He pulled her into his arms and everyone around them cheered. “I can’t wait for our future.”
“Me either,” she breathed, and she kissed him again. When she finally pulled away, her eyes had misted with tears as she looked out at her assembled family and friends.
Bianca wiped at her eyes. “I can’t believe another wedding is over already.”
Cordelia gave her sister an affection glance, happiness rising up into her chest. “Fortunately for us, we’ve a few more weddings to go.” Then she looked to Charlie and winked.
What a day that wedding was going to be…
Who Wants a Brawling Baron
Romancing the Rake Book 6
Lady Charlotte Summerset lounged back on a velvet settee, as conversation swirled about her.
Normally she’d be at the center of the vortex, at her best in a social situation, but the past few weeks had been anything but normal.
First, her brother had hauled her from London and the season, out to the country, for lord knew what purpose. It was supposed to be a quick trip.
But then her cousin, the Duke of Rathmore, had announced his engagement. And just like that, they’d been travelling the opposite direction of London, heading to the sea and the home of the Moorish family in the quaint little village of Seabridge Gate.
She drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the sea air that wafted in from the open French doors all along the music room. They opened onto a series of balconies that looked out over the water and allowed guests to filter in and out of the room.
Then, in the strangest turn of events yet, her own very serious brother had fallen in love and married all within a week. Not that she objected to her brother’s choice of bride. Juliet Moorish was wonderful, kind, and had literally saved Charlie’s life a few days before. Juliet would make a lovely sister-in-law.
But now, her brother had left on a honeymoon, leaving her in the care of the Moorish family, only a few weeks left before London emptied and the season was over for good.
And she’d missed the entire affair. Every sparkling, jewel-like moment. Gone. It wouldn’t return until next year.
She took a sip of the light and bubbly beverage someone had handed her as she continued to lounge. The Moorish family was lovely, of course.
They were kind, sweet, effervescent ladies who had welcomed her to their home, but Charlie missed the glitter of London. Truth be told, she missed the array of suitors who’d showered favor upon her.
Dane had told her that she ought to marry one of them. And she would eventually. After a few more seasons. But she wasn’t ready to settle down yet. She liked to be adored. Was that so wrong?
She ignored the little voice that told her she was being selfish. That she was using their affection to fill the hole in her heart.
Instead, she rose from the settee and smiled at her cousin. “I’m going to step outside for a moment. I’m rather warm.”
He nodded, not breaking from his conversation with his fiancée. Charlie was certain that he thought she meant the balcony. Perfectly safe, completely chaperoned.
But instead she slipped through the door into the hall and headed for the main stairs. Being in this quiet village had allowed her far too much time to think. To remember.
She started down the hall, glass still in hand, and she took a generous swallow. No amount of exercise had quieted her swirling thoughts. How had her brother managed to move past the loss and open up his heart to Juliet?
He’d been older, she supposed, when their life had been forever altered. One day they’d been a happy family and the next…both her parents gone forever. She’d only been thirteen. Already so insecure.
A fresh tear dotted her eye, but she refused to let it out. What she needed was a distraction.
The sound of carriage wheels grinding along the gravel path made her head snap up. Who would be arriving at this time of night? It had to be past nine o’clock.
Rather than continue on down the stairs, she ducked into a shadow wanting to know who had arrived.
On schedule, the butler appeared below, making his way to the door, even as the bell rang throughout the grand entry.
Charlie’s breath caught, excitement making her chest a bit tighter. Somehow, the arrival of another guest seemed almost an answer to the prayer she’d sent up.