Scandal of Love

By: Janelle Daniels



He wanted this moment to last, to draw out every last ounce of music. It was with much regret when it came to an end and he had to take his hands off of her.

Wondering how soon he could get her back into his embrace, he escorted her to her companion. He hoped it would be soon.

***

To say that Sera was surprised was an understatement. She was shocked. This gorgeous, black-haired man who had eyes the color of fresh moss was Lord Devericks?

After a few deep breaths, Sera was prepared to dance with him, only to have him ask Aubrey first. Confusion settled within her, but it only took a moment to realize what had happened. He thought Aubrey was his fiancée!

She could tell the second he learned of his mistake, and it took every ounce of her control to stop herself from laughing aloud at the expression on his face.

She had to hold her laughter inside. It would only cause suspicion for her to laugh at her fiancé during their first appearance together.

The humor began to fade, quickly replaced by another feeling as he looked to her. He gazed at her with such blatant hunger that she almost gasped from the intensity.

Telling herself to break away from his eyes, she tried to look at another part of him that was less imposing, less powerful, but she couldn’t. She was held captive by his stare.

Blushing, she realized he wasn’t looking away from her. He was absorbing her from the top of her head to her toes. Nothing seemed to escape his notice. When his eyes returned to hers, the look he gave her was filled with such appreciation that she couldn’t help but blush again.

When the music began, he turned to dance with Aubrey, which Sera was grateful for. She wasn’t used to being looked at with such possessiveness. She hadn’t realized how powerful it would make her feel.

She felt proud that he was attracted to her. Not that she had anything to do with her own looks, but she felt womanly, beautiful. More so than she had ever felt before.

He moved well, she noted. Watching as he performed the intricate patterns of the quadrille with Aubrey, she saw that he never missed a step.

Unable to stop herself, her gaze lingered over him. His shoulders were broad, heavily corded with muscles that tapered down to a narrow waist. His legs ate up the floor as he danced, strong and sure. He was about a half a foot taller than her, but he seemed so much bigger, so much more imposing. There was something about him that didn’t seem quite tame. His clothes were of the highest quality, but it was the man himself that seemed to be a bit uncivilized. Was it his travels on the continent that had given him a touch of the wild?

The dance ended in a flurry of bows, and her heart began to beat heavily in her chest as he came to claim her for the next.

Placing her hand on his arm, she felt the muscles bunch underneath her touch. The give of his skin through the layers of his clothes felt so intimate. Why had she never noticed that with another man before?

His arm came around her as the music began, and that was when she stopped thinking. She could only feel.

Her pulse melded with his as they glided through the steps. Completely in tune with him, her body moved and swayed with the music. Everything seemed to dim, the music, the lights. Everything except her heartbeat. The deep, even rhythm had picked up, almost keeping pace with the tempo of the music.

Looking up, she closed her eyes against the cascading fire that shot through the crystals in the chandelier. Were they sparkling as brightly a moment ago, or had they just started?

She didn’t understand it. She couldn’t.

What was happening to her? Did Lord Devericks feel it as well? Trying to be inconspicuous, Sera glanced at his face, trying to discern if he felt something out of the ordinary.

He seemed composed, his features serene. Almost as if he didn’t realize everyone was watching them. But did he feel the pull between them? Had he felt how the world seemed to dim when she stepped into his arms?

He was a stranger. There was no reason he should have such an effect on her. But for whatever reason, he did.

The final note of the song drew out, ripping her out of the trance. It was over so soon? It felt as if they had just come together.

With a final curtsy, she took his arm, hearing the noise level raise, no doubt in conversation about what they had just witnessed.

He leaned down to her ear. “I think we’ve passed the first hurdle. Everyone seems convinced.”

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