One Night With A Prince(5)By: Sabrina Jeffries
She frowned. “Other people on the guest list don’t fit that description—like Captain Jones.”
“True, but his mistress, Lady Hungate, does. That’s also why Lord Hungate andhis mistress will be there. You only get an invitation to Stokely’s by being a serious gambler or a serious gambler’s lover, spouse, or mistress.”
Her face brightened. “Why didn’t you say so? You can get me invited as your mistress!”
He stared at her. Few people could astonish him; the hot-headed Lady Haversham had done so twice. This was the most novel invitation he’d ever received.
And oddly enough, the most intriguing.
He trailed his gaze down her body, lingering over her ample bosom and the black fabric that hid what he’d discovered was a trim waist and nicely plump arse.
When she blushed, he nearly laughed aloud. The woman screamed innocence, so why the devil was she offering him this?
Dropping her gaze from his blatant one, she said, “You’re not taking a mistress to the affair already, are you? I know that you and Lady Jenner—”
“Not anymore.” He stubbed out his cigar. “I’m between mistresses at present. But you can’t be serious about this.”
“Why not? I realize I’m not the sort of female you generally prefer—”
“You mean, the sort who don’t shoot at me?”
She scowled. “I mean, the statuesque, blond, shameless sort rumored to hang on your arm at every social event.”
“You seem to know a great deal more about me than I know about you.”
“Your preference for a certain type of female is legendary. I can’t alter my height and my coloring—or the fact that I get what I want using my brain, not my bosom—but I believe that with some tutoring, I could make a convincing enough mistress.”
“You’d require more than tutoring.” Taking her by surprise, he snatched out the demure black fichu tucked into the bodice of her gown. “You’d have to shed these abysmal widow’s weeds, for one thing. No one would ever believe I’d go about with a woman dressed like a crow.”
Her gaze locked with his, fiercely defiant. “And I suppose you’ll expect me to cut off my unfashionably long hair and torture it into silly curls—”
“No, nothing so drastic.” He liked long hair and he couldn’t wait to take hers down. “But you could use the services of a lady’s maid to dress it better.”
She stiffened. “Ihave a lady’s maid. She’s just not that good with hair.”
“A lady’s maid who doesn’t dress hair. Of course.” He ran one finger along the too-high line of her bodice. Her nicely filled bodice. “And I assume she’s also responsible for your prim gowns.”
She thrust his hand aside. “I can acquire more fashionable gowns if necessary.”
A smug smile touched his lips. “Ah, but can you learn to tolerate my lascivious touch?”
“I’m sure I could play the fawning female well enough. How hard could it be to act the role?”
His smile vanished. “You’re suggesting that youpretend to be my mistress?”
She blinked. “Of course. What else?”
His disappointment surprised him. “If you’re willing to risk scandal by pretending to be my mistress, you might as well be my real one.”
She looked alarmed by the very idea. “Why would I want to do that?”
“The obvious reasons—entertainment, companionship…pleasure. It’s not as if you have to protect your virtue. Widows can do as they wish.” Just how far would she go to gain her “property”? He bent close and caught a whiff of her scent—exotic, unfamiliar, and more spicy than sweet. Amazing. He would have expected the chit to bathe in lye. That glimpse of the real woman further intrigued him.