Chapter Sixteen

Juliet woke late in the day to find that she was alone in her room. She blinked as the last rays of the sun shone in through the window. They’d eaten, made love again and then fallen into a deep sleep. Or at least she had.

Why had he gone? She turned over, a note sitting on the pillow next to her.

My sweet Juliet,

Meet me downstairs at seven.

All my love,

Dane

Her heart began to hammer in her chest. What was this about? She tossed back the covers, noting it was nearly seven already. She wasn’t dressed, in fact, she was completely naked, her hair still hanging in a tangled heap down her back.

She picked up her dressing gown and pulled the cord near the door. She’d need a great deal of help or she’d be late…

A half hour later, she made her way down the stairs, the house eerily quiet. Where was everyone? Had they retreated to their rooms as well?

Just outside the music room, she stopped. Normally Cordelia would be playing for everyone before the family adjourned to the dining room for dinner.

That’s when she heard the whispers.

“Is she coming?”

“Did she see your note?”

Note? Surely not the one from Dane?

“I…I hope so. If she didn’t wake—”

They knew he’d been in her room? Her heart pounded in her chest but his next words helped her relax again.

“If she didn’t wake, perhaps the staff didn’t deliver it.”

“Should I get her?” That was most definitely Adrianna.

“No,” Dane said, a bit quick and sharp or was that just her imagination? Considering the state she’d woken in, she wouldn’t blame him. “She’ll come. We just have to be patient.”

Her father chuckled. “Patience is not a Moorish trait.”

Dane joined in the laugh. “I’m learning that.”

“I can barely stand the suspense,” Ophelia said, louder. “Can’t we get her?”

Juliet bit her lip. If one of them came around the corner, they’d surely see her. But she’d like to wait. They were clearly trying to surprise her and she didn’t want to ruin that. She drew in a deep breath and backed up down the hall until she was several feet away and then called, “Where is everyone?”

She heard the shuffle of feet, the furious whispers as everyone realized she was near. She covered her mouth to hide her grin as she made her way toward the door.

Dropping her hands again, she stopped. “Hello?”

Silence greeted her. Nervous, excited butterflies beat in her stomach as she reached the door and she paused at the entrance, wondering exactly her surprise would be.

The room looked deceptively empty. She let out a loud sigh, barely able to control her smile but realized her sigh was a bit overdramatic and clamped her mouth closed.

Taking one step into the room, she noted that all of the candelabras had been lit as well as several more pillars. The room looked lovely. Then she noted that fresh cut flowers in vases had been placed everywhere.

She covered mouth again but this time, she fought back tears of joy, not giggles or sighs.


Tags: Tammy Andresen Romancing the Rake Historical
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