile bright and eager. “Please teach me how to charm a gentleman so that he will be haunted by thoughts of me even when we are apart.”

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Bridget seemed to take the bait well. Louis smiled inwardly atthe thought.


"Men are driven by different things Bridget. If you want them to marry you, you must act one way. If you want to have them dream of you, it is quite another. I suspect that you know how one behaves in the marriage market; but am happy to add my own thoughts. It is the latter that is more difficult," he admitted.


"To have a gentleman dream of you, you must be all things to him. You can captivate him with beauty for a time, but it is your wit that shall keep him; that and a way to keep his interest as a lover." He watched her eyes carefully, as he readied his disclaimer. "It shall require a more libertine attitude if you are to compete for the best company at the merry court. You need not travel from noon unto midnight, but you should be willing to traverse into the dusk to create an air of mystery and desire." He sought to tantalize her without scaring her. The strong liquor was likely to help him in that regard. "Are you willing to adventure into uncharted waters? I shall endeavor to aid you in not running aground."

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Bridget leaned forward eagerly, ignoring a wave of dizziness. “I want both,” she declared. “I want the gentlemen to dream of me so longingly that they will yearn to marry me.”


She was drunk enough to believe she was beautiful and witty, when in truth, she was neither. While usually the notion of acting in a libertine manner would have disgusted her, now it intrigued her. Bridget hung on Lord Basildon's every word, her eyes bright and glittering with fanciful notions of entrancing every handsome and eligible young Earl and Duke at court.


“I want to be mysterious and desirable,” she whispered. Fortified by too much wine, nothing scared her at the moment. “What do I have to do?”

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"First let us start with the more proper," Louis introduced. "In marriage, most lords wish to have a biddable wife that will handle household issues without inconveniencing him. Thus, if you appear to complain or want a disproportionate amount of his attention, he will be wary. Most lords will look at your dowry and how much of a nuisance you shall be to them day-to-day. They are apt to keep you at home while they cavort with their mistresses. It is fashionable to have mistresses at this court," he continued.


"To combat this, you must appear to be agreeable in all things to a lord you wish to charm. You must be of a sunny disposition and compliment him regularly. This will convince the lord that he might actually enjoy your company," he chuckled. "He would take less dowry from one that he finds welcome company. You must also treat the relationship as if it is more than a business arrangement if you wish him to think likewise. You must seem to seek out his company without seeming desperate, and seem attracted by his own good looks and wit. If the man is a dullard, it will take a great deal of acting," he laughed.


"In return, you should decide what man you wish. A dullard is convenient if you wish to intrigue behind his back. Dullards are slow to see subtle warning signs. They also will treat you as property, so it is easier to justify in your own mind the value of taking on a lover." Now that he was on that subject, he offered his silver flask of brandy.


"If you want a handsome and witty man to marry, they are the hardest to contain for they are in great demand. In essence, it will be your dowry and willingness to permit his dalliances that will be important. It is near impossible to compete against every new pretty face at court, so you don't, which frees this husband to get passions satisfied elsewhere. It is better to have a witty, handsome man as a lover, for he will be well-experienced and know how to treat you so that you feel special, though he is likely to move on from one brief affair to another. Best to know that going in so that you can enjoy it while it lasts," he concluded with a smile, knowing that he was describing himself. There was only one way to hold a man like him and Bridget did not have the tools to do so. Lisa did. There was no reason to give Danby's daughter false expectations.


"The best way to captivate a gentleman is to find a kind and earnest young man new to court. If he is honorable, he is less likely to treat you poorly, more likely to stay true to you, and more likely to be successful in life. You must find them before all the libertine ladies turn his head with low cut bodices and whispers of fleshy temptation." He paused to see what sort of cleavage that Bridget might have to advertise. If she had only modest bosoms, there would be less for him to suggest. No doubt she would catch him looking.


