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Monday Puzzler > September 9 2019

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message 1: by Susan (last edited Sep 09, 2019 03:57AM) (new)

Susan (shaydock) | 645 comments A lovely fall afternoon drew me to this story, and I have not regretted a minute, I have not laughed so hard nor loved characters especially like the array of ages of dear members of the story.

An hour later, MOM set down her goblet. “Heroine tells me Niece is going home tomorrow?”
“Yes,” Hero sprinkled salt on his spinach tanzy and returned the spoon to its little dish. “I hope she also told you I’ve invited her to an event at Gresham College.”
“She has,” Mom said, “and she’ll be delighted to attend. Monday evening is it?”
A tiny gasp escaped Heroine’s lips. She’d never given Hero an answer, and she’d wanted to do that for herself.
She nudged her mother’s foot beneath the table, but Mum pretended not to notice.
“Yes Monday.” Hero took an experimental bite of the rich spinach o9melette, then smiled. “I trust you’ll be in London by ten. I’ll need direction of your town house.”
“We’re in St. James Square, “Mum answered for Heroine. “In the northeast corner, the hour of light gray stone.”
“Excellent. The celebration begins at ten, so I’ll be by at half past nine.”
“Half pastime?” Father murmured.
Nobody paid him any attention.
Heroine stabbed a stewed prawn with her fork, a bit more forcefully than necessary. If her mother and Hero kept planning her life as though she weren’t around to hear it, she feared she might scream
Seated between her sisters across the table for Hero’s friend gave her a sympathetic smile—a smile nearly as Hero’s. It just lacked that hint of the devil that lit Hero’s eyes.
Apparently noticing the glance that passed between Heroine and his friend, Hero reached for her hand beneath the table.
Faith, what if someone noticed? But it felt good. It reminded her of their stolen kisses.
Feigning nonchalance, she smiled back at Hero’s friend. He was nice. He hadn’t even mentioned her spectacles. She wondered if that was because Hero had already told him about them, or if he was just very polite.
“Pastime?” Heroine’s father repeated. He turned to his wife “What’s this all about?”
She flicked a grain of brown rice off his cravat. “Darling, I told you we’re going to London, remember?”
“I though that was to order more gowns for Heroine, since she’s finally taking interest.” Father stirred some of the butter sauce from the prawns into his rice. “From that Madame Blowfont woman.”
“Beaumont,” Sister 1 clarified loudly, sprinkling cinnamon on her own rice.
Egad, Heroine thought, did Hero have to know that she’d never cared for clothes? Nobody would call her “HEROINE” typical, she him say in her head and her family was only confirming it.
She wished she could slide beneath the table. And then melt into the floor. Especially when she caught Hero stifling a grin, indicating he was enjoying this discussion.
“Gowns?” Mum said, trying to come Heroines rescue. “Of course, she needs new gowns, but that’s no the focus of our holiday. Everyone knows my eldest daughter’s main interest is philosophy, not fashion.” She looked to Hero’s friend. “You must forgive my husband, He’s a bit hard of hearing and often misunderstands.”
“What?” Father asked proving her point.
“Nothing, my love,” Mother’s musical laughter tinkled through the room, a sound of relief. “See what I mean?”
“Heroine did have a new ball gown made, “brother said in defense of his father.
Hero squeezed Heroine’s hand.
Sister flashed her dimples at Hero’s guest. “what brings you to visit, Hero’s friend?” she asked, even though he’s told them all to call him just friend.
She’d been gazing at the man all evening. Not that Heroine blamed her. Life Hero, friend did not wear a wig, and he had the most gorgeous mane of long, dark blond hair. Besides that, devastating smile, he was tall and lean, with a poet’s face and eyes of steely gray—the most intense eyes Heroine had ever seen. When he looked at a person, he really looked at her, as though he could see right into her soul.
In response to Sister 1’s question, he was looking at her now, and she seemed to all but swoon beneath his gaze.
Eating single-handed, Hero used his for to cut a bite of Tanzy rather awkwardly. “I’ve asked friend to translate that old book for me, Sister 1. He’s a Professor Linguistics at Oxford---a renowned specialist in ancient languages.”
“Languages?” Sister 1 batted her long eyelashes, reminding Heroine of Hero’s niece.
When Hero squeezed her hand again, she stifled a laugh and stuffed a prawn in her mouth to hide it.

“I’m conversant in a few languages myself,” Sister 1 announced. It was the first time Heroine had ever heard her sister voluntarily admit her linguistic skills to a man. Still gazing at Hero’s friend, Sister 1 spooned some salt from the cellar and began blindly sprinkling her roast chicken. “Perhaps we can work on the translation together?”
Hero’s friend lifted his goblet. “Perhaps.” His voice matched his looks, smooth and rich. “Hero tells me you’ve already examined the book.”
Well, yes. But not for very long.” Sister 1 was still spooning salt. “Perhaps together---”
“Sister 1,” sister two interrupted. “Do you not think you’re overdoing the seasoning?”
Sister 1 looked down and froze, the tiny spoon halfway between the cellar and her food.
Licking orange-flavored butter sauce off her lips, Heroine gave a brittle smile. “You wouldn’t want to eat too much hard salt things and spices.”
“What?” Father asked.
Mum just looked perplexed.
“I’m afraid you’re right.” Dumping the salt back into its little dish. Rose released a languid sigh.” I’m experiencing short breathing; my heart is trembling…am I turning green as a weasel?”
“Has anyone ever seen a green weasel?” Hero’s friend asked no one in particular.
The children both giggled.
Hero shifted his hidden had to lace his fins with Heroines. “I cannot say that I have.”
Sister 2 looked down and smiled. “Beatrix, how did you get in the here?” Leaning to scoop up a small striped cat, she settled in on her lap.
“Sister 2” Mum said. “Not when we have company.”
She’s lonely.” Sister 2 stroked the animal’s fur before reluctantly setting her back on the carpet. “She had a bad day.”

