Articles Tagged with Dunham series

Dunham 51: Chapter Fifty-One

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May 15, 1780
Mélisande Gables
Berkeley Square, London

Elliott relaxed in his library alone with a glass of whisky in his hand after having sent Piefke to bed. The house was blessedly quiet, which gave him the opportunity to think without interruption.

Sandy and Lady Jane were affixed, at least temporarily, and Iddlesleigh had been put on notice that Elliott knew of his alliance with Sandwich. Not that he cared in the least because, as Fury had so astutely pointed out, Elliott had been a goodly portion of the Americans’ makeshift navy, but he would not hesitate to use information to his advantage.

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Dunham 50: Chapter Fifty

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May 15, 1780
Berkeley Square, London

“M’lord! Wait!”

“Vickers! Did you come to terms with your mother already? So that you may come to terms with me?”

Celia did not think she could despise Judas’s façade any more than she already did, but flirting with the young bucks of the ton while she was on his arm was on top of too much.

Viscount Vickers flushed. “Ah . . . no, m’lord. Are you . . . certain . . . of this? You would not— Ah, that is to say—”

“Ah, Vickers, you’d not cheat me of a truly scandalous scandal, would you?”

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Dunham 49: Chapter Forty-Nine

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May 15, 1780
Berkeley Square, London

“You’re doing it up a bit too brown, Unk,” Sandy muttered to Elliott once he had finished flirting his way around the room.

“I should say so,” Niall agreed, sipping at his arrack punch.

“Subtlety is boring and does not . . . ” Elliott trailed off as he, Sandy, and Niall watched, stupefied, as Marchioness Rathbone glided by in panniers six feet wide, in pink-embroidered white silk. That was de rigueur. What was not was the toy sword attached to her pink stomacher; or the tall, light blue wig; or the miniature ship sailing the sea of blue hair whose tiny stern had even tinier lettering: THUNDERSTORM.

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Dunham 48: Chapter Forty-Eight

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May 14, 1780
Rathbone House
Mayfair, London

Do you understand the phrase ‘engine of love assaults’?

For the first time in a week, Celia had reason to smile. If she had not been so very hungry and tired, so very much in despair, she might have laughed. She had watched Judas—Elliott (she still liked that name)—consider every possible explanation for how Miss Simpleton could be Fury, discarding them one by one until he had nothing left—except to see if she could maintain her façade through something he knew she not help but giggle at.

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Dunham 47: Chapter Forty-Seven

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May 14, 1780
Mayfair, London

Was he so desperate for relief from this charade that he would rather spend the evening in the garden mindlessly lecturing the Honourable Miss Simpleton than go inside?

No. She reminded him slightly of someone he couldn’t forget—someone he couldn’t find and wouldn’t be able to until she saw fit to present herself to Mélisande Gables.

Her trump had him gnashing his teeth.

She knows who y’are, Cap’n. She’s right tart about it, too.

How tart, exactly?

Called ye the Earl of Iscariot.

Oh, damn. That’s tart.

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Dunham 46: Chapter Forty-Six

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May 14, 1780
Mayfair, London

Celia stood alone on the edge of the ballroom, waiting for Rear-Admiral Lord Rathbone to bring her the cup of lemonade she’d expressed a desire for.

It wasn’t an idle desire, either: Her need for citrus was reaching crisis proportions such that the last time she was able to get to her office (which opportunities had become nonexistent), she ate oranges and sucked on limes until she was nauseated. Fortunately, because Rathbone was a sailor, he recognized this about her once she had managed to call his attention to it.

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Dunham 45: Chapter Forty-Five

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May 6, 1780
Grosvenor Square, London

“It’s done,” Admiral Lord Hylton said tightly, staring over Elliott’s head, out the window of his library to the sun-drenched May day. “I was fortunate in Covarrubias. I think he will take good care of her.”

Elliott lazed in the chair across from his former commander. “But he’s taking her to Spain. How will you know?”

The admiral focused square on Elliott and sneered. “Do you think I would make this arrangement without ensuring I did the right thing?”

Ah. Of course he wouldn’t. Elliott nodded approvingly.

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Dunham 44: Chapter Forty-Four

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May 3, 1780
Casa de Covarrubias
Mayfair, London

She wept into Rafael’s bare chest that night, and the years fell away.

I swear to God I don’t know what to do with you, Lass.          Ach, don’t look at me like that. I’m not going to eat you.                    He didn’t mean it, you ken.

