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“Who was that gentleman with Mr. Bevelstoke last night?” Mrs. Smythe-Smith asked. “The one with the dark hair.”
“He was talking to Iris,” Daisy said, “after the performance.”
Mrs. Smythe-Smith fixed a shrewd stare upon Iris. “I know.”
“His name is Sir Richard Kenworthy,” Iris said.
Her mother’s brows rose.
“I’m sure he was being polite,” Iris said.
“He was being polite for a very long time,” Daisy giggled.
Iris looked at her in disbelief. “We spoke for five minutes. If that.”
“It’s more time than most gentleman talk to you.”
“Daisy, don’t be unkind,” their mother said, “but I must agree. I do think it was more than five minutes.”
“It wasn’t,” Iris muttered.
Her mother did not hear her. Or more likely, chose to ignore. “We shall have to find out more about him.”
Iris’s mouth opened into an indignant oval. Five minutes she’d spent in Sir Richard’s company, and her mother was already plotting the poor man’s demise.
“You’re not getting any younger,” Mrs. Smythe-Smith said.
“Fine,” Iris said. “I shall attempt to capture his interest for a full quarter of an hour next time. That ought to be enough to send for a special license.”
“Oh, do you think so?” Daisy asked. “That would be so romantic.”
Iris could only stare. Now Daisy missed the sarcasm?
“Anyone can be married in a church,” Daisy said. “But a special license is special.”
“Hence the name,” Iris muttered.
“They cost a terrific amount of money,” Daisy continued, “and they don’t give them out to just anybody.”
“Your sisters were all properly married in church,” their mother said, “and so shall you be.”
That put an end to the conversation for at least five seconds. Which was about how long Daisy could manage to sit in silence. “What are you reading?” she asked, craning her neck toward Iris.
“Pride and Prejudice,” Iris replied. She didn’t look up, but she did mark her spot with her finger. Just in case.
“Haven’t you read that before?”
“It’s a good book.”
“How can a book be good enough to read twice?”
Iris shrugged, which a less obtuse person would have interpreted as a signal that she did not wish to continue the conversation.
But not Daisy. “I’ve read it, too, you know,” she said.
“Quite honestly, I didn’t think it was very good.”
At that, Iris finally raised her eyes. “I beg your pardon.”
“It’s very unrealistic,” Daisy opined. “Am I really expected to believe that Miss Elizabeth would refuse Mr. Darcy’s proposal of marriage?”
“Who is Miss Elizabeth?” Mrs. Smythe-Smith asked, her attention finally wrenched from her embroidery. She looked from daughter to daughter. “And for that matter, who is Mr. Darcy?”
“It was patently clear that she would never get a better offer than Mr. Darcy,” Daisy continued.
“That’s what Mr. Collins said when he proposed to her,” Iris shot back. “And then Mr. Darcy asked her.”
“Who is Mr. Collins?”
“They are fictional characters, Mama,” Iris said.
“Very foolish ones, if you ask me,” Daisy said haughtily. “Mr. Darcy is very rich. And Miss Elizabeth has no dowry to speak of. That he condescended to propose to her—”
“He loved her!”
“Of course he did,” Daisy said peevishly. “There can be no other reason he would ask her to marry him. And then for her to refuse!”
“She had her reasons.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “She’s just lucky he asked her again. That’s all I have to say on the matter.”
“I think I ought to read this book,” Mrs. Smythe-Smith said.
“Here,” Iris said, feeling suddenly dejected. She held the book out toward her mother. “You can read my copy.”
“But you’re in the middle.”
“I’ve read it before.”
Mrs. Smythe-Smith took the book, flipped to the first page and read the first sentence, which Iris knew by heart.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
“Well, that’s certainly true,” Mrs. Smythe-Smith said to herself.
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (January 27, 2015)
Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.
Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something...even as her heart tells her to say yes.
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Other Books in Series:
Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a Print Bundle of the Smythe-Smith Quartet Series, including A NIGHT LIKE THIS, JUST LIKE HEAVEN and THE SUM OF ALL KISSES. Follow the tour HERE.
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