Dashlane came up the hill, followed by Craven and Rathmore. “Are you ready?” Dashlane called, giving him a wide grin. “Never thought I’d see the day a woman snared you.”
Luke shook his head. “I’ve told you multiple times that she didn’t snare me. If anything, I caught her.”
Craven slapped Dashlane on the back. “Besides, you’re one to talk. Caught well and good, you are.”
Dashlane snorted. “Today isn’t about me. We can go through the details of my story another time.” Then he gave Craven a light punch. “Besides. You’re just as bad as I am.”
“Speaking of bad,” Rathmore pointed down the hill. “Here comes my cousin, Hartwell.”
Luke had now known Hartwell for nearly two months and he sincerely liked the man. Calm, steady, Luke had asked him for advice on more than one occasion. “Damn fine cottage builder, your cousin. Where did a marquess learn such skill?”
“You’ll have to ask him,” Rathmore answered. “But I hear a wagon rumbling over the bridge. Do you think it’s our ladies?”
Sure enough, Mr. Moorish’s large carriage came into view, followed by a second vehicle. Mr. Moorish stepped out first, grinning from ear to ear as he helped Ophelia from the carriage first. Rathmore started for his wife, and all the other men followed, helping escort the ladies up the hill.
Luke stayed where he was, though he was itching to hold Adrianna in his arms. The vicar climbed the hill toward him, waving. “Are you ready, my lord?”
Ready? He’d been ready for weeks. On more than one occasion he’d considered sweeping Adrianna away to Gretna Green. But in the end, this was perfect. Her family, his friends that had become his family, and the site of their future home.
Mr. Moorish placed Adrianna’s hand in his arm as they waited for everyone else to come up the hill before they started. She wore a soft white gown of gauzy chiffon that fluttered in the breeze. He swallowed as he watched a few strands of her hair dance on the wind. She was perfect in this place, perfect for him. They finally started up the hill, and unable to hold still another moment, he took the last three steps, meeting them before the top. She gave him a wide smile. “Impatient?”
“Excessively,” he answered, taking her hand into his own. Then he looked at her father. “Thank you.”
Mr. Moorish patted his other arm. “Take good care of my daughter.”
“I will,” he answered. “Always.”
Tucking her into his side, they stood in front of the v
icar as their wedding vows washed over him. Luke was finally home.
Where to Woo a Bawdy Baron
Romancing the Rake Book 3
Miss Bianca Moorish stood in the town square of her sleepy village located on the eastern coast of London and assessed the large oak tree that rose up from the center of the square. “If I were a cat, that is most certainly where I would hide.”
Her sister, Juliet, tsked next to her. “Mittens did not bring three kittens up into that tree.”
Bianca turned her head from side to side assessing the branches. “We’ve looked everywhere else. The butcher…” She lifted her fingers and began counting the places they’d checked in the last hour. “The baker. Papa’s office. The docks. The cottage.” Behind her, she heard the two men helping her shift. Glancing over her shoulder, she caught Lord Dashlane rolling his eyes. He was the sort of classically handsome fellow that made most girls giddy with excitement. He was tall, broad in the shoulders, fair-haired, with blue eyes and a ready smile.
Juliet spun about, tapping Dashlane’s arm. “Why don’t we check the dairy farm on the outskirts of the village? Surely Mittens brought her kittens there for a delicious treat.”
Dashlane frowned. “We’ve been searching for the better part of an hour. I don’t think—"
“Nonsense.” Juliet waved, giving him a smile. “We’ll find her. I’m certain of it.”
Bianca pressed her lips together, certain that Juliet had concocted this entire scenario to get the handsome Lord Dashlane alone. Which was all well and good except for one little problem. Actually, he was a rather large problem.
Her gaze flitted to the other lord who’d travelled to their village with Lord Dashlane. Tall, dark, and menacing with a heavy brow and a constant frown, Lord Craven frightened her a bit. He rarely spoke, instead answering with a sound that closely resembled a growl. His arms were perpetually crossed, making the thick muscles of his neck bulge out. “Juliet. We can all search the dairy farm together. Surely—”
But Juliet had already grabbed Dashlane’s elbow. “We’ll be right back. Check the tree. It’s a grand idea.” She flashed Bianca an angelic smile, her auburn hair glinting in the sun. “You’ll be fine, B. Don’t be a scared little mouse.”
Bianca coughed, unable to believe that Juliet had just called her that in front of two men they hardly knew. “I am not a scared mouse,” she said, more to herself than anyone else.
Lord Craven made that noise in response. “Mmmm,” he growled out from deep in his throat. How did he even make such a noise? Her gaze flicked to him again as her stomach did a flop. She’d guess he wasn’t afraid of anything. She nibbled at the inside of her cheek as her hands pressed into the folds of her skirt.
She likely was scared of most things. For example, she was frightened to ask him to help her search the tree. He’d just growl at her again and so she turned without a word and started for it alone.