Hero’s friend cocked his head at her. “Pray tell, how does a cat have a bad day?”
On his other side, Sister 1 touched him on the arm, a clear bid for his attention. “Our sister 2 claims she can feel her animals’ emotions. She collects injured creatures. Cats, birds, rabbits, and the odd squirrel. She’s turned an old barn into a menagerie, or rather an infirmary for damaged beasts. She even has a mouse.”
Sister 2 nodded. “His little leg was broken, poor thing.”
When Hero scooted his chair closer to Heroine’s, she felt her blood stirring up to venery. But a quick scan of the table assured her no one was paying attention.
To the contrary, the others were all look at Hero’s friend, who in turn was focused on Lily.
Heroine noticed a distance a softening in that intense gray gaze. “Cats and mice together?” he asked.
Sister 2, bless her, seemed unaffected by his charms. “I have but three cats at the moment, and they’ve been with me since they were kittens. When creatures are raised side by side, they can learn to be brothers and sisters. Even cats and mice.”
“Facinating,” Hero’s friend said.
“Sister 2 dreams of building an animal home, “Sister 1 announced.
“A what?”
“An animal home,” Sister 2 repeated softly. Like Heroine, she’s never shared her dream outside the family. Reaching a hand beneath the table, she slipped the cat a bit of chicken while measuring Hero’s friend’s reaction with her steady blue gaze. “A nice clean building where hurt or abandoned creatures can be brought to live. People who work there will care for them until they are healthy enough to return to the wild or they find a home with a family”
Rather than disapproving, Hero’s friend nodded slowly. “That’s a very nice idea. And innovative, too.”
Along with her youngest sister, Heroine breather a sigh of relief. She rather like Hero’s friend. “Our grandfather encouraged us to be innovative,” she told him, trying t ignore Hero’s thumb tracing circles on her palm. “Or rather to follow our dreams. And, as he put it, leave our marks on the world.”
“And what is your dream, my lady?”
“Please call me Heroine,” she reminded him, stalling for time. Although she’d told Hero her dream and he hadn’t laughed, it remained difficult to share with another.
The Hero moved their joined hands to rest on his thigh, and the shock of that loosened her tongue. “I wish to write a book about philosophy,” she blurted, shoving her spectacles higher on her nose. “My own ideas. And use my inheritance to publish it some day and distribute it far and wide. Of course,” she hastened to add, “I have a lot of studying and thinking to do before then.”
Hero’s friend didn’t laugh. “Of course. An admirable dream, Heroine. He turned to Sister 1. “And your dream, my Lady?”
Sister 1 didn’t tell him to drop the my lady. “.. I dream of falling in love, she said and prettily lowered her lashes.
Hero’s friend looked surprised, but Heroine wasn’t. Sister 1 had never shared a dream with the family, unless one counted dream of balls and gowns and jewelry.
“Oops!” Niece dropped her spoon and dove to the floor to go after it. “Pretty kitty,” came her voice from beneath the table.
“Jewel…” Hero waned. But she didn’t come up. Instead, brother slipped off his chair to join her.
An alarmed meow came from somewhere below.
“Poor Beatrix. What are they doing to you?” Leaning down, Lily swept the cat back to her lap. She rubbed its small, furry head with her finger. “Go out now, Beatrix. She said setting her down again. “I shall come to you later.”
Beatrix did go out, stepping gracefully, her striped tail high in the air.
“She obeyed.” Admiration lit in Hero’s friends’ eyes. “A cat complied with your command.”
Hero played with Heroines’ hand where it rested on his leg, and she felt herself turning red.
“Holy Hades,” came brothers voice muffled from below. “Look, Hero’s niece.”
The girls head popped up. “Hero, are you holding hands with Heroine under the table?”
“No!” Hero helped, yanking up his hands, finger spread to prove his point.
It was the second time Heroine had seen him blush. Knowing her own hue must be scarlet, she was sure her own face was scarlet, she was sure the truth was obvious.
Sister 2 gasped. Sister 1 smirked. Mum’s mouth curved into a smile.
“What’s that?” Father mumbled.
It was a long supper.


message 2: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2063 comments Mod
I definitely don’t know this


message 3: by Leigh-Ayn (new)

Leigh-Ayn | 1137 comments Haha siblings!!! Don’t know this but sounds lovely


Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1228 comments Don't know it but I want to. :-)


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (shaydock) | 645 comments The big reveal:

Violet ( Chase family Series: Violet / The Viscount's Wallflower Bride
by Lauren Royal

There are several more in the series


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