"This young man must be wooed with guile, offering him interesting adventures for the two of you. Do not make him do all the work. You should suggest sleigh rides, boat trips, and sight-seeing tours around London. Make him feel as if you need a protector. That appeals to that sort of man. You must also look for opportunities to kiss frequently, and profess to enjoy it. This will help bind the man to you. You then show him a sample of the passion that you have waiting for him ... if only he marries you so that the two of you could begin right away." More laughter. "He'll not be looking elsewhere if you handle him correctly with glimpses of your ankles, bosom, pearly smile, and soft passionate lips," he advised. "You will then need to satisfy him with passionate bouts of lovemaking with creative twists to keep him from seeking a mistress. These can be taught to you." He paused to see if thoughts of passionate lovemaking warmed her blood. Was she a cool fish or a warm one?


"Last, there is the older man. He will want a dutiful wife and not much else. he will want to be free from bother and embarrassment. He will be looking for a steward in a female body. If you find one old enough or weak enough, this lord offers you the chance to become a widow at a very young age. Then, you may do as you wish for the rest of your life. You can become a merry widow, marry again on the basis of what the gentleman brings to your life and bedroom, or pursue other interests. You are a free woman at that point, with no one to naysay you. It might be worth a decade of servitude to be free for another 30 years," he enticed.


"Now then, what are your preliminary thoughts of the man you wish? We can then work on kissing and witty responses for practice, if you choose the sort of man that requires it." he then sat back speculating she would want either the young man or the old.

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Bridget wrinkled her nose when Louis began speaking about what a gentleman wanted from his wife. She already knew all this, and she had resigned herself to the fact that she and her husband would remain virtual strangers for the rest of their lives. He would be interested in her dowry and her father's power (once the charges against him were dismissed and he returned triumphantly to court) and care nothing at all for her. If all Lord Basildon was going to tell her was how to be a proper wife …


She leaned forward with enthusiasm when he began to explain how to catch her future husband's interest and keep it. Bridget had never considered wooing a gentleman before. Wooing was the man's responsibility. Or so she had always thought. Maybe those ladies who made excellent matches knew how to beguile a man into marrying them. If she followed his advice, she might be able to attract a gentleman of her own choosing instead of meekly accepting whomever her father selected for her.


Yes, she could flatter a gentleman and seek out his company when he didn't expect it. She could laugh at his jokes, smile at him winsomely, make him think he was the most important person in her world. The trick seemed to be to treat the man she wanted to marry as she herself wished to be treated. Was that truly the secret to making oneself irresistible?


Bridget didn't think she wanted to marry a dullard, unless he was a Duke. Her friends would laugh at her behind her back if he was lower in status and he would embarrass her regularly. It was the witty handsome man that she wanted, even if she had to turn her back on his affairs. If she could enchant him, eventually he would no longer be interested in straying. But how did she do that?


Louis' advice about taking a lover made her vaguely uncomfortable. She knew that a man was almost expected to unfaithful, but a woman's reputation could be ruined if she did the same. It was better to marry that handsome and witty gentleman that to become his paramour. She wasn't even certain what lovemaking entailed, which was another reason the subject disconcerted her.


So she should find a gentleman who was new to court and had not yet become jaded by it. Her cheeks colored when Lord Basildon glanced down at her bodice, and she thrust her bosom out proudly. She had an average figure with feminine curves, and her gown showed a fair bit of cleavage.


He offered her another secret: Don't let the man do all the work. She had to arrange outings for the two of them and profess to need a protector. All this she could do. Bridget had been taught that she was not to kiss gentlemen freely, but it seemed that was what they wanted. In her inebriated state, everything Louis told her sounded wonderful, even teasing the man of her choice with techniques that only libertine women employed.


Her body trilled with sensations that she had never felt before, sensations that were quite pleasurable and more than a bit exciting. Even the thought of making love enticed her. Her cheeks were a bit flushed and her eyes sparkled with anticipation. She wouldn't make love with anyone but her husband, of course, but she thought that Louis was talking about after she was was wed.


