Tempting Fate (Goode Girls #4) - Kerrigan Byrne Page 0,1

herself from the glasshouse at Cresthaven Place. She’d had the idea to hang the sachets from the bronze velvet drapery cords.

This office was used to convey terrible diagnoses, the news of the death of a loved one, or possibly distressing information regarding procedures Titus was about to perform.

While volunteering at the hospital, Felicity had become convinced that the room should not only appear calming and friendly, but it should smell that way, as well.

Something else hung in the air today, though. Something sharper than the camphor-like scent of lavender. A watchful expectancy, perhaps. It seemed as if the motes of dust moved with more frenetic energy than the two of them warranted.

As if… the stillness contained some magnitude she identified but was unable to understand.

She felt suddenly exposed. Gooseflesh erupted everywhere, washing her spine in chills and tightening her nipples.

Glancing at Titus, she quickly ascertained the odd atmosphere wasn’t at all emanating from him.

Then… what? The question certainly couldn’t be whom, because they were alone.

So why did she feel the very devil’s hot breath on her neck?

Rather than taking his post behind the desk, Titus leaned his hip against the edge as he gestured for her to sit in one of the comfortable velvet chairs facing him.

She declined with a tight shake of her head. “This shouldn’t take long. I only have one question to ask of you.”

Dark eyebrows drew down in an expression of concern. “Is this a question of a medical nature?”

“No—” She paused. “Well, yes, actually. Maybe… sort of?”

Once again, she was struck by how tense Titus seemed as his gaze skipped around the office rather than landing on her. “A sensitive medical nature?” he asked uneasily.

“Well, I came by to visit someone— a patient— but I’m unable to find him.”

At that, Titus visibly relaxed. “To whom are you referring?”

Suddenly she felt rather itchy, and dug a finger into the tight coiffure beneath her hat to scratch at her scalp. “Um— please don’t think me too inappropriate— but I thought to sit a while with…” The name was difficult to say. It wasn’t the pronunciation she struggled with so much as the man who bore the name. He made her tongue feel heavy and unwieldy. “With Mr. Gabriel Sauvageau. I owe him my gratitude— or rather, I owe him my life. I understand he was injured during the violent chaos of the Midnight Masquerade at Killgore Keep whilst carrying me out of the fire. I was told he came here to seek treatment. I know it’s been several days, and I should have come to call upon him earlier but…”

Felicity looked down at the carpet and did her best to rein in her galloping heartbeats. To control the breaths that threatened to become impossible as a vise tightened around her rib cage. She’d been concussed after a strike from a villain had felled her on the grand staircase, but the real reason she couldn’t visit was because the world beyond her front doors had been too much to bear.

But she’d scraped her courage together today. And she’d been doing so well thus far. Could she not stave off the episode of terror just a while longer? Just until she discharged her duty and her conscience and thanked the man who saved her life.

A long, heavy sigh emptied Titus’s lungs.

“Felicity.” His eyes flicked down to the carpet, his expression troubled. “I’m sorry to tell you this but… Gabriel Sauvageau was shot by the villain Martin Trout. I… was unable to retrieve the bullet from his wound.”

That bit of new information not only slowed her heart but stalled it completely. She’d met Mr. Sauvageau all but twice, and somehow felt as if the news of his demise was a violent blow to the chest.

“What?” she gasped. “That can’t be. I was there when it happened! I— I distinctly remember watching Mr. Sauvageau walk away as if his injuries were not so serious… Did I not?”

Had she hallucinated?

After the murder of Mathilde Archambeau, a woman who’d come to her for help, Felicity had consented to join her sister Mercy at a Midnight Masquerade attended by London’s elite. Not only were peers in attendance eager to debauch themselves, but so were the wealthy merchant class and the darlings of the demimonde. Actresses, authors, and academics mingled with marquesses, madams, and merry widows of the haute ton.

That night, among revelers had also been the royalty of the underworld.

The most notorious of whom were the Sauvageau brothers, Raphael and Gabriel, leaders of the