The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick

Description : The Paid Companion

Arthur Lancaster, Earl of St. Merryn, was sitting in front of a crackling fire in his club, drinking a glass of excellent port and reading a newspaper, when he received word that his fiancée had eloped with another man.

“I’m told young Burnley used a ladder to climb up to her window and assist Miss Juliana down to the carriage.” Bennett Fleming lowered his short, sturdy frame into the chair across from Arthur and reached for the bottle of port. “They are headed north, by all accounts. No doubt making for Gretna Green. Juliana’s father has just set out after them, but his coach is old and slow.”

A great hush fell upon the room. All talk stopped. No papers rustled; no glasses moved. It was almost midnight and the club was full. Every man in the vicinity appeared to be frozen in his chair as he strained mightily to eavesdrop on the conversation taking place in front of the fire.

With a sigh, Arthur folded his newspaper, set it aside and took a swallow of his port. He looked toward the window where wind driven rain beat furiously against the glass panes.

“They’ll be fortunate to get ten miles in this storm,” he said.

As was the case with every other word he spoke that night, the remark became part of the St. Merryn legend… So cold-blooded that when he was told that his fiancée had run off with another man, he merelymented upon the damp weather.

Bennett hastily downed some of his port and then followed Arthur’s gaze to the window. “Young Burnley and Miss Juliana have an excellent, well-sprung carriage and a strong, fresh team.” He cleared his throat. “It is doubtful that the lady’s father will catch them, but a single man mounted on a good horse might be able to overtake the pair.”

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