Miss Watson's First Scandal (A Miss Mayhem Novella)

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Authors: Heather Boyd
use. He had managed to replace every foolish fantasy she’d ever entertained about men. “He kisses very well. However, I do not believe David would agree with me. He didn’t appear happy afterward.”
    “Well, the nerve of him.” Imogen grew an inch in height, full of righteous indignation. “I hope you can put the incident from your mind. There are many men with better manners.”
    If only words could expunge her wickedness. “Imogen, I’m afraid there is more,” Abigail said softly. Better to get the whole truth out before she lost her courage. Imogen would never tell and could be counted on to offer sound guidance.
    “Oh dear, have you made a fool of yourself over him?” Imogen hurried to the door, peeked out, and then closed it fully to give them privacy. When she returned, she gave Abigail’s hand a squeeze. “Did you expect him to propose because of a single kiss? I know for a fact that gentlemen place little importance on a girl’s first kiss. As long as no one sees, they never think of it again.”
    “Two kisses. But the lack of proposal is not what concerns me. I never thought he would look at me in that way. He’s much too grand.” She shook her head again. “However, I went to his house yesterday.” And she hadn’t been able to stop thinking of returning to see more of David Hawke since: his broad shoulders, his muscular arms, his utterly devastating smile when he laughed. He made her feel completely different than usual and she had no idea what to do about it or him.
    “Abigail,” Imogen cried out. “Are you all right? Did he impose on you?”
    “Of course I am all right,” Abigail groaned. “Why would you imagine I wouldn’t be? Mr. Hawke is a gentleman.”
    Far too much of a gentleman, in fact. He’d had ample opportunity to kiss her, touch her, and had not taken advantage of the situation. It had been decidedly lowering to be so unable to stir him to the same passion he inflicted on her senses while she couldn’t seem to behave properly in his presence.
      “Not much of a gentleman to have kissed you and not proposed.” Imogen pinched the bridge of her nose. “Now, because you are such an innocent in the ways of men, I want you to explain to me exactly what happened between you both. I’ll force his hand toward matrimony if he’s led you astray.”
    Panic rose in Abigail’s chest. “Don’t you dare do such a thing. He did nothing wrong. I was worried about him,” she said, her voice softening on the last. She squared her shoulders. “No one could recall seeing David since he went swimming on Sunday morning. By Monday morning I was concerned and went to call on his housekeeper. She said he was still abed and complained he’d not bothered to eat the meal she’d prepared the day before. The moment his breath drifted over my finger while he slept brought tears of relief to my eyes. I’ve never known someone to sleep so soundly. He didn’t stir except to breathe.”
    “But, Abigail, he can take care of himself and always has,” Imogen said sternly. “You should not have risked your reputation like that.”
    “That was exactly what he said, but I’d like to know who does worry for him,” she demanded. Poor David had no one else that she could see. “Certainly not his housekeeper. None of his friends, our brothers, called at his house this morning to inquire about his absence.”
    Imogen sighed again. “You were watching his house all day? Oh, of course you were. You were waiting for him to call on Peter to deliver the letter.”
    She nodded. Another half truth.
    “I know I must forget the kisses with David, and I will in time.” Heat swept Abigail’s cheeks. “But the waiting is killing me and I have had enough. I’ve arranged a dinner and invited David to attend tonight to speed along the process of bringing the matter of the debt into the open.”
    “Are you sure that is a wise thing to do? Peter may not appreciate your meddling in his affairs.”

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