50 Ways to Ruin a Rake

50 Ways to Ruin a Rake by Jade Lee

Book: 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake by Jade Lee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jade Lee
affianced—”
    â€œI understand.” Ronnie’s gaze slid with angry disdain to Mellie. “And I am disgusted.”
    Beside him, Mellie sighed. “Ronnie—”
    Ever the dramatist, the man spun on his heels and stalked away. Just as well. That left him alone with Mellie as they hobbled their way back to their house. But after a few steps, Trevor realized that his fiancée was indeed bothered by what her cousin said. Her eyes were downcast, and her mouth had tightened into her own straight, quiet line.
    â€œMellie, what is the matter? Don’t be concerned about Ronnie’s nonsense. I assure you, everyone will think you have done enormously well for yourself.”
    She jerked beneath his arm as if she wished to throw him off her but had stopped herself at the last moment. Then she twisted to face him. “That man is my cousin,” she said in an undertone. “And quite possibly my future husband.”
    â€œDon’t be ridiculous.”
    â€œI am being practical. There is no assurance that I will find a husband in London, and then what? I will have publicly thrown over Ronnie, and it takes the devil of a long time for him to get over imagined slights. Imagine a lifetime of apologizing.”
    â€œYou will find a husband in London,” he said, irritated beyond measure with her anger. She thought nothing of the sacrifice to his reputation. That he—grandson to the Duke of Timby—had just declared a grand passion for her. He liked her well enough. Lord knows a certain part of her anatomy couldn’t get enough, but she was a cit. A woman from commerce with no pretense to good breeding. His family would have a collective fit when they heard. It might very well put his grandfather in the grave.
    He understood that she was not used to this type of manipulation or deviousness. It was awkward enough for him, and he had been swimming in society’s viper-strewn waters all his life. Did she truly not understand?
    â€œYou will be sponsored by a ducal family, you will be fêted as my fiancée, you will be society’s newest morsel to be met and entertained. Everyone from the Prince Regent down to the smallest bootblack will be discussing you.”
    She looked horrified, which only went to prove how very green she was about society.
    He sighed and tried to make it plainer. “Debutantes strive all their lives for just that kind of introduction into society. Women have been known to proffer all sorts of bribes and promises for the reach you will have merely because you are my fiancée. Mellie, don’t you see? It will be the easiest thing in the world to find you a husband.”
    â€œBut—”
    â€œEnough!” he snapped. He did his best to keep his voice low despite the way he’d just wrenched his damned ankle again. “If you do not trust me in this, then our endeavor is doomed from the start.”
    She blinked a moment, her expression clearly troubled. He waited, his ankle and jaw a throbbing annoyance, but nothing compared to the pain of having his word questioned by a green chit who knew nothing about anything. In the end, though, she dipped her head in acknowledgment. “I trust you,” she whispered.
    â€œGood. Then trust this. I swear upon my honor, upon my family name, and upon that stupid sword my grandfather keeps perched above the mantle: I will find you a good husband. A man who is decidedly not Ronnie!”
    She looked at him a long time, obviously unaware of what it meant for him to swear by his family’s sword. He was about to curse her for her stupidity when she again dipped her eyes.
    â€œThank you,” she whispered again.
    â€œYou’re welcome,” he managed, doing his best not to sound surly.
    â€œAnd now, perhaps we should get you home to a bath.”
    Yes, because—as he was now very aware—the future Duke of Timby stank of shite.
    * * *
    â€œThis is just so unlike

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