Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Excerpt from The Restless Heart

A short excerpt from The Restless Heart.

Bella has agreed to go for a ride in the countryside with the enigmatic Mr Davenport...

Mr Davenport drew King up to her. ‘Miss Oakley, it is of course my intention that the correct form should be observed.’ He was looking not at her but at something at the top of one of the tall beech trees.

‘Correct form?’ Bella felt herself frown. There was nothing very correct about going for a ride alone with an unmarried gentleman, of that she was sure. Mrs Sinclair would have a dangerous fit at the notion of it. ‘I am afraid I do not know quite your meaning, sir?’

‘You are a little headstrong, are you not?’

Bella gripped her ribbons. ‘How… how dare you… insult me!’

Mr Davenport shook his head. ‘You mistake me for I mean rather to compliment you. I find your character… rather agreeable. You speak candidly and act firstly with sense.’ King jangled his bit. ‘I admit surprise, for I expect young ladies not to be so… forthright.’

Bella had no notion what to say. He found her character agreeable?

‘Allow me to make myself plain,’ he continued. He held his reigns in one hand as the other tugged at his cravat. ‘For I admit there was a purpose apart from air and exercise for inviting you out to ride.’

King shifted his footing and Mr Davenport held his reigns in both hands again to steady him. ‘Nonetheless I would ascertain your feelings on the matter first?’

A gust of wind rustled the new leaves in the trees.

‘My feelings?’ She had heard every word of his, had she not? Yet she did not understand what he was saying. Surely…? No! ‘Sir, you take the most grievous liberty! My aunt and uncle placed you in a position of trust.’

‘So they did,’ Mr Davenport said, his voice very dry.

Bella gathered her breath. ‘You have no business stepping outside that trust, sir.’

The corners of his mouth twitched. ‘Miss Oak-’

‘I will and cannot be expected to place myself and my money into your hands for perpetuity, sir.’

His eyebrows raised and then he frowned. And then he laughed.

Heat coursed upwards towards her cheeks and Bella found herself unable to move.

‘Is this what you think I am after?’ he said. ‘Marriage?'


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