Read Love and Larceny Online

Authors: Regina Scott

Tags: #humor, #historical romance, #regency romance, #sweet romance, #historical mystery, #regency romp, #friends to lovers, #romance 1800s, #traditional regency romance, #romance clean and wholesome

Love and Larceny (20 page)

BOOK: Love and Larceny
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And she was a little concerned about what
happened then.

The breeze brushed an auburn lock past her
eyes, and she pushed the errant curl up into the mobcap she wore at
night. Nearby, footsteps crunched up the graveled path from the
lane to the church. The sound was as loud as gunshots to her
listening ears. A shadow darted toward the stairs, running up to
the graceful white stone columns. Inside the folly, a light sprang
to life to reveal her cousin, dressed for travel, lantern shining
in her gloved grip.

Time to put a stop to this. Kitty strode to
the bottom of the steps, the lawn of her nightgown flapping about
her legs. “That’s far enough, Lucy.”

Mr. Bitterstock stiffened, but her cousin
gasped, clutching the chest of her pretty lavender Reddingote.
Everything about Lucy was pretty and delicate, from her pale blond
hair to her petite figure. She reminded Kitty of a Dresden
shepherdess, fragile, frozen in time.

“Oh, Kitty,” she said, hand falling. “You
gave me such a fright. I thought you were Father.”

“Be thankful I am not,” Kitty replied, “or I
might have come armed.”

Beside her, Mr. Bitterstock began to draw
himself up, gathering a head of steam like one of the new
locomotives.

Kitty moved to cut him off. “This is an
ill-advised venture. Kindly return to the Grange, Lucy. Now.”

Lucy blinked big blue eyes. “But, Kitty, I
love him.”

“And I love her,” Mr. Bitterstock declared,
puffing out the chest of his paisley-patterned waistcoat. She
supposed he had to posture somehow. He was not terribly imposing,
being of middling height with brown hair combed to one side of a
narrow face and sharp blue eyes. But she knew Lucy found his tenor
voice delightful.

“How sweet,” Kitty told him. “Request her
hand in marriage like a proper suitor, and stop making me stay up
late.”

She thought she sounded rather forceful.
Waspish, even. Like Mr. Bitterstock, she had to do something to
enforce her rule. She wasn’t much taller than Lucy, and her brown
eyes could look soft and sweet, or so she had been told. Confidence
in playing chaperone was key.

But her stern demeanor was not enough to
dissuade Mr. Bitterstock. He put his arm about Lucy’s waist. “Now,
see here,” he told Kitty, eyes as cold as the stars that dotted the
night sky. “You cannot stop us. You’re nothing but an old raisin,
shriveled on the vine. The only reason you’re interfering is you
cannot abide to see other people happy.”

The comment cut, but she wasn’t about to let
him see it. “Oh, stand down, puppy,” Kitty returned, wondering what
had happened to Bollers. “Raisin I may be, but at least I have the
sense God gave me. What of you? You claim to love Lucy, yet you’re
willing to steal her away from the bosom of her family, risk her
safety by driving through the night on roads unknown to you and
your team, and deny her the one shining moment of a young woman’s
life, her wedding day.”

Lucy’s lower lip trembled. “I did so want a
pretty wedding gown, Clive.”

“Don’t listen to her,” Bitterstock warned,
tightening his hold on Lucy’s waist. “She’s trying to trick
us.”

“If you consider truth trickery,” Kitty
allowed.

He scowled at her. “You’re a bully, madam,
but I wager you wouldn’t stand so tall before a real threat.” He
stepped away from Lucy and raised his fist.

Kitty stared at him. He’d strike her? None of
the men she’d confronted before had done more than protest. Where
was that blasted footman? Bitterstock stomped down the stairs, head
lowered like a bull’s and mouth set. He expected her to run, to
cower.

She would do neither.

She braced herself, feet pressed into the
gravel, ready to dodge or throw up her arms to block him if she
must. He reared back his fist, and a hand materialized out of the
darkness and seized it before the pup could make good on his
threat.

She thought surely Bollers had arrived, but
the arm attached to that hand and the broad shoulders above it had
better lines than the footman’s and were clothed in a fine green
coat. Where the footman wore a powdered wig, her rescuer had hair
the color of darkest chocolate and eyes to match. Besides, she
would never forget those handsome features, arranged as if by a
sculptor’s hand. The sight of the face that had haunted her dreams
for a decade rocked Kitty more surely than any blow.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he said
to Bitterstock. “I have it on good authority that she bites.”

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About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third
grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually
sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing.
Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have
traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including
Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than
thirty published works of warm, witty romance.

She and her husband of more than twenty-five years reside in
the Puget Sound area of Washington State with their overactive
Irish terrier. Regina Scott has dressed as a Regency dandy, driven
four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in
the name of research, of course. Learn more about her
at her
website
.

 

 

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