An older man didn't interest her. Spending her youth with some wrinkled old codger would be disgusting and with her luck, he would outlive her. When Louis asked her which kind of gentleman she was interested in, Bridget didn't hesitate. “I want the handsomest, most witty gentleman at court, and I want to enchant him so thoroughly that he will never look at another lady again.”

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God in Heaven. Her response was typical of the vain, vapid, and vacuous ladies that heavily populated the court. They did not have the wits to know they were witless and were too idealistic to know they were separated from reality. Trying to make an exquisite vase with inferior clay was a true challenge. Still, to the good, these ladies were the easiest to manipulate.


"Ah, but they are the most elusive creatures to catch," he whispered tantalizingly, knowing that she would not be deterred by it. Rather, it would have the effect of encouraging her further. "Fortunately, you sit in the company of one of them," he added immodestly, "so I know their secrets."


"First, we must start with kissing practice," he announced as if an older tutor. "You will never catch this man without knowing how to kiss him in a way that leaves him wanting more." He could not help but smile inwardly at the path he knew lay ahead.


"Now then, let me sample your technique so that I might provide suggestions." He moved over to sit beside her. "Now pretend that I am the gentleman you intend to woo. I lean in to whisper in your ear what is it you would like? You show me by leaning in to give me a kiss long enough to tell me that I am more than an acquaintance." He expected her to fail miserably but the fun was in the trying. He leaned in but inches from her lips.


"Bridget," he whispered to her enticingly. "Tell me what it is that you want."

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Lord Basildon was certainly vain about himself, but Bridget thought he had good reason. He was handsome and she had heard he was witty, though he was a bit straightforward with her tonight. Then again, he had to be in order to teach her the secrets to charming the kind of gentleman she wanted to marry. He didn't say that her goal was impossible and that reassured her. And if she could manage to enchant him, she knew that she would be able to captivate the most eligible man at court, whomever that may be.


That was her aim for tonight … to make Lord Basildon desire her to the point he could think of no one else. She had no intention of letting him deflower her. Just knowing that he wanted her was enough for her. But could she pull it off? “Then you are the perfect man to teach me,” she flattered. “How fortunate I am that you offered to help me.”


Bridget had never kissed anyone but him on the lips before. She had given a few gentlemen brief pecks on their cheeks but that was as far as her experience went. He will be disappointed in me, she lamented, but still the thought of kissing him tantalized her. She was still drunk enough to be bolder than usual.


“Very well,” she replied, as he slid beside her. She could feel his warmth and smell his scent. His closeness excited her and frightened her at once. “You are the first gentleman I have ever kissed, so you must promise not to laugh at me.” Those unfamiliar sensations dancing through her young body made her tremble when he leaned toward her and whispered in her ear.


“I want you,” she whispered back. Her voice sounded quite convincing, but her kiss was less so. She pressed her lips to his and kept them there, completely still.

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"You have kissed no gentleman?" Louis tutted. "That is a grievous shortcoming in your training then." His chiding was done with a smile and a chuckle so that Bridget would not perceive it as a criticism.


It was no surprise that she kissed the way she did. It was the sign of a neophyte that they thought that there were two kind of kisses, the peck and the applied pressure until the other party yielded. "Off to a good start," he complimented, signally that there was a long way to go. "Kissing is like horseback riding. If you are stiff in the saddle and do not move, it will likely not end well. You must adjust second by second to maintain your balance, shift your grip of the reins, lean forward and back, apply just the right ressure with your legs and heel, and offer direction to your mount. Kissing, if done well, is equally complex."


"You must vary the pressure of your lips. Use your five senses Bridget. Touch is the most important because the connection must be pleasurable, so as to thrill the other party. A secret, while you are kissing is to reach up your hand and gently place it on the back of the skull of the gentleman to pull him closer into the embrace, or to tease him with playing with his hair as you kiss. By pulling him closer you signal that you are very eager for his kisses, which compliments the man and encourages him to think the same of you. It will be a pleasant sensation on his neck to compliment the pleasurable sensation of the kiss."


