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Wnen First We Practice To Deceive | New Years Eve


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Biting her lip, Tamsin Faraday looked down at the patterns on the carpet as her aunt continued to rant. In one hand, she held the note that Lord Chichester had sent to her. Aunt Alice was so livid that she had not had time to read it yet. The note from Lord Langdon had arrived at the correct address this morning, but Lord Chichester's had been sent to this residence, along with a letter to her aunt explaining exactly what had happened three days ago.


Tamsin had believed that no one would ever discover that she had gone alone to a weapon shop, or that she had been attacked. She had never considered that one of the gentleman who had rescued her would notify her aunt. Now she was in hot water and if her father found out what had happened, he would make her leave London and go back to the country.


“And you fooled me too!” Aunt Alice threw her hands in the air. “You told me that you had been thinking of me and thought it would be nice to have tea together, but you told the gentleman you lived her to avoid a confrontation with your mother if she found out where you'd been.”


Tamsin finally looked up. “I never said I lived with you. I just said that you were expecting me.”


“Yet another lie!”


A tear slid down the girl's cheek. “I meant well, Auntie. I wanted to surprise Father with a weapon for Christmas, something unusual to add to his collection. How could I know that thieves would be lurking around the shop?”


A note of concern colored Alice's angry voice. “London is a dangerous place, child. Young ladies should never go anywhere without a gentleman or a guard to protect them. You could have been killed!”


Tamsin shivered. “I would have been if Lord Langdon and Lord Chichester had not saved me. I've learned my lesson. I won't do anything that stupid again.” Her blue eyes pleaded with the older woman. “Please don't tell Father, Auntie. Mother will be heartbroken if he makes me go home. You know how hard she fought for me to come to court. I have a better chance of finding a husband here than out in the middle of nowhere.”


Her aunt cared deeply for her sister, and Tamsin was hoping that Alice's anger would melt at the thought of upsetting her. The girl watched her, and it did seem as if her expression was softening. “If I keep this to myself and something happens to you ...”


“I made a mistake. It won't happen again. And I'll tell Mother that I will feel safer with a bodyguard. She'll hire one for me and then I'll be protected.”


“You must also promise me that you won't go back to the weapon shop.”


“I promise.”


“Very well, but if you misbehave in any way, your father will be informed about the attack.”


Impulsively, Tamsin stepped forward and hugged Alice. “Thank you, Auntie! May I reply to the gentlemen's' letters?”


“There's a ball tonight, Tamsin. You may speak to them then where your mother and I can keep an eye on you.”


“Yes, Auntie.” She tried to keep the smugness out of her voice. This time, Tamsin felt as if she had won.

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