Bornin Dallas, The United States
More books by Alexa Aston…
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“ball she would attend. When the fourth dance started, Merrifield showed up. “You aren’t on my dance card,” she chided as he took her to the center of the ballroom. “I am now,” he said, pulling her into his arms. “How did you manage that?” “I called in a favor from a friend.” He twirled her around and then brought her close. “It will be worth it to see the envy on Luke’s face.” “I doubt that,” Caroline said. Merrifield frowned at her. “Why do you say that?” “Luke doesn’t care for me . . . in that way. Ask him. He will tell you we are merely friends.” Her partner grew thoughtful. “I’ll do that.” They finished the dance, Merrifield as smooth as ever, making her feel graceful and polished. He returned her to where Leah and Amanda stood together and bowed. “I’m off to ask that question,” he said mysteriously and left. “What question? Of who?” Leah asked. “Nothing. Merrifield is merely being silly,” Caroline said. She ate supper with a lively viscount and his friends, thoroughly enjoying herself, and then danced several more times. When her next partner showed up, he asked if they could do so another time. “My mother has a headache and has asked for me to see her home.” “By all means, go to her,” Caroline urged. After he left, she decided to go to the retiring room for a few minutes of rest. Only a few women were present. She went behind one of the curtains and, moments later, overheard her name. She grew still, knowing she shouldn’t eavesdrop, but chose not to reveal herself. “Have you heard that she plans to open a bookstore? And a tearoom?” Several women tittered with laughter. “How gauche,” one said. “Just think how awkward it will be if you encounter her at a social event.” “If she’ll be invited to any. Who would ask anyone in trade—much less a woman—to a ton event? She’ll never land a husband now.” “That’s not all,” another said. “I’ve learned who her father was. The Earl of . . . Templeton.” “No!” “Oh, yes. No wonder she has to do something for money. Templeton ran through it all and left nothing.” “You heard what happened to him?” “Something about footpads,”