There are nights when a crowded ballroom can be the loneliest place on earth, when every happy face belongs to a stranger and every smile is meant for another, and love is as fleeting as the latest waltz.
I had not made the long voyage from New York to London to be lonely like that. Yet, that was exactly how I felt as the Honorable Eustace Smithson led me through the dance, his feet only slightly less plodding than his conversation.
“I trust you find our weather agreeable, Mrs. Hart?” he said, the words barely making their way past his thick bristle of a mustache. “To be sure, London must seem quite different from America, where you are accustomed to tropical climes and palm trees and such.”
“Palm trees, Mr. Smithson?” I repeated, perplexed. I was trying to make the best of this evening, I truly was. “Perhaps to the south, in Florida, but I am from New York, and we New Yorkers know nothing of palm trees and tropics. Our weather is much the same as yours here, except that it doesn’t rain nearly as often, and we’ve never much fog to speak of.”
“Ah.” Mr. Smithson scowled and puckered his mouth beneath his mustache, clearly at a loss. “No fog and little rain. Well, well.”
“Indeed, Mr. Smithson, it is so.” I concentrated on keeping my smile bright and without the disappointment and dismay growing within me. “No fog at all.”
I hadn’t come to London to speak of the weather, either. Only a few weeks before, I’d at last put aside my dreary mourning for my husband and sailed to London with dozens of letters of introduction to the grandest ladies of English society. By New York standards, I’d traveled modestly: I was armed with only forty trunks of my most fashionable gowns and jewels, three maids, a private chef, and a secretary. The city’s society pages had breathlessly (and a bit disapprovingly) reported all the details of my trip, but only I had known the true purpose for my escape.
An escape was exactly what it was, too, my long-overdue escape from the solitude that had been my too-constant companion. Here in England I hoped to find all the things my stultifying marriage had denied me: adventure, freedom, excitement, independence, and intrigue.
Tonight was my first grand ball in Belgravia, at the home of the Viscount and Viscountess Carleigh, and I’d scarcely slept the night before from anticipation. Though the elegant company was brilliant with jewels and thick with titles, I had found myself trapped on the dance floor with one dull partner after another, a parade of gentlemen who saw me not as a woman but only as a prize.
“I say, Mrs. Hart,” Mr. Smithson said, his pale eyes popping as if struck with sudden inspiration. “I’d venture you’ve seen those palm trees yourself, haven’t you? I’d venture you’ve seen a great deal of that enormous America of yours, what with your father’s trains and all.”
I smiled, even as the sting of his predictable words jabbed at me. Of course he’d mention Father’s railroads. Everyone did, and they usually mentioned my late husband, Arthur, too. Arthur and Father together had created a vast fortune from iron and steel and other men’s sweat, an empire proudly documented by the maps in Father’s library in
I’d never felt so vulnerable, at once both lost and found, as I now did sprawled half-naked across Savage in this foolish throne-chair. His strength was my solace, my comfort, and there was nothing better than hearing the beating of his heart beneath my ear.
Once trapped in a loveless, pleasure-less marriage, Evelyn Hart leaves her home in New York for the glittering ballrooms of London. When she arrives, she meets the Earl of Savage, a dark, powerful man who seems to live up to his name. Despite his noble trappings, he’s also a man who can possess her with just one look. Soon Evelyn finds herself pulled into Savage's world - a world of passion and seductive games unlike any she has ever experienced. Evelyn's heart is captured with no hope of escape. But can they overcome the tortures of the past together...?
Savage never imagined someone like Evelyn walking into his life. As soon as he sees her he knows he must have her, no matter the cost, in Lord Savage by Mia Gabriel.