So we finally get Will and Amys story. Totally NOT disappointed. I feel like I want to do this review in quotes because there were just some memorable lines. What do you think? And Amy The thought of these two getting together had me desperate for their story.
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London, This season would likely be her last. The lively tempo pulsed through her veins, and she walked along to the energetic beat of the music. The heat in the crowded room accentuated the fruity aroma of numerous potted orange trees.
Garlands of ivy adorned two cream-colored Ionic pillars and the gilded ormolu marble mantel as well. Everywhere Amy looked ladies in filmy white gowns flitted about the room like butterflies. To her, the spring season represented a beginning and a last chance to blossom—to thrive—to be merry and carefree. A chance to break free of her doubts and feelings of inferiority. A chance to dance, flirt, and laugh without reservation.
She dodged a footman in a powdered wig carrying a tray of bottles and hurried to catch up to her friend. Georgette drew closer and pitched her voice a bit louder. Let us find our friends. Only once in the intervening years had anyone asked.
But this year, she meant to shed her wallflower reputation. Amy lifted her chin and straightened her posture, even though she imagined doing so made her look like a giraffe. She glanced down at Georgette, wishing she could be as petite and dainty. Sally, Catherine, Charlotte, and Priscilla all wore excited expressions. No doubt they intended to impart gossip. Catherine and Charlotte were particularly fond of tittle-tattle. Sally reached them first. With a deep breath, Amy slowly turned—to the accompaniment of gasps.
Everywhere you walk, others will be compelled to follow you with their eyes. While she was a bit abashed, she was also secretly pleased by their praise. The other ladies, with the exception of Georgette, stared at her. Amy nodded. It is a pleasurable way to pass the time. Amy has an eye for fabrics and trims, too. I would never have thought to put the trim on the back of my gown. While shopping with them last spring, she had taken suggestions from a premiere modiste in London.
The modiste had taken Amy under her wing and showed her which colors enhanced her appearance. The beautiful gown had transformed her from a badly dressed wallflower to an elegantly dressed lady. One day last summer, I drew what popped into my head for amusement. The dressmaker had been impressed and had told Amy she had a singular talent. Of course, her mother had expressed delight, but when Amy had shown her designs to Georgette earlier today, her friend had literally gasped.
Then her friend had begged her to design a special ball gown for her. She would never be beautiful, but she could dress elegantly. Catherine looked out at the crowd and gasped. The scandal sheets had saddled Mr. William Darcett with that moniker. By all accounts, he had earned his notorious reputation.
Amy did her best to maintain a serene expression, but she did not welcome the news that Devil Darcett was present. Charlotte clasped her hands to her heart and sighed. Why did women make cakes of themselves over rakes? Priscilla smiled slyly. The other ladies laughed and followed in her wake.
When Sally hesitated, Amy made an exasperated sound. Charlotte and the others will make fools of themselves ogling him, but you have better sense. Sally lifted on her toes and surveyed the room. When she arrived, Amy kissed the air by her cheeks. We had such fun last season. My husband has never let me forget all of the trouble I caused.
He is still suspicious of all of you and believes you influenced me—especially you, Amy. Sally shook her head. Julianne and Sally burst out laughing. Julianne smiled. She would be very impressed. Perhaps she would even make up one or two.
We could hold a little gathering of ladies at Ashdown House and display your sketches. The idea of other ladies admiring and perhaps even wearing her creations made her pulse quicken. Now I must return to my husband. We cannot stay long, because I must return home to nurse Emma. Portfrey approached. Instinctively, Amy lowered her lashes.
Her heart beat a little faster as she desperately tried to think of something interesting to say, but her brain froze as it always did when she felt pressed to respond. Portfrey asked.
She feared her anxiety would show on her face. All of her hopes that this season would be different shattered like broken glass. Why had she thought anything would change? With every ounce of strength she possessed, she forced herself to lift her chin. She did her best to pretend nonchalance, but she could not control the blush that undoubtedly made her face blotchier.
Before Georgette could reply, Amy bobbed a quick curtsy and walked away. She applied her fan as she skirted the perimeter of the ballroom. All the while, she darted glances into the crowd, hoping to see someone she knew. At that moment, she felt as awkward as she had at seventeen. She kept walking through the packed room.
As she neared the chairs where the dowagers sat gossiping, Amy saw the familiar faces of her oldest friends. Eugenia, Bernice, and Cecile watched the dancers with undisguised yearning.
Amy knew all too well how they felt. She remembered how they had shared amusing observations of the ton. They had laughed and called themselves the invisible belles. Temptation gripped her. She wanted to see her friends. She wanted to sit in a safe place where no one would slight her or pass her up for prettier girls.
She wanted to sit in a place where she felt she belonged. She took a step in that direction, and fear clawed at her lungs. If she ventured to the wallflower row, she knew she would never be brave enough to leave again. With a deep breath, Amy turned and made herself stroll away. Regardless of how difficult it was for her, she was determined to overcome the curse of being shy. Yet, as she surveyed the crowd, the idea of approaching a group intimidated her. All she needed was a few quiet moments to regain her composure.
Instead, she would find her way to the garden for a bit of air. The breeze would cool her heated face quickly. After she left the ballroom, she walked through a crowd on the landing. Something about him seemed familiar.
When the man leaned back against the stairwell rail, Amy winced. It was Devil Darcett. He was the last man she wanted to encounter tonight. She scurried down the stairs before he caught sight of her. Upon reaching the marble floor, she turned right and treaded along an unlit, deserted corridor, hoping to find her way out to the garden.
She trailed her hand along the wall to feel her way in the darkness.
How to ravish a rake
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