Marrying her Best-Friend - Fiona Miers Page 0,1

formally this evening.”

“We are in the presence of nobility.” Lizzie grinned.

Carson chuckled and his light green gaze met with hers. “Would you care to dance?”

“You are well aware that once we start, I will not be able to stop. Your dancing is enchanting, and difficult to cut short,” Lizzie admitted. “And one can only dance so much.”

“Who told you such a ridiculous thing?” Carson scoffed with amusement.

“Apparently everything has a limit before it becomes unnecessary and trivial,” Lizzie answered bitterly, then forced a smile to her lips. She didn’t want to place a damper on her conversation with Carson. He was not the cause of her frustration, nor did she wish to involve him in her woes.

Carson gazed even more intently at her and cocked his head. “Is everything all right, Lizzie?”

“Everything is fine, Carson. How are you? Have you been doing anything interesting?” she inquired, desperate to shift the topic of conversation.

“If listening to carpenters hammering in the manor house is considered interesting, then indeed,” Carson answered with a chuckle.

“That is right. You are having the library redone after the rains of the winter. I had forgotten about that,” Lizzie answered with a smile. “How is everything progressing?”

“Too slow for my liking,”

“You have always been such a patient man.” Lizzie sighed and placed her hand on his.

Carson lowered his gaze for a moment, then glanced back at Lizzie, his eyes suddenly changing. She wasn’t certain what happened in that moment, but her heart began to pound in her chest as Carson’s light green gaze consumed her. Her skin tingled under his touch and she removed her hand from his.

“Thank you for the offer, Carson,” Lizzie managed to say as she caught her breath. “Perhaps in a while. I must first visit the powder room.”

“Very well. But I will seek you out if a while becomes too long,” Carson answered with a charming smile and a hint of amusement in his tone.

Lizzie cocked her head to the side and glanced at him for a moment before she turned away. She made her way through the ballroom, passing the curious gazes of the other guests.

She simply ignored the ominous feeling that clawed its way to the surface. Instead of allowing it to negatively affect her, she held her head high and proceeded to the powder room. There was no one inside, much to her relief. She stared at herself in the mirror that was perched on a low mantel.

Tears threatened to make their appearance, and Lizzie pressed her lips firmly together to stop them.

Her brow furrowed when she recalled the strange feeling she’d experienced when she touched Carson’s hand. She had been hiding her adoration for Carson for most of her life, and it had become such a habit to her, that the sudden surge of emotions felt rather strange.

She couldn’t allow herself to love him any more than she already did, as he had never shown any sign that he reciprocated her feelings. And the last thing Lizzie wanted was to lose the only person who truly believed she was still good inside, and not the monster everyone else in Somerset thought she was.

Monster may be a strongly worded term, but their stares and whispers made her feel as such. An abomination to her gender.

She drew in a slow breath, gathering her strength to push through the remainder of the evening. She couldn’t wait until she was safely ensconced in the confines of her bedchambers, where no judgment was passed, and she was able to breathe freely.

Lizzie lightly touched her hair and brushed a loose tendril from her cheek. While she gathered her courage to face the guests in the ballroom once more, she smoothed the skirt of her dress and drew in one last breath before leaving the powder room.

The guests in the ballroom had carried on as though she had never left, or perhaps as though she didn’t exist. She sauntered towards the refreshment table, and as she passed a group of women, she heard their words, which cut deeply, like swords through her flesh.

“I saw her earlier with Carson, practically undressing the poor man with her eyes.”

“Such a promiscuous woman.”

“The only reason Lord Dorset publicly admitted the tales were untrue was because His Grace paid him to do so.”

“Perhaps we should ask her.”

“Lizzie,” Lady Margaret’s pitchy voice called out to her, and despite every cell in her body begging her not to respond, she slowly turned around. Lady Margaret and her group of young women were glaring