Thanks so much for all of the well-wishes for Particular Intentions! I hope everyone who purchased a copy is enjoying it, but today, I have winners to announce!
The winners of the giveaways are:
E-book – Rachael
Signed Paperback – Nancy Duell
Paper bead bracelet – BeckyC
Topaz cross – MeriLyn Oblad
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your prizes!
Now, for part 3 of Lydia’s ball!
From her dull place between her father and Jane, Lydia surveyed those still seated around the table after dinner. An officer a few seats down on the opposite side of the table winked. Finally, the tedious affair had become interesting!
She grinned as she dropped her chin and gazed at him from the corner of her eyes. Not her best, but she could not be too obvious where she was seated. The officer smiled, so she giggled while she bit her fingernail.
A hand to her arm cruelly drew her attention away from the charming man in regimentals. “Ladies do not behave so provocatively.”
An unladylike sound escaped her nose. “What do you know of being a lady?”
“Mr. Bennet!” Her mother called from the opposite side of him. “You must allow Lydia to do as she likes for the second half of the ball. She cannot be stifled in such a manner. “Tis simply not in her disposition to remain so quiet and confined.”
“It would do her good to be quiet and confined for a time. She is too headstrong for her own good. I will brook no further arguments from you on this Mrs. Bennet, else you shall return to Longbourn in the carriage with your youngest daughter.”
Lydia deflated. Her mother’s indignant gasp was certain to be heard throughout the supper room. Mama would not risk being sent home.
Her leg bounced under the table as she watched everyone enjoy the ball—everyone but her, that is. “’Tis not fair,” she muttered once more under her breath. She propped her elbow on the table, rested her chin in her hand, and gave a tired sigh. Lord, but they were opening the pianoforte. Perhaps Longbourn would not be so bad!
Soon, Mary’s dreadful voice filled the room, making all and sundry wince as her voice cracked on the high notes. Why did she insist on torturing all of them?
Her father leaned in her direction. “Jane, please ensure Lydia remains where she is. I shall return in a moment.”
The officer from down the table caught her eye, so she curved one side of her lips upward and tilted her head just a mite. Excellent! He had not been deterred by her father’s correction earlier.
“Lydia, father told you not to flirt with the militia.”
“I am not flirting with the entire militia—just the one officer.”
She giggled as she continued until Papa returned with a frowning Mary. “Come. We are returning to the ballroom. The music is to begin soon, and Kitty just departed with her partner.”
Lydia stood and thrust her chest out as she followed her father. Perhaps the officer would request a dance? But would her father allow it if he did?
“I beg your pardon,” a male voice called from behind.
Her father halted, turned, and looked over his spectacles at the handsome officer who approached. Ha! He did not disappoint! Now what was his name again? Farley? No, that was not it. Hoare! Wait, no, he was skinny and freckled. She shuddered. Hanson! That was it!
“Miss Lydia, may I have the pleasure of partnering you for the next?”
She grinned. “I would adore dancing with you.” A hand to her elbow caused her shoulders to drop.
“I do not believe we have been introduced, young man.”
“Papa, may I introduce Captain Hanson.” Please let him agree! She would simply die if she had to remain on the side of the ballroom for the remainder of the night!
With a critical eye, her father looked up and down the man before him. “You are aware of my rules, Lydia. I expect you to return when the set is done.”
She rolled her eyes and bounced forward to take the officer’s arm. “Shall we?”
They took their places, and she took in the man before her. My but he was good-looking! The music began and she curtsied as he bowed. When they began to dance, they joined hands and turned to the music until they were required to walk side-by-side with their hands joined. She could not resist and pivoted herself so that her breast grazed his upper arm.
His finger trailed down her palm and her breath hitched. If only they could leave this wretched ballroom!
She glanced in the direction of her father, but he was not watching at that moment but speaking to Mr. Darcy. Where was Lizzy? Her insides jumped. Perhaps this was the moment!
They proceeded down the pattern and she looked back once more. Her father was not looking. The door was just to their side, so she grabbed Hanson’s hand and bustled outside.
She pulled him behind her until they were hastily walking through the damp grass. Her slippers would be ruined, but who cared. She was free!
A loud giggle burst from her lips as they made it to the copse of trees to one side of the garden. She stopped just inside and turned. A wicked smirk graced his lips as she pushed him against the nearest tree, rose to her tiptoes, and pressed her lips to his.
She had been waiting for this all night! He was certainly an improvement over Denny, whose sloppy, wet kisses she had no wish to repeat unless in a desperate situation!
His tongue snaked in her mouth and she groaned. “Lord, but I want you to touch me!”
A hand pulled her upper arm as Hanson’s lips made a sucking noise as they released hers. Her head whipped to the side. No! Not her father!
“Do not request a set from another of my daughters this evening, sir.”
He tugged her in the direction of the house. “And do not expect you will leave my side for the remainder of the night. You are no longer out, and I will find a governess for you as soon as I can. You will have lessons and be supervised at all times. My daughter will not be a common harlot!
“I am not a harlot!”
“Ladies are not free with their favours.”
“Lizzy has kissed Mr. Darcy! I heard she and Jane speaking of it.”
He stopped and turned her to face him. “Mr. Darcy is courting Lizzy and intends to marry her. I am quite certain he is the first gentleman to claim the honour, and she would not have begged him to touch her. Do not compare your behaviour to hers. I have less concern with the kiss Mr. Darcy stole than with your comportment.”
“You always take her part!”
“You should not be eavesdropping on your sisters.”
She stomped. “You are a dreadful father! You have never cared in the past whether I left assemblies or balls with gentlemen. You make your jokes and read your books! I will do as I please. I do not care what you say!”
“Then, with the exception of meals, you will remain in your bedchamber. I shall save a great deal of money on your wardrobe as you will require nothing new. After I take you for some more modest gowns, that is.”
“You cannot do this!”
“Oh, but I can and I will.”
Future Blog Dates!
29 August – lldiamondwrites.com (Post and giveaway winners!)
2 September – Guest Post at Babblings of a Bookworm