Fenella turned and gazed with shock upon the dashing Devlin Deverell, Sixteenth Duke of Wyndlesham. Was this the famous and dreadful rake she had heard about? He was devastatingly handsome. Fenella had seen many men in riding dress before, but none such as this. Tight buckskin riding breeches emphasized his manly physique. His face and arms were unfashionably tanned. However, that only served to enhance the crisp whiteness of his ruffled shirt, left open in a careless way to expose the strength of his chest and the curling dark hairs that peeped out. After her life in the camps, often helping with the wounded, Fenella had seen glimpses of naked men, so the male body held no surprises for her. Nevertheless, she had never felt this way before. Suddenly, the scene felt shockingly intimate to Fenella. She was staring at his physique, transfixed, and then at his face, as sharply etched as a Roman emperor’s head on a gold coin.
His icy stare travelled up and down her entire body. To her horror, Fenella felt vulnerable and exposed. Her body tingled in a strange but pleasant way. Unbelievable sensations swirled in her stomach and she felt faint as thrills vibrated throughout her body. Fenella tried to step backward, anything to get away from that basilisk gaze. Her foot caught a fold in the carpet and she stumbled. Immediately the spell was broken.
“Devlin! Where are your manners?” the Dowager chided him sharply. The sound of her voice jerked the pair out of their reverie. “Poor Miss Preston is no doubt dropping with fatigue and you are simply terrorizing her by staring in that most ungentlemanly manner. If you’re going to stay, then do make yourself useful and get Miss Preston a glass of Madeira.”
“Of course, Mama,” Devlin murmured. “I shall ring for Blenkins. Will you have barley water?”
“Barley water?” The Dowager sputtered in astonished disgust. “Certainly not. That’s for invalids. Of course, I’ll have Madeira as well. And tell Mrs. Perkins to get Cook to surrender up those wonderful macaroons she always bakes and somehow we never get to eat.”
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