Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Thanks for so many years of laughter. Oddly enough, Ophelia Reid had strived for that distinction, on both counts. It was her bane to be so beautiful that people behaved like utter fools around her. Ophelia stopped at the top of the grand staircase. Others appeared confused and were talking excitedly.
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You have to at least see something of London before you hie back to the country. Let me take you out on the town tonight. A mourning, as it were, of your last few days of bachelorhood. What makes you think that shrew is any different than she was? Two out of three worked, and it was all on the up-and-up, under the chaperonage of my aunt Esme.
So return to your hotel and let your ladies know so they have time to prepare themselves. Five of the invitations had come in just that morning. Word had spread quickly after the party last night that she was back in town, and quite a few hostesses wanted to take advantage of her popularity. Would you mind terribly? I was rather looking forward to attending some of these events with you this Season, but your father discouraged me from going before.
Shall we not mention it to him then? You can leave him a note. She was looking forward to it now too. There was another reason why a certain excitement built up within her that evening as Sadie helped her dress for the ball.
It had nothing to do with how pretty she looked, though she fairly glowed in the powder blue ball gown. It was her favorite color, with good reason: it flattered her light blond hair, her fair complexion, and her blue eyes. She had quite a few gowns in the same shade, but with different trims.
This one was trimmed in silver gilt cording. A thin silver chain with small sapphires circled her throat and made her blue eyes appear a shade darker. So a gala ball was quite possibly the very last place that she might see him. Because of that feeling, she watched for him constantly. She used to love doing that. She barely noticed it tonight, her attention on only one thing, trying to find Rafe in the crowd.
A man likes to keep some things private. That gets quite messy, you know. I would have been furious at my parents—and terrified. Fortunately, we realized that before it was too late. Amazingly, she and Amanda talked for another twenty minutes. The gentlemen started interrupting, but mostly to sign their dance cards. Rafe mentioned that you put a good deal of stock in love going hand in hand with happiness. Waiting for love? She was incredulous. What an amazing difference it made to treat people kindly and have that kindness returned!
Good God, had she gone through her entire life under a false set of assumptions, deliberately alienating people who might have become her friends? Shall we go greet her? But she shone nonetheless. The little brown-haired wren from Yorkshire had turned into a butterfly. Did love do that?
But Ophelia started to feel distinctly uncomfortable as she followed Amanda across the room. Jealousy was no excuse. And a tight sensation of regret was forming in her chest. By the time they reached Sabrina, Ophelia was nearly in tears!
She held back while Amanda made her greetings. I just wanted you to know I regret all of it. Mortified that tears were running down her cheeks, she quickly left the room before anyone noticed.
It was Ophelia. How could she be jealous of me? You dinna ken how wonderful you are? So where is she? I assumed it was theatrics. But I suppose she could have left the room to compose herself—in either case. So when he did finally step inside the ballroom he had to do some searching to locate his friends. But a hush fell on the room. And—bloody hell, the mamas again.
When he saw two grand dames staunchly stomping their way toward him, dragging their daughters behind them, he thought about making a hasty retreat, all the way home. But he managed to persevere, put on his most aloof demeanor for their benefit, and declined to dance when they tried to thrust that on him too. He was about to become quite rude when his sister rescued him, pulling him away without a by-your-leave—only Amanda could get away with that, as flighty and overexuberant as she sometimes pretended to be.
She dragged him all the way to the refreshment table, where row after row of glasses were lined up and kept filled with an assortment of beverages, from champagne to weak tea, with a servant on duty to replace the glasses as needed. Raphael took a glass of the champagne. Amanda knew better than to do the same, at least with him watching, and picked up a glass from the other end of the table that would contain no alcohol. And before I forget, I was talking to Ophelia earlier.
He could almost pity the man his sister settled on. He did finally spot Duncan and Sabrina, but merely as they twirled past him on the dance floor. But he had no trouble at all catching sight of Ophelia as she tried to slip unnoticed back into the room.
She was like a magnet for his eyes, and as usual her beauty simply took his breath away. Her powder blue ball gown edged in silver cording would have been appropriate when she was the ice queen, but there was nothing icy about her now. She used to move with an unmistakable haughtiness, which was also missing.
Actually, her confidence seemed to be gone. He went cold at the thought. What had he done? He started toward her immediately. He had to hurry. Out of the corner of his eye he could see a half dozen other men heading her way as well.
He won, but only by a hair, and because the others were about to converge upon Ophelia, he simply took her hand and pulled her along to the dance floor. The moment he placed both hands on her for the waltz, he was beset with an odd sort of possessiveness. Which was ridiculous. He might have had a hand in changing her, or taming the shrew as it were, but she was not his creation. Extremely so. One dance at the most tonight to keep the tongues from wagging.
And yet he wanted to spend more time with her, to see her laugh again, to enjoy her spontaneous wit. Thankfully they had finished.
The Devil Who Tamed Her
You have to at least see something of London before you hie back to the country. Let me take you out on the town tonight. A mourning, as it were, of your last few days of bachelorhood. What makes you think that shrew is any different than she was?
The Devil Who Tamed Her (Reid Family Series #2)
In Stock Overview Johanna Lindsey presents a sparkling, passionate Regency-era novel in which a beautiful but ruthless gossip meets her match in a dashing rake who sets out to change her wicked ways. Featuring two enthralling characters from the unforgettable bestseller The Heir, The Devil Who Tamed Her is a spirited new tale about the transforming power of true love. Ophelia Reid is an incomparable beauty with a reputation for starting rumors and spreading them. But on her journey home, something unexpected happens