“Really, Christian, it wouldn’t hurt you to smile.” Grace spoke through her own perfectly open visage, her eyes twinkling under a delicate frame of sea foam lace, as Lady Myrston and her tedious son drifted on to the ballroom wearing matching peacock masks that looked for all the world like they might take flight.
“I do believe that it would be the most painful experience of my life, Your Grace, second only to listening to your outrageous conversations with Sir Raymond over canapes.” The Grey men all wore understated silver-grey eye masks to match their dark green jackets and dove-grey breeches. Since they were all of a height and wore powdered wigs (their half-hearted attempt at dressing in costume for the occasion), they were easily confused by those who did not know them well. Elliot and Carrick both grinned at Christian, delighting in his discomfort, meanwhile Christian had plans that would mean he would not be joining them at 3am when their wigs would become overly hot and itchy, for which he was entirely grateful.
“Piffle! We were merely doing what people of our dotage tend to do. What else is left for me but to speculate on my lack of grandchildren? Speaking of which, when are you going to marry, young man? I shall be one foot in the grave and too old to enjoy your progeny if you don’t at least make half an effort to find a suitable wife.” Her Grace also wore a high powdered wig and a gown from the previous century, her waist cinched to show off the girlish figure she still maintained. She had toyed with affecting a French accent all evening until her daughter, Lady Mia, had pointed out that Marie Antionette was, in fact, Austrian and that the effort would be lost on their guests.
“Not for lack of trying,” Christian muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, Your Grace. Be assured, I shall marry when my brother does.” Christian’s announcement was loud enough for Elliot to turn and thump him in the arm.
“Boys! Really! Please show some decorum,” the duchess hissed from behind her fan.
“Yes, mother.” The young men chimed in unison while their father chuckled.
Read Blackheart: Chapter 5 here
Check the menu for Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9