Pursuing Lord Pascal
steadily. “All of that sounds delightful.”
    His eyes narrowed on her. “You mean to put me
through the hoops before you cede the game? I hadn’t picked you as
a woman who likes to torture a man.”
    Amy made a dismissive gesture. “I want to
know you a little better before I abandon a life of perfect
respectability to become your mistress.”
    “What about becoming my wife?”
    This evening, he very deliberately hadn’t
mentioned his matrimonial intentions. In Hyde Park, she hadn’t
seemed too keen. He’d hoped a couple of kisses might make her more
receptive.
    He should have known better. Although at
least she hadn’t refused him outright.
    “Becoming more familiar with you is even more
important if we’re contemplating a life together.”
    He liked the sound of that. He felt more
cheerful, despite his impatience. “You want me to court you?”
    “Yes.”
    He straightened. “I can do that.” He paused.
“What about kisses?”
    She frowned thoughtfully, as if assessing a
bullock’s readiness for market. “I can’t think when you kiss
me.”
    He liked the sound of that even better. He
smiled smugly. “Then clearly kisses must be allowed.”
    She cast him a repressive glance. “Clearly
they mustn’t.”
    He closed his eyes and groaned. “You’re going
to kill me.”
    “That would be a pity when you’re so
spectacular to look at. Every lady in London will weep at your
funeral.”
    He glowered. “You think this is all a
joke.”
    The teasing light left her eyes, and her
expression turned austere. “Not at all. I just want to make sure you don’t think it’s a joke. I know it’s hopelessly
provincial of me, but if I give myself to a man, I want him to
value my surrender.”
    Pascal could hardly blame her for mistrusting
him. The irony was that he was more sincere than he’d ever been
with a woman he wanted. Any promises he made to Amy, he meant.
    He realized with a shock that while he’d
launched this pursuit to marry her money, now he’d willingly take
her in her petticoat and beg on the high roads to keep her in
fripperies.
    After two damnable days.
    The Good God knew what a wreck he’d be by the
time he’d wooed her into taking him seriously. He’d be babbling
nonsense and howling at the moon.
    “You’re enjoying this,” he accused.
    She nodded. “Most definitely. I came down
from Leicestershire, afraid that society would laugh me back home
again. Now I’ve got London’s handsomest man begging for a moment of
my time. Frankly, I’m ecstatic.”
    “I’m more than just a pretty face,” he said
resentfully, although his looks had brought him more benefits than
disadvantages, so he had no right to quibble.
    Until now, when the first woman he really
wanted dismissed him as a lightweight.
    The problem was he remained unconvinced he
was anything else. Why demonstrate character, when a smile brought
him everything he wanted?
    But as he registered Amy’s expression, he
knew he’d have to dig deep and produce something more substantial
than easy charm if he meant to win her.
    “Prove it,” she said implacably.
    Fleetingly he contemplated giving up the
chase. He could stroll away now and take on one of the little
henwits he’d so dreaded marrying. Lucy Compton-Browne or Cissie
Veivers. Dash it, a proposal to either chit tomorrow, and his
worries were over.
    No mess. No fuss.
    No joy.
    It was too late. He was lost. Caught by a
lovely face, and a brilliant mind, and a heart too fine for a
careless brute like him. Which didn’t mean he planned to
retreat.
    He faced the inescapable fact that he didn’t
want some ingénue with a fat dowry. He wanted Amy Mowbray, who
might come with a fat dowry, but who also proved herself more
complicated by the minute.
    He sighed, resistance flowing away. She
wanted to be courted. Then dash it all, he’d court her.
    He bowed as if they were in a drawing room,
instead of in the corner of a garden where he’d just been kissing
her. “Lady Mowbray, it

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