The sound of a man clearing his throat brought Grey’s head up and he smiled at his old friend, Jon, lounging against the polished wooden archway into the drawing room.
Lord Jonathan pushed himself away from the wall and sauntered into the room, moving directly to the buffet and the Madeira Grey had been considering. Without pause, he poured a measure into a stemmed wine glass, glanced over his shoulder at Grey, and without asking, filled another glass.
Turning, Jon held out the drink. “Your Uncle Lucien is regaling Lord and Lady Fenimore with the lineage of his dog, Lord Perceval Randolph Nevil Thorpe.”
Grey closed his fingers around the stem of the glass that had been in his family since before his birth and imagined snapping it in place of his uncle’s wretched neck. Would the unseemliness of this cursed evening never end?
Instead of breaking the glass—or Lucien’s neck—Grey sipped the dark sweet liquid and waited for the mild burn of the alcohol to wash his palate.
“Your sister’s a lively one,” observed Jon, and he sampled his own drink.
“Stepsister,” Grey corrected, and scowled. “Perhaps.”
Jon regarded him with one raised eyebrow. “Perhaps she’s lively or perhaps she’s your stepsister?” He chuckled and sipped again.
Looking over the rim of his glass, Grey studied his lifelong friend. Jonathan’s darker Spanish-influenced complexion and black hair gave him an air of the sinister at times. But just now, his glittering dark brown eyes held mirth.
“I am…unconvinced the chit who showed up on my doorstep five days ago is, indeed, my stepsister,” murmured Grey, quite aware that he sounded as insane as his uncle undoubtedly was.
A Lot Like a Lady, by Kay Springsteen and Kim Bowman (The Special K’s!), coming soon from Astraea Press
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