A Duel of Hearts by Barbara Cartland

By Barbara Cartland

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Lord Brecon's hands tightened over the arms of his chair until the knuckles stood out very white. For a moment he sat looking into space with so much tension in his expression that Caroline felt that at any moment words would burst explosively from his lips; but the seconds ticked by and he did not speak and the Dowager, who was sipping her tea, did not notice that anything was amiss. Only Caroline waited, watchful and breathless, until Lady Brecon held out her cup to her with a little smile. 'Thank you, dear.

Then you are going to be disappointed, Maria,' Caroline said, 'for I intend to stay here. " As she spoke she raised her chin and there was an expression on her face and a ring in her voice which her father would have recognised as being characteristic of the Fighting Fayes all down the centuries. Maria continued to argue but she knew she fought a losing battle, and finally she indulged in a fit of the sullens, muttering darkly that she could smell trouble in the very air she breathed. By dinner time Caroline's trunks had come and Maria had unpacked and dressed her in a gown of pale blue figured gauze tastefully draped over a petticoat of blue sarsnet which was embroidered with silver spangles.

That reminds me, Maria,' Caroline said, getting out of bed and looking like some exquisite Greek goddess as she stood for a moment at the window, her body silhouetted through the transparency of her night-robe. ' Maria enquired when Caroline did not finish the sentence but was silent as she looked out over the green park as if searching for a glimpse of someone on horseback. ' Caroline asked with a start. 'Oh yes, of course, I want you to find out who will be in the house-party which arrives today.

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