I am… shall we say?… drawn to Geoffrey Crane.
Every since the heir to the dukedom of Someplace As Yet Unrevealed stepped into the ballroom with Monty and the other three gentlemen of The Cabal, I’ve been thinking about Lord Tall, Dark and Secretly Artistic. You see, I recently wrote a novella about a handsome lord—in this case golden and athletic—hiding his passion for art from the world. So I have an intimate understanding of such a gentleman. And of course I know a thing or two about disguises and secret identities too.
With my interest piqued by Lord Crane, I’ve slipped away from the ballroom to the library (where all brooding, conflicted heroes are wont to stray during Lady B’s balls) and am spying on him.
“I know you’re there, madam.” The voice issues forth from a deep chest and slightly foxed tongue. I gasp. Then I unfold myself from behind a chair, smooth out the creases in my skirt, and oh-so-nonchalantly step into the candlelight.
“I was looking for a brooch I lost last Saturday when I was in here admiring this remarkably fine bust of Cicero.”
A little bird—okay, Albert—told me that he’d heard from the Duke of Someplace As Yet Unrevealed’s parakeet that Lord Crane’s particular artistic passion is sculpting. With images of Patrick Swayze’s strong, clay-slippery hands flitting through my mind, I gesture to the marble piece adorning the corner of the library and hope it’s Cicero.
Lord Crane lifts a single, black and lazy brow and with a negligent hand slips a piece of paper into his waistcoat pocket.
“What’s that?” I point to his pocket but I know what it is. It’s a list of races coming up at Newmarket or some such place. Lord Crane is addicted to the track. It’s because he’s hiding his true identity and is miserable over it. So he drinks and bets on horses and consequently runs through his allowance way before each quarter’s end. I know this because I read Sabrina’s post the other day. But he doesn’t know I know this.
“Forgive me, madam, but don’t you have a quadrille to be tripping through now?”
“Oo. Manners, my lord!” So he’s no Clark Kent, honest and polite. Incidentally, I saw The Man of Steel this weekend and can attest that Lord Crane is a dead ringer for Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel. (Do you see why I’m lingering in the library?) “And one doesn’t trip through a quadrille.” Actually, I do. “One glides.”
“Or one removes himself to the library in the hope of finding solitude only to have said hopes dashed,” he replies languidly.
Naturally I’m not cowed. “Really, your mother should’ve taught you to speak to ladies more civilly.” But perhaps he didn’t have a mother for very long. His eyes are hooded—very dark and a little threatening, as if I’ve said something I shouldn’t have. Perhaps I have! Perhaps his mother perished in childbirth, leaving him with three young sisters and a distant uncle who pays his bills but doesn’t care anything for him. Perhaps only one of his sisters knows he’s an artist, and one of the Viking Brothers too, and they’ve sworn to keep his secret. Perhaps he merely needs the compassion and spirit of a fabulous heroine to draw him out of his angst? Perhaps he’s only waiting for her, and his lifestyle is all a mask to cover his deepest longings?
“And your mother should have taught you not to hide behind chairs in order to spy upon gentlemen sipping brandy. You, madam, are a hoyden.”
“Merely an author.”
He rolls those smoky dark eyes. “Worse yet.”
“No doubt. ” But I think a hoyden might be precisely what he needs. Or… Oh, my mind is spinning with possibilities now! But I need help. Let’s find the perfect heroine for him, shall we?