A Night Like This

Page 87

“Got to let Chatteris in,” Hugh said, whistling as he wrenched the window open.

“He’s crazy,” Daniel said, puling just far enough away from Anne to cradle her face in his hands. She looked so beautiful, and precious, and alive. “He’s plumb crazy.”

Her lips trembled into a smile. “But effective.”

Daniel felt something begin to rumble in his bely. Laughter. Dear God, maybe they were all crazy.

“Need a hand?” Hugh caled out, and they both turned to the window.

“Is Lord Chatteris in a tree?” Anne asked.

“What in God’s name is going on?” Marcus demanded, even as he tumbled into the room. “I heard gunshots.”

“Hugh shot him,” Daniel said, jerking his head toward Chervil, who was attempting to crawl to the door. Marcus immediately strode over and blocked his way.

“While he was holding Anne.”

“I haven’t heard you say thank you yet,” Hugh said, peering out the window for no reason Daniel could discern.

“Thank you,” Anne said. Hugh turned around, and she gave him a smile so briliant, he actualy started.

“Wel, now,” he said awkwardly, and Daniel had to smile. The air did change when Anne was in the room.

“What are we going to do with him?” Marcus asked, always one to see to the practical matters at hand. He reached down and picked something off the floor, regarded it for a moment, and crouched next to George.

“Ow!” George howled.

“Tying his hands,” Marcus confirmed. He glanced at Anne. “I’m assuming this was what he used to tie yours?” She nodded.

“That hurts!”

“Shouldn’t have got yourself shot,” Marcus said. With no compassion whatsoever. He looked back at Daniel. “We do have to figure out what to do with him.”

“You promised you wouldn’t kill me,” George whined.

“I promised I wouldn’t kill you if you let her go,” Daniel reminded him.

“Which I did.”

“After I shot you,” Hugh retorted.

“He’s not worth kiling,” Marcus said, yanking the bindings tight. “There will be questions.” Daniel nodded, grateful for his friend’s level head. still, he was not quite ready to alow Chervil to let go of his fear. With a quick kiss to the top of Anne’s head, Daniel nodded, grateful for his friend’s level head. still, he was not quite ready to alow Chervil to let go of his fear. With a quick kiss to the top of Anne’s head, Daniel stood up. “May I?” he said to Hugh, holding out his hand.

“I reloaded,” Hugh said, handing him his gun.

“I knew you would,” Daniel murmured. He walked over to George.

“You said you wouldn’t kill me!” George shrieked.

“I won’t,” Daniel stated. “Not today, at least. But if you come anywhere near Whipple Hill again, I will kill you.” George nodded furiously.

“In fact,” Daniel continued, reaching down and scooping up the knife, which Hugh had kicked over to him, “if you come anywhere near London, I will kill you.”

“But I live in London!”

“Not any longer, you don’t.”

Marcus cleared his throat. “I have to say, I don’t much want him in Cambridgeshire.”

Daniel glanced over at his friend, gave him a nod, then turned back to Chervil. “If you come anywhere near Cambridgeshire, he’ll kill you.”

“If I might make a suggestion,” Hugh said smoothly, “it might be easier for all concerned if we extend the ban to the whole of the British Isles.”

“What?” George cried. “You can’t—”

“Or we could kill you,” Hugh said. He glanced over at Daniel. “You could offer advice on living in Italy, couldn’t you?”

“But I don’t know Italian,” George whimpered.

“You’ll learn,” Hugh snapped.

Daniel looked down at the knife in his hands. It was dangerously sharp. And it had been but an inch away from Anne’s throat.

“Australia,” he said firmly.

“Right,” Marcus said, yanking George to his feet. “Shal we take care of him?”

“Please do.”

“We’ll take his carriage,” Hugh said. And then he gave them a rare smile. “The one with the unicorn horn.”

“The unicorn . . . ,” Anne repeated in bewilderment. She turned to Daniel. “Frances?”

“She saved the day.”

“Then she’s unhurt? I had to push her from the carriage, and I—”

“She’s fine,” Daniel assured her, pausing for a moment to watch Hugh and Marcus bid them farewel and drag Chervil away. “A bit dusty, and I think my aunt may have lost five years from her life, but she is wel. And once she sees you—” But he couldn’t finish. Anne had started to cry.

Daniel immediately knelt at her side, puling her close. “It’s all right,” he murmured. “Everything is going to be all right.” Anne shook her head. “No, it’s not.” She looked up, her eyes shining with love. “It’s going to be so much better.”

“I love you,” he said. He had a feeling he would be saying this frequently. For the rest of his life.

“I love you, too.”

He took her hand and brought it to his lips. “Will you marry me?”

“I already said yes,” she said with a curious smile.

“I know. But I wanted to ask you again.”

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