Perhaps after the holidays, once he’d returned to London, he would seek out that pretty little redhead who’d caught his eye at Drury Lane. He could make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
He reached his hand into his coat and rubbed his cock over his trousers but without much enthusiasm.
Pox on the holidays.
A burst of wind shook the coach, causing Jack to abandon such thoughts and grasp the leather strap above the window.
All that was visible outside was white, with an occasional glimpse of trees in the distance. Jack was lucky to have a driver as weathered and stubborn as Cyril, although even a beast such as Cy must be cursing these frigid conditions about now.
Jack turned to the window but then jerked back at the sight of a startled-looking woman staring up at him. Long brown hair whipped around her, and then she fell away from the road, disappearing.
He pounded his fist on the ceiling. “Hold up, Cy!” And then Jack uttered, “Damnable vexatious woman,” when they jerked to a halt. The unfortunate near-collision meant he was going to have to leave the warmth of the heated brick inside his coach and venture into this damned weather.
If he’d imbibed, he might believe her face had been an apparition… but no. She’d been an actual, live woman who had been foolish enough to put herself in harm’s way.
He pushed the door open and, skipping over the step, hopped out, sinking his new black Hessians into at least six inches of a slushy mixture of dirt, water, and snow.
“Was that a woman?” Cyril asked from where he’d risen from his seat on the driver box.
“I’ll see to her.” Jack waved his driver off.
“We shouldn’t stop for long, my lord.”
Jack huffed and then marched toward where he presumed he’d find the foolish woman. If she’d the slightest bit of sense, she would have picked herself up and chased after them, begging for a lift that would surely save her life.
Apparently, this one lacked sense.
Or—Jack considered with the slightest guilt—she was unconscious.
A few more steps and he caught sight of what amounted to nothing more than a brown scrap of humanity.
Drawing closer, however, he reconsidered.
Not a scrap.
The woman lay on her back, arms wide, as though she had frozen in place while making a snow angel. Wavy chestnut hair, at least two feet long, possibly three, fanned out around her face forming a starburst. Her lips were red and plump, and a few perfect snowflakes had latched onto dark, thick lashes.
“Miss?” Who was she? Why had she been traipsing outside alone? With her hair loose, no bonnet in sight, she couldn’t be a lady. He reached out and shook her arm. Her coat was worn but well-made, and she wore soft leather gloves.
“Miss.” He shook her.
“Is she dead?” Cyril’s voice barely carried over the wind.
Jack noticed the rise and fall of her ample bosom, mostly hidden by her ugly coat. Not dead.
And then she was staring up at him.
Such brown eyes ought to have been unremarkable. But they were mocha-colored with unevenly distributed flecks of gold and green that evoked images of fathomless forests.
She blinked a few times and then licked her lips.
“Am I dead? Are you my handsome prince?”
Good Lord, she was dicked in the nob.
“Are you injured?” Jack leaned over, his gloved fists sinking into the snow around her head.
Twin lines of confusion appeared between her brows. “I thought my prince would have golden hair, but yours is as black as night. And your eyes are even darker.”