By Mary Balogh
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Extra info for A Regency Christmas III
Her life seemed to have become nothing but lies. In each of her worlds she had to withhold the truth about the other. And withholding the truth sometimes became more than a passive thing. It involved the invention of lie upon lie. She had some knowledge of two places—the village in Somersetshire where she had lived for two-and-twenty years, and London, where she had lived for two months. But she spoke of Ireland, drawing on the stories she could remember her maternal grandmother telling her when she was a child, and more riskily, of the city of York, where a neighborhood friend had lived with his uncle for a while, and about a few other places of which she had read.
He rested one arm along the high mantel. He was watching her. The time had come, she thought. She had precipitated it herself. Within moments the question would be asked and must be answered. She still did not know what that answer would be, or perhaps she did. Perhaps she was just fooling herself to believe that there was still a choice. She had made her decision back in the greenroom—no, even before that. This was a tavern, part of an inn. No doubt he had bespoken a bedchamber here, as well as a private dining room.
Miss Blanche Heyward had been surrounded by a court of appropriately languishing admirers. His lordship had looked her over unhurriedly through his glass and inclined his head to her when her eyes had met his across the room. And then he had joined the even larger crowd of gentlemen gathered about Hannah Dove, the singer who sang like her name, or so one of her court had assured her. For which piece of gross flattery he had been rewarded with a gracious smile and a hand to kiss. Julian had left the greenroom after a few minutes and taken himself off to his married sister’s drawing room.