He— He— He—didn’t?

Nay. Honorable men don’t generally go about killing wee lassies.

But he—he—he—

There, there. Calm yourself. Take a deep breath, there’s a good lass. You don’t know who I am, do you?

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Dunham 43: Chapter Forty-Three

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May 3, 1780
Grosvenor Square, London

Admiral Lord Hylton had aged so badly since Celia had last seen him, she could not control her gasp.

“My lord,” the butler intoned from his position at Celia’s side in the threshold of the admiral’s library, “your daughter has arrived. Lady Hylton awaits without.”

It was the most unnecessary announcement any servant had ever made, since Bancroft was staring at her as if she were a ghost, apparently equally shocked. But then he gathered himself and strode across the warm and cozily cluttered room with his arms spread as if greeting an old friend.

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Dunham 42: Chapter Forty-Two

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May 2, 1780
Rathbone House
Mayfair, London

“Marianne, I understand and respect your concerns,” Marquess Rathbone said as he paced in front of Celia and her mother, seated comfortably in the library Celia had not touched since Rathbone’s return. “But I am also in complete sympathy to his position.”

“But my lord,” Mary murmured. “Surely it cannot have escaped your notice that he did not attempt any rescue at all, much less go to the lengths you have gone. What honorable man would not pursue his family’s captors if he has the means to do so? You cannot imagine our suffering, and now to know he did not even bother . . . ”

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Dunham 41: Chapter Forty-One

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May 1, 1780
Berkeley Square, London

Elliott had taken Covarrubias at his word, and so was shocked when the man stalked out of the ballroom not a moment after he had told Elliott to bugger off. Since there were five more minutes until the intermission was over, he took the opportunity to claim the chair beside Celia. He felt her body tense only a fraction. “Oh,” she said, then relaxed again. “Hello, my lord.”

“Elliott.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Lady Hylton released a very unladylike snort. So. She didn’t like him any more than she liked Covarrubias. He didn’t know why he cared, but he did.

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Dunham 40: Chapter Forty

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May 1, 1780
Berkeley Square, London

The soprano’s last notes hung over the inhabitants of the ballroom like a noxious fog. What was worse, the woman was performing the very opera that had defeated seventeen-year-old Celia’s hopes to make her mark in the world as an opera singer.

If Monsieur Rameau had thought Celia sang no better than a strangled fishwife, he would have taken this soprano out behind the Paris Opera House and shot her dead for opening her mouth at all.

“Mother of God,” Mary whispered when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s guests began to rise to their feet to applaud her with great exuberance.

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Dunham 39: Chapter Thirty-Nine

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April 29, 1780
Mélisande Gables
Berkeley Square, London

“There is no way in hell I’ll wed that woman,” Elliott snarled at his brother as he stormed into his library after having divested himself of that ridiculous costume.

“That bad?”

“Helpless. Soulless.” He ran his hands through his hair—his own blessed hair—and began to pace.

Niall winced. “But now you know how to find Georgina—”

“Absolutely not. Firstly, she is fifteen and I am three times larger and almost that much older. Secondly, her first impression of me is of a bloody, naked savage fucking her captain face-first up against the bulkhead to hell and gone.”

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Dunham 38: Chapter Thirty-Eight

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April 29, 1780
Grosvenor Square, London

Celia saw Lord Tavendish as soon as he entered the ballroom, prancing like an overly decorated mare on parade. His wig was two feet high and powdered pure white, as was his face, which had at least six ornaments plastered to it. His clothing was five years out of date and outrageous even by macaroni standards. His heels were higher than fashionable and painted a shocking turquoise that did not, in any way, complement his puce brocade coat, his puce-and-chartreuse-striped breeches, or chartreuse stockings. He had double—triple—falls of lace spilling from every cloth opening on his person. He minced and fopped and tittered, waving at people with a lace kerchief, calling out to them in a falsetto that grated on her nerves.

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Dunham 37: Chapter Thirty-Seven

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April 29, 1780
Mélisande Gables
Berkeley Square, London

I will give it some thought, Admiral, but your daughter is nigh thirty and I need a countess who has better childbearing odds.

I understand your position, Commander, but with your history, you may not have a choice.

According to Elliott’s mother, he thought wearily as he relaxed back in his desk chair long after his interview with Admiral Lord Hylton, one always had a choice.

She was a very bright little girl, astonishingly bright, in fact. It’s possible her mind could be rehabilitated, but even if it is not, her madness cannot be passed on.

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