The Scandalous Lady Mercy(62)

By: Maggi Andersen

“Have you heard that Lady Alethea Archer married Lord Fallowbrook?”

“Did she?” Mercy wished the woman well. She had come to realize how hard it would be to lose a man like Grant.

“She wore a shockingly low-cut crimson gown to the wedding,” Arabella said.

“I hadn’t heard that. Gossip tends to pass us by in York.”

“Then perhaps you won’t have heard that I’ve accepted Lord Frederick Hargrave’s proposal of marriage,” Arabella said with a laugh.

“Of course, I have. And I’m thrilled for you.” Mercy kissed her sister-in-law’s cheek. “I know Grant approves of your choice, Frederick is an honorable man, besides being very handsome.”

“Have you brought that jar of cream for me, Mercy? I need to look my best.”

“It’s in my reticule. It has worked wonders for Violet Blenkinsopp.”

“Thank you, so much, dear sister-in-law,” Arabella said, kissing her cheek.

“Your sister has an extraordinary talent,” Grant’s father said when she joined him and Grant.

After Grant had revealed his involvement with Black and earned his father’s approval, the earl seemed in better spirits. He came to London more often and took more of an interest in society. He’d even come into Mercy’s workroom and unscrewed jars to sniff her lotions, requesting, half-jokingly, that she might name a new cologne after him.

“I’ve just received a request from Thomas Melford, the farmer, I told you about,” Grant said to Mercy. “He expressed interest in the Baker marksmanship contest I said I would hold. As I’ve recently got hold of the rifle, I believe I will organize it. If I can get enough contestants together.” He looked thoughtful. “Although the best of them won’t be able to attend.”

“Why not?”

Grant grinned and squeezed her hand. “One might say Scullen is indisposed.”

Mercy smiled at how boyish her husband looked. He still kept his secrets close, but she would choose which ones to fight for. And this wasn’t one. She turned to his father.

“We plan a large family Christmas at Thornhill. The Duke is very enthusiastic. He so enjoyed the hunt ball we held in October, especially the company of his cronies from the Lords.”

“You spoil my father,” the earl said with a grateful smile. “You have brought life to Thornhill, Mercy.”

“I couldn’t agree more.” Grant slipped an arm around her. He bent down and dropped a kiss on her lips.

Lady Fountain, who had just turned from viewing the portrait of Chaloner and Lavinia’s baby through her lorgnette, caught their display of affection. The lady screwed up her lips. Mercy smiled at her. In Lady Fountain’s opinion, open displays of affection between married couples was not good ton. Tomorrow, Mercy guessed, a poorly disguised reference to her scandalous behavior would make an appearance in that lady’s gossip sheet. She looked forward to it.