Authors: Alissa Johnson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Historical, #General
“Does that upset you?” he asked, cocking his head at her.
“No.” How could it, she thought? She’d been lost in him. It would have cut at her heart to know he hadn’t felt the same. “But now you’re thinking of it, and offering, because it’s expected of you?”
“No,” he replied sternly.
“Then…why are you offering?”
He stood up from the chair and gently nudging her over a bit, took a seat on the edge of the bed.
“Because I want to marry you,” he said simply. “For me. I want to know you’ll always be here at Haldon where you belong—where I can see your chocolate eyes, touch your chestnut hair, taste your creamy skin—”
“I’m quite the confection.”
“You are that,” he replied and took a quick taste of her lips. “I want to know you’ll always be about to make me laugh, to encourage my sister in her music, to support my cousin in her attempts to free the women of En gland—”
“You know about that?”
“Of course I do. I want to know you’re safe and happy. And I want you here because
need that to be happy. I want to have a life with you, children with you.” Careful of her injury, he took her face in her hands, his blue gaze staring into hers. “I want to marry you Mirabelle, because I love you.”
A smile, slow and delighted, crept up her face. “Oh, that’s very nice.”
A corner of his mouth hooked up. “Not exactly the response I was hoping for, but—”
“I love you too.”
The other half of his mouth moved until he was grinning. He pressed a gentle kiss to her mouth. “You’re right. It’s very nice.”
She laughed, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him back. She wasn’t gentle, as he had been, but threw herself into the kiss. She kissed him for everything she was worth, determined to show him the contents of her heart, the depth of her love. She let the pain and fear of the last few days flow away. And let Whit fill the space they left behind.
He set her away with a groan. “No more of that until you’re well,” he managed around a pant. “And we’re married.”
“I’ll make you happy, Whit.” Unable to resist, she pressed her lips to his for another quick but hard kiss. “When I’m not driving you mad.”
“Are you saying yes, Mirabelle?” he demanded. “Will you marry me?”
She framed his face in her hands. “Yes. Absolutely, yes. There’s nothing I want more.”
“I’ll make you happy, as well,” he promised.
“And drive me mad a bit?” she asked.
“To distraction,” he assured her and leaned forward to rest his forehead against hers. “I’ve loved you the whole of my life, imp…even when I didn’t like you.”
“Of course you did,” she said with a sly smile. “It was fated.”
lthough he would have preferred the speed and simplicity—particularly the speed—of a small wedding by special license, Whit agreed to wait until the banns had been read before taking Mirabelle as his wife.
It allowed his bride time to fully heal—and what woman wished for the accessory of a black eye on her wedding day? And it gave time for Madame Duvalle to create her wedding dress, a simple elegant gown in the ivory silk she had somehow known was meant for Mirabelle.
Unbeknownst to Whit, it also fit perfectly over blue satin.
Whit’s mother was given the chance to indulge in an extravagant to-do—something she’d been denied with Alex and Sophie’s wedding.
To her delight, Whit’s annoyance, and Mirabelle’s amusement, Lady Thurston spared no expense, even going so far as to demand two extra trips to London to find and purchase all the necessary accoutrements.
But in good, if lengthy, order, he and Mirabelle stood at the altar and exchanged their vows. He smirked when she faltered at the promising to obey bit, and she teased him on the drive home by feigning an interest in the tradition of occupying a suite of her own.
And they celebrated on the back lawn of Haldon surrounded by their friends and family…and nearly every member of the
“I can’t believe your mother was right,” Mirabelle commented as they stood together a little ways from the crowd, taking a moment for themselves.
“About the weather. She was adamant it wouldn’t rain—that it couldn’t rain, I believe were her exact words. And here it is, warm and cloudless. How could anyone possibly know that?”
He threaded his fingers through hers. “She has a firm belief in fate. Although she did decorate the ballroom, just in case.”
“She decorated everything.”
“This is true.”
She smiled as she watched Whit’s mother accept a drink from William. “She’s so happy,” she said before turning to Whit. “You’re not still angry with William, are you?”
He brought her hand to his lips for a kiss, and one discreet nibble on her knuckles—it was their wedding day, after all.
“I’m not still angry,” he replied as she blushed. “How could I be, when he brought us—albeit in a rather foolish way—together.”
She pulled her hand away and darted a nervous glance at the guests. “I’ll thank you to stop embarrassing me.”
“Every single guest over the age of eighteen knows exactly what you and I are going to do the very moment they leave—”
“And every one of them would thank you not to begin until they do.” She slapped at his hand when he laughed and reached for her again. “I’m attempting to have a serious conversation, Whit.”
“Well, don’t,” he advised. “It’s our wedding day.”
“And therefore I shouldn’t be serious?”
“You should be celebrating.”
“I am,” she replied and dodged another grasp. “But I want to know if William means to continue his missions.”
She nodded toward Evie, who stood a distance away in a small group of guests. It was clear she wasn’t listening to what ever was being said. Her gaze and thoughts were focused on the hills beyond the lawn.
Whit paused in his attempts to snatch up his wife. “William intends to fulfill his promise to the late duke, though I tried to talk him out of it.” He aimed a dark scowl at the man in question. “He won’t tell me what he has planned either, the blighter. Says I won’t be able to stop myself from interfering.”
“You won’t,” she agreed, and looked from Evie to William. “Perhaps I can pry something out of him.”
“Unlikely,” Whit scoffed. “The man’s lips are sealed tighter than a drum.”
She continued to eye William speculatively. “Hmm. I believe a brief talk with the man is in order.”
“He’s an agent for the War Department, Mirabelle. A brief talk isn’t going to…” He trailed off as she moved away from him towards William. “You’ll tell me what he says!”
She cast a wink over her shoulder. “I’ll think on it.”
My sincere thanks to Emmanuelle Alspaugh and Leah Hultenschmidt, without whom Whit and Mirabelle would never have discovered their fate.
“Quite enjoyable…lively and fun.”
—The Good, the Bad, and the Unread
As Luck Would Have It
is a tale written with a wicked web of intrigue. The author has created a delicious combination of luscious ingredients, a pleasure for all, leaving the reader fervently looking forward to Ms. Johnson’s next romance.”
Affaire de Coeur
“A seductive debut filled with rapier-sharp repartee, passion and espionage.”
—RITA Award-winning author Sophia Nash
“Brimming with humor and tenderness, Johnson’s debut is a joyous book from a bright new star.”
Romantic Times BOOKreviews
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT
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Copyright © 2009 by Alissa Johnson
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