Description : Gallant Waif
Kent, England. Late summer, 1812.
"No, no, Papa. I won't. You cannot make me!"
"Please, my sweet, I beg of you. It will not take long and I fear he will take no notice of me."
The tall dark-haired man waiting alone in the drawing-room reacted to the voices, which seemed toe from outside. He turned sharply and let out a soft expletive, his face tensed in pain. Moving more cautiously, he flexed his leg carefully, supporting himself with his cane. His sudden pallor gradually disappeared as the pain ebbed slowly away.
He glanced towards the sound of the voices and swallowed, tugging nervously at his cravat, thus ruining the effect that he'd taken hours to achieve. His clothes were of the finest quality, although somewhat out of date; they seemed to have been tailored for a slightly larger gentleman, for the coat that should have fitted snugly was loose everywhere except across the shoulders. The gentleman himself was rather striking to behold as he stood staring blankly out of the window, tall, broad-shouldered and darkly handsome, yet thin, almost to the point of gauntness.
Jack Carstairs had done enough waiting. It had been bad enough being closed up in a carriage for hours upon end to get here...then to be left closeted in the front parlour for almost half an hour was too much for a man who'd spent the last three years out of doors,manding troops under Wellington on the Peninsula. He opened the French doors on to the terrace and stepped outside into the cool, fresh air, and was immediately rewarded...