"Sound, a kissing couple can send sounds of contentment to the other through sighs of pleasure or soft grunts that signal that one's passion is aroused. A gentle sigh from you will be both a compliment and encouragement of the lord to continue in his affections. Also, sweet whispers of endearment will excite the gentleman."


"Taste. This is for after you know the lord better; it is critical that your tongues kiss as well as your lips. It is called the French style of kissing but it is practiced by all young couples who truly enjoy kissing one another. Though it may sound offputting at first, you will find that it sends thrills though your body when you advance from a more routine kiss to one that is more passionate. It says to your partner that you want them, in a way more meaningfully than with words alone."


"Sight. If you close your eyes, you are missing half of the fun. The eyes of a kisser tell you the truth, whether they are enjoying the kiss and what they think of you. If there is a distant look, they are not interested and you need to work harder on them. If the look is intense, it means that you are capturing them."


"Smell. You should be close enough to smell any perfume he is wearing and vice versa. Yet, when men are excited by a kiss they might perspire just a bit. Women give off a scent that is noticeable when they are interested too. It is hard to describe but you may know it when you sense it."


He chuckled at the thought that he was so academic about the topic. "Words will help you only so much. So, now, let us practice." He reached out to take her in his arms and pull her close. He started with a soft kiss of medium length and then followed with a series of soft and sweet follow up kisses. His hand slipped into her hair, so as to stroke her neck lightly as they kissed.


"That is your basic kiss from a man interested in kissing you more than with a holiday kiss. "Are you ready for the next step?" he asked with with a warm smile.

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Because he smiled and chuckled, Bridget misconstrued the meaning of his words. She thought that he was pleased that he had been the first gentleman she had ever kissed. There had been plenty of opportunities in seasons past, and she had been tempted a few times, but she had always been able to resist by telling herself that proper young ladies did not conduct themselves in such a wanton manner and that she would never find a husband if she acted like a harlot.


But Louis was changing her views on many things tonight. Apparently, the type of gentleman she wanted to marry expected to be kissed passionately even before they were betrothed. And she had to entice them in other ways that she would have once thought scandalous if she wanted to keep their interest.


She grinned brightly when he said she was off to a good start and her nervousness disappeared. So she had not disappointed him after all, although he thought that there was room for improvement. It was disconcerting to think of kissing her horse. No, that wasn't what he had said. He had said that kissing was like riding a horse. Bridget prided herself on her horsemanship, and understood that riding well took a lot of practice. So did kissing, it seemed.


Her eyes kept traveling to his lips as he explained how she must use all five of her senses to enchant a gentleman with her kisses. She tried to commit everything he told her to memory. Move your lips. Pull him closer and tease him by playing with his hair. Sigh and whisper sweet words to him. Use your tongue … Bridget couldn't help wrinkling her nose at that idea but if it meant she would feel more of those unfamiliar but exciting sensations, she would at least give it a try.


When she had kissed Louis, she had closed her eyes, but now she knew that she must keep them open to gauge what a gentleman thought of her. She considered it strange that both men and women gave off special scents when they fancied each other, and she was quite curious about what a gentleman would smell like if he cared for her.


Finished with his verbal instructions, he decided to demonstrate. A bright little thrill shimmered down her spine as he pulled her close and pressed his mouth to hers. Her lips moved a bit awkwardly against his, and when she felt his hand softly stroke her neck, she reached up to caress his dark hair. Oh, how wonderful she felt now, how her body trilled with pleasure. She sighed against his lips without thinking about it first.


Bridget wished she could stay like this forever and that he would rain kisses upon her until the end of time. When he pulled his lips from hers, she smiled happily. “I have never been kissed quite like that before,” she whispered. “I am ready for the next step, but first will you tell me if I did well? Did I make you think I enjoyed your kiss and wanted more?”

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All was going according to plan. Bridget's reactions were predictable. It would have been much more difficult if she had been a cold fish. Yet, there was a contingency for those types as well.


"Mademoiselle," he complimented with a pleased smile, "you are an apt pupil. Are you sure you have not been practicing before?" he teased. "It seems to come so natural for you," he complimented. His plan needed to have her feel encouraged and empowered.


