By Mary Balogh
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Exactly what I always say,” Reggie’s mother said, beaming happily as she set her hands in those of the countess and visibly relaxed. “It is even worse when the child is a son, Lady Havercroft. A man always thinks a son is his, just as if he appeared from nowhere one day and a woman just happened to be hovering in the next room waiting to provide milk and be called Ma and otherwise be ignored. I insisted on coming today. ’” She sounded breathless by the time she had finished. ” Reggie’s father said genially, looking for confirmation of his good-natured complaint from the earl.
There was an almighty splash again. One cold drop landed on the little girl’s arm, though she was standing too far back to get soaked. Fortunately. “That was very splendid indeed,” she said admiringly after he had shaken his head like a wet dog and then used his skinny arms to haul himself out onto the bank again. “I bet you couldn’t do it,” he said, sneering. “I bet I could,” she said, stung. “But if I did, I would get my hair wet and Nurse would want to know why. ” The boy had his hands on his hips again.
It did not matter that he had never touched more than her hand as he helped her in and out of the carriage and then into the inn where they had been imprudent enough to stop for refreshments as well as a change of horses. It did not matter that he was gone from her life now, never to be a part of it again—or that she did not even know where he was. It did not matter that from the moment she had been apprehended, she had guarded the state of her heart with silent, stubborn dignity. None of it mattered as far as society was concerned.