"The key to mastery is hours and hours of practice," he recommended. "The beauty of kissing is that it is so enjoyable. It is far better than tedious conversation don't you think? I shall practice with you the rest of the way to your home, but we shall need to find other opportunities to practice this season. Your first test shall be at Lady Kendishall's party." He knew it would be a libertine affair. "You shall need to work your magic on more than one gentleman, so that you can contrast their kissing and make them jealous of each other. The goal, at the end of the season, is to drive the right gentleman to madness to possess you completely, heart, body and soul, and then you whisper that all they need do is to petition your brother for your hand in marriage." Louis gave her a conspiratorial smile as if they were partners in crime. "The party is Wednesday and I shall come to collect you so that we arrive together and all shall know that I am your protector."


"Now then, I fear we shall reach your house in ten minutes so let us practice some more and I shall end tonight's lesson with a French kiss." He proceeded to take her in his arms and continue her lessons with great variety, allowing his hand and fingers to stroke and caress the right points of her face, hair, ear lobes, shoulders, back, and arms. They ended with the deep kissing of the French variety in the hopes that he would get her so worked up that she would all but beg to continue with more advanced training. The key was to make her so fond of kissing him that no other man would measure up. That would be the second step of binding her to him -- to make her dream of kissing him.


He need not debauch her, despite his desire to do so, for that would reflect poorly upon him in the King's eyes. Instead, if it was to his advantage, he would find a substitute to do it for him and then he could fly to her protection, binding her completely. Yes, it was a pleasant plan. Now he just needed to find the right person to serve as his tool if need be.


As the coach arrived, Louis awaited for the coachman to lower the step, giving Bridget one last kiss -- a goodnight kiss, promising to see her soon. As any gentleman might, he walked her to her door and then returned to the coach. If spies saw them together, so be it. If all else failed and she refused to be malleable, he could ruin her.

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She was doing well and was a natural at kissing! Bridget's heart almost burst with pride (which she already had in spades) at his praise. She must have made him want her already. Tonight, he would dream of her and when he awakened the next morning, he wouldn't be able to get her out of his mind. He would think of her constantly and would wish that he wasn't married so he could have her. Yes, that was how it would be.


Her eyes sparkled happily when he promised to practice with her until they reached her house. It wasn't a very long journey and she hoped that there would be so many coaches on the road that it would take them hours to reach it. But the coach kept trundling along at a decent pace. “Yes,” she breathed. “I would much rather kiss than talk now that you have shown me how delightful it is.”


And he was going to take her to a party on Wednesday! Bridget had no idea who Lady Kendishall was, but she didn't care. All that mattered to her was finally being accepted at court again, and she looked forward to enchanting more gentlemen into kissing her, because she was absolutely certain that Lord Basildon would be jealous when he saw her flirting with other men. She wanted other gentlemen to be envious too and try to outdo each other to win her favor. With Louis' help, she would soon be the most popular lady at court.


“Oh, thank you, my lord!” Impulsively, she threw her arms about his neck and hugged him. “You are so kind to me. I promise I will not disappoint you and you will never regret becoming my protector.”


As she had feared, they didn't have a great deal of time to practice tonight, but she planned to make the most of every minute. Apparently, he felt the same way. His kisses and caresses were divine and made her long for something she didn't quite explain. At first she was a bit hesitant to touch him, but soon she was stroking his hair again, her hands moving down to his neck and shoulders and then up to his face. Bridget loved the warmth and texture of his skin.


She didn't even realize when his tongue slipped into her mouth. It seemed like a natural continuation of their kisses and the most exciting sensations danced through her body. She had never felt anything quite like it before. When the coach stopped, she sighed in disappointment when he broke the kiss, but she couldn't help but smile as he kissed her goodnight, helped her from the coach, and walked her to the door.


After bidding him a warm farewell, she disappeared into the house and practically skipped upstairs to her bedchamber. That night, it was no surprise that all of her dreams were of him.

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